Hard Days…6 Years

Six years ago today was absolutely one of my hardest days…our hardest days. I’ve stopped calling it the worst day. I’ve had my share of hard days since then. Still, it hangs on my head. I start to dread seeing October 10 come up on the calendar. Then it happens. I wake up almost surprised that it is actually just like any other day. If you’re new here, you can read about our Jessa here.

I’m not writing this for pity or for you to feel sorry. I’m tougher than that. I just need to document it to alieve guilt I think. So Jessa somehow knows that I will never forget. I dread the 10th once October starts. I distract myself with Bria’s birthday or fall break but it hangs. This year like most years, I’ve woken up and it’s just like every other day. The cloud just hangs a little heavier. This year like most other years I had my major pity party on the 9th. I guess that’s appropriate. We found out Jessa was gone on the 9th. On the 10th I was blessed to hold her. I got to stare at her face and decide that she was going to favor Hanan. I counted her fingers and her toes and tried to show her how wanted and loved she was before we had to say goodbye. It was hard but I got that. I might not have.

It’s funny how grief ebbs and flows. I’ve compared it to a scab before. Yesterday my scab was picked. Mom told me about running into someone who knew my Dad. I spent so many years telling myself that God’s plan for Dad was better. He couldn’t had another stroke and not really been able to live. That would’ve been so much worse for him. There are days like yesterday when I’m just heartbroken. I know how much he would love my kids. He would be kicking a soccer ball to the girls, playing Infinity with Jack and throwing everyone in the pool. He would convince Arleigh to race him the length of the pool and just let her squeak out a win…maybe. He would be doing handstands with Hanan (in the pool) and throwing Jack in the air as high as he could get him. He would have Bria standing on her boogie board and teaching her to flip off. Oh my word I hate not having him around for my kids. Yesterday was one of those days when I really felt the weight of it.

My dad didn’t have a dad. He didn’t really know how to teach us to fix things although he did teach me to change a tire after I shredded one. He did know how to participate. He coached baseball. He played basketball with us. He had a bike so he could ride with us. He loved to run and would sprint with me around our house and the house next door. I thought I would never be able to beat him. I was happy with I could just stay with him. He was always there doing with us and I never gave him enough credit for it. Yesterday as I imagined all he would be doing with my kids, my heart hurt a lot.

As I spent the day thinking about Jessa I realized Dad is probably doing all those things with her. It’s selfish but I want them both here with me, with us, playing with us…doing life with us. My scab is open. It’s another hard day.

I’ve stopped calling October 10th my worst day because I got to hold her, to see her, to know her for a second. So many people, some I didn’t even know were so kind and compassionate in our grief. It was awful but there was good in the day too. There is good and bad, sometimes awful in every day. I’ve just come to hope for more good than bad.

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The Middle

There are times that I question if I post about Bria too often. She is really at that fun age where she’s figuring everything out. She also doesn’t seem to care if her picture is plastered on the internet. Arleigh and Hanan often want veto rights on images. Sometimes, her little stories are just too good not to share.

Bria wants to take her baths by herself now. Thankfully, she wants me perched in the bathroom so she work out the day with her Mama. This week, I was watching her try to rinse the suds out of all that hair… it can take awhile. She was listing off the things that she wants to ask Santa for this year. It’s not a long list but I was hearing cash register sounds in my ears. Good grief. She really wants one of this Nabi tablet things. (She also wants a new bike with a basket and a phone if she could swing it. Not happening.)

The child looks at me with her serious look and says, “But Mom, I don’t know if I’ll get it.” I thought she might be considering Santa’s magical budget… Nope. “I might be on the naughty list…”

Um. Wait a minute. Neither of her sisters ever even considered that they might be on the naughty list. What has she done? How do I deal with this? How do I not bust out laughing when she so freaking serious? I just ask, “Bria, why do you think you might be on the naughty list?”

“Because Mom, sometimes I’m really good and sometimes I’m not. I think I might be in the middle so it could be either way.”

Bless her… my in the middle kid.

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I could learn a lot from Bria. As long as she feels the support of her family, she isn’t afraid to try anything new. She fights her way into keeping up with her much older sisters. At the beach this week Arleigh and Hanan were passing a soccer ball. Most little sisters would insist for a pass. Not Bria. She made herself the monkey in the middle and did a great job of stealing the ball from both girls. Sometimes that stubborn I can do anything I want streak gets her into trouble. She still whines to get her way. She can throw a fit if she thinks she needs to but 90% of the time, she’ll take whatever is front of her head on first. Unless, this is in her words “I can’upposedly get distracted.” That’s usually by something else she just really needs to conquer. I’ll take her in the middle for good or bad…it’s Bria.

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Women Are Spaghetti

It’s fall break and we got to head to a cabin on the west end with Nana. I have to say, the views could be worse.

Yes, I’m going to miss it here. We used the opportunity to get the kids on a SUP. (Stand Up Paddle board) It’s taken me a while to get the hang of it, but I do love it take it out now. Ray is much better at it in the choppy water than I am. He got his exercise yesterday teaching the kids how to do it on their own.

It was a good day. When Ray was renting a board he met a local who teaches surfing on the west end. I believe we have a new friend. He hung out and talked story with us for a while. He obviously doesn’t like to see people trashing his beach. He can’t stand McDonald’s wrappers left to blow around. Good for us, we didn’t have any. He told us about a couple who were on vacation from Delaware. “Everything was F you and F that and they going back and forth.” He told them that there were kids around and he was clearly uncomfortable trying to teach a lesson with this going on. He said he took his clients to the water and when the wife walked away his cool uncle went to talk to the guy. Apparently the conversations went like this.

“What are you doin’? I tell you what you need to do…BE QUIET.”
“But she’s wrong!”
“No! Be quiet? How long married?”
“5 years.”
“Best advice you get. Be quiet. Smile. Walk away. Rub her back. Just be quiet. She always RIGHT!”

Danny, the surf instructor said he isn’t married and even he knows you can’t win a fight with a woman. We were laughing. He said his uncle always says men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti. I didn’t get it either. Apparently when you put a waffle on the plate and pour syrup on it, the syrup spreads and fills each crevice. It’s slow and everything is compartmentalized. Women, in uncle’s eyes are like spaghetti. Everything bleeds together. You put spaghetti on a plate and pour syrup, it’s everywhere on everything. Women are working on everything at once. They can’t stop. Men are putting it in boxes and one thing at a time.

We laughed until we cried at uncle’s stories. I will miss talking story this time next year.

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Promises Promises

I know. I’m awful. I promise to post and then I don’t. I’m sneaking in a few seconds on this lazy Saturday afternoon. Here’s what’s been happening.

I finally got Mom out here but it felt like the time was way too short. A bit of a fiasco at the airport led to arriving sans luggage. That meant lots of shopping. There is now a rubbermaid filled with summer clothes awaiting her return and a filled suitcase that I borrowed from her at her house. I am seriously envious of a Hawaiian quilt she totally scored at the Swap Meet… 

Mom supposedly got to see me surf. The truth is, we were so far out, she didn’t know who was who. I’m pretty sure she napped after she took the first picture. Wait… she was resting her eyes. 

Grandma also got the new iPhone. It’s the bonus of being a frazzled mess and leaving your phone in the car for a long trip half way around the world. Funny thing is she got it the very day that so many people were waiting in line for it. Luck of the draw I guess. 

We had almost nightly shows of the Blue Angels right above my house. It was insane.

Grandma even caught this picture from my front porch

We had a really great extended week that wasn’t long enough. I promise more on that later. 

I’ve had one child making her own Halloween decorations because I didn’t decorate quite fast enough for her.

We’ve celebrated having Jack home for three years. More on that later too. 

Nana has arrived. We are entering Fall Break. We plan a trip to the west side of the island soon. Soccer is still happening. We are taking a brief piano hiatus while our teacher travels to Japan. Then there’s the middle school dance. A boy that I don’t know called one of my daughters cute. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I know she’s more than cute, but I’m just not ready for the drama of what to wear and that boy and that song and that… Mama needs a drink and it’s three in the afternoon. 

Clearly I have so many things to document and no time to document it… I’ll try. Promises…promises…

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The Beat Of Her Own Drum

We’re just going to ignore the fact that I haven’t been posting. I have a traveling husband, visiting Grandma and four kids in the middle of soccer season. One just joined the dance team, another the drama club. There’s saxophone and piano and traffic. My calendar is CRAZY! I’ve been back on island for a bit. We are excited to have lots of visitors this fall. I have to admit it has taken me a second to find my groove. I think I’ve found it. I might need a bit of dusting off and polishing up but it’s back. And with that… I’m going to try to get back to posting more often. 

This morning on my daily car ride, I was listening to Arleigh and Hanan discuss 5 SOS and which band member was cuter. Jack was repeating that it was picture day for him and Bria was trying to find a rhythm with two pens on the back window. Arleigh and Hanan got out dragging a giant saxophone case, and dance bag and whatever else was shoved between the seats and Bria just kept banging. 

I made the turn to drive back down the hill (mountain) to get to Bria and Jack’s school. Every morning I catch my breath. I can see Ford Island, The Arizona and The Mighty MO just sitting in the calm water. It was supposed to rain today but it was beautiful again. Before I can point it out, Bria says, “Do you like this beat?” There is another rhythm coming from the window, tapped off the cup holder, and then the pens being rubbed together. 

This kid…

DSCF0784Last year she asked for drums for Christmas. I talked her into a much smaller One Direction guitar instead. I’ve been noticing the constant drumming with anything she can find. I need to ask her teacher if it’s something they talk about at school, maybe in Hawaiian studies. She was born loud. She came out ready to take on the world, and especially her big sisters. This morning while I was braiding her hair I asked if she ever plays her guitar. “Not really. It needs to be tuned and I don’t know how.” Apparently you don’t have to tune the car window. Who knew?

Bria is going to have a birthday soon. She asked if she could swim with the sharks since her best buddy will be off island. She goes all out at soccer. She’s pretty sure she runs her elementary school even though she’s only in the first grade. She has so much more compassion for Jack when he’s having a hard time than any of the rest of us. When he’s not… she treats him like a little brother should be treated. She is ornery as the day is long and as sweet as my favorite strawberry cake. This week, she plans on marrying and sailor and teaching Kindergarten. I asked why. “I want to move around and I know kindergarten best because I did it twice.” I guess I need to send Santa a note about the drum set. I can’t wait to see what she does marching to the beat of her own drum. 

 

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The Grandma Diaries

My children are obsessed with youtube channels, and youtube stars. I’m old. I don’t understand. I’m okay with that. I’ve decided that I should have my own Youtube channel. It will be called the Grandma Diaries. Seriously. This teenage boy was secretly videoing his grandma while she drove him around.

His channel is now some sort of Youtube sensation. So, I would only be sort of stealing his idea. He doesn’t have my Mom or my Aunt. Grandma and Nana Bonnie are pretty hilarious. 

Here is a sampling of a few of things I hear while I drive them around…

“Mom, I can see the main road.” “I know, turn here, it’s shorter. It’s my old Indian trick.”

“He was an Apache. He had a mean streak.” “Because we Cherokees were a kind sensitive tribe?” “Exactly.” (Some of this really needs to be video so you can get the inflections.)

“Well, would you look at those crazy cranks!” 

“They always smile at your face right before they stab you in the back!…Well, she will!!!” 

“He just called her everything but a white woman!” 

 “Well hey!” Then insert any piece of advice Nana Bonnie ever gave me.

“This too shall pass…” with a series of head nods and amens and maybe even a pat on the back. 

“Do you remember that story Mama told about the woman at the sewing plant? What she had to do for her husband…”  I’m just going to stop there since I want this to be a PG-13 blog.

“That was a hot night in July. The sheriff knocked on the door and…” That would be another story that I have to wait to tell until well, I’m dead or I would be in a hot minute. 

“Are you driving me out here to shoot me and leave me for dead?” 

This my friends is but a sampling of the things that I hear. Some of them will haunt me again tonight. How can two women simultaneously fill me with love, make me laugh until I pee myself and horrify me? My word I love them!

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