Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Soldier Returns

Eric is slated to be home late tonight after packing up his mother's home in Syracuse, New York. He has been gone six days and he says he has been at battle since his plane touched down.

"Kate, I feel like a soldier coming home from the battlefield." he told me on our nightly call last night.

His mother is brutal~ tough. hurtful. alcoholic. insecure. ill. And now she is losing her mind.

His mother was in a major car accident three days before Christmas. A story for another day. Thank God no one else was hurt and while she was hospitalized for three days the injuries were not life threatening. Eric's cousin was determined for him to witness the pictures from his mother's facial injuries and pulled them up on her camera phone last night much to Eric's chagrin. "It was horrific," he told me. 

My mother in law's reactions to this move in many way are text book- anger, resentment, terrified, belligerent- she is leaving everything she has known for some 76 years. Yet truth be told since we moved to Seattle in 1998 she has wanted to move here. She has made it abundantly clear at each turn. We had been in the planning stages for a few years now but after the accident the timeline changed. The time has come.

She does not want to part with paintings on the wall, mounds of mail order offers she has been collecting for years, cupboards of pots and pans, piles of Christmas decorations, and all the other things you acquire over a lifetime.

Yet most of it  must go. Her assisted living space is tiny. We have purchased all new items to furnish it from the sweet pink flower wreath on the door to the flat screen TV to the tea cups. No, she can not bring the giant framed picture of six crying clowns...

"I don't like people. Especially relatives. You need to know that you are ruining my life," she has said daily. I am sparing you, dear reader, as she has said so much worse. 

But the soldier fought on. Eric filled up nearly two dumpsters of her things. By himself. He would take 20 gallon plastic tubs and load them up and lumber down two flights of stairs (the elevator in her apt. complex was out of service, naturally). He'd then lug these bins across the frozen tundra of the Norstar apartment complex until he reached the dumpster. He did this for five days usually in the veil of darkness after he'd gotten his mom off to bed.

"My heart has been racing," he told me last night. "My friend told me last night on the phone I need to be careful due to my blood pressure issues and all that is happening. I understand how stress can kill & how dealing with aging parents can cause a son to have a heart attack." he was completely serious.

My heart broke. I'd be dishonest if I did not admit to being worried about his health. He sent a good night video to us one evening and he looked like he'd aged 10 years. I went to bed thinking of my elementary school principal who had a heart attack shoveling snow as the strain was so severe.

May God protect Eric's heart. And soul.

I simply cannot wait to welcome my hero home.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Finding Bliss

This photo of my Olivia just popped up in the corner of my laptop as I was working. It was snapped right after she got her stage makeup on for her role in "Annie". I first noticed her natural beauty and then was drawn once again to her eyes. I often wonder what goes on behind them.  She has taken in the world and analyzed it deeply since she graced our planet. She would lay in her cradle with her giant blue eyes always carefully watching the bustling activity around her. She would sit in her car seat gazing out at the window as the world whirled by. I could almost hear the wheels of her mind churning. She has never missed a beat. She soaks everything in. She did not smile easily- not until she thought she had the scene all figured out. Then her smile would come. And her giant belly laugh. And she felt secure.

Her report card came yesterday. She is excelling across the board. She is exceeding standards by leaps and bounds. The only area of concern is in her sense of self. Self esteem. 

Olivia is full of life. She is bright, pretty, gentle with children, growing more empathetic than I could have ever dreamed, thoughtful, witty, silly, talented, a risk taker, a dreamer, a storyteller, & as dramatic as the day is long.

So why the low self esteem? It makes no sense to me. A 10 year old such as Liv should feel as if she has the world on a string. I spoke to her about this and we're working through whether these are simple normal tween feelings or if maybe she tends to make normal feelings bigger than they really are or whether she really, really does feel bad about who she is. She promises me she has it under control. I told her that I am here for her, and her dad, and her family, and teachers, and principal, and prayer helps. She says she's got it. 

I sure hope so because Lord knows this child was made to shine.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy February

I have missed you, Smile Lines. I have but a moment so was going to steal just a few and reconnect.

The photo above from last winter makes me think of love (the red gloves over my chest appear to be a bit like a heart, yes?) And I was standing with a prince after all.

Much has happened per usual since my last writing.

The winter was a busy one. Girls were in the play Annie and were just darling. I was every bit the stage mum at their weekly rehearsals. I could not be more proud of them. They are my joy.

I was incredibly sick all of Dec. I dropped a jar of jam on my toe in the middle of it all and swear I broke it. boo. It was also one of the busiest months I can ever recall. Did I already mention that?!

Christmas was spent in Missouri at the gorgeous home of my brother Peter's family. They decorated every nook and cranny, entertained us with horse drawn carriage rides, delicious meals, even had Old Man Winter grace us with a white Christmas. Our sleeping arrangements rivaled those of an inn. Perfection. Today I have never felt happier or more blessed by the family I was given. Lucky girl.

Brighton School remains one of the safest, happiest spots for our family. Liv and Audrey are thriving. That is almost an understatement.

The three dogs are smellier than ever but Al and Bell continue to make my heart sing as they lay about the house with their heads on eachother. Frib (and his steroids) seem to be keeping whatever ails him at bay which, too, is a blessing.

Eric's mom is moving here in 12 days (to an assisted living facility). God bless it all.

k PR is in a nice groove right now. My team is solid and wonderful and everything I could hope for.

We just took a quick jaunt to Disneyland and loved every moment.

I continue to love waking up next to Eric every single day despite the ups/downs of life. This weekend I realized for the very first time how truly grateful I am that we have been in a relationship for nearly 20 years and do not want to be anywhere else. Thank you, God.

The sun is out, the dogs are barking, and an afternoon of client meetings await so I am off.
May we connect again soon.

And if I do not find you before hand, Happy Valentine's Day. May your heart overflow with love.