Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rainbows in the Sky

This is for the rainbows in the sky.

They often leave us too early, but when they do, the impact is known immediately like shock waves from an earthquake.

It's the rainbows with the contagious smiles and laughs and personalities that light up the room. The ones who make you feel at home the minute you meet them.

This one is for the rainbows in the sky.

There is never enough time with the rainbows in the sky. It's almost like they knew their time on earth was short so they packed their days full with life and love and happiness.

It's like they knew they would have to go too soon so they gave us every ounce of themselves until God decided it was time.

The Rainbows.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Watching you as a Father

I push the door open and peer in. I see the shadow of the chair moving slowly. I know you're holding him. I know you're rocking him to sleep. I know he is completely relaxed in your arms.

In his eyes there is no one in this world as amazing as Daddy. No one. Not Handy Manny. Not Grandpa. Not Spiderman, Superman, Batman or any other Man. In his eyes, Daddy is the greatest human to ever exist. In his eyes, you are a hero.

And I can see why.

I can see why he is comforted when you hold him. I can see why he lights up the minute you walk in the door. I can see why all of these things because I...

I feel the exact same way.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Little Secret

Just 10 days shy of Christmas, it's an important message.

Happiness isn't things.

The faster you can come to this realization, the more fulfilled your life will become.

Happiness isn't things. It never has been and it never will be. Things create clutter. They create a desire for more things and one day you'll be sitting in a house full of things and you'll realize they never made you happy.

Because, my dear sweet boy who plays with tupperware and small pieces of paper and trash. You are wise beyond your years to know that sometimes the box is more exciting than the thing inside.

Happiness is boxes and climbing into them and hiding under them. It's taking a walk with your grandpa. It's sitting on the ocean as the breeze wraps around you.

It's seeing a new place for the very first time. It's trying a new food you never thought you'd try.

It's hearing your favorite band live in a tiny venue in a tiny town.

It's sitting on the couch curled up in a blanket your Great Grandma spent 2 months making for you with her hands that are plagued by arthritis.

It's experiences and experience.

It's painting in the basement and walking in the paint and leaving tiny footprints everywhere. It's building lego towers and counting planes in the backyard. It's the way you feel the very first time you realize you love someone.

It's the way I feel when you say "I love you."

Happiness isn't things. You'll discover this for yourself one day. And when Christmas rolls around that year and people ask you want you want, you'll smile because you already have every thing you ever needed.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Just a Boy and His Mom

This is one of those rare nights. You sit in the rocker one hand tucked under my armpit, the other pressed firmly to your chest. I rub and pat your back just like my mom used to do. I can almost feel her doing it in a wooden rocker. I'm sure it wasn't comfortable. She didn't care. Your breathing is steady which screams good health to my active brain. You’ve been a little steadier since October 9 when they wheeled you in for tube surgery. That was a good decision.

It can wait. I tell myself. The pile of laundry that continues to grow halfway to the ceiling, the dishes that need washed, the dogs that need let out, the dog hair that needs swept, the kitchen that needs scrubbed, the TV shows that need watched. It can all wait because here we sit with only the light of the moon rocking. You are in a deep slumber now. I’m wide awake thinking about how good it feels to have you asleep in my arms. I’m wide awake thinking about what a miraculous creation you are. Half of me. Half of your dad.

You are miraculous. And to think, tomorrow you will wake up and squeal when I walk in the door.

And here I thought I’d never be a morning person.

Here we sit. Just a boy and his mom rocking.

Just a boy and his mom.    

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Love on Thanksgiving

Tonight on the eve of Thanksgiving shortly after you peed on me you looked up at me unsolicited and said:

"I love you."

You continued splashing and kicking and playing in the water while I tried to quickly regain my breath.   I couldn't find the words to say it back. I was too shocked and dumbfounded to respond.

"I love you too."

I remember a client telling me...

"Just wait until he looks at you and says he loves you. That'll be the great day."

It's hard to believe this time last year you were only 8 months old and now you can express one of the greatest best most amazing emotions you will experience in life.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Toddlers in Winter-Top 5 Freeish Indy Fun

Winter with a toddler is hard. No long walks or backyards. We are on a quest to find free fun in Indy.

Here is our current top 5 mainly because Jack lights up the minute we set foot in these places:

#1-THE CHILDREN'S MUSEUM 10a-11a on Saturdays OR 3p-5p during weekdays. This place is Indy's version of Disneyland. I still remember the first time I pulled up an attendant greeted me. WHAT? An attendant to greet me? This place must be special. And it was. This place is a dream for kids and adults. Buy a membership. It will feel free.
#2-CASTLETON SQUARE MALL 9a-10a SATURDAYS or 10a-11a Sundays. The hour before the mall stores opens is fascinating. The mall walkers are out in full force along with other moms who have discovered this best kept secret. There is a large play area in the food court and if you are joined by good parents who discipline their children, you're in for a treat here. There is also a train, Christmas lights, everything a toddler could dream of.
#3-GROUNDS AT ART MUSEUM. If you happen to catch a decent weather day, the grounds at the art museum are always breathtaking. Always. I'd imagine they are also stunning on snowy days. I haven't been brave enough to take a toddler inside the IMA. If you have, I'd love to hear how it went.

#4-THE BASEMENT. This is creepy, I know, but I have transformed our basement into a semi-toddler proof playground. Some of my fondest memories growing up were spent in the basement on roller skates and skateboards.  Kids aren't like us. They just want toys and sometimes they don't even need those. They don't care about the cement floors or cinder block walls. I have to remind myself of this constantly.
#5-TARGET. Every woman and toddler loves a Saturday morning run to Target. The shopping carts feel cleaner, the lights are brighter and there is food available if toddler gets cranky. Perfection.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

This Day Exists

I wish I didn't have to tell you this. I wish I could protect you from this reality. I wish I could take all of your future pains and hurts and erase them before they even happen, but that isn't real life. That isn't reality.

Life isn't perfect.

And the day you start striving for perfection, you begin failing. It will never come...perfection. You may get close, but we can't control what tomorrow brings. We can control our reaction (sometimes). And sometimes we can't even control that.

Because it's life. It throws us curveballs. It throws us pain. It throws us hurt. And the only person you can control, my dear son, is yourself.

So on those days that feel they may never end...on the hard ones where you may learn of ill relatives or hurting friends or heartbreak, remember...this day exists to make you appreciate the next one.

Remember that, my son.

This day exists to make you appreciate the next one. Ok?

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Sun and the Rain and the Appleseed

Every so often the sun hits our front yard so perfectly it stops me dead in my tracks. It doesn't last long, but it lasts long enough to make me think of you on our long walks as the son rose over miles and miles of cornfield. I was so mad at you for dragging me out of bed, but so glad you did it.

The sun makes me think of you. The morning you died I shot out of bed at 6 am and the sun was blinding me through a window. We never kept those curtains open...never. That room was always cold in dark, but that morning you said goodbye. There isn't a doubt in my mind it was you descending.

When I'm gathered around the table with family after a blessing, I think of the way you would billow out

"Oh, the Lord's been good to me and so I thank the Lord for giving me the things I need, the sun and the rain and the appleseed Oh the Lord's been good to me. Amen, Amen, Amen I say Amen."

People dropped their forks as your voice rumbled through the dining room. Gram would smile coyly as if it was the very first time you had done that. She loved the way you surprised her. You were always surprising her. Always. I joined you every time shouting at the top of my lungs. You smiled across the table at me like we were the only two people in the room. Just a Grandpa and his Granddaughter.

Sometimes I look at Jack and I wish he could meet you. I wish you could take long walks with him pointing out the beauty of the world, but that's not why I'm writing. Your wife...the one you adored...the one who made you light up. She needs you right now. She is doing fine in the physical sense, but she is hurting on the inside. So perhaps you could pay her a visit tomorrow as the sun rises?

Perhaps you could sing her your song:

"Oh, the Lord's been good to me and so I thank the Lord for giving me the things I need, the sun and the rain and the appleseed Oh the Lord's been good to me. Amen, Amen, Amen I say Amen."

Sunday, November 10, 2013

These are the Days

These are the days you dream about.

Wake up. Play in the backyard pointing and screaming every time a plane passes over head. First one to spot it wins an unstated prize. Take a long cool walk passing retired pumpkins rotting curbside. Get a warm drink. Stroll home slowly staring at the way the leaves fade from orange to red to green to brown to ground. Meet a nice woman and her dog.

Lunch as a family. Nap as a family. Wake up and play. Eat. Play some more. Laugh and laugh and laugh until your stomach hurts and you don't quite remember why you're laughing anymore.

These are the days you dream about.

These are the days made for dreamers.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Mr Myles and His City Adventure

Tonight my oldest and most loyal friend of 10 years ran away from home. I felt a range of emotions...panic, sadness, fear. What if someone hit him? What if he couldn't hear a stranger snatching him from behind to take him far away to a dog fighting ring?

What if he just kept running like the 4th of July when he heard a firework and slipped out of his collar and just kept running and running and running? What if he tries to run home to his old house because he forgot we moved? What if he tries to run home to Fort Wayne because he forgot I moved seven years ago? What if he tries to run to Connecticut where I adopted him? What if?

What if he finds a family he likes better? What if Jack wakes up tomorrow and his "Myu" is gone? My brain went to a variety of dark places imagining life without my Myles...life without the dog who broke a gate down once to get to me because he heard me crying. What would life be like without Jack's Myu?

I'm an average dog owner. I don't celebrate their birthdays or dress them up or paint their nails. I don't buy them special toys or dog treats every Tuesday. I'm not that good of a dog owner, but tonight I got a glimpse of life without my Myles and I didn't like it one bit.

Thanks for coming home, Myles. I promise I'll be better.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

No, I'm a better MOM

Lately I've been reading a lot of Mom debates.

  • Breastfeeding vs Bottle
  • Skinny Mom vs Chubby Mom
  • Working Mom vs Stay at Home Mom
  • In Home Daycare Mom versus School Mom 
  • Helicopter Mom vs Hippy Mom
  • Trendy Mom vs Goodwill Mom
My head is spinning. I'm trying to determine where I fit in as a breastfeeding bottle feeding some months skinny some months chubby working in home daycare helicopter hippy Goodwill Mom. I'm really sad I don't have a home. 

I think if we all just take a minute to take a deep breath and celebrate every breastbottleskinnychubbyworkingstayathomeinhomedaycareschoolhelicopterhippytrendygoodwillmom,we'd be a lot better off. 

What's your excuse? 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

This too SHALL pass...and if it doesn't, PASS it.

Today I exchanged a conversation with another parent about our babies being in NICU. It brought a flood of emotions.
The day Jack was born my mind was blown and I was instantly terrified. For a moment I wanted to ask the doctor to put him back in there where he was safe from harm. No woman thinks like this I'm certain. Most women want that baby OUT by the time that day rolls around. I wanted him back IN.
I liked him in there all safe and sound and cozy. I liked being the person solely responsible for protecting him. When the nurse came to me to tell me his breathing was distressed and she needed to take him, I wanted him back in there IMMEDIATELY. I studied his face. What if...what if they got him mixed up with another baby? What if they didn't take care of him like I would take care of him? What if he needed me? He needs me. I have all of this on video, but I'm still to afraid to watch it. I'm afraid of what it will do to me to relive that experience of the most beautiful experience in life turning so ugly.
"I'm HIS mother. I'm HIS mother," I felt like screaming.

I laid helpless on the bed while they wheeled my 5-minute-old child away. The only moment I remember feeling that scared was when they wheeled my mom into surgery. I wouldn't relive that experience either.

I was terrified, but I didn't want anyone else to know. I was so scared in that moment. I just wanted someone to punch me out so I could recover and get to my baby. Suddenly every moment that lead up to that moment felt wrong. Life was at a standstill.

Eventually I recovered and I got to him and he was fine and just as beautiful as I remembered and all of those terrible emotions I felt in that terrible moment melted away and we made it together as a family. We somehow made it through those first four days in NICU together and we went home and today...

Today Jack is 19 months and happy and healthy and incredible and everything a mother would wish for her son. Today he still holds my entire heart in his tiny hand just like he did the very first time I realized he was growing inside me.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

5 Years

It was a the middle of the night. You never want your phone to ring like that in the middle of the night. I didn't want to answer it because I knew who was on the other line. I knew. Maybe if I didn't answer it would all go away.

5 years ago tonight we lost you.

So much has changed since then.

Your son got married. He did. He stood at the front of the room surrounded by so many people you loved and he got married. Your absence that night was hard, but your presence was felt. He had a baby too. Can you believe it? Your son had a baby, a baby boy. You would be so proud of him if you were here today. You would. We have created a really happy life together. If only you saw your daughter now. She is the happiest she's ever been. It would make you really happy. All of your children are happy. They are wonderful people.

Your grandson's name is Jack. He's nearly 19 months and every so often I swear he points up at you and smiles. Every so often I swear you're with us. I can almost feel you in his room sometimes.

5 years ago we lost you. I know you were ready. I know the pain you felt outweighed the joy. I know you tried the best you could to hold on for your family, for your son, but he forgives you. I know the pain you felt leaving so early.

I understand the love you had for him. That conversation we had in the car, I get it now. I promise I'll take care of him and I promise I'll take care of your Grandson. You never got to meet him, but he will know you. I promise.  

Sunday, October 13, 2013

On Our Walk

Today we took a long walk in the crispest fall air. The leaves fell slowly from the trees. I tried to capture it on video, but nothing captures the true beauty not even the newest HD video. We walked with no real agenda except to pick up the Sunday paper and maybe a cup of expensive corporate coffee.

We walked and you babbled on incorporating your favorite songs with chatter with an occasional spotting of a plane. You love planes. We walked. You talked. I breathed in the fresh October air. Inhaling and exhaling and thanking God for this morning with you...thanking God for you.

You screamed "Mommy" and I kneeled down to talk to you. You pointed at trees and leaves and other things I didn't quite understand.

We got that $2 paper and that expensive cup of corporate coffee and we sat outside next to the canal watching the river flow toward some unknown destination. This. Is. It. Make time for walks. It is here where you will learn the beauty of the world. It is here where you will learn to slow down, to view the world with your eyes open.

You can always take the world in with the same level of curiosity you had today as a 1.5 year old. Always.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tubes and An Angry Lung

Jack got tubes this morning. We had to report to the surgery at 7 am. I'm tired so this will be the short version of the day.

He wasn't allowed to eat or drink after midnight. Hungry baby=cranky baby. Cranky baby being pulled from the arms of his parents before taken into an unknown room to be put under by some people he doesn't know=really crank baby.

I could hear him screaming from the waiting room. Not my favorite moment of the day.

Surgery was fast. Before I could finish a cup of coffee we were in the consultation room with the doctor. Tubes went great, but the scope showed evidence of an angry lung.

After a few more minutes in the consultation room the nurse came to get us. I could hear a baby screaming once again, but this time it was followed by a deep seal-like cough. GREAT.

I took him in my arms. His eyes were still closed and he was very disoriented. I know this is common, I know this has happened 1,000,000 times before, but it didn't make it any easier staring down at my confused child with his eyes closed screaming and coughing like a seal. Nope, didn't make it any easier.

The nurse told me 50 things, but I didn't hear any of them. I. Just. Wanted. Out. Pretty sure they wanted us out too. No one wants to head into surgery after a screaming baby comes out. No one. They took us out the back door.

I felt calm as soon as we got in the car. Jack was still confused and visibly upset. As soon as I got him home I tried to feed him. He wasn't interested. He took an hour nap, woke up, ate, took a two hour nap, woke up and took another two hour nap. When he finally woke up from that nap he had a fever of 101.4. Of course I freaked out and gave him motrin which brought him back to....JACK. By 4 pm he finally seemed normal again. We took an hour long walk which we both needed, played, read and went down for the night. He's woke up a few times coughing. Not sure what to make of that. Can't say I'd like to do this day over again, but I'm looking forward to his ears feeling better.

Now, we need to see about that angry lung.

Monday, October 7, 2013

I'm Bored with this Debate, but I have to...

There are few things in life, you simply can't put a price on. The health of my kid is one of those things. When a doctor recommends tubes, we're going to get the tubes.

But at what cost?

This is the question I recently asked me ENT, surgery center and anesthesiologist involved in this 15 minute simple procedure.

How much is this going to cost us?

I have to give my ENT props. They had answers. After my $516.18 deductible was met, insurance would pay at 85% leaving me with a $75 doctor bill on top of the $516.18 deductible. Ok, I can manage that.

But the problem (you knew there would be one) happened when I called the surgery center who said I would owe $2,020 AFTER insurance. Ok, something isn't adding up. Is a 15 minute surgery $11,000? Say it ain't so. After a phone call to the insurance company, it became clear. The surgery center entered my deductible as $3,000.

Had we waited for the bills (like most Americans) we would have owed $2,100 versus $315 due to a clerical error.

Where does the anesthesiologist come into play with all this? I don't know...I couldn't get a name. Sad, huh?

There are few things in life, you simply can't put a price on, but you can sure as heck demand the facts especially when it applies to your child.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Letter for my Mother


Tonight as I leaned over Jack's crib and put my hand firmly on his belly, it hit me. You once did this to me. I am sure there was another level of exhaustion considering I was your third and final blood line, but I can picture you bent over my crib with your hand on my belly telling me "I love you so much."

Was it different me being a girl? Was it hard knowing I would one day grow up and be able to make my own choices and make my own way courageously through the world? Did it hurt you like it hurts me to think of the first time a kid will put Jack down...to think of the heartbreak it will cause the first time his innocence is temporarily robbed due to some kid saying something stupid? Did it cause an irreversible lump in your throat like it causes me to think of the day you would have to introduce me to the world's imperfections?

How did you explain that to me the day I came home and told you those girls on the playground wouldn't let me in their stupid club? I remember that day and I remember the way you took my hand and told me I didn't need those girls...I needed friends who loved an accepted everyone. You told me to go to recess the next day and ignore those girls with my head held high. And I did. And I found friends who loved and accepted everyone. I still have those friends.

Did it bring you to tears like it brings me to at this exact moment to think of the day I would realize the world isn't made up of brightly colored Fisher Price toys?

Here's the thing, Mom...it breaks my heart to know Jack will have to learn the ways of he world, but that day on the playground...that day was the foundation to push me through every other temporary disappointment. And you're the one who rose me above it. You're the one who pushed me out the front day the next door and gave me the courage to face my fear of failure. You're still the one.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Who You Are at 1.5

You are becoming a little boy. Every so often, you will look up at me with those puffy cheeks with tiny dimples and you'll smile at me which makes me melt into a puddle on the floor.

You like shoes.

And socks.

And hats. We ask you where your hat is before we leave the house on the weekends. You put your hands to your head and if you don't feel your hat you run around the house frantically until you find it.
You love Play doh. I don't mean love in a sorta kinda like kind of way. I mean LOVE. The minute you walk in the door you ask for "Apple" which i have determined to mean play doh in your language because the minute I get it out your eyes light up and you plop yourself on my lap giggling and screaming "Apple! Apple!" You LOVE play doh. Who am I kidding? I love it too.

You talk a lot. Sometimes we understand it. Sometimes we don't.

You sing.

And dance anytime you hear a beat.

You look up at the "moon" in the morning and shout "moon." I have learned this is something you do with your Dad when he drops you off at school. I adore that you do this. I adore he taught you this.

You love the dogs. You prefer to sit on them. Johnny likes it. Myles doesn't, but he can't hear and that's why. You scare him a little.

You love being chased. You could play this game all day which is great exercise.

You sing on walks and touch trees. I LOVE it when you do this.

You love planes. You can spot planes I don't even see. You shout "plane." I like to think you learned this the day we laid in the back yard and counted planes. I like to think I taught you about planes.

You tell people you love them on the phone and say thank you when I give you food or a bottle. I find this incredibly endearing. Tonight at Target you shrugged your shoulders and thanked the cashier. It made his day. I know it.
You slap me with an open hand. I'm not proud writing this, but I have to be honest about who you are in this present moment in time. This has subsided since I started threatening Time Outs.

You understand saying goodbye and you plant an open mouth kiss on me. It's one of my favorite moments of the day until you leave and then I feel empty and sad only for a minute.

You stare up at me every night before you roll over and doze off. You wait for me to tell me how much I love you. It's like you know it's a part of the routine. You know I need it as much as you.
You are the rainbow in my sky. Some day I'll explain to you the significance of this, but you won't understand it until you're staring at your own 1.5 year-old just like I stare at you.

The rainbow in my sky.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Where have you gone?

Tonight I rocked a nearly one-year-old to sleep. As her eyelids fluttered down, it hit me. You were here just eight short months ago. You were making the same mousey sounds while slurping your bottle down like a marathon runner at a water stop. This was you curled up in my arms kneading my hand cuddled in so tight.

This was you.

And now...you don't take a bottle. You look me in the eye and say "night, night" when you want to go down. You ask for your "ba-ba" which is just a sippy cup full of milk. You hurl it across the room when you're done (which usually results in milk splatters everywhere). You only enjoy being held when you're sick which is bittersweet for the two people who love you the most. You still need me, but you don't NEED me like you used to.

They told me this would happen. It would be gone with the blink of an eye. You would be a young man before I knew it. And they were right. You are growing like the ridiculous weed in the front yard that was nearly the size of a small tree this morning. The weed I can't seem to pull because it somehow reminds me how fast life unfolds.

This was you. This will always be you: the tiny baby who taught me the true meaning of life: humility, kindness, patience and a love so deep it hurts.

This was you.

Friday, August 9, 2013

So This is How It Feels

It hit me in the x-ray room.

Here we are with this tiny person who still doesn't have a real voice, who can't yet just say how he feels on a crappy day where all he wants is to be pulled so tightly into his mom or dad's chest.

That's the moment it hit me as you stood there in your diaper and a large machine took a picture of your chest.

That's the moment it hit me. We were going to get a glimpse of my worst fear, of the reason you were taken from me during your first days on earth. We were finally going to see your lungs. And then we would know the truth. And then all the recent restless nights and middle of the day worry sessions would finally have an answer.

Why can't you breathe like the rest of us? Why is it so hard for you? Why do you cough in the  middle of the night sending your Dad into a panic where he just can't seem to go back to sleep. Why? Why are you so tired and out of breath after one lap around the room. Why?

That's the moment it hit me. In the x-ray room. You were so good, like you had done this before. Probably because you had three times. On your first day on earth, your second day on earth and finally your third. You were an old pro at x-rays. You were a pro with being poked and prodded and pulled because that was your introduction to the world...in the NICU.

That's when it hit me. And as I sit here patiently waiting the results from the x-ray, I realize this is what it feels like to be half alive and half in a mysterious space where you know your heart is still beating, but you don't feel all the way there. Like you half believe you'll get good news, but your brain is training you to be prepared for bad news.

So this is what it feels like to be half alive waiting to find out what is wrong with your child? I don't want to stay here long.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Lemons. They have always been beautiful to me. The color. The texture. The shape. The way they smell when you cut them open. The way they wake you up.

Lemons. They're sunshine. They're bright.

Lemons. I like em.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Renovation Before&Afters

To know where you are going, you must first understand where you have been. It occurred to me, I forgot to post BEFORE pictures of the renovation.

Renovation task list (also known as the longest Honey Do list in our years of wedded bliss):
  • Gut downstairs bath
  • Gut upstairs bath 
  • Give kitchen a facelift-new appliances, backsplash, crown molding, paint, countertops 
  • Refinish kitchen floors
  • Replace carpet in sun room
  • Remove carpet on stairs and upstairs hallway
  • Refinish upstairs floors and stairs
  • Clean up basement
  • Crown molding in sun room
  • Crown molding in dining room
  • Fan in living room
  • Functional master closet
Basement Before: 

Basement After:

Stairs Before/After

Sun Room before/after:

Dining room before/after: 

Living room before/after

Downtairs bath before/after

Kitchen Before/After

Master Bedroom before/after:

Upstairs bath before/after:

Guest bedroom before/after

Jack's room before/after:

Oh, you want to see the outside too? It's not done yet, you jerk. :)