Thursday, June 23, 2011

June - Summer and Sunshine

Oy, the Terrible Twos are knocking at our door. CT's 2nd birthday is this weekend and his timing is perfect.

Getting dressed in the morning is an utter battle. It usually takes two of us to get him dressed. The kid apparently likes to be free.

Coming in from outside is an absolute throw down screamfest. Our summers are so short and we love taking advantage of the beautiful whether when we have it so I can't blame him for getting upset. He would play in the rain if we let him. When we close the garage door he drops his head and starts to pout. It is pathetic and cute all at the same time.

When we're playing baseball I usually count to three before I throw the ball. He counts along with me "Eh...Ehhh....Ehhhh" - It's really made me realize how long and drawn out my Minnesotan accent is when I hear him repeat things back to me.

On the talking front...he still only speaks when he wants to. Some days more than others.
Ya - We are currently hearing this more than "Nooooo"
When I try to correct him by saying "Yes" he just nods his head. He must think Yes and Ya have two different words.

No Way - Sounds like Oooo Way!!!

I Love You - It sounds nothing like "I Love You" but his tone mimics mine when I say it first, so I know that's what he's repeating back to me. This is often the case with most of his talking. It sounds like how I say it, but his words aren't very well articulated.

We took him to the Tater Daze parade near our house last week. At first he was frightened and unsure of what to think. About half way through he grasped how to snatch up the candy being thrown at him and he even started to do a little jig when the marching bands passed. I had a moment of nostalgia while were sitting there. Even though SLP didn't have a marching band, both Christos and I have fond memories of playing in pep band. (Me as a percussionist, he played the trumpet.) When I hear the music of a marching band I am overcome with emotion. The good kind. Tears welled up in my eyes as we sat there watching him experience the joy of music (this medium anyway) for the very first time.

CT really loves the outdoors. He loves digging in the dirt and playing with his sand table. He loves helping Papa with all his outdoor chores. He insists on 'driving' the John.Deere daily. He even dumps the sand from his sand table into the tractor scoop and then jumps on the tractor like he's going to go dump it somewhere. It won't be long before he'll be asking to drive it. The other day I was feeling brave and asked Christos if I could try to mow the lawn with the huge zero turn mower. What a joke!! First I nearly took out all the tools behind me as I tried to get it out of the garage. Apparently I was going in reverse. By the time Christos got it to the back yard, my blood pressure was rising. One stripe down the backyard and I was done. I was so afraid of taking out one of immature trees. It gave me a lot of appreciation and respect for the hard work that Christos does around the neighborhood.

Teeth Count: Officially 16 chompers in there. I finally got in there and was able to count them all. Why do kids think it's funny to bite? You've seen this, right? (I love how Charlie giggles at the end.)

Next up: Adventures in celebrating a 2nd birthday.

Father's Day at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Memorial - Three Months - June 21st, 2011

When Xander died I vowed to him and myself that I would honor his life every month on the 21st for the first year.

The first month there was this. Which I cherish to this day and I anticipate I will for the rest of my life. It is so beautiful and the meaning behind it is invaluable. A family honoring their son by writing my son's name in the sand on a gorgeous beach in a part of the world that I can only dream to visit some day. Xander has a piece of that beach until I can get there myself.

On May 21st we visited the Angel of Hope statue in Maple Grove. Our visit was brief because storms were moving in. We had enough time to take a few pictures and read the pavers that have been donated in memory of lost children. There were dried flowers with notes still lingering from the recent Walk to Remember that was held there. As the storm moved in so did the tears. It was a strange parallel of events. It's hard to explain, but we find comfort and inspiration in all the beautiful things families have done before us when they lost a child, but it is not a club that any of us should have to be a part of.

On Sunday, June 5th we had a memorial service for Xander. It was so comforting to have many loved ones with us. The service was simple and lovely. Pastor Bill spoke about the difference between the circumstantial Will of God, the intentional Will of God an the ultimate Will of God. It was very thought provoking. We feel so blessed the he took time out of his schedule to help us memorialize Xander. Our friend Erik read the lyrics to "Held" by Natalie Grant. He said he and Becca think of us when they hear it. My friend Jillian introduced me to it years ago, yet now it holds a completely different meaning. You can watch the video and read the lyrics here. Christos' cousin, Elias, shared a prayer that he and Sarah read when they were going through a difficult time. It was beautiful and we're honored that they shared it with us. I'm glad he incorporated a bit of the Greek Orthodox faith into the service. After the service we wept in each others arms and felt the warmth of supportive hands on our backs. That was a comforting moment for us.

For those of you who went home with Forget-Me-Not seeds, if you end up planting them and in turn they actually bloom, please remember to send us a picture so we can add it to Xander's memory album.

Each month I light this candle and say a prayer. The candle holder is a symbol of beauty but also of loss. When I found it a few days after Xander was born, I new it would be a perfect way to honor him. The open space in the mother's womb really spoke to me. Losing a pregnancy after I'd already felt him move and my belly had started to swell has left a major void in my life. I really miss being pregnant. When I look at it I see a peaceful mother holding something beautiful. Every time I look at it I'm reminded of him and the short time we had together.

How are we doing?

Such a simple question that we frequently get asked. There isn't a simple answer. CT has been a major distraction and that is what forced us to get back into a routine so quickly. We function on a daily basis. We get out of bed, go to work and enjoy every day we get together as family. There are still moments when something will catch us off guard and throw our emotions into a tailspin. On the outside we look normal, but we have been forever changed by Xander's passing. There is a void in our heart that can never be filled. It can't be filled by another child, a material item or life experience. We are doing well, considering the the circumstance. We live each day reminding ourselves how lucky we are to have each other, CT and the pups.

For those of you who have sent cards, flowers, and trinkets, Thank you. They have been a reminder of how supported and loved we are.