Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April 30, 1982

That date doesn’t have quite as much meaning as it did to me 27 years ago. Wow. 27 years. It’s hard for me to believe that that much time has really passed. So, what happened? It’s not pretty. Really.

I was 16. I was on the soccer team, a junior in high school. And little did I know that a major, life changing event was about to take place. I was about to lose a friend forever.

That afternoon, my soccer team had played a game in a town about an hour away. We lost. 2-0. Up until that point, we’d been undefeated. It was a good game against intense rivals. The van ride home was uneventful. The Sugar Hill Gang booming out of the boom box in its rightful place on the back seat. My friend, Leigh, talked about her date for the night. She was going to be late. When we got back to school, I let Leigh climb over me to get out so she could, perhaps, make her date on time. I knew who she was going out with. I had a major crush on him. A relationship, really. He was 17. But still, I let her go.

I headed home with vague plans for the night with another friend, including meeting up with Leigh and her date. Those plans never materialized. Too tired. Staying home.

But just hours later, around 10:00, I heard emergency vehicles on my street. There was a sharp curve and it wasn’t all that uncommon for people to misjudge it and lose control. 4 houses down from mine, there was quite a bit of commotion. Ambulance, fire trucks, I’m sure there were probably police too, but time has worn away that part of the memories. So, being a curious teenager, I joined the other neighbors who had come out to see what was going on. And then, there was a sick realization. Even though the car was wrapped around the tree and difficult to identify, I knew the license plate. I knew who was in the car. The boy, Kipp, had already been removed and taken to the hospital. The girl, Leigh, was still in there. As they removed her, I saw her lifeless body on the stretcher, her fashionable add-a-beads tangled over her blood-soaked polo shirt. My shock was just beginning.

I ran home and called Martha, the friend I had earlier cancelled plans with. Leigh’s been in a wreck. Come. She and her father picked me up at a local convenience store, since my street had been blocked off by the police. We headed to the hospital to await news. At one point, they wheeled Kipp by us and he wasn’t doing so well. All we knew was that Leigh was in worse shape.

Finally her parents arrived. Panicked, her mother grabbed me and shook me and asked where Leigh was. All I could do was point to the doors that we weren’t allowed beyond.

Minutes passed, feeling like hours, as Martha and I waited to hear something. Finally, we were called into a very small room, where Leigh’s mother told us she was dead. Dead. He father could only sit there and sob. Martha and I were in shock. The wind knocked out of us, I don’t think either of us really knew what to do. As we left the hospital, we saw her little brother sitting on the curb crying. It was all quite surreal. Eventually, we went back to Martha’s house and started calling friends to tell them the horrible news. They, too, couldn’t believe the news.

The next few days were a blur. I think this event secretly bonded our small school all together. Our teachers had no idea how to handle it, our parents had no idea how to handle it, and we had no idea how to handle it. So, we all handled it together the best we could. Because I was so close to what had happened, and knew both Kipp and Leigh well, I always thought that I was one of the ones most affected by it. I never gave much thought to how the others handled it. Years later, I ran into one of our teacher, Mr. Andrews. He apologized to me for making me take him to the scene of the accident…a place I had to pass every day for the next year or more. I have no recollection of taking him there. Trauma will do that to you, I have learned. Or maybe it wasn’t any big deal compare to what I’d already been through. Either way, I didn’t remember.

There are other details I do remember. Too many to go into. The thing I do know is that this one event shaped my life more than any other event to date. I’ve lost my mother, I’ve been married, divorce, married again and have 3 wonderful children. And while all of those events are memorable, none has shaped me quite as much as that warm April night. Not necessarily for the better. Not necessarily for the worse. It just changed who I was.

So, to Leigh, may she continue to rest in peace.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter happenings

Busy, busy, busy. We have been busy. Hubby's birthday was the middle of March. He happened to be home, so I made lasagna (his favorite) and yellow cake with chocolate icing.

He was surrounded by his girls on his 'big' day. Nothing says love like cake.

Next up was picture day at school. Luckily all 3 girls didn't have pictures on the same day. I know some of you think that would be easier, but it's alot of work getting 3 little ones picture-ready. I was excited when our preschool director asked me to help on the second day, because that means I get my pictures for 1/2 price. Sweet deal!!! I still haven't ordered the fall pics. Come on tax refund! I got a few shots myself on the twins picture day.

How cute are they? Riley doesn't think she looks 'pwetty' because she's not wearing a dress. Diva. I told her she was going to have to get over it for that day. She managed surprisingly well.

Next up, we dyed Easter eggs. So what if it was a week early, it just cut down on badgering time. The girls had fun and then we mixed we got a little art/science lesson in there too.

Since the weather's been so wacky here lately, it's hard to decide what to wear. Rachel made sure she covered all the bases.

We've had tornado watches, warning, high wind advisories and even a little snow. Here in the south, when it snows, you have to take advantage of it. This snow storm was short-lived, but cool nonetheless. I realize in this picture it just looks like it's foggy down in the woods across the street, but I promise you it was snow. Why else would the girls be out in their gowns with such happy smiles on their faces?

The nice weather, when it shows itself, makes it nice to sit outside while the girls play. Daddy joined us and I'm not really sure why now, but he and Riley got into an argument about money. He told her she needed money for something and she told him HE had her money. No I don't. Yes you do. No I don't. Yes you do. Well, you get the idea. This little girl is going to be a tough one.

In the meantime, I got a little snuggle time with Rachel, who's going through a phase of being on her best behavior. I'm sure it's just a phase.

Rena took this picture, by the way. Not bad. I almost didn't post it because, my God, do I really look that bad? The sad truth is 'yes'. But hey, it's the truth, so there it is.

Of course the big event for this month was Easter. And the bunny didn't disappoint. The girls were oddly calm Easter morning. I'm still not really sure why. Rena spend a lot of time divvying up the loose eggs. I think they were excited, though. After breakfast, we headed off to the church where we go to preschool. After a very nice service there was an Easter egg hunt and then we headed off for lunch. It was a really nice family day. After lunch, we drove around and looked at houses. We have no intentions of moving, but it's nice to see what else is out there. We used to do that alot.

Last but not least ( for this post anyway) is ballet. Our ballet studio has visitors day where all the parents get to come see what the girls have been doing all year. They run through the recital and then they get their recital costumes and get to go through it again. Rena and Riley are not in the same class, so I get to sit there for an hour and a half... with Rachel. At least they are both in the same recital. yeah!

Riley went first. Even though she looks a little nervous in this picture, she did great. She really pays attention and you can tell she LOVES it


Here she is in her costume...striking a not-so-polished pose.

The 'ballet school dropout' watched from the sidelines. I think she missed it a little.

Next up was Rena. An old pro at it this year.

Rena in costume....a little 'brothel' for my taste, but I'm sure she'll look great on stages.

A post-rehersal moment with the sisters. How sweet are they?

Last but not least, a moment between sisters. Love it.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Animal Control

I put up with alot. Probably more than I really should. I've been complaining about one dog or another for quite awhile now. Here's the back story. When we moved into this house, we had Max and Trouble. Trouble got killed in our backyard in a freak accident the first summer we were here. (As if I needed more reason not to like it here.) He was a really great dog...part Golden, part Lab. Beautiful, smart, calm. No really, he was.

this is max

We had always talked about getting another dog before Max and Trouble were gone, because dogs (usually) learn from each other.
So Blair wanted another dog. And I toyed with the idea. But Max was so easy. He knew all the rules, and despite his bad reputation, he's a really good dog. So I said NO. And then our 'friends' (you know who you are!) sent us a picture of Nixie that they wanted to get for us. That they already had. How could I say no...again.

this is Nixie....and Rena.

Nixie likes to stick her nose in your crotch and she's a little needy. She did manage to disembowel all the BIG stuffed animals we had sitting around, so that actually won her some points in my book. She's big and she wants to wrestle. Not me. So we decided that getting another dog for Nixie would be a good idea. That way they could get alot of energy out together.

So, those same 'friends' offered us a puppy from one of their dogs. We named him Jake, and he's has come to be know as 'that damn dog'. Jake is smart...or stupid. The jury is really still out. I do know that he needs a job. He needs to retrieve. Fetch. One day, I feel, he and I will be good friends. One day.

this is Jake...sleeping on the spoils.

Since we've been having alot of rain lately the dog issue has kinda come to a head. Jake is only contained by a 'doggie' gate if I'm in there with him. Not helpful. So I went and bought a dog crate. Works like a charm. I was still trying to let him sleep upstairs with the rest of us, but he was pooping on the floor and peeing on the floor. Finally one of my neighbors said, "Jake doesn't have house privileges." And just like that a lightbulb went off. He doesn't have house privileges. Soooo, Jake's either been spending the night outside, by himself, or downstair in the crate. And you know what...I'm finally getting some sleep. Halleluia!
So, a big shout out to my neighbor Cheryl for the eye-opening statement. Thanks!!!