May 15th, 2013 By Molly
Love this boy.
It’s unimaginable that it was SEVEN whole years ago I was prepared to welcome a third girl into our world. No one told me I was having a girl – girls were just all I knew. But Finn rocked that world with his 11:01 AM arrival that day; the only baby of ours to pick the birthdate of his own choosing. By kick-starting (literally) his own labor two weeks early, despite the planned c-section, May 15th was his day.
He arrived in a flash with a shock of blond hair and immediate boyishness, almost royal-blue eyes and his Daddy’s square jaw. He was different and cuddly and mellow from the start. Where did these seven years go?
Finn is curious – I’ve written about his “what if” questions at length on this blog, which suffers greatly from my new gig and lack of time. The Finnisms continue in spite of my inability to record them here! He seeks to understand and think about his world in so many ways and we just love to watch his personality evolve. Last night, he was on 3rd base with bases loaded, when the batter hit a pop fly that was caught. The more advanced opposing team quickly made outs on 1st and 2nd, leaving the team of 6 year olds blindsided by the first triple play they’d ever seen. Finn played the field in the next half and then ran to Mike, requiring an explanation for what happened before he could go on. It’s like that all time. It’s as if he’s thinking, “Okay, let me get this down before I move forward.”
He is all boy still, with some sort of tick magnet and the ability to play outside for hours without food or water. He comes home dirty and happy and ravenous. He loves and excels at sports and will play anything, if given the chance. We still can’t tell what his thing will be and that is certainly okay. We’d rather watch him play it all and figure out what he loves to do. In my humble opinion, he is a GREAT little writer, with an attention to detail that’s pretty darn impressive. Reading his school journal this year has been the highlight of 1st grade for me. I’ve found myself emailing his teacher on occasion to inform her that we don’t own homes in Florida and North Carolina, or that he does not stay up until 2 AM at sleepovers, but nevertheless I am enthralled with his creativity! When it comes to schoolwork, he’s careful and consistent, always — like the baseball game — making sure he has it mastered before moving on. I’m happy to say, at this point, he does not have his Daddy’s handwriting, but pretty much everything else!
I’m not sure what it is about a boy, but the cuddliness is just the best. There’s a way this kid can curl up into me like no one else. While life prevents these moments from being frequent enough, they are cherished beyond measure.
Finn is funny. When I asked what he wanted for a birthday dinner, my new FT working mom mind was thinking “restaurant”, but Finn wasn’t. Finn said, “Ooh that awesome pasta salad with the tricolor rotini, salami and black olives! But do you have the ingredients??” (No, but you can bet I will get them!) Finn is loving and thoughtful and warm. He is creative and kind of heart. He always wants to help. He is intuitive and smart. He is a good brother. Finn is everything wonderful.
He is my boy. My baby boy. And today, he is seven.
March 29th, 2013 By Molly
I was a true “spring breaker”. In both high school and college, I had the opportunity to travel to sunny places with big dreams of cute boys and a bronze tan. I’m sure we saw cute boys, but my fair skin usually gave way to burn before I tanned. There was plenty of beer and other craziness, but a relatively safe and good time was had by all.
On this year’s Spring Break, my first in about 15 years, I learned a few things, the biggest of which is that I’m now old. We’re not even visiting a place I would consider a Spring Break haven (we did this on purpose), but it has been an eye-opener for sure. Here are a few observations, in which I have no doubt my “oldness” will ring true:
1. Teens and college students are rude. This isn’t a complete shock as I have a tween, but they walk in front of you to get in elevators, disrupt your happily playing children in the pool and are so, so loud. They’re old enough to carry a fully-packed cooler to the beach and young enough to get in the elevator and press all 15 buttons, right before your eyes.
2. Beer bongs are all the rage. I remember these contraptions, but they weren’t like a daily necessity. They’re now a mass-marketed item, Spring Break-branded and and for sale at every cheap beach trinket store. And they’re also in the hands of the vast majority of partiers walking down the streets.
3. A uniquely decorated Spring Break drink holder is apparently standard issue. They are giant, gallon-sized OJ or other juice bottles blinged-out and bedazzled with paint, glitter, jewels and Greek letters. And they all contain some sort of unidentifiable, probably lethal, beverage. I believe it’s this lethal concoction that leads to the horrible sunburns on most of these strange creatures.
4. (Almost) everyone in Destin attends Alabama. You can hear “Roll Tide” all day long, from every balcony and gang of inebriated children.
5. Bikinis and girls have gotten smaller, but their boobs have gotten bigger. The rest of me has gotten bigger. Did I ever dress like this?
6. Even on vacation, every teen and college student has a cell phone in their hands. AT ALL TIMES.
7. Drinking on the beach is a bad plan. We’ve seen plenty of young people in dire straits. I do not like this look into the potential possibility of my children’s futures. I have decided they will stay like this forever:
8. Every woman, from every town, of every age, has been to a “Thirty-One” party and purchased a large rectangular tote bag.
9. No matter your age, no matter your vacation location, it’s never fun to go home. Today is our last day and we’ll be making the most of it!
10. Hoards of Spring Breakers or not, I’ll truly miss my office view!
March 28th, 2013 By Molly
It started out so harmless. Windy, but the warmest day we’d feel during our week away according to all reports. We woke early and headed to the beach, where the surf was a little scary, if you ask me. But there were kids everywhere; desperate northerners ready for water and sand, no matter how they got it. Our three kids were no exception.
After a walk and a shallow swim, we headed to some wind-reprieve poolside. We found it, and the kids made a new friend, too. Elianna and Logan really hit it off and all four swam, hot-tubbed and chicken fought the day away. We also met Elianna’s dad Allen, visiting his parents from Tennessee. Midday, we fought the waves once more and then came back to the pool. Around 3 PM, Elianna arrived with two boogie boards and asked if Logan could go try them out on the surf. Mike and Allen took them out to the beach.
What happened next comes from all four, who have recounted the event in the days since. After lots of boogie board fun, Mike says that he started to notice that the girls were struggling to get back to shore. The men quickly made their way out to them, Logan finding a lucky spot just outside the trouble area, gaining a foothold and making her way to Mike and out of the water. When he looked back out, he knew that Allen and Elianna were in trouble. He went right back out.
Initially, they were all together, trying to keep their heads above water, stay connected and make their way back. Just moments earlier, the dads discussed how you don’t fight a riptide, that you head out diagonally until you can get back in down shore. But once caught in a riptide, it doesn’t take long for rational thinking to morph into panic, and you’re just fighting for your life.
And Mike says that’s just what he was doing, that he couldn’t believe the power this riptide had over him and that he could barely help Allen and his daughter. Within an unknown period of time, he began to believe he was actually going to drown and he hesitated calling for help, as he didn’t want to put anyone else in danger. Twenty feet away he could see young kids playing in the very same water, yet each unforgiving overhead wave zapped his strength and prevented him from gaining control. He was exhausted, but he made the right decision and screamed for help. Allen, who was just as tired, took his lead and started yelling too, telling us later that it never even dawned on him to call out until he heard Mike do it. So strange how the brain works in moments like these.
The story gets sketchy here, as both Mike and Allen don’t remember this part clearly. And poor Logan sat watching from the side in terror as her Daddy struggled and was rescued, so her account is pretty spotty, too. Apparently, lots of people jumped in, including the fully-dressed, shoes and all, security guard from our resort. Soon, they had Mike near shore, crawling through shallow waters as his legs had long since given out. Once out of danger, he collapsed at the water’s edge. Right in front of sobbing Logan.
Elianna’s rescue followed and poor Allen’s was last. By then, he had been in the water long enough to swallow some and become hypothermic. He was taken to a nearby hospital by ambulance. They left Elianna with Logan and Mike, who had just regained some strength.
About this time, two things were occurring to me. 1: the ambulance sirens I was hearing were incredibly loud and 2: Mike is probably about done with this excursion, which is definitely taking longer than expected. Then I saw them coming over the walking bridge, sans Allen. At the same time, Beach Patrol raised the red “No Swimming” flag.
The story goes on because we had to take Elianna to her grandparents, who didn’t know us from Adam. Her grandma opened the door, in her bra, and stood there, unabashed, while we very carefully and unavoidably scared her to death. Elianna burst back into tears, Logan was still weepy, Mike explaining with his chest burning and beyond exhausted and Finn and Riley gasped in total shock at the story AND the grandma in the bra.
Allen turned out to be fine. He called and left a tearful message of gratitude later that night, thanking Mike for keeping Elianna safe until more help arrived. We spent all day Monday with them, too, both men reliving their near death experience and several rescuers stopping by to say “hello”.
While I wouldn’t ever want to relive this and I know Mike wouldn’t either, it sure makes us feel grateful. And helps us to remember not to sweat the small stuff. And serves as a reminder that there are good people out there when you need them. Lots of them. Just waiting to dive in headfirst to save you, no matter how strong you are.
March 26th, 2013 By Molly
Um, it’s been a while. A long while. Like almost forever.
Life is different these days, as I’ve been blessed with an amazing career opportunity that will soon happily be a full-time gig. Strangely enough, I think the official switch from consultant to employee might actually lighten my workload a bit, because I’ll be lucky enough to have a few supportive full-time folks hired right along with me. I’m looking forward to all of this and to the release of a few of my creative juices back toward Grab the Good. I hate that this large block of time has gone by unrecorded – so many cute Finnisms that I’ve missed, funny and challenging family moments that I want to deliver to the kids by way of this strange chronicle. It’s my gift to them and it’s back on the priority list.
It’s “vacation” that has allowed me the freedom to write this week. I use quotes because this is not quite the vacation we had in mind. What was rooted in hopes for toes in warm sand and hours of aimless reading and kid-savoring, has resulted in a whole lot of shivering. Florida temps this morning were about 33 degrees, four degrees warmer than home. Sigh.
But this camp is grabbing the good and trying to make the most of it anyway. The kids are truly impervious to the cold, I mean they are swimming in this ice water and air! On a side note, one of my greatest fears is freezing to death, (there’s a related story that involves a manatee and scuba for another day) so this is not attractive to me in any way. And somehow, I traveled here without a scarf–of which I own too many and am utterly addicted to–so I’m not really enjoying my freezing hours spent poolside. With hands pulled inside sleeves and hood up, I’ll admit that it still counts as a glorious break in routine, still serves as a change of scene. And that’s just what we all needed.
So, I look forward to talking to you this week, and hopefully beyond, as I excitedly forge into this exciting new phase and figure out how it all fits, constantly (in the beginning) reminding myself that change is good. That change is the only way we get somewhere new.
February 7th, 2013 By Molly
It has been a very long week. Apparently, 2013 is the year of broken bones for our brood and hopefully, we’ve had our share. Sunday night at a spontaneous Super Bowl gathering, Finn broke his collarbone.
It was quite comical actually. A few moments in, he came downstairs with a bloody nose. He was chuckling it off, but wanted to let me know. It was an impact-related bloody nose, not the kind that goes on and on. Simple clean up and off he went for the next injury lying in wait.
About an hour later her arrived to show me the sickeningly large bump on his head. If you’ve seen this post, you know his head swells like nobody’s business. No worries on his part, just an informative visit. No ice, no fan fare. Back to the lion’s den.
And then the tide changed abruptly. He rounded the corner 45 minutes later wearing the face no Mom wants to see, a sure sign of bad news. His arm hurt, he said. So I asked, “Can you lift it up?”
“Yeah,” he answered through tears and obliged with lifting it straight up in the air and back down again.
Then he screamed.
So off we went to the ER, where there wasn’t a soul. We were in and out in an hour and fifteen minutes, no doubt to the tune of $1500, at least, a sling, and a confirmed break. (Thank goodness our individual deductibles rose to $2500 per person this year. Not.) Check it out. This thing was ugly!
I intended to post the last few days. I took time off from work and figured my days would allow a few blogging moments. But my charge didn’t allow for that. His pain severe, his requests (and demands) numerous, there was not a moment to spare! But it’s okay, we had lots of Mommy-Finn time.
Yesterday, there was a point when I wondered if he would ever be the same. I worried that his back might be forever curved and that he’d walk with an old man shuffle for the rest of his days. But today, I see the signs of Finn!
Our little man is still moving slowly, but I can tell the pain is more bearable now, the urge to move stronger. He has been so built up and loved by the countless friends and family members that have stopped by to visit, brought or sent a gift, or shared wishes from afar. Thanks to you all for making such a difference to our little dude.
Tomorrow, he’ll go to school for a couple of hours in the afternoon to give it a try and I’m really hopeful that he’ll be good to go by Monday. No backpack duty or PE for six weeks, but able to get around again without so much pain.
When Grandpa visited yesterday, he told us that Finn’s bone will be even stronger after it’s healed than before it broke and I think that’s cool. Just like tough times build stronger character, cracks in the human armor make for stronger humans. That’s some good to grab!