perspective

This morning I paced the floor. I felt anxious and stressed. Only 8 1/2 months to go. But who’s counting?

He overslept. Things were going so well the whole two days since school started, until today that is. He left at the time he should’ve been at school which is problematic since we moved further away. He had over a half an hour drive before picking up two friends on the way.

My son will be the death of me. If I disappear from the bloggosphere someday, you’ll know why.

Being late stresses me out. But since I am not one to be late, I am stressed out vicariously through my kids.

It put me in a really negative and anxious mood. I know I shouldn’t let my kid’s tardiness affect my day. But it is hard to just let it go sometimes.

Then I opened up Facebook this morning and saw a memory from a race I ran several years back with Lisa and her teen daughter that recently passed away in a car accident. We all placed in the small town race and were showing off our medals. Lisa’s daughter won’t be going to school today. She won’t be graduating, going to college, having a family…any of that. Maybe if she overslept she would still be alive, instead of falling asleep behind the wheel.

It really puts things into perspective.

Will my son’s tardiness be something that I will think about next year? It is incredibly frustrating today. Sometimes I need the little reminders to be thankful for the days we have together. I only have a few months left with him under my roof.

I’m trying to let go and not let his mistakes ruin my day.

 

A child lost

She wasn’t expected to live when she was born. They took a video of her right after birth just in case. She only weighed in at a little over 2 lbs. They never thought she would walk either. But she was one of the fastest runners.

The day we said good-bye was eerie. It was a long hot drive. The sky growled and rolled ominously in the distance coming in our direction. The weather alert went off on my cell phone. Tornado warning in your area, seek shelter immediately. A swirl of dirt on the highway from a baseball field with no one playing. Lightening bolts seared the ground in front of me.

I admit, I was frightened by the tempest although I rarely worry about storms. The skies opened to a torrential downpour like the seemingly endless mother’s tears for a lost child. The path ahead of us was difficult to see clearly. Hail banged sharply like the grim reaper knocking on death’s door.

It was still raining when we arrived. We tromped through puddles of muddy water to offer our condolences. The rain a mask for our tears.

Tom greeted us with an umbrella…helping…keeping busy…comforting others. I can’t imagine the pain they must feel. Lisa was heartbroken. She was only 16. Why did she miss the curve?? She hit a tree and her car started on fire. No body, no funeral…just some remaining ashes in an urn.

I wonder, will they set it on the mantel? Or will they place it on the ground next to the graduation pictures of their other children that will be placed on the wall? As a parent, I couldn’t imagine anything worse.

I would give almost anything to bring her back to them. They both had difficult upbringings. We are kindred spirits in that way. But my life is getting better and theirs worse. I would give it all away…everything I possess of worldly value…just to have her back.

I almost expected her to walk through the door…Maybe the whole things wasn’t real. It didn’t feel right in any way.

Why would God choose to take the life of a sweet beautiful child? How can this be His plan?

God help me, I just don’t understand..

Vegas, part 1

I am always filled with worry the first day…being so far from home and feeling less in control of the things I am not in control of anyway…

It was rough leaving. Paul had to slam on his brakes for a motorcycle in his blind spot after I screamed STOP on our way to the airport. It was stressful because at that point we were already running late in my book.

My youngest daughter Arabella blindsided me on the way out. She was starting a new job that same day and apparently didn’t fill out the online paperwork right. Mom, please help me… But I couldn’t miss the flight.

I was going to LV with my daughter Angel for a national singing competition. I didn’t want her to go alone…but to be honest, I always want to go somewhere I’ve never been.

On Friday morning, Angel and two of her college classmates competed against some of the best singers in the country. We had plans to meet up together at the swimming pool once everyone was done to celebrate their hard work and relax. Her friend did not pack a swimming suit so they were going to buy one and meet us at the pool later.

Angel and I were poolside for 2 seconds when my phone rang. It seemed odd that Cori would be calling me out of the blue in the middle of the day. Immediately Jen came to mind, our mutual friend that was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer. It couldn’t be a good call and it wasn’t.

Cori called to tell me that the daughter of a best friend of ours was in a car accident and didn’t make it. What?? It couldn’t be true! I cried the words in disbelief into the phone as the people surrounding me were smiling and having fun playing in the sunshine.

Lisa’s daughter just turned 16 a couple months ago and recently got her driver’s license. She was driving with a friend to work that morning when she missed the curve. She hit a tree and her car became engulfed in the flames that killed them.

Death! How unfair you are!

The police came to the house that morning to tell Lisa something that no parent ever wants to hear.

I couldn’t believe it was real. I still can’t believe that it is real. Maybe Cori was mistaken. These kind of things just don’t happen.

I checked the Facebook page of Lisa’s daughter. Nothing. Just a new profile picture of her looking away, staring out beyond the wooded hills. Prom pictures. Quotes about love, how fast teenagers become adults, and future dreams…

I thought of the fun times we shared…Sitting next to her on the roller coaster when I was so frightened I screamed the whole time, she was so brave…Sharing a passion for running and going to races with her mother and her. Her bright smiles and warm hugs..

Gone. She’s gone and it is so unfair. She was a beautiful young adult with a bright future. She truly was a good person. I wish I could take away Tom and Lisa’s pain. I couldn’t get it out of my mind..

It wasn’t long before Angel’s friends met us at the pool. I felt like I had to keep things together. It was a happy and exciting day for them. I had to try my best to keep it that way, but inside I was a mess. You just can’t be fine when you hear the news of a close friend’s child dying unexpectedly in a horrible way even if you are sitting poolside in the sunshine.

Ten minutes after Angel’s friends arrived, a kid puked in the pool and it was closed…

 

 

Travel woes, the mess we returned to

The first 24 hours upon our return from Orlando was such an emotional roller coaster ride that it rivaled some of the roller coasters that we were on during our vacation. While we were gone, we had icy roads. School was delayed. On the way to work, our employee hit a patch of black ice propelling her into the ditch. It wasn’t her first accident, she was so upset that she could barely work. On our way home, we saw a car in the ditch. Disoriented people were wandering around outside of their car in the middle of the highway. We faced the prospect of having to shovel 5 inches of heavy icy snow when we got home that evening.

While we were gone, we hired my daughter’s 17 year old friend to pet sit. She has been our pet sitter for the past two years without any issues. That being said, we were not prepared for the mess that was waiting for us. When we got home, our pet sitter was stuck in our unshoveled driveway. Our garbage bin was lying in the ditch tipped over spewing out garbage that was put out too late to be picked up. We parked our car on the road, running into the house quickly getting hit with blowing snow while jumping over snow banks. When we got inside, there were piles of dog crap everywhere along with rings of piss and puke in multiple locations all over our living room carpet. The floors were filthy, there was dog shit caked on our toilet seat. 

Our pet sitter started crying saying that she got a second job and asked her mom to help her with the pets. Her mother is absolutely crazy. She is the woman that the neighbor’s called the cops on because she would speed around the school bus while its stop sign was out. She also overfed her own dog from her hand. She somehow thinks that people don’t feed their dogs enough. It seemed as if she overfed our dog without letting him out. There were 4 piles of puke which contained a total of about 2 cups of food, our dogs total daily food allowance. Our dog seemed sick when we got home and threw up again during the night. I started cleaning up the mess while our pet sitter cried hysterically. Paul was able to get her out of the driveway and start on the shoveling. After our pet sitter went home, she got into a huge fight with her mother where things were broken and thrown. 

While I was cleaning up, I noticed a couple of wet stinky towels bunched up underneath the rest of the towels. It looked like someone was cleaning up a mess but trying to hide it. Then the kids and I noticed that some of our things in our bedrooms were out of place. Someone went through all of our personal belongings. I have never felt so violated and sickened in my life. I cried thinking of how my pets were not cared for properly. The house was absolutely trashed. Paul and I were finally were able to get to bed around midnight. When I woke up the next morning, I discovered more poorly cleaned up piss rings on the carpet. We ending up spending as much money renting a carpet cleaner that we did paying our house sitter. I am kicking myself for not taking pictures of the mess we returned to.

The next day I headed back to work. I was so busy catching up from the time that I spent away that I didn’t have time to do any more cleaning. To make matters worse, my in-laws were coming over that night for supper. My mother-in-law was going to be in the area because she needed a PET scan. Back in November, the doctors found a tumor in her stomach and lungs. They did a biopsy on the tumor in her stomach because that was less invasive. They found that the tumor in her stomach was highly treatable, so we decided to go ahead with our vacation plans. In December, the doctors decided to do a biopsy on my mother-in-law’s lungs. She had a collapsed lung and pneumonia which they treated with heavy duty antibiotics. But what was troubling was the finding that the cancer in her lungs was a different kind of cancer that was in her stomach. They are afraid it may be in other organs. She had breast cancer 15 years ago, now 2 different cancers in 2 different organs. Monday we will get the test results.

When I got home from work on Thursday night, my mother-in-law was sitting in the recliner wrapped in a blanket. She did not feel good enough to go out to eat so we ordered food instead. She was so frail, weak, and sickly looking. It was hard to see her like that. When she left she spoke in a hoarse strained voice. She told us all that she loved us. She told Angel that she would like to see the college that she picked out someday. This is the point that Angel ran into the other room crying. My mother-in-law said good bye to me. She thanked me for being a great wife to her son. It seemed so final. I went in the other room to cry and comfort Angel. 

The beginning and end of our vacation was very rough. I am glad that we were able to get away for a couple of days of fun. I am afraid that the next couple months will be very difficult. I guess we will find out for sure on Monday. 

Truly scary

Sometimes the scariest stories are the true ones. This story happened many years ago when I still lived in my parents house. It happened this time of year. It happened in the middle of a dark night like most scary stories do. I awoke to the flashing lights of police cars. We lived in a rural area outside of an unincorporated town, our closest neighbor a half mile away. I was afraid and woke up my dad. I remember my dad telling me that the last time he saw this many police cars near town that the bank had been robbed. 

Sadly, a bank robbery in the middle of the night would have been preferable to what really happened. What really happened?? A car full of partying teens, young and full of life, had been out drinking recklessly abandoning their seat selts and good sense. The driver thought it would be fun to drive fast, really fast. He hit a patch of black ice, rolled the car multiple times, and flipped the car into a ditch ejecting the passengers. The driver walked away with a few bumps and bruises. Two of the passengers mangled bodies were taken to the morgue that night. The field was a graveyard of broken bodies, broken glass, shattered lives, and a damaged car. It was my uncle’s job to take his wrecker and remove the car remains from the field. 

The next morning it was as if the night before never happened. Well, not exactly. It didn’t turn out like that. My mom was taking a walk near the scene of the accident. She saw something so mortifying that she called the police. She was really shook up on the phone. She exclaimed, “Oh my gosh, someone needs to come out here right now, they forgot the face”. “I took anatomy and physiology in college and I know what a face looks like”. “Please come it’s an emergency!”  “I don’t want children to see the faces that you left behind”. The police came back that morning. My mom showed them the faces that she found half covered in snow. But they were only masks. The accident victims decorated the inside of their car with car accident Halloween masks. Gory, mutilated, mangled masks mocking the shattered lives left behind that night in the cold unforgiving snow. 

Grounded for life, part 5

A few days later, Randy showed up with a car full of friends in his old boat of a car wanting to go for a ride. But I was grounded. Sometimes if I knew that my mom would say “no”, I would ask my dad. He always said “yes”. I suspect that if I asked my dad if I could go out for a wild drunken night of debauchery he would still say “yes”. But no such luck, my mom was home. Plus she got pretty angry if I went past her and asked my dad. Anyway, there was no getting around it, I was grounded.

Randy drove off leaving us behind. That was not all he left behind. As Randy drove off, the guys noticed that Randy’s car was leaking fluid of some sort. Brake fluid! Back in the day, we couldn’t just call him on his cell phone to tell him. I will liken it to my parents stories of walking to school uphill both ways. How did we survive? Sometimes it is amazing that we did. Instead we worried. Randy never came back to pick up my friends. Later that afternoon, we received a call that Randy got in a car accident and was in the hospital. He was going 65 on a back road. As he approached the stop sign he didn’t have any brakes, lost control, and ended up hitting a tree head on. Luckily he walked away with a few bumps, bruises, and glass imbedded in his face and body. It was a miracle that he survived a head on collision with a tree without wearing a seat belt. He remembered wandering around aimlessly in confusion. His Def Leppard tape still playing but the front end of the car was gone.

The next day, my friends and I went to the junk yard to see the remains of his car. It was a pretty dismal sight. We wondered what our fate would have been if I hadn’t been grounded. Would some of us be underground?? I remember getting the call that night and driving my parent’s car to get to the hospital. I was afraid and crying. We were all pretty shook up. I think that God was watching out for us that day. If I wasn’t grounded there is no way we would have all survived that crash.

It has been over two decades since I saw Randy. I don’t think of him all that often anymore. To be honest, if I saw him walking down the street I would turn around and walk away. Some doors are meant to stay closed.