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Monday, September 27, 2010

No Bad Days

I saw an interesting sticker on a van this morning in the parking lot at school.  It said: "No bad days".  I've seen this sticker before, but it struck me today that this is what I've been striving and yearning for ever since I found out about the whole Borderline Personality Disorder business.  I just long to be able to face each day with a smile on my face and a song in my heart and to end it the same way.

Not that I think bad things aren't going to happen; while it would be nice if I had met my personal quota of unpleasant experiences, I know there's more to come.  I would just like to be able to confront everything that comes and consistently find the good and let go of the bad.  I'm not asking much, I just want to be happy and I want all my loved ones to feel the same way.

So, I'll keep trying.  No bad days.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Birthday to Me!
I'm a hundred and three
I sort of look like a monkey
but I don't live in a tree!

38 years ago today I came into this world (kicking and screaming, I'm sure!) and I'm terribly glad to be here!  Be extra happy and kind today (just for me) and toast me with a moist chocolate cupcake.  I love you all!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dietrich - #15

When we first moved here, Chloe was just starting the 2nd grade. That was a very hard year for her; she struggled with the move and making new friends and adjusting to a new and very different school. In her class that year was a little boy named Dietrich. He was severely handicapped and couldn't move or talk much, but he had a smile that would light a room. When the other boys teased Chloe, Dietrich smiled and gave her a high five. Chloe loved Dietrich and would point him out to me and wave when we walked by his house on the way home from school.

Dietrich is now 11, just like Chloe, but unlike Chloe he will always be 11. Dietrich passed away on Saturday and his funeral was today. I know he's been very sick for several years, but I don't think an expected death is any easier than an unexpected one. I keep thinking about Dietrich's mom; how can you bury your child and keep going on? This morning as I watched my 11-year-old child walk away into the cold dark morning the image of another mom watching her 11-year-old child being lowered into the cold dark earth came unbidden. How do you say goodbye, knowing you won't be able to see or hear or touch your child for a long time?

I'm sure Dietrich touched many lives in his short one, he certainly touched ours. As I drove past his house today, I saw his small wheelchair empty and folded, resting on the driveway. It's work is done now that Dietrich has gone home. The world is a little darker today without him in it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

G.G. - #14

This is my Grandma-in-law, Brian's only living grandparent; affectionately known in our house as G.G. (Great Grandma).

She's a few years younger than Grandma T., but she's still pretty old. G.G. has always been a good example to me of gracious generosity and faithful perseverence. She raised a child with Type 1 diabetes (my mother-in-law) fifty years ago when not as much was known about diabetes. She is highly educated and taught elementary school for many years.

G.G. has struggled with health issues the last few years, but she's always glad to see us or hear from us in any way. She even let us come back to her house after Kai threw up a sugar cookie at her kitchen table! And I can always count on Christmas and birthday cards from her and Grandma T. (and Mom, of course).

About a week ago G.G. went to the hospital and ended up having heart surgery. Everything worked out okay and she's recovering well, but things like that really scare me and make me realize how fragile life really is. We've lost too many grandparents, G.G. and Grandma T. are just going to have to stick around forever!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Grandma T. - #13

So it turns out that blogging about 38 people who aren't me is much more difficult than I thought it would be! Blogging regularly is a battle that I'm just not winning. Oh well, I'd better continue what I started!
This is my Grandma T., my mom's mom.

Isn't she beautiful? Grandma T. is an absolutely amazing woman. This picture was taken two years ago when she was 91. That's right, she's now 93 and she still looks like that. She also still lives on her own. My parents help her out quite a bit, but she essentially takes care of herself. She was even still driving up until a couple of years ago. She's my only grandparent still living and I love her very much.

Grandma T. always lived close enough that we got to see her regularly; she always had a cookie jar on the kitchen counter and it always had cookies in it. I remember being a little intimidated by the cleanliness of her home, I kept my hands to myself when I was at Grandma's house! She used to live in a house in Salt Lake with a giant cherry tree in the backyard and a giant garden in the side yard. I loved playing in the tree and on the big back porch. Grandma was also quite a seamstress in her day (although I didn't find that out until I was an adult) so maybe that's where I come by my love of sewing.

Even though I saw Grandma regularly as a child, I feel like I'm finally getting to know her. For instance, I found out a couple of years ago that she loves eggplant. I didn't even try eggplant until after Chloe was born so that revelation was kind of a shock for me! I've also learned that for the most part, life has been hard for Grandma but she has powered through it all with a unique mix of stubbornness, faith and vinegar. I think if you look up the word "fiesty" in the dictionary you'll find a picture of my Grandma!

I feel so blessed to have my Grandma and I often wonder how much longer she'll be with us. According to her, not much longer; but she's been saying that for ten years! Whatever will be, will be; I'm just grateful for all the time we've had with her and I plan on enjoying all the time we have left.

Friday, September 10, 2010


On the way into town today, Kai piped up from the backseat with:
"Mommy, I like where we live."
"Me too, buddy."

"And I like you and daddy as my parents."
With a tear in my eye: "Thanks buddy! I like you as my kid!"

My baby is content, what more can I ask?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Grandpa C. and Maree - #11 and #12

This is Brian's dad and my "second" mother-in-law, Maree.

I've noticed as I'm doing these posts that I keep mentioning how blessed I am by the people in my life; well, Grandpa C. and Maree are no exception. I am truly thankful for my father-in-law and "second" mother-in-law. They are loving and generous people. Since I didn't know them when I was growing up, my relationship with them is defined by my children, and I couldn't ask for more caring grandparents for my little ones.

They live far away in a beautiful house by the ocean so we don't get to see them in person very often but we do get to "Skype" them every Sunday night. The kids are always super excited to talk to Grandpa and Maree and are very sad on those rare occasions when we can't connect. They are always interested in every little thing that's happening in our lives and I know their interest makes the kids feel special and good about themselves. There's just such a unique and irreplaceable relationship between a loving grandparent and a child; it's something I, as a parent, can't duplicate.

I think the relationship between a woman and her mother-in-law is also very unique and special. I feel like a got a second chance with Maree. She is originally from Australia and is very different from me in many ways (especially temperment :) but she has been accepting and loving right from the start. I admire her strength and endurance and the joy that she has in living. Mostly, though, I am grateful for her loving care. We almost lost Grandpa C. to a heart attack a couple of years ago; Maree saved his life and has continued to take care of him. I can't thank her enough for all that she has done and the good person that she is. I truly am blessed!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

PG - #10

I'm going to deviate a little from my planned blogging order and talk about my oldest sister today because today is her birthday! She's the only one in my family (besides me) with a September birthday so I thought it would work :)

PG is the oldest of the five of us; I'm going to respect her wishes and not use her name or picture on my blog. If it helps, she's eight years older than me (and always will be, HA!), otherwise she looks quite a bit like me but about five inches shorter (again, HA!) and a bit blonder. She moved out when I was still pretty young so I didn't get to know her until I grew up and also moved out, then I discovered what an intelligent and independent person she is! I'm starting to think it's genetic, because Chloe is so much like her. She loves my kids and always sends them presents for birthdays and Christmas. Chloe really enjoys talking to her on the phone as well as writing letters and emails back and forth with her. We don't get to see her very often because she lives so far away.

PG is a wonderful example to me of how to care for other people. She is forging her own way in this world, but she loves others and gives of herself without a second thought. I'm very grateful that she's my sister, my life is better with her in it. Happy Birthday, PG!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Susan - #9

I was blessed with a wonderful mother-in-law. Her name was Susan.

She was a very intelligent, kind and loving person. She never judged me or thought that I wasn't good enough for her son, and Chloe was truly the light of her life. Her health was never very good (she had type 1 diabetes) but she always had time for us. She would sit and read to Chloe or let her play the piano or paint. She was a teacher in my high school but I never knew her until I met Brian.

Susan died almost 8 years ago when Graeme was just a baby. Chloe still remembers her, but the other two never knew her. I have many regrets when it comes to my mother-in-law. I was in the throes of craziness from Borderline Personality Disorder as well as hormonal having babies and lack of sleep insanity and I really behaved badly. I realize that she wasn't perfect, but she did do the best that she could. I wish I could apologize to her and build a relationship with her. I wish that I had known then how short and precious life really is. What I wish most of all is that I could share my children with her. I know she would adore them; she would glory in their accomplishments and weep for their disappointments.

I hope someday to have a second chance with her; but before then to maybe be the kind of mother that Susan was.