Friday, March 26, 2010

Life and Death

I have been meaning to write this blog for almost a week now. Last Saturday we received a very sad call from my family in Germany that my Grandfather had passed on. He hadn't been taking care of him very well for years (my Mom had actually asked him to his face recently whether he was trying to dig his own grave), but it still happened very unexpectedly to everyone.

Even though I haven't had a very good relationship with my Grandpa for years (due to reasons that do not need to be discussed here right now), I am devastated more than I had ever thought. I cried for a day, unable to properly take care of Lily (who got to watch an awful lot of Sesame Street that day), and talked to a number of friends. Telling and re-telling of what my family had related to me of the events on that Monday and Tuesday, along with being physically removed from the scene and trying to stay busy, helped me to pull myself together enough to make it through the following days. However, the regrets and what-ifs keep coming back, and not having been able to properly say good-bye to my Grandpa just hurts me to the core.

I remember when we've been together last about a year ago in Germany, and it makes me smile that he had the opportunity to meet his first great-granddaughter. At the same time, being 9 months pregnant with his third great-granddaughter, it just hurts beyond anything that he will never get to meet her, see her smile and hear her giggle. I remember hearing his voice on a voice mail a few weeks back, and now wish I had not erased it, so there would be just a tiny little thing left of him in our lives. I remember his last phone call only about 2 weeks prior to his death, and hate myself for not telling him that I loved him, since now I will never have the chance to tell him again. People keep telling me that he knew he was loved, but did he really? I can only hope, because even though I wasn't always sure of it, I now know that I loved him very much, and would give a lot just to have one last chance to tell him so, to take his hand and smile at him, to look into his blue eyes that both my sister and I inherited from him; maybe I will get the chance to tell him some day, who knows. My sister told me that he peacefully passed on with a smile on his face while she and Grandma were with him, holding his hand, touching his face and telling him of his great-granddaughters (he was uncoscious due to massive bleeding in his brain and never regained consciousness). I can only hope that he knows that deep within us, we all loved him very much.

This experience definitely has opened my eyes about the importance of life, and all the people we share it with. I myself are guilty of taking many people simply for granted, expecting them to always be there and therefore not acknowledge them the way they deserve. This was probably the best lesson my Grandpa ever taught me. I have made it a routine a long time ago to always kiss Richard and Lily good-bye when I leave and tell them that I love them. Commuting 50 miles every single day you never know what may happen, and I simply always want them to know how much they mean to me. But there are many more people in my life who I don't tell on a regular basis; I have now started to let those people know how much they mean to me and how much I appreciate them being in my life. If doing that I can brighten only one person's day, my mission is accomplished. However, that will never erase the guilt I feel of not having made my Grandpa feeling just as appreciated and loved every time I had the chance to.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Our little girl developed the habit of crawling in our bed every morning to cuddle and sleep another hour or so (if we're lucky); I was looking forward to that ever since she was born. This morning, as she was laying next to me sleeping, I couldn't help wondering what a little miracle angel I had right there next to me. From the minute Richard told me about the positive test (yes, I was way too nervous to check for the result myself), I loved this little girl more than I ever thought possible. Despite all challenges (and some desperate moments), she has been pure delight every day. I can't count how often I just stopped in whatever I was just doing to watch her for a moment and marvel how such a beautiful, perfect angel was ever possible.

Now, as we are getting ready to welcome yet another little angel into this world, I am once again full of emotions, that are so similar and yet so different from my feelings I have for Lily. I have never believed it to be possible to love someone even close to how I love our little girl; then I realized, that I will never ever love someone the way I love her. My love for our little girl about to join our family is different, but by no means less than my love for Lily. She will be her very own little person, in some ways maybe similar to Lily, in others completely different.

In those last few months Richard and I have talked a lot about how to raise siblings. Since we both have siblings ourselves, we have a pretty good picture of what we would like to do like our parents, and probably an even better picture of what we will do different for our girls. Even though they are both girls, we will love them for who they are as individuals; we would sure be happy if they were to become friends, but are also aware that some siblings are just much too different to be friends and not force them into it. More than anything else, we will treat them equally when it comes to rules and discipline, but also support their individuality. Watching Lily change from that tiny, helpless infant to become the wonderful, little girl she is today was just an amazing journey, and we can't wait to continue watching our children grow and develop their very own personalities. I think I am able to understand my mom a lot better now that I am a mother myself, and I am genuinely thankful for the exchange we are having these days. I was sure that motherhood would have an impact on me, but never expected it to influence my very essence as it did. It showed me a much different appreciation for the simple things in life, and also changed my outlook.

Sometimes I say motherhood has turned the tough girl I used to be into a sissy, but then I remember times I fought through obstacles I have never believed possible, supporting my family in a way I never expected. I still remember being there for Lily and holding her during the nurse's attempts to insert an IV needle into her little, dehydrated body. The nurse asked me if I wanted a break and leave the room for a while; I protested and said I would never leave Lily in a moment like that. Looking in the mirror a moment later I understood the nurse's question: I had huge, purplish shadows under my eyes and were white as a sheet. However, I didn't feel the exhaustion or strain my body experienced, only the need to be there for my girl, to ease her pain and show her that, no matter what, she will always be able to rely on me. Later during this episode I realized, how close we have come to losing our child. In a situation without access to health care, our little girl wouldn't have stood a chance, and there wouldn't have been anything we could have done but watch. In moments like this my heart goes out to the thousands of mothers in this world who have to go through this, and it saddens me more than words can say. Most of these nights I go into Lily's room to check on her before I go to bed and I am so incredible thankful for being blessed with this little angel, and our other little angel who is going to join us soon.

We cannot wait to continue this incredible journey as a family of four, and know that, no matter what happens, we will always be happy as long as we are together; we will grow, change, and emerge from everything as stronger and wiser people, and I am looking forward to this journey as wife to the most incredible man, and mother to the two little miracles our love has created.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lily and the Onion

As everyone, who has met her, knows, Lily is a very bright, adorable little 2-year old. Fewer people know that said toddler is sometimes battling with what I call "Futterneid": As soon as you get something to eat, she wants it as well, no matter if she already has something on her plate, or has just eaten. Most of the time we do the right thing and teach her to respect other people's food, sometimes we just give in to avoid the ensuing tantrum. This last week, however, Lily was taught an important lesson, which brought much amusement to us: just because it's on the table and half is missing does not mean someone is trying to hide the good food from you! Richard and I were preparing meat loaf for dinner while Lily was taking her afternoon nap. Unfortunately I forgot to put the onion half I didn't use back into the fridge. After her nap and a snack, said onion caught quickly Lily's attention, who considered herself safe with Mami and Daddy relaxing on the couch; she climbed on the chair to retrieve the onion. Expecting the inevitable, I notified Richard, whose first reaction was to try to stop her. However, we decided to stay put and watch the scene unfold: as expected, Lily felt confident of having outsmarted the parental party once again and took a small bite out of her "treat". I think I don't have to tell anyone how precious her face looked once she noticed that this was not something we tried to keep from her out of selfish reasons. Sometimes I wish I had a ready-to-shoot camera for moments like this. She put the onion down very quickly and called for us to complain. Of course, we laughed our butts off and retrieved the onion from her. Looking at her face lets us hope she learned her lesson, but only future will tell :-)

PS: A 2-year old with onion breath is priceless!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Where is this society heading to??

This is the question I ask myself way too often. The news are full with reports about the most disgusting crimes against oftentimes the most vulnerable of our society; politicians, who are supposed to look out for the citizens are acting in the lobbyists' and big corporations' best interest; obesity, especially among children is spiraling out of control, and in general, this society is celebrating underachievers!! What happened to the so-called "American Dream", that if you work hard enough, you will succeed? Nowadays, people feel so entitled to everything without putting in the necessary effort. Why is the foreclosure rate so high? The vast majority of these troubled homeowners didn't look close enough on what they could actually afford but rather went with taking the most money any bank would give them to be able to afford the biggest house. Saving is for losers, hail to consumerism!

To be honest, I am sick and tired of reading these whiny stories. Just cut your losses, move on, and learn from your mistakes! Better yourself! Get a job, pay off your debt, save money for meager times, get some education to be able to get a better job, the opportunities are out there! And stop finding excuses for failing, it's all up to you!!!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Life, Unexpectedly

Life, Unexpectedly.. This phrase has been flying around in my head for a while, and since I'd planned on once again trying my luck in the blogosphere, why not get it out of my head and into the world.

Some people may know that my last blog, The Powells Around The World
, which was mostly an attempt to provide a convenient forum for family and friends to stay up-to-date with us, died a sudden death around the time Richard got out of the military in summer of 2008. In between caring for our active little girl, organizing a move halfway through the country, getting settled in Washington, and our other day-to-day activities, the idea of blogging didn't enter my mind very often. Why is the urge back now? I honestly don't know, but here I am once again, putting my thoughts out there...

Once again we find ourselves at a point where we realize, that life is just too unpredictable to plan. Each time I thought we had it all planned out, things happened to make us realize that life cannot be planned, at least not to the extent my little control-obsessed mind would like to plan. Right now, we are 35 weeks pregnant with our second miracle girl, with yet another move ahead of us, this time without the Army-sponsored moving company to deal with the mess for us. But even though I am absolutely terrified, I have to admit that I am actually looking forward to all these changes; after many disappointments in the past, we feel that it is time for us to move on, and I'm actually excited!! Indeed, being terrified and excited at once is an interesting mix of emotions, but I for once feel that I am definitely up to handling everything life is going to throw at me!

Unexpected life, just bring it on!!