A Mother’s Heart

A Mother’s Heart

On April 26, 2014, at the very first
Listen To Your Mother: Atlanta, I read these words.
I should tell you to bring tissues.
photo: From The Hip

photo: From The Hip

It had been a rough week around here between me and the 9 year old.

My husband had been traveling a lot and work had been stressful.

Henry and I had butted heads, talked back to each other, and raised our voices way too many times.

It wasn’t pretty, y’all.

I’m ashamed to say, I had yelled more than I should.

I’m sad that Henry had said “I hate you” more than he ever should. I know he didn’t mean it, but he said it.

He had already gone a few days without riding his bike to school as punishment for previous transgressions and at that moment, I may or may not have threatened to make him wash all of his clothes, cook his own food and pay his own rent for the rest of his life if he didn’t shape up.

Maybe I meant it. Maybe I didn’t??

Jason had to be made out to be the bad guy, the one I threatened to call so he could “handle it” and he’s the one who actually got to handle it when he got home.

I don’t like that I had to stoop to that because my GOSH I hated it when my mom used to threaten to tell my Daddy when he got home what I had done wrong.

So imagine my surprise when I was doing JUST THAT?

Finally, I had to make good on an earlier threat and put Henry to bed early — and without supper! I mean, it was like 6:30 early. But it had to be done or I was just a pushover.

I sat with him and we talked about a magazine he had been reading and school and how he was going to respect me more. We were both mad and frustrated and insanely tired.

Then he started crying a little and asked me to stay while he tried to go to sleep. He rolled over and guided my hand over his heart — covered it with  his own small hand — and he pressed it to his chest as hard as he could.

His other hand held on to his beloved Muffins like his life depended on it.

I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed with love. There’s a pretty good reason why that’s my Henry’s middle name.

I laid there for 45 minutes with his heart beating perfectly in my hand. t felt like I could just reach in and grab it if I wanted to.

My brain told me this was one of those “Mom moments” I needed to hold on to.

So I stayed there, watching him doze off into dreamland, eyes twitching and mouth moving slightly — in awe that I was chosen to be his mom.

As I held his heart in my hand, I also realized how much like his brother he seems, and how much alike I think they would be if Charlie was alive.

But comparing a 9 year old to a baby who should be 11 but will always be 24 days old?? That’s ridiculous.

When Henry sleeps, though, even at 9 years old, it’s so clear to me that they have the same skin and eyes and that funny droop on one side of their mouth.

It’s very rare these days that I stop and think, “What would life be like if Charlie and Henry were growing up together?”

I think I don’t allow myself to think these things because honestly, it hurts to imagine it.

But then there are moments like these.

Moments when I am reminded how much they look alike and how I’m sure their personalities WOULD BE not necessarily the same, but complimentary to each others.

There are these moments, as a mother, that take my breath away.

It’s moments like these when I really remember that I have two sons and am forever mothering two sons.

One is here and one isn’t.

One has a heartbeat I can feel and one whose last heartbeat I felt in my arms.

One says things that break my heart and the other I carry in my heart.

One can wrap his small hand around mine, hold it to his heart, and make me realize that my life is complete because I am the mother of two.

 

The Day That Love Built

The Day That Love Built

 

Starting at midnight, the Ronald McDonald House of Central Georgia will be sponsored by YOU.

charlieday

Well, technically, it says “by Jason and Jana Anthoine” but really, it was YOU.

So many of you donated to my half marathon fundraising earlier in the year to the tune of $5045.00. Our Charlie’s Angels team of three raised $10,384.30. All going to the Ronald McDonald House of Central Georgia.

A few years ago, when I was actually serving on the Board of Directors, The House started a program called 365 Days of Caring.

It costs approximately $1000 per day to open the doors to serve the 13 families who can use The House nightly. Individuals or groups can support The House by sponsoring a day (or days).

After reaching the $2500 mark, we were given the opportunity to sponsor a day in the 365 Days of Caring program.

Obviously, I chose May 21.

So on Tuesday, May 21, The Ronald McDonald House will be run by all of you who helped support me in my goal to run 13.1 miles. It will be supported by all of you who knew Charlie, who never knew Charlie, who have met us in real life, who only know us online, who are friends and family and people who were met only a few hours before the race started.

May 21 is truly the Day That Love Built. 

And for that, and for you, I am thankful.

 

daythatlovebuilt

If you’re interested in 365 Days of Caring or supporting the Ronald McDonald House of Central GA, see their website.

If you’re interested in doing something fun to remember Charlie, join us for #10ForCharlie this week.

#10ForCharlie

#10ForCharlie

It’s Sunday, two days before Charlie’s tenth birthday. I’m at a loss for words and lacking motivation to do much of anything, anticipating the day in a way that has me paralyzed.

I would suspect that’s normal, though.

I was texting with my friend Karen earlier, and she suggested I make a goal of running 10 miles this week. Then we decided we should ALL make that goal.

#10ForCharlie

BRILLIANT!

This solves a couple of problems for me personally:

One, I’m likely going to eat pizza every night this week since my husband is traveling, so I’ll be able to burn off a few calories.

Two, Henry and I can burn off some energy and (my) anxiety in the evenings with a run around the block.

It seems so very easy, really. Just pick your favorite activity — running, walking, skipping, biking — and log 10 miles this week.

If you tweet, use #10ForCharlie hashtag. If you don’t, let me know on my Facebook page.

Throw on your running shoes and get outside!

Hello there, 2013!

Hello there, 2013!

Hey y’all! HAPPY NEW YEAR!

My Facebook feed and Twitter feed are filled with resolutions, revolutions, and promises to change for the new year. People are planning to lose weight, be more assertive, be healthier, save more money… all the usual suspects.

Then I’m seeing a “one word for 2013″ trend. This I like. A lot, actually.

The three of us sat down last night and have chosen our words. I won’t tell you who chose which word, but you can probably figure it out!

2013 words

Today begins a fresh year, brimming with possibility. New calendars and new files in the drawer at work. The tree is down and the fridge is cleaned out at home. All the laundry is clean and the toilets will be cleaned this afternoon.

2012

2012 was exciting. There were amazing things that happened to me and my family.

January: I decided on a new motto.

February: Henry went on a date.

March: I wrote this post that took about 5 minutes to put together as part of my friend Erin’s series, “Show Me Your Roots.”

April: We camped in the rain.

May: I earned a place in the Mother Hall of Fame when I carved a watermelon like the Death Star.

June: We went to St. Simons, I stalked Jim Cantore, I was chosen as a BlogHer Voices of the Year honoree. I also decided to start running and got talked into running a half marathon.

July: Fadra handed over Stream of Consciousness Sunday to me.

August: I danced with The Rockettes. I also went back to work for the first time in 8 years.

September: Henry got to go to DragonCon (even though he passed out and totally didn’t see the whole part we went for) and he got a dog.

October: NonCon. Enough said.

November: I took a picture. And it haunts me still (in a good way).

December: My boys (especially the small one) make me smile almost daily. Especially when they buy me finger monkeys!

2013

2013 is going to be a good year. If it absolutely kills me, it will be amazing! I’m not making resolutions (as such) but there are things I plan to do this year. Most aren’t any different than things I strive to do on a daily basis, though.

I will run a 15k in January.

I will run a half marathon (13.1 miles) in February.

I will strive to be graceful and gracious and someone who lives and loves with every ounce of her being. 

I will be proud of surviving for an entire decade without my Charlie and for helping saves lives because he lived (and died).

I will write from my heart. Maybe not every day or even every week, but I will write.

I will teach my son to be a gentleman and continue to allow him to be the amazing little soul he is.

I will strive to be the best wife and mom I can.

I will work hard and try to always “do unto others as I would have them do unto me.”

And in the words of my sweet friend Robin, I will “Be Love and Spread Love.”

belovespreadlove

Have a beautiful 2013, friends. It’s going to be a great one!

Memories…

Memories…

Memories.

They flood back in droves. Sounds, smells, conversations. My heart flutters, bordering on panic. I feel the buzzing in my head get louder.

The memories have been suppressed for months now.

Until yesterday.

Until someone walked into a school in Connecticut and crushed the hopes and dreams of a couple dozen families. Hundreds of lives — CHANGED. Never to be the same.

I have cried for them. I have cried for the parents who have gifts wrapped under trees and who now have to choose caskets instead of Wiis and Barbie dolls.

I have cried for me and my husband and my son and for the anger that fills my heart when I think about all the babies and children I know who won’t fulfill their potential.

I’m at a loss for words, really.

I’ve written many times about finding your Roses in December, most recently at Still Standing Magazine. Imagine my surprise when I realized that our climbing rose, that hasn’t bloomed in weeks, has bloomed during a week where we have had freezing temperatures.

It’s a reminder to me that life, like nature, is precious. We can survive the worst, just as the rose can survive the cold. But just when we think we can’t go on and that life will never look the same, we’re reminded that there is hope. It may feel far away, but there is hope.

To the parents and families who have lost so much… I pray that you have Roses in the weeks and years to come. I pray that you find some peace over time. I pray that you feel the love from people around the world who are wrapping you in their arms. I pray for your community, that it may heal and learn to trust again in time. I pray for your other children and the other children of the community, that they may grow up without feeling guilty about it not being them instead. For you I pray, as a mother who has had to choose a tiny casket and a mother who will never feel her child in her arms again. For you I pray for Roses. Amen.

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