Thursday, January 31, 2013

Playing Games

Munchkin is at the age where games are totally his thing.  I cannot tell you the number of hours he and I have spent playing board games and I am very glad that we have moved on to things besides CandyLand!  Recently it has been yahtzee and scrabble as the favorites as well as an I SPY board game that Santa brought him.   He has really gotten the concept not only of taking turns but following the actual rules--which actually makes playing fun!

One Sunday afternoon, two of my brothers came over to visit and pick up a few things.  Munchkin managed to convince them that they needed to play I SPY with us.  Now keep in mind, Munchkin has had the game for the better part of the month and I am positive has pretty much memorized it! The four of us sat down around my dining room table and proceeded to play.  Munckin was quite thrilled that not only could he beat his mommy, but two of his uncles as well! He had it all figured out, even to the point of helping the rest of us slowpokes find our items on the cards.  A few times, the rest of us didn't even get our cards drawn before he was ringing the bell! We had fun and laughter and lemonade...really do you need much more?

This went on literally for the better part of two hours.  It reminded me of how much fun we used to have as kids playing board games.  Seriously, there were five kids growing up and board games were awesome for all of us!  I am grateful that my brothers still enjoy games and are willing to indulge my son in his love of them as well.   I am grateful that I made the decision to move back to where my family is--there is so much that we get to be a part of that we would otherwise miss if we were across the country!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Habit or Hapenstance?

There are times in life where I absolutely go onto autopilot.  Generally in a very sleep deprived state.  When autopilot kicks in, it tends to revert to the way things have always been...I mean I was married in 1999, he died in 2008.  I was 23 when we got married so pretty much all of my adult life was spent in our marriage. 

There are certain things that are "the way things were" and things that I do now differently.   For instance, we used to keep pans on the stove...he had back issues and it was easier for him.  I now have enough cabinet space to put everything away.   Tonight as I was doing the dishes, I noticed I had reverted to keeping stuff on the stove.  Mind you, my new house has the EXACT same stove and dishwasher that my old house had.  For just a minute it was an eerie reminiscence.  My stock pot (pretty much the only pot I kept!) was sitting on top of the stove.  Then I remembered, I was just too exhausted to take it down to the shelving in the laundry room last night.  For just a minute, my brain was transported to the way things were. 

I hosted Christmas Eve this year.  When I was shopping I was thinking about all of the times that we hosted Christmas Eve for our friends in Texas.   I shopped that way as well.   There is a particular cherry soda that is made in Cudahay, Wisconsin.  It used to be called Black Bear, but now it is Sprecher.   Robert LOVED Black Bear Cherry Soda!  When we went through Wisconsin to visit his brother we would stop and buy a case or two, maybe three if we had a bunch of room.   Now, I prefer the orange cream as do my brothers.  Well, when I made my purchase I instinctively included a 6 pack of the cherry.  Out of habit.  No rhyme or reason or conscious choice, just simply because I would have always done it in the past (well and I was completely sleep deprived then too!)   It is still sitting on my counter.   Well, not to be one to let things go to waste, I had one with dinner tonight...I really didn't know that taste buds could have memories.  I fought back a flood of memories and tears with the first sip.

Somehow, my mind and my body just know...they just know how things used to they should have been.  Maybe while my heart and soul are starting to mend, I need to give the rest of me a little more time to get used to our new normal. 

My Perfect Moment Monday- The Wishbone

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.
On the last Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join.


Two weeks ago, I roasted a chicken.  I saved the wishbone and let it dry.   
Breaking the wishbone was one of my favorite childhood memories!!!  There were 5 of us so we often had to wait our turn.  

As I did the dishes, I noticed that it was sufficiently dried out to be able to break.  

I called Munchkin and asked him to come up to the kitchen.  He did and I explained that we were going to break the wishbone.  That we would kiss each other on the cheek and make our wish.  Whomever got the bigger piece in their hand would get their wish granted at some time. 

Now, if you have been reading for awhile, you know that I have to temper his expectations! 

He was so excited that he was jumping up and down.  "Mommy I know my wish, I know my wish!!!"

"One, Two, Three!"

And we pulled.  The wishbone popped apart.   When we compared our pieces they were exactly the same size!!!  The wishbone had actually broken into three pieces!  Our pieces were the same and the top tip broke off and went flying!

We both broke into giggles and laughter.  I love seeing my boy smile and laugh.  His bright blue eyes open wide and his giggles are contagious. 
"Mommy, we both get our wish!!!!!!!!"

Oh buddy, please hold on to the magic of wishes for as long as you can!  My wish for you is to enjoy your childhood and keep your sense of wonder and amazement for as long as you deserve it!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Love of Cooking...

Since I have been in our new house, I have realized how much I have missed and enjoyed cooking.  Literally, this weekend I have made: roast turkey, turkey soup, pumpkin bread, peanut butter cookies and I will probably make some muffins to freeze for breakfasts still tonight. 

While I am excited that I have an awesome kitchen to whip up yummy and fun stuff, it makes me remember the delineation of duties in our marriage.   He stayed out of my kitchen, and I stayed out of his garage.  Not that either of us were not capable of being in the spaces, just that they were clearly ours respectively.  There was many occasion that I worked late and came home to a great dinner and clean kitchen...he was multitalented like that.

There were things in our marriage that were "not my job" in a playful way.  I never had to worry about the condition of the cars, the maintenance of them, household repairs, changing things for seasons (pulling in hoses, putting away yard stuff)  He never had to worry about baking fresh bread, cleaning the bathrooms, or dusting the baseboards.  I took pride in our house and so did he.  We were a team and together we had everything covered. 

I realized just how much I have avoided doing things like cooking while we lived in an apartment.  I honestly had no space to do it.  TRUST ME! Not only did I not have space, I am not sure that I was really ready for the flood of reminders that it has brought.

I love to cook, I love to bake.  I like to create things and make stuff.  I enjoy teaching munchkin how to measure and cook and I am hoping that when he is old enough to be married he will know his way around enough to be able to cook and clean up a meal and his wife will be grateful.  But I also want munchkin to be able to do the "other stuff" around a house, simple repairs, cleaning gutters, figuring things out.  You know the things that Robert would be doing and teaching him if he were here.   For now, I will have to have faith that my brothers will be able to teach him the "other things" he needs to know.  

Now I know that I have proven to myself that I can handle things and in the grand big picture I am sure that I do just fine...however, sometimes it is just the little things that settle that ache right back into your heart. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Balancing Act

Let me start this by saying first off that I know that all parents face some of these issues, so please don't think that I don't know that two parent households (especially those with multiple kids!) face a lot of what I talk about below on a daily basis.  However, this knowledge that I am not alone, doesn't really make me feel any less alone.  I hope that makes sense to you.

Munchkin is asthmatic, in the grand scheme of childhood diseases, not so bad, I get that, and I am grateful. However, when his lungs get inflamed, Murphy's law applies. Now I am Irish, so I should be used to Mr. Murphy by now, but really, I wish he would go take a vacation and never bother our family again!

Since mid-December Munchkin has had: Strep Throat, Influenza A, Pneumona, we had roughly 7 days of "better" (meaning breathing treatments were only every 6 to 8 hours instead of every 3 hours!) then we had another strain of Influenza, 2 days of "better" and now viral pneumonia and RSV (for those not acquainted with respiratory stuff, the last two pretty much go together and are bad for a normal kid, for an asthmatic kid--usually results in a multi day hospital stay, at least with us!)

So since December I have lost track of the number of times we have seen or called our pediatrician.  Let me tell you, he is awesome and very well acquainted with us! He is patient and empathetic to Munchkin-from experience, not all pediatricians are so I count that as a huge blessing!

Here is the kicker, when we got admitted to the hospital early in the week, I was genuinely caught off guard.  I did not bring supplies to entertain him, changes of clothes for either of us, or even my laptop to do some work.  I really thought that when the nurse called back and said that doctor wanted to listen to him, that he would take a listen to his lungs, maybe adjust one of his meds and send us home.

When the doctor said that he needed to be admitted, I just went with it, I didn't have Robert here to tell me it would be OK.  I needed to swallow my feelings and reassure munchkin that it would be ok, that we would put some "superhero strength medicine in his arm and he would get better quick".  Mind you he is 5, needles are scary for him, IV's are no fun, and he was running a high fever and not able to breathe.  Thankfully, I did think to grab my "doctor office" bag, so I had a "blankie" for munchkin, a few books to read to him, a toy car and a pad of paper to entertain him.  That is it.  No games, no movies, no legos, not anything more to occupy him for more than about ten minutes at a time....and certainly not enough to entertain him for four long days. 

But really here is the thing, when you have a two parent household, you have someone on your side. You are a team, you can take turns comforting you child when they come to give him a treatment or coax him to cooperate when they want to listen to his lungs or any thing else that needs doing. In theory you have two voices to advocate for your child, and two people to look at idiots who suggest that you give a five year old a COUGH DROP to stop his wheezing---right, cause cough drops eliminate inflammation in the lungs and are not a choking hazard when a kid is coughing and wheezing so badly he cannot even speak....and let me tell you, Robert had a much better "ARE YOU AN IDIOT??" look than I do.   Maybe it is because he was a teacher and actually calling middle school and high school students an idiot is generally frowned upon, therefore he had more practice??  I don't know, I tend to revert to sarcasm.

We were very blessed with some phenomenal pediatric nurses that engaged him and made this whole thing as comfortable as possible for him.  He literally only threw one fit.  In the middle of the night, one of the nurses came in to do his vitals and he was only half awake and he fought her off like a NINJA!  Literally, she had gently grasped his wrist to take his blood pressure and was met with instinctive kicking and blocking and screaming that he has learned in TaeKwonDo to be able to get away from adults.   I'll go with being thankful that he has that instinctive reaction and feel better that he can defend himself, I did feel bad for the nurse who got kicked and made sure I was the one who called his name from there on out when he was sleeping so that he didn't have the same reaction.   I will file that story for a later date when I am sure it will be hilarious. 

The entire time we were there, I did not leave his hospital room.  Robert was not there to tell me to go and find some coffee--thankfully, we have added a few people to the "I really mean it when I ask you what I can bring you" category of friendship.  I am eternally grateful that as my support system modulates, it appears to be expanding for the crisis mode.  I was blessed with friends who supplied me with coffee, munchkin with coloring books and other activities to pass the time.  Family who came to visit us.  I know I am truly lucky to have people who are willing to help me.

The way that the local hospital handles kids is that your pediatrician is the primary doctor but then they have pediatricians on the floor that round on the kids hourly if needed, but at least twice a day.  We stayed on hourly to every two hours up until he turned the corner on the last day.  But they are not familiar with us, and they are not familiar with Munchkin.  Every time a new one came in "Mom, you look exhausted, can Dad come and let you have a break?" Thankfully, munchkin has my tact and wit---"Doctor, Daddy can't come back from Heaven!"  Which resulted in that shock followed by pity face, followed by "I'm so sorry, what happened?" Followed by me holding back tears "He died in a car accident, how is munchkin doing?"  Becuase really, we are here to get munchkin better, not to talk about my sad pathetic circumstances, ok? Having your child lying in a big hospital bed, feeling so crummy that they don't even move, joke or laugh, really that is torture enough for a parent, let's not relive other horrors, and there is no need to remind me that I am exhausted and alone, trust me I don't forget that-EVER!

Now the irony here, is that from talking to my other friends who have had kids in the hospital, usually one stays there and the other works or takes care of the other kids, so really having just mom there should not have been all that unusual.  

Now here is the other thing.  I am our sole income and sole support.  That means that FMLA (unpaid) isn't really an option.  So I have to maintain a work presence while still devoting my energy to Munchkin who needs his mommy, thankfully, I can do work at any time of the day, so that gets done between midnight and 3 am.   You know, once munchkin has calmed down enough from the steroids to pass out and get some sleep....instead of sleeping when he does, I have to boot up my laptop and dig in.  At least to make sure that the bare necessities are covered and hope that I'm not so sleep deprived that I make a mistake that comes back to bite me at a later date. 

So here I am, five days later.  We are home and I am extremely grateful.  My pipes froze, and my brothers dealt with them, installed a heater and thermostat in my crawl space so we should not have to deal with that again (THANKFULLY).  My mom cooked some nutritious food for us and went shopping and filled my fridge, I have three friends that have offered to run and do anything that needs doing, my brother shoveled my sidewalk and driveway and I have most of our laundry done.   But here is the thing.  We are still on breathing treatments every three hours around the clock.   So there really isn't much time for either of us to get much sleep...although he did pass out last night and slept for 7 hours and I just put the mask over his face.   But I am home alone with him, no one to give me a hug, tell me munchkin will be ok, tell me to go take a shower and a nap, tell me to relax.  It is just me and munchkin fighting through as best we can and praying that this is our last bout of this mess for a long while.  

And all the time that I am doing this and caring for us, I have to make sure that I keep up with work as well.  I know that I am blessed to be in a job that allows me to provide for us, but sometimes I just wish that it was not all on my shoulders, and at that time I think about one of my favorite quotes "When life is too much to stand, KNEEL!"  and I pray.  I thank God for all the blessings that he has bestowed on us and I ask him to continue to provide for us and I give my struggles for him.   I cannot change my circumstances, I cannot bring Robert back, I cannot make munchkin not have these lung issues, I cannot heal my broken heart, I can only have faith that God willl continue to provide for us.  I hold on to that faith to sustain me and know that tomorrow is another day.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Divine Intervention...

Well this week certainly has not gone as I planned. While I know that nothing generally goes as planned, planning a week isnt usually derailed this badly! 

When I looked at our week on Sunday it was chock full of stuff for both of us.  State testing for munchkin...his first round of "official" standardized testing in the world of academia, business trip for me, three presentations due for me, Taekwondo practice for munchkin.  A busy week--throw in a school holiday on Monday and the rest of the week gets busier. 

Tuesday morning, I get up, get him to school and head to the airport for my business trip.   Should have been an easy hour and a half flight.   As I am sitting in the airport, the school nurse calls to tell me that he needed his inhaler...she gave him his inhaler, while we were still on the phone, he improved and she sent him back to class. 

I am sitting in the airport literally debating getting on the plane or calling my boss and begging to skip the meeting.  As I am sitting there asking God for a sign, my flight is CANCELLED!  A mechanical issue took the plane our of srevice-and all passengers were put on standby for the next flight.   I emailed my boss to let him know.   As I was on the standby list for that flight, it was CANCELLED as well.  At that point I called my dad, I told him, I was not exactly sure what was going on, but I could feel in my bones that something was up.   So, my name rolled to another standby, and another and another.   After checking in with work, we decided that if I didn't get on the 4:30 flight, that I should just stay home and do a conference call in the morning.  Well, you guessed it...I didn't get on the name was stuck in perpetual standby all day. 

I headed home and went to pick up munchkin.  When I got to him, he looked HORRIBLE!  I got him in the car and headed home, when we got there his fever was 104.7!   Well, I called his doctor and the nurse put us in for an appointment at the end of the night.  

By the time we got there, his asthma was in full force...coughing, wheezing, gagging...the whole bit.  For those of you who have been lucky enough to never see your child gasp for air, let me assure you it is a terrifying thing to witness.   Needless to say, the doctor admitted him to the hospital that night, and we have been here for three days.   He has pneumonia and another respiratory virus.  

God really does work in mysterious ways.   He kept me here at home where my baby needed me to be!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bobby's World

So after moving to our new house, we had a change of TV.  I decided to go with comcast instead of directTv for a myriad of reasons. 

In this, munchkin now has access to the free on demand shows when he is allowed to watch TV.  He has started watching Bobby's World.  He thinks it is hilarious.

For those not in the know...the show is about a mischevious five year old named Bobby and all of his adventures on his big wheel with his crazy family.   I believe it is from the 80's era-I mean a very young Howie Mandel is the host of the show!

Robert, of Bobby as he was called before the age that he decided he no longer wanted to be called that LOVED that show.  He used to tell me of his antics on his big wheel and go cart when he was growing up.  How he used to wear out his shoes instead of using the brakes because he couldn't really "drift" if he used the brakes.  How he used to use the bushes in the backyard to stop his go cart.   He used to tell me that he hoped he had a child that would enjoy the same show and the same antics as him when he was younger. 

It is such a mixed bag of emotion for me that munchkin has found this and likes it so much and is literally doing what his daddy wished to do with him.  He is a high energy happy little boy who loves playing "tricks" on people and just generally engaging in boy mischeif and humor.  It makes my heart swell to see him have so much fun.   But at night, when all is quiet and still, my heart knows how much Robert would have loved to be here with us, my heart aches in doing the parenting that we both longed to do for so many years.  My heart hurts over the fact that the love of my life, is not by my side to enjoy the tastes of our feisty five year old. 

In the light of day, I put a smile on my face and enjoy every minute of his antics complete with giggles and silliness and sloppy hands and kisses.  I know that time is short and soon these days will be replaced with the antics of a teenager!

TV and Reality

Ok, so I don't have a whole lot of time to watch TV...shocking I know!   I do have a few shows that I watch fairly regularly.   Private Practice has been at the top of that very short list for a while. 

Interestingly enough, the show has entertwined with my reality for a while.   There have been 2 widowers and a widow.   One of the widowers remarried and had a baby, he then died and she is now widowed.   I have watched how the show has done a decent job at trying to entertwine their sorrow into the show.  

This past week, Violet was speaking to friends of hers---she was flirted with by a man in a store and went running away in tears.   I totally relate to that....she cries a lot in the rest of the show....relate to that too.  Two things really struck me.  One scene she was in a breakroom crying and a friend tried to hug her becuase he didn't know what to say.  He then changed his mind and told her that 5 years ago, she would not have imagined that life would bring her to her dead husband, two years ago, she could not have imagined being a mother and a year ago she could not have imagined losing Pete.   He went on to tell her, that just becuase she can't see in her mind to look to tomorrow, that doesn't mean that it isn't there.   Her story doesn't end here. 

Now, realize that I am completely paraphrasing here.   But that mantra, really spoke to me.  It is one of those things that I have said to myself.   If someone had told me I would be a mother and a widow within the same twelve months, I would have thought that they were crazy...there was no way to imagine that ever happening.  

If someone had told me that I would survive and dare I say THRIVE in nearly five years of being alone....I would have that they were those initial dark months, I could noth fathom surviving, let alone thriving, yet here we are. 

We have some days, and we have some bad days...but they are farther and farther between....sometimes I can go weeks, or months without crying now.  It doesn't change that I miss Robert fiercely.  It does not change the hole in my heart, it simply means that I have chosen to live in the present and to be present for myself and for my child.  

The episode ended with Violet speaking to her friends newborn baby girl.  She is telling her that life is a fairy tale...that she hopes her "story doesn't end with a dead prince".   She walks away and then turns around and comes back.  "Your story will NOT end with a dead prince, no fairy tale ends with a dead prince!"

That simple affirmation, while it may seem slightly morbid to some not acquainted with death and loss is really very hopeful.  

I had a fairy tale...I pray my fairy tale does not end with a dead prince either!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Simple Pleasures

Tonight as I tucked munchkin into bed, he announced that he was reading to me.  I laid down next to him and listened.   He is getting so big and so confident in his reading.  I am so proud of how hard he works at reading. 

This is bittersweet...we have been reading together everyday since he was born.  When Robert was here we read as a family.  I knew from my childhood, the best way to give him the gift of reading enjoyment was to read to him.   I have such fond memories of reading with my parents and grandparents.  I really wanted to give him the same.  So it began, on the first night home from the hospital, as we basked in the glow of new parenthood, we began our routine of reading to him. 

Today however, I realize that an imperceptible yet earth moving shift is taking place.  I am slowly but surely being sidelined.  He no longer needs help bathing or getting dressed-barely needs help with games or legos and now chooses to read to me.  I hugged him extra tight because I know that my baby boy is growing up-as he should.  Life moves on.  Often at breakneck speed.  Unless we stop for a moment to glance around, we miss it.

I am sure that all parents feel this duality-pride in how far their kids have come and a slight twinge at the realization that there is no going back to the time when our kids fully depended on us. 

I guess this is the point where families generally decide whether to start working on a sibling...unless of course that decision has been made for you. 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Grateful for Today...and for my brothers

Today was a great day.  About a month ago Munchkin went to the hardware store with one of his uncles.  This uncle started a tool collection with him and buys him a tool when they go together.  Well, the last time they were there, it was discovered that today was they day you could go and make a bird house for free using REAL tools! 

That was it, munchkin decided that he HAD to do it, and his uncle HAD to do it with him.  Uncle of course had agreed to take him and the date was set.  Munchkin had been counting down the days to today, even got up at midnight and tried to convince me to call Uncle and see if they could go NOW!

Well, Munchkin had a great day, using tools with his uncle, then they went to see a movie and we met up for lunch. 

I am so grateful that munchkin has uncles like this in his life.  He has people to step in and do things with him one on one.  They step up and they are willing to do it. 

One of his other uncles watches him every Monday night so that I can go to band.  They play together and generally watch whatever sport is in season. In fact, munchkin asked the other night when I was going back to band so that he and his uncle can have "man night" again.   This uncle also has agreed to take him to the father/son sport night coming up at our school. 

Yet another uncle includes munchkin in on things he does with his own son.  He is the cubmaster of the scout troop his son is in and will welcome Munchkin into the pack when he turns 6 in a few months.  This means that when the dads do the things with the Pack, munchkin will not be left out, or be the only one with a mom there--and I can feel at ease that my brother will care for him as his own. 

While no one can replace Robert in our lives, I must say that we are VERY VERY blessed to have such a great family! 

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Naked Finger

This morning driving to work, I was acutely aware that my wedding ring was not on my finger.  Every once in a while, I feel the absence of my ring.  It still can take my breath away. 

Mind you, my ring and his have been in my jewelry box since fall of 2008.  He died in March of that same year. 

I had been wearing both of our rings on my hand since two weeks after the accident.  For those who know me, that was no small feat.  

At the scene of the accident, I asked the officer for his wedding ring.  He went to his body and then came back to me and told me that it was not on him.  I began sobbing again.  The paramedic who had been assigned to stay by me went over to the cars and started looking.  I didn't think that I would ever see it again.   It was heartbreaking to me.  Fast forward a few days.  After the funeral, when the funeral home brought me his personal effects, his "ring" was there.  At that moment in time, it looked like a twist tie, all knotted and mangled.  I stood in my living room held it in my hand leaned onto my father and cried.  I cried, and sobbed.  That mangled ring, was proof of how badly he was mangled in the accident.  Thing about that, what had to have happened to his beautiful hand and arm to MANGLE his ring like that.  I cried at the realization that my precious husband was literally shorn to pieces in the accident.  I cried at the realization that he would never wear his ring again.  My father took it out of my hand and put it into the baggie it came to me in and put it in his pocket.  When he went home a few days later, he went to the jeweler that he has always gone to and had his ring "remade" for me into my size, complete with the etching. 

My mom flew back and gave it to me on our Wedding Anniversay a week later.  I cried again.  I put it on my hand and there it stayed. 

It stayed until later that year.  I was at work and I reached down into a drawer and both rings slid off of my hand.  His rolled away from me and my heart stopped.  At that point, I knew it was time to take them off and put them away.  So I did.  It took me a long time to stop feeling my ring on my hand.  For a long, long time, every time I moved my fingers or looked at my hand I felt the emptiness and absence of our rings.  I tried wearing other rings, but it just didn't work for me. 

Over time, the vacancy left on my finger gradually faded.  It became less over time-I almost don't notice it unless I think about it, or catch a glimpse of someone else's ring.  Then I notice that I no longer have mine on.  I feel his absence and at times, I feel like my lack of a ring sets me apart.

Other times, like today and often for no reason at all, I feel the absence of the ring.  Sometimes, it just feels like it should still be on my hand-in that same breath, I feel like I should leave them put away.  I think that the pain in wearing the rings again would make me notice his absence even more than I already do.  So the rings sit in my jewelry box and I take a deep breath and wait for the void on my hand to pass. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Putting Away Christmas..

Yesterday I put away our Christmas decorations.  Many of them were up for the first time since Christmas 2007. 

Robert and I had a few traditions.  First we bought a new ornament every year, we actually bought two most years, he was fond of the glass balls from Hallmark--I have a much more whimsical taste. 
We also made or purchased a piece to our village. 

Our only Christmas as a family of three was 2007.  Munchkin was 7 months old.  It was perfect.  Many of my decorations have not seen the light of day since that season. 

As I was moving into our new house, my mom and dad set up my tree with munchkin and his cousins.  They didn't know that I had not been putting all of the decorations up.  I noticed it, but let it go.   They stayed up all season.  I put them away yesterday. 

As I was packing things away into their boxes...yes...I am one of THOSE people, you know the ones who keep the original ornament boxes to re-use year after year.  I noticed something.  That I had kept up our traditions without really thinking much about it.  

You see, for the past five years, I have let munchkin pick out the ornaments.  I can see his tastes emerge and evolve.  This year it was Frosty the snowman, last year, Alvin, 2010 it was Mickey Mouse, 2009 it was Cars.  In 2008, I picked our ornament, it was a seashell with a pearl in it, it was pretty.  This year munchkin asked for two ornaments.  

The second one that he picked was a blue ball, it had a picture of Bethlehem and the north star.  I thought when he picked it, that Robert would have really liked it.   As I packed it away, I noticed, that along the bottom there were words.  It is the words to Silent Night.  That was Robert's all time favorite Christmas Carol!!! 

I guess after all this time and all of the tears, I can still find glimpses of him here and now, for the most part it makes me smile. 

The other thing that has become apparent, is that Munchkin loves Christmas!  He loves the story of the birth of Jesus, he loves Santa and he loves St Nicholas.  So much so, that as I was packing up, he pilfered my small musical Christmas Tree without me noticing.  When I put him to bed, I saw it on his bookshelf in his room.   I asked him how it got there. 

He replied "I put it there mommy, I want to have a little Christmas in my room all the time".  Little does he know, that is something his father would have done.  I put a smile on my face and tucked him in!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Janurary Widowed Blog Hop

I have really enjoyed doing this.  To all of you who have found my blog in this hop and keep coming back, thank you!  I hope that by sharing my story, that maybe just maybe someone can relate.   I know that I started this late in the game so to speak--I wrote in journals for the begining of my grief journey and just this last year started to share it with the rest of you.  To this point, it has been a positive experience.   Please visit the links below.  All of these people have taken the time to share their thoughts and feelings-if you feel so inclined, I am sure that they would like to hear some positive feedback.  In the event that you are not widowed, perhaps visitng these sites will give you some insight into the daily thoughts and activities of people just trying to make it. 

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.

Blue Bins and Memories

So now Munchkin seems to be on the road back to healthy, the past week or so has really been about settling in.  Unpacking, sorting and arranging more stuff in the house. 

Honestly so much has been in storage since 2008, it is hard to know where to start.   I have found a bunch of stuff that I thought was lost.  It has been odd.  Still coming across his handwriting iin unexpected boxes.   Finding stuff and wondering what possesed me to actually pack it???

The BLUE BINS are almost gone!  Granted, some stuff has been repacked into green bins, but such is life right?  The blue bins were a reminder to me...they came from Texas and they have dutifully housed our tangible posessions all this time.  They reminded me of the horrid week of packing away our life, deciding what was important when in my heart, I knew that there was nothing in the house that was more important than HIM and that the simple fact that he would never come home again made everything else painful for me.  So painful, that I don't think that I functioned in any logical way for a very very long time. 

I think that the bins with the music were the most painful for me.  He was a music teacher, a musician and composer.  There are not words that can impart the meaning that music had in our lives.  We used to joke...I could play anything on paper, he could play anything on paper, but usually chose to embellish it somewhat!  Well, I sorted through music today.  All this time, I thought all the music was his, and honeslty, there is a HUGE amoung that is mine!  It is now sorted...Teaching stuff in one bin in the back of the closet.  My choral stuff close to that.  Elementary piano pulled up for munchkin to mess around with.  My band stuff front and center.  The piano is decorated nicely.  I have some pictures that I picked up to hang on the wall. 

It felt good to accomplish something that I had set aside for so long.  For nearly 5 years, I have avoided the music bins.  Well, today they are tackled.   I unearthed tons of memories, but thus far no tears.   This is huge for me.   For years, I could not even look at the blue bins, let alone open them without bursting into tears. 

My heart still aches for him and I still miss him, I always will, but for today, I am more focused on unpacking our house and moving into the future with Munchkin.  He deserves no less than my full love and attention.