Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pity, Party of One

The glass just can not get half full around here lately. Sickness is abound. School conferences are coming my way not to mention the dreaded holidays. Chris is traveling. A lot. I can't seem to catch a break. Just when I think there might be an upswing something else manages to happen. I keep trying to tell myself that there are way worse things that people are dealing with in life. That my problems are a mere drop in the bucket and I should get over it and make the best of all that is good. Unfortunately in my everyday world and my life the things that get me down are what I am facing. To me those things are what I have to figure out and deal with. Although my struggles might be considered simple to those who face bigger things to me they seem as mountainous. I look at the horrible things out there that I read or see on TV and I feel compassion and I hope for good things for all those people. Still though the fact that others face larger obstacles does not make the challenges I face feel smaller or less significant to me. Thanks for joining me at my little party glad you could come and hear rationalization at its finest.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Different Makes the World Go Round

When I started college many moons ago I bounced around from major to major. At first thinking about speech therapy then moving on to nursing and eventually settling on special education (which I think is now called something else but since my diploma says that I will go with it). Through all of the choosing the only thing that stayed the same was that I wanted to help people in some way. When I settled on special ed. I took a lot of courses introducing me to all sorts of different types of people with varying alternative needs (as I like to say). Everything from babies and preschoolers to adults in group homes. Some of it was shocking and most all of it was heart wrenching. I know that coming into someones life after the difference is noticed and identified makes that a part of who they are. When I met my students they were labeled and had plans already in place to address their needs. The difference is that whatever challenges they had weren't really decipherable from who they were was all blended into just them. What I am coming to find out is that if you already know and love someone before the difference is identified I think it might be harder to accept or understand. You try to have a clear vision and listen to the experts but through the jumble of terms all you really see is the person the same way you did before. This can be good and bad. Good because they are the same person, just with a new dimension added into the complexity of their personality. Bad because it makes you realize that there is no such thing as perfect or easy. Nothing is tied up neatly with a bow. More like wrapped in used Sunday comics and tied with an old piece of twine. Luckily perspective is a friend in all of this. From some angles all the differences glare but from others they are starting to meld together.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mommy Mask

No matter how hard I try to be the kind of mom you see on TV and in books I just can't get there. I feel like an impostor, someone who is going through the motions but just doesn't have their head in the game. Half the time I look in the mirror and am shocked at what I see. I could never be a 38 year old mother of 3 when I still feel 15 inside. No matter how hard I try I can't figure out where all the room moms and volunteers get their motivation. I hide from that. I break out in a cold sweat when I even think about having to be in charge of a party or an event. Some would say being a good mom is having total focus on your children but I feel like that is wrong. How can you forfeit yourself as a person to focus on your children? It is important to nourish your relationships and interests so that you can be a happy person and in turn a happy mother. When I hear moms brag about never spending time alone with their husbands because that would mean diverting attention from their children it makes my skin crawl. Children can't learn to have a healthy relationship without seeing one with their own eyes. Being a good mom doesn't always mean being the top dog of the school or the cookie mom for girl scouts. Sometimes being the best mom starts with being a happy mom who doesn't have to hide behind a mask at all.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bubble Wrap Extraordinaire

From the very beginning I have done all I could to protect my kids from the evils of the world. I don't want them to be cold or hungry. I certainly don't want them to face illness or injury. I don't want them to be bullied or have hurt feelings. But I realized today that there is only so much you can do to protect them. You can not wrap them in bubble wrap or lock them in the house. You can't be there 24 hours a day to make sure they are ok and you definitely can't follow them around with a bottle of lysol. All this flu talk has everyone on edge and it has certainly made me take notice. I have thought about it and I think that spending hours worrying and agonizing about the what ifs will make you miss out on the for sure happening right nows. I won't keep my kids home from party's or the mall to avoid possible germs. I can't stand at school and make sure they wash their hands ten times a day. The whole thing seems similar to when your kids learn to ride without training wheels. You have to trust that they will pedal and steer. You have to let them experience the skinned knees and bruises so that they are tougher and more persistent. You have armed them with a helmet and taught them to balance. Besides imagine how miserable they would be trapped inside a bubble with no human contact. They would miss the thrill of the first day of school, they would never have that first homecoming dance or enjoy their first kiss. Sometimes it is hard to remember that you have to take the bad with the good but the good is just so worth the risk.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Birthday Like No Other.

We trained. We bonded. We ran. We finished! What a happy Birthday!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Celebrating Introspection

Some day when I am telling my grand kids the story of my life I will certainly make this year an epic chapter. My 37th year has been full of lots of self discovery and new enjoyments. I have unearthed some old friends and discovered some brand new ones. I have thrown caution to the wind over and over, constantly widening my comfort zone.
I started my blog on a whim during this year and it has become a friend and confidant for me. It lets me vent one day and express my feelings the next. Writing has become an important part of my daily life again and I love feeling the sense of accomplishment when I can convey my thoughts. I enjoy the conversations I have with my sister while we debate and decide on new and interesting blog topics. She and my friend Heidi are my sounding boards and I appreciate and trust their opinions and ideas.
I also found a new addiction this year. Running. At first I thought that training for my first 1/2 marathon would be about becoming more physically aware but I have learned it is about so much more. It has made me realize that I have the ability to conquer whatever goal I set my mind too. I have also found something that doesn't come along too often after you hit your 30' friends. Don't get me wrong the physical differences are great but the honest truth is the other things I have found are more important to me.
This year has also given me a chance to face some of my old demons from childhood through my middle daughter. She is so much like I was when I was her age it is almost eerie She looks like I looked at her age and has the same sort of quirks that I did. The frustration I feel when trying to make sure that she doesn't feel the hurt I felt has been hard to deal with. I want to take it from her so she doesn't have to find her way through the anxiety. I am beginning to realize the only way she can overcome the fears is to face them head on. I can not relive the things that I have already faced any more then she can skip over the road blocks set out in front of her.
Another challenge has been realizing that sometimes people's problems just can't be fixed in one foul swoop. Sometimes they can't be fixed at all and as much as I hope for it and try to make it happen it may never be able to come true. Sometimes the only thing you can do is walk away. That can be the best thing for everyone involved. Even if you still care and want the best for them sometimes you just can't continue to be a part of their life.
The most important thing I think I have concluded in the last 12 months is that humor in the face of sadness and adversity makes those hard to handle things a little less intense and a little more able to digest. If you can't see the humor in yourself and your life how can anyone else?
When I am all gray and wrinkled, telling this chapter of my story I will remember this year as important and endearing. One that made me think and made me cry. Mostly though I will remember the laughter and the friendship. I hope that my 38th year will be as memorable. I have a feeling it will since I am starting the first day by running 13.1 miles in my first 1/2 marathon along side some of my favorite people!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Have the Jitter Bug

I am always telling my kids to calm down and take a deep breath. To count to ten and slowly release the air all the while imagining whatever is stressing them out disappearing into thin air. Too often I push their angst to the side in my head regarding it as nothing and just a stage. Then I get a much needed cold slap in the face when I have to go head -to- head with nerves and anxiety myself. I get a refresher course in the horrible jittery feeling and the inability to concentrate. I get the jumbled brain and the teary eyes. My shoulders tense up and my thoughts are scattered. Butterflies on a major caffeine high soar around in my stomach. I am an adult with 37 (Ahem almost 38) years experience dealing with these uncomfortable feelings and it still bothers me and makes me feel out of sorts. Kids are small but to them their problems are humongous and earth shattering. Even if I think the reason for their panic is not a good one I have to remember that they are experiencing the same physical response as I do when I am nervous. Just because my stress might be about an adult issue doesn't make it feel any worse then if it were about a spelling test or forgetting your lunch money. I love it when my kids teach me something important about myself. Now please excuse me, I am going to take a deep breath and count to ten and hope my anxiety disappears.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Parenting 101

I hate being confronted with a parenting issue mid chaotic situation. I don't like having to make those kinds of decisions 1)on my own 2) quickly and 3)in front of my three kids. I take my girls to the pediatricians office rarely. They are healthy and have only been on antibiotics a handful of times and have had no major issues. I took all three in today for the flu mist and at the same time my oldest, Caroline, needed a well child visit and several booster shots. Let me first say I have put off taking her over the past few years because of her intense fear of needles. I shouldn't have but I did. As much for myself as for her. Finally I figured I would kill two birds with one stone and take them all for the flu stuff and to get her all caught up on her vaccinations. I knew the whole thing was going drastically wrong when during my ELEVEN year olds routine exam the word shot was mentioned and she started hyperventilating and crying. The Dr. was actually really good with her and talked to her in an adult way and calmed her down. When rewinding the whole visit I realize NOW that the whole thing could have been easily prevented IF the Dr. had just given her the shots then. Instead we had to sit and wait for a while between her exam and the nurse coming in to give the mist and the shots. The nurse came in gruff and pointy. My two younger girls were arguing about who got to go first to get the mist. She said it doesn't matter and threw a tissue and one of them and quickly shoved the syringe up and said BREATH IN! Then did the same to the other one. Meanwhile Caroline had time to build everything up inside and was in total panic mode. As the nurse came toward her with the nose syringe she totally lost it. Hyperventilating, coughing crying. The nurse grabbed her by the arm and shoved the syringe in her nose and yelled at her to BREATH IN. What happened next keeps happening again and again in my head in slow motion. More importantly how I handled it vs how I should have handled it is in high definition and theater sound. The nurse took the cap off the needle and stood there with it in the air. Caroline took one look and started trying to fall away from where the needle was toward the floor. I grabbed her and tried to reason with her while the nurse began to YELL at her and tell her that she needed to hurry up and get over there because she had other people she needed to go give shots too. By then we got one shot done and Caroline was screaming about how badly it hurt and the nurse started yelling that it only hurt because Caroline kept moving around and not acting her age or standing still. The entire time all this was going on Amelia was sitting to the side with her hands over her ears shrieking at the top of her lungs. I had the words formulated in my head of what I felt I needed to say to that nurse but I couldn't say any of it. I wanted to tell her that she works in a pediatrician's office and that although my child isn't a baby or toddler she is still a kid with a fear. I wanted to say that she could have handled it better and been more gentle and persuasive. But the other side of my brain was saying loudly in my ear "hey your kid was being a major asshole...she was embarrassing and ridiculous and if you say something to the nurse about her inappropriate behavior in front of Caroline then she will feel justified in her actions." So there I was once again in that parenting no mans land that calls for a quick decision and once again I left feeling like I hadn't been my child's advocate. Why is being a parent like one giant game of Battleship where I end up feeling like the ship that sank into the dark cold water??

For Suzanne

Nine years ago today, on a Friday the 13th ,I welcomed my second child,Olivia, into the world. She was born with beautiful big eyes , white fuzz on her head and a delicious dimple in her cheek. We loved her from the moment we saw her and felt that Friday the 13th was the luckiest day ever. We basked in the highest elation possible and rode the wave of pride and love. That day was so special to me in many ways. She was born the day before my mom's birthday and just a few days before mine. I felt a certain kinship with her right away and still do. When I looked at her I somehow saw myself.

As much as this day holds picture perfect memories for me that isn't the case for my friend, Suzanne. October 13 is a day that she would rather forget, a day that can never be erased. It is a day all her waves came crashing down. On October 13, 2005 her precious son, Austin, lost his battle with Spinal Muscle Atrophy(SMA). He was four. For her the day certainly holds a deeper sorrow then I have ever known. I can only imagine how hard that day was and how much courage it must have taken to continue to go on afterward. I did not know her then but I feel our paths crossed recently for some greater good in both of our lives. I feel a connection for Suzanne a lot like I did for Olivia when she was born. We seem to really understand each other.

When I get out of bed today I will spend my time thinking about the great joy of that day nine years ago. What I was doing as each hour hits and how my anticipation and excitement built leading up to Olivia's arrival. I will remember the happy barrage of visitors and the many well wishes. I will be able to hug Olivia and tell her I love her today. When Suzanne wakes up today her thoughts will be in stark contrast to mine. She will remember each minute of that day too but with reluctance and heaviness. Please take a moment to check out this site to learn about Spinal Muscular Atrophy and the research that is being done to eradicate it. Also check this site out to join in with me and my running group which includes Suzanne on a walk/run on November 15 to benefit SMA research.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Is That a Light at the End of the Tunnel??

Tunnel vision is a terrible thing to have. It is impossible to have perspective about anything when you can't include all the details to the side. People who have tunnel vision are often unable to take into consideration the hurt that they may cause by spouting their narrow views. Many times I think that jealousy and desperation fuel the inability to see outside that dark claustrophobic tunnel. I understand we all get caught up in being righteous about one thing or another but sometimes in the quest to be morally superior compassion and truth are forgotten. The last few days have been a lesson in being judged for me. I don't think I deserve it and I don't like it even a little bit. Mostly though I think it is unnecessary for people in glass houses to toss boulders. When you want something more then anything in the world and you can't have it but you see someone else out there with three of them well I guess you disregard humor, every day experience and real life to try and make yourself feel less like a lost soul. I have decided not to let it impact my ability to see the humor in my life and my ability as a mother. After all laughter together with love make the world go round.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Prouder then any Peacock

I have always been rather wishy-washy when it comes to finishing what I start. Books get half read and walls get half painted. I tend to get distracted and unable to focus on goals especially ones that take lots of time and energy. Sometimes it is a self confidence issue that steers me away from completing what I start. I would rather not complete the task at all then do it the wrong way. The last ten months I have really proven something to myself. I somehow got it in my head that I wanted to run a 1/2 marathon. At first I wasn't sure how I would accomplish such a hefty feat but surprisingly after I really set my mind to it everything fell into place. I connected with a fabulous running group right in my neighborhood that has been a great support system for me. Together we put together a plan based on as much information about running as we could gather. We all posted the plan on our refrigerators and we have all stuck to it with amazing tenacity. We have dealt with varies and frequent injuries. We have run in the heat, the cold and the rain. We have woken up early 4 times a week and committed ourselves to our goal. The race is only a week away and I have to say I feel ready to run and more importantly I feel excessively proud of myself for sticking with it through good and bad. After all is said and done the true benefits go way past the actual running. I have found a camaraderie among women that I probably never would have known past a casual glance. I have increased my confidence and I have realized that I can do whatever I put out there for myself. I am looking forward to completing the 1/2 marathon on October 18th and I plan to run the whole 13.1 miles even though I feel like I have already gone the distance.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Like Leather....

I keep trying to remember that it is important in life to have thick skin. Pretty much anything that is crucial and meaningful involves shoveling through a bunch of garbage, naysayers and criticism. Sometimes I feel like I have a soft soul and that makes it so much easier to get wounded. Much of this insecurity arises from a deep-seated belief that my worth comes from what I do, because what I do defines who I am. My thin skin lets the tiny glances and small words permeate easily and travel straight to my heart. Of course you can't just disregard all negative feedback and live in a fantasy land but at the same time you can't let the negativity change the course of your life. The key is finding a balance somewhere in the middle where you use the negative comments to make improvements but are able to totally disregard the downright abusive crap. My eleven year old daughter is just emerging into the stage where is she is going to face the cruel years of peer ridicule. I want to arm her with the tools to develop some scar tissue so she isn't open to the hurt and pain caused by teasing and rejection. The problem with that is even though I know how much it hurts to deal with those situations because I have been through them there is no way to truly give her immunity. The only way for her to build up the callouses is for her to be immersed in the situation and hopefully fall back on the strong foundation that I have laid for her. I know thicker skin protects you from feeling the hurt with such depth and resonation. With such thick skin and a heavy heart you can't feel the bad things but it is equally as hard to feel all the good things. I want her to have a flexible heart that still weeps and hurts because without those raw emotions I find it hard to have compassion or love.

Monday, October 5, 2009

NOT Me Monday!

Playing along with the blog carnival over at My Charming Kids... join in and laugh at all your faux pas like me and relish in the free therapy!
There is no way I have removed scissors AND a hole punch from my kindergartner's room at least 6 times in the last week...she could never be climbing up a cabinet to find out where I keep hiding them and sneaking them in at night.

Amelia could never have worn her costume for 12 hours straight including to the bus stop and to Costco. I certainly did not have to glue the mask back together even though we only bought it yesterday at Walmart.
I am not afraid to use the new toilet my dad and husband so nicely installed this weekend and I don't have a recurring nightmare that it will fall through the floor with me on it..nope not me!

There is no way my sister's mother in law faked a heart attack to get out of watching her kids for the weekend and there is certainly no way they ended up at my house while she got to go out for a romantic evening

No way my 3rd grader tested positive for the flu AND strep and missed 3 days of way one of the days was picture day.

My 11 year old could never have disappeared into her room and emerged ten minutes later with glitter eyeshadow thinking I wouldn't notice.

I am not super duper excited to go shopping and to lunch for my birthday this week while all three girls are at school nope not me!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Mending a Broken Heart

The other day my nephew and my five year old were playing upstairs. Suddenly my nephew came running down in sheer panic. He told me that they had been playing Dr and that they were trying to fix his broken heart. He lifted his shirt and showed me his chest and it was covered with a barrage of band aids. He thought the band aids were super glued on and would never come off. I quickly tore them off and his crying slowed but the whole incident really made me think. How easy would it be if a broken heart really could be mended by an outer force like a band aid? Or a kind word? Or maybe a hug? The thing I have learned about broken hearts is that the only person who can truly mend them is the one who owns the hurt. Sometimes it takes soul searching and time to get through the pain. Sometimes it takes wallowing through self pity and grief to get there. Even when the heart is mended though it is still really tender and not quite as strong as it was before. An important thing to remember is that a broken heart is still a beating heart. No matter how much it hurts and how much despair you feel you have to keep living. You have to move past the hurt to a future no matter how painful it is to get there.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

As Funny As Running in the Rain

Life seems so ironic lately. It's like when you get ahead of the game then fall on your face. When you try to sneak a nap and forget to wake up. The house is all clean then the craft drawer explodes. Laundry is caught up and sheets are fresh and someone gets the flu. Finally take the time to fix a home cooked meal and no one is hungry to eat. Manage to avoid the pediatrician for 6 months and then have to call four times in one week. All three kids are in school during the day but every evening is packed to the gills with sports and scouting. The temperature drops and frost shows up but the coats are still packed away somewhere in the basement. Its like when you take up running to get skinny but the only pants you can find to run in are maternity pants from years ago. It is like life is trying to play a practical joke these days. When the good shows up the bad is only a hiccup away. I will take the chaos though as long as the next joyous moment is just around the corner.