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Take a Break

Posted by casey on March 19, 2014 in Caden, Caden's Chronicles

Because some days you just need to take a tickle break,

even if it is in the middle of your soccer game.
That is what friends are for right?

 
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In the Mom Moments

Posted by casey on March 17, 2014 in Grieving My Way, Writing Nook

It is the day for reflecting, for remembering and for reliving.  Even if I don’t want to, I do.  Even if I push it aside it is there. As I talked about last year, it is the sting of the day that is ever present. Seven full years since we lost Mom. I say seven full years not to put impact on the length of time that has passed necessarily but on how full those years have been for all of us, even without her.

I’ve spoken before about how it isn’t that we feel the loss more today, but that for me, once January hits I start checking in with myself more automatically.  Beginning because a new year and it inevitably ends with the challenge of reflecting on mom as March sneaks closer.  This year as my mind grasped for words for the stage I may be in I think I most certainly had it handed to me.

Seven years later, it is about the “mom moments”.

Not the moments she has missed in our very full lives, though as I talked about last year in saying, “In the simplest of actions, the smallest of moments I feel the sting. The boys learning a childhood song. Mothers becoming grandmothers. The similarity in a picture,” those everyday accolades do have a missing element whether I am consciously aware of it or not.  This year and I predict for the years to come it is simply  about the moments when a daughter just needs and wants her mother.

As I have observed friends this past year, mothers of friends, professional athletes in a moment of success, celebrations in a moment of joy so many first turn to their mother.  To celebrate with them, to thank them for sacrifices, to share in the love and to find comfort in the pain.  It isn’t that they don’t think of fathers or want to do the same thing, it is that innately, we turn to the person who carried us and cradled us and regardless of our age, size or situation is sitting with arms and heart open ready to do the same again.

The mom moments.  The moment you instinctively reach to call your mom.  To hug your mom.  To sympathize with your mom and if you’re lucky to share the experience, empathize with your mom.

In being fully honest with myself on where I am this year and in general allow me to share a little for this all to make a bit more sense.  In February just as I was full in the process of reflecting  – (realizing I have forgotten things about her (sound of her), being reminded by a stranger’s perfume the smell of her, seeing a woman her age with the exact peachy complexion and double-taking, ) we suffered an early miscarriage.  As I sat in the depths of really letting myself feel what I wasn’t prepared for after carrying both Caden and Everett successfully, after realizing what was not to be, after feeling the excitement of a new life we had wanted for us and accepting the hiatus from this process that was put upon us, it became very evident where I was in this seven year process. It was about the mom moments.

Seven years later, knowing full and well that she is not here with me, being surrounded by my husband, my sister-in-law and a few close friends supporting me and loving me as I tried to be very open and honest about what I was experiencing so that I could move forward,  I simply  wanted to talk to my mother.   At twenty nine years old I wanted her to hug me, I wanted her to cover me with a blanket tell me “It would all be okay,” and start a craft in the other room with the boys.  It isn’t because I wasn’t getting that love and support, but think about it, don’t we just believe our mothers when they comfort us?  How many times do you see a toddler be soothed only by his mother’s words, the tone of her voice, the look in her eyes even though someone else had just done the exact same thing?

In the mom moment of it, I just wanted my mother. In the mom moment of it, I was further upset that I still reached for her knowing that option is not a possibility.  In the mom moment of it, I felt I had to grieve her loss a little again, while already grieving and processing the what could have been.  It is the double sting.

Among all of the joys you so obviously wish you could share, it is also the selfish days.  For the weeks the whole family is riddled with the stomach bug, for the days you just want some company, and for the times you want that mother’s intuition to steer you one more time I wish she was here.  To swoop on in, a million more times.

A few months ago, in a rare stop me in my tracks moment, after saying our bedtime prayers, Caden, who was talking about me being his Mommy and Colter his Daddy asked me for the first time where my mother was.  How does one explain her love to someone who will not meet her?  How does one explain where she is without frightening a small child about the possibility of me not being there?  How does one tell their firstborn the simplest of answers which is, ‘not here’ while emphasizing the belief of ‘somewhere better’?  Even that, was a bit of a mom moment.

There are times when I want that “need” to go away.  When I want the instinct to wish for her to fade as sadly as some of she has.  But that would be a whole other tragedy.  Isn’t there something so beautiful about the love for a mother ?  The love for that role in your life and the instinct to need it.  The magic of having the role model who filled our childhood memories with what a mother should be and what her children needed.  As a mother myself, I hope that my childrens’ need for their mother never fades, no matter the circumstance, no matter the need, no matter the joy, no matter the sadness and no matter the age.

I look at my life with a very grateful heart and know that we are loved.  We are supported. We are prayed for.  We are given to.  We are cared for.  We are thought of.  We are fortunate.

We are a family.

We are loved.

As is she.
Not was, but IS.

No matter the time passed, no matter the moments missed because there will always be mom moments and that is what is perfectly okay.

(Also fitting Mama Kat’s prompts this week as a challenge.)

 
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Under Cover

Posted by casey on March 15, 2014 in Caden, Everett, Snapshots

They like the literal meaning of going undercover better during hide and seek at Nonna and Pa Pa’s. Wherever could they be?

 
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Old 4 {A Super Celebration}

Posted by casey on March 13, 2014 in Caden, Family

Just over two weeks ago, the big day Mr. Caden had been zoned in on for a year had finally arrived – birthday party day.

As Caden is growing into a grown-up little boy more and more this year, he chose a superhero birthday.  This big, now four year old boy loves all things superhero.

However, being that he is still such a little man whether he knows it or not means he hasn’t attached himself to one superhero in particular just the concept – cape, mask, rescuing, flying, saving, special powers.  You know, the important stuff.

With this in mind it was on to “theme design” and exactly how we were going to make this just right for Caden, his age, his superhero love and his little friends.

Since, he hasn’t started watching just Spiderman or just Ninja Turtles (though is rapidly increasing his exposure and fascination) I thought going with more of a bright, comic-esque superhero theme.  Caden approved as we picked out décor and it turned out completely perfect for him and his current superhero stage.

I enjoy putting a celebration together for the boys, with the boys, because I Iove their reactions, excitement and appreciation.  They carry things for me, they pick colors, help me put things out and they point out and notice it all.

In doing a cozy play-date timed party this year I kept the food simple; pigs in a blanket, mini PB & Js, individual fresh fruit cups with granola and marshmallow to top since marshmallows are a massive hit with this crew, some raisin boxes and your basic chips and pretzels.  Easy, peasey and child satisfactory.  Caden was beyond excited about his cake that we ordered locally to support our “mom and pop” shops from Brendal’s Bakery.  I sketched it out, showed Caden who was giddy and to the bakery we went to order it when his birthday month had arrived.  Cute, delicious and beyond pleasing to my now four year old.

All of his little friends are getting yet another fun age and stage.  They truly have “friendships” and run around playing on their own.  This was the first year I was able to set for them a real kids party table that we could serve them at but they could then sit by each other playing, eating and chatting.  Wrangling everyone from toys, capes, coloring tables and so forth is always an adventure but in the end I think everyone got to come and go from the table as they (and their moms) pleased and fill their tummies.

It was pretty precious seeing them at their little place settings with mason jar tumblers I adorned with their initials in a superman logo.  After untying them as decorations they all were donning their capes I had sewn up in various patterns and bright shades at some point and enjoying the festivities.  Supermen and one little superlady everywhere you looked.

Part of what is nice about keeping it small and cozy is that I feel like I can do more for the kids as a whole in their treats and surprises for being part of Caden’s life and his celebration. We are very thankful for the little friends he has and their moms, both that were able to attend and had to miss for helping to shape Caden, for being another support for him and for teaching him his first lessons in friendships.

They ate and played, ate and played and we moms actually got to chat some. (especially once Daddy arrived and began the kids vs. Daddy wrestling match) Though, truth be told, we did end up having to stand in the entryway where the table was set supervising most of the time (sorry moms) but then the kids were able to have a pretty free reign without us having to interfere much!  Thankfully, we have the playroom upstairs, Caden’s new room which caused some cuts and bruises thanks to some bed-bouncing (boys) and a wide open living room to give them all plenty of choice to choose their own play space. Yes, we have surrendered our home to our kids completely.

So many little feet stomping around, little hands sneaking extra snacks off the table and me flooded with memories of my first born and how much he has grown.  Quit weeping and bring on the cake! Fine.

First he was just excited about the cake…then he was excited that he got his own spot on the table since that was surely the easiest way to connect him to the cake without risking me dropping it moving it again.  My four year old superhero basking in birthday boy glory dreaming his deepest of kiddie wishes into those four flames.

Perfection

It is quite safe to say that we checked off everything on his birthday party requirements list; invites, decorations, friends, cake, balloons & oh yes, presents.

Ninja turtles, puzzles, movies, clothes, Nerf balls, art sets and even an Ironman watch!  I think it is safe to say that all made him a pretty ecstatic four year old.

Just enough new and exciting fun gifts to make him feel special and entertain him but not overload him or our toy bins, a win!

It was truly a downright fun morning for our little man and for us to watch.  I love having the center court front row seat to seeing him become his own person and getting to feel his joy.  Another huge thank you to his friends and their mamas for being there on his celebratory day and for all of the playdates, e-mails, coffee talks and support.  It takes a village and he is lucky to have one from the start.

 Special thanks to Ashley, (Lane’s Mom) of Southern Mae Photography for not only taking this picture but being my second set of eyes to team up and help me permanently document Caden’s birthday with her camera as well throughout the morning.  Double the pictures, double the fun and proof I was actually there. 

 

 
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Old 4 {A Family Celebration}

Posted by casey on March 4, 2014 in Caden's Chronicles, Family

I Caden’s birthday has come and gone (February 27th) and we are all catching up from all of the celebrating and reminiscing of accomplishing four years of parenthood and pride in our no longer baby, less and less little boy, moving into young man already son.  For starters I should preface his celebrations by saying Caden LOVES his birthday. I wonder where he got that from?  He has been talking about turning “Old 4″ since he turned three, which was not “old 3″ but somehow along the way this turned into never just 4 but always “Old 4″. To better accomodate what I think are full schedules and family weekends for us all I planned to do Caden’s party with his friends as another “playdate” party during a weekdays. Since most of his friends have mothers who also stay at home or work part time we can usually find a date that works well and then doesn’t take up everyone’s weekend and “rest time”.  The other perk of this for him is that when we did this last year it meant that we did a separate family dinner and celebration with just the four of us and Nonna and Pa Pa.  Who doesn’t love an extra par-tay?! For our family get together, Caden for weeks will ask if we get to make his cake yet.  He looks forward to doing this with me and he even chose making one with me over Nonna making it for him this year.  I think it is a nice tradition for us and something he likes contributing to as he is such a helper.  This year he picked out a chocolate cake (no surprise there) with mini chocolate chips AND chocolate sprinkles to decorate. A delicious choice all way around.  He waited and waited and waited to make it and then he waited and waited and waited to take it over to their house to celebrate.

One excited birthday boy indeed.

Caden and Everett always immediately take their seats at their bar perch surrounded by their favorite snacks and appetizers, yes, my kids know Nonna will have appetizers for them and therefore they aren’t shy about making that expectation known. “Ummmm Nonna, where are the carrots and hummus?”  I mean really son. Nonna and Pa Pa never fail to bring on the festivities with lots of love, festive décor in 4 year old bright ballons topped by Spiderman (of course) and a menu fit for a King who rules over an actual land, not just our hearts.  Surf and turf anyone?  Yes, please. Happy Birthday to Me…I mean You.  For Caden it was a dream, there were snacks, there were balloons, there was cake, there were gifts waiting to be opened and there was playtime with Nonna and Pa Pa’s “robot” aka their automated Rumba vacuum.

What more could you need?

We always love and enjoy our Sunday family dinners together but birthdays are a special gathering indeed. Cadenate his meal while making sure the cake was still an end goal and then oh so carefully supervised the cake while we gathered dishes.

“I’m just smelling it Mommy, I’m just smelling it.”

Much longer and I am pretty sure he would have repeated my face first dive intomy Aunt’s birthday cake that I did at Thanksgiving when I was around 3 or 4. Classic. If it wouldn’t ruin the magic I might let him blow out candles and sing the birthday song every day.  Each year he gets this super sweet, excited but a little bashful smile as he stares mesmerized at the candles, known to him as “the fire” and a little giddy while we are singing the birthday song just.for.him.  He joins in the singing, then grins because it is for him, joins in again, then grins and the cycle continues.  When the song is done it.is.on. Candles beware. He huffs and he puffs and believe it or not this year he did not spray his little lungs out.  And when he succeeds, the best celebration you have seen for birthday candles. Open Mouth Huge Grin, “Hooray!”, cheering, clapping above his head pride that consumes him just long enough to forget he gets to eat a piece for just a moment.  A short moment. A fraction of a moment. But still. The sweetest of sweet birthday boys you will ever see.  Until November when it is Everett’s turn again. Funny thing about birthdays is that they just keep coming, more years to make more memories! A sugar filled birthday boy was gifted a six in one block puzzle that he stays busy with and loves to work with me.  Lastly, the completion to his re-done room, a picture perfect imagination wonderland of a tent.  Can you imagine the reading and flashlight conversation he and Everett will have in there?  Good because they already have, and they filled it with toys and pillows of course. Love.

And so we celebrated.  We kicked off his birthday week with a bang and boy was he loved on.  We are one fortunate family to be able to celebrate with at least one set of grandparents each year, something the boys can expect and look forward to and boy do they.  Family Birthday Party complete, on to the rest! (that is if Caden rested at all with the anticipation of the remaining birthday excitement).

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