Double Wow ……

…… I cried again.

But a good cry.
You guys blew me out of the water with all of the comments …… and support …… here and on FB.
I really didn’t know that more than a handful of people read this blog. I hoped that some widowed people had found me, but I figured it was only a few.
Wow ……

Thank you SO much for the comments.
Thank you for your very kind words.
Thank you for your anger.
And thank you for the love I felt.
Wow ……

A friend messaged me last night and let me know that I was not alone in receiving that kind of comment from that person.
I was sorry that she had endured that, but I was also glad that it wasn’t just me.
And then I felt sad.

I’m sad for the person who I thought was a friend. Not a close friend, but a friend anyway.
I’m sad that something is going on in her life that causes her to try to hurt people, and cloaking it in “God”.
God doesn’t need a cloak.

I’m sad for her.
All I can do is pray for her …… and ask you to do the same.
And that’s all I’m going to say about that …… from here on out.

Yesterday was a big theatre day for me.
And a busy day.

My friend J and I walked to our book club meeting. The hostess lives about an hour from us, over by the U.N.
I love walking here. No matter how many blocks/miles.
But I don’t enjoy the humidity.
Yes, you’d think I’d be used to humidity since I happen to spend most of my life in one of the most humid places on earth …… south Texas.
But in Texas, we don’t walk everywhere we go.
That would just be insane.

And it’s October for cryin’ out loud!! It’s supposed to feel like fall up here!
By the time we got to the apartment, we were both pretty drenched.
And not from rain.
Ugh.

But we had a great meeting and a really good discussion about the book.
And I learned that …… if I cram the reading of a book in a little over 24 hours …… I remember it well enough to join in the discussion …… and know what I’m talking about!!
Who’d a thunk?!

BTW, the book is The Museum of Extraordinary Things, by Alice Hoffman. It’s good. It’s weird. But good.

After that J and I decided to walk to the theatre to see if we could get tickets to see “The Country House”, with Blythe Danner.
And we did!!!
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It was very good.

We also walked past the library,
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and by Bryant Park, where they’re already putting up the skating rink!
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After the play I sat in Times Square, soaking up the people, the fun and the weirdness.
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Then I met my friend B at Carmine’s for dinner.
And a blood orange margarita.
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Yes, they were as good as they look.
Don’t be jealous.

After dinner we went to see “Pippin”. And I enjoyed it as much as the first time I saw it.
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And the really cool thing, for me, was that this lady was in it!
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I know you can’t really tell who that is, so I’ll tell you.
Cuz I’m nice like that.
It’s Lucie Arnaz.
You know, the daughter of Lucille Ball.

She happened to star in the very first Broadway show I saw …… “They’re Playing Our Song”.
And I LOVED that show. I still have the album.
And still listen to it.

After the play they held a Talk Back, which is when people from the show (producers, directors, actors, etc) hang out to discuss the show and answer questions. I love it when a Talk Back is included. The person who chatted with us was Stephen Schwartz, the composer and lyricist of “Pippin”. Forty years ago.
Wow ……
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This theatre (Music Box Theatre) happens to be on a street with a ton of wonderful shows.
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I’m heading back to TX on Sunday, which is why I’ve seen so many shows this week. I try to cram them in when I’m getting ready to leave.

I’ll be back in a couple of weeks, but only for a week.
But I’ll be back in December …… I bought a one way ticket.
Double wow ……
:)

Wow ……

…… that’s all.
Just …… wow.

When last I left you, I had seen Sting in the Park.
Question: And yes, I know I could Google this, but what is his real name? Does it say “Sting” on his birth certificate, because if so …… bad parenting anyone?

Yesterday and today I read a book.
Seriously.
Book club is tomorrow afternoon.
Never let it be said that I don’t get things done …… when I want to.

I’ve also been to some barre classes and on some more walks through the Park.
Fall has not yet graced us with its presence, but it’ll be here soon. I hope.
The weather hasn’t been cold enough to turn the leaves yet, but I did happen upon two beautiful trees.
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Tonight I went to see this play:
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The cast changes every 6 weeks. Right now it stars Carol Burnett and Brian Dennehy.
People who know me well, know that I have loved Carol Burnett since I was much younger than I am now. Much.
When I think of her, I think of home.
I think of growing up, watching her show every Saturday night, while my mom put rollers in my hair for church the next morning.
I have memories of high school, and college, and continuing to admire, respect and love her talent.

She came to Houston to do an evening of Q & A. Jim took me to see her. She showed a video that contained a lot of clips from her show. I found myself crying during that video. I’m not sure why, except for the memories it brought, and the feeling of home.
Jim died later that year.
Wow ……

So anyway, I loved watching her tonight.
I went to the stage door afterwards, mainly because I was walking that way and there was room for me right at the very front.
I hoped she would come out. And just the thought of her doing that, made me teary. I knew that if she walked through that door, only a few feet from me, I’d be blubbering all over her.
So it’s probably a good thing that she didn’t.
But Brian Dennehy did.
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Wow ……

And just in case you’re planning a trip up here between now and mid-February …… here’s the other casts coming up:
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Yep. Wow ……

Yesterday I awoke to find a text from a friend on my phone.
She wrote that she was very upset over a comment someone made on my FB wall.
I obviously hadn’t seen FB yet, so I opened up my computer and went to the site.
Wow ……

Something less than a firestorm had been unleashed.
By a “friend”.
All because I posted the night before that, as I was updating my children with pictures of a certain baby, I started missing Jim. A lot.
That’s it. That’s all I said.

Here’s what she said:
“With all my love and obeying the voice of the Lord. I want to tell you Janine your time of mourning is over. It is time to enjoy the life God gave you. It is time to renounce to self pity party. The Lord is not done with you jet. You got to finish the race but rejoicing on the Lord. This life is precious and temporary. Forgive yourself, forgive God! Jim is in Heaven with our Heavey Father and you know that you will reunite with him. God is more important than any person! It is time to put things in order. The word of God saysocevthe Lord your God above anything else, no your husband, no your children.
The Lord is your Husband!!!!”

She also quoted the verses from Ecclesiastes …… there’s a time for everything. Some of them say this: (I’m not quoting exactly, just giving highlights)
A time to be born, a time to die, a time to weep, a time to laugh, a time to mourn, a time to dance.

This “friend”, whose husband is very much alive, who has no idea what it is to grieve for the loss of half of your heart, for your future, for your children’s grief …… told me that my mourning is over.
Wow ……

And here I thought I was moving forward with my life, moving to a new place, enjoying the life I have, making the most of the days I have, etc.
I thought it seemed pretty evident that I am no longer “in mourning”.
Heck, I don’t even wear black that often …… even in New York!!

I have about 30 minutes of feeling sad and missing Jim, and I’m told it’s a pity party.
Wow ……

But do I still grieve? You bet.
Do I lay in bed and grieve and cry and spend a day in grief? I do not.
Not in a very long time.
Grieving and mourning are two different things, in my mind anyway.

Grief will always be with me, back in a corner of my mind, and my heart.
There will always be a thought, a word, a picture …… an event …… that will cause me to miss him …… and bring tears to my eyes.
Always.
And I’m ok with that.
I will never stop loving Jim.
Even if I’m blessed to have another love.
God came, and will continue to come, first in my life.
Jim was second.
The kids were third.
And we were all good with that.
Now the kids are second.
And will most likely remain second for a very long time.
And I’m good with that.

After the shock of reading that post, I briefly felt anger.
But then anger was replaced with something like pity.
I feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t experienced a love so deep, so strong, so …… forever.
I feel sorry for anyone who thinks they are the voice of God. That’s a lot of power to mis-use.
I can’t even fathom speaking for God.
Judging for God.
Wow ……

For those of you who read this blog …… and are widowed …… I pray that no one ever, EVER says those things to you.
You will grieve as long as you will grieve.
You will move forward at your own pace.
You will do things in your own time.
No one should judge you for how you grieve.
NO.
ONE.
Especially someone who has no idea.

Never let someone tell you that you’re doing it wrong.
Never let someone make you feel bad, or wrong, or crazy because of how you grieve.
Never.

But if that ever does happen, please know that you can come here.
You can email me, message me, call me.
I’ll be here.

You are not alone.
It will get easier.
Hope matters.
You will love life again.
Wow ……
:)

A Little Bit ……

…… of Little Bit.

I edited some pictures so he doesn’t have a face in them, which is very, very weird and ucky feeling.
But you’ll at least get to see most of him.

However, before I show off the cutest baby ever …… I have to show off someone else I saw today.

I was walking the Park, minding my own business, when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but the face of a singer, whose voice is so clear. (How’d you like that? I won’t continue. You’re welcome.)

This guy.
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Otherwise known as Sting.
I KNOW!!!!

He lives in a building next to mine, so I shouldn’t be shocked to have run into him, but this was a first.
I’m just surprised I knew who he was!

I can NOT believe how many sightings I’ve had in the last week! Especially when I’ve always been THE worst sighter in the history of sighting.
Really.

I forgot to mention that I saw Michael Moore yesterday.
Meh.
Easy to forget.

So anyway …… I have digressed.
Sting will make me do that.
:)

Back to Little Bit. I’m just going to upload a lot of pictures with no commentary, because there’s not much to say, except ….. “He is SO stinking cute!!!!!!!!”
Also, you will notice Daughter #2’s dog in some of the pictures. He’s very protective of Little Bit and wants to be where he is. Even if it’s on me.
Be prepared to be overcome with cuteness, even if it’s faceless.

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There you go.
More Little Bit.
And a little bit of Sting.

You’re more than welcome.
I hope you all had a good weekend.
:)

Little Bit ……

…… and Laws.

Since Ashley so kindly asked for more of Little Bit, I figured I should write a post about that. And him.

First of all, he’s still amazing. He made the flight to Oregon with nary a peep.
If you don’t count the diaper blow out on the way.
Which just makes me smile because I wonder how many of those nasty things I had to deal with over the past almost-(GULP!)- 30 years?
You know the ones …… everything slides right up the back, and/or out the leg holes.
So.
Much.
Fun.

We bought him a little tuxedo onesie to wear to the wedding today, so I’m hoping to get a really cute pic soon.

Now about those pics …… we are prohibited by law from publishing his name and his picture. Or anything else personal about him.
Thus …… no pictures since I left.

I’m hoping to figure out how to edit some newer ones so that I can post them.
Now, if I know you personally then I can show you pictures of this amazingly cute baby. But other than that, I’m sorry.
And really, it’s totally killing me to not be able to show you how ever-lovin’-cute he is!!!!!

There are a few other things that are required of me, other than not publishing pictures.
Today I went to a CPR/AED/FA class.
This is so that the foster system will trust me to stay with him, but only for up to 72 hours. After that, he gets snatched away and taken to people who’ve taken training to provide “respite” care.
Needless to say, Daughter #2 isn’t going anywhere more than 72 hours away.

OK, I just had to stop and squeal quite loudly.
That’s because D2 just sent me a pic of him in the tux/onesie.
I can NOT stand the cuteness!!!!

OK, where was I?
Ahh, yes ….. requirements to hang with foster kids.
The CPR course.

So I perused the internet to find just the right class.
And I did.
Or so I thought.
It was called FUN CPR!
Now you know me …… give me a choice between regular and fun, and I’m going to choose FUN every time.

So I walked to this office/Asian church/Asian funeral home and got there before 10:00. (The email said that the doors would be locked promptly at 10:00).
WHATEVER!!!
There were Asian people, dressed in black, coming and going and mostly meeting in one room for a service.
Then there were four of us who weren’t Asian, who were waiting for the FUN CPR class to start.
We waited for an hour. No word at all from the teacher. The receptionist said he’d never been that late and wasn’t it just too bad that she didn’t have his cell number?
REALLY?!!

One of the four found another teacher near by and called him. Surprise, surprise ….. his students had not shown up this morning. No, he wasn’t ours and we weren’t his, it was just plain serendipity.
So we walked over to his office and took the class. And he ended up being hilarious.
I passed.
:)

So far, my fingerprints and my background check have turned up nothing ……. in this country anyway. ;-p

I’ll see if I can edit some pics of him for you.

Until then, here are some pictures of Matthew Broderick and Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley in Harry Potter), Megan Mullally, Stockard Channing and F. Murray Abraham from the play last night.
I have to admit that the last several pictures were taken under the cover of darkness and sneakiness. But they were soooo close that I just HAD to!!!

And you’re welcome.

Hopefully one of you can come bail me out some day.
Wherever I end up.

:)

This is Stacey Keach, who was sitting a few seats from me at “You Can’t Take It With You” with James Earl Jones.
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This is Stockard Channing, though difficult to see clearly.
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Nathan Lane, who was so dang close!!
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It took me several minutes to recognize Megan Mullally (Will and Grace) because she’s lost a great deal of weight and was blonde in the show.
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Curtain call:  2nd from the right is F. Murray Abraham
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Rupert Grint — very patient and kind
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and goofy!

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Matthew Broderick …. also very kind and patent.
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Hello. My Name Is Janine ……

…… and I’m a Little Bit-aholic.

I’m going through withdrawal.
I kid you not.

I have told Daughter #2 that she has to send me at least one picture every 24 hours.
They’re my crack.

I start feeling restless and cranky when I don’t hear from her. It’s gotten so bad that when she sent me a picture this morning (from an airport because they’re on their way to Oregon …… actually they’ve landed safely by now), my eyes got all teary.
I miss that baby …… physically. When I see pictures of him I wish I could climb into them and grab him.
If anyone knows the secret to doing that, I’d make it worth your while to tell me.
Word.

But in between times of the DT’s, I’m loving being back in NY.
Barre class is still kicking my butt, but I’m very, very close to …… enjoying it.
I KNOW!!!

You know how some people love pain? I think it might kind of be like that.
I like feeling stronger, but I’m not really liking my muscles growing bigger. My calves are larger and very defined, as are my upper arms.
And since my muscles seem to be getting larger, I’m not losing any weight.
At all.
Not.
One.
Pound.
And that almost makes me hyperventilate.

I’m doing Barre for an hour every other day. Almost every day I walk at least 2 miles. Today I walked 2 miles and then biked 5 miles.
It’s getting depressing.
And infuriating.

It seems that at this stage of life, I have absolutely no control over how my body looks. I’ve always heard the horror stories of women and menopause and fat around the middle. But I never really paid that much attention because I seemed to stay fit enough playing tennis and walking.

But no more.
And I’m here to tell you that those horror stories are true.
Damn it.

Flaunt it while you got it …… all you Peeps under the age of 50.
Sigh ……

In other news, I saw a great Broadway show the other night. It’s called “You Can’t Take It With You”, and it stars James Earl Jones …… you know, the voice of Darth Vader?
It also stars Rose Byrne, who was the wealthy best friend-wanna be in “Bridesmaids”. She was cute.
Mark Linn-Baker, from the 80’s sitcom “Perfect Strangers” was also in it, as was Elizabeth Ashley, whom I hadn’t seen in anything in a long time.
It was hilarious and I’d definitely see it again.
That means I highly recommend it.
I also had this guy squeeze past me as he went to his seat on my row. He even said, “Excuse me.”
And the best part is …… I recognized him!!! And then I remembered his name!!! Ten bonus points for me because I rarely recognize celebrities. In fact, I spotted two that day!
Here’s a pic of Stacy Keach, who sat a few seats down:
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Tomorrow night I get to go see “It’s Only a Play” with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick.
I can NOT wait!!!
Here’s who else is in the cast:
F. Murray Abraham
Stockard Channing
Megan Mullally
Rupert Grint

WHOOP!!!!!

This is the hardest ticket to get right now. However, when you only want one, it’s a bit easier.

On Monday I went out to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
I’d been to the statue a few decades ago …… and up it. But this was my first time to visit Ellis Island and it was quite interesting.
We had beautiful weather, even if it was a bit blustery.
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This is Ellis Island, through the trees:
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A picture of a boat full of immigrants:
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This is a part of the wall that people wrote on while they waited to be seen by the doctors on Ellis:
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This is from the gift shop.  Because who wouldn’t want a Statue of Liberty bear?
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Or a tacky Barbie?
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Or, even better …… a Statue of Liberty monkey.  Because nothing says American patriotism like a monkey, right?
Sheesh.
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The entrance, that millions of immigrants entered upon landing on Ellis.
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Afterwards we went to lunch at one of the best barbecue places I’ve been to ….. in and out of Texas!
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It’s Hill Country Barbecue and it’s HUGE!!! Especially for NYC!! Most restaurants here barely fit 10 tables. But this looked like we stepped right into Texas when we walked through the door!

Today I decided to walk to the New York Historical Society Museum. It was another gorgeous day!!  I took pictures of a few churches and interesting buildings on the way.
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Looking into Central Park:
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I just thought this was a cool tree.  So I took a pic.
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And these Ugg booties made me think of Little Bit …. so I took pics and sent them to Daughter #2.
I didn’t buy them.  
I’m not entirely crazy.
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Although I can always go back.
:)

Have a great weekend, Peeps.
:)

And thank you to each and everyone of you who has joined Jim’s team and/or donated. It would be amazing to know that no other person will every die from an aortic dissection …… and that no family will be torn asunder because of that damn event.
I think it’s a great goal.

Once Again ……

…… T.A.N.W.

Please click on the link below to see what I’m talking about.
And if you can, please join the team and/or donate.

And if anyone has a spare box of Kleenex to toss my way, that would be great.
I haven’t stopped crying since I found out about this …… about an hour or so ago.

And thank you to everyone for honoring him …… and for remembering.
There are no words to describe how it feels to know he’s remembered.

http://heartwalk.kintera.org/faf/search/searchTeamPart.asp?ievent=1089954&lis=1&kntae1089954=7FCD47D0AD5A4A1E9B7B35CD910FC5A7&team=6161924&tlteam=6076851

My Last Night ……

…… with Little Bit, the new love of my life.
Well,hopefully not the last night forever. But my last night during his first week of life.
Daughter #3 came last Saturday and stayed wtih us. It was way too difficult for her to be in NY, away from the closest person to her, her twin, and the baby. It was so nice to be able to spend time with both of them.
And then Son #1 came in on Sunday to spend the day wtih all of us. The love and support that my children show to each other warms my heart and makes me very emotional. If the other three had been at points in their lives that would make travel possible, I know they would’ve been here, too.

Tomorrow I head back to NY.
And I have no doubt that there will be some tears shed before I go. And maybe during the flight. When Daughter #3 left I volunteered to stay home, saying that I’d be cleaning the house, which I did. But the real reason I stayed behind was because I knew that I’d be crying buckets watching the two of them part. I knew that they would both cry over being separated, and especially Daughter #3 being separated from Little Bit.
Bless her heart …… she had to head straight to the ladies room to try to pull herself together, because she was crying very hard.

Babies! Dang, the can bring out so much love and joy and then knock you to your knees when you have to leave them.
Which is what will happen to me tomorrow morning.

But I’ll be back. I’ll be in NY for two weeks and then back to Texas. Before Little Bit came into our lives I was thinking that I’d be in Texas for about a week, and then I’d head straight back to NY.
Now …… not so much.

It’s interesting how fast your life can change.
Both in good ways …… and bad.

Our lives changed horrifically in the span of a few hours, almost 7 years ago. And though things are finally good, and my life has gone in so many wonderful directions, it will never be the life I’m overjoyed with.
But it is the life I have, and so I plan to make the most, and best, of it.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned these past 7 years, it’s this …… flexibilty is key.
Again, life can, and often will, change in a heartbeat. Sometimes it’s loss, sometimes it’s new life.

This has been an amazing week. I’ve loved spending time holding, rocking and loving this new little life. I have no idea what his future holds …… but then, I have no idea what the future of my children, or myself, holds. And so I know that today is the day that matters. Today is the day to show this child, and my children, and everyone I love …… that they are loved.
I love this new little life.
I don’t know how long he’ll be in our lives. Daughter #2 and I don’t discuss that much. We sometimes comment about the “mom”, and all that she must be feeling. We also make plans to do things that will keep her in the loop …… like buying two baby books. One for Daughter #2 to fill out and keep all of the precious memories recorded. And one for his mother, which D#2 will also fill out, so that she’ll be able to see some of his “firsts”, and be able to feel like she was connected in some way.

We don’t know how long he’ll be in our lives, which is very difficult to think about. I held him the other night, and talked to him about the future that I hoped for him. I wondered if the love we give him now will make a difference in his life. I pray that God protects his body and his soul, and honors the love that has been, and will continue to be, poured into him.

And though we don’t spend a lot of time talking about her, I do think of his mother …… often. I think of the pain she must be feeling with her empty arms. I wonder about the pain she also feels from full breasts that can’t be relieved by her son. I wonder if she lies awake at night, wondering about the home he’s in, and the people who are taking care of him.
I wonder if she wonders if he’s feeling loved.
I wish there was some way to reassure her …… to let her know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he is THE most loved little boy on the face of this earth.

As for him, he is the most remarkable baby I’ve ever seen. No kidding.. And I’ve had six of my own wonderful babies …… but none of them compare to the easy-going, laid back, contented personality that this child has.
Truthfully, we have yet to hear him really cry. He makes noises a lot. And he can whimper a bit and sound totally pathetic. But he hasn’t ever really cried. He eats every two to three hours, and when that time comes, he makes small noises and opens and closes his mouth, like a little bird.
It’s kind of insane.

He doesn’t cry when you change his diaper. He doesn’t cry when you undress/dress him. He doesn’t cry when you bathe him. He doesn’t cry when he’s hungry. And so far, he doesn’t seem to get upset over anything enough to cry.

I had baby duty last night, so that D #2 could get a full night’s sleep. I’ll have it again tonight because, as I told her, she might as well take advantage of the last chance she’ll get to sleep through the night.

He woke up three times to be fed. And I enjoyed snuggling with him against me, as I fed him. I didn’t mind losing one second of sleep. I figure I can catch up when I get back to NY. I can always sleep …… but I’ll never have this time again.

So for those of you who pray, I ask that you pray for this tiny soul. I pray that the love we pour into him will somehow make a difference in his life.
I pray for his mother. I pray that, when the time comes for her to be reunited with this special child, she’ll be more than ready and equipped. I pray that she and her family will continue to pour love into him. And I pray that they will all know the love of God, and the power that love has.

And I pray for Daughter #2. I pray that she loves this child enough to be able to do what’s best for him. I pray that she loves his mother with an endless love. And I pray that God fill her heart with peace and joy over this child …… and what his future holds.

I have been so blessed to be a part of his life this week. And blessed to share him with my amazing daughter. She’s the most selfless, loving and brave person I know. I’d love to take credit for that, but I can’t. She is a child of God. And she has followed Him to this place in her life.

She has an amazing support system here in Waco, through her amazing church family and the people she works with.
She, and this child, are loved …… and supported.
What more could a mother want for her daughter?

So I leave tomorrow.
But I’ll be back.
And I’ll continue to support and encourage her …… and pour an endless supply of love into this tiny baby …… for as long as I can.

I am indeed blessed among women.