Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Birthday, Star Wars Michael.

This is my friend, Jenn, and her son, Michael. On a very happy day one Christmas season about four years ago. I snapped this photo of them while we were at a cookie decorating party. Just one picture of many that I would take that day. Our kids were smaller then, and we had just begun our friendship. I couldn't have known at the time how much this girl would come to mean to me and couldn't have know that our boys would become good friends, too. I had never heard of hypoplastic right heart syndrome at the time. I didn't know that much about them, meeting Jenn and Michael through our mutual friend, Kim. But over time, we developed a friendship of our own and I learned through his mother about Michael's condition. It was always so amazing to me that Michael was just Michael and you couldn't ever tell that he had a "syndrome." He was just a normal kid. And very funny. Quirky. Creative. Like his Mom. He and Jack had a lot in common. Big imaginations, those two. Lots of creative play. Unstructured and all in their minds. When we spent some alone time together with them last summer and the summer before I thought it was really great how compatible they were. So great, because I enjoyed Jenn so much. We would scrap book, the boys would play...Legos, Star Wars, Bakugon and army men (Jack reminds me as he looks over my shoulder and interjects as I'm typing). The last time we saw them was in February. The four of us met for breakfast. The boys brought their toys. We ate, they played. We laughed about them, they were very into their "game." I think the army men and the Bakugon were at war that morning. Michael was the picture of health. We had a great visit. And then we left.
My step-son is named Michael, too. And we would always get confused between the two Michaels so at one point when I said, "which Michael?" Jack said, "you know...Star Wars Michael!" And so the nickname stuck.
Star Wars Michael died this year on April 9th due to complications associated with hypoplastic right heart syndrome. And today is his tenth birthday. Today I am consumed with sadness for my friend. And for her family. For her loss. A loss I cannot begin to imagine. A loss I have to watch her experience, with little opportunity to provide any kind of true comfort. I am grieving today for her and for all that she will not share in the future with this little boy whom she loved so much. Today, I woke up and thought, "Well here it is. 7/1." And I prayed for Jenn.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day

To one of the greatest Fathers that I know. Michael and Jack are lucky that God chose you just for them. If they were blogging, and old enough to appreciate you...I think this is what they would say:
1. Thanks for teaching us how to play baseball.
2. Thanks for always playing HORSE in the driveway.
3. Thanks for being at all our ball games.
4. Thanks for coaching.
5. Thanks for being the "cool" Dad.
6. Thanks for snuggling on the sofa.
7. Thanks for wanting to spend time with us.
8. Thanks for making us a priority.
9. Thanks for supporting us financially.
10. Thanks for demonstrating to us what a strong work ethic is.
11. Thanks for being at our school functions.
12. Thanks for tucking us in at night.
13. Thanks for being a Godly example to us.
14. Thanks for playing family games with us.
15. Thanks for helping to make our home a happy place.
16. Thanks for your unconditional love.
17. Thanks for being patient with us.
18. Thanks for teaching us how to ride our bikes, to fish, to shoot a shotgun, to swing a golf club, to play fair, to throw a punch, to drive a car.
19. Thanks for teaching us about Jesus.
20. Thanks for being a great Dad.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The 80s

The temperature at the beach has been warm, but not hot. And the breeze has kept it just right. I guess it's been in the low 80s but it feels much cooler because of the delicious breeze. Another thing in the 80s is my parents. Dad will be 82 in October and Mom turned 80 earlier this year. Our beach house is about 6 hours from their home in Brooksville (that's about 9 hours in Sr. Citizen driving time) so they don't come often. Mom has been here two or three times and this is Dad's first time. We spent a great day on the beach yesterday and then went to Seaside for the outdoor theatre performance last night. A few things that I realize as I watch my parents age: 1) You can't have enough bathrooms. Seriously. These people pee like, 20 times a day. 2) You have to be able to get to the store often. For Tums. For straw hats that were forgotten at home. For various and sundry personal hygiene items. Must be near stores. Or at least near a Wal-Mart. 3) Eating is a project. What we eat. How we eat. How much we eat. When we eat. It's a big "food frenzy thing." Must plan the meals. 4) They have more patience with Jack than I can ever muster. Yesterday they played Apples to Apples for 2 and a half hours. 2 and a half hours! I'm done after 15 minutes. And I had to break it up so we could get going to the beach. They would have kept playing. Been playing still, had I not intervened. They love playing with him. It's awesome. 5) They are tired. Of course they are.  They are 80, right? Why does this make me so sad? They are tired, they are older. They need more sleep. Somehow, though, it makes me sad. Not sure why. 6) They are such great folks. Love them. Can't believe how lucky I was to have such amazing parents and such an amazing childhood. Sure, my Mom drives me crazy NOW, from time to time (okay, she mostly drives me crazy all of the time but I keep the tequila close at hand) but for the most part they are a pleasure to be with and no trouble at all. They are just happy to be with us, no matter what we are doing. Beachin' it or playing hours and hours of games. Love these sweet parents of mine. What a blessing they have been to me.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ladyfish (and Ladies)

One of the things that Mommy doesn't do well that Daddy does very well is teach Jack how to do what I call "boy things." Because I am a girlie-girl (lady) there are just some things that I would prefer not to be a part of. Fishing is one of  them. Camping. He can have yard work, too. Basically, anything that's outdoor-sy where wild animals are involved (we have pygmy rattlesnakes in our yard at home, so, yes, yard work qualifies). Vic is Master of the "Outdoor Domain" and I'm totally good with that! So, here at the beach...the boys fish. And I do girl things: I sleep in. Go for a run. Read. Give myself a pedicure. But I don't really join them in their manly outdoor activities. Don't want to risk messing up their testosterone mojo. Okay, who are we kidding, I don't want to risk getting fish slime or bait goopy on my manicured hands. Anyway, on this particular morning, they begged and pleaded for an audience so off to the beach I went - camera, video cam, granola bar, fresh fruit, lip balm (a lady can't have dry lips at the beach, now can she?) and water bottle in hand. I was prepared! And it was a treat, I must say, because the fish were biting and in the hour or so that I spent out there w/them, they caught a total of nine ladyfish! It was so much fun to watch. (WATCH, mind you.) Jack is casting the adult rod like a pro, thanks to Daddy's tutorials and he caught and reeled in his very first fish on this day. I thought we had already crossed that one off of Jack's "boy things to do" list, but Vic explained that because the CATCHING was done by Jack but the REELING IN was done by him, it didn't actually qualify (how do the men keep up with all of this stuff, I mean, really? Who cares who reeled the fish in? Whatever.) So on this day, Jack CAUGHT and REELED IN his own fish. Yay, Jack! PS - You can't eat ladyfish, so they went right back into the water. And I didn't have to touch anything:-D Yay, again!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

A Different Kind of Whore

Piqued your interest, didn't I? Hmmm. Not even sure I can say "whore" on a blog, can I? I hope so.  Anyway, what I'm wondering is why I become such a book whore in the summer months? All I want to do is read. I get caught up in a great novel, or in a book series and that's it - I'm done. My family becomes invisible. Eating becomes optional. I tend not to pick up the phone at all. Here's how it goes: "Sure, Jack, you can watch another 6 episodes of Sponge Bob! No problem!"  And my poor husband...(lights are on at 3am) "Honey, are you okay? Why don't you come to bed?" "Yes, I'm fine, just let me finish this last chapter..." And so it goes. I just finished a lovely book called The Innocent. It is the first in a series of three (thank goodness I have two more to savor) and very similar to the Bolyen series that Phillipa Gregory wrote. I'm all about the historical fiction - love me some Queens, Kings and star-crossed lovers! What are you reading this summer? I'd love to hear your suggestions.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl.

Nina Grace Tolbert:  1/11/00.
Always in my heart and always on my mind.
Thinking of you tonight with a heavy heart, sweet girl.
Wondering what you would be like at nine years old.
Trying not to be sad about all the things that I have missed doing with you and all of the things that we will not experience together.
Finding comfort from God's promise that all will be perfect when I meet you again in heaven.
Until then -
Mommy loves you.