It’s a lot. You don’t have to read it.
Wow. Two years. Where was I 2 years ago? I think I was on the verge of, “omgomgomgomg” and “is this really happening?!” Could it be possible? Three years of disappointment. One more missed period. I peed on the thing and then, “omgomgomgomgomgomg.” This time it was real.
I had no idea how awesome Bruce would be, or even that he would be Bruce. Crazy. Amazing.
Today, Bruce went downstairs around 1 for lunch. I gave him a slice of bread. Not interested. I opened a banana. He ate about half. (I finished it, although I hate bananas.) I baked him a frozen pizza. No dice. I made myself a microwave Evol All-Natural Vegetarian Truffle Parmesan Mac n’ Cheese and a spinach/pineapple/berry smoothie. THAT’S what he wanted. It makes me swell with pride to see him make those choices. He’s not averse to chicken nuggets, but he’d rather eat the fruit cup in his Chickfila kids’ meal. Tom and I are leaning away from animal products. (We’re not vegan, or even vegetarian, but I can’t unlearn the things I’ve learned about how bad all that stuff is for you in the long run.) It’s neat to see our sweet, healthy boy get excited about a spinach Nutriblast.
Bruce is getting so big! And he’s so funny! I wish he was talking, but I feel like he does understand most of what I say. He has a huge bruise on his forehead. When I went in his room to wake him up (about a week ago), I pointed to my own forehead and said, “what’s this? What happened to my baby?” He put his hands on the railing of his crib and smashed his head into the bar. Funny fella’. Today, I put the sleep sack on him (because he cannot be trusted to stay in his crib at naptime) and put him in the crib and he fussed. Then, I put a pillow (I know, Mother of the Year Award) in the crib and laid his head on the pillow. He put his middle and ring fingers in his mouth, grabbed his blankie and DID NOT BLINK. But shortly after I left the room (No crying! Woo hoo!) I imagine he did close his eyes.
Still closed now, just checked.
Such a good boy.
I’ve got to do something. My size 16s won’t zip and my 18s are baggy like a potato sack. So… let’s weigh the options:
Looks like I have no choice.
I remember being out of toilet paper. I remember that. The rolls in my bathroom are still new, in the package. I remember last week when Styler was here thinking, “crap, we’re almost out of t.p.!” (Pun intended.) I remember Tom buying it and dispersing it throughout the house. And then, time stopped. Here it is almost a week to the day and I’m just now opening it. Life was different when we bought that toilet paper. We were trying to go up to Charlottesville every weekend because we weren’t sure how many weekends Paw Paw had with us. Mom was trying to balance care of the generation that came before her and time with the newest. I wasn’t sad. I guess that’s the main thing. I remember how not-sad I was when we bought that toilet paper. It’s funny how it takes an overwhelming sadness to understand and appreciate not being sad.
As I write this, it’s 7:46. I woke up today at 6:45ish which, before daylight savings time, was about the time Mom called to say Paw Paw’s not doing too good. I didn’t know what that means. But I jumped out of bed and started packing. Then I jumped in the car and started driving. That early morning was Paw Paw’s last morning with us. And he never woke to enjoy the warm sunlight on his face one last time.
Speaking of overwhelming emotions, just two weeks ago at this exact time, I woke in my All-Star Resort room at Walt Disney World. I was getting ready for my Limited Time Magic behind the scenes tour at Epcot. I was so overwhelmingly happy. I’d spent the wee hours of the night before at Magic Kingdom, so I was SO tired. It’s funny, by comparison to this past week, I didn’t know what tired was.
Bruce and I got to Charlottesville around 2 pm on Tuesday. Aaaand we arrived without Bruce’s suitcase, so that was going to be an adventure. Everyone was at Todd’s house, at Maw Maw’s house, at the house where Paw Paw grew up. (Interestingly, Paw Paw is Maw Maw’s son. You would think they were the grandparents, but no. Maw Maw and Gran are my great-grandparents. Gammy and Paw Paw are my grandparents.) We did a lot of nothing, a lot of sitting on the front porch. Some of us took Bruce to the park. Mom and I walked down the hill to the little corner store and bought soda and candy. Paw Paw lay in Maw Maw’s dining room, and we waited.
Tom bought a bus ticket. He was coming into Richmond at 3:30 am.
Three cardinals appeared at the windowsill that morning. A male and two little females. We decided that was Maw Maw, Gran and Gammy.
We had Chipotle and Raisin’ Cane’s for dinner. Haley and I left around 10:30? 10:45? We went to put Bruce to bed at my parents’ house. Haley and I were going to leave around 2:00 am to pick up Tom from the Megabus stop in Richmond, so Mom was going to come home before then. That would give me 3 hours to nap. Well, it would have if Bruce wasn’t too tired to sleep. He decided he’d rather scream in delirium for an hour.
Around midnight, Dad called. Paw Paw was gone.
It was about 2:00 before Mom made it home. I was walking downstairs to leave for Richmond alone. Haley was asleep. I figured I’d let her keep sleeping and stay with Bruce. Mom and I met on the steps. I hope I never forget her face. She had to have been exhausted, but she glowed.
I asked her how it happened.
She said, “Well, it was about 11:30, and Trudy said, ‘You have to go soon, you should sit by Daddy for a while.’ So, I got in over beside him and held his hand. I like to hold it right there,” she motioned to the beefy part of her own palm, by her thumb, “because that’s where I give him his pills everyday. We sat for a while, and I said, ‘What time is it?’ Trudy said, ’11:39.’ And I said, ‘well, I’ll stay five more minutes.’ He squeezed my hand! And then he started to pull away, I mean, his arms went up and I let go of his hand. His arms came to his chest, he turned his head and he was gone.”
I didn’t cry. I just stood there on the steps in awe. ”I think he was telling me to let go,” she said. Paw Paw had gotten to the point where he’d go anywhere with Mom, and no where without her. Church is a good example. If Mom wasn’t going, if she was in Charlotte for instance, he’d skip that week. I’m glad that she told him 5 more minutes. I don’t think he felt like he needed to hang on if she was leaving. He left this world surrounded by his 5 children. I told her that it’s like they witnessed his soul exiting his body with such force that it physically drew his body upwards.
My first thought was of Gammy running to meet him.
It’s interesting. If feels like a week ago, and it feels like yesterday.
Look, I’m not saying that I’m so gaunt that my bones are protruding… I’m just saying yesterday I noticed my cheek bones for the first time. Were they there all along and I just couldn’t feel them through my pudgy fingers and palms? Possibly. But for whatever reason, I felt them yesterday like I’ve never felt them before.
Oh, and today I wore a pair of skin tight 16 jeans to Bruce’s 12 month check-up. I don’t know whether they are becoming more comfortable or if I am just getting used to the feeling of that button holding on to the the button hole for dear life as either sides of the zipper desperately try to cling together. Jury’s still out.
My sister lost 16 lbs. in 6 weeks. In that time, I have lost 5. WTF.
The cheekbones thing is a good sign though, right? That has to mean something. Right? RIGHT?!
Ya’ know, if you stumble on something at Goodwill, like, a $10 American Girl doll in like-new condition, or a similar hidden treasure, and you know that I’ll love it, I don’t see any fault with wrapping it up and giving it to me as a gift. Actually, Haley and I were with my cousins when we found American Girls’ Felicity and Kaya. We couldn’t leave them.
It makes sense. I love my AG Samantha. (Actually, she dates back to Pleasant Company.) I’m a collector. A psychology student that I had to go see at AIW (As part of my psychology class, we had to go. I’m crazy, but that’s not why I went, I went for the grade.) gave me a Mickey Mouse beer stein and it’s prominently displayed on a shelf in my living room. I forget where she found it. Maybe she just had it forever, she might have said yard sale. I forget, but I love it. I love that she thought of me. It’s such a rare, unique, and special thing. I’ve never seen another one like it.
But I don’t know, you guys. Don’t just go to Goodwill to find something for the sake of finding anything. If you are there and see Bruce-sized pajamas for, like, $2. That’s cool. You were thinking of me, and I appreciate that. Give it to me the next time we see each other. But don’t wrap it up and present it as a gift for him. You have created work for me. “Happy Birthday, wash these clothes.”
It’s slightly alarming that the need exists for this post.
Maybe there is no need for a post. Do people do this, or is one person just doing it to me? Maybe the need is for a note to the individual… but, okay, you tell me how to broach that subject.
I take a lot of stuff to Goodwill and consignment shops. Do you know why? They have no value to me. They’re not special. They’re the throwaways. It’s not about money, I don’t care what you spend, it’s about value. Like I said, we didn’t bat an eye at buying AG dolls for $10 because they are valuable to us, if nothing else. (But they actually are valuable to everyone else as well.)
Rather than continue harping on why it’s in relatively poor taste to gift someone used articles of clothing, I will instead point out several options for super-cheap or easily made gifts. I get it if you’re broke. I get it. Your life’s not about making money, you’re a do-gooder. You want to make a difference. I get it.
Check ebay. For example, I searched “Disney.” Then arranged the results according to price + shipping, lowest first. I immediately found a Walt Disney 6 cent stamp for $ .99 shipped. Buy a mini-frame. You know, they often use them for place settings at weddings? (I think I actually have TWO of those laying around my house, if you don’t, they’re like $1.) Cut a piece of acid-free paper to fit the frame and mount the stamp to it. Boom. Nice, sweet, thoughful… $2. (Unless you’ve been to a wedding in the past 5 years, then it’s only $ .99!) The same price as a shirt at Goodwill that was somebody’s throwaway. I love it. I’ll sit it on my mantle or desk. Super cute. Crafty. Thoughtful. I appreciate you.
Check Amazon. I have a Kindle. Did you know that? Maybe we should talk. Maybe if you had a conversation with me you’d know that I hate folding clothes but love playing “TripleTown” and “Candy Crush” and “Where’s My Water” and “Monsters, Run.” Are there any other Kindle apps that I might enjoy? You can save 80% on, like, 350 different Kindle books. Buy me a book! Again, I looked for about 30 seconds and found something that I’d enjoy. You can choose the delivery date and everything. (FYI, fiction isn’t my thing, but I love art, history, humor, and religious works.)
Your recipient doesn’t have a Kindle? Do they have a Smartphone? Do they have a computer? It’s 2013. You can’t dance around this technology issue.
I sent my sister a $10 Starbucks gift card on her birthday that I got for free by signing up for a Starbucks account or some crap. $10! That’s at least two tall white-chocolate mochas. I know she’ll like that. It cost me nothing.
Still evasive about the recipient having or not having technology, huh? That’s okay. If you’re reading this, you can find things.
Make me a cake. Just the fact that you mixed, and baked, and decorated, I mean — that takes me all day. Make me a mix CD. There’s thought in that. Did you know if you draw on a plain ceramic mug with a Sharpe and then bake it you will heat-set it? Yeah. Custom mugs anyone? Cut out a little heart on cardboard, trace that heart onto a map, cut out that map and Modpodge it to the cardboard, put a ribbon on it, boom: sentimental ornament that will recall that trip we took that one time. (“I’ll put that flea in a box…”) Do the same thing with a bunch of Disney characters from a book that you found at, oh, I don’t know, Goodwill? You could make a whole set: Snow White and all seven dwarfs.
Me. Me. Me. “That’s fine,” you say, “for you. Bruce has no desire for a $ .65 octopus necklace!” Learn something. Google “blanket stitch,” and design a t-shirt using a fabric remnant.
It’s painstakingly custom-made by hand! That’s valuable! I’ll keep that forever!
It is ridiculous how
cheaply inexpensively you can put together a present. Go look at Pinterest. People on Pinterest are so much smarter and more thoughtful than I will ever be. Google “Free DIY Printable.”
You don’t have to do this big thing. Just a little token, a little gesture, is sufficient. And let’s face it, a shirt that’s been caressing someone else’s stinky pits or a sleeper that some other baby pooped in is no big thing anyway. I’d like to research the History of a Gift in modern times. Specifically, I want to know how we got to this point. When we were kids, anything was okay. “Look, I drew this for you.” That’s pretty neat, you did that by hand. You put yourself into it. I guess we got older and started making our own disposable income and wanted to do more, which evolved into making money, albeit never enough, and having bills, feeling obligated to buy presents. We can go back to the drawings. What did I do to make you think, “okay, I have to get her a shirt,” or, worse yet, a skirt and a pair of pants. Not a SHIRT and pants, a skirt, a bottom, and pants, another bottom.
What woman buys another woman a pair of pants?!
Pajamas are the exception. But one doesn’t just gift a pair of pajama bottoms.
It’s so… ugh… I just have run out of words to describe how I feel smiling as I open something that perhaps someone else opened once upon a time. You know how re-gifting is tacky? You’ve heard that, right? This is like re-gifting, except worse. We can assume a re-gift is something new that you don’t like so you don’t use it and instead you gift it to someone else, in the same new gift condition in which it was received. This is kind of like that, except someone else didn’t like/want/need this so much that they gave it away. It was a little bit nicer than trash, so they didn’t want to throw it away completely, but they really can’t have it in their house anymore.
And now it’s in mine.
(OMG… side note, I just did this and it took me 20 minutes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kh88cn_rtLo Bruce pulled up the < key. Holy crap.)
No one reads this. So for the handful that do, I’m posting a special treat.
I really wanted to put together a line of pictures taken with Bruce’s favorite stuffed animal each month for his first year. I did take all the pictures. I think. They were generally 2-4 weeks late though. #MommyFail. I didn’t know what stuffed animal to use because I don’t know which one will become the most important, so I did it with 4 different ones. Two of them were Mickeys.
Anyway, the whole thing has been a disaster and I feel a lot of guilt over it. So, I was relieved at the 6 month mark when we went to a professional.
And relieved again when we went WITHIN A WEEK of his first birthday!