Monthly Archives: May 2013

Perfect Moment Memory

Perfect moments are those both big and small occasions when all of your Angels agree in song, your stars align and the God’s are smiling and for that one moment in time all is perfect and right in your corner of the world.  Lori at LavenderLuz.com challenges us to be mindful of such moments in our daily lives.  Turns out, she is right and the more you notice your stars aligning, the more your Angels tend to sing.  Trust me at times you must dig deep and look far and wide to find your stars.  Not always easy but always worth it.

As I reflect over this past month my mind has gone back to such a moment, on a day in May, ten years ago that I feared would never come.

Before The Captain was “The Captain” he was the “OIC” (Officer in Charge) of a Helicopter Detachment in the Fall of 2002.  There was much turmoil on the other side of the world and he was scheduled to deploy on a ship headed to the party.  Times were a changing and he was deploying with a detachment of 4 women and 1 man.  Constantly asked how I felt about this, I would respond, “I just hope they don’t throw him overboard, my resume is grossly outdated.”

Who cared about women?  Not me!  I had bigger fish to fry.  Three weeks before his scheduled departure we discovered we were to be blessed with baby #3!  Never a good planner I tried to take it in stride but I am sure if I divulged names you would get another story:)

My initial game plan of lots of coffee in the morning and a glass of wine at night was now tossed aside and I was left with two choices: 1.  Suck it up; and 2.  Suck it up!  Tough decision but I went with number 2!  I would like to paint you a picture of a dutiful Navy wife sending letters to my husband in between getting my pearls strung, making care packages and entertaining my children so that there young minds were constantly stimulated.  But that would be, you guessed it, a big fat lie!

In fact it all started a little like this…The Big Brother, Johnny and I standing on a pier waving to Daddy as he slowly faded into a dot on the ocean, while I bit my lip in half trying not to cry as to not scare my babies.  We then went home where I tried to establish a new routine which consisted of yelling at a plumber that there was S**t floating down my hallway because Johnny flushed my mascara down the toilet.  Things were starting off a little rocky.

As the months progressed the excitement continued.  The Big Brother was a crazy three-year old and Johnny was 17 months old, not walking or talking and I was beginning to be concerned that all was not “normal.”  But I tried to push this into the back of my mind as I was preoccupied with watching a constant stream of CNN and FOX News as it became more and more apparent that things were heating up and there was no homecoming date in sight.  Then one night in March I felt my world crashing down as I watched in horror the missiles being shot from the ship The Captain was aboard and not knowing when and if he was coming home.  While the boys watched an endless stream of “Blues Clues” in the living room, I bit on a towel and sobbed in the kitchen.

Despair and fear began to set in as I became overwhelmed with delivering this baby on my own.  Military families do this every day.  And though I knew this, it didn’t make it any easier.  But I was grateful for my Dear Friends who assured me I would NOT be alone and continued to carry, push, pull and whatever else it would take to get me through.  As I had developed some strange reverse morning sickness toward the end of my pregnancy, I needed all the pushing and pulling I could get.

About 7 months into my pregnancy this “reverse morning sickness” caused me to spend my days retching in the bathroom and sipping purple Gatorade.  The boys’ diets were just a step above with an alternating menu of grilled cheese and chicken nuggets.  It was survival of the fittest and I was determined…or just downright insane.

Month 9 and at my wits end on an early Saturday morning, already perched in front of the news, I received what must’ve been a message from God above.  It was the banner on the bottom of the screen telling me that the battle group The Captain’s ship was in was heading HOME!!!  I couldn’t believe it.  It was almost over, but not yet.

Finally, we received a homecoming date and as luck would have it, it was my due date.  Not a problem really, unless you consider I had already given birth to two babies on their due date and number three didn’t act like he was going to wait around much longer.  So The Captain did the unthinkable.  He left liberty in Hawaii and got on a plane to San Diego.

In the early morning of May 25, 2003, I dressed my boys in the required red, white and blue, put “I Love Daddy” signs in their hands, wretched one last time and went to the airport.  And after a very long Nine Months I no longer had to tell The Big Brother that NO, that man in a flight suit is NOT your Daddy.  Daddy was no longer words in an e-mail, a voice on the phone, or a face on a video but he was here, in the flesh to kiss and to hug.

Daddy's Home!

Daddy’s Home!

What a wonderful moment, the stars were aligned and the Angels were singing and a family was almost complete.

Almost Perfect!

Almost Perfect!

 

Then three days later the Gods smiled,  and Angels rejoiced and all was right in our little corner of the world in this perfect moment, on a May Day, ten years ago.  Happy Birthday Little Brother!

Perfect May Day!

Perfect May Day!

 

On this occasion we were very blessed but I do not forget those families who do not get this moment, of husbands, daddies, sons and daughters who do not come home.  To those families, my prayers for peace and thank you for your strength as you made the ultimate sacrifice.  May we always remember.  Memorial Day – 2013

 

Friday Fun – Bathing Beauty?!

Time for some Friday Fun with Hilary at Feeling Beachie.  Pretty sure it’s a pool party cause it’s that time of year.  Put on your best string bikini (or not) and join in.

(Well, like it or not, here we are…MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!  You know what that means…that’s right, time to breakout the swimwear!  I know, say it isn’t so…but it is.  So, do what you must, bust out a few crunches a couple of five pounds weights and tighten it up.  Or be like me…and COVER IT UP!)  Cause Johnny is back and “What Not to Wear” has nothing on him.  Take heed and don’t let this woman’s experience be yours.  Johnny has no filter, and due to many pool “incidents” we might need to share our joy at a pool near you.”

Read and heed people…read and heed!

In honor of Swim Suit season I thought I would begin a tradition…………Welll, at least do it TWO YEARS IN A ROW.  I am considering this my public service announcement.  If you think about some of the SIGHTS you can see at your local pool, lake, beach, etc (ME included) readers take heed, share the “Word” with you friends and family.  After all,FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS make public appearances in “Ill-fitting” swim wear.  Let this “Poor Woman’s” encounter with Johnny be the quiet voice in your head when selecting the “Perfect Bikini” for your summer fun!

Charles Schultz has Classic Peanuts…………….because you cannot watch Lucy bully Charlie too many times.  However Readers, we have ULTIMATE JOHNNY…………..Because some stories JUST need to be RE-TOLD AND PASSED ON.  ENJOY AND SPREAD THE MESSAGE!

Johnny getting his MAN TAN

 (Originally posted May 20, 2011)

Aaahh, it’s that time of year.  The weather is warm, you’re trading in your boots for flip flops and your sweater and jacket for YES, THAT’S  RIGHT,  the swimsuit.  I know, most of us hate it, we avoid it, but if you are a parent of a young child you suck it up, put on brave front and make the dreaded public appearance in your bathing suit.  This can be a traumatizing enough experience, I know.  But as a public service announcement, I feel I must share with you the following story.  Think of it as a cautionary tale when selecting the bathing suit most suitable for your (clearing throat) weelll, shall we say,  body type.

A couple of summers ago we were still living in San Diego.  At the time our options for swimming were the beach (fun, yes, relaxing with my boys, NOT) or a personal invite to a pool.  We snagged an invite to my friend’s pool at her condo.  At the time I was big and pregnant with Baby Girl so I was relaxing at the side of the pool.  All of my boys are great swimmers so they were all over the place.  Johnny is an underwater guy.  I was watching him swim when I saw him swim up to a fuller size “lady.”  Johnny comes across as charming, at first, so she began chatting with him.  My radar started to activate as I noticed him getting closer and closer to the “ladies”.  He a skin guy and she had a lot of it, so I could read his mind.  I tried to jump up to stop the train wreck but at 9 mos. pregnant, it was not happening.

Me:  Johnny, come over here.

Johnny:  No response.  He is busy chatting, touching her arms and pointing to something on her face.

Me:  Come on, Johnny, let her alone so she can relax.

Johnny:  No, Mommy, wait!  (voice getting very excited)  Come here!  I think I just found the UGLIEST woman in the world!

Me:  At a complete loss with nowhere to hide.  I was, after all, wearing a bright yellow maternity bathing suit top and I wasn’t going to be able to run!  But I swaggered over as quickly as possible.

Me:  That is not a nice thing to say, Johnny.

Johnny:  Oh, no, Mommy wait!  Never mind, I think it’s a MAN.

Our pool opens this weekend.  I already have my cover up, do you?

The Club vs. The Bully

For My Angel

For My Angel

Grief is oppressive, conniving, manipulative and sneaky.  She is the playground bully.  She plays by her own set of rules with absolutely no sense of fairness.    And like any good “bully” she is a master at her craft.  She likes to change these rules without warning, leaving you in a near constant state of dread for what may be lurking around the corner.  Her greatest joy seems to be in snatching yours.

She begins with taking days once associated with celebration and then “bullies” you until you begin to relinquish your joy to her omnipotent power and presence.  And just like on the “playground” those of us who grieve band together because anyone who has suffered a “bully” knows there is not only safety in numbers but comfort.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and the “bully” is out in full force.  She has spent the last few days taunting us with how special this day is going to be, knowing good and well when the day approaches she will blind side you with a punch to your gut that tells you another day is coming that you must endure.  And this time it is blatant in your face kind of taunting to remind you that you will be missing someone on Mother’s Day and  will receive one less piece of gluey art work than is rightfully yours.  You will not receive a card that says, “from all of us” and you have zero desire to be taken to brunch to try to “make it up” because although you don’t wish your pain on anyone, it is sometimes just too much to witness others who are blessed with all of their rightful artwork and cards signed, “from all of us.”

Dealing with the “bully” called “grief” is an ugly business and I have gradually accepted that I need others in my corner to “deal” with her because like most “bullies” she is somewhat relentless.  Facing her alone is unbearable.  As Mother”s Day is upon us I remember the members of “The Club” facing this day without their “babies”  and I pray for their pain and I pray they find a member to lean on as they struggle with all of their might to endure.

Below is my story of life in  “The Club” that I shared in Listen to Your Mother as part of the DC cast.  Without members of “The Club” I wouldn’t have had the strength…thank you!

 

THE CLUB – Listen to Your Mother – April 28, 2013

I belong to a club.  One that I did not, nor would ever, ask to join.   In fact, none of the members want to belong.  

It’s an odd club.  Members come from all walks of life and are thrown together.  We DO NOT want to belong and by all means:  we DO NOT want new members.  ”Misery loves company” does not apply.   The dues are unforgiving.    The price:  your Child’s Life.

New members joined us on Friday, December 14, 2012, in Newtown, CT.  Like all members, they did not apply and we did not recruit them.

Each member has a unique story and has experienced their own personal hell.  Though many of us can relate to each other and share a similar kind of hell.   For some, the only commonality we share is that we have buried our babies.   Whether our babies died in the womb, never drew their first breath, spent only a finite amount of time on this earth, fought a horrible disease, battled drugs or took their own lives.  No matter the details of our story, burying your child is Hell.  

I have been a member of this club for two years.    With each story I hear, I think, I can feel their pain, it is truly a living hell.  A bereaved parent’s pain is unimaginable to those not in the club.

Our precious daughter, Madeline was 16 months old.   Although considered medically fragile, she died suddenly, within minutes, before our eyes.  The trauma of Madeline’s sudden death and surrounding circumstances haunts me, but if there is any comfort, I know she was in loving, caring hands.

There is no comfort that can come from your child’s life being taken by an unspeakable act of violence and terror.

The parents and families of those precious children who lost their lives at Sandy Hook are in a hell that, only some club members sadly can fathom.  It is a living hell that exists for those whose children had their lives taken at the unforgiving, brutal hands of another.  It is heart wrenching to know that their children experienced unspeakable terror, fear and pain in their last moments and there was nothing they could do to protect them.
The horror of those children’s last moments and wondering how their families will ever learn to live without their child…those images have played on a loop in my head since that December day.

I heard on the news about a few more “kids” being laid to rest in Newtown, CT.  My initial thought, those “kids” are someone’s babies.  Don’t they deserve more than that?    To remember their names.  To honor their lives.

I can tell you as a club member, that we must remember.  Their names.  Their sweet faces.  Each child is someone’s precious girl or little guy.  When I hear the debates surrounding gun control and mental health, I cannot engage.  My heart and mind keep going to those families who have buried their babies.  Who are beyond suffering.

I think of the rawness and complete state of numbness that our minds and bodies shift into with the death of our babies.  The feeling that we simply cannot lift one foot – as the weight of our grief is unbearable.  This raw, life altering, grief defies explanation.

The constant replays of our last hug, our last kiss, our last moments together, whatever they may have been.  The unimaginable “what-if” and “if-only” that play on a continual reel to reel in our heads.  Trying to endure a new minute, a new hour, a new day, knowing we will never… in this life…hear our child’s voices, see their sweet faces or snuggle our babies again.  The panic I know these new members will feel.  That feeling of I must see my baby…I cannot bear another moment without my child.  Yet, we must, we have to, we do.

I wish I had no idea what it is like to bury my child.  But I do.  So I am scared.  Scared for the parents and families left behind.  Scared for their grief and pain.   Their sleepless nights.  Scared for their unstoppable, body wrenching tears that will flow.  The nightmares that will inevitably haunt them.  Scared for the strength they don’t know they have, or if they have, just to get out of bed.

Although we do not want to be joined together by these experiences…we do not want to belong…we do.  So, we try to make the best of it.  To lean on each other when the weight of our own grief will not let us stand upright.  To find another member that says, “I understand”, “I know just how you feel.”  Having each other is not what we want, we want our babies back…but we hold ourselves up with one hand while leaning on the shoulders of fellow members with the other.  This is the ultimate in strength, as we struggle to find our balance.

We look at each other with knowing eyes and embrace each other in a way that says you are not alone, we are with you.

Grief is a marathon, a perpetual marathon.  Not a sprint.  There are too many hurdles to clear.  It is a test of endurance that no one wants to try to pass.  Many of us gather strength from each other in our club. Many of us just simply…endure.  I pray that these families find comfort in the days to come and are  able to simply…endure.

 

Friday Fun – Party On…

I don’t know if I am still invited to the party, so I decided to do what any respectable girl, with not dignity would, and INVITE myself.  People are usually just to appalled by such a lack of said dignity and self-respect that they don’t ask me to leave.  It’s true, just ask my roommate, “Nurse Mary” from Coronado, CA.  I showed up at her “private BBQ” with a cooler of drinks and stood front and center in every picture.  She was is such a state of shock I just went ahead and moved my bed in before she could come to…TRUE STORY!

Anywho…since I have been out doing 347 kinds of IN YOUR FACE fun, I thought I would join Hilary at Feeling Beachie for a little Friday Fun.  Hilary is an awesome hostess, and I’m sure if she ever met me “in person” she would still let me crash her party and play co-host every once in a while.  Weeellll, maybe not if she actually met me, cause who knows what stories “Nurse Mary” would bust out.

So, I don’t know where to begin.  The fun has been so over the top, I don’t want to come across as “all that and a bag of chips.”  Well, at the  very least I should remain meek and humble…right?  Not be, “LOOK AT ME, GUESS WHAT I GOT TO DO AND WHAT HAPPENED TO ME.”

I hate to keep you, Dear Reader, in suspense, so I’ll just get on with it.  I’ll start with the most exciting event so you can just ride that wave of fun through to the BITTER, and I mean REALLY FUN end.

First, don’t go getting all jealous and everything but here goes…I GOT TO MOVE!!!  Yep, that’s right, I actually got the chance,  twice in ONE year, to pack all of my belongings and that of 4 other people into boxes, trash bags and a minivan and move around the corner and then ATTEMPT to unpack all belongings of myself and the OTHER 4 people.  And listen close, because I don’t mean to brag, but…I GOT TO DO IT WITH MY FRIENDS AND ALL OF OUR KIDS…ALONE.  Why?  Because…a pipe burst at “The School” and it was closed on moving day…so Me, two moms, seven kids, and one CDR (trying to enjoy his retirement) got to do it.

Where was the Captain, you may ask…well, the Navy sent him to OHIO, of course.  Guess they are getting ready to put an Ocean in Dayton or something and needed the Captain’s assistance.  I warned you…it was CRAZY fun!!!

You know what made it over the top?  You guessed it…the PAID movers that took EIGHT HOURS to do FOUR hours worth of work.  They were so nice, they only put about FOUR gashes in my walls.

That was so much fun that the next day I invited the Cable Guy on a CRAZY rain fun-filled day to “not” hook up my cable properly and drag mud through my new to me house.  Just message me and I’ll give you his number so you can invite him to your next “party” cause he is a regular “party” animal.

There is so much more fun to report, but like I said, I don’t won’t to brag so I will just leave you with this last little bit of “fun.”

Tonight when I took Johnny and the Little Brother to the Golden Arches for dinner I got the opportunity to avoid explaining what a “Strip Club” was.  Yep, I left it at, “Mommy, look , that place has its windows covered to keep out the light, it must be an arcade and they want to protect their “video” games. Right, Mommy?”

Me – Silent.

Johnny – “No.  I think it’s a club.  Right, Mommy?”

Me – “Yep, Johnny, it’s a club.”

Johnny – “See, I knew it.”
I don’t want to know how he knew this kind of information…

Johnny – “What kind of club.”

And this is where the FUN just had to end because after living with such wild abandon for an extended period of time it just didn’t seem fair to really brag that I got to use the term “strip club” or “topless dancers” all within five minutes.

Well, by this time, you are soooo jealous you want to know just EXACTLY  where I reside so you can use me for a good time so I will just get on with some Friday Fill -In FUN!!

This week’s statements:
1. If ___ then____
2. ____ is my ___ of the ____
3. Once, I was surprised to find myself __________________.
4. To keep from going crazy, I _________.

What you never wanted to know and never asked…

1. If  I have any more FUN then I just might start hanging out at those special “video game clubs” to pay for said fun.

2. Stretch marks is my of having all of the fun but never actually having to consider statement #1.

3. Once, I was surprised to find myself living in one house for more than ONE year!

4. To keep from going crazy, I see how fast I can pack up everything my family owns and move it to another location!

Don’t be jealous but as I write the “FUN” continues…Bloody nose on new floor…Don’t everyone come to the party at once…but if you do…bring drinks…party on FUN people!

 

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