Friday, December 31, 2010


See you later, 2010.
Don't let the door hit ya. Where the Good Lord split ya.

(just kidding. kinda.)

2010. Eh.
Don't get me wrong.
Some good things happened in 2010.
(Pardon these not so great photos ... I just use my iPhone.)

I went to Disney World with my great friend, Kim. It was a work trip for me. We stayed on the VIP floor. I was spoiled by this new development in my travel. This is us on the It's a Small World ride. Kim was quite gracious in my spontaneous crying jags. And? We helped a very small child find his parents in the rain.
I completed the Disney Princess Half Marathon with my dear friend, Carmen. We were at the very end of the walkers. The very end. But we had a good time along the way. She also encouraged me through my crying jags. See how I cried a lot in 2010?

We released a ton of balloons on Michael's angel day. I am always amazed by the amount of people that have been touched by Michael's short life. I really thought that only my family and a few friends would come to our Balloon release in the park. Michael's friends from school came out. Some of my former co-workers and all of my graduate students came out. My family drove many hours to spend the afternoon with us. I am blessed to know so many fabulous people.
Stu bought me tickets to spend a weekend in New York City with some sweet friends. I wanted to go. But was nervous because I don't like to be away from home. He made the decision so easy for me. We had a great time. I love New York and to be able to spend it with some of my favorite people was wonderfully refreshing for this homebody.

My tennis team went to regionals. My partner and I won 2 of our 3 matches. We didn't win the tournament, but it was a good time. Eating, swimming, playing tennis - Fun! And we were so cute in our pink outfits!

Every child received a teddy bear at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta in Michael's sweet name. My heart was bursting at the seams. Another instance of my miscalculations. I thought that we might receive enough for 50 bears. But people spread the news far and wide. A Zumba fundraiser was put together - by sweet people that just did it. Without our asking. Just did it - because they were touched by Michael's story. The playroom also received a ton of toys. Wow.

We lit Michael's candle in our yearly tradition of his Christmas program now. The only one that we will get to see. The cemetery was beautiful.
It snowed on Christmas Day. In Georgia. I like to think that Michael pulled some strings with the Big Man. We spent Christmas with my parents who were so generous, once again. They take care of my heart. My mom makes me food that I love. They fill me with love. They are good. To their very core. But I don't tell my dad that. For he would get a big head.

There were other things to happen: Mr. Bobby received his heart. Ellen is cancer-free. Babies were born. And conceived. Vacations. Holidays. Other things that were great that I can't think of right now. I had a very generous and loving husband by my side. the whole time. Even when I was angry and not such a nice person. I had friends. real loving friends. Who despite my attempts to push them away. Keep coming back. And loving me through my ugliness. I have a family. And they are wonderful and crazy and generous. With the biggest hearts of anyone you could meet.

I worked. On my own time. With a woman that I am truly thankful for. I also worked with fsu for a short time. A real blessing. And I worked. With my dear friend, Kim. She can't know how much that helped me through these past dark months. And it was fun to flex some of my creative muscles and brainstorm fun things with her.

And I want to tell you that that I enjoyed every moment. That I am smiling. And happy.
It would be a lie.
I am wrestling with this grief. And grief is winning. Big time.
I existed. coasted. though this past year.
The first without my precious son. Without his imprint. On the year.
I grinned. And I beared it.
I am facing big questions of futures. and the pasts. and the things in between.
About faith. and love.

So. Bring it, 2011. But please bring it gently.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

a reminder

I saw this on another blog.
It needed to be shared here.

An Erma Bombeck Column:
A young mother writes: "I know you've written before about the empty-nest syndrome -- that lonely period after the children are grown and gone. Right now, I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry and muddy boots. The baby is teething; the boys are fighting. My husband just called and said to eat without him, and I fell off my diet. Lay it on me again, will you?"

One of these days, you'll shout, "Why don't you kids grow up and act your age!"
And they will.

Or, "You guys get outside and find yourselves something to do ... and don't slam the door!"
And they won't.

You'll straighten up the boys' bedroom neat and tidy -- bumper stickers discarded, bedspread tucked and smooth, toys displayed on the shelves. Hangers in the closet. Animals caged. And you'll say out loud, "Now I want it to stay this way."
And it will.

You'll prepare a perfect dinner with a salad that hasn't been picked to death and a cake with no finger traces in the icing, and you'll say, "Now, there's a meal for company."
And you'll eat it alone.

You'll say: "I want complete privacy on the phone. No dancing around. No demolition crews. Silence! Do you hear?" And you'll have it.

No more plastic tablecloths stained with spaghetti.
No more bedspreads to protect the sofa from damp bottoms.
No more gates to stumble over at the top of the basement steps.
No more clothespins under the sofa.
No more playpens to arrange a room around.

No more anxious nights under a vaporizer tent.
No more sand on the sheets or Popeye movies in the bathrooms.
No more iron-on patches, wet, knotted shoestrings, tight boots, or rubber bands for ponytails.

Imagine. A lipstick with a point on it. No baby sitter for New Year's Eve. Washing only once a week. Seeing a steak that isn't ground. Having your teeth cleaned without a baby on your lap.

No PTA meetings.
No car pools.
No blaring radios.
No one washing her hair at 11 o'clock at night.
Having your own roll of Scotch tape.

Think about it. No more Christmas presents out of toothpicks and library paste.
No more sloppy oatmeal kisses.
No more tooth fairy.
No giggles in the dark.
No knees to heal, no responsibility.

Only a voice crying, "Why don't you grow up?"
and the silence echoing, "I did."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

a message

I went to Michael's today.
The store.
For crafty items to tackify my sweater for the 1st annual Dooley Tacky Christmas Sweater competition.

I was perusing the floral aisle.
When a woman looked at me and waved and said hello.
From two silk and plastic flower aisles away.
I didn't recognize her. I don't think that I knew her.
But I am polite. So I waved back and said Hi.
And went back to looking at the silver sparkled poinsettias.

She came over.
And told me that the Lord had a message for me. Did I want to hear it.
Ok. I said. For I wasn't quite certain what else to say.

Perhaps she approached because I was wearing all black.
And hadn't slept the night before so the bags under my eyes were more pronounced.

She told me that I was suffering. And had been for a while.
But that the Lord wanted me to know that I would experience joy once again.

I started to cry. I told her thank you. I probably needed to hear that.
She said that she knew. That the Lord had told her.
Then she walked away.
Leaving me standing there with my basket full of rhinestones and feather boas.
And my message from the Lord.

I tried to find her. This Lord message deliverer.
To see if she was sharing this message with many others.
But she was gone. Disappeared.

It is not lost on me that this message delivery happened.
In Michael's.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Team Michael update!

Oh Friends. My heart is full from this past weekend.
This weekend. We put all of your generosity to use!

Stu and I left Tally very early on Sunday morning. My sweet friends gave us the latest in Elf fashions with our Team Michael hats. Loved those!

We met up with my mom and dad; my Aunt; and my two cousins.

AND IT SNOWED! This picture doesn't show the snow very well. But it was beautiful. And magical. And the perfect backdrop for our shopping adventures.
Target was on the schedule. We had four or five carts FULL of toys and crafts for the playroom. Several other Target shoppers commented on the fun we were having! And fun we had. Board Games and push toys and cars and DVDs and crayons and markers and googly eyes and batteries and legos and .... the list goes on and on.

Next Stop: Build-A-Bear. Such nice people - the store was so busy when we got there. The employees made time to talk to us about the bears. They were just as excited to be a part of Team Michael's bear delivery as we were! We had boxes and boxes of bears. Every child at the Egleston campus of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta will receive a bear. WOW!

A fun day was had by all of us. I am continually overwhelmed by the love of family and friends. And complete strangers. When I am at my lowest, I think of all of you. And I am buoyed.

We delivered the hundreds of bear and bags upon bags of toys to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta this afternoon. We knew that we would not be able to deliver directly to the patients - that is against hospital policy. Our contact person at the hospital was so nice. And so amazed by how many things we put into her office! I'm not sure she was expecting that many items.

She doesn't know all of you.

Thank you to everyone who donated. Everyone who sent notes of support and encouragement. Thank you! Consider yourself hugged!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Team Michael

I sent this letter out through e-mail and through a new TEAM MICHAEL Facebook Group a week ago:

Michael was 5 1/2 months old when he went in for his 2nd surgery. It was December 15, 1999. I had gotten everything done forChristmas early that year. I didn't know how long he would be in the hospital. Being the rock star that he was, he was out in less than a week. From open heart surgery. Such the trooper.

While in the hospital, a group came around to deliver toys to the patients in the CICU. Michael was given something age appropriate - a puppy plastic toy. I remember thinking that it was an odd feeling to be on the receiving end of a donation of this kind at the holidays. We gave to Toys for Tots, put change in the Salvation Army pots at the stores, donated blankets to the homeless. But never thought we would be a recipient. It was humbling.

We still have that toy. It was a comfort to us while in the hospital. A way of saying that we were not alone. That someone had thought of Michael and our family. That someone, a stranger, spent time to bring joy to a less than joyous place.

My family wanted to do something to honor Michael this holiday season. We decided to give already built Build-A-Bears to patients on the Sibley Heart Center floor at Children's Health Care of Atlanta. A perfect way to remember Michael. He was a patient there. And he LOVED his stuffed animals.

These Build-A-Bears are $10.00 each. Our goal is to donate a bear to every patient spending their holidays away from home. In the hospital. Will you help us reach that goal?

You can donate in a couple of ways. We have set up a PayPal link so that donations may be made on line. Or you can mail me a check. Or if you want to raid your piggy bank, I will totally take your pennies. Please feel free to forward this e-mail far and wide - the more the merrier! We will need to have your donations by November 29th to be able to receive the bears in time for delivery.

Once again, I appreciate your thoughts and prayers. And for remembering Michael.

I can report that as of today, we have raised just over $2000.00. In a week.

I am truly speechless. I had no idea what to expect. Wow.

This shows me that Michael's spirit lives on. That my son. My sweet son. Has inspired people and touched the hearts of many.

He would be so excited to see what all of you have done in his memory.

I would like to give you all a big (bear) hug.

Consider it done.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

my costume.

I opened the door. To find a pirate. A princess. Dorothy Gale. And a witch. On the porch.
Each took turns grabbing candy from the pink pumpkin.
The witch proclaimed that I had her favorite candy. And thanked me profusely.
The pirate took more than one candy. The princess insisted that he give it back.

And Dorothy Gale. Asked me if I was a mommy.
Me. With my t-shirt, shorts and flip flops.
Hair in a pony tail. Bags that are packed for a two week vacation under my eyes.

Was Dorothy wondering this because she thought I had on a costume?
Or because she just wanted to know.

I simply said Yes. I am.
And realized that it fit. I am. A mommy.

Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

pancake mix

My husband grabs an expired box of pancake mix out of the pantry and asks:
"Do you have any emotional attachment to this mix?"

And I burst into tears.
I can remember, so clearly
Making a botched batch of zucchini pancakes.
With tofu noodles.
Making these with my sidekick. My right arm.
My Michael.
And then going out for pizza instead.
Because why would I think that zucchini pancakes, with tofu noodles, would be delicious?

This is my state of mind.
Holding onto things because there are memories associated.
I'm a hoarder.
It pains me to throw away anything that has any sort of attachment to Michael.

Stu put the pancake mix back in the closet. For another day.
I am a crazy woman. With a very sweet husband.
Who asks first because he knows me.
And doesn't think I am losing it.
Or at least he keeps that part to himself.