Monday, April 22, 2013

rainy days and mondays

it's a dreary, rainy monday night, the kind of monday that prompts pajama pants and an ill-fitting bra. i have been pouring over news headlines the last 20 minutes, reading about the latest terrorist attack on our country. by the time you read this, the boston marathon bombing will be a story some where in your virtual history text book; but it just happened a week ago today. it was a bloody mess. people lost limbs, four innocent people were killed, and once again we are all on edge. those radical muslim terrorists have managed to frighten us once again, but americans have been able to rise above and pull together ONCE AGAIN. its really been just awful, i've had a terrible feeling in my stomach the last week and i hate it. its like a public reminder of how the world is changing and puts a face on evil. i'm trying my best to march on and be resilient but i haven't been able to stop thinking about the 8 year boy that was killed in the blast. how he could have been any one's child, my child. there is nothing sadder than the loss of a child and my heart absolutely breaks for that family. so much senseless violence in the world.

there was a quote from mr rogers that has been viral the last week, and as your mother, i feel its my obligation to share it. its also my obligation to try to make you feel better in times of unrest and i thought this was so poignant coming from a friendly neighbor.

just remember in times of great fear and uncertainty to look for the helpers. or more importantly, BE one of the helpers. 

heavy sigh

that's all i have got on that. i am emotionally spent and heart broken even thinking about it. 

on to happier things. . . 

a few weeks ago, while daddy was at the final four, we made our way to springfield to visit grandma and grandpa. uncle tim came along with us and had talked me into running my first ever 5K. although i have run a bit from time to time for exercise purposes, i am not a runner. but when your brother, who just had his second kidney transplant six months previous, asks you to run, by God you run. i agreed to it, to be his cheerleader, all the while knowing there was a good possibility ol' quad kidney was going to kick my ass. we did it with the ingersols and as soon as the race started tim and ross took off leaving the girls behind. i didn't see tim again until almost the finish. i am proud to report that i ran about 95% of the race. . .  and i didn't die! (i did sweat a whole lot!) it was the color run so every mile they threw colored cornstarch at us. (yes, we paid to do this!) tim and ross waited for us at the end so we could all finish together. i was thrilled to complete but the best prize was seeing how stoked my brother was. he was not tired at all, not sweating at all and seemed more "normal" than he has in years. i do believe he is turning the corner. 

your dad said the final four sucked but hillyard was an official sponsor this year with their magical floor mop. the "official floor mop of the ncaa" very fancy stuff. he came home before the last game but saw the usual suspects and had dinner with norm stewart. although we are ku fans, norm is a delightful man and his wife, virginia, even more delightful! i was bummed to not go this year and already have grandma on the books for the trip next year. i do love march madness! 

grandma made the trip back with us after the color run and we spent the next week putting our house back together and preparing for a big party for grandpa. my mom is a slave driver. she had me unpacking boxes of things i haven't seen since september! she made me polish silver until 11:00 pm one night! i do not know where she finds the energy or motivation! obviously she never had three small children.

all the slave driving was much needed and the party ended up being great motivation to get some projects wrapped up around here. nothing like inviting 70 people to your house to make you want to put the air return vents back up! ha! my dad knew we were having a party for him, because his schedule is so tight we had to do some prearranging; but what he didn't know, was who we were inviting. i do believe this made him quite anxious knowing something was out of his control and in the hands of me and your uncle tim.

he also didn't know that i had been working on an even bigger project for him! i have been secretly plotting and planning his birthday gift for over a year! my goal was to get 60 memories, from 60 different people, in 60 envelopes. i sent out the original note late february and then turned into the biggest, nagging bitch ever! (your dad might argue that point, i'm pretty good at being a nagging bitch) i can hardly believe how difficult it was to get people to send me something! anything! but i poked and prodded enough that two days before i gave it to him, i had enough to fill those envelopes!

once again, per dave's crazy schedule, i had to pin him down to be able to give it to him. tim came over and we put the kids in bed, poured dad a big vodka tonic and presented him with the box. envelope number one had the letter we sent out to everyone and his face was equal parts intrigue and concern when he read it. an interesting possibility, 59 letters and 60 years. he opened them one by one and read them aloud. 

i thought that i knew a lot about my dad before i started this project but i can't tell you how many surprising things i learned about him through this process. imagine my shock as one letter started, "i still remember you walking down the halls of central high school with your long hair, pukka shell necklace and bell bottom pants." 

what. . . the. . . hell. . .

his sisters managed to give me some really good dirt on him, how he had the opportunity to go to arizona state, paid in full by his aunt, if he would cut his hair. he did not. he also quit a job because they wanted him to cut his hair. this would have been pretty critical information for me to know in my twenties! many times that s.o.b. gave me grief about my hair! if only i knew!

i learned that my father has stayed in two separate nursing homes that framed themselves as "hotels." there were many, many stories involving my daddy and a horse, none so great as the time my parents were dating and a horse shit all down the side of his leg at an auction and they had to ride home with no heat on in the car because it was the middle of winter and it smelled so terrible! it also turns out my father is a little bit stubborn! my nickname growing up was "coconut" and now i can clearly see now, the coconut doesn't fall far from the tree. 

it was a really great project, albeit stressful. so fun to learn so much about daddy and to hear different perspectives on legendary stories. during the course of reading a few of the letters from his twenties, my dad touted that a lot of his friends were "old" and "liars" but more importantly that most of them have "terrible memories!" very good times. he's has 60 very well spent years! 

we spent the following day preparing for his party and trying hard not to let on how big it was going to be. he was just anticipating his regular crew and some family. true to form, he spent most of the day bossing us around, telling us how to "properly" ice down a cooler of beer and reminding me that this would have been much simpler to just go out to dinner. by lunch time i'd had enough of him and sent he and randy out to fix the swing set. geez. he's such a micro manager, another trait i must have gotten from him! 

i do believe he started catching on to how big it was going to be when we pulled all of the food from the downstairs kitchen! shortly there after, the guests started arriving and he looked more and more surprised with each persons arrival. all of the usual suspects were present and it was like walking down memory lane for me! he was most surprised to see their local best pals, the lee's, had made the journey from springfield! and even more surprised when life long friends, the trippensee's, showed up from jefferson city! penny park won the award for furthest travel coming in from houston! it was such a good time, although it went too quick. it was one of the few times in my life, i can sufficiently say i shocked him in a GOOD way! :) 

i have managed to write myself from sad to glad in the last hour! looking through these pictures and thinking about all of those stories reminds me how precious life is and how important it is to live it to the fullest. those cowardly terrorist want us to be fearful and to retreat; but we can't. we have keep on, keepin' on. keep making memories. keep inching our ways towards a life well lived. keep moving towards that 60 year mark. 

"although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." helen keller