Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Changing food labels, different facebook pages, altered Blogger site (I mean really. When did that happen? You don't blog for, like, 6 months and then you're greeted with....well, a new Blogger page. I didn't know what I was doing before. Now all I do know is that I had 119 views from Israel yesterday. I think I broke my Blogger page because that doesn't seem quite right.)
So. Change. I hate it. I would prefer things stayed the same. Logically I know this is ridiculous but I yam what I yam and change makes my skin crawl.
My life has changed so very much in the past year or so. Job changes, family changes, The Husband having to live away from us for work. Heck, I even had my abdomen changed, which, don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the life saving surgery but really really hate the way my abdomen feels now. I have learned to live with the way it looks. I hope I will one day learn to live with how it feels inside.
And now, The Monkey started all day kindergarten and my life has changed yet again. It's been 9 years since I've been 'child free' for any length of time and I am feeling rather lost. I drop her off at school. I walk out the classroom door. I stand on the sidewalk and feel completely at a loss as to what the heck I'm supposed to do with myself. It's just me.
Work days are easier. But today there is no work. There are no parents needing a meal cooked, or taken to a doctor's appointment or to sit with in the hospital. No children holding my hand and asking to go to the park or story time or to play Littlest Pet Shop when we get home. No Husband's underwear to wash or to go and meet for coffee on a work break.
I'm left standing on the sidewalk wondering how the hell I'm going to deal with this latest change in my life. Me. Just me.
So today I went home. And I put on my Mom's sweater.
And I baked with her sweater on.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
There. I said it. I wrote it. Right there in black letters.
My dad died. And I cannot wrap my brain around those 3 words.
9 months to the day that my mom passed away, we said goodbye to Dad. Taken from us after an incredibly short and mind boggling bout with cancer.
In 9 short months, cancer took both my parents and my brain cannot take it in. Grieving is different this time around. Different from grieving The Husband's dad. Different than grieving my mom. It's like my brain has locked the door and won't let me go inside that place. That place where you're sad and angry and missing the person who's gone. My brain won't let me inside there. I wonder if I should knock...ring the doorbell. But, no. I don't think I'm ready to go in to that place anyways, so I'll just sit here down on the corner and wait to get up my courage at some point in the near future.
When my mom died, I wanted to look at pictures of her. See video footage of her. Think of happy memories and was desperate to remember so I wouldn't forget. And now I catch a glimpse of my dad's picture and I have to look away. I have to make myself picture my parents together again and then move on to something else. Anything that is not thinking about the fact that there is only a teaspoon of raspberry jam left in the fridge. A solitary teaspoon of raspberry jam that Dad made with the raspberries Mom picked with my kids in their garden last summer.
I don't want this to be real. How can this be real? No. It's too much.
It's just too much.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
A brief prompted conversation with a little boy who made eye contact with me. Brief. But a connection. A few moments of conversation with a mom whose plate was overflowing with worry and who just needed someone to listen to her for a moment or two.
Driving home, I wanted to call my Mom and tell her about it. I wanted her to tell me I'm doing what I need to for my family, that it's okay, I'm where I'm supposed to be in my life. I needed someone to listen to me for a moment or two.
But of course I couldn't. So I went home and ate a chocolate cupcake and now my gut is the one talking to me and it's telling me it's NOT ok, and actually, I am an idiot. 3 months since my surgery and I'm faced with the grim fact that I am an emotional eater who is about an intestinal foot short of being able to continue to be one.
Anywhoo...I do have conversations in my head with my Mom. Is that weird? Perhaps. But I do try and think about what she would say to me. I've been struggling with it lately, though, and even thinking about the sound of her voice gets harder to pull from the depths of my memory. A friend reminded me online tonight that I knew what she would say. But tonight I just couldn't hear her.
I took The Monkey out on an evening walk tonight. I thought it might help clear my head. But so many thoughts kept spinning in my head...the decisions I've made, the paths I've chosen and everything I've been through in the past while. Am I where I should be? Doing what I should be doing? That little guy at work...God, have I made the right choices?
I just want some ANSWERS, dagnabit.
And then tonight I randomly chose a book from the bookshelf to read for The Monkey's bedtime story. 'The Berenstain Bears Mama's New Job'. I opened the book and there was The Eldest's name written on the inside cover, in sweet 5 year old writing. So many years ago I used to read her bedtime stories and now she's 19 and growing her adult wings. So many years I've been at this parenting gig.
I started reading to The Monkey. In the book they discuss the Bear Family's hobbies. I turned to The Monkey and asked her what her favourite hobby was, as well as the rest of the people in our family. Her responses were cute and predictable...her favourite hobby was colouring and doing crafts, The Princess' was reading, The Eldest's was going out with her boyfriend, The Boy's was staying in his room and playing on his computer, and The Husband's was sleeping.
Then I asked her what she thought my favourite hobby was. She looked at me and smiled.
Yes, my Keeley. Loving you and my family is my best hobby. The bestest hobby in the world.
Thanks Mom. It was so great to hear you tonight.
Monday, April 11, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
"So. How are you doing?"
Just a few simple words. But we each knew what we were asking.
We're really asking how the grieving is going. How are you holding up? Are you still in disbelief, do you still think about calling her on the phone and then realize she gone, do you still cry at odd times...the waves crashing over your soul, making you feel like you're drowning in your tears and you can't catch a breath.
"How are you doing?"
I think I'm doing ok. Most of the time. It's been two weeks since I sobbed on my bed for 15 minutes then picked up the broken pieces of my tear stained heart and shoved them back into my aching chest.
It's been three months. I like to think my Mom is getting settled up there in heaven and is putting her final touches on a new job for The Husband, amongst a bunch of other stuff. Don't get me wrong. I know God has it all organized but if you knew my Mom, you'd know that she's already attended several meetings about the whole issue, come up with a few choice soundbites that succinctly put it all into perspective and then pushed the start date up about 2 months.
It's how she rolls.
Anywhoo, in talking with my sister today it made me realize that I'm doing ok. There's a lot of stuff in my life I'm dealing with but when it comes to Mom...well, I think I'm where I'm suppose to be. Grieving, but slowly moving through this whole process of saying good bye to a beloved person.
Will I ever stop missing her? No. I don't want to ever get to that place. Do I want my heart to heal? Yes, but I want those scars to remain on my heart forever. They mean she was loved, always missed, never forgotten. But I have to wake up every day and carry on. Boy would she be pissed if I didn't do that. If every person that ever loved her didn't do that.
And so we get up every morning and brush our teeth, pluck the new grey hairs out of our eyebrows and make a pot of coffee. We carry on.
Part of the grieving for me has been a desperate need to remember my mom as she was before the cancer entered her brain. Before the chemo. Before she found a lump in her breast. It was so difficult right after she died to remember her as she truly was for most of her life, before the cancer slowly stole her away. And it was so difficult to retrieve any positive pictures in my mind.
I started to dream about my mom shortly after she passed away. Most of them were foggy, bits and pieces that I would try desperately to put back together in my mind when I awoke. They were moments of her as she used to be, not wasting away, but vibrantly alive...but they were like viewing snapshots of faded pictures when I awoke and I couldn't cling to their images, no matter how hard I tried.
But one night about a month after she died, I entered a garden in my dream. There was a patio, and a white trellis. The sun was shining but there was cool shade on the other side of the trellis...trees and flowers, white chairs in a big semi circle on the grass.
I walked out into the garden and saw people sitting in the chairs. I knew there was a person sitting in a chair just on the other side of the trellis and I was drawn to that spot. I walked to it, turned and looked. Mom was sitting in the chair, smiling, radiant, so happy.
"MOM. MOM! What are you doing here??? You're suppose to be dead. You died."
I know. Even in my dreams I ooze poetic verse.
Mom stood up. Smiling. So so smiling.
"The doctors were wrong! The cancer's gone. I'm empty of cancer! They did tests. It's gone."
Smiling smiling smiling.
And I hugged her fiercely. And we hugged and hugged and hugged and I didn't let go. And she didn't let go. I was hugging my Mom in the garden, surrounded by summer trees, sun and the flowers that she so loved. There were other people, all sitting in the chairs, watching us. I didn't see their faces but I knew they were loved ones. In her favourite place to be. The garden. Loved ones. Flowers.
I felt the need to write this down tonight. To remember. Because I'm learning that part of grieving is remembering. Remembering that it's ok to smile at the good thoughts, important to think about the happy times, let go of the "why's" and "it's not fair" and focus on the carrying on.
Do I still cry? Yes. But not as often.
Do I still miss her? Oh, yes, but I'm learning to accept this new normal.
Am I still angry? No. And I can't tell you how grateful I am to have moved past that. I am so grateful that I don't feel like putting my fist through the wall or breaking every plate in my cupboard anymore.
Do I still feel disbelief? This has all of a sudden gone away. It was strange to have gone through the last few months of her life, knowing she was dying, care for her, be there when she passed away, see her in her coffin, and then be driving down the road two months later and be hit with a huge wave of shock with the realization that she was gone. She was really gone. For good. For ever.
(For the record..if you were driving on the #1 Hwy from Chilliwack about a month ago and saw a deranged lady in a white minivan crying like a banshee? Ya. That was me.)
Have I stopped reliving my Mom's last moments over and over in my head? Yes. And I'm ok with that. Because I'm also learning that in order for grieving to happen, to keep moving through this whole process, I have to let them happen. Not fight it. Not perseverate on it. I know I was having issues with those last few hours...why didn't I realize sooner, why didn't I call the siblings that weren't there, what should I have done differently, but also just desperate to NOT forget those last few hours and moments.
Writing them down gave me permission to stop thinking about it over and over. I know I can go back and read it if I feel like I'm forgetting. That's what I felt drawn to do tonight. Write down my dream. I won't forget.
And that is comforting. It's not a hug from Mom, but it's comforting.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
The loss of The Husband's Dad.
The Husband's job.
Every door that opened seemed to bring fresh tears, new frustrations, more worry and endless sadness.
And every new hurt brought us further and further down a dark and unknown road with no light at the end. And we don't own a GPS. I can't tell you how many times I've sat down and started to write in this little blog of mine. There were so many things I wanted to say. So many things I wanted to write about. But the hurt was too much and I couldn't get it out. My mom kept telling me to get back at it and write, but what I needed to write about I couldn't let her read.
Despair. Pain. Disbelief. Anger. A lot of swear words.
She wouldn't have approved.
And now she's gone. I stood beside my mom and told her to go. I told my mom it was ok to go, we would all be ok. My heart was screaming don't go, please...I haven't told you I love you enough, you have to see my kids grow up, I still need to talk to you everyday on the phone, don't leave us. I don't want you to go, I don't want you to go.
And I couldn't find it in me to write.
So I'm giving myself a reboot. Rebooting my blog. Calling a mulligan. A do over. New opportunities for The Husband and our family are on the near horizon and it's going to be all sunshine and double rainbows around this joint. Double fricking rainbows.
Or quite possibly some aurora borealis. And I've always wanted to see me some of that.
I'm back, baby. I'm back.
Monday, June 7, 2010
There are balloons covering the living room floor. Crap from the dollar store all over the kitchen counters. Birthday cereal is in the pantry. And in the spirit of full disclosure, I am sitting here in my chair by the living room window all decked out in a pink flowery butterflied heart emblazoned pointy party hat. You need to test these things out and make sure they fit. AND LEAVE IT ON. According to the 4 year old minus one day birthday girl, anyways.
(Yes. Murphy's Law being what it is, the DINKS from next door just walked by the window. I didn't wave.)
I found myself a tad melancholy today as I realized that our family is no longer going to have a 3 year old. I love three year olds. It's one of my favourite ages. Still innocent but toilet trained and independent with so many things. And not too much lip.
The Monkey was our holy crap surprise child and I've loved 96% of these years with her in our lives. But tomorrow she turns 4.
And I know what's coming.
Did I mention the attitude?
In the midst of today's melancholy, I asked The Monkey what we should write on her birthday cake tomorrow.
"Hmmmmm.....how 'bout......Gimme my presents!!!"
And then I bought beer.
Friday, June 4, 2010
It was time to Bob Barker Charlie the Cat.
"You're going to what?! To my WHAT?!"
I dropped him off at the local vet for his little surgery and the lovely lady behind the desk asked me to fill out some forms. As I was filling them out, we chatted back and forth about what vaccinations he was having done and she wrote some stuff down on her clipboard.
Then she said, "Are both of Charlie's testicles descended?"
To which I responded, "It took me 2 months to figure out what sex he was. I have no idea if he has an undescended testicle."
I mean seriously. Have you seen the size of a 5 1/2 month old cat's nether regions? I'll be perfectly honest with you...I've been sweating taking him to the vet all week because I was worried I was going to be told Charlie was a girl and I was an idiot and quite possibly a moron and I had absolutely no business owning a pet. Plus, the surgery would have been more money and you all know how I feel about that.
So, no. I didn't know if both of Charlie's testicles had descended.
Then I got to drive home having a conversation with an 8 year old girl about undescended testicles and vets hacking off a cat's scrotum and why exactly the vet had to do that. I was very glad I was able to avoid eye contact throughout that whole conversation.
But the day ended well. I mean, it ended well for me. At this particular moment, Charlie is looking at me like he's pretty sure I just ruined his life, but for me the day went well. Two descended testicles it was and that meant a simple surgery and easy recovery for Charlie. And no additional costs for doing whatever a vet has to do to cut off an undescended testicle. And that makes for an easier recovery for me.
So there it is. I don't blog for 6 weeks and when I finally do, I use the word 'testicle' 7 times.
Yep. Things may be back to normal around here.
Monday, March 29, 2010
This is very evident by the lack of framed photos of her in our house.
Lucky for me, I know a wonderful lady who agreed to rectify this travesty.
Peggy Wynne, of Peggy Wynne Photography, took on The Monkey last week. In a quick 25 minute session at the studio in her home, she was able to capture our youngest hooligan's cuteness in so many adorable poses that I now have a new problem.
Which one to choose?
Not only is Peggy great at her craft, but I love that she sends you a link via email so you can preview the photos online.
Peggy has taken photos for our family, as well as captured The Eldest's graduation.
Yup. Beautiful work. If you live in the Lower Mainland, I highly recommend her.
Thanks again, Peggy!
Saturday, March 6, 2010
You needed one of these to get in.
The Princess greeted her guests with one of these.
We played games to collect a bunch of these.
So you could line up here.
And buy whatever you wanted to watch the movie.
The Eldest and The Boyfriend got in on the fun. The Monkey bought a lot of candy.
1 headache, 1 spilled pop, popcorn covering the ground, nary a vegetable eaten (and they were FREE - I don't get it) and 3 hours later, the 8 year old's movie party came to a close.
"Take your popcorn containers! Here, let me stuff them with more candy to eat on the way home!"
Then I tucked The Princess into bed and she said, "Thank you for doing all that stuff for me today, Mom. It was really good. *pause* What theme are we going to do for my 9th birthday?"
Happy Birthday, My Princess. Next year's theme is "Let's go swimming at your father's pool/skate at his ice rink". Oh, but I've scheduled a massage for that day so I can't be there.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
I should be going on about one of my babies growing up so quickly, and what kind of birthday cereal she chose, and what we did for her big day and what dinner she wanted.
Instead, I have nothing to report about that day because I slept her birthday away. I hadn't gone to bed until 6 am and woke up at 4:30 pm with a killer migraine and the need for a serious 10 minutes tooth brushing.
Aah, food poisoning. Chicken corn chowder, I shall never look at you the same way again.
I've had food poisoning once before. Two years ago when The Husband and I went away to Victoria for our wedding anniversary I apparently ate a bad chicken caesar salad. Nothing says loving like writhing around on a bed at the Empress hotel begging to die while your husband eats take out food beside you.
That was a bad evening. But this past Friday night? Let's just say that if you men out there truly want to find out just how bad those childbirth pains really are that your wimpy wife was going on about for 18 hours or so giving you an offspring, just go put a piece of half cooked chicken out on in the sun for a day or so, then go make yourself a chicken salad sandwich.
And that was basically how I felt as I writhed on the floor of the emergency room for several hours. In the throws of labour but without a cute baby at the end. There was a cute doctor, but let me tell you, discussing your latest bowel movements with said cute doctor while you may or may not have vomit chunks in your hair totally cancels out any pleasure from that.
I would also like to point out that vomiting into an emergency waiting room toilet is about as disgusting as you just pictured it.
But lucky for me The Husband and I got to hang around the waiting room for quite a while so we got to witness two drunk guys come in and explain to the triage nurse that one of them had been bitten in the face by a homeless guy's dog. To hear them tell it, it was pretty funny if you went by the continuous giggling coming from the two men. And to this I say, thanks. Thanks for pissing off the people that were going to be shoving an IV into the back of my hand.
Some good came from all this, though. The Husband answered a lot of work emails on his Blackberry while I slept fitfully thanks to some pain killers and intravenous Gravol. By the way, did you know that stuff really stings when they give it to you and then 10 seconds later will make your right eye go all wonky and your chest all tight and you'll start to freak out and THEN the nurse might tell you that's all normal and would I just relax, relax, already?
Here's a tip for you lady. How 'bout you tell me that before so I don't freak out to begin with? That's my suggestion. Take it or leave it.
And so, life is back to 'normal' around these parts today. My migraine finally left me midday yesterday afternoon and here I sit, 5 pounds lighter. To top it off, the soup company contacted me this morning and are refunding me the cost of that soup and just might be sending me some coupons.
For more soup.
Monday, February 22, 2010
20 minutes all to myself and I spent it inside Save-On-Foods. Who needs beer when you live life like I do.
The bill came to $10.34. I handed the cashier a ten dollar bill and 35 cents. She took the money and put it inside the till.
Then she asked me if I wanted my change.
She apparently doesn't read my blog.
I'll be honest with you. Although I razzed my dear husband about not wanting those two pennies back at MickyD's, I honestly didn't know what I would have said.
I found out today.
I told the cashier I wanted my penny.
Let me just pause while that sinks in.
Yes. I said YES I wanted my dang penny, thankyouverymuch, took that penny and put it in my change purse. It was pure instinct. No hesitation. And with witnesses present. It's not like I was in the drive thu. I publicly announced to the entire quick serve 15 items or less line that yes, Scottish blood runs through my veins and I wanted a solitary penny.
But dang it, a person's got to have principles. right? If I had paid by debit card, she wouldn't have asked if she should just round up my total to $10.35, right?
They're not gonna start doing that, right? 'Cause I can't take the humiliation.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
This is getting out of hand. My blog is turning into a kitten fest. Sorry about that. I realize that most of you come here for the in depth articles on toilet paper injuries and bear scat but you'll have to just look at one more cute kitten picture.
Come on....his little hind legs up by his sweet widdle head, all asleep on my lap? What's not to love? I could go on about how he has an M on his forehead as well, and how he was obviously meant to be in our Mahoney family but that may be pushing things.
Well. Off to do something important. The Husband's underwear doesn't wash itself.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
I wish refrigerators had a self clean button. I just found turkey meat and cranberry sauce in my fridge.
It's January 25th, people.
Hmm. Let's do the math, shall we?
I would like to clarify that I actually cooked that turkey sometime shortly after the New Year. So, we're talking 3 weeks of decay, not four. That doesn't sound nearly as horrific.
So back to my fridge problem. I did some soul searching today and came to a conclusion. Several, actually. None of which makes me come out looking like Suzy Homemaker.
Conclusion #1: I clean out my fridge when I've run out of food storage containers.
Conclusion #2: I have some vague memory of making a pact with the devil to clean out the fridge every Monday, since garbage day was on Tuesday and I had just finished working and was home full time will all this spare time, just a newborn and 3 other kids to take care of and was clearly suffering from post partum insanity. But then our garbage day was changed and even though it's been roughly two years since it was switched, I still find myself being woken up at 6:58 am every Friday morning to the rumble of the garbage truck which causes me to start yelling at The Boy to get up and get the garbage to the curb. From this you may be able to deduce that I never clean out my fridge on Thursdays. So, conclusion #2 is that my fridge would be clean if not for the garbage company's schedule change. See? It's not my fault.
Conclusion #3: I never make soup from all those leftovers I pack up over a week's time that I tell myself would be perfect for making soup and therefore stretch our food budget. Seriously, people. I've been married for 20 years and I don't make soup out of the leftovers. Unless it's turkey. Then I carefully boil the entire carcass and spend 2 hours picking off every bit of meat, making a lovely pot of soup out of it and then let two pounds of turkey breast rot in the back of my fridge because turkey breast would be wasted in the soup and should be saved for making The Husband sandwiches or something.
So, apart from turkey dinners, 20 years and I'm still packing up the leftovers and telling myself they'll be good for soup and letting turkey breast lay forgotten in my fridge. This needs to stop. I'm thinking I should be putting those leftovers into the freezer, giving myself at least 6 months or so until I have to throw them out due to frostbite. I think that will be a better system.
Conclusion #4: If I had a stainless steel fridge, I'd love it more and take care of its insides better than I take care of my white fridge. But then it wouldn't match my stove and dishwasher. And they all need to match. It's one of my life rules. Plus, if I had $3,000 bucks to waste on metallic appliances I certainly wouldn't be pouring water into my van's cooling system every other day. Sigh. Ok. Forget #4.
Conclusion #5: I hate cleaning out the fridge and will use any excuse to justify why I haven't done it. There. I said it. Yet another reason I won't be receiving a Home Maker of the Year award. Put it up there with my love for cleaning under my couches.
Especially when you only came here to see if there was a picture of the new kitten.
Well here you go. I'm pretty sure it's Charlie.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I found myself praying for strength tonight. Strength to help a 7 year old who was crying in her bed. She was crying because tomorrow wasn't going to be right since her Popeye wasn't going to be at her cousin's baptism.
"I just want him to come back and I know he can't. I don't like it. I just don't like this! I want it to be like it was before. And I won't ever see him again for like, 50 years at least because I won't see him until I go to heaven....and I don't want to go to heaven yet but I want to see him."
Sometimes you just have to let your children hurt. You can't fix it. You can't put a bandaid on it and make it better. And that, my friends, is a horrible horrible feeling.
The Princess episode tonight was just one of many reasons I found myself asking God for strength tonight.
The Eldest is having some major problems with her car.
The laptop is having troubles charging and every single time I type the letter 'a' I have to go back and retype it because the computer keeps putting in a space instead.
The engine light is back on in our car.
The government 'lost' The Eldest's student loan forms.
I've done something to my back and my joints are killing me today.
And we're out of lightbulbs. I'm pretty sure it is not normal to start crying when you discover there are no more light bulbs in the house.
Grieving and all that comes along with it has set everyone in the family on edge. Everyone in our family is raw. And when you pour salt into those wounds, salt being a broken car, bills to pay or a 3 year old that keeps screaming at everyone and everything and then finking that everyone is being rude to her...well....it leads a person to be crying over burned out light bulbs.
And so I pray for strength. Just get through one more day. Just let me know what to say to a grieving 7 year old and a grieving 42 year old. What to tell an 18 year old who has had more crap thrown at her in the last two weeks than an 18 year old should have to deal with in a year.
And then realize that I haven't prayed for answers on dealing with a grieving 15 year old boy who holes himself up in his room shooting at things on his Xbox. So I pray for help...not to let him get lost in all of this.
It's 10:15 pm and I have no idea what the 6 people in this family are wearing to the baptism in the morning. I'm feeling rather numb after this day and I just want to sit with this tiny kitten sleeping under my chin right now. This furry little thing is purring and giving out the odd "mmmrrttt" when it stretches and then pulls itself further up under my chin. The Dog is snoring behind me, guarding the door and giving off the odd fart.
Life goes on. So many people are going through 100x worse than our family. I pray for perspective in all of this. And I'm just going to sit here for a bit and enjoy the company of a kitten curled up on my chest, breathing on my neck and every once in a while licking my chin with its rough little tongue.
Recharge my spirit with the fluff of a kitten.
I should be writing for Hallmark. Gah.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Or Charlie. We're not quite sure yet.
He or she is a little ball of fluff that has made this little girl smile again.
The Princess has been working on cat ownership for about two years now. We've put it off. We got our dog, Bryn, and the house was busy enough with that. We bought The Princess a fish. But you can't cuddle a fish. We bought The Princess a hamster. Sadly, we found Butterscotch had died on the same day The Husband's dad so unexpectedly passed away.
It was a very bad week indeed.
We promised The Princess a new hamster. But when we went to the pet store, there was a sign on the door.
"We have kittens."
Dear god. No. I looked at The Husband. He looked at me.
We knew we were hooped.
Of course, The Princess hardly glanced at the hamsters. All she wanted to do was play with the kittens through the cage door. The Husband and I have been married for a long time. 20 years. A look between us was all we needed to come to a decision.
It was time.
We left the pet store without a hamster. Instead, The Princess walked out with the promise that we would start looking for the perfect kitten for our family.
We had the past few days to talk about the responsibilities. We researched our options and priced things out. Free kittens are never free (vet fees, shots and spay/neutering costs had to be figured in), and pet store kittens weren't what we wanted to support. There were black kittens at the shelter, but The Princess wanted a kitten with tabby markings.
Today we found Sophie/Charlie, one of four little kittens just ready to leave their mom for their forever home. And I found myself looking at anatomical drawings of cats hinies online, trying to figure out if it's a boy or girl.
Obviously biology wasn't my strongest subject in school. I'm still calling the kitten "It".
The Princess said, "Thank you, Mommy!" about 8,000 times this afternoon and evening. I've filed those thank yous into a corner of my brain so I can draw strength from them when the kitten is clawing up my furniture and The Princess has 'forgotten' to clean the litter box.
But tonight, I'm enjoying the feeling of an 8 week old kitten cuddled on my lap, who occasionally wakes up enough to lick my hand with her...or his rough little tongue.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Grieving is hard work. It's exhausting. Mentally exhausting. Physically exhausting.
Lack of sleep starts to play with your mind and you find yourself incapable of performing the most mundane tasks.
Like supervising your 3 year old.
Case in point.
The wise man is a nice touch.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
It was to be one of thousands that day.
But for our family, this one particular soul's departure brought us to our knees.
Tuesday morning and a ringing phone at 7:19 am meant we would never hear The Monkey scream with happiness, "POPEYE!!" as The Husband's dad walked through our door.
At 7:19, we found out The Eldest would never hear, "There's my Little Chickadee!" again.
A ringing phone meant The Boy had lost a kindred spirit. The Princess would not receive the perfectly picked out birthday card next month, addressed to his Little Peanut.
7:19 brought our souls to the depths of despair, at the realization of all we had lost.
Golf trips. Dinners. Christmases. Birthdays. Stories. They all must happen without Popeye now.
Grieving wife. Grieving sons and daughters. Grieving grandkids. Grieving sister. Grieving family. Grieving friends.
But at 7:19 am, on January 12th, 2010, that solitary soul, one of thousands that day, was not grieving.
He was rejoicing.
By 7:19 am, he was in Jesus' loving embrace. He was being wrapped in his mother's arms. He was being hugged fiercely by his father. And his brother. And brother-in-law. And being greeted by other family and friends. He was celebrating.
And had probably already scheduled in a tee time.
So we are left to mourn. Left to remember. Tell stories. Laugh. Cry. Hug. Get angry at him. Get angry at ourselves. Hit a wall. Tell Mom you'll fix that. Smell his shirts. Wear his hoodie. Sit on his bed and sob. Fiddle with his glasses that sit on the desk. Smile at a memory. Answer the phone. Not sleep. Comfort someone. Be comforted. Answer questions. Ask questions. Make tea. Reminisce. Pass around the Tylenol. Be amazed at the thoughtfulness of friends.
Desperately miss him. Wish it was still Monday, January 11th, 2010.
And yet, in all of that, remember that Dad is already off golfing, with a big smile on his face and in very good company.
Sláinte mhaith, Dad. God speed.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I put away Christmas today.
You knows it's time when your 3 year old tells you the tree is melting.
I packed up all the decorations. Boxed up the glitter and the ribbon and the wrappings. Put away the pictures of sweet children sitting on Santa's knee. I wrapped up the Christmas tree angel that has topped our tree since our first year of marriage and I nestled her back in her box.
After taking down the angel, I took a long look at the sorry sight of a tree. Pine needles all over the floor. Broken branched here and there. Decorations all askew. But my snow stars still graced the branches with delicacy and love.
The first Christmas after The Husband and I were married, one of my oldest friend's mom, Mrs. S gave me a wonderful gift. Snow stars. She made them herself, every one a unique design. I loved them.
For a number of years, the snow stars graced our Christmas tree. I always had comments about how pretty they were. Aside from our angel tree topper, they were my favourite part of our yearly tree. But one fateful year, there was a flood in our crawl space and we lost most of the snow stars to water damage. Then the following year, our few remaining stars ended up as mouse food when a family of rodents moved into our back shed.
No more snow stars to grace our tree. I was still grateful our angel had survived two bouts of Christmas carnage but, oh how I missed those stars.
Fast forward to March 2003. My sweet mom handed me this.
She had asked Mrs. S. if she would make me some more snow stars for my birthday. Mrs. S went to town and made me an entirely new and wonderful collection of snow stars. All of them different. All different sizes. All different designs. All wonderfully delicate and sparkly.
Mrs. S refused to let my mom pay for any of them. That's just the kind of person she is. Wonderful. And talented. She included a note in the box to remind me how they're best put on the tree....small on top, medium in the middle and the large ones down below.
Every year when I pull out the old Eaton's box, I have to smile. Every year when I have the sad task of taking down the Christmas tree, I make sure to find that old Eaton's box and carefully tuck the snow stars away amongst the tissue. I look at the card that's tucked inside the box, reminding me to take the hooks off so the stars won't rust. And I say a prayer of thanks for a lovely lady who's work graces my tree every year.
I love the simple things of Christmas. Sitting around and watching The Griswold Christmas Vacation. A sip or three of Bailey's. Taking pictures of what happens when The Eldest and The Princess are left alone while making whipped shortbread.
I love gingerbread houses.
And I love putting baby Jesus in our nativity scene when we get home from Christmas Eve mass. (Which we forgot to do this year and in my defence, The Princess had a fever and had been throwing up and let me tell you I almost threw up myself when I realized that baby Jesus was still hiding behind the poinsettia plant Christmas night.)
And I like my snow stars.
Thanks again, Mrs. S.
Friday, December 18, 2009
We went The Princess' theatre class Christmas performance this evening. Yes, it was wonderful. Yes, she was adorable. Yes, I cried when they sang Silent Night.
But I'm not here to blog about that.
On our way home, The Princess said in her small little princess voice that she was so terribly hungry and exactly how long would it be before we got home so she could have just a small bowl of cereal. The kid is brilliant. Perfectly timed to coincide with the appearance of the Golden Arches.
So The Husband turned the corner and entered the drive thru. He ordered his Princess some chicken nuggets and proceeded to the window to pay.
"$3.98 please," said the girl behind the window.
The Husband handed the employee four bucks.
"Do you want your change?" she asked.
The Husband said no, she could keep the two pennies and drove to the next window to pick up the nuggets. Then he rolled his eyes at me going on about the two dang pennies.
Excuse me....but since when is it okay for a clerk to ask if I want my change back?? Where does this stop? Is it okay to ask if I want 3 pennies back? What about a nickel?
Will they move onto a dime? Will we be doing away with the dispensing of change in the near future? What if I wanted those two pennies? I'd be tempted to tell the chick, "Why, yes, I DO want my change. All of it. Give me my two pennies!" Just so I could see her face. And make a point.
I mean, really.
Then my dear Husband just looked and me and said, "What? Are you Seinfeld now?"
That's it. Poke the crazy lady who's told you she just may possibly be nursing a bit of PMS and is carrying around a to do list that is three pages long one short week away from Christmas and was just coughed on repeatedly by a lady sitting behind her at the concert who was apparently missing both hands and elbows and had to resort to coughing on his loving wife's head for an hour.
I could have used those two pennies to shove up someone's nose, that's what.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
He was thrilled.
So thrilled, he wanted me to take the sibling picture again. Just to make sure I captured the perfect moment in time.
Picking the right pumpkin was remarkably easy. He found the perfect pumpkin almost immediately. It was so perfect that he wanted to leave right away.
See? Perfect pumpkin. He was so eager to show it to me that he covered up his face accidentally.
The Boy. 15 and not too cool to hang out with the family in public.
I'm so blessed.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
The Princess complained of a headache when I put her bed. Hope she's not coming down with something.
Started the day at 2 am with The Princess coughing on my face. And crying. The heat radiating off of her body reminded me of my days driving around in the old Eggplant.
Coffee was my friend today.
The Princess took her temperature every 8 minutes today. Then started crying that she was going to miss Halloween for sure. Every 8 minutes. I assured her that Halloween was still 2 weeks away. Every 8 stinking minutes.
Note: Rum does not taste good in coffee.
Phoned the doctor at 9 am. Receptionist laughed at me when I ask if there were any available appointments. Headed to the walk in clinic. Waited for an hour and a half in a room with no toys or books due to H1N1 flu scare. The Princess had to wear a face mask and was sure she was dying. The Monkey was sure she could climb the walls. Got up 3 feet. Not bad.
The Monkey felt warm when I put her to bed. I sense some deja vu in my future.
Started the day at 2 am with The Monkey coughing on my face. Thank goodness for Lysol.
Baked Halloween cookies with two sick children. That was fun. As Mom would say, "I'm sure that earned some time off purgatory." Three days at least.
Ate two germ laden cookies. Drank rum to kill the germs.
I spent the morning circling the parking lot of clinic in a vain attempt of a parking space miraculously appearing. Lack of sleep forced me to call The Husband at work to make the decision for me to return home and try again later.
Wanted a Timmy's double double but couldn't decide whether it was worth spending the $1.53. Husband wouldn't answer his phone.
I need sleep.
I comforted The Monkey while she cried inconsolably tonight. "It Hurts. Hurts!" she cried every time she tried to take a breath and started barking like a seal. Started crying myself, wishing I could take away her pain. I wonder how mothers caring for chronically ill children do it day in and day out...see their child in pain and feel so helpless. I could hardly keep it together for 10 minutes with my child in pain. Must remember to say a prayer for all those mothers . God give them strength.
Husband got home late from work. Wanted to scream but then he showed up with beer.
I love him.
Kids seem to be on the mend. Not sure what's worse; sick kids sweating all over me for 18 hours straight or entertaining almost better children who have had no human contact but with me for five days. I took a match to Candyland last night after they went to bed. I have no guilt over this.
Managed to hammer my hand while creating a graveyard in our front yard today. My hand looks like it belongs to the dead witch on our front lawn. But....when The Princess looked at our masterpiece, she told me it was going to be the best Halloween ever. My hand will heal.
The Eldest says she has a headache. I wonder if almost 18 year olds still wake up their mothers at 2 am to tell them they're sick.
Note: Buy lottery ticket tomorrow. Need vacation.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
The Eldest has been busy.
While I can only injure myself with toilet paper, The Eldest is able to create a wearable dress out of it.
I bring you, "Cherry Blossoms in October".
This project was for her Fundamentals of Fashion Design course. She had to create a wearable garment using materials not normally used...no fabric, zippers, buttons, etc. allowed.
The Eldest took her inspiration from a few places. She loves cherry blossoms. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and her grandma is fighting this disease. She used Purex Bathroom Tissue, as they are currently donating money to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation*. The Eldest loves pink and wanted a soft 'cherry blossom' pink. She chose to colour white bathroom tissue instead of using the limited edition pink Purex bathroom tissue. She coloured the dress with diluted food colouring sprayed on with a spray bottle
Now all that's left to do is try to find my house underneath all the mess created along with the dress.
* I'm not getting paid to advertise for Purex. But if for some reason the Purex company is using Google search and falls upon my little blog.....uhm...."Hi! Love your bathroom tissue! Thanks for donating $$ to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. My mom thanks you. I thank you. My 3 daughters thank you. My sister thanks you. My nieces thank you."
Monday, October 12, 2009
Mistake #2? Leaving the 15 year old in charge.
The vast majority of our baggie contained puzzle collection ranges from 12 piece to 50 pieces. All of our children have loved puzzles throughout their toddler and preschool years. I also used them when I worked with children with autism. Since I had to travel to children's homes and schools for their therapy, I always carried a box/bag of stuff to use. Puzzles in those flimsy cardboard boxes don't travel well, so I kept all our puzzles in baggies. I labeled each bag with the puzzle name, how many pieces, and a picture of the actual puzzle cut out from the side of the original box.
Nowadays, all those ziplocked puzzles are contained in several plastic bins that sit in our craft and activity cupboard. Having puzzles in baggies is a space saver too. The only problem lies in having The Monkey live in our house.
I suppose I should be grateful that she only took out one of the containers filled with puzzles. We only have about 15 puzzles worth of pieces to sort through.
I asked her what she was doing as she stood at the living room table, mixing all those puzzle pieces together with both hands.
"It's food. Here. Have one."
Imagination is a good thing. Right?
Friday, October 9, 2009
After spending far too long perusing our neighbourhood on the newly released Google Street View in our area, I discovered The Eldest and The Boyfriend pictured hanging out at the local pizza place. And then walking up our street.
Kind of creepy.
And after posting a silly little comment on Twitter about a radio station stating some tummy tuck jeans were literally flying out the doors, I had two plastic surgeons from Georgia and the United Kingdom start following me on Twitter.
I admit to being a tad paranoid. I also admit to feeling slight relief that there is no bear scat pictured on our front lawn. A lot of dandelions, but no bear scat.
And for some reason, all this transparency is making me feel like I need to remind everyone out there in those there internets that a large black dog lives in our house.
This is where she sleeps 85% of her life.
That would be our front door.
The other 15% of the time she spends sharpening her teeth and practicing her ninja moves in front of the mirror. As you can tell by the picture, she is a svelte fighting machine.
Don't be fooled by the drool.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
I googled bear poop images yesterday.
I actually typed "What does bear p " into the google search engine and the rest of the sentence "What does bear poop look like?" popped up. I felt some vague relief that I'm not the first person to search the annals of the web for such information.
Which of course leads me to the riveting question I know you're all asking yourselves.
"I wonder why Colleen hasn't finished writing that book?"
Yes, well, clearly I've been busy.
When I drove up to the house on that fateful day, I couldn't help but stare at the large mound of brown on the lawn.
So you don't think I'm exaggerating, here, my friends is proof.
So, obviously, a bear is roaming our suburban neighbourhood. And, also obviously, that crap is still sitting on my front lawn. I've been really busy. And I don't do bear scat.
Yes. Google taught me something. It's called scat. Bear scat.
I will never be able to use my "Scat the Cat" felt board story again. I will no longer be able to listen to scat music without picturing bears crouching in the forest, and I would also advise you not to google the word scat.
Google also taught me some things I really didn't need or want to know.
Just trust me on that.
Monday, October 5, 2009
The timing was perfect for me as I'm in the throws of reminiscing about motherhood and all it's highs and lows. My little baby is turning 15 in two very short days. 15. He's growing a mustache and half the time I don't recognize him when he walks around the corner and catches me off guard.
Where did my little boy go? The train loving, dirt digging, pokemon and digimon addicted, read me 118 books in one sitting little boy.....he's gone. I used to catch glimpses of him. Here and there. A smirk. A laugh. A whine or two.
But that little boy has been gone for a while. I've known it in my heart. In two sleeps, my son will wake up and make me feel that much older. Oh, how my heart hurts about it. Time keeps on slipping slipping slipping.....
But I'm the mom. I'll put on a stiff upper lip. I'll serve him Panago pizza as requested and bake him his chocolate cake. I don't even get to go birthday present shopping because he wants cash instead.
My little boy. Turning into a man and saving up to buy his own laptop.
Motherhood. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes you laugh until you cry. Sometimes you just have to go have a little cry all by yourself in the bathroom with the door locked and the water running so no one hears you and then go bake a chocolate cake.