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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

A Visitation

We attended a visitation last night.

This wasn't the "usual" kind where someone was old or sick had passed.

This was for an 18 year old, senior in high school,  that was murdered last weekend.

He was the son of A-man's baseball coach and the big brother of his teammate.

We were in shock when news came out.  Heartbroken for their family.  Rainman and I kept saying things like, "I can't imagine...."

And, we really can't.

I was actually holding it together pretty well, until  I saw the slide show with pictures of his life. Santa pictures.  Pictures where he and his dad had fallen asleep in the hammock.  Pictures of him blowing out birthday candles.  Pictures of him up at bat.  Pictures of him gently touching his new baby brother.  I honestly had to stop watching.  I couldn't take it anymore.

We stood in line for 2 hours because there were so many people there to see his family.

One of our pauses in line, we ended up next to his grandparents, who we had seen casually at baseball games, but never had a real conversation with.

The grandmother slowly looked each of us in the eye, then looked again.  She said, "I just want to remember your faces.  I want to remember who came here for him.  It means so much to us."

The grandfather told us that he looked pretty good.  That they had done a good job getting him ready.  He did have some bruises, he warned us, from both the fight the night he was killed and from his new found passion for MMA grappling/wrestling.

Once again, I had to bite the inside of my mouth to stop myself from crying.  Normally, I am a big eye contact person.  I like people to know that I am listening to them and paying attention.  But, I just couldn't look at him.

Then, A-man's teammate spotted him in the receiving line and weaved his way through the pews and people to come over and say hi.

Let me tell you, two 11 year old boys spontaneously hugging each other when it isn't because of joy of a game won, is heart wrenching.

They hugged. They put their heads on each others shoulders.  They stepped apart and did sort of a manly shoulder pat before standing their awkwardly for a bit, because.....what do you say?

We finally made it to the front of the line and A-man's coach was standing at the foot of the casket and the mother was sitting at the head of the casket.

Visitation had started at 5:00.  We got there at 7:00 and finally made it at almost 9:00.  We asked  A-man to go first in line, because we weren't sure that the coach and his wife would recognize us in the throng of people, but we knew they would recognize A-man.

The coach took one look at A-man, held out both arms and pulled him in for a huge hug.  A-man quickly turned his head away and hugged him back.  He later told me he had to turn his head away so he wouldn't cry when he was looking at his coach.

They hugged.  Coach whispered something in his ear.  Then let go, held him by the shoulders and looked him in the eye again and told him how happy he was that he had come for "his boy".

Rainman and I took turns hugging too.  As he pulled me in, the coach asked me "How are you holding up?"  I said, "I am barely keeping it together, so I cannot imagine what you are going through."

Coach let go and turned to our whole family and talked about how when they had first arrived at the funeral home today.  He couldn't stop crying.  He talked about his chest actually literally being in so much pain he didn't think he could do this.  Then the people started coming......and coming.....and coming.   He said, he realized that all those people were coming for "his boy" and it made him proud to have been his dad.

Rainman and I told him that he should be.  He was a good kid.  Yes, he had gotten into some trouble and made some stupid choices.  What teenager hasn't?  We talked about how funny his son was, how nice he was to the little siblings of the boys on the baseball team.  I mentioned that he was a little bit of a smart alec.  The coach said, "A little bit?!?!"  We chuckled.  Coach said that  he couldn't believe that this happened to his family, and that now their job had to be keeping the people that did this in jail and make sure they stayed there.

It is hard to know how to end one of those kinds of conversations, but, there was still a ton of people behind us, so, Rainman gave him one more hug and we moved on past the casket to his mom.

Back in Minnesota, I used to sing at a lot of funerals and I learned early on, whether I knew the deceased or not, even if they were a close friend of the family, that I couldn't look in the casket because then I would cry and not be able to sing.  It became real then.  The person in the casket was somebody's.....something.  It was real.

So, once again this night, I just glanced in the casket.  His grandpa was right.  He looked pretty good.  He had on his ever present baseball hat.  He looked.....young.

A-man once again was the first in line to the mom.  She too, looked him straight in the eye and pulled him in for a huge hug.

When it was my turn, I lost it.  I couldn't be calm, cool and collected anymore.  This was this woman's baby.  We both just held onto each other and cried.  I just told her that I had no words, just love.  Because, again.....what can you say?  Nothing.

She squeezed me tight.  Kissed my cheek and thanked us for coming.  She too, looked us all in the eye before letting us move on.  I think she was trying to stamp in her brain the faces of all the people that came for her baby boy.

I left and was weepy on and off the rest of the night.  I just kept picturing the little bronzed baby shoes and the pictures of him opening presents on Christmas morning.  I looked around at my babies....and just  This shouldn't happen.

We are all heading over to D-man's campus later today.  I want to give him a hug.  I want to eat a meal with him.  I want him to be a smart alec and annoy me.  I want to see him give A-man a choke-hold and then a proper hug when we leave.  I want to see him walking along the street holding V-girl's hand.  I just want all my babies together and to hug them.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Changes All Around Me

I haven't written a new blog post in a really long time  Partly because we have been busy and partly because I was trying to sort of refocus on our life and not think about posting or writing.  One of my things I have been trying to do is focus more on me (which is actually harder than you would think!)

You see, there are changes happening all around me.  Some are good.  Some are not....good....but, not necessarily bad. They just.....are, which requires a full reset of my mind, my time, my habits, my mood.

We had road trips and family reunions.

We moved D-man into his college dorm room in early August.

A-girl and L-girl started a new school also in early August.

We now are only homeschooling 3 of our 6 kids. (Plus an occasional extra little cutie)

It is strange.

We have had changes in our schedule of watching extra little people.

All adjustments to our "normal".

Lots of the changes have been an emotional roller coaster for many of us.  Life is hard.  Teenage girls are hard.  That is all.

All of these changes come at a time when I am trying to focus on myself a bit more.  Trying to be okay spending a little money on me.  (so far, I have gotten a new expensive bra, gotten my hair cut/highlighted, placed my first ever order at Zulily, and given myself permission to use the Plexus products that are making me feel fantastic - even though I was sort of annoyed that they worked!)

Basically trying to spend enough time and effort on things that make me happy and healthier.

So, for those of you that tune into this blog to see cute kids.  Never fear, you will still see some of that, but not so  much of my big kids. (It is hard to balance their desire for privacy and whether or not they feel like they look good enough in the picture) I suspect you will also be climbing inside of my head a bit more, as I work towards being okay focusing on me and what I want/need in this life, which means that I am sure there will be rambling posts where you take a trip through my psyche.

Monday, July 4, 2016

A Want, Not A Need

I got myself a "want" today.

Something I wanted, but did not "need".

It was hard.

As we were leaving the store, I said to Rainman, "I feel sort of sick to my stomach."

He said, "Why?  Because you spent money?"

Well, yes, actually.


It is funny, because you work and work to get to the point where you can buy things or spend money in life without guilt, or without going into debt.  Then, when you get there (if you are me) you have trouble actually doing it!

Want to know what I got?

First let me give you a little background story about how I even came to the point were I could sort of justify spending money on a "want" in the first place.

Remember, when we moved into this house, I hated the kitchen?  Rainman assured me that we could remodel it someday.  We had visions of blowing out walls, flipping the sink around so I can enjoy the gorgeous view of our backyard through the big picture window and building our own super long farm table that would fit all of us, and eventually spouses and grandkids.

Flash forward a few years and we have paid off our credit cards and are starting to have a little freed up money for projects.  We decided that now was the time to get the kitchen some help that would make me happy.  We have a really good friend who is a contractor, so I asked him to come over and take a look at some of the things I was hoping to do, so he could tell me if they were even possible, and get a really rough ballpark figure of what it would cost for someone to complete the work. was a huge, astronomical figure.  A "NO WAY" figure.  So, I let go of my dreams and told Rainman that if I could have some money to paint the cabinets and get a gas stove, that I would be happy.

He happily agreed to that one.

I have started painting, but still haven't been able to find the time/energy and gumption to pay the $70/gallon for the Benjamin Moore Aura paint that I plan to use on the cupboards.

But, I have started the process and even with just messy primer on them, the kitchen looks tons better to me.

So, one day last week, a friend of D-man's who works at a big box electronics store and somehow knew that one day I wanted a gas stove, sent a message that they were having a 4th of July sale and some of the stoves were 40% off.


I like a good sale.

Rainman said we had already set aside money and budgeted for it, so I should go for it.

I hemmed and hawed for a bit because I didn't "need" the stove yet.  My cabinets weren't painted yet.  there wasn't anything wrong with the flat top electric stove.  I just hated cooking on it.

But, Rainman kept encouraging me to go for it.  So, I spent hours researching stoves on-line, comparing features, reading reviews and felt ready to make a somewhat educated purchase. I decided on this one.

It is a Whirlpool 5.8 cu. ft, 5 burner gas stove with a convection oven.  I am quite excited that the 5th burner is oval shaped, so I can use my big past iron rectangle skillet for pancakes again.  I am hoping I can just leave it sitting on top of the stove all the time, like I could I at our last house.

Sadly, I forgot to factor in taxes and the $140 installation fee, so I still had sticker shock at the check out counter.  I started backtracking saying that we could get the cheaper model and that if I got the expensive one I wanted I would have to cook more, so maybe I shouldn't spend such a big chunk of money on something that was only going to create more work for me in the end.

The ever so helpful young man that was checking us out, just laughed and exchanged a knowing look with Rainman.  I assume he hears this kind of panic a lot when people are getting the big ticket items.
Rainman is still laughing at me, because I really do feel sick to my stomach.  Really.  I am sure that I will love it when it gets here and is installed and everything, but for now, I still feel a little sick to my stomach because it feels like such a frivolous thing to spend money on.  You know?

You know how you always say things like, "If only we were rich...." or "it must be nice to have money"?  I have decided that I am just not built to be rich, because it is waaaaaay too hard for me to spend money,....and it actually makes me sick.  LOL