Saturday, September 5, 2015

Family Reunion

This weekend is our family reunion.  Four days of family, food, shenanigans and laughter.   All of my father's living siblings (they are down to 7 out of 10 now...) will be here either themselves or through proxy and most of their cousins too!  We will have mass on Sunday in memory of the family members who have died.  There are "families" within our family that are missing someone for the first time and we will surround them with love and compassion as they walk their road. 

I have four siblings and for the first time since the summer Robert and I were married, we are all at the beach together.  Here is the thing, earlier in the week, I felt an ache--we are all here except Robert.  It took me time to identify the ache. It wasn't a sobbing mess of missing him--that happens so rarely now, I can't remember the last time. 

Last night, Munchkin was in bed watching a movie and my brother shared with him that he was watching one of his daddy's favorite movies, and I realized I am not the only one who remembers. 
We are all feeling it.  But at the same time, the hole in the fabric of our family that was created, is now a part of the family.  It no longer reduces us to tears.  I no longer stare into the dark of night wishing the pain away.  It is just a part of me and a part of all of us. 

The life we live now is NOTHING like the life Robert and I had with Munchkin. 

Munchkin and I have figured out our two person family and it is our normal. I have been "only parenting" so long, I don't remember what it was like to have that extra set of hands. I don't remember what is it like to have someone else to do things--we are just normal now. Part of that normal is enjoying our family and family reunion. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

No Thank You

A week or so ago I was shopping with Munchkin.  He is exceptionally well behaved in the store.   We went to Target and then on to the grocery store.  At the grocery store, he is responsible for label reading---when he asks for foods that aren't an acceptable healthy choice, I task him with reading labels and making a better choice.  This results in him looking at the actual ingredients and content of the food. 

A woman was shopping at the same time and we kept running in to her in aisles.  She observed him in the cereal aisle comparing boxes of cereal before deciding on his peanut butter panda puffs.  She observed him in the dairy aisle comparing processed "cheese" product to real cheese.   We  finished our shopping and went to the checkout lane.   The lady was in line behind us.  Munchkin helped me load the belt and then took the bags from the bagger and lined them up in the cart while I paid.  He was polite to everyone and extremely helpful. 

At this point, this woman was in awe.  She looked at him and looked at me.  She told me she was very impressed that he was so well behaved while shopping. I thanked her for the compliment.   She then looked at him and told him that he should tell me to buy him a candy bar for behaving so nicely. 

WHOA--shut the front door.  I was floored.  I told her kindly, "we don't reward behavior that is expected in our family".   I mean seriously, why on earth should I buy my kid a candy bar for doing what I expect of him.  I expect him to be well behaved and well mannered when we are out in public.   The behavior expectations that I have for him are constant.  When we go out to dinner, I expect that he sits in his seat, orders his meal and speaks softly.   When we go to the playground, he can run amok and be loud and noisy, but he can't push or hurt others and he should treat other kids the way he would want them to treat him.   When we go to a store, he is expected to stay "close enough to touch me", be helpful and not run around or be loud.   This is just the way that it is.   I have these expectations of him because I know that he can do them.

 I am also well aware that there are a lot of 1st graders that simply would not be able to do these things and that is ok too. 

What I cannot understand is why some stranger would think that it is ok to tell a child to "tell their parent" to do something.  Quite frankly, I find that to be one of the things that seems to be wrong with society these days.   It certainly takes a village, but that village should be more focused on manners and safety of everyone rather than demonstrating and encouraging pushy behavior by kids toward their parents.  

Perhaps I am just sensitive, I don't know.  What I do know is that we have expectations in our family and we expect that everyone in our family follow them-myself included. I would never presume to tell a kid to tell their parents to do something.  I may tell them gently to be careful if they are in danger, or even pull them back out of the street if a car is coming (I have done this in the crosswalk on the way to school) What I would never do is intrude on another families values.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Where's My Handbook?

Seven years have passed. A few weeks ago was our wedding anniversary, Then my birthday my birthday and 14 days prior to that the reminder of the day my life shattered. After seven years-I have pretty much figured out "how" to survive and even get out and get more than the basics covered on occasion. I mentally give myself a high five on those days. Other days through a curve ball-or worse keep throwing them and paint the corners. Those days, man those days are now gratefully few and far between but those days I still fumble. For instance-I'm researching some educational things with our son. Robert was a teacher and a music therapist. These curve balls are his wheelhouse. I have even gone so far as to pull out some of his music therapy references to find what questions I want to ask. It is hard. It is draining. I am physically alone. I'm grateful for the friends I have that are educators and know munchkin well-and can be my sounding board. I'm grateful for his pediatrician who sees the whole picture and helps by talking to his school. Even with all of that support around me-I still find myself wishing there was a handbook. We should have a parenting handbook they give you at hospital discharge. A widows handbook you get when your spouse is pronounced dead. An additional parent handbook for when your child is seriously ill-this one should focus on finding members of the healthcare team who won't ask you more than once why your husband isn't at the appointment. So if anyone has found any of these handbooks-please feel free to send them my way-I was never given my copies and I am still taking things as they come! - See more at: