Archive for ◊ May, 2007 ◊

30 May 2007 7 in 7….
 |  Category: Love in every stitch  | Comments off

I’m anal. I’ll admit it. I like lists and planning and dotted i’s and crossed t’s. It makes me HAPPY.

I love crafts. I love projects. I love making stuff. Love it, love it, LOVE it.

Eric had to work on Saturday so the girls and I went to Super Joann’s about twenty minutes from here. Fabric was on sale. Patterns were on sale. I bought a ton of stuff. In previous years, I’ve opted to rotate weeks for my craft projects, doing one craft per week. This week is sewing week and I’m going to try and complete SEVEN sewing projects in seven days.

Thus far, I’ve completed one bag, altered a dress for Emily and am in the process of cutting out a sun dress for Cadence. I’m on track.

I’ll post pictures on Sunday to update my progress.

Next week: Scrapbooking….

29 May 2007 Old Habits
 |  Category: Momdom  | Comments off

Old habits are hard to break. I can’t disagree with that. I think I vowed to stop biting my fingernails 20 some odd years ago and yet….I can’t think of the last time I actually had to TRIM my nails, into my mouth they go. It’s a habit that was annoying when I was younger and more vain and I wished for long, beautiful nails to polish but now, as an adult, I realize as long as I have a nail or two for item picking (you know, boogers from baby noses, splinters, price stickers, loose threads) I’m good.

I will be the first one to stand up and admit that I have had an issue with over using the computer in my past. I won’t make excuses for it. I’ve trained my brain to enjoy a fast past, constant edutaiment. It’s a problem. I admit it. I admit that the Internet has caused me to spend less time doing the things I should do, from playing with the kids, to cleaning the house to interacting with Eric. I admit that it has taken over at time and I only stop short of calling in an addiction because I don’t like how that sounds.

I’m not going to sound all superior, but over the past month, this habit, the draw for the Internet has waned. First off, our laptop I normally use for the Internet hasn’t been very reliable and I’ve not been able to use it and Cadence (dear heart) doesn’t allow me much time to use our desktop upstairs.

But more than that is the idea that I don’t want to miss things. These days; every SINGLE day, are days that I just CANNOT get back.

Emily will only be seven for ONE summertime. The magic she believes in can only last so long and while Eric and I are doing nothing to dissuade it, I know the time is coming when she’s going to stop wearing her screaming pink princess dress complete with tiara and 2 yards of tulle for a veil. This summer is the only chance I have to be in this moment with Emily. Come fall, the opportunity will have passed.

Cadence will only be eight months old for a few more weeks and then that’s it. It’s over. She will only babble “bababababababababa” at us for a little while. This is it. This is my one chance to be in the middle of this. I don’t get another shot. This is all that I have.

And I won’t lie. I realize that in the end the most PRECIOUS gift I can give my girls isn’t an expensive toy or expensive clothes, the most precious gift I can give them is ME.

And, to be honest, the idea has turned my head. I always knew it. Deep down, I did, but when the day comes when I’m the one being missed, I don’t want there to be a memory of me encased behind a screen, with nothing visible but my forehead and my knees. I want to be present. It is SO IMPORTANT that I just be PRESENT.

And it’s hard, you know, to give my boyfriend Dell, but I don’t get the impression he misses me that much. I should have dumped him a long time ago…. ;o)

22 May 2007 Exhaustion is….
 |  Category: Cadence, Momdom  | Comments off

…pretty much the story since Cadence has been born.

See, Emily was a good sleeper. By six weeks of age, she was sleeping through the night every other night. By about two months old, she was sleeping through the night every night. Except for a few issues transitioning her into her own bed, there was no sleep deprivation with Emily, really. She slept well and napped well (until she was two when she abruptly STOPPED napping).

Cadence on the other hand couldn’t be more different than Emily. Cadence isn’t a sleeper. At all.

Now, honestly, I could deal with early mornings or broken sleep or a lack of naps if there was just one of those things happening. It’s very difficult, however, to deal with all three at once. Last night was the first night of decent sleep I got since last Saturday night. Sunday night and Monday night I was sick and then Cadence took over. I mean a week ago Saturday, not last Saturday. I’m not whining about missing two nights of sleep.

Add to this the fact that Cadence doesn’t sleep well all night and wakes up at 5 a.m. raring to go. And, she doesn’t nap for shit either, which just makes for REALLY LONG TIRING DAYS.

Not that I plan to nap. Sometimes I do, but getting my housework done with her separation anxiety is damn near impossible and it’s frustrating too.

This morning, Cadence was up at 6:30. That was okay. She was nice enough to lay with me and climb on me so I could doze until about 7:15 (we ended up sleeping up the couch last night. That was where we fell asleep so that is where we stayed.) By about 9:30, I noticed that she was getting sleepy, so I nursed and rocked until about 10:00 when I brought her upstairs and put her into bed. By 10:30 she was up in bed, giving me the Stinkeye. I left her and showered and she hollered at me for the entire time I was trying to get dressed. Bascially, lather, rinse and repeat about four times a day. Today Cadence’s naps totaled about an hour a thirty minutes broken into four naps. Two of which were in the car.

Add to this that fact that I cannot let her cry and you get a pretty tired, stressed out mama by day’s end. I don’t have a problem with people who use Crying it out to get their children to sleep, but it’s just not something I can do. I know what she wants and what she feels she needs and I just can’t not give it to her. I don’t think I’m an overly indulgent parent at all, but I just can’t deny a baby the snuggle and comfort they need. Particularly since we’ve taught her to need this. We’ve taught her that if she’s lonely or sad or hurt or hungry or hot or uncomfortable, we’ll come to solve her problems. How can we then deny what we’ve taught her when it happens at 1 a.m. and we’d rather it not.

So, I drag myself out of bed, give her the snuggle she needs and probably reinforce a million bad habits,b ut my heart isn’t heavy even when my eyelids are.

20 May 2007 How you can help…
 |  Category: Heavy Stuff  | Comments off

Brittany said it best over on Myspace. So many people have asked us if there is anything at all they can do to help us. We usually smile and thank them for their offer, but most of the times, there’s really just nothing for anyone to really do.

But, we’ve finally come up with something.

On June 9th and 10th, Jake, Jolene and I will be heading a team to walk in the Relay for Life in honor of my Mom (and grandmother and great-grandfather for that matter. Our lives have been touched DEEPLY by cancer). The walk is a twenty four hour event and we will be building a team to help us man those hours.

If you’re available to walk and can be in New Baltimore the weekend of the 9th, we’d love to have you walk with us in honor of my Mom. The Relay raises awareness and money for research and speaking personally, further research is SO VERY IMPORTANT. Families need more good time and more options and MORE HOPE.

If you can’t walk, please consider making a donation to our team that will go to benefit the American Cancer Society. Any amount, large or small. Even $10 will purchase one of the Luminaries that I will have Emily hand decorate just for you. ;o) (The Girl has STYLE).

Jake thinks, and I do too, that this is an important thing to do. That honoring my Mom this way and inspiring hope and research is such a good, important thing.

If you want further information OR want to make a donation, you can email me at jamie at ericandjamie dot com. I’d be happy to hear from you.

14 May 2007 Faith…
 |  Category: me, in a nutshell  | Comments off

Emily Dickinson wrote, “Some Keep the Sabbath Going to Church and I keep it staying at home.” I couldn’t agree with Emily more. For me, God is more in my daily life, in my home, in my kids and marriage, than I have ever found Him at church. Every day I’m in Presence of His Miracles. It’s humbling. Every day that we wake up and get another day together is such a huge blessing.

My dad talked to a good friend of his over the weekend. This Friend had a friend lose his seventeen year old son the weekend my Mom died. He had a bright future, came home from school on Friday complaining of a headache and was dead on Sunday. His pastor was praying and was angry with God. He asked WHY would God DO such a thing. Why would He take a good kid away from good parents. Why would He allow that life to end? The pastor said, even though the room was full, it suddenly got very quiet and he could hear God speaking to him. God said, Why do I always get the blame when things go wrong and none of the blame when things go right? Why don’t you attribute the good things to me as well as the bad?

To me, God is like a father. Really. I believe that I lived in God’s heart before I was born, before even my parents’ parents’ parents were born. We are children He longed for and wished for needed to love, like my girls are to me. So many people point to God not answering prayers. God not intervening when He absolutely could, but like a parent God just can NOT give us everything. Sometimes we give our children gifts that are EXACTLY what they wanted; the right size and shape and color. Sometimes, we can’t give them what they ask for. Sometimes it’s an approximation. Sometimes we have to deny them completely because the time is wrong or the gift is wrong or we have a better gift in store.

When I left our home in Lakemoor in 2004, I felt physical pain at having to rip up my roots here. I cried for this house weeks and months after we left it. In the fall of 2004, we were so desperate for another home. We MISSED our home. All of us. We viewed a new home in Michigan and were desperate to have it. We wanted a home so badly. We spoke to some people about creative financing and I prayed. Halfway through waiting to see if things would happen, I changed my payers. I asked for a home.

We didn’t get that house we wanted. And THAT was the blessing. Really. We couldn’t have known the different things that were heading our way and having two, large mortgages would have been HORRIBLE. So, like a benovolent father, God said, “Sorry. Not that house, but I’ll bring you a home.” We rented a condo that had some of the features we missed in our house and some features we didn’t have before but liked and in a year from that prayer, we were heading home. So, could God have given us a mortgage? Of course He could have, but it would have been a horrible misstep for us. And, He DID answer our prayer, by the way, but His answer was No. An answer doesn’t have to be yes to be an answer. No is an answer just the same.

When we first got news of my Mom’s tumor, I prayed that God help us through. That he bring us peace. When conventional treatments weren’t working, I prayed for God to help us and He did, by bringing a new team of doctors with a fresh outlook that bought my Mom nearly two years. As her end drew, I prayed for peace; hers and mine and everyones and I believe she’s found hers and oddly enough I seem to have found mine. I asked for peace. I asked those who were praying for us to pray for peace and I have no doubt that she and I have found it. It was a gift God could give.

13 May 2007 Just Monday
 |  Category: Heavy Stuff  | Comments off

That’s what tomorrow is. Just Monday. Just a work day. Just a school day. Just a Brownie Meeting. Just a trip to the grocery store. Just cleaning up the house and feeding the baby and playing with the dog. Just Monday.

This is really the day I’ve been looking forward to after all of the days I’ve been dreading, the day where I wake up and we find our way back to our own skewed sense of normal.

Just Monday.

Tomorrow I’ll get up out of bed without worrying about whether or not something terrible happened during the night and my Dad was waiting to call me. I’ll get Emily off to school with no reservation, without an internal debate about if the call comes during school hours, do I pick her up? Or let her finish off the day.

I’ll come into the house and have breakfast while Cadence plays. My breakfast won’t turn into a heavy, burning lump in my stomach as I call home to find out if things are still status quo or if they’re getting worse.

I’ll get around to my chores without feeling like I’m sodden with mud or like my feet are encased by cement as I ponder whether or not I SHOULD be doing my run of the mill things or if life has reached a point where I cannot or should not.

Cadence and I will stop at the grocery store because I’ll actually feel like I can plan a week of meals without wondering how much will spoil when we race out of town when the call comes.

I’ll wash my duvet that Cadence peed on weeks ago, because it’s not critical that our clothes be clean and be packing ready. I’ll unpack the suitcases and actually stow them in the garage, where they belong, but yet haven’t managed to be in about six weeks.

I won’t worry about missing a call.
I won’t obsessively check the caller i.d. It’s Just Monday.
I won’t rush home with the bare essentials because of my fear of missing that moment. I might dilly. Or Dally. Or both. I might stop at the park and push Cadence in the baby swing. It’s Just Monday.

I’ll spend some time lost in thought and some time being deluded into the idea that things are “normal”, because, briefly, that’s the way they’ll feel.

But I’ll feel like I have a Scarlet letter on my chest or a sign on my forehead that speaks about my last six weeks. That people will look at me and see. I won’t fake smiles. I don’t have to. I have SO MUCH good in my life, but I still think that people will see that change in me that has happened. How can they miss it?

But I’m still going to get up tomorrow and do my thing. To revel in the fact that it’s Just Monday.

10 May 2007 To Nuture
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Like a lot of people, Eric and I get caught up in our own lives. There’s no helping it. With children and pets. Caring for our home and our marriage. Jobs and obligations, it will amaze us, at times, how much time has passed since we’ve called a friend or visited a relative. We’re not alone in this, but I also know we’re not the only ones to abate our guilt with the oft over used statement “Well, the telephone/roads work BOTH ways.” I know we didn’t make up that phrase so we’re certainly not the only ones using that to make ourselves feel better.

One thing, though, that has become SO evident in the past few weeks and months (and that we’ve really always known) is that we are SURROUNDED by AMAZING people. We’ve had friends give us carte blanche access to their home, offering us a place to say whenever we wanted or needed it. Other friends have given Jack a safe, warm haven over these last few weeks, whenever it was necessary and it’s been such an relief to know that he’s being cared for well by people who love him too (and probably MORE than us on most days ;o)) And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We have been made more offers of “Whatever, whenever” that it’s overwhelming and there’s just no way to really adequately thank people for that sort of support, except, I suppose, to offer it in kind when the time comes for them.

But that brings me back to the idea of relationships and dismissive statements to absolve our own guilt. It’s criminal that we leave an hour away from dear friends and have manged to see them TWICE in the course of the last year, once being this past week. It’s insane that I’ve not been to Georgia to see a good friend since the birth of her daughter nearly TWO years ago. I don’t feel guilty. I know that all of these people are living their own lives, just as we are, but I sure as heck can do something to make sure I’m not severing connections that are so very meaningful to me, but to be sure that I’m nurturing them always.

In my Mom I was given a lot of things. A place to go for good advice. A friend. Someone who managed to see most of my good qualities and some of my bad qualities and like me overall. Someone for whom I felt being me was enough. There were no illusions of grandeur. No keeping up with someone else’s ideals. I was as I am and that was okay and, I think, appreciated. I think everyone needs people in their lives who see them that way. For whom it is enough for you to be exactly the way you are. For my girls and Eric and my Dad and the Sibs, it’s easy, but I realize I can extend that to so many other people. People whom I don’t judge, who I love just as they are, but don’t spend nearly enough time showing and telling them that to me, they’re plenty.

I’ll be spending time over the next few weeks considering how best to keep in touch with people. It may be as simple as a phone call or as complicated as a visit. Just ways to touch base, to let people know that they’re cared for and appreciated more than I can ever say, but can try to show.

09 May 2007 Today
 |  Category: Heavy Stuff  | Comments off

We buried Mom today.

I’m not going to float some flowery euphemisms here. It was what it was. We had calling hours last night, which were difficult for a while, but then got easier as we sat around with friends and family, chatting and laughing and the funeral was today, which got harder as it went along culminating in my Dad, brother, sister, Eric, Cadence, some uncles and some aunts and some cousins meeting at Mom’s grave.

It’s hard to believe that this path has come to an end now and that we forge on, different in number. A little more grown up and wise and a little less innocent.

Several months ago, I began to read the blog of Matt and Ginny Mooney. Their little boy, Eliot, was born with a rare chromosomal abnormality called Trisomy 18. Their little boy, not predicted to live a day, lived 99 days. I felt so attached to Matt and Ginny as I read about their toil and struggles. They were living,my very worst nightmare. Truly.

I didn’t know when I started reading Matt and Ginny’s blog so many months ago that I’d be walking along with them in grief so soon, but I was touched, so often, by their honesty, of how frank they were with their pain and how they didn’t lose faith but instead, their faith seemed to GROW as the days passed. Instead of dwelling on what Eliot’s death has meant to them, they have instead focused on celebrating what Eliot’s LIFE meant to them; what LESSONS their little boy has taught them. How they could use the messages and lessons their little boy brought to them to make the world a better place.

And this is how I hope to be.

To be honest with people about what this experience has meant to me. To not gloss over how I’m really feeling or doing just to spare an awkward moment or some emotion. To not dwell on the small amount of my Mom’s life that her death consumed and focus on the large portion of her life that was consumed by, well, her life. To make sure I don’t lose sight of the lessons I’ve learned and that will continue to reveal itself and to be thankful for the 30.5 years I lived on this world with my Mom at the healm. I won’t forget these last few weeks, but they’re so small in the scheme of things, you know?

06 May 2007 In Ohio now…
 |  Category: Heavy Stuff  | Comments off

…with two funerals this week. My great-Grandma’s service will be tomorrow afternoon and calling hours for my Mom will be Tuesday evening with the funeral on Wednesday afternoon. They have decided, after all, to keep the casket closed with no viewing for even family. I’m okay with this. I told my Dad chances were very good I wasn’t going to view my Mom anyhow. He seemed surprised. My brother echoed my sentiment. I’m not sure if that’s what caused the change of heart or if it is because Grandma was the one who would probably want to view Mom the most and she’s obviously not here to do it anymore. Either way, I’m fine.

Eric and my brother and my cousin and three of my Uncles have agreed to be Pall Bearers. I knew there wouldn’t be problems there. It was really a matter of deciding if we wanted them or not. I knew plenty of people would sign on to do the job. We’ll have her service in a little log cabin Chapel at the Cemetery and she’ll be put with my grandmothers and they’ll be together there.

Right now, things just seem really surreal. I mean, I obviously understand what happens and the implications of what happened. It just seems like that Talking Heads song. You know, this isn’t my house, this isn’t my wife. That sort of thing. I honestly feel like I’m on autopilot. Now we pack. Now we drive. Now we visit. Now I feed the baby. Now we go to bed, etc, etc. I don’t really think it’s a bad thing.

I feel like I’ve mourned quite a bit already. My heart was broken weeks ago. Now I’m picking up the pieces, taping them together and going forward. I know the next three days are going to be difficult. I told Eric I hardly wanted to go to bed last night. For me, tomorrow doesn’t start at midnight. Tomorrow starts when i get up in the morning. It’s just one of my quirks (endearing?) I didn’t want to go to sleep last night. I didn’t want to get up in the morning. I wanted to stay awake because as long as it was Saturday, my Mom was there. My Mom was alive on Saturday. On Sunday, my Mom would be gone.

But, I know she’s okay. I’ve dreamed of her the last two nights. Last night, I dreamed she was at home, sitting on her bed dangling her feet off of the side. Her hair had grown back and she looked healthy and happy. I asked her what she was doing there and she answered that she was just waiting for the funeral, whatever that means. But I don’t think what she said to me was the message. The message was the smile and I think, I hope, it was her message to me, that she’s okay now and that I should be too.

05 May 2007 Goodbye
 |  Category: Heavy Stuff  | Comments off

Mom,

Today Jake and I joked that you were a super hero. Bitten by a radio active spider. Holding on beyond what we thought was likely or reasonable or possible.

I called home to touch base about going to Grandma’s funeral and Jake said the hospice nurse had come again. When I talked to Dad a little bit later, he said your blood pressure had dropped very low and he thought time was coming close. We ran to the grocery store to pick up a few things and when we got home the phone was ringing. You were gone.

And I’m not sorry for that.

I’m sorry for a lot of things. Myself. Dad. Jake. Jolene. The Girls. PapPap. Our friends and family. I’m sorry for us. But I’m not sorry for you. Your time of sorrow is over and I am confident that you’re either in Heaven RIGHT NOW or on your way and when you get there, will be welcomed with open arms by all of the people who loved you. It ought to be some family reunion. I’m sorry I’ll miss it.

I believe that a part of your spirit will follow us. That you’ll never REALLY be far away. That we won’t be able to hear your or feel you or see you, but you’ll still be right there. Just around the corner. In the other room. Just beyond our fingertips. I know this is true.

Because I am a mother, I know you and I will always be connected. That we’ll always be together. That mothers never EVER leave their children. I know this is true. I know that no matter where I am, on earth or in Heaven, that I will always be a part of my girls. In their hearts and in their smiles and in their eyes and I know, if I look close enough or listen hard enough, I’ll find you in those parts of me. I’ll never be alone and I’ll never be without you. It just means looking a little bit harder and a little bit closer, but I’ll always find you. I promise that not just to you, but to me too.