The Blackest Friday

It was important that this day be as normal as possible.  Remember that.  Normalcy was important to me.

Black Friday of 2007 started out normal and I was ever thankful for that.  My mom and I did our shopping and we had a good time.  I didn’t bring it up the entire time we were out.  Not during our first few shops.  Not over coffee.  Not while when we walked past the baby stuff.

When I got home with all my packages, I intended to decorate the house with Christmas and wrap all of my newly bought gifts.  Just like any other year.

But this is when my “normal” was shattered.

While I was out, Cort had made plans for us with our friends (who, by the way, are usually only in state once–maybe twice–a year).  This wouldn’t be a big deal to me if those plans had fallen into the customary time period after my decorating and wrapping frenzy, but the plans called for us to be ready to go in less than 2 hours and I hadn’t even showered yet.

I know.  Big deal, right?

My world fell apart.

I was immediately angry at Cortney for messing up my “tradition”.  Inconsolably so.

“Just decorate tomorrow,” he offered.

“THAT IS NOT THE POINT!” I told him. “TODAY is when I wrap and then decorate all to the sounds of Bing Crosby.  Why can you not respect this?  Why would you make PLANS for us during this?  Do you not know me at ALL?”

He was speechless.  He even offered to cancel the plans.  But I wouldn’t let him do that.

“how would that look?” I questioned him.  “what would they think?”

So I begrudgingly showered and got all ready.

And went out to eat and to have beers.

And acted normal.

But ignored Cortney. I mean, how could he be so thoughtless?

The rage built.

After dinner we all headed over to our friends’ house where we could sit around and visit and share some wine and snacks.

I continued to ignore  my husband.

It got so bad that nearing the end of the night he came to the chair that I was actively ignoring him from and asked if I would like to go home.

I said yes.

We left an awkward wake behind us.

I started crying somewhere between here and there.

Once home my memory blurs.  I think the yelling started as we got ready for bed.  I finally started telling Cortney how this entire day was a big suck for me thanks to him.

He didn’t yell back (he never does).  He just looked sad.

But he questioned me.  He questioned how in the world this small change in my “normal” Black Friday routine could be THIS awful.

I raged at him.

And then?  I collapsed into the ugliest cry I remember having and blurted out,

“We were supposed to have a baby this week.”

And proceed to cry so hard I couldn’t get my breath.

In the dark warmth of our living room, on the leather couch where I had lain recovering from the loss, Cortney sunk and wrapped his arms around me.

“Oh, honey,” he managed.

It all started to make sense.  I was grasping for routine.  For nothing to be out of the ordinary.  For everything to “proceed as normally scheduled.”

When it didn’t?  I lost my shit.

And we sat in the dark on the couch for a very long time.

He instructed me to breathe.  To take deep breaths, and to talk about it.  Neither of us had mourned that loss like this.  And I didn’t expect the due date to hit me so hard.  I thought I was over it.  That it never bothered me that much.

But it did.  I had just suppressed it.

In the winter, when we had found out my due date, it was perfect.  All of our friends would be in town.  Family would be around.  Everyone would be ready to celebrate our baby. Somehow that fact made our unexpected pregnancy ok.  It made things start to look up.

But that night while Cort’s arms held me, my arms were empty.

No baby.

And I started to cry all over again.

It still never escapes me that if the first time around had happened, we would have been throwing a 3-year old’s birthday party this week.

Sometimes I still don’t know how to feel about this.  If we were having a birthday party, Eddie maybe wouldn’t be here.  And he is…well…there are no words for how that little boy makes my heart swell.

But yet…

someone is missing.

(two little someones, actually.  but that is another post.)

The very next Thanksgiving, Eddie was baking away in my tummy and we have never had a “normal” Thanksgiving weekend again.

I am closer to Cortney.

And I have never loved this holiday more.

I am thankful for…

the way Cort’s face is all squishy and malleable looking in the early morning when he gets up just to have five extra minutes with me during the day.

the careful way Eddie’s little hands stack blocks.

the way the house gets cleaned while I am gone for 14 hours.

Cort’s “concentration” face when he is playing on facebook.

Eddie’s little sighs and giggles when he is playing with lamby in his bed.

that cat fur that i find everywhere (no seriously, it means my old cat is still around).

a mom who is fun.

a mother-in-law who is silly (oooo whoooooo!!!!!)

family that spoils my little boy when we are not able to.

unemployment benefits and extensions.

a job.

the other job.

the extra duty pay.

the overload pay.

friends who travel across the country for holidays.

friends–whom I have never met–who are all over the country (and the world).

the support that pours everywhere when things are rough.

the way Eddie “breaks it down” like a football player at random.

Sesame Street still being on the air.

Tivo

a dad who loves his grandsons.

Chris, Sarah, MacKenzie, Dave, Mike, Ashley, Cody, Liz.

so many invitations to gatherings that we have to turn some down.

a budget that we can still meet.

grandparents.

the way Eddie runs his lamby’s ear through his finger and under his nose.

blond curls.

the adoption process.

our home.

toys scattered everywhere showing lots of fun has happened.

Cort’s mad budgeting skills that have afforded us fun even when things are tight.

twitter.

the way Eddie says, “ma ma ma” and “hi da!”

Starbucks.

the giving nature of strangers.

PPDCHAT and all the support I have found there.

the way Cort still holds my hand every night as we fall asleep.

the kisses Eddie has learned to blow.

the parents who are involved in helping their students succeed.

Thanksgiving dinner.

my car that has faithfully been bringing me everywhere for seven years.

satellite radio.

poop and fart jokes.

friends who want to see us smile.

Eddie’s love of music.

Cort’s love of music.

Jack.

Missy, Mat, Erika, and Torie.

Cort’s random wit.

the way Eddie’s face scrumples up when he giggles.

the warmth of a loving family.

you.

Super Sunday

I found this idea from my very great friend Miranda of Not Super…Just Mom.  She decided that we needed to find at least ONE day in the week that we claim as a GOOD DAY.

I clearly need one of those, you guys.

So, I am declaring today Super Sunday.

Let me tell you why…

1. Tomorrow and Tuesday?  Are my only work days this coming week.  Hooray for a five-day weekend!

2. As I type this post?  Some of my best friends in the whole world who I haven’t seen in a LONG time are relaxing at their parents’ house only about a mile from my house.  Later this week?  We will be spending lots of time with them.

3. My son likes broccoli

4. Cort made cinnamon rolls and picked up Starbucks this morning.

5. Eddie’s giggles are contagious

6. Thanksgiving is this week.  That means turkey.

7. The pumpkin chocolate chip muffins I made from this recipe?  are a total hit.

8. Friday is black Friday shopping with my mom.  A totally fun tradition.

9. Friday night my mom has agreed to babysit so Cort and I can gather with our best friends from all over the country and catch up.  We haven’t all been together like this in over a year…maybe two.

10. there will be lots of wine this week.

And today?  Today I don’t have to leave the house…or my jammies for that matter.  That in and of itself is pretty darn super.

So despite whatever other stresses are going on, I am determined to focus on the positive today and take advantage of this lazy day.

I will ignore the crud under Eddie’s high chair, the crumbs on the floor, the dust on every surface, and the toys that have taken over my living room.

I may even ignore the quizzes I was going to grade.

Because I need time to just be.

Plus?  I might even shave my legs today in a long shower.  Maybe.

Not Super...Just Mom

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Don’t forget to check out my scentsy party going on now through Tuesday!  All purchases get put in a drawing for a FREE plug-in warmer!  That is a $15 value and perfect for a bathroom!

And don’t forget to link up here on Tuesday for Top Ten Tuesdays!  This week’s list?  What is on your child(ren)’s Christmas lists?

Just Breathe

Yes I understand that every life must end, aw-huh…
 As we sit alone, I know someday we must go, aw-huh…
Oh I’m a lucky [woman] to count on both hands
the ones I love…
I work too much.
I worry too much.
I get caught up in the piles and the To Do’s.
And because of all this craziness that is suddenly in my life now?  I have learned to slow it WAY down when I am with my family.
Some folks just have one,
yeah, others they’ve got none, uh-huh.
I am awfully lucky for what I’ve got.
I not only have an army of people near and far who love me and are concerned for me and my family, but I have the most wonderful, joyful little family right here under my own roof.
Stay with me…
let’s just breathe….
This week I moved my laptop downstairs to a little “office” that Cort made for me in the laundry room.  
I cut out my computer time before work.
I don’t look at my computer until after Eddie is in bed.
It’s been lovely.
Practiced are my sins,
Never gonna let me win, aw-huh…
Under everything, just another human being, aw-huh…
Yeh, I don’t wanna hurt, there’s so much in this world
to make me believe.
We also got served another punch this week when Cort was passed over for a job he was practically guaranteed.  
And so we leaned on each other.
We are finding more quiet moments now that I am so busy.
We are talking more.
We have better discussions.
Stay with me…
you’re all I see.
Cortney and Eddie are my rocks.
Cort brings Eddie to school every Wednesday so I will never have a day that I don’t see my wee little guy.  
Eddie never cares what our job situations are.  He just loves to love life.
Did I say that I need you?
Did I say that I want you?
Oh if I didn’t I’m a fool, you see…
No one knows this more than me.
As I come clean…
I have been struggling with mom guilt and with wife guilt and with friend guilt and with blogger guilt and with weight guilt.
But my boys?  They just are there.  They are there when I need them.  They listen as I cry.  They laugh when life gets crazy.
We make do.
We celebrate the small moments…even if it’s just for 30 minutes after school in my classroom.  We are together.
And I need that.
And I love that.
I wonder everyday
as I look upon your face, aw-huh…
Everything you gave
And nothing would you take, aw-huh…
Nothing would you take
Everything you gave…

This crazy life has made me realize how lucky I am.

I don’t think my boys will ever EVER know how thankful I am for them.
The funny thing is, most of this busyness is FOR THEM.  
And they never complain about me being gone.  Ever.
The house gets cleaned.  The errands get run.  The bills get paid.
With me never saying anything.
I am so very lucky.
Did I say that I need you?
Oh, did I say that I want you?
Oh, if I didn’t I’m a fool, you see…
No one knows this more than me.
As I come clean, ah-ah…

I can’t do anything without Cort and Eddie’s support.
My buddy turned 15 months in this whirl of madness.  He is babbling, and walking backwards, and doing Ring Around the Rosie’s, and climbing on things, and loving books.
His brillance makes me want to be better.
Cortney keeps our house running.  He pays the bills.  He keeps us comfy.  He makes it so Eddie never knows that we are struggling.
He supports my weight loss (I am holding fast at 193, by the way.  But it is good.  Lots of good choices this week).
He does things that aren’t his favorite (like family pictures) to make me happy.
He somehow keeps persevering after each rejection because he is strong.
He keeps this family going.
Nothing you would take…
Everything you gave.
Love you til I die…
meet you on the other side.
Together we hold on.  We just breathe.
*lyrics from the song “Breathe” by Pearl Jam
This is also my McFatty Monday post.  Hop on over here for more.

Muchas Gracias

I had a bad week last week.  You all know this.  I told you about it, because that is what I do, yo.

Then things started to look up a bit.  I got a day off to get used to the idea.  So I told you about it.

I accepted what I figured would be crappy for awhile, but would then end.  And I accepted it with a heavy sigh.

You all were wonderful. No.  You were MORE than wonderful.  You all spewed words of encouragement and grace all over me.  And I felt your love.

But then?  Then something BIG happened.

Thursday morning, while I was teaching my first hour class, I got a package in the main office.  My principal called my room to ask me if I knew the person.  It was from Jennifer, a wonderful, beautiful, might-just-be-my-twin reader who lives in the area,but whom I have never met in person.

During third hour, I went down to the office, and found a HUGE bag full of art and school supplies that I had listed on my Teacher Wish List.  I sat down in the chair in the principal’s office and wept.

Huge tears of gratefulness and joy streamed down my face as I tried to explain to the office staff that it was from someone who reads my blog who I didn’t know, but that I totally knew.  I know I sounded completely weird.  But I also didn’t care.

And then I brought the treasures back to my classroom.

My students couldn’t believe that someone who didn’t know us would do something so kind.  One student said, “Why did she buy stuff for us?  If she is not from Wyoming?”

I unloaded the goods and we decided we needed to put them to use right away.  Jennifer?  She needed a thanks!

As I set things out, one boy’s eyes got huge and he gasped, “WOW!  they are all brand name stuff!  My MOM doesn’t even buy Crayola!”

Another girl said, “And Elmer’s glue!  And Fiskers scissors…I don’t know if that is a good brand, but look, they were more than a dollar!”

Everyone dived right in to the supplies!  And they took such good care of them!  Way better than the stuff they know I bought!

They all had fun writing Muchas Gracias cards to Jennifer.  And?  They may have just had fun doing arts and crafts, because it meant chatty time with the friends.

My students and I are beyond grateful for such a gift!  I even handed out one of the Kleenex packs that was in there to a student with a cold.

I honestly don’t know how to say thank you for such a wonderful gift.  I wish there was more I could do…but for now?  I will just say….

MUCHAS GRACIAS!
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