Thursday, November 20, 2014

Kerri fills a box with love.

Every year, we try to do small acts of kindness every day.  And every November, we participate in Operation Christmas Child.  We donate items to fill up a shoe box, and Kerri sends a personal letter in her box.  The box then gets sent somewhere around the world to a child for Christmas.
This year, we also helped deliver the boxes.  It was so much fun!

Life with Kerri believes good things sometimes come in small boxes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Conversations with Kerri

Kerri: "What are we doing on Friday?"
Mom: "I don't know, why?"
Kerri: "Because I want to do something fun."
Mom: "Well, you have school, and depends on if you have homework."
Kerri: "You seriously are going to send me to school on Friday?"
Mom: "Yes!  You have responsibilities!"
Kerri: "Mom, Friday is a PD day, there is no school.  You are going to make me go anyway?"
Mom: (had no idea and checks the calendar) "Um.... I guess I'll have to think about that."

Life with Kerri wasn't prepared.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The things I no longer take for granted.

There are things I used to do every day without even thinking:
  • Like breathing.  Until one day, after a surgery gone wrong, they tried to wake me up from anesthesia only to find out that I could no longer breathe.  I was on oxygen for almost two years after that, and my lungs were left damaged beyond repair.  I no longer take a breath for granted.
  • Like thinking, grasping, and walking.  In December of 1991, a drunk driver went through a red light and forever changed my life.  I went from being totally capable, to spending the next 4 years of my life recovering from brain injuries, nerve damage, and learning how to do the most basic of things again in rehab.
  • Like living.  It is all too short and fleeting, and can change in a heartbeat.  We have had many close calls, and each one a reminder that you never know when it will happen, and you will always regret not having more time with that loved one.  
I could go on, but I think you understand what I am trying to say.  I spend less time nowadays worrying about what anyone thinks, or how clean my car or house is.  And that is why yesterday, when we had our first significant snowfall, I waited for Kerri to come out of school with two snowballs ready in my gloved hands.  And while all the other parents looked on, Kerri and I had an epic snowball fight on the school grounds, and laughed all the way to the parking lot.

That is why Kerri spends time playing outside instead of in front of a television or computer.

That is why she reads tons of books instead of going to the movies first (although she does go to the movies several times a year).

That is why we always spend dinner time together at the table as a family, no matter what we are eating.

That is why I cook for my family most of the time.  They will always remember the things I made for them.  I know I still remember all my mother's home cooked meals and asked for her recipes so I could continue making them.

And that is why we always kiss, hug, and say "I love you" every morning, every night, and every time we come and go.  Because you just never know.

Life with Kerri doesn't take much for granted nowadays.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Updates.

Friday we got to spend time with Nana.  Kerri and her always draw and do art together, so they look forward to pulling out their pencils and getting their creativity flowing.  They are both very talented, so I love watching them work together.  Nana is very patient, and teaches Kerri new things every time she comes over.

Saturday, Kerri and her daddy went to the movies on their weekly date.  I got most of the laundry done while they were gone, and had some time to watch a bit of the telly - something I rarely do.

Today we got our first real snowfall!  Not enough to make a snowman yet, but it's a start.

I have finally started my holiday shopping.  It's been a difficult year, what with hubby's unemployment and then taking a huge pay cut at his new job.  But the holidays have never been about big ticket spending for us.  We are blessed to have a home, and food on the table, and our health.  So we have opened up our home to family for the holidays, and my gift to them will be a traditional home cooked meal.  The best gifts can't be bought anyway.

Kerri, however, has some specific requests, so she is hoping the Hanukkah fairy and Santa bring her the things on her list.  We are very fortunate that she makes pretty reasonable requests. I am pretty sure she has been good most of the year, so chances are high she will get what she asked for!  

We had some significant water damage to the house, and had to have some major repairs made to our living room ceiling and walls.  Thank goodness that is over!  We still are waiting for repairs to our master bathroom (floors) though.  We also had to have the bathroom vent removed because a huge wasp nest was in it.  Still waiting on that to be replaced too (I blocked the hole in the ceiling with a plastic garbage bag using tape).  

This past week we had to deal with some bullying at school.  The girls involved admitted everything to the Vice Principal, and they had to write apology letters and apologize to Kerri.  Their parents were also called.  A teacher that was also involved had to apologize to Kerri.  Thankfully, the harassment has stopped.  I am very proud of Kerri, she had the courage to stand up to them and tell me what was happening, and then she had the grace to accept their apologies and move on.  She has one of the biggest hearts, and is kind even to those who are unkind to her.  

Speaking of pride, my kid has taken on leadership roles at school.  She is currently a mentor to kindergarten kids and is also involved as a leader in the PAL program, where she coaches sports and helps resolve conflict with first and second graders.  I love that she likes to help others!

Well that's about all that is happening here, other than laundry, housework and homework.  Hope you have a great weekend!

Life with Kerri is up to date.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

For Becca.

A reader named Becca recently asked me for my thoughts on the afterlife: specifically, if I thought my adopted daughter would be reunited with me in Heaven, since she is not my biological child.  The short answer is yes.  But if you want to know why, keep reading.

When I was 14 years old, my grandmother was hospitalized before I went away on a class trip.  I went to see her at the hospital, and she seemed to be saying goodbye to me, and I brushed it off, since I was sure she would be just fine. But my grandmother knew in her heart she would never see me again.  She wanted to join her husband in heaven, who had died on January 7th, many years before.

So while I was away on my school trip, I woke up early on the morning of January 7th, at the exact time of my grandmother's death, because she woke me.  My grandfather was standing behind her smiling, and she looked happy.  She told me not to cry, that she was with her beloved now, and that she would always love me.  As her image drifted away, I started screaming and crying, and woke up my best friend.  It took hours to calm me down, and they had to call my mother (who refused to come to the phone), and the teachers lied to me so it wouldn't ruin my trip.  They tried to convince me it was just a dream.  But I knew.  And I also knew that she was finally reunited in "heaven" with my grandfather (whom I had never met).  When I got home, my mother's face was white as a ghost.  She wanted to know how I knew.  I told her grandma told me.  We never spoke of it again.

Fast forward almost 30 years....my uncle was dying.  I went to see him and he was delirious, in pain.  He told me all our family members that had died before him were talking to him and telling him to go with them, but he refused.  He did not want to die.  I heard him arguing with his deceased mother and sister in law.  I calmly held his hand and told him it was OK, that everyone would be taken care of and he should go peacefully with his family in heaven.  All of a sudden, he became aware, and looked me straight in the eyes, and then he calmed down, and gave me a personal message from them. He died shortly after.

When my mother in law died, Kerri was 2 years old.  She had only met her paternal grandmother once, and did not remember her.  But her Grandma Donna started talking to her for over a year, until we had her ashes interred.  And she told Kerri things it was impossible for Kerri to know.  So we believed they had a "connection".  One of the many things she told Kerri was that she had all the dogs with her in heaven, and named all the dogs that my husband had, I had, and even my sister's dog who had recently died and that neither she nor Kerri had ever met or known about.

And when my mother was in hospice in Florida, and I was in Canada, she came to me at the moment of her death.  I frantically called the hospice to check in on her (they refused because they were in their morning meeting).  I asked my dad and sister to go and check on her, and it was my dad who arrived shortly after and found her body.

To this day, I know I have felt the presence of my deceased grandmother, mother in law, and my mother in my life.  Our souls are connected by bonds of love, not blood.

So based on my life experiences, I would have to answer that I do believe that we are reunited with the souls of those we love in the afterlife, or heaven.  That we don't necessarily have to be a biological family member, just someone we loved (whether it be a human soul or our pets).

Of course, these are just my personal opinions.  They are not based on any religious beliefs.  But they are my personal beliefs based on my experiences with things I cannot logically explain.  And that I know to be true. I find peace in knowing that the love we had in life still exists after our loved ones have passed on.  I hope this satisfies your curiosity Becca.

Life with Kerri is a little strange, but in a good way.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

I think I am raising a feminist.

Kerri came home from school and told me that in physical education they played a sport where the class teamed up to play a game with the girls against the boys.

She said the boys constantly cheated, and would brag they were better than the girls at the game.

So in her best sweet little girl sarcastic voice (which she modeled for me), she walked off, swinging her hips, and telling the boys: "You're right!  You boys are oh so strong and we're just weak little fragile girls that can't do anything."

And then she scored one for her team.

Life with Kerri thinks she can do (almost) anything a boy can.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Thank you.

"Honor to the soldier and the sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country's cause.  Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause."
~ Abraham Lincoln

To all who serve, have served, and those that have given the ultimate sacrifice: I thank you.  You are all my heroes.

Life with Kerri remembers every day.