Saturday, May 26, 2012

There is no Mommy Manual for this...

I have been quiet and at a loss for words the last few days. I feel that I need to write this blog and maybe I will not post and maybe I will delete at the end but I feel I need to talk about this. It is a very serious subject and out of my comfort zone but as a Mom nobody said it would be easy raising kids. I do not feel right posting my funny blogs at this time. So I write what is in my heart at this time.

There is definitely no Mommy manual or chapter in the What to Expect?? that tells you how to prepare for this. And if there was, it would still not help and you would still not be prepared.

I was walking my 40 mile Avon Breast Cancer walk last weekend and I was exhausted both mentally and physically. I was on my second day and was 30 miles into the 40 miles and working on limited sleep from the last 2 days when I received the news. I had stopped at one of the rest stops to regroup and I checked my phone to see if my home had called or sent any messages... when I saw a message from a friend to call marked urgent. I sat down and called her before I continued my walk. That is when I found out that one of my son's friends and teammate had tragically passed away that morning and she wanted me to know so I could tell him before the word spread. I was still sitting down on the grass in shock with tears streaming down my face with a million thoughts racing through my head. The first thought was his mother and as I pictured her hearing the news it became harder to breathe. I wanted to be home so bad and I did not want to finish the 10 miles I had ahead of me.

 I called my husband and woke him to tell him and let him know that my next call was to my son. My husband said he would walk down the hall and wake him to tell him, but I was insistent that it was going to be me. I almost became angry and protective like a wild animal protecting her cub. My brain was screaming he needs his Mom to tell him. I knew it would not be easy but I wanted to carry that burden as his mother. I told my husband to hug my other son and daughter and tell them how much I love them and I would be home as soon as I could. I called my oldest son and woke him from his teenage weekend slumber and I began slowly "Sorry to wake you but I have something to tell you.." and he said "What is it Mom?" I continued with "I hate to have to tell you this, but I wanted you to hear it from me first." and he was fully awake now asking "Mom what is it? You are scaring me.." and so I said it.."Your "friend" passed away this morning" and I explained how. There was silence for a few seconds and he asked with his voice shaking.."Is this for real?" And I said, "Yes it is real, I wish it was not, but it is true" and then I could hear the panic rise in his voice "Why? Why would he do that? Oh My God! Oh My God!" I gave him some time before I spoke.."Again I wanted you to hear it from me, I love you so much and I will be home later. Call me if you need me and I am so sorry!" He told me he loved me and we hung up. I still stayed sitting on the ground crying as people walked by assuming I was in pain from the walk and blisters. I wanted to be there more then anything to hug my son and hold him like I did when he was little. It broke my heart to hear my son's voice cracking and shaking from trying to hold back the river of emotions that I knew was rising and about to spill over into tears. The kind of tears that have not come in some time and do not come often anymore at  the age of 16 in his teenage years. I pictured my son who looks like a man, but still is a little boy inside with a little boy brain and little boy heart breaking. I stood up to pull myself together and finish my walk. I sent my son a text "I love you!!" and he sent one back "I know you do Mom.. Thank you..I love you too!"

I kept walking and thinking of how as Mothers we vow to protect our kids from harm and when our kids hurt we want to take that pain from them. I remember after the birth of each of my three kids when I was finally sitting alone holding them in my arms. I would lean in and whisper in their tiny ears as they slept that I would never let anything or anyone hurt them...ever!! And I meant ever!! I know it seems impossible to make that happen as a Mother, but we Mothers mean it with every fiber in our bodies. I know their pain because it fills me up to the point where my heart honestly aches and I have the choked up feeling in my throat and it hurts to breathe and the tears sit in the back of my eyes ready to spill out...every time one of my children are sick or sad or hurting for any reason..Mothers feel that pain. So as I finished my walk it was harder and harder to breathe. There was a lump in my throat that made it hard to swallow and my heart hurt. I found out later that as I walked and as the pain grew my son and his friends were getting together to comfort one another and talk and hug each other and cry for their lost friend. Once I gave the news to my son he contacted his friends and they met for breakfast and needed to be together. They just needed to be together. I knew without a doubt that day and the days to come that it is not just a saying that Moms hurt when their kids hurt, because I have never felt such deep pain and sorrow.

I watched my son and his football teammates gather this week and give true meaning to the word "Team". They never left each others sides. They never judged each other for crying and for needing hugs or just needing to talk. They were mature beyond their years to handle this situation and sorrow.  They made me proud beyond words to watch them march in as a team side by side in their jerseys to say goodbye to their friend and teammate. And words can never describe them each offering their words and comfort to a grieving mother and hugging her as if she was their own Mother.

It has been a sad week and I just keep hugging my son and telling him I love him. I told my son not be alarmed if he wakes up in the middle of the night and finds me sitting in the dark watching him sleep, because that is what I have been doing this week. I wake up and need to check on all my kids and be Thankful they are sleeping in their beds.

So this week reminded me as a Mother to not sweat the small really does not matter and you can never hug your kids enough!!!

Monday, May 7, 2012

What Would you Do??

One of my favorite shows is Dateline "What Would you Do?" with John Quinones. My favorite part is when the people are confronted by John and his crew after they basically decide to stand by and not help a person who needs it. And the show makes some of these scenarios so over the top that how could anyone not stop and help?  People just look in horror but keep on walking. So John walks up to the people and says "Why did you not want to help that child? Did you not think that woman was in danger? Why did you keep walking?"  And the people always say they did not think it was their place or their business to get involved. I always think to myself that I would be mortified if I had a camera crew watching me not help someone and then approach me and have it on National TV, I have enough "Mommy Guilt" I do not need anymore guilt! So I am always ready to react and jump in to help so I am the hero on "What Would you Do?" You never know!

So where is the number one place I always think John Quinones and his crew are waiting and lurking? My most dreaded place!! The Park! This is the land of OPK's (Other Peoples Kids) running around with little to no supervision half the time. I cannot tell most times which kid belongs with which adult and they always seem to find me and think I am willing and able to play with all of them .Most of these parents think going to the Park means they can sit and relax and let their children run wild inside a fenced in area. Some parents even sit in their car and watch from there if the kids are a little older. So the other day was no different. It was finally nice out and the sun was shining so I took the kids to the park against my better judgement to let them run around. Of course I am not even there five minutes before the OPK's find me and are latched on. I am helping my 4 year old daughter with the monkey bars when I then have 3 other kids waiting in line for me to also help them. I always look around to see where their parents might be because I always feel weird picking up kids I don't know. Some parents might not want me to be helping their kids. I always try to avoid them and tell them I need to chase after my 4 year old. Or I suggest to them to go ask their parents to help them. Sometimes that will work but most times they keep following me.

This afternoon there was the sweetest, tiniest little girl following me and she wanted to play with my daughter. I kept looking for her mother, father, grandparent or babysitter. Anyone? I could not understand how this little girl could have nobody with her. I keep looking around as she is glued to us and I think this could be it, this could be my shining moment! I might be on 'What would you do?" First I am horrified of what I look like and that I could be on TV looking like this (I know I am crazy) but I just stay focused. I keep talking to the little girl and making sure she is safe as she climbs up on everything following my daughter. Then another little girl approaches and tells me that is her sister, and I think this is getting even better..and I go with it as she tells me her story.."That is my sister and she is 3 years old and I am 5 years old" and then she points to another girl and says "That is our friend and she is 7 and she came with us." As I listen to her I finally have to ask "Who are you here with? Your Mom or Dad?" And the girl answers "My Mom, she is over there in the parking lot with her friend." And I look in the direction she pointed and see a woman standing next to a truck smoking and talking with someone inside the truck.

 I have now been at the park for almost a half hour and have not seen this woman once and she has not left the parking lot to check on her kids or even better the other girl she brought with her. I am not in the running for Mother of the Year, but I am shocked this woman does not even care to watch her little girls. I remind myself that this has to be a set up and they are making sure that it is as over the top as possible to see how people would react. So I start to think about what I should do. The girls continue to ask me to help them on the monkey bars and the swings and ask me to chase them and play tag. I cannot believe this mother has not even taken the time to look over her shoulder once to check on her girls. She keeps on smoking and talking. Now it is almost time for me to leave but I cannot leave these girls alone because their mother is not watching them at all. I need to make sure they are safe and I need to get ready for John Quinones and his crew to approach me and tell me how nice it was for me to take care of these girls and make sure they were safe and then introduce me to the "Mother" who really is an actress and all is good! Okay not so much. 

I finally have to tell the girls we need to leave and I decide to walk the girls over to their mother and let her know that we were leaving and they had been playing with my daughter. I think this will let the woman know that she now needs to remember she has 3 little girls with her and pay attention. I approach the woman with her girls and they run up to her and tell her how much fun they have had playing with me and my daughter. She looks at me and says "Thanks for watching them, I am so tired and have had the worst week and needed a break." I am standing in shock for a few seconds with a plastered smile on my face as she tells the girls to get in their car next to the truck because it was time to leave. I say goodbye to the girls and as I walk away no camera crews were coming out of the bushes that day. I get my kids in the car still in shock that this mother just brings her kids to the park so she can get a break like it is a drop of day care center and some other parent will watch her kids. Good lord!

I was not on "What Would you Do?" that day, but I am ready for when it does happen!

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