February 23, 2010 is the day I became a mom. The other night I stayed up way too late looking through pictures from that day and the 5 1/2 weeks in the NICU that followed. Old, raw emotions surfaced as I thought about what a roller coaster ride their early days were. But on Sunday we celebrated my two littles, who aren't so little anymore, as they turned FOUR. So far the verdict is, "I love being four!" from both handsome men. And according to them red is their favorite color (although just today Gavin said his was blue); Super Man is strong; Daddy hangs the moon; Katharine is 'so stinkin' cute; Jay is their best friend at school; their muscles are big and their brains are smart; Garrett loves cantaloupe; Gavin loves watermelon; they both love orange ice cream and raspberry ice cream; they can dress themselves, clear their dishes from the table at mealtime, and have become excellent cleaner uppers; they love to build contraptions (constructing marble runs and setting up Mouse Trap might be foreshadowing some engineering degrees); anything race car or truck related is cherished; and playing games fills up much of our time (Bingo, War, Go Fish, Candy Land, Sequence, Chutes and Ladders, Connect Four, Super Why, hide and seek...I'm telling you, they're pros). Oh, and let me not forget that they are excellent make believers and eavesdropping on those moments is most hilarious.
Our celebratory weekend kicked off with a visit to the Monster Truck Show with Pops as the favorite guest. Nana spent quality time with Katharine at home and upon our return we had pizza and cupcakes for dinner. The next day (their actual bday) we headed to Krispy Kreme, per request, of course. At lunch the boys went nuts over fresh cantaloupe and watermelon (proud mom moment because...1) something healthy was needed to round out all the treats; 2) they were just as happy to get their own melons as they were to get their own cupcakes). Thanks to a 70 degree day, I decided to invite some friends and their kiddos over for an impromptu bday playdate in our backyard! 8 adults, 12 kids, lots of toys, lots of noise. Last minute, comfortable company certainly makes for the best kind of parties. In between all of the hullabaloo, the boys played with their new toys and games and practiced riding their new bikes! Big things to come, for sure:)
AND THIS WEEKEND THERE WAS SAD...
February 23 is also now marked as the day Grandma Moss left us for good. Aunt Mary Ann shared a few words and so did Aunt Carol on the day's event. My second grandparent to pass, she went peacefully in her sleep. Her body was frail, dementia had taken the best of her mind. I'm quite certain that her sisters are throwing her a welcome party (I hope she finds something other to wear than her classic house dress she donned most of the time) and getting her garden beds prepped; Grandpa is saying, "Oh s$&t, I better be on my best behavior; Moxie (their dog) is running circles at her feet; and The Big Man is giving her a fresh bottle of holy water to replace her vinegar. No lie, she once sprinkled vinegar on the wheels of our car before we left for a trip. A devout Catholic, she frequently prayed the rosary and blessed us with holy water. She was a military wife and moved her four children to various parts of the world every few years, but in the next phase of her life she was a homebody and loved to garden and watch her bird bath. She made yummy enchiladas with mole sauce and set her egg timer for everything. When I was little I have vivid memories of swinging in her backyard, making green Jello popsicles, and listening to records in her dining room. She had a way of saying my name that made it sound like "Kreeesy," in her sweet voice with a slight Spanish accent and minor inflection at the end. I also remember the infamous argument from a family reunion trip during the summer I turned 10. I think everyone was up in arms about how to best wrap up the leftover meat or what to do with the potato that Grandma accidentally dumped too much pepper on. Important issues, you know. She visited me twice in college, and during my first year teaching I spent my Spring Break vacation with her. I'm most thankful for the trips that allowed my children to meet her. Her face lit up at the sight of her great grandchildren. Those encounters may not be remembered by the youngest and oldest involved, but thankfully we have the pictures to prove it. In the meantime we have time to grieve and process all of this. We will celebrate Grandma's life in the spring.
Everything that's swirling around in my head is just plain sad, but there is delight and humor in remembering and learning about her quirks. I'm sitting here revisiting Aunt Carol's page and Angie comes to life again in many of the posts tagged 'family' in the archives. Aunt Carol also discusses end of life care and important talks to have so one's wishes are known. Have you done that? My dad and I have. Joe is still on the fence about a few decisions. Maybe it feels weird. Personally, I think it'd make it easier on everyone to plan my own funeral. I texted my dear friend today to give her the run down in case Dad and/or Joe are not able to make sound decisions regarding my farewell party. It said, "I want to be cremated. If a family member needs/wants a place to go to mourn me then get me a cheap headstone and bury a little of me there. Spread the rest of me in the ocean so I'm all over the world and then have a big ol' party with good music (preferably U2 and oldies), BBQ, fresh pineapple, and lots of gooey chocolate desserts. No sadness, just funny Krissyisms (mood swings and all). The only church songs allowed are 'On Eagles Wings' and 'In the Garden.' However, gospel songs are perfectly acceptable, but only if a large black woman is singing them properly (no, that is not meant to be derogatory, gospel music is just delivered most beautifully that way). And make sure people clap for her because I hate silent church awkwardness. You got all this?"
In typical circle-of-life fashion, we celebrated the growth of two lives as another one left us for good this weekend. Cliche but true....the beat goes on.