Saturday, September 29, 2007

Looks like an angel when he's sleeping...

Miles and Lion taking an afternoon snooze.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Miles was there!

Anita couldn't (wouldn't) post this picture of Miles at the park today on her blog because neither of her kids were in it. This is to show that he was there. Having fun. By himself. Well, he did play with Elijah and Ian some, and he yelled at them some, and had dirt thrown on him some. So, mostly he played by himself. I don't blame him.

Old Bean

Jonathan's name for Ella has been "Bean" since the week she was born. It started because he looked down at her sleeping one day, and the way she was laying there her body was shaped like a kidney bean. So now it is not uncommon to also hear Miles call her Bean or Ellabean just like Jonathan. My names for her are Boo and Ladybug or sometimes just Lady. This week I've been finding myself calling her Bean also. Here's why. Last week I was reading the instructions on a bag of frozen green beans and there they had also listed a few bean colloquialisms. One was that fifty years ago in England if you called someone "old bean" it meant you were good friends. That struck me so sweetly. It's funny how when Elijah was born, I wondered who this stranger was who had come in and taken over my life. With Miles I never felt like he was a stranger and he just quickly fit into our little family. When Ella was born it was as if she'd always been with us. Here is this precious, precious little girl who seemingly sort of happened upon us. When we found out we were expecting so soon after losing Dad, I thought another baby was the last thing I needed. I just wanted my dad back. But I know part of Ella's purpose is to remind me that I still have life in me and that I am so incredibly blessed. The song "In My Daughter's Eyes" says this:
In my daughter's eyes, I am a hero
I am strong and wide and I know no fear.
But the truth is plain to see, she was sent to rescue me,
I see who I want to be in my daughter's eyes.
In part, Ella was sent to rescue me. From my sadness. From my questioning. From my doubt. God answered a prayer from so long ago when He sent Ella to me. He revealed to me the delicate details of His timing and the sweet grace of His comfort. I can't wait to see what else He has purposed Ella for. But for now, she's our Old Bean. Our good friend.

Friday, September 21, 2007

The 3 "Mikeskateers" and On Why I Miss My Mom

The picture of my parents was taken the day Miles was born. It serves as proof that my dad actually let my mom hold Milesy for a few moments that day. Shortly after it was taken, my dad said, "I don't share babies very well." He meant it. Miles, or "Smiles" as my dad called him, really brought a lot of light to all of us, especially Dad, in the darkness to come.

The picture of Kevin and me was taken about 2 months later, on their first visit with Miles.

Recently, Mom, Kevin and I decided that we are the 3 "Mikeskateers." A goofy title, I know, but sometimes you've got to laugh so you don't cry. We've always been very close, but going through Dad's illness and death side by side made our little trio even that much stronger. So, we are what remains of the Michael Cash family. Being without our leader is a struggle, and we all feel better when we are together, but I know we are making Dad proud as we carry on his legacy.

Mom is in Michigan with Kevin, Christine, Kell and Ian right now. She will have been gone for three weeks when she gets home next week. We've all missed her very much. Elijah keeps asking if today is the day we'll go pick her up at the airport. We haven't been to Chappy's since she left - we haven't verbally made that decision, but I guess we just don't go there without Mom. I miss her help with the kids, ofcourse. Who doesn't like reinforcement in caring for their children? But what I really miss about Mom is her company - just knowing she's here. So, while I truly want her to enjoy the rest of her trip, I'm ready for her return, as is the rest of my family! To all of my friends who are mad at me right now because they are away from their moms much longer than 3 weeks at a time - I'm sorry. I know you miss your moms and that one of you in particular wants to strangle me when you see me in Target with mine. I do realize how very lucky I am to live near my mom.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

They really do love each other...

I just have to be patient and wait for the little signs of proof that they do. Earlier this week, I was cooking dinner and both boys were in the kitchen with me, which had me feeling a bit stressed. Miles was once again using a step stool to try and reach what he's not supposed to reach. Elijah walked over to Miles and I was expecting it to get ugly with the usual "leave me lone, jijah!" Instead, Miles said, "hug, jijah?" and Elijah gave him a hug. Miles then said, "I lu you, jijah." Elijah said he loved him, too. It was so, so sweet. The kind of moment that makes all the "leave me lone" and "Miles is bothering me" type statements (or screams) fade a bit. This morning as I was running around getting ready, I heard Ella cry from a different room. I then heard Miles say, "I wanna hode you." I walked into the room to find him trying to pick her up and by this point she was smiling. He found that he couldn't pick her up so instead he put his hands on her tummy and said, "tickle kickle kickle." I was reminded of an excerpt from The Girlfriends' Guide to Motherhood that I had copied when Elijah was tiny and put in his baby book...
Some of us are just blessed with the ability to get kids ready to go out and have them dressed in clean clothes with combed hair...others of us straggle in and out of places with howling children in mismatched outfits with faces that look permanently stained with popsicle. Neither style is any indication of how good a mother you are, so just do what you can. Being a mother is hard and endless work, and you just keep putting one foot in front of the other. And just when you think you can't take another step, out of the corner of your eye you will see the older child hug his new baby like he really means it, and you will weep and hear angels sing.

Friday, September 14, 2007

My dad (and my new dad?)

This picture was taken just before Christmas 2004. Dad and I had finished our annual Christmas shopping day for my mom - which included little shopping, but we saw a movie and had lunch and a great day together. Dad bought me some nice Gap pants for the office Christmas party. He always bought me a little something on our shopping days. These trips could be difficult, as I knew what Mom wanted but Dad always had his own, different, some good and some not-so-good ideas. But I had grown to love these days with Dad. This was our last. At the end of it Dad played in Elijah's tent with him. It was an amazing feat that he fit in it as he was 6'4". I'm so grateful for this picture.

Today I had to explain to Elijah that my mom's cat, Chessie had died this morning and was now in heaven with Poppa. He noticed the tears in my eyes and came to give me a big hug. He said,"Mom, when I grow up, I'm going to be a new dad." I asked him what he meant and he said, "well, you miss your dad, Poppa, right?" All I could do was smile. He seems to think that when he grows up he can be my new dad and take care of me. He wants to take away my pain. He's like the other men in my life - Dad, Jonathan, and my brother - he wants to take care of me just like them. God puts such sweet spirits in our children.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Just a pretty little girl...

Ella's view of the world is different now that she is officially sitting up!

The face of cooperation!

It took me a little while to hone in on what Miles was saying as he was going about the house this morning. A blanket was wrapped around his shoulders and he was carrying a step stool to various places - trying to reach what he's not supposed to reach. I thought I must be mistaken when I heard him say, "I wanna copwate, Momma." But then he said it several more times. See, I've been telling him A LOT lately that I need him to cooperate. I'm not sure what wrongful step stool action while draped in a blanket have to do with cooperation, but I found it sweet and funny that he was talking about it. And did he cooperate today? Well, shortly after this picture was taken he knocked over his newly sitting up little sister because she dared touch him on the arm. So he was not exactly in cooperation mode most of the day. He is in the full-fledged twos now. Maybe, just maybe, he'll "copwate" in about 20 years...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ella really wants to crawl...

but I'm not in such a hurry for her to! This little one is going to be everywhere all at once - I just have a feeling. I'm not sure what happened to the calm babies my mother-in-law used to talk about us having. We haven't had a calm one yet and I have reason to believe we never would. This lady is ready to taste freedom and live life to the full and wide open! It's so exciting to see her try new things, but I know all too well that with each new change my Ella becomes less and less of a little baby. Well, like the 10,000 Maniacs song says, "no little girl can stop her world to wait for me."

Off to school!

Here are my sweet, silly boys on their first day back to preschool. I look at this picture and I just can't believe how quickly they are growing. It makes me proud and happy, sentimental and a bit sad all at once. I recently read that to a mother of young children the days are long but the years are short. I try to remind myself of this when I'm frustrated. I wish I could bottle their little (but big!) personalities, sayings and laughter and pull it all out again one day when they are grown. Miles is now talking a blue streak - saying things like "is it not gonna be loud momma?" . But his current very favorite thing to say is "No!" in various ways from sweet and giggly to the more usual ugly and defiant. Elijah is busy thinking about letters (his favorite is "N") and the sounds they make. He is starting to sound out some short words and has recently decided that he now also likes little letters. (Last week he only liked capital letters.) I don't think it ever occurred to me to like or dislike certain letters or types of letters. Anyway, he's really enjoying his pre-K class so far. I can't believe he'll be in big school in a year.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

If you need me, beep me...

That's what Dad always said. Always. And I always did beep him when I needed him. Usually I'd get a super fast response as if he was just waiting for me to need him. As if he had nothing better to do than be needed by me. He was usually quite busy saving our state from radiological disasters, but never too busy for me. I came to realize later how terribly much I still needed him.

When someone that has always, always been there for you (even when you don't think you need them, even when you push them away) - when that person is gone it's like your spine has been taken right out of your body. You fall and fall hard. And then, evidently, you spend the rest of your life trying to carry on and do the best you can. Sure, things that are hard make you stronger, and you have help from those around you - the others who also lost their "spine", and the little people who need you to be strong and happy and momma, and your wonderful, wonderful other half. I am changed, I am stronger. But I've realized that I was extremely naive when I thought the worst pain would be the week of his death. I thought he'd die and then I'd go about missing him but getting better all the time and less sad. I now know that the sad lingers, and I'm thinking it will linger until I see him again. Yes, I may cry less now, but I miss him even more. I need him even more.

The words to a Barlowe Girl song remind me of him saying "beep me if you need me"
I waited for you today, but you didn't show, no, no, no
I needed you today, so where did you go?
You told me to call, said you'd be there and though I haven't seen you, are you still there?
I cried out with no reply and I can't see you by my side, so I'll hold tight to what I know - you're here and I'm never alone.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Who are these three people in my van?

One day my mom and I were in the van with the kids. I was joking with my mom about how full my van had become (especially for someone who used to be "anti-minivan"). So I asked her, "Who are these people in my van, anyway?" Well, Elijah thought this was hilarious. So many times since then he has said that he wants me to ask this question about the three people in my van. He laughs and laughs as I pretend to not know him, Miles or Ella. He'll say "but I'm your kid, Elijah." And I'll say "Oh, well its just you, right? So who are these other two?" You get the point...he finds it so funny and is always able to eventually convince me that I do indeed have three kids.
If he only knew who "these three people in my van" are to me. My heart and soul. My hope and joy. My push and pull. I love them so much that it hurts sometimes. They teach me, stretch me, inspire me and give me the strength to keep going, growing and learning. They show me the vast and unconditional love of a parent and of God. I love these verses from the Martina McBride song "In My Daughter's Eyes":
And when she wraps her hand around my fingers
Oh, it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about
Its hanging on when your heart has had enough
Its giving more when you feel like giving up
and I've seen the light in my daughter's eyes...
The three people in my van are this to me. They urge me to "hang on" and "give more." They are innocent (mostly) and honest. They take pleasure in the simple. They live big and wide open and they love that way, too. I want to be more like them. I need to go to bed now. First, I'm going to kiss the sweet faces of the three people asleep in my house.