When your final day has come


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My Dad died two days after Cora turned 2 and two days before our 5 year wedding anniversary, on a Sunday, at the age of 57.  He squeezed himself right in there just so we wouldn’t forget.

We packed up the truck with everything but the kitchen sink, prepared to stay at my Mom’s for a week and headed out.  This is the part where I could tell you how the week went.  I can tell you how many home cooked meals were dropped off, bottles of wine handed to us, and how many farmers just pulled their combines right over next to my Mom’s house to stop in and pay their condolences on the way to the next field.  I could tell you how he looked, how we planned the funeral, the family drama and the off-handed comments that people made.  The thing is, I have talked about that over and over.  It is what I talked about in passing with only my sister and husband that brings me here.

The thing is I spent a week in that small town, the same place I grew up, the place of country songs.  I saw people I haven’t seen in years, friends, family, old neighbors, and the like.  A huge line streamed through for visitation and then the next day for the funeral and luncheon.  We all stood, hugged people, shook hands, accepted their words of sympathy, and listened politely as they told stories and memories of my father.  All those people, hundreds of them, that knew my Dad for one reason or another.  They all said something yet not one of them said the most important things.  Not one person looked any of us in the eyes and said You know, your Father loved you kids. He lived for his kids.  You know, your Dad loved your Mom more than anything.  Your Dad was such a family man.  Not one person that whole weekend said anything in regards to my Dad and his own family.

What did they talk about?  His love for hunting, fishing, and all the times they shared a good beer with him.  The beer stories were normally followed up with a story about how they all got into trouble over something.

I hope at my funeral someone says how much I loved my child, how much my husband meant to me, followed up by how I was a good friend.  Isn’t that the end goal? Isn’t that the basics?  Because isn’t that we walk away with?

To make matters worse for all of us, my mother suddenly turned my father into the picture of perfection.  Not a man who never helped her, not a man she almost divorced several times, not a man who drank too much but instead, a man who just loved hunting, fishing and America.  She, also, forgot to mention herself and the three kids but I didn’t point that out.  She was riding some sort of weird death train.

I walked away, not having shed one tear, even as some stood and sobbed in front of me.  It isn’t that he was a horrible man, he just was there and then he wasn’t for me. People don’t have to understand that.

I will say, this new normal my family has, the one that doesn’t have an Alzheimer’s cloud over it, is refreshing.  Years of this weight holding us down is gone.  Someone at the funeral, who understands this disease, said there are worse things than death.  This is so true and we have known it all so well.  We can now move freely without guilt and stress.  I would say, together, we are all starting a new chapter as a family.




As the end nears


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Tomorrow my little girl turns two.  Next Tuesday we celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.  Somewhere between today and next week my Dad will die and we will have to bury him.  To piss me off I’m sure he will die on her birthday and we will bury him on our anniversary.  His one last “fuck you” to me.

We are on a roller coaster right now.  We have been on this roller coaster, with my Dad, for over 5 years now and the speed is quickly picking up. Alzheimer’s has slowly taken him over the years to the point that we grieved the loss of him a long time ago.  His physical self has been here, on earth, tormenting us for years.  You may find that a horrible statement, some do, but my Dad is 57 years old and Alzheimer’s has robbed him of everything.  We were back home, with my Mom and Dad, last weekend when things really started going down hill.  We moved him into a hospice house on Sunday evening and then our waiting game of “any moment now” started.

“Any moment now” is an exhausting place to be in.  My mother likens it to the end of a pregnancy when you think you will never have that baby.

My mom has worked as a hospice nurse since we were little and now she is having her own turn, with her own spouse.  Perhaps that is where we get our comfort level with death.  I remember as a child mom throwing us in the car, showing up at someone’s house and we would sit in the kitchen, quietly coloring, while someone took their last breathes in the living room.  You know, circle of life stuff.  Then we would have to go home and finish up homework.  Life just moved on.

Level-headed as can be, our family has been ready for this for 5 years while clearly those around us have not wanted to accept it.  If you have ever been in a place like this with your family members, you get it.  You get that there really is a better place.  You get that they are gone already.  You get that it is time to move on.  You get that a mourning time has happened already.  If you have never been in this place, then you judge us for not being emotional enough, for laughing when you think there shouldn’t be laughter.  The fun part is, we give no fucks any longer about what people are saying behind our backs as the end nears.

So we continue to plan for a 2 years olds party this Saturday.  We field phone calls, we take visitors, we finalize funeral plans, we go through old pictures, we debate if some of these moments call for a Rose or Merlot.  We send funny memes to Mom, to read to Dad, because some of this shit he would laugh over, probably already is and Mom could use some humor right now.

The next week is going to be long.  It will be full of a lot of things but I’m really looking forward to how much love it will be filled with.  It will actually end with good memories, believe it or not.  These moments are truly what you make of them and we are choosing to keep it positive. After all, I still find October to be one of the most magical months.



Nearing the second birthday


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We are nearing in on Cora’s second birthday and I am making my way down the checklist of things to do for the big day.  Once again, this year, we are not only celebrating her second birthday but we are celebrating everyone who helped get us to this point!

As my husband and I worked on the guest list, we got real.  I want people to be there that are a part of Cora’s life.  Not the people who she sees once a year at Christmas.  I want to raise a glass to the people who she has slowly, ever so fucking slowly, let in her life because she hates people. I want to have the people there that actually want to be there. The people who are normally lounging around our house on wine night or come to crash at our place for a long weekend, the people that are raising their kids next to mine, the people that know to use my bathroom after Cora goes to bed because the guest bathroom flushing will wake her, the people who know how to get their own drink out of the fridge without asking me first.

The real people.

The people who turned last years party into a 12 hour event.

We didn’t include certain people, mainly my husband’s sister, brother and their significant others.  Trust me, my MIL gave us a look until we explained that no shits are given on our end.  I don’t believe that just because they are blood, they are family.  Cora has no clue who they are.  They come to town and don’t stop by. They know nothing about her, don’t ask about her and generally they are strangers to her.  Honestly, I’m totally cool with it.  I don’t understand people who get so worked up about family and keeping in touch.  You really can’t force it and I know my girl has so many other wonderful people who are there for her, backing her, watching her grow up, and people who really do give a damn.

The first birthday was a way to celebrate keeping our infant alive and our brains somewhat intact.  The second birthday is a way to celebrate the tribe we have surrounded ourselves with.  It is a way for her to celebrate with a few of her friends while the rest of us kick back, enjoy some good laughs and for us to personally thank everyone for helping us and supporting us as parents.  We are so grateful.



Don’t Call My Daughter Princess


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My Facebook feed is full of friends that have little girls.  They post pictures with captions about their boos, mini-me’s, monsters, nuggets and other adorable nicknames that happen upon our children.  We tend to favor toot-toot and nugget in our household.  Yep, we call our kid a fart basically. I can tell you the one thing that we don’t call her is a name that many love to call their little girls, princess.

Please, don’t call my daughter a princess.

I know I’m in the minority here but since before we even found out we were having a girl, my husband and I were on the same page about this.  We are not royalty.  I know, let that sink in for a minute. We don’t have someone waiting on us hand and foot, we don’t have staff, we don’t have an endless bank account and a room of tiaras waiting to be passed down to our child.  Our daughter is not a princess and I’m not about to ever make her think she is one.  She doesn’t get to have attitude and one day grow up to be a damsel in distress, waiting on her prince because essentially that is what they are portrayed as and that is what history shows them to be.

I’m not trying to hinder her childhood or crush her dreams.  She isn’t even into princesses yet and that is totally fine if she is one day.  I can call her a princess when she is playing dress up or on Halloween.  She can get lost in fairy tales and know all the stories if she is interested.  I want her imagination to go wild.  I swear I’m not boycotting Disney!  But princesses are for play, not for real life.

More importantly, I’m not teaching my daughter that she is above everyone else with that title.

Sure, you might say it is just a word and I’m being over dramatic but it carries weight. I swear I will eat my words one day if my daughter happens to literally find a prince and becomes a legit princess but that is a chance I’ll take.  I’ll stick to calling her a toot for the time being because obviously that doesn’t have any weird, long-term effects.



Our Summer Bubble


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In my part of the world, children started back to school this week, their summer coming to an end.  The pool shut down, the town quieted down during the day, and routines resumed.  I, for one, believe it should be illegal to start school back up until after Labor Day.  It just makes sense to this summer loving girl.  So now Cora and I are forced back into her little plastic pool in the backyard to soak up the last of the summer.

Two summers ago I was pregnant and lets just face it, pregnant in the summer can be a bummer.  Last summer Cora was itty bitty and while we could get out and do things, it wasn’t the same.  I was waiting for this summer with such anticipation.  We could do all the fun summer things! And that we have.

We took the summer off from swim lessons, ditched our play dates and I took the summer off from going to Piyo classes.  Basically, I didn’t want any scheduled things so we could just do as we wanted.  I mean, I still had to work my three days but otherwise we were free to do what sounded like fun. Me and my girl left to soak up the sun and the long days of summer.

There has been fairs, rodeos, pool days, long walks, shopping trips, lazy rainy days, the zoo and everything in between.  Naps skipped, late nights outside and a sweaty, dirty, toddler going to bed some nights without a bath.

My husband and I have worked on him and I/our future a lot this summer too.  Which is weird considering this is his busiest time but something seriously had to give.  Without going into a ton of detail, he took control of his career and a lot of changes have been made and will be made.  By this time next summer, things should be very different.  The beginning phase has already been a huge relief and Cora gets to see her Dad more than just on the weekends.

The hubs and I are also getting out every Sunday morning for a standing golf date.  It seems to be much easier than coordinating an evening out.  Honestly, our marriage is really damn good right now and I’m really proud of us.  We work hard on our marriage, we put the time and effort into it and one another so it is nice to see how far we have come and how good the future looks.  I just didn’t have that with my first marriage.

All in all, a summer spent in a bubble that I don’t want to end.  We still have a vacation next week and warm days ahead that I will hold onto tightly.  My friends are cheering the start of school, the impending onset of fall and all things that come with it and I have my fingers in my ears, completely ignoring them.

I’m seriously finding it easier to just live in this moment that we are in.  I’m finding it easier to be content with the NOW instead of rushing to the next phase. Perhaps it is because I look back, at the end of each season, and see how much Cora has grown in just that short amount of time. I don’t want to rush it all away because she will be even bigger the next season.  I really don’t want to wish any of it away.  (Yes, I’m totally writing one of those disgusting blog posts that is full of happy and sunshine, it happens.)  So for all those asking, summer doesn’t officially end until September 22 and then you can talk to me about pumpkin spice everything.


The day my baby had a baby


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I have all of these drafts that I have started, some are actually finished, some thick with anger, others dripping in disappointment, all on the same topic.


I don’t know why I can’t bring myself to publish them.  Probably because I write them for myself in the moment and no one really need to read them.  Probably because this is a battle I mostly fight away from people.  They don’t ask because they don’t know what to say or they don’t understand enough about our situation.  Hell, most people I work with don’t even know about any of it.  But damn, it gets lonely when you are having a bad day sometimes.

I started raising a baby when she turned 6 weeks old.  Not by choice, by happenstance.  I raised that baby and tried to do the best for her every day.  A little over a year ago, as a 14 year old, she backed away from me and made poor choices.  Yesterday, at 15, she had a baby boy.  I knew it was coming, the announcement, but fuck it was a sucker punch.  Big time.  As luck would have it, I was standing in the wine aisle with my husband.  Our second stop after that was to actually pick up some pictures I was having printed, I finally felt the need to replace some of her pictures in the house.  I can’t even make this shit up.

Again, comes all the information.  Safe delivery, healthy Mom but baby is very small.  Too small for 36 weeks cooked.  Baby will remain in NICU for awhile.

I won’t go into the tiny details, even though that is what fills my mind sometimes, but ultimately it doesn’t matter.

How can I look at my time hop and see a happy Rebecca, next to me, at a baseball game, in the sweltering heat, while on vacation.  Just two short years ago everything was normal.  Had you told me that day what would change in two years, I would have never believed you.  It is a hard one to swallow, I won’t lie.

There isn’t much for me to do.  I go about my life, I process my emotions.  Sometimes I process them with alcohol, sometimes with a cookie, because drinking at work is frowned upon.  Sometimes I just sit and rock my little one because there isn’t anything more important to do than memorize that moment knowing life changes quickly.  And then I thank God for my little one because if I didn’t have her for these moments I don’t know how I would function.



Hold your own baby



A friend of mine recently had herself a wonderful, beautiful, baby girl.  This friend of mine and I go round and round sometimes.  She is the type that I still don’t know why I’m friends with her except to say it has been 12+ years and she is a stage 5 friend clinger.

She recently joined my daughter and I for a lunch out to a restaurant.  I’ve seen her baby a couple of times in her 20 days here on earth.  I happily held her while waiting for our food, my child content to color her menu, while we chatted.  No big deal, aside from the fact that the conversation was a bit all over and was starting to get on my nerves.  Cora’s food came early so I passed the baby back to her mother but the mother shoved her right back at me.  Hold her, cuddle, isn’t it great.  Yes, it is precious holding a baby but my child needs her food set up so take your own kid.

This occurrence, shoving her child at me, kept on.  Hold her, she would demand. She followed me back to my house where I needed to lay my toddler down for a nap and the dog was demanding my attention and she kept shoving that baby at me like it was cocaine.  Listen, I sniffed that baby’s head, I cuddled her, cooed at her but now I have shit to do and my kid needs rocked longer because she has been putting up this new fight when we put her down.

Doesn’t holding her make you want another? You aren’t getting younger.  It was in fact the day of my 35th birthday but thanks for reminding me about my eggs slowly shriveling away.

No, consistently holding your child is actually making my anxiety go through the ceiling because my kid needs me in the other room and the dog is getting worked up because she thinks it is her time since the baby is in said other room “napping.”  So no, it is doing the reverse effect from what you want.  I’m realizing I can’t handle it at all.

Please leave.

She left.

And you know what, this isn’t the first time someone has done this to me! Is this a thing? Shove a baby at someone so their ovaries cry?

I sat and rocked my almost two year old and rubbed the side of her face for 15 minutes until she fell asleep.  Her teeth are killing and she suddenly doesn’t lie down on her own. You know what makes it okay?  I don’t have another child to tend to, aside from the dog, just her.  There isn’t a baby crying in the next room to send my anxiety through the ceiling.  Just her.  We can tackle these hurdles together.

I just literally know that right now, I can’t and don’t want to do it, the second child thing.  I’m cool with that but some apparently aren’t.  So I’m going to go on strike holding other babies.  I can still sniff my own child’s head and it smells good:)

Second Baby Gifts


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Lately I have been purchasing a lot of gifts for that second, third and even fourth baby in a family.  I can certainly say that my baby gift giving has changed since having Cora.  I will never buy another baby “outfit” because mamma isn’t going to wrangle baby into a four piece, uncomfortable outfit, to only have baby vomit all over it.  Sleepers all day, every day.

Hands down, I will always buy off the registry for the first baby.  But what about the siblings that follow?

  • Number one thing I have heard is a small gift for the older sibling(s) so they aren’t left out.  Anything that makes note of them being a big sibling is even better-shirt, book, tote bag, activity book, hat or even jewelry.
  • Diapers and wipes.  Advice though-never buy them newborn diapers.
  • Baby Tylenol, Motrin, Orajel, gas drops, diaper rash cream, etc.  All the over the counter things you don’t think about until it is the middle of the night and someone has a fever. Along these same lines- bath lotion, wash, shampoo, etc.
  • Bath toys.  Bath toys get moldy and gross.  Chances are a new round of bath toys would be appreciated.
  • New infant wash cloths and bath towels.  These all get stained, ripped, and just plain tired looking.  A nice, new, fluffy set would make baby happy.
  • Other items that get a bit worn down and could be replaced are bibs and burp rags.
  • Something personalized for new baby.  That way they have something specifically theirs that isn’t a hand me down.
  • If mamma is breast feeding then perhaps she needs new parts for her pump, a new nursing tank, shirt or bra.
  • New pacifiers, bottles, bottle nipples, or bottle brushes.  These things get used and some of it is stuff that you wouldn’t want to reuse.
  • A double stroller!
  • Is there a big item that their first kid destroyed?
  • If it has been several years since their last baby then maybe there is a hot item on the market that you know would make their life easier.
  • Gift cards.  Target, Babies R Us, Amazon, etc.  Then they can just go get what they actually need. May not seem as personal but it is the most practical.
  • Clothing.  This is one you have to be careful with.  If it is a different gender, great, buy!  If it is born opposite season, same gender, ask mamma if there are specific clothing items she needs. Same gender, same season, you are best to spend your money on something else.
  • Something special for Mom.  Spa day gift card, a meal that you can drop off, cleaning services, offer to babysit (and actually do it!) or WINE!

A few items I have heard some mom’s actually cringe over.

  • Blankets. I have to agree with this one.  We were given SO many for Cora.
  • Toys.  Most parents are drowning in these anyways and don’t want anymore.
  • Books.  Especially board books.  Again, drowning in them.
  • Stuffed animals.  These things multiply at night when we aren’t looking.
  • Clothing. Like I said, this goes both ways.

Personally I believe every new baby deserves a gift and something new of their own!

What are your ideas for second, third, fourth baby gifts? What are the things you would never buy?