Thursday, May 26, 2011

No More School! No More Books!

 We did it!  We made it through the school year!  I feel like we dragged ourselves over the finish line, but we made it.  I just have to say that I'm proud of my kids.  With all they had to face this year, they held it together and did the best they could.  I have to admit that we struggled.  It's hard to care about math and writing assignments in the midst of grieving; however, in some weird way, I think school helped in the grief process.  Never underestimate the power of purpose.   Having responsibilities and challenges give us a reason to move forward.  Functioning when life is dysfunctional is an accomplishment.  The kids accomplished a lot this year, and I couldn't be more pleased. 

So, now we are faced with no more school.  While school was a struggle, I am concerned that without it we will have too much time to think and wallow in our grief.  School has provided much needed structure.  Then again, the freedom of summer gives us some much needed rest!  I am hoping and praying we will find some balance as we face the summer break.

Here are some pics from our crazy world this last couple of weeks....

All three of the kids received awards this year at the awards assembly. 
Fun to watch all the students receive recognition for their hard work!

Julia and Sophia at their dance recital

Julia and her hip-hop troupe

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Marc's Happy Birthday!

Today would have been Marc's 45th birthday.  Hard to believe!  If he were here we would have celebrated in the usual quiet way -- cake, dinner with family, gifts, and maybe plans for a "grown up" dinner-date over the weekend.  We would have enjoyed the day and celebrated his life...not in a huge, dramatic way.  Just special.  Like him.

Well, he's not here; however, that is not going to stop us from celebrating his life. We will likely enjoy a nice dinner, Sophie wants to make a cake, and we will certainly be doing things deliberately today to honor his memory.   Please join us today in remembering Marc in simple, happy ways.  He would have liked that.  Nothing dramatic.  Nothing big.  Just special.  Like him. 

With love and gratitude!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Dead Pig and Thoughts on Staying Put

The kids and I came home last week from school and headed outside to do chores.  It was a miserable and rainy afternoon.  I had so much to do and the idea of facing all the chores in foul weather had put me in a rushed and irritable mood.  As I walked to the pig pen I was met with three little pink snouts, curiously poking through the fence.  Three.  Not four.  I own four pigs.  Or did.  Upon further investigation I discovered the smallest of the bunch had died in her sleep in the back of the shelter.  Great. 

It had to be a day when the schedule was full, the rain was coming down, and it was getting late.  Dead things have always been Marc's job.  We haven't had too many animals that have just up and died, but when they did, he was the one that took care of the grisly deed.  I glanced at my boys.  They looked back at me with a wide-eyed-no-way-Mom look.  Yeah, that might be a bit too emotionally scarring for the kids. 

After looking around for...what...I don't know...a magical pig grave digger to appear, I came to the conclusion that I was probably that person.  I resigned myself to the unavoidable task ahead of me and hunkered down into the pig shelter, grabbing what felt to be a long dead piglet.  I now fully understand the meaning of dead weight.  Gross. 

I then started to dig the hole.  It seemed to take forever.  I had to pause on occasion to allow my  boys a moment to grab the enormous earthworms that I was uncovering.  Again...gross.   After what seemed like hours (probably more like five minutes) I had a hole that seemed quite large.  Unfortunately, I don't have Marc's superior spatial relation skills.  I have always been terrible at estimating distance and relative size.  So, as I grabbed the piglet that was in full rigor and tossed it into the hole, I was met with the realization that I was not done digging --not unless I wanted to bury the stupid thing with its feet a good six inches sticking out of the ground.  I was so desperate I actually considered it for a moment.  I decided this was proably not a job one should shortcut.  My next thought was maybe the legs would fold down.  No.  That rigormortis thing proved to be a bigger challenge than I thought.  Every time I would push them down they would spring back up.  With an exasperated sigh I lugged the pig back out of the hole and dug some more.  Second try.  Still no good.  Third try.  A bit closer.  The fourth and final try I was finally met with success.  By the time I was done I had lugged that dumb thing in and out of the hole four times, was covered with mud, and was mad at my husband for having the audacity to die, leaving me to handle such yucky tasks. 

I sat there winded next to the hole.  The boys were pretty much unphased at this point.  They were just excited to have enormous earthworms to feed their salamanders.  They handed me their tangle of earthworms (which I gingerly placed in my coat pocket) and enthusiastically pitched in and started covering the poor pig with dirt.  Suddenly this whole muddy, dirty, tragedy had become fun for them.  In no time the deed was done and we were on our way to finishing up the rest of the chores. 

A few other things have happened over the last few weeks that have made me pause and ask myself, "What exactly am I doing out here on this farm in the middle of nowhere?"  In fact, I get that question a lot from people.  It's a valid question.  Should I be spending my time burying pigs, mowing yards, and doing all this stuff, when I have four kids to raise?  After pondering it and praying about it, the answer is a resounding Yes.  Despite the unlovely tasks I have had to face in the last few weeks, this is our home.  Marc built it for me and for the kids.  They love it here.  While it's no fun to face the death of an animal, or how to figure out how to operate a chainsaw, or how to extract dead earthworms that have been forgotten in one's coat pocket, or a myriad of other normal issues that arise when living in the country, it seems well worth it.  On most days we love this life.  The kids love their animals.  I love the freedom they have in playing outside, building forts, and learning to work hard.   I love the fact that Marc and I built this house together.  His memory is part of every room and that is a comfort to me.  No, I think we will stay put.  It's home...