Rest now.

Sometimes it’s hard to find the words. These will have to do…

Grandparents, great aunts and uncles, they don’t need to figure out who they are, they are just themselves. They have endless patience and unlimited time to dote on the little ones.

Uncle Cherry was always like that (ok, maybe not endless patience). Maybe he was different before. But from the time I knew him he had time. He would rather spend time with his family than anything else. And he just thought (or acted like) everyone felt the same way, he just expected people to be around. And so we were. And then we were glad for it.

We may say our final goodbye, take solace in the ease of his suffering, talk of times past. But we will always remember him in our own wonderful ways. To me, a father to stand in for the one I didn’t know. A treasured uncle, a genius with infinite knowledge about everything imaginable. A warm embrace, a shoulder to cry on, a man I could count on.

I’ve missed my uncle for a long time. The cancers (and medications!) may have slowed him down and the pneumonia may have been his undoing, but the stroke took him from us. When I brought my kids up in August to visit him in the VA home, I had to explain to our oldest, he would not chat about the stars and days of old like he used to. But he would happily listen to all our stories and antics. It was our turn to tell the corny jokes, to steal a glimpse of a smile.

I have 41 years of memories. From the booming voice of discipline when I was little, making sure I would mind my manners… to the insightful advice a girl in her 20’s doesn’t want to hear but listens to nonetheless…to the intelligent debates among adults and to the beautiful moments he spent with our kids (even the teasing and not knowing when to stop!)…and everything in between. I will forever be grateful for all these memories we have with this great man we were all so lucky to call Uncle, Dad, Husband, Papa, Brother, Friend.

We must teach our next generation what he taught us, family first, honesty always (unless your playing trivial pursuit 😉), generosity, and fight until you simply can’t fight anymore.

There’s more, I know there’s more, but that’s all I have for today.

I love you Uncle Cherry.

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Caribs Forever.

Yesterday, I was going to share a Christmas memory, but when I heard the news that the Caribs Rugby Clubhouse had burned down, I changed my mind…

When I first moved to Trinidad, I was nearly eight months pregnant, my stepson had just started living with us and I was completely out of my element. I had a hard time acclimating to my new environment, which is unusual for me but there was a lot going on. I faced small daily challenges like the all consuming heat and onslaught of mosquitoes; and I dealt with the larger issues such as how to make this place home for me.

My daughter was born, my mom left to go back to New York, and the reality of my life in Trinidad started to sink in. With my optimistic outlook, I reached deep for my better self, reached out for support, and I knew (mostly) that somewhere along the way this world would become home too. (Spoiler alert: it did!) There were several things that made this transition possible… one was the Caribs rugby club.

I had never watched rugby before my husband, Blaine, and I started dating. I probably only knew the sport existed because of Ralph Lauren’s collection. Blaine played it, watched it, lived it. I love a good sport, so as I watched with him, I started to enjoy it as well. And when we moved to Trinidad, we spent a lot of time with the Caribs RFC members. We went to games, functions, or just a Friday evening lime at the clubhouse. Most of the time we brought the kids.

Now, before we moved here, I had met some of my husband’s friends already. They were all lovely and just like his family, accepted me with a warm welcome. Still, I was not prepared for the amount of people I would encounter. Island life: everyone knows each other and many are related – you learn as you go.  I didn’t know what to expect. Turns out, they were all incredibly nice and lots of fun!

They started out as Blaine’s friends. “It was a rugby thing.” But it didn’t take long to realize these “friends” were family. Soon I formed friendships of my own. Over time, the clubhouse became my new comfort zone. It was a safe environment for the kids and I was in my element, surrounded by people I could chat with, laugh with, lime with. It’s where I held Blaine’s 50th – and the boys were so accommodating and helpful with everything.

My friend Anne, often gives the story about her first trip to Trinidad – a family member picked her up from the airport and brought her directly to the rugby pitch to watch a rugby game. Afterwards, we went back to the clubhouse, with my three month old daughter sleeping in her stroller/car seat, and added another awesome night to our memory books. She received the same welcome I did. Everyone does. That’s what makes this place so special. (BTW, That was my FIRST Bruno Browne!)

While I only have seven years of memories at that clubhouse, most of the members have lifetimes of memories. It was a home away from home for so many. I was saddened to hear the news, to see the photos. So I can only imagine how others felt. I am so grateful for all the memories we shared there – our three kids running around the place, making new friends and letting grown ups dote on them. The laughs, the drinks together, the SONGS! Birthday limes, BBQ’s, Pig Roasts, Jouvert. The list goes on…

Thank you for making my transition into this new and exciting (and difficult and challenging) country easier and more enjoyable.

Caribs forever.

Adrienne

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It’s nice to feel loved.

After a ten day trip to NY to visit my ailing uncle and exhausted aunt/cousins, I’m feeling grateful to the point of tears.
When I arrived and went straight to the hospital my uncle was shaking with a fever and in immense pain. It was touch and go for the first few days while he fought to overcome infection.

A little background here…

My uncle is the only father figure I’ve ever truly had. He lovingly treated me as his daughter, as did my aunt. My cousin and his wife, like a brother and sister in law. We are close beyond words. When my mom died last July, it affected all of us tremendously. So understandably, I was aching for and with my family while my uncle battled with all his might. In addition to this, we have watched and supported him in overcoming a heart attack, bladder cancer, and most recently a stroke, to name only a few of his hardships. 

After a few days, he started to get better and as I leave today he is being transferred to a facility where he can start his rehabilitation. Though it will be a long road and possibly months, we are all optimistic for his homecoming.

Family came in over the weekend…

At one point my aunt (somewhat jokingly) voiced her concern that my uncle might think he was dying with several family members coming in. I did my best to reassure her that it would be the opposite. He was born a family man. Nothing in this world makes him happier than bringing family together. The visit was beneficial, not only for my uncle, but for all of us. Sometimes there’s nothing more refreshing and warming than quality time spent with family members you don’t see often enough.

To my family and friends… Keep those positive thoughts going. For him and all the others in need of support. It’s working.

I am beyond grateful to my mother in law especially who made this trip possible, obviously my husband who understands how much it meant to me, and everyone that helped with my kids and moral support.

And I am very much looking forward to hugging up my sweet little ones… It seems I’ve been missed while I was gone… Lucky, lucky me.

Adrienne

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Cobwebs

Dusting off the cobwebs… in the house, on the blog, inside my mind.

Therapeutic words have been replaced with tears. The joy of the season is struggling to overcome the sorrow in my heart.

Two of my favorite things to do in life: shopping… and giving. There is one less on my list. One less grandma card for the kids to make. One less card to buy and send. One less phone call to make.

In the past, December has always brought posts about joy, love, this incredible time of wonderment. This year all those things still exist, but with one less to enjoy it with.

I want to write about all the happy things that happen every day. Yet somehow the one looming sadness is all that comes to mind.

I cry… when I fold a fitted sheet because my mom showed me a gazillion times how to do it and I still can’t get it right; when I make meatballs; when I hear the song “See You Again”; when I hang an ornament, look at a photo, recall a memory. So basically, a lot.

The conversation generally goes:

How are you? I’m ok. (Lie, sort of)

I am not ok, but I am. This state of imbalance is uncharted territory.  I can’t even seem to get through a morning car ride or stroll without tears rolling down my face. (WTF)

Recently, I was in NY to take care of estate business. A woman helped me with my mother’s accounts and I think of this complete stranger every day now. She too lost her mom. 13 years ago. Friends have shared their grief and explained to me that the hurt doesn’t go away, you just learn to live with it. Yet, until I spoke with this woman, whom I had never met, it was not clear to me. I have been wondering when I would feel like myself again for months. I finally realize, I will never feel like I did before July 18, 2015. I will always be me, but I will always feel like something is missing. I will always miss my mom.

This marks the first Christmas without her, so it’s a tough one. I am forever grateful for my incredible family: three healthy kids, a loving and supportive husband, dear friends and relatives near and far. The love surrounding me is immense and it will persevere. I just have to hold those I treasure a little tighter.

Wishing all a joyous season. For the grieving, I wish you peace and strength. Love will see you through your time of grief.

Adrienne

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Today, I Grieve

My mom died.

When the news came

Blaine was at cricket (it’s a big deal here) and my friend was over with her two kids because our sons were hanging out all day. When I saw Blaine’s car pull in I thought it seemed early to be back from a lime with the boys but what do I know. I was in the baby’s room. When Blaine came up, the first thing he did was turn to Monique and say, “I’m glad you are here.” Then he turned to me:

Blaine with a shaky voice: “Age, I don’t know how to tell you this…”

I was wondering what had gone horribly wrong to have him so shaken – I thought a friend of his was hurt, or a family member (of his) had died.

Blaine continuing: “…but Maria died.” That was the last thing I expected him to say.

Me: “What? What? My mom died?”

And then he proceeded to explain that my aunt had found her and our cousin had called him and now here he was…

As the dust settled

The house was a buzz last night, filled with family (bless my overwhelming in-laws!) and my friend came by as well. Once they all left and the kids were asleep I had a few calls to make. And then the house was quiet. My husband fell asleep and I did a lot of staring into space. And then I cried. Stared into space a little more. And cried a lot more.

The finality of this is not something I am able to comprehend fully. Not in my two hour sleep frame of mind.

I will never put ‘Call Mom’ at the top of my To Do list again. I will never get to chat with her over coffee again. I will never share funny stories about my life or laugh with her again. I will never send her a birthday card again. The list is endless.

My mom, my biggest fan, my first best friend. My amazing single mother, with her incredibly infectious laugh, is gone too soon.

Yesterday I was in shock.                            Today I grieve.                                        Tomorrow I forge on. 

 

Mom (left) / Aunt Bee (right)

 
-A

At 3:00 in the morning, all is quiet, except in my mind…

My 3:00 A.M. pondering:

I always do this. I think I have plenty of time. I don’t have any time.

I am the first to agree that being a mom is a full time job in and of itself. Especially as a stay at home mom of three (including an infant), with a housekeeper only two days a week, living in a country that has no school bus system, with kids in different schools so pick up and drop off times are varied, and after school activities scattered.
And yet, on Sunday I can look at my week and think… Wide open schedule. My never ending, ever growing to do list is going to be cut in half for sure! Earth to Adrienne…
While nothing is impossible, that comes pretty close. My totally free mornings are spent tidying/cleaning/washing, I live driving my kids around, oh yeah and I have a 12 week old. So Newsflash: caring for a baby is time consuming! Duh!!! How is it
Thursday already and I feel like I’ve done nothing I set out to do since Monday.
Sigh.
Here’s the plus side… I actually don’t mind at all. Although my brain tries to trick me into thinking I have all the time in the world, I’m not truly disappointed that I don’t. Because, you see, I’m lucky. I’m home caring for my 12 week old so I get to see all his new smiles and hear his loving coos. I’m giggling with my four year old daughter while we get ready for bed. I’m chatting with my 11 year old about anything and everything while we sit in traffic. These are the things I think of when I’m hustling to get the house clean or make dinner or return phone calls. And that’s what keeps me smiling. ☺️😊
I managed to steal a few minutes away to write this so that’s saying something, never mind the bulk of it is being written at 3 am … and that’s another thing! My little man is not sleeping through the night (which is fine!) and here I can’t get back to sleep after his middle of the night feed. That’s slightly incredibly annoying.
Adrienne
P.S. In case you’re wondering about my three steps to serenity… I don’t completely ignore my reminders just yet.
6:00 a.m. – eat some thing healthy… This is going well, the reminder is a nice little nudge to have some yogurt or oatmeal with fruit instead of just bread or cereal.
7:00 a.m. – exercise or meditate. Let’s see, I have exercised once every two weeks so that’s slow going. And I have meditated exactly zero times. I even joined the free meditation series going on now with Oprah & Deepak. It started Monday, I’ll catch up. (Sure you will)
8:00 a.m. – time for myself. I actually do this every night after the kids have gone to bed, I have a glass of wine and read while my husband watches something on TV or catches up on news.
I have set other reminders too… Every Sunday my phone tells me to pull down a new recipe and try something new this week – I ignore it. And each weekend it says to me what are you going to do with the kids this week – camp obviously! Every night the very same phone asks me what book I read with Emily today (she’s almost five) … I don’t answer it but we read every night and when there is no more camp, I know we will read every morning together as well because we both love to read. ❤️😉 On that note: I’m off.

Nine Days

Meet Logan Godfrey.  He is nine days old – the final piece to our puzzle we call family.

On April 25, 2015, we were blessed with a beautiful, healthy, baby boy.  He’s calm like his daddy and too sweet for words.

I now have so much more to write about and much less time to do so.  I’ll just start from the beginning…

The Friday night before Logan was born, we dropped off our two kids by their granny and I created a text group to keep friends & family informed the next day.  On Saturday, we woke early and headed to the hospital, we were inducing labor and I was eager to meet this little guy.  I had been induced with my daughter (no epidural then either) so I had an idea of what to expect.  What I did not anticipate was how the chat group would turn out.  I had given everyone an out – I said no offense would be taken if anyone left the group – I know multiple updates can get annoying sometimes.  No one left.  In fact, it became an entity of its own.  The amount of encouragement and love that flowed through the messages was incredible. Long after I was unable to text due to the intensity of the contractions and then delivery, (my sisters-in-law provided the updates) the messages continued. It (of course) brought me to tears. I took the time to read each message that night and revel in the remarkable people in my life.  I’m glad they were part of the journey, near or far, and I feel so honored to call them my friends & family.  Positive energy like that could truly change the world.

Our daughter is four & a half and trying to find where she fits in to our family now.  No longer the “baby” in the family, she is trying to fill her big sister role but still vying for our attention.  As we do our best to ease her through this phase, I can only hope  she feels and knows the immense love we have for her.  She is still my little star.

Our oldest son (now eleven) is already a great help.  After a few rocky days, he now seems to know when we need assistance, what to assist with, and how not to fight with his little sister over his little brother (though I’m not sure how long the last part will continue).

The first week after childbirth is tiring, emotional, painful, to name just a few.  To add to the challenge we had no electricity for much of the first two days home with Logan – fun. Yet, none of it matters when you look at your new bundle in your arms.  The love is inexplicable.  Each moment a treasure.

Joy, happiness, bliss.

Adrienne