Friday, January 22, 2010

Please don't forget

Four years ago a little boy was in Haiti fighting for his life. With the help from Senator Kennedy, we were able to bring him here in a hurry for proper medical care. Today that boy carried a coin jar all around school, raising money for the many other young kids in Haiti who are fighting for life. He has raised over $75. Please don't forget. As time goes on, and it falls to the background of the news stories... please don't forget.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haiti and animals.

It shouldn't be a surprise that the earthquake is the only thing on my mind right now. We have Pipo's best friend from Haiti staying with us at the moment, while his mom flies down to Florida to pick up some evacuated family members. Along with the friend is his brand new puppy, who is proving to be a great distraction for all our kids.

I forgot how much fun (and how much work) having a puppy in the house can be. Brings me back to our first days with Maizy.

The shelter we picked Maizy up at has a facebook site. It's a great shelter, and they do some wonderful things. But the last few days they have been posting regular announcements about "The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) banding together to save all the poor animals".

I know I am going to risk flaming comments from PETA activists here, but This has made me more angry than I have been in a long time. I am an animal lover, no question. But we are talking about a disaster of tremedous proportions here... a place where hundreds of thousands of people are dead... and just as many are wounded, trapped, missing. Food, water, medical supplies... they are all dwindling. Even the areas not structurally damaged by this earthquake will be affected severely by the dwindling supplies. Any aid that is sent to Haiti, in the form of food, drinking water or medical supplies needs to go towards HUMANS. Any aid being given to animals is aid being taken away from people who desperately need it. I can understant trying to save livestock, to help with the diminishing food supply, but stray cats and dogs should not be helped. This is not cruelty... this is reality.

The article from the website mentions "untold numbers of companion animals". Haiti is not a place where people have lots of pets. Haiti is a place where many people cannot afford to feed their own children. The thought of feeding stray dogs is preposterous.

Again, I do love animals. This is a matter of priorities though. Human life should always be put first. We will continue our prayers here in Fitzville, and hope that as much aid as possible can be sent from everywhere across the world to help the PEOPLE of Haiti in this horrific time.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

No words.

Last night Pipo came home from school and went straight up to his room. Not like him at all, especially since it was dinner time. Fitz followed him up and said he had been crying, and turned the light off and pulled the covers over his head. We let him stay there for a while, knowing he needed the space, but I went up close to bedtime, and woke him to take his medicine. He came down with me to have the plate of food Fitz saved for him, but was still very quiet. He just looks broken.

We have always planned to take Pipo back to Haiti to visit his grandmother, and we will eventually. But we won't be taking him back to the Haiti he remembers.  The picture above is of Pipo pre-sickness.  He didn't have much, and often didn't know when the next meal was coming, but he had a grandmother who loved him and took care of him. I love the little smile on his face. He looks so hopeful, like he knows things are going to be okay.  I would and will do anything to bring that smile back.

But what do I do, what do I say? As much as we try to filter the information he sees and hears, it's impossible. He knows now that Haiti will never be the same. He knows that his village did not have much structural damage, and that the hospital where he spent most of his young life is still standing. He even knows his grandmother was not hurt. But he is old enough, wise enough from his younger years of surviving in such a place, that he knows much of Haiti revolves around Port au Prince. He knows that that is where the medical supplies come from. He knows that the times he was very, very sick, it was PaP that our friend Conor would have to rush to to get him life saving meds. He knows that much of the food supplies came from PaP.  And what is left of PaP now?

Charlie, probably my most sensitive kid, and the one who idolizes his oldest brother, announcing from his first days home that we were now a "Irish/Haitian" family, was up very early today, telling me he had a nightmare that the world was being destroyed. What can you say to that?

One of the things that Fitz and I have always prided ourselves on is that we are raising happy kids. Not that we have completely sheltered them, they know that there are many places in the world who have it hard. But they all have an incredible optimism about them, a sense that whatever is wrong in the world, we can all fix together someday.  I have vivid memories of The kids selling Sunflowers on the corner downtown to raise funds after hurricane Katrina. They knew it was bad down there, but they had the utter faith of childhood that we could rebuild. 

I want them to keep this optimism, I want to them to always think they can help make it okay. But this is so, so hard right now. We will do everything we can to help, but with every news report, every phone call or email asking about Pipo, a piece of me dies.  The look in my sons eyes last night came very close to putting me over the edge. We all want to 'make it all better for our kids'. But how do I do this? What do I tell him?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


It's Pipo's birthday today. It's also Wednesday which means it's a regular party day anyway, with people coming over for spaghetti and meatballs tonight. It's a time to celebrate.

I am not feeling too celebratory though. I always find myself thinking of Pipo's family in Haiti on his birthday. I think of these birthdays, and so many other moments his mother has missed, dying so young. I think of his Grandmother, wonder if she remembers it is his birthday. I know she misses him, but is happy he is here and healthy. I think of the rest of his family, scattered after the death of his mother, and wonder if they remember their little brother, so sick while he was in Haiti.

Today I think of everyone in Haiti. My heart breaks at every new news report I see. We have emailed our good friend Conor, who brought Pipo here to us. We haven't heard from him, and I know if he is okay, he is doing everything in his power to make sure others are okay too. I read that the St. Joseph's boys home collapsed, and I think of Sony, the beautiful boy we met at Fenn who came with his dance troupe. I think of the hospice nurse who worked with my mother in law in her last days... telling me so proudly of her daugher, a nurse still in Haiti, and her sons, still living in PaP. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, and this devastation will break many that were already so broken. This is one of those "why" moments. I just can't fathom why these beautiful people, who already suffer so much, are suffering even more now.

Again, I ask you... please pray.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Please pray. I know Pipo's grandmother is far from PaP, but his extended family is in PaP, and Our very good friend travels often to PaP. This is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and now they are suffering tenfold from the devastation of this earthquake... again, please pray.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Day of (W)rest(ling)

*WARNING: Blatant and indulgent mom bragging ahead

Pipo and E.J. were off to an all day wrestling tournament today... a first for E.J.  I will fully admit, I have become a total wrestling mom. I love it, I love to watch my boys, I watch now to scout out the 'good' wrestlers from tourneys we've been too, I slap my sons on the back and make comments about what a 'great half nelson they pulled, and 'to remember not to reach back.'  I am thinking maybe I need intervention.

E.J. was pretty nervous going into his first ever tournament, but came out strong, dominating his first match.

His second match led to his first bloody nose. It took a good 10 minutes of clean up time to clean up the fair amount of blood he got on himself, his opponent and the mat. He was losing 9-2 at this point, and after getting cleaned up and noticing the score board, he came out with fire in his eyes and came back to win 13-12.

Pipo wrestled hard, but he was accidently placed in the top division and was wrestling some of the best kids in his weight class... most of whom had been wrestling  5+ years as opposed to Pipo's 1 year of experience.  He got pretty discouraged during the day, but picked his head up, and kept going out on the mat for more.

Despite the difference in experience between him and his opponents, he was able to throw a few moves in there.

E.J. finished off his day with an impressive pin...

Which earned him a gold medal! Good day overall!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Home is where the food is...

Been slacking on the blog as of late, but not for lack of writing material. We had an amazing week down in D.C. with superhero Aunt and Uncle, Chris and Jim. Every time we visit we are reminded of why we love it there. It is such a fun, kid friendly place, and so great for big families. This is the second trip where the kids have declared that their favorite spot, hands down, is the Navy museum. So many cool things to see and do there, and it is never crowded.

While on this trip, Pipo was having a little difficulty... mainly a poor attitude and being generally grumpy and not at gracious as we would expect of him (or any fitzkids). Later, after we were able to talk it out with him, and when Fitz and I talked about it ourselves later, we realized it mostly came back to an age old issue... hunger.

I have written about hunger before, and the huge impact it has on Pipo. I know that it is a big issue for him, and we are usually pretty good about catching it and addressing it, but sometimes it still catches us off guard. Traveling can be tough for him, because he doesn't have the same food routine. We may know (and even tell him!) that there are hot dog vendors every 20 yards or so in D.C., but it isn't the same as being home with the knowledge that food is just a few steps away.

The boys have their first wrestling tournament of the season tomorrow (E.J.'s first tourney!), and at practice, the coaches emphasized what a long day it will be, discouraging newer boys to jump in quickly. I know both boys are ready though, and planned on going. Pipo said offhandedly a few times that he didn't want to go. I ignored him, because he wasn't being overly vocal, and because he can be negative at times when he is unsure of the outcome of a situation. I know he is ready, and he will probably do very well at the tournament. But I thought more about it this weekend, and it dawned on me that there might be another reason for his hesitancy. I asked him if he was worried about getting hungry being gone all day at the tourney. He quietly admitted this was the case. I asked him if he would like to go to the store today and pick out a few of his favorite snacks to pack up and bring with him. What a difference. He is a new boy, excited as can be about the tournament.

Another reminder of how deep hunger runs. I know in my heart now that this is a hurt he will never get past. He will find ways to cope, find ways to deal with it, and we will help him in every way we can. But that fear will always be there somewhere, the fear that someday there won't be enough to eat.