I know you read this from time to time. I also know you don’t want me to gush over how awesome you are. I will keep my mouth shut, but only for today!
You’re finally a teenager.
I know you think you’re grown, and you probably don’t want to listen to my advice, but trust me…I wish someone would have given me some solid advice. Non tried. Meemaw tried. The problem is, when you turn in to a teenager, you stop listening and you only hear. Don’t do that. Listen. Even when you don’t want to. Because someday, Meemaw will be gone…I’ll be gone…Ronca will be gone…and you’ll be sad that you didn’t listen more.
Boys are dumb. They stay dumb until they’re 25 (it’s truly a magic age. After 25 they can be tolerated again). Basically, they like girls and sports and eating and watching movies. Keep that hard exterior that you have now. It will serve you well in the dating world. Don’t give away your heart too easily…broken hearts suck. Just like boys until they’re 25. By the way, you can’t date until you’re 40 (kidding…mostly).
Education is valuable. I know that right now all you want is to be a chef. I think that is a fabulous idea, but get a degree anyway. Someday, when you’re running your fancy restaurant and doing a show on the Food Network, you’ll thank me for that degree in ____________.
Try things. Go places. Create adventure (don’t try drugs though. I will kill you.).
Be friends with everyone. Don’t try to join the “in” crowd. Those kids will only lead you down a path of judgment. You will never learn the value of true friendship (friendship that transcends), and really, clothes and shoes do not make a person any more valuable. Besides, someday you’ll be 35, sitting at your table, reading your Facebook feed…and the “in” crowd will be selling used cars, divorced, and still just a judgy as they were then. And you will be able to laugh knowing that you got the better end of the stick!
No matter how big or small you think your troubles are, remember that you have parents who love you and will listen to you whenever you need us. Don’t ever be afraid that something you have done/want to do/regret is too much for us to handle, or that we wouldn’t care. If you just need us to listen and not give advice, one of us will be able to do that, while the other may have a hard time. I bet you can guess which is which…
Just keep swimming (literally and figuratively).
With all my heart, I love you, J. Happy Birthday! xoxo
Happy Birthday, Buddy!
I thank God for you each and every day because having your in our lives has made us rich. Not rich in fame or fortune, but rich in love…in hope…in a deeper faith.
What would I possibly be without YOU?
Right now, you’re totally in to questions…you always ask “why?!” and “how many is zero-zero-one?” So for you, I am going to tell you the six things I love the MOST about you (today—it’s a dynamic list!).
1. Your heart. In all my years on this earth, I have never met a person with the capacity to love like you. You know no stranger. The world would be a better place if we all acted like you.
2. “I love you, Momma!” When you are confused, or can’t find the words, or are just exasperated…those are the words you choose. It both breaks my heart and makes me melt. Thank you for making me your Momma.
3. Your dimples. Seriously, I want to take you to the UN so you can stop wars with them!
4. The way you created our family. Before you, our family was not strong. There was always someone fussing with someone else. Or, rather, we all just didn’t talk much. When you stepped in to our world, you created this dialogue between us all. Because of you, Ronca is my confidant, and Uncle Ben is no longer on the “DO NOT ANSWER” phone call list! Aunt Abbey is my favorite texting partner and Uncle Brian’s laugh is contagious. Jack…you rock.
5. You believe…. Jack, I have never in my life seen a child who believes like you do. You believe that Star Wars is real, that God himself lives in the church (let’s not get all metaphysical on this one), and that one day we really will see a dinosaur in our back yard. I want to believe with a child-like faith like you.
6. Your lungs, tummy, g-tube, brain… If you were a “typical” kid, I would have never learned to appreciate each and every day I have been given. I wouldn’t wake up thanking heaven for the fact that I am waking you up. I wouldn’t be thankful that there are advances in medicine that can keep you here, in my arms. That’s where I always want you to be.
I love you, so very, very much…my beautiful boy.
Today, I’m 35. If you know me, it’s no secret to you that my birthday is one of the Most Anticipated Days of the Year! I usually have a count down started by March. One of these years, I’m totally going to make Sebi good on his promise of a parade….with a dancing bear. Or something.
This means, I no longer be lumped in to the 18-34 demographic, which essentially makes me old, right?
5 years ago, today, we received a call inquiring if we would be interested in adopting a baby boy who was waiting for us up the road a piece.
My, how time flies. How hearts change. How love grows. How loss hurts.
When I was a little girl, and even when I was in college, Non would take us out for our birthdays. It was our special day. One on one with the Nonnu. We’d hop in her car (license plate IAM NON) and most often head to the local mall. Seriously, in Mayberry, there weren’t many other options.
Many times, we’d wander from store to store. She’d grab my hand from time to time, and I never felt ashamed or embarrassed. Her hands were so soft and tiny. I have never felt skin as soft as hers, and I never will again. We’d just hold hands and talk and wander through the mall. She let ume pick out a gift (more often than not, it was a clothing item) and then she would take me for lunch. Anywhere I wanted to go—it was my day. I remember one year, my cousin chose to go to Hardee’s, much to Non’s chagrin! My brother often chose weird places too, like McDonald’s.
My favorite spot…the A-Frame. It’s an A-frame house that’s been converted to a restaurant. They have other menu items, but the only thing ever ordered was a cheesesteak sandwich. We would share one, along with a bag of chips, and talk.
If I was especially nice, she would drive home the long way, which allowed us to drive up the hills to where you could see the leaves beginning to change color and the apples ripening in the orchards. Then we would arrive home to spend time with all the family eating cake and sharing laughs.
I adored our time together. Every single moment of it.
So, I’m going to be here…waiting for the parade to start…remembering my Non, my cheesesteak, and enjoy my family. Because, that’s what she would want me to do.
My baby girl. A long time ago, I struggled to keep you inside me long enough to keep you alive. You always want to be first…to get something done before everyone else. You weren’t supposed to exit until mid-October. You chose your own birthdate instead.
9.9.99. Unique…just like you. Then: teeny tiny. Now: 5’6″.
So, today you’re 12. TWELVE. Where has the time gone? It seems like yesterday that I tried to kill you with a jalapeno (it was an accident, OK?) and you tried to eat the cat. What about the day I had to go to school because you drew a hippo on your desk with a Sharpie (because your teacher wouldn’t let you bring Boo Boo to school)? We’ve had Abba karaoke dance parties with your cousins, and held each other to cry when we lost Non.
Other things haven’t changed—you still eat bananas like we have a tree in the yard. Even as a baby, you had me read to you for hours on end…and now, you sit and read and read and read to yourself. You’re so empathetic and extremely helpful (seriously, I don’t know any other twelve year olds who can help change a feeding tube without batting an eye). You’re funny—so funny (you have the sense of humor of your Popeye….very punny!). This life we were given to share has been such a blessing!
Now you’re entering this whole new phase of life called puberty.
I know, I know–we’ve talked about it ad nauseum. You know the very graphic details of what is going to happen, but you don’t know the secrets to it. There will be days when life won’t be fun. There will be moments of anger and moments of heartbreak….but you have to go through these moments on your own (we all have to). Life is not perfect. Make the best of what the day brings you.
Puberty: It’s not fun. It’s not pretty.
YOU are amazing. WE will get through this together.
Some kids, they don’t get along with their Mom when they go through this puberty bit. I’m thankful (oh so thankful!) that you talk to me about everything….that you may not always be happy about what I ask of you, but you do it…that you remember that family is best. I could do with a few less eye rolls and a lot less trying to get the last word in on anything I say (in case you want to work on that).
And speaking of family….thank YOU for showing me what it means to be a True Mother. There are Mom’s out there who don’t care, who use their children as pawns in a twisted game, who manipulate. You taught me to stand up, fight, and prove to everyone that a Mother is the person who would do anything (really…anything) to protect her child(ren). I will never regret making sure that you and Jack are protected from as much ugly as I can (unfortunately, you never know when Ugly is going to call you up and ruin your day!).
Welcome to the next phase of your life, my sweet girl young lady.
I am so proud of you…YOU….the J-bird.
Just grab my hand…we will do this together. Always.
Janson was anxious to exit my womb. She tried so hard to come out, that I had to be on medication and in the hospital for a chunk of my pregnancy…she was an overachiever even then! Her due date changed frequently, so the doctor just always said she’d come in October. I had facetiously made up baby announcements that said, Date: 9/9/99Time: 4:17 P.M.
She was indeed born on that day, at 4:23 P.M.
When we received the call to get Jack, they told us his birthday was September 9 as well. It wasn’t until we met him, that we found out his birthday is September 7. There is a mere 24 hours between their birthdays–and 7 years. One cannot have a dual party with a 3 year old and a 10 year old. Diego meets Alton Brown? I don’t think so!
Alas, this year, I made the executive decision to cancel all things birthday. There would be no bouncy house. No gigantic to-do with all our friends. Just us, the kids, their favorite eats, and cake. The end. Plus, with Janson’s surgery next week and Jack’s lack of immunity, it just seemed better to not play well with others.
My parents were here last weekend for the festivities. We neglected to do the “birthday thing” (read: buy a cake and sing), so my mother has crowned herself “terrible grandmother.” I tried to reassure her that there are plenty of worse catches in the terrible grandmother sea… Have I mentioned that my mother is a travel agent for guilt trips?
Jack’s day was interesting. He wore his birthday shirt and frequently yelled “‘Prise!” for good measure. We had a picnic on the floor over Happy Meals for lunch. We had pizza for dinner. We supplied a cupcake–complete with a Wall-E candle and sang. We opened presents. It was a good day. Nothing too much for him to handle.
Janson made far more requests. She wanted homemade lasagna and a homemade red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. On my 24 hour break from all things birthday, I cooked. I cooked like a mad woman. She had a fun day as well. We did school in the morning and then when Sebi came home, we celebrated the moment of her birth (remember, 4:23?). She asked where we were 10 years ago at that moment.
I said, “Oh honey, you were….”
And Sebi interrupted… He said, “At this moment you were kind of blue and not doing real well.” (That, my friends, is how you mortify your child on her birthday!)
Janson looked at me in horror as I slapped him! You don’t tell those things to your kid, on her birthday! You tell them stories like that when you need to be the travel agent for guilt trips.
See, I learned a lot from my mother.
(Yes, this is not my normal verbal diarrhea over birthdays…but there is a reason, which I cannot speak of. I would turn into a pillar of salt. I will return with normalcy when I speak of other events, just not my children and their birthdays. Sorry. )
For the past few months, I have not been writing as much as I have wanted, because of my sister in law. Yep, it’s all her fault! See, she reads this all the time, and I was so scared I was going to slip and say something about….the surprise party we had for her!!!
Yep, she turned 4-0 earlier this month, and we went to Orlando to have her a party! (For those of you who are now mad because I didn’t see you or tell you we were coming, it was an in and out trip…we’ll be back to see you soon!)
I contacted Brian, my brother in law, to get her friends’ addresses. I begged and pleaded…he kept forgetting. Finally, he sends me the names. Then right before the party he asked me to tell him who hadn’t RSVP’d. I gave him back the names and he said, “who’s that?” I told him I didn’t know—HE was the one that gave me the names….to which he replies, ” Well, all I did was give you her Christmas card list!”
Anyway, there were about 50 people there! Melissa and Pat graciously did their balloons and face painting—the kids LOVED that! All the tables were pink and green, Veronica’s favorite colors! It was just nice. We got to see friends and family that we haven’t seen in a really long time!
In other news, earlier this week we went to the hospital to get the Mitochondrial blood work drawn for Jack. They took 5 vials of blood out of him! He didn’t cry (he actually laughed—let’s talk about inappropriate pain response later, OK?). SO now the wait is on. I don’t like the wait.
Janson has her first swim meet tomorrow. We’ll take pictures! She kicked chicken in her mock meet with just her team. She won each heat that she swam in! She’s such a little fish! I’m so glad she’s out of school and hanging out with us. She’s such a big help! I think I could possibly be her biggest fan! She spent last Saturday with my parents at Disney for Star Wars weekend (while we were setting up for the party!). If that wasn’t hilarious! Janson was in her glory! She got to see Darth Vader, her main man! My mom said she was giddy—-and if you know Janson, you know she doesn’t do giddy. She’s always even keeled and calm…the only other time I’ve seen her giddy was when we went to the hippo convention.
Anyway, it was a great weekend! Happy Birthday Ronca!!! We love you!
What a week! Let’s see…last week was my birthday. Sebi and Jack took me out for lunch—and the city of Savannah gave me a parking ticket (yes, it was my fault…I neglected to see the above sign–oops!). Jack spiked a fever Friday night. We took him to the doctor Saturday morning (so we had to miss the running of the Weiner Dogs. I was really sad. I wanted to see that!). Double ear infections and the starts of the respiratory crud. Go figure. So we came home with antibiotics. However, the boy broke out into this horrible rash and we ended up BACK at the doctor—for different antibiotics. UGH. He’s still not up to par…BUT, on a lighter note…HE got his cast off yesterday! They did x-rays and said the bone looks really good. So he’s a free guy again! It didn’t smell too bad either, but his skin is peeling off and not looking too pretty. He’s also not eating. I took this picture the other night. I gave him some food, and he proceeded to fall asleep. Eating is SO overrated! Miss Janson had her ear appointment too. He dug out all the blood and guts, and gave us drops to give her from now until eternity. He has no idea why her ears are the way they are. I think it’s God’s sense of humor—He just wants me to see every kind of specialist available in Savannah! She started her new swimming class too. Janson Phelps—she thinks she is! She puts her goggles on too tight and then her eyes bulge out–it’s hilarious! She loves it!
This is my second time writing this. Jack decided to play with the computer when I went for a cup of coffee…So, here we are in September….school is off with a bang. She loves her teacher. But more than that, she loves riding the bus! The first day she rode…it was a glorious morning. She was happy and bouncy—very helpful! We walked down the block to the bus stop. We wait. And wait…and wait some more. Finally, the bus shows up. The big yellow doors open and Janson hops on. I am waving and blowing kisses—when the bus driver comes down the step. She HUGS me and says that she wants my phone number in the morning, and not to worry “cause she’s gonna take care a- my bay-bay.” Then she introduces herself by name—you’ll never guess it—her name is Ms. Lovewine! I prayed the whole way home.The boy in the blue cast is doing fine. He’s hating the cast, but what can you do? He’s not eating well. He’s sort of on hunger strike. The only thing he wants to eat is potatoes. And sour cream. The birthdays were this weekend as well. What a zoo! The kids had a blast. We rented one of those bouncy things and they bounced themselves silly! Janson got swimming lessons (which she LOVES—she says swimming is better than soccer or basketball, so I think she’s found her sport)…so she also received a towel that looks like a hippo, goggles, swim suits, and a bag to carry it all in. Jack got lots of cars (since that’s his latest thing) and he got a car to ride in for when we get J at the bus. They had a really good time…and even though Jack was allowed to eat cake…he didn’t like it! As a super special surprise, Wendy the Wonderful showed up to the party! I was so excited. So was Jack! So…then there was the Big G saga. She came on Friday, and was very upset over Jack breaking his arm. First she asked if he did it on purpose (because lots of 2 year olds intentionally break their arms), and then she asked if I was actually watching him when it happened. She went on to insinuate that I just let him run wild and hope he doesn’t hurt himself. THEN, before I could be mean to her, she said she wanted to know if I called the neurologist because she thinks it’s time to medicate him. I didn’t know what to say. I mean, this lady works for the state, so I am sort of freaking out. When she finally vacated my house, I cried. I an not about to medicate him. I told Wendy all about it and she made me feel lots better. And she said if she tries anything, that she and Jenny will help me out. I have tried so hard to do everything I can to help this kid out. I have tried to be the best mom…I’ve done everything the doctors have suggested. I’ve read everything I can get my hands on. And, quite frankly, I am exhausted. I think that’s it for now. Janson goes to the dentist again today, and both of them go to the doctor for their birthday check ups tomorrow. Will let you know how it all goes.