Thank You

I’ve been thinking about “Slaughterhouse-Five” the last few days.  In particular I’ve been thinking about the strange behavior of Billy Pilgrim.  His feelings about his candy bar eating wife.  His indifference about his affair.  And finally the coming in and out of reality toward the end of the book.  When I first read the book it didn’t make a lot of sense  to me.  I couldn’t understand why he just didn’t care.  Why he didn’t engage in his life.  Why nothing seemed to matter.

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But with Veteran’s day drawing near Billy Pilgrim has, once again, been on my mind.  Of course he would be disengaged.  How else could you “move on?”  How could you begin to care about curtains, dinner parties, Christmas presents, parent/teacher conferences (etc) when you have seen what those men had seen?  The answer is simple: you couldn’t.

I know it is an unfair comparison but the closest I’ve been to those feelings were after I’ve lost people close to me: ie: my father and my two year old nephew.  After my father died I didn’t want to go on.  How could I?  One of the main characters in my life story was gone.  After my nephew tragically died life no longer made sense.  How could someone so innocent be taken?  How could I watch my sister suffer so and be the same?  How was I supposed to ever smile, laugh or be happy again?  While those pains have faded and only occasionally bring me to my knees now I can only imagine magnifying that times, I don’t know, a million maybe, then trying to live my life in a world full of inconsequential things.

Right now all I want to do is say thank you.  Thank you and and I’m sorry.  I’m sorry to those who didn’t come back and I’m sorry to those who did but were not, could not, be the same.  I’m sorry to those who served, and to your families.  I’m sorry to your wives who had strangers come home to them.  I’m sorry to those me who couldn’t engage again.

I know it’s not enough.  It will never be enough but it’s all I’ve got.  Thank you for your sacrifice.  Thank you for your gift of freedom that we all take advantage of.  Thank you to your families and friends.  Parents and children.  Thank you to all those who sacrificed so much more than we can imagine for this country that we live in.

Happy Veteran’s Day.

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(Un)Happy Halloween

Halloween-21My sweet middle child is sick.  Really sick.  It started yesterday with a dry cough but I wrote it off as an anomaly.  Last night things took a turn for the worse.  As always happens when he gets sick, his breathing became labored and the cough increased.  In the early morning hours the hubby got up with him to give him a breathing treatment.  I still had high hopes that when he awoke he’d feel better and be able to attend his preschool Halloween party.

Well, we got up this morning and got ready for school.  All were dressed in there Halloween best and eating breakfast when my middle man (I’ll call him MMM or MM from here on out) started to complain of a belly ache.  Then he started to cry.  With MMM that is the tell-tale sign of impending up-chuck.  I ran for a “barf bowl” (as we call them) and shortly after he emptied his almost-empty belly into the receptacle.

I was dreading telling him that he couldn’t go to class today.  I imagined tears and whining and, well, devastation.  Instead the conversation went like this:

Me:  “Hey, buddy.  You’re sick, sweetie, so you can’t go to school today.

MMM: (sad face)

Me:  “You don’t want your friends to get sick too, right?”

MMM: (tears welling up) “No.”

Me: “Do you want to snuggle and watch movies instead?”

MMM: “Yeah!”

And that was that.  No more tears and not an ounce of disappointment.

So we watched a movie then MM took a three hour nap!  Poor thing.  (He must have slept even worse then I thought he had.)

I often forget how resilient MMM is.  While my boy is often incredibly sensitive he can also “roll with the punches” in a way us adults can find hard to do.  And MMM is pretty great at finding the bright side of whatever comes his way.

So, we’ll make the best of our rainy Halloween day with snuggles and scented candles.  We’ll carve our pumpkins when oldest gets home from school and sweet oldest son already promised to share his loot with MMM.  Our world will keep on rolling and life is still good, even if it didn’t go just as we’d hoped.

Happy Halloween from my family to yours.

Finding Space for Memories

I have vivid memories of the excitement I felt when my mom got out her holiday decorations.  She had a box for nearly every holiday.  I’d get home from school to see our entry turned into a Valentine vigil/St. Patty’s Day spectacular/Autumn array or cozy Christmas cavern.  We had a lot of memories wrapped up in all of that ambiance.

And here I am.  Mom to three.  I am in control of crafting those memories.  What memories do I want them to have?

Right now I am struggling to find my balance.  I want to have a de-cluttered, organized home.  Some days I want to take all of my holiday bins to the thrift store and be done with it!  I can hardly handle the “stuff” that comes in daily from 1st grade, preschool, the vets, the post office etc.  How am I supposed to manage all of that PLUS all of the holiday “extras.”

On the other hand, I’ve seen the bliss in my boys’ eyes when we turn the house into a spooky halloween haven.  I love creating our own, little traditions with my wee ones.  I loved our “spooky” tours last year around our decked out, little house.  I love watching my boys investigating the pilgrims at Thanksgiving and asking questions about the Nativities at Christmas.

So today I’m getting out our decorations.  Just because extreme minimalism works for one person or family that does not make it right for everyone.  That does not mean it’s the right way for ME and MY FAMILY.  In my balance I believe there is space for my memory laden holiday decorations and the joy they bring.