Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gramma Mary

We lost Fitz's mom this morning. These last few weeks have been amazing for me to witness. Her children gathered around her, holding her hand, loving her to the end. She had always been an inspiration to me... raising 6 kids to be such great, close adults. Not a day goes by that Fitz doesn't talk with at least one of his siblings.

The last few years we had been losing her slowly to Alzheimers. The last year or so, it was very hard for her to remember people. What amazed me though, is that each time we went to visit with the kids, she would need help and ask the names of the kids, but when it came to Pipo, she never forgot. She would proudly introduce him as her grandson from Haiti to anyone nearby.

Today, as we went through her things, my sister in law found a 'memory notebook' she had started for her in the early stages... when her memory was just starting to fade. The idea was that she would keep it close by, and jot down notes each day of things she wanted to remember. She didn't love the idea though, and had made only one entry on one day. My sister in law looked at it, and promptly gave it to me saying that I should save it. I looked at the entry. After a couple of sentences of everyday errands she needed to do, there was this sentence... "John picks Philippe up tonight at Logan."

She accepted Pipo from the start, just as excited for our new son as she was with each baby I gave birth to. But to see this line there... to know it was something important enough for her to jot down... I just had no words.

Fitz met with his siblings this afternoon to discuss all the arrangements. He called me at one point to get an address from me. The address for Saint Boniface Haiti Foundation . He and his siblings decided to have donations in memory of his mother sent to Saint Boniface, in honor of their bringing Pipo into our family. I couldn't be more grateful.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Where are the parents?

Yesterday, Fitz played at an outdoor festival. It was a gorgeous day, and the band was set up in a gazebo at the bottom of a large, sloping field surrounded by orchards. At one point in their set, I noticed a good number of small children climbing up into and around the gazebo, poking at, picking up and playing with anything within their reach. The harmonica player had a case of all of his harps set open in front of him... so that he could switch to different keys as needed. Some of these kids were actually grabbing spare harmonicas and playing them. Kids hanging on the side of the gazebo were jumping down and grabbing the sound system to get their balance. Running across in front of the musicians, they would occasionally knock a mike stand off kilter, requiring Fitz to adjust it in mid-song.

This wasn't new or unusual unfortunately. Whenever he does a family show where there are a lot of kids, there is always the stray kid 'getting into things'. But it does seem to be getting worse. A lot of the time, the parents are there, they are just to caught up in their own things to be paying attention to their children. But many times, the parents see this behavior and let it continue. They think their kids are just "so cute" and isn't it great that they "aren't shy at all". "Look at little Sammy... getting right up on stage!"

Trust me, it's not cute. It's not cute at all to see small children playing around with very expensive equipment. My guess is some of these parents think it's a family friendly show, and after all... the musicians aren't complaining or saying anything. The musicians are working. They can't very well stop the show to discipline someone else's kid. They also want to get booked for more shows, so of course they will smile at your adorable child who is pulling the strings off of their $4000 guitar.

Yesterday I honestly wanted to find some of these parents and ask them... "Hey, would it be okay if tomorrow I show up at your office with my 7 kids and let them climb on your desk and play with your computer while you work? Okay, that's be great."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

His glass is half full

This morning, while looking up at his spice rack full of meds, Pipo said to me "I think I'll be a pharmacist when I grow up, because I am really good at pills.

I really, really love this kid.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Fall insanity

I've written about our crazy soccer schedule in the past, both here and here... but this fall we are at a whole 'nother level. All 7 are playing, one on two different teams, and no one is on the same team. Eight different schedules to follow. A friend commented the other day on how organized we must be, and what my calendar must look like. I admitted that we don't even have a calendar. I keep stuff in my head, always have. That way I won't lose it! The truth is, if I wrote everything on the calendar I think my head might just explode. Going day by day doesn't seem so scary, but to see all of it out there... I'm just not sure I could deal with it. I counted last night, and we have 19 practices a week. Thankfully Kaleigh can drive to her own, so I am 'only' left with 14. Add on the 7-10 games per week, CCD starting for 6 of them, multiple doctor and dentist appointments set up for the fall, and Fitz and I are left with our heads spinning.

We chose to have a big family, and we chose to have them involved in activities like soccer... so I am not complaining at all. I was talking with a friend yesterday, and I realized what the bigger issue is. We have no transition time from Summer to Fall. I am incredibly thankful for our summers. They are truly dream summers for our kids. All of us are together constantly, with no pressures or true commitments. Camp is our only commitment, but it is a joy to be there, and it is one of the most relaxing places I've ever been. We go straight from pure, fun family time to a jam packed schedule literally overnight. It's a tough thing to get used to. At least for this mom.

The picture above is one of the first family photos of all of us in many years. I have plenty of pictures of all the kids, but I am rarely out from behind the camera. This shot was taken during a weekend in Vermont with family and friends. Slipped in between camp and trips to the Cape, it was just one more adventure I know the kids will remember forever. I doubt they will remember all these soccer games, or their 5th grade homework or any of the other things we seem to be rushing back and forth from lately. It all makes me realize how valuable that family time is. And no matter how crazy our fall may be, we will make an effort to fit some of that time in where we can.