Saturday, May 23, 2009

Politics, According to Rowan

Rowan has become somewhat obsessed with the presidents of the United States. It all started when she heard a song about the presidents and one was named Madison. Since she knows three girls named Madison, she was very excited that there was a song about them. When I told her that this Madison was actually a boy and that Madison was his last name and his first name was James, she found this to be hysterical. So much so that she asks to hear the song repeatedly. By now, she knows most of the presidents in order and thinks our next vacation should be to go visit Obama in the White House.

Tonight's "Tell me a story" time went something like this.

Me: "Rowan, who are the characters in your story tonight?"
Rowan: "Harrison, Madison, Tyler and the nice Adams."
Me: "What is the setting?"
Rowan: "The real White House--not just the pretend one."
Me: "What is the plot?"
Rowan: "The plot is that we are all going to visit Obama in the White House."

Remembering Grandma Mary

Mary, we'll miss you so much--picking strawberries with you in the spring and picking apples with you in the fall, eating your yummy sugar cookies and gingerbread men at Christmas, grilling out in your "screen house" in the summer.

In addition to some of my favorite pictures of my mother-in-law, I'm also posting Lance's final post on Mary's Care Page.

Missing my mom.
Posted May 19, 2009 12:57am
As many of you may already know, Mary passed away during the early hours of May 17th. Her daughter, her son and her brother were with her when she died. She was not in pain nor was she suffering. It was peaceful and dignified.

Mary's journey in her fight against cancer was one of ups and downs. She was devastated by her diagnosis during December of last year but never gave in to the disease. Although Mary's body was compromised, her mind and soul remained strong. As she weakened it seemed that her love and compassion strengthened. She took every opportunity to tell those around her how much she loved them and how much they meant to her. Little did she know how influential and inspiring she was to so many.

As a mother, daughter, sister, wife, friend and co-worker Mary didn't hold back. Mary wasn't afraid to tell it to you straight - whether you wanted to hear it or not, if she thought it would help, she said it. She was a strong Catholic woman with a love for God. And it was her faith that helped her climb out of the lowest valleys and celebrate on the highest peaks. She fought for those who couldn't fight for themselves - the weak, the ill, the less fortunate which often times included her family and friends. The fight that lived in Mary was never touched by the cancer that invaded the rest of her body. And that fight now lives on in her kids, her siblings and her friends.

So you might be wondering where was God during Mary's fight? Where was the miracle that we asked for? And I'll tell you that God held Mary's hand this entire journey. And he did perform miracles almost on a daily basis throughout Mary's life. Miracles that included minutes of pure joy and clarity with her four grandchildren only hours before her death. Miracles that included two brain surgeries that allowed a husband and wife to hold hands and go for walks. Miracles that brought a son and daughter from NC and TX back to MI and IL within months of Mary's diagnosis. Miracles that brought Mary to a facility to be cared for by nurses that she helped teach. Miracles that allowed Mary to die with the peace and dignity that she deserved. Miracles that give Mary a chance to spend eternity with the one who died so that we could be forgiven.

I miss my mom and always will. I'll miss the way she kisses me. I'll miss the way she holds her grandkids. I'll miss the way she cares so thoughtfully for my father. But I will celebrate her life and will never question her love for me. I will remember her every time I kiss my children and every time I say the words I Love You. I love you Ma.

I hope you'll join Mary's family and friends at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Canton, MI on Friday, May 22 to celebrate her life. Visitation will be from 10am - 11am followed by a service and celebration luncheon. Per Mary's request, food will be provided by Palermo's and dessert will include plenty of brownies! Please join us for any/all of the day's events - and please celebrate Mary's wonderful life!

Thank you for your wonderful messages for Mary via this site. They helped Mary realize it was OK to let go and it has helped her family thrive during this most difficult time. Mary was a good listener and she loved to listen to your thoughts, stories and prayers.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

This Evening's Funny Quotes

Lance and I were discussing Dancing with the Stars, a show we don't really watch, and were talking about who we want to win. Rowan pipes in and says "Who do you want to win, Mommy? Dora, Boots, Backpack or Diego?"

Lance: "Rowan, do you love your brother?"
Rowan: "No" (pause) "Well, I guess I love him a little because God made him."

Rowan, on a walk tonight: "Daddy, let's just stop and look at this bird poop."

Rowan, telling a story in the style of You are Special, Little One:
"Daddy, with your Dora eyes and your sweet smelling fur, you are so special and I will love you forever and ever and always. Mommy, with your beautiful boots and your sweet smelling dinner, you are so special and I will love you forever and ever and always. Sebby, with your tail and your sweet smelling doggy food, you are so special and I will love you forever and ever and always. Harley, with your doggy fur and your sweet smelling basement, you are so special and I will love you forever and ever and always."

Rowan, tonight after her bedtime prayer: "So if God and Jesus both live in Heaven, do they share a room? Like they're havin' a sleepover?"

All that between dinner and bedtime.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Life in a Small Town

Another gorgeous Friday. Since Lance was leaving for the weekend this evening, we decided to make the most of the time between his arrival at home and his departure for his parents' house. A yummy dinner (walnut encrusted tilapia with maple butter that Rowan ate seconds of!) and then a bike ride to Houseman's with a stop at the park on the way home. At Houseman's I looked around at all of the locals enjoying ice cream with their families. We all walked around downtown and I thought about how nice it is to have some little local stores within walking or biking distance. A jewelry store, a hardware store, a few restaurants, a barber shop, a meat market with much better meat than Meijer and, of course, an ice cream store. I watched the local high schoolers gather across the street from Houseman's in, what I'm assuming, might be a Friday night ritual now that it's nice out. I could kind of (just a little bit) picture us living here for a while. Then the kid with the pickup truck and a Confederate flag drove up.

All Boy

Many of my friends with boys tell me at some point or another "He's all boy" when describing their little guys. I always inquire what, exactly, they mean by that. They'll generally tell me about the rambunctiousness of their child, how he loves to play in dirt and play with trucks and run around tirelessly. And, when I was a mom of just a girl, I would think to myself "Don't all kids do that? Certainly my daughter does." I sort-of rolled my eyes at the "all boy" comment.

Today, however, I got a little dose of what "all boy" means. This morning Tate ran over to me, looked right at me, headbutted me in the face, laughed and ran away. And all I could think was "He's all boy."