3652 Days

I have spent the last 10 years obsessing over every single detail about the last day I spent with my mom on December 25.  

I woke up that morning from the worst sleep ever. The only two words I can use to adequately describe the nightmare I experienced was black and suffocating. I was surrounded by blackness and I could not breathe. I was scared but in a way, I couldn’t describe. When I emerged from the bedroom, my mom took one look at me and asked if I was okay. I wasn’t and I wouldn’t know why for another 30 or so hours. Normally, we would have talked about what I had experienced but, it was just too heavy and sad to share on her most favorite holiday.  
 
We bustled about the house, as usual, that day. Her cooking and singing her favorite Luther Vandross Christmas songs and me finishing wrapping the Christmas gifts she saved for me to wrap for her. We talked, laughed, gossiped and ate the green beans she cooked for later at breakfast; and I felt the heaviness of the night’s sleep slowly lift as we exchanged gifts. Always my best friend, she made everything better for me.  
 
We celebrated Christmas, as usual, that year with our family at my aunt E and uncle G’s house. One of my most favorite family gatherings of the year! My mom knew how much I loved it but took her time getting ready to go…as she did every year. Once you entered their home you were greeted with love, laughter, kids running around and the smell of all my favorite foods. Nothing better! 
 
After a marathon of pictures, catching up, and plates of food, my mom and I packed up to head back to her house. I was scheduled to work the next day in Chicago before returning the next day to finish my week off with my mom in Dixon. I also arranged to take my three-year-old, goddaughter with me. Since the office would only have one other person there, my goddaughter and I would hole up in one of our empty conference rooms to pass the time reading, coloring, and playing with toys until we could head to the zoo. 
 
Once we returned to my mom’s house, I quickly gathered what I needed, kissed my mom goodbye as she laid on the couch and headed to my car to pick up my goddaughter. Small problem, my car was somehow stuck in the driveway. The same car we used to pull into the driveway no more than an hour ago. It wasn’t snowing but there was a layer of ice coating the ground below. I couldn’t move it in the right direction, every effort pushed the car further into the plowed snow on the side of the driveway. My mom, now standing in the door, called my uncle and then my cousins to help in what none of us could understand, how in the world is this car even stuck? I thought about how ridiculous it would sound for me to call my manager and tell her that I couldn’t make it to work because my car is stuck in the driveway with no snow. So, I was determined to honor my commitment. With the help of my family, we finally got the car out. I wouldn’t understand until the following day, why it was so difficult to move that car, I wasn’t supposed to leave.  
 
My mom called me twice on the 26th. Both times mostly to check and see if I was doing okay taking care of a toddler. “How are you and your charge? How did you both sleep? What are you making her for breakfast? What time are you coming back home?”, she asked. The last call that day from her was mid-morning with more of the same ending with her saying she would see me later.  
 
A few hours later I would get two calls from my family in Dixon. One to tell me that my mom was being rushed to the hospital and to come home immediately and the other one I have never forgotten. The second call came as I was driving home from Chicago with my goddaughter in tow about forty-five minutes later. When I answered the phone my normally calm Aunt who was also an LPN was yelling at me to get there and I heard crying in the background. I yelled back at her that I had to drive 2 hours to get home and I was driving as fast as I could. I pleaded with her to tell me what was wrong, but she was having none of it. Hearing a break in her voice when she yelled again for me to get there sent me into hysterics as I hung up the phone. 

I immediately called my dad in Louisiana who did his best to calm me down so I could make it safely. I just remember telling him, “I can handle anything except her death, I will never recover from that.” He told me to focus on getting there and take it from there. 
 
When I arrived, everyone was outside. I ran to the ER entrance. I knew it was bad. I still feel like this part happened in slow motion. They shuffled me down a hallway and into a large room. Once inside, my family lovingly surrounded me and told me she didn’t make it. Make what?  

My mom died on December 26, 2008, minutes before that second call from my aunt. My entire existence changed in one afternoon.  
 
I remember asking for someone to pray and then I went to see her, although not the circumstances we talked about earlier in the day.  She was dead now. The stain of blood still on her lips from the blood clot that took her life. My beloved everything was now pain-free with her parents.  

I can somehow recall things like the color of the first shirt I bought, as the only daughter of her dead mother, a red turtleneck from Shopko. The furniture in her living room hastily rearranged to make room for the paramedics to get the stretcher in and out of her house. The beautiful white suit wrapped in dry cleaner’s plastic I found hanging on the back of her bedroom door, the same day I fretted about how I would dress her for her funeral. Driving with my cousin Londa to CherryVale Mall to buy suits for the visitation and funeral and learning that dead people don’t need shoes in their caskets.  

That first year was blurry. I often awoke surprised I hadn’t died the night before from grief. I got up each day with a heavy sigh convinced of two things; someone was praying for me and God needed me to stay on earth but for what reason, I didn’t know.  
 
Now, 10 years later, the pain is still thick and I maneuver through it. Most days I still find it unbelievable that my mom is dead. But she is and life goes on.
 
I find comfort in the love and lessons she shared with me, my daughter’s connection to the Nana she never met, and knowing that when I need her most my mom is with me. Mostly, I remind myself that I have more memories with her than without her and that means everything. 

Mommy circa 1974
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Wayment

So, I was talking to the Ladies over at one of my favorite charities about an upcoming event. I was holding Dubs’ and noticed he needed a diaper change. We finished our conversation, I said my good-byes and headed to the truck to change his diaper.

Continue reading → Wayment

ICYMI: Goodbye, Kitty!

Here is a recap of the last few months in and around the plantation:

When we last “spoke”, I had just started a new job at a small CPA firm. Excited to expand my skills and actually do something I was truly passionate about, writing and fundraising, I jumped right in…into Tax Season!

Who knew the next four months of my life would be eerily similar to football season, the TV/spectator football season. Anyone with any experience living the vida fútbol loco knows that football season starts well before and goes beyond what you see on TV. 

Continue reading → ICYMI: Goodbye, Kitty!

A Georgia Peach Kinda Day

Last week, our Sweet Baby Girl turned 3 years old! Time is passing much too fast for me, I am not a fan. 😦  It seems like only yesterday I was rocking Georgia Peach as an infant.  Okay, it probably was yesterday we sometimes play “Baby Goo Goo” in which she rocks HER baby (whose name is Goo Goo)  and I rock her. Anyway…The Coach and I have quickly become fans of a party a few days before her birthday and having her all to ourselves on her actual birthdate. 🙂 So, in honor of our GP’s birthday, I decided to take a picture every couple of hours to document the activities of her special day.

So, I present to you… A Georgia Peach Kinda Day!

First, we dropped off The Coach at Football Camp...

Can I wear your hat Daddy?
Don’t take your hat Daddy, can I wear it?

 

Next, a stop at her special occasion only breakfast spot…

I love donuts, Mommy! Wait, what is this…jelly? Yuck!
I love donuts, Mommy! Wait, what is this…jelly? I don’t like the jelly, Mommy.

A little playtime with her bathroom toys…

Let's go to the airport! The toys are taking a ride on the tissue box airplane. Buckle up.
Let’s go to the airport! The toys are taking a ride on the tissue box airplane. Buckle up.

 

And no day is complete without a little jumping…

Jump! Jump! Jump!
Jump! Jump! Jump!

 

All that jumping can make a girl hungry. Time for one of her favorite snacks…

More cheese, please!
More cheese, please!

 

It’s craft time!

Well, just in case you were wondering, GP likes her stickers!
Well, just in case you were wondering, GP likes her stickers!

Time for a carriage ride! Thanks to the Ladies at Plantation Carriage Company for the birthday love!

Got my Daddy and my fancy headband…let's get started!
Got my Daddy and my fancy headband…let’s get started!

This day would NOT be complete without a little pizza. “The Lineage “with Wheat crust from YourPie is the business. Get some, for real!

 

Yummy pizza pie! The veggies are for Mommy.
Yummy pizza pie! The veggies are for Mommy.

Can we ride on the boat now?

Yay! We are on a boat. So what if it was the free taxi. :-)
Yay! We are on a boat. So what if it was the free water taxi. 🙂

 

Hope you had a great day, my Sweet!

Happy Birthday, Georgia Peach!
Happy Birthday, Georgia Peach!

 

Fifty Words

I wanted to try another writing prompt so I took a stab at this one awhile back. Finally, I’m ready to post it. 🙂

The Daily Post Weekly Writing Challenge: Write a post using fifty words no more no less. Here goes nothing…

The first sign of a life forever changed.

The nightmare.

Clad in black. No light, no air, darkness everywhere.

Absolutely horrifying.

I awoke anxious, sad and scared. A dreadful start to her favorite holiday.

Christmas Day.

The second sign came less than 12 hours later.

Heavy snow and stubborn ice.

You Ain’t So Bad

When I was pregnant with GeorgiaPeach (GP), the Coach and I decided that we aka I would breastfeed our Little Peach. I made him promise me that if I wanted to quit he would remind me of the commitment I made to our family and to stay with it. Sounded simple enough to us. What could possibly go wrong?

We took a breastfeeding class. I read books and asked my Circle of Moms who had breastfed successfully and (not so successfully) what I could expect. I was as prepared as I could be. One emergency C-Section later, I was in the breastfeeding business or…so I thought.

It was a rough start for me. I was nursing GP on demand as you should but, I didn’t realize she didn’t need to nurse for an unlimited amount of time! My precious baby was channeling Clubber Lang, kinda like this scene from Rocky III.

After going to my corner and spending 3 days feeling like a human pacifier, unlike Rocky, I was ready to throw in the towel. Can I order some formula, please?  And that was when all of my ‘I Just Had A Baby And She Depends On Me To Eat’ emotions came to the surface and I broke down.

Me (crying): I quit! I’m not breastfeeding anymore. I don’t know what I’m doing. And IT HURTS! Did I miss someone telling me that part?

The Coach (very concerned and looking for the slightest symptoms of Postpartum Depression): What happened?

Me (still crying): I don’t think GP is getting enough to eat, I am still waiting for  my milk “to come in” and I miss my Mom! Listen, before you even start with me, I don’t have PPD so stop looking at me like that, this is normal, I JUST HAD A BABY! And no, I do NOT want to harm myself or our child, okay? I know there are other symptoms but trust me I’m fine, exhausted but, fine.

The Coach: Okay. But Babe, you don’t want to quit. You and I both know it. You are doing great, GP is definitely filling up these diapers so she is getting fed. I don’t know what you are feeling but, I will do everything I can to help and support you. Should we call someone?

The Coach: Wait. It hurts?

Me (exhausted): I don’t know who else to call! I’ve called Jesus, my Friends, the Lactation Consultant from the hospital AND I emailed the instructor from the class. I have one more day left in me and that is it!

So…I didn’t quit, my milk ‘came in’ the next morning (the way I found out was pretty hilarious but, I will spare everyone the details) and I successfully breastfed GP for the next 11 months. 🙂 But the point of this entire post is that the I felt slightly bamboozled by the masses.

Breastfeeding hurts…in the beginning.

Now, before  you go all Lactation Consultant on me, hear me out.

As a first time natural “provider” of nourishment to a newborn, I had never (ahem) used my lady parts in such a capacity or as much in a short time span. Know what I mean?  Even when you are doing it correctly you will be sore, in the beginning. And I had cooling pads, creams, a nursing pillow, a comfy chair, etc! The whole process took some getting used to and I was reminded that we were both learning what to do. Obviously, a number of women are not able to breastfeed for various reasons so, I get it. You have to do what works for you and YOUR family. Period.

So…I said all of that to say…if you are thinking about breastfeeding or if you just started, the truth is you will be sore and there will likely be some pain but, the experience was one I would never trade. Once I relaxed and settled in, GP and I started to work together. The pain DID go away and the experience transformed into what I envisioned all along, our first collaborative effort. 😉

Breastfeeding, in the words of Rocky Balboa, “You ain’t so bad”.

Take THAT Breastfeeding!

 photo credit

Don’t You Put That Evil On Us!

Happy Flashback Friday! 🙂

This year marked my first Valentine’s Day…with a Preschooler.  A week before the big day, GeoriaPeach’s Teacher sent the Parents an email with some details for the celebration:

  • The party would be small and just for the kids (the last few parties families attended)

  • Send Valentine’s Day cards with your Child’s name in the from column only and,

  • Respond via email if you would be sending a treat for the class.

Perfect! Sounds easy enough.

I responded to GP’s teacher indicating that I would send some brownies bites (my contribution in ensuring the kids went home with the right amount of sugar).  Now, before you judge me…I have been VERY good with sending wholesome snacks for celebrations and parties. I thought, a couple of brownies won’t hurt, right? I pulled out some old Valentine’s Day cards I had lying around the house, signed them with GP’s government name and put them in her bag for school. Simple enough for a class of 7 two year-olds, right?

Oh, Clueless Mommy, when will you learn??

Valentine's Day mailbox from one of GP's friends.
Valentine’s Day mailbox filled with evil candy from one of GP’s friends.

When I walked into GP’s classroom to pick her up I was horrified to see ALL the cute gifts (she even got a book) and treats she had gotten from her classmates! They wouldn’t even all fit in her book bag.

All I sent were cheesy Sports Themed cards, which aren’t exactly a reflection of her current interests or activities. Boo! She loves ballet, Doc McStuffins and Bubble Guppies.

But the absolute best part of the day was this conversation with GP’s Teacher.

Teacher: You guys must not give GP donuts?

Me: No, it is a pretty rare occasion if she has one. Why? What happened?

Teacher: Well, one of the Parents brought in some Munchkins for our party. She ate 3 of them right away so, we had to cut her off. We cleaned her face and clothes, she had powdered sugar all over.

Me (laughing): Oh, Lord!

I turned to look at GP, she and the other girls were running around in a circle out of control.  I guess the other Mom thought, a couple of donuts won’t hurt, right?

I felt like Ricky Bobby.

Karma.

How About That 8%

Happy New Year! We are gearing up for an unprecedented year of success and positive growth in all aspects of our lives. We wish nothing but the same for you and your family!

Normally, I don’t ‘do’ resolutions but, this year I decided I would give it a try. First, I started with a little bit of research on where this tradition came from in the first place. According to History.com, the practice can be traced back to ancient Babylon when their resolutions were as discernible as vowing to return borrowed farm equipment. Oddly enough, I probably know someone who would legitimately state this as a New Year’s Resolution, TODAY. Resolutions through the ages. 🙂

New-Year_Resolutions_listThe Top 5 Resolutions for 2014 are:

  • Losing weight

  • Getting organized

  • Spending less and saving more

  • Enjoying life to the fullest

  • Staying fit and healthy

Most know, I “grew up” in corporate America and have written performance goals for my teams (and myself) more than I care to even count. So seeing these types of “goals” makes me want to vomit. There is nothing actionable about them! How are you going to achieve them? Garbage.

So, I took a stab at picking something attainable this year. Here is a peek at my rough drafts…

  • Take it all the way down to zero on the cussing by not cussing. I have done pretty well since the Oh, Shirt experience. So this one is doable but, I would have to actually think of more suitable words. Thinking before speaking? Seems very mature and something an adult would do. Hmmm…might be too hard. 🙂
  • Stop watching all but one reality tv show by deleting all of the scheduled recordings (except for the chosen show) and NOT watching any I happen to stumble upon while channel surfing. But which one would I choose? This would leave me mostly watching Scandal, most of the line up on HGTV and The King of Queens re-runs. Are House Hunters, House Hunters International and Property Brothers considered reality tv shows? I hope not, because I’m not sure how I would fare without the Property Brothers.
  • Be on time by planning ahead more effectively.  This will take more than a year to master and is more of a lifelong resolution. Do they have those?
  • Truly listening while engaged in conversations by talking less. Hmmm.

I settled on the last one. 🙂 Here’s why..

Most people always ask the Coach and I how Georgia Peach is doing and my response is usually, “She’s great but, she talks non-stop.” After I kept saying it, I started thinking that maybe she was getting it from me. Do I blah blah blah all the time? I don’t necessarily think so but, I know as well as anyone that a little introspection never hurt and with that I made a decision on my resolution. A little less noise from me isn’t the worst thing, I guess. I will just channel that noise into my writing. More fun for you. :-).

So, do you have any resolutions this year? If so, don’t let the numbers get you down. In a study conducted by the University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology, it is estimated that of the 45% of Americans that make resolutions only 8% are successful at keeping them.

Here’s to the 8%!

Oh and I decided to dial back my cussing too. 🙂

photo credit

And So, It Begins…

When I became a Mommy, there were many things I looked forward to experiencing as a parent. But, there was one thing the Coach and I decided on up front that he would take the lead on when the time was right.

Watching animated movies with Georgia Peach(GP).

Couple of little known facts about me…

  • I have a thing for bullet points (if you hadn’t already figured that out, I think they are great and very useful).
  • I have little or no motivation to see dancing/singing animated characters in a full length movie.

I accept your judgement. 😉

The latter truly baffles The Coach. From time to time, he will see a title to one of these “amazing” movies and ask me with the tiniest bit of hope the SAME question only to be disappointed with my response, “No, I haven’t seen that movie, either.”

Sure, I have seen a couple since becoming an Adult but, I can count the ones I have watched from start to finish on one hand.

  • The Lion King-Who hasn’t seen this classic, right? I get it. I’m not saying much with this one.
  • Shrek-Hey, I am an Eddie Murphy fan. And to The Coach’s dismay, I find the movies Norbit (check out the awards for this film) and Bowfinger to be ridiculously hilarious. Again, I accept your judgement.
  • The Incredibles-Any movie that has Samuel L. Jackson adding his yelling I mean acting voice to an animated character warrants a try. And let me tell you, it does not disappoint!
  • Rio-I hear from those who watch these types of movies, I should not be proud to mention this one.

As a side note, we are aware that in a game night situation if the category of Disney or Animated movies comes up, I can offer limited assistance. The problem is that we are pretty competitive and have been known to randomly practice different trivia categories so we are ready to win when we get the call. So, I’m not sure what is more disturbing, the fact that we practice or that we haven’t actually been invited to a game night as a couple. We obviously need some friends here otherwise we will have to keep traveling to FL and IL to play with our family. 🙂

Back to these movies…so, my thought was that when Georgia Peach was old enough to see one of these movies, I would buy the tickets for them. Their first Daddy/Daughter Movie Date, cute right?

Obviously, I am too slow for them. Check out one of the gifts GP got for Christmas from her Daddy, a DVD. I suppose it doesn’t matter that she hasn’t seen the first movie of the series?

At any rate, I guess she was old enough on Wednesday. And so, it begins…

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