Due Date-versary

Today is August 20th.  The due date for the twins was one year ago today.  Had they survived, they’d be just over a year old since the chance of them going full term was near 0.  But they didn’t, and I’m left with another date during the year that leaves me wondering exactly how I’m supposed to feel.  I suspect as the years go on, this date will hold less and less meaning for me.  Although, I can’t be sure.  Today hasn’t been terribly difficult.  I felt more emotional than usual this morning and slightly weepy, but as the day went on, and my responsibilities unfolded in front of me, I didn’t really find too much time to sit in sorrow or contemplate my feelings.

I wish I could sit here today and tell you about how I’m all better.  How I’ve healed up and am continuing on with life barely thinking about the tragic events that took place last year.  But that’s not the case.  In fact, I told the Hubs just this morning that I feel like I’ve stalled out…like I’m stuck somewhere on this road of healing and I’m not moving.  I’m not in a terrible place, or even a bad place, but I can’t say I’m feeling significantly better than I did yesterday, last week or even a few months ago.  It’s frustrating even though I knew better than to expect a quick turn-around.  You don’t just bounce back from something like this.

It’s been a while, in fact, a very long while, since anyone has asked how I’m doing.  I’m not sure how I would respond.  I mean, I’m fine, but I still have moments of sadness, moments of anger.  I still wonder what it would have been like.  More than anything else though, when I find myself thinking about the whole ordeal, it seems like an out-of-body experience.  I know it happened to me, but when I replay the events in my mind it’s like I’m watching it happen to someone else.  In a way, I guess I am.

I wanted so badly to take pictures of A and C today.  To capture what my life looked like on this day…but it just didn’t work out.  That’s ok…maybe tomorrow.  I did take time to really look at both my girls today.  To be thankful for them.  A spent a long weekend with her grandparents and I was thrilled to have her back home.  To hug her, to see her pretty face and even to put up with her 3-year-old antics.  And sweet baby C…sometimes looking at her is so bittersweet.  I love her completely, but there’s no hiding the fact she came after the twins.  She’ll always hold a special place in my heart as the baby that wouldn’t have been here if events hadn’t unfolded the way they did.  She’s only 5 months old and I just CANNOT imagine our life without her.

I’ve been taking tons of pictures.  I can still remember the day I decided it was time to quit playing around and learn how to use my camera.  I’ve come so far since then and I still have much to learn.  I will say this for my healing though…I’ve noticed a difference in myself in photographs.  I look happy.  For the first time in a very long time, I look happy in pictures.  It’s progress, tangible evidence that I’m moving forward on this journey, and that makes my heart smile.

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Gremlins

I read this quote yesterday, and it makes me smile every time I think about it.  “You have to hang in there, because two or three years later, the gremlins will return your child, and (she) he will be wonderful again.”– Jill Eikenberg

So true for my life right now, and adding that bit of humor is what keeps me going through the day.  I love my kids, every one of them, completely, but I’m pretty sure they’re out to destroy me.  I’m actually beyond thankful today.  6 weeks ago A found a disposable needle in a field and punctured her finger.  We’ve had 2 rounds of blood tests…one immediately and one at 6 weeks.  We heard from the doctor yesterday her final blood test came back completely normal.  Thank God.  It was, so far, the scariest thing I’ve encountered as a parent.  Having your 3-year-old tested for Hepatitis and HIV is just plain wrong.  But all that aside, I find myself dealing with a 3-year-old that is absolutely convinced the world revolves around her.  I presume most 3-year-olds share her sentiments.  It doesn’t matter what I’m doing…tending to C, talking to the Hubs, dishes, laundry, making the bed…she’s not happy if my attention is not on her 100% of the time.  I feel awful because it seems everything else and everyone else, in my life is being neglected.  If I’m making the bed, she wants to be jumping on it.  If I’m doing dishes, she wants me to get out her playdoh, or markers, or stickers, or anything she can come up with to interrupt me doing the dishes.  If I’m folding laundry, she wants to roll around in the piles.  If I’m tending to C, she wants to be in the same room and try as she might, she’s just not capable of being quiet…so putting C down for a nap with A in the same room is basically impossible.  We’re on the final stretch of summer here and it shows.  It’s hot (too hot to be outside for a good chunk of the day), she’s bored, I’m bored and I struggle to get out of the house with both girls in tow.  I’ve just had C for the past 24 hours…A spent the night with her grandparents and while I’ve missed A, it’s been so nice to run a bunch of errands and have some time to sit and breathe.  I wouldn’t give up any of it though.  As crazy and difficult as it is, I love it.  I’m looking forward to August and September too.  A will go back to school in September and I just signed her up for a 1 day per week preschool at our local zoo.  She’s going to have an absolute blast.  She didn’t want to do dance again, so zoo school it is.  We tossed around the idea of her playing soccer, but during the fall the games would interfere with Aggie games, so….yeah….maybe she can play soccer in the Spring.

Like most mothers, I’m sure, I find myself constantly striving to be a better mom to A.  The past few weeks have been especially hard.  I told Hubs I thought maybe I should go back to work…that being home with her isn’t the best thing.  I don’t think I actually feel that way, but geez, when nothing you do seems to work in terms of teaching or disciplining, you’re left wondering if you should just wipe the slate clean and start from scratch.  I’ve been so close, too close, to walking out the door at 5 o’clock several nights and not coming home until late, late at night.  Just dropping everything, because I’m frustrated and angry, and leaving.  One of the things my mom taught me is to never leave the house angry.  That lesson has stuck with me for a long, long time.  I did get some time away this week, spent a few hours running errands alone then split a bottle of wine with Aunt D.  It did wonders.  It’s amazing what a few hours away will do for my sanity.  I’m going to start doing it more often.  Even if I don’t plan it for myself, my volunteer obligations are getting ready to kick into high gear and I’ll be forced to spend time away from home, the Hubs and the Littles.  I’ve been struggling lately because it seems my needs, wants and desires come dead-last in this family.  And I guess that’s the plight of a mother, but it’s still a hard pill to swallow sometimes or in my case, most of the time.  I sleep until the girls wake up in the mornings because C is still up several times a night, I don’t nap during the day, and I fall into bed bone-tired at night.  There’s just nothing left for me at the end of the day.  I know it’s all temporary…in the blink of an eye C will be done nursing, she’ll be sleeping through the night, A will be back in school and I’ll start convincing myself it’s time to try for another baby because I’ll start longing for days like the ones I’m currently experiencing.  But isn’t that one of life’s biggest challenges?  To take what you KNOW and take what you FEEL and somehow morph them into one consistent thought and action?  I’m working on it, but I’m just not very good at it.

Over.

So.  School’s over for the year.  So are dance classes.  And here I sit on the eve of summer, and I’m scared.  I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but I’m scared.  I’m scared to spend all day, every day, with both my children.  I haven’t been in this position before so in addition to school being out and dance lessons being over, we’re throwing in a 9 week old that needs to be cared for.  It will be so very easy to spend each day in pajamas watching tv.  But I know I can’t let that happen.  It should be an interesting few weeks as A and I adjust to each other.  We’ll eventually fall into a routine that will include playing outside, crafts, maybe some baking and cooking and endless trips to the museum and zoo.  I’ve also signed her up for swim lessons, church camp (it’s only 4 days, 2 hours each evening), we’ll be taking a trip to see the in-laws over the 4th of July, A will spend a week with my parents in July and I’m still hoping to sneak a family beach trip in there somewhere.  I’m also seriously considering sending her to VBS at the church where she attends preschool.  We’ll see.

It’s a strange feeling to truly be fearful of spending time with your kid.  But I’m all about being honest here, and honestly, it scares me.  I’ve had so many reasons over the past 18 months or so to not be the best mom.  I was pregnant, then I wasn’t, then I was an emotional mess, then I was pregnant again, now I have a new baby.  But it’s time for me to get my proverbial shit together and be the best mom I can be.  I want my kids to remember their childhood fondly and endless episodes of Dora and Team Umizoomi only stick with you for so long and, given her age, I think I stand a good chance at leaving either a positive or negative impression on her childhood memories this summer.  I would also like to get back into the swing of things around the house.  Following my cleaning schedule, cooking dinner regularly (I actually do this one pretty darn well considering), perhaps a jog every now and then and also fitting in “me” time there somewhere.  These are all lofty goals when you factor in the new baby and lack of sleep.  But hey, a girl can dream right?

So here I sit, getting ready to embark on the Summer of 2012.  I know that each day I will wonder how my children will survive the remainder of the day; how I will survive the remainder of the day.  I know that each day I will look forward to bed time.  I know that each day I will catch myself sighing, or looking at my 3-year-old like she’s an alien sent to destroy me.  Some days my 3-year-old WILL be an alien sent to destroy me.  I’ll also, most likely, crack up each day.  And I’ll go to bed each night wondering if I did my best; recounting all the moments I could have done better.  I’ll spend my days trying to keep up with my kids, trying to maintain a house, trying to give my husband what he needs and around 5 each day decide I can’t, and pour myself a glass of wine.  Or grab a beer.  Or both.  I’ll juggle play-doh, markers, crayons, chalk, paint, glitter, stamps, diaper changes, time outside, errands, rocking the baby to sleep, nursing, and a whole host of other things on a daily basis.  I’ll try to keep my cool, remain calm and be consistent in my expectations of my children and how I discipline them.  I don’t want to yell…my mom yelled.  Hopefully I’ll make it to September and be happy with what I see behind me.  Now, I’m headed to bed to try to get some rest.  I want to start this summer off as rested as possible.  Cheers to the Summer of 2012 Y’all!

Growing up Aggie

WM rings 3.20.09 065I just got home from C’s 2 month check-up and left realizing just how much I like our pediatrician.  Not just as a Pedi, but on a personal level.  She happens to be an Aggie, but I liked her before I found out that little gem.  Once I found out though, it was like, well duh, no wonder I like her!  It got me thinking about this Aggie family though…

I didn’t grow up in an Aggie family, most Aggies do.  I can clearly remember the person that turned me on to A&M though.  It was my mom’s boss, an attorney who graduated from A&M with a degree in Business Administration and attended Baylor for Law School.  For years I was going to follow in his footsteps, wanting to be an attorney and everything.  While those dreams faded and eventually disappeared, my love for and desire to attend A&M didn’t.  I worked hard, but not hard enough and wasn’t accepted to A&M right out of high school.  I worked my butt off at a community college before finally being accepted and transferring to A&M where I graduated with a BS in Psychology.  It’s always been in my blood, and to this day, I consider my graduation one of my greatest accomplishments.  You see, it’s part of my identity; part of how I define myself.  I don’t view “Aggie” as simply a noun, it’s also a verb.  When I meet a new person, it always comes up.  I’m proud of it, like to tell people, and almost everyone knows someone or has a family member that has also attended.  We have a stigma though, a certain air about us.  If you’ve met one Aggie, you pretty much know what to expect from another.  There’s a saying and it’s true:  From the outside looking in, you can’t understand it.  From the inside looking out, you can’t explain it.

We love our families, love to have fun, respect our elders, have a strong appreciation for our military personnel, love our country, expect hats to be removed at the dinner table, men to hold the door open, use “sir”, “ma’am”, “please” and “thank you”, and most of us expect our children will follow in our footsteps.  There is no family like the Aggie family and there is no network like our network of Former Students.  To start with, pretty much all graduating Aggies will purchase and proudly wear their Aggie Ring.  The Association of Former Students eats a lot of the cost to ensure most if not all Aggies get their ring.  To us Ags, it’s a symbol no matter where you are in the world.  My husband has traveled the country and has had his ring commented on numerous times.  Most people guess he’s from Texas based on his use of “sir” and “ma’am”, but that’s a different post.  I’ve heard story upon story of Aggies traveling abroad only to be approached by a fellow Aggie that noticed the Aggie Ring.  More than that though, it has always seemed to me that the Aggie family is made up of a certain type of person.  We seem to be stitched together with the same thread; cut from the same cloth.  I’ve yet to meet an Aggie that didn’t share very similar morals, family values, similar political views and a love of beer (joking, kind of).  It really is true that we’re almost cult-like in our traditions.  We take them very seriously and they’ve been sustained for decades.  There seems to be a “mold” for an Aggie, if you will, and not everyone fits in it.

We’ve indoctrinated our girls from the very beginning.  A is particularly enamoured with Kyle Field and the Aggie Band.  She knows who Reville is and has attended a few football games, tailgates, wandered around campus and went to her first Yell Practice last year.  We took Baby C to her first football game (it was a scrimmage) and toured the new MSC just a few weeks ago.  We have 529’s for the girls (well, I’m still working on setting up C’s) and we tell people all the time our money is only good at A&M.  They smile and laugh then turn serious and question us, “Well, what if they want to go somewhere else?  You won’t actually make them go to A&M will you?”  We emphatically reply that if they want their college paid for, they’ll attend A&M.  Most people think we’re being unreasonable.  The truth is, neither Hubs nor I have ever really worried they’ll want to go elsewhere.  Why would they?  Maybe if one of them is really into the Arts in someway, but I doubt that will happen.  A&M is such a big part of our lives.  Our fall is spent focused on Aggie football.  We still have our season tickets and plan to attended as many games as possible.  We have a group of friends that we keep in touch with throughout the year, but really spend time with during football season.  There’s a camaraderie that we feel, especially during football season.  As we’ve all graduated and moved away, we can still come together during football weekends and reminisce.  Our family has grown over the years and so have the families of several of our friends.  We just pack up the kiddos and take them with us, they’re just expected to be there and they fit right in.  Outside of our small group of friends, you’re surround by about 90,000 of your closest friends.  From college freshman to old Ags that have long since retired but love their school just the same.  It’s awesome to stand in the stadium and look around at all these people who are so passionate about the same things.  It’s amazing to see the really old Ags, the ones that most likely fought in wars and lived through a time none of us can ever imagine.  A lot of them still wear their rings, most of them worn down to a smooth gold band after years and years of working hard, usually with their hands in some way.  A&M produces a lot of farmers and ranchers.  The truth is, it’s not REALLY about the football for most of them, but about remembering the good old days and putting yourself in a place where you’re surrounded by “family”.  So yes, our girls will grow up Aggies in every sense of the word.  They will love A&M with the same passion the Hubs and I do.  It will be part of their identity and they will be proud to tell everyone who will listen where they are going to school.  And when they get that acceptance letter, their father and I will be overjoyed.  I will immediately buy an Aggie Mom car decal, t-shirt and coffee mug.  We will move them into a dorm/apartment hours away from home in the sweltering August heat.  We’ll help them choose what decal they’ll put on their car.  We will visit them on weekends, take them out to eat, take them to Target, to the mall and send their dad to fill up their cars with gas.  I will stock their kitchen and fridge with food and drinks.  We’ll encourage them to get involved on campus, and to find a church in College Station.  We will encourage them to LOVE their time in college; to understand that 4-5 years is a long time, yet oh, such a short time.  Tell them to have fun at the concert at Hurricane Harry’s featuring the latest Texas Country music star.  Tell them to have fun at the Tap and tell them to have fun shooting pool at Yesterday’s, but to be careful driving home.  We’ll tell them we hope they have a great time at Northgate.  We’ll tell them to enjoy their wings at Wings ‘N More and their burrito at Freebirds.  If they meet a boy, we’ll want to meet him, to get to know him, and we’ll encourage the relationship so long as it’s a good one; we don’t believe college is too young to meet your spouse.  We’ll go with them to the Dixie Chicken to dunk their rings and we’ll pretend we don’t know what they’re up to on a Friday night in College Station.  We’ll pretend we think they attend all their classes, they never turn the alarm off and go back to sleep skipping class.  And when they graduate, we’ll be there to see them walk across the stage and to help them apply their Association of Former Students decal to their car.  And we’ll do all of this because that’s what Aggie families do.  They live and breathe A&M…it’s a family affair; a lifestyle.  So yes, our kids will go to A&M too.  And anyone who doesn’t believe that isn’t an Aggie because it means they don’t really understand what an Aggie is.  Gig ’em.

Love this face

She’s so sweet, so precious and such a good baby. Plus, she has such an adorable face. I never want to forget her at this age. I wish I could capture every face she makes, every look, every smile, every grin, every throaty laugh or giggle, every precious moment I look down and catch her staring back at me with wonderment or a smile. She adores me and I adore her.

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Sister Love

I’ve been amazed since day 1 at how much Baby C adores her big sister.  For now, big sister also adores her baby sister; frequently asking to see her, kiss her, hug her and commanding I go check on her baby sister when she hears Baby C fussing.  I love watching them interact and while Baby C likes me and her daddy, she absolutely has a favorite…her big sister.  Here’s proof, a random Wednesday morning before dance class.

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