Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Spilling the beans

So I told you that I would share our holiday happenings with you all. I know it is already February and this is waaay overdue. I am so sorry it has taken so long. But I have come to accept that blogging is somewhat of a luxury for me....unless I want the house to be a wreck and the kids to be hungry! (Of course I don't!) But, let's get on with this blog, shall we?
First, our holidays always begin on December 21st. Why that day? What an odd day, huh? Well, that is our anniversary! Casey and I have been married for two years now. He and I actually exchanged gifts this year-something we have never been able to afford before! But I will blog about our anniversary gifts next time. I must first divert from that story to give you a bit of background info so you will understand just how special this years anniversary and Christmas gifts to each other really are.
As a little boy, Casey remembers watching his dad shave with an old-timey razor. And recently, he has been wanting to learn how to shave with a traditional double edge razor. Yes, I know its "traditional", and that word just doesn't fit with Casey's personality, but sometimes sentiment excuses such out-of-the-ordinary behavior. This year, for the first time since we have been together, Casey and I could afford to exchange Christmas (and anniversary) gifts. I first asked his dad if he still had his double-edged razor from years ago. After several days of looking through their storage boxes, Casey's parents came up empty handed. So, I began looking for a new one. I had no clue about traditional razors. I spent hours upon hours, for days and days researching to find him just the right razor for Christmas. I wanted to get him the $184 one with genuine buffalo horn handle. But alas, we had set a budget for each other and I knew it best if I stayed within its confines......darn, stinking, budget! I settled on a razor that was of good quality, pleasing to the eye, and reviewed by many to be easy for traditional shave beginners.
Now, I have always prided myself on being extremely tight lipped about surprises. But after days and days of visions of razors dancing through my head (Oh wait that's supposed to be "visions of sugarplums")I was caught off guard and said something that totally gave it away! The package arrived and I felt like a little girl filled with excitement. I ran to the door, thanked the delivery man, and took the package into Ryan's room to hide it until I could open it and inspect its contents secretly. Casey was in the living room and knew something was up (darn Saturday delivery!). With a smirky kind-of smile he asked "So what was all that about?" I couldn't contain the wide cheese-grin on my face. I tried (and failed miserably) to act non-challant, "Nothing", I replied. He continued, " That wouldn't be for me would it?" I teased back with a childish, "Maybe it is and maybe it isn't." With that last remark we quietly settled back to our family time, but my head was spinning with thoughts of the razor. Would he like it? Would he be surprised? Would he really use it, I mean he HATES shaving? Would it give him terrible razor burn....his face is so sensitive you know. Would he cut his face and bleed everywhere thus making it a really terrible present?!? OH NO!!!!! I fidgeted nervously. I hadn't even opened the package yet, and it was eating me alive! My thoughts kept flitting from one thought to the next. In the midst of my A.D.D. moment, I remembered that Casey had talked about wanting to find a barber shop that still did the straight blade shaves, and that made me remember that I had seen straight blade razors for sale on the same web sight that I had purchased his razor from....and that's when it happened. Out of the silence in the room came my thought out loud, "Did you know they still make straight..." I stopped abruptly, mid-sentence. I had a shocked and yet guilty look on my face, I could feel it! I blurted out a very fast, "never mind" and looked away, hoping he hadn't heard, or maybe hadn't really understood what had come out of my mouth. I cringed as I heard the snide tone in his voice as he teased, "What was that you were saying?" And when I turned and saw the victorious smile on Casey's face, I knew I had indeed said enough to spill the beans. He continued smiling and while rubbing the 3-day old stubble on his face, said, "Hmmmm, I wonder what is in that box?" ***WHAT A BRAT!!!!*** I went and retrieved the package and he and I opened it together.
I didn't realize how important it was to me to keep it a surprise until Casey already had the razor in his hand. He was so supervised, so excited. You have to understand something, I wear my emotions on my sleeve. When I am surprised or excited I get all giddy, like a little girl. I will have a perma-grin on my face and I get all bouncy, wide-eyed, and giggly. Casey is one of those people who appears to not care. He really does, its just his "excited look" is the same as his "I am bored, can we go now" look. So when he was wide-eyed and couldn't stop smiling after getting his razor.....EARLY, I was so upset and disappointed in myself. How wonderful it would have been to see him excited like that on Christmas day. How special would that have made his Christmas. Now all I had to give him for Christmas was CLOTHES! And even though he asked for them, how exciting are clothes to a grown man? I cried in that moment. I was so, so upset with myself. The one thing that I was so excited to give him, and the anticipation and planning were all wasted on a muddled-brain moment!
Casey wanted to make me feel better so he gave me one of my gifts early. It was a beautiful walnut-colored leather archery glove to use when shooting the vintage recurve bow he gave me earlier in the year. I loved it! It was beautiful and felt so soft. I teased and said "Happy Hanukkah!" and we both laughed.

It did make me feel a little better to get a gift early from him as well. But what made me feel much better, was after putting the kids to bed that night, he and I had a quiet moment together while I watched him shave with his new razor. In that moment, I realized that spilling the beans early only opened up an opportunity to give him some really special things for our upcoming anniversary. Now my excitement and anticipation were back....I couldn't wait to buy his anniversary gift, I knew exactly what to get him, and I knew he would love it! TO BE CONTINUED!

Monday, January 11, 2010

It Looks Like Rockband Weather

We had such a great weekend! The kids got out of school early on Thursday and there was to be no school on Friday because inclement weather was moving in fast. When Casey got home Thursday afternoon he and I headed out to grab some bad weather wear.....or so we had planned. We got to Walmart and had a list of waterproof mittens and rain boots (its really hard to find snow boots in Georgia), and something for the kids to sled on.....ummmm that's just as hard to find here in this part of the south. We thought we were going to leave empty handed, but then it happened. Casey spotted Rockband. Hmmmm...he had always bashed Guitar Hero fans. He couldn't see the point of it. Oh he is a gamer, but more of the first person shooter type or even the fantasy games with really beautiful graphics. Me, I find the multi-button controllers all too complicated. My brain doesn't work that way....I am more of the one-button-and-a-joystick kinda girl....Pac man, Tetris, and all the other original arcade games are more my speed. And I don't really like to admit that since it shows my age! But let me step off the story's path to give you a bit of background info....we had a few friends over a couple of weekends ago. One of them brought their Guitar Hero so their kids could play it with our kids. But as the evening rolled on us adults got roped into playing by the kids insistent begging. We all took turns playing.....even Casey....in fact he was hooked in the first 5 minutes! Our friends didn't leave til 5am and as sleepy eyed as we were, Guitar Hero was played right up til the last minute! Now back to Thursday afternoon....Casey spotted Rockband....that was it, it was in our cart and he was ready to leave! Of course we had looked for the items for the kids, but couldn't find most of what we were looking for...so we opted for ROCKBAND, naturally! The kids did go outside for about an hour Thursday afternoon, but we spent the rest of the weekend, iced in, sick with colds, freezing cause our pilot light broke (the landlord did have a service guy fix it, but we were without heat all day), but having a blast playing drums, guitar, and singing. Well, Casey was on guitar, Ryan on drums, and London and I sang.....but mostly London sang....I was the band manager I guess! We were laughing our butts off, as a family.....and just having a great time. Who would've thought we could have so much fun being sick and tired and cold??? It definitely was a weekend we will never forget!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A time to grieve

This holiday season has been so busy that I have not really had time to blog. I promise to fill you in on all the wonderful things that happened during our last month. But for right now I need to write about something else. In an effort to heal I am posting this. It isn't a feel-good entry, but one that I need to share. I don't know why, but just posting this feels therapeutic. Maybe it is because I cannot vent or share with anyone around me because there grief is so much deeper than mine and I cannot burden them with my own. The only explanation that I have is that this is just something I need to post.

I received a very early morning text the Tuesday after Christmas with some devastating news. A very dear and life-long friend of my husbands had passed away during the night. It was abrupt, shocking, and seemed like a bad dream. The text had come through on my phone, I am unsure why they texted me and not Casey. But I had to wake Casey and tell him that Tre had died. I have never had to tell anyone such heartbreaking news and I didn't know how to say it. So I just said it. My heart was in my throat and my stomach was in knots, but I knew if I delayed, the horrified look on my face may cause Casey to think it was his mom or dad. Of course that is who one would think of first.... someone who was in the time of their life where you might expect to hear this kind of news. Casey was on the phone immediately with Brian, a friend of Casey's who was also very close to Tre, and who happened to be with him when he passed away. Tre was only 41! He had fallen and hit his head while in a convenience store and within a couple of hours was gone. How does that happen? It still seems so unreal. How can someone be here one moment and then through the smallest of circumstances, be gone the next moment? I was the only one in our group of friends that didn't know Tre so well. But his death was still so sad, so shocking. The day before the wake, I looked at Tre's obituary in the paper... No one had ever told me his first name....he never mentioned it to me either. Casey said he hated his name. His name was London Travon Hendricks. I did smile in that moment...but I wish I had known before he passed.

I have only attended a funeral as a small child, and really don't remember it. But I knew that since I wasn't close to Tre, I needed to be there for Casey and also for our other friends. We went to both Tre's wake and his funeral. Viewing him was confusing to me. My thoughts and emotions were all over the place. I can only imagine what everyone else was going through. Because my grief was not as deep as everyone else's, I had the presence of mind to be sure everyone was supported and was as comfortable as possible. Everyone grieves differently. Some people need to be with others, some need to be alone, some need to be held and comforted, some don't want to be touched, some need to cry and morn, some need to laugh and remember, but everyone needs to heal. And whatever form of grieving one needs to be able to heal, that is what is right. We stood in the funeral home during Tre's wake and went through every emotion possible. We cried, we laughed, we were numb, we were overwhelmed with emotion, we were angry, we were confused...but through it all we were there for each other and let each other grieve the way we each needed. The funeral itself was not quite as hard, but afterward we stayed graveside until the only thing left for the funeral home to do was to cover him. I knew my husband needed me, our friends needed us both. But it was the hardest thing I have ever done. Seeing everything makes it so real, so raw.

This tragedy has brought some of us closer to each other. But it has also brought so many thoughts and reflections to my mind and I am unsure how to handle some of them. Through my life experiences I have become timid and fearful of so many things. My husband has helped me to face and overcome several of my fears. But I have come to realize my biggest fear is of suffering and death. I don't want to die. I don't want to watch anyone I love die. Yet I know it is part of our life. I have heard of people being at peace on their deathbed. I don't understand that. I am afraid. I am even afraid of getting older because I know each passing year only brings me closer to the end, or even that any day could be the last. Casey tells me not to think about it, but to make each day the best it can be. To take the time to play with my kids everyday, to hug and kiss them, to laugh with them so they know just how much they are loved. He tells me to set my fears aside and learn how to live.... not just let life happen, and to take every opportunity to fill my life, our lives, with richness so that I will never look back with regret. There is a small amount of comfort in his words. I know he is right. But for now I cannot separate my emotions from my mind and logic does not console me. All I can hope for is that the sting of Tre's tragic passing will fade with time and healing, and that my thoughts will return to the normal day to day care and living of our family. That is my hope, that is my prayer.