Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It hasn't ALL been bad...

…June, that is.

I feel like I’ve been complaining too much, so I’m trying to look on the bright side.

A few highlights from the past month…

 And probably the biggest one…

  • Made it through the hardest few weeks of my life with the unwavering support of family and friends. In the midst of such a tragedy, the outpouring of sympathy was both humbling and uplifting. I’ll never be able to thank everyone enough for the flowers, cards, Facebook messages, meals, gifts, hugs, and listening ears. I know I speak for my family when I say it’s been unreal
 I also keep thinking to myself that if she were here, my mom would be telling me “Get over it already!”

It reminds of a story she told me about when I was little. I had run into the house crying one afternoon, and she asked what was wrong. Between my wailing and crocodile tears, I choked out that one of the neighbor kids “said you were fat!”

Pragmatist that she was, she didn’t miss a beat and responded, “So what? I AM fat!”

And I kind of think that’s how she would respond to my sadness now, only replacing the word fat with dead. That’s just how Mom was—practical to the core.

So I’m going to try harder to accept my new reality. It’s not what I asked for and definitely not what I hoped for, but it is what it is.

Time to focus on happier things—without forgetting why I need to enjoy them.

Thanks for the lesson, Mom. :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Monthly Mumbles, June Edition

10. My apologies for the hiatus. I just haven’t had a whole lot of good stuff to talk about, and I really don’t want this blog to turn into a woe-is-me outlet. That being said, while I like to think I’m a relatively positive person, the loss of my mom has really thrown me for a loop. So if you don’t want to listen to read my griping, feel free to click off now. I’m not offended.

9. The changes in my insurance this year have hit me hard in the wallet, particularly in the last month (go friggin’ figure). Gonna have to get a bit more frugal in the Cotter household.

8. Regular checkup yesterday showed Baby Justin is doing just fine—his heart is bopping away at a perfect 153 bpm, and I’ve been feeling his fluttering movement a bit more regularly since I recognized that first kick a few weeks ago.

7. After getting blood drawn at my appointment yesterday, I’m looking a bit like a drug addict. The bruising is no joke, dude. Maybe my platelets are REALLY bad this time. And I haven’t gained a single pound yet this pregnancy. No more first-trimester nausea, but with reality being what it is, I just can’t get food to taste good. *Before anyone jumps on me for not taking care of the baby, no worries—I still eat, but I don’t enjoy it.

6. Aiden started preschool two weeks ago, and it’s been a seamless transition for my Number One. No surprise there. He’s a social butterfly, so access to more kids his age has him completely in his element. So happy to see him thrive J

5. I visit mom’s grave every time I go home to visit Dad, which isn’t hard since she rests only a half-mile from his house. It’s a beautiful location—very peaceful. But it still doesn’t feel right, and I know it never will. Perhaps the arrival of the headstone and the grass growing over her plot will help, but I'm not exactly hopeful.

4. Nolan may finally be learning a few more words—or at least learning to attempt a few more words. Anything other than the constant screaming is music to this mama’s ears. Love him to death, but seriously, sometimes Mommy just needs a break.

3. The thing I’m struggling with most with Mom’s passing is not being able to hear her voice. I understand that I can “still talk to her” and “she can still here me” and all that, but it doesn’t make me crave the sound of her voice in response any less. There are countless moments every day that I want to tell her something, and then the realization that she won’t respond hits me—HARD. At the same time, if I call Dad, and get her voice on the answering machine, I lose it. I hope this fades with time ‘cause right now, it SUCKS.

2. LOVE having my older sister & family back in the state, and I'm definitely looking forward to my NY sister’s family visiting again next month. Aiden & Finnian are becoming pretty good buddies J

1. Is it July yet? Please? PLEASE?!?!?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

We Only Make Men 'Round Here...

That's right...

...IT'S A BOY!!!

And can I say that I'm relieved? I mean, sure I would've been JUST AS THRILLED with a girl, but this way, I don't have to "re-learn" taking care of another gender; I obviously KNOW what to do with a boy. Also, I don't have to re-do the nursery, and all my clothing sizes from Nolan will match up since there's only two months' difference in their birthdays. Also, I was completely lost in Toys R Us this week when trying to pick out a gift for a girl.

Plus there's the fact that I just LOVE little boys. I should probably admit to being biased.

We're all over the moon about this little guy--particularly Aiden, who was pressing hard for a girl, but the minute he saw this little guy on the screen said, "Awwww, I love you, brother!" Heart. Melted.

Oh, and he does have a name: Justin Steele. :)

For the record, Justin is NOT to honor Timberlake or Beiber or any of that crap. If I'm being completely honest, I remember liking the name ever since I was a little girl watching "The Secret of NIMH."

Which is NOT to say our son is named after a cartoon rat--that's just when I first started liking the name, and luckily it won Mike over as well. Plus it goes nicely with Aiden and Nolan.

And Steele? That's my mom's maiden name. We felt we needed to represent her in there somewhere, and short of having "A Boy Named Sue" (er, thanks for the suggestion, John, but NO), this was the best way to go. :)

I called to give Dad the good news last night, and I could just hear Mom's belly laugh when I said, "BOY!" She would've been so excited. :)

So there you have it. Our third little man is looking healthy--he measured 14 weeks 1 day, which is exactly what I was yesterday--and we're ready for the next six months to fly by so we can meet him!!!

Friday, June 15, 2012

They Say There is a Reason

Dedicated to my family, as well as a friend who is dealing with an unfathomable loss...

They Say There is a Reason

They say there is a reason,

They say that time will heal,

But neither time nor reason,

Will change the way I feel,

For no-one knows the heartache,

That lies behind our smiles,

No-one knows how many times,

We have broken down and cried,

We want to tell you something,

So there won't be any doubt,

You're so wonderful to think of,

But so hard to be without. 

~Author Unknown

Always missing you, Mom.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wordless Wednesday, But With Words

So we'll have our answer to this on Friday...

Stay tuned this weekend to find out No. 3's gender & name.

For the record, I think it's a boy. :)

Linking up with and then, she {snapped}.

 then, she {snapped}

Monday, June 11, 2012

2012 OSU Women's Clinic

I got to meet this guy on Saturday.


I got to do some other neat stuff, too, but let's face it--that photo was definitely the best part. :)

As an early birthday present, the bestest (THANK YOU ANGIE!!!) got us tickets to the first annual Ohio State Women's Clinic, a charity event hosted by the OSU football staff to benefit the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

It was a pretty sweet event. :)

We were treated to staff introductions, presentations about offense, defense, and special teams, tours of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center (I sat in the players' locker room, for crying out loud), and then actual drills run outside on the 88-degree turf.

Any OSU fan's dream, in short.

The event itself ran a bit long for me, but I have a feeling that that more to do with the week I just finished as well as my decision not to run drills with this little bean growing inside. Otherwise, GREAT time, and I would highly recommend it to anyone considering attending next year.

Now on to a few cell-phone photos...

Brutus & I in some weird lighting...

Me & Coach Fickel, AKA THE Nicest Guy You'll Ever Meet

Gonna be a GREAT game this year...the countdown is ALWAYS on...

LOVE me some Eddie George...

Yup. We don't even acknowledge that team.

Troy Smith's Heisman. *SWOON*

Angie ended the day by chillin' in the players lounge. Need one of those chairs...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Mommy & Me Monday

Yeah, it's an older picture.

And it doesn't feature my mommy & me.

But I took the photo, and it captures my mom in one of her happiest moments--seeing one of her four grandsons come home.

Miss you, Mom.

Linking up with Krystyn...

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

An Open Letter to My Mother

Hey Mom,

Well, I'm pretty sure you know what happened by now.

And since you were a blog lurker yourself, I'm sure you won't mind my use of this forum to talk to you about a few things.

That past few days have been rough, but we're making it through.

Let me tell you, Mom--planning a funeral kinda sucks. We tried to think of everything we could--we added your favorite quilt to cover your casket, we choose flowers in red, white, and blue, and we included one of your coveted curlers. We knew you wouldn't want to go anywhere without one.

And Mom, the amount of people that showed to say goodbye at your calling would have been so humbled. There was family, family of family, friends of family, and so many others to support us, including so many of your "quilt ladies," many of Dad's co-workers, and countless friends, associates, and family of all five of us kids. In fact, the line was out the door for most of your showing. It was beyond touching for me, so I can't imagine how that must have felt for you.

You would have loved your funeral, Mom. The music was everything you asked for (save for one song, but we'll get to that in a minute), and it was enhanced beautifully by Joel's cantering and Denver's trumpeting. You would have swooned at the music alone. Your sisters Jodi, Kitty, and Julie, and also your nephew Jimmy, did you proud in the readings as well. It was a beautiful service.

Now for some apologies: I know you wanted "Let There Be Peace on Earth" played at your service (remember how I chastised you for telling me that since it ruined the song for me?), and we stressed that several times to the planners, choosing for it to be the recessional. So, I'm not sure how they ended up with a different song in its place. I'm really sorry for that. If it helps, I'll ask for it to be played at my own funeral.

Another "I'm sorry?" How about that we didn't mention to the funeral director leading the procession to the cemetery that the detour signs did NOT apply to our route? Or did you have something to do with that? Kinda seemed that way, since the route we ended up following twisted & turned through the same country roads you & Dad liked to drive through.

And it was SUCH a beautiful day, Mom. I know that was your doing.

I also know you had something to do with the lights shutting of in Kohl's when we stepped in the store after that incident with the rude stranger in the parking lot. You would have been so proud of Megan, but the rest of us are afraid to cross her now.

Something else you might find intriguing? The flatscreen TV in the living room hasn't worked since you left us--but you might already know about that, too. Sean tried everything he could to fix it, but I think you wanted a nice screen to watch Dallas up there.

Everyone misses you so much, Mom.

You know, I understand it now when people say a part of them gets mad at their loved one for leaving them. But I temper that emotion with remembering how ticked off you must be for leaving us all so soon, so suddenly.

We know that you NEVER would have left us, especially Dad, unless it wasn't your call.

He's holding up as best he can. He misses you terribly, Mom. The thing he keeps repeating is that he's lost not just his wife of 37 years, but his best friend. It is crushing to hear.

But we're all here to help him through it, Mom. That's what you taught us to do.

I think this world would be a better place if more folks modeled their marriages after what you & Dad shared. I know I try to follow in your footsteps with Mike & our family.

Mike is sad that he'll no longer be able to call you "Suz" just like Dad does, or that he won't be able to tell you a slightly dirty joke and watch you pretend to get offended while you laugh anyway.

Nolan stands at the bottom of the stairs, points to your bedroom, looks at me and says "Mommy?" I'm pretty sure he remembers visiting you up there after your surgery.

The hardest thing for me so far had to be explaining to Aiden what happened. I think he understood my words, but not the concept. He's told me he misses your voice and wishes he could talk to you again. That HURTS, Mom, because I feel the exact same way.

There has been more than one instance in the past few days that I have thought OH, I need to tell Mom that! And it isn't until I've picked up my phone to dial that I realize I won't get your voice at the other end.

I don't know if I can get through this without you, and then I remember that I can because of you. You were an inspiration to me in so many ways that I'll never get to thank you for. But I think you know that.

I know you're probably so much more comfortable now, Mom; no lingering pain from the knee surgery, and no stress about getting the other one done.

And no, we haven't asked for a refund on that first knee. Yet. :)

I just wish I would've known when I talked to you Friday morning that it was the last time. I would've chosen better words than complaining about Nolan's hearing test, or bitching about the morning sickness that still hadn't quite dissipated.

Even though it's not something we typically said out loud, I would have told you I love you.

But I'm going to tell you that now. I'm going to tell you that by looking after Dad and loving my family the same way you loved ours. I only hope to come close to the legacy you established.

I'll probably write you more letters, Mom, if you don't mind. It helps a bit to talk to you.

I love you,


Sunday, June 3, 2012


I lost my mom two days ago.

I can't even believe I just typed that.

At 11 PM on Friday evening, I got one of THOSE phone calls.

Mike & I were just getting ready to head to bed when my cell sounded. I could see from the caller ID that it was my Dad's cell, and he had NEVER called me before (his cell was for emergency use only).

He told me that Mom had been rushed the emergency room after experiencing shortness of breath. Then he had to get off the phone almost immediately because the doctors wanted to talk to him, but he asked me to call my sisters & brother to let them know what was going on.

While I was playing phone tag with a few of them, Megan was able to reach me & ask if I'd been able to talk to Dad again.

I could hear the pain in her voice and knew what was coming.

"Mom didn't make it," she choked out.

And my entire world crashed around me like a house of cards.

Since then, I've been in a fog of shock, disbief, anger, regret, guilt, and just plain devastation.

But I've also been wrapped in the arms of loving family and friends, including my siblings, who understand the depth of my personal loss; my grandparents, who are so numb to have lost their first child; my aunts, who have lost their oldest sister; and my dad, whose despair at losing his wife and best friend of 37 years I can't even begin to fathom. Without each other, I don't think any of us would be surviving right now.

None of that, though, changes the fact that I will never talk to her about my day at work again, or smile as Aiden & Nolan hug her when we arrive for a visit...

...or that this growing child in my belly will never know PooPoo.

So far, mornings are the worst, which is probably why I'm sitting in front of this screen. I just can't make sense of it all.

I can't breathe without feeling like someone is standing on my chest.

And I just want my mommy.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Vacation Day 1: Meh

Rainy for our first day of vacation, so after Nolan's hearing test this morning, we headed home & camped out in the living room. The boys rarely play together (Nolan is just so busy and has so much to do, let me tell you), and since they were, I took the opportunity to dust off my camera (no seriously, there was dust on it). 

Nolan's got a runny nose and the photos themselves are a bit fuzzy, but I just love that last one when they're both looking AND smiling at the same time...