For as long as I can remember, I have been a survivor. Not only that, I am tough to the point where I am cold. Being tough to that extreme comes out of necessity to survive. When RA and Fibromyalgia came into my life, i never imagined that would mean lots of medication, prescription anti-inflammatories, and even muscle relaxers. The pre-RA and pre-fibro me would have been surprised to see me give in because of the pain. When I was first diagnosed, I thought that I would never allow myself to rely on a multitude of medications to feel better and then the pain got worse and I really didn’t have much of a choice.
None of us really have a choice when chronic illness and painful conditions like RA come into our lives. I remember my refusal to take methotrexate because of how strong it was. When I was finally convinced that I had to take medication to get better, I thought that plaquenil was not as bad as methotrexate. However, the plaquenil did nothing but worsen my vision. Then, where was Lyrica which I thought would magically make me better because it was the first FDA approved medication for fibromyalgia. The only thing it did was make me gain weight.
The more the disease progresses, the more medications I was on. I convinced myself that as long as I wasn’t getting any help for the pain, I was doing better than most RA and fibro patients. Then, a rear end collision resulted in two herniated discs and one bulging disc and a lot of neck and back pain. I started taking more and more medication including a prescription anti-inflammatory and a muscle relaxer. It made me very sad because I was not in control anymore.
Three years after my diagnoses, I have not been able to achieve the one thing I wanted to achieve: remission. Sometimes, I think remission is a mystical thing like the Holy Grail or something more realistic, like an exclusive country club. Maybe it’s because I have overcome so much in my life, I thought that I could overcome this. Some things are just out of my control.
The only thing I have been able to do is to redefine normal. Maybe I am delusional here or maybe, it’s my way of coping. Those of us that live with chronic diseases, life becomes about ups and downs. We no longer see life as normal and our lives become about chronic illness, medication, survival and necessity. I stopped long ago wondering what I did wrong to deserve this fate.
I sometimes compare living with chronic illness like a walk in the woods. When you first venture out, you don’t really know what the path looks like. You soon find out that there are many different areas, some requiring you to be more careful and some that you can cross with ease. As you walk, you never really quite certain what lies ahead. Living with a disease like rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia takes a lot from you and you have to decide daily how you will manage life in order to survive out there in world that’s “normal.”
The morning, I asked myself how I ended up talking a handful of pills every morning. I had to out of necessity and I wanted to be a survivor. None of us expect to give up our dreams because of chronic illness and we keep fighting until we can’t fight anymore. One day, I woke up and methotrexate, prescription anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxers were a part of my life. I wasn’t in control anymore.
I don’t feel normal especially in a world full of normal people. I hate that when the brain fog kicks in I can’t do my job or that I appear incompetent because I can’t think or speak correctly or keep myself from making mistakes. It is hard being chronically ill because you have to spent so much time trying to be normal and your life becomes all about just making it through the day.
What happened the dreamer I once was? What happened to person who had so much to give? RA and fibromyalgia happened. Now, life is about trying to get as much rest as I can so that I can get through the next flare-up. When did this become normal? This isn’t about normail; it’s about necessity and survival.
I know that I have been fortunate. My RA, as my doctor notes, is moderate. I suppose that makes me lucky even though it doesn’t always feel that way. I know that I am going to get worse and sicker and it’s taken me a long time to accept this even after accepting that I had to co-exist with RA and fibro. It doesn’t mean that while I accept it, it doesn’t get the better of me. Anyone with a chronic illness can relate. I have never been a fan of pity parties but we all need them once in a while.
Recently, I was told that if I start talking about my brother’s illness and death that I would get closer to healing. The first post I wrote was about my brother’s diagnosis and this post will be about what loss meant to me. What I decided when I planned on writing these posts is that I would just write and let the words flow as honestly as they could.
This picture was taken when my brother was about age two – maybe younger. It is part of a family picture we took when I was about five years old. Oddly enough, I remember when we took the family picture. My brother looks like my toddler – the curls and all. As a matter of fact, the first time Elliott saw this picture he thought it was a photo of him.
Not many people know how hard the loss of a sibling is and unless you have experienced it, you cannot even begin to imagine it. It leaves your life forever changed and affected in ways you can never get back. The stages of grief that are so often discussed are unique when it comes to sibling grief. This is because every sibling relationship is different and unique in its own way. Sibling grief forces you to look at the past and the present all at once. You know that a future with that person is no longer possible and that pain is harder than anything imaginable.
I know it is normal to be angry at the circumstances. The anger comes and goes as do all the other feelings. The anger creeps up on you when you least expect it to because special events such as birthdays, they can leave you feeling the extreme pain of your loss. I am constantly bogged down by the survivor guilt. This is because when you are kids are taught that you are the same as your siblings. If they get something, you get something. If they don’t, they don’t either. It is hard to be privileged when you sibling isn’t here anymore. It is hard knowing your sibling is not going to experience falling in love, getting married, having children, buying a home, etc. Mostly, I am not sure why it was him and not me or another of my siblings. I constantly ask “why him?”
Then there are the regrets – these go without saying. Siblings have a way of fighting and still managing to love each other at the same time. I loved my brother and when we were kids, I defended him from anyone and everyone. When we were adults, we had a complicated relationship. When he got sick, I wanted to do what I did when we were kids – I wanted to protect him and I couldn’t. He was so weak and vulnerable and my big sister instincts kicked in. I wish that you we fought less and spent more together. However, I am grateful for the time we did have and the opportunity to forgive and to say goodbye. My brother looked up to me because he thought I was strong and that I had it all together. He died believing the same thing. Sometimes, I wish he knew the real me but other times, I am glad he didn’t.
The hardest and most difficult thing I feel is that death has become reality. We can lose anyone at any time. I worry about my mom, my other siblings, my kids, my nieces and nephews, etc. My brother was 31 when he died and I understand all too well that there is such a thing as dying too young. Life can be so darn short.
When people ask what the grief is like, I tell them losing a sibling is like losing a limb. It is a part of you that you will never get back. What have learned, however, in the past seven months, is that no matter how much it hurts, you start to understand that the person you loved is gone and no amount of hurt or tears can bring that person back. I know that the longer he is gone, the more we heal. The healing part is the hard part. Healing means we move on and in a way, it feels like we are being disloyal.
Someone recently told me that more we talk about things; we are a step closer to healing. That is what I want more than anything in world. My brother’s death has been the hardest obstacle I have ever had to come. Everything is a reminder that he is gone and it is hard to keep going when you feel that life can’t be normal anymore. I have talked about my feelings about what how I felt when my brother got sick, his death, and how I have felt since then. What I have not talked about is the disease itself, the toll it took on him and all of us, and what led to these feelings.
I remember the day that I found out my brother was in the hospital. It was first week in November. My sister called to tell me and I was angry at my mom and him for not letting us know what was going on. I went to the hospital to see him and he refused to let me know what was going on with him. I left the hospital angry at him for shutting me out. I was angry at him the second time I went to see him the hospital but I didn’t show it because I couldn’t begin to imagine what he was going through especially with the doctors telling us they suspected stomach cancer. I was scared for him and angry at him at the same time. He was shutting us out when he needed us the most. He was also in a lot of pain and his body was retaining water because of the tumors. He was in really bad shape and I wish to God that I had been more sensitive to this rather than being angry that he had shut me out.
My brother shut everyone out the first couple weeks before his diagnosis came out. We did not know the reality of the situation until the words “peritoneal mesothelioma” were said out loud to us. I did not believe it because there was no way my brother who had never worked in an asbestos-related industry could have developed this disease. It was like this cruel fate and I remember saying to my sister that we were lucky up until this point. The confirmation of my brother’s diagnosis came two days before Thanksgiving and so started a steep uphill battle for my family where the chances of us coming out on top were small.
The nine hour surgery to remove the cancer took place the day before Thanksgiving. My brother’s diagnosis was screaming at us, “Abandon all hope.” We all wanted to give up and let fate take its course. We didn’t know what we supposed to do and it was like all my siblings and my mother were looking to me for the answers. I was always the last one to give up fighting when something hard came our way, and I didn’t give up very often. I was giving up and losing hope and in a way, they felt like if I gave up, all hope was lost.
Someone had to put a stop the horrible reality were in at the moment and with everything going on in slow motion, someone had to do something and something had to change. I remember those long nights pouring myself into research and those early mornings being on the phone trying to find someone to help my brother. His diagnosis was rare with less than 300 reported cases a year. It was a diagnosis where the chance of remission was small but I wanted my brother to beat all the odds and go into remission.
We all became like robots just trying to make it through the day and spending our evenings at his side. My mother never left his side. There were only two instances for that entire month that she left the hospital. In the first instance, she left for only two hours and I had to drag her out of the hospital and the second instance was the night before my brother’s battle ended.
The hardest part was watching my brother who was once strong turn into someone weak and vulnerable. Watching him turn into that person made me so angry at the world. Within a few hours after the surgery, my brother was on a ventilator. A week later he was off of it. Then, he was back on it and then, he had a trache put in. Seven days after the trache went in, my brother was gone. Every time we felt hopeful, our hopes became shattered. We were angry and we didn’t even know who to blame. Fate was being so cruel to him and us.
I would visit my brother in the hospital every evening. I would sit next to him and promise him that if got past the hurdle he currently in, things would start to look up. I promised him that I was not leaving a stone unturned so that he would get the best treatment possible. I also promised him that he and I would have a better relationship after all was said and done.
The one moment that stands out for me is when I told him that a year from now, he would look at this experience and wonder how he got through it. He told me, “No.” I told him that he would be with us a year from now, and he again told me, “No,” he wouldn’t. My brother knew that his days were outnumbered and the hardest part was even though I knew he knew better than I did, I didn’t want to know. Every time, I would tell him about a procedure the doctors were considering, he would tell me to stop. When we discussed the dialysis, he told us he had enough, but we kept going. I hate what we put him through in order to try to save him. He was dying and he was the only one accepting it. He was put though so much but the battle was lost before it even began.
Every day, we prayed for a miracle but there was no miracle in sight. His diagnosis and his prognosis screamed at us: “Abandon all hope.” I didn’t want to. I was the only one fighting against fate and when his battle was nearly over that Monday morning and it took every bit my strength to tell the doctors to go ahead and stop the blood pressure medications. In the early hours of December 20, my brother slipped into a coma and the doctors told us he would not come back to us. At that point, the only thing keeping my brother alive was the blood pressure medications and the ventilator.
I had convinced myself that my brother would go into remission while every other member of my family understood he was dying. My ability to be strong and to not back down was my downfall. If I had abandoned all hope, his death would have been easier for me to bear. Despite that experience, I am glad that I fought for my brother in the way that I best knew how. I advocated for him when he desperately needed someone to do that for him. For that, I don’t have any regrets.
American Heritage Dictionary defines “acceptance” as the act of accepting or belief/agreement in something. Acceptance is our agreement to experience a situation or to follow a situation, process or condition (even if negative or uncomfortable) without attempting to change it or walk away from it. Often times, we do this because there is no available option to us.
In the past three years, acceptance has been something that has been thrust on me more times than I can imagine. Acceptance came to me when realized that I was chronically ill. Self-acceptance came to me a few months ago when I realized how important it was to love myself in order to understand that I could truly be happy despite chronic illness and despite events that life thrust upon me in the recent year. The hardest acceptance that I have had to deal with is the loss of my brother.
Acceptance of Chronic Illness
I have been very fortunate since my diagnoses of rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia to get to know so many people including book authors who suffer with chronic disease and spoke up about it, fellow bloggers blogging about similar frustrations and struggles, and members of the health communities I advocate for who are dealing with similar daily struggles. About a year after my diagnoses, I came to the realization that acceptance was about today, the present – not the past and not the future I had to put the past behind me and start to focus on a future that involved living with chronic illness. I learned that struggling with chronic illness was a one day at time process.
I think the most important thing I learned is that acceptance is not about failure. It is about understanding your limitations and coping with those losses because they change on any given day. One day, your pain can be a ten and you can hardly get out of bed and another day, it can between a 2 and 3 and you can get a lot done.
Acceptance doesn’t mean we give up. It means that our plans change and that we welcome these changes. When RA and fibro came into my life, I was a really busy working mom who had planned on attending law school and I would have been done or close to done by now. It took me a long time to accept that my plans had to change and it was only when I accepted that, things started to look up for me. I enrolled in an online university and started working on my master’s degree in legal studies. I also started advocating, first for arthritis and then for fibromyalgia.
Just like anyone faced with a chronic illness diagnosis, I went through all the stages: denial, anger, fear, grief and finally acceptance. Through acceptance, I learned that managing my condition meant finding it in me to be strong again because I had many mountains to climb. I think that once I realized that my life had changed and there was nothing I could do to go back, I moved forward. Three years ago, you could not have convinced me that acceptance of chronic illness was possible. Yes, there have been negative things about living with the disease and even with who I was then and who I am now. However, I learned to be confident enough to truly believe that my life could still be rewarding and meaningful even with chronic illness.
After my brother died, I found myself questioning everything in my life. I had spent two years riding the waves of rocky marriage and trying to figure out who I was in the process. My brother’s death sent me to a screeching halt and into the reality that things had to change. I learned that there was a lot I had to change about myself and that started with self-acceptance through loving me and being happy with who me was. It took me a long time and a lot of soul searching to get there.
For a long time, I just kept going with whatever life threw at me. My brother got sick and I starting making medical decisions that my mother couldn’t make. Then he passed away and I started to deal with the aspects of his funeral, the medical bills, estate documents for the little that he had, and then a lawsuit. Throughout all this, I held my grieving family together. I didn’t allow myself to grieve and if I grieved, I did it all alone. At the same time, I was dealing with a failing marriage and I felt so very alone.
I leaned to God to help me get through this. When all was said and done with my brother’s estate and other issues I was dealing with, I had to give myself permission to heal. Here I was grieving my brother’s death and my failed marriage and I didn’t know which one was priority. I ended up walking away from my marriage and I started to focus on myself and my kids. The hard part was that I knew that I was not the only one grieving my brother and my failed marriage. My kids were also grieving. I knew that something had to change in order for all of us to heal. So, I put a halt on everything in my life and focused on my children. They were my number one priority and nothing else was important.
It took me many months but I learned to accept with who I was now even if meant that I was weak. I had to admit to myself that I was human and I was allowed to hurt. That is when I finally allowed for myself to fall apart and really feel what I had lost. I leaned on my family, my friends and God for guidance. I wasn’t alone and I wasn’t weak just because I was hurting.
This experience taught me that acceptance was there like a default setting in me. I had to learn to remove the layers on top and that meant figuring out all the things I didn’t accept about myself. I started to remove those layers. I also focused on myself and my beliefs. I had to know who I was and what I believed in order to even start accepting myself. Taking an honest look at myself was hard but I knew that I had to be better person and truly accepting myself was the only way. I looked at how harshly I judged myself, my feelings of guilt for the things I couldn’t change, and how I could actually motivate myself to accept who I was. It has been a process but hardest part is trying to make sense of my brother’s death. I do accept that he is gone but I don’t know what it is I am supposed to do with that.
Acceptance of Grief and Death
When it comes to the loss of a loved one, many of us can attest to the feelings of wanting acceptance and only getting resignation. I have been told repeatedly that acceptance doesn’t mean that I forget or that I won’t be sad, but it means that things will get better. It has taken me a long time to get here but I finally understand what happened and that there is nothing I can do to change it. I couldn’t change it then and I can’t change it now.
I know that I am very grateful for having had the opportunity to say goodbye – we all are. However, it doesn’t make the pain of losing him any easier. My brother has been gone almost seven months and I feel grief every day of my life. I have gone on with my life but I don’t feel normal. We were seven siblings and even when we had our moments; we always knew we were seven siblings and the reality that we that we are no longer seven siblings hurts really bad.
All I know is that the death of a loved one changes you forever. Everything about me has changed – mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I question everything about life now and while I understand it is a process of grief, I wish that I didn’t have to go through it. Mentally, it is not something that I really can’t wrap my mind around. Emotionally, I feel like I am stuck in these feelings and there is no way out. Spirituality, I accept my brother’s death but I feel like there has be something more for me religiously and spiritually and I don’t know what that is. It is like I am stuck and I can’t move.
I am trying every day to accept what has happened here and what I am supposed to make out of it. I know that the answers come with acceptance but it is been almost seven months since we lost my brother and I understand that it’s normal to be angry, to feel sad, to cry and even to grieve. I know that this is an emotional and spiritual wave that I have to ride and while some waves are small, others are pretty big. I just have to hold on until the storm has passed.
I keep this serenity prayer nearby so I can look at it when I find myself doubtful about acceptance of my illnesses, myself and my brother’s death. It is reminder to me that there are things that I cannot control and that even when it is hard, I have to accept them.
The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr (1937)
GOD, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can and wisdom to know the difference.
Living ONE DAY AT A TIME; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with Him forever in the next.
In “Take Me Home from the Oscars,” TV makeover expert and fashion consultant Christine Schwab was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in her early 40s. Because of the line of work she was in, she learned to hide the debilitating pain she was in. Before her diagnosis, she lied to everyone in her life, including her husband, the former Universal Studios president of television distribution, about how much she was dealing with and how much of struggle her health was. After her diagnosis, her husband was her number 1 support. The two of them even left the Academy Awards in 1995 due to Christine’s RA symptoms and pain.
She hid her pain for many reasons but mostly due to a childhood where she was taught to appear flawless regardless of what she was going through. Growing up, she was told that she always had to be “neat and clean,” and she took this with her in a career. Had RA not come into her life, there wouldn’t be an issue. She writes, “But when disease struck, arthritis marched over everything, not caring what it destroyed.” After years of trying to find a treatment plan, her dedication finally pays off when she finds a treatment plan that allows her to focus on her career.
The number of people with rheumatoid arthritis is about 1.5 million and about 46 million people have some form of arthritis. For the most part, it is celebrities that feel the need to hide such an ailment because of the stigma associated with the disease.
For Christine, this book is her way of saying, “I am not hiding anymore.” It takes her nearly twenty years to get to this point but she is courageous enough to admit that RA has had its effects on her. I think it is important to note Christine’s journey isn’t just about living with RA; it is also about the stigma that we associate with the disease – the idea that RA causes disfigurement and disability. Further, living with chronic illness in this day and age means that we appear normal even though we don’t feel normal. It takes an emotional toll on person in order to cover up a disease and to survive out there in the real world. Anyone with lupus, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, or any other invisible illness can attest to this.
I can personally relate. While some of my coworkers know I have RA and fibromyalgia, I have never allowed it to be a weakness and I would never tell my employer. Believe me, there have been days where I can’t even take the steps to the second floor of my office building and I get weird looks for taking the elevator one floor. It has taken me a long time but I am starting to come to terms with RA and fibro in my life. It hasn’t been easy and it definitely isn’t something that happened overnight. I hope that is something that I can someday have the courage not to hide as I focus on my career. I don’t hide it because I am embarrassed. I hide it because I don’t want special treatment nor do I want to be looked at as incapable. That is probably similar to what Christine went through.
“Take Me Home from the Oscars” is Christine’s personal story about courage in a society that doesn’t accept those who are sick in a healthy world. Christine makes a choice to stand up and speak up for the many who struggle from the very same disease that has wrecked havoc on her life.
My brother would have turned 32 on Saturday. As many of you know, we lost him on December 20, 2010. That was the day his battle with peritoneal mesothelioma ended. It is going on seven months without him and we are still grieving. I suppose there is no timetable for grieving but losing a sibling is like losing the past and the future all at once. It is also like losing a limb; it’s a part of you will never get back.
When someone is a part of your life as long as you can remember, your identity is based on having them there. They are a part of what defines you and they offset you through their similarities and differences. Siblings loan each other strengths and when one dies, that strength is lost. That strength is what we as surviving siblings identify with. You have to learn to live your life without that strength and it is like having to grow through the grieving process.
Then, there is the loss of the future. You have not only lost your sibling but you have lost the future you thought would have had with them. You go on with your life and you always realize that your sibling is not there. Every event in your life matters and you wish your sibling was there to know about it.
Sometimes, I feel guilty that he is gone and I am still here. I don’t understand why it was him and not me or anyone else. I know that I have nothing to feel guilty about but I just do. There are times where I also wonder if there was anything I could have done to change the outcome. Could I have pushed him to visit the doctor more often or could I have talked to him more often so I would have known about his symptoms early on? Again, I am not sure that it would have mattered but it is my way of wishing I could just turn back time to a year ago when he was still here with us.
I have been trying to lean to God when I am feeling like this. I feel helpless despite the fact I truly understand that he is gone. It feels like nothing really matters any more even though I know that a lot goes. When we were kids and even adults, we loved and hated each other at the same time. That feeling is normal for siblings but it does not mean that wishing that you could have done something different doesn’t make you feel so helpless.
I want more than anything to understand what happened even though the answer isn’t that easy. All any of us want is answers. The truth is – we may never have answers. How my brother, who never worked in an asbestos related industry, was exposed to asbestos is unknown. How come he developed the disease and not anyone else? See, asbestos cancers are, in a way, man-made cancers. The only way to get mesothelioma is through direct exposure with asbestos.
My brother’s ordeal isn’t one I want to remember but because there is a lawsuit, I have to remember it. I remember those days sitting at my computer after coming home from hospital and just typing because I knew that if I didn’t do that, I would forget. Who would want to remember? I posted a page that you can get to from the tabs above talking a little about my brother, his diagnosis, and his passing away. I also included links to the posts I wrote while he was going through this ordeal.
I want what happened to my brother not to be brushed away as if it wasn’t significant. When I made a decision to start writing about his illness, I didn’t know that he would pass away nor did I know that my family would be filing a lawsuit. I just knew that his story had to be told. Even though his story isn’t any different than others who died from peritoneal mesothelioma, it was unique to him and to our family. At the time, I just knew that I had to find a way to remember and if I did that the best way I knew how. I wrote about it. I didn’t know that it would be the way that I could speak up for him or honor his memory.
My brother didn’t deserve what happened to him and his family is entitled to answers. Moreover, my brother would want me to make something positive out of this experience. If I can educate one person or help one family to understand this disease if they are stricken with it, then my brother’s death would not have been in vain. See, I am an advocate, that’s all I know to do.
Lately, I have been having dreams about the past – a past I worked so hard to put behind me. I read that this type of dream indicates repeating past behavior and often times, it relates to behavior that was wrong in the first place. Here is the thing, in my dreams; I am back in that situation. It is something I worked so hard to put behind and I am sure why I am feeling so attached to it all of a sudden. I am not sure how what is happening now has anything to do with what happened then. I don’t get it. I am not the same person I was back then. In my dreams, however, I am stronger than I was back then. I respond in a way that I couldn’t at the time. I respond as the person I am now, not the person I was back then.
The only thing similar about that time and now is that I was grieving. I lost my father in 1995 and from 1995-2000, I was dealing with in an abusive marriage, so I desperately needed my father. Now I am dealing with some other stuff, again marriage issues, and while I am grieving my brother’s loss, I don’t necessarily need him to protect me as I needed my father back then. I just miss him terribly and all these other issues in my life make the grieving process even more difficult.
Now that I look at the situations, they are not really that much different. I think that even though I have matured greatly since the past experience, I am still dealing with the same emotional struggle that I dealt with then. I am not really sure what to make of the situation. All I can do is focus on not making the same bad choices I made back then. I think that our unconscious minds help us to be wiser and this dream, if anything, is guidance to make better choices.
This morning’s horoscope took me by surprise though.
Blocks and obstacles, which you may have reached with regard to the projects you’re involved with, might cause you to wonder if you have what it takes to get it done at all. This is OK but don’t get caught up in doubting your abilities. Step back, be objective and work out the most practical and efficient ways to get past the obstacles and attain the results you want. Don’t let your insecurities get the best of you.
Insecurities? The story of my life.
My master’s degree is done and at this point, I have no plans at this to further my education. The only plans I have is to start paying off my student loans and spend more time with my kids. This past weekend was just a start.
On Friday evening, we headed out towards to Fairport Harbor, Ohio. We spent the night at a nearby Holiday Inn Express which, by the way, was an amazing stay. We spent most of the evening at the hotel pool and I had to drag my kids out at 10 pm because I was tired. I was the only one tired.
The next morning, we had breakfast the hotel, and then spent some more time at the pool. After checkout, we drove up to Lake Farm in Kirtland where my toddler found himself in love with horses. I am surprised he didn’t ask to take one home.
Just a side note, when I put the address for Lake Farm in the TomTom, the GPS could not locate it. I ended up doing a search for Lake Farm which apparently, according to Richard (yes, I named my GPS), is on an “unnamed road.” I got the GPS about a month ago and I have absolutely loved every moment of having this thing. I especially love the part where I don’t get lost and I am always on time. Yes, unfortunately, I get lost a lot and I am always late for everything. In 2003, I was late for my own college graduation. I was putting my high heels as I was heading up to the stage. Okay, so back to my weekend.
My toddler absolutely loved the horses. There was a pony ride which he refused to get on when we first arrived at the farm but once he made friends with all the friendly horses, he became a riding pro.
My eleven year old doesn’t like pictures so this is the only picture I was able to get of him (aside from the one with his back turned).
They both had lots of fun as we visited the barnyard, the dairy polar, the horse arena and so much more. My kids and I had a blast.
After that we headed back to Fairport Harbor where we planned to enjoy their Mardi Gras festival and spent the rest of the day the day at the Fairport Harbor beach. It is one of my favorite beaches – mostly because it’s clean – sorry that is the mom in me. There is a beach that is 20 minutes from our house but it is absolutely filthy – cigarette butts and other garbage in the sand – yeah, I don’t go there. I drive over an hour and a half away for a beach because I would rather have a clean place for my kids to play than worry about saving gas.
We enjoyed the Mardi Gras festival for a couple of hours and then spent a couple hours on the beach. Fairport Harbor also has this really cool Lighthouse Museum and the old lighthouse has 69 steps that lead to the top with a spiraling staircase – only 69 steps. Did I mention the 69 steps in the spiraling staircase leading to the top? Yes, I walked those 69 steps and I had to stop to rest before I made my way back down. Blame it on RA and being out of shape.
Let’s just say that by the time evening rolled around, we were all glad to be heading home. It was a wonderful but very busy and tiring Saturday. Sunday, we spent most the day lounging around but attended a fireworks show at night. We did leave briefly – I dropped my older one off at a friend’s house Sunday afternoon and my toddler and I spent a hour watching airplanes take off at a local airport. We had to watch them from the road behind the airport because no one is allowed to go further than check in at airports anymore. On Monday, I was not leaving the house for anything. So, here we meet again Tuesday – just know – I don’t hate you as much as I hate Monday.
Happy Fourth everyone! We have had a busy few days here. I started my fourth of July weekend early and took Friday off. So lots of fun all around – details to follow.