“Of Course I’ve Changed”… Life-Defining Moments

“Of course I’ve changed, I’m coming home from war”. I heard that last night as I was driving back home on the radio and it made me reflect on where I was at in my life. Although I smile from ‘son’ up to ‘son’ down, I often feel like this is still a battleground. I can list on my hands the moments in my life that have defined who I am. There are the usual: graduation, marriage, kids and then there were the two that shook me.

When I first stepped into an inner city classroom of 1st graders, I was amazed that only fifteen minutes from my house six year old kids and their families lived lives of complete poverty. That we still had a long way to go for equality and education. That although kids are kids with the same BIG hearts- life isn’t always so bright or fair. I can remember every child that I taught, and at times it seemed like an uphill battle, but like one teacher told me “when you teach them to read, nobody can take that away from them”. It gave me some comfort that in some way I was doing something to improve their quality of life. It can’t be explained in words, but it changed me, how I viewed life and my purpose here.

The second was being faced with Gavin’s mortality at his birth and thereafter. Although we wake up every day and try to get normalcy, things are not yet normal. You can’t go through this and remain unchanged, of course it has changed me. The comfort that I have is knowing that each night as I lie Lauren and Gavin to sleep that they know how much they are loved. But coming to the realization that you can’t always protect your child from everything is hard to swallow. You would gladly die for your child, but what do you do when that is not enough? Life is fragile. I am still transitioning into the stage where everything is okay, we still are as a family still looking for the balance. Some days are better than others. Such is life and love.

Lauren is having fun per usual and has a new favorite thing, Nerds candy. Nerds reminds me of hanging out and watching basketball games with my family when I was little, so I have to laugh when her little eyes light up at the sight of the mini Nerds box. Candy to kids is better than gold. She is now a little girl and not a toddler, it’s funny how they seem to grow every night. She is down with this ground hog concept and in very interested to see if that silly Phil is going to see his shadow or not (more winter, ugh!) She helped me shovel for like three seconds before deciding that it was freezing outside and was much better off inside with daddy and a hot cup of hot cocoa.

Gav is now becoming a little stunt man! Babies are super flexible, I can’t believe the way this kid can bend, especially if he’s trying to grab at some of Lauren’s toys. He, of course, is attracted to all things little and is getting a huge kick out of “Baby Alive”. It’s pretty cute, it’s like his little baby friend that talks and he can touch her gigantic eyeballs and pull her hair and all she does is laugh (unlike Lauren who does not appreciate a good hair pull). His sense of humor is really starting to kick in and now has some pretty full blown giggle fits. We have seen 16 lbs on the scale (he’s down a bit again), but it sure felt great to see that number on there and know we are moving in the right direction. We should hear more on his machine this week so keep your fingers crossed. Until then, we are blowing bubbles and trying to wait out this snow. I must admit I am constantly dreaming in my head of “chillaxion” on some tropical island. That’s what we are doing after all this, a big family vacation! I’ve learned that being with those that I love is enough, but thinking about being with them in a warm vacation spot is even better! With that thought I am going to try to get some more sleep and dream of palm trees and sun!

Jill

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