Her new mode of transportation
Giving Bee Bee a little love for a job well done
Commercial over--time for dancing!!
I'm off to the hospital this morning after our Gymboree class with Maggie. And then Maggie and I are planning to spend the next two nights with "Ga-Ga" (Mom says Maggie is the best medicine!) with a quick break to have a playdate at the Wiggly Playcenter with Maggie's best friend Annika tomorrow morning.
I just hope she recovers quickly! It will be very hard for her not to hold her Munchie!!
OK, so 8 things. You know, this is a challenging assignment for me. 8 whole things about me? Can't I just take the route dear Amy did? No, Deb, told me, I need to do it the right way. So, last night, we started brainstorming, and wouldn't you know that Debbie was giving me my things to write! She knows me all too well. She wasn't tagged, or we would have done each others instead!
Enough proscrastinating, here goes....
1) It has taken me years, and I mean YEARS, to be willing to walk around barefoot. I prefer "stocking feet," as my mother called them. And God forbid if I walk outside barefoot--no way! Because you know, "you can step on a bee!!" Yes, you can thank Sharon Lawson, my sweet mother, for that piece of wisdom. Because you see, at around five years old, little Sharon stepped on a bee in her backyard and vowed a hatred so intense for bees from that day forward. So bad that it instilled a deep fear into young little Jenny Lawson that couldn't wane even into adulthood. If only you could my husband's eye rolls at this statement.
2) Most already know that I have one older brother, Jeremy. But few know that I actually have an older half sister named Lisa as well. She is my father's daughter who was not raised by us. In fact, I met her when I was seven and she was eighteen. Not great chances for a longlasting bonding relationship. Lisa lives in Indiana with her family and I haven't seen her since my father's funeral. She called around the time Allie was born, talked all about herself and her kids for 45 minutes, and never called again. Nice.
3) I have an issue with public pools. Yuck!!! I can't stand going--they completely gross me out. I have been willing to compromise this in the past few months with Maggie and have actually been in a public pool three times this summer. Three times too many, if you ask me.
4) Between the ages of 18--26, I traveled to Europe seven times. I love France and Europe in general, and if I was a rich woman, I would be going every single year for vacations. One of my favorite trips was when Andrew and I went to Rome. We decided to walk the entire city, going from the Vatican all the way to the Colosseum. Stupid! We were hurting the next day, big time, but we had such a great time. My favorite moment was our taxi ride from the airport with our crazy taxi driver. He was weaving in and out of traffic and then almost hit a pedestrian. So, his initial reaction was to yell "Hey Provolone!!! I KILL you tomorrow!!!" Yes, my taxi driver called someone "Cheese." Classic. Andrew and I were quoting that line for years afterwards.
5) I raised lambs and rabbits in high school. I love animals and was excited to be apart of the Agriculture classes starting in the ninth grade. Resisting the idea of her city girl raising a lamb or pig (what I really wanted to do!), my mom allowed me to get two rabbits. I wasn't very good keeping up with them. Not at all. And rabbit pee smells really bad! One of my rabbits lived until college. His name was J.J--Jerry Junior as he was born on my dad's birthday. JJ got sick when I was gone in college and I told my dad to take him to the vet and that I understood if he had to be put down. My dad, with all the tact he was famously known for (note the sarcasm in my tone please) left a message on my voicemail in college saying, "Jenny, had to do what you told me to do. Rabbit's dead. Call me."
In 10th and 11th grade, I got what I wanted and raised lambs. I had Stewart my first year and Trouble my second. Trouble most definitely lived up to his name and was a giant pain in the rear!! Eventually, while I loved Ag class and raising the animals, I hated the people in Ag group. I never fit in with them and never felt very welcomed. I was most definitely an outsider with that group and finally completely dropped out my senior year of high school.
6) I love desserts, but don't like pie. Anything with a filling grosses me out. It's a consistency issue, I'm sure. Don't like pudding, jello, pie filling, and then my big one that I really don't like--PEAS--just nasty, y'all. It's definitely a texture thing-the mushiness? Yuck. Now, the one exception to my dislike of pies is my mother-in-law Frances' homemade apple pie. Now, that is a slice of heaven.
7) In the past four years, I have been on six or seven diets. I yo-yo bad and have major food eating issues. I overeat and I have no control. Instead of one item, I eat three, maybe four. I do really well on a diet (as I am currently on Weight Watchers and working out at the gym three times a week), but when I fall of the wagon, I fall bad. Many, many food issues.
8) I have a tendency to cuss WAY too much! My dad was a drill seargent in the Army who enjoyed a good cuss word, so he of course passed the habit on to me. From a young age, I can remember one of Jeremy's friends saying, "Man, you're dad cusses a lot!" Jer and I's reaction was, "Doesn't yours??" We thought it was commonplace. So, the words slip out often and if I am angry--watch out!! Those words just start a flyin' all around. Is it bad that my not even two year old said "shit" the other day? Yes, very bad mama! But, really, when you are raised by a man whose favorite saying was the following, you'll understand. My dad told us when we were teenagers that there were "Three nevers in life--#1 Never piss in the wind. #2 Never sand paper a tiger's ass #3. Never, upon ever, F**K with Dad!!!" Now you get it.
So now you know that I am a neurotic cussing traveling freak that doesn't eat pie. Aren't you glad you read this blog?
I am supposed to tag more people to do this, but the people I would tag have already been tagged and I promised to have mercy on the pregnant girl! So, like my friend Saint Richard, I am choosing NOT to tag anyone. You're such a trendstarter, Rich!!
If you haven't registered for the 5K yet, you can walk up on race day and register. Online registration is now closed, but you are very welcome on race day! We anticipate more than 1,000 participants (already have 850 registered--woohoo!!). Please join us for a great morning for, what I believe, a great cause.
"Aunt Jenny, my school is doing a fundraiser and selling cookie dough. If we sell 100 things of cookie dough, we get a prize! We can get either portable DVD player or $100."
Um, okay. And then she hit me and had me in tears.
"I'm going to get the $100 and give it to Heroes for Children!"
This coming from an eight year old third grader. Oh, I'm so proud!! She chose this on her own. No one told her to donate, she just knew that it would make a difference and be something special.
So, if you would like to help children this year, please consider buying cookie dough from the girl! E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org (local only please--it is frozen cookie dough!) and we'll get you hooked up!!
Now, you might not understand why I was so upset to hear about compassion and excellence from this funeral home, but you will understand when I share the following story. I've never blogged about this story, but I promise by the end, you will probably be seething too. It's going to be a long one, but here goes.....
On Tuesday September 14, 2004, Andrew and I walked into the funeral home (to remain nameless) less than eleven hours after the death of our only child. We were joined by my mom, her boyfriend, my brother, his mom and stepdad, and his dad and stepmom. More than a week prior to her death, we had more than one person in the family call to inquire about Allie's burial in relation to my father. We wanted Allie to be buried with my father. Not near my father but WITH him in the same plot. No problem, our family member was told. We were given a price and instructions on what to do when the child passed. This provided my family comfort and peace in the final days of Allie's life, kwowing that she would rest with my father.
So it was a shock to us that Tuesday morning as we sat sleep deprieved and grief stricken when the woman says to us, "Um, yeah, you wanted her to be buried with Gary Larson???" My dad is Jerry Lawson. "Um, well, that area of the cemetary doesn't allow for double dipping." Double Dipping?!? Did she say "double dipping" to refer to the burial of my daughter and my father?!? Oh yes, she did, and she used that term several times that day. So, while I had remained composed to that point, I lost it when I realized that the one thing that comforted me during the death of my daughter was no longer as reality. My daughter would be buried--alone. The woman assures my family that there were plots available near my father and near the tree he is buried under. So, we agreed to go out and look at availability.
It was the first time in four years that I had visited my dad's grave. I went once after he died and had nightmares for over a month about his passing (that's a whole other story though). So, we went out and saw one available plot. In passing, she told us there were two plots up against the retaining wall in the corner that were also available but made it clear that they weren't very good spots. We found one on the other side of the tree and headed back to the funeral home to make final arrangments. One phone call, she said, and we would have it all set. Moments later, she returned to the room to say, "Oh, I am so sorry, but that plot was actually reserved yesterday." Oh, but she had another available that would work--still close to the same area. Would we like to see it? We asked her to check on whatever first, have it staked and we would drive out there without her. She steps out of the room to make another call so we are told. "Oh, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but this plot was sold this morning." WTF?? Are you kidding? At this point, we've been there for hours and if you include the plot with my father, we've been through three plots and still nothing for Allie. No one has eaten, we're supposed to go to the church for the memorial service planning, and we're all frustrated. The next option was no longer under the tree or even that near the tree, but up against the sidewalk. The same process of making a phone call followed. Oh yeah, you probably know what was said next. In she walks saying, "Well..." Jane, Andrew's stepmom, fuming says, "We don't to hear any excuses. is it available or not?" "Well, you know how I told you it was up against the sidewalk?? I read the site map wrong. It actually IS the sidewalk." This freaking lady tried to sell us CEMENT!!! Furious, the family asked her to step out of the room. When she returned, we told her that we would be leaving for a lunch break but when we returned we wanted to have this issue resolved and expected to meet with people higher up than her.
A ranting lunch where we all voiced our anger and frustation followed. Our parents asked us how involved they wanted us to be and how much they could say. Appreciative of their support and feeling overwhelmed, Andrew and I welcomed their thoughts. As we were heading back to the cementary, we appointed Jim, Andrew's stepdad as our family spokesman. Two men in suits were waiting for us as we walked back in. Jim told them our morning's frustrations and how we wanted to have an immediate resolution. He told them of our dissatisfaction of having been told that Allie could be with my dad only to have that shattered on the day we arrive. Their solution was to offer to move my dad to another location of the cementary specially designed lawn crypts (the technical term for "double dipping")
The idea of moving my dad made me queasy. My brother and I said no right away, but my mother said we should consider it. So, for the second time, we loaded up in the car and headed out to see the site. It was awful. Right up against the highway, shady apartments across the street, no pretty trees or babbling brook across the way (as it is by my dad). Not right for two of my loved ones. Not right at all. I turned to the lady and told her that I wanted to be taken back immediately to where my father was and shown each and every available plot in the vincity. Ok, she tells me, if I will just load up in the car with her, she'll take me. Hell no. I'm walking. I wasn't going anywhere with her! So, Jim, Andrew and I decide to walk as the others ride to meet us over there. Of course, it begins to rain on us a bit. I'm losing it, crying that all I want to do is bury my daughter!
We're met out by my dad's grave with the two suits, the awful lady, and the groundskeeper. On the other side of the sidewalk, far away from the tree and my dad, there are three available plots. Exhausted, we say yes and stand around for a minute. Jim calls me over to show me a plot (in the same area!!) of a mother and her baby in the same plot (oh yes, they double dipped!). As were talking, I turned around to see people marking off all three plots. "Excuse me" I said, with all our family members turning their attentions in our direction,"what are you doing?" "Oh," says the stupid lady, "we're marking off these three plots." "WHY?" "Well, for you, your husband and your daughter." What?? And that is when I lost it. I proceeded to scream--"What part of this do you NOT understand??? I need ONE plot for my daughter who DIED last night!! Get me a plot for my daughter!!" (Think Shirly MacClaine "Terms of Endearment" moment).
Just then, Jim calls me over to another location. Remember in the very beginning how there were two plots "in the corner and up against the wall?" Well, Jim found the plots referred to. They were neither up against the wall or in the corner. They were just fine and less than four plots from my dad. They just didn't want us to get that because there weren't three available for me and Andrew to purchase for ourselves as well.
So, seven hours and six plots later, we select a location for our beautiful daughter's burial.
How's that for the utmost compassion?
Not to mention that during the entire funeral service Andrew and Jim watched the casket like hawks as they worried that any minute it would tip over from the wobbly stand she was placed on.
How's that for excellence?
Larissa and I have talked about this many times over. For her, Taylor's birthday is harder. Part of it, I think is that she was able to celebrate birthdays with Taylor. They had four birthdays, four parties, and four different memory building times. We never had that. Allie never made it to a birthday. So, for me, it's the anniversary of her death that weighs me down and hits me like a ton of bricks.
I haven't finalized our plans for the day, but I am working on them. I am unable to take a full day off from work with the 5K just two days later, but I will be taking a half day to do something fun with Maggie. We will celebrate the life of her sister by doing something together as a family the three of us and coming together as a larger family that evening for dinner. Allie is remembered each and every day, but September is tough and we feel her absence that much stronger with the harsh reminder of how we lost her.
A few of my favorite pre-cancer Allie pictures tonight--
But, it's rated R. With good reason too.
And yet, three minutes into the movie, we watched a family stroll in with their two kids--who both looked under 10. Seriously. The girl was closer to five.
I'm bothered by this. I really hate the de-sensitiving we have of our children that we have in our society. Those kids should have been home watching High School Musical 2, not sitting in a theatre watching some high school kids trying to get laid before graduation. Let's keep our children young and innocent. They learn fast enough. They know about sex and drugs too young as it is. Let's not expose them any earlier than necessary.
It took everything in my being not to say something as I walked out of the theatre with the family behind us. I wanted to loudly say to Andrew, "Get a babysitter or stay home!"
There's my soapbox for the evening.
We go back and forth between wanting another in a few years and not wanting anymore at all. I was blessed with two beautiful little girls and I'm very happy with the two I have in my life. No, Allie is no longer here with me, but she is in my heart and will never leave.
Who knows what will happen and when or if I will get pregnant again, but I promise you this--I'm not pregnant right now!!!