Just Another Life Flying By Way Too Fast

Some day I’m going to look back on my life and see how fast it went by.

Look at this sweetheart!



Wait a minute, I already do that.

Here’s the thing. My kids have early release at Catholic school today. They are going to get out at noon and my plans for them include cleaning the house and getting laundry done.

Sometimes I really hate that I am not a fun mom. I am not the mom taking my kids to the park or to the museum the afternoon after they get out of school early. Because we’ve been running around with school, activities, sports, workouts — the house has been woefully neglected. And Sarah’s having a friend come home after practice today to prepare to attend her high school’s homecoming football game.

I totally said to Craig this morning, “Well, we have to get this house cleaned up because it’s her first time coming over. I mean, once she’s been over a few times, I might feel a little more comfortable with her seeing how we really live.”

I literally just want to cry right now. Today is my day off work and I already worked out and showered this morning, got the kids off to school, went grocery shopping and put it away and got my laundry almost all done. I won’t even tick off the to-do list that remains because that really will start the waterfalls.

Dani and me — Taylor Swift Concert!!


There’s a lot of stress around here. I know in my head and my heart that stress can be good stress and still take its toll on my mind and body. We have a combination of good and bad stress going on right now, and I’m trying to do my best to handle it, but any of you who have been reading my blog for any length of time know that while I do my best…sometimes it’s just not good enough.

I’ve been making a serious effort to try and live in the present lately. Worrying was eating me inside-out — whether it was the future or the past. So, every day I take stock of what’s on our plates and tackle it in the best order possible and at the end of the day move over any unfinished business to the next day. it’s been awhile and I still haven’t ever been able to start with a clean list with no carryovers.

Vincent having fun

I guess that is what life is like in this stage. Five kids, ages 14 down to 4, two full-time jobs, school and activities for everyone…it’s starting to get crazy. Good crazy, but crazy, nonetheless. I’m gonna try not to beat myself up too badly for not having a fun activity planned for this afternoon. I think I’ll just be present at lunch with the four kiddos who are home for it today, listen to their school stories and laugh with them. Then, we’ll have to knuckle down and get to the business of the afternoon. And they’ll whine a little bit, but they’ll do it and we’ll make it through.

Tonight when I get into bed, I will have driven Dani to swim practice, dropped Sarah and her friend off at the football game, picked Dani up from swim practice and eagerly awaited Sarah’s arrival home. I’ll have to follow-up with Sarah about the shoes she is wearing to the dance tomorrow, finalize the schedule as to when we are planning to be where for pictures and dance drop off, figure out how Dominic is getting to a birthday party and how Craig and I can attend (however briefly) a social function at church/school.

And…I guess it will all be all right.

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Life Happens Whether We’re Ready or Not

Hello, again!

There has been a lot going through this ol’ brain of mine the past few weeks, but I just haven’t had the courage to put anything out here. I fell out of the rhythm of blogging almost a year ago and I have to say, that while it’s freeing in some ways, it is making me sad in others. I’m a person with a need to share. Share my experience, my feelings, my happenings. And I haven’t been sharing anything. And I’m full, and feel like it’s about to spill out, so I need to find a way to share again.

Many changes have taken place for my family in a very short span of time. I had already shared my husband’s job change from last fall. That’s still going well, praise be to God! He seems to enjoy the work and it’s providing nice benefits for our family, though not of the take-home pay variety. But nice benefits, nonetheless. His job change made a career move for me possible.

At the beginning of this month, I started working toward getting licensed to sell real estate. Due to the location of Kansas City, it was required that I get licensed in two states. I’ve completed all the requirements and am simply waiting on notification that the second license has been awarded. Within another month, I will be trained and able to begin selling new homes. I’m really excited about the opportunity, but scared, too, because it is something completely different.

So…I’m trying my hand at new home sales. St. Joseph the Worker, pray for us!

This new work schedule has some perks: days off mid-week, when everyone else is working, so I get to run through a quarter-full grocery store, get kids’ dentist and doctor appointments done without calling out of work, etc. But…it’s also pretty crazy since our children are active in school, activities, etc.

I began the search for a part-time nanny. St. Gianna Molle, pray for us!

My Sarah began high school this month. I’m excited for her. She’s in honors classes and she selected electives that she truly wanted to learn and will enjoy, she’s playing volleyball on the Freshman team and has made some friends.


Dani started middle school, too. I’m reminded of how this period of time started for Sarah, and while it’s somewhat different for Dani, she’s going through the moodiness of a preteen. I guess experience is good because I just shrug most of it off. But…SIGH. I’m just kind of not ready to do middle school again, but I have no choice, haha. At least Dani is active in cross country, still reads a couple books a week in addition to her school work, and has taken the time to continue developing her artistic talents. And, she really is a good girl. She’s helpful in many ways for me since she can babysit the younger children and help get dinner on the table. All useful things in life.

Helen started fourth grade. Promptly, within the first 5 school days, she and I had tears over homework. Thank God Beth (her godmother) can still come once a week this year to do extra work with Helen. You know, I’ve thought many times about my inadequacies, since I can’t handle much homework time with Helen. But then I remember how blessed I am to have good friends who can pick up my slack. Helen is still doing swim lessons each Saturday. I think she has a goal to do the summer swim team next year and I hope that happens. It would be fun for her! She is also playing volleyball with her class and I am glad for that, too.

Dominic started first grade this year. He seems to love it so far. He’s also playing Flag Football and he also takes swim lessons each Saturday at the Y. He has started to enjoy lego sets, reading independently, and still likes to play with his little brother.

Vincent is going to Pre-K this year, Monday through Friday all day long. it’s good for him. He cried when I dropped him off, but then we discovered that he wouldn’t turn on the water works for his sisters. So, now they walk him to his room and he has a great start to his days.  He’s going to start swim lessons each Saturday at the end of September. Maybe I can get all of the younger four to do the Barracudas next summer…that will be cool.


One change for our family this year is that I am enrolling all the kids in the parish’s Sunday night program. It was a requirement for Sarah anyway because she is to be confirmed in the spring, so she has to attend the confirmation program. But Dani will be attending public high school when the time comes and if she gets involved in the middle school youth programs at the parish, she will have the opportunity to start meeting some kids she will go to high school with. Helen and Dominic are kind of getting thrown in for good measure. I don’t have a specific reason to send them, other than I’m excited that our parish’s Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program extends through 5th grade now. Vincent will be doing the preschool Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. All four of my other children were able to attend this at their Grandma’s parish with an overnight visit thrown in. But, with Vincent attending pre-K M-F, it’s not possible for him to go do that, so I still wanted him to go through it. Maybe Craig and I will be able to take advantage of any programs they have for the parents on Sunday nights (sometimes they have apologetics type programs on Sundays…or they did at one point).

The last 8 weeks or so have been a drain on the emotions, I am not gonna lie. The first week of Sarah at high school, I had to stop myself from thinking about it. Everyone I know that has had a kid through high school says that it’s over so fast. I know that is true. It’s only four years. And Sarah could be off to college in four years. Away from me. So, thinking about that just made me tear up too much. And it’s weird because I’ve always been on the side of wanting my kids to grow up. I love it when they tackle something new and meet new milestones. But, it’s been so weird for Sarah to hit this point in life. It’s that bittersweet feeling, I guess, where you’re so proud of this child that you have watched grow up thus far, so excited for what life has in store for them, but yet worried about them leaving the nest and being on their own and sad for the end of your parent-child time. Well, I need to keep it together and stop thinking about it and live in the present. That is what I have been trying to do when I realized I was getting too sad thinking about Sarah growing up and leaving for college or something…live right now, enjoy this awesome girl living in my house, watch her grow and learn and conquer the world she lives in today.

The job change has also contributed to the emotional swings. I’m excited. I’m scared. I just want to get started, but I have so much to learn. I have new team members and I want to know if they like me and how we will work together.

Finally, the emotional changes over the course of the last 10 months have aided in my ignoring health and body cues and, of course, I’ve gained weight. Because that is what I do when I lose the control over external factors in my life. I just don’t handle it well. I’m really glad the gym is doing a nutrition challenge starting in September. I am hopeful I can commit and get that part of my life back under control. I’ve maintained my rigorous workout schedule, I just haven’t monitored the food side of things very well. (But you knew that would be the way it goes down with me, now didn’t ya?)

I remember when I was having a baby every two to three years and I thought life couldn’t be more hectic than it was then. But, I haven’t had a baby in the house for 2+ years now and life only seems to be getting more hectic. My family is growing up quickly and in so many different ways. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Pray for us!

Keep the Joy Amidst the Grief

This week started kind of slow. And it doesn’t appear to be speeding up much. Oh sure, we’re just as busy as we always are. Work, School, workouts, activities for the kids, homework and we threw in beginning to potty-train Vincent into the mix, too.

I can’t deny that Friday’s date looms heavy on my my heart. I know we delivered Gregory on March 1, but February 28 was the day that I went in for the ultrasound and found out that Gregory had already died.

It’s funny being a year removed. So much has changed…but so many emotions are still there, just buried and faded.

A year later, here I am, active, healthy, living my life with my family as full as I can with our busy schedules. I’ve lost about 43 pounds since last year, I’ve gotten heavily involved in Crossfit and am taking new challenges by the horns every day.

And I think…where would I be had Gregory not died? What if he were here with us? He would be about 7 months old, most likely starting some table foods, probably trying to crawl to keep up with Vincent. Financially, our family would be in a very different place as we would be juggling daycare for two small children (again) plus providing formula and diapers. Since Vincent is just now potty-training, we’d have two kids in diapers for quite a span of time which would also impact the financial situation. Emotionally, we’d be in a different place, too. We might not have the grasp on this Gift of Life that we do as a result of our suffering.

God has always provided the Grace to get through whatever came our way, whether it was another child, or a financial struggle, or emotional turmoil. I feel blessed that growing through suffering the loss of my child is possible. Of course, Gregory is not with us. And so, Vincent acts like “the baby” as he is. My other children do not think of Gregory often, or at least I don’t know it if they do. And somehow, I find that I feel content with my status as a mother of five + 1 (in Heaven).

 



I remember the days and weeks following February 28 last year and sometimes the tears well up in my eyes as I remember how long I cried. For some reason, the other day, I thought of our first night at home after delivering Gregory and the loud sobs and the punches in the gut I felt all night and the ache in my heart that didn’t go away. Even now, I can still remember quite vividly the feeling in my chest — it was like a “silent scream” you might do when you are dreaming a bad dream that makes you scream/cry.

These days, I don’t cry all the time. However, I think of Gregory every single day — many times every single day — but I don’t cry every day for him. I have one of the plants we received from family in my office and one, received from Gregory’s godparents, at home. Both plants, when I see them, remind me of my baby. It’s a small miracle both plants are still alive since Craig and I have never been able to keep anything but our babies alive once they come home with us. I have Gregory’s birth stone (March) on my Mother’s Ring, so many times a day, I see it and I always think of him. I have the items the hospital sent home with us along with my letter to Gregory from the day after printed out. I have the pictures they took. I don’t always pull them out, but every so often I will…just so that I can look at him.

As Friday draws closer, it seems I lack focus, but I suppose that is to be expected. I would imagine in the years to come, it will get a little better. Will I always want to take that day off work? Or will I be okay, over time, with keeping a normal schedule? I don’t know. I plan to head up to the cemetery on Friday to see the Memorial that has been placed for Gregory there. Our visit is long overdue, but I’m grateful we’ll actually know where he is now that the Memorial has been placed. Craig and I will spend the day together. The girls have school and I’ve arranged for the boys to go to daycare that day. We’ll get a Crossfit workout in, go to the cemetery and maybe go to a movie or just hang out and do nothing.


I do miss Gregory, but at the same time, I find that I am grateful for the short time I did have with him. I remember those sweet, short months of thinking about whether he would be a boy or a girl. I still chuckle at the fact that I figured it had to be a boy because God knows how much symmetry mean to me and having three girls and then three boys would just be perfect for me. I had fun coming up with potential names (Victoria for a girl; I thought of Victor for a boy along with Gregory). I wondered what we’d do about our vehicle situation (Get a huge 12-passenger van? Or stick it out with the two vehicles we had?) and I thought about how we’d fit all three boys in one bedroom. 

Yes, we really did have some good times there, thinking of the future and planning for a new baby. I don’t want to lose sight of the joy Gregory’s pregnancy brought me. I may have been tired, but I was happy. We may have been (a little) surprised, but we spent 4 months in joyful expectation. God blessed us a sixth time. And like every other time, it was so much more than we could have ever have anticipated or felt that we deserved.

The Buzz of Normalcy

It struck me this morning that we are headed down the path to our new normal. I’ve been exercising regularly, the kids have just about a month more for the school year and that will be over, Craig and I go about getting to our jobs, coming home and caring for kids. Even Dominic and Vincent have their own routines. Vincent’s mostly entails asking for his Daddy every. single. morning. and never asking for his Mommy unless it’s very clear he cannot have his Daddy.

I was re-reading some of my posts last night when I got to this one about time and the way it passes. I wondered when time would speed back up for me, because I knew it would. This morning, I thought a bit about it and realized time has probably picked back up. The weeks are flipping by at the pace I consider normal for the end of the school year when spring is upon us. (It sure would be nice if Mother Nature would cooperate and provide us the proper season…but I digress.) I’m back to the pace where I don’t have time to look at the stuff on my desk and organize it — both at work and at home. I’m back to the pace where if I don’t run in the morning, it’s kind of hard to work it in at any other point of the day. I’m back to the pace where I’m looking forward to the summer away from school and activities and homework. I know the kids will still have activities, but they are different in the summer when we don’t have to work in full school days, too.

I’m aware enough to realize I haven’t sent thank-you’s from Helen’s birthday party (it was the Saturday before all of this happened) so I’ve started that process, hoping people understand the delay.  

Find Image Here

I realize that I don’t mind the buzz. I kind of like it. I am engaged and participating. It’s not unsettling and every day seems a little less sad.

I still have moments, though. Something someone says hits me weird. I see a quote on Facebook, or I read something that brings on the tears.

Then it passes. 

And I move on to the next thing I’m doing.

It’s not the same normal it was before. It’s different. But…it feels normal, still.

Life Goes On

My 2-week work vacation is over. I went back to work yesterday.

The kids spring break ended and they went back to school yesterday.  

Craig’s schedule started again Saturday.

Saturday was full of activities like ballet, swim practice and guitar lessons. Sunday held another volleyball tournament for Sarah.

I know this is a good thing, but it feels so odd. Over the weekend, I realized I was ready to go back to work. I didn’t think I’d feel ready to cry at the drop of a hat. There’s a part of me that wants to hold on to the sadness, but yet, I can feel it starting to slowly chip away. The past two mornings, as I ran, I prayed the rosary and at the end of all my prayers, I was able to say a few words to my Gregory, too. It’s been odd to think about having a child in heaven. The idea makes sense to me that he can intercede for us and everything, but I just hadn’t had it in me. And even now, I think my attempts are a bit hollow, but — they are attempts. 

I think as the sadness starts to go and I get fearful that I will lose my connection, that talking — just a few words — to my baby boy might help me to understand how I can still have a relationship with him. How I can ask him to pray for me, for our family. If I can maintain this awareness and this connection, without the sadness, I might be able to help my other children to have a connection with Gregory, too.

Last week as we waited for the fireworks outside the castle in Magic Kingdom, we struck up conversation. As we talked, Dominic said, “I miss my brother.” And I replied, “Yes, I miss Vincent, too. But I bet he is having fun with Grandma.” and Dominic said, “Yeah. I miss my other brother, Gregory, too.” 

Dominic will regularly ask to see Gregory on my Mother’s Ring. He likes to point out all the children on the ring by pointing to their birth stones. It’s hit me that Dominic is old enough that he will remember this sadness in our house that we’ve had over the past 6 weeks. It has already impacted him and he might need the connection to Gregory that I think of between siblings.

So, life has moved on. My heart is still heavy, but I can feel the burden lifting a bit — at least outside of Mass. Mass is still difficult and it may be for awhile. I’ve decided to accept it for what it is. I’m trying to find joy in this Easter season and trying to be positive, even if it feels like a stretch. I figure that’s the only way to go at this point. The toughest part is reminding myself that I am not forgetting Gregory by moving on with life. It feels like I should mourn forever…and I suppose I will in some fashion. Or is that supposed to turn to rejoicing at some point that he is in the presence of our Lord and held in the arms of our Blessed Mother? I don’t know. As life continues, I guess I will figure it out.

#1-4 on Easter Sunday

And #5 — Sweet Vincent