Thursday, July 18, 2013

Foot, meet Mouth.

Foot-- have you met Mouth? Really, you two should be great friends since I seem to put one into the other on a regular basis.

I don't get it. When I moved to DC, making friends was a snap. I was a good listener, a good conversationalist, and was not afraid to be in a crowd because my feet stayed on the floor and my mouth stayed on my face. There was an occasional gaff (You're atheist? But  you're so nice." Please don't think I'm exaggerating. I totally said that to a good friend. She still claims me.)

And then I moved home. And the wheels fell off. Or, maybe they became permanently attached since my foot is served best with a creamy b├ęchamel sauce. In the past few days the following three things come to mind...

(1) I called a woman's baby ugly. No lie. She told me how pretty my baby was and then told me a story about hers. My response to her telling the story of how her daughter had to 'grow into her features' was, "You know, I have always wondered when people have ugly babies... do they know their babies are ugly?"

Really, Wife? REALLY?

(2)  And then I saw someone from my childhood. We have known each other for years, but not someone I have in my cell phone, we are Facebook friends and can carry on a great conversation at parties catching up. He is a really nice guy and everyone knows him. He has nothing bad to say about anyone or anything. 

And I ran into him at a restaurant where we were eating lunch.

"How's Husband?"
"[insert my response here]"
"Did y'all have fun in DC?"
"[insert my response here]"

{please note that he knows my husband's name, that we have spent the past several years in DC, and have had a second child before returning home. He is a great conversationalist.}

"Where are y'all living?"
"Buggy Blvd."
"Where's that?"
"You know where Main Street is? It's right up from that, but a lot nicer."

....crickets chirping....

Mind you, I have no idea (a) where he lives, (b) where he grew up, and (c) WHY IN THE WORLD I SAID THAT because it isn't true.

Foot, I have missed you and how delightful you taste.

(3a and 3b) There are two sisters that live in Hometown. One is a great friend of my SIL. Her husband is a dear friend of Brother's. She is a rock. One of those friends that you need in life, but had no idea how much you needed them until the chips were down. Once, she saw SIL crying and made this loving gesture that was so subtle, I don't think that either even noticed the depth of it. SIL had tears in her eyes and Friend just touched her cheek. The other sister was great a friend of Husband's when he was a resident. She took care of him as much as he took care of her.  When I was giving birth to LMC, Sister had said to Husband, "Let me know when and I will be there. It does not matter what time." 

These girls are good people and I would be lucky to have them as friends.

They look alike. Not identical, they definitely they look like sisters. but, when you have been gone for three years and they are wearing sunglasses and pile on another 10 excuses... you can "easily" get them mixed up. 

I saw the sister that is SIL's dear friend and we were talking. After about a minute and a half, I said, "Wait. You're not [name] you're [name]?" 

Why couldn't I have just kept that to myself and been thankful for her kindness and friendly nature? Why'd I have to say that? She knew me. I should have known her...

And then I saw her recently engaged sister. And again, put my foot right back in it's home. Diamond? Gorgeous! My mouth... yapping about how pretty it is and if dates were set. As if I had never seen a diamond or heard of a wedding before. 

Seriously, Wife. Put those words back in your mouth and stop. talking.

Sheesh... and all of that in the past seven days. I need to get a grip on this foot or at least see how many Weight Watchers point it is. Wish me luck. Making new friends is a lot harder when your foot is eternally, well... you know.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Love is enough

We are getting settled- slowly, but surely. If the rain will let up, we can get our basement under control. If time can move just a bit slower, we could get this house settled. It seems like we are always picking things up, putting things away, and trying to make a life here.

If ... If ... if.

If we ever needed knowledge that we made the right decision- we have it. No thanks to the house. My parents went to Mexico at the end of June. Husband and Wife were not in our home yet, and had gone out to dinner. SIL calls us and asks us to come over- Brother has had "a twitch." "A twitch" is something that has worked it's way into our vocabulary instead of that dreaded word, seizure.

Husband and Wife arrived at their home to find Brother laying on the ground in the garage and the children under Niece's bed. This was the plan. Weeks prior, they met with a friend who is a child-life specialist and she gave the children tools to help them and to answer any question they had. They made a plan for when Daddy had a seizure. When they heard "red light" their job was to run back to Niece's room and get under the bed. Under there are crayons, coloring books, a blanket and a plethora of stuffed animals. The seizure was mild, but they still needed an MRI to get a base level of [insert something they said that I wasn't paying attention to here]. I took the children to my parent's home where we were staying and Husband went with Brother and SIL to the ER, by car for a change, to see the inside.

Having his children was a surreal experience; they didn't know what to do, what to say, or really even -- how to act. They wanted to see their Daddy. Can you blame them? I would want to see mine to. Hell-- I wanted to see mine, too. And my mom for that matter. Mostly, I wanted my husband, but wanted more for my husband to be with my brother and his wife. Husband brings a placidity that is welcomed and needed.  I could care for these kids and get them to bed.

As we said our prayers in our pajamas, I looked at the crying Niece and the crying Nephew and saw those big tears stream down their little cheeks and I knew I had no idea what their pain was. What could I do to help them?

I am just an aunt.
I am not their mother.
I am not their grandmother.
And I have only been back in their lives on a daily basis for about a week. Not a stranger-- but still, a stranger.

I love these children as my own, I always have- even before I had my own, and yet- I was helpless to help them. Three tow heads laid on three pillows in my parents' large bed and looked at me with innocent doe eyes in the dark.

What did I need them to know? What could I do to empower them in this time of being absolutely helpless in the helplessness?

I made them repeat after me--

I am strong.
I am strong.

I am brave.
I am brave.

I am loved. 
I am loved. 

Over and over we said it, as both a mantra and as a prayer. I needed to hear it as much as they did. I needed to know it as much as they did. Because they are-- they are strong, they are brave, they are loved.

So very loved.

And if love were enough, then they would know no pain and have no fear.
If love were enough, they would not have to be strong and wise beyond their years.
If love were enough, they would understand.
If love were enough, I would understand.

On one hand, I thought that the strong, brave, loved mantra would go in one ear and out the other. Little did I know...

Fast forward to this week and they saw their friend again, the child-life specialist. She held a ceremony for their bravery, act of valor, and following through with their plan. The three kids received a badge with an ant on it. Ants are small, but they are mighty. I don't know why I got choked up at this, but when she told me about the ceremony, she said that Niece and Nephew told her that they are strong, they are brave, and they are loved. They wore their ant badges on their little chests with pride. Quietly, I cried behind my sunglasses and was thankful that she was not a stranger, nor a stranger to emotion. Thankful that my sunglasses were dark and no tears streamed down my cheeks.

Love is enough. We can show these children that they are loved in this difficult chapter of their life and they will come through to the other side.

Brother will come through to the other side.
SIL will come through to the other side.

We will all come through to the other side.

There will be a day filled with sunshine, dry basements, a finished house, and a brother- seizure free, throwing his children in the air with two good arms and healed kidneys. This time will be a distant memory. We will look to that day and celebrate that goal. His wife will be by his side and we will all be there, showing him, too-- that love is enough.

It is. It absolutely is.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Silence is golden?

No. It's not.

It hurts and it's loud and it just plain stinks.

The good news is I can't hear MB cry out or LMC whine, so there is a silver lining.

Right after we moved home, Nephew had a cold- who promptly gave it LMC... who in turn gave it to Husband, who graciously gave the gift to MB... who then gave it to me.

The cold starts out with the usual leaks from the nose, before a sore throat sets in... only to conclude with pink eye and painful ears. We were a beautiful messy bunch. One by one we went down and one by one they came through the other side.

This girl, on the other hand, is shaking her fists at the moving gods and cursing all things mucous and puss oriented.

Yeah, I said it.

A week ago, I thought I was coming through the other side. Turns out, I was just making a sharp turn to crazy-ville. My ear drum ruptured Sunday morning and started bleeding... profusely. Like one of those scenes from a bad movie where the guy is poisoned and starts bleeding from his ears. I called Husband to see if I was dying. The pain was so intense, my knees buckled and I was dizzy. I cried.

A trip to Urgent Care found not just one bad ear, rather four. MB was still in the throws of painful ears. We got a ration of antibiotics and a follow-up appointment for 10 days later. Fast forward 36 hours and my second eardrum has ruptured with all the ...ahem... fluids that go along with that.

My knees buckled. I was dizzy. I cried.

For the past seven days, I have not been able to drive, watch TV [without running everyone out of the room], or hardly think-- because ears are used for a lot more than just hearing. Husband sequestered me to the other end of the house for sleep as the tossing and turning got to be too much.

Earaches are not for sissies.