We were on our own again. No more Mendy. No more Eileen. No more Vovo or Vava.
But then again, we were never alone! We have the greatest support system in the world! We may have no anyone directly staying with us, but we have round the clock support from our local friends and neighbors. This is such a comfort!
Now that Nina was done with radiation and I had resumed my role in Teddy's life, things seemed to be a bit more "normal"....at least there was more of a routine. I dropped off Teddy at school and caught up with Holly. Holly has become my rock when it comes to supporting Teddy. She has also become my rock for starting off my day right! I see her at drop off each morning and start my day's "talk-therapy" with her. I might as well start calling her Dr. Holly :) Holly is the perfect kind of friend to start off each morning with. She is calm, kind, centered, and an amazing listener. Holly is also the single most organized person I know....and that is saying a ton because I know a lot of organized people. However, once I told Holly that I was concerned about Teddy's academic progress she was on it without a blink of an eye. She coordinated with Miss Checchio (Teddy's teacher) and created me a spreadsheet of all the topics and resources that our tutors could use to support his instruction! Through friends like Holly, God reminds me that life is good...or at least that small (albeit amazing) pockets of goodness exist in life. Overall, I still believe that the majority of life is shitty....but in the midst of all that shittiness there is good....and each morning Holly's love reminds me of that!
Todd wasn't feeling well and was still sleeping when I returned home. Nina was up and watching Suite Life on Deck. Gotta love Zack and Cody :) We shared a couple slices of toast and then she requested shopping. Yahoo!!! Yip yip yahoo!!! The timing of her request couldn't have been better! I had wanted to work on the "Teddy Gift Project". We still needed to choose a few more gifts and I needed to make sure I had a photo or video of her with each one. We went down town and she picked a few more items. When we returned home, I had her pose with a few of them. She was particularly pleased with the batman underwear she had found at Target. I can only imagine giving these to Teddy when he is a grown man; how he is going to crack up....at least I hope he cracks up. Teddy went through an intense Batman phase. How he loved Batman. One of Nina's first words was, "Yoker" for Joker. We'd be sitting in bed reading a Batman book and she'd point to each picture of the Joker and say in her sweet-whiskey voice, "Yook it's Yoker!" We would laugh each time because it was soooo darn cute!
When I work on this project I get really excited but then again I feel a bit strange about it. I really hope that Teddy will grow to appreciate it! I recognize that initially it may cause pain, to see a photo of his sister with a gift she picked out for him, but not having her there to give it to him in person. I just recognize that he is a little boy...only 8, and his memories of her will become fuzzy. I know he will never forget her but his memories will become fuzzy. How many of us have crystal clear memories from when we were 8??? Probably none. Heck, I don't have many crystal clear memories from yesterday! These gifts will just be reminders. He will build a collection of items that when he walks by them, he will remember her!! Please God.....heal her!!!!!!!!! That is all I can pray for!!!! Then she can give him these gifts herself each year!!!!!!!!
Nina and I leisurely ate lunch and hung out until it was time to pick up Teddy. Nina was very happy to see her brother and luckily Teddy was too! Lately, I have noticed him being especially sweet to her. I've caught him going out of his way to hug her, to try to make her laugh...he has always been willing to do just about anything to make her laugh!!! Once we got home, I suggested that Teddy do his homework so he and I could then go out shopping for decorations and supplies for his room. He really wanted a desk lamp and scissors...and tape, a boy has got to have tape and Teddy goes through inordinate amounts of tape! We go through tape like water in our house :) He's constantly taping up some kind of project or creating some kind of booby trap :)
Surprisingly, Teddy thought I had a good plan. He completed his homework with only 2 minor complaints!!!!! So, after he was done we went on our merry way. We had a blast and found everything he wanted and needed. On our way home, we stopped at Vons to pick up a few items. While I was paying, he asked for a quarter so he could get a little gun key chain from a vending machine. I said no but that if he finished more homework without complaints we could come back and get one. That was it!!! He started whining and complaining about how he never gets anything. I ignored him and walked to the car. Once in the car, he unleashed nasty fury, expounding on how unfortunate his life is. I calmly turned to him and we had the following conversation:
perseverate on what went wrong...you forget about the great things."
T: says nothing....just scowls out the window
R: "Son....this is not okay! I will not allow you to grow up into a man that focuses on the negative things in life....
T: still says nothing...scowl still there
R: "Life is full of negative things...but we have two choices....we can either let the negative stuff define us and make us miserable or we can look at the negative stuff and say 'That sucked...that was sad....that hurt' and if there is a solution try to use it, but if there isn't a solution then we can be bummed for a bit and then we can choose to focus on all the blessings we have in our life, all the positive things we have to be grateful for."
T: still saying nothing....scowl lessening...seems to be listening
R: "I will not let you grow up to be a negative man...that is not a healthy way to live...so we are going to work on this for a long time!"
T: turns to me with those gorgeous blue eyes and says, "Mom, I totally respect you for that!! I get it...I totally get it."
R: start to laugh, "Teddy, you're incredible!! I don't know where you came from but you're amazing!!"
R: "Let's go home."
T: "If I do a good job, can we come back?"
R: laughs...."For sure!"
So....we went home, he completed more homework without a hitch and we went back to Vons and bought the stinking gun key chain for 25 cents. Then we walked over to Starbucks and had hot chocolate and a peppermint mocha. Teddy is incredible...pure and simple!!! The conversation we had was unbelievable!!! It was like he was 30 years old and leveling with me!!! Just when I get discouraged, he says something that makes me believe he's getting it, that all the hard work is paying off!!! Parenting is such a wild ride!
As we had our Starbucks, I called my in-laws and shared with them the conversation Teddy and I had earlier. They were having a hard day and I knew they'd enjoy a Teddy story :) Everyone enjoys a Teddy story! Someday I will write an entire book filled with Teddy stories and I am convinced it will be a best seller!!