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Mother of the Year Again

My Peeps

This weekend is always fun for me. I love seeing how the kids can (or can not) hold out on sharing their Mother’s Day school projects. I received the Spanish class gifts (coloring and cards) on Thursday because they had Spanish class. Shad works really hard with them to try and keep it all a secret until Sunday, but they often just bust at the seams.
What do I want for Mother’s Day? Well, I think it’s pretty simple BUT it doesn’t always work out. I either want breakfast in bed (can be toast and a scrambled egg) and/or a shower that is peaceful. That means no knocking on the door and walking in 35 times in 4 minutes, no asking questions, just me and the hot water for as long as I want (or they can stand). I think as they get older, it’s getting easier for them to let me be but it’s also not feeling as special because they don’t really care. I, like most other Mom’s, want to be wanted. So, the fact that they want me less makes this less enjoyable – and actually a bit sad.
Good thing I have Shea, she just can’t go without talking and will settle for any audience, I should be able to count on that for a few more years. I hope.

Anyway, the kids were on their best behavior today and they tried soooo hard to make the day fun, even though Mother’s Day is a day away. We drew on the driveway with sidewalk chalk and played four square. It was pretty cool…. I’m a lucky one.

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Betsy Hansen NH

Winter Storm Juno

Winter Storm Juno has come… and now it’s gone. Nothing but a couple feet of light fluffy snow that I had to watch from a window while I worked. I’m sure there were local folks impacted by the storm, but my only impact was I had to watch the snowfall from my bedroom window while I heard the kids playing downstairs and outside.

Regardless of school and all businesses being canceled, the one downside (or I should say one of) of working at home is days like today. I wanted nothing more than to head out with the kids and make snow angels and sled in the white fluffy powder all day – and head inside with bright red cheeks looking for a cup of hot cocoa. To no avail, today was day #2 working from  my bedroom. The kids however had another day of fun (and so did Shad). I could hear them planning their sled run, making their jumps and trying to snowboard in the backyard. I heard crying from the cold snow going up someones shirt or down someones pants and a scream at the loss of a boot because of the waist high dumping. I do find pleasure and nostalgia in the noise of days like today and happiness that it wasn’t a tv and bickering in the room next door. I think these past two days will be days they will remember for years to come. Piles of wet clothes on the floor, sleds scattered over the yard, cold skin and and runny noses and two days off from school. Perfect.

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I don’t mean watching it on tv or in the movies. I mean watching death through the eyes of people you love. It’s one thing to be the person dying but it’s another to be the ones living. My Uncle, my Mom’s brother, my Godfather — one of my Dad’s best friends is dying tonight. 24 hour hospice and an absolutely amazing family taking shifts to be with him every minute of every day. My shift is Sunday, I wonder if I will get to have my shift. I do hope so — but only if it means he doesn’t suffer for me to have it.

I feel for those who experience death without support. I’m sure it happens out there but I’m blessed for having never seen it. It’s days like today that make me appreciate the size of our family and the blood that runs so deep that it brings people together.
Stage 4 lung cancer and he never smoked a day. Awful. Originally called bronchitis — until the next day. None of the treatments worked for him — but they tried. How does it happen so quickly?
Kate, mom, Stephen and I sat with him on Dec 26th. Although he was tired and on oxygen watching him watch my Mom and her way was incredible. Seeing the way he looked at her made my heart ache but my heart warm all at the same time. How lucky they were to be so connected. Words weren’t needed… But… It’s my Mom so they were said. A few stories and Uncle Steve followed up with brief chort (my word for a chuckle and a snort combined) or a one-liner that reminded you how much he was still there.
Watching Moe care for him in a very prescriptive way when she returned home made me see that she was there for him. She was doing everything she could to manage and be in control of what he was doing. She was keeping him safe. Yet, around the corner the conversation with Kate made me see sadness, fear and love. She wanted everything to be just right– she wanted to protect him and seemed to be resigned to the road ahead. The boys, independently having discussions with me and my siblings wanting to share thoughts on losing a Dad. I think we are all in agreement whether it has happened to you or you are watching it happen you feel the permanent hole beginning to form. I think it widens and it doesn’t seem to ever close. It’s when you get caught up in the day to day it seems to disappear but it’s temporary. You remember, and it’s as wide as ever.
Watching death happen through the eyes of those you love is strange — waiting for death and having the time to process what it will actually mean is painful. I think understanding that the days are upon you causes reflection and assessment.

Tonight as I read Stephen’s email I found myself sitting in a chair crying. I’m crying for them. I’m for my Mom. I’m crying for the void that is upon us.

Rest Uncle Steve. Have a drink with my Dad and look down on all of us and be proud. Without you both we wouldn’t be who we are and share the amazing memories that we do. Love.

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Betsy Hansen NH

Two of the Three

I have been getting continuous lectures from my mom over the last several months. They are constant and it drives me crazy. Today, I’m thinking, she may have had a valid point after all. It was a scare that made me think long and hard about my approach. Let me see if I can explain.

  • I am the assistant coach of the girls Varsity soccer team at the high school. We had a game today at 4.
  • The kids were being picked up by Shad today and they were heading to the high school to watch the game.
  • Shad was checking on one of the players he’s been working with.
  • Reilly had soccer practice at six. His coach was sick and asked me if I could coach for the team tonight.
  • I had left work a little early so I knew I had to get back to get to my work and I wasn’t the best option to help but I wanted to do what I could to help. His coach is a good friend and I know she is fighting a terrible stomach bug.
  • Shad had planned to do his 90 minute workout which his coach had assigned to him (for his Ironman training) during Reilly’s practice and I would take the girls, and their friend Jenna, to the house for homework and dinner after my game.
  • Reilly’s practice is from 6-8 and then he has his homework.

Okay, so, this is why today I thank God today.

Second half of the game had started, it was exciting, the score had gone from 0-0 to 0-1 (them) to 1-1. The intensity continued to pick-up in the game. Out of my peripheral vision, I see the truck rolled up next to the field and the 4 little kids in Catholic school uniforms rolled out. Reilly came right over and helped his buddy Noah be a ball-boy. The girls said hi and Shad went to check on the player because she was on the bench at the time. Shea and Kate said hi, but a bit cautiously, because they know I’m “working”. Shea came back over and said “I have to go to the bathroom so we are going to go at the middle school”. I looked around and it all seemed harmless and I said “okay, stay together and hurry up.” Off they went to the school they have been in so many times before. I thought nothing more of it – for a while.

It was nearing time for Shad to head to practice, I had volunteered him to coach until Russ or I could get there. He’s talking and I’m half talking back but really into the game. It’s still 1-1 but we have had chances and they have had counter attacks. It’s tense. Russ and I talk about who to sub and when, there are just a few minutes left. We agree on the final sub and she goes in, 3 minutes left, she scores!!! 2-1. Us. I hear my name, it’s Shad, I am only paying half attention to him because this is a huge win for us if we can hang on. He calls me again, about a minute left. I ask what and turn toward him. “The girls are missing. I went to the school, I checked the bathroom, they are not there.”

What???” This makes no sense to me because they should have been back forever ago. I get this feeling, it’s time for me to ditch this game and look for them. As I jump over the fence, assuming now it must have been with a look of panic, a parent says “Betsy, what do you need?” I hear the final whistle blow, the girls won, I look back, they are ecstatic. I say to the parent “My girls are missing.” I continue to run away from the celebration. I don’t believe Shad, and I head to the bathroom, it’s just inside the door. When I get across the parking lot I see it. People lined up everywhere. I scan and realize it’s voting night. Strange people come out of the woodwork to “picket” for this but what is most notable is I don’t see any familiar faces. My stomach tightens again and I think “who the heck knows what kind of crazy is out tonight… This is not good'” I run past them all and into the school and my hunt begins.
Reilly and Noah are following me. I am running the halls yelling for Kate. The janitor sees me and let’s me know that he has heard about the missing girls and he is looking too. He tells me I can check upstairs. I had never given any thought to the middle school having an upstairs and I ask where the stairs are. The boys and I divide and go up opposite sides – yelling. I look everywhere. I see another janitor upstairs who opens the locked rooms for me. The library is dark and locked, I yell… nothing. I look under the stairs, in the bathrooms, everywhere. I am sick to my stomach not only because my two girls are missing but my friends daughter is with them. Three cute little girls in Catholic school uniforms. Ugh. My mind is racing with thoughts that are getting the best of my logic. I continue running, the janitors are looking, the gym is full of people voting. I guess that’s good for the town and state but I know I’m not voting tonight. After about 12 minutes the janitor downstairs yells and tells me they found them. He is on a radio.
Relieved. Mad. Relieved. Thankful. Relieved. Pissed. Relieved. I want to cry or maybe vomit.Something. I have NEVER experienced these feelings before.
I walk out and a Mom friend meets me and hugs me. “You are as white as a sheet she says.” “they went to the high school bathroom” (which is on the other side of the parking lot) I still feel sick. I don’t know what has been said to the girls but they are standing next to my car looking at me, nervously. Shad and I exchange a quick “they are safe…. good…. I have to go”. He’s got 30 little boys waiting for him to coach at yet another location. He leaves. I approach the girls sensing there are many eyes on me outside of the three little sets. I also know that most people, including the team, have NO idea any of this happened. (another thought that scares me, how invisible something like this can be to everyone, but that’s another thing) I get to the girls and I hear Kate blurt out, “I’m sorry.” In hindsight, this is a significant thing for Kate, apologies are not her thing, especially “look you in the eyes apologies” which is what this was. I got my calmness on and said “Girls, when you say you are going somewhere and we agree, you NEVER change your mind without talking to me about it.” Shea, nervous and scared still, gets defensive and says “We went there (pointing to the middle school) and it was closed.” I paused for a second and responded firmly “It’s not closed.” “There are about 200 people voting over there.”

She looked up at me with her big blue eyes which were wide open and said “But Mom, the bathroom was closed.” She waited a few seconds and said “there was a sign outside that said Over 18 Only“.

I was amazed. She was right. Voting…. 18…. I get it. I see the logic that landed them at the high school. I was not equipped to handle that response which I could not have predicted – even if I had time to consider the possibilities. It made total sense to me how it all happened.

It was an awakening I needed. Just typing this entry resurfaces all the feelings I had yesterday afternoon. I need to keep my eyes open wide and my priorities right. I need to stop overcommitting and focus on the things that matter most. It was a long day. I appreciate that it ended the way it did. I thank God that this is my life and I am constantly given second chances, and sometimes a third, to get things right.

As they would say in the social world right now #feeling blessed.

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Betsy Hansen

Happy 9th Birthday Kate

It feels like I have taken a sabbatical when it comes to my MOTY blog. Please note, I did not say my MOTY moments because I certainly have plenty of those! I find life a little crazy if you subscribe, as we fully have, to the world of activities for the young child. I was always of the mentality that I should “sign them up for everything and eventually they would figure out what they like”. Well, perhaps there is some truth to that but I’m not sure we won’t drive ourselves crazy trying to figure it out along the way. Between commuting to a new school and trying to really embed the kids in that program this year AND keep some continuity with friends in our town as well as adding the normal sports programs we have been doing for years with them, I’m thinking we are a bit overextended. Sadly, I know it’s not just us, it’s every subscriber to this lifestyle. I know something has got to give, but they seem to like everything. Life should be slower. It should be kickball games and throwing rocks and baseballs with neighbor kids. BUT, no one is ever home (including us). I’m thankful for the next door neighbor Aidan that randomly comes down to play with the kids. Every child should have a next door neighbor. I often think my oversubscription has eliminated feeling a passion for anything because there is too much. It’s like diluting the activity world for children. If it’s not a team in our house, it’s violin lessons, dance, drama, gymnastics, Di, LegoLeague, etc etc and for the kids if it’s not one of those things it’s a text to a friend to join a world in Clash of the Clan or Minecraft. It’s overwhelming and I know that I made it this way.

In some ways I can’t complain because they seem happy, they say their happy, the are doing well in school and they have friends. Their rooms are always messy, the house looks like a bomb went off in it, clothes aren’t clean, BUT they are fed and they are tired, but they are smiling. At what point do we cut the cord, I’m not sure. I think it’s a limited time we get to expose our kids to the opportunities that life has to offer. It’s what, about 12 years? Then poof, they are out trying to make it on their own whether it’s college or a job or something else, it’s NOT a long time.

I adore my kids, I like to spend time with them. I get bummed when it’s so rushed all the time and a lecture that we’re late running from one thing to another. They are not complaining but we’ve done this since day one, they probably don’t realize there is something different. Originally, it was our busy schedules and they were carried along in a bucket seat or a backpack or something. Our activities have transitioned to theirs and their friends. Shad still trains for the his races, including an Ironman, but aside from late night soccer and an occasional hockey tourney or a workout with friends, I feel like I have let it all go. I spend more time coaching, working and organizing.  I have become a proficient driver and apps like Cozi have done their best to take my input and keep me organized.

So, the whole point of this late night post is that I have let my blog go and I’m bummed about that. Things happen regularly in my house that I want to document for the kids to remember and have in the palm of their hands one day for recollection and hopefully laughter. But, honestly, these days when things happen I try my darndest to remember them, but they are usually gone when I have moved onto the next thing which is often just minutes if not seconds after the fact.

I’m going to try to be better. The kids are at such an awesome age. They still like Shad and me, and we adore them. They are so different and so alike and great little byproducts of us which we take great pride in. We continue to hope they pick up on the good stuff about us along the way – and a few not so good things to keep life interesting.

The photo is from Kate’s 9th birthday earlier this month — it is so simple, yet to me, it captures so much.

With that, I must go to bed.

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This is how we opened our gifts with Kasey, Grandpa, and Dan. Amazing that we could do this yet strange to think this is going to be the way my kids communicate.

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Shad had to work on Saturday morning so I was working on my “I admire any single parent” skills. Our schedule was nuts, I can’t imagine tackling this stuff alone, thankfully I typically don’t have to!
8:30. Kate basketball game
9:50. Kate basketball game
11:40 Reilly basketball game (Milford)
1:00 Coach girls futsal team (Nashua)
2:00. Coach second game
4:30. Kate futsal game (Manchester)
5:30. Coach Reilly futsal game
6:30. Coach Reilly futsal game

Holy cow… Shad waS with me from 12:30 on… But still.

INTi vs HFC – good buds and outdoor teammates!

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