Good News & Panic Attacks

Last week was one of those weeks. The kind where you are wrapped up in things like kids colds, laundry, your husbands cold, work and then finally your own cold. It was just kind of blah. Nothing sucks more than the kids and the parents being sick at the same time. If we all feel like shit, who is taking care of who? It was a week like that.

Somewhere in between the snotty noses, antibiotics and coughing, Jason flew to RI for a second interview. This was super exciting news that we were trying desperately not to get too excited over. Getting too excited means really big disappointments and who has time for that with all the nose blowing, coughing and all over lousiness we were already suffering from.

He came home from RI on Tuesday and said things went really well. I was all “How well?” and he was calm, “I don’t know. It seemed really good. They said they would let me know within two days.”  TWO, yes 2, DAYS! How could such a short amount of time feel like FOREVER when you are waiting to hear big, I mean huge, life-changing news? So we waited. And waited some more. I haven’t felt that impatient since I was in labor with my sons. They were well worth all that waiting surely this would be, had to be, too, right?

It was. On Thursday afternoon he received an offer. Just like that, he got a job! A job he has been discussing for months now. A job! With a good company! That he deserves! We were so excited, but also so sick and miserable, that our cheers were muted by blowing and coughing. We celebrated in bed (and not in a good way - get your minds out of the gutter) doped up on cold meds. Ahhhh, the fancy life we lead.

So we are working on feeling better and Jason told work he would start next Monday, as in just a few days from today. Which is freaking me out because I have no childcare lined up for my kids yet. I am interviewing my second nanny option tonight and I pray she is the dream of all nanny’s. I am hoping she is Mary F'ing Poppins. I realize I might have my expectations set a little too high but these are my kids I am talking about.  The small people I carried around (which was no easy task for me) and then birthed. I have never had a babysitter I wasn’t related to or haven’t known most of my life. Now I am supposed to hire a stranger and just leave my kids with them? It seems very unnatural to me. I understand people do this all the time. I was even a nanny in college and I loved the kids I watched, but again, these are now my kids. I feel another panic attack coming on….

The truth of the matter is no one is going to do it better than me. Jason was as close as I was going to get to me and now he has to go and I have to go and we are left with strangers. I know Jay never wanted to be put in the position of stay-at-home Dad, but he has been for these last few months and now the boys are so attached to him being there. We refer to Joey as Jason’s tumor for a reason. The kid lives for his Daddy and is literally attached to him every moment he is awake (and even some when he is not!) Jack is already getting worried that someone new will be taking him to school and picking him up. It is just a whole lot of change for us. I understand change can be good but I also understand that change can create panic attacks in mass quantities. Time to fill the Xanex, say a prayer and hope like hell this nanny shows up with a bag full of tricks, a magic umbrella and the last name Poppins.

My husband is the greatest Dad ever. Congrats babe! 
We are so proud of you and love you! xoxo

Two Years and Just a Moment Ago

Everyone always says time flies. Never has that been more apparent to me than today. Tomorrow is the two-year anniversary of Cozzi dying. I swear he was just here a moment ago. I have never missed someone like I do him. He was a man I loved, and hated, all at the same time. He was a huge part of our lives. He was a father figure and friend to Jason, a step-father figure to me and a beloved Papa to my boys. I am still angry that he left this world so swiftly without me getting to tell him that I loved him and that I was so thankful for the grandfather he was to my kids, especially Jack.

Jack was the light of Cozzi's life. Of course he loved us all, but his relationship with Jack was incredibly special. He was my son's best friend. They danced silly, sang songs (Jack knows the Cubs song and Notre Dame fight song because of him) and played for endless hours. They talked in crazy baby-talk and read story after story. Cozzi was counting down the days until he would see Jack run out of the tunnel onto the football field at Notre Dame. He dreamed big dreams for my boys.


No one thought Jack would remember his Papa and all the fun they shared. He was just a little over 2 years old when he died. But leave it to Cozzi to leave his mark. Jack remembers him and the things they did together. He talks about him often and asks us when he is coming home from Jesus's house (he has been there a long time and he would like him to come home.) It is heartbreaking in a wonderful, incredible kind of way. It makes me so happy that Jack remembers him and knows how much Cozzi adored him and sad that he misses him terribly.

Joey was only three-weeks old when Cozzi left us. The baby that he fussed over in my belly throughout my entire pregnancy arrived and he was elated. Two boys...what was he going to do with himself! He helped me care for Jack while I was on bedrest during my pregnancy with Joey. He even had to drive me to my OB appointment when I was in pre-term labor and assured me he could deliver the baby in his car if he needed to. I am not sure which was worse, that thought or the way the other women looked at me when I walked in to the waiting room of my doctor's office with a man old enough to be my father. We laughed the entire way home. He was always making us all laugh, he was a such a funny guy. We laughed and loved so often.

We watched every Bears game together, had dinner together several times a week, and loved our family swims. We sang the National Anthem together at the top of our lungs every time we heard it. Jason coached football, painted our nursery, and spent endless hours fishing with him on vacations. I didn't know it was possible to miss someone like this.

I feel blessed to know he is up there looking after us. My boys have the best Papa and he is always watching over them. He was a great man to many people. Although we had our moments when he was alive, none of them were more difficult than me getting the phone call from Jason telling me he was gone. Surely you are kidding, I said. I just spent the entire day with him yesterday and he was fine. I can so vividly remember our last day and our last words - just like it was a moment ago.


We love and miss you...

Believe

It’s easy to feel like you are screwing your kids up these days. If they watch too much TV, they will have no language skills. If they watch Sponge Bob, you will be the talk of all the other parents at the park. If they eat too much sugar or non-organic foods, you are looked down upon. No bike helmet? DCFS will surely need to be called for your reckless parenting. There are so many ways in which parents can be judged and truthfully I put more guilt on myself than anyone else can even compete with. You think I am a bad Mom because my kids ate Mac N’ Cheese three days in a row? Stand in line because I have a whole list of reasons I am really a bad Mom. Like the yelling. I try so hard not to yell.  I hear the saying repeated in the back of my head…”if you yell, you raise a yeller…” I swear this is the MOST difficult thing for me.  After the 77th time I’ve kindly and politely asked Jack to get his shoes on with no real response or efforts being made by him to actually do what I say, I lose it. I lose it in the crazy Mom fashion that I have to believe all Mom’s have. I yell and threaten,”IF YOU DO NOT HAVE YOUR SHOES ON IN 2 MINUTES I AM LEAVING YOU HOME. ALONE.” Evil, you say? I dare you to go through this same routine everyday, five times a day, without raising your voice. The truth of the matter is please and singsong, sweet Mom voices only get you so far. But when “mean Mommy” comes out and shows her ugly face, lo and behold the kid gets his shoes on. I am not proud of this, but it’s the truth. How do you change that? Besides us never leaving the house on time to go anywhere or me drinking throughout the day to not care enough to yell. Neither are good options. So I yell, I admit it.

There are many days when Jay & I sit down and discuss the fact that we feel like we are ruining the boys. What if we are doing too much of this….or not enough of that….round and round we go. See, we are worried. We adore our boys and want nothing more out of this life than for them to be decent, kind, compassionate, smart and loving people. At the ages of 4 and 2 we aren’t seeing that all the time. We see pushing and biting and hitting and smart mouths. We hear “I can’t be your best friend anymore.” Or “Why do you always love Joey and not me?” or “Daddy say no to me.” Or the best one recently “Can I have new parents?” OUCH. That’s gonna leave a mark. You can see why we are questioning, rather doubting, our abilities to do this job. We continue to work at it. We make rules, amend rules and reward for rules not broken. We try to not be the doormats they know we can be. We try and do what we say we are going to when disciplining, because if we give in even once, we have to start all over. So around and around we go.

I wonder if this is how all parents feel. My friends reassure me, the boys are fine. That is how all kids behave. I appreciate the support but still struggle to believe. I need to believe, in my heart, that we aren’t doing it all wrong. Last night when tucking Jack in he asked me “Why do I have a Mommy and Daddy?” I explained so he had someone to always love him and teach him and feed him and buy him clothes. He replied, “I am so lucky I have a Mommy and Daddy. Some kids don’t.” At that moment, I stopped breathing. My heart was full and right when I was ready to burst; my kid who can’t stand his brother most days says, “I am so lucky I have a brother. I love Joey. “ All I could say is you are right, we are all so lucky.

Just like that, I believed. I believed in my kids, our parenting and myself. I may not be doing it all right, but I am doing something right.