More than this

Saturday, November 30, 2013

I've been thinking lately how far we've come since last year.  Last year at this time, I remember that Thanksgiving felt very unreal to me...that I showed up but I didn't really show up.  A few weeks later, we went to a friends surprise 40th birthday party with Mo and it was really hard.  I felt out of place and people I've known for 20 years pretended like they had no idea who I was so they didn't have to talk to me.  People still do that but I just don't take it so personally anymore.  They are the ridiculous ones - I know that now.  I really feel like we are in such a better place today and I have been feeling comforted by that - thinking that maybe things will continue to get easier incrementally over the years.

Then yesterday we were driving to my dad's house for a Hanukkah celebration and a wave of grief hit me so hard, I couldn't stop crying.  Max should be here with us and I am tired of doing all of this without him.  I hate that he doesn't get to celebrate Thanksgiving or Hanukkah.  I hate that he doesn't know his funny little brother and that Mo doesn't get a big brother to play with and love.  I ABSOLUTELY HATE IT!  And, I hate surviving - that right now the biggest goal in my life is to survive.  The fact is that "better" isn't good enough and neither is a lifetime of surviving.  I want more than this for us, for Ted, for Mo and for myself.

Miracles and Survivors

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My aunt and I went to a conference last year where we heard a speaker talking about the power of positive intention.  Specifically, the speaker spoke about overcoming illness with positive thinking.  I felt myself getting uncomfortable and finally, somewhat angry by the end of the talk.

I believe in the power of intention.  I believe that when you complain about your situation all of the time, your situation probably won't change and I believe that if you think you can overcome obstacles, your chances greatly increase.  Positivity can't hurt, and will definitely make the quality of your life better.  What I don't think is that this is a foolproof way to change outcomes.  Sometimes the disease wins, no matter how positive the person who has it remains.  My aunt agreed - she lost her best friend and cousin to cancer.  My cousin Andrea radiated positivity. The talk we'd just listened to seemed to almost blame those who didn't survive - as if they only had their own selves to blame - for not being positive enough.

I've heard many people talk the same way about prayer.  "Our God is powerful", they say, when a "miracle" happens.  "Everyone was praying for her and our God heard".  I pray.  All of the time.  I use my prayer to focus on the really big things.  I don't pray for parking spaces or nice weather but I do pray for good health for the people I love.  I prayed for Maxie every day from the one I learned I was pregnant with him.  I prayed for his health, happiness and long life with a tremendous amount of intention - ALL OF THE TIME.  When he was in the hospital hooked up to life support, people were praying for him all over the world.  I have done a lot of traveling in my time and I have made friends in all corners of this earth and so when I say that they were praying for him all over the planet - I mean just that.  Our prayers were either ignored or meaningless.  Had he lived, everyone would have pointed to the power of our prayer.....but, he didn't.

Last month was Breast Cancer Awareness month (it was also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month - which I am sure you did not know).  Now that I am back on Facebook, I noticed that my feed was inundated with people recognizing those loved ones who were breast cancer survivors.  There are a few in my family as well - including my mother.  And, maybe the people I know only know survivors - which would be a pretty good explanation of why I didn't really see anyone write about remembering someone they'd lost to breast cancer.  I am not saying nobody did it.  I am just saying, I didn't see it.

I'm not exactly sure how this all connects for me - but it does - in a way that has been glaring at me since the time we lost Max.  Everyone loves a happy ending.  Everyone loves positivity and miracles and survivors - and so that is where we focus all of our energy.  I can't tell you how many parents of children who passed from cancer tell me that they (and their child) had tremendous support while the child was still living but then were tossed aside after the child died.  It's like you stop counting when your happy ending doesn't happen.  And, to a much lesser degree, I've heard people say something similar about divorce - everyone was there when they celebrated their life's happy moments, but nobody was there once it all fell apart.

I guess what I want to say is that WE are the survivors - those of us who prayed, who kept a positive attitude in the darkest hours, who have to live without our children or loved ones for the rest of our lives, who have been tasked with building whole new lives.  BELIEVE ME when I tell you that I wish the survivor had been Max.  HE was the purpose of our prayer.  BELIEVE ME when I tell you that I prayed directly to God with intention for his life.  BELIEVE ME when I tell you that I wish I could say, "He was a fighter, we prayed and poured all of our positive intentions into his recovery and then God gave us a miracle."  Max was never given a diagnosis.  He was never sick.  He couldn't have been a "fighter" even if he wanted to.

Believe me when I tell you that us parents, who are left on this earth without our children - WE ARE SURVIVORS.....and if I were on Facebook, I'd tag every one of you - Teddy, Susan, Molly, Bryan, Glenda, Alta, Rebecca, Tiffany, Suzanne, Kira, Jane, Jami, Mallow, John, Heather, Fiona, Grace, Susanna, Justine, Harriet, Eve, Jill, Melissa, Cassie.....I've left out so many but you are ALL survivors - and that is the most dumbfounding miracle of them all.

My guy

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

As of yesterday, Teddy is a California State Licensed Contractor!  Mo and I are so proud of him!  Whoever said Jewish boys aren't handy hasn't met my guy!!!!

Recalling my previous statement

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Here is the thing.  I do believe that parenting is the hardest job, contrary to what I said before.  I know that it is hard for a number of reasons that no other kind of job could ever be....most especially because you are responsible for the most important person (people) who ever lived - your kid(s).  That is a lot of pressure.  The decisions you make could and will determine the course of their lives.  I know that parenting is the hardest job.  It's just that sometimes, I can't bear hearing people talk about it.  It hurts my ears.  As do a bunch of other things people like to agonize about.

I often can't handle listening to people whirl themselves into a tizzy about small stuff.  I'm not saying I haven't done it - I have done it many, many times.  It just feels like a luxury now.  I think I am oddly jealous.  I miss the simplicity of my former life.  I miss getting all worked up about stuff that could be fixed.  When I let myself go there now, I feel really ridiculous afterward.  I am not sure that I deserve that indulgence.

Same goes for the whole "parenting is the hardest job" business.  I have lost my little boy.  I miss him all of the time.  I spend all of my spare time reading grief blogs and books and talking to other bereaved parents.  I don't think I get to indulge in this whole "parenting is the hardest job" thing.  I mostly just feel grateful to have a second child.  When I let myself go there, I usually wish I could take it back.  The hardest part of parenting is knowing that you could lose your child - that has already happened to me and I am 100% positive that grieving is MUCH harder work than parenting EVER could be.

All this to say - YES parenting is so hard.  I KNOW it gets harder in some ways as they get older.  I KNOW it gets harder when there are more kids to parent (my cousins Ben and Jenny have FIVE kids.  That sounds pretty hard to me.)  I KNOW all of this but it just isn't my reality today and I am PRAYING (literally) that I get to know this hard business in the future.  I think I've kind of become that old grandpa who had to "walk 10 miles through the snow to get to school and back every day".  I don't want to be that guy.  I know it is all relative.  My hardships are not yours and yours are not mine.

So, I am sorry to all of the parents who know that their job is the hardest.  It is....and you are doing a good job.  I woke up last night thinking "Why did I write that about parenting?  It IS hard."  My apologies.  I hope you didn't get all worked up about it.


Funny

Friday, November 22, 2013

The quality I have historically valued most in the friends I have chosen has been a great sense of humor.  I can very honestly say that most of my closest inner circle of buddies are hilarious.  I mean, pee in your pants, tears rolling down your face, stomach hurts so bad - kind of hilarious.  I have valued hilarity above all else in life - more than loyalty, kindness (in fact, I generally like my hilarious friends to have some sass), or empathy.  If you could make me laugh, I'm not sure I really cared how good of a person you were.  If you could make me laugh, chances are I liked you.

In my darkest days, the last thing on earth I wanted was to laugh.  In fact, I found it fairly insulting when people would try and make me laugh or laugh in front of me.  Nothing was funny anymore.  The ease of my former laughter was gone.  Another reason I couldn't be around friends - they were just too funny.  I spent some time re-evaluating my priorities - was funny really the most important quality a person can have?  I needed empaths, deep souls, spiritual beings who understood pain and loss....not funny people.

Nothing was funny - for a long, long time.  Really.  Nothing.

As it turns out, most of my funny friends have much more depth than I probably ever appreciated.  They did such a good job showing their compassionate sides that, over time, I actually forgot how funny they were.  They put their comedy routines on hold for a bit while I got my basic self back together.  A slow, agonizing and ongoing process.

And, as I have begun to emerge from the fog of the deepest, most painful grief, their senses of humor have reappeared - helping to guide me back into the light  - helping me to take life a little less seriously and reminding me of the importance of laughter.

To my funny friends (you know who you are!) - thank you for reminding me how to laugh.  I love you.

Not Interested

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I think we've decided that if Mo REALLY wanted to - he could walk.  But, frankly, I just don't think he is that interested.  You see, he IS the fastest crawler in the West and he gets everywhere he needs to go lickety split - so why walk?  At least, I think that is what he is thinking.  I am not worried but I'd like to see him walk - if for no other reason than I am always having to wash off those dirty hands everywhere we go.  He LOVES crawling and I let him crawl basically everywhere - even on really dirty floors.  Gross.  So, we are trying to hold his hand more (he doesn't like it) and make time for him to walk around with the baby-walker that Gigi got him.  I think you'll agree that the walker isn't really doing the walking - Mo is!  I think he is going to be off and running in no time!


Off limits

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

There are places from our former life that are now off-limits.  Places that hold really difficult memories for either Ted, or I, or both of us.  Places we just know that we cannot visit again - or, at least, for a long while.

There are the obvious places that I avoid as much as possible - like driving past Max's daycare, the hospital where he was first brought, or the one where he took his last breath.

I haven't written much about it - but I loved Maxie's daycare.  I loved the woman who took care of him.  I loved her little boy.  I loved how much Maxie loved it there.  It was a place that I thought Max would be safe and that brought me tremendous comfort.  Knowing that he took his last breath there makes me want to die - it is the reason that I feel like a terrible mother.  I think about how I made my decision to send Max to daycare over and over and over again and wonder why I didn't do something differently.  It just about kills me.  Thoughts of the daycare send me into a panic, a never-ending looping nightmare of scenes that I have imagined over and over again in my head - never really knowing what happened that day.

And - someday I will HAVE to go back to that Emergency Room where the doctors tried to save Maxie's life.  It is blocks away from our house and to think we will never have an emergency again is wishful thinking.  I keep thinking that I should start driving past it now so that when the time comes when I really need to go there, my heart won't just stop.  I've only been there once.  I can't imagine that being in that place could do anything but make me want to die.  It was unbearably horrific.

The hospital where Maxie's life ended is in Tarzana.  Ted hates going to Tarzana period.  I was in such a fog when we drove there, following Maxie's ambulance, that I actually didn't even really remember where it was and where we had been those three days.  But, when we come anywhere close, Ted's jaw tightens and he gets very quiet.  Tarzana is pretty much off limits (with VERY few exceptions!)

Laguna Beach is off-limits.  Dear friends of my mother's offered their Laguna apartment for us to stay in one weekend soon after we lost Max.  We thought it would be a nice place to go to get a break from our grief.  It is a cozy apartment, just a short walk from the beach and several nice restaurants.  The thing is - we could not get a break from the grief.  It was with us there so strongly AND I think mostly, we just felt totally lost and out of place.  We would have been better off just staying home.  There were children everywhere, we drank too much to try and drown the pain, and the reality of our lives hit us in the face with full force.  It was too early to think we could get away.  I love Laguna but for now, it is off-limits.  It's much too painful for us.

Catalina is off-limits.  It makes me sad too, because I spent many of my childhood summers there.  Ted and I planned a trip to Catalina for our second anniversary before we lost Maxie.  Ted had never been there before and I was excited to share the island with him.  I booked the hotel and my Auntie Alison arranged to come to town to spend the weekend in LA with Maxie and my mom.  After losing Maxie, we decided to go anyway.  In retrospect, it was a huge mistake.  I spent the whole weekend crying.  There were families and happy children and babies everywhere. Ted never wants to see Catalina again.  I don't really blame him.  It was awful.

There are many other, less obvious places too - restaurants we used to go to with Max, a yoga studio that I did prenatal class at and that I took him to for Mommy and Me, the Pump Station in Hollywood.....it's all too hard.  Our life with Max was beautiful.  So beautiful, in fact, that it is hard to be in the spaces that we once shared with him and it is even harder to be in the spaces that we occupied after we lost him. 




Disappointing

Sunday, November 17, 2013

My dad likes to call me after he reads my especially angry sounding posts and ask me, "Who pissed you off this time?".  As if it were that easy.  My last post of the sort was not actually angry.  It was just a realization of the people who I encounter and their attitudes towards me and how I have reconciled to deal with them.  I am not angry at anyone in particular - just extremely disappointed by life.

As an example - (one of many): I reconnected with someone from my past on Facebook the other day.  He wasn't a good friend really, but was sort of on the periphery of a group of friends that I had when I lived in Israel.  He is Israeli (not that it matters).  Anyway, we were sort of IM'ing off and on over an hour or so in the middle of the day.  A line here, two lines there.  He told me he was living in Holland, divorced and that he had a four year old daughter and was missing home.  I didn't say much about myself but said that his daughter looked very cute (she does) and that I can imagine that he misses home - I miss his home and it isn't even mine.  Then he said that he thought the photo of me with my family was really nice.  I thanked him.  I am not sure then why I decided to share Max with him - probably because I knew I wouldn't have to see his face while he received the information.  I said, "The last few years have been hard.  Our oldest son stopped breathing while he was at daycare at nine and a half months.  We lost him over two years ago and it hurts every minute of every day.  Our second son, Mo was born a year later and he is so wonderful".  There was no response for a few minutes and then, "hope you are ok!! must work talk later bye bye". 

I un-Friended him.  This is why I'd rather NOT share Max with just anyone.  It is a disservice to his specialness.  It forces me to look at people and see who they truly are and I'd rather wear my rose colored glasses most of the time.  I hate that people are so disappointing.  I really hate it.

Empowered

Friday, November 15, 2013

When something horrible happens to you, the rest of the world expects you to pull yourself up by the boot straps and put one foot in front of the other.  They expect you to be strong and to serve as a model of grace and strength - even though they have no idea how it feels to be in your position, even though they have no idea what it takes to get there, even though they don't understand that the strength doesn't happen overnight.  Like any other skill, strength takes time to develop.  It takes practice and many, many failures before one can even feel remotely successful at being strong in the face of adversity.  The rest of the world has no patience - they want you to be better overnight - to model the behavior that they have seen on tv.  Though I believe I am stronger, I think my greatest strength these days is in convincing the outside world that I am better. 

When we lost Maxie, all of my power and control in life was taken from me.  We realized that everything we had dreamed of and worked for was gone.  There was nothing left but shells of our former selves.

And then we had to face people.  People who expected us to be strong and were angry and disappointed when we weren't.  And, so rather than continue to disappoint people, I hid.  It felt like hiding was the only control I had left in my life.  I was tired of explaining that, yes, losing Max really IS the worst thing that could ever happen to us.  And, NO another child won't replace Max.....and I don't care what your kids think about his death or how painful it was for you to have to explain it to them.....and IREALLY don't care how much tighter you hugged your kids after our tragedy.  It was all incredibly INFURIATING and insulting. 

I soon realized that my anger was empowering.  I didn't HAVE to listen to those ignorant comments if I didn't want to.  I didn't HAVE to smile and nod while you dismissed my beautiful child's life, insulted me and hurt me.  I could tell you to stick it where the sun doesn't shine.....and that felt good.  And, I am sorry if it hurt your feelings but you hurt mine too .....and let's face it, mine were a little more fragile than yours.  I've spent a lifetime tip toeing around insensitive people. It felt kind of good to give it right back to them!

And then more time passed - and I started to take more control of my life by doing things that make my moments a little happier, by taking small breaks from grief, by controlling my anger.  And today I realize that I now have a different power - the power of ignoring you.  The power of making you think that everything is good and that Ted and I have wrapped up this whole nasty incident and tied it up with a bow called Mo and everything is fine.  Because it is easier to give you what you want than to share our truth with you, and the truth is that you are too shallow too actually hear it.  And so I feel empowered by not letting you in.  I feel empowered by allowing you to think that I am strong and that I have accepted this loss and am moving on.  Because, let's face it - you never understood how I felt anyway.  You just wanted me to get over it.  And so I am playing the part that you want me to play, but I am playing it by my own rules. Today I feel empowered by not allowing the ignorance and insensitivity of others pierce my heart.  I am empowered by a greater sense of control over who I let in.

Ode to Zumba

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Oh Zumba with your awesome reggaeton beats and Latin dance moves
Where have you been all of my life?
I eagerly await our next encounter
A lot like old school aerobics but not at all like "sweating to the oldies"
(Even if the Zumba crowd isn't exactly young)
Thank you for coming into my life sassy Zumba and giving me something small to look forward to!

I love him more

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

This kid loves me! Like, REALLY loves me. He cries whenever I leave the room and settles down as soon as I pick him up. He kisses me all of the time - right on the lips and makes a "MWAH" sound while doing it - repeatedly.  I have NEVER felt this loved in my life...and what is SO crazy is knowing that as much as he loves me, I love him a MILLION times more.



Post vacation hangover blues

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I really won't be writing every day anymore.  Or, at least, I don't want to feel like I have to write if I don't want to.

But, today, I feel like I have something going on that is too huge to ignore.  It's the post-vacation hangover blues.  I've suffered from it my whole life but it is SO MUCH worse now.  I'm sure you've had it too - when you wait for and look forward to that vacation or special event for so long and then it's over.  It's a combination of things - nothing to look forward to, the grind of daily life, the absence of celebration.  I don't know.  I've been able to somewhat escape myself for the last month or so, but here I am again - same old grieving mom - same old feeling of "not sure how I am going to get through all of this".

And, there is something else - for the last month, I've been surrounded by people who know and support us - from Maxie's Benefit, to a weekend with my college girlfriends, to our vacation to Costa Rica - I haven't had to worry about meeting new people and trying to explain myself.  I haven't had to really worry about being understood.  Usually, I am pretending to be "normal" when I know that I am anything but.  Having to face regular people in regular life again is daunting.

All of this to say that yesterday and today, there has been this dark cloud hanging over my head.  It is so so heavy and I can feel it just hanging there.  I am cowering underneath it, hoping that if I can get low enough, it won't touch me.  I keep pushing all of this pain deeper and deeper inside of myself and it is eating me alive.  I wish I could just escape again.  Maybe there is someplace I could run where I would be untouchable....where I could stop being me.

But people keep reminding me that "Wherever you go - there you are" - there is no escape.  I am doomed to a life of being me.

Sporadic

Monday, November 11, 2013

And here it is....

As time goes on, I want to share less and less.  Those who have made an effort to understand have an understanding.  Those who don't - don't.  I will keep on writing, but I don't feel the need to write here every day anymore.  It is part of the softening of grief I guess.  Everything feels a little less urgent AND it all feels a lot more private.

I want to continue sharing Max with you and I want to continue sharing this journey as well.  I remember checking the blogs I read every single morning for the first two years after losing Max.  It was part of the many rituals I established for myself that helped get me through.  I have no idea if I am part of someone else's ritual but I do know that other parents who've lost do check in with me from time to time and I hope that my words have helped and will continue to help them.  I know that hearing from them helps me.

During this past week of vacationing, I felt strongly about sharing my good times here so that someone else who thinks that they will never smile again will know that it is possible.  It is not only possible but also likely.  At first the smiles and laughs come with guilt but I have to admit that I just take the really good laughs for what they are now most of the time and leave them at that.  Sometimes life is just funny - so funny, in fact, that you forget to over-think it and you just laugh.

Anyway, I am not really going anywhere - just planning to take some days off here and there.  Let's face it - I am getting kind of repetitive - which is unavoidable because the missing, longing and regret hasn't really gone anywhere. You'll be hearing from me - just a little more sporadically. 


Maxie's Rainforest

Sunday, November 10, 2013

In my darkest hours, I listened to hours of guided meditations to calm myself down. In all of the recordings I downloaded, I was asked to picture myself someplace peaceful. Every single time, I pictured myself on our beach- the one down the road from our Costa Rica house - the one that Teddy and I got married on and that we brought Maxie to when he was only four months old.  Picturing myself sitting on this beach helped me to breathe. It filled my mind and heart with temporary serenity. It made me feel close to Max.

The first morning that we got here, I went down to the beach and waited for the calm to envelope me. But instead, all I found was the obvious missing and disappointment of life - of having lost Max.  While my friends set up their chairs and towels, I walked down the the ocean. With each step closer, my sadness deepened. And when I finally got in the ocean, I lost it. I cried and screamed WHY????? Why is he not here with us. The sounds of the waves crashing drowned me out as the tears poured down my cheeks. I let the water wash over me with each wave until I'd cried it out. Then I turned around, walked up to our chairs and played with Mo.



I haven't felt this normal in two and a half years. I managed to stay present almost all of the time all week long. I engaged in all of my favorite activities- laughed and ate and drank and swam and sunbathed. It may not have been obvious but Max with with me all week- in such a strong way. I was thinking about him every morning, afternoon and night. I didn't stop thinking about him at all. He was in my heart - as he always is.

Yesterday, we planted just a couple of trees in the rainforest next to our house. We hope that it will become a tradition to plant a tree for Max every time we come here from now on - so that those trees will continue to grow along with our family in his place. It feels like something we need to do. He is never far from our minds. He is always in our hearts. That little boy of mine - he is special to me always and forever. 







Bar talk

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Last night my mom offered to babysit Mo so we could all go out to dinner. We had a lovely dinner out and then proceeded to a bar that is sort of my local hang when I'm in town. The last time we were there was with Auntie Beth, Sadie and Max for a Giants game. That was three years ago.  On our way in last night, I was immediately greeted by bartenders that I hadn't seen since that visit. We were all excited to see each other and catch up.  "It's been such a long time," they said. "Like three years?" That's about right. I was genuinely happy to see them.  They asked about my Prima Sharon (who's been on crutches and stuck in our house all week), about my husband and my baby.  They remembered meeting my baby the last time I was there. "How old is he now?", they asked. "Fifteen months", I responded.  I could see they looked confused but I just changed the subject. While part of me wants to scream, "yes, my son Max was here! He was such a good boy", the other part of me doesn't want to share him in this context.  It's just easier not to share.  My relationships here - while really warm - don't go super deep and I just don't want to share Max anymore with people who won't appreciate it and him and our story. It feels like a disservice to him. And, I know I keep revisiting this subject - to tell or not to tell - but I've come to see it as one of the struggles that I've finally made some peace with. For a REALLY long time - I told everyone who asked. It was my way of ensuring that his existence was never denied. Now, I only share him with those people that I choose to go deep with. And those people are fewer and more far between.

This is a photo of my crew from our night on the town:

A nearly perfect day

Friday, November 8, 2013

Surfing, followed by naps, followed by birthday dinner with some of my favorite people! 






40

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I am forty today and, believe it or not, I have been looking forward to this birthday. I am fine with getting older. In fact - kind of happy about it. 

I can't believe how lucky I am to be in paradise, with a group of people who I love, celebrating life. We've been smiling and laughing and I just wouldn't have been able to imagine any of this two years ago. I never thought I'd smile again. And here is the kicker - I'm happy. If I'm honest with myself, I have to admit that for the most part - I am.

But I woke up in the middle of the night with the most profound sense of missing. I miss him. SO MUCH. And I hate myself for being happy. I really hate myself. Because I love him so much and he isn't here and everything we are doing with Mo is what I dreamed of doing with Max. It just feels WRONG.  I can't believe I fell back asleep - I was hating myself so much....for feeling happy.

So, that's where I am today. Happy. And feeling so sad about that.  And 40. 



Travel days

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I did not adequately describe our travel day on Friday.  In fact, the way I wrote it, it sounds like we were delayed three hours. That is not the case. The plane was delayed three hours, but since the airport was on lockdown, we could not board that plane. I'd be surprised if anyone was on that flight. No, we were sitting in the cafe of a Marriott Courtyard a few blocks from the airport with a bunch of other stranded travelers. We were trying to keep Mo entertained while we checked the flight and airport status updates.  The communication was awful. There was little to no information about what was going on or whether we could expect the flights to start up again. Every once in a while, one of us would walk up the street to ask the cops stationed there if the airport was opening again. The streets were filled with people and their luggage.  It was a crazy scene. Eventually, we could see that the flight was not delayed anymore and so we decided to bring our luggage out to the street.  We sat on the curb for a while, watching floods of people leave the airport arrivals ramps on foot, pushing and pulling luggage.  Then seemingly out of nowhere, thousands of people started walking up Century Blvd - up, up, up the departures ramp. It was crazy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w78lZ0cluLE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkFZKSVH1PA

We walked to terminal four - to get there meant having to bypass terminal three, where the shooting occurred and which was still a crime scene . We had to go down an escalator at two, walk past terminal three and Bradley international on foot, before arriving at our destination. Once we got there, we learned our plane had left without us.  So we got in line with hundreds of other hopeful re- routers.  Someone handed Ted a card with the Arline's phone number and once we'd gotten about halfway through the line, the service rep had arranged for us to get on a 9:30 flight to Orlando, with a connecting flight to Miami.  Our original flight was scheduled for 1:30. Our eventual flight didn't take off until nearly 11.  Considering all of that, I'd say my kid is the worlds biggest trooper!  He had one brief meltdown while we boarded the plane, but as soon as the cabin lights went out, so did he.  We had to rent a car at our final destination amd drive 1.5 hours south to the keyes.  He napped when we got to Isla Morada for a couple of hours and then powered through five hours of wedding celebrations! We woke up early Sunday morning, drove back to the airport, flew to San Jose, Costa Rica, had a three hour layover before getting on another plane to Manuel Antonio. He was in a great mood all day, was really easy and had a lot of fun crawling around airport terminals. I actually think it would have been worse without him. At least he kept us entertained and busy!

Anyway, we are here and very aware that what was for us an inconvenience, was for many other people the most tragic day of their lives.

Back in our spot

Monday, November 4, 2013

I haven't been here in almost three years.  I used to come 3 times a year.  I thought I would never come back here.  I had visions of bringing Maxie here every year - to hike in the rainforest, to play at the beach, to see the monkeys (and coatis, and sloths, and toucans)....  I thought Maxie was the luckiest kid in the world to have a piece of paradise to grow up visiting.  The last time I was here was with him.  I thought I'd never come back - because my dreams all died with my baby.

But eventually, I realized that Mo deserves all of those dreams too.  So here we are and I am actually happy to be here. It seems like Mo is too.  We've got lots of "aunties" around - and grandma  -and I'm hoping that at some point this week, we'll feel Maxie's spirit with us too.

Florida

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Yesterday was crazy. But I'm so glad we made it here because we had such a nice time at our friend Jesse's wedding. 



Mo was such a good boy! Traveling is so hard on babies. I can remember the last flight we took with Max. It was coming home from visiting Ted's family in CT.  Max missed his morning nap and we were running late. By the time we got on the plane, Max was melting down. I spent a lot of time on that flight with Max in my baby carrier in the back of the plane.  Our flight to Miami started off pretty much the same way with Mo.  Because of a horrifying shooting incident, our plane took off three hours late without most of its passengers.  Somehow we got on a flight through Orlando that left at 10:30 pm. Had we been on schedule, Mo would have done great. In fact, he was GREAT until about 9:30. By the time our plane was boarding, he was melting. People were giving us either major stink eye or major looks of empathy. The melt down continued pretty much until the cabin lights finally went out and then he slept basically the whole trip out. 

Today we have another challenging day of travel. Wish us luck!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

In Miami. I'd tell you why it took us almost 24 hours to get here but my phone is about to die. More later.

Halloween playdate

Friday, November 1, 2013

I told Ted that I wanted to dress Mo up as a pumpkin this year - because he is my little pumpkin.  Ted thought Mo would be kind of embarrassed to be dressed as a pumpkin.  "Kids don't want to dress like pumpkins, they want to dress like Star Wars and super heroes".  "He is 15 months old", I said.  Obviously, it was settled - Mo was a pumpkin.  Our SUPER talented nanny, Jessica, made his costume!

Then Ann emailed and said, "When are we doing our Halloween photo shoot?"

Once you do it two years in a row, it becomes a tradition right?

Last year Mo and Riley just happened to have the exact same costumes.  Weird coincidence - especially considering the costumes were kermits and giraffes.  This year, Mo was a pumpkin and Riley was Darth Vader.  Maybe Ted was right?  Kids DO like to be Star Wars - who knew?

Anyway, here it is - a little less controlled than last year.

They kept getting away from us:


Bribing them with food seemed to keep them put for a while at least


It wasn't long before they were off again to explore again




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