Archive for December, 2009

The Letter

Noah's Ark Room

I’d been dreading the appearance of this letter.  I knew it was only a matter of time, but I was hoping it would hold off a little longer.  I recognized it in its resting spot, even before I’d seen any of the words. 

“…your child is scheduled to transfer on 1/11/10 to the Joshua’s Trumpets Room…”  Augh!  Hadley is moving up!  It can’t be.  We can’t be ready to move to the room where they drink from big kid cups and start potty training.  But we’re not ready to leave Ms. Annette’s room (and by “we” I mean “mom” isn’t) and the wonderful teachers that Hadley seems quite attached to.  For a toddler who is leery of people she doesn’t know well and who takes awhile to get used to those she’s seen many times before, this may be a rough transition.  I’m sure many parents think that, and I’m sure all the toddlers do just fine. 

But most of all, I can’t believe Hadley is growing up already.

I have to move???


But it's Hadley's chair...


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Merry, Merry

It feels like Christmas this week.  It could be the joy with which Hadley said, “HI, Christmas Lights!!” when we came downstairs this morning.  Or possibly the continuous loop of Holly Jolly Christmas, Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and Frosty the Snowman that Hadley has me singing as we drive into the city each day.  I’ve realized that those songs are very short…and that after singing them five times in a row, they get kind of old.  But she keeps asking for them, so I keep singing them.  She gets very excited when we go past one house that has candy cane lights.  She always asks, “Whassat Mom?”  When I say candy cane lights, she joyfully exclaims, “CANDY CANE LIGHTS!!!”  As we passed one of the businesses that strings lights in their trees, she said, “Looky, Mom, Christmas lights!  Oh my goodness.  Goodness, goodness, goodness!!”  (It came out sounding more like Doodness, doodness, doodness.)

We won’t have a picture with Santa this year.  I thought we were going to do it this weekend.  She was waving at Santa, saying hi, all happy…until he headed her way.  Maybe we’ll try again next year.

I’m looking forward to seeing her reaction on Christmas morning. 

Merry Christmas!

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I’m a big fan on dreams while sleeping.  It’s like watching a movie or reading a book and in general, they’re usually pretty entertaining.  My dreams were even the source of my final creative writing project in college.  I have had very few bad dreams that I can remember.  There have been the occasional ones about being chased, hurt, etc. but nothing horrible.  And then Jim passed away and things changed a bit.   I’m not sure how the whole spirits visiting after passing thing works, but I keep hoping that I’ll get a visit in a dream.  I guess I have, once.   But the others that have involved Jim?  Anything but happy.

Last night was possibly the worst so far.  In the others, he’s just chosen to leave me for some reason and in my dream, I can’t understand why he doesn’t want to talk to me or be married anymore.  Last night, he had cancer and I had to watch him get sicker and sicker.  Which, when  you think about it, is exactly what happened.  I couldn’t help him, I just had to watch him struggle.  My night was a full 8 hour sleep, with no Hadley awakening to interrupt, yet today I felt more tired than I feel on the days when I only have 5 hours.

I realize that dreams are supposed to be a person’s subconscious working on things that are in the person’s mind.  I guess my subconscious and my mind are both stuck in late March/early April 2008.  I long for a happy dream, one where we’re all reunited.  I’d even be up for a repeat of the one where the three of us were walking across the street.   Anything but abandonment and sadness.  I guess I thought that this far in, the dreams would be lightening up.  Although maybe, this is me starting to accept what really happened.  Funny, I thought I had accepted it.  Apparently, my brain thinks otherwise.

Family Picture when Hadley is 1 day old

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Our Pack

Our little pack sticks together.  Two legged and four legged, we’re all a family.  And when one of us is feeling less than stellar, someone else steps up to watch their back.  Sadie had surgery on her ear today and she’s on pain medication for a few days.  It seems to make her sleepy and she’s clearly not really feeling that great.  So the other two are watching out for her.  Hadley kept petting her and asking, “Sadie, are you all right?” with great concern in her voice.  We may not be your typical family, but I’m very glad that this is my family.

Oscar and Evan are watching out for Sadie.

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Last year, I wanted to skip the holidays.  Hadley was only 9 months old.  She wouldn’t realize whether we had a Christmas tree or not and she didn’t really get the whole present thing.  Christmas is historically an odd time for me anyway.  There’s always a point at which I have what I call my George Bailey moments.  I am a huge fan of It’s a Wonderful Life.  To me, it’s not really the Christmas season until I’ve seen that movie.  But the way George feels at his lowest point, that’s what I call my George Bailey moments.  When I wonder if the things I’ve done have mattered or made any difference to anyone.  Jim knew that I would always have those times and he would patiently wait until I’d gotten there, then help me find my way through it, and then we’d put up our tree and finish our shopping.  So you can imagine what last year was like.  A George Bailey moment to the nth degree.

But then I thought about Hadley.  About how, even if she wouldn’t know the difference, I didn’t want to cheat her out of her first Christmas.  So on the 24th, I got a tree and bought some new ornaments.  I didn’t want to use any of our ornaments from before…especially not the ones that were our “newly-married” ornaments.  Too many memories that I just didn’t staring me in the face every day.

We didn’t try to do Santa.  I’ve seen too many babies traumatized by the man in the red suit.  We celebrated Christmas Eve with family and Christmas Day with more family.  It wasn’t nearly as painful as I expected.  That’s how it seems to go with this stuff, though.  I prepare myself for the special days and how hard I think those will be, then I get blindsided by the run-of-the-mill days.  But whatever days that come our way, I take a look at the love in our daughter’s eyes and things are always just a little brighter.

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Invisible Things

On the face of it, I look relatively the same as I always have.  A little thinner, maybe, but other than that not much has changed.  The thing that has forever changed me is invisible.  Some people who know me may not even know I carry this grief with me everywhere I go.  It’s not always noticeable, or heavy, or at the top of my mind, but it’s always there.  For the first year, friends and other people close to me knew how heavy the invisible thing was but after passing the 1 year anniversary of Jim’s death, I think people start to forget in a way.  Maybe it seems to them that I should be over it.  Maybe it’s just that they’re living their lives and it’s not a big part of their every day.  I don’t blame them.  I’m sure I’ve done the same thing to someone else suffering their own loss.  But passing the 1 year mark did not suddenly take away the pain.  Yes, the jagged wound is starting to scar but it’s still there.  Sometimes it rips open and the soul-crushing sadness creeps back in.  It’s kind of like walking along the beach.  Sometimes when you’re walking along the beach just at the edge of the wave’s reach, you feel the leading edge of the wave tickle your feet but it doesn’t cover them.  Then all at once, a larger wave catches you by surprise and not only covers your feet, but hits you way up to your belt. 

I’ve had two people throw the word “dating” into conversation with me.  As if, now that I’m approaching the 2nd year mark, I’m suddenly looking to find another partner.  Maybe they’ve never had as great a love as I think I had, or maybe they feel that after a year, I should be “all better.”  Another relationship has never even crossed the tiniest part of my mind.  This will come out wrong, but it’s not just that I miss my husband; it’s that I miss Jim.  I miss my best friend.  I miss the person who parked at a gas station on his way home because I was also headed home and the light on my gas gauge had just gone on.  He wanted to make sure I got there before he went the rest of the way home.   I miss the person who, because he knew how much I like Coke in a bottle (it really DOES taste better!), would go out of his way to bring one home as a little surprise for me.

I don’t have any videos of Jim except the one from our wedding and one from a dolphin adventure in Mexico.  I haven’t watched the wedding video.  I wish I had more pictures of us.

Invisible things and a lot of if onlys.  These are the things that have invaded my being and appear to have become permanent residents.

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Hadley received this cute purse from a dear friend and she’s got it packed to the rim.  She is in the phase where she likes to put things into other things.  She still has a little bag from Halloween with her candy in it.  She’s never asked to eat it; she just likes to take it out and put it back in…over and over and over.  She tries to put a block into a plastic cup and gets really frustrated that the square block doesn’t fit into the round cup.  (I’ll remember that for our lesson on “square peg/round hole” that I’m sure will come some day.)  In this purse, she’s packing only a pair of pajamas.  As for the hat, it’s one of her sun hats and she knows it’s for keeping the sun off.  When she puts it on in the house, she tells me, “Sun…off.”  I’ll need to work on showing her that the sun doesn’t really shine in the house…or at night.

Hat...check. Purse...check. Pajamas...check.

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