Losing You

Today, October 15th is officially Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  And so, I thought I might share with you a poem I wrote a few years ago after I lost a baby.

I dedicate this poem to all the mothers and mothers-to-be who carried their babies, but never experienced the joy of raising them.

 

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Losing You

My soul exalted,

Overcome by joy,

Contemplating

The prospect of your birth,

The knowledge of your presence,

The beating of your heart.

Primed with pregnant pride,

I glowed,

Until you slipped away;

Leaving me alone,

To walk through life without you,

Yet knowing, you were there.

Your memory,

Etched forever in my soul,

Nurtures my weakened spirit;

Hinders my despair;

Halts my downward spiral

Of depression.

Your memory,

Stills my fertile fears;

Renews my sorrowful soul,

Even as I mourn,

Knowing you are with me,

Forever in my heart.

Your memory,

Rekindles motherly desire;

Filling me with new found hope,

Of reigniting life,

Of knowing, once again,

The power of your love.

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

 

Irish American Mom

In A Jiffy

Today my triplets learned a new phrase:

“In a jiffy”.

 

Our jiffy tale started when my little girl asked me what a jiffy is.  She was delighted with my answer.  She is either blessed or bitten by an efficient, perfectionist streak.  She proceeded to spend the whole day describing how she planned to do everything “in a jiffy”.

 

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I love when kids discover a new word they love so much, they feel the need to repeat it over, and over, again. That is, once it isn’t a swear word. I am sure we will have some new discoveries, in the not so distant future, that will require Mommy censoring.

“Jiffy” really is a brilliant word. It is one of those words that seem to sing and dance on a page, tripping off the tongue with ease. Don’t mind me! There are certain words that just catch my imagination, and I say them over and over again in my mind.

Photo Courtesy of Gregg Sperling

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I think my little girl likes words too. “Jiffy” was the “in-word” in our house today. You know the old saying – “like mother, like daughter.”

But when I sat down to write this post I came to realize how popular a word “jiffy” is, here in America.   It’s everywhere.  There’s Jiffy baking mix, Jiffy peanut butter, Jiffy yarn, Jiffy Lube oil changing, and Jiffy taxis in many cities.  I could go on and on.

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I found myself folding clothes a little faster today, as my jiffy coach stood by urging me onwards with her jiffiness (don’t think that is actually a word).

I washed the dishes quickly. I swept the floor at a faster pace today. In fact the whole day went by in a jiffy.

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I might just pop out to the grocery store and pick up a box of Jiffy baking mix and let my daughter, the new Jiffy Queen, test it out. Corn bread and corn muffins are something my Irish palate has not yet grown accustomed to. Even if this American delicacy does not appeal to Mom and Dad, I know I should introduce my American kids to the grittiness and down home goodness of cornbread.

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Adopting the word “jiffy” and doing things more efficiently are probably key steps I must take towards my Americanization.

So in keeping with the theme of the day, I am wrapping up this little post, “in a jiffy”.

 

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom

 

Irish Sheepdogs – Why I Love Border Collies

I love dogs, and of all the dogs in the world I really, really love border collies.  I think I spent too much time with sheepdogs on my grannies’ farms when I was a young girl in Ireland.  That’s when my love affair began.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Borderkolie.jpg

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I searched high and low through files of creative commons photos on Flickr.com and on Wikimedia.com to help illustrate why I love these dogs so much. A picture is definitely worth a thousand words.

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Look at that smile!

 

Those perky ears!

 

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Look at that focus!

 

Border collies are just born to work.

 

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I remember watching the BBC television program “One Man And His Dog” as a child.  May not sound like great children’s entertainment, but I was riveted to the screen, watching the sheer skill of these magnificent sheep herders, responding to the shrill, sharp whistles of their owners.

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Rounding sheep into a flock, or separating just a few from the wooly group, is second nature to these glorious animals, bred specifically for this purpose.

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I love this photo taken in Scotland.  If you examine the shot closely you will see four dogs working in unison to round up the herd.  Click on the image credit and hover over the photograph.  The exact location of each border collie has been highlighted by the photographer.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/davehamster/3715915815/in/photostream/

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And of course, you can never forget their agility.  Border collies can be trained to leap and bound like no other dogs on earth.  Their sheer athleticism is simply spectacular.

When my husband and I first got married we rescued a border collie/chow mix puppy from the shelter in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Molly grew old with us, loved us, protected us, and really entertained us with her beer-loving, lizard-chasing personality.

Molly

My triplets were just 3-months old when Molly developed bloat, a serious condition where a dog’s stomach twists.  She only had a 20% survival chance if she underwent surgery, and would have required tube feeding for quite some time.  Definitely not an option with newborn triplets.  And so Molly left us after 14 wonderful years.  At that point, I put the thought of dog ownership out of my mind.

But kids love dogs.  My four little ones have begged and pleaded with their border collie-loving mom for a puppy.  I resisted for two long years, never caving in to their earnest pleas.

Then a friend informed my little troop there is only one sure way to get a dog, and that is to just keep asking.  And they did!  Every night they prayed for a dog – calling on the Good Lord’s help, since mom was just not responding.

Once all four flew the nest and headed off to school this year, I reveled in all my free time.  But empty nest syndrome must have struck.  How do you keep mom busy, stop her feeling lonely while the kiddos are busy at school?

The one and only solution in the whole wide world is:

A border collie puppy!

 

 

Two weeks ago my husband and I relented, giving in to those endless doggy demands, when we added a seventh member to our clan.  My kids fell in love with this eight-week old puppy the moment they laid eyes on her.

We called her Oreo, since her face looks just like the cookie.

And let me assure you, there is no greater distraction from the lure of computer games, than a fun-loving, energetic border collie puppy.  She is already herding my four little ones out the door to play each afternoon.

“I Didn’t Do It”

Last night, as I tucked my eldest boy into bed he whispered to me:

“Mom, Oreo is the best thing that ever happened to me.”

 

That’s when I knew that giving in to all those endless pleas for a dog, was one of the best decisions ever.

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom

 

P.S. A big thanks to all the photographers who shared photos of their wonderful border collies under a creative commons license.

Back To School And The Joy Of Shopping Alone

It’s back to school time for my four kids. I did a happy dance on the first day of kindergarten for my triplets.  The joy, the freedom, the peace between my two ears – there are no words to describe this glorious feeling.

My haphazard, scattered, hit-and-miss, summer blogging schedule has officially come to an end.  With four kids at school all excuses for not writing are finished, kaput, dead, no more, and will not be tolerated in this neck of the woods!!!!

 

 

“Summer blogging, had me a blast,

Summer blogging, didn’t happen so fast

Four kids home – one crazy me,

Fun and games – all there could be.

Summer days have drifted away,

So back to those blog writing nights.

(Uh Well-a, well-a, well-a, uh!)……

 

The one thing I learned this summer is that 10-weeks of summer holidays, plus four young kids, sun, pools, camps, parties, vacations, games, and zoo trips results in one frazzled, crazy Mom.

It’s going to take a little time to get back to the real world.  On the second day of school, my alarm clock failed to go off.  Thankfully my little early bird woke me up at 7 am before we really had to shift into third gear to get our school show on the road.

Four kids washed, dressed, fed and watered, lunches made, back-packs filled, car-loaded, kids transported and deposited outside the school door, all happened in a 30-minute flurry of activity.  I was so pleased with myself once I got home to savor the peace of my quiet home.  I daydreamed as I filled the kettle, then turned around to see Luke Skywalker, light saber in hand, staring at me from the counter top.  I had forgotten to pack one lunch box.

Never Forget Luke Skywalker

So off I set again for school, where I chatted with the assistant principal.  I asked her how my grandmother managed to get 13 children ready for school, or wherever it was they had to go each day.  The key, she reminded me, is that my granny never had three children all at once.  The older kids always took care of the younger ones.  I felt a little better then, accepting I am not a complete failure altogether.

I consoled myself with a trip to the supermarket.  Doesn’t sound like much fun, but after enduring 10-weeks of grocery shopping with four kids in tow, I savored every moment.  When I pulled my cart into the check-out line, I was astonished at how empty it looked without those extra boxes of unwanted, sugary, breakfast cereals, no contraband hot wheels cars or Lego figurines, and no unnecessary cookies or juice boxes.

Each time we took a trip to the store this summer, I said a little prayer before I unleashed the hounds.

 

“Please God, help them be good this time.”

 

But God’s idea of good for a child in a grocery store, seems to be a little different to mine.

Try as I might to be that calm, shopping-list toting, ever-so-organized mother of four perfectly behaved, cart-escorting children, I never succeeded.  Before we wound our way through two aisles, the boys were inevitably running at break-neck speed, crashing into architecturally beautiful, but precariously balanced displays, or scaring little old ladies to death with their pleading entreaties for the best thing ever since sliced bread.  Before long I transformed into the order-issuing, barking mother I tried so hard not to be.

And so, now that my four kiddos are at school, and I am afforded the incredible pleasure of shopping ALONE, I won’t mind it one little bit if I am mowed down by a toddler begging his mother for one more box of cookies.  I’ll smile and say to myself:

 

“Those were the days!”

 

 

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom

 

A Good Education

Back to school supplies now line the shelves of Kentucky stores, in preparation for a mid-August return to school.  As I loaded up a cart with pencils, glue sticks, crayons, and markers, I reminisced about how much my grandmother valued education.

“Stick to the books,” she used to say.  “A good education will stand to you in years to come.”

And she was right – my education was my ticket to America.

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After Irish people crossed the Atlantic to the New World during the 19th and 20th centuries, parents worked long hours to send their children to college.  A good education was prized above all else, seen as a ticket out of poverty by Irish Americans.

With four school aged children, my pile of school supplies quickly mounted. A smile spread across my face, as I remembered  an amusing anecdote from years ago, about how the Irish value education.

So here’s my little story, which I hope will bring a smile to your face too.

 

A wealthy Boston socialite hired an Irish maid who unfortunately was not
very diligent or attentive to her duties.   One day this fine lady accosted
Molly.  She took her gloved finger and wrote her name in the dust covering
the top of her grand piano.

 

“Look!” she exclaimed.  “I can write my name

in the dust.”

 

Molly just smiled and folded her arms.

 

 

“Ah yes, ma’am,” declared Molly.  “Isn’t education a

grand thing altogether.”

 

I bet if Molly had been fortunate enough to receive any schooling, she would have left this fine lady in the dust.

 

 

Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)

Irish American Mom