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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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As many of you know, October is breast cancer awareness month.  I have 2 aunts who are survivors and I know many more.  But this summer, the disease hit close to home for my 7 year old daughter.  As I mentioned at the end of this post, L’s teacher from last year was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer.  It had spread to her bones and her liver.  She tested positive for the breast cancer gene so her two daughters will have to be careful as they get older.  She is in treatment and it appears to be working.  She is awaiting results of her latest scan and we all have our fingers crossed.  The next step will be surgery.

When L found out, of course her first question was if Mrs. U would be OK.  I told her that we hoped she would be but it would be a while before we knew if the medicine was working.  She immediately wanted to do something…draw her pictures, anything to make her beloved teacher feel better.  When Mrs. U posted on Facebook that she was participating in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in Orlando, I told L that would be a great way to help and show our support.  At first, I signed just L and me up.  I sent emails to family and friends asking for donations.  After a while, B expressed interest in doing the walk as well so I added him to the team.  Now our whole family will be participating in the walk on October 29.

It has also amazed me how the school community has stepped up.  Every October, they sell pink ribbons and bracelets.  This year, they are doing the same but with one difference…all the proceeds of the sale will go to a fund For Mrs. U and her family.  I think I may have cried when I saw that news because I know this hasn’t been easy on them.  She has not been able to work at all so far this school year and she did not have any type of disability insurance.  I am so proud of the members of the school staff who are doing their best to help out their fellow teacher.  Our entire family bought bracelets and Linnaea was going back today to buy a ribbon.

I wish we could do more.  I hate that anyone has to be touched by this disease and I hate that my daughter has to see it hit so close to home.  I can’t say it enough…Cancer is Bullshit.  We need to find a cure.

6

PROUD To Be With The Band

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Yesterday I blogged about my circle of online mom friends.  Today I would like to expand on my circle of online friends to include another group of women who have become a part of my everyday life.

Late last year I came across a blog called Mommy Wants Vodka.  I believe I found my way there from another blog but who knows.  Anyway, it’s the blog of a woman who calls herself Aunt Becky.  Becky has a penchant for four letter words and using phrases like “Amazeballs, ”  “Awesomesauce, ” and “Kick it in the taco!”  I was instantly smitten.  I stalked her blog daily for about a week and eventually made my way over to her blogroll.  Over there I found a few more great blogs including another one run by Becky called Band Back Together.  I think I was totally absorbed in BB2G for a good two or three days straight reading almost all the posts.

Becky started BB2G because she herself has faced some tough times.  Her oldest son was born autistic and her daughter was born with encephalopathy which required surgery within days of her birth.  Amelia is now a healthy, normal little girl but the experience left Becky with PTSD.  As one of the faces of mental illness, Becky felt the need to help others with her own brand of support and humor.  And so, BB2G was born in September 2010.
BB2G is more than a blog or web site…it’s a resource.  It’s a place where people who have suffered loss, illness, and other issues can come and share their stories without judgement.  The site includes a page of resources for everything and anything.  If you need info on suicide, miscarriage, etc., it’s right there at your fingertips.  And then there is The Band…it is a resource itself.  When you post on BB2G, you get love and support NO MATTER WHAT.  And you will often get more support than you know what to do with!

A few months ago, I became a Brain Behind The Band.  I help out behind the scenes with promotion, support, commenting and spreading news about BB2G on social media.  Through BB2G, my circle of online friends has grown.  I have never met a group of people more supportive of people they don’t know.  We have had people post when they are on the brink of suicide and we have helped pull them back from the edge.  We had had people with Postpartum Depression say on other support sites that BB2G is one of the only sites where they have found support….that they have felt ignored elsewhere.  To me, that is a HUGE testament to what BB2G does.  BB2G is trying to erase the stigma of things like mental illness and infertility…to encourage people to talk about these things and seek help.  And now, we are in the process of trying to make BB2G a nonprofit organization…one of the most kickass of ALL non profits, if you ask me!

Man, as I read over this, I don’t feel like I am doing The Band justice.  I’m not sure I can put into words what they do for people.  So I encourage you to visit us there.  Share your stories, support others and support the site that so many people turn to when they feel they have nowhere else to go.  I feel like the only way for you to see what we are is to go and see for yourself.  And I hope when you do, you will see why I am PROUD to be with The Band.

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I Have Friends In Virtual Places

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I have a  group of friends that I share almost everything with.  They have seen me through good times and bad.  I have shared some of my most intimate secrets with them.  I’m sure most of you are thinking that seems pretty normal…that’s what friends do.  But the difference here is that I have never met most of then face to face.  Heck, I’ve never even SPOKEN to most of them but I still consider them some of my closest friends.

I guess I should give some background.  The Internet became a real big thing when I was in college.  During college and even after, I signed on to a few dating sites.  I met some great guys and some, umm, not so great guys.  One of those guys would become my husband.  After that, it didn’t take me long to find sites like iVillage where there were message boards for anything and everything.  I met several women through a message board for women in their 20s.  I am still friends with a couple of them today.  I met 3 other women through a weight loss board there.  Two of them are still my friends today.  In both cases, it’s been more than 10 years.

When B and I decided we wanted to start trying to have a baby almost 9 years ago, I found another message board, not on iVillage, for women who were trying to conceive their first child.  It also had a partner board for first time moms.  Those women soon became an everyday part of my life.  We saw each other through births, miscarriages, Divorces, the deaths of a couple of husbands and even through the heart transplant of the one of the babies.  We have never thought twice about calling each other “friend.”  The boards have grown, evolved and changed and are now for anyone trying to have to adopt a baby and for any mother.  And with the invention of Facebook, etc. we don’t always visit it as much but we are still part of each others lives.

As with most groups, we developed closer bonds with some rather than others.  I have a circle that I consider closer than the rest.  Some of them I have met face to face some of them I have spoken with on the phone or texted with.  ALL of them are good friends.  One of those friends, T, should have had her picture next to the definition of good friend.  Even though she struggled with her own issues, both physical and mental, she was always putting others first.  She was quick to send a card or a small gift to you, just because.  When I lost my last baby, even though she was going through a VERY tough time herself, she sent my family and me flowers even though we had never met face to face.  That was the kind of person T was.  She didn’t come around the board much anymore but we still kept in touch quite often.

A few weeks ago, the unthinkable happened.  T passed away very suddenly.  She was only 33 and left two children…a 5 year old girl and a 3 year old boy.  When a friend called me to tell me it had been posted on Facebook, we were both in denial…hoping it was a cruel joke.  But unfortunately, it wasn’t.  I went to the board to share the news and immediately, the outpouring of grief was immediate.  People who had strayed away came to pay their respects and share their memories.  People started brainstorming about something to do for her children and about places to donate in her memory.  I thought to myself “This is the definition of true friendship.  THIS is why after almost 9 years, these people are still my friends.”

One thing many of us said in the aftermath of T’s death was that a lot of people didn’t understand why we were so sad about someone we had never met.  For many of the women, even their husbands didn’t understand.  I know to us, it seems normal but to many others, it seems strange.  To me, this seems to be something that is becoming MORE normal.  With the invention of blogs, and social media like Facebook and Twitter, I think more and more people are meeting friends virtually.  I think people need to understand that even virtually, someone can be a good friend.  And more importantly, it’s normal to mourn the loss of one of those friends.

The pain of T’s loss is fading but our group has become closer which I didn’t even think was possible.  These women remain part of my everyday life even after almost 9 years.  I hope they all know how much I love and appreciate them and I hope to be friends for many more years to come.

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Long Overdue Healthy Me Update

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Yes, it is back to Healthy Me because B has kind of slacked off.  One issue is that he needs new sneakers so we need to get on that.  He did hit the treadmill a few times since he started working from home but that went out the window pretty fast.  Oh well.

I, on the other hand, have ramped it up.  Just about 8 weeks ago I started the Couch to 5k program.  I had started it a couple of times before but never followed through.  Not this time.  I downloaded the app to my phone and told myself there was no excuse not to start it.  I did have to repeat a couple weeks due to illness and a slight injury but I HAVE NOT given up.  And that is HUGE for me.  At first my goal was to exercise, in some form, 5 days a week but I haven’t always been able to keep that up.  I DO always manage the minimum of 3 times a week and most of the time, it’s 4.  I either do the C25K on the treadmill or the EA Active for Wii.  This weekend it is supposed to cool off quite a bit so I may try to squeeze in a couple of walks/jogs.  I keep track of ALL my calories on myfitnesspal.com and allow myself a little leeway on the weekends.  Last I checked, I had lost 7 pounds but that was a couple weeks ago.  And the other day, I went in for a routine physical and the doctor’s scale put me at 4 pounds less than my home scale so I’ll be looking to buy a new scale.  In the meantime, I will just subtract 4 pounds from whatever my scale says.  My next weigh in is tomorrow.

I have to admit that I am really surprised at myself.  I mean, I was active in HS and college.  I ran track in HS but really only ran sprints and did the long jump.  I was never into distance running.  Heck, more often than not my teammates and I ran to MCDONALD’S rather than running through the neighborhoods around the school so I am really surprised that I am enjoying this.  I have a feeling I will enjoy it even more when it cools off and I can actually do it OUTSIDE.  I’m not sure what prompted me to start it and stick with it.  Usually after a week or so my lack of willpower kicks in and I just give up.  I have no idea what’s different now.  It’s really true what they say…after a few weeks it becomes a habit and just a part of your daily routine.    I’m not looking to run marathons or anything…just get my distance and speed up a little.  I would like to do a 5k to support cancer or breast cancer research but really, I want to do it for my health.  I just hope I can keep it up and set a good example for my girls.

5

She Was Still Our Baby Girl

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*WARNING:  Parts of this post may be graphic*

Exactly a week ago, I hit a sad anniversary.  I planned on writing this post then but I just couldn’t.  That day was the 2 year anniversary of the delivery of the last baby I lost.  It was my latest loss and the only one that required delivery.  I’ve never publicly shared the story so I’m hoping maybe doing that will help with the healing,
I’ll spare most of the details leading up to this.  The short background is I had 2 losses in between my girls.  Both of those were fairly early.  Just 6 months before the loss I’m about to tell you about, I had another loss, later than the other 2, that required a D&C.  I had been tested after the first 2 losses and they couldn’t find anything wrong with me.  They tested the baby after the D&C and couldn’t find anything wrong with her (yes, it was a girl) either.  The whole thing was puzzling since I did have 2 healthy children.
When I found out around Mother’s Day in 2009 that I was pregnant again, I was thrilled and anxious.  We had moved to FL just 3 months before and we didn’t know many people nor did I have a doctor.  So I found a practice that I felt comfortable with. I had all my records so they were aware of my history.  My doctor ordered an early ultrasound to check for a heartbeat which they found right away.  After that, we started to hit other milestones.  I got past the first trimester.  And then I had my Nuchal translucency test and genetic testing.  All of that was fine but I was still nervous after that test because my previous loss had happened RIGHT after that test.  So when the midwife couldn’t find the heartbeat at my next appointment, I panicked.  They scheduled me for an ultrasound the following week (our insurance sucked…it wouldn’t allow me to have an ultrasound in the office…I had to go to the hospital downtown).
The day of the ultrasound I was just about 15 1/2 weeks.  I was honestly surprised when the tech said everything looked fine.  The baby was measuring ahead and looked great.  My placenta was anterior (attached to the front) so that was likely the reason the Doppler hadn’t picked up the heartbeat.  I started to feel much better.  I started to believe everything would be OK.  We started to tell people and we picked out names.  It started to seem real.
So when the midwife couldn’t find the heartbeat again at my next appointment, I wasn’t worried.  I was measuring on target and my BIG ultrasound was scheduled soon so I decided to just wait.  I was so convinced everything was OK.
Only a few days later, on a Sunday, I got up to go to the bathroom and saw blood when I wiped.  My blood ran cold.  I told B and then called the doctor’s office.  They told me to go to the triage area of the hospital.  I called my mom to tell her what was going on and then I called a friend (the only friend we really had then) to come and watch the girls.  L was old enough to know I was having a baby so we explained we were going to check on the baby.
We got to the hospital and waited in the triage waiting room for what seemed like forever.  Then, they took us back to a room.  A nurse told me my doctor was on call upstairs and that he had told her to check for a heartbeat using the Doppler.  If she found it I could go home.  If not, I would have an ultrasound.  I wasn’t really thrilled with the going home part because I WAS bleeding and I wanted to know WHY…heartbeat or not.  But, of course she couldn’t find the heartbeat so they sent me for an ultrasound which confirmed the worst.  I think I just started to cry and ask “Why.”  I didn’t get it…things had been going so well.  And in the middle of it all, I knew this was it.  My dreams of having a third child had just been crushed.  I couldn’t go through it again.  Little did I know, it would get worse. 
I went back to the little room I had been in before and the nurse told me my doctor would be down soon.  When he came in he confirmed what the ultrasound had showed.  He also said that the baby had passed away some days ago because it had already shrunk to the size of a 14 week fetus.  It likely passed away shortly after my last ultrasound.  Then he said something neither B or I expected…he told me I would have to deliver.  He did a quick exam to confirm that and said that because of how far along I was, bones had already formed and a D&C would be too dangerous.  They called up to L&D to see when they could admit me.  They were told to send me back around 7 that evening.  My doctor told me to go home, relax and be with my kids before I came back.
We picked up food from Wendy’s on the way home. My friend knew what was going on but we had to tell L.  God, that was hard.  She was sad but we let her have her space and just waited for her to ask questions. 
The next thing to tackle was how we were going to handle this.  L was starting Kindergarten the following week and had KinderCamp the next DAY. We knew I would still be in the hospital then and we didn’t want to disrupt her life any more than necessary.  So, it was decided my friend would take me to the hospital that night and get me settled and Brian and the girls would come get me when it was over.  I know the idea of me being alone probably sounds weird but in the end, I think it was the right thing to do for a variety of reasons.
The rest of the day we called family, packed me a bag and I had a mojito.  I figured, why the fuck not???  I just sort of felt…numb. It almost seemed like a dream.  And then my friend came to get me and I knew it was ALL too real.
I got to the hospital at around 7:15 and my friend stayed with me until 10. It took until 11 to get my IV hooked up (saline and Dilaudid…the GOOD stuff!). They also took a ton of blood too to rule out certain infections (they also did a drug test, I would find out later). They asked a lot of questions about afterward…would we have a funeral (no), did I want them to take care of the baby (yes), did I want to see the baby (no), did I want a memory box (no) and did I want a pathology done…HELL YES!
So at 11 they gave me my first dose of Cytotec. I hung out a while and the nurse had told me they had Ativan on order for me so I eventually asked for that. I had my laptop and some magazines so I read for a while.  I couldn’t bring myself to turn on the computer and go online.  I finally went to sleep at around 1 and “slept” if you can call it that, until 5 when they gave me the second dose of Cytotec. I had some bad cramping at around 6:30 so I hit the pain pump and it was gone in seconds. I got up at 7 and went pee and debated ordering breakfast since I knew once I delivered, no food until the placenta came and they were sure a D&C wasn’t needed. I opted for sleep. Around 8, I got up to go to the bathroom again and had some more bad cramping. Hit the pain pump again and was going to order breakfast. 5 minutes later my water broke. I called the nurses and they got stuff changed and put me into a new gown and as I sat up to get comfortable, I felt a plop. I said Uhhh, and they looked and that was it….there it was. It was about 8:20. They were very careful to wrap it in a towel since they knew I didn’t want to see it. I did ask one nurse if they would be able to tell what it was and she said they might so she would look for me. She came back and told me it looked like a little boy (it turns out it wasn’t…it was a girl).  I was exactly 18 weeks.
At that point, they hooked me up to the pitocin for the placenta. About an hour later she checked and kind of tugged on the cord remains and asked if I could push so I did and plop, out came the placenta…all of it she was pretty sure. So then I just had to wait for the doc to check to make sure it was all gone and then I was able to EAT! B and the girls came to get me around 1 and I was home before 2 and I went right to bed.
It was a rough couple of days after that.  B was really upset he hadn’t been with me but I explained to him it was for the best.  At my follow up visit, we learned that once again, they could find no reason for the loss which further cemented the idea that we were done.  It was time to move on.
It still amazes me the things people say after something like this happens.  Things like “it was for the best,” “obviously something wasn’t right,” and my favorite, “Be thankful for the 2 healthy girls you DO have.”?  What the FUCK does that even mean?  That because I HAVE 2 healthy kids I don’t get the mourn the 4 I lost…that they don’t count???  All the babies I lost were STILL my babies no matter HOW long they were with me.  And our last little angel was with me for 18 weeks.  She was STILL our baby girl.  Why don’t people understand that?
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Well, Summer Is Over

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I knew it was going to fly. I can’t believe that 10 1/2 weeks went by that fast! We did keep ourselves busy with our vacation to the beach, trips to the water park, bowling and a short trip to Disney. Maybe that is part of the reason it went by so fast.

L started second grade today. She LOVES school and is always sad the school year ends. A couple weeks ago, I took her shopping. Unlike her mom, she LOVES skirts and dresses. Even though we live in a state where it’s quite warm most of the year, there are still dress codes so we had to be careful what she picked out. But she was perfectly happy to pick out a bunch of shirts with different prints on them and skirts (of a reasonable length) to match. She got new dressy shoes and two new pairs of sneakers which is what she wears almost daily to school. We spent a small fortune on her supplies. I think next year I may just bite the bullet and spend the couple of extra bucks to have the school do it for us. It seems SO much easier.

To me, the kids find out who their teachers are really late. I swear we used to find out who we had the next year on the last day of school. Maybe that has changed because of budget cuts and teachers moving around more. I don’t know. I went on the school web site a week ago to see when Meet The Teacher Night would be and found out it was that Friday. I knew that meant we would get a call from the teacher soon and sure enough, on Thursday her teacher called. She seemed really nice on the phone and my neighbor across the street described her as “really, really sweet.” And she definitely was sweet when we met her on Friday. She has a daughter in middle school and a 3 year old so she was also very nice to A. She thanked us for the supplies and gave us a little fun homework to work on this week…a bag of 4 things that describe L…things she likes, etc. L has already come up wth a few things to put in it. She also told us that this is the first year of actual letter grades so we will be making some new rules for Linaea regarding televison watching and video game playing. Last year they did get percentages on their progress reports and L was always in the B+ to A range so I’m not real worried but I still want her to understand how important school is.

This morning L was up and dressed before we were, complete with earrings and necklace. She had a nice healthy breakfast (WW Bagel Thin with PB and some berries plus a glass of milk) and I packed her a nice lunch (LF ham on a WW pita with lettuce, tomato and a bit of mayo, grapes, some Goldfish and a 100% juice Capri Sun). She packed up her puppy backpack and was ready to go. She looked so grown up! She wanted us to walk her to her classroom so we did, but we also told her this would be the last year we did that. She hugged us all good-bye and sat down on the floor to wait. She had a huge smile on her face. I don’t think I ever remember being that happy to go back to school except for maybe in college!

So, our summer if over. Sure, we have plenty of warm weather left…it IS Florida after all but we are back intot he school year and a new routine. It feels kind of good!

3

Domestic Diva I Am Not!

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I’m just going to come out and say it…I HATE housework.  I do it, of course but I drag my feet and stuff piles up and that makes me hate it even more.  It’s a vicious cycle.  But I am TRYING to get better about it…to stay on top of it more and still have time for other stuff.

When B and I first moved in together, cleaning was done on Saturday mornings.  We lived in an apartment so there wasn’t much to clean.  We did have 4 cats and plenty of carpet so there was a lot of vacuuming that needed to be done.  We moved to another apartment and that schedule continued.  In fact, it continued until we moved into our house and had kids.  By that time, we had traded a lot of the carpet for hardwood floors so it looked like we had a family of bunnies living in the house.  And of course, with kids, things got messier,  We soon found that since we both worked, we spent most of at least one day on the weekend cleaning and not spending it with our kids. Don’t get me wrong…we didn’t let the place turn into a pigsty during the week.  We picked up the clutter and did quick wipe downs.  But our deep cleaning came on the weekend and it SERIOUSLY cut into our family time.  So, for a little while, we had a girl come once a week to clean.  Then she started to come once every  weeks.  And then we needed the money for other things so she had to go and we were back to spending a weekend day cleaning.

When we moved to FL and decided I would stay home, I had visions of having certain chores done on certain days and B coming home to a spotless house.  Ummm, yeah…with 2 kids home with me during the say and one of them just over a year old, that didn’t exactly happen, for one reason or another.  But, now the kids are older and they can pitch in a bit so I am again trying to work our some kind of schedule.

I Googled “house chores schedule” and found a ton of resources.  Ummm, OK, as I’m typing this, I realize how silly it must sound but, I’m not sure how else to approach it.  I think what I will have to do is work on assigning chores to each day and see how it goes…unless anyone else has other suggestions!  At this point I’m pen to anything!

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Summer Is Flying By!!!

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I can’t believe that it’s almost the middle of July already!  We really enjoyed our beach vacation.  To see this every night was just heaven:

Hubby got some stuff done with the house.  The house is now painted but awaiting a second coat.  He also painted the pool deck though he has a couple more things to finish up there too.  WE have tons of landscaping to take care of but that’s coming along slowly too.

My IL’s were here for a week and that was a nice visit.  They were here for L’s actual birthday.  We took her out to dinner and then the night before they left, we all went to the Spirit of Aloha Luau at the Polynesian resort in Disney World.  Man, I LOVE that dinner show!  L loved her new TV/DVD combo from all her grandparents as well as all her gifts from us.  I can’t believe my first baby is 7!

Hubby started a new job on Monday.  Well, technically it started on July 1 but he was off work to visit with his parents and then as soon as his parents left, he had to go to Minneapolis to meet his new boss and go over some things.  So, yesterday was the first day he was actually at work in the new job.  The good news is he’ll be able to work from home most of the time.  He hopes to start that later this week.

My mom arrives next week for a few days and then the first weekend in August we’re going to Disney for a couple nights.  And then before we know it, school will be starting again!  The kids have been having a blast between the pool, the splash park and the free bowling.  But I feel like it just went too fast.  I love having both kids home and I’ll be bummed when school starts again.

1

Cancer Is Bullshit

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July 1st marked the 30th birthday of my husband’s cousin, Adam.  Adam’s wife, Kate, planned a party at their house to celebrate his birthday as well as the 4th of July.  My hubby, B, and I really wished we could be there.  But this party was different than most.  The guest of honor for this party was not there although I am positive he was there in spirit.  Cancer took Adam from those who loved him, including a son he would never meet, on March 27.

Adam was the son of my MIL’s cousin.  So he and B weren’t even first cousins.  But they were almost as close as brothers.  B, Adam and his brother Dave spent a lot of time together as kids.  There is quite a large gap in age between B and his brothers and that gap was filled by Adam and Dave.  The families even traveled together.  When I met Adam, I instantly liked him.  Adam was smart, artistic and VERY funny.  I can’t think of one time that I was with him where I didn’t laugh for at least 5 minutes at something he said.  He did a dead on impression of Old Man Herbert from “Family Guy” and that character will always remind me of him.

When Adam met Kate, I liked her instantly too.  She was like me…sarcastic and quick to joke.  She and Adam seemed a perfect fit.  Adam was diganosed with cancer not long after they met 4 or 5 years ago (I could be a bit off there).  Lots of women would have run in the other direction but not Kate.  She was there with him every step of the way.

When Adam was diagnosed, he had a tumor removed and then underwent almost a year of chemo.  After that he was given a clean bill of health.  But that was short lived.  The cancer came back and this time, it was here to stay.

The last time I saw Adam was June 30, 2009.  He and Kate took a trip to Disney World.  My daughter L’s 5th brithday fell in the middle of their trip so we took advantage of the Free Birthday promotion and took the kids on the first visit to Magic Kingdom.  We had a great time even though it rained.  We rode the rides and watched the parades and just had a wonderful day.  Adam looked great and in a way, I am grateful that I am able to remember him that way.  Here is a picture of Adam and Kate taken that day:

Kate and Adam returned to CT but we continued to keep in touch through Facebook.  Adam had his ups and downs but at that point, the good days seemd to outnumber the bad.  On Christmas Eve day of that same year, I got a text from Kate telling me that she and Adam had gotten engaged.  We were beyond thrilled for them and we felt honored to be the first of the extended family to know.  They started planning the wedding and settled on April 2010.  Kate called me to let me know the date just in case we could make it but it just wasn’t possible.  I heard it was a beautiful, fun wedding even though it was bittesweet.  Beyond the happiness, we all knew that Adam was on borrowed time.
But Adam continued to rally.  He and Kate were able to take a honeymoon to Aruba.  That fall, they announced they were expecting a baby the following May.  Adam was BEYOND excited to be a father.  He and Kate found out they were having a boy and life seemed good.  But soon, the bad days began to outnumber the good.
When my IL’s were visiting us that March, they let us know that things were not going well.  Adam was unable to receive some of his treatments due to his inability to breathe when he was lying flat on his back (the tumors were in his lungs and there was fluid build-up).  Later in the month, we learned that he had been admitted to the hospital.  I caught up with Kate on Facebook and she said he was doing better and they were going to try to wean him off the ventilator and that she hoped he would be home by that weekend or shortly after.  That very weekend, my BIL, Jeff, called.  My heart sank when I saw the Caller ID.  Jeff RARELY calls and I knew it was about Adam.
Jeff told me that Dave had called my MIL and told her things were not good and that Adam’s time would likely come soon.  As usual, Dave was vague.  With the exception of Kate, Adam’s immediate family had been in denial throughout his whole illness so this was typical.  I went and told B the news and then I sent Kate a text to tell her I was thinking of her.  She responded with her thanks.
Not too long after that, I received another text from Kate.  She told me they would be taking Adam off life support soon. She apologized for telling me that way but she knew Adam’s parents probably weren’t keeping people informed.  When I called my MIL to let her know, I found out Kate was right.  They were pretty much in the dark.  I told them I would keep them updated.
A few hours later I received the worst text I have ever received.  Kate told me that Adam was gone.  He passed away with her by his side.  Adam’s long battle was over.  I went and told B and I could tell he was in a bit of shock.  Then I made the difficult call to my IL’s since I had a feeling they didn’t know yet and I was right.  See, my IL’s had a very special relationship with Adam and Kate.  Kate and Adam had bought a hosue in Kate’s hometown which is also B’s hometowm so my IL’s lived close by.  They visited with them often and often went out ot dinner or to the casino together.  I knew this was going to be VERY hard on them.  I hated making that call.
Next, I had to tell L.  We had lost one of our cats to cancer so she knew what it was but this was the first time she lost someone that close to her.  It was heartbrreaking to watch her eyes fill with tears.  She went and found a Tinkerbell keychain that Adam and Kate has bought her for her birthday on that Disney trip and I told her she could keep it to always remember Adam by.  She still has that keychain by her bed.
That night, B broke down as we were reminiscing about Adam and I joined him.  It just wasn’t fair.  Adam was so young.  He didn’t live to see his first anniversary or his son being born.  But I knew one thing for sure…Adam KNEW Kate was strong enough to handle it.  I know in my heart of hearts that he would not have let go if he thought she couldn’t handle it.  She had been his rock.  She stood by him, married him and carried his child all the while knowing what could happen.  Not many women can do that.  And I admire her greatly for it.
Adam’s son, Luke, was born on Mother’s Day, exactly a week before his due date.  I am sure Adam had a hand in that…his last gift to his wife…the perfect Mother’s Day present.  And Luke is the spitting image of his dad.  Adam will live on through his son but there will always be a hole in our lives left by him.  Even so, all of us whose lives were touched by him were blessed.
I had hoped that cancer would not hit this close to home for quite some time but that was not to be.  We recently found out that the teacher Linnaea had this past year has been diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer.  She’s my age.  Like Adam she has the right attitude and plans to fight.   But it still sucks.  We need to find a cure.  But until then, as Aunt Becky says, “Cancer is bullshit.”
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When Adults’ Rudeness Hurts My Child

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This coming Saturday, my daughter L was supposed to have a birthday party.  I say SUPPOSED TO because thanks to not ONE of her classmates’ parents RSVP’ing, we’re not having it.  Sorry, correction, one mother did RSVP a day late.  Better late than never, I guess but I had to call her back and tell her the party was canceled and why.  She felt awful and so did her daughter.  Trust me, they didn’t feel as awful as I did, not to mention my DAUGHTER.

My daughter has the bad luck of having a summer birthday.  She was due in the middle of June but since she was stubborn and decided she preferred it inside my uterus, she was born 12 days late at the END of the month which makes it even worse.

When we lived in CT, it was never an issue.  For several years we simply had a large party with just our families and neighbors.  Everyone always RSVP’d.  At her last birthday before we moved, she invited a couple of friends form her day care.  Again, the RSVP’s were not an issue.

When her first birthday here in Florida rolled around, we didn’t have a party for a couple of reasons.  The main reason was we only knew one other family.  The other reason was my sister was getting married in NH right before her birthday so we had that to prepare and travel for.  We ended up celebrating with our one set of friends on the 4th of July.  Luckily, she was OK with that.

Fast forward to the following year.  Just as school ended, I sent in birthday invitations to be distributed to her class.  And we also handed out invitations to 3 neighboring families.  The neighbors were easy…we could always follow up with them when we saw them so I wasn’t worried about them.  And honestly, since I thought most people practiced common courtesy, I didn’t think the classmates would be an issue either.  Boy, was I wrong.  We got a few RSVP’s from her classmates right away, most of them no’s and then they stopped.  Now since her class had a decent room mother last year, I had several email addresses and I knew who they belonged to so I was able to send out a reminder as the RSVP date got closer.  But I was still nervous.  I prepared L for the possibility of not having a party.  I assured her that if it came to that, we would plan something equally as awesome for that day.  In response to my email, we got several more yes’s and a few more no’s.  The party was on but I was still a bit surprised at the lack of calling, no matter what the response was.  It went off with a hitch, but I dreaded having to do it all over again the following year.

This year I sent in/handed out the invitations even earlier.  And since L said she only wanted to invite the girls, that’s what we did.  Again, I didn’t worry about the neighbors (who are all girls) but from the second the invitations went into school, I had a pit in my stomach.  And for good reason.  The room mother this year wasn’t, ummm, as good as last year’s.  I had email addresses but no clue who belonged to which one so that didn’t help me since only the girls were invited.  Again, I prepared L for the possibility of not having a party.  As the RSVP date got closer, she seemed to get more upset which broke my heart.  One morning she said “Maybe the kids don’t think my party will be fun.”  I had to FIGHT not to cry.  Hubby, who has a summer birthday a week after L’s, talked to her about having the same problem growing up.  That seemed to help.  And I started suggesting things to do instead.  I told her I would take her for a pedicure and then maybe we could go miniature golfing or bowling.  She seemed to perk up at those ideas.

Lo and behold, the RSVP date came and went with not one call.  I had already let a couple of the neighbors know that the party probably wouldn’t be happening.  Then the next day, we got the one RSVP.  The mother sounded as angry as I was.  I told her it was probably a side effect of having a summer birthday but she replied with EXACTLY what I had been thinking, “But the parents…they should STILL call.”  It was comforting to hear it from someone else.  I invited her and her daughter to join us in whatever we decide to do and she said they would be delighted to.  That made my daughter’s day.  So did talking on the phone with her classmate.

I’ll admit I felt a little better but I am still angry.  Have some common courtesy.  This is a CHILD’S BIRTHDAY PARTY…a child with FEELINGS.  It’s one thing to act like a douche when it comes to an adult’s party but not RSVP’ing for a CHILD’S party???  Unforgivable.  And if someone DOES decide to show up, they’ll be met with an empty house and a sign on the door that says due to the lack of response, we assumed no one was coming.  I’m afraid if we stay home, I might slug someone.

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