December 27: Grief and Goodbyes

Tuesday. Chocolate Tuesday. Tuesday after Christmas. After anticipating Santa and then saying goodbye. After my father and his wife arrived and left. There is a sense of emptiness in the house. The presents are opened. My family has left. We’re now saying goodbye to out-of-ordinary holiday festivities, to Santa for another year, and trying to get back to a normal routine.
Highlights of the Morning and Commute:
  • I showered while all kids were sleeping. After dressing and towel-drying my hair, I flipped my head over and there was Red, just standing there smiling. I was surprised that she surprised me. Without a word, I rushed to hang up the towel, sat on the floor, and motioned to her to come over to me. We have a thing together in the mornings. She sits on my lap, and I rock her while hugging her. Sometimes when she is needy during the day, this is the same approach I use with her if she responds to it. Sometimes I softly talk to her, but most of the time I do not. I just hold her gently on the floor, her in my lap, and we rock. That is how I started my day.
  • Big Bro pounced into the room, fully dressed from head to toe, all by himself. I love that and I love that he gets a charge out of doing it.
  • I carried a ton of stuff downstairs – piles of clothes, computer, iPad, chargers, phone, etc. Red wanted me to hold her hand going downstairs. Big Bro waited at the top of the stairs for me to come back up for my second round of piles – and also to hold his hand coming down the stairs.
  • Downstairs, it was Chocolate Tuesday. And now ALL the kids are converts. All kids asking for more. Twin husky loves it. Twin crazy just licks the chocolate off of the bread.
  • Twin Crazy drove me a bit crazy with her hair accessories this morning. Her hair was falling in her face and we pull her hair back. The problem this morning was that she kept pulling them out. Two clips, and then I got a band. She started to pull out the band (one that she wore all weekend, so I know she likes it), and then I told her that “No, I don’t have time to play this game with you all morning – you need to keep that band in your hair”. Because of this, she got extremely mad with me. Her eyebrows furrowed, her face turning red. Thankfully she did not burst into tears. But we did talk about how she was mad at me. And that it was OK to be mad. She got off her stool and ran to Daddy. Later, after being soaked in oatmeal, Hubby was going to change her and then she had a change of heart with me. She started squealing in a happy voice, “MOMMMMMMY!!!!” and running to me with open arms. She bounded into my lap and hugged me real hard. I asked her if she was mad at me anymore and she said “No.”. But then I was a little mad at her since she got oatmeal literally all over my shirt and sweater for the day. That looked just great along with the matching chocolate on my pants.
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  • I spent time with Big Bro helping him to dis-assemble his new Lego space shuttle and sorting the pieces of his Lego sets into different ziplock bags. He is very particular, and very organized. He was excited to be going to “camp” and bringing his new loot with him.
  • For some reason, Red starts to have tantrums over clothes, then socks, then shoes, then her jacket. At this point we are becoming very late. Twin Husky barely gets a diaper change before we’re out the door. Twin Crazy is wearing one shoe and we have the other 3 on the floor. Between all of us we have two computer bags, one clothes back, one backpack, two lunchboxes, and one bag of clothes I need tailored. It really is a bit much. Red is in the backseat sulking with her polka dot jacket. The boys are happy.
  • We do two quick drop offs together. Red is clingy. We race back to the ferry parking lot and screech into a parking lot. We barely make the boat and have to run before it shut its doors. I bought a coffee inside the boat. I am starving.
On the way to work and during the commute it was foggy, I was tired, and feeling very defeated. Suddenly an overwhelming feeling of grief struck me that is hard to describe. It just hit me all at once. I even cried for a bit. I thought back over the past year and just felt battered. This was not a good way to start my day.
I decided to treat myself to some breakfast on the way to work. The office was essentially empty. I looked and felt like crap. No amount of make up was going to make me feel right today or mask the way I was feeling.
Highlights of My Working Day:
  • Needless to say I was not that busy, although I could have been. I returned some phone calls, went through email, and started to look at benefits information (forms are due tomorrow).
  • I realized that I have tons of pictures of my kids but few at work so here is a picture of my cluttered office. I know it looks like shit everywhere but honestly I know where EVERYTHING is. Notice the piles. Notice the heater in the background. Notice the baby clothes on the back file cabinet (clothes I could not bear to give away – keepsakes for memory boxes)
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  • I decided to make it an early day and left for the earliest ferry home.
Dinner and Bedtime:
  • We picked up kids and while Hubby was getting Big Bro and Red, I talked with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky about how proud I am of them using their words. And how now we can start to have conversations and how they can also talk to Big Bro and Red. This seemed to ignite their need to talk more…. Twin Husky started talking about buses and airplanes, and Twin Crazy started to repeat the conversation that I started with her, about how she will be able to talk to everyone. She paused a lot between her words but I was patient with her and let her answer and go through all of the people….mommy, daddy, [Twin Husky], [Big Bro], [Red]…. even her day-care provider was mentioned. I love this stage and what is to come. I have a feeling we’ll be having a lot of funny conversations in the future.
  • We got home and I slammed together a dinner of salmon, carrots/peas, and also leftover pasta/spinach and a leftover yam. Kids ate well (after I did two sets of jumping jacks as a bribe) and we celebrated with dessert and chocolate milk.
  • Kids were relatively good after dinner. I spent time with Twin Crazy and Twin Husky doing “horsie back rides” which they now wait and take turns for. Big Bro was watching Dora; Red was doing puzzles. I got the Twins ready for bed and then helped with Big Bro and Red. Big Bro was beginning to master his new yo-yo. We were all exhausted.
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So, a rough morning, a slow day, a better evening. I’m not sure how I feel right now. I guess I’m looking forward to the end of 2011 but also to new beginnings for the new year. Bring me strength through cyber space please, I need it!
Til tomorrow,
– Mama K


  1. Mama K,
    You are in good company as we all endure the epilogue of Christmas. There is so much build up during December. We all participate in a crazy frenzy of purchasing, baking, preparing, creating and maintaining the illusion of large red and white icons. In this, we tend to overeat and overspend while we frantically try to capture this feeling of joy that we expect ourselves to have. The BIG day arrives and if you are like us, you enjoy a couple of drinks with your dinner on THE EVE and then you stay up too late eating “cookies and milk” in preparation. The gift giving experience is all too brief and then the morning ends with the need of batteries and 7 adults to assemble everything. It is a deflating feeling for most. I myself never caught the spirit this year. This is the first year that I haven’t at least warmed by Christmas Eve. Some of my friends have shared the same sentiment so I have to chalk it all up to a very strange year. Maybe we can all look forward to 2012.

    For you I know your lament is so much deeper and it is firmly rooted in your desire to have more family in your life. So today I will share a story that may or may not apply (sometimes it is just a miss….but we try). I have a friend who spent 2 years pursuing her masters degree in counseling. She completed her degree last year but then she needed 1000 hours in the field in order to get her certification to practice. We regularly go to dinner together and so she shares her journey with me. At first, she just wanted to finish her dissertation and begin working. Then she grew weary of the cases she was forced to work in order to gain her 1000 hours (because she was working out of her desired field in order to get these hours). Finally, she completed all these hours and she was ready to start working in family counseling. She interviewed with several practices, agonized over choosing the correct one, selected what she deemed the best fit and started working. But the beginning hours were not what she expected because it took months for her to be accepted by various insurance carriers. She is now employed, accepted by the insurance companies and practicing what she has so badly wanted and worked towards. Now, she wants to have her own practice.

    So this very long story is an example of our drive to create the life that we want but how it is always just a little out of reach. I think we all envision what will make us happy and we strive towards it. Once we achieve one goal, we become aware the other places we fall short. This is my beauty routine. My roots are too dark….if I just color my hair….I will look perfect. Now my hair is shiny, highlighted and brilliant…..but oh wait….I see crows feet sprouting around my eyes. I just need the perfect eye cream and I will look and feel great. The cream is working but I think my arms are not toned enough….I need to incorporate an arm workout into my week ( several times). And so it goes…..the perpetual cycle of yearning. And though, it may seem like a bleak picture I paint….NOT SO!

    Goals and wanting are motivating. If we had everything in place the way we wanted…then what. The joy we gain in life comes from achievement and successfully maneuvering through life’s wickets. You have gained tremendously with your career adjustment and added time with your kids. You will eventually find the path to bring your extended family closer in your life. Look forward to that future accomplishment and the next goal to follow.

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