In tradition with all Mommy Bloggers (Capital “M” and “B”) I’d like to present to you a montage of TEH CUTEZ.
I know I know, I hear it. Sorry.
One of my favorite traditions is the annual Girls & Kids Christmas (Same of moms and kids camping gang). We gather the children to play until they sweat, feed them, trade presents (picked by lottery, one kid buys for one other kid) and make an ornament. I’m a fan of tradition. It’s predictable and comfortable. It’s so predictable, in fact, that as the years have progressed we have added children but still, every year, predictably, someone will sprint out of the “HOLD STILL FOR THE BLOODY PHOTO” part of the evening.
In fact, kids are SO predictable, we even have this photo taken at another friend’s house for the New Annual Gingerbread Mansion Making. (Dude, SERIOUSLY)
And, because my sister lives close enough now for us to do Christmas Eve together, we did.
More toddler escaping pictures. (Know when to hold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run….)
From 1985 to 2013, Happy New Year and Merry Christmas.
**2008 song by LB herself **
The past 18 months have been particularly hard for me. I have not been writing here much as I can’t exactly say what it is that unfolds in reality. I’ve stayed quiet, I’ve stayed away, I’ve stayed pre-occupied.
Some people came to rescue me at various times in the past year and a half. Others have quietly waited for me to get myself back together. And still others have turned away and left my life without a second glance.
Victoria is one of those people who, while being utterly frustrated by my lack of being available, never gave up on me as a friend. In fact, when I needed someone so desperately, as I was so remotely unavailable even to myself, she pushed her way in and stood ground while I gathered up my last bits of sanity. This isn’t an exaggeration.
She’s stood by watching me dog paddle the English Channel, knowing I was making progress even if scarcely noticeable.
We were emailing each other about some plans this weekend. We’ve been trying to get together for a while now, as is always my case it seems. We had definitive plans for Saturday with another good friend of ours. All of our children know each other from years at the same Montessori. These are people I’ve shared multiple holidays with and school plays and gathering, so the idea of getting together was exciting and welcomed. The children couldn’t wait. Hell, *I* couldn’t wait. Until I got the message from Victoria about the shootings.
Life suddenly was more precious and more tenable. I sat wringing my hands for hours, waiting, as the family did. I got her text, before anything public was said, and fell apart in the office. I didn’t need any pictures to remind me what Noah looked like. I’ve met him. My son spent an afternoon with him playing together with their cousins. I drank wine with his mom, V’s sister in law, thinking to myself how much I could *totally* hang out with her because she is great people.
I can only imagine her face today. Actually, I try not to imagine her face today.
It’s that image, the image of another mom who lost her six year old son, that has kicked the ass out of my selfish quests. I can no longer fathom the world without these children in it. I can not imagine my world without
reminding my own son to brush his teeth, to listen the first time I tell him something and to please please please stop playing the DS and put on his shoes.
I can not imagine life without those easy struggles.
I’ve been able to help out some, not enough, the family that is hurt and wounded beyond anything I think anyone should endure. The truth of the story is that they’ve helped me even more than they know. Spending hours with her children, making stupid stories up to keep her mind off the real world, doing dishes because they need to be done; these are the easy parts of a larger whole. This whole is teaching the entire world, unfortunately at my very good friend’s own heart ache, how precious life is.
Grief is horrendous. Life is precious. Friendship through darkness is salvation. To my own friend who held my hand back to safety, please send every ounce of love to her family as you can. And please, for all of us, go home and hug your children. Even if they refuse to put on their shoes.
I was in meetings all morning at work. I was fired up about some frustrating blockers about my seemingly important work of moving bits and bytes around on various screens.
Then I saw an email from one of my closest friends that her niece and nephew’s school had a major shooting today.
They have her nieces but her nephew is still missing.
Now, look, I know that it’s all the way in Connecticut and I live all the way here in Seattle. But V’s son and my son are great buds. They go to schools a few miles apart. My son has played with her nephew, the one missing right now. So no, I do not think “there’s nothing to worry about, it’s not here, Leslie. It’s ok,” which is what people keep trying to tell me when they see my watery eyes looking lost at the office.
I believe there is a thousand reasons to run home and grab my children, and her children, and huddle together.
It’s not ok. Not until they find her Nephew and he is safe and EVEN THEN it is not ok. Nothing about this is ok.
So please, please, please keep V and her family in your thoughts and prayers. I know there’s a ton of support out there already waiting and watching with her but please add yours.
From one mom to every mom out there and to a particular one with whom I’ve shared wine and laughter with, who now waits to hear where her son is, mygod I feel for you. And that’s not even enough.
“Everything changes in third grade, Bud.” My wise eight year old is schooling her five year old brother. “You don’t get a Big Buddy anymore at school. YOU ARE the Big Buddy.”
These words hit something in my memory. I flash to a month after my Grandmother’s death (something I’ve talked about before) and I remember my mom saying to me, “It’s so weird to not have a mom. Now I *am* the mom.”
Today is my grandmother’s birthday. She passed away this month, too, but I try not to think of that date. Instead, when I think of my grandmother, I do so on this day, her LIFE day.
It wasn’t until my early twenties, after my Grandfather passed that I came to know her better and it wasn’t until after her death I realized how alike we are. My Grandmother was a traveler, a writer, a hard worker. She enjoyed the company of girlfriends and her family. She struggled with depression and a need to please everyone. She wore class and kindness the way some women wear pearls.
That last bit, I’m still working toward.
My Grandmother is the kind of person who is always alive. She lives in my goals and life’s lessons. She lives in my wishes. She lives in my daughter and my son when I look at them and picture her next to them at Christmas or birthdays.
It’s been a decade since her death. A decade. Someone might wonder, then, why this day would mean anything more than The Day We Were Brought In To The War (for the American citizens) or Just Another Bloody Working Day (for the rest). But the truth is, in ten years so much has append. My Grandmother was the kind of lady who would IM me during the work day and even still I miss this. My Grandmother was the lady who would stay out until 11pm talking at Starbucks with my Mom and I. My Grandmother was the person to bestow some of the best advice of marriage and life and living. Even in her death, my Grandmother has shaped so much of who I am, where I went, what I became.
They say you have to skip a generation to truly understand who you are. I dunno, maybe they don’t say that but I just did. Moms and Daughters might clash but the Grandmother / Grandaughter relationship is beyond judgement or strife or told-you-so’s. Especially with my Grandma who guided her grandchildren quietly behind their mothers, quietly behind their fathers, and quietly leaving the biggest impact of all.
I miss and love you G’ma. I still have you on my Yahoo IM. You know.. just in case there’s Internet in Heaven. (Do they have that yet? Because seriously, even the rural areas do here.)
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