Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lucky Us

Today, this earth lost one of the best Dads that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

My childhood best friend, Walker, lost her father earlier this afternoon.  Art Howson was a really good at a lot of things, but he was first and foremost a really good dad.  Plenty of Walker's friends could write about Art...or Mr. Howson as he was known to me...better than I can in recent years, but the memories I have are from living right up the street for a majority of my time at home.

Walker and I became best friends somewhere around the first or second grade, a momentous occasion that was documented in a note from her to me in my baby book which reads something like
"I am exited for you to spin the night with me.  My dad will make us waffuls in the morning"

Not only did he make us "waffuls", but Mr. Howson spent the next several years switching mornings with my father, carpooling us to school each morning.  It was here that he gave me the nickname "Miss Mellow" for the way I sauntered to the car each morning, no doubt taking my time so that all could admire my latest outfit.  This was truly a term of endearment, always said with his trademark smile...despite the fact that lawyers bill by the hour and no telling how much my posturing cost him.

Walker and I have talked a lot in recent years how lucky we were growing up.  It was a given that her dad would make us waffles, my dad would get us Happy Meals, and our mother's would take us wherever we wanted to go.  It was an idyllic childhood.

One of the hardest parts for me after we lost Rip was the loss of my innocence.  It was like all of the sudden all of the scary, horrible things that I knew about but I didn't know about were all a little too close for comfort.

But how lucky were we to have that innocence in the first place?  I look back now, especially now that we are grown and married and having children of our own, and realize how much effort our parents must have put into giving that to us.  I am sure there were so many stressful times in their lives and yet we were shielded from all of it, how lucky we are to be loved like that.

I am sad for Walker and her family today, sad that they have lost such a wonderful man and a wonderful father.  I am also so thankful that we were all lucky enough to have known him.

Thank you for being part of such a wonderful time in my life, Mr. Howson.  Make my boy a waffle for me.

Love Always,
Miss Mellow

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Just Because

This made me really happy...

Let's Dance!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Trick Of It

I've been having a hard time writing lately, at least on this blog.

In trying to figure out why, I think in part it is because that where I am right now is hard to put in to words.  After Rip died, I wrote about loss and sadness and the desire to have another baby.  When I got pregnant again, I wrote about how scared and excited I was and how much I still missed my boy.  And then when Gracie finally arrived, there was so much joy and relief...with a different level of missing Rip.

Now...well, what do I write about now?

I still think about Rip every single day.  I miss him, a lot.  I think about what he would be doing, or look like now.  I think probably a lot like a boy version of Gracie (ie Mama-visioned cutest baby ever).  Yesterday was an eleven eleven day...I saw it everywhere, all of the time.  I still feel him, I still talk to him.

I breathed a huge sigh of relief when Gracie turned one.  Before I was even pregnant with her, my doctor told me I would probably be afraid for the first year of my next child's life and she was right.  Somehow, deep down it was like I couldn't quite believe she was mine until we hit that one year mark.  Don't get me wrong, I still worry way more than I think most "normal" moms do...but it is getting much, much better.

I also think a lot about how lucky I am.  I have friends who have lost babies and are still waiting to hold a child in their arms.  There is not a night that I put Gracie to bed that I don't thank God for the mere fact of her.  The solid weight of her body breathing into my neck is the only drug I will ever need (but I won't turn down a glass of wine, just to be on the safe side).

I guess part of me feels in limbo...for the last two years there has always been a next step to the grieving process, a goal in mind.  Now, even though a million different things will change until the day I die, now is the part where I move forward and Rip's death comes with me as it is.

I guess it all really comes back to not wanting his story to end, wanting his life to mean something more  "the baby we lost".  And I know it has, so many people have told me that Rip's story meant something to them and that truly makes all of the difference in the world.

I think the trick now is how to move forward in a way that is healthy for Gracie, for me and for Parke, and also in a way that honors Rip and keeps him a celebrated part of our family.  It's not easy, but I've always been one who believes in magic.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


Caught: Rare Spaghetti-Faced Pouty Pot

Likes: Late night scream fests, kitty-cats, anything sweet, going for walks, bananas, and (you guessed it)...spaghetti

Dislikes: Being told no 

WARNING: Provoking RSFPP by sticking anything through the protective barrier may result in injury

Monday, January 21, 2013

Girl Power

I, like way too many women I know, have always suffered from a lack of self-esteem.

I'm not entirely sure why (clearly I am very funny and smart...ha.ha.ha.) but throw me into a situation that is new or where I am not sure what to do and my automatic response is to tell myself no.  Not consciously, but my subconscious is throwing it's obnoxious little self around saying "no no no, you won't be able to do this! You can't handle this! There's no WAYYYYYY!!!!!!"

You know the one area where I don't seem to have this issue?  Being a mom.

Don't get me wrong, I doubt myself all of the time as a mother...I just know that, for Gracie and Rip, I am literally the only person for the job.  I'm it, and when it comes time for a decision to be made, I'd better make it and make it quick.

I've been wondering lately why I have such a hard time, or why I give myself such a hard time, carrying that confidence over into the rest of my life?

Is anything anyone is going to ask me to do harder than what I have already done?  Is anyone going to ask me to have a really rare condition, sit in the hospital for six weeks, lose my firstborn, have another (at times) even scarier pregnancy, have a complicated c-section, all of which resulted in a beautiful baby girl?  Let's all just pray to the Good Lord Jesus the answer is no, you may find me curled in a ball somewhere if so.

But truly, most people (women especially) just deal with the really hard stuff when it comes, and then worry themselves to pieces over the small stuff.  Why is that?

I don't have the answer, it's just something I've been thinking about.  This concludes my Girl Power vent of the day.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Trot Trot, Trot Trot

I am terrible with change.  While I am sure that losing Rip didn't help this little...we will call it a quirk, it's probably more like a character flaw...of mine, he is probably up in Heaven right now shaking his head "un uh Mama, you ain't pinning this one on me!" And it's true, I've always been this way.

And recently, there have been a lot of changes, good and bad.  I left a job where I genuinely liked the people I worked with but wasn't being challenged and was spending too many hours away from my family.  But it was also the job I was in when I had both of my children.  I knew exactly where I was standing when this and this happened when I was pregnant with Rip and now I'm not there and it's different.  Have I mentioned I don't deal well with different?

I started a new job, a job I truly think will be better for me with good people and the potential to have more flexibility.  But starting a new job is stressful, until you get the hang of things you are just sitting there trying not to look or act a fool (maybe this is just me?) And these people don't know me...not the last two years me anyway...and that always makes me feel on edge.  Maybe some would say that your personal life doesn't need to spill into your work life, and they are probably right.  They also probably aren't the type to have a blog and blab their innermost feelings all over the world wide web.  Just saying.

Just to add to the chaos, my car has been in the shop for 5 weeks.  Yes, that's right, 5 weeks.  Up until the new job, I really didn't need a car during the day, so we have been carpooling.  I love the environment as much as the next girl, but I love my husband more and let me just say that our marriage is not cut out for a one car family.  Five full weeks of driving around in a very small car with Parke, Gracie, our 100 lb chocolate lab, and the full month's collection of Parke's coffee cups have left me the teensiest bit on edge.  Thank the Good Lord Jesus that my nice, clean SUV that I can take anywhere I darn well please anytime I darn well please will be home this week.

So, these among other, smaller changes have left me a tad unsettled.  If by unsettled we are talking prone to emotional breakdowns and tension headaches and loved ones ducking for cover.  And I haven't been writing, which I think makes things worse for me (and aforementioned loved ones).  So this is my "getting back on the horse" post.

Back soon with Gracie updates (small teaser: not walking, started hitting...big fun) and various other matters of national importance.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Don't Forget

Well, it's been a long break from the blogging world.  We've had so much going on.  Gracie's birthday, Christmas, new job, broken car...I am worn out just thinking about it.  I am sure I will write about any and all of this at some point, but I guess I've been a little blog weary, or maybe blog wary as of late.  I am not sure why, there have certainly been plenty of times I've gone to write and then stopped.  Maybe I just needed a break.

But today I felt like writing about the new year.

I've had a soft spot for New Year's Day since the year Rip died.  We spent New Year's Eve with our best "couple" friends in Beaufort.  We ate lobster, drank champagne, and just spent time talking and saying good riddance to 2010.  I woke up early on January 1, 2011 (1/1/11) and felt an overwhelming desire to find water.  I've always been this way, being near water soothes my soul like nothing else.  So somehow I left the house around 6:30am and meandered my way through the neighborhood until I found a saltwater creek with a long dock.  This, in and of itself, is a miracle because half the time I get lost trying to find my way home (I am not exaggerating).

I walked out on the dock, watched the sun come up, watched the steam come off the creek, and had a very literal come to Jesus with Jesus.  I was sad, I was mad, I was needy.  Mostly, I missed my baby and I wanted a baby in my arms so badly I could hardly stand it.  We talked for a good hour before I turned away, with something of an answer in my soul...we had an understanding. 

Fast forward to New Year's Eve 2012.  We spent it with the same friends and several others, 8 adults and 9 kids, out at the beach.  We put the kids down, ate lobster, drank champagne, and went to bed shortly after midnight.  Gracie woke up crying around 1 am and I put her in the bed between Parke and myself.  There she slept, tucked close to me all night long.  I dozed off and on with her various body parts poking mine before I finally opened my eyes around 6:30 am and looked out the window towards a different saltwater creek and dock.  The one thought that popped into my head was thank you.

"...Pray about everything.  Tell God your needs and don't forget to thank Him for His answers."