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.

Monday, March 21, 2011


I feel like writing today so I'm going to blog. You may have to bear with me as I have no idea WHAT I'm going to write and this will probably be all over the map but I'm going to write.

Speaking of being all over the map, I'm hooked on "Off The Map." I thought it started off kind of slow, just like "Modern Family" but I hoped they were just fleshing out the characters. Lo and behond they were so now Beya and I watch it every week.

My U2 concert is coming up in less than three months. If you remember correctly they were scheduled to play last year at the same time and I was in such a quandary as to if I should go or not. They are my FAVORITE, FAVORITE, FAVORITE band and I identify so closely with them. Not just on a musical level but politically and now to a lesser extent, spiritually. They were the ones who really got me to question God and religion back when I was about 10 or 12. I became involved with Amnesty International because of them around the same time too so I really credit them with opening my eyes and viewing things and what I could do on a global scale. That said, the last time I saw them in concert was 12/19/05 with Sissy. It was just the two of us and we had such a perfect time. I was on the fence about going last year since it was only six months after she died. Do I go? Do I not go? I was so torn but the decision was made for me when Bono injured his back and the show had to be postponed for a year.

What is my decision this year? I'm going. Had they actually played last year I don't think I would have gone and I also don't think I would have regretted my decision. I have never once regretted my choice to not see Coldplay when sissy was so sick with chemo. But I am going to see U2 in less than three months. However, one of their songs is on my do not play playlist, "Beautiful Day." I was in charge of composing the music for sissy and Josh's wedding. Trina gave me a list of songs that they definitely wanted played and I had to put everything together, decide which song went where, etc.... I picked "Beautiful Day" as the first song after they got married. It was so...well.... beautiful. As soon as they were pronounced husband and wife the song started playing and everyone came up to congratulate them, pouring rain and all. It was a perfect moment. BUT I have devised a plan to have my iPod all ready to go with a different song so as soon as they start playing that one I can put in my earbuds and listen to something else. But I AM going.

That said, I had originally planned on using the concert as an excuse for Norm and I to have a weekend getaway. We'd go up there, spend a few nights, relax, have a fun time and come home refreshed. The closer it gets to having to leaving the kids and Beya for the first time I start to think "well, we don't have to be gone for two nights. We only need to be gone for one night. Actually, we don't even need to spend the night but we should anyway. Can I do this? I have to. I CAN do this. It's not that far from home, if something happens I can be home in three hours. Should we fly? That way it's only an hour from home. But what if something happens? Then we'd have to wait for a flight home. Maybe we should just go and come home the same time. No, we need to get away. I can do this. I can spend one night away from everyone. Should we spend two nights?" It becomes a vicious cycle of what to do, what to do.

What is even more hilarious is the fact that I've been planning a two night, three day trip to Cabo for Norm and me later in the year. We love Mexico and Cabo is the only place where we haven't been with my family, i.e. with sissy. There would be no memories of "I remember when sissy and I came here" or "we had so much fun when we all went there" like there would be with Puerto Vallarta or the Mayan Riviera. I don't think I can ever go back to either place. With the help of therapy Norm and I have worked on our marriage and are at a new place in our relationship, a much better place than I think we've been in 10 years. I feel like we owe it to each other to have a quick, romantic trip to Mexico. Then I think about the anxiety I'm having of just being three hours away for the U2 concert and I think "how the hell did I trick myself into thinking that I could actually leave the COUNTRY for a weekend?" Even though Cabo is just a three hour flight I seriously doubt I can actually pull it off.

The kiddos are good. After spending the day at Grama's house one day last week Valentina came home with a picture she had drawn of the family. She was pointing each person out to me, "this is you. This is my dad. This is Beya. This is Papa. This is Asa. This is Joshua. This is Grama and this is Grampa!" I asked her if she had drawn TT. "No. TT isn't on here because she's up in heaven waiting for us!" She always talks about sissy in such a loving, beautiful way and is so excited and happy that her TT is "all better with long hair, no more chemo hair! She's in heaven with Jesus and God waiting for us!" Obviously Asa and the rest of us are unable to have the same joy that Valentina has about sissy no longer being with us but it does help to see things through Valentina's eyes. And her personality! Oh my gravy (yes, I love the cowboys on The Amazing Race), her personality is like a mashup of Trina and me. She has my stubbornness and always having to have the last word (me?) but Trina's absolute love of life and squeezing every last drop of fun out of each day. Sometimes it's painful seeing Valentina do something that I know Trina would have loved and would have laughed at but there's not a damn thing I can do about it. Valentina is learning how to write her name and she is getting pretty good at it. She can write all the letters of her name but not quite in order. She does have the VALE down and every time she gets that part done she stops and says "look! That spells Vali! That was TT's special name for me!" and then she continues writing her name. It is becoming time to go through her drawers and put away the clothes that are too small for her. I've been putting this off as there are clothes that Trina bought for her that I will never put away. Valentina will be 16 years old and still have shirts and pants that are a size 2T in her drawer. Or pajamas that are 18 months. Or shoes that are a 10 but I want her to always have those with her. Or maybe it's just that I want them there and cannot bear to box them up. Either way I'm keeping some of her clothes in her drawer.

Asa boy. Oh my dear, sweet Asa boy. He was sick Thursday so I kept him home from school but we had so many errands to run so I had to drag him with us. My poor boy threw up twice in the car (I had the foresight to bring a big puke bucket). Luckily one appointment was to the doctor for Valentina's four year checkup (yes, I am aware that her birthday was two months ago) so I was able to ask about Asa's symptoms. Turns out there is a virus going around and Asa was feeling fine Friday. It was also my day to volunteer in his room so I was able to keep an eye on him. Asa loves school and is doing so well. I think he likes the social aspect of it more, just like his mom. There is a new student in his room and I had it out with her. Yes, I fought with a Kindergartner and I'm not afraid to admit it. I was working with four of the kids (Asa being one of them) and one of the boys told Asa that he had gotten hit the day before at recess. Asa asked him if he cried and the boy said yes, he cried a little bit. This new chick, a total know it all and Miss Bossy Pants stated "you aren't supposed to cry. You don't cry." Oh no she di'int! There ain't no way in hell I'm letting a five year old brat undo all the work that I've put in, telling Asa that it's ok to cry! I set her straight! It went something like this:

me - It IS ok to cry!

her - no it's not.

me - yes it is! There's nothing wrong with crying.

her - well only if there's blood.

me - no, it's fine to cry! Everyone cries and that's ok.

her - well my mom says you don't cry.

me - well your mom can say whatever she wants and in your house you can do whatever you want but it IS ok to cry.

By this time the other two boys were just staring at me, they had never seen me argue with anyone before. Asa was just continuing to glue on his Fruit Loops like nothing was going on because he's heard me say this all before, albeit not with one of his classmates. In the end, I won and got the last word in :) Later on in the day I told the teacher that the new girl was something else. She agreed and called her a diva.

Speaking of diva behavior, I am such a bitch. Seriously. That one chick, the mom of one of Asa's classmates who I have likened to a piece of shit on the bottom of my shoe that I can't scrape off, brings out the worst in me. I turn into a total snob when I'm around her. It's like I hear the words coming out of my mouth and I think "that is such a bitchy thing to say" but I can't stop myself. Part of it is that she's just plain annoying and part of it is that she keeps copying me! I cut my bangs a bit differently about two months ago and literally three days later she shows up to pick up her kid with bangs exactly like mine. She even remarked to one of the other parents that it had been more than 10 years since she had bangs. Hmm.... wonder where she got the idea. Another reason she pisses me off is the fact that she's always bitching about her back and neck. I've told her flat out that I've seen real pain. I've had to watch someone I love die from cancer and THAT is real pain. Anything else is minor and I don't want to about it. AND SHE STILL WANTS TO HANG OUT WITH ME AND HAVE PLAY DATES WITH ASA!!!! Do you see how I try to scrape her off my shoe but she just doesn't budge?

The other day we were waiting for the kids to get out of school and I was doing my usual trying to ignore her but it's kind of difficult as we are usually the only two people waiting by the door. She made some sarcastic remark about it being another day in paradise and I told her "actually I've had one of those. It was when the seven of us spent a week in Cancun. Well, on the Mayan Riviera, an hour south of Cancun. It was the most beautiful resort on a private white sand beach with crystal clear water." After I said it I knew how snobby it must have sounded but the idiot had no idea that I meant it that way. She then had to one up me, as is normal for her, and told me that they are considering moving to Cypress, along the Greek coast. I tried to keep my eyes from rolling as she went on to say that it would be great for her son to live in another country and that he could teach her Spanish since he'd have to learn another language. "Asa's on his third language" I blurted out. Again, SNOB! It's like I have verbal diarrhea with her and not just normal but uppity verbal diarrhea. Again she didn't hear that part but just asked me what other language Asa spoke other than Spanish. "Oh, he's learning Hebrew. And Valentina knows sign language." It's like that scene in "Real Housewives of OC" where the two moms are trying to one up each other with how great their kids are. Or on "The New Adventures of Old Christine" and the two snobs at the private school are always putting down old Christine. Whenever I act like this I always come home and tell mom about it. She cracks up because I DO come off as a snobby bitch. Again, it's like I see the words come out in a balloon above my head like in a comic strip but I'm powerless to stop being a snob around her. I think another reason I hate her is that she plays the victim card. I HATE it when people act like the victim. Yes, there are situations that are out of our control but to blame everyone else for EVERYTHING bad that happens to them, especially when they can choose to look at all the positive things in their life, well, I can't stand those people. I have no patience with them and have cut them out of my life. I really don't want to listen to you bitch about all these minor shitty things (like I just did a few blog posts ago, lol) when you have SO MUCH to be thankful for! So yes, I can be a bitchy snob but at least I can admit it.

That is what is going on with us in a very large nutshell. Like I said, my post was going to be all over the place and I think I covered almost everything. We are surviving and the kids give us happiness. I'm beyond grateful to have my parents with me and my marriage is getting better. I miss my sister so much it physically hurts. There are times when it seems like a dream that she was ever even here and times when I reach for the phone to tell her something. I am decorating for every holiday and try to make them fun for the kids. I have crafts and gifts for them to make for their 937 family members. Mom has gout, is in a lot of pain and I feel so bad for her. She and I have our Thai Food Takeout Tuesdays since it's painful to go out to eat with just the two of us when there should be three. Both kids finally got their Pillow Pet that they have been wanting for over a year. Mom helps me so much in every way possible and I'm clinging to her. There are times when it think I can do this, I can continue to live without sissy and there are times when I break down and feel like I can't make it through the next five seconds. I never know what kind of day I am going to have, or what the next hour will be like. I can go through every single emotion five times a day or I can have a full day where I can laugh, albeit a hollow laugh.

One thing I know for sure is that life will never the same without sissy and I will never have the pure joy I had when our family was complete.

My best friend Holly who lost her dad when she was 15 described the process perfectly. Things never become ok, you just become more used to it being shitty.