Thursday, July 28, 2016

End of Summer Ramblings

I think I speak about Josephine differently than other women speak about their babies.  I don't say, "Josie's first time to the zoo!"  I say, "First time to the zoo, on the outside!"  After all, Lydia went to the goddamn zoo.


As we were finishing up a run in the Double Bob, we spotted a sign for a garage sale and Ben asked if we could go. Ben hopped on his bike to ride, but Josephine had fallen asleep, so I pushed the double stroller behind him.

A Nosy Lady peered in to look at a sleeping Josie.  "You got another one?" she asked, gesturing to the empty seat.  I pretended not to hear her.  "YOU GOT ANOTHER ONE?" she repeated.

"He was in there earlier," I replied, pointing at Ben.  Answering her question, but not.

"I have Lydia!" Ben shouted in reply.

"This is Lydia?" asked Nosy Lady.

"No!  Josie!" Ben replied, looking at her like she was crazy.

And with that, we left.

I love how Ben simplifies things.  How he acts like Nosy Lady was the crazy one for not realizing he has two sisters.


The other day, driving in the van, I made a right turn, and Ben shouted, "We just made an L for Lydia!"

The kid can be such a little shit and he can also be so, so awesome.


When my friend Amanda visited, we watched the video of Lydia's memorial that the awesome Leigh Zeidner put together.  I hadn't watched it in a year and a half, and I barely recognized the girl in it.  Part of me wanted to reach through the screen and hug her and the other part of me wanted to reach through the screen and shake her. 

I realized I have learned a lot since December 2014.  Then, I spoke about Lydie in the past tense, about the relationship I wanted to have with my daughter.

I cringed watching myself say things things like, "Ben would have made a really good big brother."  Now I know that Ben is a really good big brother -- to both his little sisters.

Now I know that death didn't end our relationship.  It doesn't look like I want it to look like, but we still have a relationship.

I am hers, and she is mine, and nothing will ever change that.


We spent a week at our Lake Huron cottage last week.  It turns out that it's quite difficult to have a 9-month old baby at the beach.  At one point, Justin and I decided to let Josie have-at-it in her eating-of-the-sand since it seemed impossible to keep her from doing so.  But after the fourth fistful, we decided that wasn't a good plan either.  Benjamin loved kayaking, playing in the sand, searching for sea glass, racing rescue trucks, and wrestling with his dad on the newest summer toy, called The Mat. And I even got some Heather-only beach time during kids' naps thanks to my husband.  It always feels good to be up there, away from our normal responsibilities.  We even met with my cousin and her kids and a BLM friend and her rainbow at a kids' park. And beach drinks are nice too - the first summer in three years I could partake.

We spent a morning at Lydie's Tree.  My parents both grew up in the farm country surrounding the cottage and most my aunts and uncles still live there.  They pitched in to dedicate a tree to Lydie at the cemetery where so many of my family members are buried, and I love that she has her own place there.  I love getting there in the summer time, picnicking in the grass next to her tree.

But I realized I feel Lydie so much at the cottage, not just at her tree.  I feel her in the waves and the blue-green almost-Caribbean water.  I feel her in the sunsets that paint the horizon pink, as I write her name in the sand.

If I wanted to convince the Heather of December 2014 that my daughter is always with me, the cottage would be a good place to start.

It really felt like a vacation for a family of 5.


My aunt and uncle visited us at the cottage, and my aunt asked, "Is your cat still alive?"

"Yep," I responded, rolling my eyes.  James.  Jimmie.  Justin's "college roommate," adopted by a friend 15 years ago, and passed between all these guys for several years at a time, Jimmie has spent the last 6 1/2 years with us and it's no secret that I am not his biggest fan.  (In my defense, Jimmie was LOUD and attention-seeking).

I asked my aunt how long cats live, she responded that 15 was pretty old, and I said I should be nicer to him.  Justin said he's noticed he's not eating as much and he should get him to the vet.

Welp, you guessed it.  The next day, we arrived home to find Jimmie dead in the basement.  Ironic, huh?

And really not a nice end to our vacation.

There's no comparison to seeing your dead daughter, but it turns out that seeing your dead cat is kind of shitty too.

And mostly, I feel for my husband, who loves that damn cat, and spent the evening digging a grave for him in our backyard.   Who had to sit down our 3-year-old and talk to him about death again ("Why Jimmie have to die? Jimmie in the stars with Lydie?"). Once the kids were in bed, we tossed a handful of cat food into Jimmie's box, thanked him for being Justin's buddy, and buried him, placing daisies on top of his grave.

Rest in peace, Jimmie.  I'm sorry I wasn't nicer to you.


Justin and I bought our home over six years ago.  When we offered, we weren't even engaged, though I had a ring on my finger by the closing.  We worked on home improvement projects every weekend until Benjamin was born.  All three of our babies lived here.  Lydie's Garden sits in the backyard.  We love this place.  It's home.

But we've been house-shopping for six months now, which proves to be difficult when your city is the tenth hottest real estate market and you've got a long list of things you want (and things you don't).

We haven't been having any luck at all.

Until yesterday.

A house went on the market and I set up a time to see it with our realtor, wearing my swimsuit there and telling Ben we'd be on our way to the pool in a few minutes.

Except I fell in love with this house.

And when I went back with Justin last evening, he was impressed too.

So we signed our offer after we got the kids in bed last night.

And now I'm freaking out.

I don't know that they will accept it and I will be very bummed if they don't, but every scenario was running through my mind when I couldn't sleep last night.  How could we possibly move in the next month?  How the hell are we going to put our house on the market with two messy kids and a big, shedding dog?  How could we move two weeks before Lydie's Loop?

But mostly, how could we leave this home?

An old friend once called me "a sentimental monkey," and I wonder how many of these emotions tie to Lydie.   This is the only home Lydie's ever known, and though she'll come with us in both the emotional sense and the physical sense, there's something tying me to her here, in this house.  With her garden out back.  This house has been part of both the before and the after and a new house would only be part of the after.


Speaking of Lydie's Loop, it's coming a long and it is A LOT of work.  We have a new location, in a park within our neighborhood (although apparently it's a possibility we will no longer be living in this neighborhood on October 1st?) so we can use both the pavilion and the running trails. Both my OB and the hospital where all three of my kids were delivered have asked to sponsor the event.  We have AWESOME raffle prizes, including an American Girl, a memory chest made by my uncle, Blue Jackets tickets, and a kids' lemonade stand made by a friend.  Thinking about doing some of those bigger items as a silent auction, because how much money can a raffle really raise?  We still have lots of smaller items for the raffle.  Thoughts??

Justin and I need to map out our course this weekend (put that on the to-do list).  And I really want to start pushing registration soon, because you know, this event is pretty useless without participants.  My thought is that most people aren't thinking ahead to fall yet, so with back-to-school, August will be a good time to amp it up.  Yeah??

Again, here's the Facebook page and the event page.  People can create teams and share it on Facebook to have others support them that way.  We'll put all the baby's names on the t-shirt, and I'm excited to see Lydie's name in print with so many of her good buddies.

So many of you have already signed up, especially for the virtual run, and I am so grateful for your support.


On Monday, I go back to work.  I'm feeling a bit ready, then feeling guilty for feeling that way.  I'm worried about Josephine, who is in such a mama stage and cries when I walk out of the room.  She also has refused to take a bottle this summer since she has become accustomed to having her mama at her disposal and she's a stubborn girl.  So that is going to be hard for Josephine's tummy and my heart.  And then there's Benjamin who seems excited to go back to school but is pretty terrible about transitions.  Yesterday, he told me, "I am gonna miss you very lot when I go back to school."  I'm going to miss him a very lot too.

You know how they say the days are long and the years are short?  This summer has lasted a million years and I can't believe it's already over.

Checking off our summer bucket list -- visiting The Dad at work

Most summer afternoons, you can find us here.  We've made the most of our time.

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