Wednesday, December 31, 2014
We had a fantastic trip to China with Nanchang being our next to the last destination. The time in Nanchang was so emotional/critical/amazing that I feel I am still processing the details. My daughters asked that I not share the pictures of their time with their foster families and of course I will honor that. What I had not been prepared for was the impact it had on me and that is what I feel I am still working through. At some point, instead of showing their "reunions", which has become very popular among videographers/documentary makers/film makers, I will tell about the trip from my perspective. But that will come later.
When we arrived back home, my sister and nieces, along with my parents were there to greet us. It was bittersweet to return home, knowing there was still so much to see and do in China, but reality had to set back in.
My nieces were able to stay with us a few weeks in the summer and we took advantage of that time acting like tourists in our own city, enjoying the sights that we normally just speed by. Then before we could sit down, the summer was over and the girls had to go back to school on August 5.
This is their junior year which is hard to believe, even though I say it often, to actually write it down makes it more real than having lived it the last five months. This has been a difficult semester - course wise, as they both are taking physics, government, US history, then adding on pre-cal, statistics, AP art, makes my head swim, but they persevered and passed all their finals.
Now today is the last day of 2014, a time of reflection, I guess, but I don't think I will mourn the passing of this year. It has been a good year, but also very difficult, a lot has happened in the world that forces you to fight becoming cynical, there have been losses of those too young and others so unexpected, and with each passing year I feel more the effects of my own age on my body and know I have to work harder to accomplish the same things that were easier in earlier years.
For my daughters, I have immeasurable awe and pride in all they are able to accomplish, their kind and good personalities, their desire to give, rather than to receive. I tried to explain some of how I feel about them to my sister but did not do a very good job. I likened it to having a child who almost died and then relishing each milestone, recognizing that only because of the goodness of God, they were able to be here in this life to even have the milestone to face.
We talk a lot in our family about circles of friends and how one circle connects with another, in ways, initially you did not realize, but in retrospect you see. This year we celebrated 10 years of me being a mom and Grace being my daughter. 10 years.
10 years ago I never could have guessed where my life was going and had no clue just how good it could be, and it just gets better. I do catch myself holding my breath, fearful, knowing that the life I know can be shattered in an instant, and have to force myself to take a deep breath and live in the present time without borrowing trouble from the future, worries about things that may never happen.
To you, my readers, I wish for you an even better year in 2015, to find peace, love, good health, and good fortune, and to think of us often and remember us in your prayers.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Sunday, June 15, 2014
I think this is the very first time I've ever missed father's day and it is really hard to do especially if you have a father like mine, who deserves more than just one day to celebrate!
I have the kind of father that everyone is jealous of. My dad is kind and generous and fair to everyone. He has never met a stranger and everyone he greets gets his full attention and a sincere question of how they are doing.
He can work circles around me and others 1/4 his age.
He can get a bargain better than anyone.
He is a strong Christian who cares for his whole flock.
He rarely gets angry and you know you really messed up if he is.
He loves and treasures my mother more than anything except God, and right behind that is family.
Thank you father dear, for your patience, your kindness, and love. I'm so sorry to miss being with you today.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Thursday, June 12, 2014
We have finally made it to our destination, Nanchang. For the next 2 days we will be visiting my daughters' foster families. This will be a bittersweet time for all involved, to see someone you loved and cared for for so many years and then to be separated from them again.
Your prayers and warm thougts are appreciated for all involved. Thank you.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Friday, June 6, 2014
The story of the terra cotta warriors is pretty amazing. A farmer was drilling for a well and he was down in the hole sending out loads of dirt and did not realize that he had tossed the head of an ancient warrior made of terra cotta into the pile of dirt. When it arrived at the surface the other workers were so terrified they ran to the village for help from the authorities, leaving the farmer in the hole. The area he was digging is marked in the pit and just a slight adjustment 3 different ways and he would have missed them. There have now been 4 pits discovered, the first being the largest and the 4th being completely empty, as there was no time to produce any more warriors until the people who had been enslaved by the emperor rebelled and brought the end to that dynasty.
The pits are huge. I wish I could convert meters to yards quickly enough to remember just how vast they were. I just know it was a lot of football fields worth. Most of the warriors were destroyed by later uprisings and evidence of huge fires to destroy them is seen in blackened areas surrounding the warriors. No two warriors are alike and there are warriors who represent the generals, the charioteers, infantryman, archers, and horses. Looking down into the pit it's difficult to see the differences but some are presented on a higher level and you can see that even the size of the feet and the diameter of the ankles varies greatly, along with their hair which signifies their rank.
We also had lunch at one of the farmer's relatives homes, where he cooked the meal himself. It was very traditional and very delicious.
The craziest part of the day was at the end, after the tour, and our guide was so impressed with how spicy they liked their food, he wanted to take them to his favorite duck take away place. It was kind of like a deli counter on a busy street. The only things I recognized in the case were some feet of various birds. Our guide had them give the girls samples and then they started ordering, putting the stuff in bags, until I finally insisted we had enough and we carried off bags of very spicy duck necks, duck tongues, duck intestines, duck feet, octopus, and lotus root. There was no McDonald's, kfc, or pizza place in sight, so we headed back to the hotel to find the man who said he could order a pizza for me.
I knew they had one on their restaurant menu as I'd had a slice the day before, so we headed to the restaurant and the man in charge recognized us from the breakfast buffet. Annabel, whose just like her grandfather, asked if we could borrow some paper plates. First the man offered to send them to our room but once he recognized the bag, insisted we all eat in the restaurant so they could enjoy it easier.
It was a very kind thing to do and not something that happens often, I'm sure, allowing street food in a nice restaurant while your mother orders the cheapest thing on the menu. He reminded me that our room would have had a very bad odor this morning. Annabel insisted on bringing the leftovers to the room and hopes to eat them on the plane today.
Sent from Jerri's Yahoo Mail on Android
Thursday, June 5, 2014
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Monday, June 2, 2014
Saturday, May 31, 2014
We are taking a deep breath before the next leg of our journey and wanted to update you on the response to our request for help.
You saw the need, you answered the call and as a result we have 2 big boxes of pajamas for the 800 children in the orphanage at Xi'an. Between the money you donated and those you bought, we are taking over 200 pairs of pajamas! We also have about 30 tubes of diaper rash cream for this same orphanage. This work is done through a group called Caring for China's children.
We also have over 30 bottles of baby vitamins for the orphanage in Beijing run by Love Without Boundaries. The vitamins are necessary to get the most sick well enough to endure surgeries for cleft palate/lip repair, heart defects, and so many others. Many of the children are severely anemic when brought to the orphanage.
Our special thanks go to good friends, Jamie and Rebecca who donated their miles for our dallas to Chicago trip. To my dad who donated his miles for business class seats. To my niece Marcie for a wonderful all American send off meal. To my sister Lisa and nieces Gillian and Darcey and our neighbors Pete and Rachel for taking care of our dogs. To our church and members who are providing for the expense of shipping the items to the orphanages as well as funds for pajamas and vitamins.
To everyone who is saying a prayer for our safety.
We love you and thanks!
Friday, May 16, 2014
She was right. There were so many children and so many needs that the small amount of clothing, school supplies, and toiletries barely made a dent.
Before the trip to adopt Annabel, Grace and my nieces raised money to buy the children in the orphanage shoes. We also collected toothpaste, toothbrushes, yarn, and other items that were needed.
This time I plan to pack light again. There is a special need at the orphanage in Xi'an for summer pajamas for the babies, as well as diaper rash cream.
We want to help as many as we can so we are accepting gifts of new summer pajamas sized newborn to 3T, as well as diaper rash cream, to deliver to those who have not been adopted. If you are not in our area, but would like to make a donation to purchase these items, you can send it to my PayPal account, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any amount is appreciated and it will all go to help those who can't help themselves.
Saturday, May 3, 2014
Our trip is planned and the reservations are made! We are headed to China - soon. But we've had help getting there.
I continue to be amazed at the generosity and kindness of family and friends to the point that I'm at a loss for words.
Every kindness is noted and appreciated - starting with the people who buy our eggs (including those who paid for delivery, Robin). To those who have hired my girls to babysit so they will have spending money. To those who helped with my sale - both organizing and buying.
To those who generously donated their American Airlines miles, Rebecca and Jamie. They gave up their journey so we could take ours.
And for the donations from the people who want to remain nameless, but I know are watching our plans develop.
We thank you all for your help and you will travel in our hearts with us.
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Recently I walked with my daughters and my nieces to a store in the neighborhood. As we walked, it dawned on me that I was probably walking on the exact same sidewalk in front of the store that has been there since we walked to the exact same location as kids. The store has changed but it is the same route we knew by heart from a very early age.
That started me thinking - I work each day at the hospital I was born in. I drive the streets that my parents did from before I was born. I visit the house I grew up in. I live next door to that house! The schools I went to are still in the neighborhood. I look in daily on my classmates lives on Facebook. My church is still standing in the same place.
But it is more than that.
I could drive the route to my grandparents' home in my sleep if needed. I can show you the houses they lived in. I can show you the place where my parents met.
Of course I know my siblings and their children. Beyond that I know my cousins, my aunts, my uncles. Thanks to Facebook, I know my 2nd and 3rd cousins as if we still got to go to Grandmommy's house for visits.
I know my history from before I was born. I know the doctor's name that delivered me, my pediatrician's name, my dentist's name.
My whole life story can be remembered.
But for my children, we know none of that.
We don't know where they were born or who was there, because we do not know their birth families. We don't know if they have siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, or grandparents. We don't know if they were born at home, in a hospital, in the city or in a village in the country. We don't know any of the circumstances of their birth and some
thing that still makes me cry is the space on their birth certificates that asks for parents' name and it says "unknown".
Both my daughters were older when I adopted them, Grace was 6 and Annabel was 11. They have a history in China. They had streets they walked to go to the store, friends in the neighborhood, classmates. But because they were children, they don't know where these people or these neighborhoods are. They come from a city of four times as many as Dallas. How is a 6 year old or an 11 year old supposed to know where those places are?
But they need to look, they need to explore, they need to talk to people. They need to see familiar sights, smell the smells, taste the food. They need to reconnect with the foster families that loved them.
Will we even find any of those people from their past? I don't know because I'm not sure they want to find them.
What I do know is they need this connection with the past to face the future and that's all I know for sure.
Monday, April 14, 2014
Saturday, March 1, 2014
I'm having a good news/bad news kind of day.
The alarm went off at the usual time, 5:50. My foggy brain did a quick check for what day it was and I finally figured out it was Saturday. Good news, right? Bad news, I had to get up.
Grace is at an art competition today and had to be in Coppell at 7:15.
We made it, in spite of the fog and I decided to go in with her.
The teacher asked if I could wait a minute and he could tell me what time she would be finished.
Oh good news! She's in the first group that starts at 8 and should be through by 9!
Great, right? It's about a 40 minute drive from our house, so I just need to find a place to hang out for an hour or so.
Bad news? In my haste to get out the door, I did not really dress to hang out at Starbucks. My girls will cringe when they realize.
Good news - I'm attending an intermediate class on essential oils today.
Bad news? It's at our house at 10 this morning. I'm hoping no one wears their white gloves since I planned to clean after I dropped Grace off!
Sunday, February 23, 2014
The last couple of weeks have been hard and I'm thankful to say things finally seem to be improving.
A few weeks ago, Annabel got in the car and said something I had never heard her say, "I'm tired." I thought, no wonder, the basketball schedule had been grueling with 6 a.m. practices and games that lasted until 9 p.m. up to 5 days a week. I was tied too. Then a couple of days later she said it again. Both girls ended up home for 2 days with congestion, sore throat, etc in the middle of us having day after day of nasty weather that went from bad to worse.
We got back to our usual routine but I limited staying after school for activities. Then the next week, Annabel got up, teary eyed, a very rare sight, but I could not stay home with her because of work so I sent her on to school. When the family we carpool with called to say they were picking their daughter up early because she was sick I had her grab Annabel too and we headed to the doctor.
The possibility of mono came up and we went for blood work. I knew she was sick when she laid her head in my lap while we were waiting, something she had never done.
I couldn't stay home with her the next day either so, thankfully I have the world's best caregiver right next door, my mom. When the doctor called with the initial test results, it looked like mono for sure. I started to call my boss to explain that I might be out for 2 weeks with Annabel, but with a quick look at my calendar, I knew there was no way that could happen. The doctor called later to say the results for mono actually came back negative but keep her home another day and see if she bounces back.
The next day ended up with more bad weather and all the schools closed but ours so after getting Annabel situated, Grace to school, I ended up at work. By the weekend the weather got better so I let Annabel get out and enjoy the sun. On Sunday I was scheduled to be at a conference out of town, a once year opportunity that I've missed for the last 4 because I did not want to leave my girls. This time it was too late to cancel and the decision was made that I would go.
Monday and Tuesday her condition did not improve but I was sure if I could actually be home with her, I could get her well. Wednesday was very quiet and I was surprised at how badly she felt. I felt badly because it was the very first day I had gotten to stay with her, working on work, but at least I was there. On Thursday I decided we had to go back to the doctor, if for nothing else but a note to get her back to school after missing a week. We didn't get to see our doctor and the new one announced she was well and needed to get back to school. Really? She can't stay awake the whole day but we tried the next day and I was picking her up by 11, in tears because she felt so badly. I had to leave her with mom again and run back to work.
That weekend she began to complain about her legs hurting and we tried heating pads, ointments, oils, anything we could think of to help. Monday I was back at work but knew we had to do something and our doctor would not be back until Wednesday. Tuesday morning we went to the er. Everything I had read said this kind of pain was when you needed to seek help and by then I was getting fearful. Annabel has a congenital chronic illness and I was very concerned about that. Lots of tests later, with no specific diagnosis, we at least knew what it was not.
The next day I had to be back at work and left my parents in charge of taking her to her doctor, which was quite an experience for them all. More tests were ordered and a decision to try half days of school was reached. I'm glad to say she made them ok since I had to be at work. This weekend she has finally seemed like herself for the first time in 3 weeks. I've missed that terribly.
My girls have been sick before and both have had to have surgeries, but this was the first time there just didn't seem to be any improvement and there was nothing I could do. My heart goes to those dealing with this on a daily basis that goes on for months. I cannot imagine the pain of seeing your child in pain for so long.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Today's my birthday and in spite of my best efforts I can't get home as early as I wanted. I'm sitting in the Tampa, Florida airport having dinner in chili's by myself. Don't feel sorry for me being alone because it is only a temporary situation.
I've been to a conference on positive aging. Right now I feel like my brain is full of all the wisdom shared but the underlying theme of all the programs is that growing older is good or can be, and the biggest determinant of whether it is good is you, no life circumstances, no genetics, no riches, only you.
I'm not Pollyanna and an even worse pep talk giver, just ask Annabel (my advice to her consisted of the facts that they would probably lose but she was still expected to play).
One speaker talked about the need to find what we value and when we find that, we will work harder at taking care of that which we value. I like that.
What makes life harder is when we look at what others have and value it more than what we have.
My life is not perfect and I have my down times and the weather has not helped, but I have a good life with 2 amazing daughters, family and friends who love and care and I've reached an age where very little seems better than what I have.
Today is a bump in the road and dinner by myself, even on my birthday is no reason to grieve. I wish for those who are younger to find peace and value in what you have.
Sent from Jerri's Yahoo Mail on Android
Friday, February 7, 2014
I came dragging home tonight from work. It's been a rough week and by the time I pulled into our driveway, well I was spent. Before I could get out of the car my phone rang. It was Annabel, who has been very sick, calling to tell me to come to mom and dad's, rather than home. It wasn't until I got much closer that I saw the happy birthday streamers across the door.
Inside everyone was blowing horns, there were streamers, banners, and balloons, and a stack of presents. Inside one of this boxes was an incredible present from my girls, a Vera Bradley bag! Absolutely beautiful! Paid for by them! Borrowing a phrase from my grandmother, Lord I don't know what I've done to deserve all of this.
Then, even though that was more than enough, the doorbell rang and dinner was delivered compliments of my amazing niece, Marcie - lasagne, salad, and garlic bread! Delicious!
But wait, there's more - dessert! Homemade chocolate pie made by Marcie. And it was amazing! Very close to mom's, which is saying a lot!
They certainly know how to turn around a bad week!
Monday, February 3, 2014
I knew heartache and I knew loss. We were still trying to recover from the loss of my sister, but this sadness hit so deeply that the only thing I knew to do was to start promising things in hopes of her seeing some brightness in her future. Of course you have to understand, I know NO Chinese and she knew no English.
But one of those things I promised was a return trip to China. I'm not sure how I did it but I made her understand enough that we would come back some day, soon, maybe when she was 14.
The years went quickly from 11 to 13 and I realized that returning when they were 14 (both girls are the same age from March to July) could cause some serious problems. One being, we were flat broke. I was still trying to recoup from the adoption expenses, plus the ear surgeries, the this and the that that make up daily life with 2 pre-teens. The other big problem, in my mind, was that in China, if you are not adopted by the age of 14, you are on your own. The government and any sponsors are no longer responsible for you. I could not risk Annabel thinking that we were taking her back to the orphanage, that this had just been an extended trip. I had to make sure she knew she had a forever family that would never desert her and so I pushed the plans back to go when they were 16.
This year they will both be 16.
It's really not a surprise that they will be 16 as that is what usually happens after you are 15, but somehow I feel even less prepared than ever. And in the meantime, heritage tours have become big business. I did a google search just to be sure I wasn't making this up and ended up with 47,000,000 results!
A heritage tour usually consists of seeing most or some of the more touristy sites. If you were adopted from China, even as an older child, the chance you ever took a sightseeing vacation would be rare, so you probably only saw the city you are from. These trips generally start in Beijing and then proceed to see the Great Wall of China, the Terra Cotta Warriors, the panda preserves, among other things, and usually end with a trip to your birth city. Both girls are from the same city, so that helps.
Trying to narrow down the right agency to use for this trip has been difficult, recognizing it is probably our one shot at doing it. The Chinese government sponsors some trips and pay the in country costs for the adoptees. There are some trips that give you credit for one child and others that only allow the credit if the child is under 12.
Then there are the dates of the trips. I've been to China in July and in September and I can tell you that both are HOT and being from Texas I know what hot is. July in Texas means you stay indoors or rush from one air conditioned place to another via air conditioned cars. In China, if you are trying to tour, it is a lot of walking, climbing, driving, and finally resting in places that cool it considerably less than what you are used to. So those trips that are only in July and August are out, that part was easy.
There are a few with great reputations and everyone that goes on the trips loves them, but looking at the price, I'm pretty sure they are more of the Cadillac type of trip. We just need a good Honda Civic trip so I finally narrowed it down to 2. One trip both girls would be covered for in China travel, the other just one. Neither trip covers us returning to the city they are from, Nanchang, neither covers international airfare, and neither covers all meals, but they both cover all the same tourist spots for almost the same price. One has you traveling between provinces on planes and the other on overnight trains. I finally printed both itineraries and looked at them day by day and realized that the one that is a little cheaper has us seeing everything in about half the time that the other one takes. One memory that stands out from both trips is the extreme jet lag and realizing that we would basically be running all day every day helped me decide to rule that trip out.
So I have finally picked the tour company to see the tourist sites. Now I just need to pick the company to help us in our return to Nanchang. This normally is not a problem but we have 2 foster families we want to see and really don't care if we see the orphanage, or so I thought. Then I heard about some who visit the orphanage and it is turned into a great celebration and you are given the chance to see all your childrens' files that have never been shared before. Then both girls mentioned they might be interested in going there. One catch - it costs to visit the orphanage and not a small amount either, it varies from $350 - $600! For a visit! Then I thought we might do volunteer work there. That costs even more! It can run $700 - $900 to volunteer!!
Then we have another problem. Both girls were with foster families, but each family is completely different. One works to stay in touch and sends huge boxes of clothes and food for the holidays. The other has made contact maybe 2 -3 times in the last 5 years. I have no reason to think that it will be different when we are there, but it will surely cause some really hurt feelings. Blah.
So now I am trying to find a company that understands how delicate this visit will/might be, that we don't necessarily want to pay to see the orphanage, but would if it did not cost so much, and to do that, I have about 6 more companies to decide between. I keep trying to find that one that seems sensitive to what we might be facing. So far none have.
Oh I'm so confused! And don't even get me started on trying to find the international airfare. When I do a search, it can fluctuate between $1700 and $4200 each!
I know we are going, but I'm not sure how and when.
I'm wondering if there are still slow boats that go that way??
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Yesterday as I was trying to get ready for work, the static electricity in my hair was so bad I could not keep it out of my nose, eyes, or mouth. Out of desperation I grabbed my little jar of hair paste? Or is it glue? Regardless of the name, I proceeded to apply a liberal amount to control the flyaways, instead of the small amount that was recommended. As a result I could easily shape my hair into a DQ swirl or that of Kip's Big Boy. My first thought was to go back and wash it but there was no time so I grabbed a clippie and pulled it into an unattractive arrangement instead.
At work I was discussing the problem with a co-worker who mentioned the benefit of color in providing texture to her hair. An idea was planted.
It's been an unusual week as both girls have been sick and I've been dragging. I had put dinner in the crock pot before I left so at least that was taken care of pretty easily. I had bought some homeopathic medicine that my niece recommended and was feeling better than I had in days so I announced I was going to color my hair.
Usually I have Grace to accompany me on these quests but all she felt like doing was going back to bed so I started on my own with the color I had on hand, which ended up being a for highlights. I could not be deterred even when I realized the instructions were missing.
About the time I think I should wash it out Grace observed that I had missed a large portion of the back of my head. I slathered on some back there about the time I looked closely at the front. The color coming through was not necessarily human or at least not natural. I jumped in the shower, wrapped it up in a towel and went to tell the girls goodnight. I was trying to delay the big "reveal" as long as I could.
When the towel finally came off I stood there looking in the mirror horrified by what I saw - basically the crown of my head was the color of pumpkin souffle and the rest was about my usual shade. In a moment of panic I tried to decide if I should make an emergency trip to Walgreen then or wait until morning and then decide. By then I was too tired to go any further and hoped I would wake up to find it was a bad dream.
No such luck, so after I dropped the girls off for carpool I raced to Walgreen. Trying to pick a hair color from a box with no way of comparing it to your hair is really difficult. I finally "borrowed" a mirror from their hair accessories display and tried to make a good decision. I was also faced with choosing between a product that was $3.49 up to $14.99 so of course I chose the $3.49 box.
I hurried home, read the instructions, did the application, then waited. As I got in the shower I wondered where I could find a stylist who could rescue me that early if I ended up with another crazy color. The color included a deep conditioner which made it feel pretty good but when I used the shampoo my hair became a brillo pad. Oh dear, a whole new set of issues. After 6 pumps of conditioner I finally had it somewhat under control.
The result? I still see some pumpkin color but at least the rest isn't so bad.
Don't try this at home!
Friday, January 10, 2014
Back in October I reminded myself that I really should get started on Christmas because by the time Thanksgiving gets here, it's too late. Christmas always gets be here before I can even blink an eye. So I ordered some things for my girls, on line, on a special sale. I was feeling pretty good about my early start until they both needed what I had ordered, and quickly had to dig into my Christmas stash. The worse part was the clothes did not fit so I was actually in the negative because we had to run buy the things they needed then.
My intention was to buy more on line but.... ok there was never enough time at night to peruse websites to find the best prices, with the correct sizes in the color desired to actually hit the submit order button to get an early start. And shopping for clothes on line can be overwhelming!
So Thanksgiving came and we got to spend some great time with family but zero on shopping. That's ok I thought, we have no commitments for the first Saturday in December, I'll get a good deal of it taken care of then.
What I failed to factor in was an ice storm that would paralyze the city for the majority of the next week. The ice storm also impacted my brilliant planning to hold all my Christmas parties for the seniors that first week, so we entered the second week with me scrambling to reschedule those parties and by the time the weekend came all interest in shopping was gone and instead we just went to parties.
Not a problem, I work best under pressure, I still had one more Saturday and I knew I could do it.
On Friday night, Grace and I dropped Annabel off at a Christmas party, and even though I was somewhat under the weather, we hit the stores. We needed to buy a little something for everyone in our family, but I took mom's brilliant idea and looked for a long sleeve t-shirt for each person. I know it's not much but something everyone could use and that was my goal. We filled up our buggy at one store then pressed on to the next. In less then two hours we had a lot of presents bought.
The next morning, Saturday, my goal was to finish for my girls and my parents. I set the alarm early and when it went off so did the balance in my head. The room seemed to be spinning one way and my head the other. Unless I was laying flat I felt like a gyroscope. I took medicine, I used essential oils, I tried deep breathing but nothing was working. I finally could raise my head just enough to put in a quick order with Amazon, but it did not complete my list.
By Monday I had developed something I had never had before - a toothache. I already had an appointment with the dentist to finish up a crown and by the time I got in his chair I was crying from the pain. I'm generally not a wimp but this was fierce. By the time I left they had deadened my mouth for the third or fourth time, handed me a prescription for antibiotics and pain pills, and with my hair and shirt sopping wet from tears, tried one more time to go shopping for my girls.
It was not a successful excursion and I ended up at the drug store instead.
Somehow I managed to get out the next morning and finished as quickly as I could before the pain pill wore off and thanks to everyone pulling together, we managed to host our family party that night, none of which could have happened without all that Grace and Annabel did.
Do you see why I was so determined to get presents for them? As well as the rest of my family? They are always there to rescue me.