When one is not in the nest...

We move on with our daily duties

as we should

We think about the one that is not here every day

as we should

We do our homework, we clean our house, we eat our meals

as we should

We answer questions from the one's too young to understand what is going on

as we should

We worry.

as we should

I saw a quote today:

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.
I know our children are not "ours" yet it is so hard when one isn't 'in the nest'. When you feel helpless although you feel you have much help to give. We hope for a glimmer of the one we miss, we dwell on last words.
I worry.
as I should
I love you, Megan. And I miss you.

© erikalandon 2012

Finally, A Light-Hearted post - Mamma Confessions

A friend of mine over at Four Plus an Angel posted a sweet mom-confessions post.

 And from there I found a blog I had never read before. I love her honesty. That she says the things that we are probably thinking, but may not want to admit...

All work and no play makes mommy go something something

My confessions?...

I may have been known to, in times of mommy-fatigue:

Let my toddler eat crackers that had just been put into the trash, because he could reach them, and he was eating and needed the calories. (yes, this is save for posterity in a picture...)

Drive away from the house, reaching the end of our street before looking back to make sure I had remembered all the kids...

Buckle my babies' bucket style carseats into the van, only to find out about half a mile down the road that one of them was not clicked in properly as his carseat fell out of the base when I hit the brakes. (thank goodness my quick-thinking daughter caught him!)...

To thank God on some days that I worked outside of the home, because at work there are no kids telling me every five seconds to "mom, look at this!"...

Convince the kids that cereal for dinner is really a fun thing to do because I just didn't have the energy to cook...

But the biggest one: and this was a combined effort of my whole family:

I leave for work at 4am, on this day my husband left for a meeting at 6am, and around the same time my older son and daughter left for their days' activities. None of them remember who left first, but at about 7:30 am I got a frantic call at work from my (then) 6 year old children... "mommy, we're home alone and scared." Yep! I raced home from work, my son raced home from where he was. We got home at about the same time... The kids were fine, and had gotten their own breakfast, but were happy to see us, and wondered why we had all left them home alone...

© erikalandon 2012


Continuation... Still feels like a Parenting Fail...

She's been out of my home for 3 weeks now. I feel the clock ticking. I see the hands of time move. I wish she knew how precious this time is.

We have talked through Facebook, she has contacted others in this same way. Thank goodness she has talked to her big brother. I hope she talks to him more. When he went through his teenage rebellion she was so lost without him, I hope she understands that he is the same without her. They have always been so close.

Yes, my heart breaks knowing every day that I will not be seeing her when I get home; but the hurt runs even deeper knowing how worried her big brother is as well.

My first response to her was to let her know:  "It's not too late to turn it around..."

I know this. I know how strong she is. I know what things she can accomplish. But I also know that it get's harder as time goes on. Ohhhh do I know this all-too-well. Yes, from personal experience. She feels like she needs time to think things through and figure out what to do.

So, in looking back on my "Epic Parenting Fail", I have made a few notations in my mental parenting book. (after all, I've got two more to get through this...)

Although I love my eldest daughter more than is possible to put into words, I realize now that I let some things slide:

Even as they grow, even as they shy away from personal connections with parents, even as they scream that they don't need it, remember to hug your children every day.

One thing:
I used to come home from work, tired and worn down, knowing in my head the list of things I needed to accomplish before I could let my head hit the pillow. Megan would often be watching the little one's for a bit after she got home from school since they got home an hour after her. And most days she would have cleaned up, or at least straightened up the house. I excpected that this be done, as this is part of being a family and living in a home. Often, though she would complain that I never aknowledged this. Yet, I always tried to point out something she had done well.

 Imagine the different way those words could have felt to her had I taken just a moment to hug my eldest daughter. To kiss the top of her head and tell her how important she is/was to me...

I would give anything to be able to do just that...

And another thing:
My eldest children are from my first marriage. Their father and I divorced when they were about 5 and 8. I was young, mid-twenties, and started dating again. I was working two jobs, raising two kids, and I thought it was a good idea to add a romantic interest into that mix? Geeze. What was I thinking, right? There came a point when one relationship became serious. I thought I was doing it right; the kids were not introduced to him until I felt it was serious enough to be "forever"... But I should have seen that MY forever may not have been everyone else's forever... We did marry, he was great with my older kids; seemed to embrace a father-type role, and eventually (less than a year after we married) we welcomed our triplets to our family.

Sounds great, right? Well, love, or percieved love, is blind.

A month before Megan turned 17, my husband left the home. He had been her stand-in dad for 10 years. When he left, I actually felt it could be a positive thing, as our household could be more serene. But for a girl who was about to turn 17, about to start her senior year; a girl trying to figure out how to grow to an adult, this was a huge blow. 'He was my dad for 10 years mom, and he just walked away...' Add to that the fact that the people in his family that, in her words, 'so easily act like she never existed', especially as she celebrated her 17th birthday a month later. I'll never forget the pain in her voice as she told me how much it hurt that the woman she had called Grandma for 10 years didn't even aknowledge her birthday. 'Not even a card, mom. Not that I expected much, but I thought she'd send a card...' In my eyes, these were normal feelings in the face of a family split. Now, I wish I had gotten her in to talk to someone that was removed from the family. I am not all-knowledgable; I thought I could help with my talks of strength and taking the lemons life gives you and making lemonade, etc. In hindsight, I wish I had taken her to a professional to just talk out her feelings.

Imagine the pain I could have spared my daughter had I not remarried. I don't fully regret getting remarried; I am so lucky to have the children, our triplets, that came out of that relationship. But, as I start again as a single mom, that's how it will stay. Me and the kids. They do not need to be exposed to my romantic relationships, they do not need multiple people to come in and out of their lives.  Their dad is part of their lives, and by working together I am certain that they can reap the benefits of a mother and a father even while we are in separate households.

There are more regrets, more things I will change in my parenting style, but those two are the most important in my view of the recent events. Those two are the two that I have full and immediate ability to change.

Epic Parenting Fail? I don't know, but yes, it feels like it. But after all, we are human. We learn throughout our lifetime, learning is how we grow. So, by analyzing the parenting I am doing I am growing. Hopefully in the right direction...

© erikalandon 2012


Epic Fail. That's what it feels like...

Epic Parenting fail... Or just Parenting?

I am sharing this only to let anyone out there who may be going through a similar situation see that they are not alone. As a parent, I continually wonder if I am "doing it right", or if I am failing in key areas. These last two weeks have really left me wondering. Really left me doubting. Really left me reeling...

My eldest daughter is 17. Up until a couple weeks ago her grades were almost all A's. She was on track to graduate with her class, most of whom she had known and gone to school with since Grade School. She was proud of her last report card that was above a 3.0 GPA. She was helpful around the house, and watched her little brother and sister often while I worked my second job. And sometimes while I worked late at my primary job. She was proud of herself when she could make sure I came home to a clean house. She was working hard at what she needed to get done as a 17 year old....

And in an instant, or what seems like and instant, all this changed.

Her Facebook post that morning: "and here's where it all goes bad..."

I left for work that morning telling her that I would talk to her after school. She was in trouble, and I was taking her phone, the rest would be ironed out when she got home from school, and I from work. She asked for lunch money. And then asked for extra money so that her and her friend could go to Muchas Gracias at lunchtime "...'cause that's what we do on Mondays, Momma."

Yes, she still called me Momma. Up. Until. That. Day.

I called my eldest son at 6:11 that morning and asked him to wake his sister for school since I had her phone and she used that as an alarm clock. "Mom, she must have left for school already, she's not home." My mouth went dry. My mind started reeling. My heart sank.

Sank to the bottom of my stomach.

I asked him to check the yard. To check the garage. To check all the bedrooms and the closets.

He said "she's not here, mom... what happened?" 6:11 that morning. The time is oddly etched in my mind. And my heart sank again.

Sank to my smallest toe.

She was gone. She had taken off.  But I still had hope at that point. I still thought she would go to school. Graduation was just around the corner, she wouldn't do this, right?

I called the school at second period (her first scheduled class of the day). No show. Then again at third period. No show. No show all day. When I got home I checked School Wires, the site wherein I am able to instantly see attendance and grades. I had hope again: her 6th period teacher had marked her present! I called the school to verify. No - sorry Mrs. Landon, the teacher was mistaken, she is not in class. And my heart sank yet again.

Farther than my smallest toe.

Now, to understand, you need a little background. My middle daughter is my heart. She is my joy. She is my pride. She has been my everything for almost 18 years. I worried about her when I became pregnant with the triplets, as she would no longer be 'the baby'. But she held so much love for those three little babies that were so difficult to bring into this world. I worried about her when Little Eric died, but she was still so young and innocent (9 years old) that she simply understood that he was in Heaven with loved one's already passed. She learned to help care for the special needs of her little sister, she learned to deal with the ongoing special needs of her little brother. She was a rock star.

Or so I thought.

I retrospect, I can see that things were harder on her than I understood. While I was a SAHM, my focus was on getting the babies healthy enough to thrive in this world. While I thought I was able to give her extra attention she felt as though she was in the shadows. I didn't know. I revelled in her Dance team activities, in her Cheerleading ventures, in her school accomplishments. But, yes, I had two very fragile babies to care for, and I was in mourning. Mourning the loss of my precious baby boy, and the impending loss of the marriage that brought those babies into our lives.

 But even so, I thought I was doing the best for my kids...

So, last week my daughter ran away. She ran to escape. She ran to hide. She ran to restart. She ran to be with her boyfriend. She ran away. She showed up at her Dad's house 4 days later. She looked thin and needed love. But I felt that she needed to face what she had put the family through, and face her demons. I am big on personal responsibility. She came home two days later; but she had told us she would run again. She promised her sister she would watch her gymnastics meet, and she did. There were moments that Sunday in which I saw glimpses of my daughter, but those faded as she reconnected with her boyfriend on Facebook towards the end of the day. There were painful moments also, in which my daughter who had always been respectful and kind was not there. She cursed in front of her little brother and sister. She said things that were hurtful to me.

That night, as I slept with thoughts and dreams of a counselor visit in the morning and getting her back into school; she left again. I woke in the morning and once again, like in the days during the previous week, I cried so hard and deelpy; reminicent of the days after my son died, when I never knew pain could run so deep. And my heart sank...

Farther than I knew it could go.

She's been gone since Sunday night. We are entering a new weekend. A weekend wherein I miss my daughter with every part of my soul. With every part of my being. With every minute that passes.

I have spent the week looking back, looking forward, and questioning.

Was this an Epic Parenting Fail, or simply just parenting?

I don't know.

I just don't know...

(to be continued...)

© erikalandon 2012

To my children, big and small, but mostly the bigger ones...

I think about you alot.

I wish your life was different. I wish things were easy and carefree.

I hurt when you hurt.

I am sad when you are sad.

I am happy when you are happy.

I worry when you are out late at night.

I worry when I hear sirens and hope you are safe.

I am proud of you when you don't even know it; when you think you haven't done anything for me to be proud of.

This is a post I had started back in January with thoughts of my 17 year old daughter Megan in mind. As I read it now, I wish so badly that I had posted it, or even said it out loud to her. I wish she could see it and know how much I meant it...
© erikalandon 2010


I think I found the Christmas spirit...

This year has been, to put it lightly, tough. I'll be more than glad when it's over.

Yet, in the last couple weeks I have found the true Christmas spirit I think.

Snowmen that Levi and Vivian made in school this year... May just be my favorite part of this year, I love these!

In fact, Levi showed me how much of a difference a couple of things has made just the other day:

"lots of people care about us mom, and that's what matters." This, from my very insightful 8 year old little boy. The events that brought on this thought happened in the last few weeks. First, last month a friend at work gave Levi a bike that his child had outgrown becuase Levi had outgrown his, then a secret Santa-friend got me a pair of boots for work. And finally, a friend that I have worked with for a long time gave us a Christmas Tree from his tree farm that up until this year I hadn't even known he owned! To me these seemingly small occurences made a huge difference, as, it seems, they did to the kids...

Since becoming a single-mom household, stress has been the norm for me. These stressors I try and keep quiet about, especially with Megan; at 17 and in her senior year she is very sensitive to stress and money concerns. Most days I feel like I work and try and try to catch up, but there is just no end, like the light at the end of the tunnel is so far away that I would do better to keep digging and get out that way instead of trying to climb out, you know? I catch up on one thing, and another is lurking around the corner, just out of sight until I think I can breath a sigh of relief, and there it is to steal that breath...

Yet, in the last few weeks, as I have talked with the kids about how tight money is, and how the importance of Christmas is family, being together, and being thankful for even the smallest of things. The kids took these talks to heart, and I am so impressed by their understanding of it. Levi said that they have enough toys and don't need any. He did ask for clothes for Christmas, specifically a hoody sweatshirt, Vivian isn't concerned about what she gets other than a doll. Megan says she doesn't need anything, she plans on putting away whatever Christmas money she gets so she can buy a car. Matt, of course, never asks for anytthing, and I know that the gift he is planning on for his brother and sisters will make him this years' Christmas hero!

I thank God that I am one of those early shoppers. Since I start my Christmas gift planning in January, there were gifts to pull out of hiding and place under the tree. It will not be the big Christmas morning that the kids had become accustomed to, but we will be together and happy! 

But even moreso, I thank God for the kindess of others, because in this my kids are so sure that even in the unceartainty of the divorce and all that comes with it, they'll be okay. That God will take care of us and our needs. That ...

"lots of people care about us mom, and that's what matters."

Christmas will never be what it was for me before 2003, I doubt I will ever have the same passion for the season and the joy, but my heart is warmed by the beauty in the thoughts of others this year, and their help in showing my kids what the Christmas spirit is...

© erikalandon 2011


Ghosts of children passed - Eureka Street

Suggested Reading for anyone that wonders how to react and act after a child has died:

Ghosts of children passed - Eureka Street

A Fabulously written article. I was so touched by how well the author put into words the thoughts and feelings that myself and other loss moms have talked about.

© erikalandon 2011

When the Anniversaries Have Passed...

...I am always able to breathe a sigh of relief.
The anniversary of the kids Micro-Preemie entrance into this world brings back so many painful memories.
The month following brings daily thoughts of "__ years ago I still had all three of my miracles here on earth with us..."
The anniversary of Eric's passing then brings me to the end of part of the pain... Not that I miss him less; not that I don't find tears randomly entering my world; but the reality that we have passed these days of when there was three still alive brings an odd sense of calm...

So today; I am thankful.
Thankful for my survivors and my other children.
Thankful that against all odds Levi is able to run and play and amaze me with his sense of humor.
Thankful that against all odds Vivian is capable and excels at almost everything she tries to do.
Thankful that Megan, even in her Senior year and with all the crazy things that go along with it, is happy to help out with and spend time with her little brother and sister.
Thankful that Matt has grown to such a caring, thoughful and helpful young man.
And yes, thankful that I got to spend the time that I did with Little Eric that first month.

This year is hard, what with the divorce and all. My goal for the holiday season this year is to remember to be thankful for the smallest of blessings...

© erikalandon 2011


Eric Scott Landon, Jr. 10-15-2003 - 11-12-2003

The first time I held you in my arms I also held so much hope:


That you and your brother and sister would run through my house and drive me crazy (times three) for the next 18 years or so.

That you and Levi would get to play pranks on everyone to see who could tell you apart.

That you and all of your brothers and sisters could grow up happy and know the love of a large family.

That I would soon learn if yours and Levi's hair was going to stay as red as the fuzz on your heads at birth.

That one day I would be able to hear you speak, see you walk and teach you to ride a bike.

The first time I held you in my arms I also held so much hope... Hope that the doctors were wrong, and that the first time I held you was not also going to be the last...

But it was the last. I held you and had to let you go. I know you're whole now, I know you're watching over us. I hope you know how much I love you. How much I miss you. How much I wish you were here.

I love you Little Eric, my angel in Heven. I love you and miss you so much... One month was just not enough.
Love, Momma

© erikalandon 2011


Happy 8th Birthday Eric, Vivian and Levi!!

I can't believe it... They're 8 years old!!

8 years ago, when delivery came so fast, when heartrates dropped, as doctors and nurses resuscitaed three little babies, as they were given surfactant and I.V.'s, as they were whisked off the the NICU with the chances of survival so unknown, I didn't know if we would ever make it to this day.
We did, not all of us, mind you. Little Eric took his journey to heaven a month later, but Levi and Vivian continued to grow, thrive, and at times even scare us with random medical needs for the next two months before coming home.

As I sit here today and look at my amazing sleeping kids, I am in awe. I worried so much when they were little about how losing their brother would affect them. I got a pretty good answer while watching Vivian interact with someone the other day.
The person had noticed we were preparing for a birthday, and Levi was in a different part of the store with Megan, so it was only Vivi and I in line. The lady asked if it was someone's birthday.

"yes..." Vivian answers.
"Ohh! How old are you?'...
"We're 8!"

(It's so funny, Levi and Vivian almost never describe themselves as "Me" or "I", unless they are fighting with each other!)

"We?... Are you a twin?"
"Nope. I'm a triplet; it's mine, Eric's and Levi's birthday!"

And that was that. She didn't feel like she needed to explain to this stranger about their rocky start, or about Eric's whole story. She just felt like celebrating the three of their birthdays together.

I try to take my queues from the kids about how to respond to "the twin question" and those queues are getting stronger the older they get.

Although in our house the 15th is significant because it is their birthday, there is also another worldwide significance to this day...

Please take the time to light a candle tonight in rememberance of all the lost angels that went on to heaven too soon.

Many of my friends will be lighting candles today in memory of their children and others as well, and my friend Jessica has asked for comments on her blog so that she, and all of us, can join you in remembering your angels, too!

There are also lots of Pregnancy and Infant loss Memorial services going on all over the country today that people will be joining in and remembering their own and others' angels. I am with you all today as we light our candles and remember.

Visit ZoeRose.org for more information on the 4th Annual Rainbow of Roses Remembrance Event, honoring Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness; a memorial event today as well as others in Atlanta.

So, as our day begins with excitement and joy, I send love up to my little boy whom I cannot hug and say Happy Birthday to this morning...

Happy 8th Birthday to my Triplets...
In Heaven and On Earth!!

© erikalandon 2010