Juliette’s First Birthday!

Happy First Birthday Juliette! I’m not even sure where to start. You are a beautiful soul that has completed our family. From your scrunched up face when you smile, to your need to have and do whatever big sister is doing, you are one independent strong little diva!

You’re starting to pull up on your own. I felt like you were days away from standing and walking until you got really, really sick and was put in the hospital. My heart is so full of emotion an exhaustion that I cannot possibly sit here and tell you all about you and your milestones and the amazing way you’ve changed our family. I will though. But not in this post. My mind is mentally and physically exhausted. But for now, I just want to share just how beautiful you are to the world. I promise when I will reflect on how much I love you my dear baby. Because I love you so so so much. And it’s been so much fun getting to know you.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUTTERBALL!

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Our Fall Family Adventure & Halloween 2017

I have felt like no one has ever been supportive, happy or excited to see our family grow. The only person that came to visit me in Florida was my mom. Most all expected and wanted me to fail. Born and raised in a small town with drugs and alcohol surrounding me and barely making it through high school graduation, I am now a Registered Nurse with a college degree, a wonderful husband, two beautiful daughters and one screwed up childhood memory. And who can I thank for the direction and support that put me through college? Not a soul but myself (and my husband, of course). Because living and learning has made me stronger. I am the one that made a life for myself. I am the one that said “this is not where I will stop”. I am the one that worked my ass off all alone in a city, a state and an apartment all though nursing school, away from my husband just to give us the life we have now. It certainly was a small sacrifice and I’d do it over again if I had to. And God forbid any one of our family members to be proud of us (Bobby and I both). He is a University of Michigan grad with a chemical engineering degree, excelling at his career. Because let’s face it, my husband is great at pretty much anything. I always wanted more out of life ONLY because I wanted children. But I refused to ever have them if they were to grow up like I did. I wanted to give them the life I never had and LOVE them like I was never loved. Educate them like I was never educated. Read to them like I was never read to. LISTEN to them like I was never listened to. Raise them like I was never raised. Support. Love. FORGIVE. And most of all…never, ever, ever, ever DISOWN because of some nonsense bullshit he said/she said crap. My children are my BLOOD! I created them. I gave birth to them. And no matter what phase, no matter what words come out of their mouths in my lifetime (and with two girls, Lord knows I’m in trouble!), my LOVE and job of being their parent and support system will never, ever disappear. Because at this point…my feelings don’t matter. They do. They can say all the hurtful things they want to me, but that will never change my love and make me disown them or wish death on them like my family has me. How could I? My love is so deep for them. I imagine life without them and I just cry and imagine a life so empty. I never really knew love existed until I had my children. Words are words. Yeah, they burn…but life goes on. You only have ONE life to live. I love my husband, but there is NO LOVE like the love for your children!

And as the days, weeks, months and now years pass us by, I become even more and more angry. But also more understanding of my dysfunctional family. The illness that has swept them like a virus. The self-righteousness. The self-loathing. The narcissistic bullshit. The self-fulfuling dependence on someone else to complete them! What ever happened to being able to survive on your own? Being able to make it or separate you from another person? I am grateful that Bobby is who he is and I am who I am. I am me and he is him. We are of one but we are also very much okay without being completely and utterly dependent upon one another. How can one be happy with themselves when they depend on someone else to make them happy? It’s impossible. Luckily, I’ve learned this in life. It’s become part of my strength. And if anyone is living like that, and you don’t realize it now…you will. I know that I can survive without him and that even though I love him with all of my heart and he is my person, my soul mate, my best friend in the entire world, I know I can survive and be my own person. Because my thoughts are my own and his are his own. But we complete each other and are great at being parent’s together and raising a family and a beautiful home. I am grateful to God for giving me that independence and intense strength.

I am grateful to God for making me strong.

Bobby is unique and one-of-a-kind. He’s always so level headed and knows me more then anyone on this planet. I’ve known this man since I was five-years-old. He knows secrets about me only he and these four walls know. He’s my saving grace. He’s literally saved my life ya’ll (you may or may not know that). The father of my children. My one and only. MY ONE AND ONLY.

He is always optimistic. So going to him for constructive criticism is always helpful because either I want to hear it or I don’t. A long time ago, I didn’t want to hear it, because he was right. And most recently, he’s still right, but it’s what I NEED to hear. When I seem to fall in my little pit and cry, he brings me back to reality. Reminds me of the hurt and pain and the words. Ohhhhhh, the words. He reminds me that we don’t want to expose Josie and Juliette to THAT pain…ever. Because he sees it now. The truth. He sees through the lies, history and the pain. The years and years of damage I’ve taken on as a child. The years and years of loneliness and isolation as I was once a child just trying to survive. He sees the truth now and he was brought into that nonsense as I am an adult now.

Bobby is the most patient and kind man I know. It’s been said that a woman usually falls and marries a man just like her father. I can tell you, with certainty, that Bobby is absolutely the complete opposite of my father…how ironic.

So after I texted him my emotional cry, his text went something like this: “I know they all have one thing in common: they are all children.”

He’s always so wise. And so truthful. Whether I want to hear it or not, like I mentioned, he’s smart. When I’m feeling vulnerable and sad, he reminds me of the real situation. And also reminds me that I did what I could (“Stacy, you can only say you’re sorry so many times, what do they need? For you to slit your wrists and write it on the wall?”)…in ALL instances and with ALL those lost family members. “It is what it is. Move on, Stacy. We have our own life now…our own family…”

I’m only mentioning this because this is the time of the year I start to get a little weak and sad.

I suffer from PTSD…

Holidays are here…

I see hummingbirds everywhere I go and everywhere I look…

I miss my grandma Hubel daily…

I still can’t talk about her to Bobby without crying. And all he does is hug me with his big wide chest and open arms. And that’s usually enough to calm me down until Josie or Juliette are crying for mama. But I also don’t want to talk about her. I just want to honor her. In my mind (and I do, every single day). In my heart. In my actions. With my children. With holidays.

Easter will never be the same…ever. That will be the day I lost my “second mother”.

You know what sucks the most? When you look at your children and you see those family members. You see them in smiles, laughs and facial expressions. I see my dad a lot in Juliette scrunched face. But then again, my Grandfather claims that I need to get a DNA test because he truly believes (after all these years) that I am not my dads daughter. Wow! What a way to put the fork in the soul! It sickens me, saddens me and reminds me of what an absolute disaster this has turned into. Thankfully, both girls look A LOT like Bobby…so it’s very rare that I see my family in them. But when I do it almost always stops me in my tracks and makes my stomach turn. I love when I see my Grandma…or my grandpa. Regardless how much hate they have for me. It makes me smile. And someday, in another world, they may be able to see just how cute they are.

Once October gets here, things start to get hard. I’m reminded of my Grandma’s death. Then the holidays hit one after another and I think about my other Grandma’s death just a few months apart from one another. I lost them both that same year last year. It was tough. Recovering from child birth, a new baby, struggling with postpartum depression and losing both Grandmas to almost the same similar disease.

I think about how she died and what happened and how I never got to say goodbye. To either of them. Then my mind wonders on to the next and the next and before I know it I don’t even know how my mind got there to begin with. It’s pure mental exhaustion. All I know is anxiety and heavy breathing takes over. I glance at my FitBit and see my heart rate of 110 and remind myself to STOP. Take deep breaths Stacy. Think of something else. This IS killing you. So I do…

I think of my girls. The joy they bring to my life. The family outings that we so rarely all get to do together because I feel like we’re still trying to unbox and move into this huge house. Hey-we finally finished the media room. That’s something to celebrate, right?

Halloween has never been one of my favorite holidays until I had children. My one bin of decorations changed over the past three years to four bins. I won’t even tell you how many I have of Christmas. (secret: maybe 10 bins+? Yikes!). Christmas is my absolutely favorite. It’s so near and dear to my heart.

Still even now, to this day, the only support system I have is my mom. And I thank her for that. We haven’t always been great as I was growing up, but she’s a wonderful grandma to our girls and always there for me. I talk to her every single morning. I only hope that our relationship grows stronger. She would never disown me because she knows that a child’s love is unconditional.

Recently, we went to 7 Acre Farms here in Conroe with the girls. It was a lot of fun. Juliette is in that weird stage where she wants to crawl everywhere and is not yet walking and absolutely doesn’t want to be held because she wants to get down and crawl (there’s that damn independence!). So most of everything we do lately, she stays in the stroller entertaining herself eating creamies and organic puffs. Time goes by so fast ya’ll. I feel like just yesterday Josie was in that same situation. We couldn’t go on a car ride without those dang rice crackers fully stocked in the car because heaven forbid we run out. She’d eat them over and over and over again no matter where we went. Amazing how similar these two girls are…I truly love being their mama. I love these two girls to the moon and back.

On Halloween, Juliette and I were in the hospital. But Daddy did a great job at handing out candy and also taking Josie trick-or-treating. It was really a rainy Halloween, so it didn’t last long. But I’m so glad she got to experience it. Texas Children’s Hospital also held a very, very fun interactive Fall Festival of games and prizes for the kids and I was able to take Josie there. That was great. We even made the Texas Children’s website! I may look tired, worn and deathly…but I’ve been busy taking care of my 13mo with pneumonia and a chest tube…(another post of that to come).

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Reflection

My daughter has a “disease”…FOOD ALLERGIES. But that doesn’t make her disabled. That doesn’t mean that we can’t be around people or have people visit us. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to be invited! It doesn’t mean that people have to be scared to come over to our home and play with her. Or have people visit with food. This just means we (her parents) need to be careful. This just means that me, her mother, will be a little more watchful of her when we go places and pay less attention to conversation (my apologies-I may look like I have ADD). It means I’ll have to learn to multi-task. It doesn’t mean that her life is restricted from living it normally like all others without food allergies do. We are learning to LIVE WITH IT! It just means her mom will be anxious, so get used to it. This is the new me…the permanent me. I’m not going to change. It doesn’t mean that I’m not a good friend or fun to hang out with. It just means my senses will be heightened and you may not be used to that. I may be listening to you but staring at my child. It just means that I love my child more then anything in this world and she is NUMBER ONE in everything I decide to do and everywhere I decide to go. Josie is an amazing, fun, loving, sociable, full-of-life little girl. And if you know her, YOU KNOW THAT! And she plays well with EVERYONE, of all ages. She loves to laugh and sing. Dance and dress up. She’s a normal little girl, who loves to play with her friends. Please don’t exclude her because of her food allergies. Trust me when I say that I am always prepared and ready to jump into action if needed. You cannot possibly imagine how my mind spins 24/7 with worry. But more than ever before, it’s now the time to let go just a little bit and it’s time for me to realize that THIS is our life. It is not going to change. THIS is how it will be. THIS is how we are going to have to make it work. I have NO control over curing her. But what I can do is give her the most normal life possible without making her feel left out. I won’t make her feel left out anymore. I won’t keep her home because of MY worry. She’s getting older and starting to realize it. She senses my anxiety, stress and worry. And I can’t help but say shame on me for allowing her to see that. Now I realize that for her sake, I need to step away and find a way to worry without showing her. She’s a smart little girl! So day by day I will give her a little bit more independence…but I’ll never, ever stop hovering. That’s the mother I will always be for Josie. I was meant to be her mom.

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