Tuesday, September 29, 2015

First Day of School 2015

Can I just start by saying that this day was one of the hardest days of my life?  And, yes, I drove by the school twice hoping to catch a glimpse of my babies on the playground.  One reason it was so hard is because Atley started Middle School.  UGH!  The horror.  The truth of the matter is simple. My children are growing up.  They're such TRADERS.
When we moved and I realized that 6th grade would actually be in a middle school I attempted to retain Atley. As a former middle school teacher that should illustrate to everyone how terrifying middle school really is.  Fortunately, Atley is thriving in his new school.  He is making friends and getting involved in Film Club, the school musical, and student council. He even attended his first Junior High Dance last week! EEK. And since I have been such a slacker blogger lately here are some highlights of Atley's last few months. He performed in Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables last year and if I do say so myself, he was phenomenal. He is starting piano again and has huge potential if he puts in the time to practice.  One of his most amazing achievements last school year was participating in the Science Olympiad  where he placed 5th in the state in the bridge building competition.  He completed his Arrow of Light in Cub Scouts and is now officially a Boy Scout.  He even went on his first over-night campout with the Scouts last week and had an amazing time. He is still obsessed with airplanes and maps but he also loves building trails on our property for his motorcycle and can be seen on most afternoons heading into the forest with a shovel and an ax to clear trees just like Paul Bunyan.
We were the least worried about Nash when we moved because he is such a people person, but he is probably struggling the most.  He is on a different baseball team full of older kids  and while they are winning lots of games he is certainly missing his best pals from McLean Little League.  It doesn't help that his beloved Baltimore Ravens are 0-3 and we just witnessed the biggest, ugliest loss in BYU Football history last weekend.  Despite all that, Nash keeps his happy attitude and makes the most of things. Last year he won the "Perfectly Polite" award at his school and his teachers referred to him as the "Mayor" because they said he essentially ran the place.  Here is a funny story.  After a baseball game last spring one of the little league officials was chatting with a few of the boys.  He asked Nash what he wanted to be when he grew up.  After the usual-football player, baseball player, basketball player responses the official said to Nash, "What if you can't play sports? What would you be then?"  Nash casually replied, "Oh, I would be a Coke dealer."  Picking my jaw up off the ground I stepped in and said, "Nash, are you kidding me?"  He responded with, "Yeah, they make tons of money."  Everyone, well all of the adults anyway, were totally stunned when he finally said, "Plus you get to drink all the Coke you want and drive that cool red Coca Cola Truck!"  Whew! Dodged a bullet there. I thought the "Mayor" might be becoming the "Drug Lord".
 He also enjoys being outside with his brother, exploring on his bike and riding his motorcycle. He has spent several nights sleeping outdoors and thinks it is amazeballs. Also, his reading ability was recently assessed and he is a little ahead of grade level. This is astonishing considering his dyslexia and can all be attributed to how very hard Nash works. He always tries his best and never gives up when the going gets tough!
Isn't it obvious how excited she was to leave me?  She never even looked back as she abandoned me forever. She doesn't miss me.  She loves school. I keep telling her it is an awful place and all she has to do is say the word and I'll never make her go back again, but she keeps insisting that it is, "sooo awesome".  Where did I go wrong with this girl? 
Yesterday, I was in Target and I saw this little girl with pigtails shopping with her momma. She was probably three with dark hair and a mouth that would not stop chattering. I lost it.  I had to go to my car and collect myself I was crying so hard. That used to be Harley and I, until she betrayed me and left me for her Kindergarten teacher.  I drank a Slurpee and ate some Chicken McNuggets in her honor.
She is such a character and is so much happier at Kindergarten than she was in preschool where she claims all the girls were from the, "DARK SIDE".  She is independent, unique and tough as nails.  Here are some recent Harley Quotes:
1. "Today the teacher tried to get me to put away the puppet I was playing with and I didn't want to give it back. So, I put my hand in it's mouth and I told that teacher, 'You don't want THIS puppet. It has hand and mouth disease."
2.  Last week she spent hours making a card for a boy in her class. When I asked what it was for she said it was her Wedding Card for him.  A few days later I found the card in her backpack and asked why she didn't give it to her friend.  Her reply, "The wedding is off! I asked him to marry me and he said, 'No, thanks.'"  My response, "Oh, I'm sorry honey.  Are you sad?"  Then she says, "No, I realized this would be a great story to tell my children someday.  They need to know that 5 years old is too young to marry. I made a big mistake thinking otherwise."
3. Scott and I were discussing a minor beef we were having with the Middle School principal when Harley interrupted our conversation by saying,   "I think that principal needs this..."  At this point she balled up here little fist and with her thumb extended she made a slicing motion across her throat.  "Harley!" I exclaimed, to which she responded with, "Oh, I guess be-heading is a little harsh.  Sometimes I think I am too rebellious for this family."  Yeah, she talks like that but she can't count to twenty.  For example...
4.  In Kindergarten those students who can count to 100 get a special prize and become part of the "100 CLUB."  Harley is dying to get into the 100 CLUB and we have been practicing but those darn teens always pose a problem.  Yesterday she came home from school very dejected.  She explained that she tried to get into the 100 CLUB, again, but, "that teacher noticed when I skipped the teens and went straight to twenty. Sometimes that lady puts me on the edge."  By the way that is what she calls her teacher, "THAT TEACHER"  but trust me coming from Harley that is a term of endearment. I think I gave birth to a real life Junie B. Jones.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Papa Edgar

(July 2014-Atley, Nash & Harley with their Great-Grandpa & Grandma Edgar)

Right before the school year ended I called my Grandparents. Generally, we talk every couple of weeks, sometimes more frequently. But, the hectic nature of the year ending had aided in my procrastination of calling and despite repeated promptings to call sooner I had not.  You can imagine my surprise when a dear cousin answered my grandparent's phone, in the middle of the day, on a Thursday. Of course, I immediately knew something was wrong and my cousin's reluctance to explain what he was doing there at such an odd time only intensified my fears.  Eventually, my grandma was placed on the phone and fighting through her tears, she explained to me that several days earlier my grandpa had become unexpectedly ill and despite everyone's best efforts he was not going to survive.  He was home under the care of hospice, unable to eat, drink or speak and I was thousands of miles away.  Grandma explained that he understood what people were saying, so she put the phone to his ear and I told him how very much I loved him and that I was going to get there as soon as possible.  
(Clive Edgar 15 years old)

Not knowing if we would make it in time, the kids and I caught the next available flight. We didn't arrive until very late Sunday night.  I called to see if it was too late for me to come see grandpa. Grandma's reply was that he was waiting for me and wouldn't go to sleep until I arrived. I thought my heart would break in two.  There he lay looking so small and frail in his hospital bed, propped up in the living room of their home.  He was indeed waiting for me and miraculously he was communicating.  I told him again how much I loved him and he reminded me of the song he had asked me to sing at his funeral-My Way by Frank Sinatra. I told him I would do whatever he wanted. Then he asked me if I would sing it to him right then and there.  I'm not really sure how I got through singing him that song,  while he cried beside me along with the rest of the family. It most certainly was divine intervention and such a comfort to both of us as we said our goodbyes.  My grandfather passed away on June 30, 2015. He was 79 years old.  

(Papa letting me play nurse circa. 1984)

When I was a kid 79 would have seemed ancient but as each year passes I realize how very young 79 years old is. In fact, 90 seems younger everyday.  I wasn't ready to lose my grandfather.  It was hard. What made it harder was the feeling I got from others that losing a grandparent wasn't really a big deal.  Granted, my grandpa lived a full life, full of adventure, full of love, heartbreak and learning.  But I loved him and because of that, it was never going to be easy to say goodbye.  

My grandpa was a unique man.  He overcame many difficulties.  He was creative and artistic. He loved learning. He loved people. He was generous and loved his family despite how they may break his heart at times.  Most of my childhood was spent only a few miles from his home. I went there after school most days and when grandma didn't have cookies baked for me, which she usually did, grandpa would sit down with me and we would eat saltines with thousand island dressing.  He would tell me stories and ask me questions and he listened to what I had to say.  His influence on my life was inevitable. 
He always encouraged me.  One New Year's Eve I was staying at my Grandpa and Grandma Edgar's house while my parents were out with friends.  I was probably 9 years old and I desperately wanted to stay up until midnight. I was starting to get very tired and was afraid I wasn't going to make it until midnight.  Grandpa brought me an exercise trampoline and told me to start jumping to stay awake. It was only 10:30 at this point.  After at least 45 minutes of solid jumping, my grandmother began to be concerned.  She asked me something like, "Are you getting too tired?  Maybe you better take a break?"  My reply was, "I'm no wimp grandma."  Then Grandpa said, "That's right. She is not a wimp. She is the toughest girl I know. She can do anything."  Something about the way he said those words, made me believe him and believe in myself. I jumped all the way to midnight.  He gave me the gift of confidence.
 His love for me was  unconditional and I knew it.  I was certain I was his favorite grandchild.  But that is what is most remarkable, I  think all of his grandkids were certain they were the favorite.  He made us all feel special.  He encouraged me to write and sing. He was proud of me when I graduated from college and more proud when I gave up my career to have a baby.  He tried to teach me to paint and loved the disaster that I created.  He took me on jewelry selling trips and taught me to love green chili on everything.  He gently cut the turquoise ring off of my finger when I was bucked off of a horse and several weeks later replaced it with a brand new ring that he said he had made even sturdier for all the mischief I seemed to get into.
He taught me to appreciate the simple things and recognize the beauty in God's creations. One example of this happened right before his passing. 
Grandpa had a humming bird feeder in front of his window.  He often talked about this little yellow bird that would show up to eat from the hummingbird feeder. Before he passed away that little yellow bird returned to the feeder.  Grandpa cried to see his feathered friend again.  What an example of finding joy in the little things! 
Grandpa and Grandma bickered like little kids but as he lay dying his greatest concern was that my grandma be taken care of. He loved her and they worked at their marriage.  Many years ago my grandparents had to move from a home that they built and loved.  The day they were leaving my grandma dug up a little tree sprouting from the grass. She planted it into a pot and carried it around in that pot as they moved from place to place before finally settling into the home in which my grandfather died.  At one point my grandpa planted that little sprout in the ground by my grandmother's kitchen window. It grew into a beautiful crab apple tree.  One morning a few days after my grandfather passed away I walked into the kitchen to see my grandmother crying over a little box on her kitchen table.  Inside the box was a necklace my grandfather had made for her from the branches of her crab apple tree, attached was a poem he had written.

Love Is

Love is free
Love is kind
Love is Eternal
Love is sublime
Love is strong, give it time
Love is even a small crabtree
Love is made from its branch you'll see
Love is the fat on the soul
that keeps you warm when you get old.

Thanks for all you taught me Papa. Thanks for loving me and my babies and for loving my grandma. I think of you often and am so grateful you were my grandpa. You and grandma provided me with an ideal childhood, full of love, adventure and excitement. I'll miss our chats on the phone.  I can hear your voice in my head answering and saying, "Hey, Sugar!  How's that awful neighbor of yours?"  Of course I always knew you meant Obama. 

Love you forever,


You ever notice how many quotes there are about change.
 For example,
"If nothing ever changed there would be no butterflies."
"Change is inevitable. Progress is optional."
"All great changes are preceded by chaos."
"Any change, even a change for the better is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts."

The theme of my life over the past 3 months has been all about change and just like the quotes above there have been some drawbacks, discomforts, plenty of chaos and hopefully a little bit of progress.  There have been some heartbreaks and tremendous blessings and busyness like never before.  Hence, the long absence from the blog.  
By the way we did celebrate Easter this year.
Just wanted to throw that out there.  
Anyway, fair warning, my next 30 or 40 posts may be a little disjointed and perhaps sometimes incoherent, what can I say, my art is imitating my life.