6:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, I am wide awake (why can’t I do this during the weekdays, when I actually need to be awake at this time so that I can get to work) and I enjoy a few minutes of quiet time day dreaming that today, is the day I just might be able to sleep in.
At 7:00 a.m. big brother bounds up to my room totally awake, full of energy that only a five year old boy can muster and he is ready to take on the world. When I realize pretending to be asleep does not curb his early morning enthusiasm, I remember big brother has not yet discovered that 5 ½ year old Kindergarteners are too cool and no longer watch Sprout and PBS Kids and I feel comfortable sending him downstairs to watch a little T.V. that states it is suitable for preschoolers.
7:10 a.m., I jump out of bed when I get visions of big brother trying to make breakfast for the family – he has a servant’s heart and is always trying to make life easier for mommy – but microwave, stove and 5 ½ old boy are just not a good combination! Okay so much for sleeping in. We enjoy some time together, make breakfast and I watch the millionth episode of Barney & Friends.
8:00 a.m. dh leaves to teach Sunday school, whistling as he goes - I think he is totally clueless that getting four kids five and under ready in the morning when you have places to go is not as easy as pie or maybe he knows (though not from experience) and he is glad he has an escape. Otherwise, he would not be so cheerful on Sunday mornings.
9:00 a.m. the three youngest have made it perfectly clear that it is time for me to get up those stairs and meet their needs. Four baths later with uncooperative munchkins who compete on who will flood the bathroom the most, who will get mommy the wettest, and who will run off the most times sans clothes, giving mommy a major work out chasing toddlers who think this is the funniest game ever. Somehow, I manage to get the two year olds and the one year old dressed. As for the five year old, he is on his own - I just hope he remembered to tuck in his shirt and clip on his tie.
9:45 a.m. Start working on two diva’s hairs - I must be an eternal optimist because I am always hopeful that the hairstyles I work on so hard on Saturday night will stay put for Sunday. However, the girls have other ideas – every Sunday morning when I go to get them out of bed, they gleefully point at their handiwork in the form of all the hair bands and barrettes lying on the floor.
10:00 a.m. Breakfast time. Try feeding three kiddos who love their food at the same time and then add big brother who decides that of all the mornings, this is the morning when he needs mommy’s help to eat his waffle! We avoid disaster, most of the food does not land on their clothes and mommy puts up the gates and prays that big brother does not take it upon himself to get all three over the gate so that they can all go upstairs to surprise mommy!
10:25 a.m. hit the shower and try to break the record of the quickest shower ever. Pretend that my clothes don’t look like a cow has been chewing on them, avoid the mirror, and hope for the best.
10:40 a.m. one of the munchkins decides mommy’s breakfast did not meet their standards and decides their Sunday finest is the best place to regurgitate their meal. Mommy quickly decides she has no time to cry, magically wipes down said child and changes their clothes all in less than two minutes, while hoping that the throw up smell is only in the air and not coming from said child. Ignore the other suspicious smell that suggests that another one or two children might need a diaper change. 10 shoes later, I have to decide whether to ignore some miscellaneous barrettes on the floor and let people think I am a bad mommy who can’t fix her daughters’ hair or if it more important to get to church on time.
10:50 a.m. load up said munchkins into the car – some are trying to wander off and pick flowers. Never thought loading up kids could lead to such a work out – I hope that the deodorant does what the advertisers say it does and also hope that the make up is water proof – oh yeah, skip that, have not had time for make up in a year. All is good. Exercise is overrated – can’t seem to break a sweat on the treadmill, but I am guaranteed to every Sunday, just loading up kids and diaper bags. Thank goodness church is just five minutes away and I make it in the nick of time – and once again promise that next Sunday, I will be one of the families that stroll in 15 minutes before service starts. And the morning is not yet over – there is still the church service, but that is for another post.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
On Wednesday night April 7, 2010, my innocent little 3 year old self fit the UN definition of an orphan and became part of the 147 million orphan statistic. While grown ups may squabble about the UN’s definition of an orphan - a child 0-17 whose mother (maternal orphans) or father (paternal orphans) or both (double orphans) are dead – they can not squabble over the fact that on that tragic day, I became a fatherless child.
On that Wednesday night, I ceased to be defined as the happy, spunky, gregarious, talkative, carefree girly girl who could tumble and wrestle with the best of them, or as the kid who astounded everyone when she could speak fluently at 1 ½ years old and who by 2 years old was already fluently bi-lingual and at 3 was working on being fluent in her third language. Before that Wednesday night, my only cares were loving my dolls, playing with my toy kitchen, having long extended tea parties and keeping everyone laughing because they say I talk a mile a minute and always say the darndest things. Instead, from that fateful night last week, everyone looks at me with pity and sorrow as I try and figure out why everyone is so sad and what it means when I ask for my daddy and everyone tells me that he is in heaven. Now, I am defined as the poor little girl who does not have a daddy.
Because on that Wednesday night you decided it was no big deal to drive drunk on a suspended license while serving probation for a previous drunken-driving conviction. And you also decided it was not worth your time to stop and check on my daddy as he lay trapped under the wheels of your pickup truck – it was more important to leave the scene so that the police would not know that you were driving drunk. Thank goodness that this is not the final image I will know about the last minutes of my daddy’s life – your brother was decent enough to remain at the scene and lead police to your home where your cowardly drunk self was hiding. And even more decent were all the people who had just spent Wednesday night at bible study with my daddy and who had just watched him don on his helmet, get on his motorcycle and wave goodbye, but who a minute later were trying to administer CPR and were praying like crazy that God would let my daddy live. As you sit in jail, you will never know just how much my daddy loved me and what a wonderful and dedicated father he was. Nor will you ever know all the sacrifices he made to be the world’s greatest father. You will never know that my daddy was an all round decent man who not only cared for me, but he so deeply cared for others, was in an elite urban search and rescue team and was training to be a firefighter so that he could continue to put his life on the line to help save lives. On Wednesday night, the brave firefighters were the first on the scene to try and help save my daddy’s life – thanks to you, he will not be joining them on the big red fire truck. The only tangible reminder of the hero that my daddy was, will be the flag given to me by a representative from our Governor's office as a thank you from the people of my state for my daddy sacrifices. On Wednesday night, his elite group of 103 men from around my state became one man short.
Today, perhaps you are reflecting on whether the buzz you felt after your drinks and getting behind the wheel was worth taking a life, while my mommy shops for the dress I will wear at my daddy’s funeral. As I walk through life without my daddy I pray that the memories we built together for the last three years will not grow dim. After a short stint in jail, you may forget that you took a life, and perhaps get behind the wheel drunk yet again. But this little girl will not have the luxury of forgetting – because she will never hear her daddy’s voice, get her daddy’s hugs again, or see the million dollar smile that her daddy gave everyone he met, but the biggest smile of all that just lit up his whole face, he saved for his little princess. This little girl will not have her daddy to cheer her on when she graduates from college and she will not have her proud daddy walking her down the aisle.
Elizabeth, we love you so very much and we who knew your daddy will make sure that your memory of him does not grow dim and we will always make sure that you always know that you were one loved and cherished daddy’s little girl.