Saturday, March 20, 2010

14 and Full of Himself

Alex turned 14 on the 15th. What can I say about Alex...hmmm. Here's 10 things:
1. He is handsome (that smile alone is enough to make you fall in love with him--it did cost us 10G's so it better).

2. He is kind and well-mannered. Never once have I heard from anyone that he was mean spirited or that he's picked on anyone, or shown any kind of disrespect. We sometimes get notes from school teachers telling us how much they enjoy having him in their class.

3. He's gentle. He'd be so mad at me for saying this. The way he "wrestles" with Isaac and gives of his time to his little brother is so awesome for me to see. Little children have always been drawn to him. He's a big ball of fun that all the neighborhood boys want to play with (young and old) and a great roll model for his siblings.

4. He knows what's right. Sometimes, as many teenagers do, he challenges what we "tell him" to be right. But left to his own devices he comes around to the same conclusion without much help from us.

5. He loves sports. Duh. He's coming alive now that baseball has officially started. How I love watching him play. He has an awesome head for the game (not to mention skills).

6. Alex is responsible. I very rarely have to get after him to get his homework done. He's self-motivated and tries his hardest to get the best possible grade. He doesn't like to miss school and he is excelling in piano like crazy.

7. He is gracious. If anyone does anything for him he never lets it go unnoticed. He is thankful for what he has and talks about it all the time.

8. He's funny. Alex and I have the same personality and same sense of humor. We can make each other laugh pretty easily. It's good until we use it against people and gang up on them...sorry Martin.

9. He has awesome taste in music, thanks to me. Thank heaven he doesn't go out for country like his sister,the turn-coat has done (thanks Aunt Mindy). We still love ya, Liv.

10. When Alex was born he quickly became my best friend. Martin was at work and school and the lab all the time and I was so glad to have a little buddy. We obviously did everything together and I loved those fun days of our early family. Once we moved to Seattle I leaned on his little 2 year old body a lot. I'm so glad to say he is still my best buddy!

I love you, Alex! Happy Birthday to the coolest kid around!

Friday, March 12, 2010

2 Years and Counting

It's been 2 years since my sister, Jen passed away from Brain Cancer. It's amazing how time flies. It's officially the longest time that I've gone without seeing her. Her mission was a mere 18 months and that seemed like an eternity!

It's like my sister Mindy said in her blog, I find myself talking, laughing, arguing, and thinking like she did. I think that's part of the way we keep her alive with us. We take on traits of hers that we miss. I'll never be as wickedly funny or argumentative as she was and I'll never be as smart but I like to think I'm getting closer.

So what does it feel like to lose someone so close to you? How does it feel after 2 years? The answer is the same. It hurts, and hurts, and hurts. Sometimes I think I'm fine and then something hits me like a brick wall and stops me in my tracks. Like the other day I dropped Isaac off at school. I watched him walk from the car toward the school, hopping a little, skipping some, and yes, dragging his feet A LOT (that's Isaac). I watched him as he disappeared behind the wall and it hit me in my chest and took my breath away. I love watching him walk on his own, and move on in life. Jen won't have that the same way. Erin (Jenny's oldest) starts Kindergarten next year and Jen will miss it. She'll miss getting her ready for school and picking her up as she gets off the bus. It's so hard to think of that. It's something that brings a mother such joy.

A little over 2 years ago when Jen found out she was taking a turn for the worse and not responding to the chemo, it was early August and we all were in the throws of the "back to school": buying school clothes, and supplies, finding out teachers, etc.. I remember her getting really quiet and saying this was the kind of thing she'd miss the most. I know Erin is okay. She has my Mom and my Sister, Mindy there to pick her up and they'll do an awesome job of it, but for Jenny, I'm sad. I like to think she's going to be there anyway. Maybe she will be.

I love Imogen Heap. I love the words to almost all of her songs and I can put myself in her frame of mind and totally get what she's talking about, unlike any other singer I know. Jenny liked her as well. I came across a song of hers that just hit and stuck with me. The words totally convey my thoughts about life without my sister. The song's called "Wait it Out" and some of the words are here:

Where do we go from here?
How do we carry on?
I can't get beyond the questions.
Clambering for the scraps
In the shatter of us collapsed.
That cuts me with every could-have-been.

Pain on pain on play, repeating
With the backup makeshift life in waiting.

Everybody says:
"Time heals everything."
But what of the wretched hollow?
The endless in-between?
Are we just going to wait it out?

I know Jen would never want us to stop living our lives. I know our family will all see her again. I'll hold her hand and she'll look at me and smile. It seems like it's too hard to wait. It seems impossible even, but I just take a day at a time, a week at a time, a year at a time. That's the best I can do; take it a day at a time and enjoy every minute with my kids and Martin and our family and friends. She'd want that. I think she expects it and will be disappointed in me if I don't. So we all do our best. I hope it's enough, Jen. I miss and love you.

If you want to hear the song click on this:
and click on "Wait it Out"