Friday, June 21, 2013

Getting There and Getting Nowhere...

I'm calling a "win" for this week.  I tried to step up my game in the Mom department by coming up with some fun activities to do with my little man.  We explored a few new playgrounds... we went out for lunch (at one of those places with a built-in indoor playground that I NEVER would have gone to when Gavin was alive... and now I know why.  Yuck!)... we had fun in the yard... and yesterday we tried another indoor bounce park called "Bounce Town."  (They even served a snack halfway through!)  
Brian had a lot of fun at Bounce Town, but there was one bummer.  There was a group of young kids there - but they were in their own groups.  They never sought to include him, as much as he tried to entice them with his charm and his "COME OVER HERE!" screams.  On the way home he announced that he liked "Bounce U" better (where we were last week) because there was a group of boys that completely included him like he was one of them.  I totally over-think this and really shouldn't relate this at all to Gavin.  If Gavin were alive, we wouldn't be doing many activities like this - and if we did, Gavin wouldn't have been able to participate much at all.  We'd be in the same boat with Brian looking for someone to play with. 
 My over-thinking can really do a number on my emotions if I let it.
I'm also super proud of something else...

I RETURNED DISHES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  WOOT WOOT!!!!

I also wrote a few more thank you notes and I made a good dent in the dining room sifting through the funeral items and gifts. And in an impossible and emotional task, I chose ten photos (about) from each year of Gavin's life to give to the videographer.  Choosing such a small amount of photos was pure torture for me, let me tell you.  And going through the photos was both painful and wonderful.  Like remembering this one, when I was so pregnant with Brian and life was still completely centered around Gavin.
The videographer that taped the funeral (which I'll be getting soon and placing in a post for those who'd like to see it) is also making a "Life Story" type of video about Gavin's life.  She had so many incredible ideas to make it a very powerful video... but it involved me asking people to be in it and coming up with a theme and, basically... it would have required me to think.  In a move of which I am both SHOCKED and proud of - I finally said, "I can't."  I don't often say that.  I'm a yes girl...sometimes to a fault.  I promise too much and then stress about delivering.  But this time I threw in the towel (as much as I would love a video like she is envisioning) and said "I just can't..."  And I'm okay with that.  It's actually a relief.  It's one less thing off my list of 99 things and it just has to be okay.

This afternoon, Brian and I met my friend Drew and his son, AJ, at a nearby playground.  The boys had fun and, when it came time to go, Brian was not happy.  He didn't want to go home.  The entire car ride home he reminded me that he didn't want to leave... that he wanted to stay... that he didn't want to go home right now... and then it morphed into when he did get home he wanted to ride his bike... and swim... and so on and so on.  By the time we pulled into the garage I felt an epic meltdown coming on. Not Brian... mine.

I told Brian we needed to go inside to have a little break and then we could go back outside.  He started to complain a bit and then I turned around - a single tear streaming down my cheek.  He got very quiet and knew that this was serious.  I told him that Mommy needed to go inside and cool off and take a break... and he was just going to have to be a good friend and be nice to me.  That I was doing the best I could to make sure he was having fun but he can't expect me to say yes to everything.  Sometimes Mommy has to say no - and he has to just deal with that.  (I immediately felt horrible for this guilt trip)  He dropped his head and said, "Ok, Mama."  We went inside...I turned the TV on Disney Junior...and I went into the kitchen and quietly let it out.

(Edited to add:  Brian does hear no.  But truthfully, I rarely have to say it with the force I did today.  He's typically a go with the flow kind of kid and he's pretty easy to convince that "Plan B" is just as fun.  I don't say yes to everything - I swear.)

I needed a moment.  I'm trying very hard to be there for Brian, push through my arthritis pain, deal with pregnancy exhaustion, tackle my to-do's which truly only I can do, and grieve.  There are days where I feel I fail miserably - when the TV is on more than I'd like or I say yes to extra snacks because in that moment I just don't care.  Then there are days when I don't and I hold onto those to stay sane.  In the middle of my meltdown, the garage opened.  Ed was home early.  I tried to calm myself down to greet him, but it was futile.  I spilled it all - told him about my anxiety - cried and cried.

He said he'd clear his calendar for the rest of the afternoon and stay with Brian if I wanted to get out of here.  Normally, I'd say "No, that's ok!" because I'd feel bad putting him out - especially on a work day!!  But this time... I said yes.  I grabbed my keys, kissed them and went nowhere fast.  Out there alone I could breathe - and cry - and breathe - and spend some money in Target.  (If you're wondering what I bought at Target - maternity clothes!  I have a very serious and official looking baby bump and I want to stop freaking people out in public when I dramatically unbutton my pants and let out a big sigh of relief.)

I can't believe I said yes.  But I'm glad I did.  And I'm glad I have a husband who recognized that I needed a break.

This road is not easy... but I'm getting there.  It feels like I'm getting nowhere...but I know I'm getting somewhere.  And I know it will be ok when I arrive.


  1. so proud of you for honoring yourself and admitting when you need a break. and way to go on making a dent on all the other things going on! sometimes i feel like taking that first step is the hardest. pretty soon the mountain will shrink. promise. thinking of you! - sheila m.

  2. I think it is okay for kids to know when Mom needs a break. The more fun we have with them, the more they want and it is okay for them to know "enough is enough". Glad Ed came home and glad you got a break.

  3. Sometimes Moms need a matter what the circumstances. Don't feel guilt for taking care of you. Brian will be fine and you are an awesome mom. You and Ed make a great team!

  4. Please remember that it is not only okay to say no to your child's requests and demands, but it is important to do so. There is no doubt that Brian is continuing to go through an extremely difficult adjustment unlike any that most children his age ever have to experience. But in some ways, his behavior is simply typical for his age. Kids are very happy to continue to make demands and lodge complaints about things not going their way to guilt their parents into doing what they want them to do. But everyone loses when the answer is always yes. It may be trite, but the answer will not always be yes when they're not at home and the best way for them to be prepared to hear "No" elsewhere and to know that sometimes they need to entertain themselves and be cooperative about it is to be forced to do it.

    You should not feel guilty about saying no to Brian at all. You say yes so often and he's a lucky boy to have a mommy who is so willing to be 100% in on what he's doing. But "No" is good and important. There's no guilt in teaching a child that important lesson.

  5. You are incredible and such a pillar of strength. I have a miracle daughter and your story motivates me to be braver with mine. Thank you for that.

  6. Danielle CurlessJune 21, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    So glad you got to get out and have some me time!

  7. You are such an awesome lady!

  8. Good grief lady those weren't baby steps this week those were gargantuan strides. All of that in a week? No wonder you had a side step, meltdown sounds harsh coming from someone else. LOL Yippeee, maternity clothes. That deserves a celebration, so don't mind if I do. Off to find some chocolate!
    Have a fabby weekend Leong family.

  9. I am so glad you said "No" when you really knew you needed to and "yes" when you really needed to. Just an FYI, I think you're traveling your journey so impressively. I know you don't feel like it, but honestly, I've pulled from your strength this week. We've had a rough week here & I eagerly awaited your blogs so I could get the inspiration I desperately needed to keep my head up & my heart strong. Thank you for the endless inspiration, even when you don't think you're inspiring. Oh, and I am so impressed you tackled so much this week!

  10. YES!! With a 6 year old who is always on the go and an 8 week old baby...and traveling to a neighboring state to visit relatives on the husband normally gets up on Friday nights with the baby so I can have ONE night a week to sleep through but he didn't last weekend. He was exhausted from working all week and driving 5 hours to see family. So I was running on 'fumes' by the time Monday afternoon got here. And I had a similar scene with my 6 year old as you did with Brian -- guilt trip included. I called my husband, crying, asking him to leave work 30 mins early on Monday so he could take DD1 to her tennis lessons. And he did. You know what happened as soon as they arrived at the park? Hail storm. Golf ball sized hail. I kid you not. I felt guilty that he left work early for her to NOT have tennis -- but he told me that he was taking Tuesday off too. And I slept...all night... on Monday. And I napped. And I realized how amazing it is to have a wonderful husband. So, I say, Bravo to Ed too! :)

  11. I can't pretend to know what your life was like before Gavin's death, but from the photos and your comments it sounds like you had a number of people from a supportive community of caregivers and therapists that came to the house to work with Gavin. Obviously Brian misses his brother deeply and is grieving but is it possible he is also missing some of the variety of guests (who were also friends) that came to work with Gavin and some of the additional chaos that comes along with having a special needs family member? Brian sounds like such an amazing kid. I hear your concern for him in your writing and how much you want to make things so good for him. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts.

  12. It must be hard to deal w/ Fibro, RA, being pregnant(which makes the other 2 worse),grief and a very active little boy. You deserve a break. I have fibro and when I was pregnant last year it was hard enough dealing with that and my 4 year old son. You are a good mom. Saying no is hard for me too. But sometimes you need to. Prayers from Michigan,
    Jami, Sean, Dylan and Kelsey

  13. I love you and reading your blogs. You are the best mom - making the best decisions for you, Brian and Hope.
    My heart is full for you and your family.

  14. Proud of you, Kate! And as someone who has done many Life Videos of the kind you describe, remember this: They can be done later. You don't need to do it now while things are so overwhelming. Next year...the year after that...or after that...the memories and the photos and the love will still be there. No rush. And if you decide on "Never"--well, that's fine, too. None of us that have been touched by Gavin need a video to remember your sweet boy.

  15. I am so proud of you for not only admitting you needed some Mommy time but for actually taking it! Good job! Keeping you in our prayers!

  16. Thank you for reminding the rest of us Moms to take care of ourselves. Many of us forget that by doing so, we are a better parent, spouse, friend and human being. It is SO HARD to advocate for yourself when it seems that others need you, but you did it! Thank you for inspiring me today!

  17. I support your decision on the video 100 percent, but I do selfishly hope that one day, perhaps long down the road, you will still be able to do Gavin's life story video.


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