Friday, June 26, 2015

Under water

That's how I feel these days.  Slowly moving under water, coming up for air, going back down again, but still surviving. 
Our sweet Beth left this earth on May 31, 2015.   It feels like a lifetime ago and then some moments it rushes back to the present and leaves us gasping, begging for it not to be true. 

My grief feels self indulgent.  Her children , her husband and her mother are the ones who undoubtedly hurt the worst, who lost the most.   We all lost so much.    All I can do is pray that I can offer my hands for help, and be the aunt, sister-in-law and daughter-in-law they deserve.  

I also live with Beth's big brother, who was her friend and protector.  I also live with her beloved niece and nephew, who screamed and cried and raged at the loss.   I want to love them through this.  We are still so angry, hurt, tender and raw.   Dear Lord--help us.  

Today my mother-in-law is in Asheville staying with my niece, who is attending a summer Ballet program there.     We miss them and we are descending upon them this weekend, summer storms and all.   My brother-in-law and nephew will also meet us there.  Today Olivia and Nate are also returning from a week at a mission camp in Tennessee, and we'll hit the road tomorrow to head west again.  They can't wait to see their grandma and cousins.    It's something to look forward to.  We need these little things; one step, one breath at a time. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Before I forget!

I must make a note of this special day before it flutters away in this whirlwind we call life!  In the past year or so our faith as a family has been ...challenged to say the least.  Today, though, I had the untainted joy of seeing the second of our two kids get baptized.

It's so humbling to know that both of our children have the courage to say, "OK, whatever this world throws at me, I can take it on with God beside me."    Thank goodness. Life is too hard to go it alone, and as much as we try to be there for them, parents don't have that omnipresent thing going on.

Today also snatched me from ruminating in how Nate is firmly entrenched in pre-adolescence and all the wonderfulness that entails.    In just the past week, our communications have included such gems as arguing over whether he should wear a collared shirt to a school event, which very nearly resulted in the two if us rolling out onto the lawn with me struggling to wrestle said shirt over his head.

Just the other day he received a lengthy lesson in how to properly apologize after telling me, "I'm sorry I snapped at you to stop singing. It's just that you sounded kinda stupid."   Yeah.

The thing is, every now and then his face still looks exactly the same as when he was about two, when I was his Person, and he didn't want me out of his sight for a second.  Singing or not.

But today-TODAY-  he was back to his sweet self and even let me hug him in front of his friends.  I'd better work on developing a new coping technique for the years to come  since he probably shouldn't get baptized every week.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Embarrassment of Nate, Part 124

The scene opens on a frosty March Friday. The kind that will eventually make it to around 65 degrees  once the sun comes out, if it ever does. But for the moment it was foggy, cold and damp and I couldn't help but cringe when Nate came bounding down the stairs in basketball shorts and t-shirt.

He headed out the door a minute before I did, forgetting his sweatshirt, which was draped on the arm of the couch. I grabbed it for him and and walked up to the bus stop to hand it over, just as the bus was pulling up.
Yeah.
The driver saw me and opened the door, so I stepped up onto the bus for a millisecond and handed the sweatshirt to my horrified son.  No big deal,right?
As soon as I arrived back home, I was greeted with an explanation of how very, very wrong this was of me.
"Mom! Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared! Even the EIGHTH GRADE girls in the back!"
I replied that maybe those girls should get a life.
His reply: "They HAVE lives,Mom!  They have lives in which their MOTHER doesn't get on the bus to give them a jacket!!"

OK.  I guess it's time Nate should have one of those lives too. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Winter Stuff

Snow day today! Well, snow day in Charlotte, which really means ice day, but whatever! No school and my office actually ca-losed, which almost never happens.  A brief rundown of recent happenings at Casa de Pellin:

We got back Sunday night from a visit to Pinetown to see the extended fam. Completely glorious to see them. We all reveled in the company of  cousins, both kid and grown-up ones.  Nate and Bobby's two older boys tromped  around in the woods and fields for hours, we hit a local bakery and got to enjoy both Parker's bbq and Bill's hot dogs.  Liv also went on a little photo tour of town with Uncle Larry.  Can't wait to get back. It had been too long.

On the table lately: beef strew, chicken casserole, chicken tortilla soup, kale and bean soup,  and all things comfort. Looking forward to a pancake night soon.  Liv will happily eat salad that night. Weirdo.  Tonight we will likely gobble up our snow day provisions, two frozen pizzas.  Over the weekend Holly reminded me of when Dominos first came to Washington when we were teenagers and they didn't deliver out to us so we had to meet the driver half way. I had completely forgotten that.

Looking forward to: meeting up with my Dawn in Greensboro for lunch and girlie time this Saturday, weather permitting.  Cannot wait. Also planning to see the movie Still Alice soon with some friends from work.

Current state of Nate: Looking forward to spring rugby. Tried the winter session and loved it.
Still liking middle school although he says he wishes he was in a calmer class.

Current state of Liv:  Looking  forward to FBLA trip in March,  and picking out her courses for - gulp- high school. That's enough about that.

Tomorrow they're calling for more frigid temps and possible flurries.  Send the St. Bernard's for us.


Sunday, August 31, 2014

I miss writing here.

So just when I thought I was going to let this space die a slow death upon discovering Instagram, I realized I just have too much blah-blah-blah to add to the average quick photo post.

It takes great restraint for someone like me to write just a line or two about a picture and then hit "share."    That shot of the tomato sandwich I made at the beach?---I could've said--er, written--- a good three paragraphs about that alone.
About how it was suddenly August and I was desperate to savor the last tomatoes, and the last moments of the first Pellin-Edes-Moreland combined family vacation in eight years.
 About how I was about to abandon the whole sandwich unless I found the salt and pepper I KNEW I'd packed, and then I found them, in the cooler.  Of course.
 About how earlier that day  I couldn't locate my sister-in-law, who hadn't been feeling well, and was about to go up to her room to check on her.  And then I looked out into the ocean and saw her laughing and bobbing around with the rest of my family and inexplicably teared up with joy.

This was always a journal for me, a way to capture little nuggets of life before they slip away.   And since I'm now suddenly the mother of two middle schoolers who don't exactly chat me up at their own free will, I need a space in which to tell my stories.   Maybe it's a southern thing, or a woman thing, or just a me thing.

The past 18 months have brought huge changes at my work that have turned my daily job duties into huge, hot ,stress bombs.  I don't think poor hubs can decipher one more choked-out "conversation starter" from me that begins with "I just. . .I can't. . .I don't see how. . ."           But don't get me wrong, I will not be writing about THAT here, either.  THAT will just have to sort itself out; I will continue to work hard at what I can do and what I can't. ..well hopefully someone else can accomplish.  

Writing has always been a good way to get out of my own head---to help me  appreciate the good stuff and get over myself already.   And also, I don't have the time for therapy and it ain't in the financial cards!  

So, here we are at August 2014.   Current state of the world:  pretty awful.  ISIS forces executed a young journalist, Robin Williams took his own life, and there are Russian tanks in the streets of Ukraine, where Mark and I visited 12 years ago and met our daughter for the first time.   All this happened in one month.

On our particular little home front, though, it was back-to-school time after a summer of a writing program (both kids), mission camp (Liv), Camp Cherokee (Liv) and archery camp (Nate, courtesy of Camp Grandma).    
Nate is now a 6th grader at Randolph Middle and Liv is a big bad 8th grader at Sedgefield (she is neither big nor bad, but the eighth graders rule the roost at middle school, you know).

This month I really missed my folks, which is normal for me during August, their birthday month.  Today, for the first time in awhile, I felt the urge to call them.

 I also got to see my sweet friend Dawn this month.  I absolutely will not let nearly two years go by again before I give myself the joy of seeing her.  How did that happen?  Never again, I tell you.   We met for lunch at a favorite Thai place and I didn't talk about work once.  Maybe talking too much about work is why my friends move away?   Hmmm.     Anyway, we still keep in touch---she sends me texts letting me know things like the exact moment when Starbucks started serving pumpkin lattes again and what store carries our favorite yogurt.   Who else would do that?  It makes me smile.   Oh, and true story:  One time I started texting her "You know I'm a pumpkin wimp (meaning I only like one pump of the syrup in my coffee), and it auto-corrected to "You know I'm a pimp!"       I fixed it before I hit send, but she would've liked that.

So, onward, until next time!  Which won't be every day, by far, but will not be as long as 18 months, I promise.

Monday, February 25, 2013

February Surprises

Two Saturdays ago we got the first snow that our little big town has seen in over two years---whoohoooo!  But instead of watching out the window and witnessing the first speck of a flake, the kids and I were sitting in a movie theater oblivious.   We had already received a mix of sleet and rain that morning, the "mild precipitation" that our esteemed meteorologists had told us about.  By the time I packed up our stir-crazy kids at 4:30 p.m. so that hubs could get some writing done, the sun was poking through the clouds as we made our way to the theater. 

We went to a small cinema that shows second-runs for $2 per ticket.  Wreck-It-Ralph?  Sold out.  We decided on Rise of the Guardians,  got settled in with our popcorn and Skittles, and about 20 minutes later my phone loudly jangled from my purse.  I was mortified--how could I have forgotten to turn it off?  Then i was miffed.  How could hubs call me when he KNOWS we're at a movie and I can't answer?  Then I was afraid.  It must be an emergency.  Fire?  Sick relative?  Sick dog?  OMG the kids!  No, wait- - they're right here. 

Yeah, it's a PICNIC here in my head.

 I finally hit "ignore" to stop the jangling and the nasty glances from other movie-goers, and whispered to the kids that I was headed to the hallway to see what Dad needed.   He answered immediately.  "Have you looked outside?"
"Uh, no."   I am in a THEATER after all.  Sheesh. 
I finally walked out into the lobby and . . .surprise! Every car in the parking lot was completely white and there was a virtual blizzard outside. 
HUH?
That's North Carolina for ya, people.  If you don't like the weather, wait about five minutes, right?

After hanging up with hubs I crept back into the theater, whispered an apology to the kids and we left.  They were only mildly disappointed, considering the Skittles were already gone.  They were elated when they saw the reason we were leaving early.
We inched home, with my nose practically on the windshield.  We stopped for a few seconds to pick up a pizza I'd ordered.  They spent the last two hours of daylight wearing themselves out on our little plastic sled.  We made snow ice cream with the one can of condensed milk in the cupboard--I figured we'd better squeeze all the snow fun out of the day, lest it didn't snow for another two years!

That was one of the bigger surprises.  Another more personal, equally pleasant one came the previous night.  Hubs was hosting Room in the Inn at our church with our pastor and some other volunteers.  It's a program in which the church takes in about 12 men from the city shelter on Friday nights during the winter.   Nate loves to help serve the evening meal on these nights, and Friday night when Liv and I went to pick him up, we had to wait while he finished a heated foosball game with one of the guests.  I'm guessing that these men don't get to spend much time with kids, and watching how at ease my kid was with all of them warmed my heart to no end. 

Surprise number three came just a few minutes ago as I was walking through my office parking lot after returning from lunch.   Our morning started earlier than usual because the kids had to be at school at 6:30 for a field trip to our state capital.  Which meant that mom was fumbling around in the dark while getting dressed before bolting out the door.  Let's just say that those of us who don't, um, have it "together" at 5:20 a.m. should not store their black shoes and brown shoes right next to eachother on the closet floor.  So when I was traipsing back to my desk after having spent a full morning at work, I happened to look down. 

Yup.  Brown flat with tweedy accents on right foot, black Mary Jane on the left.  Sigh.  I pulled aside a couple of co-workers and interrogated them on whether I should go home and change.  They both admitted to doing the same thing before, which is why they're friends as well as co-workers.  And no, they said I shouldn't bother going home. 

Surprise number four is simply that, after a couple of years of quietly praying that my daughter wouldn't take an interest in Girl Scouts, she did join a local troop and I actually enjoy helping with it and watching her participate.  Nothing against Girl Scouts, it's just that she was already in danger of becoming the cliche'd overscheduled kid with all her other interests and I just didn't see squeezing it in.  But the cookie sales, little badge projects- - all of it, have been surprisingly fun for both of us.  And I quietly promised not to complain about shlepping myself and daughter to the meetings, at least not out loud.  Scout's honor.



Monday, January 7, 2013

January Junk

I love January.  Normally.  This month has thrown the Pellin clan another curveball on the health front.  My sweet MIL took a tumble and fractured her pelvic bone, and although it's challenging and certainly sucks, she's luckily one of the strongest people I know so we know she'll get through it OK. 

On the homefront I'm trying to resist the urge to de-clutter everything in sight the way all the January magazines are screaming at me to do.  The kitchen drawers alone could eat up all of 2013.  You see, not to brag, but I'm kind of an overachiever when it comes to kitchen junk drawers.  I have three of them. 

Drawer Number One was designated a junk drawer from the beginning, so it has one of those plastic organizer tray thingies in it, each compartment overflowing with Post-Its, dried-up Sharpie pens, Sharpie pens that actually write, nail files, picture hanger brackets, batteries, old photos from the refrigerator, fridge magnets with no magnetic strip (so are they still, in fact, magnets?), business cards from people we will never call, and a few ancient Hershey's kisses that even the kids won't eat.  In other words, essentials.

Drawer Number Two started out as a place to store small cutting boards and bulky kitchen utensils like the ice cream scoop and such.  They're still there, buried under piles of appliance manuals, tax receipts, receipts from my dad's old medical bills, and about five of those 20%-off coupons from Bed Bath and Beyond, some of which haven't actually expired.

Number Three was merely a dish towel drawer until about a year ago when I apparently decided it wasn't living up to its capacity potential, so I started tossing in gift-wrap ribbon, bread-tie twisties, ceramic stovetop cleaner, Scotch tape, masking tape, the grill lighter, Olivia's Girl Scout cookie forms, and Nate's pocket knife.  Now, whenever I need a dish towel it becomes a precarious exercise in which I use my left hand to hold back an avalanche of these items while slipping out a towel with my right.  I've gotten used to it, but when hubs or one of the kids goes to reach for a towel I have to scream "Nooooo!" because they don't know the system.

I also should mention my purse.  It's a problem.  Back in the spring I was diagnosed with "frozen shoulder" when I inexplicably couldn't raise my arms above my head or reach behind me without totally locking up.  It wasn't so much painful as baffling.  After an MRI and a series of muscle relaxers and PT appointments, it gradually improved.  But one of the ongoing changes my doc prescribed was scaling down my huge, overstuffed purse, which at the time was about a third of my body weight.  And friends, that is not light.

I compromised on a medium-size crossbody number that I can wear hands-free, but it's turning out to be entirely too small.  I can barely zip it up what with my wallet, four lip balms, two lip glosses, pennies, napkins, concealer, more pennies, four tea bags (you know in case I want to brew a pot while sitting in traffic or waiting for an oil change), five Splenda packets (for all the tea, apparently), an empty checkbook with shopping lists written on the back, a checkbook that holds actual checks, and a mysterious white powder, probably complements of one of the Splenda packets.

I'm exhausted just thinking about it.  I'll just have a cup of tea instead.