Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I love the little remnants of my son's life.  The pieces all around our home that remind me that he is here and that our lives have changed.  We are no longer the young couple sans kids with a clean and organized home.

I love making our house a home.  On a budget.  Yes, I joke about our ghetto fabulous fixes, but truly, I take great joy in making our house a home.  

Grayson has taught me a new appreciation for this.  No longer is our house a very clean home.  I usually don't put away laundry until I am out of nursing pads or bras...or it is piled so high that even I can't take it.  The floors get vacuumed when I go to put my kid down on them and realize it's been a while.  The windows don't get washed.  Ever. 

In the past I would think that this was not the way to keep a home.  But times have changed. 

I now love coming home and seeing his little blue bath tub filled with bath water from the bath Jon gave when I was gone.  I love seeing pacifiers scattered around the house as I continue to try to convince him that these things are a good idea and that he should like him.  I have yet to determine who has more will power, but I think Grayson might win. I love seeing his little socks wherever they may fall.  I love his obnoxiously colored toys that now consume our living room because he has yet to outgrow the swing, but if he's not tired, would much prefer the jumperoo.  I love that my house feels lived in.  I love that a little boy has taken over my house, and also my heart.

Because let's face it.  This kid melts me.  So I have no desire to clean the windows or the floors when I could be up in my kiddo's face babbling with him.  I would prefer to see who can babble louder.  Or if it is a crazy rainy day in January, and I work tonight, I would much prefer to just nap with my babe snuggled in bed with me instead of putting him down in his own bed, because I'm going to miss this terribly.  I'm going to miss the snuggles where he fits in the crook of my arm.  I'm going to miss the babbling competitions.  About every third day I get overwhelmed by the state of my house and the fact that I can't do it all. And then I have to talk to myself like a crazy person and remind myself that the days are long but the seasons are short.  And I am truly going to miss this.  

One day the jumperoo will no longer take up too much space in my living room, I will no longer find little socks everywhere.  One day it will be just Jon and I again.  But until then I want to treasure the little things.  I want my house to be lived in.  I want to take in each long day because it seems that my kid is growing at an exponential rate and I have no way to slow it down.  

So today I will revel in my new perfume of baby barf and snuggle with my crazy little man.  I will continue to tickle him while he still can't figure out how to laugh.  Instead all this energy gets stuck inside him and he lets out a big snort with a grin across his face.  Today I will take him in. I will even take the dust bunnies on the floors today, because they can be cleaned tomorrow. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Angels Among Us

Through this season of struggle and sadness, we have been beyond blessed.  We have been surrounded by love and support, and I have learned that the power of community and people is potent and life changing.

As we continue to walk in the valley, it has gotten harder in terms of task and exhaustion.  It is hard to be with someone who is dying.  I wouldn't trade it for anything, but I feel like I have learned to function with a constant level of heart ache and anticipation for what is going to happen when my mom goes to heaven.  It is a hard place to function in.  It is hard to take care of your momma when you want nothing more than for her to be able to come over to help you learn how to be a momma to your new baby.  It is hard for my sister to live with my dying momma.  To be the changer of the puke buckets in the wee hours of the morn.  To want nothing more than for your mom to have peace, but for you to know the empty place that will take residence in your heart when she is truly gone.  It is just hard.  And while my mom's body shuts down, she really doesn't want to spend much time with people other than immediate family, mainly my sister and I.  This isn't how she wants to be remembered, and she is so tired that it is hard to maintain conversation.  While people always have good intentions, sometimes she just wants to sleep and it is uncomfortable for others to sit in silence or curl up in bed next to her.  So she has started to say no when people want to visit, and it is her decision to make.  But for my sister and I, this has been so hard because this means less help.  And honestly, we need help.

When my mom was in the hospital there were a group of us that would often spend the night with her.  My cousin Debbie was one of them.  She was actually who was with my mom when she was originally transferred down to University of Chicago.  She stayed with my mom in that new scary setting.  She slept upright in the small chair and stayed overnight when we weren't supposed to in the ICU.  Debbie is the one person who was able to weasel into my mom's inner circle.  She has been able to help my mom bathe and cry. She has been able to come and support  my sister and I in a way that no one else has.  Words cannot express my gratitude to her.  Words cannot express the amount of relief I feel when she walks through the door.  Whether it was the hospital door down at University of Chicago, when I was about to go off the deep end or now at the town house. My world gets better when she walks through the door.

I don't know how she did it.  I don't know why my mom is so comfortable with her.  I don't know how we would walk this without her.  We have been so supported and loved by so many people, but Debbie just gets it.  She gets that helping us clean allows us time to just sit with my mom.  She gets that the bed bath that she gives is one less that we have to give.  She gets that we didn't have the energy to unpack and decorate the town home, so she did it.  She just does things.  She doesn't ask and she never asks for anything in return.  She has been selfless to her core and I am eternally grateful.  I don't have a way to repay her, I can not reimburse her time or her energy.  But I do have my words, and I want her to hear that she matters and that she made this road better.  She gave us the ability to escape for a little bit and to breathe.  She stepped up.  She has been Jesus to me, and to my mom.

So today I am thankful for the many angels among us, but especially Debbie.  I am thankful for her heart and her soul.  I am thankful for her humor and her laugh.  I am thankful for gentle hands that made our house a home and that hugged my mom through some of the roughest nights.  I am so thankful for her.  I hope she never feels like she has to come and lose her weekends with us, but I will gladly take any time she is willing to spare.  I hope my mom's pouty face when she has to go back home is translated into love, because it is.  My mom loves you, and so do I.  I've never seen her pout when anyone has left in her life.  Ever.

I hope one day I can be a Debbie to someone.  I hope I can be someone's angel.  I hope I can walk in and just "do".  I hope I can convey a level of comfort and love without even trying when the situation surrounding me is one of discomfort and strife. I hope I can serve people in a genuine way.  I hope I can grow up to be like Debbie.

Love you Deb.  So, so much.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sexy Back

I survived my first weekend back at work, and honestly, I liked it.  I missed it.  Slowly I am able to blend the idea of the working momma and the at home momma, learning that it is OK for me to love both.  That I can be a better mom by also doing what I love and working and challenging myself.  I am learning it is good for Grayson to see me working, for him to spend time with other people that love him.  Granted I lost my cool when I was supposed to work Tuesday night, and said lovely child pulled one of his sleepless days, which then led to a sleepless day before a 12 hour shift for this momma.  Luckily I was called off and did not go bonkers.  Grayson proceeded to spend a great deal of the night awake, so I was awake and not making any money, but alas it was still time with my babe.

My mom is leveling off again, and honestly, it pisses me off.  I want as much time with her as I can get, but it is so hard to be constantly preparing my heart for the loss and then to have it dragged out.  It is also hard when I know my mom is ready for an upgrade.  She is eating a bit more now, but this still isn't a life anyone would envision for themselves   So I will continue to pray for her to quickly and painlessly go to her forever home.  

I had a sick and twisted dream the other day.  My mom had asked her hospice nurse what she could do to speed up this process (yes we are all morbid and twisted).  She said she can stop eating and drinking (sounds like loads of fun) or over exert herself which might cause another heart attack (which is difficult to do when my mom can barely muster the energy to get up to use the bathroom).  So in my dream I was with my mom and she decided she wanted to dance.  When she got up and we started dancing to "Sexy Back" by Justin Timberlake, she did indeed have another heart attack and I hugged her as she danced into heaven.  I do believe that there will be dancing to "Sexy Back" in heaven.  I woke up sobbing.  This up and down is hard.  This limbo land is hard.  Wanting peace and time all at once feels impossible and counter intuitive.  So I will hope for more good days.  I will hope for more conversations between her and Grayson, which are indeed the sweetest things in the world (he likes to coo and talk to her more than anyone else).  And I will continue to hope for eternal peace.

Life with my babe is so different than I expected.  He puked in my bed yesterday, and I still hadn't gotten clean sheets on it by the end of the day.  Having spent a great deal of my life with children, I thought I would have this whole parenting thing nailed down.  I thought my kid would sleep and my boobs would work flawlessly.  Ha.  It is all a learning curve, and slowly I will adjust to this new normal.  I will let go of all the dust bunnies that reside on my floor.  I will get over the fact that I used to make really cute shirts for my friends babies, but have yet to make a single thing for my own because I can't even get sheets on a freaking bed.  I am learning that Grayson is just a really hands on kiddo and he's mine for a reason.  So I will cherish him and love him and start to taper off the inappropriate things I say in his presence in the wee hours of the morn before he can repeat such things.  Baby steps.  I will take baby steps.  Because even now as I type this, my little squirt is actually taking a nap and it has been more than 20 minutes.  Hallelujah.  

Speaking of "Sexy Back," I joined Weight Watchers with my sister.  I also started doing Insanity with Jon.  Unfortunately I got really sick last week and fell off the insanity boat.  I will get back on that one tonight or tomorrow.  But it's time to get my own sexy and body back.  Apparently pregnancy weight doesn't just fall off of me.  So I will work for it, and I'm so grateful to not have to work alone.  And I will have to exclusively breastfeed my child for the next 2 years because those 14 extra points make a big freaking difference.  Just kidding.  Kind of.  I really like those points.  Maybe I will just pump forever.  Or maybe not.  O.K. I'm done rambling.  Jon and I took embarrassing "before" pictures to be able to turn in for an insanity T-shirt.  We will do anything for a t-shirt.  If the "after" pictures are flipping fantastic, maybe I will post the "before".

Decided this post needed some Grayson pictures:

I kind of love the stink face.  How is my babe three months old?

Sunday, January 6, 2013


You know that sleepy state, where you think you are awake, but really you are still dreaming?  Everything feels so real that when you wake up you question what really happened.  That happened the other day.  I woke up after going downtown with Jon for our anniversary and this whole last year hadn't happened.  I hadn't had this sweet baby boy.  I hadn't carried him for nine months.  My mom wasn't dying and life still made more sense.

I miss that dreamy state sometimes.  I think it was just a culmination of feeling like that for the whole previous night out with Jon.  My sister had watched Grayson, and for the first time in a long time Jon and I had some alone time.  It felt like we had been transported back to last year, most likely because we ate at the same awesome restaurant and I found the ticket stubs to our adventures of last year still in my nice coat pocket.  I obviously don't wear my nice coat enough, but that is O.K. since it was $5 at a garage sale and I found $5 in the pocket after buying it.  Win.  We do however need to do more things that demand a nice coat here and there.  I don't see too much of that in my future since nice coats no longer look nice covered in baby barf, but I digress.

At times I feel like it is next to impossible to integrate this last year of our lives into the previous ones.  This new normal feels anything but that.  It feels foreign and like it is dragging on forever.  How long do we have to pray for the peace of death?    How long can you slowly grieve someone while they are still alive, and what will it look like when she is actually gone?

New years was wonderful.  Jon and I spent the night with my mom so that my sister could go out with friends.  Grayson, the sleepless wonder, didn't disappoint and I spent a great deal of the night up with him and my mom.  My mom has really struggled being able to sleep lately and she gushed about how much she loved the night and not being awake alone.  I would doze here and there with my babe in my arms, but it was a wonderfully restless night.  Never thought those words would have come out of my mouth.

So we will keep living in this limbo land, this dreamy state that I wish I could wake up from and make go away.

I go back to work next week.  I'm petrified and ecstatic.  I'm so pumped to see all my friends, but I am so nervous about working a night shift when I feel like I barely function during the day.  I'm also scared that I won't be able to help with my mom as much.  I am just going to plan on these next two weeks being a challenging transition, but we will once again reach a new normal as we always do.

While I feel like I have more to say and process, I am being summoned by the hungry beast, so I must go.  Happy Sunday.