Thursday, May 26, 2011

West Virgina Bound

On Saturday morning bright and early, I will pack up Madeline, Noah and myself.  We'll head to Gram's. I'll put her stuff in the back of her Subaru along with the stuff that I packed for the kids and myself.  Only a few minutes after that we'll be pulling out of her driveway.  If all goes well, it won't be quite 7:30 AM at this point.  Destination: Rock Creek Lake West Virginia.  A small, private mountain club just outside of Fairmont West Virginia which is about an hour outside of Morgantown.

The Lake, as it's called by our family, is a place I love beyond anything I'm able to communicate.  It's a place as well as a feeling.  It's spending time with family as well as just having time to spend.  It's memories that are three feet thick as soon as you enter the county.  It's taking my kids, with me, to start new memories.

I don't know if it can be said that I grew up there.  But I grew up spending many summer holidays, long weekends, and trips with my grandparents there.  And I think about all kinds of things fondly about those trips.  The times spent with my grandparents as well as my great aunt and uncle.  Time incredibly precious.

The memories I have there as a child, the memories that I'm sharing with my children.  It's the stuff of movies almost.  The past several years, the dynamic has shifted and the memories being made have a different tone. Now I take Gram down.  I drive her car with her in the passenger seat and my kids in the back.  Now we stop at rest stops on her demand, not my bored kid demand from above the driver's seat in their RV.

The tones are different now.  The responsibility has shifted.  It's up to me to make sure Gram has a good time.  It's up to me to make sure she feel safe while we're driving.  It's up to me to make sure that she can find a spot in the house or on the front porch to just sit and relax while I run and get her the things she needs.  It's up to me to make sure she can maneuver the steep hill in the cemetery up which we must walk to reach my grandfather's grave.  It's up to me to make sure she has a strong arm to hold on to as we walk back down after she has cried quietly and quickly and I have kissed his head stone and made sure the kids jumped on his grave (when Gram's not looking of course) and giggled loud enough for him to hear from wherever he may be listening.

It's up to me now.  I couldn't be more honored to take it all on.  I couldn't be more happy that I get this time with my grandmother.  I couldn't look more forward to the memories that are started and made and continued. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What You've Missed -Part II

Part I is here.

You've missed her. My tall, slender, beautiful blonde girl. You've missed her smile, you've missed her laugh. You don't know that she loves music. You don't know that she can figure out lyrics to a song after listening only twice. You don't know that she loves to dance. She's an amazing dancer. She makes me smile.

You don't know what she is afraid of. You never once, not even in the beginning when you were here, helped comfort her or made her feel safe. She looks to me for safety in so many different ways. In ways that only she and I know. In a look, a touch, a nod of the head and make her feel protected and warm. Don't you wish you would have had that with her?

She's an amazing big sister. She helps me so much. She helps him do the right thing. She walked him to his Kindergarten class the very first day. It still brings a smile to to my heart to think about that. You didn't teach her to be like that. You have had nothing to do with this kind, compassionate, emotional young girl that is walking this Earth.  I do. I have done it all and I couldn't be more proud of what I have done.

She asks about you. I tell her what is appropriate. Because so much of what there is to tell about you is not appropriate to tell a well adjusted adult, never mind a child. She says that she remembers things from before. I do not know if this is true. I know that my biggest wish is that it's not. She says that she remembers me crying a lot. She is right.

What you are missing in having missed her is something so amazing and magical that you will never find it any where else. And you won't be able to find it in her either, because, as I mentioned, it is my duty to keep her safe. Making sure that she is safe is the same as making sure that you have to continue to miss her. It didn't start out having to be that way. But as she becomes more amazing, the more I realize, she is not for you to know.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

What You've Missed - Part I

You've missed a lot. More than I could possibly record in a few blog posts.  But I sure can try.

You've missed him.  He's silly and loud and funny and determined.  He is not a picky eater, but sometimes he pretends he doesn't like pizza.  He likes to be read to and he's learning to read more and more on his own each day.  He likes to pretend he can read less than he actually can.  He is winding down his first year of kindergarten.  That means you missed pre-school.  That means you missed pre-school graduation.  You missed all of the crafts and papers.  You've missed the songs he's learned.  He loves to sing. You don't know that.  I bought him an iPod for his birthday.  You've never bought him a birthday gift.  He never celebrated a birthday with you.

He can ride a two-wheeled bike now.  You didn't teach him that.  He's amazingly loving and caring.  He will never turn down a kiss or a hug and after five minutes, he no longer considers anyone a stranger. You didn't help him learn those traits. 

You don't know his favorite food, the food that makes him gag.  You don't know what is his nick-name for me. You don't know that he still uses a baby blanket and calls it that.  He says it smells like me and keeps him safe. 

Don't you wonder about his favorite color?  Don't you wonder what kind of music he likes?  Aren't you curious if he is scared of thunder storms?  Do you wonder if he likes animals? 

You haven't been a factor in his life.  You haven't been an influence.  You haven't been a source of wisdom or discipline or anything else.  It makes me sad for him sometimes.  But most often, it makes me sad for you.  You are missing out on an amazing kid.  A kid who is strong, loud, and happy.  A kid who doesn't need you just like I didn't.  

One day he will ask about you in more detail than he currently does.  And I will tell him.  I will be fair, but I will be truthful.  He will judge you.  He will thank me for doing what I did and making the choices that I made.  The choices that were so hard to make.  The choices that I questioned for so long.  

But now, when he's in the drive way playing basketball and commentating to himself;  when he's jumping as high as he can to try to make a basket and he's rooting for himself - well, I'm in the shadows of the garage or behind the screen door on the front porch.  And I'm rooting for him too.  I know that the choices I made couldn't have been more correct and couldn't have made this little boy happier. 

You'll be sorry you missed him one day. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A list.

Things I should be doing now, but am not.

- folding the clothes in the dryer and switching those in the washing machine.
- replacing the soap in the master bathroom.
- cleaning caked and dried mud off of several pairs of children's shoes.
- cleaning the kitchen.
- shopping for Mother's Day gifts.
- working on a webpage for work that I should have done by this Tuesday.
- going through last week's school folders and preparing them for next week.
- grocery shopping.
- if I do not go grocery shopping, it would be in my best interest to figure out what will suffice for a few packed school lunches tomorrow.

I could keep adding and adding to this list. But I'm sure you get the gist. It all boils down to there is so much to do and I am feeling very little motivation to do any of it. I'm enjoying some quiet time to myself right now. Josh has taken Max to his final hockey clinic of the season. Noah is upstairs getting out a much needed nap. And Jeff has taken Julie, Maddy, and Austin to parts unknown.

And, frankly, now that I've thought this through, perhaps enjoying this quiet solo time will be much more productive and satisfying than crossing any items off of my list.