Saturday, July 11, 2015


"What do you want for your birthday?" my husband has been asking me for the last few weeks.

I will turn 30 on Monday.

Which is supposed to be a big thing for some reason, turning 30. And I've got nothing planned. I don't know what I want really.

There are always THINGS I could use, things I want.

I had hoped to maybe fly home to the U.S., celebrate with my family and close friends. Nothing big, just being together, talking, hanging out, good drinks, brownies not cake, because I don't really like cake all that much. (Well, I don't like frosting. Cake is fantastic, frosting... not so much. FUDGEY brownies, too, not cakey ones.)

But instead, I will be home in Australia, alone with my husband and one of our sons. Missing the other one. And maybe eating salmon and having a glass of wine.

I don't really want to celebrate this year, being so far away from so many people I love. The last 3 years I haven't been overly eager to celebrate my birthday anyway because it just feels weird celebrating in the winter instead of summer, and without my family and friends. But THIS year, this year is harder.

This year, I will not be having a very happy birthday.

Which might seem like a really pessimistic, maybe even selfish statement to make.

But you see, one of my biggest dreams, one of the things I have always ALWAYS wanted was a house full of little boys. Kind of like Jo, from Little Women. I just wanted to raise lots of little boys.

The moment I found out Bennet was a boy I already knew he was dying, and my mind still played through the joy of what years of having TWO boys might be like! I hated my brain for doing that to me.

So my birthday is now one of "those" days. One of those days that should be filled with more celebration and laughter because we should have another little boy with us. One of those days that should have more hair pulling, more sibling fights and rivalry, more smiles, more giggles, more belly kisses and happy good-mornings filled with two little boy's smiles. And one of my boys is not here. And I miss him more, if possible, on days like this.

Days like this, I don't want anything but to have him back alive. Days like this I would move heaven and earth if I could see him smile, hear him giggle, hell, even just hear him breath. Just once.

Days like this I hold my living son a little tighter, I smile through tears as we play together, I give him extra hugs and belly kisses, extra stories and songs. Days like this I have joyful moments, maybe even happy ones, but they are not happy days. Days like this I appreciate more what I do have, and miss more what I don't.

Friday, July 3, 2015

I Remember

I remember the smell of my grandmother's kitchen.

It smelled cold. Comfortable.

Clean, with fresh hot coffee brewing. A faint scent of dish soap in the background, because even though she had a dishwasher, she still washed a lot of dishes by hand.

Cold, and somehow so so inviting.

And her pantry. Oh, how I adored the smell of it! Spices, herbs, crackers, bread, nuts, dried fruit, and cereal. It mixed into the most wonderful homey smell. A smell that, if I ever catch a hint of it anywhere else, instantly transports me back to that pantry, where she would stock Cheerios when I visited because she remembered I liked them. And always had Shredded Wheat on hand. Where she let me try, and then inhale, dried dates and mango during every visit.

A place she kept tins of cookies, because it was usually Christmas when we came to visit. Snickerdoodles are what I mostly remember. She made the best snickerdoodles.

All of us visiting would gather in that large kitchen. Around the table, at the counter, or in the living room that had no separation from the kitchen.

It was a large, happy, loving gathering place when the family got together.

Cold, and so so full of warmth.

My grandmother was generous. So very generous and wonderful.

She taught me to knit.

I still have two pairs of knitting needles she gave me when I was young. Two of her "extra" pairs. It's a skill I have been able to grow in and use to give to others. Something that, every time I make something, reminds me of her, sitting with some project in a basket and her hands while she watched the news.

She taught me how to sew, and I still think of her every time I sit at the machine, or hold a tissue paper pattern in my hands, because she helped me sew my very first piece of clothing at a fairly young age. She guided my hands around the curves of the arm holes as I sewed, helped me pin the thick denim fabric together.

She taught me that it's ok to say "no" to gifts and requests, because respecting yourself and standing up for yourself is more important than trying to please everyone else. And she never took offence if I did tell her no to something.

She taught me that experiences and people are far more important and treasured than things.

She taught me love.

It's been almost 2 months since she died. And so much longer than that since the surgery that changed her.

I had to miss her funeral, because we live so far away. It hurt so much to not be there, to not be with my family to help pay tribute to her life and lay her to rest, to not hurt with the family who was missing her and hurting.
So I honour her in my own way, by continuing to use the values and skills she taught me.

My grandmother, my Grandmom, was a wonderful woman.

I miss her so much.

4 years ago
The last time I saw her