Monday, March 9, 2015

Hello There

Hello There!

So, what should I say?

“Merry Christmas!”
“Happy 20th Birthday Gabby!”
“Happy New Year!”

Yep, it’s been a while since my last post.  There are times I feel like we Aiden’s totally got it going on and then times I feel like there’s not much going on at all.  Someone asked me why I hadn’t posted anything in a while, I told them because our lives were not really all that exciting.  In some ways that’s a good thing.  I still feel busy and often times overwhelmed by “stuff” but most of the time these days, I feel settled.  I feel as if our lives are in a good rhythm.

The holidays were crazy busy as usual.  This was our first holiday season without grampa Aiden.  There was the lingering sense of loss and sadness but also the great sense of love, pride and family bonding that occurred that kept us all afloat. 

Gabby turned 20!  I can’t really wrap my brain around how I have raised a child to be 20 years old.  She has turned out to be an amazing young woman with a serious vision for the direction in which she wants her life to go and the Drummer-Aiden heart and drive to get her there.  She returned to school in 2015 ready to take on whatever the new year has in store for her and to plan a few adventures herself. 

Sinobia finished her freshman year swim season, enjoyed the holidays (and a few concerts) and is now in the beginning of water polo season at ETHS.  Everyday when I drop her off and pick her up from practice I chuckle at the memory of how I had never predicted that she would be the two-sport athlete in our family.  I always pictured her as a drama/theatre student.  Although she is full of drama, the theatre has not been lucky enough to have her yet.

Eric is working on his knee.  He has had a great recovery with no complications.  He is looking forward to getting back to his work-out routine and testing the limits of his healed knee.  The girls and I have decided that he should retire from basketball.  I think he agrees.  A big part of Eric’s daddy role these days is to worry.  He is so protective of his girls and is always worrying about them.  I guess this is a good balance in parenting, since I am more of the “let them go experience life” kind of mom.  As long as they are making good choices and being safe, I’m all for it most often.  Eric helps me look at the “other side of things” when it comes to parenting. 

I have been up to the usual…working, carpooling and nagging my family.  I took a trip by myself to surprise my mommy in February and allowed myself to sleep late, rest and relax for a few days.  I have also decided (once again) that I need to start taking care of myself.  So, I have started exercising a little bit.  I absolutely hate it!!!  I like to see instant results.  I want to see the six-pack the tight thighs in one week.  I really don’t want to work that hard for the body I dream of having.  I’m going slowly.  I’m trying. Spring is just 10 days away.  The big sweaters and coats will come off soon. Ugh!  After 46 years of not exercising, this may be the year for me (but, I think I say this every year).

I will try to post more often.  I often wake up in the middle of the night with cute and witty thoughts to write about, but soon forget when I fall back to sleep.  Maybe I’ll try keeping paper and a pencil by my bed.  Hmmm…maybe not.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

What Makes You Strong.

The loss of a loved one is so profound.  There are a million ways in which one can cope with the loss and grief of this event.  Some people grieve silently, some out loud.  Some keep busy and others seek out comfort from their loved ones.  Grief can look like many different things and take over at any time.  I remember being in Potbellys when the wave of grief for my dad hit me.  The musician that was playing in the window started playing a Beetles song.  I remembered my dad playing that song on his record player.  I ran out of the restaurant sobbing as the tears flowed.

I have been raised to be the strong one, the get things done girl, the rock, the pull my big-girl pants up girl, the stand tall and be the last man standing girl.  That is my role, my ethic in all that I do, even how I grieve. This is also my curse. 

In my mind, I am the one that takes care of everyone.  I’m the mom.  I’m the wife.  I’m the fierce protector of my family that my parents raised me to be.  I am the strong face that lets everyone know that everything is going to be OK. The problem is, I neglect to take care of myself while taking care of others.  I have not allowed myself to grieve.  I have not taken care of myself.  I have to learn how to do this.  It’s hard to unlearn habits you have carried with you all of your life.

Today I surrendered.

After being sick for almost 3 weeks and having a headache for a whole week, today I took myself to the doctor.  Apparently, I have been walking around with a sinus infection and some nasty “school virus” for some time. 

Later in the morning, I cried about spilling my coffee.  The tears just spilled out of me.  The tears flowed down my face just as easily as the coffee flowed over the kitchen counter.  Both the coffee and myself were a big mess.

The truth is, those tears were not about the coffee.  That was my moment of vulnerability.  My moment to let the grief I have been feeling spill out.  I miss my dad and I miss Eric’s dad.  I grieve for the fact that I don’t have a dad with me anymore.  I grieve for Eric, because now he knows this feeling of loss.  I grieve for my girl’s loss as they believe that their grandfathers were the two of the most influential people in their lives and now they are gone.

I blamed my tears on the coffee mess and the fact that I was not feeling well. There was a moment of confusion on Eric’s face, as I sobbed in his arms.  The poor guy probably thought I had either over-dosed on antibiotics, was having a serious menopausal meltdown or I had not caffeinated myself early enough in the day.  As I tried to shake it off and compose myself, I knew that he knew what was really wrong.  He gave me space, let me cry and then allowed me to pull myself together again and emerge from the room composed and strong again.

The weird thing is, I felt so much better after I cried.  My headache went away.  My cough subsided a little bit.  I think I needed to cleanse myself of the feeling I was holding onto in order to protect the ones I love.  I think now I know I need to protect myself too. 

I will wake up tomorrow and probably go back to my same old habits, but I have learned a lesson in this day.  Being vulnerable makes you strong.  Being resilient makes you strong.  Being loved by those that go before you makes you strong.  Holding on to their precious memories makes you strong.  Having love in your life and giving love makes you strong.  Shedding tears makes you strong.  At the end of this day, I am stronger than I was when I woke up this morning.  I will stay strong.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Back to Normal?

All of the house-guests have left.  All the sheets and towels have been washed and put away.    The house is quiet again.  We are beginning to return to our regular routines.  Our lives are back to normal.

The only thing is, we can never go back to normal. Our lives have all been changed.  We have lost a loved one.  Raymond Richard Aiden…a father, a grandpa, a father-in-law, a friend.  His presence in our world was not normal, it forever changed each one of us for the better.

Death is normal, but this does not feel normal to me.  It feels wrong.  I feel cheated.  I feel as if my family has been cheated.  The world has been cheated of time with this amazing man.  

There was not a single moment from the time that Eric and I first started dating that Gramps (aka Raymond Richard) didn’t make me feel as if I were a part of the Aiden family.  It wasn’t normal to feel so at ease with a family, but it was easy. 

He always had a smile, a laugh and a hug to give, even when you knew he wasn’t feeling well.  It’s not normal to be so happy all of the time.

When my father died 6 years ago, Gramps became my father-figure, the man I knew would take care of me as if I were his own daughter.  It felt normal.  It felt good to know that I did have a “dad” by my side.

In the 22 years of being with Eric, Gramps only got mad at me once.  How could this be?  Not normal.  He called me to talk it out and then it was over.  I, on the other had, found myself being perfectly normal and got mad at him a few times.

How do you go on as if everything in back to “normal” when something so tragic has happened?  When someone so significant in your life and the lives of those around you is gone, how does that feel normal?  

We have to find our new “normal” now.  What will that look like?  Right now we are all struggling to find our way, to find a new way that will be different and feel different.  Some of this process will be normal…we will grieve, remember, cry and laugh.  We will be angry and question why we lost our loved one.  We will reflect on our last words, actions and things we may have taken for granted when we thought we had more time.  All of this is normal. 

What will be different is the fact that we will all rise from this as a stronger family, a more appreciative family, an extraordinary family, not a normal family.  That is how we will remember our Extraordinary Gramps. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I'm Going Back To Cali.

Gabby is back in California now.  She is safe and sound and all settled into her new apartment.  I got to deliver her this year, as Eric is recovering from his surgery.  I also instagramed the journey:)

There was a lot of work to be done in the move-in process but also some time for a little fun. 

We did some marathon shopping, moving, unpacking and putting stuff together on Saturday and Sunday which allow for us to have the whole day on Monday for some California adventures!

It was nice to get away for a few days, away from home, away from Evanston and be in the California life.  I see how people can so easily fall in love with the state….great weather, adventures in almost every city and just a different way of life.

 It was hard to leave my girl behind, but not nearly as bad as last year.  This year, I left her with a great crew of friends and a lovely collection of roommates by her side.  This year I know that she will be OK.  I think she was actually looking forward to going back to school; I guess that’s a good thing.  It was nice to have her home for the summer, but also satisfying to see her want her college life independence and freedom back.  Christmas is just a few months away….she'll be back!

See ya soon Gabby!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Story Of The Patella Tendon

Eric’s surgery was today.  

He was wheeled into recovery at 10:02 am this morning. 


Oh yeah, if you are reading this and have no idea what I am talking about, then you have not heard “The Story Of The Patella Tendon”….

Patella tendon: A tendon that extends down from the quadriceps muscle in the thigh to incorporate the patella (the kneecap) and attach it to the tibia (the shinbone), providing extension at the knee joint. The patella tendon is also called the patella ligament because it connects the patella to the tibia. (Ligaments connect bones while tendons connect muscles to bones.)

Once upon a time, there was an Aiden family reunion being held in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Eric, Tracy and Sinobia Aiden arrived in town, safe and sound, on Thursday evening (Gabrielle stayed home to attend the Jay-Z and Beyonce concert). 

The family members all greeted each other, had breakfast together on Friday morning before heading off to the park to play some friendly family games and relay races.

Across the park, many could spot the men engaging in a slightly non-competitive, old man vs. young man game of basketball.  A few minutes later, Sinobia is spotted running across the field, towards her mother (that’s me).  She says, “Dad is hurt.”

Tracy runs across the field to the basketball court (yes, I really ran), where she sees a group of men hovering over Eric, who is lying on the ground.

Eric has that dazed look in his eye.  Tracy can tell he’s either in pain or in shock.  He says he’s fine, but he can’t bend his leg. 

Someone calls the ambulance and the park police.  They both arrive at the same time to the scene.  Eric is assessed and then lifted onto the gurney and deposited into the back of the ambulance.  Tracy gets to ride in the front seat as they drive through 2 or 3 towns to the nearest emergency room, where they are greeted by a group of friendly nurses and doctors that take really good care of Eric. 

X-rays are done.  Nothing is broken, but the knee is too swollen to really tell what the damage is. 

Fast forward to Sunday morning…..Eric can’t drive, so Tracy has to drive them home (Tracy hates to drive).  After 2 hours of traffic, rain and flash flood warnings in the mountains, they arrive home 11 hours later, safe and sound. 

Eric visits the orthopedic surgeon upon his return home.  He is given the diagnosis; a torn patella tendon.  Surgery is scheduled to happen in four days!


Well four days later, here we are.  Sitting in the surgical center waiting room, drinking up their free coffee, watching movies on our computers, trying to purchase 5 seconds of Summer “pre-sale” tickets with the not so fast internet they are offering and blogging about our late summer/July/patella adventure.  All went well and Gabrielle, Sinobia and I are headed home to nurse Eric back to health. 

Not "The End" of this story….to be continued.

Never a dull moment in the Aiden House.