I am coming up upon my two year anniversary in Ohio. As always the time has flown and yet it seems like its been decades.
What a couple of year’s it has been. Full of trials, tribulations, craziness, and chaos. It’s also been full of laughter, friends, love, and spending copious amounts of glorious time with my nephews making memories that last a lifetime.
I do not regret my time here. I have met amazing people that will be in my life, in some capacity, forever. I have also come face to face with a few of my worst nightmares, things I never thought I could survive, and I did.
When I moved here, I didn’t really understand why. I knew I wanted to be closer to my nephews. I also knew deep in my gut this was the right decision. And it was. God had things to show me about my family and myself. I didn’t pass all the tests that he had for me, I found new spots in my heart that needed to be softened and molded. In the end, though, I know better who I am and what I’m not.
I also got the chance to help support my Aunt through breast cancer. I got the opportunity to help my brother finish college, finally. I got to watch my nephews as my sister-in-law went back to work. I got to spend time with my grandmother. I got to do many things I couldn’t from CA.
When God gave me the verse two years ago that he wanted to give me immeasurably more than all I could ask for, I thought it would look really different. I was imagining the man of my dreams, a great job, you know the usual wishes. Instead he brought truth and light to the darkest places of our family. He came to bring healing and redemption, if we wanted it. These past two years have been ones of incredible growth in every capacity. I am free from many things that tethered me to my past.
God freed me to move forward. In his infinite wisdom he gave me what I needed, not what I asked for. Just as I knew when it was time to come here I have accepted that its time to leave. I need to move on with my life and it is not here in Ohio.
For now my plan is to move back to CA. I don’t expect things to be the same, but I am going back to the family I chose for myself. The friends that have been so incredibly supportive. I’m going back to the pace of life where I can thrive. The vitamin D I need to live.
I feel good about the decision. I feel good about making a decision. I’m going to move forward with this, staying open to new possibilities and new places.
I think the decision to leave is the most important one.
My nephews are a never-ending supply of joy, hilarity and levity. Spending time with them always makes me feel better. They have a way of drawing you into the moment. Can’t worry about the future or the past when they’re in the middle of something mischievous and potentially dangerous right this second.
For posterity here are a few recent nephew moments:
1. Tonight Jordy was playing on the computer while I watched TV. I turned to him to ask what he was doing. His said without skipping a beat: shopping for happiness.
2. We were driving down the road and out of the blue Jordy says, “You know you’re not the only aunt we have.” OK. How do you respond to that. He’s a child. He doesn’t know he’s driving daggers into my heart. My first insecure response is, “But I’m your only real aunt since your mom doesn’t have any sisters.” Then Mikey pipes up, “And you’re the only one we connect with emotionally and spiritually.” Score one for Mikey, he does love me. LOL.
3. I will be watching the boys tomorrow morning because they have the day off from school. Jordy loves to cook so I told him we would make some chocolate chip cookies. He said, “That’s too simple we need to show off how well we can cook.” After all, last time we made muffins and he said it was an advanced cooking class with his aunt. Although his suggestion was a soufflé. I have no idea where he heard that. He has no idea what a soufflé is.
My nephews are a hoot. I know they drive me crazy, a lot, but generally I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
I realized that this summer they have done and said some doozies so for posterity I am recording them here, mostly for me, but you might enjoy them too.
1. My dad took Mikey and Jordy fishing a couple of weeks ago. After getting the line tangled five or six times they finally decided to take a break. Mikey laid out on the grass and raised his shirt and said he wanted to get a tan on his stomach. Jordy flopped on the grass, raised his shirt and announced, “I want to get a nipple tan.”
2. One day Jordy walked into the factory and declared, ” I am here to bring joy to the factory.” LOL and he does.
3. Mikey is a child that has to know three or four steps ahead of where we are. He likes the agenda for the day in the morning. On a trip he wants to know where we’ll stop and what we’ll do when we get there. Once there he needs to know the procedures and directions. When you’re done he wants to know what’s next. One day coming out of Sam’s Club he was asking what was next. Not satisfied with the answer we gave he kept asking. Finally out of exasperation Jordy shouted, “Up your anus and to the left.” I guess that was specific enough for Mikey because he got quiet.
4. Last week I picked up the boy from VBS, which they declared to be the same as last year, just with a new theme. To entertain himself Mikey taped a note to himself that read, “I give girls free hugs, so go ahead and ask for one.” He said all he got were pity hugs.
5. At the end of Spring we had an international art exhibit of Kimono’s come to Canton. We were one of two stops they made in the U.S. Jordy was really excited to see them and kept asking me to take him. I was kind of surprised by that but one day gave in. The kimono’s were beautiful. Each one took a year to make. But Jordy buzzed through the exhibit in like 10 minutes. After circling the main room a few times he came back to where I was and asked, “Where are the animals?” I had no idea what he was talking about. Then he went on, “Yea I want to see the kimodo’s, that is what they said would be here.” LOL. We never did find the dragons.
6. A few weeks ago to distract Mikey and Jordy from fighting I decided to make cupcakes. Jordy, who loves to help, volunteered to be in the kitchen with me. I asked him to read all the ingredients so I could pull them from the cupboard. Then he was actively involved in stirring and prepping all items for the cupcakes and frosting. Half way through he said, “This is a like an advanced cooking class with my aunt.” Awww…. I love that. Memories.
That’s all I can think of right now. I don’t want to forget one cute moment with them.
After our grand outings yesterday for Mikey’s birthday, today we decided to lay low. Well as low as you can with an 8-year-old and an 11-year old.
After lunch, I couldn’t hold back the troops so we went to the park with my dad to run around. We played five games of HORSE on the basketball court, or random variations there of including – cat, dog, rat and frog. I haven’t shot a basketball in forever, but it was fun. Jordy, who is not destined to be very tall, loves to play. He has to bend down to the ground and launch it with his whole body. Mikey was frustrated because he was losing, so he kept trying to steal shots and pouted a bit everytime he lost.
But the highlight of the afternoon was the ice cream truck. We ran with childish abandon towards the music to get our favorite treat. I was actually the first one in line, how great is that. After our treats we headed home.
It is amazing how much planning it requires when you have kids. As soon as you’re done with breakfast you have to start thinking about dinner. I am now in favor of all things microwaveable. Luckily the kids will eat most anything.
The other hard part is coming up with things for them to do. Even though they have every gaming system known to man, tons of cable channels, games, the internet, and bikes they are always bored. They instead resorting to contest farting, wrestling and generally beating each other.
But in spite of all of this I’m a little sad its almost over. I’m surprised at how tired I am. There is no way to keep up with them. Too much to do, too little time.
Alright, it’s time for bed.
Today was Mikey’s 11th birthday. It’s a lot of pressure to make a child’s birthday spectacular in absence of his parents. Mikey is an aloof, moody pre-teen. He doesn’t get excited about a whole lot and usually complains about everything. LOL. Gotta love the awkward age. But its a true joy when you can pierce through his burgeoning coolness and get ahold of the 1/3 of him still a child and bring out the glee. That was my quest.
During a hearty breakfast of waffles and milk we forged a plan for the day. We finally decided on the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame and a big fancy mall in Cleveland. Mikey is a music fiend and was anxious to see what’s there. Unfortunately road construction slowed our roll and it took us nearly two hours to make the 45 mile trek north. It was funny, but the roadblock proved to be an adventure. Mikey and Jordy wanted to me to pretend that we were in Midnight Run and mow through traffic on the shoulder. We didn’t but we did venture to parts unknown to find our ways past the mess. They were satisfied with the mini-adventure and it also afforded the opportunity to car dance. Never enough opportunity to do that. We laughed and had a great time.
However, the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame was not as much fun for us at the traffic on the way up. The boys were bored in like five minutes and keep asking where the interactive exhibits were. I think they had more fun on the escalators and the giant guitars in the lobby than they did the museum. So we left after about an hour. I don’t not recommend the Rock-N-Roll hall of Fame for children. They didn’t even know who any of the artists were and nothing of interest for them.
To redeem the day we went to the Zoo, when in doubt go to the animals. They loved it. We saw rhinos, bats, snakes, leopards, lions, oh my. There was lots to play on, run by and sit near. They even rode a camel. I actually saw the illusive Mikey smile several times. We had a blast and again we were exhausted. They slept all the way home and it was all I could do to stay awake.
We had his birthday dinner at Red Robin, where he got to eat off the adult menu, the kid’s menu is for those 10 and under. In spite of many protests we still have them come and sing. He loved it.
So it was a good birthday in deed. Its amazing how the unplanned moments are the best. I’m also amazed at how much work it is to take care of kids. They suck every ounce of energy out of your body. I can hardly think. I have a new found respect for mothers, working mothers and especially single mothers. I think I heard, “Aunt Marti” said about 9,000 times today. Getting them to bed bring a sigh of relief and a giant collapse on the couch. I am mentally, physically and emotionally tired. But having Mikey enjoy his day was worth it and priceless.