We were the closest family possible. Our world was turned upside down on 05/03/09 when my best friend, the person I love most next only to our children, my sister Trina was diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. Her body gave out on her on 01/09/10 but she will ALWAYS be a part of our daily life and will continue to be in my posts. I started my blog to chronicle our daughter's international adoption from Guatemala and have continued to use it as a journal.

What you will find is my family trying to adapt to our new lives that were handed to us.



Thursday, May 13, 2010

Emotional Chernobyl

I've talked of emotional landmines in the past. It seems as if this past week has been jam packed with them, the hardest being today which "on paper" should have been a very easy one.

We (mom and I) took the kids to the mall as Valentina decided since she was potty trained (more on that in a bit) she was old enough to have earrings now. I have had her ears pierced twice and Trina tried to get me to do it a third time but Valentina threw a fit and refused so technically this was our fourth trip to have her ears pierced. Valentina climbed right into the chair and picked out her pink flower earrings and she was READY! She did end up wanting me to hold her while it was done and for the first time we lucked out and had two people there, one for each ear so they were done in one shot. Valentina flinched just a bit and I think it was more over the sound than anything else and then she was all happy and very proud of herself. Not a cry, not a whimper, just happy that she was so grown up to be wearing earrings.

I'm going to stick in the part about being potty trained right now before I get to fucking Chernobyl in a second.

Valentina does things on her own terms. She has her own timeline. Always has, always will. Sometimes it drives me crazy, sometimes it's the best possible thing. When Valentina wasn't walking but Trina decided she needed to be and was tired of waiting around for the "first steps" moment, sissy literally took her around the house, holding her hands and then would let go in hopes that Valentina would just keep walking. Yeah, Valentina would just plop down on the floor. It was very clear that Valentina WAS ready to walk, she knew how, she was flying all over the house, barely holding on to couch or table or whatever else was there but she REFUSED to walk on her own. I kept telling everyone to just calm down, once Valentina decided she wanted to walk, she was going to walk and walk perfectly and never fall down. Sure enough, one evening we were all together, Asa was chasing her and Valentina just took off walking. We all cheered and clapped and she had no idea why, she knew she could walk. That's just how Valentina is, once she decides she's going to do something she will do it great but not one second before she's ready.

I've tried very, very very little with the potty training department. Same reason, she would sit on the potty and then get off. She would get to where she really needed to go but would freak out and cry and scream and beg to get off the toilet. Fine by me, in this situation I knew it would be easier. A while ago mom was bitching at me saying "you need to work with her more! What? Do you think she'll just decide one day that she'll be ready and she'll just go?" I looked mom straight in the eye and said "yes, actually, I do!"

May 3rd. May third was one year since sissy had been diagnosed......and the day Valentina decided she was ready to be potty trained. Boom, just like that she was potty trained. One day. Let me correct that, she had two pee accidents May 3rd, two pee accidents May 4th, one pee accident May 5th. That's it. And now she's had a dry diaper the past 4 nights and has to go pee first thing when she wakes up so I suspect she's holding it at night if she has to go. So yeah, she's pretty much fully potty trained, nights too, in less than two weeks. And no, I haven't tired yet of telling mom "told you so."

So. Back to today. You all know sissy and I had literally countless conversations. We talked about everything and nothing. We talked about parenting, entertainment news, CNN, clothes, home decor, etc.... You name ANY subject and I can guarantee you that we had a conversation about it. But out of ALL of these thousands and thousands of conversations, one has always stuck in my head and this was even before she was diagnosed. Probably two years ago sissy told me that she felt bad because whenever she went to the mall with Asa he always wanted to go play at the arcade that was there but she was always too busy or didn't want to because it was germy or some other reason. So sissy told me that she was going to set aside a day and take Asa to the arcade and let him play whatever games for as long as he wanted to to make him feel special because he is such a good boy.

Sissy ran out of time.

Today as we walked into the mall Asa saw the arcade and asked if we could go in. We had to get Valentina's ears pierced, I had to pick up a gift for a bridal shower, I wanted to do a bit of shopping and we only had so much time to get this done in because we had to be somewhere else at a certain time. I told Asa if we had time after we got everything done I would take him in there.

We got Valentina's ears pierced.

We looked at shoes for the kids and bought Valentina a new pair of summer sandals, they didn't have the ones Asa wanted in his size.

We went into a sports store to look at a soccer jersey Asa wanted.

We got some pretzels.

Mom took Valentina to the bathroom.

When mom and Valentina were almost done Asa decided he needed to go too.

It was time to leave the mall...... and I took Asa into the arcade.

No, I didn't get everything done but this was my priority. Asa wanted to play air hockey which cost $1. I had one dollar bill and a five. I figured it would be better to just go ahead and get $5 worth of quarters instead of him just playing one game. Well, the game went on forever and mom was trying to keep an eye on Monkey Valentina. Seriously, the girl can climb and leap from game to game without ever touching the ground. Asa didn't know this, he was busy trying to make his goals and block mine. It was time to go and I still had $4 in quarters in my pocket and Asa wanted to play some other games. I told him we needed to go and again, I realized the pang that sissy must have felt. But he actually played a game at the arcade he had always wanted to play in.

We got in the car and I was emotionally exhausted. On our way home I told Asa how his mom had wanted to take him there but that time just ran out. Asa said "my mom died when I was five." Yes, I had to agree with him on that but I told him again how she had always planned on taking him to the arcade and how sorry I was that she wasn't able to. I tried not to cry but my voice did break and I know I need to be able to let the kids see me cry. Valentina sees me cry a lot but when Asa sees mom or I cry he just goes into another room, he doesn't want any part of it so I didn't see the point in letting him see me cry during what should have been a happy moment between a mother and a son. After I told Asa the story of his mom's best laid plans he said "I had a great time sissy." I did fall apart when I got home, in front of Valentina but no Asa. The whole time I was playing air hockey with Asa the conversation between sissy and me was on a constant loop in my head.

I still have $4 worth of quarters that I'm putting aside and one day....SOON... I WILL do what sissy had always wanted done for her beautiful, precious boy; I will take him back to the arcade and let him play whatever for however long. That is the least I can do for my sissy.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

On Paper

On paper we have the ideal situation for the loss of someone.

On paper it's ideal because my house has always been Asa's second home.

On paper we're fortunate because we have no regrets.

On paper things are best because Asa has so much family around him to provide him with love and support.

On paper Asa is lucky because his father is wonderful and has always been an active part of his life and loves him dearly.

On paper it's great because our houses are only a mile away so if Joshua needs something I can be there in 3 minutes, literally.

On paper Trina suffered for "only" 8 months.

On paper we are in tune with our emotions and can express them.

On paper we are such a tight knit family that it should be easier for us.

On paper we are "not the first to have gone through this and are better equipped to handle it than most."

On paper the first year is the hardest.

On paper we have each other.

On paper Asa had unconditional love from his mom and will always remember that.

On paper we have the best of what we can possibly have.

Then why does our reality feel like none of the above matters.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

52 Weeks

Tomorrow is May 3rd, one year since Trina was diagnosed with cancer, but today is exactly 52 weeks. It's been 52 weeks since mom woke me up with the unbelievable news. Never, ever, ever is my wildest nightmares did I ever think she wouldn't be here with us today. Never. And I'm criticized (by other people, never my own family) as being the pessimistic one. Well this was one shit ball I didn't see coming.

So now we are branching into the other "firsts", the first Cinco de Mayo without her.... but she already had cancer. The first Mothers Day without her.... but she already had cancer. The first Independence Day....... but she already cancer and had started chemo. All of the other firsts up until this point we were able to look back and see her as a healthy, happy, sunny person. Now we are forced to remember her a year ago..... after chemo, after her illness, after the times she couldn't get out of bed, after her nails starting falling off, after her constant vomiting, after her hair falling out, after her crying every time she looked in the mirror because she felt like she looked like cancer and didn't recognize herself, after her voice changes due to the multiple medications she was on, after the meltdowns Asa would have with her and all she could do was cry and hold him, after the shit really started.

But we have a full day planned out for us today and tomorrow will take care of itself. And no matter what, we have our kiddos! One side note, I've had multiple people ask (tell) me that it must be so nice to have Asa with us, as our link to sissy. I've always said yes without thinking but I really started to think about it last week. Yes, in a way Asa is a link to her, but more than anything Asa is his own person, his own personality, his own funny little quirks that sometimes remind me of Trina and sometimes are all completely his own. Asa is his own person and I would never want to put pressure on him to be his mothers child. Asa is himself. Asa by himself is amazingly strong and Asa by himself is his own person. Just the same I don't think of Valentina's birth mom every time I look at her. I know that's probably not very PC of me to say, but I don't. She is her own person and all I can do is encourage their individuality just like mom did with sissy and me.

As always, I miss my sissy.

Saturday, May 01, 2010