Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I Missed It!

Well today I was given a gift, the gift of time to myself. Last week a friend and fellow Mom bravely offered to take MC on a playdate with her son so she could get out of the house and I coudl get some rest.

WHo knew it would come on a day where I had to be at the dentist office at 8 AM this morning? And to make amtters worse while at the dreaded torture chamber a.k.a the dentist office I would be subjected to another the second emergency root canal this month. So while driving home, in pain with a big swollen face, I was really looking forward to some peace and quiet and extra sleep.

I don't do well when pregnant. I'm not bragging but merely stating a known fact to me and anyone that has witnessed the problems that plague me while pregnant. So to say I'm exhausted regardless of the trimester or situtation would be accurate and unfortunate, especially since this time around I'm pregnanty with a toddler that is a cross between a monkey and the Energizer bunny...that would definitely be a strange looking creature...

So when my friend pulled up ready to take MC to a bounce house, jungle gym, kids world, I ahd her packed and ready to go. But I was a little surprised when after she was loaded into a car she'd never been in before, I leaned in for a kiss and was quickly dismissed with the wave of her hand. Hmmm...my little girl is growing up I thought.

Back inside, still in my flannel pajama pants and thermal t-shirt, I was excited to be alone. WAIT! The thing is I wasn't alone because my hubby was still at the house answering e-mails, returning phone calls and making noise in my space. But he was supposed to be leaving shortly, so I fixed some pasta that I could slurp down with a numb face and picked up some of the toys cluttering the den floor.

Of course, my luck strikes and my husband's appointment is cancelled and he's not going anywhere. Time alone....not happening. So since the feeling in my mouth was returning and staying still seemed to make it worse I started picking up clothes and toys and working on things that would ahve been impossible with the monkey butt underfoot. And while making progress my mind wandered to MC and whether she was having fun or creating trouble...later, I learned she was doing both.

A few hours later MC and her friends returned to the house for a short visit. Before we were even completely unloaded and inside the house I'm being told how MC found a little boy with the group, took him by the hand and drug him around with her. She stood on tables, climbed into and out of bounce houses, shared snacks by feeding them to other little boys and smiled until she realized someone was trying to "gather eveidence", I mean pictures.

I've never taken MC to a playgraound area and seen her play in a bounce house. And I've never seen her hold anyone's hand but mine or her dad's so the news struck me as funny and strange. I hated to miss today and if I'd been 100% would have been there witnessing these new developments and joys firsthand.

But maybe we both needed some space today. Maybe she showed a new side to her personality that she wouldn't have displayed under my watchful eye. I don't know, but I am sad I missed seeing her so happy.

A few people have told me MC is going to be a heartbreaker and of course I laugh and smile....but she's only 17 months so if she's already picking cute boys out, taking them by the hand and dragging them around well I think we may be in a world of trouble. So ladies, when you see MC smiling at your little boy, you might want to warn him, she wants to be the boss and he's not the first one to be dragged around the playground.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Remembering Mom

Well today is an anniversary, not the kind of anniversary you celebrate with a nice dinner and expensive bottle of wine but the kind you remember quietly. Four years ago today on the first day of Spring in Columbia, SC my Mom finally lost her numerous and final battle with cancer and passed away.

She was only 60 years old. And I'm not sure that on the day we lost her I realized the magnitude of what had been lost. I don't know that I was aware I lost my mentor, my teacher, my best friend, my advocate, hero, etc.

We were one of the lucky ones in so many ways. My brother and I had watched Mom battle cancer two other times and walk away with some battle scars but also as a a stronger person. And we were also given time to process and plan things. We knew Mom was dying and had time to try and come to grips with an impending loss. Time to discuss arrangements and purchase cemetery plots, caskets, flowers, etc. Days, weeks and months to spend by her side talking about old times, making amends, saying goodbye.

But with that time comes a price. A heavy price, the price of watching a once vibrant, healthy person transform into a vegetable. We watched her lose weight, and stop eating, we saw her suffering in pain and being ill, she was usually cognizant but in the last 3-6 days she became confused and incoherent and unable to rest peacefully. We prayed that God would give her peace, we knew she was tired and so were we but we also wanted her to stay.

Looking back there are things we would have done differently and things that we wouldn't have changed. I wish I'd known then that I'd become a different person. If I'd just realized my priorities had changed and that chasing my career was now secondary and finding the right man and starting a family was my new pursuit, I could have shared this revelation with my mom and probably made her extremely happy.

Neither Brian nor I knew what to expect with the loss of a parent. We didn't realize that the entire world changed. Initially you don't notice the basics, the weather, colors, the way food tastes or what day it is, you run on some stripped down version of autopilot and go through the motions.

While its now been four years since Mom left I still miss her terribly. Sometime I'm a little angry because I feel like we were robbed. I wanted Mom to be there at my wedding, I wanted to call her with the news that we were expecting our first child and ask her a million questions about what to expect. I want to call her now and find out why my tuna salad never tastes the way hers did and tell her all of the cute things that MC has done. But instead I hold the Snoopy she gave me when I was 18and leaving for college and I give it a big squeeze. I reflect on my Mom and our memories and I hope that I can have a better relationship with my children.

Mom always did the little things, she gave us "no reason gifts" when she felt like we needed a lift or just saw something she knew we'd enjoy. She'd fix us a favorite snack "just because" and deliver it to us but then exit so she wasn't infringing on our time alone or with a friend. She'd encourage me to push myself harder and always remind me that my strengths would cover my weaknesses. And she loved us no matter what.

Sometimes when she's bring that snack or give us a surprise she'd say, "Repeat after me, I have a good Mommy," and of course we'd giggle and then say "I have a good Mommy." One day I hope MC and I will be able to laugh and I'll hear her say, "I have a good Mommy."

I love you Mom. You have a beautiful granddaughter and a grandson on the way in August. I'm hoping he'll be born on the 14th so you'll share the same birthday. I'm sorry that sometimes we have to lose someone to realize exactly what we had and how very lucky we were. So enjoy the scenery and the popcorn and keep an eye on us from those luxury seats until one day we meet again!