Monday, December 7, 2009
It has been 12 years since we lost you. Twelve years is a long time, and so many things have happened since that sad Sunday morning; for that is a harsh reality of death: life does go on. Thousands of minutes have passed since 6:09am, December 7, 1997, and yet that particular moment is seared in my memory like only a handful of others.
I regret not fully waking up to give you a hug and kiss that Thursday night before you left for the Keys Friday morning. I had been in Tallahassee all week, and you arrived home late after a business dinner. In a half-alert moment, I heard you open the door; but I stayed in bed. I missed you the next morning as you left early for Marathon...no doubt excited for the warm, beautiful weather and the peace of Avenue M. My last memory of you is sitting on the sofa in the living room at Grandmama's watching football with Uncle Tommy Williams, Grandaddy and various other family members. You were laughing, with that twinkle in your eye, and joking with Uncle Tommy -probably about the Georgia Bulldogs.
Later that morning, as Ashley and I waited to board our plane to Marathon, I was actually stunned that the sun had risen, that time continued ticking on the clock, and that people were going about their normal lives...how could they? Didn't they know something awful had happened? That my father had died? I was mad and sad and lost. Completely untethered.
One foot in front of the other, one day at a time, slowly, slowly, life settled into a new normal. Normalcy is bittersweet. Losing you is the single worst thing I've had to endure in my life. How could life possibly ever be normal again? Happily, it is. And I know that you are proud of that.
But the pain is still here, and some days are a lot worse than others. Like last Monday as I watched a woman about my age greeting her father at baggage claim with hugs and smiles. Or today, on the anniversary of your passing, when I'm on my own in Tallahassee, far away from anyone who remembers the significance of today and why I'm so sad.
When Mama called me that morning 12 years ago, all I could do was pray: that God would keep you close to Him, and that He would keep you close to me in my heart. That is how I begin my prayers every day, and I believe God has kept up His end of the bargain. Still, I'm not sure the untethered feeling will ever go away.
During the memorial service someone said "your father wouldn't want you to be sad." I told her that you most definitely would want me to be sad that you were gone, because I missed you. And I still do. I love you, Daddy.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
It's been awhile. As much as I love writing, I find it very hard to keep up with regular posts. There is so much to write about and I'm a Virgo so I want to do it all in order, but I can't keep up with writing about everything that is happening so fast...so I don't know where to start...so I become...paralyzed.
I don't know why I put so much pressure on myself to make these blog entries "perfect:" timely, relevant, smart, witty, whatever. But, I do. And then there's the matter of pictures. All of our thousands of pictures are stored on a hard drive. At home. The trouble is, I don't have much free time for blogging when I am at home. And the truth is, I don't want to make the time for blogging at home. I would rather spend my time playing with PG and Zane.
So my first entry here in two months will be all words. Fittingly, it is about words. Specifically, all the words my 19-month-old genius has mastered.
At his 18-month well-baby visit, our nurse asked if Zane could say at least 15 words. Phil and I confidently answered "yes", and eagerly added that his vocabulary probably extended to about 25 words.
Not long after that appointment, Zane left for the first of his two summer vacations: a week in Alabama visiting the GGs with Pappi, Kyle and Todd. As we put together the operation manual for our Zane, including "Words Zane Can Say", we discovered that he must be a verbal ninja. Or a word nerd. Either way, Zane's vocabulary list included fifty - 50! - words. We are so proud of him because not only can he say these words, he uses and understands them in proper context. It must be the rum.
"BOHHHH!" - he waves and says "Hiiiiii!" at every passing boat, too
"wuh ssat" - he is a curious explorer
Waffle - "wa-wvu"
Juice - "juse" with a slight lisp on the finish
"peas" with a slight lisp on the finish - he always asks nicely.
"ah-ku" - and says thank you.
"ah kow" - we love you, too, little man.
"moh" - the kid is very clear about what he likes, and when he wants more, he wants more! He makes the sign with this one, too.
Gigi - for my Grandmama
"haiii" - and he does his little Forrest Gump wave
"bye-bye" -also with a little flourish of a wave
"oh NOOOO" - and both hands go to his head to emphasize the point
"too too" - when he toots
No - this one, of course, is very clear...
My/mine - this one is very clear, too. sigh.
"cowl" - Big Cousin
"tah" - Middle Cousin
"chuck" - whenever he sees PG's car
"sack" - the kid knows where his snacks are, too, by goodness.
"fee" - if he is sitting down, laying on the changing table, or riding in his car seat, he will lift his leg to show us his feet when we ask him.
"book" - very clear, without the hard K at the end
"shu shuze" - he is so cute about putting on his shoes; he will bring his shoes to one of us, then turn around, back up, and sit in our lap for us to put them on him. Zane also knows how to put away his shoes!
"pooo" - the kid would jump right into the pool if we'd let him!
"wah diss?/wah dat?"
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I'm "friends" with NPR, which is my other addiction. I have no patience for bad radio, so NPR it is (except when Zane and I are jammin' to the new Z-100). Wow, I am scatter-brained today. Must be the Diet Coke.
Okay, so, really, back to my story.
Today NPR updated its Facebook page with a story link about the release of the entire first season of Designing Women on DVD.
Like most women living below the Mason-Dixon line, I love Designing Women. My sister and I have seen every episode and still watch re-runs in syndication. There are certain lines and dialogue that never fail to crack us up.
In honor of the DVD release, NPR Pop Culture blogger Linda Holmes created "The Designing Women Game: Write Your Own Julia Rant." Finally! An opportunity to channel the queen of the calm, cool, collected tirade; an opportunity to understand - just once - what Julia would do.
The template is based on the Mad Libs model and contemplates the question, "What would Julia say about ABC's newest installment of the Bachelorette?"
Here's what I (as Julia) have to say:
"I would rather spend two hours sharing jalapeno poppers with Charles Manson than watch a woman who apparently purchased her intellect at the Dollar Store for $3.73 chase twenty-five men with biceps made of copper and heads packed with Trix.
Because when future generations look upon what we have left for them, which may by then be little more than greenhouse gases and millions of non-biodegradable blackberries, I fear they will conclude that they would have welcomed bread and circuses if only they had realized the alternative was Chili Fritos and The Real Housewives of New York.
And let me tell you a little something about romance: Handing out roses like you are a mascot throwing Sour Patch Kids to the assembled hooligans at the NBA Finals is not my idea of romance. Romance is a man who knows the difference between John Adams and Jon Bon Jovi and who is capable of putting on a brassiere without scratching his head as if he is connecting a Tivo without the instruction manual.
So do not ask yourself why I do not particularly enjoy a television show where the assembled male candidates represent romantic prospects inferior to the workers on the night shift at the Applebee’s in Orlando. Ask yourself whether, after a lifetime playing with a cultural Tonka Truck and dancing on the grave of Captain Ahab, you will ever...recover...your dignity."
And THAT, Marjorie, just so you will KNOW, and so your GRANDCHILDREN will SOMEDAY know, was the NIGHT. The LIGHTS. Went OUT. In GEORGIA.
Friday, May 15, 2009
PG - 43 years, Zane - 17 months
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
still trying to make sense of it all; but promised to write a blog entry about the incident.
As posted to my Facebook profile last Thursday, via Twitter, I "learned a very hard lesson today: never, ever trust anyone. That includes "friends."
When I joined Facebook last Spring (as a way to see photos of a dear friend's new baby boy), I determined to use the service for pure social reasons: reconnecting with old friends from high school; staying in touch with friends who are geographically distant; keeping up with the local social scene; sharing photos and quick updates with family near and far; etc.,.
I work in a field that all but requires socializing with colleagues. Politics is built on a foundation of personal relationships and connections, and the line between "colleague" and "friend" is faint and distorted. Still, as my "friend" list expanded to include friends who are also work colleagues, I adjusted my privacy settings to allow only limited access to people who work within the legislative process - with very few exceptions.
Further, I blocked all Members who requested "friendship" through Facebook. While I socialize with many of my fellow aides and many lobbyist peers, "socializing" with Members - especially via a social networking website - is dangerous territory. In fifteen years of work in politics, I have learned "Members are not your friends." Period.So, now, back to last Thursday. I posted (via Twitter) a status update that was critical of an Office in the Florida House, for good reason. Said Office is designed to provide clear, concise, accurate information about pending (or enacted) legislation to Member offices (and the public, the media, whoever...). Quickly.
However, when I called Said Office, identified myself as the aide to Representative So-and-So (information they should know, by the way...just sayin'...) to request information for responding to a constituent inquiry, I got the exact opposite of the service Said Office is supposed to provide. This is a pattern. Said Office is, as I stated in my status update, useless.
The five-word status update (posted during a break using my personal crackberry) did not name any names and did not include any detail. Ahem.
Somehow, despite the fact that my legislative "friends" are prohibited from seeing any status updates and links on my profile, that update made its way to the Honcho of Said Office who approached my boss...on the floor of the House...and raised hell. My boss directed me to remove the post, which I did.
This incident left me disturbed, upset, confused, mad, indignant and scared...on many levels:
- That someone I consider a friend, not a "friend" or just a colleague, would throw me under the bus. I do not know who I can trust anymore.
- That the Honcho would be so thin-skinned about something I (a minion) said, especially since the comment wasn't even about the Honcho. Politics is brutal and surely my comment is not the worst criticism ever received - either directly or indirectly. Maybe the Honcho is in the wrong biz?
- That the Honcho took up the cause of gossip (in the manner of true statesmanship) and immediately sorted to "defensive" and beating down the subversive instead of going to the root of the problem.
- That freedom of expression is a guaranteed right in our democracy and I did not waive that right when I started my career in legislative politics. I'm afraid that personal censure is now part of the lexicon of politics in Florida. Don't dare to criticize the powers-that-be.
Should I have been so reckless in trusting privacy settings on the internet? Probably not. But, I learned that I should not be reckless in trusting my friends.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Let's start out with something oh so clever, whats your sign? Virgo.
Congratulations! You just had a baby boy! Whats his name? I actually did have a baby boy 16 months ago. His name is Peter Zane Biagi LeBoutillier. If I were to have another baby boy, his name would be Aidan.
Congratulations ! It's a baby girl! You name her? Ava or Lila
Look at your recent calls, who was your last missed call from? Ashley.
What is bothering you right now? Last night.
What is your favorite color? Blue.
Who's the last person you texted? PG.
Is there a high chance of you going out to the movies soon? No.
Are you easily scared by horror/thriller films?Yes.
If you had $100 would you spend or save it? I would spend it.
If there was a large spider in the room, would you stay? As long as the spider stayed on its own side of the room.
Do you regret anything you've done lately? Yes.
Where are you right now? At my office.
What are you doing? Trying to stay awake.
Would you be able to date someone who had a kid with someone else? I have no judgment of single parents, and would have no trouble dating one if I were single.
What are you doing tonight? The same thing I do every night: put Zane down for a catnap, clean up the kitchen, prepare supper, clean up the kitchen, laundry, bedtime routine for Zane, bedtime routine for mama, and hopefully sound sleep (without the stupid night warblers...)
Could you date someone shorter than you? Yes, if I were single.
Next time you will go to the doctors? August 3.
Last time you cried? Last night.
Do you have the same name as any of your relatives? My middle name is the same as my mother's.
What were you doing at midnight Friday night? Dancing at Mint Lounge in Tallahassee.
Has a boy sat on your bed before? Yes, and a boy sleeps in my bed with me.
Who's the funniest person you know? Ralph Lair.
Are you afraid to grow up? No.
Do you have someone who you can be your complete self around? Yes.
If you could pack up and leave your life now to move away, would you? No.
When was the last time someone yelled at you? Last night.
Do you have nice eyes? I've been told I have nice eyes.
What was the last thing you ate? 8 gumdrops.
How is the weather right now? Hot, sticky, windy.
Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? Someone who called about scheduling the Rep to speak to their group.
Have you ever fired a gun? Yes.
How many pillows do you sleep with? Two.
Are you missing someone? Yes.
Have you hugged or kissed anyone in the last 72 hours? Yes.
What happened at 10AM this morning? Snack time for Z.
Do you miss your past? No.
Who will you be sleeping with tonight? PG.
Are you getting engaged any time soon? It's been 10 years, why rush now?
Wearing any bracelets? Yes, a silver beaded bracelet from Tiffany & Co.
Last thing someone bought for you? It's hard to say; my life is populated with generous people.
Does anyone know your passwords other than you? PG.
Did you have a good day yesterday? Yes, until 7:30pm.
Ever kissed someone who smokes? Yes, and I will never, ever do it again.
What are you wearing? White eyelet a-line skirt, bright melon tunic with puff sleeves and Jack Rogers Navajo sandals.
Do you wake up cranky? Not since I became a mother.
Do you bite your nails? Not since I had braces as a teenager.
Who do you want to see at this very moment? Zane.
Do you hate someone right now? No.
Does anyone hate you for no reason? No.
Can you make yourself cry? Yes.
Are you taller than 5 foot 7 inches? No.
What were you doing at 4AM? Waiting for the Benadryl to kick in.
How much money is in your wallet? $55.
Do you believe what goes around comes around? Yes.
Have you ever been called 'heartless? No.
Do you trust people easily? Yes, too easily.
Do you like pulpy orange juice? Ick. No.
Which could you tolerate more a sleep walker or someone who snores? Someone who snores.
Would you ever parachute off of a plane? Only to save my life.
Would you ever get a tattoo? I already have two, and would love to get a third.
Are you gonna be home alone tonight? No.
When you say you don't care, do you mean it? Usually.
Would you consider yourself to be spoiled? Not anymore.
Do you remember the first time you kissed the last person you kissed? Yes.
Are you good at hiding your emotions? I wish I were.
Do you think too much or too little? Way too much.
Think back five months ago, were you single? No.
Who can you blame for your bad mood today? Myself. I should not have taken that Benadryl at 3:45am.
How do you feel right now? Very sleepy.
Who were the first people you heard this morning? Zane.
Do you believe in celebrating anniversaries? Yes, but I don't have one to celebrate.
Does it take a lot to make you cry? Sadly, no.
What were you doing at 12:30 this afternoon? Not sure yet, it's only 11:41am.
Who was the last person you texted? PG.
Do you think a lot before you sleep? Sometimes.
What's running through your mind right now? Can I play hooky to go home and sleep?
Have you ever had your heart broken? Yes.
Do you like to cuddle/snuggle? Sometimes.
Is there anybody you wish you could be spending time with right now? Yes.
Have you ever fallen asleep in someone's arms? Yes.
Do you wish someone would call or text you right now? Yes.
Is your life anything like it was a year ago? In the good ways, it is identical; but, now the bad things from a year ago are so much better.
This time last year, can you remember who you liked? Yes.
How late did you stay up last night? 9:49pm, then woke up at 2:03am, unable to breathe or tune out the stupid night warblers; hence the Benadryl.
You can only drink ONE liquid for the rest of your life, what is it? Water.
Have you lost contact with someone you wish you didn't? Yes.
Who are your favorite people to talk to when you’re down? Zane always makes me happy.
Does anyone call you baby? No.
Are you a patient person? Becoming more patient.
What's the last thing that you said? "I'm on my way."
Any plans for tomorrow? Not sure; Friday plans may change.
What is the last thing you did before you went to bed last night? Read Organic Gardening.
What can't you wait for? An answer.
What's the worst way to say "I love you"? I agree with Lady E: when there is a "but" following the statement.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
In other news unrelated to garbage, Zane's new favorite words are "woooooooow" (he usually busts out with it when presented with a meal), "whooooooaaaa", "ballllllllll", "wa-wu" (waffle) and "buh-bye." He is also blowing raspberries with his tongue out, which just cracks me up. He has also taken to pointing his tiny finger to my belly button and saying "bay-bee." I know Zane is an old soul, and I can't help but wonder if he is asking for a baby brother or sister.
PG and I are mesmerized by the cognitive development taking place right before our eyes. Zane understands how to put things away in their proper place; he will come find us when we call to him; he can distinguish between bunny and bear and monkey when we ask him to bring a specific toy to us; and he will come sit down in front of us to put on his shoes. My favorite thing, though, is the toothy-grin smooch, complete with the "muwah" sound effect. Baby kisses. :)
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Lesson learned: it just keeps getting better.
For about two months before my baby turned a year old, I was wistful and sad about the (rapid) passing of infancy. The sadness permeated every sector of my life and sort of "paralyzed" me for a few weeks as we careened toward December 12, 2008. It's another one of those things that nobody tells you when you become a mother: it's the biggest and most wonderful thing to give birth, until you begin to realize that your baby becomes more independent of you with every passing day. Because Zane will likely be my only child, my feelings about his transition from newbie, to baby, to infant, to toddler were particularly keen . How could it go so fast? (I know I was warned, but still...) Did I miss anything? I hope not... Remember when?...and the "when" was only a few weeks earlier. Sigh.
But, then, after the Big oh-1!...after marking the day with all of the pomp and ceremony befitting such an occasion, Zane was the same sweet angel baby he HAS been since the day of his birth. And I realized that my sadness was unfounded because it Just. Gets. Better.
Right after Z’s 1st birthday I had to travel for committee week, then it was Christmas, New Year’s, then six straight weeks of committee week (aka torture), and now Session (double torture). BUT, Zane is just great! Here is what's new with our little buddy:
He is still sooooooo super happy, and content, and the sweetest child ever made.
He has beautiful, long shaggy hair and, no, we are not cutting it (Sorry, Pappi!)
He officially started walking on January 11, 2008: Ed's birthday and one day shy of the 13-month mark. Now he is not only walking, but he is very nearly running.
Zane does not use words indiscriminately. He says "mama,” “papa,” “wass-dat?” “hey,” “oooooh nooooo,” “uh oh,” "moon," "car," and his newest words, as of this morning, "wowwww" and something similar to "yeah." And he uses them in proper context. A little genius...just sayin'...
He “blows” kisses and will actually lean in to give me a kiss on the lips and make the “muwah” sound, too.
His eyes are officially hazel blue.
He weighs 25 lbs. and is 31 inches tall.
He still loves his groceries - his favorites are yogurt (of course...), cottage cheese, apple sauce, curried lentils (I'm not kidding), black-eyed peas (again, not kidding), black bean burritos (the kid is a FOOL for Moe's), goldfish, Eggo Waffles (strawberry or blueberry, please...), OJ, green peas, peaches, mandarin oranges (duh), Honey Grahams, and...
He still has super long and thick lashes and sweet chubby cheeks.
He finally spiked his first fever about a month ago with a random, nondescript virus, but he is healthy, healthy, healthy!
He loves milk and water, and will drink juice if it’s diluted.
He loves a good slide, the Belly Button song, Good Night Moon, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.
When he smiles and laughs, he crinkles his nose and eyes (see picture above..)
He can bend over from a standing position to pick up something from the floor and return to a standing position without falling over. He also cuts a mean rug...country music preferred, but any type of music will move him to tap his feet.He gives full hugs upon request (and very frequently, unsolicited! Did I mention how sweet he is?) and Zane KNOWS how to give a good hug: he lays his head on your shoulder, holds you tight and pats your back. Word.
He laughs uncontrollably when tickled and smooched on his belly and neck and feet
He claps joyfully when we say "yaaaaayyyyy!"
He loves to help us rearrange our bookshelves, cabinets and coffee table. He also loves to "help" with laundry and loading the dishwasher.
He loves to brush his teeth. He smiles and knows to open up and say "aaaaahhhh" so we can properly clean his pearlies.
He is definitely a blanket boy, and a very sensitive child.
He still loves a good pacifier, but he has never sucked his thumb.
His favorite toys are any type of ball, the toy workbench with wooden pegs and mallet, blocks and, just like a man, the remote control. He loves Lookout (Build-A-Bear Teddy from Pop Boot) and Xzzzzz (Build-a-Bear Monkey from Mama), his cousins and his personal jungle gyms (aka Mama and Papa)
His fingernails still grow faster than mine.
He still reaches out and points to say hello.
He understands "gentle touch" and shares well with others.
He loves the Kids Cookie Club at Publix and, let's be honest, that is a Mama's salvation at the grocery store.
He has taken to a sippy cup without issue (still our wonderful little adapt-a-baby)
He sleeps from about 8:30pm to about 7:30am (still our wonderful little sleeper), and he frequently laughs in his sleep. Good times.
He has learned to climb stairs, and I've taught him how to descend the stairs by sitting on his bottom and sliding down. PG was particularly impressed by his mastery of this skill.
Lesson learned: the well of love is bottomless, and with every passing day it becomes deeper.