Monday, December 31, 2007

Fourteen Years Ago

Fourteen years ago I was impatiently awaiting the birth of my daughter, Kelli. It had not been a fun pregnancy. I gained so much water weight the only shoes I could wear were Keds, and I couldn't tie them. I damn near weighed 200 pounds. I did lose 10 pounds the week before I had her, only because I quit work and could sit with my feet up.

I remember it was a really nice day, I think it was about 65 or so. We'd had some snow and rain the week before and my car was filthy. Jessica and I went to three different car washes because the lines were so long. I also had to go to Wal Mart because Jessica needed shoe laces.

We were walking through Wal Mart and all of a sudden I felt like I was going to be sick to my stomach. I quickly loaded up Jessica and went home. I started having contractions. Of course, they would start to be about 6-7 minutes apart, and then they'd go to 9 or 10 minutes.

I made myself a grilled cheese and laid down for a while. My husband started making arrangments for Jessica to spend the night with some friends. He took Jessica to our friends and about 6 we went to the hospital.

Of course, once I walked through the doors, the contractions stopped. I was so mad. I was due on the 20th of December and I'd had enough. Finally, at about 8:30 they sent me home. I told the doctor that I'd be back, I knew I was having this baby tonight. He said, "well, I'm here until midnight so hopefully I'll see you."

We decided to leave Jessica with our friends, just in case. About 10:00 my husband went to bed. I stayed up watching Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve. Around 11:00 I started having contractions again and these were a little more intense. At midnight, I was watching the ball drop saying "10, 9, puff, puff, 6, 5, puff puff." I woke him up and we headed to the hosptial. We only lived about 5 minutes away.

As I was waddling in, I saw the doctor and I said "I told you!" He said "okay, let's go have a baby." Even though he was off he came back until the other doctor got in there.

My labor went really fast - there was no time for drugs or an epidural. At 3:30 a.m. I finally got her out and into the world. I overheard the nurses asking if they'd heard of any other babies being born before Kelli. Kelli was the first baby of 1994 in the Metro East. There was a baby born around 1:30 a.m. in St. Louis.

The newspaper came and took our picture and wrote an article. I looked like a fat blob. Luckily they only used Kelli's picture on the front page of the paper.

It seems like a lifetime ago, but yet it seems so fresh in my memory. Happy Birthday, baby of mine. I miss you so much. Fourteen years wasn't enough time.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Inside and Out

Kelli had to make a model of an element for science class. The teacher wanted them to be creative. We kept thinking of ways to put her element together and we finally came up with using Christmas ornaments. She used a large silver ball as the nucleus and smaller red, silver and green ones for the protons, neutrons and electrons. She made the rings out of green pipe cleaners. It actually was very pretty. She turned it in on Wednesday before she died. She was so proud of it. I was too. She was always so artistic and creative.

I asked her science teacher if I could have it back. He sent me a kind note with it, saying it was one of the most original and creative projects he'd had. He also said she was a good student and a pleasure to have in class. She would have gotten an A on it for sure. I hope she knows that.

I recently got a letter from one of Jessica's professors along with some of her papers from the class. She had to write out some of her values and goals. One of them was to "always love and respect my mom and be grateful for everything she does for me." The professor enclosed a photo of the class. She's wearing her Texas A&M sweatshirt and showing that glamour girl smile. I can't look at it right now.

When I went to buy their burial plots, the lady at the church told me her grandson went to school with Kelli. He thought very highly of her, because she always said hi and talked to him, even though she was a cheerleader and he wasn't one of the cool kids.

I got a phone call from a woman who Jessica babysit for. She was just checking on me, and wanted to tell me how much she and her kids missed Jessica. They said she was more fun than their babysitter they have now.

See, it's stuff like that that breaks my heart all over again. I knew they were great children. Having others tell me is what makes me weep - because I wish, almost more than anything else, that they knew how much they touched others. How others saw the beauty, not just outside, but inside of them. I can't count the stories people told me of the sweet thoughtful things they did. It makes me so proud of them.

The Day After

I was supposed to go back to work yesterday, but Maddy had a cold, so I stayed home with her. Then she felt better, so we went to Wal-Mart. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. We bought some new storage containers to replace the cardboard boxes that currently serve as my Christmas decor storage and a wrapping paper container, which suspiciously resembles a skinnier version of my trash can. Oh well. 'Tis the season for organization, you know.

We also went to the Mall. I must have been mad at me or something. Again, it wasn't as bad as I thought. We had good parking karma and the only store which wasn't packed was Children's Place, which is where we needed to go. We found some good after-Christmas deals, one of which we left in the dressing room. Because I Am A Dork. (See previous post).

Then we hit Office Max. Maddy's daycare provider bought her a label maker for Christmas. Of course, she used up all the label tape which came with it. I believe it was gone within the first hour. She labeled her label maker, her TV, my friend's cell phone, and whatever else she could think of. We wandered around Office Max looking for label tape. Would it be in the section marked "Organization?" Nope. How about the aisle marked "Labels?" Too obvious. It was by the electronics, with the other label makers. Of course! How stupid of me!

It was a good Christmas, considering. Maddy got everything she wanted. Maybe I was compensating for the loss of her sisters. Not that she was spoiled nor did I spend the budget of a small country on her, but I tried to get her everything she said. Her main wishes were a Nintendo DS, Webkinz, a remote controlled car, and the Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader game. Her dad got her the remote controlled car and I did everything else. Of course, her dad broke the car doing burnouts. I thought I was a dork.

The word I would use to describe our Christmas morning - quiet. Just Maddy and me, opening presents. Actually, that's the word I'd use to describe my life now - quiet. As much as I used to wish for peace and quiet in my house, I didn't want it this way.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I Am A Dork

I'm a dork. I admit it. If you don't believe me, here's my dorkiness so far today:

*I got tangled in the dog's leashes today and they almost brought me down. If they'd worked together they might have succeeded.

*I tripped over a waitress today at our holiday luncheon. She was leaning over the table with her leg stuck out behind her. I was looking for my table and not paying attention and walked right into her leg. I almost brought us both down.

*I had the phone tucked between my ear and shoulder while folding laundry. I dropped the phone and it slid across the floor and behind the refrigerator just that much out of reach. So I'm yelling "hold on!" while attempting to retrieve it.

*I sprayed myself in the eye while aiming for my hair. Now my eyebrow will have volume and shine.

Well, that takes us to the present time. Maddy and I are going to have Mexican for dinner and I've got on a white sweater.

Have a great Christmas holiday!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wednesday Bites - The Return

Well, I'm back to work this week. I'm working Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Our department party was today and our firm party is Friday. Excellent planning on my part, don't ya think?


I am keeping my sanity thanks to Post-Its. If I don't write it down, I forget. I've had several really cool ideas for a blog but I can't frickin' remember what they were as I didn't have a Post-It handy. I also have to write down what I'm doing each day or I'll forget an errand. I guess this is practice for when I'm old(er).


Is there anything better for lunch than a grilled cheese sandwich and chicken noodle soup when it's cold outside? That's what I had at Swifty's downtown today. Yum!!


Maddy and I started watching Pee-Wee's Big Adventure last night. We will finish it tonight (we started it late and she had to go to bed). I love that movie. My favorite scene is "I'm trying to use the PHONE!" and then he dances to Tequila on the bar.


Happy Wednesday!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Rah Rah Ree Kick 'Em In The Knee...

Maddy and I went to Mt. Vernon on Saturday. We didn't get as much snow as was predicted, and we left in the afternoon, so it wasn't too bad driving out there. Our room had a balcony which overlooked the atrium where the pool was located. Maddy was oh so excited. I was unloading the baggage cart and when I looked up she was stripped down and digging in her bag for her swimsuit. So we hit the pool, unpacking be damned!

Sunday we went to the competition. I was so nervous for the team. I wanted the girls to do well, not just for Kelli's memory, but also because they've trained so much for competition. Three days a week are devoted to training, and these girls work HARD. I used to do some of Kelli's conditioning exercises with her, and when I say some, I mean a few repetitions of one because my body would say oh please stop you're hurting me.

Anyway, the girls did an excellent job. The final stunt was a full turn stunt, with three girls on top - one on the right and the left, holding up the middle girl who was doing a full split. Then, they turned in a full circle while cheering. Kelli had told me this was a hard stunt because the whole team has to work together to spin the circle and not drop anyone. The coach changed the cheer to include the line "Let's do it for Kelli Uhl." I cried. And cried.

They placed second in the competition. I'm so proud of them.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Maybe she's born with it....

maybe it's Maybelline. Anyone remember this commerical? Or am I the only oldie in the group? Anyhoo, tonight the softball team got together and gave my daughter, Maddy, and I some really nice gifts. They gave Maddy an engraved photo frame with a picture of Jess and Kelli. My good friend also took 10 men to the jewelry store to get me a mother's ring, which oh my gawd made me cry. It is beautiful - it's a split setting with two garnets for Kelli and Maddy and a pearl in the middle for Jessica. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude and thankfulness for these awesome friends of mine. My point about the Maybelline is that I didn't wear mascara because I had a feeling they'd make me cry. In a good way. And they did. I went to the bathroom and I still had racoon eyes. Ah hell, who cares?

Last night was Kelli's cheerleading Christmas party and I took Maddy. I got Kelli's cheerleading picture, which was taken about three weeks before she died. She's just gorgeous in the picture. And it's not just a mom's opinion - the child was beautiful. Ask me - I'll tell you.

This weekend is cheer competition in Mt. Vernon and Maddy and I are going to go and cheer the cheerleaders. I booked a room at the Holiday Inn that overlooks the pool area. It's an hour away but the thought of getting a hotel room and just getting away from here for a couple of days is pretty nice. I think we need a mini-vacay.

Anyway, the kindness of everyone is so overwhelming to me right now. Sometimes the mention of my name reminds a sales clerk of what happened. It's not easy to say "Yeah, that was my girls", but at the same time, the fact that people remember and say "I'm sorry" is sweet.

Thank you, to everyone, for your thoughts, prayers, well wishes and encouragement. I am so thankful to all of you.

Okay, i'ts 2:51 in the morning and I'm done. Must go night night now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Kindness of Strangers

I have never had as many comments on my blog as I have had in the last 24 hours. Thank you so much for your kind words, thoughts, prayers, and offers of help.

It's been a little over two weeks and it still hurts like hell. Sometimes I feel a sense of normalcy and then wham! Something reminds me that I'm so far from normal.

Rumor has it that there are five stages of grieving - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I'm fluctuating between denial and anger right now. Depression is knocking at my door, too. I refuse to let it in. Go away, I'm all stocked up right now.

Some people have said I'm being strong. I'll let you in on a secret - it's all an act. I figure if I fake it long enough I'll convince myself that I'm fine. I'm fine. I'M FINE! Yeah, not so much.

I started this blog for fun, and then I began to use it to help get through my divorce. I think I will use it now to post how I'm feeling, even if it doesn't make much sense.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

I Have No Words

On November 23, 2007, my 18 and 13 year old daughters were killed in a traffic accident. I cannot begin to express what I'm feeling right now. Maybe someday I will have the words but for now, I don't.