I’m Gonna Miss This

I will never forget the night my mom called to let me know that my nana was not going to make it through the night.

I was home folding laundry watching the season finale of The Apprentice. My kids were sleeping.  My husband was working.  I had paused The Apprentice while on the phone. When I hung up I un-paused the show and Trace Adkins had just taken the stage.  He began to sing and I was mesmerized. He sang a song about how life can be so crazy but “you’re gonna miss this” -the chorus and the name of the song. Like country music does, it tells little stories of life. I heard my life in it.

It hit me so hard at that exact moment; Trace was right. I already missed my nana and she was still here. She was in a coma-like sleep and had been for a few days, so technically the nana I knew and loved had already left us.

I cried. Then I cried some more.

The next morning my nana was still hanging in there. Not conscious, but still breathing.

I went out and bought Trace’s album and listened to that song over and over. Later that day when she passed away I cried even more.

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I never said a word to my kids about that song but each one of them told me months later how much they loved that song and how it reminded them of Nana Alice.

That was in March of 2008.

I am thinking about that tonight as my children have a group of friends over and they are swimming, music is blaring and they are laughing, shouting and singing. They are LOUD. They are fun, happy and loving life.

I sit back on the deck and watch them swim, not able to hear myself think because it is so loud, but

I wouldn’t change a thing. I am soaking up every sound, every laugh and every smile.

fun summer nights!

These days, these years, they are the best ones of my life.

I know I’m gonna miss this. ❤️

 

How to Not Build a Closet (Or, as Babble Titled it, Do We Unconsciously Pressure Our Kids to Grow Up Straight?)

I’m honored to be published again on Babble.com. This is an important topic and I’m anxious to hear about your thoughts and experiences, so please read, share and post in the comments!

❤M

 

So Often, It’s the Little Things (NaBloPoMo, Day 2)

Today’s NaBloPoMo Prompt: Talk about a surprise that made you happy.

I tend to lean towards happiness, in general. I just feel like it takes more energy to be unhappy, so it doesn’t take a lot to make me smile and I don’t need grand gestures to feel loved. (But grand gestures are always fun and welcome!)

One afternoon last spring, while I was on the phone (with my Dad?) my son quietly got my attention by showing me a note or a small drawing he was working on. I had just seen him zooming around the house, so I remember being slightly puzzled. He had a little sparkle in his eye and I could see he wanted my attention, so I followed- at some point, getting off the phone. It turned out that he had arranged a series of post-it notes around the house, each one hinting at the next in true scavenger hunt style. The exciting (read “very quick”) hunt around the house ended with a beautiful little love note, written inside a pen-drawn heart, which he had hung from the ceiling using a piece of pink ribbon, by standing on my bed. It was the sweetest surprise and his little sister copies his adorable idea from time to time. Not yet fully understanding the way one hint should lead to the next, her post-its usually just list the next location and don’t end with anything hanging from the ceiling, but it always brings back the burst of love and happiness I felt when her big brother surprised me. So often, it’s the littlest things that bring the most joy. ❤

Life is full of firsts….

Josh's RainbowFirsts are so much fun when you have a baby. First smile, first time rolling over, first belly laugh, first steps, first day of pre-school.

We keep records of these. They go down in our pediatricians files to make sure kids are on the right track. Now with social media, we share them with friends and family, far and wide. Sometimes, we even prepare, searching Pinterest for creative signs for kids to hold- think first lost tooth, first day of 3rd grade- so cute!

Sometimes, firsts are not so great. On July 7, 2014 my very dear friend, Melissa Kaye, lost her 8 year old son, Josh, after a 13 day fight against E-Coli. Since then, she has experienced a whole new series of firsts. Heart-wrenching, can’t breathe firsts. He died in July, his birthday was in August, his first day of fourth grade would have been in September, first Halloween without Josh in October, first Thanksgiving in November, and the upcoming holiday season. Every day without him is an unimaginable first.

Our children were friends and went to the same school, where they arranged for a grief counselor come and speak. She was wonderful. She spoke about the different ways our children may grieve, and what we should look for and how to react. It helped.

Something the grief counselor said that night stuck with me. She mentioned that a lot of parents lose friends after losing a child. Their friends are usually parents who have children the same age as the child who died. The parents of the living child often have survivor’s guilt and that is beyond uncomfortable. But to lose your friends in addition to your child is just not right.

I can see why this happens. It is definitely easier to avoid situations that make you feel uncomfortable than to face them. This is a first for me. To witness my close friend’s loss, the loss of a child I knew well, but I have faced those feelings head on with my friend, her husband and her daughters. I am there for them regardless of how heart-wrenching life can be for them with all of these new firsts.

The first few months after Josh passed, I felt as though I didn’t deserve to be happy. Why should I get to enjoy my children when this wonderful, loving family cannot enjoy their son? Everything I did, I felt guilty about. It is such a desperately low, dark, and painful place to be. The loss of a child is just unthinkable- unacceptable. But time goes on and the days keep on coming even if you aren’t ready for them. I wanted to rewind time. These raw, emotional days happened over the summer, when I was surrounded by my own four children all of the time. I have never been as grateful for them as I was this past summer. I felt as if I was living in slow motion and really started to see life as it should be. I spent the extra time reading bed time stories. I paid attention to sunsets and rainbows, and really listened. I allowed myself to cry in front of my children and accepted hugs.

I don’t ever want to experience anything like this again. However, I have been shown just how beautiful life can be, even in the midst of the ugliest thing I have ever experienced. I cherish each and every moment I get with my children, even if I am yelling at them (which still happens more frequently than I care to admit). I take stock of all the good in my life a few times per day now. I count my blessings and the Kaye family is one of them. I am a changed woman, for the better. Josh’s death is still unthinkable for me; I don’t understand it. I do understand that the small bullshit things that used to bother me just don’t matter anymore. It may sound cliche to tell you to try and be more present with your life and give hugs when you can, but I have to say it anyway.

The Orange Rhino’s Book is OUT!

A frequent guest and contributor to our radio show, Sheila McCraith has stepped out from behind her secret identity as The Orange Rhino to share her fabulous book, Yell Less, Love More. Sheila is an everyday mom who is just trying to do her best, like all of us. When she was stunned by an aha moment, she decided to share it with the world via her blog. Now, she shares more- and it’s AWESOME!

Order now:

Sheila is hosting a book club and it starts today!  Check it out!

Yell Less, LOVE More

Yell Less, Love More! The Orange Rhino’s Book is Ready to Order!

A frequent guest and contributor to our radio show, Sheila McCraith has finally stepped out from behind her secret identity as The Orange Rhino to share her fabulous book, Yell Less, Love More. Sheila is an everyday mom who is just trying to do her best, like all of us. When she was stunned by an aha moment, she decided to share it with the world via her blog. Now, she shares more- and it’s awesome! Pre-order today for Nov 1 delivery!