Six Months

Hey, B.

Just checking in…

I’m sure you have lots and lots going on right now.  I figure that you are still going through an orientation kind of period, where you get to learn about all of the amazing options available to you in the afterlife.  Kid A likes to remind us about the things you planned to do after you were done being sick.  Did you learn to speak Arabic yet?  For some reason, the thought of that always makes me giggle.  السرطان لا يزال يمص حتى ولو يمكنك التحدث باللغة العربية الآن.  In case you haven’t gotten around to learning it yet (like me with my Pimsleur Spanish lessons), that says “Cancer still sucks even though you can now speak Arabic.”  At least according to Google Translate it does.  I sure hope I didn’t just write something offensive.

I talk to or text with your mom and dad now and then, and I also see their posts on Facebook.  They miss you something fierce.  Everybody does.  And your brothers and sisters are still figuring everything out, too.  Hell, I can’t even say this silly little prayer to you without crying.  And now I just said “hell” in a prayer.  I am not very good at this, dammit.

I loved, loved, loved when you gave us a tour of “your spots” when we drove through Washington, D.C. this summer.  We don’t normally even drive through the city (we go around), so I knew something was up.  And then Sheepdog got turned around in the same exact place that I got turned around when I was driving to my 25th high school reunion just a few weeks earlier.  Once was “whatever,” but twice couldn’t have been just coincidence.  Then I looked back from my seat and saw Kid A happy-crying as she whispered, “Braden is here.”

Thank you for that.  It was amazing.

Dear God,  That's a very important Kid you've got up there.  Please make sure he is adjusting okay... sometimes he like to play tough.  Oh, and thank you for beautiful orange sunsets.

Dear God, That’s a very important Kid you’ve got up there. Please make sure he is adjusting okay… sometimes he likes to play the tough guy.  Maybe you could give him some extra hugs or something.  Oh, and thank you for beautiful orange sunsets.

I worry about Kid A sometimes.  She still marks your symbol on her wrist every single day.  Then she traces “Come What May” in your handwriting over top of it.  She wants to get it tattooed, but I am making her wait until she turns 18 to do that.  Sheepdog offered to take her across state lines to Alabama (mostly because he is also campaigning for a new tattoo… you remember the biohazard one he wanted you to get because of all of the chemo?) but I put my foot down.  Yes, I am still a rule follower.  And yes, I am still putting my foot down about stuff.  Tattoos are FOREVER.  But I guess that you will be with her forever too, so I get it.

Over all, she has been handling everything pretty well.  She has the distractions of her senior year to keep her busy.  We hardly see her at home.  But I worry about her most when the busy stops.  And every once in a while she will say something that gives me pause.

Like when she said, “I am afraid to get close to anybody because the people I love die.”

And honestly, I didn’t know what to say back.  Because – technically – she is right.  You died.  Everybody dies.  Some die later and some die sooner, but we all die.  It is one of those yin/yang facts of life.  Yet, we can’t guard ourselves so closely that we never let anyone in, either.  So, I hugged her and let her cry about you and I reminded her that she can’t let fear dictate her choices in life.  We keep encouraging her to do more counseling and therapy.  And she has been trying hard to do fun things and meet new people this year, so I think she is going to be okay.  But I will continue to keep an eye on her just in case.

And maybe you can keep doing your surprise drop-ins, too.  In between your Arabic lessons, of course.

I miss you, Kid.

xo

Vacation Shoes – Part Dos/ Deux

Have you missed me?

Well, I’ve been super busy working out and learning how to make bread from the wheat grain and adding carbonation to water and giving all of my attention and mommy love to kids who have been sick since last November.  Oh, and then Sheepdog and I went back to Mexico.  (To read about last year’s trip CLICK HERE )

Earmuffs, kids.  Consider yourselves warned.

Ahhhhh, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  Say it with me with the accent… “MAY-He-Co.”

That magical land where all I do is sleep and sunbathe and drink and read books.  And that He ‘n and She ‘n thing with my sexy husband.  Maybe that’s how I lost five pounds on vacation.  It’s definitely how I got a nice suntan and lost the bags under my eyes and wiped the scowl off my face.

When we left Atlanta last week, Sheepdog had a full beard.  He hadn’t grown a beard since Kid A was a little bitty, so the mountain man thing was kind of a first for the kids… and most of them HATED it.  And I mean started every sentence with, “So you’re going to shave that nasty beard and…”  But I loved it, so it stayed (Sheepdog’s no dummy, folks).  But then it got itchy and too warm for a Baja vacation, so I told him he could lose it, but only if he would take it off in stages.  And…  It…  Was…  Awesome.

"Me gusta tu barba" - Kesha (when she's in Cabo)

“Me gusta tu barba” – Kesha (when she’s in Cabo)

I found it surprisingly/ disturbingly sexy even though I burst out laughing every time I looked at him (as did my sister and my mom).  My brother-in-law and most of the staff at the resort thought it was spectacular beyond words (the male staff was envious because a new corporate policy prohibited them from having any kind of facial hair… “Nos sentimos como señoras,” they lamented).  Then my dad said something on the golf course about not really liking it because he didn’t want his daughter having sex with a Mexican porn star.  So Sheepdog shaved the very next day (again, Sheepdog is no dummy, folks).

Adiós, bigote.

Now, you may be presuming that I am well versed in the Spanish language, but you would be wrong.  I am, in fact, a bit heavy-handed with the Google Translate today.  Having resolved to learn conversational Spanish after last year’s trip, Sheepdog set us up with a program called Pimsleur, which stresses active participation instead of rote memorization.  All I needed to do was take thirty minutes each day to listen and repeat, without interruption.

It didn’t happen.

I tried, but thirty minutes is an excruciatingly long time to be still and focused when you have a gazillion other distractions and things to do before the kids get home from school.  My lessons would go something like this…

Voices from my iPod: “This is Unit One of Pimsleur’s Spanish I.  Listen to this Spanish conversation:
Perdóne, señorita.  ¿Entiende Inglés?
No, señor. No entiendo.
Hablo español un poco.
¿Es usted un norteamericano?
Sí, señorita.
In the next few minutes, you will learn not only to understand this conversation, but to take part in it yourself.”
 
Me: (to no one in particular, especially since I am alone in my car) “Eh.  But I do want a margarita and some guacamole.  I wonder what shows recorded last night.  ‘Norteamericano’ is a funny word.  ‘Norteamericano.  Norteamericano.  Norteamericano.’  I wish I could take a nap right now.” (turns off iPod) 

Oh, how I wish I took Spanish when I was still in school.  Instead I learned Latin and French, which (fortunately?) stuck with me.  Now, every time I go to places where they speak a foreign language, even though I have toiled (see above) over my adult Spanish lessons so that I may converse on the most basic of levels, it is the language d’amour that sneaks out of my mouth when I’m not paying attention.

The maids in Cabo would come to the house every day.  I wanted to say hello and genuinely thank them for doing the menial tasks that I, too, am familiar with most days at home (also to relatively little applause), but I’m not touching said chores with a ten-foot pole during my glorious week of vacation.  I also wanted to grab my swimsuit and get poolside.

Me: “Hola, señorita. Gracias (internal dialogue: for washing my towels and changing the sheets on my sex bed).  Pardonnez-moi (more internal dialogue: while I lay out in the sunshine and drink a Pacifico with a lime.  Oops, did I just speak French?).  Adiós.”

I meant to say “excuse me” in Spanish (“perdón”).  Ironically, my French slip was a bit Freudian, as “pardonnez-moi” actually means “forgive me.”

Yes, please forgive me for being an idiot but also for having an awesome time in MAY-He-Co.  Especially whilst you have to do all of the crappy jobs.  Gracias, merci, and gracias again.

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Along with the facial hair props that heavily influenced our husband and wife activities in Mexico, I brought some awesome shoes to the party.  Sheepdog liked them very much.

Zapatos de las vacaciones, perro pastor aprobado.

Zapatos de las vacaciones, Perro pastor aprobado.  Note the rainy Atlanta backdrop.  Trust me… they looked even better in the Mexican sunshine.

Good thing too because, all too quickly, our week was up and our vacation over and we were on a plane back to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and the rain, rain, rain that has turned Atlanta into Seattle-East.  We thanked Grandma and Grandpa with genuine passion for playing Headbandz and minding the store for a whole week and we hugged the kids with genuine passion too because we truly missed them.

Then Kid D threw up in the dugout during baseball practice, less than twenty-four hours after our return.  And Kid C was sick with chest/ sinus congestion and we were dealing with snot and kid puke and diarrhea.

Welcome home.  Welcome back to life with five kids.  Bienvenido a casa and bienvenue à la vie avec cinq enfants.

Sheepdog, we’ll always have Cabo.

As my friend, Fat Bastard, says… only fifty-and-one-half weeks and 1,695 miles to go…

Wish me luck for tomorrow…

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I decided to be nice and add a translation for today’s bilingual (trilingual?) post.  You’re welcome…

Dos/ Deux = Two in Spanish/ French
Me gusta tu barba = I like your beard
Nos sentimos como señoras = We feel like women
Adiós, bigote = Goodbye, mustache
Zapatos de las vacaciones, Perro pastor aprobado = Vacation shoes, Sheepdog approved