Friday marked one year since I removed Corey from our home. He has lived with my mom this whole time, because the one alternative he's placing his energies in is a bureaucratic mess.
There is not an activity that I do with Tom and the girls that I am not fully aware that my son is missing.
While shopping with my mother-in-law recently we came across some adorable hand-painted ornaments.
"Why don't you pick one out for each of the girls?"
I did. I did not blame her for not saying, "Why don't you pick one out for each of the kids?" She does not ignore or disregard Corey. He does not live at our house. What sense does it make to get him an ornament for our tree?
It doesn't. I know it. Do I always have to make sense?
And again, the fact that he does not live here was a decision I made. I stand by it as much as I hate it. He is still, and will always be, my son. I love him. I want him to be part of our lives as much possible, and as much as he's able.
He and my mom spend holidays and birthdays with us, with the occasional "just because" day thrown in here and there. Sometimes she offers to bring him up to see his sisters, but he declines.
It was a little surprising to me how he jumped at the chance to be in a family portrait. If he weren't there, I'm not sure I could have done it. A week ago when things were falling apart (pre-vomiting) as we tried to prepare for the photo shoot, I called to tell him I was thinking about scrapping the whole idea. It was the disappointment in his voice that made me reconsider.
We had our do-over on Saturday morning. Corey looked fabulous. The girls were adorable. For some reason I looked like Marie Osmond, pre-Weight Watchers. (Ask me if I care. G'ahead, ask. No, I don't care.)
Tom, who had obsessed about what I wanted him to wear for the better part of 10 days, showed up wearing the burgundy shirt that was my first choice?
Well then, he definitely wore the black shirt, right? I mean, everyone else was wearing shades of burgundy or pink and black or khaki, so he did, too. Right?
Blue. A blue T-shirt with a gray sweater vest... with a (small) stain on it. What the hell?!
Since Fynnie and I had gone to get Corey while Tom and Mad went to get new tires, we met up at the photographer's locale about four miles out on unmarked dirt roads. There wasn't really a chance of him going back to change. And we're cutting it really close if we're going to use anything from this session for our Christmas cards, so rescheduling was out.
Did I mention that I got my period as we arrived at the photo shoot? That helped explain the entirely new levels of unreasonable irritation I was
Our photographer, Gina, is such a relaxed, happy person. It rubbed off. We had a lovely time. A happy time. The photos look like it, too. Even though I just knew I'd be annoyed when I saw that blue shirt, it wasn't the first thing I saw. Not even close.
I saw a family. My family. With my husband and my son and my daughters. Smiling. At the camera. We look good. We look okay.
Could we submit a pose to AwkwardFamilyPhotos.com? Yeah, probably. One of my favorites does have both guys laying in the dirt.*
We drove away from the photo shoot with a slight change. Fynn went with Daddy while
Driving almost four miles on deeply rutted roads eventually caused Mad to stop talking. Corey asked, "Are you okay, Madelyn?"
"I'm Baby Rocket."
"Are you okay, Baby Rocket?"
"Yes. I'm just a little shaken."
Not to worry, she likes being a little shaken.
A few minutes later she asked him, "Are you coming home?"
"Are you going to my house, Brother?"
Corey did his best to continue the conversation as he wiped tears from his eyes.
He did end up coming home with us after lunch, where it was almost like old times. Including the fact that we locked up doors to certain rooms. Corey went into his old room and brought out the last two boxes of his belongings and took them with him. There are a few books, his light up tambourine, a baby blanket and a shirt. Little pieces of him here and there, but he takes more each time he leaves.
Yesterday was uneventful, emotionally.
Today... today was all over the map.
One of my fellow MomShare mamas had her second child, a beautiful little girl.
One of my blogging buddies stood by and waited for her beautiful four month old Elimy to come through open heart surgery. Everything is going great!
And this evening, I learned that one of my colleagues got the results of a biopsy that was done Friday, after a year of battling two cancers and two days after making it through seven hard weeks of radiation. One of the cancers is back. In a bad place for some treatments.
I am spent.
I read most of today's news while nursing Fynnie to sleep tonight. Crying in the dark for the good and the bad. Feeling how grateful I am for what I have.
Apparently my emotions were too much for Fynn. She became restless in that very rare way that means, Please put me down and leave me alone!
I didn't want to, but a mama's got to do what a mama's got to do. So I put her in the crib and covered her up. I rested my hands on her belly and told her, "I love you so much and so much."
And my girl, who would rather sleep in someone's arms than all alone any day or night... my girl, who has only slept through the night maybe a dozen times in her life... grabbed my hands and flung them away. And went to sleep.
I took it as a little "Get over yourself!" So that's what I'm going to do. Tomorrow.
Good night, all. Sleep sweet when you get there.
*If you have my personal email address and you'd like to see the photos, let me know and I'll send you a link.