"Change, when it comes, cracks everything open."
Dorothy Allen

Monday, September 9, 2013


Four months ago, yesterday, my son lived through open heart surgery.  I have been thinking and reflecting on this for the last day or so.  Not a lot, but it's been hanging out in the quiet part of my brain that seems to like to talk to me at 3 in the morning or so.  That part that used to whisper "what if..what if.." now whispers "do you know how fucking lucky you are?"

I do.  I really really do.

I get that every single day between then and now has been an absolute gift.  I think about the things that we have done together- every smile, every laugh, every argument- and how grateful I am that I had the chance to have them.

When I am exhausted and he is covered in Kleenex dust- AGAIN- I remember the way the tubes and the needles looked, when they lived inside his body.

When I am pissed off and angry that he is awake and walking downstairs at 430am, I remember the way the hospital looked and felt and sounded in the middle of the night.

When he refuses to eat whatever it is that I made for dinner, I remember the fact that he used to not be able to gain weight.  He has gained almost 11 lbs since May.

In the last 4 months, it is like we have hit a reset button on Sebastian.  He is off his meds.  He is stubborn and defiant.  He is hugging and loving on everyone.

I have been to the zoo with him twice.  We have been to the drive in.  We have read tons of books.  We have told jokes, had fires, gone for swims.  We have eaten in restaurants, ordered in pizza, gone to RibFests and eaten at carnivals.  We have slept in, gotten up early, had naps and stayed up late.

All of it is a gift.  I know this.  Every day, I think this. 

At 5 am, when his light flicks on and I hear him make his way to the bathroom, I usually stumble up.  I wait for him to finish.  He comes out, and looks at my face, with the creases from the pillow still drawn across my cheek.  Every time, he smiles.

"Good morning, Mommy."

Sometimes he will do his funny skip over to me and we hug.  Sometimes he walks past, and I smack his butt to get him moving, and to hear him laugh.  Back up the ladder, back into bed.  Good night Mommy.  Good night, baby boy.

Best way to start the day.  Really it is.

Sometimes, he tries my patience.  Sometimes I forget to be grateful.  Somedays, like today, when he started back at school, I am a little bit glad for some time apart. 

But then I realize.  4 months.  4 months between the great wide open and the big bad unknown. 

How much have I changed in these 4 months?  I don't really know.  In some ways, not at all.  I still worry about the same things, I still make a lot of the same silly mistakes.

But I also think more.  I am a little, tiny bit more selfish.  A good mom is sometimes a bit selfish, because if she is happy and healthy and balanced and at peace, then she can be there and present for her kids.  For a long time, I didn't understand this.  I do now.  I understand that life is nothing to take for granted.  I understand that there are no second chances.  I know that today is never coming back.  And really, all you ever have is today.

Today.  Sebastian started school today.  What a good day.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new year, new miracles".

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Being Proud

Over the last little while (weeks, months, years), as I have blogged more and had more and more people following, reading and commenting to me about my blog, I have had to come to a personal realization. 

Sometimes, you just have to take the compliment.

See, apparently, some people like what I write.  Some people like how I write.  Some people like both.  And sometimes, some of the various groups of people feel enough moxy to actually come right out and tell me that they like it.  Whoa.  I know.  Crazy town.

My first reaction, invariably, is to deflect the compliment.  To make up some kind of excuse for why I don't write well, or to explain why that one single post was actually decent when the rest of my shit, is just that...shit. 

But as I said, lately, I have been thinking about it.  Why is it so hard?  Why can't I accept that I might, might actually be good at something?  That I might be good enough at something that people are actually enjoying what it is that I am doing? 

It shouldn't be hard.  For some people, I don't think it is.  Some people have that inherent sense of their own self worth (sometimes that self worth might even be a bit over inflated.  Shocking, I know, but it happens).  Whether through their upbringing or their surroundings or their friends or whatever, these people understand that they are naturally talented, and that they are deserving of the praise that is given to them.  But what about the rest of us?

I don't have an answer, really.  I guess there are a lot of factors for me.  I worry that people are setting me up.  That the compliment given, was given as a joke, or as a platitude, instead of genuine.  You know that saying "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything"?  I guess I worry that people are just saying nice things, because they don't have anything else to say.  Weird I know, but still there, in the back of my mind.

I worry that there is an inherent arrogance in accepting a compliment.
 "Hey, that was totally awesome.  Well done." 
"Yeah.  I know.  I am amazing.  About time you recognized it".

Ok, my conversations aren't actually like that, but I worry that sometimes the perception might be that it's what I mean. 

So, I guess that sentence is more revealing that I expected it to be.  Perceptions.  I suppose that's what it's all about.  At the end of the day, I worry about what other people think about me. 

Don't we all?  Really?  If you are honest, don't you? 

I know, in my heart, that I can write.  I know that I am a good mom.  I know that I am a strong and capable woman.  I know that I am smart, and well spoken and well read.  I know that I relate well to other people. 

But I guess I worry that other people don't know that.  I worry that just because I think it, that doesn't make it true. What if I am good, but not as good as I think I am?  What if I am actually tricking myself?  I am afraid that my self image seems to be often influenced by outside reinforcement. 

Shame on me. 

So, what do I do about it?  I don't know, really.  I guess self realization is an important step forward.  I think putting myself out there for critique, by writing the blog in the first place is another step.  If I was well and truly terrified of what people would say, then I wouldn't be showing this to anyone at all.  My next step?

Take the damn compliment, I guess. 

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "next compliment, please".

First Day

Today was the first day of school for Sawyer.  She is going into senior kindergarten, so she is one of the big kids.  The day she finished in June, she realized that she had now moved up the ranks and was very clear in the fact that her status as an SK was one that she had earned and was going to wear proudly.

The last couple of weeks have been busy ones.  We have been trying to cram as much fun and good times into the end of summer as we could.  We had trips to the zoo, the park and Great Wolf Lodge.  We had fires, and BBQ and even some rain days. 

 Through it all, me and the kids were together through the days, the nights, all of it.  Yes, there were the occasional sleepovers at Grammie and Papa's and Grandma's.  But for the most part, it was the 3 of us.  Lots of it was super fun.  Some of it was not quite as fun.  Some days were down right rough.  But through it all, there was the light at the end of tunnel - September 3, the first day of school.

After a fun filled last weekend (well, Monday was low key- by that time, Momma Bear was tired and achy and needed some serious couch time), today was the day.  Last night, we packed lunches, we laid out new clothes, we had baths and washed hair, cut fingernails and toenails.  We read stories and at separate times I talked to each of them about the fact that I was in fact going to miss them but that they didn't have to worry about me.  I told them each that I would be working, and I promised that I would be there to pick them up, and spend the evening with them.  I assured them that it was perfectly ok for them to have a good time at school, and that I loved them more than anything else in the world.  That seemed to be enough to settle my anxious little souls and everyone (except me) slept soundly and well.

This morning, we got up nice and early, had waffles for breakfast, and even had a dance party to Katy Perry.  It was a great morning and everyone was starting off on a high note.  Sawyer made it to the bus on time, had time to play with her friend Sarah.  The bus was very late, so we had a bit of a rush getting back in time to load Sebastian into the van and off to school. There was a momentary setback to the day when we were advised that in fact, Sebastian didn't start school today, but instead next Monday.  He was thrilled, I was less so.

Sebastian and I spent the day together, chilling and working.  We ate lunch from his lunch bag (well, he did, I had scrambled eggs and cheese).  When it was time, I made my way to the bus stop and waited.  And waited.  Aaaand waited.  When we were reaching the 30 minute mark, I was starting to get worried.  Luckily, I had good friends to text back and forth with, to help take my mind off of the fact that my kid was currently missing and riding around randomly on a bus somewhere.  Finally, she made it home, and we were all together again at last. 

So, today, as with most first days, was a very emotional day for me.  Did I cry?  Of course I did.  When I was alone and things were quiet for the first time in 2 months, I smiled and cried a little.  I made her bed, and put away a toy or two and I missed her with my whole heart.  I could smell her shampoo when I went into the bathroom, I could hear her feet skipping across the floor in the kitchen.  I had a space in my home when she was gone. 
Of course I cried. 

I will do it all again tomorrow. And the day after.  And the week after and the month after.  All over again. 

Last weekend, I was having this amazing conversation with someone. And I was trying to explain the magic and the romance in my life, that is being a mother.  It is so hard to explain, because when you say it, plainly and basically, in real words, it sounds insane.  How, last week, as I sat on my stained carpet in my bedroom, where I had to literally shove toys aside to find a clear spot, I could see the beauty in my surroundings.  I folded basket after basket of laundry, as I looked at the clutter- my towering pile of yarn, waiting for projects to be started and finished, the stacks and stacks of kids' movies, scratched and worn, but ready to be played at a moment's notice, the cut up paper bits from the last art project, the dollies and the horses, the books and the stickers.  All of it is the jumble of the poetry that is my life with kids.  There is an inherent magic and beauty in it.  I don't always see it.  I don't always appreciate it.  That day I did.  That day, I could embrace the fact that it was noon, and I was still in my pyjamas and so were they.  I could love that I had syrup on my cheek, when I hadn't had pancakes for breakfast.  I could watch the sun come through the window and watch the wind move the curtains, and understand that I was living a fricking miracle. 

Like I said- it sounds insane.  Until you are there.  In that moment.  In the mess and the heat, and the love.  And then it's magic. 

I lost that magic for a little while today.  I will keep losing it, little by little, every day, every week, every year. 

I can't believe I couldn't wait for today.  Silly Momma Bear.

Rosie N. Grey
The N stands for "new school year".