Where I Left Off

 I don't even know how long it has been since I've blogged - I could check the date but it seems easier to just start writing.

Our sweet little Sammy went to heaven at the beginning of this year and it was not easy to make that decision.  Putting a dog down feels like murder, it really does, but thankfully I had a very lovely vet and "nurses".  The hardest part was holding him, walking out of the room where his tiny little body lay, and going home.  I went alone while older kids helped younger kids with it at home.  I miss him most on summer evenings when he loved to sit in my bike basket and have the wind blow his face fur back - he really thought he was a hot shot during those rides. 

Andrew and Sammy.  
Andrew will be starting his second year of college in the fall, and is lifeguarding for the summer at home, and always always has plans which means he comes in, eats, and goes to work or does something fun.  Andrew is the same person he was at three.  Outgoing, busy, always has a smile, always makes everyone laugh, and cares so much about people. 

Our annual trip to the strawberry field - Janey is 10 and we are still like velcro and I love it.  She loves school and her friends, adores her siblings and their friends and is on a huge hummus and peppers kick even in the morning.  

Many fun visits with cousins this summer.

Isaac and Cecilia moved from NYC to Denmark this spring!  They celebrated their first anniversary also.  They loved NYC but the timing was perfect for them to move, as they always intended to live in Denmark. And thankfully they hop on planes like I get in a car so we will see them often. 

Abbey is doing so well health-wise and loves her work in Florida-and the weather!  Her hair is growing back and it looks so so cute, with ringlets.  We miss her here, but find a way to see each other at least every 6 weeks or so.

Matt is working full time at a science education center and living at home, busy with hobbies (I feel like no one uses the word hobbies anymore, it sounds like something only our grandparents used) and coming and going so much like Andrew it makes my head spin.  He is my back up driver and I make him laugh which he won't probably admit but I do.  He reminds me so much of my brother Andrew that it scares me.  Same humor, same way of looking at life.  Same intentional pace.

Patrick graduated from grade school and start HIGH SCHOOL in the fall.  How can that be?  He is still a sports guy, first love basketball, second soccer.  He is protective of his sister when he isn't teasing her, and loves to be with his older siblings, who all adore him.
There are the kid's updates!

My update:

I went to Ireland last summer with my mom to see my brother and his family and loved it, and cried really hard when we had to leave.   Because it is so different-so slow paced and beautiful and calm and I adore the way my brother and his wife have set up their life and the slow purposeful way they raise their kids.  I want to live next door.  

I started teaching art full-time at my children's grade school.  I taught kindergarten readiness all the way to eighth grade.  I had each grade for an hour every week.  I LOVED IT.  I learned so so much. Number one, teachers are some of the hardest-working people I know.   Number two, kindergarteners are adorable but if you have 24 of them in a small room you better have a plan and get used to hearing your name 1000 times in one hour, especially when you are teaching them to weave.  (But they got it and my heart burst with pride!)  

I can't even tell you how much I loved teaching, even with the hard parts of it (exhaustion after the day is over, lots of noise, and any paperwork/meetings etc).  I could post so many photos of all the projects we did over the year.  I lined my classroom with them and I'm so proud of the work the kids did.  I think my job is the best most rewarding job ever and I really was finding my groove with it.  

I felt like I really was finding my groove with LIFE.  I was settling in, getting used to being on my own, working full time outside of the home and loving it, managing the finances and simplifying everything just the way I love it, taking a deep breath of air and exhaling.

And then I started having chest pain-I saw a few of my doctors and they thought it was a pulled muscle, and I did also -I thought maybe I was using new muscles to bend down to help little ones and clean art tables, and lift up stools.  I was so exhausted too-but that was teaching full time, and running a house by myself.

Except it wasn't.  I have cancer again, triple negative again, metastatic.  I found out right after I wrote all my fun New Year's Resolutions.  Jaunary was full of testing, and the news kept getting worse.  And like all mothers everywhere, you scream and cry but only for a little bit because life.  Life keeps happening.  Thank GOD it keeps happening.  And in between the doctor's appointments, and work and grief and fear, we keep going because that's what mothers do.  I would go to an appointment, go back to work, having 25 little sweet faces staring up at me, excited to see me.  I would get a phone call with news that could knock me over, except I needed to pick up one of my children, and make dinner, and pay a bill.

I feel most of the time like my diagnosis never ever leaves my mind.  It's there when I wake up and there when I go to bed.  Along with other trauma I was still and still am working through.  Your brain and heart can only hold so much.  

I know this: there are two silly sayings that don't make a bit of sense.
Live like you are dying.
Live every day like it's your last.

I am trying as hard as I can to live like I am LIVING-the simple life I love.  I want for nothing, I really do, except for my health.  That doesn't mean I haven't had loss and heartbreak, or really hard days and weeks and years, it means I know what is important.  I have known for a long long time.  Gratitude and contentment are always the way out of despair.  It seems unfair, but I also know there is no such thing as "fair" in life.  (I always think of the old adage "Fair is a place where pigs win ribbons.":)

I am going to live the rest of my days, which I pray will be as many as I always intended them to be (thousands) like they are ordinary days.  Because I've said it before, ordinary days are the best ever.  Ordinary days are the most beautiful days on earth.  

And right now we are having a gorgeous summer thunderstorm, this morning I cleaned the garage, did a load of laundry, went to the grocery store (new kitchen towels!), made cookies for neighbors, and talked to my kids.  I have a stack of library books on my nightstand, blooming flowers in my garden, and friends and family who check up on me.  I woke up this morning to chirping birds and a list to check off that I made last night, and a text from my mom.  I will end it with a warm cozy bed and cute pajamas.  And prayers.  I will take ALL the prayers I can get.