Sunday, June 29, 2014

I said goodbye to my grandmother today

When the sun came up this morning, my heart was still pretty heavy.  Fortunately, in a rare occurrence of luck and love, my wonderful husband got up with the tiny one who came running into our room to cuddle, stroke my face and mumble, "Hi Momma.  Hi Momma. Hi."  

To my great surprise, I went quickly back to sleep. 
Grandma, my mom, my aunt, Kelsey and me.  Christmas, 1991.  Too bad we don't all look alike. 

I'm convinced I almost had this baby on Friday.  My contractions started Friday night around 8:30 or 9, largely due to this text message from my aunt: Grandma's in the hospital.  I'm headed there now.  It doesn't look good.  Call you when I know more. 
Grandma and Leah.  April, 2010

Her heart had stopped.  

Though my grandpa called the EMT's, who were able to restart her heart, she'd been under a long time.  There was concern that she would have little or no brain function - if they were even able to bring her back. And, anyway, a little over two years ago she received a terminal diagnosis and was given 6 months to live.  Six months ago, that degenerative disorder finally reached a point of no return.  Though she still had her life and wasn't yet forced into hospice or a nursing home, it was really only a matter of time.  Even if she did come back, what would she be coming back to?  

I cried a lot.  And contracted perhaps even more.  
I adore this photo.  Even if Leah is screaming.  Four generations of women - April 2010.

And prayed, mostly that the Lord in His mercy would take her just as she was.  That He would reach down out of Heaven and let her burdens be relieved.  That in His grace, she would not have to suffer a slow and gradual descent into death, but would simply enter into glory on a day no one expected, with all signs of still being herself in-tact.  
Mother's Day, 2012

It's no fun to pray that your grandma would die.  It doesn't sit well with the soul, though I was (and am still) convinced it was the best possible scenario.  My great fear about my grandma's death hasn't been that she would die, but that she would live so long she'd no longer be herself.  She would no longer be able to sit outside under the grapefruit tree or stockpile wonderful flavors of homemade jam or send nasty e-mails about a new breed of pepper that looks like a penis.  That she wouldn't be able to drive to Seattle to make sure her grandkids' lives were just a little bit easier.  

You see, she's a pretty awesome lady, my grandma.


Selfless.  Kind.  So, so wise and loving. 

She has been the most incredible role model to her family.  Grace through tragedy.  Perseverance in the face of pain.  How to live a Godly, Christ-centered life.  Kindness, love and mercy.


She buried two of her (adult) babies.  She helped hold her grandkids together.  She was always, always there when we needed her, even though she lived in other states throughout our lives.  She watched me at baseball games and swim meets and came to musicals and saw me graduate.  She watched me get married and have babies.  She cried with me when I lost mine.  I couldn't love her any more.

I have so many wonderful memories of Christmases at her house and exploring the woods and driving the golf cart.  Her house always smelled like freshly baked bread; I recall it every time I make bread in the machine she gave me.  


We are so, so lucky and blessed to have had her in our lives.  To have watched her live and had the chance to listen to her lessons.  To have laughed with her.  To have received her comfort in times of sorrow.

The last picture I have with her, taken on her 83rd birthday.  February, 2014

Today, she went to be with Jesus.  And, though I have cried a lot and my heart has been heavy, because I love her, I am so very glad.   

I love you, Grandma.  I am privileged to have shared in your life.  I'll see you in Paradise.  

Friday, June 6, 2014

Me and Amy, we sound the same.

I would like to hereby proclaim my undying love for Amy Poehler.  Because I think we can all agree, she's completely hilarious.  So many amazing SNL moments.  The best Hillary Clinton impersonations (one of my all time favorite skits and the absolute only good thing to come out of election year dramas.  Two funny, funny ladies).

Here's the problem, though: it's day one (seriously?  It's only day one?!) of a two week single mom stint and already I sound waaaay too much like Amy.  

And not the nice, conversational, complementary side.  

I'm a little more intense.  A little more "HOW DO YOU MISS A PASS LIKE THAT?!"   

Because, I love my little stinkers.  More than life itself.  This Mom gig is my most important job, and all those sappy, inspirational quotes that have those with kids and without kids debating whether motherhood really is the hardest and most noble job in the universe... they totally get me.  Sentimental and sappy though they may be, there is no question which side of that debate I fall out on.

I also feel a very strong sense of obligation to teach them right from wrong, proper manners, good citizenship, character, patience, gratitude, humor, joy, about good books and belly laughs, empathy, the beauty inherent in hard work, kindness, self-reliance, humility, prayer, how to fall in love with themselves, appreciate what they bring to the table and all those other things that will be so necessary as the real world seeps in to beat them down.  And more often than not, I hope very dearly to confer these mighty life lessons, not with words or lectures but by living them out.  By being my very best me, flaws and mistakes and imperfections and stretch marks and all, and letting the wisdom and the lessons that are learned in those ordinary, everyday moments flow out of me and into them.  Not because I've taught them anything, but because they've come along with me and watched me learn.  Watched me grow.  Watched me fail.  Watched me try.

But I have a secret to tell you: there are days.  Like, well, today. 

Days that begin with milk and cereal spilled because, in some miraculous role reversal, the one year old has much more control of his body and choices at meal time than the four year old.  Days where it took us literally an hour to get our sad selves out of the house.  Days where, despite the conversations about how important it is to rest her body and staythefrickinbed, there are fairy wings and dress up clothes strewn about her room and her motto is nap?  We don't need no stinking nap! which would all be fine if only she could be a reasonable, rational, somewhat decent human being until 7:30 p.m. without a nap.  Days that end with me nixing a bath and giving the go-ahead for tiny humans to run around in public looking rather like that dirt-cloud kid from Charlie Brown because, as Twisted Sister once said: we're not gonna take it anymore!  And by we, I very fervently mean me.  

Hello, my name is Melissa.  And I can't take it anymore. 

Which is bad, mostly on account of the fact that there's no relief pitcher in my house for the next two weeks, it's just me.  And all those life lessons I'm working to pass on through my Super Mommy Behavior are cancelled out, and instead the message is I'm TIRED! and ANGRY! and FRUSTRATED! and sound all Amy Poehler-y.  WHY ARE YOU DISAPPOINTING ME?!

Yeah, well done on that.  

Which brings me to the last important lesson I hope I am conferring to my children: the lesson that involves just showing up.  

True, it is a far cry from those inspirational motivational posters and a little more like the "hang in there, kitty" posters that used to make me cringe in high school.  But the truth is, there are times in life where we won't be all that we can be, and to GNC's dismay, we won't beat average, we'll just be average.  Not because it's what we're striving to be, not because it's our ultimate goal or because we don't want to improve, but simply as a result of that little state of affairs called being human.  

If the goal is to only show up for the days on which we're sure we can be perfect and can fulfill all those other things on that list I made up there, we're... well... totally screwed.  We'll never, ever show up. 

Life doesn't give me the luxury of waiting until I can be Super Mommy who knows ALL THE ANSWERS to ALL THE THINGS and manages to handle every circumstance with grace, wisdom and style.  Life asks me to just show up, beautiful mess and imperfections and all, and keep trying.  To make sure that, above all else, my kids know that they are loved and cared for and that they have a mommy who will always, always show up for them, even when that's the very best she has to offer.  

Because I love them, perfection cannot be my goal.  If that's the legacy I'm determined to leave for my children, what a massive, unrealistic disservice I've done them in the long run.  I've set them up for failure if perfection is not only the goal but the expectation and they miss the huge, average-but-critical importance of just showing up, when it's hard and when it's easy.  When you want to and when you don't.

Which works out well for me, particularly after a day like today.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Life update and photo dump

Well, the title of today's blog post might be a wee bit misleading, what with the implying that I have actual photos to dump.

It's a little like those paranormal shows (which may or may not be a guilty pleasure of mine, on account of their total ridiculosity and nonsense-itasticness.  #what?itsaword!) when they're all like ooooh, ahhh, a noise in the dark! and somehow the only possible conclusion is that it is obvious evidence of a ghost or bigfoot or whatever they happen to be "hunting."  Um, sure, because... if you declare something with such enthusiasm, it must be true, right?  Regardless of pesky little ideas like facts, truth or evidence.


So, without regard to any of the above mentioned, I declare: HUGE PHOTO DUMP TODAY!  Come one, come all and see what we've been up to for the last six weeks or so!

First up: Easter.  We did it.  We were down a daddy since he was (predictably) working.  So there wasn't much fanfare or taking of pictures, but we did the Easter baskets.  We did the dressing up thing, we listened to an awesome message at church.  We brunched and hunted for eggs. All in all... huge success!

Though, the Easter bunny did not bring us pants...

Still a no on the pants front.

First haircut.  The verdict?  He hated it.
Our little "before."  I love that he was in need of a haircut at 20 months.  Leah didn't get her first hair cut until she was three and a half.

Those eyes just say it all.

And then this happened...  

 ...and then this happened, and even the lolly pop wasn't enough to save the day.

But it turned out alright in the end.  My cute little grown up guy!

Summer is here.  It's been pretty warm, and the kids have been itching to get outside.

So we bought a sandbox.  And Mommy put it together - that's right!  And lugged all 100 lbs of sand (and waited for Daddy to lug the other 100 lbs) to fill it with!  All before being warned not to lift anything over 5 pounds, of course...

This is how we roll in the summer.  And yes, we are desperately working on getting the back yard up to snuff.  So far... well, we're getting there.

Glenwood Springs.  We went with some of our best friends and had an absolute blast swimming in the hot springs and exploring the mountains.  Here are the only pictures I took:

It should be noted that all four, soon to be five, children are exactly 15 months apart.  Except Logan and Lauren, who are only 9 months because some people jump the gun...

And there we have it!  All the notable moments I've captured in photos over the last nearly 2 months.  I'm obviously not doing such a great job on the picture front, but everybody is still getting fed, showered and loved so that's a win in my book.  Maybe after the baby is born we'll try again.

I changed my font at