Monday, June 10, 2013

Feel good

This weekend CC and I had the opportunity to support one of my favorite non-profits, Gigi’s Playhouse.  CC & I ran to support awareness of Down syndrome and all those who have been touched by those with DS.  This is near and dear to my heart because a friend of mine gave birth this winter to a beautiful baby boy with an extra chromosome.   He’s perfect in every way and loved ridiculously by all those who have the pleasure of knowing him.  It breaks my heart that there are people in the world today that are going to treat him differently because he doesn’t look like them.  What I’ll never understand is that we all look different, so why is this such a big deal?  I believe it’s because people are just not educated.  If they were educated on the internal struggles and physical ailments people with Downs have, maybe they would be more sympathetic.  If they understood that they see, feel, and act just like every other person in the world, maybe they’d give them a pat on the back instead of not making eye contact.  The most amazing thing about a person with Downs is their ability to love.  They love unconditionally and those who love them understand love better because of them. 

I know that I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum because I have a soft spot in my heart for people with Downs.  I grew up with my Aunt who had that extra chromosome and she was the most amazing person I’ve ever met.  I spent many years of my life surrounded by people who are different and it has never bothered me because it was all I’d known.  I’m sure at some point my parents had to explain things to me but I’m thankful they did it in a way that helped me embrace the differences instead of be scared of them.  Because after all, doesn’t the hatred and rudeness come from being scared of the unknown.

This event gave us the pleasure of waving, smiling, and saying hi to people with Downs of all ages.  One little girl jogged up to CC during the inspirational walk and wanted to hold hands and walk together, her name was Mia.  Then there was a 7 yr old boy named Henry, who kept running ahead of his family and literally running into me but we laughed each time.  I ran the race next to a woman who has 2 yr old twins, a boy and a girl, both with DS.  When we bumped into her husband and kids after the race, CC blew them kisses and the kids gave me a high five.  In our goal of supporting Beckett, we supported all those who are just like us in all the ways that matter. 

This is just the first of many opportunities that I hope will open CC’s eyes and heart to those who are “different,” just as I hope that she treats all people with respect, kindness, and love.  Sunday was just her first lesson…

After the 5k during the walk, CC wanted out of her stroller.  "Mama, I run...I run like you!"  She did good for that mile and I told her I can't wait until we're running races together! 

Monday, June 3, 2013


Some days are definitely meant to be spent in bed and I wish today had been one of them.  What started out as a typical morning soon turned into drama, heartache, and a migraine.  I can’t go into all the details because really, the details will make you wish you hadn’t even read this, so let’s just say that it was a day I hope to soon forgot.  Some decisions  were made today that made my makeup run down my face when I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. Although all I really wanted to do was punch some holes in the wall.  (Wow, I'm more like my dad than I thought.  LOL) But truly, I feel like the whole world is against me when just yesterday I was feeling pretty good about things.  Funny what a difference a few hours can make.  I do not personally understand how I got to this point in my life and there’s not a day that goes by where I’m not digging through my memory for clues I must have missed.  I'm really trying to learn to let go of the things I can't control but it's just not fair that others are making choices that affect my life.  I know that the fact that I have a smart, kind, beautiful little girl as well as our health and a roof over our head should make me appreciative and happy but honestly, sometimes I just don't feel that way.  So tonight I’ll go home, pick up my mini me, and hold her until she begs me to put her down and then I’ll enjoy the evening through her eyes because all is well in a 2 year olds world.  When I awake tomorrow, hopefully the sun will bring me some peace and understanding.  If not, I'll fake it until I make it because I really don't know what else to do. 

Taken this past weekend before we went to a party..I just love that girl so much!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Happy Birthday Sweet Girl!

**written on April 20th, pictures added on April 21st**

Dear CC,

Today is your second birthday.  You’re two and you are so good about reminding me of that fact.  You have become quite independent but luckily you ask for help when you need it.    You have a fierce stubborn side to you these days but I especially love how you smile and say hi after you know I’m not happy with what you’ve done.  Your new favorite thing is for me to sing.  Mama has a horrible voice but you don’t seem to mind just yet.  I’m sure when you’re older you’ll be begging me not to sing along to the radio.  One night last week at 2am during one of our late night conversations you asked me to sing Happy Birthday to you.  I have no idea how you knew the song but since then it’s a daily request.  You sing and dance along while clapping your hands and then you blow out the candles at the end.  I hope that tonight you enjoy getting to do it for reals!  J  You’re definitely more toddler than baby these days but for those few precious minutes at the start and end of each day.  I love when you curl into me for our cuddle time…there is nothing better in the world and I hope it lasts for many years to come!

You have this delightful sweetness about you that melts everyone’s hearts.  This week a friend was over at the house and at one point you grabbed her face in both your hands, looked into her eyes, and then pulled her towards you so you could kiss her.  She cried, I cried, and you just smiled at us both like we were lunatics.  You’re not all sugar though, there is definitely some spice.  The terrible twos are making their presence known.  You’ve started to throw tantrums but luckily you get out of them as quickly as they start.  For instance this morning when it was time to leave for the day, you ran away from me to hide while screaming, “no jacket, no jacket, NO JACKET!!!”  After I wrestled you into the said jacket, you looked down at it and said, “hi mama, pretty jacket.” Then you were off again but this time with a smile. 

Every day I’m amazed at all the words you know and how you put them into mini sentences.  You love to tell me what to do, especially when it’s “mama stay here” or “mama, you night night.”  Luckily you’re not just bossy with me.  You are constantly yelling at our dogs, Gabby and Di, to sit, come here, or my favorite, go poo poo, or most recently, “gabby, stop barking!”  I especially love when you get frustrated and yell their full names.  J

We’re living with Gamma right now and you couldn’t be happier.  Every morning you can’t wait to go into her room and wake her up.  You love to stand on a stool next to her while she does her makeup and you ask what everything is.  I’m sure you’ll learn your colors based on grandma’s eye shadows.  When Gamma leaves for work you wave goodbye at front window and blow her kisses.  You are truly Grandma’s girl and I love it because I remember those special moments with my grandmother.  The bond you have is very special and it’s one that you will forever treasure. 

As I write this on the eve of your birthday, I’m thinking of all the things I want to tell you but I think I’m going to sum it up.  You are the most beautiful, sweet, kind, gentle, loud, fun loving, shy, crazy little girl!  I love you more today than yesterday but not as much as tomorrow! 

Love, Mama

Thursday, March 28, 2013

New Adventures

While I dream of spring like weather and long runs outside, I can’t help but smile at the healing that is taking place within my life.  It’s only been a week since we left our old life behind and we are doing better than expected amidst the challenges.  CC loves her new, albeit small home.  Our mornings aren’t as smooth because it’s impossible to restrict her from the bathroom while I’m in the shower and our evenings are more dramatic since there’s no great room and I’m usually cooking when she’d prefer me in another room with her.  Her sleep had been better than expected but now we’ve regressed and started our last three days at little after midnight.   But I’m not complaining (yet) because it feels good to be starting over.  I’m actually starting to think that all those moves I’ve made in my life are because I needed to hit that reset button.   And I never needed that more than now!!

We had a wonderful first weekend in our new town eating breakfast with the Easter Bunny and filling our basket up with eggs, followed up with a long walk on a beautiful day and a tea party in our backyard.  Monday morning began with a trip to Mommy’s work for a meeting and then a brand new school for CC.  I had always been surprised that I didn’t cry the first time I dropped CC off at daycare when she was 12 weeks old.  Well I definitely made up for that this week.  Monday morning was not easy as I watched the confusion cross over her face with her eyes big as saucers and her plump bottom lip trembling.  My heart didn’t stop aching until the daycare called to tell me she was playing and having a great time.  Thank goodness kids are resilient because if she would have shown a single fight, I would have probably caved and figured out a way to take her back to her old school.  Don’t judge me, I’m a push over when it comes to my baby girl.  J  The best part of CC’s new school is that it’s close to my work so I get to enjoy her company during my commute.  We sing songs, talk about what’s outside, and blow lots of kisses to each other.  It's an awesome addition to our day!!

My biggest hope is to teach CC the life lessons I’ve learned so that she can look back on her life, just as I have, and be grateful and proud, like I am everyday!


Friday, March 8, 2013

Simple Things

 Since becoming a mother, I tend to be more appreciative of the simple things in life.   Like a morning when everything goes smoothly with only one meltdown and when I get to work I don’t look like I’ve already been through World War III.  An evening where we have time to squeeze in a walk before our normal nighttime routine and bedtime is full of kisses rather than screams.  I still ask myself daily, do I have enough money for groceries?  When am I going to get the laundry done?  Am I ever going to get a good night sleep again?  But the difference is I don’t stress about it anymore.  Well maybe sometimes but not all the time…which is a huge improvement to me! 

When CC throws a tantrum at the dinner table, I move her plate away and let her.  After she’s calmed down, I open my arms to her while she climbs onto my lap and snuggles into me.  Times when I notice that I’m short with her, I make a point to sit on the floor and look in her eyes when I tell her I’m sorry and that mama’s having a bad day and didn’t mean to take it out on her.  I tell her what I’m feeling because I want her to understand her feelings and know that feelings are never wrong.  If she wakes up at four in the morning and asks me to read her a book instead of cuddling in bed, I do because there’s going to be a time when she won’t want me to read to her anymore. 

I often wonder if I could have been this type of mother with CC if I were still married.  Well technically I’m still married but you know what I mean.  J  During my marriage, everything fell on my shoulders whether I wanted it to or not.  I felt like I had to do all and be all to everyone thus I wasn’t able to just be.  I didn’t watch tv for years because when I would sit for a minute, I would remember a thousand other things I could be doing and I’d get up and do them.  Now when I feel done for the night, I let myself be done.  I make a cup of coffee, grab a blanket, and cuddle on the couch with a book or a favorite show.  The best part is…I no longer feel the guilt that I once did.  CC will always have enough clean clothes.  There will always be something in the pantry to cook.  Sometimes the best nights are when I’m not sleeping at all but instead I’m holding my baby girl in my arms while she sleeps.  Someday she’ll be too big to rock to sleep and I’ll be thankful that all those sleepless nights are etched in my mind forever. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Happy Birthday

Today my son is 14 years old.  It’s been over 100 days since I’ve seen him and some days I think I’ll never see him again but there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him.  I walk past his pictures in the house and I smile at his beautiful face and contagious smile.  Sometimes I even give them a kiss because I long to hold him in my arms and tell him how much I love him. 

I fell in love with him the first moment I met him and my love deepened along with our bond.   The first time I met JC, my ex picked him up from daycare and we had separate cars so I followed them to the grocery store to get stuff for dinner.  JC said hi and ran straight to the bouncy ball display in the center of the store.  I followed him and we ended up running and chasing each other through the store.  When we left, he asked if he could ride with me so we could race dad home.  We playfully raced but we didn’t win because I had no idea where I was going!  Once at their place, my ex started dinner while JC and I went to the park to play basketball.  He beat me but barely and I had never had so much fun.  I spent that first summer cheering him on at all his baseball games, joining them on their family vacation (JC asked his grandparents if I could come), and soon we were a family. 

The most special moments of my day, were those of bedtime.  The hours we spent laying in bed, talking about our days, telling him stories from my life, and sitting in comfortable silence were some of the best hours I’ve ever had.  He would pick the topics, ask questions, we’d laugh, tickle, and most nights I’d end up asleep next to him. 

I have thousands of wonderful memories with JC and I hope some day that we can add a thousand more.  For now, I will continue to send my thoughts, encouragement, and love telepathically and hope that he feels it.  In my heart and my mind, he will always be my first child and I will love him always. 

Happy birthday to my sweet boy! 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Move in the Right Direction

Packing pulls at my heartstrings but it’s also a time to reminisce and dream.  While I wrapped my colorful vases, books, and knickknacks in newspaper and taped the boxes shut, I thought back to where I’ve been.   I’ve already lived in 18 homes…some near, some far, and some repeats but they were all filled with love and provided for an interesting backdrop to my life story.  I have a love hate relationship with moving.  In many ways, I’m grateful for the change in scenery and the experiences I’ve had because of those moves.  Growing up I had friends everywhere, and I was lucky enough that my mom let me visit them on weekends and breaks.  I had a worldly view of life at a young age and that’s stuck with me as I’ve gotten older even though I haven’t had much opportunity to see the world.  The opposite side of the coin is that I’d been happy where I was when it was time to go and filled with sadness at leaving what I thought I’d finally found. 

My upcoming change of scenery is going to be the hardest yet most fulfilling one thus far.  I’m leaving an area I love and that was filled with so much hope.  I’ve spent years making friends, learning the back roads, and taking advantage of all the wonderful experiences to be had.  Caramia and I have spent countless days walking the trails of the arboretum and perusing the little shops in the beautiful downtown area.  We’ve fed the ducks along the Riverwalk and had picnics at Cantigny too many times to count.  I spent most of my pregnancy and maternity leave walking the trails surrounding my house while talking to my sweet baby girl about life.  So much of who I am today has been influenced by my surroundings and in a few weeks, it might be too hard to ever return.  I’ll be busy making a new life for us in a new town where we’ll be encircled by the people who love us the most.  Our daily routine will still be the same…wake, breakfast, daycare, work, daycare, home, walk, play, dinner, bath, bedtime but nothing will be as it once was. 

This next phase will bring me peace, love, and happiness.  Sounds like a Christmas card greeting but its true.  It’s time to close the door on what wasn’t good in my life and focus on the best pieces of my life…my beautiful daughter, my wonderful family, myself, and an exciting future that I can’t wait to discover.  There is always room to grow and when we stop growing, we stop living.  I look forward to growing out of the weeds and blossoming in the spring sunshine.  Okay that was totally corny but a little corny in life is good! 

CC is having mixed emotions about moving too!