Change Needs to Happen

I cannot sleep. I have spent nights poring over the Florida school shooting stories.  I am not okay.

I dropped Darcy off at school on February 15th and thought to myself, ‘what if this is it? What if someone decides today that they want to enter her school and shoot a bunch of innocent children and educators?’

I’ve had these thoughts before.  Mostly when Darcy was in kindergarten and her classroom was on the first floor of the school.  I remember thinking to myself that it was a good thing that she was in the second classroom in that hallway, farther away from the front door.  I guess in my mind it gave her more time to escape.  She entered kindergarten less than a year after Sandy Hook. An exit strategy shouldn’t be what you think about for your kindergarteners classroom.

Then Benny died and this anxiety grew.  At the time we were clinging to Darcy as our port in the storm, what if something happened to her as well?  Last week brought that all flooding back.  I am terriffied. I am sad. I am sick.

Seventeen more families feel our pain. They have lost a part of their hearts in such a senseless manner. I know what they are going through and I am so sorry for their pain. I am sorry for what lies ahead. I am sorry for how this will shape the rest of their lives. A loss like this irrevocably changes you.

I am scared to send my daughter to school. I get it that this is terrorism at it’s finest and that I shouldn’t be scared. But I am. I’ve already held one of my children and had to say goodbye for the last time. I sat in the hospital and stroked his hair, smelled his sweet smell, kissed his head and handed his lifeless body over.

I have spent the last 4 years clawing my way out of PTSD and anxiety and trying my hardest to help my daughter and my husband do the same. This is the future that these families face. This is the future that these surviving children who were in that school face. You cannot witness a trauma like that and go on living your life. It alters you in ways you can never imagine.

I am furious. Disgustingly furious that this happened, that this continues to happen. That more parents have to live through the loss of a child. And still nothing changes.

I am repulsed that we ask our educators to work under these conditions. There are over 30 children in my daughter’s class this year.  Thirty.  How can a teacher and an aid be expected to hide 30 kids?  Why should they be?

This is not a political issue to me, but rather a moral issue. Until you have stood where I have stood, until you have walked in my shoes, please do not lecture me on politics. I am coming from a place of loss and I feel very strongly that what took place in Florida, Sandy Hook, Columbine, what is taking place in this country, is something that can be prevented.

I want to be able to send my child to school and not be scared that it will be the last time that I see her.  I don’t want to be this mother that is constantly on the edge of her seat, filled with anxiety and dread that she will lose another child.

I have signed up with Everytown and  Mom’s Demand Action.  I need to be able to put this energy into something.

I am sick for Florida.  I am tired of the excuses. We should not live in a country where we send our children to school to die. Change needs to happen.



‘This Is Grief’

That’s what ‘This is Us’ should be titled.  Or maybe ‘This is Loss’ or simply ‘This Sucks’. I don’t think they’d get people tuning in week after week with those titles though.


(Spoiler Alert!!!)

This show grabbed my attention from the beginning because the first episode deals with child loss.  For a TV drama they did an amazing job of capturing how that feels.  I was super impressed with how the topic wasn’t glossed over (except in Rebecca’s case, I keep hoping desperately that they circle back to her grief a little more) and they really show how the central father figure that we all love deals with it.

Part of why you fall in love with Jack is because he’s flawed.  He has a drinking problem, and after trying to hide it over the years he finally deals with it.  He stops trying to run away and confronts it.  It’s powerful to watch.

He’s clearly someone who loves his family.  He goes back into a burning house because of his daughter’s dog.  I’m an animal person, but leave the damn dog!!

He’s witty and smart.  He loves his life more than himself.  He’s an amazing father.  He’s motivated.  He sacrifices his dreams for his family, yet he’s still a dreamer.  And he still dies.

And in a simple stupid accident.  There’s no plane crash, no explosion, no dramatic scene of him getting shot in a random bank robbery.  Jack dies because of a faulty home appliance and because he and his wife forget to change out the batteries in the smoke detector.  Well, he dies as a secondary result of the smoke inhalation, but nonetheless.

Completely freak accident.  No way of ever imagining it could have ever happened.  But it did and the man that viewers have fallen in love with is gone.

I have read so many commenters blaming the neighbor George for giving the Pearson’s the crockpot that started the fire.  If you pay attention, he gives them the crock pot nearly 18 years before the fire happens because Rebecca is pregnant.

We always need someone to blame.  We always need a reason to justify when someone dies.  Why is that?  This show has really made me think long and hard about the human rationalization of death.  I’m not sure that I can even begin to understand or explain it.

Most likely it’s a coping mechanism.  The show beautifully portrayed how each member of the family dealt with Jack’s death some 20 years later.  It showed how differently each character grieved.  How no way was wrong, but how each person needed to do their own thing to get through the day.  It was very relatable.

Hats off to this show.  They have taken a topic that is so real and is something that EVERYONE will deal with in their lifetime and brought it into focus.  I feel like I am tuning in week after week and watching pieces of my life unfold.  It sucks.  Parker keeps asking me why I’m watching it, it’s just too close to home (like when Rebecca had to tell the kids that Jack had died, my God that one brought me back).  It’s cathartic though.  Maybe I’m dealing with it like Kate.  Maybe it’s just easier seeing someone else go through the many things that I already have.


Bad Habits

I love this!  It is so in line with what I was babbling about in my sleep deprived state the other night, or early morning, or whenever it was?

Don’t Let Them Sleep With You


Point of No Return

I remember when Darcy was born how important it was to me that I get her on a good sleep schedule.  I was so worried about being able to get back to work and handle an infant.  I worked with her during my measly 12 weeks off to try and get on a schedule.

We did ok.  I made all of these rules, like no sleeping after 5, we adhered to a strict bedtime schedule of bath, swaddle then nursing in a quiet, dark room.  I was worried about spoiling her.  I was concerned that I was never going to get a good nights sleep.  And then I got laid off.  Oh, the irony!

Being on a schedule and having a routine definitely helped with all of my kiddos.  I look back now though and laugh.  I was making myself crazy trying to control the sleeping habits of an infant.  Why?

I stressed out over the lack of sleep (as if you can control it).  I would look at nighttime as an endless hell that must be endured, sitting up for hours feeding an upset baby.  I had it in my head that successful mommying=happy sleeping babies.  Some twisted idea we all get as every single person asks you ‘how is the baby?  Is he/she sleeping through the night?’

I found with Benny that I was way more relaxed when it came to sleeping schedules.  Maybe it was just his laid back personality, or the fact that he nursed himself full in 5 minutes, but he was a great sleeper!  And all without my militant sleeping rules.  I felt comfortable bringing him into bed in the wee hours of the morning and snuggling with him (this was before i knew all of the dangers of cosleeping).  I felt more easy going and confident in my mommying abilities.

I don’t know if it was loosing Benny or just because Fletch was, well, Fletch but sleep became hell again.  Truyh be told, it was probably a combination of both.  I was super stressed all of the time of screwing up, or of something bad happening.  Child loss changes you as a parent.  Anxiety over took common sense and I felt like a novice mom again.  I was scared to bring him into bed.  I was scared for him to sleep alone.  No matter what I did I was scared.

And Fletch was hard work!  He didnt want to be put down when he slept, ever.  I put more miles on my glider with that kid than any other.  He always knew when he left your arms and would wake right up.  It was like he had he same insecurities that I had and was nervous being too far away.

And now there’s Perry.  We should be seasoned at this whole sleep thing by now right?  Wrong!  The 4 month sleep regression hit us hard and we’ve been reeling ever since.

I’m tired of being scared.  I’m tired of being tired.  I’m done with being stressed about sleep.  We’ve entered the point of no return.  A point where the old me with just one baby would have freaked out.

I have a toddler and a ridiculous work load.  A tween (my God!) with a ridiculous amount of activities.  I’m already tired enough and scared enough to not sleep because anything you do nowadays as a parent is wrong and judged.

If I fall asleep nursing, I could drop her.  If I pull her into bed, Parker could roll over. We have a friend whose infant fell out of bed and cracked his skull (he’s fine thank goodness, very healthy little guy) and I’ve read just about every article on people smothering their babies on accident. No win situation.

So now, Parker sleeps in the guest room and I get a queen bed to myself until Perry inevitably wakes up in her bassinet (the second I walk into the room, I swear she can smell me).  She has her side and I have mine.  Shes not rolling yet and has a nice buffer to keep her from rolling off the bed.  She sleeps, I sleep.  And I love every damn minute of it.


I love hearing her breathe close by.  I love being able to relax knowing she’s close.  I love letting go of a little bit of that anxiety.  Do I miss Parker?  Sure.  A lot.  But I only get baby Perry for so long.  She’s nearly 6 months old.  All too soon she’ll be mobile and this bed sharing will be a thing of the past.

There are no guarantees in this life.  I want to hold onto whatever I can for as long as I can.




Today was not a good day.  The further we walk down this path to home ownership, the more painful the journey.  Someone please stop this ride we’re on, I want to get off.

We got the green light that we are building a house.  The plans are complete, the finishes are picked and construction is set to begin soon.  A totally new chapter in our lives.

And then we got word today that our temporary rental has sold and we have to move.  Temporarily.  Again.  Before the final move.

I bawled my eyes out over a bag of donuts while little Fletchie kept asking me what was wrong.  I tried so hard to explain that his little life would once again be interrupted.  My heart was breaking because he finally stopped asking to go home to the Chester Street house and now calls ‘the big brown house’ home.  He’s finally settled.  And now we have to leave.

We were finally to a point where Darcy’s room was unpacked enough for her to have a friend sleepover.  She had settled in a bit.  I’m sure the idea of moving was an adventure, but I don’t think she ever bargained for this.  We’ve taken this kid out of the only home that she ever knew.  She grew up on Chester Street and has the most memories there.

I was finally starting to put away some of my mommy guilt for this whole mess that we’re in.  I was feeling like, ‘ok, we got this!’. Only now we don’t.  By a long shot.

This whole journey was terrifying enough without all of this extra crap.  It was hard enough to walk away from Benny’s home.  It was emotional enough to acknowledge that it was time for us to move forward.  And now I’m beginning to wonder if this was all a mistake?

And oh sure I’ll probably feel differently in July when this is all (hopefully) over.  And I’ll probably ‘look back and laugh’ (oh my God if one more person says that to us!).  But right now, right at this moment, I’m upset.

I’m upset that it seems like everything has to be so much harder for us.  Because the grief that we carry every damn day isn’t enough.  Because the amount of times that I question myself as a parent isn’t enough.  Because the amount of anxiety that I have in any given situation with my children isn’t enough.  ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,’ well screw that!  Enough already, I’m done!  Here I am waving the white flag screaming I SURRENDER!

I give up.  I am desperately tired of all of this.  I know that home selling/buying is supposed to be stressful, but this is beyond anything I ever imagined.

So Universe, enough.  We’ve had it.  Please back off.  Please stop making a tough situation harder.  How are we ever supposed to deal with any of our grief and make some peace with it when these other life issues rear their ugly faces?  I still haven’t really come to terms with leaving Benny’s house yet because it’s been such a whirlwind.  I can only process so much.

We knew moving would be hard.  We expected it to hurt.  Not like this though.


The Unreality of it All

I was driving somewhere today and thinking about how disconnected I felt from Benny.  I was wondering if the accident really happened, if he was really real.  From time to time it’s hard for me to grasp the reality of it all.  I was feeling empty.

Did he really die?  Did we really survive that?  Did I actually carry and give birth to 4 children?  There are just times that I cannot wrap my head around it all.

Then I figure it’s just my mind’s way of protecting itself.  I was giving myself a break from the pain of it all.  Let’s face it, the holidays suck as a parent if you’ve lost a child.  I was enjoying a few moments of ‘unreality’.

Then of course I feel guilty for even having these thoughts.  Has my life become so busy that I’m not taking the time to stop and really tune into my dead son?  What kind of mother am I?

Fast forward to this evening and I’m relaxing on the couch watching Scrubs with Parks.  It’s probably the last show that I would expect to get to me, but it did tonight.  Now that I think about it, there are several episodes that deal with death and grief and the different way the characters handle it.  Sometimes serious, sometimes not.  Maybe that’s why I love this show.

Tonight the main characters that are doctors were dealing with a patient that was afraid of dying.  They talked about how they hoped that their last thought would be a happy one.  The episode closes with “maybe in the end all you can really hope for is your last thought is good, even if it is just about the taste of an ice cold beer”

Wow.  Just wow.  This brought me back from my ‘unreality’ super quick.  It was the punch in the guts that made me feel raw all over again, even these 4 years later.  Now I’m sitting here wondering how I could have ever felt any type of disconnect from Benny’s death.

I’m also wondering what his last thoughts were.  Was he scared?  Was he still groggy having just woken up?  Was he confused by my frustration at him being awake?

Or can I really just hope that death is like they say in the movies?  That your life flashes before your eyes and it’s like watching a movie.  His movie would have been short, but my God it would have been wonderful.  He made so many people so very happy and he was so very loved.  Maybe that’s all that I can hope for then.  That those last 7 seconds were happy thoughts.


The Last Time

It’s 12:30 AM.  I haven’t slept a wink yet.  I have to get 3 small children out the door and off to different places tomorrow morning before I head into work.  Then I have to get as much work done as possible because said children will all be home with me next week.  Oh, and it’s going to snow tomorrow, so it’s early pick up for school.

This seems to be my story as of late.  My little perfect sleeping angel hit the 4 month sleep regression.  Now I get to see her at least 2 times before I actually get in bed, usually 10 minutes after I close my eyes and then 2-3 more times in the next 5 or so hours before I have to be up for the day.

I have pretty much kicked Parker out of bed so that Perry has her own space.  I’m all paranoid about her falling out of bed or Parker rolling over on her, so now she has half of a queen sized bed. Little turkey.  She doesn’t know how good she has it.

And as much as I complain (oh how I complain) and as grumpy as this lack of sleep makes me (super grumpy, just ask anyone in my family), I just keep reminding myself, ‘enjoy this, it won’t last forever.’

She won’t always be this little.  She is my last and I need to enjoy every stinking moment of this.  I need to soak it all in.  She won’t be little forever.  She won’t always need me.  There are no guarantees.  Just breathe.

I remember sitting in the dark nursing Darcy for hours.  This was before the Advent of cell phones (good, now I’m truly dating myself).  I would get so frustrated.  She took so long and I had no idea what I was doing.  It was hard and lonely.

Sleep deprivation is real.  I understand why it’s used for torture.  I am exhausted.  I am barely functioning.  Good luck to anyone that has crossed my path these last two weeks.  Clear rational thoughts have left my head.  My crazy is showing.

I miss my husband.  It’s weird that he’s sleeping down the hall.  It’s lonely waking up without his body next to mine.

This too shall pass.  All of it and it will be something else.  But I won’t get this back.  I won’t have this little chubby snoring angel.  Everyday she is growing and changing.  Everyday she is getting older.

She’s our last baby.  I wish she would stay little.  But then that seems selfish because I also am excited for her to grow and experience life.  I just can’t fathom not having a baby.  I can’t imagine my baby growing up.  I’m not looking forward to my ‘lasts.’

The last time that I pick her up, or the last time that she cuddles on my lap.  The last time that she needs me to feed her or the last time that she takes up half of a queen sized bed.

Life is fleeting, there are no promises.  So even though I’m not in love with this sleep deprived state, it will end.  She will change.  And it sounds crazy, but I will probably even miss this a tiny bit.


'How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.'