Monday, March 28, 2011

Giving It To God

Last night I had a dream that Little Man was in the PICU and one of our Oncology Specialists said that he had Pancreatic Cancer. It was so vivid and detailed. It seemed and felt so real. When I finally woke up I was drenched in sweat and my heart was racing. It was just a dream, a very bad and scary dream. It was not real.

But sometimes the fear that I experienced in that dream is real. And sometimes I don't know how to stop that fear. It is difficult to not become paranoid. I mean, Jameson was a perfectly healthy little boy! Other than needing synthetic thyroid meds and ear tubes, he was healthy. He didn't even get a lot of colds. He went from totally healthy in the eyes of his many physicians(and he did see a number of specialists regularly) to mortally ill in the course of a few days. If it can happen to him, who's to say it can't or won't happen to Little Man? Or Hubs? Or me?

I don't want to live in fear; I don't want to become a hypochondriac. And I don't want to stop living just because there is risk in the world. But I find myself fighting back panic often over silly, simple things. If Little Man's cough just doesn't seem right I want to call the doctor and get him in immediately. If Hubs is really late and I haven't heard from him, I want to check the news to make sure there haven't been any accidents. If I get a really bad headache, the worst case scenario pops into my mind. But I don't want to live like this!

So I battle my insane imagination and unreliable emotions with logic and prayer. I talk to Hubs. I recite Bible verses to myself. I listen to Christian radio. And I get on my knees. Often. Some days I have to give the same fear over to God again and again and again. Why I keep taking it back is beyond me because I certainly don't do anything constructive with it. Instead, it paralyzes me and I'm not able to do anything at all.

When I do give it to God, He gives me peace, courage, strength and freedom.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, give I to you. Don’t let your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart; and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Memories To Last A Lifetime

Jameson loved to eat paint.

He loved markers too.

He would bite the tips off and the markers would bleed into his mouth and it made him so happy. It used to drive me crazy, but now it is like finding buried treasure when I find a marker with no tip. I smile and show J's marker to Little man and he shakes his head and laughs. He loved to be messy.

Seriously. How can you not smile? Especially when you don't have to clean up the mess!

We had three years with our son. Three years of fun memories and sweet moments. Three years of adventure and love and happiness to remember. Three years of memories that have to last us a lifetime.

Little Man has this new thing -he loves to give me a certain number of kisses and hugs to get me through before we part for preschool or bedtime. And he loves it when I give him a dozen smooches before bed to get him through the night. It is so cute, this idea that the more you have now, the longer you can go without. But it doesn't really work that way, I think. If we had four years or fourteen years or even just four months it would still be the same and never be enough to get us through. He is gone and it aches no matter how many memories there are.

And looking at the pictures and talking about the funny times and remembering the awesome love that we shared is so bittersweet. Some days it doesn't feel like he was ever real and I have to work to remember his laughter and look at the pictures until I can feel the still-so-raw and bleeding scar on my heart. Other times he is in my mind so vividly it seems like he was really just there and I almost want to look around the corner to make sure that the laughter wasn't really here. And still other days I can't get past the horror of the last four months of his life and I will forever be tormented with wondering if we did the right thing. He suffered so much and how could we let it go on for so long? But how can you not cling to even the thinnest threads of hope? How can you not hope for and believe in the miracle? How do you know, when it isn't black and white? How do you ever know?

It sometimes feels like all that is left are broken hearts and memories. He was only three years old. And we will miss him for a lifetime.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Green Love

St Patrick's Day turned out to be a great day.

Everybody ate the Irish Soda muffins and not one comment was made about how dry they were because I accidentally over-baked them. Our oven timer sounds just like the coffemaker beep...who knew?!

Little Man's Dr. appt. went well; other than a cough he is doing just fine. I can't say as much about the pediatrician, though. Dr. Paul was wearing a purple shirt and tie and I seriously hope he felt under-dressed when he saw my dapper lad walk into the room.

We were able to pick up Hubs at school and just make it in time to see the parade. I left the camera at home due to the threat of rain, but it was all for naught. We had sunshine and happy smiles...and loads of compliments on my rockin' socks. And everyone loves the Roos, of course.

Little Man raked in the candy and had fun counting and organizing it when we got home.

I'd love to say I cooked a traditional Irish dinner and show you fabulous pictures, but it didn't happen. We had clam chowder and hotdogs and shamrock cookies at an Irish pub downtown and danced to traditional Irish music. When we got home, we broke out the bikes for the first time this year in celebration of the sidewalks finally being clear. No coats needed!

We did have green pasta for dinner Friday night...better late than never, right?

Super easy to make. While your noodles are boiling, stuff the food processor/blender full of spinach, blend it to make some room, add a splash of olive oil, some Parmesan, ricotta, garlic and salt/pepper to taste. Red pepper flakes would probably be tasty, too. And when pesto is in in season, add some of that. Yum, I can't wait for pesto season... Drain the noodles and toss.

I saw the best bumper sticker on St Patrick's Day: Love people: cook them good food.

The day just wasn't complete without my sweet Jameson. The day was wonderful and bittersweet and fun and I missed my boy so terribly. I can't help but think about the expressions, dance moves, smiles and loving we are missing out on every time we do something fun. I am so comforted in knowing that he isn't missing out- he was probably dancing a jig with Saint Patrick himself! And I know that we will be reunited someday and will have all of eternity to catch up on what will seem such a short time apart. And that will just have to get me through.

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I am bringing my A game today. Which is the only reason I would ever get up before 6 am; those Irish soda bread muffins aren't going to bake themselves.

For some reason this day feels like an anniversary to me and I just have to get it right to honor my sweet Jameson. In many ways, he was the most Irish of all of us; okay, Hubs maybe ties him, but it seems like today is his day, or should be, at least. And I know when he looks down at us and sees me trudging through Children's hospital to take Little Man to his appt. and us both looking like we just stepped off a float he's gonna smile and will many people.

Today is a day to honor my Jameson, Irish Prince.

Dance as if no one were watching,
Sing as if no one were listening,
Live every day as if it were your last.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Get Your Green In

Get your Green In

If you are looking for a fun way to get your kids to eat their veggies tomorrow, try this green smoothie. This is a household favorite and it is pretty easy to make.

I don't measure anything, so I'm not much help there...start with a bunch of spinach and throw it in the blender or food processor if you don't have a blender, like me.

Once that is chopped up and there is room in the blender, add fruit. We had mango, banana and pineapple on hand. Most of the time we use a bag of frozen tropical fruit but we had fresh today, what a treat!

You can add a little honey and orange juice to thin it out and sweeten it up if you want. And then I always add a little yogurt or coconut milk if we have it on hand. Plus flax seed meal and oatmeal because I usually thin it too much with the OJ. Blend it all together until smooth and green.

Taa Daa! You have a beautiful and delicious green smoothie.

Little Man tested and approved.

Even our sweet Half Pint could drink a full pint of spinach smoothie.

And now tomorrow you can get your green on and in!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Get Your Green On

March is such an exciting month!

St Patrick's Day, March Madness, can you not love March?!? This post is a friendly reminder to fill out your brackets, find your most obnoxious green shirt, and start thinking about replacing the snow shovel with the garden spade.

If you've never filled out a bracket before, you are in luck because I am an expert in bracketology. I use a very scientific method in filling out my bracket. Are you ready? You may want to take notes. I try to always pick the team that has a location or mascot that I like. And I usually lose well. Really well. But at least I have fun.

For St. Patrick's Day, I'm not quite sure how it will all pan out this year, but I guarantee, rain or shine, pediatrician visit or not, we will be decked out in green and orange come Thursday. I even bought a spiffy new pair of knee highs from Target and can't wait to rock them. They have been sitting on my dresser for weeks and I almost drool when I see them. As of now, the forecast is rainy with a chance of croup and a Dr's appt. late enough that we just might miss the parade. But we will be there in spirit if nothing else! Little Man just can't seem to pass on croup when it comes around and we almost had to take a trip the the ER Sunday night, but the nebulizer treatments, vaporizer, and occasional trips outside have helped significantly. We already had a Dr's appt. scheduled for Thursday morning so if the croup gets worse we'll get that taken care of too. If we do sneak out the parade and you see us there, maybe don't hug Little Man.

As far as the gardening goes, I don't think I can safely trade out my snow shovel yet, but the dream is alive and well. I am officially sick of snow for the season and ready for the spring thaw to come to Minnesota. Our living room is littered with seed catalogs and gardening books and hastily drawn blueprints of the backyard and which seeds go where. And if you happen across any of said blueprints, no, Little Man did not draw them and yes, I failed art in high school. Okay, not really, but only because the teacher was nice. Anywho, we are super excited to have a garden, spend time outside in the dirt and sun, and (hopefully) enjoy a bountiful harvest all summer long. Little Man, especially, is over the moon about eggplant and wants to grow 6 different varieties. Good thing seeds are cheap.

Happy March, my friends!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Buy The Ticket

The day we moved into our house last summer I took the boys to the zoo. We met our best friends there and had a wonderful time looking at the animals, eating a picnic lunch in the park, and catching up. Overall is was a great day. Right before we left and said goodbye to our friends, we took the kids to the amusement park section to ride a ride. We had a few free tickets- enough for Little Man and his BFF. And I didn't buy a ticket for Jameson.

So Little Man and BFF rode the train while J watched from the stroller. Why didn't I just buy him the ticket? Was I really so concerned about our budget that I couldn't drop the $1.50 on a train ride for him? Was it because then I would have to ride the train too and I didn't want to be inconvenienced? Maybe it was because I thought we'd come back another time and then he'd be able to ride with his brother. But there wasn't a next time. Two weeks later he was in the hospital and 4 months later he was dead. Why didn't I just buy him the damn ticket??

How many moments did I miss out on in his life, in my life, because I thought we could do it another time? How much richer could our lives have been if I had been living in the moment instead of the future or not even living at all because I was too busy or preoccupied with stuff to even see?

The point here is not to drag myself through the mud or magnify the guilt, but to realize that we don't always get second chances. No matter how healthy we seem to be, how happy we think we are, how invincible and secure our lives appear to be laid out before our eyes, there are no guarantees and we do not always get second chances. There may never be a second chance to read and snuggle with Little Man instead of watching a TV show. Or tell my husband I love him instead of hoping he already knows. Or call my brother just to talk and let him know I miss him.

And yes, we did do a lot with Jameson and I held him and loved on him all the time. But there was room for more and I didn't always seize the opportunities that were placed before me. I will never regret taking the time to tell or show someone I love that they matter to me. And even though it was such a small thing, I will always wish I had bought that ticket.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I got to the mall early this morning. Not on purpose, but because I just went straight from dropping off Little Man at preschool in the hopes that I could run into one store, buy the shoes I need and leave as fast as possible. But I was early. Way early. Early enough to see more seniors walking than store keepers. So I found an empty seat at a table near the Caribou Coffee kiosk and opened a book I always keep in my purse to pass the time. The book is called A Travel Guide To Heaven. I like it. The author uses the Bible, theology, and his imagination to paint a wildly fun and exciting picture of what Heaven may be like. It makes me feel closer to Jameson. It helps me to picture where he is and what he may be up to right now. It gets me excited about getting there myself. But it also makes me sad. It doesn't take the hurt away, it doesn't fill the hole, and it doesn't stop the longing. Which leads into how I found myself sitting alone at a table for two in the middle of the now open mall with puffy eyes and tears streaming down my cheeks. *awesome* At least I didn't run into anyone I know.

It isn't just the book; the ups and downs of this journey, of this life sometimes happen so fast and without warning. And the silliest things can have me reeling or laughing. Thinking about Jameson riding a real, live T-Rex in Heaven makes me beam with joy. Finding a St Patrick's Day pin in my car that says "World's Cutest Leprechaun" feels like someone injected ice into my veins. Spending time at a museum with Little Man is so much fun; realizing that traveling anywhere- the grocery store, Target, restaurants, the mall- is so easy because I only have one child breaks my heart wide open

Some days it feels so easy and I'm okay with it. I can miss him without any hurt. I can look at his pictures and smile. I know that this separation is temporary and someday soon we will be together and then forever. Some days I can even think of it as a gift; God is letting me keep my baby as a baby for all of eternity and isn't that an amazing gift? But as good and easy as those days are, there are the other days. The days when I just don't know how to go on. When the hole in my heart feels like it is about to swallow me whole and the tears flow like rain and the dinner won't get cooked and the clothes won't get washed and the child will watch TV because Mom is a frozen puddle who can't thaw, move, breathe.

I am trying desperately to be thankful for the good days and also for the bad days. Especially for the bad days. Just this morning I read this quote in my morning devotional: "Desperate dependence is the place where we can stop living by our own power." -Max Davis The bad days are when I most rely on Him. When I most need Him. When I most seek Him. And isn't that a gift?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Under The Sea

We took advantage of a stellar coupon and a cold day and headed down to the Mall of America Aquarium yesterday afternoon. It was no snowy walk in the park, but the views were spectacular.

They have an amazing jellyfish collection. I took over 200 pictures so a few were bound to turn out cool.

Jellyfish are quite breathtaking to watch.

The aquarium itself was smile-inducing and my jaw did drop a few times when the sting rays and sharks swam right over us.

I don't think I've ever seen a shark from below; the teeth are so cool to see.

I could have stayed there all day checking out the sharks and rays and turtles.

I was totally the bigger kid; Little Man liked seeing the sharks but was anxious to get back to LegoLand.

Which was also very cool. Legos rock. Bigtime.

May you all have a lovely weekend, abounding with wonder and happiness.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Spring Cleaning

I have the urge to do massive spring cleaning. I'm not just talking washing the entire house and opening the windows to let the fresh air in(which I can't do yet seeing as we still have feet of snow on the ground), but going through the basement and sorting through every box and bin and getting rid of the crap we've collected and held on to without thinking. The stuff that clutters our house -stuff we really don't use or maybe don't even like but we are too lazy or too passive or too unwilling to really see just how much junk there is. I want to clean and organize and make sense of the mess that is my house. I crave organization and simplicity and space much more than stuff.

This urge goes so much deeper than that, though. I feel like over the weeks, months, years, I have accumulated a lot of extra clutter in my mind, heart, and soul and I want to clean that out too. I want to get rid of the junk in my life that isn't really important and make more room for the things that do. I want to live simply and deliberately. To make time to see. To really look and see God. He is everywhere if I am only willing to see.

"We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence... We need silence to be able to touch souls."
Mother Teresa