Sunday, November 25, 2012

Parent Teacher Conference

Last week, I had the first of what I am sure will be many parent teacher conferences.  I was fine getting ready for it.  I know munchkin is doing well and I have had regular contact with the school and his teacher.  

What I was not prepared for was entering the school to so many mother/father couples strolling the hallway.   I don't know why, but I didn't expect it.   Sometimes it is really the unexpected things that hit the hardest.   You expect to see dad's at kids sports, you expect to see complete families at church, for some reason, I did not expect to see fathers at parent teacher conferences. 

Perhaps it is our PTA push to have the dad's involved (THAT is a whole other post for another time) But stolling the halls looking at the kids  creations, it was unexpected. 

His conference went well, very well actually.  His teacher is perfect for him and perfect for us.  She is just what we both needed in this transition to big kid school, and I hope that she is one of those teachers that he remembers forever. 

I am thankful that he has a teacher that is so caring and willing to work with him on his level.  I am thankful that we had the opportunity to move back to my family and take advantage of such an awesome school district.  I am thankful that munchkin loves school and loves to read as much as he does!

I am thankful, that the unexpected doesn't always send me into blubbering tears as it did just a few years ago.  Honestly, 2 years ago, this would have been a very different entry into my journal, and I am thankful that I can see my own personal growth and strength on this journey that no one wants to take. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

His Piano...

For more than four years now, his piano has been mostly silent.  It is one of those objects that has such a strong sense of him, it brings me to tears to touch it.  So I don't play it-not that I ever did very much, but now I don't at all. 

When munchkin was 2 and 3 he took a piano class at his montessori school.  He loved it but it was a group session and did not necessitate practice on the piano.  Now that he is 5, he has discovered his joy of reading and also the joy of the piano. 

He has dug through my filing cabinet of music and taken it upon himself to "read" the music and "play" the piano.  Fortunately, he remembers a striking amount of the basics (finger numbers and note names) so he is doing fairly well. 

It is odd, that something that when Robert was alive brought us such joy, when he died it pierced my heart with just the sound of the keys.   And now, I see our son, gravitate towards it.  I help him and we work together on it.  He absorbs it like a sponge and it is beautiful to see.

When I say it pierced my heart, I mean that in the most literal sense of the word.  That first Christmas, I tried so hard to play Christmas music and to share that with my family.  I physically could not do it, I would sit on the bench paralyzed with greif and cry.  The tears would run down my cheeks and I would silently close the lid and walk away.   The silence of the piano was deafening to me, but I could not bring myself to play it. 

Now, munchkin has been practicing consistently.  He loves it, he reads his work books and plays the notes.  I really should find him a teach besides me, but I fear that any teacher I find, would not live up to the shadow of Robert.   He was by far and hands down the best music teacher that I have ever seen in my life.  I know that I may be biased, however I also know that there are some former students that read this that will confirm.  He was a special soul and he was built for teaching.  

I pray that I can find someone to help munchkin love music as much as Robert and I do!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Grateful Reflections

Today is the fifth time we have celebrated Thanksgiving without Robert.  Saying that out loud seems seems odd, that he is not here.  I will tell you, that man embodied holidays.  They were for nothing more than being with family.  Watching movies or football and enjoying each others company.  He had high expectations....GREAT FOOD and time with us.  :)

So today as I reflect on my life and our love, I am relishing in the blessings in my life. 

I am a mother.  This is by far my favorite thing in the entire world.  I am responsible for bringing up an amazing little boy and teaching him all about the world.  There is nothing that is more soothing to my soul than to look at him learn something new, or give me a big sloppy hug and kiss.  To see his eyes sparkly with joy, fills my heart and I am grateful. 

We have a place to live.

I have a job that allows me to provide for us.

We live in the United States of America.

I have a fantastic family...they are awesome---really really awesome.  Siblings, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins every last one of them.   I know I am lucky beyond belief for that, because there are tons of people out there that never experienced a loving family.  That makes me sad to even think that, but I know that there are. 

Fabulous Friends--really, the kind of friends that drop everything and come to your aid when you finally ask for help.  They know that if you are asking for help--that you really really need it! The kind that even though you don't talk often, you know that you are now and always will be close.   My cirlce of friends has morphed the past few years, and I am grateful!

I am grateful to have a best friend whom I have known more years than I care to publish and that we live relatively close again.  Her family is an extension of my own, her parents literally have always been a second set of parents and I am grateful. 

SO today, I hope that you find a minute to be grateful for something. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Three times this week I had to put air in two of my tires.   I blamed it on the temperature changes.  An annoyance really, but a fact of life for season changes.   I inspected the tires each time and the looked ok.  

Yesterday, I got in my car to go and run some errands with munchkin.  The car was driving funny....felt like I had a flat even though I didn't.   At this point, I figured that maybe I was a moron and wasn't actually putting the right amount of air in my tires.   I remembered my brother telling me that Discount Tire puts air in tires for free.   I headed that way and wend inside.  After waiting in line, I started with telling the guy that he was not allowed to laugh at me-but I needed air in my tires.  He didn't laugh and directed me to where they put in air. 

As I went over there, the guy who was putting air in tires pointed out to me that I had FOUR nails in one of the tire, and two in the other.   Everytime I had put air in the tires, the part that had the nails had apparantly been on the ground so I could not see the cause. 

So, I went back in line, and I got new tires.   I could be really, really annoyed that I had to spend several hundred dollars that I did not plan on spending, or I could be relieved.  

Relieved that I did not experience a blow out in morning rush hour traffic going 55 miles  an hour in bumper to bumper traffic.  Where even if I had controlled the blowout, that other drivers could have reacted, or over-reacted causing someone to get hurt.   I am very grateful that did not happen, becuase it could easily happen. 

So the few hundred dollars for new tires is a very small price to pay for safety. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Have you ever lived through a hurricane? If not, be thankful! I have lived through three including Katrina and Rita in Houston.

A hurricane is unnerving. First of all you know it is coming for days so you prepare. Schools shut down businesses shut down and communities check on each other. You tie up or bring in anything and everything that is loose outside lest it become a projectile and injure someone or break something.

Then you wait and wait. The winds and rain start ahead of the storm and when the hurricane finally comes it is hours upon hours of tornadic winds. You stay inside and listen...the power generally shuts off to lessen the likelihood of fires when things fall on transformers. So you sit there in the middle of your house in the dark holding right to your loved ones and you pray. You pray for lives to be spared knowing property can be replaced. It is terrifying and humbling.

When it is over you go outside and you see the damage. The devastation. The utter destruction and you marvel at the power of God.

Several weeks ago, Sandy hit the east coast. I spoke to a friend of mine. He talked about huddling under a staircase in his house with his wife and son for 18 hours while mother nature destroyed everything in her path.

As we were talking he started telling me of the changes to the channel. The rocky bluffs were gone. Just gone. The topography of the inlets is completely changed. There is a river way that had dried up century ago that the hurricane reopened.

As I heard him speak I got to thinking. Nature cleanses the earth with catastrophe. Hurricanes reshape the land and shores....don't believe me? Google Louisiana shoreline post Katrina. A very large part of the state was reclaimed by the Gulf of Mexico.

Fires cleanse a forest. They remove old trees so that the forest can grow and evolve. The dead brush is removed and the ashes nourish the land for future growth. The animals take cover and the slowly return. The rain and snow soothe the charred earth and life begins anew.

As I was thinking about this, I was thinking about me. Losing Robert was a catastrophic event for me. He was gone in an instant. The aftermath has been years and years of pain tempered with growth. My life will never ever be the same as it was on the morning of March 30, 2008. But I am starting to see new growth in me. I am starting to see how things have changed and how I would not have many things in my life that I do have today if that catastrophic event had not happened.

I am starting to see the positive, the life and the joy. While I still miss him deeply and that will never change, instead of thinking that my life ended on that Sunday morning, I see that that morning was a catastrophe. But that catastrophe is a part of who I am now. It is only a does not consume my world anymore.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Blog Hop...

Nope not a Sock Hop--a Blog Hop....

Being new to this whole published blog world, I am excited to participate.  It still amazes me that there are people that want to read what I have to write...but I digress...

So, I will be participating in the blog hop hosted by Samantha of Crazy Courage

So at the end of this post, you will see a list of people who in spite of surviving unimaginable tragedies, they thrive and have something to say.  They have the courage to share their world with the rest of us and I ask that you take a look at what they have to say. 

Maybe, just maybe you may learn something new, or find a new idea.  You may find some laughter and you may find some tears, but at the end, you will be sharing a glimpse into a world that none of us would like to belong to. 

The details are below:

How to Participate:
1. Visit each of the links below – both hosts and participants – and read their post. Leave them a comment with encouragement, commiseration, community, or however else the post touches you.
Samantha of the Crazy Courage blog
Janine of One Breath At A Time
Rachel of A Little Pink in a World of Camo
Christine of Widow Island
Kiki of Life After Steve
Robin of The Fresh Widow
Ferree of Widow’s Christian Place
Brooke of 2 Peas in the Pod
Paul of Death is an Imposter
Red’s Momma’s Money Matters
Becky’s Choosing Grace Today
Cindy’s Widow’s Pursuits
Tim’s Diary of a Widower
The Official Site of Abel Keogh

2. In the comment section of the hosts’ sites, leave a link to any related post, for example on the day-to-day issues you face, memories you have of your spouse, events you’ve attended, etc. These are things many of us discuss via our blogs anyway, so it likely won’t be out of your realm of experience.

3. It would really help us get the word out about the Widowed Blog Hop if you would tweet, share, and spread the word about the Hop! Please use hashtags #Widowed and #BlogHop.

Did your Daddy vote?

Partisanship aside...I have always understood the importance of voting. So the fact that it was a school day/work day and TaeKwonDo day did not deter me from taking munchkin to vote with me after class. As we drove I explained that all grownups in the USA have the privilege to vote.

They had done a mock vote in class today so he was excited. He was well behaved in line and respectful to the judges and he even managed a piece of chocolate from one that we knew.

As I turned in my ballot, my heart was aching that the first time munchkin will remember going to vote was just the two of us. I put my ballot in the machine and the well meaning sweet lady asked munchkin if he got to go vote with Daddy too.

Too much....the tears flowed, the silent tears I had been holding back just flowed. Munchkin didn't miss a beat..."Daddy lives in heaven" is what he said to the lady. She looked like someone slapped her. Munchkin asked for a sticker and I made a quick escape into the cold drizzle holding tight to munchkin's hand.

We went home had dinner and snuggled to watch the states report their numbers. We talked about what the president does, where he lives and what the house and senate mean. In all I thought it was a great lesson in the privilege of being American citizens even if it did unearth my wounds. Mostly I am glad that munchkin had fun and liked learning about voting.
I only wish that my scars were not so visible to the rest of the world.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween?

Munchkin only had one Halloween with two parents.  I am so blessed that all of the rest of them have been spent with my extended family.  We have trick or treated in our childhood neighborhood with my brother and sister in law and their two munchkins.  We have fun.  We laugh at the kids, we talk about how they are growing.  We have dinner, spend time with Nana and Papa and Aunts, Uncles and Cousins. I historically have gone to bed in tears. 

This year for the first time, I didn't have a kick in the gut at some point.  In past years, there was something that brought me to tears.  Something that reminded me harshly that we are DIFFERENT, that I AM ALONE. This year, not at all.

I had a great time.  Munchkin had a great time.  We saw many friends. Ran in to tons of parents of kids munchkin goes to school with.  He saw many friends that he has made in school this year.  He was happy and I was happy and content to see him that way.  The grown ups chatted and laughed and remembered Halloweens past.    Had dinner with my sister and her husband as well.  She made cupcakes and provided dessert.  The kids trick or treated her block as well.  Everyone knows munchkin and he loves his friends on that block. 

We had a holiday where we were completely happy.  At the end of the evening, snuggling on the couch munchkin told me it was the best Halloween ever!  Now, I realize that from the eyes of a five year old, every Halloween will be the best ever, but hearing that from him made my day.

And for that minute, I felt that maybe just maybe, I am making progress.  That I am enough, that my family is enough.   And for the first time in recent memory on a holiday, I went to bed happy.

I am blessed, and I am grateful.