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Monday, February 22, 2010

More time

I wish I had more time in the day. My classes are really hard this semester. My marriage and family course requires at least a four page paper once a week, but last night, it wound up being 10 pages because it took that much to answer the questions sufficiently. My Gender and Society class has discussion questions due every week and a half. There are usually six or eight of them, and I have to read several different articles to find the answers. At least, they are interesting. Cognitive psychology is a little easier, but basic statistics is my most horrible class. It's basically because it's a math class.

Ella is doing wonderfully and so is Tessa. We switched Tessa to another class, and she is doing so much better with another teacher. This class also moves at a slower pace than the other one, but it will still allow her to go onto second grade when the year is over. She is doing so well in there and gets her work done every day. Instead of failing every spelling test, she's making As and Bs. Her behavior has also improved. I'm sure some of it was getting away from that teacher.

Ella is a fabulous little being. She rolled over from stomach to back the other day. She smiles and laughs and responds to us. She is so laid back. The only time she really cries is if her tummy hurts, if she's hungry or when she's in her car seat. Otherwise, she is so happy. She is also pretty much sleeping through the night. Tonight, she fell asleep about 8, and I'm sure she'll probably wake up about 3 for a bottle and then will go back to sleep until it's time to take Tessa to school. On the weekends when we don't have to get up so early, she'll sleep until 8 or so. She's a so-so napper, but I am feeling especially blessed that she sleeps so well at night. I never had that with Tessa. In fact, Tessa still isn't a good sleeper.

Here are some pics. This first one is from our photo session this weekend, but the rest are ones I took.





Friday, February 12, 2010


I have been trying to write this blog post for over a week now, and each time what I write just seems to trite and doesn't even come close to what I want to express. I have experienced tragedy in my own life. Jenna's diagnosis and her subsequent death were the hardest things I had ever been through. It was hard for me to imagine anything much worse happening, but I now know worse things do happen to people and it happens every day.

My aunt is a babysitter. She was Tessa's babysitter from the time I went back to work when Tessa was eight weeks old until she started kindergarten. When I was still working, she went to Joyce's house every day after school. Even after I lost my job, she would still go over there after school to play with all the kids over there. I often go over to her house in the afternoons myself just to sit and talk to her a while. She's kept plenty of other kids from six weeks of age until they start preschool or kindergarten. My aunt is the grandmotherly type, and I just love her. She reminds me so much of my granny. When she keeps a child for that long, she naturally gets very close to them and their families. They become like her grandchildren, and she really and truly loves. them. Since I spend time over there in the afternoons, I've gotten to know some of them, too.

One was a little boy I will call LD. Not only had she kept him from the time he was six weeks old, she had also kept one of his cousin's, RL, from that age also. LD and RL's parents and shared family members became our friends and like family to us. RL's family moved to Louisiana after Christmas because her father got a good job there. LD, his mom, dad, half-brother and grandfather planned a trip down for Valentine's Day. When they left her house that Thursday, my aunt Joyce warned them to be careful and told them to have a good time.

The next day, she received a call from LD's mother, telling her he had died. Around 3 a.m. Friday morning, the family ran into some bad weather. Their SUV slid on some ice and went off the road. The SUV went into the water. LD and his grandfather were both killed. LD was in the water for four hours before he was found, and then the hospital worked on him for that long trying to save him. It was no use. This sweet, sensitive, funny little boy was gone.

I helped my aunt keep him when she had a doctor's appointment or had something she needed to do. I changed his diapers. I comforted him when he got his feelings hurt. Tessa played with him every day. I loved that little boy like he was one of my nephews. This has hurt my heart so terribly. I know just a little about what his family is going through because of my own loss, but I can't imagine the depth of their pain and the different emotions that are flooding through them right now.

I remember people telling me that I was strong when I lost Jenna or that they didn't know how I was getting through it. You just do, second by second, minute by minute, until all of those seconds and minutes add up and you've gotten through an hour, a day, a month, a year. You have to get through it, even when you feel like you don't want to. I hated when people told me those things. It made me feel as though I wasn't handling it the way they thought I should, that maybe I wasn't grieving enough. I will never, ever tell that to anyone who has lost someone.

I can't make sense of this tragedy. As much as I was saddened by my loss, I realized it was a matter of biology, that Jenna had Trisomy 18 because of a fluke of nature. But, this, a sweet, little four year old boy losing his life, I just can't make sense of it. My mom and my aunt say things happen for a reason, but I just can't see a reason for this. His parents are good people; they don't deserve this. No one deserves this.

Tessa is handling it as well as can be expected. When I told her what happened, she said, "I feel like my cousin died." And, in a way, I guess one did, because that's what he was like to her. Then, she said, "Momma, why does this keep happening?"

I can't give her an answer for that. In less than a year's time, she lost her great-grandmother, a preschool friend in a fire and then Jenna. Now, less than two years later, she's lost another playmate. She's had more experience with death in her six years than I did in the first 25 years of my life. I want an answer to her question. I want to know why it keeps happening and what we can do to stop it. I want to know why four year olds die, what the reason for it is, even though I don't really think there is one. I'm beginning to think things just happen, for no reason, and we just have to deal with them as they come.

If you could keep LD's parents in your thoughts, along with Tessa and my aunt, who is understandably devastated at his loss, I would appreciate it.