Tuesday, August 28, 2012


So far throughout my day today I've heard or read (via text or tweet) the phrases "I hate..." "I really wish I didn't have to..." "..what a nightmare morning..." and "..this sucks..."

Please give the world something better than that.

I sure don't wanna be all preachy, because, God knows, I am SO full of fault.  I am as imperfect and complain-y as it gets.  Falling flat on my face each and every day, forced to scoop myself up and start all over again tomorrow, trying to be a better person each step of the way.  I still fail miserably... And I moan, which is quite the luxury.

If you think you're having a bad day, imagine this.

Imagine this day - August 28th - forever being the day your son died.

That's what this day is for my aunt, who also happens to be one of my best friends.  She spends this day remembering the call she got 9 years ago. She thinks of the vague memory of that middle-of-the-night phone call.  Something about Tyson... a car crash... get to the hospital quickly.  She does fully recall hyperventilating all the way there.

The news was grave, and when the doctor told her that he did not make it, she didn't want to make it.  There was a police officer in the room, and she says she remembers -for a split second- eyeing his gun.  Then she started hysterically screaming (as all mothers would at a moment like that) until the nurse gave her something that made her, she says, "limp and tingly."  That was the moment she began a lifetime of grieving the absolute worst loss.

Tyson wearing our Papa's hat

This day is hardest.  On most other days, she chooses to remember Tyson's amazingly beautiful presence.  His infectious smile. His eternal optimism.  His precious face that will always be 19-years old. She focuses on her belief that God had a bigger and better plan for him, rather than focusing on the pain that he is gone, the space that he left behind, the nagging question of "why him?" There is certainly not a day in her life that this loss doesn't pierce her fragile heart.  She has every reason to be dark, to find the negative, to complain and moan... But she chooses not to do that.

Tyson, on the other hand, doesn't have the luxury to complain about his life.  He is gone. (He wouldn't have b*&ched too much anyway!) He left behind a space so large in our family that you can almost touch it.  An emptiness so vast that it nearly ate up many of us.  I, for one, miss his gentle spirit and his willingness to love so quickly, openly and easily.  I wish I could be more like that.  I miss him.

And I complained about it today.

But then I remembered what someone I love once told me:  "Dawn, choose gratitude-no matter what is going on --and there will always be something going on for all of us.  Choose gratitude anyway."

Maybe just for today, we can all stop the "I don't feel goods..." the "I don't wants..." the "I wish my life were differents..." and simply be grateful that we and the people we love are alive.

Tyson's baby picture
Showing his love for Superman   
High School photo
Tyson's Air Force photo
With our Papa Gene on the go-cart at our family's ranch

Friday, August 24, 2012

Kindergarten, the Kiss, a Hermit Crab and a Falling-Apart Mom

**WARNING:   This blog will probably be disjointed and inconsistent.**

I'm gonna say it for the world to read.  I'm not good at this.  I'm just not. 

When my kids rip my heart out and run around with it, I just don't do well. 

Like Monday.  The day my precious baby, whom I feel as though I birthed yesterday, started Kindergarten. Took half my heart with him.  We held hands.  Walked into his little class, kissed and hugged goodbye.  I walked out and then not only fell apart once but 22 times as the day carried on. 

Some time later, I learned my daughter, who skips along with the other half of my heart hanging on the side of her sleeve, had been kissed at her preschool.  By a boy!  Granted, I adore the little boy like he is my own.  But she's my baby.  Not supposed to be kissed!  When I asked her about it, she simply smiled all sheepishly and covered her face with her hands.  "Where did he kiss you, sweet girl?" (mind you, she's 3!)  ... No answer.  Just pointed to her lips.  OY VEY.

It's time to let go a little.  That's what I'm not good at doing.  Not good at letting go of the little infant boy who never slept and constantly wanted mama to hold him.  Not good at letting go of the idea now that he is a little bit mine and a little bit the world's, starting his own life in school, making his own friends, finding his own way in this big bad society that is sometimes touchingly kind and other times immeasurably cruel.

I have to let go just a little bit of my baby girl who absolutely loves preschool more than she loves anything in the world.  She actually asks to go.  Smiles the minute she sees the little boy who kissed her for the first time and runs inside for circle time, doing exactly what she is supposed to do.

Oh booooo hoooooo.   That's what I did all week.  Until the hermit crab went missing.  How, on God's earth, you lose a caged hermit crab is beyond me.  But, indeed, we did.  I went from crying a river to laughing so hard I was crying a steady stream, as we got on hands and knees searching the house for a live (or possibly dead) crab in a shell.  We picked up two of them on our trip to the beach (see previous blog), gave 'em each a name, and brought 'em home.  Gretel was the one who disappeared.  Literally disappeared. We woke up, and she had gone missing.  The children swear up and down they never took her out.  She had vanished...

...Vanished.  Like the seemingly endless days and nights of swaddling my baby boy & girl, changing diapers, and complaining that I never got any sleep. Gone. The moments where each baby uttered their first 'raspberries,' then their first word, then their first sentence..

Then, this morning, we dropped off both children to school, walked inside to a weird-acting dog who was screeching and jumping about, and lo and behold - there she was!  Gretel.  Scratching her way across the dining room floor. She came back to us.

As did both babies when they returned home from school.  Just one more milestone.  One more rite of passage for each of them.  For me, too. 

Feeling a little disjointed... a little inconsistent.  Learning to let go just a little at a time... 

I'm not good at this... (I type, as a severe case of the fall-aparts sets in yet again)...

"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about."

Jackson in his Kindergarten class

Keene just before school starts
Gretel the Hermit Crab in her Hello Kitty shell

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I miss my Grand. 

It was nine years ago, yesterday, that she died.  This is a picture of her at the beach in Florida.  She, my mom, and I would go every summer for a week to play in the surf and sand. 

Which is what is so beautiful about the trip I just took to Florida last week.  My mom mentioned several months ago that a way to honor HER mom would be to continue the tradition of three generations heading down to stick our toes in the sand and play for a week.  That's what we did.  Here's a picture of mom and my babies.  They call her "T."  Their beloved T.

I cannot explain how magical this trip was. It was as if my Grand was there. Watching over us. Reminding us to play, to enjoy the days and the moments of life that pass so quickly.  We built sandcastles, took walks on the beach, caught fish, and searched for sand crabs. We jumped waves with the children, and we taught them how to body surf.  Their eyes, so wide with delight, their spirits so innocent and pure. 

On and off during the week, I felt like I was slapped with several moments when I just "got it."  Moments where life seemed to make sense. Moments when my heart was peaceful, and all was well.  Moments, of course, broken up by the fits of a three-year old and the wants of a five-year old.  Constant needs, constant care.  Which is what it's all about. 

My Grand put up with my fits and my wants, and she constantly cared for me up until the day she died, always encouraging me, loving me, and curious about my life.  I miss that. But she gave me a gift, and now my mother is giving that same gift to my children.  It is the circle of life. 

"Everything the power of the world does is done in a circle.  The earth is round.  The wind, in it's greatest power, whirls.  Birds make their nests in circles.  The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle.  The moon does the same, and both are round.  Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves.." ~Black Elk Speaks