The big C

I thought we would beat the odds. I had no clue when we were at the playground just over a month ago I would eat my words. ” You know. We are so blessed to have healthy kids.  They may drive us crazy from time to time but we are very lucky”.  This was said to one of my best friends, K.  Now, not even 4 weeks later her world was rocked with what very well may be the worst news she will ever receive.  Ks daughter P ( 5) has Ewings sarcoma.  It is a very, very, very rare form of bone cancer. P has already started chemotherapy. P will be not be going to kindergarten that starts tomorrow. P is no longer doing gymnastics. Just overnight, their world has been flipped upside down. Playdates have now turned into doctors appointments. Sleeping and eating is not happening very often. Tears, screaming and more tears have taken the place of joking and making plans of getting the band back together (that is what we call getting all of us out for a date night).

Of course we have other friends and acquaintances that we see but in the “band” there is 6 of us. Each has claimed their role in the friendship and  we all play our part very well. The 6 of us is made up of me, K and S and then our husbands. Our kids is everyones kids.  You see my kid acting a fool.. feel free to correct their behavior.  Husband working late or going  out of town… come over for dinner. Sad, Angry, Happy, Blah, Sick, Tired- whatever… lets get together to talk about it.  The band is not just friends- The band is my family. My core. My support.

P’s diagnosis has stopped us all in our tracks. Of course we are doing everything we possibly can to help but we can not take this away from them. This nightmare that keeps reoccurring daily. Waking up knowing the truth and the long road that lies ahead. Praying, talking, crying, yelling and praying some more.

Why is it that in life it takes something like this. Truly life changing to make you dig in and dig deep. Things that used to over take life ( laundry, mowing the lawn, and dusting) is now replaced by ice cream for dinner, board games at night and that one extra story during bedtime.  Getting up to run at 4am is now seen as a privilege not a chore.  I now thank my body after every run. Thank you for holding me up and propelling me forward.Thank you for making me feel alive. Thank you for my heart beating out of my chest. Thank you for my legs pushing and pounding the pavement away. Thank you lungs for helping me breath hard and deep. Thank you God for another day that I am alive and healthy.

When its quiet, I cry and lose faith and then pray to get it back. When I am having a good time with my kids, my heart aches for K who is in the hospital with P. This never leaves me. Its always in the background. The fear of what will be and the mourning of what was.

P is not my child but she is. K is not my biological sister but she is.

I keep reminding myself that God has a reason for this. A silver lining. Something that we can all look back at have a ” Ahhh. Thats why”. I am not there yet. I am trying to believe and to not question. But I am not anywhere near here. I am trying and I will keep trying. Praying. Mediating. Crying. Yelling. Repeat…

But for now- I give myself permission to cry, scream, to be angry and to still pray for hope and understanding and guidance. Life can be ugly and beautiful. Life can be filled with joy and sorrow. Adulting fucking sucks. Being a parent is harder than hard. My heart can not even imagine having a sick child. How this is now your new life that you never planned on having. Never would wish on your worst enemy. Why God?  Why children? Why P?  Why them?

I will walk every step of this nightmare with my best friends. I will show up everytime even if it is hard and emotional. I will say inappropriate things to get laughs. I will cry with you. I will have one too many glasses of anything with you. I will rally the troops when needed . I will guard you and your family like a momma bear. I will keep asking you daily what I can do for you or your family. I will worry deeply about you when I am supposed to be sleeping. I will dedicate my runs and mediation to you. This is my role in the band.

And I will play harder and better and more amazing for all of you and all of us.

cancer sucks

 

21 days

How many parents are marking off the days until school starts? 21 days until M starts 1st grade. 21 days for me to have her home and not in school all day for the first time. The other day, M and G were fighting all.day. long.  The fights were over everything.  M counted how many pretzels I gave G and then counted how many I gave her.  I failed. I gave G two more pretzel twists.  In that moment, I thought ” I can not wait until you go back to school. One child will be so much easier for me to deal with”.

Now-I am going to be real. I have thought this before during other incidents and accidents ( and I am human and will think these thoughts again)  Wishing away the child who was causing me the extra stress. Just needing to have a break from the constant ” Momma. MoMMMMMMM”, the screaming and fighting.

During todays early morning run, I was very blessed to run with 5 other ladies ( all moms). Boston Nancy has a daughter who will be a sophomore at college. As we were talking about returning to school, Boston Nancy became sad just thinking about her daughter leaving. 2 of the other moms have junior high aged children and then the rest, grade school and toddlers.

This run almost did not happen for me. I got up at 3am and posted on the group page that I was out and would run 4 miles later.  Sleep seemed to be my focus. As I lay in bed tossing and turning, I prayed and asked God what to do. After 15 minutes, I got up and got ready for the run. Driving to the run, I was regretting my decision. A few more hours of sleep was my focus. Once we started the run and we were all talking about our children and being moms, I had a lightbulb moment.  I little insight, forgiveness and grace.

Its ok that I do not love every moment being a mom. Its ok that I go to the upstairs bathroom  or go to check the mail for the 4th time in a day just to give myself a mom pep talk and to get my GAMEFACE back on. Its ok that I use the back up sitter once a week for a few hours just to have some 1-1 time with M to do things that we can’t do with G (2). Its ok to text my friend when I feel like I can not take one more minute of anything. Its ok that I serve cereal for dinner and have ice cream dates for lunch. Its ok that I nap with G naps. Its ok that I have not bought my single item on the back to school list or filled out any school paperwork.  Its ok if I choose not to join the PTA and get side eyes from all the other “better” moms. It ok that sometimes bedtime is at 7pm or 10pm. Its ok if pjs are worn all day long or I ask them to get dressed as soon as they get up.

I know it will be all ok.  God choose me- ME- out of all the other millions of women to be M and Gs mom. He trusted ME to carry them for 9 months. He trusted me to guide and to love them through this world.  God did not expect me to do this all on my own. He gave me an amazing husband, family ( my mother in law is an angel on earth.), friends, running, yoga and mediation.  God also has given me faith, hope, patience, and love. God also has given me strong coffee, wine and date nights out with my husband. All of these things make me a better mom and human.

21 days ( or the rest of my life) left to start being me- the mom I am supposed to be. Not the mom that looks good in pictures, Pinterest and in Parent magazines.  Me. Not the summer checklist mom (you know the one- the one who does “things”  just so we can say we done things this summer). Me. The mom that God made because he knew what M and G needed.

As Boston Nancy and I finished the run, I realized that before I know it, I will soon be counting down the days until my gremlins come home from school. I will now just start counting down the seconds until the “not so glorious” moments are over.

Today, I encourage you all to give yourself love and grace. We are all in this together.

rest in peace, sweet boy.

On Saturday, we had the awful task of putting our dog down. Hudson was 14 years old.  He was a beagle.  The last 3 years, he was a diabetic that we had to give insulin twice a day.  Hudson was also taking an arthritis medication.  Hudson, or he often went by Puppa, was my first child. Hubby and I could not wait to get a dog when we moved in together. In fact, we moved in to the house we were renting on a Friday and we got Hudson on Saturday.

I will never ever forget seeing Hudson for the first time.  He was the chubbiest little one of the litter.  His ears were so long that as he ran he would trip over them. Hudson pushed his brothers and sisters out of the way to get to the food bowl.  We got Puppa when he was 8 weeks old.

Hudson was a little bit of a mommas boy.  He would wait up for me and only go to bed when I told him ” Night lights Puppa”.  Hudson would follow me down the stairs in the morning regardless of the time.  The last few months when I was getting up at 4:30am for runs, he would be right by myself and until I left.  After I left, he would return to bed until he was ready to eat around 7am. During my horrendous morning sickness with both kids, Hudson would follow me in the bathroom and then back to bed again. He was relentless with making sure I gave him his walks. Puppa would go to the door and howl until I took him.

This dog hopped through the biggest snow drifts and loved to take sun naps. We once dressed him up like a clown for Halloween and when he was a puppy, he owned his own winter sweater that he was very possessive over. My husband nicknamed him his “RD”       ( roll dog) because he would take Hudson everywhere with him. Sneaking him in hotel rooms with us started at a young age.  Most hotels allow small dogs but Hudson was always a little ” big boned”.

Our honeymoon was spent talking about Hudson and wondering what he was doing while we were in Mexico for a week. I did research when I was pregnant with M of how to best introduce the baby to a dog.  We were hoping that the two would get along and they did. M would dress up Puppa with bows, headbands and boas.  G often tried to ride him like a pony.  Hudson tolerated a lot up until his final days. He would often sneak into Ms room and take a snooze in his “nap shack”.

4 years ago, this dog managed to tear both of his ACLS 6 weeks apart.  This was around Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The two surgeries along with rehab, was the same amount of money as my first year of college. We had a vet payment for 2 solid years.

The staff at our animal clinic referred to him as “Hudson the Beagle:” He loved to go to the animal clinic. On Saturday when we put him down, the techs and front desk clerks knew he was coming in for one last final time. The vet that we had was very compassionate and gave us all the time we needed.

We know it was the right decision. Hudson was having seizures and not eating. Walking was difficult as well.

The house seems empty and off.  Mornings and nights are strange when I do not see him by my side. Hudson slept with us in our bed and would sleep as close as he possibly could to me. I go to let him inside from the back door and he is not there.  His bowl and toys have been taken away.  Vacuuming the house yesterday was the first time that I actually did not want to remove the dog hair. My heart feels heavy.  My mind is distant. My body is numb but full of anxiety.

Just as I will celebrate his life in the loads of memories that Hudson has blessed us with, I will also be gentle with my soul.

If you have a dog, take him for another walk today in honor of Hudson.  Bonus points if he chases a cat, squirrel or rabbit.

RIP Hudson.  We loved you deeply. puppa

 

 

 

8 ( because it is my favorite number) things that I did not expect when I first started running with a group

1. I talk about everything and I mean everything with my running partners. Who knew you would be sharing deep dark dirt with gals that you merely have only met a year or two ago  (sometimes less than that). We have covered some pretty hefty topics in 5 , 10, or  14 miles that I have just grazed with dear hubby of almost 15 years.

2. You become obsessed with them reaching their goals almost more so than your own. Recently, I went away on a girls weekend with two of my non-running friends ( I am shocked they still wanna hang with me as running is my hot topic and all conversations lead back to me talking about running somehow…) and some of my dear running group friends were running a half marathon. I could not stop logging in to FB to see how they were doing. I also signed up to get text updates for a few of them.  Their victories are mine along with their losses. To be able to feel so ecstatic or so sad shows the depth of the relationship that has developed over the miles.

3. I am shocked at my ability to get up at 4:30am to meet these ladies for a run. If I try getting up at this time to go for a run by myself, it doesn’t happen. I have tried it. Even today. Set the alarm for 5am. Snoozed multiple times.  Because of this, I have already  lined up  3 “early bird” runs for this week with my alarm set for 4:15am. Not only do I get to catch up with some of my BRFs, I get my run in before the sun and kiddos are up.

4. You fall in to peer pressure… but the good kind. Plank challenge for 30 days straight. Sure! Can you run this half marathon with me? Ok! Lets do that 5k that is setting up after we just ran 8 miles and its hot has horse balls out. No problem! This actually just happened this past Saturday with my BRF Leslie. We were super tired and hot but we heard the 5k fee was for youth summer camp ( and we also paper, rocked, scissored- which in my opinion- is the best way to decide anything.).  They actually postponed the race for us so we could sign up and pay. SO much fun.  I even came in 3rd in my age division. Ok- so there were only like 15 people and I really wasn’t going that fast but I will take my 3rd place yellow ribbon proudly and mail it off to my whoirun4 buddy, Jacob. In fact, I thought the time said 24:38 and that we were going to break 25 minutes ( which is a summer goal I have for myself). Nope. The sweat got in my eyes and I could not see.  The time was actually 28: something. This just makes this spur of the moment 5k an even better memory.

5. You recruit other people to become a part of your running group because it is simply the best running group ever with the most supportive woman you will ever find.  I also belong to another running group and it is nationally known but to be honest, I am not a huge fan. They are very competitive (not my gig) and kinda bitches ( in my honest opinion). I am sure that they feel the same about their running group as I do mine.

6. You have this need to want to try to merge your running friends with your non running friends but you need them both for different reasons. Separate but equal. I love you both the same but in different ways.

7. The support goes beyond running. You are getting a divorce- how can I help? Need a new job- let me pass along your resume. Looking for a sitter- my teenage daughter is available. Where should we go on vacation? Belize for sure. I think my two year old is turning into a bully. Mine as well. Can I borrow your fancy black dress for this wedding I don’t want to go to? Of course!  The network is strong and build on a solid trusting foundation.

8. You can swear and bitch about your husband (not you of course sweetie), kids, jobs, in laws ( but not mine as they are truly the best), the rude stranger at the store, why in the hell is milk $5, lack of motivation, fell of the nutrition wagon ( again for the the third time this week), etc and after you are done, you feel better. Lighter. Less angry. More human.

Running is cheaper than therapy (except when you go to your favorite local running store to just buy new shoes and walk away with a new hat, socks, visor, nutrition, and whatever inspirational book they are promoting).

What do you love most about your running crew? group running

Finding the flowers amongst the weeds.

To say that the last two months the Universe has been testing me is an understatement. Now, I am aware that many other humans are suffering and going through shit storms that do not even compare to what I feel has been a trying time. Please note, that my perspective and disposition is typically Positive Polly although I do (sometimes) show my old  “waiting for the bottom to fall out” circa embryo to about 5 years ago.

I will not go through the entire list that keeps circulating in my head when I think back to the beginning of May to the present.  That will only make this time stay with me longer. Reliving and giving these events more energy is just like feeding a Gremlin after midnight.

Earlier this week, I met my yoga teacher/gal pal E for a short 3 mile run, dinner and drinks. E is my safe zone. I am my authentic self. Sometimes 100% crazy oversharing me. Sometimes the positive polly. Sometimes negative nancy. Sometimes quiet. One of the several traits that I admire about E is that she “gets on my level”. She listens with no judging when needed and sometimes judging when I ask her too. E and I were talking about how much we love “Hands Free Mama”. After we read this blog, while wiping the tears from our eyes and snot from our nose, this blogger gives us the motivation to become a little bit more. More patient. More loving. More real.  E sent me the link to one of her favorite “Hands Free Mama”posts.  It came at a perfect time. My new mantra after reading this is to find the flowers amongst the weeds.

 

Weed: My Uncle Gary took his final breath May 9th. He was 59 years old.

Flower: Besides no more suffering ( severe depression, CHF, COPD, diabetes), my cousin has returned to our hometown to live  in order to handle the path of destruction that my Uncle left behind. J, cousin that returned, was not doing so hot. Drinking to numbness became a daily (not nightly) occurrence.  J recognized this and took himself to AA. The strength to do this is admirable. I am not sure J would have came home without his passing. J would have stayed in his current situation and the spiral would have continued.

Weed: My Grandmother took her final breath June 4th. She was 89 years old.

Flower: Again, beside no more suffering ( Alzheimers, renal failure) and living in a nursing home that she despised, this side of my family has re-united after not much contact for the past 5-30 years ( depending on which family members/ different relationships). We all look older but the same personalities still shine through. Personalities and dispositions are timeless. Sharing what life has been like ( marriage, kids, divorce, marriage again, more kids, troubles with the law, getting clean from meth, retiring, moving, grandchildren) were just some of the lives that we have lived that none of us knew about. My hope is that this death has now brought life to our family again.

Weed: Earlier mornings. Later nights. Less “fun” ( I am being very picky with who I spend my time with and the events I attend).

Flower: I am training for my first marathon.( Eek. Gulp.OMG.) 4:30am is my alarm for tomorrow. Yes it is a Saturday and the Cavs are playing. I am finishing this post ( and my beer) and hitting the hay. Training for this marathon will keep me disciplined and I am only choose events that I truly want to go too. My BRFs are telling me that this training will be life altering. I can see this already. If it was not for running right now, I think I would be a hotter mess. Thank you to my body for holding me up when all I want to do is lay down.

Some more weeds have occurred in my flower bed but from now on, I am only admiring the growing, prospering and beautiful blooms.

 

 

The Sounds of Summer

{DISCLAIMER: To my dearest hubby and MIL (Grammy)… I love being a SAHM and I adore our little nuggets. The following post is just me using my not so funny/midwest Amy Schumer humor.}

“Moommmmmmmmmmmmm  Grant hit me. When is lunch. Why can’t we go to the pool? I wanna wear my Easter Dress. What can I do next? Can we have ice cream today? I don’t wanna read. Mommmmmmmmm Grant pulled my hair. Why do I have to go to the bathroom? Can I have screen time?  Can we leave the house? Why do I have to clean my room? Mommmmmmmmm Grant threw sand in my eyes…….

Mine. Fruit Snacks. No. Mine. Fruit snacks. No. Mine. Fruit snacks. No

This is my current sound of summer. M (6) is represented in the first paragraph and G (2 years old in 19 days) is the latter.

The day before M ended kindergarten I was on a summer high. I had images of glorious beach trips filled with the perfect amount of sun and breeze not dropped ice cream cones and a bird that attacked my head 3 times. Visions of bike rides with quiet content and nature filled smiles not fights over who gets to have the water bottle.  Dreams of blowing bubbles,  sidewalk chalk and picnics at the park. Instead, I am faced with my very own fight club, a never satisfying breakfast and without any official application or promotion that I am aware of, I am now a cruise director that must have activities planned for every waking second of every day (including back up ideas in case it rains).

I have reached out to my squad- other mommas, really at this point, the mail lady and I are BFFs ( just to talk to another person over the age of .. just anyone) to plan at least “one a day” playdates to get us out of the house. Just getting out to the house is a task that requires a to-do list. Water bottles. Sunblock. Snacks. Lunch. Snacks. Diapers. Wipes. Fruit Snacks. Coffee for me. Change of outfits. Legos. Coloring books. Crayons. Cell phone. Keys. Snacks. Beach toys. Ball. Beach towels. Money for daily ice cream trip because I am weak. More coffee. More water. More fruit snacks.

Today  I have 3- yep you read that correctly- 3 playdates planned. During one of them, G is going to the drop in sitters for 2 hrs. M is going to a friends house to play.

My to do list for these glorious 2 hours looks like this: grocery store, go get new running shoes, clean the entire house, read a book, go get nail out of the tire, fix an amazing lunch to enjoy outside with lemon water because you are fancy, watch 1 episode of Scandal, nap, take the dog for a walk, laundry, bake some banana bread, perhaps a bike ride….

I will probably be able to do two things from this list- get nail out of the tire and grocery store. Woooohooooo. But- I have already thought of how to make both of these tasks mo betta.

The place I go for all car stuff has this amazing waiting room with FREE  keurig coffee. I will take my book and make myself a cup or 3 while the nail gets removed. At Aldi, I will take my headphones and listen to a new podcast while sipping lemon water because I deserve it and I am fancy.

Oh gawd- I think they are awake. Time to take a 2 minute shower and brew another cup of heaven.  God speed to all the humans that are home with the kiddos for summer break. I am with you in spirit and sending you all the good juju.

 

1:56:49

It has been well over a month since my first half marathon of the season.  Glass City (Toledo, OH) was the half that I selected to conquer my goal of a sub2. The running group that I am so happy to be a part of (FTR… which means finish the race OR depending on how awful in is, F*ck this Race!) sets goals every January for the upcoming year.  For me the goals were 1) sub2 2) run a half for fun without considering goal time or pace 3) run a half at a steady pace the entire time  and 4) run a marathon .  It brings me joy to report goals 1 and 2 are complete!  Glass City was amazing.  1:56:49 was my time.  A friend from FTR, I call her Boston Nancy, paced me.  Nancy is a rockstar.  She knew just what to say and when to say it.  She talked me off the ledge miles 9.5-11. I am not sure what happens, but every single time I near 10 miles, even on a training run, my mind starts wigging out and then my body follows. Once I get past 11, I am gravy for the next 2. In fact, I have a tendency to speed up the last 2 miles.

Goal #2 was the Cleveland half.  I signed up for this with my gal pal/yoga teacher Erica 1 week before the race.  We wanted to do the CLE half  because we both love the little neighborhoods that CLE tucks away.  CLE half was my very first half marathon May 2012. It has a super cozy spot on my heart. Also, it is usually down right HOTTTTTT to the point that many people have passed out or have ended up in the medic tent due to dehydration. Not this year.  This year it was 30 degrees and  I am not kidding when I tell you, we witnessed all possible weather conditions in 13 miles.  On the way to downtown, we saw 8 cars in the ditch due to freezing rain/hail/ice.  Did I mention, that I also had strep throat?  Did I also mention that my uncle had died 4 days prior?!?!?!?  I was a hot cold mess.  Despite all of the above, we just took our sweet ole time.  We stopped at every water stop. We assisted a fellow runner who was pushing a girl with Rhetts syndrome.  We were literally removing hail and snow from this poor girls face while trying to wrap her up in dry trash bags.  E is in the type of person who just radiates calmness and good vibes.  If I do not see my friend weekly, I feel off. She balances me and makes me,me ( if that makes sense.). Our finish time was somewhere in 2:32ishhh range.  By far the slowest BUT the most rememberable race to date.

Goal #3- I have a half marathon in mind for this in the Fall.

Goal #4- Chicago marathon training started this morning.  7 miles at 8am.  Holy Shitballs batman.  It was ROUGH. Like- consider “why in the hell am I even a runner ” rough. I am so very thankful I had my sole sister Leslie with me. We were both on the struggle bus today.  Legs felt sloppy. Humidity was insane. Stomach was uneasy. Yesterday, M (6) and I did a lady tutu 5k but we did a run/walk combo so I don’t think that was it.  We did also take a bike ride and I mowed the lawn as well as helped lay some mulch. I didn’t feel sore. I felt outside of  myself. Like my body was foreign to me. So weird. Hoping to never experience this again.

The last few months I have been sick. I have had allergies, strep throat, and bronchitis with croup ( all diagnosed by the doc and treated with different meds). Because of this, my running, eating, sleeping, and hydration has been off. Todays run proved to me just how serious I need to get.  A marathon is a major event and proper training needs to take a priority in my life. Giving 100% is all I can do. I want to stand at the starting line knowing I gave it my all. Speaking of.. I better get off here and go drink some water.

My kind of Town…. Chicago is….

Holy shit.  I awoke to an email today saying that I have gotten myself into the Chicago Marathon!  Dear hubby was a tad scared as out loud was saying ” Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. I got in.  I am running Chicago”.  Then the tears of joy came. Then the tears of fear came. Then praising to God and being utterly grateful and thankful came.  As I write this, some 8 hours later, I am still in shock.  In 6 months time, I will be running one of the most amazing marathons in the world! It will be first and maybe even my last.  The journey that I will embark on while training for this event will be life changing.  What I take away and leave after running 26.2 miles will make an imprint on my life forever.

Before I start training for Chicago, I am going to shatter the hell out of Toledo Glass City half marathon on this Sunday.  My goal is sub2.  I have not ran a race half marathon in 3 years.  My friend and gal from my running group, Boston Nancy, is running with me.  She is an incredible mentor and I know with her encouragement, my goals will be reached.  Two of my besties will also be coming along to cheer me on as hubby needs to stay back with the gremlins!

Have you ever felt in your soul self that your life is on an amazing path?  This year will be one that I will replay in the nursing home for years to come.

Blossoming

I have made the decision to cut the cancer out of my body.  To stop watering the flower that will never bloom regardless of the amount of sun, water or soil.  The door needs to be shut and locked.  It may remain shut forever or not.  For now, it needs to be shut.  And stay shut.  No more opening just a little bit and peeking inside. No more pulling it all the way open in hopes of seeing something different on the other side of the door. My heart knows what’s on the other side (or what’s not).

To mourn a relationship with your parents while they are still alive but dead is a tough feat. To continue hoping, praying and begging for love from them is harder.

God wanted me in this world and they are the mechanism that brought me here.  They didn’t want to be parents.  They still don’t want too.  And thats ok.  Coming to face with the reality of this is making me accept, forgive and even love them for who they truly are, not for the ghost of what I longed for them to be.

Looking back, I have always been an orphan of sorts. I had to be an adult many times when I should have been a child.  I have had to be the parent when I was just a daughter. Joy, happiness and love were replaced by fear, rejection and doubt. I may have not had a childhood but I am choosing to have an adulthood.

While I can not undo, redo or take back … I can move on.  The time is now.  Now I will move on, leaving behind a relationship that is no longer serving my highest good.  I will be brave with my head held high knowing that I no longer will need to live in a state of wondering what can I do to be loved, accepted and good enough. I am loved, accepted and good enough.

Sometimes flowers don’t bloom and we don’t know why. Even after more water, new soil and a different place to grow.  Instead of focusing all of my energy on the one flower that is not growing, I am now choosing to nurture all of the other beautiful flowers around it.  And the most beautiful flower of all- myself. spent-flower-bloom

 

The first person to ever love me.

One day I won’t have her on this earth with me. I can not even wrap my brain around this concept.

My grandmother, 81 years young, left to head back home today.  We call her GG ( for Great Grandma).  GG came to stay with us the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  Now that spring is attempting to break through here in Ohio, GG declared her departure a few weeks ago.  Although GG was with us for a little over 3 months, the time feels like it was  just not enough. As we said our finally goodbyes this morning, my heart felt heavy and my eyes filled with tears.

My grandmother was THE only solid foundation of love and trust that I had growing up.  If I got sick at school, I begged the secretary to call my grandmother. Chances are, I would have ended up with her anyways, pending my mothers mood or ability to process having a sick child.  My grandma was one of the first people to know of my first serious boyfriend, my college decision, my engagement and my first pregnancy.  She stayed up with me during school to assist with homework, science fair projects and to let me practice my speeches for class. Grandma brought me 2 chocolate iced donuts and chocolate milk the first day of school kindergarten through senior year. Every year, she would make sure that I had a new winter coat and new tennis shoes for school. When I didn’t have money in college for groceries or to pay my phone bill, money appeared in my mailbox. She was at the hospital the day that both of my children were born. GG knows all.  Even when I don’t know, Grandma does.

When my Grandpa got diagnosed with cancer in 1999, Grandma and I started writing letters instead of just phone calls.  The letters enabled her to voice the reality of what was occurring without my grandfather hearing her.  Some weeks we would write daily and sometimes it would only happen a few times a month.  We still continue this pen pal relationship.  In fact, last night I wrote her a letter and slipped in her suitcase.

Grandma grew up with 3 sisters.  All of the girls have names that start with “C” and the middle names rhyme.  My grandma is Constance Day.  ( she HATES this name… and goes by Connie). ( Her sisters are Carmen Kay, Cherita May and Charlotte Fay )My daughters middle name is Day after GG.   Grandma has always been an introvert.  Observer.  Not one to speak up or speak out.  Grandma married my grandfather at an early age and only had a few ” real jobs” prior to becoming a mother. My grandfather was not a stand up guy.  The physical and emotional abuse started soon after they were married and occurred much throughout there marriage. He was a raging alcoholic.  Grandma still is struggling with finding her footing and her voice since my grandfathers passing to cancer in 2001 ( He died on my 21st birthday). How she could be so strong for me when she was made to feel so weak, I will never know.

GG came to stay with us just in case this winter was bad.  I would often worry myself into a frenzy when the temperatures were low or the snow kept falling in winters past.  GG does not like to be out in the snow or cold.  We invited her up to stay the winter with us last summer and she agreed. She said she was just bored looking at her walls anyways.  (No way she was bored here with these gremlins running around!)  GG and the kiddos  have developed an even closer relationship.  They have there own routines and activities they like to do with one another.  I also had the privilege of spending some one on one time with her out to breakfast, lunch, movies, talking or just playing Scrabble while drinking tea. She would tell me stories of the days of being a mother to two kids herself or a funny story involving her sisters.

This time was precious.  It doesn’t seem like it was enough.  When we pulled out of the driveway today, my heart stopped.  One day I won’t have her on this earth with me.  I can not even wrap my brain around this concept.  Until then, I will embrace these memories with the strongest grip I can muster, while counting down the days until I see her again.

gg and i