Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tomorrow is my mom's birthday

I'm sure it is something I realized once, but if so, I forgot about it and rediscovered it:

My mom was 33 when I was born.

I was 33 when she died.

Monday, November 29, 2010

When raising children...

Always remember you are raising future adults and teach them with that in mind.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


A favorite pastime of mine is watching my kids play without them knowing. I love listening to their stories, their ideas, when they play by themselves and have this whole narration and sound effect thing going on. Their play is full of excitement and adventure.

While watching and listening to them, my mind drifted and I thought of a trip I took with my dad, my best friend and her family. We all drove to Niagara Falls. Our hotel room had two beds and my friend and me and her little brother just HAD to jump from bed to bed, over and over again. Blankets slid off, pillows hit the ground, we sometimes missed and hit the floor, or slid with the blankets onto the floor. We never noticed the sharp corners on the nightstands, or the on the headboards. It never occurred to us that bones could break, or we could potentially misjudge our landing, and go right out the sliding glass balcony door and die.(we were several stories up) All we noticed was the exhilaration of making a huge leap and landing it. We bounced high, we jumped hard, and it was all an exercise in making the feeling of freedom and exhilaration last as long as we could - which would be until a parent came back into the room.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

On Being Thankful

I came across a link on a website to my blog that was for this post
(Firstly I am amazed that people remember my blog exists, and further amazed at remembering specific posts. Hermana Linda, you brightened my day!)

Since there was a link I went to read the post and the comments, taking particular note of the discussion on what to call Thursdays and the idea of thankfulness. I, obviously, have fallen off track in blogging according to the days of the week with their subjects. To rectify my lack of gratitude, I am writing this post.

1)That the sun never fails to rise or set
2)it might be predominately grey, brown and pale yellow outside-but there are cardinals and blue jays that add a splash of unexpected color.
3)having a family
7)my siblings
8)Christmas Ale by Great Lakes Brewery
9)morning light
10)coyotes howling in the middle of the night
11)health insurance
12)health in my children, husband and myself
13)hair that stays healthy no matter what chemicals I toss on it (although not one to take hair health for granted I am done dying, hair is back to my natural dark brown)
14)having the opportunity to be a full time student, able to help my husband at work, and much time with my children
16)that I made it through Thanksgiving
17)my brother is pursuing his dreams no matter the risk
18) a great library system
19)yearly vacations paid in full by the company my husband works for that never fall short of luxurious
20)Ancient Greek and Roman history because it fascinates me to an absurd degree


Are not lifelong friendships born at the moment when at last you meet another human being who has some inkling (but faint and uncertain even in the best) of that something which you were born desiring, and which, beneath the flux of other desires and in all the momentary silences between the louder passions, night and day, year by year, from childhood to old age, you are looking for, watching for, listening for? You have never had it. All the things that have ever deeply possessed your soul have been hints of it -- tantalizing glimpses, promises never quite fulfilled, echoes that died away just as they caught your ear. But if it should really become manifest -- if there ever came an echo that did not die away but swelled into the sound itself -- you would know it. Beyond all possibility of doubt you would say "Here at last is the thing I was made for. -- C. S. Lewis

Monday, November 22, 2010

On Death

It is around the 2nd anniversary of the death of my brother Toby, and in a few weeks it will be the 12th anniversary of my father's death, and a few weeks after that (one month and one day to be precise) it will be the first anniversary of my mother's death.

I'm finding it strange really, in analyzing how each of these people's deaths impacted me so differently. With my father it was a deep pain and I withdrew greatly for nearly a year after he died. He was my best friend, and while it is cliche', no matter what, he was always there when I needed him-no questions asked. His presence was what I missed the most.

With my brother it was a very different sadness. Given our vast age difference, I did not know him nearly as much as I would have liked to. My dad always kept me updated on how Toby's life was going and that was the main connection. After dad died, Toby stayed a few days and I got to know him a bit better, and we carried on correspondence on a sporadic basis for a couple of years, only to have it drop off. What really hit me though, was the feeling and realization of "wait a minute, I have six other siblings, and Im the second youngest, and will I experience this several more times?" A bit of a selfish reaction, but honest. Losing a sibling is not like losing a parent...a sibling's death is more like a loss of history or like in the movie the Dark Crystal when those old guys start to disappear and something is lost from the world. It is a loss of a friend, of someone who saw you at your best and worst, and fought with you like no one else, a person who shares family memories with you...and different ones that are so nice to know.

Losing my mom...well...that is still a work in progress. I have had a year of insane personal growth, and have started working towards several personal goals. I have also come to a place of balance within my life that I have never had. I think the best way to sum up losing my mom is a profound sense of "what a waste"... all the years and moments that were wasted between us that can never be recovered, all the things I never learned about being a woman or being a mom, or about who she was as Jacqui-not just "my mom".
That is what I regret.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

What a 6 yr old is thankful for.

The other day I had Parent-Teacher conferences. My 6yr old's teacher showed me the Things I am Thankful for book she is writing.
The first page said, "I am thankful for my mom because she is nice and she loves me"
The second page confused both the teacher and I, as her spelling is still a little inventive. There was a picture of a man, a pile of small circles, and then a picture of a small girl. It said she was thankful for her dad, but we couldn't decipher why, until I realized the pile of circles was a pile of coins.
Now it made sense.
"I am thankful for my dad because he keeps us from being poor"

We had to laugh, it was so cute, and so practical..and so unexpected.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


I can't remember if I blogged about it or not...probably not.

My kids are in school this year...and they are loving it...and so am I.

Homeschooling is wonderful, and sometimes we miss it...but it is so nice to have someone else take care of the nuts and bolts of education while I can now just do the fun things we love- history, science and literature.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Reduced to stuff...

I think one of the more distressing things about having a loved one die, is that all you have left of them are their things. What do you keep, what do throw in the garbage? How do you get past the feeling that throwing their things away is akin to throwing them away....

In September we cleaned out my mom's house. We threw a lot away. Vultures in the form of people stopped and went through the trash on the curb and took it. Strangers now own my mom's belongings.

I brought home things that are important to me or useful. I have about 10 boxes of things still sitting in my kitchen, because going through them and finding new places for them in my house is not something I have been ready to do. It is another step in acceptance, a new level of cementing that she is no longer here. However, it is not realistic to keep boxes in my kitchen, and I need to go through everything and move on.

Friday, November 12, 2010


The sun inches through the beige blinds escorted by the crow of the big black rooster you named Fairy
I roll over and see your small body snuggled into my pale blue blanket
Again, you snuck in during the night.
Your hair is damp with the sweat of a small child’s restless sleep
Your eyelashes lay long and dark on your porcelain smooth flushed cheeks.
I wake you and your eyes are full of the night’s dreams.
You missing teeth smile reaches me and you
…….. stretch and reach to hug me while apologizing for your midnight pilgrimage into my bed.
You tell me of your dreams about white tigers, while I am half focused and thinking of our…
morning schedule
I rush you downstairs to prepare your food…
We crack open the brown speckled eggs laid by the red and white chickens
And fry them sizzling in melted butter
Toast pops up and you sing “one peanut butter, one raspberry jam, with butter!”
You beg for coffee, but I remind you that you are only six.
The reminder is ignored, and the moment my back is turned you drink my coffee
I pace back and forth getting your leopard print backpack put together, remembering your lunch money
You talk about white tigers, and wanting to go to the zoo
I hush you and explain that Im old and can’t think, do and listen at the same time
Your laughter at me reminds me of a chipmunk, high pitched and it hurts my ears
Eventually I stop and look at you sitting in the chair with your feet dangling
And your torrent of words begins again
I pause and appear to listen but mostly Im trying to capture you like a photograph
In this moment
This day that you will grow out of
Your ordinary brown hair glistening with golden highlights from the diffused morning light
a shirt with a rabbit wearing a bowtie,
eyes shining with wide eyed excitement about saving white tigers.
The moment passes and I run to grab your white shoes with glittery hearts and wedge them on your feet.
Together we walk down the driveway, the gravel hurting my feet in my soft soled slippers.
You are skipping at my side like a puppy on a leash
Excited to see your friends, your teacher, to move on with your life
You start our game “I love you more than you love me!”
I tell you that is impossible because I love you infinity
But you say you love me a billion infinities
The diesel fumed bus swallows you up and I see your small head showing in your window at seat number 9
I wave
You wave and blow a kiss.
I watch the bus drive down the street and you keep looking to make sure Im watching
Till we can’t see each other any longer.