Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Curve balls and home runs

Somethings are going very well. The girls have all 3 started school now, and so far so good. They all like their teachers, and have met some new friends, including quite a few kids in our development. Even riding the bus is going well. So for that I'm grateful.

We are beginning to settle into the new house. Still have tons of unpacking to do, and things to buy, but we are adjusting to where things are, and to the house. Craig is not liking his drive to and from work, though.

Last Thursday in the very early morning (3am) we were awoke by screams and yelling. My immediate thought was that there was some sort of fight, domestic disturbance. It continued, sounding like it was right outside our house. Then I heard "I can't breathe! I can't breathe!" I knew this was not any type of domestic disturbance. Craig and I both had been looking out our bedroom window and couldn't see anything, but it was coming from out front of our house.
So I ran downstairs and out the front door in my jammies, and bare feet. There was a woman standing in the driveway of the house next door, and she was yelling and there were screams coming from the window up above the garage. The front door was open and there was smoke coming from there. The house was on fire and there was a 14 yr old girl trapped in the upstairs bedroom. I attempted to go in the house, but I only got about 2 ft and the smoke was so thick that I couldn't breath, so I went right back out. The girl was able to get out onto the roof and then Craig and another neighbor helped her down from there.
A window in the back of the house shattered and flames were coming dangerously close to my new house. The house that was burning is directly next door to us. The firefighters had us get our kids out and we all stood outside in the cold and rain, watching this house just burn. It is appearing it is a complete loss, I'm pretty sure the house was gutted. Thankfully everyone got out safely and our house survived in tact and with no damage!

Then Sunday morning, Craig's Mom had a massive stroke. When we got to the hospital, she was on life support and the damage was far too great and unrepairable. His Dad was waiting for the family to all get to the hospital and then he was going to have her taken off the life support. So that is what we did. She was gone within an hour of being removed from the life support machines. This was a horrible, painful thing to watch, and just so sudden. She passed surrounded by her husband, kids, a few of her grandkids, some of her foster kids, and other extended family. She did not suffer, and she went quickly. I guess that is the most any of us can hope for.

R.I.P. Patricia Smith...may you know PEACE now. I thank you for the son that you gave to me that is an amazing husband and a tremendous father.

Yes, life is full of ups and downs. Continually. Just when you get a home run, it throws you a curve ball and you struggle. I am so thankful for my family and for the blessings that He has given us. I'm thankful for the extended family I have that I know I can count on and lean on, who support us in our joy and in our struggles. We are blessed and for that I'm thankful.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

and my heart breaks...

Yesterday was the hardest day I've had (we've all had) in a very long time. The end of an era at Maplewood Elementary.
We arrive at school and I am watching Ashlyne get in line with her friends. She has an umbrella (its not currently raining), so that was the cool thing and all the kids wanted to stand under her umbrella (ay ay ay..lol) I turn my head in the direction of the older girls, and I see Cortney embraced in a hug with a mother of fellow Maplewood student. I knew she was crying and I thought, "oh no..already?" I knew in that instant what I had tried to deny....this was going to be a very very hard day.
I came back to the school to pick them up about 20 minutes early. As I stood on the blacktop on the playground, I could see Cortney in her classroom. There was a line of classmates lined up to hug her, and I could see her wiping her eyes. When the doors opened, a few girls came out with tear streaked faces, that I knew were in her class.
The kindergarten teacher opened the door and motioned to me that we had tears today. Then when Ashlyne appeared in the doorway, tears pouring down, I just buckled. I couldn't contatin it myself, as much as I wanted to be strong for my girls so that maybe it would make them feel better. I knew that her heart was hurting and that killed me. She ran to me and I pulled her into my arms and we just cried for a few minutes. Then I tried to pull it together and told her it was ok, that it was going to be ok. She will still see her friends at soccer, and we will still come down for PTA events. (carnival, bingo, etc.) She said her friend Gillyan was so sad too, and wouldn't let go of her. (literally, was hugging her and wouldn't let her go.. )
I looked to the kindergarten door, and there was Gillyan standing with the teacher and she was crying, clutching a little wad of kleenex. I hugged her too and told her she would see Ashlyne at soccer tomorrow and we would get them together to play.
I finally get Ashlyne gathered to go find the other two. We walk over to the the other side of the school. Cortney finally emerges and she is sobbing, and she is flanked by like 5 other girls who are all sobbing. I hug her and I tell her and them that we aren't going that far away, we will still see them!
This is repeated when I find Jordanna. I feel just awful, not only are my girls heartbroken but so are their friends. And I feel completely responsible. My heart is so heavy. We make our way to our car and by this time, I'm crying again. The four of us cried all the way home. Cortney says to me, "This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do, leave my friends..." I acknowledge her pain, and I say I understand and I'm sorry that this is so hard for them. I am sad too, and so is Dad. BUT...we are all going to be ok and I promise you are going to make new friends..I promise.
There were sooo many tears yesterday here. One of the worst things as a parent is when your child is hurting. It tears your heart out.
Yesterday our house closed. The deal is done, we are officially new homeowners. I was a bit miffed last night, I said to Craig, um, shouldn't we be celebrating and be happy? Where's my steak dinner and champagne?
Instead I was nursing broken hearts with fishsticks and tater tots and hot fudge sundaes from McDonalds...
It is going to be ok. We are going to love the new house and we will all make new friends. Its going to be ok.