Kentucky Mom to Twins and More

Sunday, November 19, 2017

A little bit about a man who can't be described

Today was a day I have dreaded for months. It was a horrific, painful, emotionally sickening, heartbreaking day.

The best friend I met nearly 20 years ago - the man I stood on the altar with 15 years ago to vow death do us part - was taken away from me. I never knew this kind of heartache existed. I never dreamed a pain this unbearable could overtake me. I never imagined I could hold a sadness this profound inside of me for someone else. So many people knew him as a relative, a friend, a coworker, an acquaintance - to others he will be just someone they read about in the newspaper obits on page 7.

I want to tell everyone about who he really was - because he was infinitely more.

He was the shy boy I met in college who I just couldn't get enough of (although he I'm sure probably had enough of me by date #2). He was the guy with a sense of humor, always making everyone laugh. He was the dancer. If they played dance music at a party - he'd be out there - and you'd probably want to join him. Some say that's how he found a wife, dancing at a bar on spring break '98 in Key West.

He was a neat freak. His attention to detail was impeccable. He lived by spreadsheets, calendars, budgets, to do lists and organized the beautiful chaos that was our family. He never liked writing, so I only have a few sappy cards ... which is why I will cherish every note, every card or anything else he scribbled in that crazy messy lefty handwriting.  

He was an athlete. He could have swam circles around Michael Phelps (ok I may be exaggerating but only a little) because he was a beautiful swimmer whose butterfly stroke stopped people in their barefoot tracks on the pool deck. His relay record set in 1990 at Beechwood Swim Club here still stands unbroken today. He loved being outdoors - on the farm, in the woods, driving a boat around the lake. He hiked the summit of a mountain in Denver a few years back and even though he was winded as hell, it was just one more amazing thing he could do.

He was a co-worker who loved the people he worked with. He was financially brilliant, and took pride in the way he built up and expanded his family's business, but yet he always rewarded his employees and treated his co-workers like family. He gave so much of his time and money to charity, but nobody would have ever known that because he never called attention to it. He was humble as hell.

He was a brother who fiercely loved his sisters. He stood up for them, sang their praises and laughed at inside jokes with them more than any human should probably laugh. He was a doting uncle to 20 nieces and nephews - several his godchildren. Some of my sisters' children were good "practice" for four babies of his own someday.

He was a son who lived by his father's advice and approval and cherished his mother - whose kidney saved his life in 1995. No one meant more to him than them.

He was a friend who never gave up. He was a champion when you were down. He tried to have something positive to say when others didn't. He had a solution for every problem. If he didn't know an answer, he'd go searching for one. Even if it meant being dragged to several different marriage counselors.

He was an amazing father. He was scared of children the first few years of our marriage - I had to finally push him off the edge into parenthood about 10 years ago. But he did a fucking swan dive into it. He loved our children. He adored them. He changed diapers. He helped me feed twins at 2 a.m. those nights when I didn't have it in me. He clapped at potty training successes, he cheered at their sporting events all the times he could be there. He sang Itsy Bitsy Spider and scratched their backs before they fell asleep. He laughed when he could and told them he loved them as much as he could when he was able to talk.

He was the person I never could have dreamed would become mine - someone too good for me, a person to this day I don't know how could have fallen for me. He is the beautifully funny, smart, talented guy I promised 'til death do us part.' I just wish I would have known how excruciating that part would be.

He was Matthew Robert Remke, and he was the amazing person I got to call my husband and father to my kids.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Juno: 1 Shitty Day: 0

It was another peachy day around here y'all.
Can you hear the sarcasm?

There was a lot of yelling today, a lot of f-bombs I’m not proud of… There were some threats of dessert being taken away and a few 'shut your mouth already!'s … My kids are not gonna look back fondly on this day as a good one in their childhood.

They are killing me. Breaking rules all over. Mia got a clip down at school for kicking another kid. The patience level needed to get Tèa through a math workbook page without crying (both of us) would send Job running for the looney bin. Payton screams like a horror movie actress if someone so much as breathes on her wrong. The boy got sent to his room for backtalking me this afternoon—even though my words to him were far from exemplary.

I ate four bite size Mounds bars, a Reese’s cup, two Snickers bars, two Twix bars and some Skittles from every child’s Halloween basket while they were at school. I’m pretty sure a good chunk of my body mass right now is made up of entirely Tootsie Rolls. But that's not even the cringe worthy part —I forbade them to have any of their candy when they got home from school because, "it’s bad for your teeth," I said.

I’m pretty sure I lost my ever lovin’ mind trying to entertain them today before the sun set at f*ing 4:30 p.m. I pulled a package of cake mix from a box in the pantry and pitched it to my kids, who were all holding baseball bats. Yes people, you heard me right. This is my level of parenting right now at this moment. We were trying to hit home runs with a 15 oz package of Betty Crocker cake mix. And apparently we’ve got a slugger in the family because Mia busted that bag clear to Louisville, exploding the cake mix everywhere - mostly in her eyeballs. This is only when I realize maybe this isn't such a great game. She started screaming bloody murder about how bad the cake mix felt packed in her eyeballs and stuck in her eyelids and lashes. We’re trying to wash her eyes out, and the other kids are whining about how it's not fair they didn’t get to bust the package... I yelled and pushed the dog away as she tried lapping up cake mix from every crevice of the driveway.

It was another day of me running around like a chicken with her head cut off. It was a dog-in-her-crate-all-day-long kind of day. It was a mac and cheese with hot dogs and a side of leftover spaghetti night. Yuck. There were a couple smacks on some butts today that I'm pretty sure they could've done without. I was running on empty --or at least on 17 Tootsie Rolls. I needed a do-over so badly today.

It wasn't until halfway through a mandatory parent meeting at school (that I arrived late to, then left early from in order to make gymnastics pickup at 7:30 p.m.) that I realized, this f*ing day isn’t over yet. Maybe I can still make it right. 

So we salvaged the last few minutes of the day playing a card game — an attempt to teach them solitaire. I don’t even know how to play solitaire, really. We totally cheated, digging through the stack to find all the aces to put at the top and making sure the 2s were at the bottom. Cheers all around 10 minutes later to all our complete rows of diamonds, clubs, spades and hearts!

Four smiles.

We've tried to stick with a "no dog upstairs" rule in the house ..but I'm breaking rules today, too.
We let the puppy up to say goodnight. Juno scampered from every corner to another —running through all the bedrooms hiding under beds, grabbing slippers and licking smiling faces in a group hug atop Payton’s bed.
We called it, “Puppy Cuddle Time.”

I'm thinking it’s a new tradition we may start some of these rough nights. Because I sure as shit don't know how to save the day.

But puppies do.