A hamster situation

I’m consistently surprised Chris let me have children. I don’t do good with small things I’m required to clean and feed and take care of.

Then again, well, they weren’t exactly “planned,” so he didn’t really have much of a choice, did he?

But if I were him, I would have been shaking in my Batman boxers. Which do exist, by the way. In case you were wondering. (They’re too small.)

Anyway, that’s neither here nor there.

The point is, that a few weeks prior to our wedding, I got a hamster. I always wanted a hamster, but my dad has this thing about pets intended to be kept in cages. He doesn’t agree with it.

But I wasn’t going to be living with my parents much longer so I bought a hamster. A fluffy little thing I named Bear. And I loved him. NAY! I adored him.

Unfortunately, he died the next day. He had a case of hamster wet tail thanks to the lovely people at Petsmart and their amazing rodent caring skills.

(For those of you who know anything about hamster wet tail, it’s highly contagious, so all the hamsters in that cage, and probably the store, had it.)

We did everything to save little Bear; my sister even took him to the vet while I was at work and tried to get them to save him. They gave instructions and antibiotics, but he still died several hours later. My mom called Chris to break the news to me. Yes, my mom called my future husband so HE could tell me that my $10 hamster that I had less than 24 hours had died.

I took it just a wee-bit rough.

Chris, being the ever loving and caring fiancee, went to another store and got me a new one. A little ball of fluff named Rocko.

And then we got Kitty-Kitty. Do you see where this is going?

BUT YOU’RE WRONG.

Rocko survived Kitty-Kitty’s attack, and while he went missing for a couple of days, we eventually found and caught him.

Only for him to survive a couple of more weeks and then die under his exercise wheel, presumably from a heart attack. I don’t know. I’m not a hamster doctor.

I haven’t had the courage to get another one since, but as Caitlin is getting older and understanding the world around her, I find myself taking her to Petsmart and having to talk myself down from the ledge of buying one. Quite frankly, that just sounds like a terrible idea; the only two places we could put the cage is on the kids dresser (which she knows how to climb onto now) and on the island counter (which would drive Chris nuts). So, I solidify the idea that it’s just not plausible and try and convince Chris that Linux wouldn’t eat neither a pig or a cat, so those are wonderful anniversary present ideas hint hint.

But watching them run on the exercise wheel can entertain me for hours that I don’t have.

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So beautiful

As I soap up my hands and run the shampoo through Caitlin’s hair, I often find myself thinking back to when she was an infant. A tiny baby, no more than a few weeks old, laying peacefully on the mesh bath supporter. I can see myself, my feet inside the tub, my jeans rolled up, washing her gently. My baby girl. I can see Chris standing, leaning against the doorway, watching us both. He starts to tell me a story, a story he was told at work by a client after it was announced his baby girl had been born.

The client was an older woman with children of her own. She recalls the memory of bath time with her two-year-old daughter, gently washing her hair and rinsing the soap from her.

“You have such a beautiful body,” she tells her daughter.
”Beautiful?” her daughter replied.
”Yes, so beautiful.”

Those were the last words she said to her daughter. The last thing she heard her daughter say.

After bath time, she went outside with a sibling to play when someone (her oldest son, I believe) either drove into the driveway, or was driving out. The details are skewed in my mind, but what happened isn’t. Her daughter was killed.

At the moment Chris tells me that, my heart catches in my throat. I stop breathing. I cry. I cry for the daughter. I cry for her mother.

Because of that story, our bath times are special. No matter what is going on, they are a time of calm and comfort. There is no yelling, no fighting, no anger. Even when misbehavior occurs, it is a time of love.

As we finish bath time, I wrap her up in a warm towel, heated just for her, and dry her off. I breath her in as I pat off her hair, back and belly. The scent of strawberry and blueberry fill my senses and I whisper to her, “You are so beautiful.”

The other day, as I patted and dried, tickled and giggled, I whispered to her. And she smiled at me, as if she knew exactly what I meant and replied, “So beautiful.”

My heart caught in my throat and I began to cry. For the daughter. For the mother. Singular tear drops fell into Caitlin’s hair as I replied, “Yes, so beautiful.”

So very beautiful.

The one where I talk about my grandparents

I was going to do a Wordless Wednesday and post the pictures I took from our wonderful Saturday, but I searched for 15 minutes for the camera before remembering it was in the car. So I guess I’ll just talk….er…type?

My grandparents are old. I’ve written about them a few times, mostly my grandpa because of the fall he took back in July right before I had Kinley. They are old; grandpa is 92, grandma is 90. They lived in Texas for pretty much my dad’s entire life, and they planned to be there till they died. But let’s face it, they are old and my dad (their only child) lives here in Virginia. Eventually, after much fuss and fighting, they packed up and moved here, to be taken care of. And so, they’ve been here since the summer of 2007.

And after my grandpa getting cancer again (can’t remember what kind tho), his hearing fading fast, his memory fading even quicker, a fall or two for each, and my grandma suddenly having an intake of symptoms that point to Mesothelioma, we think it’s “time.”

At a doctor appointment last week my mom noticed my grandma’s hand swelling, which lead to an ultrasound on Monday, which discovered the blood clot that nothing can be done about. And even if there was something that could be done, she’s 90, does she really want to hold on any longer? So we’re preparing,  we’re discussing, we’re visiting, hoping soon she’ll be at peace enough to just. let. go. And after that? We take care of grandpa, because the man is seriously like a cockroach, in the best way. We thought he was “going” this weekend, and he’s bounced right back.

The waiting game is the hardest, everyday wondering when is it going to happen, is there time for all her grandchildren to come see her, or all the great-grandkids? When? It’s too hard to wait, I just wish we knew so we could better prepare, so my dad could be there by her side, like I know they both want. But all we get is “soon.”

I’m not going to tell you she was a wonderful mother, mother-in-law or grandmother or  that, regardless, we had a great relationship with her because we didn’t, but she’s still all those things. And that means she’s still a part of our lives. She is still one of only two grandparents living. My mom’s father died before I was born, and my mom’s mother died when I was in high school. There was no way my parents could be there when the time came (my mom’s family is from New Orleans), so I never went through this. The waiting and visiting, the questions and taking care of last minute affairs.

She wasn’t wonderfully, but she’s still ours. And all we get is “soon.”

That’s where I saw her

I’m going to be honest here, I’m not sure I want to publish this post. I don’t want to look like I’m insane. But here goes.

The last few nights, I’ve been having horrid nightmares. Dreams of Caitlin falling into the lake while I am alone with her and Kinley. Dreams of having to jump in after her with Kinley in my arms, only to discover that she is floating on the surface, happy and smiling. It’s horrible. The other night was the worst however, because I wasn’t even asleep. I was having a nightmare in my head as I laid awake in bed, trying to settle my racing heart., only to lose control and sob into the pillow.

I’m not sure what happened, but it began as I’m laying in bed. Suddenly I had the overwhelming urge to strip the blankets off of myself and Kinley, throw the pillow to the side. I started seeing him suffocating, dying, as I laid next to him. But then I realized, that wouldn’t happen. We melt into each other at night, becoming one again, I would notice him not breathing, I would notice the change that the death would bring.

My mind started racing. Caitlin was alone in her room. I was so far away and we don’t have the monitor set up in the room yet. She had woken up a few hours prior, screaming. It scared me. And even tho we got her back down to bed with little trouble hours before, my heart hurt, my mind was racing.

I started seeing in my mind everything that would happen. She wouldn’t wake up in the morning, and when I finally went to check on her, it’d be too late. I’d call the ambulance first, and then Chris, but I wouldn’t be able to get a hold of him, so a sobbed message would be left on his voicemail. My heart was breaking as these thoughts flashed in front of me.

I closed my eyes and saw myself holding her in the hospital, burying my head into her hair, sobbing. I couldn’t take it. I opened my eyes, and there she stood, there I saw her, in the doorway of our closet, in the pajama’s I put her in, holding her milk, just staring at me. I closed my eyes to burn her image away, but it was only replaced with me back in the hospital, clinging to her. I opened them, and there she stood, there I saw her. I couldn’t hold on. I stopped feeling normal. I started feeling scared. I started to cry uncontrollably, shocking Chris awake.

I don’t know how to explain what’s wrong without sounding insane. I just don’t know. I tell him I’m scared about her, I want her in the big empty space on the other side of Kinley. I want to be able to hear her breathing and watch her chest rise and fall with every breath. I want to, but I know I can’t.

I cry, I avoid closing my eyes, avoid looking at the closet door. I don’t know how long I slept. I just know I woke up unable to speak until I heard her cry softly, and then as Chris was leaving, I heard her talking to herself in her crib.

He brought her into me, and we laid together for a few minutes. I could hear the sound of her breathing, I could see her chest rise and fall. I felt okay, I wasn’t scared as much. I had my babies, they were safe, they were alive.

Am I losing my mind??

Every story is greater than the author

It’s amazing what blogging does. It connects people. I don’t know if people think about it everyday, or if it’s just something that’s a passing thought. There are millions of bloggers out there, each one telling their own story. Their own journey, the path they’ve chosen. It allows you to connect to those who are traveling the same road you are, or peek into the life of someone who picked a different one. Whether the story is of a person trying to find true love, or struggle to create life; a story of surviving life, surviving depression, surviving abuse. There are stories of mom’s who are trying to find a balance of work and family, or father’s who are taking care of their kids, or just moms who are moms, trying to find where they fit in the scheme of things and help their babies find their place too. Millions of stories. And some stories that just knock you on your ass.

My family is blessed. And not just my singular family, my whole family. My parents had five children, all healthy and beautiful and full of life. Each one of their children have at least one child, some have two or more, totaling the number to thirteen. Thirteen babies from age 12 (if I remember correctly) to one. And another one the way, and another shortly after him. By the end of this year there will, hopefully, be at least 15 grandchildren for my parents, each one healthy and beautiful and full of life.

I was clicking blogs and being linked to other blogs here and there and everywhere, and more than once I saw this one being linked. Bloggers telling their readers to go read that story, to find a way to help.
I clicked.
I read.
I cried.
I was touched, I donated, I wanted to shave my head, I cried some more.

It’s easy to get caught up in minuscule things and to dramatize them. It’s easy and it’s not wrong to do, everyone does it, there is no shame. It’s okay. But sometimes you have to sit back and have someone put what’s really important in perspective for you, and it’s okay to be knocked on your ass by it.

What’s important to me? Two healthy parents. Four healthy siblings and significant others. Twelve healthy, beautiful nieces and nephews. A healthy, loving husband. A beautiful, healthy baby girl and a growing, healthy baby boy.

It’s okay to get caught up and run over by life, but please, every now and then, stop and remember the most important things.

Pregnancy still blows. And so does my dog.

Okay, so first off? I’m like officially 1000% positive my due date is wrong and instead of being due in August, I’m due, like, tomorrow. I’m sooo uncomfortable guys!!! It hurts to walk, stand, sit, lay down, BREATHE. I feel like I’m dying. I’ll be 28 weeks Saturday so that puts me at how many months? Exactly seven? And there are nine? Oh. My. God. I don’t remember this kind of pain with Caitlin. Oh, wait. Yes I do. WHEN I WAS GOING IN LABOR WITH HER AT 34 WEEKS. Sorry, the pain is just making me antsy. I’m trying to think of how to approach the possibility of my due date being wrong when I go in for my 28 week check up on Monday…because, I swear to any sort of god there may be, if I have to go through this kind of discomfort and pain with literally absolutely no relief for another 86 days, I will just reach up there and take him out myself. Yea, yea, I know, it’s part of pregnancy, shut the eff up before I go through this screen and eat your face, got it? I held off peeing for an hour and a half because I was too uncomfortable to bother trying to stand and place Caitlin in her crib, okay!?

Okay. I feel better now. Not physically, but Chris is sick so I feel bad bitching to him, so you provided me with great emotional relief. Whew. Thanks. I love you guys.

Anyway, we (and by “we,” I mean “my mom”) almost finished the babies room today. :) It’s completely painted and everything, we just need to get more decals for the last wall, and a couple more packs for the super cool wall mat. I’ll put up pictures when we have everything in place (minus Caitlin’s big girl bed she’ll have) and you will be soooo jealous. I know. It’s an underwater theme. We picked a beautiful blue-ish green, and we have some ocean decals like whales, octopi, dolphins and fish and what not. But no turtles. No turtles at all.

Speaking of turtles (that whole last sentence was just a sad excuse for a segue into this next part of my day yesterday), I love turtles. On my list of favorite animals, they are ranked at number two, right after dinosaurs and right before penguins. So, naturally, for Mother’s Day, I asked Chris for a red-eared slider so I could name him Tuck. Alas, purchasing a turtle from Petsmart requires you to purchase an ungodly amount of crap. Not just a 15 gallon tank and a couple of lights. A 55 gallon tank, three different lights, a special pool area and basking area, and other crap, so when it was all said and done, while the actual turtle would be $20, it would cost us about $1000, if not more, for everything else. And if you know anything about the employees of Petsmart, they are nazi’s when it comes to getting all the right equipment. So my dreams of turtle ownership were dashed…that is until my sister found a box turtle. And after a week of research and begging, Chris agreed he’d build an outdoor pen for him to keep. We made the pen, we provided a pool and shaded areas and all sorts of awesome stuff. The one thing we really needed but lacked at the time was chicken wire to put around it to keep Linux out. But that’s okay, we would get it the following Friday and it’d be good. We would just have to keep an eye on Linux.

Now, my box turtle was going to be named Tuck or Filburt, but he didn’t really look like either one of those. I named him Luke. Luke was a cool guy, he liked the shade, he liked to hang out in his pool, he liked staying away from Linux. Unfortunately for him, Linux liked to be around him. After a day of hanging out, I went to introduce mom to Luke and, *gasp*, he was gone. We began to comb the yard and found him, a little scratched, but okay. That prompted the immediate purchase of the chicken wire. And, unfortunately for him again, Chris didn’t get the chance to put it up. I found him, once again, in the yard on Sunday, tucked in his shell, overturned in the hot sun, scratched and bitten. I scooped him up, panicked, and tried to get him to come out of his shell, I showered him with water, put him in his bath, but nothing worked. We put him in the shade, and waited.

I checked on him for two days, but he didn’t move at all. I decided he was dead and began to plan his turtle funeral. I’m pretty much devastated, but I’m working through it. As I was in the kitchen making dinner (and by “making dinner,” I mean putting Stouffers lasagna in the oven) and I look out the window and OH MY GOD LUUUUUUUUKE!! There he lay, just an empty shell (literally and figuratively) of the turtle he once was. Linux put an end to my funeral plans, he took care of it for me. Seeing that only made me even more devastated. I lost my one and only turtle. My poor darling Luke.

Good night Sweet Turtle Prince.

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