Monday, February 29, 2016

Face Your Fears

That was the title of the piece I presented at Listen to your mother. I'll share it with you if they decide not to pick me to share my story. I struggled with naming what I had written because titles are tough for me to come by. I can write and write but titling something is always something I find challenging.

Today, I'm facing a different kind of challenge. I'm on edge, I'm sad. I feel broken. My heart is heavy. Each year around this time, I struggle. I fight the tears more often than not through March. Tomorrow is March. I'm partially dreading it being March 1st... I've told the story and I'm sure for the rest of you it gets old. On March 10, 2011 my dad died... suddenly and unexpectedly. Two days later, I gave birth to my second child, my first son. His name had been decided but on the way to the hospital my sweet husband decided his middle name should be changed to that of my fathers. And so in that moment without anyone knowing but us, he became Grayson John instead of Grayson Ryan. After his birth, we shared the change with our families and friends. This year, that boy will be 5. This year, my father will have been gone 5 years.

Five seems like a big milestone for some reason and this year seems harder than years passed. And so I sit with tears streaming down my face while my boys nap and my girl is at school.  Mostly, I try to cry when they can't see me. I don't want them to always remember me crying when I think about my dad. I want to be able to share my stories of him with them. I want to be able to share his zest for life, his unwavering love, his drive to live each day to its fullest with my children.

Today, I'm reminded that my boys have never met their Papa John. Today, I'm reminded how Bella asked "how come the doctors didn't save him, I thought hospitals made you better". Today, I'm reminded that life has somehow gone on. Today, my heart has a hole that is not filled and can never heal. Today, it feels like salt is pouring into that wound. I'm reminded that life isn't fair and love never ends even when someone passes away. Today, I'm reminded that the road of grief doesn't just end or get easier. Sometimes its more smooth than others, today it's a mountain that I'm trying to climb.

Today, I will remind myself that it's okay to be sad, it's okay to miss him and wish he was here. It's okay to cry while no one else is around. I will fight through the first few weeks of March knowing that my dad is someone, someway showing himself through my son. Grayson loves wolves. He's asked to have a "Wolf birthday party". My dad's entire computer room was decorated in Harley stuff and wolves. He had a tattoo of a wolf on his chest and one on his arm. Grayson is unaware of any of that. Today, I will cherish that my kind hearted son has a little bit of my dad shining through.I will fight through the first couple of weeks of March knowing that my son and my dad's love of wolves has intersected. I will plan a wolf party (whatever that entails!) to celebrate my son's birth.

Maybe the title of this blog should have been milestones and mourning....

Saturday, February 27, 2016

I did it!

I auditioned for Listen to Your Mother. I was nervous and talked fast... actually I told "our story" in THREE minutes... she said it was "record" time... I'm not sure if that's good or bad. Honestly, I'm happy to have had the opportunity to share our story. I'm proud to have shared it with the amazing ladies of LTYM and I'll be sure to keep you posted on the outcome!

Friday, February 12, 2016


Bella and I were at the store picking up some stuff for dinner (am I the only one who has everything exept ONE key ingredient, ugh!) and as we were leaving she noticed a boy in a wheelchair.

"Mom, he could go to my camp"

"Really why do you think that?"
"Well because he can't walk and it's for all kids that are different. He could make some friends there"

"Good thought Boo! Last summer remember that girl we saw at the park and I told her parents about Camp No Limits"

"No who was she? Do you think she'll be there?"

"Remember she was born missing part of her leg?"

"Well if she does go, I can be friends with her" We both smiled and then started talking about Sam Hunt (this kid is obsessed with his music!).

Bella is always really thoughtful about kids AND adults who are born different or appear different. She WANTS them to come to camp. I think it's hard for her to verbalize but in my mind, she wants them to have somewhere they can be accepted. Camp is somewhere where everyone is friendly and welcoming.It's somewhere everyone is accepted and by everyone, I mean EVERYONE. Parents, siblings and campers all feel special at camp. We all feel included. There are special parents group and sibling groups. I think she wants people to feel the love that she feels there.It's a special place.

AND we have officially submitted our application for camp for this year! We are hoping that Ryan's vacation days get approved for camp at the end of July. Bella doesn't know yet because it's the week after her birthday. Talk about an awesome birthday celebration! So if you know us, keep this a little secret from the best ears in our house :)

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Did you really just say that?

When Bella was a brand new babe, I was at my sister-in-laws house. I was nursing her on the couch and her tiny little not even six pound body was covered almost completely by the nursing cover. Another mom walked in to pick up and some small talk occurred between the three of us, her, my sister in law and myself. She had adopted a little boy and was discussing his adoption process. She talked about "cleft lips and palates" and I remember her saying "well it's not like he's missing his arms or legs". I remember my sister in law looking at me. I remember thinking I wanted to lay my sweet girl on the couch and punch this other mom in her smiling face. 

My mind was racing with a million thoughts. My heart felt a twinge of pain for my child and for me. I don't remember what followed after that situation. I don't recall if I said something or not. Trust me, there were a million times when she was small that I did say something rude in response to someone's rude comment. I remember thinking that this was the first situation we would encounter but it certainly wouldn't be the last. 

I specifically remember an old woman at the grocery store asking ""Oh my gosh what happened to her hand?" My response "Oh my God, we had it when we came in here!" She said nothing and walked away. She probably wanted to curl up in a hole in that very moment. There were also times I was able to pull it together and say something educational. Sometimes it was as simple as "she was born like this", sometimes it was more in depth. 

What is the right thing to say in situations when people say things like this? I can't say for sure. I can say that if I can pull myself together, education is best. Educating others on the situation, educating others on our circumstances, educating them on the right thing to say to people, teaching them how to treat people kindly and with respect. I think that's the biggest thing, while they need to learn, they ultimately need to understand what is the right way to treat someone that's different than them. 

So my daughter, born with only her 5 fingers, ended up in daycare with this mama's adopted boy. It wasn't something that was ever talked about... I wonder if she remembers her comment from that day. I wonder if she knows the way she made me feel. I wonder if she knows how thankful I am that my daughter wasn't able to understand what she said. I wonder if now she thinks of things a little different. 

CAMP NO LIMITS all booked!

This picture was taken just last weekend while we were camping. Bella and I were walking around the camp ground just the girls. Dirty from...