Wake up

I am dreaming of a future that might not happen again. Wake up. I am looking back at the past again. Wake up. I catch a glimpse of what could have been. Wake up. I am searching for redemption. Wake up. Important things that I forgot to mention. Wake up. 

Tossing and turning. It’s too hot to sleep. I wake up. I am roaming again. But where are you going? I just can’t sleep right now. I need to wake up again. I’ll come back to you soon. After my brain has silenced and these thoughts fade. 

Tomorrow’s morning comes too soon. When tonight’s rest is not an option. 

Surely, one day I won’t be so tired. 

The things I want to say to you- a letter to a friend.

Dear, 

I bought pots for my aloe and my little tree this morning. They were both in desperate need of some space and Penny kept knocking the tree over and spilling all of the soil everywhere. There were more succulents out today and I thought about buying you one… But wasn’t sure how to get it to you. 

I always think about you when I do grown up things. Whether it be buying new pots or painting a room in my house. 

  I wish you still lived here. I wish I still had the opportunity to see you whenever I wanted. I know that if you were here you’d go shopping with me and we’d actually do all of the crafts and projects we wanted to…. If only because we’d hold each other accountable. 
I understand why you don’t live here though. And thank you for never judging me because I came back and stayed. It’s easy to see the outside of a situation and make judgements and I’ve never felt that from you. 

I’m so proud of you and all that you’ve accomplished. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there the way that you have. I’ll always be one of your biggest fans. I hope you know that.

I thought about texting you. But I thought that this would be a nice surprise. 

I miss your face,

Jodi 

The things I want to say to you- A letter to my first born.

Little bug,

Today I woke up late so we were in a rush to get you around for school. I’m sorry that I am sometimes grumpy when I have to get up and go. I’ve always been this way… and I’m still working on it. I’m sorry that I joked with you that you’d only get to wear one sock to school because you lost the other one. I’m sorry that the joke made you cry. Some days, in this parenting journey, after everything’s all said and done I sit down and think Man, I really blew it this time. This morning was one of those mornings.

In my life I’ve had authority figures who have made me feel less than. And I never, ever, ever want you to feel that way. I never want anyone to crush your spirit. I know what that’s like and it’s a terrible feeling to not believe in yourself because someone that you look up to has told you, or made you feel, like you shouldn’t. I hope I never make you feel that way.

Re: Your eyesight

No mother wants to see their child struggle and this last few months have been hard for me. I know that you can’t see bug. I know that we’re trying our best to make your eyes stronger… but I also know that this process is going to take a long time. So please hang in there with me. I will do everything in my power to help you so you don’t get behind in school or feel less than. It breaks my heart when you get so wrapped up with the expectation of knowing and remembering all of the things we’ve been working on the past few weeks. I can see that you’re discouraged. I promise that it will come. I promise that one day the letters will not be so blurry when you are looking at them. When you are trying so hard and you point to your brain and say I just can’t Mom, my brain just isn’t working. I want to scoop you up and make it all better. But with all of my experience, the only things I have to offer you to make it better are my time and my patience. I hope this is working. I hope you know that I love and believe in you.

Re: Your heart

You have such a good heart bug. I know that sometimes that same kind, sensitive heart can allow others to make you feel like you’re not handling things correctly. I will tell you now that there is a difference between self-regulation and empathy. That sock you cried about this morning… you were not crying because you thought you only had one to wear to school. You were crying because the other one was lost and you know that socks cost money… and money doesn’t just appear out of thin air. You and your heart always see the bigger picture. You have comforted me so many times when I was mourning the loss of Ben. You have “taken care” of your Dad and I when we both had the sniffles. You were so concerned when the dog got fixed, that you would not leave his side. Don’t ever lose that bug. Don’t ever let the world make your heart hard because right now it is perfect. You are perfect.

Re: Your brain.

You are smart. You are smart. You are smart. You are smart. I will be chanting this to you your whole life if I need to. I will scream it from the sidelines with every year of school. You can do anything they put in front of you and once you’re eye sight improves you will be able to do it twice as fast. You are so good at figuring out how things work. Literally, taking them apart to figure out how they work… What you don’t know now is that everyone learns a different way. You, my dear, have a hard time sitting at a desk to learn. And that’s okay. Mommy will set up obstacle courses, and magnets on boards, and sand to write in, whatever you need to learn… Because you are a hands on kid! And that’s okay because you are smart.

Re: Your life.

Though you don’t know it yet, we are not normal. I’m sorry in advance for this. At this point in our lives together as a little family, I can not let you go to birthday parties with out me even though other children get to. I can not let you be baby sat by some one I do not know very well. I can’t not know where you are. This is a me issue, not a you issue, and again I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I can’t let you be more of a normal kid. You are my most precious gift. You are my whole heart. And since we lost Benjamin I have not been able to let you just be, without me, in social situations. And I’m sorry. One day it will get better and I’ll be able to let you do more things on your own… But for now, this is how it has to be for MY heart and MY brain. Because I can’t lose you too Bug, I just can’t.

I hope you know and can feel how much you’re loved; even when I blow it.  I hope you see how proud I am of you. I hope you know how special you are. You are smart, strong, sweet, and courageous. You have a great imagination. You are everything I’ve ever wanted. Thank you for being my boy and allowing me to be your Momma.

All my love,

Momma

Quiet days of August…

Time has started sputtering on in a slow pace for me. A slow, ba boom ba boom ba boom, the sound of my own heart beating. I can breathe again. This is the thing about grief, it’s fast and slow, and one day you wake up and realize that it’s not as strong as it was before. You realize that suddenly you can breathe again. Suddenly, the ache in your chest is lighter, not gone completely. But now instead of crippling you, it’s just there, a faint twinge of a reminder. Something has happened here.

I have all of the quiet that I could possibly need now. All of the time in the world. I find myself sitting… waiting… looking around to see what I can do next. We have a garden of flowers and plants, all in a raised garden bed, surrounding a big oak tree. And if you look closely, past the hanging lantern and the pin wheels, you can see the name Benjamin, sitting there waiting for night time… waiting to glow. I sat… looked… saw the weeds grown up high, and the grass that’s crept over the barrier for the past few months, the sticks, and dead leaves. And I began furiously ripping and pulling and digging. How did I let it get this bad? I pulled until my hands hurt. I took brush to the fire pit. I’d never let it get this bad again. When it was planted it would be my place to be near him, Jack’s way to see the pinwheels and feel closer to his little brother, and Jason’s place to plant and tend to the earth. We all flocked there. We all watched it and cared for it. And then time went fast and slow, and then we let it be. But now instead of crippling you, it’s just there, a faint twinge of a reminder. Something has happened here.

We attended the county fair yesterday. There was a clown. He was playing “tricks” on me to make Jack laugh. I was laughing along. The clown messing with Jack, said “What’s your name Benjamin?”. I know, reading the tattoo over my heart, right under the little hand print. Except the poor clown expecting accolades for being so clever, instead receives three stunned faces. “How did you know my baby brother?” We have just ruined the clowns day.  But now instead of crippling you, it’s just there, a faint twinge of a reminder. Something has happened here.

Picking up my son from school on Friday I watch his class come out. I am searching the line of kids, I am searching for his glasses, I am searching for his book bag. He is not there. The teacher sees me, my eyes are frantic, I will keep my cool, I will be a normal parent. Where’s Jack? He’s at the nurses office, he has bumped his head, the nurse wants to talk to me… There is yelling for the principle, she is leading me, we are walking fast. I am frantic, but trying not to be crazy. We looked in the nurses office. “Oh, they’re not there.” She says, like it’s not big deal. Where’s Jack? There is talk to the secretary. We go back outside we are both looking, for the nurse and my son, and I am pissed and scared and angry. Do they not know who I am? Do they not know that I need to know where my kid is at all times? I am getting ready to scream at the principle. I am getting ready to call her every mean name I can think of off of the top of my head. And she is acting like this is no big deal. Then I see him, across the parking lot, next to the nurse. And I am running, because at this point it is better for the principle to be away from me, I am running to my kid. Because he’s the only one I’ve got. He’s my whole heart, walking outside of my body, and I need to know that he’s okay. I am trying not to be frantic. I’m trying not to be the crazy mom. I am trying not to be that helicopter mom that everyone talks about. But they don’t know that I’ve given up too many of my children for you to not know where the fuck my son is. I. AM. PISSED. I grab his hand. I sputter out a few words to the nurse. We run to the car. And I cry. I cry because I was scared and angry. And my son says “I know you were scared Mommy, but I am right here.” He knows. He knows that I am not crazy. And I can breathe. But now instead of crippling you, it’s just there, a faint twinge of a reminder. Something has happened here.

Way out of center?

Last week became a week of doors closing and others opening. After losing baby A, Jason and I both decided it might be time for things to slow down for me. We wanted less stress, more health, and more time. So I quit working at the place I’ve worked at for the past 2 years and quit working with the people I’ve worked with for the past 6. There were tears. I am both happy and sad about it.

Sad because I’ll miss teaching my kids. I won’t get to teach the littles that are coming up to my room, that I loved so much when they were babies. Sad because I won’t get to see my kids that are moving on do great things in the big kid room. I’m planning on visiting. I’m planning on popping in for hugs and squeezes. But for now, home is my place.

I’m happy because I get the opportunity to be with my boy more, my house won’t be such a mess all of the time, and i’ll finally have time to finish all of the projects I’ve been putting off because of not having enough time.

Sitting here this morning with my coffee and everyone fed, there is no rushing. We’ll get to everything we need to get to today. The boy’s watching Spiderman before he has to clean up his room. The laundry is started. The dog is throwing his toys up in the air and catching them again. And the cat is laying stretched out on the dining room floor, indifferent to it all, or cussing me because we don’t have air conditioning.

I am so excited about this year, this opportunity. Currently, my heart is full. Now, in two days when kindergarten starts and we’re “rushing” again… I’ll let you know how I feel. But today is my first “slow”  Monday in years… and I’m just going to enjoy every minute of it.

Fall.

The weather will be changing soon. The green will give way to gold, red, orange, and brown. The air will become crisp. It’ll be time for sweaters, apple cider, and pumpkin patches. We’ll play in the leaves. Try to combat all of them that have fallen in our backyard then, eventually, give up. We’ll sit outside around bonfires, plan birthdays, and just be still.

Fall is my favorite. I love everything about it. Even the dreary rainy days that sometimes feel like they’ll never end. Something about fall has always reminded me that things can be new again. Things are constantly changing. And just because you think you are one way does not mean you’ll stay that way for long.

I can’t wait.

The things I want to say to you- A letter to my Mom

I don’t talk to you like I used to. I don’t reach out anymore for signs or some form of connection. At this point, I’m not really sure I know how anymore. If you were here… I honestly don’t know where I would start. I hate to say it but when you left it was both a relief and a never ending bitter longing that I never thought I would overcome. I think for the most part I’m just really angry right now. Not necessarily at you, because I know that everything that happened was out of your control, but more so at the universe. Life is hard. I wish that you would have told me that. And maybe you tried. Or maybe you thought you didn’t have to since we lived the life we lived. I wish I could have gotten a heads up on some of this, instead of the little bits you gave me… the parts that were surrounded by hearts and flowers.

I wish that I would have gotten more time to be a “normal” family. I wish you would have been there for me in those times that I really needed you. I feel like I am told all of the time that I am wise beyond my years because of how fast I had to grow up. But i feel like people give me more credit than I deserve sometimes, because honestly, most of the time I have no idea what I’m doing.

I feel like I’m at a crossroads in my life. And normally in times like this I choose to run right or left. Way out of center. Towards something huge. I just take off without thinking. And right now I’m tired, and I’m sick of running, and I’m sick of reaching goals and working so hard. Right now, just standing here. And I know I’m just going to walk forward. I’m going to stay on this path. But I’m ready for time to slow down.

Why didn’t you tell me about my babies? You told me about everything else. Why didn’t you tell me about how things would end up?

I get that Mothers try to protect their children by omitting information for their own well being… but why tell me anything at all then? Why include numbers and specific information?

J asked me to read her the other day… with your cards. And sitting on her front porch I said I couldn’t. I’m tired. And I’m sick of knowing and not knowing. And finding shit out. Right now, I don’t want to know anything. I want my head to stop hurting and I want support. Instead, I find myself mostly being a bitch. Shutting down. I feel bad for my family. There is no outlet for this. No answer, so to speak. And maybe if you were here you would be able to offer me what I need. Quiet, unconditional, quiet. Jason knows when he walks in if I’m having a good day or bad. And most of the time he retreats as too not have my toxic moodiness, spew all over him. And I can’t blame him. I wouldn’t know what to do with me either. But you would. Because it’s at times like these that I see the most of you in me. When I’m tired and I need quiet and I need people to leave me alone so I can let the quiet sort things out in my head. I walk the house, read my books, drink my coffee, and disappear. Nothing gets done. And I look in the mirror and I see you. I see you when Jack looks at me asking me, begging me, to play… and I just want quiet. I just want to sit in my chair, drink my coffee, and do nothing.

You were so good to us. Just like there are times that I am so good to him. But i think i carry the negative with the positive that came with you… and it overflows. This is not my grief cup spilling over. This is me being angry at you for being gone so long.

I like to think that if you could have you would have been here. I like to think that if you hadn’t gotten so sick you would have stuck around and spoiled all of these babies. You would have attended all of the concerts and award ceremonies for these fantastic kids that I go to, because they have no one else, other than their own Momma to attend. I would like to think that you would have woo-hoo’d your ass off when I graduated last Spring. And you would have held my hand when i put my baby in the ground. You would have been there when I was lost. And you would have helped me put my pieces back together.

I hope you see the things I try to do, that you always did, for us. I hope you see my Christmas tree up in the beginning of December. The notes to Santa and the cookies. I hope you see the unconditional love your children pour out onto their kids. I hope you see how we try to keep it together and try not to get angry with each other, even when one of us is being a word class jerk. I hope you see how we try to make our marriages work, even when it’s really, really hard. And I hope you see us, every year in January, just missing the shit out of you.

I hope you have found the love you deserved up there. And hope you’re enjoying baby B and A… but I refuse to send you anymore of my children. So hands off, okay? I hoped you’re rollerskating, like J dreamed. And I hope you can watch as the kids are growing up into the most awesome young people that I know. I hope you can hear every time I share bits of your life with Jack, even though he has no idea who you are.

We all miss you. We’re pretty pissed about it, actually. If you can work some of your magic, try to make sure no more shit gets fucked up here, K?

Love and Miss you Momma,

Jo

Insomnia and trying not to be a hermit.

The last few nights I have not been able to sleep. I love sleep. I am not a person that needs to know what is going on at all hours of the day. I could nap for a couple of hours, get up and eat dinner, then go back to sleep. Sleep is my friend. I look forward to going to sleep every. single. day. But as I said… the last few nights sleep has not come in a timely manner. Maybe it’s because my husband has been on nights this week and even though I can hold my own, it always leaves me with an unsettling feeling. Or maybe it’s because I’ve been drinking coffee too late into the evening again. Or maybe it’s because I worry about everything from my whole damn life as soon as my head hits the pillow.

I am the type of person who either worries and analyzes everything way too much or doesn’t give one single shit about anything. There is no in between with me. One or the other. I think it’s the analyzing and worrying that is getting to me lately. The fact that I need to call the insurance company, or remember to remind Jason of a doctors appointment that he’s got to take care of, or buy Jack’s school uniforms, or I have no idea what to cook for dinner the next night. These are the ridiculous things that keep me awake. My lists… my to dos. But some nights it’s my never want to dos again…

Those nights are the worst. The nights where I lay down and think about things that I shouldn’t be thinking about. Like oh, you know what we haven’t thought about in a while? The night mom died! Let’s relive that in our brain. Or you know what would be great for you to think about? The day we lost baby Ben. Come on, you know you want to!

Those are the nights that I find myself roaming the house. In the dark, on my island, not wanting to close my eyes and be reminded. Sometimes I find myself sitting outside in the dark just looking up and wondering what the fuck happened in my life. Don’t get me wrong. I have the most amazing life and I have so much to be thankful for. But sometimes I feel like I’m the carrier of Murphy’s law. You know, anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. I used to struggle with this a lot after high school. In a particularly rough period of time where I lost a lot of people that I loved. If they love me they will die. Everyone leaves in the end. I know that sounds extreme. But it was honestly how I felt. All that I loved went away.

My sister and I have had many conversations about this. Why we are like this. Why our brains work the way that they do. Maybe it was because Mom was sick for so long. And dying for so much longer… Death became a dinner table discussion. (Not really table, more so mom’s bed dinner, because that’s where we all ate.) I live with the constant fear that every time my husband walks out the door that he will not be coming back to me. I struggled with that thought so much after we lost Benjamin that I ended up leaving him. Because some where in my twisted brain that was easier… for me to leave before some other shitty thing would happen and I would be alone anyway. Since then, and with some talking to a psychiatrist, I’ve realized how crazy that sounds.

But you see, when I get stuck inside my head like this I become an island. I am out there, on my own, and no one can touch me. I’d rather not leave my house. I’d rather not talk on the phone. Cut all ties. Shut it down. Because I am a disaster waiting to happen. Click then boom. Sometimes when life is going well I keep waiting for the floor to come out from under me. I am never completely settled. Never completely content. Because for my whole life I was taught that as soon as you were something would go wrong.

I’m tired today. My island is calling me… but I’m not picking up.

Adulthood and having my shit together…

Things that make me feel like I have my shit together:

  • Paying my bills on time
  • Getting my son to bed at a reasonable time
  • Waking up more than an hour before I have to be at work
  • Keeping up on laundry
  • Not having a sink full of dishes
  • Mascara and eye liner
  • Having a made bed.

Now… to say that all of these things happen for me all of the time would be a ridiculous lie. In fact, as we speak, the sink is full of dishes, both the washer and dryer are full (and probably need to be reran), there are baskets full of clean laundry waiting to be folded and put away, my son is still awake and he has “school” tomorrow, I set my alarms for tomorrow’s work day but honestly know that I won’t get up until 55 minutes before I have to be there, and my bed is not made. If all of those things make me feel good you may wonder why they are not done… because today I chose not to do any of those things. Today I chose to spend 3 hours at the park with my boy, exploring, having a picnic, and playing instead. Then we spent sometime with family and by the time we got home it was just enough time for everyone to take a bath and relax. Because, after all, we need to be clean and stress free.
 Maybe tomorrow I’ll get my shit together again… but probably not. But here’s to hoping!