Last week, I had a little breakdown. And by “little breakdown” I mean I was sobbing, heavingly and uncontrollably, in my car in the parking lot of Trader Joe’s. I cried so hard that my contact lens became unstuck from my iris and got lost in the back of my eyeball and I had to dig it out – bawling – then put it back in because I’m half blind and I still had to drive home.
It was one of those crying fits that took complete possession of me. I couldn’t stop the tears, and I could barely hold in the sobs as I drove home. The only thing that tempered my shuddering wails was my paranoia that I’d be pulled over for driving erratically. And if that had happened, I would have had to explain to an officer of the law that it all started because of a tiny pair of pink underpants.
Probably the most frequent advice parents of young kids get from parents of older kids is that we should “cherish these moments” with them, when they are small and sweet and need us so much.
I know where those words come from. I can’t look at a mother with a newborn squished up against her chest without yearning to have that experience with my own babies again – even though the newborn days with both my girls were unrelentingly difficult. I already miss the days that have gone by and I know the time will come when I miss the days that seem so difficult now.
I am so overwhelmingly aware of the passage of time that I – a grown woman – had a full-blown crying meltdown in a parking lot because I had just cleaned out my daughter’s preschool cubby for the last time and found a pair of underpants she will never wear again. My baby is starting kindergarten in the fall, and the girl who was in kindergarten just a second ago is moving up to third grade. Everything is going by so fast, and it just keeps getting faster.
I know children grow up and babies don’t keep. I know what I am going to miss.
What I don’t know, and what I need to hear, is that there is something to be treasured in the future.
So if you read this, and you have a child that has grown up, tell me what I have to look forward to. Remind me that each new stage is a beautiful journey, that with the accumulation of time together I will have more, not less, of them when they get older.
Let us parents of children who are growing up way too quickly know that there will be moments of joy and pride and closeness and beauty that we will want to bottle up and save as much as we wish we could have bottled up the moments that have already passed.
Last week I wrote about my youngest turning five. Her birthday has come and gone and I have to say this: I wish I could rekindle within myself the wholehearted joy of a small child on her birthday. There’s really nothing like it.
Except, maybe, for the joy you get as a parent watching your child experience that complete, perfect happiness. It is a vicarious joy, but even so it’s not diluted.
As parents, our minds are usually distracted, by deadlines and finances and leaky roofs; often we lack the ability to experience happiness without our worries niggling behind it. But I’ve noticed there is a sense of deep fulfillment, along with a feeling of powerful gratitude, when we know that we are able to give our children these moments of pure, unmarred joy.
So maybe I wouldn’t trade being 37 for being 5 after all.
In any case, our now-five-year-old had a wonderful birthday. She was excessively adorable —
But my favorite picture of the day is one of her with her sister —
I don’t think I’ve ever seen an image that sums up the feelings of the sister having the birthday and the sister NOT having the birthday quite as well as this one does.
Guess we can’t give all our kids pure joy all the time.
There is something about warm, unchlorinated water in a porcelain tub that brings out my kids’ inner Kraken. I don’t know what it is. Maybe the opportunity to be fully, freely nude releases inhibitions along with common sense. Maybe, like a lion tracking its prey, they can sense that a long day has weakened my defenses. Maybe they just really enjoy the thrill of saving their wildest antics for the one place in the house in which they could drown.
All I know is that bath time is crazy time.
My sweet little water monsters insist on bathing together. They are terrified of the shower, so they bathe exclusively in the tub. I let them, despite the havoc they wreak, because honestly you have to choose your battles.
They use this shared bath time as an opportunity to do things they can’t do anywhere else, like fight over whose side of the tub has more water, or who is stealing whose bubbles. They take advantage of the bathroom acoustics to practice their most blood-curdling, bone piercing screams, joining their voices into a wail like the death omen of a banshee.
I say things like, “don’t drink that! Why are you drinking that?! Bath water is butt water.” And “stop laughing at your sister drinking butt – I mean bath – water. It’s not funny. Seriously, it’s not funny.” Or, “God made our bodies beautiful but please let’s keep our private parts to ourselves.”
By the time they get out, I am done – but the bath time/bedtime marathon is not. They still need to get dried and into pajamas. And it is at this point, when I am at my feeblest, that my younger daughter unleashes the full power of her inner demon.
Released from the confines of the tub, she moves to the second phase of her bath time ritual: the escape. Yesterday, I turned my back on her for two seconds and she was gone. I followed her soggy footprints into her sister’s room, where I found her hiding behind the curtains, her little butt pressed up against the floor to ceiling window.
It’s a cat and mouse chase of Tom and Jerry proportions, and by the time I finally catch and clothe her, I am spent. I am nothing more than a shell of myself.
But then this happens.
And I am overwhelmed with love and in awe of the fact that these little Krakens are mine.
My youngest daughter woke me up this morning with a whisper – “Mommy! Is it morning time yet?”
I answered yes, groaning just a little as she climbed over my ribs, wincing as the dog took my opened eyes as an invitation to sit on my hair. “Ok,” she told me, “now you can go back to sleep,” and she slammed the door shut to give me some privacy.
Some twenty minutes later, she returned with my husband, her sister, and a plate of pancakes swimming in syrup. I ate a sticky breakfast in bed while my girls showed me their hand-made cards and the dog pierced my soul with his hungry gaze. It was—if not quite bliss – a moment in which I felt blessed.
* * *
Mother’s Day is not a day of simple emotions – not for me, and, I imagine, not for many others. There are so many struggles when it comes to the relationship between mothers and children. We are all children of a mother and cohorts of a society with a rigidly idealized definition of what motherhood should be. Rarely does the reality fulfill the expectation.
And then there are the women who wish they could become mothers, but can’t, and those who can become mothers, but can’t mother the children to whom they gave life. There are the mothers who have had to give a child back to the earth, and the children whose mothers have left the world too soon.
As the adopted daughter of a mother who died young, the celebration of Mother’s Day has always been bittersweet. When I was a child, it was a day when I felt the pull of my connection with the mother I had never met. It was a day when I honored the mother of my heart – and as I grew older while she grew sicker, it was a day when I wondered what would happen to me if she – when she – died.
After my mother’s death, the day was searingly painful. I had eyes only for what others possessed, but I had lost – twice.
As the years passed, my grief mellowed and so did the pain of Mother’s Day. I became a mother myself, which magnified everything good about the day. And I came to understand that the loss of a mother gives a gift of its own – the experience of being loved by the women who mother the motherless.
These women represent the best of what humanity has to offer. They are the grandmothers, the aunts, the neighbors, the sisters, the friends who love where love is needed. I’ve known these women in my own family, and I have met them in many other contexts, in every part of the world.
Mother’s Day is an easy holiday to celebrate. As children of mothers, it is easy to see their value in our lives. As mothers of children, it is easy to see the gifts motherhood has given us — the weight of a tiny person on your chest, the softness of a cheek, the comfort of a small body still warm with sleep, the fierce strength of a child’s embrace.
It’s easy to celebrate the beauty of idealized motherhood.
It’s harder to embrace the darker side, where mistakes, regrets, and loss reside. But I think it is in this side of motherhood where we find its deepest and most powerful meaning. Because it is here where we find the forgiveness, the persistence, the tenacity of a love that transcends everything, even the grave. It’s here where we find the women whose hearts are the deepest wells, who fill the world with their nurturing grace.
For my mothers, for all the women who stood in a mother’s place in my life, and for my children who have given me more than they know, I am filled with gratitude. And for those we have lost, I will mourn.
A Facebook friend of mine once shared a post on grieving the almost. It was a beautiful and thoughtful essay on the paradoxical idea that we have the ability to miss something that never really existed, except in our perceptions or in our imaginations.
On the surface, grieving the almost seems impossible. How can you feel the pain of the loss of something that was never yours to lose? It shouldn’t be possible – God knows we have enough grief in this world from the losses of what we can feel with our own five senses. And if reality were just what we can see and touch and hear, it wouldn’t be possible.
But of course it’s possible. Because we all know that just because something happens in our heads, it doesn’t mean it isn’t real. We can grieve the love we thought we felt, but didn’t. We can grieve the marriage that was never really a marriage. We can grieve the job we never got, the dream that was never fulfilled, the potential we never reached. We can grieve the child we never conceived and we can grieve the one we lost but never met.
These days, it’s the grief of that final almost which has been foremost on my mind. I’m posting this in October, the month dedicated to bringing awareness to pregnancy and infant loss – and social media is ensuring that memories of my own loss remain on the edges of my thoughts.
I can say from experience that anyone who has lost a cherished pregnancy, no matter how early, knows what it means to grieve the almost.
A parent is able to love – overwhelmingly – the baby whose proof of life lies only in the faintest of pink lines. A parent can see the child of her heart in the sprout-like form and nubby limbs of an 8-week fetus. A parent can feel the downy hair she never nuzzled; she can know the soft weight that never warmed her chest.
A parent who has lost a pregnancy has grieved – and will always grieve – the almost.
I’m writing this post not so much in the name of awareness, but in remembrance. Because I think the hardest part of pregnancy loss is the knowledge that we (or someone we loved) once carried within her the potential for a life that will not only never be lived, but which will never be known.
And so, this post is for all of the almost babies, the shadow children, who exist in the hearts of so many mothers and fathers. Your presence is felt in a world you never saw, because you changed those who loved you without ever knowing you. We remember you. We miss you. We grieve for the world that will never know you.
For the last 23 years, on January 6th, I have written. I’ve written journal entries, poems (some good, some terrible), letters, and, more recently, posts on social media.
I started writing when I passed that most challenging of milestones, the first anniversary of my mother’s death. Writing has always been my way of processing emotions that are bigger than I am, and back then, it was the only resource I had to absorb the excesses of my grief.
So I am writing again today, because I have to. I’m not about to break a tradition that I have kept up for more than two-thirds of my lifetime. But also, even after 24 years, the grief of losing my mother is still bigger than I am, and I still struggle to process the meaning of what I lost so long ago.
* * *
When you lose someone you love early in life, you grow up measuring your time on earth based on how far removed you are from the loss of that person. In my early 20’s, I reached the point where I had spent half of my life without my mother. Two years ago, it was two-thirds of my life. And in 10 years, three-quarters of my life with have been lived without my mom.
And yet, after all this time, with so many more years under my belt without her than with her, I still miss her. I still miss her so much that it can be hard to understand how it is possible to long for someone who has been gone from your life several times longer than she was a part of it. It can be hard to understand how you can miss the presence of a person whose presence you barely remember.
But I do miss her. I do wish she was still a part of my life. My mom was amazing in so many ways. She loved generously, she fought bravely, and she was always there — even when she was hurting, even when she was dying. She never let cancer steal the life she was determined to provide for her family. Even in the end, when it was so clear that her body was ready to rest, she still held on until she just couldn’t hold on any longer.
She didn’t deserve to die, and we didn’t deserve to lose her. It breaks my heart that with every passing year I grow farther away from the time when I had her. It breaks my heart to think about how much I have forgotten and what I will never have.
Losing a parent at a very young age means that you spend the majority of your life as a person who has lost a part of herself. You become motherless — or fatherless, or sisterless, or brotherless — in your very definition of yourself. And the child that you were when you lost that person becomes a permanent segment of your soul as well. It’s impossible to let go of the part of you that once had what you so deeply miss.
That’s not to say that you don’t grow up, or mature, or come to grips with your grief. It doesn’t mean you don’t experience or appreciate the joys and the richness your life brings you. You do grow up. I have grown up, and my life so far has been good. Really, really good.
But the 11-year-old girl who lost more than she thought she could ever regain is still with me. And the adult who has lived without for so long still grieves the emptiness.
Twenty-four years is everything and it is nothing.
* * *
Mom loved giraffes.
She hated birds. (You would too if a seagull had once pooped on your head.)
The other day in the grocery store, my daughter asked me to tell her, again, how it is that I have two moms. This question is hard to explain to a six-year-old even in the best of circumstances. But in an extremely crowded Wegman’s on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, while trying to maneuver a cart and a child through the turkey aisle, it was damn near impossible. But still, I endeavored.
In what was probably the most crowded location in our entire town at that particular moment, I stopped to explain one of the most complicated aspects of my existence.
“The mommy who carried me in her belly, your Nana,” I told her “was too young to take care of a baby. And the mommy who raised me, Grandma Michele, who is in heaven, was old enough to take care of me, but she couldn’t have babies of her own. So your Nana gave me to your Grandma and Grandpa, so that they could take care of me instead. But they all loved me very much.”
That story is about as deep as you can go with an elementary schooler. But even in the midst of the chaos and my own distraction, I was very aware of what I was leaving out.
I didn’t mention how hard I always knew it was for the woman who gave birth to me to have had to let me go. I didn’t tell her how the only time I came close to crying right after she was born was when I thought about what it would have felt like if I’d had to give her up to be raised by another woman.
I couldn’t tell her how, although I always saw my birth mother as a hero, there were times when I couldn’t help but wonder how she could possibly have left me behind. And I couldn’t tell her how, despite the incredible love I have for the family I know as my own, I still wondered — just sometimes — what it would have been like to be a part of a family of people who were related to me by blood.
I couldn’t tell her how fiercely angry I feel when people suggest that the mother who made me her own wasn’t my “real” mom. And I couldn’t explain how the joy I felt when I met the mother I’d lost at birth didn’t lessen the grief I will always feel for the mother I lost forever.
I couldn’t explain how incredibly fortunate I felt when the mother who gave me life was one of the first people to meet my daughter after her own birth. And I couldn’t explain how much it sometimes breaks my heart to see the genetic stamp of my adoptive mother on my cousin’s kids and not my own.
And I don’t think I will ever be able to explain to her how, even though I have been blessed with the love of two mothers, there have been moments in my life when I have felt motherless.
There is so much that I can’t explain to my children right now about the reality of my family history. Adoption stories are always complicated, and the fact that I lost the mother who raised me just muddles things further.
But in spite of the complications, it is a story I like to tell, and one that I think is beautiful.
Because even though there is so much I can’t explain, there is so much more that I won’t have to explain.
I won’t have to explain how aware and deeply appreciative I am of the love my mothers had for me and of the sacrifices they both made on my behalf. Because those gifts, which came to me doubled, are now mine to grow and to give to my own children.
I won’t have to explain that family is so much more than sharing a genetic bond, because by the time they understand what it means to be related by blood, they will already know how little those ties matter when it comes to love.
And I won’t have to explain how much love is capable of overcoming, how time and distance and loss and sacrifice only make it more powerful, because the one thing that is clear from my story is that love was behind it all.
This is love.
* * *
November is National Adoption Month. Although I tend to shy away from Awareness months in general, I’m glad adoption is something people are talking about.
I have heard people describe adoption as something that always comes from loss. And in a sense, this is undeniably true. People who are adopting are often, though not always, doing so because they cannot have a child any other way. And people who are giving away a child are always losing a part of themselves. Adoption is not an easy option.
But adoption is also a gift of love, in the best sense of the word. It isn’t always the best choice, but when it is, adoption enriches the lives of everyone it touches and it creates a legacy that lasts for generations.
* * *
As Thanksgiving approaches, I am aware of how much I have to be grateful for. Above all, as I am every year, I am thankful for the story of how I came to be, for where I was planted, and especially for the love that made me who I am.
And if anyone who is contemplating adoption reads this, let me share one final story with you, one that my grandmother told me many times over the years.
My grandmother had a terrible time when she was in labor with my father. The birth was so difficult, in fact, that her doctors told her she would probably die if she tried to have another child. She was devastated because she’d always wanted at least four children. So she asked my grandfather if he would consider adopting. He said no, because he just couldn’t fathom being able to love a child that wasn’t his own, especially after having a child that was.
30-some years later, after my parents had adopted me as a six-week-old infant, my grandmother came across my grandfather holding me. She used to say that he looked up from me to her and said, with awe in his voice, that he couldn’t imagine loving anyone more than he loved that baby in his arms.
Those of us with young children who have entered into the “I do it MYSELF” phase have come to understand a great irony of life. We spend the first few years of parenthood imagining a future in which we don’t have to do every little thing for our children. We long for the day when butts will be wiped by hands other than our own, when we no longer have to force limp limbs into coats or kicking feet into shoes. We say things like, “life will just be so much easier when she starts getting dressed herself.”
Then one day, your child will decide to get dressed all by herself. And on that day, you will come to know the true agony of watching a three-year-old trying to remove her day clothes and put on underpants and a pair of footed, zippered pajamas with no help. At all.
And woe betide you if you do try to help. In fact, offering to help is such a rookie mistake that, if made a second time, you really do deserve the wrath your offer will ignite.
Unfortunately for us parents, surviving a preschooler’s attempts at independence isn’t as easy as just withholding your assistance. Oh no. There is a host of rules that you must follow in order to survive your day unscathed. I have broken these rules more times than I can count, and I have suffered accordingly.
Rule #1: Do not offer to help. This is the most basic rule, and really should go without saying. But I am saying it anyway.
Rule #2: Do not attempt to provide child with items necessary for task completion. Don’t you dare give her those socks!
Rule #3: Do not look directly at items necessary for task completion.
Rule #4: Do not think about items necessary for task completion. They read minds.
Rule #5: Do not compliment child. They can sense an unspoken offer for help.
Rule #6: Do not provide suggestions or advice of any kind. Even though there is a nearly 100% chance that she will drop the entire bowl of Cheez-its into the toilet if she brings them into the bathroom with her.
Rule #7: Do not speak to child.
Rule #8 Do not make eye contact with child. Again, they read minds.
Rule #9: Do not look in child’s general direction.
Rule #10: Do not attempt even the smallest tug of the child’s shirt, even though her head is stuck and she is about to fall of the bed.
Rule #11: Do not breathe the same air as child. She can hear your frustration in every sharp intake of breath.
Rule #12: Do not exist in near proximity to child.
The consequences of breaking any of these rules will be that she has to do it. all. over. again. Including the part where she gets her head stuck in the shirt.
Basically, just leave the room with your eyes closed and your ears covered. Stand with your back toward the general direction of your child. Do not think about your child until she has completed the task and given you express permission to address her. Unless, of course, the child with her head stuck in her shirt does fall of the bed, in which case why didn’t you offer to help you terrible, neglectful parent?!
See? She can do it all. by. herself. (It was 80 degrees and sunny.)
Summer is over and fall has begun and I know this because people on Facebook are talking about pumpkin spice. But before I embrace sweaters and falling leaves and the extra holiday pounds, I would like to reflect a little on what I learned during my vacation under the sunny skies of Virginia Beach.
1. My Older Daughter Cannot Be Trusted Around Boys
One day I will write a post about my six-year-old’s romances. But for now, let me just say that she has a fiance, a boy who proposed to her when they were both three. And although she has remained steadfast in her plans to marry this boy for nearly three years, she also has a back-up fiance and a back-up back-up fiance. The girl likes boys, and boys like her.
She might be a bit too into boys for my liking, but she has always picked the sweet, smart boys. Her fiance (the main one) first won her heart by offering to take one of the big-wheel bikes from their preschool and ride it to find me when she told him that she missed her mommy. Her back-up fiance was reading at a 3rd grade level and building DNA models in kindergarten. And her back-up back-up fiance stuck up for her when she was being bullied by a girl in their class who is bigger than both of them.
And then, we went on vacation. On our first day there, my husband took our girls to the beach while I went shopping for groceries. When I joined them later, I came upon this scene: my six-year old, bobbing neck-deep in the ocean, talking to an older boy with sun-kissed skin and shiny golden hair. When they came out of the water, I saw that he was not only handsome in the surfer-boy style but that he also wore an actual shark-tooth-on-hemp necklace. This child was the Benjamin-Buttoned version of my teenage fantasy and he was chatting up my baby girl.
She told me later that she was talking to him because he wanted to see her beautiful seashell. So, she gave it to him and they talked and then he gave it back and they just hung out in the water afterward.
I have to admit that after she told me this story — about how the strong and shiny surfer boy talked her into sharing her precious seashell, I was sorely tempted to grasp her by the shoulders and tell her that no boy — ever — has the right to have her beautiful seashell if she doesn’t want to give it to him! But I resisted because maybe (just maybe) I was reading a little too much into the situation.
It’s too soon for this!
2. If You Put a US Coast Guard Approved Flotation Device on my Younger Daughter She Will Swim ANYWHERE.
My three-year-old is tiny. I weighed her today and, for the first time ever, she has broken 25 lbs. She is a small kid.
But if you put this little half-pint of a girl in a life vest, there is no body of water that she won’t try to conquer. She was wearing her Puddlejumpers out in the waves where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean and she was owning them. If you give her a boogie board along with that life vest, she will wrap her little arms around that thing and ride the waves like she was born in them. Not only is she unafraid of the bobbing of the water, but she was actually managing to propel herself through it. She was swimming in water that I was afraid to go in. In the wave pool at the water park, she positioned herself in the deepest water, where she could be sure that she would get hit by the waves at their most powerful.
There is a certain amount of pride that you feel when you see your own personal tiny person out in the world doing brave and difficult things. In fact, the feeling is almost overwhelming. I can’t stop myself from scrolling at random through the pictures I took of her, marveling at how my fierce little toddler is taming the ocean.
3. Beauty Is in The Eye of the Person Who Believes She Will Find It
Like most beach vacations that take place with children in tow, I spent a good part of ours walking along the shore line looking for seashells. I focused on finding the ones that were whole, with the traditional opened fan shape. I was looking for the pretty, perfect ones. I only found a few.
My daughters, on the other hand, picked up shells indiscriminately, or so it seemed to me. Their buckets were full of the broken bits and pieces that were everywhere, the ones I overlooked when I was looking for my perfect specimens.
But when they were showing me their finds after we finished, they were as enthusiastic about them as if they had found true treasure.
My older daughter would hold up a battered-looking piece of shell and say, “look, mommy, at how this one has bumps and holes all over it. Isn’t it beautiful?” And then she would grab another broken piece, saying “and look at this one! Do you see the color? It is so shiny. Isn’t this one so beautiful too?” And so it went, with each and every shell she found. They were all broken up bits and pieces, but to her they were all beautiful.
And they were beautiful not because of any intrinsic sign of hidden beauty she saw within them. They were beautiful to her because she had set out to find beautiful seashells and so — she did.
The magical thing is that when I was looking at the shells on my on later that night, I no longer saw their brokenness. All I saw was their beauty. And I realized that sometimes, finding beauty in life and looking for it are the same thing.
Or, It’s been a long time, been a long time, been a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely ti-ime.
So, it’s been awhile. In fact, I think this is the longest I’ve gone without posting since I started this blog nearly a year ago. It’s not as though I have hoards of fans who have been desperately awaiting another post from me, only to be disappointed again and again, slowly losing their will to live with each passing day of my absence from the world wide web. There is a good chance that I am the only person who has even noticed I haven’t posted in over a month. But even if no one else did, I happened to be very aware of my own absence, so here I am again, being present for myself, if that makes any sense at all.
In case my title didn’t make it obvious, the last month has been host to a multitude of distractions. First, there was the basement, where we discovered a leak and an increasingly strong musty, moldy smell. So we hired someone to come and check things out.
Hiring a basement waterproofing specialist was the obvious thing to do, but it resulted in a month of guilt, emotional turmoil, and marital strife. Because the guy who came to asses the situation in our basement was a Salesman who homed right in on me, my allergies, and my mother bear instincts, to the tune of a grand, “highly discounted because I feel so incredibly bad for you,” total of $16,000.
I almost escaped his sales pitch. He gave his initial spiel to my husband, and was about to leave, contract unsigned, when I came downstairs coughing.
“You have allergies, don’t you?” he said to me. “They are terrible; I had them awful when I was a kid. I feel for you, I really do.”
And that was all I needed. Everyone else in my family had lost whatever sympathy they might have had for me and my sniffling, coughing, and red, watery eyes back in March. But here, finally, was someone who noticed my misery. Someone who cared. Someone who wanted to make me feel better.
The Basement Guy went on to tell me that, basically, our basement was slowly killing me. According to him, we have a Mold Situation. He asked if our children had been sick a lot this year — they had — and suggested that it was our basement causing all their illnesses as well. The mold could be toxic, he told me, and, as it was so conscientious to remind me.
Also, he said, we have a crack. It could be nothing, but it could be something, too. According to him, this crack could gradually compromise the structural integrity of our house. Moreover, he said, the foundation was made of 1970’s concrete blocks, which, he said, are like the worst concrete blocks ever made in the history of concrete and that the ground water surrounding them was causing them to sweat their little concrete hearts out, creating an excessively humid environment. Ultimately, our basement should probably never even have been built and if we could, he would suggest that we move somewhere else.
Except that we won’t be moving anywhere else any time soon for anything less than a monumental reason. We have 14 years left on our mortgage. And he knew this because my husband told him so at the beginning of the consultation.
So, then, the only choice we have, according to him, was to close off our basement — which is the kids’ playroom, destroy all of the stuffed animals and dress up clothes we have stored down there, bleach everything else, and then have him and his company open up our floors (with the new carpet), remove and replace our entire existing drainage system, tear down our drywall to install some sort of NASA-engineered, space-age wall reinforcements, replace our sump pump, and install a $2,000, hospital grade, negative air system.
He made me promise not to let my kids play in the basement until his company could come and deal with the problem, and in my presence called the central office to see how soon he could schedule work on our “emergency situation.”
I, of course, was sold. He had me at the word “allergies”.
My husband, however, was not. He is the skeptic of the family, and he was not convinced. He suggested that I had been played by this guy, and that he was highly over exaggerating the case.
In hindsight, it is a good thing that my husband insisted on taking a few steps back and having more contractors come and look at our basement. At the moment, however, I was just a smidgen angry at him. These were OUR CHILDREN, we were talking about, after all. So there were discussions, and words were spoken, and we were all very stressed. And we still are because it’s been a month and, after having 4 companies come to evaluate the situation, we have yet to get one consistent response. Well, I guess I can’t say that. They all agreed that we will be spending lots of money in the near future. So at least we have that, right?
In the midst of all this, my two-year-old turned three and my five-year-old turned six. The little one finished her first year of preschool, and the big one graduated from Kindergarten and we had about one thousand different parties and events and meetings to attend.
The Little Birthday Girl
The Big Birthday Girl
And I experienced my yearly bout of nostalgia, when, with watery eyes, I watch each of my girls growing stronger and more independent while I try to remember exactly what it felt like to hold them with one arm, their heads on my chest, their little bottoms curved out, and their feet barely touching my lap.
So it’s been awhile. It’s been stressful and a little emotional and very, very busy, but I guess it’s really just been life.