D Day, Black Friday, Dark Thirty…

 

73 years ago, this June, was the Battle of Normandy.  I wasn’t there, clearly.  But we have the proof in our history books.  (I’ll get back to that part.)  So we know the battle lasted for months and that it was one of the worst in our history.  The actual invasion was one of the largest assaults in history and required crazy, secret planning. Months, if not Years.  Prior to D-Day, those involved created a deception campaign, designed to mislead the “bad guys” about the intended invasion target. By late August 1944, all of northern France had been liberated, and by the following spring the Allies had defeated the bad guys. It was the beginning of the end of war in Europe.

Sound familiar?

That piece of history has been on mind because I find myself on each side.  I mean, we were completely part of a deception campaign, right?  This election was like a reality show – where the camera never really focused on what was actually happening.  We heard that Hillary Clinton may be dying of some disease.  We were shaken with the idea of every single Wiki Leak but weren’t excited “enough” to wonder (truly) where they were coming from.  The polls kept us at ease because the absurdity of anything else couldn’t seem true.  But their plan worked.  They didn’t focus on us.  They focused on the electorate.  (I’ll get back to that.)  They were so mean about neighbors that we didn’t notice the fear they were creating and promises they were making with crowds of people who will be hurt most.  They won.

And now it’s here.  This day I have dreaded. And I’ll be honest, I am stunned.  I’m still unsure how we got here.

I live in a red state so losing comes naturally for me.  But this guy?  C’mon.  There was a fleeting moment, even in Utah, where I thought that “less wrong” would win.  I didn’t have too much faith in that but I really counted on the rest of you to pull us through – the way you typically do.

8 years ago, I gathered with some of my favorite people to watch the inauguration of the most loved President of my lifetime.  And today, the 45th President entered office with the lowest approval record ON record.  He lost the popular vote by more than 3 million.  He said some of the most hurtful, blatantly hateful things I’ve ever heard on live television.  He mocked differed abilities.  He said disgusting things about women.  He put terror in the hearts of brown children everywhere.  He was crude and ill mannered in every debate, interview & speech.

And yesterday, some awful friend suggested I watch something called Hate Rising – or something like that.  I’ve avoided exposing myself to that side of humans for a while but I watched it.  So you don’t have to, I’ll tell you it’s about hate groups that are growing in numbers – because they now have “permission” in a way that they haven’t in decades. And they all give credit to the 45th President.  Go him.

So many lessons learned.  & more to come.  We can look back on our history and never allow that kind hatred to come around again.  We’ve seen entire groups of people tormented and even killed because of who they are.  Never again.  Our election process has been spoiled.  I would say he cheated but there’s so much more to it than that.

On the flip side, here we are.  They way that Normandy began the undoing of WWII, Women and minorities will undo this cabinet.  It seems we might have 3 years, 11 months, 30 days and about 12 hours to deal with this one but I believe in us!

Let’s fix it.  Not yesterday or today.  Maybe not for a few more days.  I am mourning.  (I’ve avoided reading fb.  Or watching/listening to ANY news program. My tv is on Friends reruns.  Don’t call me.  If you do, I’ll be crying.  I can’t seem to stop.  It’s personal.) But I’ll be ready really soon.

Come with me!

Just Keep Swimming

As you know, our daughter is 3.  This has been a lot harder than I imagined.  I wasn’t prepared for all the things that come with being 3.  She started school and, for the first time in a year and a half, is away from me 3 days a week.  She potty trained in a matter of days.  No more diapers or pull ups or anything but cute little panties that cover that cute little butt.  And now she no longer has her binky at night.  I know, it should’ve been the first thing to go but I just couldn’t do it.  I was hanging on to the last little “little” thing.

It’s painful.  And last weekend, we went through the garage and gathered all things baby to pass along to other babies.  Ugh.  I’ve held it, hoping for another somehow.  But I’m thinking the time has passed and hanging on to it was just a reminder that she’s big.  Plus, we really had a lot of stuff.  2 of everything because I had stuff here and at my old office.  Crazy!

My baby is a little girl.  She talks.  She argues.  She pretends and rides bikes.  She drinks from a cup and “reads” books by herself.  (really just makes it up as she goes)  “Once a time….” and so on.  She’s perfect.  She just weighed in at 40 lbs and is 40 1/2 inches tall.  When I looked up how tall she’ll be based on her height at age 3, it seems she’ll be around 5′ 9″.  That means she’ll have every opportunity I did but hers will also include volleyball, basketball, super modeling, etc.  – I’m still not sure what mine were.  <grin>

I think we’ll start some mommy/daughter traditions soon.  I always wished for those.  And now that she’s on her way to 5’9″, I need to pick some sports for spring.  Soccer, t-ball, hop-scotch…

Heidi Pie

It’s crazy when you lose someone and look back on the history of your relationship.  When was it that we actually met in person?  You read my blog forever but what was the date you finally called me at work?  Immediately you became one of my favorite volunteers – always available and always a hard worker.  But when was it that I first invited you to my home as my friend?  Glory and I knew you rather well by the time you met Cristy and some of my other friends.  When? …

Your amazing spirit left this earth late last Tuesday.  Everyone I know spent the day celebrating the holiday with people they love.  BBQ’s.  Fireworks.  The last round of firecrackers on our street stopped at 11:35pm.  I was grouchy about it.  I kept looking at the clock – listening to my scared dog – not having any idea you had snuck away during all the hype.

When the phone rang, I almost didn’t answer.  It was late.  It had been exactly 30 minutes since that last boom outside.  Why would you be calling me?  But it wasn’t you.  & in all the confusion – in all the panic, I misunderstood what she was saying.  Or I just skipped over the words and wanted to fix it – somehow help before those words were actually fact.  For sure.  Forever.  She simply said, “Heidi died tonight”.

Why?  You were good.  I hadn’t seen you since dinner before San Diego but we talked and you seemed good.  You started dating a few weeks ago and your face was happy.  I just don’t understand and it will never make sense.  & now that it’s too late, your friends long to just check in – to just go back in time and be sure that you’re healthy and making good choices.

I hope you know I was proud of you – and proud to know you.  I hope you know that your happiness meant more to us than whatever shame you ever felt.  I hope you know that every time you called for help, I felt needed and loved by you.  Being your friend, selfishly, fed my soul.  I hope you know, most of all, that you are loved.  Having you here lit up our house.  – Having you anywhere.  Your voice, your laugh.  Cristy would love to hear you say, “I wanna be like Cristy when I grow up” about 7000 more times.  I hope you know that our dinner group (minus you) will never be the same and we have all vowed to live forever in your honor.

As I’ve thought of you today, I’ve been sad.  Sad for me.  Sad for Kady & your family.  But mostly sad for you.  When I think about it being me instead, I think about kicking my way back here.  I imagine floating in to heaven and seeing so many people I’ve missed for so long.  I imagine the love, the absence of pain, the beauty, the fragrence, the music…  But then I remember that Glory is here and my heart starts racing.  How would I get back?  How would I kick through the air like a race for my life?  One of our first very serious conversations was about your daughter – your love for her.  I know you kicked as hard as you could.  I know there’s nothing you wouldn’t do to be right back here.

But someone wanted you more.  “Dear Lord Baby Jesus” (as you loved to say) faught harder for you than me, than you, than all of those who love you so much.  Rest in peace, my sweet friend.  I will find a tear any time someone calls me sunshine or any time I see I sun flower as big as your face.

I love you.

Welcome Back!

I know it’s been a while.  We took off for San Diego for a few weeks and I just didn’t have it in me to take a peek at my computer.  (posting pictures on fb totally doesn’t count – wink!)

We left quickly after Glory’s birthday and much of the trip focused around celebrating her.  I’m still having a hard time with the idea that she’s 3. – that there was life before her.  – that she’s farther and farther away from all the things that allow me to pretend that she’s still a little 6 lb peanut in my arms.

Another thing, we came back early because Glory started pre-school.  Jesus was watching out for me and somehow a single spot opened at our favorite choice of schools.  She started Monday and is doing wonderfully!  She’ll go 3 days a week –  about 6 hours a day.  On top of that, she’s almost fully potty trained.  No more diapers.  No more pull-ups.  Not at nap time or bedtime or any time.  There’s still an average of an accident every day but it’s usually our fault.  – timing, location, etc.  She’s amazing and I’m really proud of her!

& another thing… I got a job.  I know, I know – I hadn’t quite decided whether or not I was ready to go back to work but then this most fantastic opportunity arose and the stars all fell in to place.  It’s terribly flexible so my hours are only the hours that Glory goes to school.  It’s also located around the corner from her school so I can sneak over there for special activities – easy peasy!  Plus, it’s non-profit work and I just wasn’t sure I could do anything again that didn’t fill my heart.  I’ll be working with care givers (parents, foster parents, child care providers, etc) of children who suffer from trauma &/or abuse – doing education and outreach.  I’m excited and feel extra lucky to have them work so easily with me.

I promise to give you all the goods on our vacation.  Next time.  But now you know what we’ve been up to.   – Can’t wait to snoop around & see what you’ve been doing.

Happy 3!

Dear Glory,

I’m writing this letter to you on the evening of the 24th, 2012.  Today I’ve been thinking – trying to remember my life before you.  It’s hard to remember the days before they were filled with you but…

Three years ago, this very day, we knew you were coming.  We knew you’d be born the very next day, the 25th.  We knew your birthmom was scheduled for a c-section and that we’d be there waiting for you.  What we didn’t know is if she was sure you were ours.

I left work the 24th, a Wednesday, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be back.  That night, your mama and I went out to dinner at our favorite restaurant.  We made a toast to you – to your safety.  I remember holding her hand the whole walk home – just hoping, hoping, hoping.  And that night, we said a prayer next to your crib – practically begging for you to finally be our baby.

The next day is partially a blur.  I don’t remember any of the morning – only from the time we arrived at the hospital.  There we were, in the waiting room, watching CNN go on & on about how there were reports that Michael Jackson had died.  How could that be possible?  As the reports came in, they were more certain.  50 years old.  He was gone.  And just seconds later, the nurse came around the corner and said, “are you ready?”

We ran in to the NICU just as they brought you through the delivery door.  You were beautiful!  You were goopy and messy and your little fingers were so long!  They layed you on the table and started doing all the things they do once your spirit fully fills your body.  They cleaned out your eyes.  They measured your head and your body.  They weighed you.  And then they let us bathe you.

It’s funny, because looking back, I had no fear.  The rules said she had 48 hours to sign the papers but the moment I saw you, I knew you were ours.  Your birthmom gave her NICU bracelet to your mama so we could both be in there at all times.  I’ll never be able to thank her enough for that.  Knowing that she was just down the hall, but didn’t want to meet us face to face, was hard.  But I also trusted that she made her peace before that – whatever her choice, it was best for you both.

We had a room at the hospital.  They treated us as if one of us had given birth. In our little room, we watched TV while you slept.  It turned out that MJ had really died – just 21 mintues before you were born.  We wondered if you passed each other and bumped hips…or something.  You slept in the room with us all night long.  You woke up every 2 hours.  Neither of us slept at all.  We took turns holding you & feeding you – just staring at you.  We were in love.

In one quiet moment, I remember thinking I needed an escape route.  If, for any reason, this didn’t work out – you were leaving with me and I made a creepy little plan that included paying cash for a new car and a freeway headed south.  I knew I couldn’t let you go – that I could never, ever live without you again.

Three years later, I can’t help but still reflect on those early minutes.  We had just days to prepare for you but once you came, we knew all we needed to know.  We were yours.  And you were ours.

Happy Birthday, my lovely girl.  You are still a dream come true and the story of you is still my most favorite love story in all the land.

Countdown…

This is it – the very last week that my baby girl will ever be 2.  Can I admit to you all that it’s completely killing me inside?

I had my first baby when I was 30.  Even then, I feel like I waited a long time.  But to count the days waiting for Glory… I simply couldn’t.  There was so much preparation.  – Years of finding the best way to bring her here.  I experienced joy & sorrow in ways I hadn’t before.  & just like with Gracie, when Glory was born I wondered how could ever love another baby the same.

Now I’m more than 40.  Forty.  & it’s quite possible that Glory will be my last child.  Not only will I miss the “baby” parts of her but I will miss the “baby” parts of any baby.

Now I have the pleasure of listening to her talk – watching her run & skip & ride her bike.  She’ll be entering pre-school and I’ll that learning will speed up by eons.  She’ll start building relationships outside her family – asking if she can play with the girl down the street.  I’m not jumping ahead.  I know what’s coming.  And while I mourn those baby things like chubby cheeks & thighs, eating with her fingers, the bottle, pig tails, size 8 shoes… I can’t wait for all the big stuff.

She’ll be entering her 4th years in a 3T-4T.  She wears a size 9 shoe & I’m pretty sure size 10 is coming right up.  She hasn’t gained weight in a while but she’s grown like crazy in height.  She’s taller than any other 3yo we know!  She loves riding her big wheel and we’re planning on a big girl bike (with training wheels) for her birthday – don’t tell.  She’s insanely friendly and speaks practically in full sentences.  She’s still wearing pull-ups but getting closer & closer.  Her teachers say she’s crazy aware & crazy smart!  She is loved madly by our friends and family and I LOVE that she knows it!

It’ll be weird to say she’s 3.  I mean, I’ve been saying she’s 2 for a whole year!  It’ll be weird to watch her keep growing and possibly come to terms with knowing that everything that passes, will really be the last.  But bring it on – because nothing on this planet brings me beautiful chaos like my Glory Ella – the (almost) 3 year old.

Best Blog Readers?

MINE!

Seriously, thank you so very much for the love tonight.  I could feel it.  And all that advice came in very handy when I was feeling overwhelmed and over emotional.

I won’t bother you with all the drama but I can tell you I feel lighter and happier than I have in a long time.  My mom talked about her fears and why she’s stayed so still for so long.  But also that she’s tired of living in “punishment” mode.  She told him she was ready to move on – hoping, of course, he’ll change his mind and move along with her.  I won’t give up on that hope but she told us not to count on it anymore.  My brother admitted he has misplaced anger toward my new family – knowing it doesn’t make sense but just feeling like it’s an easy place set blame for a while.

It was good to hear what they’re feeling.  It was good to just spend time face to face with them.  It was good to tell my mom how much I missed going home – just really miss spending time in her house.  Since she told my dad, I haven’t been welcome there.  If I go to drop off Glory of pick her up, he goes to his bedroom.  I have to call before I arrive or, worse, honk.  I still can’t believe how bad it is.

But I feel like we’re headed to a better place.  We agreed to check in more often – just to talk about where we are.  And in the meantime, get together like we used to.  We still can’t meet at my mom’s but hopefully that will change.

Again, thank you.  Fingers crossed for positive movement.