Thursday, December 23, 2010

done and done.

I know there is a little over a week to go in 2010, but today's title sums up how I am feeling, even if a little premature. I'm just done. This applies to work, this applies to shopping, this applies in lots of other ways. But if I reflect back over the past 51 weeks, I do have to say that 2010 was one of our better years. Things really went off as they were planned without too many flies getting all gunked up in our ointment. New baby, vacations on the Cape and Ireland, healthy families. Lots of good stuff that I don't feel weird or full of myself saying we really deserved.

God almighty I hope I am not dooming myself by saying all of this. So sad that's how my mind works, the superstition.

Tomorrow we rise at an ungodly hour to drive ourselves, the kids, the dog and lots of other stuff to upstate NY. I have to admit, I feel slightly giddy. I am so excited to see Paudie's reaction to the Christmas spread and to each of his gifts. I hope he can savor them but fully expect him to rip and toss paper, repeat. I am already thinking of how sad it is to be a little kid and have Christmas be over. It's sort of minor-depression inducing, at least it was for me.

So I'll end this last post for 2010 by saying thanks to God, the cosmos, karma etc etc. It's hard for me to bask too much though as my mind is still processing the bad things/good people reality from last week's post. My wish for 2011 is that some measure of peace and understanding can be found by those whose hearts are heavy right now, even if that grace is fleeting. Life isn't fair and it's that cruel reality that sends me home each night hugging and praising my children a little more intensely than the day before. I'll never be all that I could have been because of Cian's death, but the perspective I have gained doesn't feel as heavy as it once did.

Merry Christmas to everyone. Like the commercial says, give thanks for the healthy kids in your life and give to those who are not. Now that's a great little tag line.

Friday, December 17, 2010

the dimple.

Ahhh how I love Noel's single dimple. I think this photo is a great showcase for it. I also think Noel looks like a beautiful little girl in this picture.

Hard to believe we are a week out from Christmas. A week out from our sojourn in upstate NY where it has been snowing like nobody's business, well except for maybe Minneapolis and Chicago. It's getting to be go time. The chaos and busy-ness will be peaking any day now and then.... nothingness. Hooray for January and bitter arctic blasts and nothingness. I hope Paudie is on board with nothingness because it feels so right to me. Weeks and weeks of nowhere to go and nothing to do. Clearly I am spent. This year has been a whirlwind between welcoming our gorgeous Noel into the fold, more travel than usual, and some increased intensity at work. Lately I have been very sort of absent-minded and forgetful and I can't help but wonder if that is just working mom-ness, closing in on 40 or some sort of preview of neurological issues to come (my mom was diagnosed with dementia in her early 60s). OMG, it sucks whatev it is. I am so type A, typically so on top of my game and lately, I feel like I have no game. Like I can't walk and chew gum. We'll see if it eases up as we embrace nothingness next month.

Paudie is getting so excited for our trip to NY and of course Santy. It's so fun to be living in a world negotiated and understood through the eyes of a three year old. I hope we have done right by him come Christmas AM - he changed his mind so many times about what he was asking Santa for - I'm so worried the toys are going to fall flat. I'm really wishing for a total AFV moment when he opens the crane he has been asking for since we got the Toys R Us toy book last month and goes totally bananas, jumping and screaming and doing a happy dance. Not that he has ever once done anything like that. Why? Because Paudie is his mother's son. Like if we were ever on Extreme Home Makeover the bus would move and I'd be all, 'wow, looks great. thanks.' Inside I might be screaming and crying but those emotions just don't make it outside of me very easily.

Trying to think... what else is going on? Feels like an increased incidence of bad things happening to good people. Really bad things, really good people. After Cian died, so many people told me, and perhaps I have written this before, that basically we have our cross to bear, we have our painful tragedy. And we'd be set. But I would never for a moment believe that. And recently this has been reinforced for me. Who knows, maybe we get passes all the time. A few years ago during a brief consulting stint at BCBS MA I was crossing in-between traffic to get coffee at Dunkin Donuts. All the cars were stopped. As I went to cross the second line of traffic I heard car brakes squealing increasingly loudly - a car was driving the wrong way (trying to get into Dunkins natch) and trying to avoid hitting me. I was frozen in fear for a second watching this car come at me. I couldn't even walk after the incident, my legs were so weak from the shock. I felt at that moment like, that could have been it. I could have just died getting an effing cup of DD coffee which probably tasted like shite anyways. But I didn't, I got a pass. I thought of that incident several times after Cian was diagnosed. Did I cosmically get a pass that I just don't understand? You don't know what you don't know, right?

So am I getting too heavy for a Friday at 4:30? BTW, I am so happy it is Friday at 4:30. Short week next week and a week off the following. Will try to get in one more post before Thursday - some more end of year reflecting might be in order.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The crew meets Santy

Yup. We took the boys to meet Santa at a charity event for the local animal shelter. The event was really meant for pets, but you know me, always looking to save a buck. So in theory it seemed like a good idea, make a donation and get a picture with Santa. My lack of foresight never ceases to amaze me. Trying to get two kids and a dog to sit still, smile and look in the same direction is just not feasible. The group was kind enough to give us about 20 shots on a CD - each more ridiculous than the previous. I kinda like them though -they really make me laugh. Like in this one, Banjo is blinking. That's such a human thing to do. Anyhoo Noel was half asleep and on the verge of crying the whole time and Paudie just is scared to death of the big man in red so he wouldn't sit near him. Nor would he take his mittens off.

The last few weeks have been flying by. We had a very low-key Thanksgiving and post-Thanksgiving weekend. P really gave us a run for our money behavior wise. He was such a brat. We took him to see Santa and 3 (elderly) elves jump out of an airplane and parachute into a field by our house - froze for an hour plus. How did he repay us? Well by a complete and utter meltdown of course. Then the next day we froze for 2+ hours at the Christmas parade in Quincy. Again, some really brutal behavior. I had no choice but to bust out our brand spanking new shelf elf. We've been talking the guy up for weeks and finally I decided enough was enough, time to get some reinforcements in for some nice-boy behavior. I put him in the stairwell and when John took P up to bed, as they came around the corner and P spotted the elf... silence. And clinging. And right to sleep. Thank you elf on the shelf!

So Mr. elf, who P named, "tree," has been doing wonders for our little Padraig's temperment. Earlier this week I asked John what would we do after the holidays once Tree is put away. "Threaten to take away all of his new toys" of course. Ah yes - good answer. I never thought I'd parent-by-threat as much as we do, but I also never thought an angel faced pre-schooler would be screaming. "don't be stupid" in my face several times a week. Where does he even get it from I wonder because we may say lots of things that we shouldn't say, and we're working on our language, but we really aren't angry yellers.

We are also working on teaching Paudie how to be charitable. That's a hard lesson to teach we are finding - or rather the concept is lost on P. I think he can't really get his head around the fact that some kids don't have toys. So when he sees us donating to Toys for Tots etc, he really struggles with seeing shiny new toys go unplayed with. He even tries to argue that he too has no toys. He was watching Even Almighty with John Saturday night, which really had him in stiches, and John was trying to explain about God to him. Then when the St. Judes commercial came on with Morgan Freeman P said, "look dad, there's God." I had to bite my tongue to not express my deep down thoughts on where God is or isn't when it comes to children with cancer.

There are a handful of children whose stories I continue to follow in terms of their cancer battles and my heart breaks that the vast majority of them are reaching or have reached the end of the treatment line. To be looked in the eye and told there is nothing further that can be done for your child is... just so wrong in this day and age. We can study life on other planets, transplant practically every organ there is from one human to another, fight pointless wars and so on and so forth but we can't help cure children whose diagnosis stems from (I love this) bad luck. Until my own child was diagnosed with cancer I really thought modern medicine was kicking the ass of childhood cancer. I miss that ignorance.