Sunday, August 3, 2014 happens

A baby died in a car.  I am outraged and angry and out for blood. Because I would never do such a thing.
Only a monster of a mom would allow that to happen.  ....  right?????  Keep reading.

A I sought to defend a woman I knew to be a good mother, other stories began rolling in to me from mothers I knew that love their kids and would give everything to protect them ...

"We once left a child at the movie rental store watching a movie. We drove away before we remembered and came back for him."

"I often feel relief that my kids "survived" me during those young years"

"A couple of months ago I buckled my baby in her seat and was ready to leave work... I loaded my car with a bunch of other stuff, put the diaper bag in the car and started driving home..... I then had a sick feeling and looked in the back seat.... I left the baby at work!! I was sick and could not believe I would forget my baby!!! But I was in a hurry, my mind was frazzled by things going on that day and I left her! I hurried and turned around and she was safe in my office all buckled up and ready to go....  it happens... We get busy... We all love our kids and would do anything for them... But we are human! We make mistakes..."

 "I remember when (my son) was I think 2 or 3 years old, and we were packing for a reunion. He decided he wanted to "wait" in the car and fell asleep. We looked everywhere and I think we even called the police, he was found a short while after, thankfully he was just dehydrated, but it was scary."

Once, in the midst of nine children and their multiple activities, Ben was left in the car. Jennifer, one of the older girls, had been buckling him in and out of his car seat for about 6 months, and carrying him inside wherever we went together. She loved it and simply did it every time. (The other girls complained sometimes saying she was "hogging" their brother.) We were in a hurry, on our way to a play practice. It wasn't even a thought process for me. After about 15 minutes inside, I asked Jennifer where Ben was. She'd been so excited about the play practice and her part in it that she hadn't gotten him out. He was still in the car! My heart in my throat, fear with me every step, horror filling my breast, I ran up the stairs to the car. Lucky for us, it was a cool day, and Ben was just fine. Lucky for me he was still there. I have never forgotten the moment, and reliving it brings feelings I can't even describe. It's been 12 years."

"I can distinctly remember two incidents in my life with young children when I did something mistakenly that could have resulted in one of my children being injured. In both of those instances, I chose a path out of the ordinary that kept my child from harm purely by accident, however I could not help but think, what if I had not, and how my life would have been changed forever by that mistake. "

These are just a few stories of the kind of "monsters" that forget their kids. 

And here's my story:

One day my husband and I took our baby grocery shopping with us.  After unloading the car and then relaxing ... We each assumed the other had brought the baby inside.  My husband began asking about the baby, where was he? Where was our precious gift from God?   

We had left him in the car.  One of those heart-wrenching moments that shatters a parent when they realize how easily things like this happen. 

In our circumstance, we were able to get to our baby quickly and no serious harm was done. But imagine for a moment if the phone had rung, or I had laid down for a quick nap or assumed my husband had laid him down for a nap. and it had been hours before we realized our mistake. It could have been deadly.

This almost exact scenario that DOES NOT end in death is EXTREMELY common.

These stories did not end with a tragic death.  How many stories like this are there?

I have heard and read over the past few days accusations of how awful a parent must be to forget a child.  I suggest to you, it is not awful parenting to forget a child. It is just human.

My hope is that instead of harsh judgments, we pray, we lift and we assist where we can the families that have experienced this heartache.  No amount of jail time will ever be enough to "scare" a parent into remembering.  Our fear of killing a child is more threatening than jail.  Trust me.  We caring and forgetful parents do not walk away from our child and think, "they might die in here, but hopefully I won't go to jail for this".  No my friends, we just forget.  We do.  We are not robots with a microchip in our heads that beeps when we walk away from a child absentmindedly.  We are not criminals.  We are loving caring parents with moments of imperfection.

A baby died.  I have cried.  My neighborhood has cried.  Friends and family are holding each other sobbing for this loss.  In the meantime, those who have no attachments to the actual people involved, who have not shed a single tear over the loss of this child, are the first ones to attack and want to find blame because of their "outrage" over the death of this child.  This is not sorrow that they feel.  It may be anger.  But they have no idea of sorry and pain of this loss.  Their words are hollow and only show the worst in mankind.  

comments like....

  • a woman who leaves her kid to die in a car is a monster. 

...and worse that I won't even put here because they disgust me.
These kind of comments typically come from those completely detached from the situation and detached from the family have bombarded comments and facebook threads.


NO amount of jail time will frighten a parent into remembering a child.
NO amount of making an example of this will prevent it from happening again.
No amount of blaming, finger pointing, name calling and accusations will bring a baby back or prevent more from passing away.

I do not believe that justice for this baby would include tearing the family apart, ridiculing her mother or giving the harshest possible sentence.  I believe this baby knows her mother and would testify that her mother is a good mom.  This baby would want her brothers and her dad to have her sweet mother around for them.  She would testify that April and other parents like April, need to be with their families for the family to heal completely.

The question was asked of me,
"You must be ok with the idea that mothers will kill babies?"

The answer is of course, no.  It's not ok.  But here is the more complex answer...
While there are vicious and cruel people that have purposely buried kids alive, or cut their families to pieces, MOST mothers like April and me and the mothers listed above in the stories I shared, We want nothing more than to see our sweet children laugh, play, go to school, grow up into healthy and happy adults.  We are not "OK" with tragic deaths.  We do everything we can to be the best kind of parent we can be.  Occasionally we fall short.  Sometimes critically.  It is not OK.  But it does not deserve condemnation, name calling and ridicule from the masses. I do not believe harsh judgments make this better.

Prayers for the families of all of those that have been affected by this loss.  May we all be a little more kind-hearted and watchful and loving.

I am lucky my baby is alive and now a 16 year old man.  I am lucky to have survived my own childhood from stupid things my own parents did.  I challenge you to leave your own stories of moments like ours in the comments or facebook threads.  Let's find out how common this is.  Is this negligence?  or is this a tragic event from a common occurrence of forgetfulness by good parents?

As I have thought about what I could do to give love and support to this woman being torn apart by those who do not know her and has to live with the guilt of being responsible for her own child's death....  I put myself in her shoes for a minute.  What would I need?  I would need other parents who are good, loving, smart people that have had a minute of a near fatal oooops, to speak up for me. To help people realize I am not a monster, to stand up and say something, to share their stories.  Perhaps some REAL change can occur, like a child alarm system on car seats?  I don't know.  But trying to tear a mother apart that is already torn apart is not going to save a life.  What MIGHT do some good is to hear more of what many of us have done and been the lucky ones to have caught our mistake before it was deadly... because we got lucky.  Are you one of the lucky parents or a kid that survived.  Please share your story.

Please leave your comments.  By the way, I will remove comments that ridicule and do more harm than good at this point.  The judicial system will do what it will do.  God will do what he will do.  This blog is not for that kind of thing.

Another great article: article urging sympathy

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Ennis Family newsletter December 2013

I am not sure I will actually get a real physical newsletter or card out.  To be honest, I have the past 2 years newsletters still in a pile on my desk.  Yes, I am that person. I have great intentions and then... Oh well.  So, instead of pretending that I will actually get it done and out and mailed to all the people that love (or maybe even actually care what is going on in my family's world) I will just blog it.  I love technology.  That reminds me of a song...

Ok the Ennis family news:
Our life has been a whirlwind this past year (or 2)
We moved (again).  we made the decision to simplify and reduce clutter and extras and did something I never thought we would do.  We moved into a BASEMENT!  Holy cow!  Granted it's a 3 bedroom, 2 bath basement.  It's one block away from where Bill and I work and our kids are close by when we have to be at the office.   Bill's Rental Shop and Michelle's fitness studio are right next door to each other and the kids' schools are close by as well. So that works for us.

Bill has really picked up business with Dig Paddlsports renting Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.  He even put on a 3 race series this year at Sand Hollow resevoir.  It was a smashing success and we are excited to continue to organize SUP races next year if anyone wants to come play.  He still does graphic design and print brokering and stays super busy with everything he has going on.  During the Summer he is at the lake almost all day 6 days a week on an SUP or kayak. He loves taking the whole family on outings to the lake.  

Michelle - (Me) has experienced a lot of changes with the fitness business I started up a few years ago.  Phazes Fitness has experienced a lot of ups and downs but is growing steady and is a lot of fun to do.    The St. George marathon was days after my 40th b-day and was Full of laughs and giggles and good memories as about 30 or more friends ran in memory of a dear friend that passed away in a tragic cycling accident. I told Bill that it would be my only marathon, but I had way too much fun running with friends that purposefully ran slow and came in close to or very last place before the cut off time.   It was a party!   My life has been changed by the passing of Braydon and I've adopted "Booyah!" into my language along with thousands of others that loved Braydon.  The most defining time of my life this year was his passing.  My friends and family and faith have become more clearly meaningful.
Enjoy Braydon's song 
I continue to teach Zumba, bootcamps, Pilates and SUP fitness classes.

Evan turns 16 in January.  He participated in tennis last year and did great.  His coach wants him to keep at it and say he has a lot of natural talent.  We tried homeschooling Evan last year.  That was silly.  So he is back at public school and working twice as hard to make up for lost time.  Plus he never wants me to try and homeschool him again so he's working harder than he has ever worked to prove he can be a success.  And he is.  I am so proud of the young man he is becoming.  Evan joined the Speech team.  On his own.  We were broke when it came time to sign up for the team. So I told him not this year but maybe next year he could do it.  Evan worked his butt off and paid for the fee himself.  He went to his first tournament and came home with a big smile on his face.  I asked him how it went.  Grinning ear to ear he said "I LOST!" - with a HUGE Smile.  So, wanting to be a good mother and encourage him to improve next time, I asked "what would you change next time so you could do better?"  Evan's response, "THE RULES!" -still with that monster smile.  He said the best part of the whole adventure was the bus trip.  I love that kid.  He is a lot like his parents.  Good or bad?  sure.

Gabriel... Holy cow that kid has changed so much this year.  Gabe turns 14 this month.  
He has been going to a charter school for the past year and a half.  It's a school focused on the arts and technology.  Perfect for a kid that loves theater and computers.  He's become quite the actor and goes around the house singing.  All.  The. Time.
clicke here to enjoy some of Gabe's lovely singing voice...  and me lying to him.  
His best friend's name is Shelly.  yeah...  I was worried.  She is a lot like me.  Funny, smart, talented, a bit of a spazz.  and a great friend to Gabe.  Everyone teases them about being girlfriend and boyfriend and Gabe and Shelly get mad and reassure all of us that that is NOT how it is.  I am still keeping my eye on them.  Shelly is cute and shares my nickname, that could be dangerous.  I have friends at the School that keep tabs on Gabe for me and told me he was the life of the older grades' dance party a few weeks ago.  Apparently he was dancing wildly on his own.  I asked him if he danced with any girls, to which he responded "of course not mom!  I'm not old enough for contact with the opposite gender"..... ummmmm..... ok.  I will accept that answer. Actually we then had a talk about appropriate social skills and dancing with girls being ok.

Ilia, Ilia, Ilia... what do you say about a barely 12 year old going on 25?  She is tall and pretty and so fun to be around.  I love the fact that she and I can really hang out and have fun together.  She takes pride in her schooling and is self motivated.  Her biggest flaw is her biggest talent.  She is so self motivated that she never really feels the need to get help for anything, or permission either... 2 months grounded was the highlight of her year.  She enjoys dancing and was able to take part with a small local dance team here in Hurricane Utah.  As a beginner Hip hop team, they took first place in a regional tournament and went on to compete at Lagoon and placed Nationally.  They are a cute bunch of kids.  Ilia can be found dancing and singing and listening to loud music.  I am constantly telling her "Turn that down!"
The other day she promptly responded "why should I?  You listen to your music really loud."  To which I responded "That will be 20 pushups for talking back".  
To which she responded "But MO- O -OM!"
(by the way, I only have the music loud during Zumba)

Dane - He calls himself my love man.  He turned 9 in November.  A great kid. Smart and funny.  He LOVES Boy scouts and cuddling.  Seriously, his smile is awesome.  He is the first one to give a hug when I walk in the door.  I will never get tired of hearing "MOM!" promptly followed by a huge hug.  It makes my day.  Dane is a great student.  I think he is the first son of mine to be so self motivated at a young age.  His teacher says he always turns in his homework and does extra credit and gets top scores on his tests.  I didn't even KNOW he had homework.  wow.  What a joy he is.  I love him to pieces.  Plus his dimple on his cheeks and bright blue eyes light up the room.

Ferrell -  turned 6 in October.  He was my best birthday present ever.  Ferrell, like his older siblings, is very independent.  I will never have to worry about him starving if something happens to me.  That kid takes care of himself.  We have almost outgrown his wandering stage where he would leave the house unannounced and go to the grocery store to get a cookie from the bakery.  At ages 3-5 the cops had to bring him home a few times and I got questioned about my abilities as a mother.  Great.  The kid would undo the child locks, move stools to reach the latches.  You name it.  You turned your back for a seconds and he was out the door going wherever he felt he needed.  The good news, Bill and I now work closer to home and When Ferrell does wander away, it is either Home or the offices - just a block.  Better news... it's happening a lot less these days.  Seriously, you can't even take a shower or do the dishes without turning around and having Ferrell out the door on his own impromptu adventure.  His kindergarten teacher says he's a genius and is the only kid in class that can go forward and backward on the monkey bars all the way both times.  I couldn't be more proud.  Unless he had  a bucket on his head and was running into walls.  

Our life is full of fun and crazy stuff.
As I have been prompted to grow my fitness business, I have often wondered how it fits in with my faith and feelings on the importance of mother's being home with their kids as much as possible.  I used to judge mothers that worked outside the home.  But as I have made the choice to do so and have felt impressed to try and make a difference in the health of our community, I have found myself Praying for inspiration from God.  A few years ago as I was working with a young boy age 10 that had just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and needed a LOT of help learning about how he could change his life.  I realized I was late coming home.  I thought about rushing through with this child and getting home quickly.  The words came to mind "this boy needs you right now.  Your kids will be fine."  In fact the impression I had was so strong and was not from me.  I knew my kids were ok.  I knew they had a good father, they had a good support system.  Truly when I look at my kids, I realize God has blessed us.  It isn't anything Bill or I have done to raise them.  In fact, they have had to do a lot of raising themselves.  But amazing spirits have been sent to our home and I feel blessed.  

This Christmas season, we are living simpler lives.  I am reflecting on how God has blessed us through our challenges.  I am grateful for the loss of our too big of a house. I am grateful for feeling closer to my family.  Maybe a smaller house does bring families closer together - literally?
I feel that way.

Our family has a firm faith in Jesus Christ. We are grateful for the teachings in the Bible and the Book of Mormon and love our Prophet on earth today.
Jesus was born in April, but we are glad the early Christians adopted this season so we could have Winter AND the spring to celebrate loudly, with music and food, God's love for us.

And I decided I like digital blogged newsletters with video clips.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

a celebrity had their funeral today.

I attended a celebrity funeral today.  Maybe you've heard of this rockstar?  His name was Braydon Neilsen.  No?  Well... Maybe he has never been featured in any big new until his death.  But by the outpouring of love and the numbers of people that showed up to his funeral and the overwhelming display with the procession as his casket holding his body was headed to it's final resting place....
Helicopter, Emergency response vehicles, 150 (ish) cyclists... a full on mini parade... accompanied this man as he made his way to his final resting ground.  If you didn't know it was "just Braydon" you might have thought That... I don't know... Clint Eastwood's (???) funeral was being held here. Or maybe Elvis?

There was such a HUGE outpouring of love today from the community.
I came a couple of minutes early for the funeral, but it was already packed and I had to sit in the back of the overflow.  people were still pouring in.  I had no idea that this large church building had an additional overflow, but it did and a few minutes later, another screen opened in back to make room for all the friend and family of Braydon that were still pouring in.  Wow...  just wow...

The service was good.  We heard great remarks from Braydon's friends and neighbors and church leaders.  Remarks that Tri club president, Ryan Duckworth shared also included remarks from facebook from MANY friend of Braydon.

after the funeral was the processional... a GRAND processional.  It was overwhelming for me.  I am highly emotional in the first place, so that doesn't help.  I was standing near some friends, Shane and Karrie Neilson, and Dustin and Melanie Roberts and another couple I did not know the names of.  As the procession began to go past the 100's of us watching... I saw the other couples hold each other a little tighter.  Husbands and wives clung to eachother.  Many people were tearing up.  My husband, Bill, had decided he was going to send Braydon out the same way he had met him.... on his 6 foot long board.  I was running in the Hostess Half Marathon, so was Braydon.  My husband no longer runs and was skateboarding alongside us.  Braydon and Bill struck up a conversation and just like Braydon is with everyone... they became friends.  Braydon and I bonded over twinkies and Donettes and running.  That was... December 2010 I believe.    Since then, I have had opportunities to run with or past or start races with Braydon.  I'll admit, I used to think being toward the front of the pack was the best place to be.  I soon learned that the party was wherever Braydon was.  So, when I felt like keeping an easier pace, I would laugh and talk and jog with Braydon.  Usually I would eventually say "see you at the finish!"  He'd give his signature "Booyah!" and cheer me and whoever else on as we passed him up.
As I saw the Tri club ride by on their bikes and my hubby go by... I felt a huge wave of emotion overtake me.  I put my arm around the woman next to me - a complet stranger - and said "you don't mind do you?  I need someone right now and my hubby is out there with them."  She was cool with it.  After a few seconds and seeing more and more bikes ride by.  I just dropped down. I had to sit.  The feeling of love from the people that knew Braydon was immense.  I could not stand up.  I sat and sobbed.  part of it was of course sorrow.  but mostly it was just overwhelming to be surrounded by this outpouring.  To see and feel the love of so many people for one simple man...  It touched me deeply.

Bill and I are not triathletes.  But as water support at nearly every southern utah triathlon for the past 4 years, we feel a real connection to the sport.  My runner/triathlete friends would get in the water and I couldn't tell  who was who because of all the matching swim caps and black wetsuits.  I usually never could get an opportunity to say "hi" to my buddies as they would swim by me while I sat in my kayak or was on my Paddleboard.  But Braydon...  he ALWAYS,  ALWAYS would stop his swim, poke his head out of the water  and say "Hi Michelle, Hi Bill!  Good to see you!  Thanks for volunteering!"  sometimes he would come over the kayak to catch his breath, but usually, he really did just want to say hi.  I have a few triathlete friends that will occassionally stop to say hi.  But most of my buddies are seriously trying to beat a time or maybe place in the top of their division.  So their heads are in the water, they are NOT looking for me and we never get a chance to say hello as they swim past.  It doesn't bother me at all.  After all... we are both there to do a job.  Mine is to help struggling swimmers, theirs is to do their best and finish their race strong.  I'm not there for social hour with my tri buddies.  But Braydon somehow always managed to make my day with his huge smile and his "Booyah!".

Braydon never won any race if by winning we mean being one of the fastest guys across the finish.  nope.  Not Braydon.    Braydon wasn't even usually in the first half of the finishers.  In fact usually those of us who crossed the finish line before Braydon we would wait and see him coming in toward the back of the pack if not dead last and we would all start cheering him on.  He would cross that finish line as if he just won an Olympic gold medal.  Huge smile.  Never disappointed.

So... what made him so great?  Why the huge procession?  Why the parade?
What was that all about?

I think I finally learned a lesson I have been taught every Sunday in church since I was a little girl.
"Jesus said love everyone.  treat them kindly too.  When your heart is filled with love, others will love you."
"You can share the love of Jesus Christ by being a good example and living a life full of love."
"The best way to serve others is to love others"


Wow.  You showed me. And the Community watched and learned from your simple example.  THAT is why the parade today.  You loved and lived what most of us have yet to learn.  HUGE HEART!

I had a talk with my kids about this yesterday.
I was trying to make sense out of why God would allow a man like Braydon to be taken from his 4 young kids and loving wife.  How incredibly tragic.  How could this be fair?   But as I watched the outpouring from the community following his death I came to realize something amazing.  Braydon's life and example mean so much more to me right now then it would have if he had lived to be 96 years old.  That sucks.  I know.  It doesn't make things easier for those that love him to think about it.  So forgive me as I try to find a reason behind why he left this life so young.  So just go with me on this little journey for a minute.

Braydon was a cool guy.  He was friendly and full of heart. There is no one like him out there that I know.  BUT... I don't think I realized just HOW amazing he was/is until I realized he was gone.  I don't think his life lessons were as impactful to me and maybe the community until after his death.  I am sorry if that sounds heartless.  Please forgive me.  But I hope it will make sense a little more when I am done here.

When I read the scriptures, I am touched by the lives of people who really meant very little to the world until they were gone.  There is example after example of great human beings who were metaphors to the life of Jesus Christ - who also would have only been a good teacher if there had been no early death.  Now, i am NOT saying that Braydon is just like Jesus.  BUT....

As I was talking to my kids about all this and one of my little ones said to me, "Mom, was your friend just like Jesus?"  I grinned.  "Well...  Jesus taught us to love and asked us to try and be like him and love everyone.  And Braydon did that.  So, yeah,  I guess so.

Braydon loved everyone.  Everyone loved him back.  Braydon was determined regardless of the obstacles.  He inspired me.  I remember watching Braydon in an event and being a little judgemental, I thought to myself... "If I guy that size can do that, then so can I."  I found out I was wrong.  It's not a size of the body that makes a person capable.  It's the size of the heart and Spirit.  Braydon's body had to be a little larger to house his monstrous spirit that made him more capable than most of us average people.

It was because he got inspired years ago to do more that he was able to, that he then was able to meet more people that were touched by him.  It's because I got off the couch 5 years ago and decided to do more, that I was privileged to know him.  When you sweat next to someone and cross finish lines together over the years... you can really learn to love them.

Like 100's and maybe thousands of others... I am a fan of Braydon and my life is better not just because of his life, but sadly also because of his death - he means more to me than ever and I will take this tragedy and learn from it.
Only a small part of his fan club showed up at his funeral today and there were 100's of us cheering Braydon on as he made his way back to his Heavenly Father.  Booyah! To the greatest celebrity I have ever had the privilege of knowing.  What an amazing tribute today from all your friends.  Love you and miss you!  And yes, we will work on getting that lifesize Braydon cutout to do future races with us.  We need your smile to pull us through those tough moments.  By the way... Braydon, I thought about skipping my training run this morning.  Thought of you after I hit snooze a million times.  The thought "what would Braydon do?"  came to mind.  So I said a quick "BOOYAH!"  jumped out of bed, threw my excuses aside and went for my run.  thanks again for your life and example to me Braydon.   Now what I need to do is learn from people while they are still with me here in this life. I want to tell people how important they are to me while they are here.  So if I get extra gushy and hug you and tell you I love you and how much you mean to me and I start crying... just know, I am still trying to figure out how to express myself correctly without embarrassing me.

It's been fun reading other friends thoughts about Braydon. - I read Jason Smith's Facebook post - awesome.
plus here is more of some of the tributes I have read online...

words shared by Ryan Duckworth:

Cory Reese AKA "Fast Cory":

Friend Cherie Santiago:

I am sure there are more out there.  Everyone deals with sorrow, pain, anger, etc... differently.  Me... I have to write it out.  Thanks for "listening".

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sometimes it's just so hard....

I need to write to clear my head right now.  This is my method of dealing with stress.  Sometimes doing what you know you are supposed to do, no matter who it hurts, no matter the negative consequences, no matter who thinks you made the biggest mistake ever, no matter the backlash, is the hardest thing in the world to do.

For several months, almost  a year, I have been considering moving a class I want to develop into the spot of another trainers class at my fitness studio.  There is no "good way" to do it.  The trainers that work for me are great.  But, I needed to make this change.

The individual I chose to replace I have wanted to include in other ways in other Phazes programs, but I just could not figure out how to make it all work.  So I let her go and replaced her with my dream.

Was it the right thing, or the wrong thing to do?

I probably did it the wrong way. I KNOW my timing sucked.  I am sure my method sucked eggs.  I texted her.  Yuck.

I hate me sometimes.

I couldn't do face to face or over the phone.  I was too nervous and I knew I had to do it right away to give her time to make adjustments quickly in her life as needed.

Sure enough.  backlash, I knew would happen is happening.

I will lose clients.  I may have lost friends.  I hurt.   I may have hurt her.  I was supposed to be a friend and I wasn't.  ugh.

And yet... I still know this is the path I have to take.  I have known it for a long time and have tried to avoid it in so many other ways.  I have to move forward, with or without friends.  With or without support from people I hoped would understand.

I can build a business.  I can do sales calls.  I can do hard things.  This is my new challenge I have to stand up to.

On a brighter side... I am excited to show this new format to my idea and get my classes built up again after the initial shock of losing the other trainer.  I know people will follow her wherever she goes.  I've always known that.  I know people will talk about why THEY THINK I let her go.  There will be harsh rumors about it.  I've had worse things said about me that were not true.  There will be a lot of assumptions.  Bring it.

"You can't hold out for universal popularity" - Dumbledore

Chin up.  Moving forward with my goals....
I was about to apologize for my plans that conflict with others lives.  I shouldn't have to.

I am glad I still have great friends that hold me up when I need support.  This is a rough thing.  It is NOT the hardest thing I have had to do, but it is hard, nonetheless.  I did shed tears over it.  because I do care, but I have to appear professional and not emotional.  I get attached to people and have difficulty putting my goals and business first. I actually did that this time.  It hurt like hell.  I hope I can heal quickly.  I need to surround myself with good people that can see my vision.

I need some Yoga and deep breathing right now....  ohhhhmmmmm.....

Good thing we are having a dance Party and yoga afterward for FHE.  I REALLY need it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

One more day...

Nothing prepared me to see my mom like that... wheeled in from surgery, anesthesia coursing through her to keep her from feeling the full effects of the pain, pale from blood loss, mostly incoherent and moaning in pain.  I took a deep breath and just looked at my mom but all I saw was my Grandmother, my mom's mom.  My mind flashed back to a memory that has never left me.  8 year old me visiting my Grandma in the hospital before she passed.  I remember being scared of the tubes, wires and the sick old lady passing from this life to the next.  It is the most vivid memory I have of my Grandmother.  And here she was again.  I was a scared little girl once again.  My dad was by mom's side, letting her know he was there and he loves her.  I was back by the window unsure of my place in this room.  Dad beckoned me over.  Snapping back to the present, I tried hard to put the unsure scared little girl away and be a comfort to my parents.  I touched my mom's hand and kissed her on the forehead.

7:30am that morning my mom had gone in for surgery.  A tumor the size of a cantaloupe had attached to one of her kidneys.  The past month from when she found out what was wrong with her until the day she went in for surgery has been a time of deep reflection and prayer for me and my entire family.  I have had amazing moments with my mom, dad, siblings, my own kids and I have been lucky enough to re-connect to relatives I haven't spoken to in many many years.  My great Uncle "Dutch" and my Aunt MaryEllen were just 2 of the people I was able to re-connect with.

When mom found out she had a mass, the first impression was just that this was it.  My mom was going to be gone, was I ready?  Was she?  Were my kids?  Had I spent enough time with her? (the answer was no to nearly all of those.)

But then , Mom received blessings.  I am glad to belong to a family of faith. The 10 kids and cousins and grandkids and friends prayers started.  The power of prayer is the most amazing and probably least understood power on the face of this earth. The diagnosis improved.  No mass on the liver after all, just her kidney, she will be more likely to live.  deep breath...

My sister Lisa called me.  I felt her love and concern and hope that I could pass on her love for her mom.  She asked me to be with mom and take good care of her.  It was good to hear from Lisa.
Mom and Dad and I took my 5 year old along for a lunch at Olive Garden a couple of weeks ago.  My mom was in good spirits. Enough so that she was wanting to toss her coaster across the room at a lady that looked grouchy at another table. "Doesn't she just need a good coaster to the head?  When I do something uncalled for I can just act senile or I can just tell everyone I only have a few days to live or something and really play up this sick thing real good. The best is crying when telemarketers call and laying it on thick with them." She smiles her devlish grin my mom gets when she has some wicked fun thoughts in her head.  Mom was still mom.  Devilishly fun mom.  I made some wise crack about cancer I thought was funny I don't remember now- since she was joking about dying I could joke too. Mom got serious...  "we are not saying the "C" word.  All it is, is a mass that needs to get out - that is all the power I am giving it - no more!"  She didn't like my stupid comment.  I got the message.  Only positive thoughts.  Got it!

My kids have been praying like mad for my mom.  It's been sweet to talk to them about their grandma Pat and see the love they have for her.  They all adore her.

Tuesday morning my mom went in for Surgery. I got a sub for most of my classes other than bootcamp and night Zumba and went to sit with my dad and hold his hand at the hospital.  I treasured the time we spent together.  I can't think of any time in my life where me and my dad have been able to just be together and talk for HOURS without anyone else.  I do believe this was a first.  It may be an only for all I know.  So that time together was most precious to me.  we enjoyed breakfast and lunch at the hospital cafeteria - by the way - really good food there for really cheap!  I think I may have to take Bill out on a date to the Hospital cafeteria sometime soon.  No one asked if we were there for anyone.

All my in laws were in town for my 8 year old son's baptism. They all just happened to still be around when my mom went into surgery. 
My Father in Law came to visit Dad and I as we were waiting.  His wife had passed not to long ago from an aggressive cancer and he was concerned for my mother.  I never realized how connected to all this he felt until I saw him there talking with my own dad about his experiences.  He stayed with us until The doctor came to give us good news.  Grandpa Ennis was relieved as much as my dad and I.  I think he needed this as much as anyone else, maybe just to heal some wounds from his own sadness and heartache from not too long ago. and He went back to California.

3 hours is a looooong time to wait.  at 10:30 my dad and I were both nervous and anxious.  Every time a door opened with a doctor or nurse coming from the operation wing, dad and I were straining our necks to see if it was for us.

The Doctor finally came to report.  Good news - the tumor is out!  They removed one kidney, but that shouldn't be a problem.  A rib was broken during surgery and that will mean a longer recovery and a lot of pain.  But the best news of all - no cancer anywhere else in the body.  The tumor was cancerous but it was not very aggressive as far as it had not attached to anything other than the kidney. There had been loss of blood, but she would be just fine.

Deep sigh....

My mom would be here for another day.

It looks like God has granted us more time together.

Yesterday my husband brought the kids to come see Grandma in the hospital right after she was out of surgery and recovery.  I asked my mom how she felt about seeing them.  "Not right now, not today, not like this."  Good.  I agree.  I remembered the trauma all too well of seeing my grandma in that condition.  I don't want my kids to see that right now.  In a while she will feel better, her color will be back, her smile will return.  I explained to my kids that Grandma had a serious surgery and was not able to see them just yet.  Dane (8 years old) started to cry...  "I don't want Gramma to die."  Ilia had tears in her eyes.
"Oh kids... she is not going to die,  not today, not this time.  Heavenly Father heard our prayers.  she will be fine and just needs to sleep and rest before she sees you.  Maybe she can see you tomorrow or the next day.  But, one day Grandma will go. She will want to see her Heavenly Father again.  She will want to hold her little boy that has been in heaven for 50 years waiting for her.  She will want to hug her daddy that died when she was little.  and when that day comes, it will be a sad day and we will miss her.  But that is not today.  When that day comes you will know that she will be in one of the best places ever. But today, we just let her rest and we enjoy our time with her while we have her with us.  we are pretty lucky that she moved out here just for you to spend time with you."

Conversations with my mom and dad about death have been good.  I want my mom to stay.  I want my kids to know her more and I think she is one of the greatest people on the planet.  But I have had a lifetime with her and I feel full. 
Mom has a son, brothers, half siblings, a mom and dad and so many others waiting to see her on the other side.  Every time I pray to keep my mom here with me, I feel selfish.  What about her son she lost when he was 4 years old?  wouldn't she want to see him again soon?  what about her favorite brother or her mom or her dad that passed when she was 8 years old.  Don't they deserve some time with her?
My mom is 73.  She outlived the age her mother passed.  She has a great legacy.  Death is not something I wouldn't want for her at some point.  I guess in God's time, not ours. whatever that is.
I want for her.... whatever it is that my mom wants for herself.  and for now, it is just a little more time here to finish a few things, hug some more grandkids and possibly serve a mission. I hope for that for her.

For now, I just pray that she can figure out how to make her pain killer button work, you know the one she has on an IV that she just presses a button and more meds are administered.  Yeah... I hope it works well for her.    I plan on enjoying our one more day together.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

I finally figured it out!

I have weird guilt pangs on Mother's day sometimes.  You see... I am not the sterotypical mom that stays home and bakes goodies and has a clean home.  I work long hours and when I come home we quickly throw some food together, do a fast 15 minute tidy of the house and I might take a nap. and then go to work again.  I crash after a long day at work around 10pm and I wake up at 5am.  so... yeah... I work hard but not too hard in the house.  I often feel guilty about it but I feel like I am doing what I am supposed to be doing right now.  I know there are a lot of things for me to get better at and figure out.  But this is my life as it currently is.
Last Sunday as I was in church with my family some of the speakers were discussing memories of their moms (It was Mother's day).  Memories of coming home to an immaculate house with cookies or pies or cakes in the oven.  and so on...   I wondered - what will my kids memories of me be?  What will they think of me?  Am I a failure as a mother that my kids won't have memories of me baking in the kitchen? 
A few weeks ago we were volunteering as a family at the Ironman this week it's the Relay for Life.  It seems like we are always involved in events in the community.  It's what I love to do.
Last night I set up a tent at the Relay for Life and I played with my kids all night.  My 2 little boys were playing hard and running all over the place.  My daughter was talking with a friend and having a great time walking around the track for a good cause.  At night when I finally found a moment to lay down in the tent next to my little ones sound asleep and wrapped more blankets over them, I put my arm around one of my kids and I thought to myself "I hope this is the memory my kids have of me.  That we did things together.  I hope they don't feel deprived of a mother that bakes.  I hope they know I love them because of what we go do."  

This activity and this way of me being me doesn't make me better or worse than any other mother and the way they do things.  It was just nice to come to a realization that I was OK.  That I was good enough and doing a good job.  I kissed my 4 year old on the cheek before I drifted off and said "I love you Ferrell"  He grinned and whispered "I love you most mom."  "I thought you were asleep."  "nope I'm not tired" (he says with his eyes closed as he snuggled his teddy bear).  "Did you have a good day kiddo?"  "yup... I was in a race mom.  It was awesome." And he closed his eyes again and went back to sleep.

That was the cake I just baked for my kids.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

the craziness of it all

I'm in a bad mood as I write this.  I do my best writing when I am irritated. My husband and I are both small business owner.  Bill operates a design and print business, I own a fitness studio, the 2 of us together operate a kayak and SUP rental and sales business.
As small business owners we do EVERYTHING!
Take my business as a fitness studio for instance:
I do almost all of the fitness training, sales, bookkeeping, marketing, data entry, housekeeping, customer service, etc...  the list goes on and on and on...
Around Tax season I am asked to then make an inventory list of EVERYTHING in my studio I purchased for business and then to pay taxes on all of that (again - yearly).
So the weights, mats, books and magazines, CD's, notebooks, paperclips, chairs, tables, magnets holding my display board up, the display board, the hammer and nails, the desks,  You name it... EVERYTHING that exists in my studio I am supposed to itemize, keep track of the costs (if I acquired it for free I need to get an actual cost if I were have to buy it)  Then after I figure out EVERYTHING I have for my business, I have to categorize it into categories that make very little sense and then figure out what year everything was purchase and THEN... I get to figure out the taxes owed on all that.  Every year.  So I purchase the items once - pay for taxes then. And since I own a business I get to continue to pay taxes on everything I ever bought every year I am in business.
I am not a fan of taxes.  I hate taking time out of my already busy schedule to tell the IRS every shred of everything I own and every penny I have ever made.  It takes me weeks to figure it all out and it is exhausting and stressful - not to mention the hours I lose being able to work my actual business.

My husband and I are not rich people according to whatever someone somewhere decided was the poverty level.  funny thing though, our kids eat enough food, we have a roof over our heads, we own our own cars (no payments) and we are happy.  Do we have a flat screen TV?  no.  Do we have a new car right off the lot?  no.  Do we pay for health insurance? no. Do we take our kids to the Doctor at the first sign of a sniffle? no.  We cure our own kids with nutrition, essential oils and herbs so we save a bundle on medical expenses. We go to the Lake and play with the whole family.  The kids get to play with us.  We have very little debt (other than a house that we no longer have... another story another day...)  We are very happy and at peace with wehre we are.  BUT  every year we are asked to file a tax return to tell the government how much money we did or did not make.  and every year the IRS sends us a nice sized check.  It's stooopid!  Do we NEED it?  well... who could use a few extra thousand dollars a year sent to them by the IRS?  But do we NEED it?  ugh. I am swallowing hard as I write - no.  We can get by without it.  when that check comes in we plan - well... we could get some more inventory, we could pay for some medical stuff.  we could get some new glasses.  we could get the car fixed.  Nothing fancy for us.  we are pretty simple people.  Some people take vacations or buy new TV's.  Do you realize that every penny we get back is part of the National debt?  anything you purchase with a tax return check is money that doesn't exist.  You are buying stuff with FAKE money!  So really we all have stolen goods if we get a tax return and bought something with it. The money isn't real anymore. 

Bill and I stop our work for a week or to round up receipts, expenses, invoices, mileage, download statements, etc... there is stress on us as we try to deal with each other Him and his lack of organization skills me and my lack of perfection in trying to find every last penny.  (I have a habit of walking away from it and saying "screw it")  So we yell at each other, and get really grumpy.  I snap at the kids and I would rather just NOT do my taxes at all.  After Filing our legally required paperwork every year, we get a nice check.  You know what it's good for?  to make up for the money we lost when we couldn't run our businesses because we were trying to find papers and download files.    I don't need the check. I need to run my business.  I am so tired of people whining that they are "entitled" to tax dollars.  Go work your ass off and quit whining.  I'd send you my check, but I am going to fix my kid's broken bikes and put up a fence for my dog this year.  I'd rather be working than filing my tax return.  Thanks for the money Uncle Sam. Maybe someday you will quit asking for me to prove what I make and I will quit telling you how very little it is and you can quit thinking I need a pity check every year and start paying off some of your own damn debt.  Thanks Uncle Sam. I don't need your medicaid and I don't need your Social Security.  I just need you to leave me alone and let me work!