Thursday, September 29, 2016


My grandmother died the other day.  She was 95.  She had been suffering from severe dementia for almost 4 years. It was time, but she fought until the end. Her name was Edith Darling, but I called her Nanny.

My grandmother, Nanny, was a fighter.  Her mother died when she was just 6 years old and hated carnations because on Mother’s day she had to wear a red one to signify her mother was dead. She was the only girl in a family of 4 and her younger brother was just a baby when her mother died.  Her father was a barber and they lived a very modest life especially through the depression.

Education got her places.  Graduating from Trenton High School, she went on to Trenton State and refused to call it The College of New Jersey and always told anyone that her obituary would reach Trenton State. Eventually she married a man who had more than she did.  It could have been considered social climbing, but I like to think she just aspired for more. They had a wonderful life and the 3 girls always said they were raised by Ozzy and Harriett. My mother describes her childhood as idyllic. It was that Norman Rockwell painting kind of life.

My grandfather, Pop-Pop, had his first heart attack at 50. His health was always an issue, but he was the kindest man you have ever met.  He was one of the first to undergo a bypass surgery. Then he developed a neurological disease.  He died at only 72.  I was 12 and it was winter.  I remember after finally deciding to go to the funeral, I was walking from the church sanctuary and I was crying.  My grandmother said somewhat gruffly, “Aren’t you glad you came?”  I was sure I was but also not sure I was. I will always remember that moment.

My grandmother never had another man in her life.  He was her true love.  She was utterly devoted to him in that stubborn way she had about her.  When we recommended perhaps finding a new companion in life she would scoff and wave us off.

I have come to realize Nanny was just self reliant.  For exercise, she would walk for miles and always took good care of herself.  She did yoga before it was even a thing Americans really did.  Her daughters ate wheat germ pancakes, wholesome food and everyone only had one pork chop at dinner. There was always just enough, but never too much.

Nanny was not the type of grandmother who would sneak you candy. Although she and my grandfather did walk me to Carvel as an excuse to get themselves ice cream on occasion, the indulgence of a child was against her nature.  She was not warm or snuggly like some grandmothers.  She was cold and hard and made sure I knew what was right and wrong.  Manners were everything and I needed to know what was appropriate and what was not. Everything was definitive because God spoke directly to her.

I was the oldest grandchild by 5 years and sometimes I do wonder if my experience was vastly different than my younger cousins.  Someday I may ask them or maybe not.  Everyone has their own version of people.  This happens when they are here with us and when they are gone. One thing I do know is that I am grateful to have known my Nanny.  Maybe she did take me to the Shaker museum instead of Great Adventure.  Perhaps Sunday in the Park with George was the best option for a 9 year old who only wanted to see Cats on Broadway.  It is possible that the symphony should have been my idea of fun, but alas it was not.

We did not share many common interests, but she certainly did guide our family in its traditions.  Christmas and Easter were spent at her house until she could no longer manage. My mother inherited some of her toughness and I think that passed to me.  That intellectual thirst for truth and knowledge too.  The value system she had about right and wrong.  She was more open to things then one would likely assume and never questioned me about my black boyfriend now husband.  Not once did she make me feel badly about going against the norm for love.  My waistline, manners or my choice of outfit…that was a different story, but she never once said a single bad word about Rolston.

Admittedly there was a rift between us because when I was young she called me fat and I never really forgave her for making me feel bad about myself.  I don’t even believe she knew it was there, but for me it was very real for a very long time.  Then I had my first child.  I made her a great grandmother and in the early stages of her more severe dementia she and my son met for the first time.  It was magical.

Nanny adored Brenton and Brenton adored his Nanny.  He would sit on her lap and touch her face and giggle.  She would snuggle him and he would snuggle her. Hugs and kisses were standard and he would tell her, “I love you Nanny.” They had such a bond. It brought all of us such joy to know that even though she didn’t know any of us this small little being that was a part of all of us, simply made her happy.

So when my mother called and told me Nanny was dying, I asked if she wanted me to go and be with her.  You see we are the only local family left.  My mother and her sisters have all left.  My cousins have all left.  All of her brothers have died.  It is just me. So I went.

I drove too fast, but I couldn’t help it.  I didn’t want her to die alone.  If I could make it I would do my very best to get there and I did get there.

Unexpectedly, the tears came as I greeted the hospice nurse.  The nurse walked me to her room and she was so small and still.  I walked to her leaned down and whispered to her, Sally and Linda are on their way.  I did not immediately notice the chaplain was there and he sat with me for a while.  He told me about how she enjoyed listening to him play the harp and I smiled and nodded. Then he left and Nanny and I were alone.

The classical music was the same song on repeat and I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and put a classical station on my phone.  My cousin posted some pictures on Facebook from a wedding they all went to, so I talked to her about them.  I told her it was Ellen’s, my cousin’s wife, birthday.  Then a hospice volunteer came in and I was comforted.  Her name was Linda like my mother.  She knew my grandmother.  It turned out we had so many common people in our lives as well.  She worked at the school I went to and lived in my town.  I was reminded how small the world can be.

Linda stayed for hours. When Arlene the hospice nurse checked Nanny she told me it wouldn’t be long.  They asked me to leave to change an reposition her to keep her comfortable.  I checked in and my mother was over 3 hours away and my aunt a little more than 1 hour out.  When they were done and I came back to the room, I decided it was time to sit in the very uncomfortable chair on the other side of the bed so I could hold Nanny’s hand.  I smoothed her hair and helped her to settle when she was agitated.  The body shutting down was not easy.  She was having trouble letting go.

I truly believe she was waiting for her daughters.  They both made it.  When I left almost 9 hours after I arrived she was still breathing.  Smoothing her hair once more, I kissed her telling her how grateful I was that she got to meet my boys.  I hugged my mother and my aunt and they told me once again how much it meant to me that I was there with her until they could be.  I told them I was happy I was able to be there and I meant it.  Before I left the room I said, “Bye Nanny, Brenton says goodbye too!”

It felt like such a long drive home. When I got home Brenton was sleeping and I gave him a kiss.  I was exhausted and I fell asleep quickly.  I knew when I woke I would have news.  In the morning, the message from my mother read “Nanny died at 4am we had classical music playing kind of loudly and I opened the window so her spirit could fly.”

Later that morning Brenton came into my room and asked if Nanny died.  I said yes sweetie she did.  He said so we can’t see her and I said no we can’t see her anymore.  He did not understand.  It’s age appropriate of course, but it is so hard to see his confusion about her death.

We took him to her home and to her room so he could see she was gone.  This closure is important for children or so I have read.  I think it was important for me too. The empty room except for the chair we were there to pick up that will stay in my office now reminding us of her. I have so many memories when I look back.  Not just holiday memories, but real true memories 39 years worth.  Some good and some not so good but they are mine and hers.  She was a true constant throughout my life.

Tomorrow we will gather as a family at the cemetery where her ashes will be laid next to my grandfather.  One of her former students who became a minister will say a few words.  Then we will leave to have lunch at the club where we all gathered so many times in celebration.  We will celebrate her long life and that her suffering has ended.  We will all talk about how much we loved her, tell stories about her and smile and laugh as we say farewell to our one and only Nanny! She will be forever in our hearts.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Snap Decisions

By nature I am more impulsive.  I think quickly, I speak quickly and I am commonly moved to act quickly.  My husband is the opposite.  He thinks things through very thoroughly.  He is more likely to take a pause before responding and swift action is not really his thing.  As you can imagine sometimes this disparity can cause tension in our marriage, but it also brings us balance.

So when I saw on our town Facebook page that there was a French exchange student in need of a host family and although it was Thursday night he would arrive Saturday, I was ready to jump at the opportunity.  I ran downstairs spouting about the boy and the program and my husband said simply after one of his pauses, “when do I need to tell you?” I said first thing in the morning.  To my surprise he did not say no but rather ok.

In my excitement I sent him all the information the chaperone sent my way. And I apologized because I knew he needed time to process, but also wanted to sway him to be quite honest. This was only for 3 weeks and I thought it would be a wonderful experience for us and for our boys.

Growing up I had exchange students.  My parents were friends with the president at Trenton State and so each year we had one or two exchange students stay with us.  It was to help them get acclimated to the US before they started their semester abroad. Usually they were British, but we had one German girl named Gabby.  I remember her the most because she made us schnitzel and had a huge mane of curly blonde hair.  She was so friendly and so tall.  I was in awe of her accent and her confidence.

When I was 13 we had an AFS exchange student for an entire year.  Her name was Nieves, but somehow in what I can only claim was some kind of cultural confusion we called her Maria.  In Spain all girls have Maria in front of the name they actually use.  But even to this day we call her Maria.  My mother recently visited her and her family in Barcelona.  She is my Spanish sister and my mother’s Spanish daughter.

The year she was with us there was another boy in the program in our town.  He was from France and his name was Richard.  Richard really enjoyed our family and spent lots of time with my mother and me.  I think somehow we reminded him of his family at home. I remember that year fondly meeting all the students Elena also from Spain, Bardour from the Faroe Islands, Simone and Marco both from Italy. It made me feel cool to be with all these older Europeans.  Walking around Princeton and running into a friend while I was with Richard made me the talk of my all girls school for quite some time.

So when I saw this plea for a host family and remembering the times I had fondly, it was clear this was a yes.  I only had to wait for Rolston to decide.  To my surprise the next morning he was still not saying no.  Instead he asked me why I wanted to do this.  Honestly aside from my experiences I thought it would be a good change in dynamic for our family.  I felt we were in a rut and this could be a way to inject some life into our stagnant routine.  He agreed!

And that was it.  We were all in.  I reached out to the chaperone and finally found out our student’s name was Paul.  Paul my husband’s birth name and Brenton’s middle name. I felt even more strongly that this was meant to be.  Paul would arrive late in the night on Saturday. So we had to have a quick background check and home visit.  All went well and we were cleared.

The adventure began with a little research, explaining to the boys that we would have an exchange student from France and that his name was Paul. We made a sparkly welcome sign for Paul.  We bought him little trinkets and some candy and treats to welcome him. We got his room ready together.  The boys were so excited and so was I. Brenton was allowed to stay up very late and come with me to welcome Paul.

When he arrived, Paul ran to me and gave me a hug.  He was smiling almost beaming.  Brenton was jittery with excitement and kept jumping up and down waving the sign saying hi over and over again. It was a wonderful hello.

On our drive home, I asked him about his flight and we got acquainted.  He was pleased to know my father would be arriving later in the week because he enjoys playing golf.  When he got settled with our wifi passcode so he could reach his parents, he offered us gifts from France. I received a beautiful Hermes scarf and Rolston got a lovely tie.  I couldn’t help myself.  I was so excited I gave him a kiss on the cheek not just for the gift, but for already being the breath of fresh air I was hoping for.

The next morning he slept in a bit and then it was off to church.  Brenton and I lit a candle of joy and introduced Paul to the community. We took him to our favorite diner where he had a burger and fries. Then we learned he wanted to watch the France and Portugal final match that day.  He was on pins and needles waiting.  He met Monica and her family and while we swam he watched the match with Rolston.  Sadly France lost, but he smiled and said now I swim to wash it away. We made summer chicken and corn on the cob with sautéed zucchini which is harder to explain then I thought and now know is corgette in French. He helped Rolston with the dishes while I put the boys to bed. A wonderful first day!

Monday was relaxing and restful for all the boys and then we went to a BBQ to meet the other students and their host families.  People asked us what made us decide to do it so last minute.  To a smiling nodding crowd I explained my history with exchange students and the fact that Rolston was the pragmatic one and had the final word.  I also shared that the other night after the soccer match that Rolston had leaned over and said, “Is it weird that I really like having Paul here? I mean he is fun and can do so much for himself” Everybody laughed saying they remembered the days of having very young children and we ate and talked while the kids played.

As usual Emerson hung back with Rolston and me, but Paul got Brenton right in the pool where he made friends with the boys and flirted with the girls.  Brenton is smitten with one of the students named Emma.  He insisted on saying goodbye and gave her a hug and a smooch on the cheek. We said our goodbyes and bribed Brenton with sweets to get him out the door without a meltdown.

Paul went with the other students to Philadelphia yesterday for their first outing.  He had a wonderful time.  When he came home he ran to get his bathing suit on and then did a dramatic dive into the pool. He popped up with a big smile and said, “Today was really great.” I smiled and told him I was so glad. He threw the football with Rolston in the pool and we all swam around. I got out to make dinner and Paul and the boys played soccer while Rolston sat and cheered for them. I watched at the window  while the noodles cooked and thought how very happy I was to have Paul in our lives after only a few short days.

He is charming and witty.  He is not complicated. He is helpful. He is also very honest. When we asked about his family he told us his grandparents on one side live far away and said they are like Don’t call us we will call you.  I thought at 16 what an understanding of the world he has.  He usually cooks dinner for himself except on the weekends.  The level of maturity is clear, but he also says things like “Dab is life” which remind me he is still a teenager.

Today he is off to Wal-Mart to buy shorts for his outing with the group tomorrow. Then a quick trip to Aldi and off to Bounce U with Rolston and Emerson.  What is more American than a warehouse full of bounce houses and inflatable obstacle courses to jump on!?!?  Tonight we may play mini golf or that might wait because the weather seems a bit dicey. 

Tomorrow my parents arrive so we will have a lot going on and it will be tons of fun. We already warned Paul that my mother will ask him thousands of questions and my father will slightly yell when he thinks Paul doesn’t quite follow what he is saying.  We will see how it goes with a few more people in the house, but I am optimistic the good times will continue.

It is only a few days into his three week stay, but one thing is incredibly clear….Paul is wonderful. We are all a little bit better with Paul around. The universe sent us exactly what we needed when we needed it.  I can only hope he feels similarly about us as his replacement host family. We are so lucky we decided to say yes because it is clearly one of the best snap decisions we have ever made!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Our Third

Since I became a mother the first time, I knew I wanted to have more children.  Brenton was first and then Emerson.  Now we are seeking our third.

Rolston likes to say we are trying for the girl.  I cannot lie.  I would adore having a girl in this testosterone filled house.  Boys are also phenomenal.  Their energy and constant motion keep me engaged and exhaust me at the same time.  I feel a pull to dream of tutus and graphic floral print dresses and of using the name we picked over five years ago when we only dreamt of what parenthood would bring.

As the time ticks by though all I want is a healthy baby.  I want to be pregnant again and bring a healthy child into the world to love and treasure.  Feeling the pull to do something once more that I absolutely adored and never thought I would enjoy so much. Pregnancy was bliss even when it wasn’t.  Feeling life inside my body brought a peace I do not experience except in that state.

Sure the sleepless night are incredibly difficult and the newborn phase turns into the crazy toddler phase and the terrible twos and then the why phase and the teething and the diapers and the feeling like it will never end and then it ends and something new is coming at you like a freight train. It is constantly changing and watching small people grow bigger is a true wonder.  I adore nursing my babies.  The bond is unbreakable and I yearn to feel that connection and rush again.  The moment of the first bubbling cries and the warm tiny body snuggling into mine.

So it doesn’t truly matter if my last baby is a boy or a girl.  The little humans are never the same no matter what the sex, so it will be a new roller coaster. Brenton and Emerson are opposites, so I wonder what the third will bring to our family.  Will it be balance?  Will it be more crazy energy?  Will it be something completely unexpected and new?  I want to know the answer.

Wanting a baby is difficult at times.  Waiting for the line to appear on the ovulation test.  Waiting for the line on the pregnancy test.  Wanting and waiting, waiting and wanting and over and over again for the past 6 months has been enough to fill me with hope and anxiety all at once.  The hope outweighs the anxiety and so we keep trying.

A few times my mother has asked, “Could you be pregnant?” Sometimes the answer is maybe and other times it is no.  She will certainly be one of the first to know, but she can’t stop herself from asking any more than I can stop myself from being disappointed that I can’t say yes. I want to say yes.  I want to stare at the two lines.  The two beautiful pink lines that confirm all my hopes and wishes are coming true.  The lines that say our family is becoming complete and the minivan we bought will serve its true purpose. That I can decorate the last nursery, reuse some of the clothes I have packed away and feel the deepest love I never thought I would be able to feel for another human being one more time.

So bring on the morning sickness and the sciatica and the crazy cravings.  The blood draws, the syrupy sweet awfulness of the sugar test, the endless doctors visits and the waiting in that last month that seems to never end.  Bring on the list of atrocities that lead up to the c section in the cold sterile operating room even including the staples and the long recovery. Give me the first two weeks of nursing and the gel pads and all that comes with it including the pump.

I want it all, the good with the not so good.  I want one more to complete us one more to love with all my heart.  The kind of love that makes you feel like your heart might actually burst.  The kind you never knew was possible and that you didn’t know you wanted until it washed over you and brought you into the world along with the baby. The love that wakes you up.

So I shout it out into the universe.  I WANT TO BE PREGNANT!  I WANT A HEALTHY BABY!  I WANT OUR THIRD!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Away For Work

He is two. I am away for work. I feel immense guilt.

Ordinarily I don't do guilt. It's not productive. I am action oriented. If something feels bad I stop doing it. It's a life lesson I learned when I got  emotionally healthy.

I make plenty of mistakes. I acknowledge them and try to do things differently. In this case, I didn't make a mistake. It was simply a coincidence that the primary project for this year for our division was in the test phase and my wee boy's birthday fell right in the middle of the week.

I knew. I knew there was nothing that I could do the moment I looked at the calendar when I found out three months ago. My heart sank. I would not be there. I felt the guilt then. I feel it more today.

Every year when my boys have a birthday I snuggle them to sleep telling them the story of their birth. I quietly whisper in their ears each moment and how my heart filled up with love when I heard the first bubbly first cries. The experiences were different but that moment was the same with both boys. An explosion of love and emotion was overwhelming and awesomely powerful.

My mother told me the story of my birth each year as well. I still recall the story with a smile. The small intimate details that I appreciated with a deeper understanding once I became a mother are so close to my heart.

So now I am whispering his birth story to him even though he cannot hear me. I hope my words reach him. Not to ease my guilt, but because my love for him is so deep.

His story of how he entered this world is his own. It is his and mine and only we share it. He was born from my body. I was his home. I can only hope he still thinks of me this way even as he grows up.

Emerson I love you. You are forceful and quiet. You are full of energy and bring me peace. A smile that warms a room and everyone in it. You are angry and happy. A paradox. A yin and yang in one body. You bring balance to us all. I am so grateful for you.

So many people love you. I love you, your father and your brother love you. Gigi and Poppie love you. They are there with you when I cannot be. Singing to you. Holding you when I can only dream of it.

We will celebrate when I return. Not just with party hats, noise makers, cake and pizza but with your story. The story of how we planned for you. How much we wanted you and when you arrived how much I cherish you.

I will whisper it all in your ear when I get back. You will smile sleepily at me with your paci in your mouth and rub your eyes knowing how much I love you and how much joy you have brought to my life. Holding you my little two-fer no longer my little oner.

Time does go to quickly, but this week I hope it does because each minute that passes I am closer to being back with you. Still my heart is with you today and every day no matter how close no matter how far. Even when I am away for work. Across miles, across states, across oceans. No matter what.

Happy birthday wee one. Happy birthday to my beautiful boy! Two...Two!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2016


In the new year I set some intentions for myself. I am not the resolution type but I am goal oriented. Usually my goals are career focused, but this time I set some expectations for myself on a personal note.

I would build a framily. This is my new word. Friends who become family.

Our family has been redefined. Family by blood and adoption has fallen away through death and struggle and deep rifts. I needed a group of people that were there for me and for us especially since our lives have been in some form of crisis for years.

Freely I gave of my spirit. I opened myself up to people. Not just in my overly social way of my youth but truly welcoming people into my heart and into our home.

At church we became friendly with the twins moms Jen and Laura. Holly and Ray were in my fellowship group where already we knew each other in a way that went deep. Stephanie came to drive Rolston and Emerson and we all became fast friends. Leah was Ava's mom from school but also attended church. Libby was my fellowship group leader. Cheryl was our mentor. So many people to share with and to grow together in love in large and small ways.

Then there are old new friends who welcomed us into their family events when we moved closer to them. It filled a void left by the death of Rolston's parents. Caring for our children like their own. Inviting me into the kitchen to help with the meals. Embracing us in every way.

Gathering with families who have children also struggling with speech. It's a bond we share. Not having to ask questions or make excuses and just knowing we are doing the best we can and that some days are so frustrating and isolating. Nothing a little lasagna, salad, garlic bread and wine can't handle.

My framily has grown exponentially. I suddenly felt a deep sense of comfort knowing that our children would grow up together. It's how I have felt with Monica for many years. She will always be the sister I never had and the godmother to our children.

Maintaining old longstanding deeply meaningful friendships with Andy, Akbar, Zakiyyah and Allison and Adam while rekindling others that have waned. It's all been a journey of self discovery. I learned what I value and what I don't. What really matters and what does not.

Letting go of family was difficult because it was emotional and lonely at first. In that void I have found enrichment I never expected. Pain carves out the spaces where joy can enter. A therapist told me that once. There is so much truth in it.

Now my life is so full. My husband and my sons already bring me so much happiness. My parents are forever loving and supportive. My ever expanding framily. My incredible circle of diverse, wonderful, amazing and crazy friends surround me always.

If I were to tell my children anything it would be to open your heart and focus on people you love because when you do truly special things can happen. It is sometimes so hard to believe this phenomenal experience I am having now was all set in motion by a simple intention. 

Another Seizure

On Monday, November 2, 2015 we drove 9 hours to Charlotte, NC. It was a very long day. I was preparing for a big event for work. I was anxious but we settled in at the hotel and the boys were playing. I poured myself a glass of wine and logged on to my computer to check on any last minute updates.

Then I looked over at my husband standing next to the bed with a strange expression on his face. I knew instantly. He was having another seizure. I called his name twice and said aloud, "Oh my god you are having a seizure." That was when he grimaced baring his teeth and his left arm began to shake. I went to him and placed him on the ground rolling him onto his right side. Blood dripped from his mouth as his body convulsed. His left arm up by his ear.

I was unprepared but prepared. I have done this before but never when I was away from home with my children in a hotel room. Brenton asked of daddy was ok I said yes he is having a seizure. Emerson came over to see what was happening. I moved him back and picked up the phone.

I said simply when the front desk answered that my husband was having a seizure and I needed an ambulance. Just as he was coming to the hotel staff knocked on the door. Rolston was very combative. I tried to have him sit and rest and he was irrational and angry and in pain. I heard a woman on a walkie talkie say that they needed them to hurry because I could not handle him alone. They took the boys from the room.

Once the medics arrived Rolston was coming around and he was in agony. It was his shoulder. He was sweating and the pain was so bad he could not sit still. The medics could not give him anything for the pain. It was clear we needed to go to the hospital.

My mother was in Spain. I called my father. I said Rolston had another seizure. He asked if I needed him to come and I simply said yes. That was all I could muster. He said he would be there as soon as he could.

The ambulance is not equipped to take more than one person. Quickly I called for the car and began throwing food and toys and diapers into a bag. We would follow the ambulance to CMC the trauma hospital.

In the pouring rain, I pulled my scared children out of their carseats and walked to the waiting room. They were not equipped for people from out of town with children. We were not allowed back to see him.

I contacted my lifeline, Katy a long time colleague and friend, who lived in Charlotte. She was there in minutes bringing toys and snacks and calmly sat with my boys so I could go to Rolston.

Behind another curtain in another city I found him. This time not so much himself because of the pain from his shoulder. I helped him get a bit more comfortable while we waited for the doctor.

After what seemed like hours the doctor told us the shoulder injury was severe. Very severe. We would need ortho to tell us if surgery was needed. Hours later after tears and anger and confusion and anxiety. Surgery was the only option.

It was after midnight when I finally got the boys back to the hotel bleary eyed and exhausted. I looked at my still full glass of wine and asked myself why this was happening. Before I could even contemplate drinking the glass or the bottle my sweet Brenton asked if Daddy was alright. I simply said yes and told him it was time for bed. We were all restless but managed to finally go to sleep.

In the morning, Rolston called to say he was headed to surgery. I took the boys to breakfast and my father arrived. He was exactly what I needed. The boys were thrilled to see him and I was too.

The next few days were a blur of hotel and hospital. Rolston came through surgery so well. The fears I had melted away. He was in a wonderful hospital. The doctors were great. He was now on anti seizure meds. Everyone at home and at work was pulling for us. We were surrounded by loving support.

On our final day in Charlotte before heading home we actually had the family day we planned. Rolston on his pain meds and in his sling he had his beard trimmed. Brenton had his hair cut and Emerson had his very first haircut. We made it to lunch and Imagine On.

Out of some terrible times we made a wonderful memory watching our sweet boy in his barber chair booster with his paci in his mouth. He was better than good. Calm as could be with the clipper after a rough week. He was inspiring without realizing. Resilient.

This time I vowed it would be better. I would not let this rule my life. Of course there would be an adjustment but it would not control us. We would be ok.

The drive home was rough. It was pouring rain with no visibility at times Brenton threw up and had an accident. Rolston was unable to help but he was miraculously alright and not in any pain.

After 10 hours we made it. We made it! Safe and sound. We were home to face our new normal after another seizure.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dancing and Singing

Certainly children have their moments where they can drive their parents absolutely crazy, but for certain there are two ways to stop the world and make those same frustrated parents stop in their track and smile.  It’s when those same children who have just torn up the house or who have hit their sibling with a block or wet their pants inches from the potty start dancing and singing.  When all else fails in our house and we have all had enough we put on the music and dance it out.  Nothing warms my heart more than to see my toddler drop it like it’s hot.

Right now Emerson’s favorite song is Thunderstruck by AC/DC.  In the car I put it on repeat and watch him as he just jams.  It started innocently when I heard it on Planes Fire and Rescue and decided to add it to my playlist for my workouts.  Bam it was like dance mania for Emerson.  He puts his whole body into it.  If he is in his car seat he uses his feet to push against the seat and bounce.  Then he shakes his head and moves his arms.  If I wasn’t driving I would capture it on video.  Sometimes at red lights I just stare at him and smile as I give it a good effort and car dance along with him.  Sometimes I play the air drums. His second favorite is Baba O’Reilly.

Brenton started singing recently.  His favorite is “Happy Birthday” or anything he has seen on Umizoomi including the theme song.  There is nothing like the sweet sound of my speech delayed song singing happy birthday to me in tune with all the words.  I didn’t even mind when he blew out all my candles.  He can use my birthday wish any time because in truth as mothers we spend those on them anyway.

Night time is my favorite time.  Usually during dinner prep we have spontaneous dance parties.  Brenton will just hit the button and we all break out and move.  We laugh at Emerson who likes to wiggle the most.  Then we all try to mimic him and he think that is hilarious and just giggles that happy toddler giggle. Then he will take all the crackers out of the cabinet and throw them around…or the Tupperware or really whatever he can get his hand on.  Then he says uh oh.  It’s not an uh oh when you do it on purpose, but he will learn that soon enough.

The other great thing about night time is story time and lullabies.  Singing a song my mother sang to me, singing a song I love and singing a song they love I lure them into dreamland.  We start with Twinkle Twinkle little star.  The song they love.  Then I sing Danny Boy replacing their names with Danny’s.  The song I love.  Finally rounding out the set with “For Baby”.  The song my mother sang to me.

I'll walk in the rain by your side

I'll cling to the warmth of your tiny hand

I'll do anything to help you understand

I'll love you more than anybody can

And the wind will whisper your name to me

Little birds will sing along in time

The leaves will bow down when you walk by

And morning bells will chime

I'll be there when you're feeling down

To kiss away the tears if you cry

I'll share with you all the happiness I've found

A reflection of the love in your eyes

And I'll sing you the songs of the rainbow

Whisper all the joy that is mine

The leaves will bow down when you walk by

And morning bells will chime

I'll walk in the rain by your side

I'll cling to the warmth of your tiny hand

I'll do anything to help you understand

I'll love you more than anybody can

The leaves will bow down when you walk by

And morning bells will chime

I hold the hope they will carry this on and sing it to their children someday.  As I listen to Brenton hum the tune as I sing to him, I remember the first time I cradled him in my arms and sang the words.  Crying as I sang thinking about the words and how much I meant them. I still mean them each time I sing to them.

The power of music is it tells the story of our lives.  I remember the songs throughout my life marking moments in time. Hearing the songs later snaps me back to that exact time.  I can hear the sounds smell the smells and feel the emotions. Watching my children sing and dance I know in the shared moments we will mark time in movement, lyrics, melody and harmony capturing moments while we keep singing and dancing.