Random ramblings of a Rose…

Grief Beyond Comprehension

There are no right words.

I just spent over 30 minutes holding my 7yo (Squishy) as he completely, flat-out lost it. He cannot understand why the very morning he woke up, ready to leap out of bed and come ask me if he could visit his best friend because he had a hug to give him, I told him, instead, that his best friend had died. [For backstory, simply do a google search for the hashtags #hopeforhollis/#hopethroughhollis or the phrase ‘Hollis Doherty DIPG’…]

“I heard the words you were saying, but I was in shock. I was just completely shocked, and I didn’t know what to say. When I went to first recess, after I left daddy’s room and set my backpack down, when I was walking down the ramp to the playground, I couldn’t even think what to say or do. I wanted to lie down on the ground and cry until an ocean of tears filled up the school.”

He has ‘enough tears to fill the whole house’ inside of him every day, and tonight, when Mark Schultz’s He’s My Son came up on the iPod, it was too much for him to bear one second longer. After a half hour of sobbing, pleading, desperate questions, and anguish, he wanted me to squeeze him tight because his heart was literally in such extreme pain that he couldn’t breathe. And I’m not using literally when I mean figuratively. He was gasping and pressing on his heart, begging for an ice pack to take the pain away. All he keeps asking is why, why, why. And please, can’t he just have one more day because now that hug is wasted and has nowhere to go.

“If I could just kill myself right now, then I would be with Hollis and I would hug him and never let him go. Mom, you can’t understand how much it hurts because there aren’t enough words to tell you. You can’t comprehend it. It would go on for infinity, until the world ended and then the numbers would have to stop. But if I die, now, it won’t hurt, anymore. I feel like Saul [Paul] when he wanted God to take the thorn out but God said no and I’ve begged and begged and God won’t take the thorn out of my heart and I just can’t take it anymore!”

I knew this had been hard on him, but I didn’t know it was this bad. My heart is a lead balloon in my chest. My stomach feels like I’ve eaten glass.

Squishy knows that God is in control. He knows that immense and glorious connections were made throughout the entire world because of Hollis’s incredible fight for his most, best days. But right now, none of that is enough to satisfactorily explain to him any sort of answer.

“But why did God have to make him die? Why couldn’t His glory be with Hollis alive? Why did He have to take him away on the same day I needed to hug him? Why didn’t God know? What am I supposed to do, now?”

This post is a mess and I’m sorry. I haven’t said a peep on here in over 16 months, and I’m sorry. But my Squishy, my little sunshine – his heart is crumbling to pieces & I have no clue how to ‘fix’ it, and for that, I am most sorry of all.

forget-me-not

a tiny forget-me-not

First a post on Jose, and now one on Squishy. He’s really gotten into writing and reading the past few months. SERIOUSLY into it. To the point that when his dad brought home a basket he’d won at a raffle, Squishy squealed and stole the basket to use as a “word bucket” – he spends every afternoon writing down words on cut up pieces of paper and adding them to his basket. It’s… Well… Squishy. That’s just so him.

But I’m getting off track. The point of this post is to share a story he’s written that we’re turning into a book. Jose wrote a little book when he was 4 and now Squishy wants to do the same. We’re to the illustration stage, but wanted to share the words of the story as they are, alone. So, without further ado, here is School Days: Recess Rules, by “Squishy A. Nonymous” (names have been changed to protect the innocent. Or something along those lines… 😉 LOL!)

School Days: Recess Rules
by Squishy A. Nonymous

On the playground at my school, I have my own rules. And if you follow them, your recess will rule! If you read what I say, you will know what to do.

There are many, many rules. They are there to keep you safe, not to make you sad, and not to make you angry, and not to stop you from having fun.

The most important recess rule is: stay away from Meanie McBrewster! Meanie is a bully who will kidnap your parents if you don’t play the games his way. (I know that’s not true, but that’s what he says… But what if it was true?) So, yeah. Just don’t play with Meanie. Maybe some day he’ll learn his lesson, but I don’t think he ever will.

My favorite rule is: always have fun, every day!!!!!! If you visit my playground, these are some options for you. Playing tag with Tristan is the best way to have fun, if you’re like me. You can also have fun playing cops & robbers. All my friends like the electronic board. Climbing the rock wall is also really popular. And recess is a good time to trade baseball cards.

The rule I have the most trouble following is: don’t tattle-tale! It is very important to tell your teacher when something really bad happens, but if it’s not important, they don’t need to know. I forget that rule sometimes (actually, a lot of times), and I run to tell my teacher everything. That doesn’t make anybody happy. So remember not to tattle if it’s not important.

When recess is over the rule is: stand at the gate. At the end of recess, you line up on the sidewalk until your teacher comes. I don’t really like this rule, but I have to follow it, because I don’t want to get left behind. When your teacher comes, you go back to your classroom, and you get to learn more things. Maybe I’ll tell you about some of them, someday…

THE END

So, there you have it, folks! Squishy’s first story. Pray for us during the illustration stage. He tends to get frustrated… But I’m confident we can make it through! 😀

P.S. If anyone knows what that interactive electronic board on the playground at the boys’ school is called, hit me up. Cause I don’t have a clue & Squishy wants it to be called by its name in his “published” edition. 😛

P.P.S. Here’s Squishy’s new pictures. Excuse me while I catch this onion slicing ninja that seems to be roaming my house…

© Jess Legaspi // www.jesslegaspi.com //jess@jesslegaspi.com

© Jess Legaspi // http://www.jesslegaspi.com //jess@jesslegaspi.com

© Jess Legaspi // www.jesslegaspi.com //jess@jesslegaspi.com

© Jess Legaspi // http://www.jesslegaspi.com //jess@jesslegaspi.com

We’ve been talking a lot about dreams recently, because I have a ton of wild and crazy ones and I like to share them. Earlier this month, Jose came to me and said, “Mom, I had a really weird dream I want to tell you about.” So I said, “Sure!” I’ve copied it word for word (there’s lots of ‘um’s and ‘like’s – he’s 9 and big into verbal pauses – we’re working on it, lol), and meant to share it a couple weeks ago but it totally slipped my mind. I’m sure that never happens to anyone else. 😉

At any rate, here’s Jose’s dream:

“Okay. So we were like going on a trip to Texas, on an airplane. Um, so that guy who was going to, like, fly the plane, for some reason, he told you to fly it to our house. For some reason – into the driveway. Um…

And so… And so when we got there, it was like nighttime because it was evening when we started. And then, so, the guy that….

So when you started off flying, you were on the road, and you kind of… Since you didn’t know how to fly, really, it was only a little ways. We were on the road up by school, and on that split part, that’s where you were. You were driving and then you lifted up and you kept going straight and somehow you got to our house? And um…

When he flew, for some reason, there was people on our plane. Like, there wasn’t when you were flying, but there was now. And like it was morning and we were someplace else, now. And like, he flew straight up very fast, and then he went straight, and then he went straight down, and then he finally started flying regular. But he wasn’t exactly up in the clouds like he was.

And then we landed somewhere for some reason, so… When we landed, like the airplane…. I’m not sure if we got out, but we were in the middle of a desert so there was no town so I’m not sure if we were IN the airplane, but there was this really fancy town that looked like it was London or something. And then…um… So…

And then I appeared in this building, but I was friends with the Penguins from like the Madagascar movies and that penguin movie. But for some reason, two of them had three eyes and the other just had two. [It’s just a goat, it’s just a goat. NOT A GOAT, NOT A GOAT! **laughs**]

And then we were planning up something to go do and after, I was just walking around the town. So while we were doing that, there was just someone that like I saw and talked to, but I don’t remember anything else like getting back on the plane, so that was basically the end of my dream.

But then I was like daydreaming because I was awake and daddy came and asked me if that was the biggest football I had ever seen. So I went to pick it up, but then I realized I was like, doing it in real life? [**mimics pushing self up in bed**] So I flopped back down and I was all warm and comfy so I tried to go back to sleep, but it was already the time I was going to get up.”

The end. 😀

P.S. Here’s updated pictures of Jose. When he saw them, he said, “Mom! I look so old!” **sigh** I know the feeling, kid. 😥

© Jess Legaspi // www.jesslegaspi.com //jess@jesslegaspi.com

© Jess Legaspi // http://www.jesslegaspi.com //jess@jesslegaspi.com

© Jess Legaspi // www.jesslegaspi.com //jess@jesslegaspi.com

© Jess Legaspi // http://www.jesslegaspi.com //jess@jesslegaspi.com

P.P.S. The goat thing was a Zathura reference, just in case you didn’t catch that.

I love the way Squishy thinks. Earlier, he suddenly remembered something. He grabbed my arm, said, “C’mon, mom! I HAVE to show you something!” and practically dragged me out of the house to the side-yard.

It was already dark outside, so I told him I couldn’t see anything unless I had a flashlight. He said, “No, mom! It’s okay! I can still show you. You just have to see with your feet!”

He wanted me to “see” that Jose had spent a good part of the day tilling up the hard, packed dirt in the side-yard and had already made a large patch of soft fluffy dirt. It didn’t matter to him that there was no light for the work to be visible with my eyes. He knew that the important difference was the change in texture & that I only needed my feet to see that.

And he was so VERY proud of what Jose had done that he HAD to show me RIGHT NOW, rather than waiting for morning.

The Fabulous Flying Jose

The Fabulous Flying Jose

The Laughing Leaping Squishy

The Laughing Leaping Squishy

Validation

I want to talk about something today, folks. You probably guessed it from my title, because I didn’t make any attempt to camouflage it. Validation. Specifically the definition: to recognize or affirm the worth of a person or their feelings or opinions. Let me start out by saying that I am completely aware of the fact that validation isn’t necessary, and that sometimes seeking it makes one feel worse about him/herself than just being content, regardless of others’ thoughts on the matter. However, as this topic specifically pertains to my boys – Jose, now almost 9, and Squishy, rapidly approaching 6 – I have to say that I am getting REALLY tired of people in their lives only deigning to offer validation (or finding it necessary to pass uninvited judgment) as long as I’m made aware of one *VERY IMPORTANT* (said with supreme sarcasm on my part) thing:

Their likes/dislikes, desires, dreams, activity choices, etc. may indicate that **gasp** (horror of horrors) they might possibly be gay or fall somewhere on the spectrum not strictly in the MANLY MEN camp.

You know, yeah – maybe that’s true. Maybe as they get older, they will come to me and let me know that they believe that to be the case about themselves. But guess what? And I’m speaking to BOTH (or should that be all?) sides here: THERE IS NOT ONE DAMN THING WRONG WITH THEM IF THEY ENJOY LIVING THE WAY THEY DO AND THEY ARE STRAIGHT, AS WELL. When did it become a rule that nail painting, wanting to do mommy’s hair & makeup, loving My Little Pony, being disappointed we’re not getting the new Tinker Bell movie RIGHT NOW, playing dress up & dancing in a tutu, participating in gymnastics, choosing pink as a favorite color or Queen Elsa as a favorite character, wearing a headband or hair clips – any of these things (or more) – are exclusive privileges awarded only to boys who may be gay/bi/anything other than cismale?
boysIf you are the well meaning more-liberal-than-I friend/family member who sits me down and gently discusses with me the possibility that my son may turn out to be gay in order to give me time to “prepare for that future” and, “What would you do if that were the case?”: thank you, but I really wouldn’t change a damn thing. If they’re gay (etc.) then they’re gay. It will not change how much I love them, my wants, wishes, and desires for them to have a blessed life, whether or not they are welcome in my home, etc. Pretty much all of you know that I am a moderately conservative Christian, so yes, I hold certain biblical beliefs that I may wrestle with regarding the topic, but none of that will change the fact that Jose and Squishy are MY SONS. They were given to me by our Creator God and I do not for one second doubt that He is in ultimate control of everything. So why would I need to worry and fret (which the Bible specifically labels as sin, by the way) about something that was never mine to be anxious over in the first place?

If you are the concerned more-conservative-than-I friend/family member who sits me down and lovingly states that hubby & I need to take a firmer hand in the choices our sons make, because in letting them make their own decisions more often than not, we are letting them choose a slippery slope: I’m sorry, but you’re wrong. There is not one single passage in the Bible that leads me to believe in any way, shape, or form that ANY of the choices our sons have made that we have allowed/upheld are ungodly or sinful. They are CHILDREN. They are supposed to explore & discover, lead by us and their other guardians, and Jose wearing leg warmers to ballet class or Squishy loving & wanting to keep his long hair is not going to create something in them that wasn’t there to begin with. It just doesn’t happen that way. And you know, I have to say that the Jesus I read about in the Bible isn’t someone who beat up on his disciples, watched porn, and fired assault rifles to prove his manliness to those around him. So when you tell me that I need to “toughen up my boys” and “let them be men,” I have to wonder if you’d have told Mary the same thing? And in case you’re worried about their spiritual relationship with God, don’t. You recall that time when Christ displayed anger in a physical manner – like we expect men to do – turning over the tables in the temple and kicking everyone out in righteous indignation for the mockery made of his Father’s house? I can GUARANTEE you that Jose & Squishy would be more than happy to participate in that sort of “manly” activity on God’s behalf. They love the Lord deeply and fully and the suggestion that they can’t possibly be true Men of God if they enjoy traditionally “female” things is ludicrous.

And if you’re the snooty, judgmental, self-righteous person on either side of this debate who wants to look down your nose at me because I’m CLEARLY screwing my kids up for life: leave. Seriously. We don’t need you in our lives. To the room mother surprised that my Christian-school-attending son would be in gymnastics, last time I checked, the entire male Olympic gymnastics team wasn’t gay (and you know damn well you’d still watch the Olympics and root for them, even if they were, so please keep your hypocrisy to yourself). To the former friend who joked how I was going to be so lucky to have shopping buddies to keep me up to date on current fashions when my boys are older (because **wink, wink, nudge, nudge** they’re obviously going to be open to that sort of thing given their proclivities), how dare you? You grew up feeling like you couldn’t be yourself because of how others might judge you and you were terrified to come out, but you automatically pigeonhole my boys because they make effeminate choices sometimes? Isn’t that JUST as bad?
2015-03-14 14.16.21So please, if you are going to give validation for my boys choices, give it because you love them. Because it makes them happy. Because they enjoy what they’re doing. Etc. Don’t only validate them because you think they’re going to need the support. Don’t only validate them because you think you know what their future holds. And don’t WITHHOLD validation from them because you think the choices we have allowed them to make aren’t “manly” enough, especially for “good Christian boys.” And if you can’t deal with these guidelines, then please just keep it to yourself. We don’t need, or want, false validation or self-righteous judgment. Modifying Thumper’s Rule here a bit: “If you don’t have anything nice and genuine to say, don’t say anything at all.” Because it’s gotten old.

Thank you.

Christmas Pictures!!!

So, Jose and Squishy had a mini-session for Christmas photos with the lovely and talented Jess Legaspi (http://www.jesslegaspi.com/). Got the proofs back today and wanted to share our faves. 💚💙🎄❄️
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Pray that I actually manage to get these on cards and sent out this year… 😂😂😂

“I Can’t Control It!”

I know it’s been far too long since I’ve written anything, so I won’t even try to cover everything I’ve missed. But I was inspired to write tonight, so here I am.
This is Squishy:

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Yes, he’s changed quite a bit since the last picture I posted, but he’s still the same crazy little boy he always was. He’s five years old now and in kindergarten. Loves mud and mess-making, being wild and rambunctious, babbles constantly and can’t keep his hands to himself. He can read and write well enough that it scares me a little, lol, and he’s passionate about singing and creating art (typically abstract, but that’s just his style.) He’s also incredibly sensitive, empathetic and intuitive, feels deeply, and understands concepts sometimes beyond his years. (For example, he knew *SPOILER ALERT* Tadashi was dead in Big Hero 6 even though I had to explain it to Jose.)

Squishy wants EVERYONE to be loved, even villains. He feels badly when they are hurt or destroyed, and just wants everyone to be happy. His favorite character in Frozen was Marshmallow – the big snow monster – and it made him happy for DAYS that Marshmallow found Elsa’s crown at the end of the credits. (Conversely, he was NOT happy when Marshmallow was melted by Regina on Once Upon a Time – I told him Elsa could just remake him another time…) When I asked him last October if he thought the actor Pablo Schreiber was a bad man (I happened to be reading an article where Pablo stated that he was currently the most hated man on TV, after season 1 of OITNB, and given his role at the time on Law & Order: SVU), Squishy looked at Pablo’s picture and deliberated for a few moments before announcing, “No. He’s my friend. I like him.” Since then, he has communicated with him several times through YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, even defending him against naysayers by reminding them that it’s just pretend and Pablo would never hurt anyone. Squishy loves EVERYONE and wants them to know it. And he wants everyone to love each other as well.

But sometimes Squishy forgets to love himself. And tonight was one of those nights. Earlier in the evening, he’d made a not so great choice when he was asked to clean up. He took the box of Lego creations Jose and he had made, that had been set in there carefully so as to not be destroyed before they could work on them on the future, and shook it back-and-forth as hard as he could because he was angry that Jose had taken the other box and left him with this one. In the process, of course, he destroyed most of what was in there – everything will have to be re-created and rebuilt. But we moved on with our evening without any great mishap. We had baths and dinner, watched Once Upon a Time, and the boys went to bed.

It wasn’t until about an hour after he gone to bed that I realized Squishy was crying. And this wasn’t “look at me! look at me!” crying, this was deep, heartfelt, sorrowful tears of regret. I went in and got in bed with him and asked him what was wrong. And he just held me and cried and said that he couldn’t stop thinking about the Lego creations he had ruined when he shook the box back-and-forth. He told me that he was just so upset because he knew that Jose would’ve been careful with that box but Jose didn’t listen when he asked him to take it. So he shook the box on purpose to show that he couldn’t be trusted with things that break. And now he felt terrible. He sobbed into my shoulder and said, “I couldn’t control my anger mommy. It’s just too quick and I can’t stop it!”

Oh, my little man. He does so break my heart sometimes! I stayed with him for awhile, and we talked. I shared a story of a time I was his age and I let my anger get the best of me. I wanted to show him that he wasn’t alone. Squishy calmed down while we talked, and he asked if he could say a prayer with me. He prayed for help with his anger, and that he wouldn’t ruin his Lego things next time. He hugged me and held on for what seemed like forever, and we told each other over and over that we loved one another, and finally he was ready to let go. Then he went to sleep within five minutes of me leaving the room.

And this just made me think tonight, that we all need to stop sometimes and listen. Listen for the cries of another who needs to talk, even if they’re not actually making any noise. Reach out to someone if you can see that they’re hurting. If they’ve changed recently and you’re not sure why, just see if they need a friend. Sometimes people simply want to know that they’re not alone. They need to be reminded that they’re loved. Yes, Squishy could’ve come out of his room and asked to talk with me, but sometimes that’s a really hard thing to do. I’m sure he was afraid if he got out of bed that he would be in trouble. Just like we are so often afraid of a negative reaction if we reach out to those around us when we desperately need to talk to someone.

If I had been listening to music or watching a show with my headphones on tonight (as I so often do in the evenings) and not heard him crying, who knows how long Squishy would’ve laid in there, sobbing tears of anguish and broken-heartedness before he cried himself to sleep?? I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to know his heart a little more and see what he was feeling. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to share a part of me with him. There’s certainly nothing wrong with me listening to music or watching a show, but because I was present and able, I was there for him in exactly the way he needed.

So my prayer for all of you as you read this, is that you, too, might have the chance to stop what you’re doing and listen, and see if you can help another. And if you are the one who needs help, needs to be listened to, needs a shoulder to cry on and an understanding heart, my prayer is that someone will do just that for you. And to everyone: PLEASE REMEMBER TO LOVE YOURSELVES. You are worth it.

Happy first Sunday of Advent, 2014. Blessings, peace, and love to all of you.

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