4 Golden Eggs

4 Golden Eggs
our children

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Heaviness of Life

My dear friend Mark...
We've known each other since High School. He is a year younger than me. We were in the same Drama class and had the same friends. When our school performed the musical Snoopy, I was Lucy Van Pelt and he played my little brother Linus. We were close. 
I was the last of five children and always longed for a little brother. He was the oldest of two boys and always longed for a big sister.
We were that for each other.
Mark became a hero. He is a firefighter, an engineer and paramedic. He saves lives every day. Mark married Stephanie, the love of his life. They have two sons Sean and Dillon. 
Stephanie is golden. She loves people, her animals and the outdoors. She is the type of person who others are drawn to. Strong, intelligent, joyful and determined. 
When Mark met Stephanie years ago, he was so smitten. He called to tell me about this beautiful girl he had just met. 
A few years later I was at their wedding. They glowed. One could tell that this would be a marriage that would last. They were tender and kind with each other. Respectful.
Life was good. Then. 
Stephanie was diagnosed with anal cancer. 

A few days ago this is what Mark wrote:
Thanks to all. The boys and I know and appreciate all of the Support, Blessings and Love. Stephanie  has had a very challenging(to say the least) Adventure Race. She is nearing the end of this journey calmly but with periods of fight. I don't know where the finish line is for her but its near. Please continue thinking and praying for her and use her strength as an example for you in your every endeavor. Kiss hug and Love your children always. I will try to continue updating as I can. Summas Exicutio Subter Quivas Status.

We prayed. 

We prayed more. Then yesterday we got the news...

Stephanie lost her battle with Anal Cancer today at Noon. The Boys and I want to thank everyone for the incredible support and love we have received.

Please remember Mark and their young sons Sean and Dillon in your prayers.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Sometimes I really look at my life. You know, those moments when time slows down and I see what is memorable. It usually happens when I'm not searching for it. 
Often I am focused on just getting through the day doing the things that all good moms are supposed to do. I am focused on making sure our children are safe, fed, clothed, loved and hopefully learning something. I am usually so focused on the menial tasks of the day that I don't take the time to really see. 

It's those moments when I just am and not trying to be that time slows and I actually see the beauty in my life. I am so thankful. I know we all have gone through tough times. Times of loss, times of grief, times of injury and even illness. None of us are immune to the human experience. 
I have held dying children in my arms. I have lost my own. I have grieved because of years of infertility. I know what I have. I know how God has blessed me and I don't take it for granted. I appreciate what I have. It was a very painful and long journey to have what I have. I cherish my life. 
I cherish our children. Yes, they are a lot of work. Yes, they push me to my limits. Yes, sometimes I worry about who they will become. Yes, they bring me to my breaking point at times. I know some adults who do the same.
Having four children so close in age is a lot of work. There is always something to clean, wash, fix, do, teach, pick up, make. There are hugs to give, tears to wipe away, matching socks to find, decisions to make, books to read, words to define, food to make, projects to do and clean up. 
The times they remember and love the most are the times when we are not doing but, rather being. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sick Days

 Last week our oldest was sent home from school sick. Grant has had a cough for a long time but, no real other symptoms. Last Wednesday was the day he threw up in the van on the way to the doctor's office. It was the day we waited in the exam room for a long time and barely made it home in time for the school bus to drop off our triplets. That night it snowed.

Grant was diagnosed with an ear infection and pneumonia. Treatment: 10 days of amoxicillin two times a day.
We made it through the weekend. Grant started feeling a little better. He stayed inside while Max, Charlotte, and Ben played in the snow.
Monday was a school holiday. We went out and had the unfortunate adventure with the cat (see last post). We ate supper at Denny's and by the time I was tucking them all into their inflatable beds that night, Max, Charlotte and Ben were complaining of headaches, feeling sick and ears hurting. 
Ben said he couldn't hear out of his left ear. I called the school absent line Tuesday morning and left a message for all four of our children. Then I called the pediatrician again and we were back in the doctor's office. Diagnosis for the triplets: ear infections.
Treatment: Amoxicillin for 10 days two times a day. Our co-pay for each visit per child: $40. Total for four kids to see the doctor: $160. Ouch!
On our way home we stopped by the pharmacy again. This is what it takes to treat four ear infections and pneumonia in our house. The children line up and I pour out the medicine and they drink it. A 10 day routine. Twice a day.
We have lived in our pajamas for two days. Oh, and I've been fighting Lyme disease, a bad respiratory infection and I broke my toe. 
The nice things about sick days:
I get to spend more time with my children.
We've been watching the original Dennis the Menace on Netflix. The kids love it. I tell them, "don't get any ideas!"

I have a new obsession with Pinterest (an online pin board ~ eye candy really). You can check out my boards here.
I get to stay in my cozy fleece pajamas and a knitted hat my sister Trese made for me, and my fuzzy knee-high socks.
I get to sip hot tea and sit in front of the fireplace and blog.
Today Grant, Max and Charlotte made it to school. The medicine is working.
Ben is by my side playing with LEGO bricks.
He needs another "day off". He says, "I'm not 100% yet." 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One of Those Unpredictable Days

It has been one of those days that goes somewhere completely different than planned.
And at the end of the day you are thankful for sweet strangers. Today was one of those days.

The day began simple enough. It's MLK day and the kids had the day off from school. After morning breakfast and cleaning up we decided to go to two of our favorite stores. Savers and our Discount Book Superstore. Both stores were having big sales today. 
We strap in and head north to New Hampshire. The "Live Free or Die" state with no sales tax. 
On the road ahead of us is a cat struggling to move. It has obviously been struck by a car. We all see the cat. The kids see it too. A truck ahead of us pulls over; I pull over and turn the hazard lights on; a lady in a car behind us pulls over. I tell the kids to stay put and buckled in.
I run back to the cat. The lady behind me runs back to the cat. The man in front of us doesn't.
The lady lifts the cat from the road. I wave my arms to oncoming cars to slow down and move away a bit. I then help her carry the cat to the side of the road. It is a beautiful cat. We both call it a "her" and "she" and then we speak very little. The cat's right eye is hanging out of it's orbit. It's tongue is out of it's mouth. Seeing the cat is disturbing. But it is still alive.
I notice the lady is wearing a white uniform and a name tag. Carol (and her last name), LPN engraved on her tag. I am a nurse too. We two caring, nurturing women can not bear to see this cat suffer in the road. 
The man slowly approaches us. He doesn't speak. 
Carol and I notice a collar on the cat. She says that there is a phone number. I run back to the van and grab my cell phone. The cat is still alive. 
We have the silent man read off the phone number as I dial.
An answering machine picks up and not a warm, personal message but, a cold, computer-like voice asks me to leave a message. I do.
Then Carol lays the cat down in the snow. It doesn't move but, it is still alive.
We three stand there silently looking at the injured cat. Then Carol and I reach down and pick the cat back up.
Carol and I agree that the cat needs help. I tell Carol that I have four young children in my van and that I really don't want them to be traumatized by the way the cat looks. 
She says that she is on her way to work.
We both look at the silent man. He says nothing.
I say, "Okay, I'll take the cat to the animal hospital."
Then I turn to the silent man and ask, "Did you hit the cat?"
He says nothing but, shakes his head slightly. 
Then Carol hugs me and then she hugs him and says something about being good people. 
Then Carol and I carry the cat to my van. I tell the children not to look at the cat.
Carol is careful to lay the cat gently down in the back of my van and mentions something about being careful in case there is a spinal injury.
The cat is still alive.
My children do not look over the back seat to see the cat. They have remained buckled in.  They are quiet.  Charlotte is covering her ears. Max has his head down. 
So off I drive with a dying cat in the back of our van.
I call 411 and request the animal hospital number. I am transferred to a lovely lady named Anne at the hospital.

Anne and I have an interesting conversation. It goes something like this.
Me:  "Hi, I'm Rebecca. A cat was struck by a car and three of us pulled over to help. It is injured. It has a collar with a phone number and I've left a message for the owners. It needs medical attention. It is alive but, has an eye out of a socket and it's bleeding from the eye and it's mouth. What should I do?"
Anne:  "Has the cat been seen here before? What is the cat's name?"
Me:  "No. You don't understand. It is not my cat. I don't know the cat's name. I don't know who owns the cat.  We just couldn't leave the cat to die in the snow by the side of the road. It needs help. I have the cat in the back of my van right now. The cat looks well cared for and is probably loved by it's owner."
Anne:  "Oh. Okay. Hold on. I need to talk to the Vet. Where are you now?"
Me:  "I'm on my way to the hospital across from the mall where you are."
Anne:  "We are in Merrimack but, I'm sure that animal hospital can help you. Hold on."
I wait.

Anne comes back and tells me that their vet says that I would be responsible for the cost of treating the injured cat until the owners are notified and that even then, the owners may not want to treat the cat or may not be able to pay.
At this point, I am now at the animal hospital across from the mall. 
No one is there. They are closed for the holiday.
I let Anne know and she suggests the All Pets Veterinary Hospital  about 12 miles away.
Anne and I talk about the ethical dilemma I am now in. 
I couldn't bear to leave the cat by the side of the road. If someone came across one of my injured pets and cared for them, I would be so thankful. We have no money right now. I can't pay to treat this injured cat. What will I do if it dies?
Anne tells me that she is pretty sure that the All Pets Veterinary Hospital will take the cat. She gives me directions and their phone number.
I drive to the All Pets Veterinary Hospital. 
I leave the cat in the van and go in.
I tell the edited story to the front desk gal Nina and an assistant Eunice. They listen. 
Then Eunice says she will talk to their veterinarian. She comes back and tells me to call the Police Department.
The Police Department? Now, I'm thinking I'm in trouble!
Do they think I hit the cat?

Then she explains that the Animal Control Officer is at the Police Station and he will tell me what to do with the cat.
I call the Police Dept. and talk to the receptionist. She tells me that the animal control officer only deals with dogs, not cats.
Eunice is now on the phone calling the owner of the All Pets Veterinary Hospital. 
Moments later Eunice and I are walking out to my van to get the cat. The cat is still warm. She lifts him gently and carries him quickly inside. I feel relieved. Finally! It's been about 40 minutes since we found the cat on the road.
My children are now playing with the toys in the corner. 
Eunice comes back and gives me that look that says something or someone has died. I nod my head.
Eunice tells me that the Humane Society will have possession of the cat and gives me a phone number.
I call the phone number on the cat's collar again. I tell the machine that the cat will be at the Humane Society and leave their phone number and my home phone number and in the last moment, I let whoever listens to the message that their cat has passed. 
I regret doing that. It seems so cold and impersonal. 
Then I cry.
I thank Eunice and Nina.
I call Anne back. She tells me that I did a good job. That most people pretend they don't see. That I went above and beyond. She thanks me!
I feel like hugging her through the phone. I tell her that she's the kind of friend I want on my team. It's mutual.
Then I tell our children that the cat has died but, that we did the right thing even though it was difficult.
Charlotte says, "It's okay Mom. That precious cat is with Quincy (our very first cat ~ died many years before our children were born) and Granddaddy Don and Clover too." 
(I will tell you about Clover some other time.)
I wipe away the tears and we get back on the road headed to Savers and our favorite discount bookstore.
Life is so unpredictable. 
God bless the American Humane Society ~ if you want to make a donation, you can do so here.

Tonight I get a phone call. A warm and thankful voice is on the other end. It is a man's voice. His name is Rostis. He has a Russian accent. He tells me about the life of his beloved cat named Marble. He is so thankful that I stopped to help his cat. He says a blessing for me and our children and our pets. 
After we say good-bye, I cry again.

The kindness of strangers.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Tooth Fairy Strikes Again

It all began last autumn when Max lost a top front tooth and the Tooth Fairy visited. Max left a note for her with a request for a "cat bobble head". Yes, a cat bobble head.  The Tooth Fairy searched and searched for a cat bobble head. There are none to be easily found ~ plenty of dog bobble heads. So, as any good Tooth Fairy's should do, she left a note apologizing for her inability.
This note greatly pleased Max and the three golden coins helped too.

Fast forward to winter. Now both Benjamin and Charlotte are losing baby teeth. They have begun to write notes to the Tooth Fairy too and being the BEST Tooth Fairy ever, she writes notes back.
It began simple enough. Thank you notes for the money or gift left under the pillow. Love notes really.
Then one night, the Tooth Fairy (ours is named Klepta Dente) forgot to retrieve Charlotte's tooth! Disaster! The tooth fairy, I think, had the flu.
Charlotte cried. Klepta Dente felt terrible. How could the Tooth Fairy forget a tooth?! Charlotte wrote a note. "Dear Tooth Fairy, I was upset because I didn't get a gift. So please, please know where I put...it's going to be under my pillow. XOXO You're the best tooth fairy. From Charlotte."
Klepta Dente had to write a note back apologizing yet once again for being so daft. "Dear Charlotte, I am sorry I missed your tooth last night. It was a very busy night for me. Thank you for your lovely white tooth. I love you. Tooth Fairy ~ Klepta Dente."
Charlotte received a Hello Kitty travel toothbrush and she was happy again.
She even wrote a thank you note for the toothbrush.
"Dear Tooth Fairy, Thank you for the awesome toothbrush. I love it so much. from Charlotte."
Whew! Maybe the Tooth Fairy would get some rest at night. Not so, soon Benjamin lost a baby tooth and Klepta Dente was on duty again.
This time Benjamin left a note and a gift with his tooth. I'll have to translate because he is still learning how to spell (first grade). 
"Dear Tooth Fairy, I would like to see a picture of you. And are you the best tooth fairy? From Ben. P.S. I wish I could see you and where you live. I love you more than Christmas."
Oh boy! Here's Klepta Dente ~ Tooth Fairy extraordinaire's reply.
"Dear Ben, Thank you. I think I am the best Tooth Fairy. I am shy and don't like my picture taken but, I will see what I can do. I love you more than Christmas too! Klepta Dente."
I was praying that this would be the end of the notes. No more baby teeth were lost.  Benjamin with his inquisitive mind couldn't let it go. He continued to write notes. And leave money. I guess he believes the Tooth Fairy needs money to give to other kids or to buy gifts. Right. 
"Dear Tooth Fairy, my tooth is wiggly it bothers me at school. I think it is going to fall out soon like maybe possibly Monday. I love you. Benjamin.  P. S. What's your phone number?"
Oh boy! How could the Tooth Fairy keep from laughing at that one. He wants a phone number!
Then, randomly, our oldest lost a baby tooth. 
The tooth fairy was on duty again. She being "The Best Tooth Fairy Ever", decided to leave gifts for all four precious children.
They loved their flowers.
Then more notes came.
And a picture too. This one had a fortune cookie on it. Klepta Dente ate it with hot tea. Delicious.
Klepta Dente HAD to respond.

Then the questions came.
Ben: "Are fairies real?"
Me:  "I'm not sure but, many people believe they are."
Ben: "I think they are real. Have people seen them?"
Me: "Um, maybe. (Then I remembered a movie I had watched a number of years ago ~ Fairy Tale A True Story). There is a movie about two girl cousins who took pictures of fairies long ago in England." 
Big mistake!
Ben: "Can we see it?"
Me: "Okay, let's see if it's on Netflix."
We tried and it can be rented but, we have the streaming option instead and there it is not offered.
Me: "I bet Auntie Trese knows. She knows about things like this."
So, we called Auntie Trese. Auntie Trese says we need a "seeing stone" like in Spiderwick
Benjamin headed right out into the nighttime snow in search of a "seeing stone". I had to tell him to come back in and that the next time we were at the beach or near a lake that we could look for one. 
It's a natural rock with a hole in the middle.
We then watched the most adorable Tooth Fairy sighting on You tube (you can watch it here). 
Ben and Charlotte wrote yet another note last night.
"Dear Tooth Fairy, Charlotte and I was going to see if we could see you some day. We love you 900000000...(you get the idea) so much. Love Charlotte and Ben."
Oh boy! How was Klepta Dente going to slow this pony down?
Light bulb!
Here's the note they received last night.
"Dear Charlotte and Ben, I thank you for your kind words and lovely notes. No human has ever seen me. I don't dare. I may turn into dust and that would be absolutely terrible. I love you both just the same. Klepta Dente."
We'll see how that works.
Klepta Dente is tired! 
Klepta Dente needs sleep!