On saying goodbye

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One of the things that brought me back to this long-neglected blog is my grandmother. I’ve written about her many times before. About what an inspiration she’s been, a role model and a wonderful grandmother. We named Courtney after her, which has always been hugely important to me. Baba, as we called her, was a writer and a mother and a strongly independent woman. She traveled the world and saw many beautiful things and took chances and didn’t allow the circumstances of her life get in her way or hold her back. She was remarkable.
 
My grandmother passed away not long after her 96th birthday. 
It’s taken me awhile to sit down and write about her, her life and her death. It’s been weighing on me heavily, the inablity to sit down and write about her without breaking down into sobs. The ugly ones.
Baba was a fixture in my life for as long as I can remember. She was a New Yorker through and through, though not by birth but as a transplant, and if not for her Colombian accent, you wouldn’t have known it. She loved New York and all that it had to offer. She embraced the people, the culture, the good and the bad, the museums, the food, the movies – everything that made it the epicenter of the universe. We would take the bus or the train or drive in from Hartford to spend weekends or spring breaks with her. We’d go to the theater or the movies or the Met and almost always the same chinese restaurant several times a year. She’d come to Hartford and spend weekends and holidays with us but her heart strings would pull her back to the city. As we grew older, and she grew shorter, our trips were less frequent but always a wonderful time. Her apartment on the Hudson was always a sweltering 85 – winter or summer – and she snored like a very large man, but they were always worth it. 
I can remember times as a small child when we’d sit in the den and she’d brush my hair or rub my back. I can remember WAY back to a time when she babysat for me while my parents went to Hilton Head and we flew down to meet them. I don’t
know how that worked because she didn’t drive… She was there in my earliest memories, always a figure to admire, a person to love.
Baba’s been gone almost a month now, but in some ways she’s been gone several years. Because we live 900 miles apart, my visits with her have been few and far between. Every time I saw her, the changes were drastic. She was smaller, less of her former self. I’m not sure she knew who I was all the time and I know she couldn’t hear me well. She knew that my kids were her great grandkids but maybe not which ones. It’s been hard. So hard. And while I know she’s in a better place, it doesn’t make the loss any easier. 
I know we have our memories and we have to keep them fresh and alive to keep Baba alive in our hearts. I want my kids to know who she was and I’ll make that a point in raising them. I miss her. I miss her so much and while we haven’t had much of a relationship in several years, it doesn’t make the loss any less severe.

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Then this happened

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In the blink of an eye, or so it seems, my baby girl is done with pre-k. Just. Like. That.
Let us first mention how asinine it is that we’re done with school on May 20th. Asinine I say. I can’t believe we can’t even go until the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. Unacceptable.
Anyway, it seems like just yesterday we debated the merits of the public school versus the little church pre-school. And now here we are, done with it. 
Courtney had an amazing year. She started off slowly but came into her own and is just a pure genius. A 5 year old prodigy, if you will. She get’s it from me. OK fine, she’s a 5 year old who can read some words and write some words and count to a zillion. But DUDE, can she sing her some Let It Go. Priorities.
I just can’t believe that kindergarten is in the fall and she’s off to the big school. Long days and school buses and new friends and great adventures. It’s times like this when you want to stop time, keep our babies young and little and innocent. I know there are great things ahead for her, and I’m anxious to see where life takes her. Let’s just slow it down, shall we?
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Life is like a bowl full of groundhogs

OK, that doesn’t make any sense. None what’s so ever. But there you have it. 
I’ve certainly neglected my little blog over the past 14 months. I just feel like there isn’t much to say. Or nothing new, anyway. Our days our repetitive with slight variations here and there. 
We get up. We rush around like crazy, trying to get out the door for school/the gym/a playdate/camp. People won’t eat breakfast or brush their teeth. Or put on their clothes. Shoes are lost and the pants that fit last week don’t fit today. They’re INCHES too short. We get in the car and there’s a breakdown about the missing stuffed bear or how so-and-so looked at me funny. There are time outs and yelling and tears and it’s barely 9:00. 
I drop the kids at their destination and then I’m off to the gym/a run/the grocery store/the doctor/the cleaners/home to sew. The days have variations but I’m certainly a creature of habit, my days from 9-1 vary slightly. I’m attempting more to focus on getting things done that mean something to me – a kick ass kettlebell workout or several solid hours of uninterrupted sewing. I almost NEVER spend my ME time doing laundry or dishes or even having lunch, that can all wait until the kids and I get home.
And then I pick them up. The whining/crying/fighting all happens within minutes of getting into the car. I attempt to diffuse/detract/engage in topics that don’t result in whining and tears. Sometimes my own. It’s amazing how quickly the peace becomes a war. 
We head to a friends/swimming/home/the grocery store/out for ice cream/to the park/or any of the other 34 errands I’ve neglected to complete during my morning solitude. I can’t complain. Not really. Courtney and Patrick are the best of friends. They play together all afternoon. Mostly nicely. Don’t get me wrong, there are tears and fights, the occasional blood, and some serious screaming. But they like each other and enjoy each other’s company. I don’t expect it to last forever but it’s great while we have it.
The kids eat. All the time. Non-stop. I’m constantly throwing food their way, not unlike feeding the animals at the zoo. You just keep lobbing things their way and hope that at some point, they’ll be satiated long enough that you can get out of the kitchen. And then I make dinner. I can’t help it, I cook. We rarely eat out, I love a home cooked meal. Part of it’s the cost but part of it is knowing what I’m eating and what’s in my food. Even if Paul and I are the only one’s who will eat it. I make an amazing pad-thai that my kids won’t touch with a 10-foot pole. That’s fine, I’d prefer not to share. But how many hotdogs and string cheese can Patrick actually eat? (The answer: all of them.)
And then the small people sleep. Or at least go to bed. Courtney doesn’t sleep. She spends 2 hours running around from her bed to the bathroom to the bookshelf to the bed to the bathroom to the…. You get it. Two hours. She *usually* doesn’t scream for anybody but for those 2 hours, I’m tense. I can’t relax. I’m waiting for the wailing of my name. The sobs that come when I won’t go up there for the zillionth time. Or the first time. 
I know I sound down, like things aren’t great. And sometimes they aren’t but usually they’re pretty good. Just the same. The kids are healthy and happy and thriving. Paul and I still like each other and have created a happy and loving environment. We don’t get to do all the things we’d like to do or go on any crazy and exciting vacations but that’s ok. For the most part, Groundhog Day isn’t so bad. Some changes would be welcome, but only fun and exciting ones. 
Time to finish dinner. And then see if we can’t survive the witching hour. I hope to be back here more. We’ll see, I make no promises. 

For you

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This is for you Paul. I’m easing into it. Our littles, they aren’t so little anymore.
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And the sun still rises

As a runner, and as a person, I’ve been horrified by the events that transpired in Boston today. I can’t help but think of the faces of my family as I rounded the corner, heading towards the finish of my last race. That moment where I saw Courtney on Paul’s shoulders and Patrick peeking between the fences. The joy of seeing my family there to celebrate my accomplishments with me. What happened today  brings a lump to my throat, my chin quivers and I struggle to keep my emotions in check. A happy occasion, an event that lends itself to celebration, a moment in time when the tears should be of joy and not horror.
I’ve been grateful today to be able to seek solace in my family and the kids as they run around the yard, picking flowers and laughing together. I didn’t bother with the normal battles of eating their meals and clearing their plates. It didn’t matter. Like with the Newtown tragedy, I’m grateful that my kids are only 4 and 2 and I don’t have to attempt to explain what happened today. I know my days with Courtney are numbered when her age lends itself to blissful ignorance. She won’t hear about Boston or Newtown from me but she may hear about them from a classmate who has an older sibling. And then what do I say? The world should be full of butterflies and princesses. Not death and murder and things that don’t make sense. Because really, how do you explain these things? What do you say to make sense of it all? There’s no sense in this.