Stages of Grief

The Monday after our spring break (which was the last thing from restful for me as I had 3 kiddos all week and it was raining so we were trapped indoors most of those days) I woke up ready for normalcy. I guess it is a good thing when you are ready to get up and go back to work. As usual, I grabbed my phone and went off to the bathroom where I often check my emails for the day. I opened one email that was really upsetting to me. My cousin had passed out the night before and was in the hospital with an apparent brain hemorrhage. It immediately took me back 17 years ago when my aunt (her mother) had a massive brain aneurysm and died very quickly. That was a complete shock for us because we were expecting my grandmother to pass soon. When my mother got off the phone I fully expected her to say that my grandmother had died, but she instead told us that our aunt had passed away. It was so unfair. She had just retired and was just about to become a first time grandmother. After reading this current email about my cousin, I went into a state of shock. This can’t be happening again. She can’t die? She is too young!! She has a teenage son. She is married to the love of her life. She just got a huge promotion at her job. Her life was perfect! Life was good!  
I prayed (which I do on occasion) on the drive to work. I called my dad and he said that it was not good. I still prayed for some miracle. I know hope is sometimes the only thing that keeps us sane. By the end of the day, we had learned that she was brain dead and there was nothing that they could do. It was quickly decided that she would be an organ donor and therefore must be kept on life support until they could organize the surgery to harvest her organs. This was all so amazing and so surreal. I have been on the happy side of organ donation before, but never on the sad side. Our incredible loss is many families grateful gain. To think that my cousin’s heart is still beating out there somewhere, her eyes are looking at something, her lungs have given someone new life…all of these things give me some small piece of comfort.  

And then there is the stages of grief. I went through many of these stages when Chad was sick before he passed away. I hit the anger stage when it became apparent that Chad would not beat his illness. With my cousin, it is all happening differently. It is not like you leave one stage and enter another and then the next and so on until you are not grieving any more. In some way, we will be grieving for the rest of our lives. As my neighbor once described it when his dad passed away, “I have a big hole in my heart that will grow smaller but will never fully go away”. I am currently passing back and forth between denial and acceptance. I hit anger briefly, but I am mostly stuck in denial. I just cannot believe that my cousin is really gone. Just like that. Living life to the fullest one moment and completely gone the next. I have bargained, I have felt depressed. It is more like a web than a ladder. You don’t climb to the next stage, the stages are intertwined. I am moving between all of the stages. This has been a tough hit for all of us. My cousin was truly one of the better human beings that had been placed on this earth. And I jokingly said that she left this earth early to avoid the pending doom in our political system. I guess I deal with grief by using humor. My heart goes out to her husband who is truly suffering through this shock and not really understanding how to handle his new normal. My heart hurts for her young son who is just becoming an adult himself and whom she adored. I got the pleasure of spending Christmas dinner this past year with them and I commented on how sweet they were and hoped that my boy at age 13 would still want to cuddle with me on the couch. I feel blessed that I was able to Facetime with my cousin just 2 weeks before she unexpectedly passed. She joked with me that my nearly 3 year old son would surely be potty trained before he reached middle school. I loved her sense of humor and her overall kind demeanor. I feel such a deep loss with her passing. I think denial is my coping mechanism to the fact that she really is gone forever. As her brother (my other cousin) said so eloquently, it is going to take some time to get used to this life without T in it. Our new (but not always welcomed) normal. 

Me and my cousin circa 1974. 

Daylight Savings + Toddler = Argh!

I remember this from last year. Starting tomorrow,  getting out of the house on time from now until the end of the school year becomes a living hell.  To solve this issue I decided I would skip naps this weekend.  Yesterday was great.  We were in bed at 6:30 asleep (well he was asleep,  I was binge watching Parks and Recs).  He slept 13 hours!!!  Woke up with the sun at 7:30 am. Today we got up and have been moving all morning. At 3pm we came inside to at least have quiet time.  Plan foiled.  This is what 4:26 pm looks like around here:

I am somewhat tempted to put him into bed and call it a night even if we will wake up at 4am.  I just cannot be late tomorrow!  I teach 1st period 2x a week and tomorrow is that day. So is Tuesday. Argh.  Bad timing.  Wish me luck!  I am pretty sure we are all going to need it!  

Sick, sick and more sick

Since about mid-January,  E and I have been sick with one thing after another.  First it was the tummy bug and now it is an extended cold/cough.  Today we are both home from school having a sick day.  It is incredibly isolating as a single mom to spend all of your free time when  you are not at work….home in bed.  I haven’t seen the sun in months.  Last Saturday my niece and nephew were over all day and I got them all set up in front of Finding Dory (on NETFLIX for free!!!) and I just dragged a chair out into the sun and sat there and took in all the vitamin D that I could get!  I also connected with a good friend yesterday on my way home from work (he lives very near E’s day care so I stopped by before picking up the boy).  I felt relieved to know that he was feeling the same way and we encouraged each other to just hang in there.  Daylight savings is a month away and we decided even though we are both miserable now,  that good things are on the way!  I also told him that dropping E off at my brothers last Friday night and going out to dinner with a friend was THE BEST thing I have done in months!   I made a deal with myself that I would do this more often.  I really need to spend more time with friends and get E used to being with his cousins or with a sitter (which I can barely afford right now).  I know we all speak of the pros and cons of single parenting,  and the loneliness in the winter months is certainly one of the cons .  We have also had a teacher from Chile staying with us for the last month and it has been so nice to swing out to the store without a toddler or have someone to do things with.  We went snowshoeing last weekend (even though we were sick….but I just HAD to get out of the house).  I don’t do those things when it is just E and I and I am very bad at calling people and making plans in the winter.  I just hibernate.  It has seriously made me think about moving back to the house and getting a housemate that loves children.  It is such a gamble though,  bc it has to be just the right fit.  Someone who goes out and does things during the weekends,  has a job,  is quiet and shares the love of a quiet and clean house.  I have even listed my condo on Zillow “Make Me Move” for way over list price and would gladly move if someone would pay my want I want for it.  My goal is to pay off the mortgage in the house so I can move back in and live a comfortable life on a teaching salary.  A mother can dream…can’t she?

Meanwhile…I get to interview a prospective head of our middle school today from my living room….maybe in my pajamas!  Woohoo!

Sick boy eating an apple. 

Potty training and conversations with 2 year old part 2 

I was feeling quite down about the fact that E has been sitting on the pot for over a year and he has NOT once deposited a darn thing into the toilet. He is not afraid of sitting on the toilet. He actually requests to sit there often. He watches his iPad on the toilet until he says “all done” though there was nothing ever there. I have been bribing him with a lollipop for months. “If you pee or poop in the potty then I will give you a lollipop!”  He also REFUSES to wear big boy undies.  Then I decided to buy pull ups to see if that helped with he transition into undies.  He threw a massive fit.  Yesterday he told me pull ups were for babies!  Then I told him diapers were for little babies.  I gave him the choice between diapers,  pull ups or undies and he choose undies!!!!!!!!  We were going out so I was like “oh great!  Now you choose undies!”  So off we went in our big boy pants and a spare pair of pants.  He of course peed in his pants.  But later that night while going naked, he asked to sit on the toilet.  Actually he came running to me yelling, “I have to pee!”  I never know if that means pee or poop or if he already did it on the floor. So we ran to the toilet and he say for about 10 minutes. I went back to check if he had peed on the floor and he he not.  Then I heard this yell!  I ran ina an he peed. Albeit all over the bathroom. But he was sitting on the toilet and pee pee came out of his penis!  Today we will practice the art of holding his penis DOWN!  Haha!  He enjoyed his lollipop. 

This is progress and I am delighted.  It scared the crap out of me when I hear about 5 year olds who won’t go on the potty!  I was starting to think E would be this kid.  He is starting in the 3 year old class tomorrow. No one is wearing diapers in this class so maybe he will want to be more like his friends.  Let’s hope this helps him along what I have called the hardest part of motherhood this far (minus the first two weeks!!). 

Our conversation this morning: 

Me: E do you want to take a shower with mommy?

E: No!  My pajamas would get all wet!  

Okey dokey.  

Boobs, the letter L and PRESENTS!

Ask me if I thought 3 years ago that I would still be breastfeeding my baby at this age.  Before E was born I would have told you that I would like to breastfeed 6-12 months and then done.  No one tells you how hard it is to stop for many reasons.  One,  my boy loves the connection.  He still loves to lay in my arms and stare up at me.  And I can’t complain.  It is truly the only time in the day that he isn’t constantly moving.  Two,  it makes bedtime SOOOOOO easy.  There is NEVER, EVER a fight. EVER.  He loves bedtime.  Bedtime means connecting and that is great for both of us.  Three,  my kid is NEVER sick (I surely just jinxed myself there).  My niece and nephew spent the night last Saturday and they were both diagnosed with strep on Sunday.  ARGH!!!!  Cue panic attack for the fully employed single mom!  And also…I don’t want to be sick either!  So I immediately started diffusing Thieves all over my house.  I am wearing my Thieves oil necklace and I sprayed Thieves on everything in the house and disinfected all of the things that my niece and nephew could have possibly touched.  I gargled Apple Cider Vinegar and then I have been nursing the shit out of my boy!  The incubation period of Strep is 1-5 days after contact.  It has been 7 days and so far….so good.  And I thank breastfeeding for that.  I was talking about it the other day in the teachers lounge (I mean we do live in Boulder,  so most people are totally hip to this) with one of my favorite teachers who is male,  gay and in his 60’s.  We joked years ago that he would be my baby daddy. hehe.   Today he was in SHOCK to hear that I was still breastfeeding and I just laughed and rattled off all of the benefits it has had for us.  I think I completely rocked his world today.

Also E is beginning to be able to pronounce the medial L sound and it is hysterically precious.  He now slows down in the middle of “YEYO” to pronounce the L sound. And he rolls his tongue up in the wrong way so it comes out all cute.  He looked out the window on the way to school the other day and said,  “Mommy,  it’s Ooooollllllaf from Frozen!”  Emphasis on L.  We have NEVER seen this movie and I can only assume that he has learned this from YouTube Kids. (which I just deleted from all my tablets due to the fact that I can’t stand most of the kid content…E gets lost in a weird world of toy reviews). It is so weird what our kiddos pick up!  Uncle Mike recently taught him “No Way Jose” which he often pronounces Hosie instead of long “a” sound for “e”.  He also out of the blue counted to 5 in Spanish.  Where does this kid learn this stuff! ? I forget that they are such sponges at this age.  I need to start teaching him algebra!

This year is especially fun bc E is totally aware that it is Christmas.  He loves Santa (so long as he doesn’t come near him) and tells me that he has Elk.  When I correct him that Santa in fact has reindeer he retorts,  “NO, THEY ARE ELK!!”  Okey dokey,  they are elk.  Close enough anyway.  In Colorado,  they are elk.  When I ask him what he wants for Christmas,  he says,  “Presents!”  So we aren’t quite to the concept that we get to open things we want….he just wants to rip paper off and see what’s inside.  Doesn’t matter what’s inside.  He is obsesses with books and puzzles,  dinosaurs and vehicles,  so you can imagine what Santa is bringing.  We are celebrating little by little.  Since we fly out on Christmas morning,  we  are opening presents early so he has time to play with them.   Then we celebrate again in North Cackalacky. This age is pretty magical.

Here is a pic of the 4th time Santa tried to say hi to E on the train.  He gave E a bell so he decided  he wasn’t so bad after all.




Conversations with a 2 year old

E: (while I am getting out of the shower) Mommy! I see your penis!  

Me: Sweet pea, mommies don’t have penises. 

E: Yes they do!  That is your a penis!

Me: Okay fine.  It’s my penis.  (Bc he’ll figure it out one day and I don’t want to argue with a toddler!)

Pretty much repeat this conversation about everything several times a day and you have a little peek into my life.  

Dear Son,

My dear son,

Something happened last night that just took the wind out of my sails.  I can barely breathe and I feel the weight of the anxiety and despair that I felt after 9/11 and when Chad was dying.  It is heavy and painful.  I am thankful that you will have no memory of this event.  History was supposed to happen but a terrible upset occurred.  It took everyone by surprise.  But you are from a family that will never teach you to be hateful.  You will be taught to not hate anyone that is different than you.  You will be taught by your loving mother to love and respect the LGBTQ community,  to love everyone regardless of their religion,  to respect all humans regardless of their color,  to respect people with disabilities,  and you will be taught to respect woman.  You will be taught that it is not acceptable to touch a woman in any way without their consent.  You will be taught that it is not acceptable to comment on a woman’s body in any way….ever….unless you are telling her that she looks beautiful in a respectful way.  I promise to teach you all of these things and to teach you LOVE before HATE.  This is my promise to you.  It is my job to make you a good human and regardless of what horror happened in this country last night,  I promise to make you a better man!

With more love than I can ever put into words,

Your Mother