I think about this A LOT!

I think about death at least 5 times a day. Is that normal? I don’t know. And it isn’t an obsessive thought more like a fleeting idea, realization, acknowledgement of the inevitability of this event. Recently, I am surrounded by it more and more, but for the most part I am involved in or have heard story of the “perfect” death…the one where families members are near-good-byes are said-all the good stuff because if we have to go-man that is the way to do it. More and more I have felt like talking about death in an honest and frank manner is helping me confront this scary idea.

It really all started when I read Anne Lamott’s, Grace Eventually. Her insight and experience with death and thoughts about her life separate from her son really struck a chord with me. And I admired so much her ability to sit in the moment with her father and friends who were sick and with them in the moments of their death. Reading her made me challenge, my fearful nature and almost deniable thoughts of death.

And kids-oh kids-they shake everything inside me. Those girls living their lives eventually moving away from me more and more-starting their own lives. They will live with or without me. A very surreal idea indeed. That love is painful and awesome all at the same time.

But as much as I think of my kids-my partner, my maine man, my best friend…aggghhhh…right I have no words. Anyway, over vacation I read The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion. Wow-and then it was real and raw and WOW! Please read this book. Honestly, about twenty pages, I almost stopped. It was too much. I would sometimes feel my heart racing as I read her words. But I made it through-and again I feel one step closer with being more accepting about this whole thing.

The other day I was driving the kids home from the grocery store and out of the blue, my three year old asked me if I was going to die…and in an instant we were in the middle of this whirlwind of emotion. I said very casually, oh sure-someday–but la-de-da—(at least that is what it sounded like in my head). Ella stated-in a very confident, sure of herself tone-“Oh Molly, everyone dies-to make room for the other people. In a split second-Molly was crying and reaching for me-“I am going to miss you when you die, Mommy.” And I had this wave of sadness and wanting to cry with her and then knowing I needed to get it together. So I said “aw, Molly-love-let’s talk about your day at school.” And just as quick as it started we were on to happier topics.

“I would not leave. I would take care of her. She would be all right. It also occurred to me that this was a promise I could not keep. I could not always take care of her. I could not never leave her. She was no longer a child. She was an adult. Things happened in life that mothers could not prevent or fix….” Joan Didion

Fabulous book. Please read it.

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Big doins’ in a small town…

Saturday started early here in Maine. We were all standing in or around the baseball field at 7:45 yesterday morning. Opening day ceremonies for the NBAA! Ella got her hat and t-shirt and had her first t-ball game. EVEN-wait for it MIKE- got to meet Wally the Green Monster. I KNOW, fantastic. Big doins! It was an awesome morning spent running around with friends in the sun and connecting with families from around town.
Giving Wally a high five!

Getting an autograph and their picture taken with the monster! Very brave!

On the bench waiting for the game to start-can you feel the excitement!

So cool when your daddy is the batting coach.

Run, ELLA, Run

After the game, we went home to play and work in the yard and then UNCLE PHIL came for a visit. Yahoo! We love Uncle Phil! We had a yummy meal, and watched Gone, Baby, Gone last night…not a great movie and it made it hard for me to fall asleep though I do love Casey Affleck.

“You put some miles on that car!”

That’s what the rental car guy said when he checked the mileage on the car we rented from him a week earlier. What a trip we had. A great vacation-MUCH better then my last vacation. We finished up our road trip in Rochester, NY visiting Grandma and Grandpa. I was impressed with Rochester. Haven’t been since I was little so I was pleasantly surprised. Of course, the weather helped. I had a day to myself, while the Grands took the girls to the Strong Children’s Museum. My day included a little pampering, shopping, and wandering around by myself. Perfect. Here are pictures from each…
Getting into Legos

Reaping the benefits of little kids—EVERYTHING can be fun.

In front of Grandma and Grandpa’s beautiful new house. We loved it!

On the steps of a very famous Stoop.

What’s on your head? I don’t know what’s on your head?
On the train with Grandpa!

With Grandma after dinner at Wegman’s. Sigh—I love Wegman’s.
Great thrift/vintage/junk store-wandered in for a while-got yards of a fun fabric there for 5 bucks.

LakeShore Records-where I awwed-young hipsters with my story of meeting my Maine Man in a record store. Get’s em everytime.

We had a great time with all the grandparents-they all showed us a great time, but we were happy to roll back into NH around 5:00 in time to meet Steve for some yummy pizza and then home for a restful night in our own beds. NOTHING feels better than that. Thanks again everyone for having us. Hope you will have us again soon!

“That is my wish”

Traveling with kids is never simple. It is definitely fun, but there are times within a day when you are on someone else’s turf and you are missing your old stand-by of home-“go play at the craft table, the kitchen, the easel, your playset, your room…” all those things that are known. The plus side of traveling is all the new places and toys and books you can stumble upon-some, it’s not so much as they are new, but just unused for a while.

This afternoon we had a picnic lunch at the cottage. A brief lunch turned into several hours, a burn pile and naked-ness in the sand (for just one of us). If it weren’t for the freezing temperature of the lake, I would have sworn it was summer.

Tonight around 9:20 I heard Molly up in the room talking. I went in to lay down with her and the following conversation occurred…
“mommy I would like an angelina ballerina party.” “okay, do you want to take ballerina lessons, too?” “no, i already took lessons at Charlotte’s house.” “oh, okay.” “Mommy, really I want married clothes…that is my wish.” “Oh really?!?! And who will you marry?” “Andrew.” “Where will you live?” “I want to live with you mommy and daddy and ella-and oreo and meepers.” ” What will Andrew wear?” “Handsome clothes. What is your wish, Mommy?”

I wish that I could remember every little thing that happens here and now.

Another day of fun

Good Morning from sunny NNY! We have had a busy morning already. Just a little break from the morning activities which included for me-coffee while reading my book-Beautiful Boy. Allyson recommended it to me and I am tearing through it. Great pick, Ally. And for the girls, a ride with Meme on the Gator out to the buildings. After those fun things we all went out to the back building for some craft time. A great idea from SouleMama’s, book The Creative Family. We made place mats. They were fun and Meme and I wished that we had many more blank canvases because it is very addicting. The girls had a great time making them as well.
We are on our second beautiful day here and after our rest/quiet time we are going down to the cottage for a picnic. The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming-it is like everyone knows I needed this break.

We’re on Vacation!

The girls and I drove down the highway for our get-a-way week in NNY. And so far it is just as fine as a trip to Florida. A walk on the beach, balmy temperatures in the 70s, and time with the grandparents. We rented a car for the trip and so far I think that has been the girls favorite part. “This car is so cool-I want to keep it.” And for the first time in their memory they could control their back windows. Up and Down and Up and Down-Thank goodness for child locks. They really are troopers, however. After a yummy breakfast with Daddy before we left him for the week, we hit the road. They were good for 2 and 1/2 hours before we stopped for lunch. We didn’t stop again, except for a stop on the side of the road, until we reached the farm. A pleasant sight for the road weary.

This morning, after a yummy blueberry pancake breakfast, all the ladies went for a walk on Eldorado Beach while Grandpa took a nap. Have to say he is only looking stronger. Got some great pictures from the walk. It was beautiful out. Click the images to enlarge.

What I want to be when I grow up…

My day yesterday was truly a GREAT day. I think it started out so great because the night before I talked with my bud, my homie, my partner in guidance counseling adventures, Jen for TWO HOURS on the phone. I never talk for that long on the phone. I, really, abhor the phone and phone conversations. But I could of “talked all night, I could have talked all night…”. But anyway, back to my great day yesterday.

I started my day with my very first Clinical Supervision, which is like counseling for counselors about their work and clients. I started taking a course on the subject so that I can host an Intern in the fall. Within the first 2 hours-I had this epiphany that I, TOO, need a supervisor. One of the professors is retired from the University and I had always heard how wonderful she is and low and behold—she is truly wonderful. One of those people you want to absorb all the inspiring, smart, things they say and be around them a lot. After getting my principal to agree to pay for an hour once a month, I set up my first appointment for supervision.

On my drive there, I felt like I was going to talk for days and had no idea where I would even begin. But like all counseling you start where you are at and go from there. By the end, this fabulous woman said to me, “After 9 years of what you have gone through, I have no idea why you are still a guidance counselor”. Listening to myself, crying at points, getting mad at other points, shaking my head in disbelief at some the things coming out of my mouth, I know that it is amazing that I am still a guidance counselor. But do you know why this woman is good at what she does-before I left I could remember why and I left-walked out the door with more hope then I had ever had before about where I am going with this career.

See the thing is I AM good at this. And this is hard work to be good at-my successes come in bits and I don’t get paid the big bucks-I don’t even get paid mediocre bucks-I get paid shit. And you know that can piss me off because I work really hard. I sit with the kids that no one else wants to sit with and hear about their fears and hold on to those fears for them while they try to get through their day. I hear the sad, dirty details that shock us all, that make us shake our heads and say-“no one should have to go through that.” And at the end of the day, when I drive the girl 500 feet to the elementary school for after-care because she is scared to walk alone that distance-and she puts her head on my shoulder briefly-quickly before getting out of the car THAT is why I am a guidance counselor.

Maybe I will start something different some day-that will remain in the cards, but for now it’s all good. And I had a great day yesterday.