Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Laugh and the World Laughs with You...

Cry and you cry alone.

Had to finish that little saying. Plus, isn't kind of true? Think about it. How many times have you cried and anyone else really feels your pain? Really gets it? Now think about the times you have laughed your butt off. I bet you are smiling just thinking about it. If you were within earshot of another person I almost guarantee that they were laughing right along with you even if they had no idea what they were laughing at. Because laughter is contagious. Thank God.

The reason for my rambling is that as I was getting ready for bed last night at around nine-thirty or so, I heard The Toots laughing in her bed. I am talking hysterical, gut wrenching giggles. And I just cracked up. My hubby and I were in our room, looking at our little 'spy on Tooties' TV monitor and laughing right along with her. Talk about easing off the tension of a long day. What a great way to go to sleep. With your child's laughter ringing in your ears.

What was she laughing at? I have no earthly idea but it was funny.

I like to try to think of things that she could be giggling about. Was it because she had just woken up and was remembering a funny dream? Was there something on her bedding that struck her as funny? There is a mural painted along the sides of her bed of a castle and princess, waterfall and unicorn flying...was it that? Was she being 'visited' by one of her guardian angels (and yes, I know that sounds crazy but it makes me feel better to imagine that I have a little extra help from the Big Guy when it comes to watching over the Toodle Bug so leave me alone) and they were just a hoot?

Often times, I will sneak into her room when she is laughing like that because the joy is palpable. You can literally feel it prickle your skin and tingle your spine. It is an awesome feeling to be around The Toot's laughter. If her sisters are home and they hear her, they will also run to her room to take part in the fun. They can't resist it either.

Plus I like to try to see what she is looking at to see if I can figure out what it is that is bringing her such fun. Often times she is literally waving her little hand around, spreading her fingers wide then waving them an inch or two from her face and then going off in to gales of laughter. I have even tried doing this while laying in bed to see if I can get the "funny" in this...um, no, but it always makes me smile when I am doing it because (one):I feel like a crazy person and that kind of makes me smile (albeit a bit nervously because maybe I am losing it) and (two): it instantly makes me think of Tessie laughing and that always makes me smile.

Like I said before, I am forever trying to figure out what is making her laugh so hard, all alone in her bed. And maybe it is something that is so simple it often gets overlooked:

She sees the joy in simply being alive. No strings attached. No waiting on someone to make her happy. Just unconditional faith that she will be taken care of and loved. She is not jaded by the body and world that she has been thrust into. Just happy.

Plus she knows she has a mom in the next room, laying in bed, waving her hand in front of her face, with a smile on her lips and a daddy who has also done the same thing....

Wouldn't that make you laugh?...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Bean is on the Scene...

My girls are awesome.

There. I've said it. I know that you shouldn't brag like that about your own kids but I can't help it. Blake and Ellie and Tess are amazing. And I plan on writing about each of them (well, Blake and Ellie) in the near future but for now I am going to tell you a bit about my other "daughter", Bethany. The Bean.

The Bean has been on the scene since she and Ellie were practically in diapers. They became best friends in the first year of preschool and have not left each others side for more than a day or two ever since. They are the perfect complement to each other.

Ellie tends to be the 'straight man' to Bina's 'stand up'. Sort of like the female version of Abbott and Costello or Laurel and Hardy or even Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza. They are a riot together and the best part is, they love each other even when they are totally sick to death of being together. Just like real sisters.

And being around them reminds you why having a 'best' friend is so crucial. Who else would put up with your silliness, weirdness, stupidness, moodiness, except a best friend? Who, but a best friend, would call you to check and make sure your little sister is okay because she heard the ambulance pager go off? Who, but a best friend, would be able to stay by your side, through the often times very scary journey of having a severely disabled little sister and make you laugh when you would rather be crying? Who, but your very best friend, would call your house "home" and your mother "mom"?

That is the kind of girl The Bean is. She has stuck like glue beside Ellie through all of the craziness and never let anything get in the way of being there for her. The Bean has learned how to "vent" Tessie's GTube, which, in all honesty, is kinda gross. She is learning how to give The Toots her meds and loves to crush them in the pill crusher. The Bean even offered to change The Toot's diaper the other night (on the condition that it had "no poop in there") The Bean handles pretty much anything that The Toots dishes out with humor and compassion.

When The Bean comes into the house Tessie will look for her and she will never, ever forget to come say "hi" to the Toodle Bug...even if she is only popping in for a second to pick up something she has forgotten. She will talk to Tessie, kiss Tessie, keep an eye on Tessie, read to Tessie, snuggle with Tessie and just plain love Tessie to the point that you can't help but be proud just to watch her because her heart is so big and her love for Tessie is so genuine (and, of course, Tessie adores her). And you know, as only an adult knows, that many, many kids (and adults for that matter) would have faded away when the going got tough.

Not The Bean.

She is here for keeps and we love her. To the point where I no longer treat her as my daughter's friend but as my daughter. She has chores, gets yelled at, gets hugs, gets told "I love you" and I've even threatened to "ground her" because she is now one of my own. When she does something good, I'm proud and happy for her and when she has been, ahem, naughty, I will scold her even after her own mother has. She drives me crazy at times and has me hysterically laughing at others. In short, she is an awesome kid.

I also have another name for The Bean; The Phantom. She knows why.

Who's ready to get their arse kicked at WhoVilleopoly? Anyone?? Phantom, um, I mean, Bean??

She knows I love her....

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Buh's Manifesto...

This little adventure was the trip to Boston that ended in a tattoo for Buh and me. I guess that I was so focused on the 'Inked' part of the trip that I totally spaced out what happened when we first struck out.

Since I knew I would be way too tired to drive straight through from Rockland to Boston, I asked Buh if she minded driving for the first half. In my mind the obvious point to change drivers was the Kennebunk Burger King rest stop. You know, nearly out of Maine but not quite.

Buh took this to mean that we would switch in Portland...right before the three to four lane highways began. You know, at the end of Maine.

Naturally, we both thought that the other person understood where the switch off would take place. Yeah, right.

As we were approaching Portland on 295 Buh asked where she should pull off to trade places with me. I sort of looked at her like "huh?" and said that I thought we were changing in Kennebunk at the rest stop. She did seem to grip the wheel a tad too tightly but nodded and kept going. I didn't think anything of it.

I should have heard the alarm bells that were clanging loudly when Buh then proceeded to get onto the interstate, see that we now had three lanes of traffic, hitched herself practically on top of the steering wheel, and said to me that she thought that Maine ended when the two lanes of highway ended. Again, my reaction was "huh?".

I did not realize that she had never driven south of Portland before (literally as the driver) so that was her frame of reference I guess. I told her that we were most definitely still in Maine and she had only about another fifteen minutes of driving and then we could switch places. I, mistakenly, thought this information would calm her. But when I chanced a glance over at her I could see how very wrong I was.

She was white knuckling the wheel, eyes staring straight ahead and wide with panic, sitting as close as she could have possibly gotten to the steering wheel without it getting perverted, and I think she might have even been sweating.

I decided she needed some words of encouragement and basically told her to suck it up and that she was not going to turn into the type of woman who could not drive outside of Rockland. I know, she is blessed to have me in her life.

Now, of course, I was having my own anxiety about driving in Boston and just could not muster up any sympathy for Maine driving.

We made it to Kennebunk and Buh went flying in on nearly two wheels in her haste to get out of the driver's seat. She had us twirling around that stupid rest stop a few times before I asked her what the hell was she doing? She informed me that the sign said no entrance so she didn't know where to get in and I lost it. I was laughing so hard as I told her to just pull over anywhere in the parking lot and stop the crazy circling pattern she had going.

We came to a screeching halt, checked on the Toodle Bug and switched places. That was when Brianna left and Ted Kaczynski, you know, the Unabomber, took her place.

We got back on the highway and when I looked over at Buh she had on HUGE sunglasses like you would wear if you were about a hundred and had just had cataract surgery, she had pulled the hood of her sweatshirt up over her head and was all hunched in on herself with her Ipod ear buds in listening to (and I'm guessing here) some Christian Salvation. She looked completely insane.

And she wasn't talking to me. At all.

I was kind of worried but still thought it was funny. However, I was freaked out enough to leave her alone. The only person talking to me was that 'Bitch in a Box' Garmin GPS. I was fluctuating between being in hysterics over what I was witnessing in the seat next to me to being really, really irritated. I mean, I was nervous too and a little company would have been nice.

We got to the Tobin Bridge when I finally broke the silence and said to Buh, "Hey, Ted, when you're all done writing your next manifesto over there in Crazyville you wanna help me navigate just a bit?!"

With a very reluctant and put-upon sigh she put away the ear buds, put down the hooded horror and started to pay attention to street signs. She only spoke when necessary.

We made it to the hotel and I swear to God, before I had even set down my bag, she had herself and The Toots in pj's and in bed with the covers up. I just cracked up. And by this point, she was no longer having a nervous breakdown so she even joined me. We laughed over that for hours.

She finally fessed up that she had gotten really nervous driving on the three lane highway and that was what started the whole downward spiral and that she was mad at me for making her drive when she was so nervous. She went all 'Unabomber' because she needed to just try to remove herself from the situation for a bit.

I was very compassionate when I heard why she got so nuts...

and then I made her drive home...