Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Break

Hi Readers,
I apologize for my recent absence from posting. Unfortunately I am going to take a break from blogging at the moment. The past few days have been seen an onslaught of terrible news in my family- three family members died, another pet died and a someone diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer. All in 5 days. It is a lot of emotional information to process. I just don't have it in me to come up with blog postings at this time.  I never meant this blog to be a place where all I tell is sad stories and that is all I have.

Please go out in the world and spread love and joy. Be kind to each other. And love your family members today because we are not guaranteed a tomorrow on this earth.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Coming to Terms

Since my cat died, I've received three sympathy cards- one from the animal hospital, one from the vet and one from my dear friend Michele.
The one from the animal hospital is a stock card with a drawing of a cat on the front that everyone in office signed. I've never met any of them. I wondered they signed the card specifically for me or if they keep a stockpile of signed cards for the situation. It arrived before we'd even returned from vacation.

The one from Michele is the most comforting one. It's sincere and from someone who truly cares.

The one from the vet had a cat and a dog sitting facing a sunset. The inscription was expressing sympathy. It was signed by one person on behalf of the whole office. It had a personal note that read: Our thoughts and prayers are with you in your loss of Rhiannon.
I stood in the kitchen and read the note several times and stopping on the loss of Rhiannon part. The words felt foreign. Loss of...loss...loss. I've lost her...lost Rhiannon. She's gone. After fifteen years this was the strangest feeling. I'm not going to say that it feels like losing a child. It doesn't. It's different. She was still a being that was apart of my everyday life and suddenly she isn't here anymore. There is a void.
When she was first diagnosed with diabetes and the vet only gave her three months left, I spent the weekend crying. And made the decisions that when it was time, I would be with her when she was put down and that she would be cremated. As the three months came and went, I think I developed a sort of amnesia to her prognosis, after all she was still going strong. Her sudden and swift decline brought reality back to her condition. So I realized it was time to let go. It may be that she waited until we were all safely away before she let go her final breathe.
Our first night back home, I had a dream or something. I was in bed asleep and I could feel her weight laying next me as she often did on cold nights. In my dream I pushed against the weight without opening my eyes and said, you're dead, you are not here, repeatedly until I no longer felt the weight.
I still look around the floor for her. I know that will stop one day as I grow used to the house without a four legged family member.
The other morning Jay briefly mistaken a throw pillow on the floor next to the chest of drawers for her. He said he could have sworn he heard a meow. He was about to tell her he'd feed her in a minute when it hit him.

I received a call from the vets office this morning letting me know that Rhiannon was back and ready for pickup. I went numb. I automatically responded that I would pick her up in the morning. I hate the way she put it. Rhiannon is back and ready for pickup. Like she had just been to the groomers or had to stay at the vet for a day and now I could bring her back home now. No, Rhiannon isn't back. She isn't coming back. She wasn't in that blanket wrapped tray at the vets office. Only the shell of what she once was. Right now I'm not positive why I chose to have her cremated. I knew we couldn't bury her in the yard- too rocky. And then the thought of moving away. It just seemed like the most respectful thing to do for a loyal companion. I'm not sure how I'll feel tomorrow when I pick up Rhiannon and hold a small box that is all that is left of her. Because at the moment it seems pointless, since I'm not really bringing her home.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

A Lesson in Leaving (temporarily)

Last year when Jay first brought up going away together for our tenth wedding anniversary this year, I immediately said no. For years now I’ve lived with the motto that if I am not at work, then I should be with them. Going back to work was made tolerable because my mother was my babysitter when they were small infants. Neither went into a daycare setting until they were two.

I miss so much of their everyday being away (with my crew, sometimes that’s not a bad thing) that I am not inclined to leave them without cause. We rarely have date nights, so to go on a trip without them and to put them off on my parents, for enjoyment…didn’t seem right. They are a lot to take. The idea was shelved for a few months.

As they’ve gotten older though, I’m coming to a realization. I’m a person too. Yep, radical concept, right? And even though I am not with them all day long, I am still working. I run from morning until night and sometimes in the middle of the night, if needed too. I begin to see that part of my problem is that I don’t do anything for me, except eat. And I’m not able to give them the best mom possible. I don’t have luxury of quantity so I need to shoot for quality in the time I spend with them.

Part of parenting is letting go. That is the end game of being a parent. You raise them and give them everything and they leave you. You have done your job as a parent if they leave you and start good lives of their own.

Ultimately, I knew that they would love spending time with their grandparents. And my parents would enjoy some of their time. I knew it would be difficult on my mom, so we arranged with my in-laws to take them two days during the day. And that it would be a chance for me to rest. So we made plans to go away during WC’s spring break from school.

CJ, had only recently, spent the night away from home for the first time. He went to my parents along with his brother for an overnight visit in February. Since, he moved to going to preschool full time- he was now eligible for overnight visits.

We explained to the kids in advance that they were having a sleep over at Nana's for an entire week. They loved the idea. The day before we left I was completely convinced that I did not want to do this. But we’d already paid for it and I can’t waste money. So I sucked it up and didn’t say a word.

And for the most part they were fine that week. My mom said Tuesday night, WC had gotten over tired that day and cried that he would never see me and Jay again. She assured him that we would return and he was fine the rest of the week. One night she made the mistake of falling asleep before they went to sleep and she woke up the next morning and they had strung toilet paper all over the house.

The day we returned, they were happy to see us. At the same time they were sad to leave the house that spoiled them rotten. WC has tried several times to tell me of their adventures at Nana’s-things she let them do that I don’t at home and I simply tell him, “What happens at Nana’s, stays at Nana’s.” If I do not know about it then I cannot be mad about it. It doesn’t matter what he does there, the rules at home do not change. When we picked them up they were in the same condition as when we left, that’s all I care about.

Our week away brought about an unforeseen change in CJ, though. On the way home that day he’d fallen asleep in the car and I brought him in and put him on the couch and he slept there for about three hours or so. When he woke up I was in the recliner. He came over and crawled in my lap and hugged and kissed me numerous times. We snuggled there for the longest and he kept telling me that he loved me. We’ve been back a week and half and it still hasn’t changed. Before, he never told me that he loved me unprompted. I’d tell him then he’d respond to me that he loved me too. But now he randomly comes up to me and hugs, kisses and tells me that he loves me. He yells it to me out the car window when he and Jay leave in the mornings and when I put him to bed he yells it to me as I’m closing the door. I’m soaking in all this affection. I hope it lasts for a long time.

While we enjoyed our trip together, we are not looking to go away for an extended time without them again anytime soon. I would love to take another trip with them- part of the fun is watching them have a new experience. But, I'm thinking that it is okay to have a night without them every now and then.

I’m still trying to figure out what the balancing act is going to be. I’m thinking of keeping the Saturday morning yoga class for now and seeing if that is enough of a recharge. I’m not sure if complete balance is possible, but I’d like to get closer than I am now.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Ever had one of those weeks where despite your best thought out intentions that nothing will go right and everyone around you seems hell bent on keeping that way?

Before I left on vacation, I had it all planned out in my head- I’d return well rested, recharged and ready to be super parent. I’d start back up my exercise regimen that had lagged since throwing all my energy into WC and his emotional issues. I’d also start back working on my query letter for my novel and maybe even begin writing my next project. I was going to come back and find the balance in my life that had been lacking. HA…HA…HA…HA. What was I thinking? I didn’t hit the lottery…I still had to come back to my day job.

What I came home to was: a dead cat, one child who refused to do anything, another child who tried to super glue himself to me, emotional breakdowns from both kids over said dead cat, an overdraft notice, a disaster of a house, and a stray cat living in my garage (who WC has since named JoJo). My sister had left a bottle of Cuervo Black in the cabinet and I discovered it was really good with Coke Zero-too good. I’ve since sworn it off.

Spring break ruined WC. We were doing rather nicely before then. Although we had hit a small bump in the karate road right before break- and I thought a break would fix it. HA…HA…HA…HA. Not a chance. When I say he refused to do anything. Only the involuntary bodily functions that go on to sustain life where the only things he did without constant reminders. The worst day by far was Wednesday. When I picked him from karate I discovered that not only did he not do any of his homework during homework time but that he’d taken so long to get dressed that he only made the last 15 min of the 45 minute karate class. Now, why they left a 7 year old unattended in the dressing room for that long without checking on him wasn’t answered. But I do know the normal Sensei was not there and I’m not sure what happened. But things didn’t get any better at home. He asked if he could eat before homework. Which I agreed and he wanted letter spaghetti. Then he proceeded to eat his letter spaghetti- one letter at a time. I wish I were kidding.

The first part of his homework, which was supposed to be completed during homework time at the dojo, was for him to pick out three of his vocab words and write a question using the word- basically come up with three questions. I’ve had him complete this task in 15-20 minutes. I left him at the table to work on it. Every now and then I’d ask him how he was doing. He said fine. About 25 minutes in I asked him how many he had left. He said one. At the 30 minute mark, I went in to check on him and discovered a page full of doodles and no actual work. Not a single letter on that page. Now I’m angry. Its 6:30 and this is just one thing of several other things that have to be completed before he can go to bed. And he needs to be in bed by 8 since we get up so early.

I press ten minutes on the kitchen timer and tell them that he had ten minutes to do it. Whatever isn’t completed by then he’ll just have to tell his teacher that he didn’t do his homework. And, of course, when the timer goes off he has one question left to write.

I tell him to put away his work, his time is up. He begins to sob and Jay comes in and says that he was writing as fast as he could when the timer went off. And he should be able to finish it. I counter with that he’s had forty five minutes (not even mentioned the time at karate he should have done it) to complete it.

Jay insists that he should be allowed to finish his last sentence (totally undermining me). And I tell him that he has to deal with it then and leave the room. He isn’t home during homework time and doesn’t actually understand what I go through trying to get this child through the homework on a daily basis. So Jay doesn’t actually deal with it at all and leaves WC alone and it takes him another twenty to write one last question and leaves me with having to push him through the remainder of the homework before bed.

I don’t understand homework at this age and I don’t see that it does really any good towards learning. With the exception of reading- I’m finding that the more I make WC to sit down with a book and read to me the better he is getting. But afternoons are a time crunch for most families who have parents working outside the home- there isn’t time for resting and spending time together. I hate coming home and feeling like a drill sergeant- to get everything accomplished before they have to be in bed. It’s proven that people in misery don’t learn. If you’re not enjoying something and are not interested and engaged in the activity- it isn’t going to sink in. And that is what most sit down homework is at his grade. I’m not an educator, so I have to believe that they do have reasons and there is a method to the insanity. I hope so; I don’t see it getting better, only worse as he progresses through the levels.

I will now step down off my soapbox regarding the homework issue.

As we’ve gotten further back into our routines, he has gotten better- sort of. He’s such a dawdler, there has to be a way to light a fire under his tush. His regular Sensei returned and he finally dressed out and went to class and guess what? He got that tip he’d been wanting. I did point that out to him when he told me.

Even though, my week didn’t go as planned with my exercising or my writing- I did manage to do one good thing for myself. I took myself to a yoga class Saturday morning. I’d learned about a yoga studio twenty minutes from my house and they had a class at 9 am on Saturday. Throughout March I’d meant to go but with getting ready for the trip, I never managed to make it. So Friday night, I’d told Jay that I was going. It was an hour and half long with a meditation at the beginning and the end. I’d left so relaxed and recharged. Just what I needed to get myself through another week.