Jane loves her pink penguin "duckie", dancing (whether there is music or not) and eating. Sissy decided to dance on the kitchen table this morning while I was gathering laundry upstairs. She laughed when I told her to get down. In fact she completely ignored me until I placed her on the floor and swatted her diapered butt. Jane's eyes changed into an inky black. She began to scream and stomp. She grabbed her prized pink penguin and proceed to hit me with it. I decided to place Duckie in a brief time out (so much more effective). I placed the mangy little thing on the counter while my daughter fell apart. She cried and begged me for her precious toy. She even attempted to rescue him by grabbing a kitchen chair, but burst into tears when she was told "no". Jane and her penguin were reunited after a solid minute. The little stinker began laughing out of relief. After a few moments she looked at me and said as clear as she could muster, "No Duckie, dat was me" while pointing to her chest. I burst out laughing as she ran into the front room and threw herself on the couch. Oh that kiddo is fiery.
I never post letters to you on this blog, but I feel like it's time. It was on this day, in 2007 (9 years ago) when you asked me out for the first time. I still remember spying you that morning on the "secret path" we often took that led right up to campus. You were surprised when I asked you to walk me to work. Conversation with you was easy. The laughter came pretty easy too. I still remember the way you fidgeted with your hat when you asked me if I was busy with next day. You were so nervous...a side of you I had never seen. It made me melt. I loved the way you smirked when I accepted your date invitation. You still smirk like that often (like this past Sunday when you pointed our "stud finder" tool to your chest). I liked you so much. I still do. I loved that you held my hand on the first date. I was confused when you didn't kiss me, but it was worth the wait. Because our first kiss together was perfect. I remember kissing you for the first time and thinking that I didn't want/need to kiss anyone else again. I only wanted to be kissed by you for the rest of my life (so cheesy but true). Thanks for being my only one. Thanks for always having my back. Thanks for putting me in my place when needed, but being my shoulder to cry on as well. Thanks for always acting shocked when I'm crude. Thanks for laughing when I swear. And even though having kiddos makes 9 year anniversaries pretty hard to celebrate I don't even care. Because as long as I'm with you I'm happy. Thank you for making me happy.
About three months before his kidney transplant Mack received a beautiful blessing from his dad. Our poor little baby was really struggling, and nothing was working out the way we wanted. It was a very dark time in our lives, and our marriage. After a particularly hard day, Brent felt inspired to give Mack a priesthood blessing. In the blessing Brent told Mack that he (Mack) had the unique opportunity to choose whether he wanted finish his mission on earth or heaven. He had plenty of work to do in both places. If Mack chose to stay on earth he would struggle with his health throughout his life, but he would have a body. And a body, even a sick and fragile one was an immense blessing. The kiddo would be able to have wonderful experiences that he wouldn't have otherwise. If he decided his earthly mission was complete, he would be free from the sickness and pain that had plagued him since birth. He would return to the many loved ones who so missed and adored him.
The little kiddo has been enrolled in soccer for a few weeks now, and has recently started to get the hang of things. I loved watching him this morning as he kicked the ball, and ran around the field with his teammates, Mack hasn't had an easy life, but he sure loves it. He loves preschool (where he even got some chocolate on Wednesday) and helping me bake. He loves whistling and singing. He likes to tease/love on his baby sister and play our new (to us) piano. And I love him. I love experiencing this life with him. I'm so glad he chose to stay.
Wearing shorts is a pretty rare occasion for me, for a few reasons. I'm pretty pale and I'm extremely self conscious of my legs. There was a time in my life when I didn't know how to cope, and the evidence is all over my thighs. It's a secret that has brought loads of guilt and shame. It is/was a secret that very few people actually knew about. 8 years later, my past way of coping is still evident, but the guilt and shame is not. I know so much more than I did then. A few months ago I decided to wear shorts to the gym, and let the chips fall wear they may. Nothing happened. It was a day that my kiddos were sick, but I was itching for a workout. My hubs stayed home with the kiddos while I worked up a sweat. Afterwards I found myself waiting for a prescription at the Walgreens. I sat down in the waiting room with my short shorts. A few minutes later an older woman sat next to me. She looked at my legs for a few moments before I promptly placed my purse on my lap. My face became hot. I knew why she was staring. We didn't say a single thing to each other. Her name was called before mine. She hesitated as she stood. She turned to me and patted my shoulder. "I'm glad you're still here." she said. "Thanks for not giving up." I was not expecting that. I smiled and cried. She had no idea how much I needed to hear that. This week is National Suicide prevention week. For anyone who was/is struggling please know this: There are so many people who are glad that you are still here. You are not alone. There is always hope.
P.S. This afternoon Mack said, "Mom. Sometimes I wish I could be naughty like Jane. She seems to really like it. I bet it would make my life so much more fun." I laughed for 5 solid minutes over that one.
I've had a stomach ache since Friday. While I don't know if it has anything to do with the 8th anniversary of a very terrible time in my life, I do know that it has thrown off my entire groove (which isn't hard, I don't have much). The years have passed quickly since 2008. I can't believe that I have survived 8 anniversaries now. Over the years I have noticed that my PTSD is much worse on the days after July 30 than the days prior. So many things happened in terms of my recovery and health during August, September, October and November. Many memories come back to me at the most inopportune times. I'm grateful for my children that intervene before my thoughts become too heavy and burdensome. I could never get too deep in my depression with a daughter like Jane. If I did, that girlie wouldn't make it to the age of two. Jane disappeared into the family room after breakfast this morning. Mack chattered as I cleared the table. After a few minutes, I heard the dryer beeping...weird. The dryer never beeps unless the door is open. I opened the laundry door a few moments later to find my daughter in our dryer trying to shut the door. Sissy had a huge fit when I took her out and spanked her diapered butt. The dryer fit was equivalent to when I stopped her (Jane) from washing her hair in the toilet. An hour later the little stink was walking across all of the cabinets in the kitchen...trying to find the "treats" I had hidden. I always thought Mack was going to be the one to give me an ulcer.
To my 24 year old self-
Hi there. This letter is for you, written 8 years in the future. I know that sounds weird, but just go with it. On July 30 (in two days) we're going to get into an accident that is going to rock our world. It's really bad. We end up with a shattered face, broken arm, and hand. Kim will be there too. She will find our broken body and call 911. She will scream at us to answer the EMT's. She will scream at us to not move. She will scream at us a lot, don't take it personally. We are all terrified. Ready for even more bad news? We will have to endure 3 surgeries in 5 weeks. We get stinky and hairy. The rehabilitation is going to take months. One of our many cat scans is going to reveal a tumor (19 cm) on the left ovary. Yup, we loose the ovary, but gain a wicked 10 inch scar up the abdomen. Here's the thing. It's going to be tough. The depression is going to feel unbearable at times. But really cute boyfriend is going to stick it out. We even marry him and have his adorable babies...but I'm getting ahead of myself.
Eventually over a period of several months we will start to feel more like before. Mom is going to make us take walks with her to the mail box. I know your probably laughing, but it's going to kill us. We hold on to her, the entire way for weeks. Once the mailbox is mastered she (mom) makes us walk to the end of the block (stop laughing I'm serious). Gone are the days of 8-10 mile runs, we never get those back. But we will slowly get our health back. It's going to take awhile, even years but it will happen. Our face will even be reconstructed. Those who knew us before will say we look the same, and those who didn't won't know the difference. We will end up with a pretty deep scar in our cheek that everyone will mistake for a dimple. Our arm will heal, but it will always be a little bit crooked. We will endure some pretty grueling therapy. ( therapist is obsessed with U2). Getting off of the prescription pain pills SUCKS, but with the help of the parentals we do it.
Our reproductive system is in pretty bad shape, completely non-related to the accident. We even have an oncologist (lucky us). The doctors are going to be pretty grim about the possibility of having children. We cry a lot. We experience pretty severe depression over this too. But guess what, we have a gorgeous little boy 2 months shy of our 28th birthday. But he is going to be our biggest trial yet. Beautiful baby boy is going to be sick, like really sick...like don't think he will live sick. None of what we have faced even holds a candle to this trial. It's going to be tough. It's still tough but we get through this too. Because 20 months 2 weeks and 1 day after he is born Nicole is going to give him her kidney. And we are able to breathe again. We do spend the 5th anniversary of the accident in the hospital, the PTSD (I don't think I've mentioned that, but it's a beast) is going to be going crazy. It's amazing what we will do for that little boy. Oh how we love him.
And speaking of love, we will even have another child, two hours shy of turning 31. We share a birthday, isn't that fun?! She's nothing like her brother. And our heart will be so full. We stick it out with Brent too. There will be times, when neither of you/us think we will make it. In fact, the first year of marriage is straight up hell...no sugarcoating that one. The PTSD we don't know we have is out of control. Husband even threatens to divorce us if things don't change. But don't worry we change because we want him. And he wants us. Sometimes we (Brent and you) have to work a little harder at wanting each other, but he always sticks it out, always. We did a really good job picking a spouse, kudos to us. The next 8 years are going to be crazy. They are going to be trying. There will be days when we will want to quit. but we will get through it. We will get through it all. And when more things come up that neither of us know about right now, we will get through that too. Our life is turning out pretty amazing. (We even see the grand canyon!)
Your 32 year old self
I can't believe you are a year and half. The last 18 months have been a blur. You came to me during a time when I doubted myself as a mother and wife. You were so wanted, but I was so broken (emotionally and physically). You have brought a new dynamic to our little family. It has been fun watching you figure out where you belong in this world. You are confident, but incredibly shy. You still don't like strangers...which is why I was so surprised when you lasted through nursery on Sunday. The look on your face when I picked you up after class was priceless. You were so smug over the fact that you had your own class. You did your skip/gallop all the way down the hall. You showed/shoved your coloring paper to anyone that was willing to look. I am so in love with you baby girl. You are funny, smart, loving, emotional, shy, naughty, sneaky and mischievous. You love wearing my shoes and makeup. You love nail polish. You love dresses. You love to be frilly. I love how you constantly make out with my face. I love when you ask for a kiss by name. I love that you are fluent in Russian/gibberish. I love how squishy and soft you are. You have made my world so much better. I don't know how I lived 31 years without you, I love you so much baby girl.
Towards the end of last year Mack begged us for a "big kid bike" (two wheeler) like the "normal kids"ride. Mack only had a tricycle which he still couldn't pedal. The hubs and I looked at each other not sure how to break the news to the kiddo that he probably wasn't strong enough for a big kid bike. My hubs ended up making a deal with Mack instead. Brent told Mack that once he had mastered riding his tricycle, he could have a bike. Mack was over the moon excited. He tried for weeks/months to pedal his tricycle. I caught him on that thing every waking moment. Mack could finally pedal his tricycle around the middle of April. He was so smug. Our next goal was teaching him how to maneuver his trike where he wanted it to go. Mack mastered riding his tricycle last month. He picked out his own bike two weeks ago. He has been a mad man on that thing ever since (with training wheels of course). We are so proud of him. He is the definition of resilient.
Today was full of too many emotions, tears, tempers and spanks...on all ends. I feel like a major failure in the mom department. All I did was yell at Mack and Jane to stop yelling and fighting (I get the irony). That being said, the major highlight of my day was earlier this afternoon when Mack asked me to play restaurant. The kiddo dressed up in his little sister's apron complete with oven mitt. He decided to be the chef and the "waitress" (no matter how many times I tried to correct him). He even talked in a mix between a British/Italian accent. The little kiddo loved making dishes to bring to me. He told me about his time in kitchen school. In case your curious Mack's favorite thing to make is "salad with fries and hamburger buns." I love him...mom fail and all.
It was June of 2006 when I first met this guy:
I watched him for over half an hour like a creepy stalker. A few weeks later I worked up the courage to talk to him...oh man did I have butterflies. A few weeks after that he walked me home from a church activity. I still remember the look on his face when I said something cheeky, his deep belly laugh gave me butterflies. It would take a full year before we would start dating. He was so nervous when he asked me out. He kept fidgeting with his hat. Every once in a while he would look at me out of the corner of his eye. His nervous smile gave me the biggest butterflies. Our first date was awesome. He even held my hand. He would finally kiss me a few MONTHS later. The rest as they say is history.
Brent has worked from home the past two days, following my panic attack on Monday. For the past two days I have watched him take care of our children, and work. I love the careful way he cares for Jane, and the attention he gives Mack. I can't help but think of those long days/nights/years when we were first married and the hubs worked and went to school full time, for me. Last night Brent and I hunkered down to watch our latest television show after the children were tucked in bed, and the house was tidied, It didn't take long before Brent reached for my hand, holding it the entire time. I still get butterflies.