Sunday, March 16, 2014

Looking At Pictures

So I'm sitting at the kitchen table listening to music blasting on the stereo.  Little Lady is on the floor next to me, mangling my chapstick and pulling all the wipes out of the container.  Little Man is locked in his room playing legos.  They are both growing up so quickly.  I'm looking at pictures of my Jameson on my computer and on Facebook.  I love to look at the old ones on there and read the captions.  It makes me remember.  I'm looking at my boy over the years...the three years we had.  They are like gold.

There are carrots roasting in the oven.  Mushrooms sauteing on the stove.  The wild rice burgers are leftovers from last night, but I'm hoping nobody will complain with the addition of mushrooms tonight.  I'm drinking a beer.  I gave up alcohol for Lent, so...

And I'm looking at old pictures.  All the pictures of him are so old.  We all looked so young.  Little Man was such a baby still.  And us, we were still so shiny and new.  Now we have wrinkles and grey hairs and the wizened look that only comes from living through what we lived through.  We've aged a lot. 

It's raining outside and I'm so happy Hubs was able to take the car to work instead of riding his bike as he usually does.  I'm wondering when he's going to come home and feeling lonely and missing Jameson and looking at old pictures.  And I wonder what our lives would be like if we had three kids still.  I've never had all three kids together.  The boys would share a room and she would be the baby princess, which doesn't actually change much.  We'd need another dresser.  And a minivan.  Minivan's kinda break my heart because I should need one.  Isn't that ridiculous?

So I'm just sitting here and the kids are playing legos together.  And the beer is good.  And the carrots are starting to smell sweet and the mushrooms are on low.  And even though his shift ended an hour ago, the Hubs is still working.  Thats what happens when you marry amazing.  He is amazing and I will never forget to feel lucky.  And I'm missing him and I'm missing Jameson and I'm missing the shiny and new that we'll never have again now that this tarnish sits over everything.  And I'm just looking at pictures and wondering if Little Lady will ever know what shiny and new is, since the tarnish came before she arrived.

I'm just looking at pictures.  Old pictures of St. Patrick's Days that were all about wearing green and drinking beer and having fun with people we love and everything was shiny and happy.  And Jameson was here and life was one big brunch and parade.  But now there's this tarnish that just won't go away.  And maybe I don't want it to.

The music is still loud and the kids are both playing in Little Man's room all independent and not needing their mama every five seconds and isn't this the best and the worst all rolled into one?  And I'm sipping this great local Irish IPA from a can and the carrots are done and the mushrooms are still on low and the Hubs is still making sick people better and I'm just sitting here looking at old pictures.  Jameson was so healthy and normal.  What the hell happened?  

Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day and I'm going to get up early and make Irish soda bread with golden raisins for breakfast.  And then get all decked out for the day with green and orange and beads and pins and crazy socks and hats.  I've laid out insane costumes for the kids and already asked the teacher if Little Man can wear a green mustache to school or not?  And I've laid out Hubs options in Irish boxers and socks and t-shirts.  I kinda hope he picks the "Fight Me I'm Irish" shirt.  And I wonder if he can wear buttons or suspenders with his scrubs in the ICU.  Probably not.  He also won't be wearing his kelly green dress shirt, which we bought for Jameson's funeral.  It'll be a fun day but our son is still dead.

Little Lady is done with legos.  She's playing with the light switches and my beer is empty and I'm thinking about cracking open another one because I've already screwed up on Lent, what's one more?  And Hubs is on his way home, which will make everything so much better.  And I'm looking at old pictures while listening to my Rainbow Baby sing at the top of her lungs with the music still blasting and wondering if I'm living in the past because I'm still looking at old pictures and wishing we were still all shiny and new.

But Little Lady is still singing and I'm pretty sure I need to change her diaper and I look at her twirling and I know I'm not.  Because as much as I want my past, I want my future too.  And maybe my desires are more complicated than most people's are.  Because I would give almost anything to have what I had.  But I would never give up what I have now and how does that reconcile?  The "if only" thoughts are a slippery slope.

And I'm listening to Bon Jovi singing about Living on a Prayer and there's this princess sitting on my lap who definitely needs her diaper changed and Hubs will be home any moment and the rain is still falling and now the Beatles are singling Let It Be.  And I love this life.  I just wish it were plus one instead of minus one.

Always minus one. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014


Spring has arrived here in the Pacific Northwest.  Everything is so green.  The trees, the grass, the roads.  Moss grows on everything and it is so beautiful.  Our private road is positively glowing with living beauty right now.  I love this place.  We also have bulbs popping out bursts of bright blue and orange and yellow.  The air has an earthy, fresh scent, the birds are singing melodies to the heavens, the sun is showering us with warmth. I'm enjoying watching a teeny brown squirrel eating bird seed off the deck out one window and a hummingbird at the feeder out of another right at this moment and marveling at His handiwork.  He is The Great Artist, indeed. 

Hubs had been working nights for roughly the past five weeks and is finally back on days at the hospital.  Which means I've finally been able to really let the kids make noise in the house, vacuum, clank around washing dishes...okay you got me on that last one; the sink is sky high with mixing bowls and cookie sheets and pans.  I'm reveling in naptime quiet at the moment and certainly not about to let a sink change that.

My coffee cup is nearing empty , but it's my third cup already, so I can't feel too bad.  And it is sitting atop a bright green and white checked and shamrock adorned tablecloth that has me smiling every time I look down.  I just love St. Patrick's Day.  For me, it is a family holiday.  It is a day we set aside to celebrate life with the people we love.  And it is a day that we now honor our sweet Irish Prince.  My red-headed Angel-Boy.  Thinking about it and him makes so so happy and so heart-broken all at once. 

And even though things are going to be very different this year, we are still planning on getting our Irish on as much as possible.  I'm not going to lie, I'm probably more homesick for this holiday than Christmas and Thanksgiving combined.  Not only will we miss the family and friends, but we will miss the always fantastic St. Patrick's Day parade, the Celtic Mass at the Cathedral, the bagpipes.  Alas, there is no parade here and I've seen no mention of any special masses.  Well, I suppose this town had to have one fault. 

We are, however, going to rally as best we can.  Hubs will be working from God-awful-early to much-too-late as usual, but we will do our best work around that.  The house is slowly being covered in construction paper shamrocks and rainbow chains.  We have our green and orange ready to wear, down to the 7 days of Irish socks that I busted out earlier in the week.  Today's are knee-high with shamrocks.  I know.  I'm awesome.  I've got the Irish dinner planned.  And if I'm feeling quite brave, we may head to a pub to hear some bagpipers.  We're gonna celebrate.  And this handsome man will be at the center of it all for me. 

I hope you all have a lovely St. Patrick's Day weekend.  If possible, go a little Irish in honor of my Jameson. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Odd Man Out

I blinked and February was gone.  And I barely had a chance to take a breath and March is already a third over.  How did this happen?  I feel like, in so many ways, that too much has happened to try to write about any of it now; yet really nothing has happened, as well.  The days and weeks pass with the same highs and lows.  The household seems slightly under control and then five seconds later the floors are insanely crumby and filthy; the laundry gets folded and miraculously put away and two days later the piles waiting to be washed and folded are bigger than the couch (how do we get so dirty so quickly???); the mommy plans great activities and has patience to read the same story 85 times in one sitting and then and hour later she's turning on the TV and biting her tongue while counting down the minutes to bedtime and pulling out her hair; I'm content with my older and out of fashion self until I got to school pick up and keep looking over my shoulder for the fashion police who have surely been called in to pick me up.  I'm feeling alright until I go and try to take a deep breath and I can't. 

Little Man and I are reading Harry Potter together.  I love to read with him.  Love it.  It is one of my favorite ways to spend time with him.  We curl up on the couch together under a blanket, we make a pot of tea and each have a special mug, and I read.  And he drives me crazy with his constant wriggling around and interrupting at all the good parts with his interpretations and questions -which I hate and love at the same time-, and we read like crazy fools for hours.  Sometimes Hubs will sit in the recliner next to the couch and I'll rub his feet while I'm reading and he'll listen for about five seconds until he's asleep.  And if Little Lady is awake she's usually bouncing off the walls and trying to sing over my voice, which drives Little Man insane and I'm pretty sure that is why she does it.  But the two of us will sit there and just get lost in a book.  And we'll get up early to read as much as we can before school.  And before bed we'll read until bedtime and then I almost always give in for just one more chapter and he's always staying up too late because neither one of us can put a book down.  It makes my heart happy to read with him. 

We just finished Book Five in the Harry Potter Series.  It has been so long since I've read them all.  It is so fun to rediscover the stories and characters again, and with my boy beside me.  And so interesting to meet the characters again as this new person.  I'm the new person, in case I've lost's late and I'm writing with a tired mind.  But I'm a different person and the perspectives and contexts are all so new.  It makes everything else seem new, too, in a way.  And without trying to sound like a crazy person, I see Jameson and I see my grief in everything.  Songs on the radio, books, anything that hints and sadness, longing, lost love, all gets crammed into my context.  So Harry Potter.  Book Five is where his Godfather dies.  And I find myself reading it and feeling things clicking into place in my head when I read it...which seems slightly ridiculous to me that I'm getting grief support from a fictional kids book, but as mentioned above, I see it everywhere.  Anyway, back to Potter and my entirely obvious and ineloquent feelings.  He's describing how he feels after Sirius dies and he talks about how when he's with people he wished he were alone and when he's alone he wishes he were with people.  And it seems like it's probably one of those emotional "duhs" for most people but I'm all like "yes!, this is me!" while reading it.  I feel rather silly writing this out because it sounds fairly lame as I'm rereading it.  But it seems emotionally important for me to say this.  Because I struggle so much with it.  Before Jameson got sick, I was 100% an extrovert.  I loved meeting new people, loved social gatherings, loved talking, did not like being alone.  And now, I love being alone, except when I'm feeling lonely(what does that even mean???), I totally struggle at social gatherings, and would much rather be wallpaper than take part in group conversations.  Yet, I still do love's just that I can only handle it for so long before I need to be alone again.  I often find myself "rescued" by needing to chase down Little Lady on the playground, even if I really like the person I'm talking with and enjoying the conversation(again, how does that make any sense???).

It can all get so complicated and confusing, this whole life thing.  But tonight, while reading, it just kind of clicked for the umpteenth time at how "other" I tend to feel always.  And it makes me think of how Little Man always, always needs to tell people about how his brother is dead, because I do too.  And I maybe don't want to talk about it, but I have to.  I have to.  It's....hard, complicated, impossible.  Not just the talking about it, but the whole talking to someone and feeling like I have to say it, wondering when it will inevitability have to come up in the conversation, anxiously wondering if I'll get all "ugly cry" or hold it together, and really, which one is worse?  Dreading the reaction, the questions, the pity.  And knowing that even though I'll feel slightly better once it's out there, I'll still feel like I don't quite fit in.  I always feel that way.  I know everyone feels like they don't quite fit in to a certain extent; I do in lots of ways.  But I've made peace with most of the ways I'm a bit different.  Hard to make peace with this one.  

And now my tired brain is getting to the mushy stage, so I'm off to bed.  St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner; it is a special family holiday and a day I try to celebrate my Irish Prince.  Will write more on that soon.