Kindergarten Blues

And it begins.

The last week has been filled with sickness (both G and me), injuries, bickering, cuddles, laughter, book reading, and school excitement. My kids may have slept in my bed the last two nights. All three of us. Plus two dogs. Hey! Last few nights before my little baby boy is a big kindergartener! So whatever. Judge away… I don’t care.

I’m in such blue mood. Maybe even… gray. (gasp!) I know… it’s not my normal. I just don’t deal well with change and I know our world is about to do just that. My first little tiny baby boy, who made me suffer through 30 hours of labor, six months of pumping because he was not a good nurser, who said his first word of ‘mama’ at 6 months old, 16 months of waiting for him to walk (he may have thought he was a dog for the first 15 months or so… since he had no friends around, just the dog. He was a really fast crawler), three years of him not wanting to share mom by having her be the teacher at preschool, three and a half years of him injuring his little sister, five and a half years of hilarious entertainment… and now he is going to go off to spend his days with other people.  Ugh.

I’ve been trying to pep talk myself back up. Look at all the beautiful posts on Facebook of the older kids going back to school and how excited they are (kindergarten starts later here, so the older kiddos started today) AND how excited the moms are. The kids get to go off with their friends and learn and play and do kid things, the parents are off drinking margaritas or coffee or whatever,  or hiking around the beautiful mountains we have as a playground here. Just think, self, in a few years you’ll feel the same way- your back to school color will be yellow, not blue…. Ugh… really more like gray.

I know if my husband was here, or even in good cell phone range so I could have a conversation with him without having to repeat every sentence three times, he would be so excited!! S is going off to big kid school. I can have alone time with my little lady every day! We can go to a movie after my morning class is over or go do girly things like pedicures (So what if I only get them every five years? That totally could be a new thing?!) or bake or… fold laundry without a sword wielding ninja to destroy my piles. The list is somewhat unlimited.

But then I think… what?! No ninja sneaking around my house all day. Nobody to set traps on all the door knobs. Or let the dogs in when they are barking like idiots and just went outside. No little man voice saying ‘You know what Mama? You’re my favorite girl!’ or ‘Can I just cuddle you Mama?’ or hearing him say the words on his favorite movies just as the characters are saying them (okay… that literally drives me crazy, but now it will be gone!!!).  Kindergarten. How did we get here already?

Alright. I’m pulling it together. It’s not like he’s moving away. He’s just going to school for the day. I’m sure he’ll be fine, right? I can attempt to be fine, right?  And G is going to love it. That’s for sure.

PS We apparently are watching Toy Story 3. How am I the only one in tears at the end of it? Not a good choice for today.

 

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Planning Your Funeral

My Gramps planned his own funeral.

I guess that’s a ‘perk’ of knowing you’re sick and the end is truly imminent.

When I was five or six I was down in Washington with my Grandparents. We used to go down there every summer for a week or two to stay with them and our cousins. It was a great bonding time and I am eternally thankful for that gift. We are all close to this day.

The incident I’m referring to took place in the car driving down the coast. We were talking about how hot it was, which led to how far away the sun was and the Earth moved around the sun. I vividly remember this moment… standing up in the backseat of the car leaning up to the front to chat with them (100% safe… well back then). My Gramps says, ‘and then one day the sun will explode and our planet will be eaten up by fire’. Nonchalantly, like no big deal. I burst into tears (similar to how the sun will soon burst into flames) and was inconsolable.

Thinking back on it, regardless of how it ends, the one thing we know for sure is life on Earth, most definitely does end. Gramps knew that always, but even more so with a diagnosis of a terminal illness and even, at one point, a time frame of 30 days to live. Not to worry- my stubborn genes may have come a little from him, as he lived another year after that.

In that year he planned a beautiful service. His favorite hymns were sang. His daughters, granddaughters, nephew, cousin and even my Grams spoke. A favorite lesson was shared. And we all ate cake. They put red roses in a vase up front, symbolizing each year Grams and Gramps were married. The Pastor leading the service wore Grandpa’s prayer shawl. We saw faces I had grown up getting hugs from every time we visited. We listened to beautiful stories about how Gramps had changed people’s lives. It was amazing.

Of course, in the end, we all returned home. To the house that was once filled every summer with the laughter of five rambunctious cousins, one enabling Grandpa, and one smiling Grandma- probably soaking it all up. I would hear the echoes of my brother’s footsteps coming up the stairs during a wild game of hide ‘n seek. I could feel the intensity of sneaking into the attic to hear Becky read scary stories. And hear the giggles of all us girls sleeping on the hide-a-bed in the living room.I even did one quick lap around hidden porch, for old time’s sake, barefoot and running as fast as I could.

Know what else I could feel? Grandpa’s love surrounding us all. Like he was there, lifting us up. Like he always has. Like he always will.cousins

My July Blog. Yah… I know. It’s August.

July update. Because I suck at blogging. As we all know.

Just got back from celebrating my Grandma’s 80th birthday!! We had a fancy tea at a tea house for all the girls- and it was amazing. I haven’t been ‘to tea’ since I was little… and my sweet G got to come with us too. The food, atmosphere and company were perfect. I have been blessed with positive, loving, encouraging and a little bit stubborn women in my life. Being surrounded by strong female role models has really helped shape who I am and, hopefully, who I will help my kids to become.

After that we had games with prizes. My mom was in charge of this department. We played some classics: drop the clothespin in a jar, cotton ball toss and keep the balloon up. Prizes were awesome- my mom excels at buying great gifts and prizes. It’s so fun! Followed that up with a delicious Sunday bar. My cousin excels at putting together things like that. We had so many topping choices, lots of ice cream and even fancy adult sauces. Yum! She bought some of it from mouth.com – check it out. Cool stuff!

Our happy birthday weekend was frequently paused by visits to the hospital. My Grandpa was dying. He has been fighting MDS for the last five years. Last summer they told us he had a month to live. It’s been a year. Then he came down with pneumonia and that was it. He landed in the hospital where we discovered his kidneys were quickly declining and the afternoon of my Grams’s birthday, he had made it to his goal: her special day. And was ready to go on to Heaven.

The gift of being able to say goodbye, give him one last hug, kiss and hear him say ‘I love you too’ is indescribable. If you haven’t lost someone suddenly, without warning, you don’t realize what a gift this is. To see him exhausted, unable to sleep because he was in such pain and having a hard time breathing, to hear him asking why it was taking so long for him to die and that he didn’t think it would be this hard to go… it’s a gift. It’s a hard one to take, impossible to think of it as something helpful- but it helped me to let him go. To know it was time for him.

My poor little man is going to think everyone is going to leave him. Can we say abandonment issues? Although, in a large development, a bit after I told him that Great Gramps (who he wanted to play with all weekend, but never got to) had to go to Heaven, he looks up at the sky and says ‘Great Grandpa. I forgive you for leaving for Heaven. I will not see you there because I am not going. I am staying with my Mama forever.’ I remember feeling that way when my Aunt Cindy died suddenly when I was a kid. Like you never know who might be next and definitely didn’t want to be alone or away from my Mom. It was scary. I hope S and G don’t have to say goodbye to anybody else for a long time.

He has given and given and given his whole life. He has been the strong one for his family of ladies. Now, as my Grandma said to him sitting on his bed at the hospital, it is our turn to be strong. And take care of each other. And we will do that. We will be okay.

We will continue to plan parties, play games with fun prizes, go to tea and celebrate milestones- because that is who we are. And we are that because of him. And my Grams. And they are that because of their parents. Our tribute to their legacies is to continue on and make our children’s lives as amazing as ours are, as our parents are, grandparents are and great-grandparents were. To remember in happiness. We had more good than bad- more smiles than tears- and now we are here. And here is all we have. With each other.