My mom died two years ago today. One of the most profound things I’ve ever done and, probably, will ever do, was to walk with my mom to the liminal line between here on Earth and not. I told her it was okay to step off. Into the unknown. Alone. Maybe to be greeted by her parents. Who really knows? But cancer free. I stepped back and watched her go. I kissed her. I told her she was my rock. I told her the shining light of her soul was separate from her wasted body. She told me she was afraid. So afraid. I held her hand.
My mother’s brother, Robert, passed away suddenly less than a year after she did. Maybe they met again in a place language has no words for.
(The same images are in the slideshow and collage.)
Guess what? I’m the Guest Blogger today. Me! Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds! You can call me Lucy for short.
I had the best day on Father’s Day! My sisters invited me to hop in the car after they packed up bikes, blankets and food. I didn’t know where we were going but I knew it would be fun. Yippee! I love cars!
We went to Liberty State Park. It’s a big park on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. It was my first time seeing the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan skyline. I could even see the Freedom Tower.
Here’s my day in pictures.
What a great day! You know what else? Yesterday was my 2nd birthday.
Hon, please indulge me. It doesn’t have to be Mother’s Day for me to say how grateful I am to be a mom, how proud I am of my kids or how much I love them. But, what I want to do today is spend time with all of them so this post is the prologue to the story of the last 18 1/2 year of my life.
(I can’t take credit for all of the photos. Some are mine and some aren’t.)
Baby A was only 2 pounds 9 ounces at birth and stayed in the NICU for 6 1/2 weeks. Despite being tiny, she could breath on her own (the tube in her nose above is a Gavage feeding tube). The nurses said she screamed loudly and a lot, which demonstrated how developed her lungs were. One nurse took to carrying her around on her shoulder to calm her down. As I scrubbed up before entering the NICU to take my smallest triplet home, one of the nurses, referring to my baby, said, “When is that mother going to get here already?” The mother bear in me came out when I answered, “I’m here!”
Proud mama (and papa) moving our firstborn into her dorm room for freshman year.
Baby B was the largest triplet at 4 pounds, 12 ounces. In the NICU he was considered a “feeder and grower” and was able to come home after 10 days. His colic lasted until he was 6 months. In an effort to deal with the colic, we switched to a non-dairy formula causing him to smell like a potato! He was such an affectionate baby, he’s meld into my body when I rocked him. As a toddler, he was the ringleader of the games “Let’s Smear Our Room In Vaseline,” “Let’s Step In the Diaper Rash Ointment,” and “Let’s Shred All Of The Audio Tapes Our Parents Made Of Our First Words!”
Proud mama (and papa) attending an ROTC Army event at our son’s university and seeing him in his dress blues.
Baby C, 4 pounds 4 ounces at birth, was allowed to come home after 12 days. She had no problem sharing a bassinet with her brother and the two of them would contentedly stare at each other. But when Baby A came home from the hospital and I laid her down next to her sister, Baby C howled with displeasure as if to say, “Who is this baby and what is doing here? I had to either lay them head to toe or put my son in the middle. Hon, I am here to tell you that birth order dynamics are thrown to the wind when it comes to multiples. Baby C established herself as the “oldest” (that’s a euphemism for bossiest) even if she was born third. She had the world’s best belly laugh and, if I could have bottled it, I’d be writing my books on an island in the Caribbean right now!
Proud Mama (and Papa) have known our daughter was artistic since she was 3 years old. Her self portrait is stunning!
Hon, do you know what was strange about holding an 8 pounds 6 ounce newborn? She was the same size as our triplets were when they were able to sit up! Our Plus One was an easy, go-with-the-flow child who was happiest when she was surrounded by her family. Many people have asked if she was accident, to which I replied, “No, she was very planned!” More people have said, “Wow, that’s a lot of kids” to which I replied, “Four was always my lucky number.” And countless people have said, “You had triplets and then another one?!” to which I replied, “She’s G-d’s gift to me!”
Proud Mama (and Papa) shed tears at our youngest’s “Moving Up” ceremony, but still celebrated the start of a new chapter in her life.
This week’s posts will be my take on “Antidotes to Evil.” The phrase popped in my head last week after news of the Boston Marathon bombing. My youngest daughter expressed concern about not being safe at a marathon, movies, mall or in school. I told her when I was her age, we didn’t worry (or even think) about the horrific things she sees in the news. Then I gave her a hug.
Family is one of the most important “Antidotes to Evil,” and one facet of family is siblings. My father took and developed the photo above in his darkroom. In this picture taken at the Maryland shore, I am standing in the middle while my sister and brother are on either side of me. Hon, this photo of us is one of my favorites!
Now that we are grown up, my sister, brother and I don’t slam each other’s bedroom doors, play tricks on each other, push and shove each other in the backseat of our parents’ cars, spy on each other when we have friends over or whine that, “It’s not fair…!” As adults, my siblings and I support each other.
What word describes your relationship with your siblings? How are they and your family your “Antidote to Evil?”
Last week, I lost a necklace. I put my hand to my neck and realized my necklace wasn’t there. I was 99.9% positive I had put it on that morning. As I searched around my seat, my coat, the parking lot and my car, the percentage fell to 75% sure. In fact, I was hoping to be dead wrong, hoping it was lying on my dresser. When I got home, no luck. I felt like I was losing my mind as well as the necklace. I admit I freaked out a little. Okay, not really a little–a lot. (Losing my perspective is a whole other blog post.)
I know the necklace is only a material thing, not that important in the scheme of things, but I was upset. I thought about the people who have lost their homes and worse in Hurricane Sandy and I was sad for them. Did that help me gain perspective? Not in the moment, not really.
I felt the necklace was a metaphor (Hon, I’m really into metaphors.) for other things I have lost, such as three children who all started college this September and a job I’ve worked at for twenty years that is about to end. I believed that when the triplets went to college, my head would open up, fresh air would rush in and my brain would be rejuvenated. Needless to say, that hasn’t happened.
Back to the necklace search. Losing my necklace reminded me of another time I lost a different necklace. A couple of years ago, before trying something on in a store, I put that necklace on a chair in the fitting room. It was almost closing time so I had to wait until morning to try and find it. If one of my daughters put a necklace on a chair instead of in her pocketbook, I wouldn’t be happy. I was the one who wasn’t thinking, I chastised myself. I rushed to the store in the morning and recovered my necklace. Lesson learned.
Last week, after feeling like I was losing my mind, my daughter and I returned to the scene of the crime (okay, it wasn’t a crime, but I kept saying “scene of the crime” so there it is). We retraced my steps and found the necklace in the parking lot, jump rings and clasp in tact. Yay! And how? How had it fallen off my neck?
I found my necklace but I’ll never be that mom in charge of a constant-house-full-of-children again and I’m not sure what jobs I might find in the future. What I’m really not sure of is when that hand is reaching down from heaven to open up my head so I can clean out the cobwebs in my brain.
I think I’ll stay away from percentages but hopefully, I’ll find a new purpose, a new job and a new perspective in the new year.