Saturday, 12 March 2011

Happy Birthday, Grandma

Today is my Grandmother's birthday. She'd have been 94 today. She grew up during the depression, lived through WWII, Vietnam, gave birth to three children - my Uncle Bob, my mother, and my Aunt Debra (who died 45 minutes after she was born). She took in more than 250 foster children as a result of Aunt Debra's death. I lived next door to her for as long as I can remember.

I can't think of what my earliest memories of Grandma are. I remember sitting with her on her bed in her room watching TV and watching her crochet. She used to make the most beautiful things. I always admired watching her shape a length of wool into something you could use.

She used to catch the ice cream truck every single time it would come into our neighborhood and get us something. She and my Grandfather weren't wealthy but she could always find change for our ice cream.

She could lay on a huge table of food even with nothing in the kitchen - I still don't know how she used to do it.

She was loving. Affectionate. Warm. Generous. And I admired her so much. She was brave and I can't remember hearing her complain about her lot. She accepted what life had handed her and she made the best of it.

When I was 16, she went into the hospital for some tests on her heart. While she was in having the tests, she had a major stroke. The kind of stroke that if she'd had at home, it would've killed her. She was in the hospital for weeks after and I would go with my Grandfather to see her. She was never the same after that.

I used to take care of my Grandmother after her stroke. I would wash her hair, cut her nails, make things for her to eat, get her audio books to listen to (she was an avid reader), and was her "remote control" for her to watch her favourite shows.

My Grandparents were responsible for me going to college. They took me and gave me cash to get me started and Grandpa would send me money in letters about once a month and they always had no less than $20 inside.

My Grandmother loved me and I never doubted that her love was real and honest. She taught me to respect others and myself. She showed me how to open my heart to people and to life. I will never forget her - not as long as I live.

I have thought about my Grandmother & Grandfather every day. I give them the credit for making me the person I am - they are the reason I work hard, do everything I can to make life better for my children, and the reason that I love with my whole heart. Heaven is a better place because they're there. And ones they left behind ... well, we'll miss you every minute until we're reunited with you someday.

Happy Birthday, Grandma. I love you.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Two birthdays in one day

Yesterday was the birthday of my twin sons. They are now officially, sixteen years old. Time passes so quickly as you get older. My Grandmother used to tell me that all the time but I never believed her. She was right.

I remember the day of their birth with such clarity - its hard to believe that it was sixteen years ago now.

We'd just gotten our first computer ever - paid $2300 for a very slow computer but at the time (1995) it was the top of the market. I'd been up most of the evening playing with it - getting it hooked up, setting it up, seeing what we could do with it, etc. About 1:30am, I decided it was time to go to bed.

When I say "bed," I mean "sofa" ... we only had a waterbed and I couldn't prop myself up enough to be able to breathe. Let me assure you that having two babies in your belly makes doing anything that much more difficult! I propped myself up and rested as much as I could with two babies moving around and with a big belly protruding in front. Every time I had to turn over, I woke up so at this point in my pregnancy, I wasn't getting much rest.

One time I turned over, I felt a "pop" ... then a warm rush of liquid. MY WATER BROKE! I looked at the clock - it was 4:30am. I got up to see what was going on. I called the doctor and they told me to get myself into the hospital. This was my third pregnancy, was a multiple birth, and both of those combined would mean a quick labor.

I told the nurse I was going to take a shower first but I would be in as soon as I could. I wasn't feeling any contractions at all. After my shower and making sure I had everything together, I woke up their dad and told him my water had broken and we needed to go to the hospital. Luckily, the kids Grandparents were there and we didn't have to phone a sitter.

Off we went to the hospital. By the time we got there, it had been two hours since my water broke. Because I was pregnant with twins, it wasn't a huge gush of water, just a trickle. There is a test they do to find out if there is amniotic fluids present. At first, nothing showed up. I argued with the nurses - this wasn't my first rodeo - I knew what had happened! Finally, after nearly an hour of testing, they found amniotic fluid and confirmed, I was indeed in labor. Duh!

They monitored my contractions for a few more hours and I finally started having contractions at noon. Whoa! They were really strong. I knew it wouldn't be long, I could feel it was different than with Whitney and Travis. They both came in to see me while I was in labor and Travis (who was one month shy of two years old) patted my belly and shouted for the babies to hurry up and come out. Then giggled and hugged them through my tummy.

"Do you think I'll get a sister this time, Mommy?" Whitney really wanted a sister and after she didn't get one when Travis was born, she expected me to deliver - quite literally - a sister for her.

After only two hours of contractions, the doctor and nurses were making preparations for the first of two babies to arrive into the world. At 2:22pm on March 5, 1995 - Austin Lynn Simpson made an appearance. He was 6lb 5oz and was absolutely beautiful. I got to hold him for only a moment before they whisked him away, making preparations for baby number two. Eleven minutes later at 2:33pm - Casey Marshall Simpson was born. He was only 5lb 15oz and just as beautiful as his brother. I had my twins!

Whitney & Travis came back in and being held by his Granddad, Travis kissed each of them on top of their tiny heads and said, "I love you brothers!" Whitney gently touched their little fingers, smiling, and reached over to hug them, kissing their little foreheads. "Welcome to our family, little brothers."

I remember holding both of them, my heart racing as I wondered how I would cope with two newborns, a two year old, and a five year old at home. Sixteen years later, I look at them - all four of my beautiful children, and realize just how blessed I am. I have four beautiful, healthy, smart, talented, and big hearted children and I thank God for them each and every day. I'm so proud of them and how they've turned out. I know there's much more to come and I look forward to it every day!