Sunday we drove up and surprised Halea and brought her some things that she had forgotten and we found her a new bike, so we brought that up to her. It was fun to see her. We didn't stay long, but it was nice for everyone to just get to hug her and see her.
Monday was the first day of school for Halea and myself. I brought Hilary to her "high school preschool". As we walked in the door her little friend from the neighborhood was sitting way on the others side of the room. When he saw her walk in the door he yelled across the room as he was grabbing her a chair, "over her Hilary I have a chair for you!". He is such a crack up.
Halea seemed excited about her classes. My classes were good. In one of my classes I got my presentation assignment, "gender equality", a subject that I detest. That was no good, but there were a lot of other subjects that could have been worse. In another one of my classes my professor asked if everyone had siblings, because of the context I didn't raise my hand since my sister had died when I was 7 and she was 11. Essentially I grew up an only child, and what he was referring to was current. So he looked at me sadly and apologetically and said that his son didn't have siblings either. Wow, just wait til he finds out the rest of my story! In my last class we were doing some exercises in interviewing and the lady that I was working with asked about my family a few times, but it never came to a natural point that I felt like I could explain that I only have 5 kids alive. At some point it is going to come up. I fear that it is going to be really uncomfortable. Which is funny since all of my classes are with people that want to enter the field of Social Work. That makes me giggle a little.
While I was at school Hayden went to pick Hilary up from preschool and when he walked in she just growled at him when he said hello. So the teacher told him that she couldn't let her go with him unless she showed recognition of him! So he was trying to get her to say that he was her brother for a few minutes, until finally she grumbled, "He's my brother".
After Hayden got home I got a text from him saying that he wanted to go play tennis with some friends down at the high school but he wasn't sure what to do with Hilary. Before I could respond he sent me a text saying that they were going to take Hilary with them. Oh my. She is truly living the teenage life. I got home shortly after they got there. She was out on the courts talking to all of the girls high school team that were practicing, and all of Hayden's friends. I hope that she is not permanently damaged by the end of this year.
By the time I got home I was really overwhelmed at everything that was going to be involved in completing the assignments in all of my classes. I was trying to deep breath and focus on the things that I have some control over. I was able to calm myself down and get dinner and spend some time with the fam.
In the mail we got a few pictures from my cousin that their photographer took of Hilary.
To close out the busy day Hayden asked a girl to Homecoming.
Today was a good day. I was able to go to running with my friends, get some cleaning done and I got to go to my workout class. After the class I was getting Hilary in the van and this lady said to me "do you have a lot of kids?" Making a gesture towards our van. I paused for a minute and then I said "Well, we did. We bought it when we had our last daughter because with 6 kids it was hard for the older kids to climb over seats and things in our Navigator so we got this. But then she died last year and my oldest daughter moved away to college, we don't have a lot of need for it anymore so we are going to sell it." She nodded and said, "oh yeah, I thought you used to bring a little baby to class with you". Then she couldn't get in her car fast enough. I felt really bad for her. This conversation just never gets easier, for me or for those on the receiving end. I try as hard as I can to say all of it with a smile on my face and in a cheerful tone. Maybe that makes it worse?
This morning as I was getting ready for the day I was thinking about the faces that we wear. I started wondering if I have painted too rosy of a picture of grieving. I haven't written about some of the really really hard feelings because they feel too personal. But I did want to make sure that I write, now that I can feel myself coming to the other side a little bit, that I understand how hard this is on a marriage and family. I hope that I have never put on the facade that this has been easy for Lance or myself. I totally understand how people get divorced during extreme times of grief. If I didn't have an eternal commitment to my marriage and my kids, I could have easily walked away from it all because there were days that were that hard. It is hard sometimes to reconcile what is going on between my brain and my heart and what I know is true. I totally understand why people get stuck in the hurt. That is where I feel comfortable. I don't like the fact that I am not sad all of the time anymore. I hate that I laugh, and feel joy. It feels like forgetting, even though I know that is not what it is. Grief is not for the faint of heart. The struggle of grief is real.
With that said, I know that I can live and breathe and feel joy and happiness, and still love Tatum and Trevin as much as I did a year ago. As I said before, those feelings are just hard to reconcile.
Tonight I went to my Child Welfare class. I think it is going to be my favorite class because I really like the teacher. He works for DCFS. He has a great sense of humor and he just presents material really well. At the end of class tonight he showed us a 13 minute on line video about Happiness. I thought it was so uplifting and reminded me, again, that we absolutely have a choice in our happiness. If you have a minute (or 13) google it and watch it. You won't be disappointed.
It's on Ted.com and the presenters name is Shawn Achor