Friday, January 4, 2013


This blog has become such a comfort to me this past month, I think it's my own self-imposed therapy. Matter of fact I'm sure it is.  I look forward to the quiet time I spend and even I wonder what I'm going to say.  Sometimes I have an idea and others I don't.  I just start typing and words pour out.
I like trying to speak visually.  I believe most of our brains work that way.  If I can paint a picture in your mind then I can share what's in mine.  I've never felt especially good at putting my thoughts on paper but as we've all heard before, when you're passionate about something it's easy to discuss.  I think I ooze with passion for my boys...
I've been avoiding one special person on purpose.  It's driving me nuts.  Today I've had enough.  I'm sharing him with you.  Christopher's big brother Jeremy.  

I know he prefers to live in obscurity, and I will leave him there for the most part, but he's such a big piece of this family and my heart that I can't suppress my discussion of him any longer.

Jeremy is my first born son.  I was petrified to bring him home.  At Bellevue we were safe, we had nurses and visitors and many people around us.  When we got home it was just Mike and me.  Oh my gosh!  We did all the things many of you probably did too.  We would poke him to be sure he was breathing because he slept so soundly.  We overdressed him for fear he was cold, fed him like clockwork every four hours even if that meant we had to wake him from a nap (how silly! let the child sleep!!) , carried him around everywhere, ran to him when he whimpered and lingered beside him with every step to prevent falls.

I think I still do all those things.  Well, I would if he would allow me but he's s a toughie, so independent.  It drives me nuts. I tell him from time to time to “stop taking away my motherly happiness”... I want to do things for him.  I argue with him to stop taking my joy away.  He too rolls his eyes at me.

Jeremy was a Gerber baby.  He had dark hair and eyes and the creamiest skin.  Adorable.  Mike says Christopher was not AS cute but I don't know... they were just different.  Poor Chris had skin allergies... Jeremy had none.  It wasn't Chris's fault he had skin rashes in most of his baby pictures while Jeremy was glowing!  (ha hah!) They were both beautiful :-)

Jeremy was an easy baby.  He traveled well and we dragged him everywhere.  He went to the Super Bowl with us in January 1993 when he was eleven months old.  I wanted to see Michael Jackson, the half time entertainment; Mike wanted to see the Buffalo/Dallas game.  Jeremy?  He slept in my arms the whole time.  That should have been our red alert he wasn't playing football!

As a little guy Jeremy was easily amused with videos and baking.  Barney was a big hit as were Power Rangers.  We used to make all kinds of desserts together too.  Cookies, brownies, cakes... those were good.  We used to sit on the kitchen floor to mix and scoop since it was easier for him than sitting at a grown up table.  he could reach better.  We'd use a timer while things were in the oven and he was diligent about checking it and giving me a countdown.  
When Chris came along three years later, Jeremy was very excited.  He went on and on about his new baby brother.  He liked feeding Chris his bottle.  He also liked when Chris napped so we could play uninterrupted.  What toddler wouldn't?  He was good with Chris, plopping his pacifier in his mouth, squeaking toys in his face, alerting me when he pooped and playing in the tub with him.
They also made pretty good rivals once Chris could hold his own at about three or four.  They had some really good go rounds for sure.  Each has his own way of pushing the others buttons... and tattling on each other.
I remember when Jeremy started Kindergarten... I thought I'd need to be sedated.  I was so scared to put him on the bus.  He was so happy to go.  That upset me.  I remember thinking to myself that I must have done something right if this kid isn't afraid to leave me... Yet there I was sobbing like a nut as I drove behind the bus all the way to SHEN.  I did it for the whole first week.  I'm sure the bus driver noticed me!  What was I expecting?  Jeremy to hop off at one of the stops???  Oh jeez.  Well, as I said in an earlier blog, poor Jeremy is our guinea pig... we're really cautious with him!  He'd tell you we're way too protective.

At college we need to send him gentle reminders that we exist.  He's busy doing his thing, which technically we KNOW is what he should be doing but we miss him so much!  I swear if my phone goes off and it's Jeremy the world stops spinning.  The seas part and I shush everyone around me... ssssssshhhhhhhh!!! It's Jeremy!  He's sending me a text!  My son needs me!  Some of his most recent texts? "Can you look for a size 31 or 32 black belt?"... "I'm at the diner"... and "work doesn't need me today"...  Doesn't matter what the note says as much as it means the world to me that my phone beeped and it was my son :-)

He sent me a text last Spring from college letting me know he was sitting out in the big open ring where the webcam overlooks.  Students sit along a cement circle of sorts or lay in the grass.  BIG SCORE for me! BIG MISTAKE in his eyes!  I asked him to wave to me, he refused.  Damn.  OK I tried another approach... I asked him to walk out into the center of the ring.  He said he had no reason to - there's nothing out there and people would wonder what the hell he was doing.  I didn't care.  I pulled one of those "stop taking my motherly joy away" tactics.  It worked!  He did it... and here I am still talking about it.  HUGE props in MY book for that one.  I couldn't have felt more special.  I'd like to think I'm the only one he'd ever do that for.  I'm sticking with that thought.
It's been a really tough month for all of us, especially Jeremy.  I know he mourns the loss of his little brother.  I also know he's a really smart kid and will do great things with his brother tucked in the back of his mind.  Who knows, maybe Jeremy's path will change because of this or maybe it has made things clearer for him.  We haven't discussed it.  Maybe we will.  

I love having Jer home for an extended amount of time.  I feel spoiled a little.  We get to keep an eye on one another and I know he's safe.  I know we only have a couple weeks left before he starts his spring semester but for the time being I'm immersing myself in the luxury of him hanging out.  I don't know if he'll be here this summer or if he'll be interning out of state (sigh).  He's college kid messy, which bugs me but I'd much prefer a small exposion of clothes or dishes vs the emptiness of a noiseless house.
I love my boys, both equally and in many different ways.  They bring me joy and they inspire me. I'm so proud to be their mom and I look forward to sharing more about them as the time comes :-)

Thank you for reading.


  1. you should be super proud of your boys. you are an awesome mom and they are very lucky to have you as a mom.

  2. I know exactly what you mean when your child FINALLY calls or texts everything else coming to a halt. My 22 year old son almost 23, he likes to remind me!) is that "needs to be reminded I exist" child of mine, now that he too has moved out of state for his last few credits. Then we we DO talk I feel like I spend the time "reminding" him (he would call it "lecturing" - sigh) of all the things I'm trying to remember to tell him in the brief few minutes he "allows" me. It hurts. But I guess that's college life. Thanks for sharing some of Jeremy with us (even if you get a HUGE eye roll from him for this innocent post!) as I, like so many others, do think of you all as a part of this big extended 518 family of ours now. I don't always comment, but I read every blog entry and continue to marvel at your strength and healthy coping mechanisms. I don't know that I could do it and honestly, I don't ever want to know. But what I do know is that while I pray for you and your family and the other families, I feel it would be insulting to you to pity you because you are not "pitiful". You are "wonderful" in every sense of that word, and strong, and amazing, and awesome. You're a great mom and a great person. Thank for you writing, Regina. You REALLY are awesome and special and I hope YOU know it! Hope you have a good day. You deserve it. :)

  3. Jeremy is a very lucky guy.


    1. Play a sport.
    It will teach you how to win honorably,
    lose gracefully, respect authority,
    work with others, manage your time
    and stay out of trouble.
    And maybe even throw or catch.

    2. You will set the tone
    for the sexual relationship,
    so don't take something away from her
    that you can't give back.

    3. Use careful aim when you pee.
    Somebody's got to clean that up, you know.

    4. Save money when you're young
    because you're going to need it someday.

    5. Allow me to introduce you
    to the dishwasher, oven,
    washing machine, iron,
    vacuum, mop and broom.
    Now please go use them.

    6. Pray and be a spiritual leader.

    7. Don't ever be a bully
    and don't ever start a fight,
    but if some idiot clocks you,
    please defend yourself.

    8. Your knowledge and education is something
    that nobody can take away from you.

    9. Treat women kindly.
    Forever is a long time to live alone
    and it's even longer to live with somebody
    who hates your guts.

    10. Take pride in your appearance.

    11. Be strong and tender at the same time.

    12. A woman can do everything that you can do.
    This includes her having a successful career
    and you changing diapers at 3 A.M.
    Mutual respect is the key to a good relationship.

    13. "Yes ma'am" and "yes sir"
    still go a long way.

    14. The reason that they're called "private parts"
    is because they're "private".
    Please do not scratch them in public.

    15. Peer pressure is a scary thing.
    Be a good leader and others will follow.

    16. Bringing her flowers for no reason
    is always a good idea.

    17. It is better to be kind
    than to be right.

    18. A sense of humor
    goes a long way
    in the healing process.

    19. Please choose your spouse wisely.
    My daughter-in-law will be the gatekeeper for me
    spending time with you and my grandchildren.

    20. Remember to call your mother
    because I might be missing you.

  4. Regina,
    Thanks for being brave enough to share your firstborn with us. I have a feeling your 20 year old Jeremy will not be too pleased. Not because of what you have shared but due to what you have said in past blogs about his wanting to remain anonymous. I am almost certain however that 40 year old Jeremy will look back on this with clarity and consider himself so lucky to have a mom that loves him so!

    Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family! I pray Jeremy lets you hug him more often while he is home!!

  5. Regina, As always, beautiful. I seldom comment but read every day. I have started my own blog, chronicling my road through grief. My wish is to give others hope and to let them know what they are feeling is ok and that they are NOT alone. I kept a journal but never shared my feelings.....what a wonderful way to help yourself heal AND to help others at the same time. You are an inspiration. Thank you! Kathi

    P.S. Maryanne......I love your post! I have 2 sons and I will share this.

  6. You are an amazing mother. If I can be half the mother you are I know I will have done something right. Reading your blog makes me look at my children in a different light. I thought I knew them but I now know them better and I thank you. God bless.

  7. I agree with Evelyn.....I was a good mother before I started reading your blogs...but now I want to be a great mother....I want to think that before I started reading your blogs that i looked at every moment that I had with my son and treasured it...but now I KNOW I do.....your boys are who they are because of you and Mike....I am blessed to know you and thank you for doing show me not to sweat the small stuff....Thank you for that Regina...please know that this blog helps so many of us that get too caught up in the every day busy have showed me to slow down and smell the roses with my son....Thank you for that....Love Kathy

  8. Regina-
    Another wonderful post. I actually just had my first baby, a little girl on Thanksgiving. I read your posts usually after her morning feeding somewhere between 5 -6:30. (Thankfully she falls asleep and allows me this time.) I hope that I will be the kind of mother you are, who truly loves her children. There is no doubt in my mind-- who ever reads your posts knows just how much you care about them. I am also happy to read, that I am not alone-- ever whimper I go running to her side, though I am getting better. I can only imagine how difficult this is on Jeremy, I cannot imagine losing my younger sister. I can tell though, you guys have a great family support system and great friends that will help you all cope. I truly believe that the more you talk about Chris the better it will be for all of you.

    Hope you have a good day.. thank goodness today will be warmer .. it is already 23 degrees compared to -2 yesterday. Imagine that..

  9. Ahh yes. I remember. My first born (a son same age as Jeremy maybe they knew each other at Shen!) coming home from the hospital I had two distinct thoughts - "I will protect you from everything. Nothing bad in this world will hurt you". and "From this day forward I will lose a little bit of you each day as you grow to be your own person." The first thought was a real "Finding Nemo" bit of ridiculousness... the second way too morose. You said it right... I have gained way more than I have lost as my son has grown. I love those texts, those calls (even if it's for money... he is always so appreciative and respectful!) I enjoy listening to his "problems" as he works through issues of balance, career decisions, friendship, girlfriend, fun... and grows in awareness of his own soul. We are lucky to be Moms. God speaks to us through that "Mommy Joy". What an amazing journey. May you continue on yours. Through Jeremy, and through Christopher's ongoing spirit. God Bless!

    p.s. Maryanne - Ditto! I will share with my son as well.

  10. I look forward to reading your blog everyday. This entry gave me goose bumps and made me cry. You are in my thoughts...more than you know.

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  12. Regina,
    I do not personally know you or your family, but your words allow me to feel as though I do. You are a gifted writer and perhaps you did not know that before, but I believe your son has allowed you to display your gift for the world to see. Your gift of word is beautiful.
    A couple years ago I published a book called just that, "The Gift of Word". I asked all my friends and family to write anything they wanted to or they're heart spoke of in regards to my parents and husband. It was intended to be a Christmas gift. How often do people not say how they truly feel about someone... The injustice in that to me is too deep. So, that's what people who participated did...they either wrote a funny memory, talked about the qualities they loved about my husband and parents or anything that came off the pen. It was fantastic! I had it published the Bookemon and presented the "gift". It was the best present to this day. Nothing captures our thoughts like the written word. Anyone can read it, you go back to it as often as you wish and it is always there. Perhaps someday you could do this in honor of your son, Chris. You could put it on your coffee table for everyone to enjoy and then it's always there when you want to sit alone and remember why everyone treasured him so.
    Keep doing what you are doing. You have the gift of word and you should share with everyone. God bless Regina.

  13. I think that you have a real gift for writing. I am sure at times it is painful and others a comfort.
    I read every day and continue to keep you all in my prayers.

  14. Again, you say your not sure you are a good writer. Well I say you are a wonderful writer. I so enjoy everything you have to say. I know it is a therapy for you but it is for me too! Somehow the thoughts you share help everyday. You, Mike and Jeremy are in my thoughts and prayers everyday!

  15. Regina
    That was wonderful. My two boys are just like that. When they knew they could push each others button I usually have to intervene because they take it to far. My oldest is just like Jeremy care-free and was a great baby. Didn't matter where we went he could sleep and get along with everyone. Of course there were times at the grocery store where I had to pull the reigns tight because he would talk to everyone. Ironically he is still on his sleep pattern today as he was fifteen years ago. Goes to bed at eight because he thinks he needs more rest but gets up by himself with an alarm at 5:30am. When he comes hone he does what any teen-ager does does homework then builds with his legos still. The kid want to be an architect. With our second boy we kinda of protect him because he is the youngest and needs that guidance. I always joke with my husband and say if Hunter(my youngest) was born first and he has all this energy I probably won't of went for a second one. But because that wasn't the case my boys bring laughter and joy to us each and every day. Hunter can put a smile on your face if you had the worse day possible. He knows how to light up a room. It seems like he is the life of the party at times. He is my social butterfly where as my oldest is my home body son.
    In closing I just want to say thank you for your blogs. They are so inspirational. Some of the things you right about the boys just remind me of my boys. Keep your head held high and you are a great mom.
    thank you

  16. You truly are an amazing mom. Both Christopher and Jeremy are so lucky to have you. It is clear through your pictures, the love and amazing bond you all share. It transends Chris not physically being here. He will always be right by your side. Your posts help us become better moms and appreciate all the little things that drive us crazy. After your posts about Christopher's room I had a new outlook on my 15 yr. old's room. He saves all the nike boxes to his cleats and stacks them up. I have brougt them to the recycling bin many a time only to see that they made their way back to his room. They are clutter to me but so important to him, I will leave them stacked in his man cave. Thank you for continuing to be such an inspiration to us all. You are always in though and prayer. God bless.

  17. I have 2boys kids r just like your sons.they wouldn't want me bringing them into the light but as a mom we do what our hearts tell us oldest son is your Jeremy to s tee and my youngest is your Chris.their build and way they Think and do things.i have decided my son that's at college will just have to suck it up and realize its my mom thing .thank you for sharing Jeremy.even if he didn't want you to I think he will get over it and see how special he is to you and how much writing it meant

  18. I was so happy to read about Jeremy and your relationship with him - I have followed your blog since day one and I thought about him often and wondered if he felt well...the only way to say it is, abandoned. I should have known better. As I have gotten to know a bit about the spirit of who you are I should have realized that you would not let that happen. I grew up a few doors down from you on Summit Avenue. I was basically an only child, as my mom had already raised her children when I surprised her at the age of 41! I always envied the large families around me, the Blanches, the Horns - and the Yakels :). I remember seeing you as a little girl - I am 9 years older - standing on the front porch, and I remember your dad. He always seemed so well dressed and tall! Of course I remember your mom and especially your sister Ellen and her constant side kick Chrisine. I desperately wanted to be Ellen's BF - never to be - lol. Most of all I remember sitting on your front porch on Summit Avenue in the summers hearing your mom talking - she had such lovely brown curly hair and it seemed to me she always had on a dress - usually with flowers. I wanted to be just like her, running around and in control of all those children. You were such a pretty little girl - it does not surprise me that you turned into a beautiful woman. I am friends with your brother Paul on FB and when I read about Christopher the picture of you standing on the front porch on Summit as a little one just clouded my thoughts. I am not sure why, I guess I could not grasp that such sadness could befall the little girl I remember. Seven years ago on Christmas Eve my sister lost her son to suicide - he was young like Chris - unlike Chris he chose to go. We will never know why. He was funny, kind and successful, but he took his life. On the day that you began your blog I sent his mom to your site and she reads it daily. Because of this we have been able to discuss things I think we long buried. We have been able to once again open up the memories we have, the questions we can't seem to answer. Your words have been a gift to our family and to Jason's mom - I can't thank you enough for that. I want you to know that you have become a blessing to our family and I hope that God gives you the strength to continue this blog for many,many years! I am looking forward to the day when you will post pics of your first grandchild - lol.

  19. A beautiful tribute to your son Jeremy. As always I laughed and cried while reading today's blog. Amazing how different our kids can be. I have four, one daughter and three sons. When my daughter, the oldest, went away to college, she called and texted me daily. Two years later, my son followed and would rarely contact me. I'd call him once a week leaving messages, such as, "this is your mother who pays your phone bill, please contact me!" If I was lucky, he might call three or four days later! I remember my youngest two sons telling me, not to bother leaving them phone messages because they just deleted them without listening to them. If I wanted them to get my message, I would need to text them. Seriously? But I did learn to text. As a typist for 30+ years, I didn't quite get why the words were not coming out as I thought the should be. It didn't take me long to upgrade to a phone with a keyboard...LOL!! My second son, now lives with his girlfriend and to this day it's like pulling teeth to get him to call me. He's his dad's son, he has very little to say! Thankfully, my other three kids are mostly "Mulligan's" and are much more talkative so they respond much more quickly!

    Even though my daughter will soon be 26, your description of bringing Jeremy, your first born, home from the hospital brought back those memories for me as well. I think most of us do those crazy first time parent "tests"! With my daughter we sterilized every thing, heated up all her bottles but by the time my fourth one came along we'd pick the binky up off the floor and give it the old spit wipe off and barely heat his bottles up...too funny how our thinking had changed. Plus we were so busy we barely had time to think at that point in time!

    Thanks again for sharing. I look forward to reading your blog each day and have done so since day one. Your writings are beautiful!

    @Maryann - love the post and will be sharing with my three sons!

  20. Thank you for sharing Jeremy with us. I hope he reads this and spends that one extra minute or two with you before he leaves for his spring semester. It amazes me how siblings can be so different when they come from the same two people. My kids are all different in some ways and the same in others. My sister and I are very similar so I never really gave all of this much thought. I love my kids' individuality and similarities. Since they are 17, 8, 5, 1 I have a long time to try and figure each one of them out.

  21. I hope it doesn't sound weird that I was happy to read about Jeremy and glad that he is home on break with you right now. I understand he doesn't want you writing about him, but it's nice to know he is with you and you are both keeping an eye on each other. Jeremy is in my prayers as well.

    I got an email a few weeks ago from my son after I told him to let me know what he wants for Christmas. My son is a better communicator with me via email or text. I don't complain, I take it and love it. When he was in college, his girlfriend at the time broke up with him and while it was heartbreaking to hear him so upset, I was relieved he needed me. I was thrilled he still cared enough and needed me. I felt a little weird being happy he called me when he was hurting so badly but was so thrilled I could be there for him.

    Like other mothers above, the description of bringing the first born home and doing everything according to the book had me laughing. It's such a first time mother thing. I did the same with my son and when I had my daughter, my son was 7 and in sports; religious ed and school so she was carted everywhere! There was no schedule, there was no routine, she just learned as most girls do, to be flexible. It made her who she is today and we sure had fun.

    Thank you for sparking memories that had be surpressed....

    God bless...

  22. Dear Regina,
    I read your post everyday and like many have already said, you inspire me. My boys are 6 & 8. Motherhood is an experience many of us crave and cannot wait to enjoy. Although we all know , especially you, it is not all joyful. When I feel heartache for my son's it is such a different feeling than any other. But the purpose of my response is to let you know that you have inspired me to be better mother. There are somethings I'm still trying to get a grasp on and I really depend on the expertise of other mothers to guide me. Naturally I filter what I think will work for our family and lifestyle, but so far...I like your style :-)