October 5, 2015

The One Who is Always Missing

A little over a month ago my youngest nephew turned two. He is from the family we were fortunate enough to live near when we were stationed in Texas. I texted my sister-in-law Jenny and commented that for a few weeks, before her eldest turned six, between her kids and mine we had a one, two, three, four, and five year old. She wrote back and said that even after Carson turns six we should have a one, two, three, four, five, and six year old. I love that she thought, so effortlessly, about where Cale should fall in the mix. It was one of those comments that meant a lot because it reminded me that I'm not the only one who is missing him and thinking about him. Jenny has always been a really great Aunt to Cale. He's lucky to have her even though he never really go to.

A little over a week ago the kids and I flew out to Texas to visit our family. The kids did great on the trip and on the way out there we even had the row to ourselves which was really nice.

Finn was coloring on the airplane and I asked, "are you coloring that for Aunt Jenny?" as we were just talking about her and he replied, "no, I'm coloring it for Cale." 

It breaks my heart wide open in the best way possible when he says sweet things like that all on his own. I'm so sad for the relationship Finn and Cale do not have, but grateful for the one that somehow even exists at all.

When we arrived in Texas Finn and his cousins picked right up where they left off, as they always do. I just love their sweet little cousin relationship and friendship. We had a wonderful time with them and squeezed in a train ride, a splash pad visit, a high school football game (Lordy those Texans don't mess around), a trip to Target, several stops at Starbucks, trips to the playground, lunch visits at school, and just lots of play time for the kids.

One day we were getting ready to walk to their neighborhood playground and the kids were waiting patiently to walk down the driveway and cross the road. A couple of them stood against the garage so the rest followed suit and I thought it was cute so quickly grabbed my phone. But my heart skipped a beat when they stood in birth order and there was a space that so clearly should have been filled by my should-be five year old.

6, (5), 4, 3, 2

My loss friends and I often talk about the space in pictures were our child(ren) should be. It's always there, but not always this glaringly obvious. 

Shortly after I snapped this picture Carson scooted closer to Finn and Mary hopped in, but there still was a space. And while in some regards these pictures are almost painful to look at, they also are brutiful reminders of the person, the entire unique and amazing little being, who is missing and always will be. 

We had a wonderful time in Texas. It was fun and made me miss living near family and I anxiously await going back. But that space will always be there. There may be chaos and joy and far too many little creatures needing something or fighting over something or making a mess of everything, but as exhausting and wonderful as it all is, that space, that void can never be filled. 

The Middles and the Littles

September 28, 2015

Our Little Runner

After Finn had such a good time running part of a 5k with me the other week, I knew he would be excited to run in his very own race so I signed him up for a kids' race that took place yesterday. It was part of the "Warriors for William" event which is a very sweet Superhero themed race against childhood cancer. All proceeds go to childhood cancer research and the race is held in honor of a local boy who passed away recently from a rare form of leukemia. 

I have a very wonderful friend, my oldest childhood friend, who had leukemia when we were young. She is a fit and amazing new mama now, but these causes always tug at my heart a little extra because of what Bridget went through when we were growing up. I was excited to get to support this cause and to put the kids in matching Captain America shirts for the event. And Finn was thrilled to see so many other Superheroes in attendance.

I told Finn to stand by Mary for a picture. 
He said, "but she's sleeping" to which I replied, 
"I know, this way she will cooperate."

Speaking of cooperating. . . 

Picture taking aside, Finn was really cooperative when it came time to his race. There were at least thirty kids, Finn and a few others being the youngest in the bunch. I was kind of worried about him getting trampled at the start, but fortunately the big kids made their way around the littles with no incident.
Thor was stretching next to him and Batman was in the zone, 
but he didn't let that get in his head.

There was a 5k for all ages as well as a half mile kids' race, though I think it was closer to a quarter mile as it felt pretty short and Finn had no problem running the whole thing all on his own. Because it was advertised as a half mile I assumed I may have to jump in and run along side him or see if he needed to walk for a bit or hop in the stroller, but instead I would run up ahead and watch him just keep on running, not stopping until he went through the finish line and got his very first finisher's medal to which he said, "I won the race, mom!"

The picture doesn't show how sweaty he was. 

I'm so proud of the little guy. He is still so young that racing with bigger kids could have gone either way - he could have seen people running faster than him and had a meltdown (as seen when I wanted a pre race picture), or he could have just refused to participate. But instead he just ran and kept going and it really will be something I'll carry with me when I do my next long race.

This is why I wanted a picture while she was sleeping. 
Because Lord help me if I want a cute picture of them both looking at the camera!


September 21, 2015

Microblog Monday: Get Off Me, Mary!

There have been WAY too many incidents involving bodily fluid from members of the family over the last couple weeks to include Roscoe. Damn, lovable, disgusting Roscoe. Last weekend I was hit with a very sudden and very vicious stomach bug that caused me to vomit every possible thing that was in my body for a period of five hours. Then I proceeded to lay in the fetal position for the next 24 hours leaving the TV and Roscoe responsible for babysitting. I was so grateful that the kids were spared, though Mary's diapers were not, until this weekend when Finn got sick. This morning by 7:30 I had already done two loads of laundry, changed one set of pajamas and sheets, and cleaned up far too much vomit. I won't even get in to Roscoe's latest antics because gross. Just so, so gross.

Anyway, what I am grateful for (and totally jealous of) is how quickly kids recover. There was no lying in the fetal position for Finn. By breakfast he wanted waffles and he was acting just fine throughout the day, though he would tell me that his tummy would like some Gatorade (sure it would you little liar). He was tired (understandably so) and at one point late in the morning I hear him saying, "Mary, get off of me." "Mary, I'm trying to sleep. Get off of me, Mary!" 

This girl. She's a sassy little one. But we sure do love her. Even when she squishes us.


September 13, 2015

Finn's First 5k

Yesterday we ran the Tunnel to Towers 5k which is a race that happens all over the country in honor of Stephen Siller who was a New York Firefighter killed in 9/11. He ran back to the towers (via the tunnel systems as the roads were blocked) in full kit after his shift ended. The firefighters and Rangers wear full kit which is what Miles' did for last year's race, but unfortunately he's away for this year's race so Finn was my running buddy instead along with my good friend Michelle who was nice enough to capture these pictures for me.

Local boy and girl scouts wear pictures of all the fallen first responders and line up along one of our big parks during the half way point of the race. During that very powerful stretch of the race I let Finn get out of the stroller and run with me. He was thrilled. He gave high fives all along the way and the louder people would cheer the more he would pump his little arms and hustle those little legs. He ran again at the finish and while participating in this run is already so special, seeing him run his little heart out really made it that much more memorable. 

Look at those little arms in action.

Michelle with our little runner. I love that even the kids got bibs.
Finn felt so official.
I purchased that headband on zulily a few months ago
never thinking I would get as much use out of it as I have! Murica!


September 8, 2015

Playing Hooky on The First Day (Not Really. Sort Of)

So technically Finn was supposed to start school today. But at the last minute I've decided (I think!) that I'm going to send him three days a week instead of five and I think that means he will be on a Monday/Wednesday/Friday schedule, but I could be wrong and he could be on a Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday schedule in which case he missed his first day today. Oops! But if he did, we had a great reason (not really) to play hooky; the beach!

After we ate breakfast I just thought, "we should go to the beach" and asked Finn if he wanted to go, to which he replied, "yes, I'm gonna go get my suit on" and sprinted out of the room to get ready. So that was that. We packed a lunch and headed to the beach. And we had SUCH a good day out there. The weather was perfect - warm but not too hot, cloudy at times, with a tiny sprinkle at one point that left as quickly as it came in (we just sat under the umbrella but it was pleasant to be in regardless), cool, but not too cold water. . . really, I couldn't have asked for better weather conditions. And there weren't many other people there and no other kids (most of them are probably going to school on time). 

Sometimes the beach can be overwhelming and exhausting, but today it was just lovely and the perfect way to end our summer.