Winter Storm Juno

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.

I have decided that I am no longer going to feel badly about “Mommy-brain” as ignorant non-Mom’s like to call it. Nobody, young or old, likes to be accused of forgetting things. I, especially, loathe the accusation. I know when I have to “look at my notebook” or ask for a reminder and it drives me crazy. I have come to the conclusion that there is an over-abundance of information pushing going on and if you even absorb a small percentage of it, your brain has got to pick and choose the important pieces.

I manage the schedule of three kids with multiple activities and a commute to school. For work I obviously manage a meeting calendar but I also manage the multiple projects going on and I am a consumer of multiple newsfeeds every day to try to pick off some interesting topics in the world of networking. Additionally, I coach and I volunteer on a board and I try to have a schedule for me. I’m sure I’m forgetting something but this “booked from dawn to dusk” multi-tasking, multiple-medium delivery, way of life that feels necessary is the reason why people forget. I am going to stop feeling so bad about it. I think memory has up’d the ante for what it needs to do. I think there are so many things that we have to remember that we barely care about and the important things like someone’s name and what homework needs to be done are the last things on our mind. Yet, in some ways, they are the important things.

I’m glad that the carousel I have chosen for life allows me a few misses. There is so much going on, the snowday is welcome here – although I have to work the kids will do some jobs and have some fun playing outside. It’s not snowman snow but it’s worthy of some sledding.


Big Brothers

Shea: “Mom, Reilly was fighting with me the whole way home in the car.”

Kate: “No Shea, he was just lecturing you.”

Shea: “Oh, okay.”

Car Rides

Shea: “Mom, how come when places are close it takes a long time to get there but when places are far away it doesn’t take long at all?”

Watching Death

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.

I’m almost 50

Shad, Me, and NYC

Shad, Me, and NYC

Well… I have got a half of decade to go. But, my body is feeling old, probably 60. The 40’s are interesting – it’s the time that you REALLY realize that you only get one vessel to take care of, to live your life in, and keep healthy. It’s been since I turned 45 that I started realizing my husband might be onto something with his crazy eating habits. I think they are soooo far out there, so over the top, so ridiculous and so expensive. He takes the attitude of pay now or pay later, it’s the right thing. I have recently starting accepting that his $11 jar of sauerkraut might have some really healthy attributes which are worth the 3 12-packs of Coke I could have bought. Or, maybe, the grass-fed beef actually does taste better than the regular stuff OR even that it’s probably a good idea to stop drinking so much Coke because like so many others my body is dependent on my sugar intake. You would think from a history of diabetes in my family I might have learned that one by now, but, it seriously took the last 25 years for me to look closely. I justified my Coca-Cola consumption by the fact that I don’t have any other vices. I don’t drink coffee. I rarely drink alcohol. I don’t have that other “thing” that I need, so Coke was it for me.
I have consumed less than a 12-pack since October. I had thought I would have shed the weight had I ever committed – unfortunately that was not a benefit. I do have to say, now that I have cut the cord, I feel a bit better and strangely aside from a headache for a day because of the caffeine withdrawal, it hasn’t been all bad.
I think when you are in your 40’s you realize a bit more that you are actually in control. You don’t have to like the things you are “supposed to like” or do the things you are “supposed to do”, you can just be who you are. You care a lot less about what people think and realize having your own opinion holds weight because it’s just that, your opinion.
From a courage perspective I like being a few years from 50, it’s empowering. From a I should have taken better care of my body perspective, I don’t like being a few years from 50 at all. Each day it’s another wrinkle or roll, and not the ones that you look at on your face and attach a story too or a smile too. It’s the more prominent side of aging flesh that you realize you can no longer shove in a shirt, or a bra, or even a pair of pants. I cringe at the thought that one day that might also say socks and shoes. God gives you this amazing blessing to work with, buy you sure can end up paying for your ignorance.
I try to share some of the important pieces with the kids. I let them know the fundamentals of just taking care of yourself, and Shad definitely is working on the nutrition side. He does an amazing job at keeping so much of today’s government funded corporate excuse for food out of our pantry and focuses on things that are more natural all the while educating them on why. I know it doesn’t always make sense when your peer group is not necessarily doing the same but hopefully it will make a difference for them. We both have confidence to share with them and ideas about how to be proud of who you are and what you do so it doesn’t take them 45 years to figure out what I am finally figuring out.
Enough of a night time rant, 45 is cool, and if I can walk 50 will probably be even cooler.

Candy Canes at TD Bank

Shea likes to go into the bank instead of going to the ATM because she knows there are lollipops. We went into the bank and she looked everywhere for a lollipop, but, given the holidays TD had flipped the treats to be green and white candy canes. She speaks with intent and made sure she was loud enough to say she wanted a lollipop so the teller could hear. Her intent was noted and the teller said “I have some lollipops” and passed me a TD cup full of them. Shea chose a purple and so I chose a green. Shea tried to take enough for Reilly and Kate, which although thoughtful, was not happening.

On the way out, she spotted the candy canes and insisted we just try them because she had never seen a white and green candy cane. (not true, she had one last year) Again, I went with it. I took three little candy canes. We got into the car to run the rest of our errands. She had finished her lollipop and was talking incessantly as she often does. “Can I have the candy cane now?” Knowing I did not want to discuss this for the next 30 minutes until I caved, I turned a blind eye to the clock that said 10:30am and said yes.

Are you going to give those candy canes to Kate and Reilly?

No, I’m going to keep them.

Where will you put them?

I am going to put them in the door.


Oh, so you can eat them when you need a breath mint?

Ummm…. yah.

Because sometimes you need your breath to smell better.

Oh… okay.

Especially when you wake up.

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