Saturday, April 28, 2012

She is Happy

Today marks three years since my sweet grandmother, my beautiful, blue-eyed lady, took her final breath on this earth. Last year at this time, I wrote an entry entitled "The Blues" about her...her eyes, how they and so many other of the most special people in my life have brilliant blue those blues brought, bring so much love and happiness into my that when one is sad, they have the that notion, to me, is such an ironic one in consideration of what that color has meant to me in my life.

There are few loves that people have that just have so much substance and perfection and grace. The time since she has been here has been difficult; she was one of my closest, dearest, most special people ever and for always, and the void that was left in the wake of her absence is one that has been unfillable.

Still, life, much to my initial uncertainty, has gone on. Those first two years were so hard, so sad. I was unsure of how that grief would ever subside, how there would be more happy days than gloomy ones. Over this past year, though, it seems that the dust has settled. The realization, for me, that my precious grandmother is now with her beloved, my precious Popa, comes to the forefront of my mind when I think of her. While I miss her greatly, I find that I'm more happy for her, for them than I am sad for myself. During her time on earth, she spent most of her energy focusing on the states of happiness for her loved ones; this selflessness and unconditional love is one of the most enduring lessons she taught me. For many years, I thoughtlessly took for granted all that she did for all of us, for me, and I overlooked the generosity and moments where she put her own needs and desires aside for all of us.

Finally, over this past year, that enduring quality, that lesson has come to make so much sense. Don't get me wrong, I know that I have the ability to be incredibly self-centered, however, I'm starting to get it. I'm starting to understand how and why she was they way she was. The happiness and security and blessings of other people in our lives are far more important to our own contentment than anything else. I can't truly be happy if my loves aren't all good. I can't, in good conscience, say that I'm blessed if my family and friends aren't also. So, I have started looking to the good fortune of others in search of my own happiness. That Grandmother and Popa are together again, with the loves of their lives...that knowledge replaces some of the sadness that I have for not having them here with me.

Also, knowing that they are watching over us makes me feel safe. While they were here, I relied on them so much. My grandmother was the ultimate security blanket. She was ALWAYS there for me. Always. When she left, all at once, I felt so unsure of myself, afraid to face life without her. But, in this past year, we've faced some significant stresses, moments when I needed her. Taking a step back, remembering that there were times when I should have crumbled, but when out of somewhere there was strength...maybe, just maybe...she was right there all along, and I envision her and Popa smiling over us, holding hands, lending us courage, sending us love and good wishes in the faces of our adversity.

So, while I miss her dearly, while I would give anything for just five more minutes with her, I find peace knowing that she is happy...happy to be where she is...happy to be with Popa...happy to be our guardian angel. I love you, my beautiful, blue-eyed lady.

Monday, April 23, 2012

10 Years Later

So, I'll admit that my life ain't as excitin' as it used ta be. Not at all. Well, not in the way it used to be. There are certainly moments that can be classified as wild, crazy, and heart-pumping...but in a much different way than, say, 10 years ago.

Oh, 10 years ago, to see you guys again for even a week....What would that look like? There would be traveling, lots of traveling. There would be late nights filled with adult sorts of fun (as opposed to puking kids or little ones waking me up to crawl in my bed), good music, not so many dishes in the sink, dinners out, last minute decisions to go somewhere or do something. There would be sleeping. Lots of sleeping. Oh, 10 years ago.

Ahh, the fun. The irresponsibility. Maybe that's the biggest without kids allows so much irresponsibility. How amazing that irresponsibility is when you have to be just so responsible. Especially when responsibility spills into everything you do and are. Everything. Like a ninja...and you don't even realize it's happened before it's too late to turn it around.

Take for instance the music in my car. Once upon a time, my drive along music choices were symbols of my emotions, my moods...they took me places or were an indication of where I was going...they were relevant. They were cool. Now, not so much....I suppose it was a good 7 years ago that NPR began playing in my car more often than anything else. At least that was intellectually stimulating. Cool on some level. And, now, it's gone to a whole new place. A whole other leap from 10 years ago. I didn't notice it at first. I suppose it was the ninja element. But, Matt did. It was hard to admit that he was right...that I didn't even recognize that the children's Silly Songs were playing in my car...WITHOUT the kids in the car...with just me and Matt. Even worse, I know all the words to every single song. Way worse...I actually LIKE the songs. To be sure, I found myself this very morning getting excited when I heard the "Little Canoe" come on the radio. I even played it TWICE! It's got a great little jazzy riff with the saxophone...takes me back to Karl Denson (I reason). What the heck is that? a ninja...Silly Songs and all their parental responsibility took me even farther away from my 10 years ago irresponsible roots.

What's a girl an old pregnant lady, to do? I know my life is different now. And, I know that having 10 years ago back for a week would be fun, and I hope that I get to visit with that time at some point in the not-too-distant future. Howevah, I like my life 10 years later much better. I'll take all the snotty noses, late night puke sessions (not involving excessive beer drinking), and scraped knees over 10 years ago that I can get. After all, 10 years later are laden with sweet kisses and "I love you, Mama" and the best snuggles an old pregnant lady a girl can get.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Least Classy Easter Ever

You know what they say: Another year, another Easter. Right. No they don't.

Anyways, Easter this year seemed to hop right on in and right back out just as quickly as ever. Maybe it has to do with the fact that winter never seemed to arrive, and the spring has sprung everything forward so much faster than before. Or maybe it has to do with the fact that we have so much to do. All the time. Regardless, Easter was fun.
Festivities began with Summit's egg hunt at his preschool and ended with an egg hunt at Popi and Babi's house. The boys in Summit's class celebrated with a party on the Thursday before Spring Break. They really are cute, and their teachers really are smart, because they came up with a genius idea to write the boys' names on the eggs to let them know which ones to pick up so not one kid got too many or one too few. Love the foresight. Love it.
The egg hunt at my parents' house could use a little tweaking... or the decision to NOT let Matt "hide" the prizes. His tactics were to just throw, haphazardly, bags of Skittles and mini Snickers around the yard while the eggs were placed in tree stump holes and beneath leaves. Huh. Also not jiving was the kids' newfound competitive nature with the whole hunt. It was like having NFL football players vying for the pigskin. I don't know how many times baskets were completely knocked over or hardboiled eggs were smashed unnecessarily. Oh well. What can you do? Oh yeah. You can put those little monsters into time out and make them watch while you eat their Peeps. THAT'S what you can do.
Easter was capped off with a wiffle ball baseball game in the front yard at Popi and Babi's house. A game filled with Matt's interesting batting abilities, and by interesting, I mean unfortunate. A game filled with Ella striking Kent out. A game filled with my mom's odd, leaned back base-running. A game that was awesome. So awesome and so filled with laughter, unstoppable laughter...that I could not cross my legs enough to prevent myself from peeing in my pants not once, but TWICE. That's right. Twice. I felt like Maya Rudolph in Bridesmaids when she's trying to cross the street to find a bathroom after she's struck with a bout of food poisoning, and she just drops to the ground, knowing she can't make it in time. That was me, sans the number two business, in the front yard at my parents' house, in front of my kids, husband, parents, brothers, and John Wesley's date...whom I'd never met before. Oh well. What can you do? Oh yeah. You can't do anything at all except sit in the grass and laugh and pee. I love being pregnant. I love having this baby push on my bladder every second of every day.

So, some of you all might be thinking, "Wow. That was just about the least classy Easter ever." Perhaps. Perhaps you're correct. However. It was fun. A whole lot of fun. And, I'd do it all over again in a heart beat.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Girl Like Her

A few days ago, my sweet Ella asked me if I wanted her to be like me when she grows up - stop laughing - I know that's a terrible idea, too. :) And, so I asked her if whe wanted to be like me, to which she replied, emphatically, "Yes!" And, I smiled. Of course I'd like to think that I was such an awesome mommy, person, role model, what have you, that my precious girl would want to emulate me - be just like me - but I know better than that.

I'm the first to admit I'm deeply flawed - insecurity has not escaped me - perfect I am not. I'm not horrible, mind you, but sometimes all of my super powers don't work when I need them to.

I know that my kids are better than me. They're way more right on than I could ever hope to have been or be - and I'm okay with that. It makes me proud to know that their super powers are more functional. Knowing that they are mine, my babies, products of my guidance, my people - and that they're good people is the thumbs up to know I'm not a total flop at this mommy work.

So, when my girl does the stuff she does, I tell her how extra special awesome it is that she does it, hoping that she'll keep doing it and going bigger. A couple of weeks ago, Ella ran her first race in the kids' marathon leg of Columbia's Famously Hot/Exceptionally Cool full marathon. For a month she and my dad trained, running across the Lake Murray Dam after school and on the weekends. And, I was impressed. When I was 7, I was barely running bases in softball. But, there my Ella was - running farther and farther each time - learning about setting pace, breathing, and simply the importance of being healthy.
When the big day arrived she was ready. She and Popi were all set to race, and race well. Even the 7 am start time didn't hinder her, my girl who likes to sleep in. And, she did it! She was one of the youngest participants out there, and she did it! She rocked it out. My girl. MY girl!
In times like this, I realize that I'd like to say she's a runner like me, a softball player like me, a reader, a writer, a dreamer like me... but I know the truth. She's way more. She's way cooler than me. And I'm cool with that. In fact, I want to be like her when I grow up. A girl like her.