Wednesday, June 24, 2009


There are a few constants that I've always known about my mother.

1. She never likes to go anywhere without full hair and makeup done.

2. She's a vitamin, organic, anything health related fanatic.


3. She cannot swim, is terrified of water, and can barely stand water on her head in the shower.

So, imagine my surprise yesterday after I told her we were going to go swimming at our neighbor's pool, she said, "I think I'll come with you."

Now, our neighbor's pool is all one depth across. The water only comes to my mom's stomach, but last summer, this caused her great anxiety. The kids even tried to reason with her that should she accidentally be put under water SHE COULD STAND UP. This did nothing to console her.

And if the fear of water isn't enough, my mom worries about sunscreen, sunburn, the kids needing a snack, the kids needing a drink. Making sure the kids don't swallow pool water, making sure I know that The Early Show told everyone that showering immediately after swimming in a pool is a necessity because of all the chemicals that are on your skin.

Hello, anxiety personified!

This summer L and O have become very comfortable in the water. They're always jumping in and have almost gotten the hang of swimming underwater. They also like to get on rafts and then fall off and bob back up to the top. This all causes my mom to hyperventilate at the sight since she knows that she would drown if she were pushed off a know, because she'd forget to stand up.

Olivia was floating along on a tube and was near the ladder. My mom happened to be standing next to the ladder and Olivia flipped herself over off the raft. Half way across the pool, I had Kate on a raft pushing her around. She saw Olivia fall off and started screaming because Kate isn't a fan of going underwater and so she thinks everyone else must be afraid, too.

Suddenly, my mom slips into panic mode where she says, "Oh my gosh!" and then throws her hands up in the air. I'm still trying to figure out why my mom is freaking out when she reaches into the water and pulls Olivia out of the water by her hair.

Um, really? Is this how the Red Cross wants people to save swimmers? Hair pulling?

Olivia came out of the water SCREAMING because her grandmother was pulling her hair out by the roots.

Trying to figure out what was going through my mom's head at this point, I ask her why she would pull Olivia's hair and she answered, "Because Olivia was screaming for help. She was drowning."

I pointed out that Olivia had fallen off on purpose, was underwater on purpose, and wasn't screaming. If she were screaming, would we have heard her? The screamer was her sister who decided to be terrified for no reason.

My mom's reply? "Ooops."

That's all--just ooops.

Ironically, with all this fear of water, my parents live on a lake. I don't know how she lives that close to deep water every day. She says it's peaceful. Go figure.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

36 years

Tomorrow is my 36th birthday.

It may sound cliche, but I truly do not feel 36. I don't know what age I do feel exactly, but in my mind it's a lot younger than what I am. Most of the time I forget how old I am until one of my kids ask me, or if I'm at the doctor's office and someone asks me.

This birthday I'm feeling a bit melancholy and it's not because I'm getting older. I'm dreading this next year, but it isn't because it brings me one year closer to turning 40. I'm just afraid that this next year will take people away from me that I love--specifically my grandpa and my best friend, Julie.

As I write this, my grandpa is in the hospital with a heart condition that so far hasn't been brought consistently under control. He is 83 and I know that is a very long time to live, but it isn't enough for me. My grandpa has always been there first for my mom, then for me, and now for my kids. I want to hold on to him and I want him to live forever. When I think of the future, I don't picture him not there for my kids' graduations, their years of college and their weddings. In reality, I know that the odds of him being here for all of that are slim, but it hurts my heart to think of a big family event happening without him. I am praying hard that God will just give us few more years with him.

My friend, Julie, is fighting cancer right now with every inch of her being. Today we celebrated her daughter's birthday and while I was enjoying the day, the shadow of cancer was ever-present in my mind. Will she be here next year to celebrate another birthday? Will her husband and daughter be forced to go on without her? How will I go on if she isn't here? I feel like cancer is slowly taking her away from us. It consumes her thoughts, it consumes her emotions, and it has very unfairly decided to consume her body. Every minute with her is precious. I've gone through this cancer journey with her for the past 2 years and until today, I have never thought about how I will react to her not being here. She can't leave. I feel like shaking my fist at God and screaming, "IT'S NOT FAIR!"

But, life isn't fair. Nobody gives us any guarantees. I'm so blessed with my family and with health, but I know now more than ever what I've been given is fragile. I know I don't appreciate it enough and I know I can never fully express to God my thankfulness for it all.

My prayer is that my 36th year is filled with good things. I want to bask in the joy of my life more. I want to stop and look with wonder at my children and how they're growing into wonderful people. Most of all, I want to keep everyone that I love in my life circle. If one of them were to be gone, it would leave a giant hole that I could never fill.