Friday, May 22, 2009

Dear Jessica,

I honestly didn't know if I would write this blog.

If I could write this blog.

It's hard to believe that ten years have passed. A decade that could have been so very different... that would have if...


There's this country singer who was unknown... well anyhow, the first time that I heard Kenny Chesney's song "Who You'd Be Today" I broke down, sobbing like it all happened yesterday.
Those are questions that I often ask - What would your wedding have been like? Which name would you and Rob have bestowed upon your first child?

I didn't even get to tell you that I was pregnant for Jennah. I called your apartment and left a message on the machine, hoping that I'd hear from you the following day.
A few hours later, you were gone.
When we found out that she was a girl, Chris asked me if I wanted to name her Jessica Ann. I said that there was no way that I could replace you, and that it was best to leave your name with your memory (and that I feared that your mom would try to form some creepy attachment to my kid... really, we both know I'm right).

In an effort of goodwill, your mom gave me the soft teal frock coat and hat that you wore in the spring photo that your grandfather took, when you were barely a year old. I still have them, hanging in my closet, but I never did put them on Jennah. I couldn't. But I will keep them always.

Just as I will, every May, check the OTIS website. Just to see.

Logically, I know that nothing will change. That Marc's name will still be there, and that faithfully checking every year won't bring you back. But it makes me feel better.
One day I'll look and his name will be gone, and I know that only then, will justice truly be served. My hope is that the day is a long time from now, so that he had to spend many, many decades, locked inside a prison cell, away from everything he enjoyed, until finally dying at ripe old age, full of remorse and regret.
Of all the things he was and is, I do think that he felt guilty. We all knew that he felt more for you than you did for him. We just never expected it to end the way that it did. That his mind was that sick and corrupt.

I consoled that him at your funeral. He looked so lost and out of place. Staring at the floor, wearing his Pizza Hut uniform hat, making himself stand out even further against the prim and proper of the church sanctuary. No one suspected him. Least of all your mother.
How he fooled us all, though thankfully not for very long.

About a week after we laid you to rest, Pearl Jam released a cover of "Last Kiss". The irnony did not escape me. Your favorite band, covering your favorite song. You would have been thrilled. You would have laughed at the morose humor in it all.

More than anything, I want to say that I'm sorry that I haven't been there.
To the cemetery. That just doesn't feel like where you are. It's stone slab, with a photo of your head, superimposed onto Natalie's body, holding your violin. If you mom had asked, I could've and would've given her the picture that your loved - the one that I took of you, playing your guitar.
To check on your mom. That one I did quite often, and still do now and then. But she's gone in a way that I cannot fix, and listening to her tears the wound open fresh every time. I don't think that she'll ever heal, or that she ever wants anyone else to.
To the park. I was, once. I had to see the sunflowers. But I felt your presence, and it wasn't the warm and peaceful feeling that I was hoping for, so I quickly departed, tears streaming down my face. I left there hating Marc even more than I did the day before. Even more than I did the day that the story broke on the front page of the Press, naming him as the bastard who stole you away from so many who loved you.

But those things I can still do. There's still time to make them right. And I will (though with your mom, it is hard.. like I said, she's gone way off the deep end. Even for her.).
But I didn't walk up to the casket, and I can't undo that.

Chris tried to make me, but I just couldn't. I could see you lying there, in your cap and gown, and I knew that if I got even one step closer, I was going to break down in front of hundreds of people. You know me - that's not my style. You would've expected better than that. And truthfully, it was a pain that I just couldn't bear. I waas afraid that those tears would never stop.

I did look at the pictures that your mom took, though it was some time later that I saw them. The cake makeup to cover the welts on your forehead (oh, how you'd have hated the hairstyle, but trust me when I say it was necessary), and the bruises on your neck that wouldn't be hidden, no matter what tricks the morticians tried.
Your aunt said that it was your way of showing your killer that you were still strong. That he would be punished. I think that she was right.

There were days that you drove me crazy. That I wondered whose sick sense of humor placed you in my life. My constant shadow, like an enthusiastic and willful puppy. Always begging to tag along. Always needing to be kept out of trouble.
I raised you, supervised you and bailed you out of troubled. Mentored you and chewed your behind when you were being too foolish... not that you ever really listened. Heart on your sleeve and head in the clouds. Happiest outside with your guitar, sitting cross legged on the sidewalk, amongst the vagrant youth downtown.
Forever thinking you could save the world, never not trying. To live with that much enthusiasm would have been exhausting for anyone else. But not you. Never, ever you, Jessie.

I barely knew my sister when you left my life. You were only days apart in age, and at that time, far dearer to me than she was. You're two completely different people, but as I see Susan doing things with her life, I sometimes wonder what you'd be doing now.
But I never wonder whether or not you'd be happy. I know you would be.
My hope is that you are as content now as you were then. That sunflowers bloom when you smile.

Anyhow, I just wanted you to know that even thought it's been ten years, you haven't been forgotten.

I miss you, Jessie. I always will.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I'm not really sure what to call this one...

Children really are a miracle unto themselves.

When your first child comes into your life, it's a whole new experience. Everything is amazing, and one tends to fuss over things that one never found amsuing before, and celebrate the smallest achievements as though they were the discovery for a cure for cancer.
Yet, somehow, you assume that certain things will happen, no matter how slowly or quickly those events transpire.
Your child will talk, walk, and potty train. They will tie their shoes. They'll learn to identify shapes, and colors. To count. To read.
When it will happen isn't so much an assumption, but that it will happen, well, that's a given, right?

As parents, we get frustrated when our preschooler is still having toileting accidents out of pure laziness, when our school ages child feigns helpless when being told to tie their shoes or zip a coat. We know that they know those things, and we know that they are capable... therefore we assume that the child will simply do them.

Not unrealistic by any means, but also not always the case.

All of those assumptions go right out the window if you have a child with special needs. Those milestones are no longer assumptions. They are victories.

If you don't have a child with any type of disability, take a moment an observe a parent who does. Watch that mom or dad watch their son as he runs bases or reads a passage from a book.
See the look of pride when their daughter is standing on roller skates for the first time, or paints a picture of a field filled with flowers and butterflies.
It's very humbling, and it makes me very grateful that my son isn't more severely delayed (it probably sounds sad to an outsider, but I take solace n the fact that it could always be worse), and I also feel a sense of understanding, because I get it. To a lesser extent, I live it.

Yesterday, wasn't about rejoicing over something that my kid did in spite of his disability. It was just about my kid being a kid.

Iain, in spite of his delays, has never had a problem with his gross or fine motor skills. He walked early, climbed like a monkey and has rather impressive coordination. Yet, because he was in a special education program, he received some occupational therapy.
That took his already decent GMS and FMS and made them sharp.

Iain swings a bat with decent accuracy, runs with a soccer ball and is quite the bowler. Why his immediate response to a bicycle surprised me, I am not really sure.

The boys and I went out to have lunch with Papa on Friday, as they didn't have school. Since Chris is building a school, and there's all kinds of equipment around, it's a fascinating experience for them (plus, they get a kick out of hanging out with dad during the work day).
After saying our "see you later"s to their father, we made a group decision that no one was ready to go home. Nice weather, busy stretch of suburban road... prime garage sale territory.

During one of our stops, we found a bike. Great shape - almost new - and cheap! Five bucks and it was hours. Fit nicely into the trunk, and I didn't even think about the size (a 16", when we were planning to buy a 20", and training wheel equip it for the summer ), assuming that we'd slap some training wheels onto it, and hand it directly to Spud, versus buying him a scooter, as we'd originally discussed.

After an afternoon in the Ninth Circle of Hell (or as many of you call, it, Chuck E. Cheese's), I decided to finally haul said aquisition out of the trunk, and see how well Iain did in terms of keeping the frame upright.
In short, we're not going to bother with training wheels. At least not until Iain fits onto a 20" bike and the smaller model gets handed to Braeden.

It's days like yesterday that offset the days of frustration, making them seem small and unimportant, even if only for a little while.
My son has developmental delays, but he's able to do some pretty awesome stuff. Like get onto an unsupported two wheeled bike and take off down the road like he's been riding on his own for weeks. Wobbly on the outside, but confident that he'll lick it and be racing with the big kids in no time. And he will be.

...and he had the good sense to ask for his helmet, which I LOVED.

Today has been a day par quo, of melt downs and reminders. Of pestering even after asking for the same thing ten minutes ago, only to forget before he makes it up the stairs.

But yesterday... yesterday I saw progress. And progress was an amazing feeling.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Every once in a while...

I manage to whip up something that I am pleased with. It's usually on the fly, and a total whim (whereas the stuff that I sit down and think about goes all wrong), but somehow it comes out okay.

I challenged myself to use up pieces of other stuff that I had around the house (part of my 'Procrastinators No more!' thread, but a couple of days past the April challenge deadline), and it worked.
A piece from an SCS swap (Kelli, if you're seeing this, the sundae cup was from your Grease creation from Kate's swap), scraps of paper, glitter remnants, industrial caulking tape, left over from a five year old RAK...

And Ward wonders why I don't throw anything away...

I made this for my boys' kindergarten teacher. She's an absolute ice cream junkie. I've never seen anyone who loves it more (she rented a soft serve machine from a company so often that they offered to sell it to her... and of couse she accepted).

My only regrets: that I didn't think of it three days sooner so that I'd have had more time to let it dry between layers (because all that Triple Thick and Diamond Glaze made me downright loopy), and that I didn't make the whipped cream a bit fluffier. (although when sitting on pooling hot fudge, it does tend to melt quickly).

Anyhow, I added some hot chocolate essential oil to the process and the darn thing makes the classroom smell divine.

So there you have it. My most recent project - at least most recent that I have been truly pleased with anyhow.
And it worked out as an update to my blog, which I've been slacking on somethin' fierce.