all a part of life

Whatever “it” is it is a part of life. It is what it is and so forth. Whatever you want you “it” to be you can that happen.

Today, it just was what it was. We had just arrived at my mother’s home after a long day of driving.  This was probably the fifth time this summer we had come this way. This time we waited a few hours for her return back from the airport-returning home after surgery. The goal is for me to be her hands and do the things she cannot do while she heals and goes through cancer treatment.

So, here we were waiting. Moments after getting one child to sleep and before going downstairs to tend to the next child I heard a loud clunk followed by a scream.

I headed down and grabbed my three year old from her older sister’s arms. My daughter relayed the incident to me-at least they were having fun prior-and I felt my daughter’s head for any bump or sign of injury. I felt nothing so we continued to wait for my mother.

Just a few minutes prior to my mother waking in the door my three year old walk passed me. For some reason I put my hand on her head and I felt stickiness. Sticky hair happens when you have kids-probably just slightly less than sticky hands. It took just a moment for me to realize what was in her hair. So…off to the bathroom to wash the wound and get a better look.

By the time I saw the wound it had already stopped bleeding. I was left wondering to myself if I should take her to the ER (too late for the clinic or urgent care) or if she would be fine with home care. During my debate my mother and stepfather walked in. They offered their advice and set me up with their first aid products.

Tonight my little girl sleeps with a tiny bit less hair, near the wound, and a pink bandage on her head.

Tonight was an “it” kind of night. I am here thinking of it all and the debate that many parents go through-wether to take their kid to the doctor or not. We freak out with all sorts of amount of blood. We wonder if it is bad enough to warrant the expertise of a doctor. We wonder and question our own knowledge and ability to provide simple first aide to our children. There are a number of more things involved that we consider too. When we finally decide, on those iffy ones, we doubt our decision.

Granted, if it was still bleeding I would have taken her in. If it was worse I would have taken her in. Last year my son injured his forehead. It was not debatable. It was obvious he needed stitches. years ago I met a family. They were about to leave their home to take their child to the ER for a cut on the  finger (it was a very, very minor cut).

Needless to say,some things are obvious yea or no injuries. Others are not. What do we do then? At some point we have to trust our parenting and make a decision. At some point we cannot be afraid that our decision will scrutinized (there will always be someone who will). We just have to do. We have to take our “it” that happened and do whatever we feel best.

Today I did what I felt best. I will continue to do what I feel best-which does not mean neglecting the wound. I will be a mother and a parent.

Advertisements

judging is required

It has been two years since my life seemed to fall apart. Actually, it is more like the day I freed myself from a spouse who was not good (that’s putting it the nice way). It has been two years of researching and trying to understand what happened and why it happened so that I never fall prey again like that, and so I can protect my children. It has been two years of focused healing and learning how to protect myself.

Today, or rather yesterday as I am writing at 3am, I entertained a phone call with my former husband. This was something I refused to do since shortly after our split as I realized he would only lie to me and tell me everything I knew was just a misunderstanding. It was pointless to talk to him, and I was not yet strong enough to talk- as any conversation would cause me to get frazzled or respond to him without thinking. This conversation marked a turning point for my healing.

I held my ground, I kept calm, I had to hold back laughing at the sheer amount of lying and justification he was doing, and I said everything that needed to be said. I called him out on lying to our three year old the other day in which he immediately denied and said I heard (they were face timing) him wrong. In fact, he attempted to tell me I was misunderstanding everything and that I should seek out the facts from him first. Sadly, I had to remind him the story about the boy who cried wolf. In this conversation he remarked about how people shouldn’t judge. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

I hear it all of the time and often from religious people. I am very religious, however we get the “not judging” part completely wrong. We need to judge. We have to judge otherwise we put ourselves in danger. There will be people who tell us they changed but they didn’t, but we will give them the benefit of the doubt because we think we should not judge. I am here to tell you that we need to judge. It does not mean we are mean or hateful to others. It does not mean we cannot give certain people the opportunity to do right, we just shouldn’t give free reign of ourselves to everybody.  I made that mistake and I paid dearly.

We have to judge others in this life. Call it making a judgement call or whatnot. It is good to love and be kind to others but that does not mean throwing out common sense in the name of religion or anything else.

I have learned a great deal about myself in my healing process which is why I know the cost of dismissive forgiveness and of not “judging”.

The conversation today with the man I used to call husband taught me that I am strong enough to hold my ground, judge appropriately, and not fall for his lies. It was surprisingly healing to say all the things I did and get it all off my chest and to tell him I did not care about what he says about me to others. I even told him that I know he believes he has done no wrong because he has created different definitions of things that are wrong, and as long as he can do that he lives rightly in his newly created definitions, but I know the truth.

A person may redefine what is right and wrong, or to move that line which separates the two in order to make themselves believe they have done nothing wrong. However, inventing your own definitions to justify bad behavior does not dismiss the consequences of bad behavior.

Surprisingly the conversation did cause me to feel sorry for the man. I can only imagine how miserable of a life someone must have when almost everything they say is a total lie or laced with a lie. A life where everything is made up, where you have to pretend your past is something difference, where your energy is constantly spent on remembering what lies have been told or concocting new ones. A life without truth or integrity is a life that is sad no matter how much it appears happy on the outside. Not the type of life I would want. What part of it I did live, or experienced while married to him was stressful and full of much upheaval and chaos. I may be a single parent now but I am happy and free. I am able to live with integrity and stand tall against a person who brought me great pain.

For anyone in a similar situation or path: healing is possible. It takes time and patience. It takes learning. I will likely never heal fully as the scars will always be there, but they can fade and I can grow in moving forward.

the yummies

the yummies

When my young children eat they enjoy themselves. Do I enjoy when they eat, or rather what they do when they eat? Well, I sometimes get my camera out. I do not think my children actually eat very much as most of the food ends up on them, the table or the floor.

What I have to remember as a parent is to not freak out when the mess happens. Some day they will understand how to eat neater. Right now they are experiencing new sensations and ideas. Yes, playing with food is very educational. So for anyone who may want to argue that just look at how many sensory books and toys are out there. The toys and books are less messy than food but they are no more educational for one’s senses.

this is the life

this is the life

Life as a parent is not always easy. It gets frustrating and repetitive. There are, however, many unexpected beautiful moments. Tonight was filled with those unexpected special moments that meant giving in to joy.

One of those joys came during a rain storm. We do not get much rain and a storm has been pretty rare lately. It was a good enough storm that I opened the doors and we sat on the threshold and just watched the rain come down. Before long the youngest was outside, under the carport, playing in a puddle.

I had a choice. I could freak out and pull her back in or I could embrace the moment and watch how happy she was. For quite some time she stomped and played around in the rain. She was as pleased as could be. She was happy and safe. It was worth it.

image

After the storm the girls wanted to go on a walk. I got everyone ready to go-we used the wagon-and we went on our walk. They were disappointed we did not go to the park but eventually they gave up on the walk and began to play in a parking lot full of puddles.

For a moment I tried to hold them off, but before long I was enjoying watching them. I was even laughing and having fun with them. It was worth it. Sure, I could have stopped them. I could have taken them straight home, but I didn’t. Creating good memories was far better than not.

Following our outdoor, and very wet, adventure it was time for bed. Once I had the youngest in bed I walked out to my three year old telling me to close my eyes. She verbally guided me, while I peaked, to walk forward. When I opened my eyes she had two bowls of strawberries. One for me and one for her. She even suggested watching Star Trek.

image

I let her choose which Star Trek series to watch, and we ate and talked. She expressed her enjoyment of the activity. She mentioned how we were spending our alone time together. She talked about us. It was a good surprise, even if well passed bedtime.

There are enough things in this life to keep us on schedule and in line with our perception of what has to or cannot be done. However, periodically we need to break away and live. We need to experience life and unscripted beauty. We need to be willing to give in to the unexpected things that happens.

 

the unexpected child

When my oldest child was two her younger brother was born. Complications began minutes before he was born when his heart rate began to drop. He was born a week late. My doctor told me he was grateful he induced labor.

At that moment, during labor, I was not so pleased that I was induced. I was begging for the pain to stop. I was lucky I had a good doctor.

I do not believe I will ever forget the first moments of my son’s life. It was very very quiet. I waited for them to hand me my son. It took a few minutes, nurses checked him over, but they let me hold him long enough to say “hello” and get a few pictures. After that they took him away. I did not worry though, or maybe I did but I do not remember. Things seemed calm and I had hope.

We spent four days in the hospital and I was so very happy to bring him home. He struggled to eat, but that was expected. That first night we kept him in our room because we were terrified something might happen. We wanted to be there for him. Even though I do not remember his breathing before that night I do recall that his breathing was so loud we had to take him into another room so we could go to sleep.

We were not surprised by what was happening. The pediatrician had explained what he thought our son had so we were prepared enough to know he was breathing okay.

It would be a few months later before the pediatrician said he did not think his diagnosis was correct and that he wanted to call some specialists. It seemed he was always calling a new specialist every time we went in. He was an old man, he was experienced and he had no problem asking for help.  That first year there was an appointment at least every week, usually more than that.

Every time I took my son to a doctor appointment I would reassure my husband that everything would be okay, but it did seem that every time I came back to report on the appointment it was always one more thing wrong. Eventually there was a long list of symptoms and no answers.

It has been several years since that first year. There are still no answers, and there is still a long list of symptoms. Some things he has overcome but there is always another thing to be added. There has been so much that I often find myself forgetting what is wrong. I sum it all up now the best I can for those that ask.

During the first year my husband told me something to the effect of, “I never wanted a disabled child.” Not too many years later he asked me if I wished my son were normal. That was a tricky question. Wishing for a more normal child felt like I would I would not be appreciating who he was and wishing away the son I had grown to love. I could never wish that away and I fully accepted what and who he was, despite the difficulties.

I have had many opportunities to ponder and think about those two things my son’s father brought up to me. One thing that really struck me was the “never” comment.

Never is something I hear quite often. Many people have said to me, “How do you do it? I could never do that.” I know they are trying to be nice and compliment me, but I remind them that they could if they had to. I tell them I have no choice. Okay, so I do have a choice, but I made my choice and that was to eliminate the other choice. I either do or I don’t. There are many times I feel inadequate and not capable, but I am doing it the best I can.

It is that never thing that really hits me though. It is a mindset.  It is quite a bit more difficult to believe you can do something that is unexpected if you have already made up your mind before hand that you could not do it. There is a big difference between “I could never” and “I don’t think I could.” One shuts down the whole possibility of success before you even try.

I also find that, for me, it is also easier because of my religious faith. My faith keeps me going and helps me to see the miracles. It takes away the despair that could easily overwhelm me.

So, I tell people that they can, and they will. My son’s disabilities and needs were completely unexpected but I would not change a thing.

**********

Why was I so calm when he was born? When I was pregnant I had many friends who were also expecting that same year. My son would be one of the last in that group. A few months before he was born I was thinking about how all of the babies born so far were very healthy and there were no complications. I thought, for some odd reason, with that many babies being born one would be bound to have something wrong. A morbid thought, I know. However, that was followed with a clear thought of, “if anything is wrong with any of those babies it will be mine.” It was a rather odd thought. I did not pay too much attention to it, but it prepared me for what was to come. Maybe he was not so unexpected after all.

fair time

fair time

The fair is in town this week. I decided that since we did not live far from the grounds we could take a simple adventure. Right after I got done explaining that there would be no rides, due to lack of funds, my daughter’s friend called.

How in the world she knew we were going to the fair I will never know. My daughter had not talked to her all summer. Her mom said that if I took her then she, the mom, would pay for both girls to ride. I figured it would be okay. It meant my oldest could have more fun.

Once the friend arrived, it took me plenty of time to get everything arranged in the stroller and wheelchair–including children. Then we were off. On the way we stopped to pick up a hot dog lunch at a sidewalk sale. Before long we were at the fair.

I shooed the older girls off to have fun and get all the use out of their wristbands as possible. For thirty bucks and only four hours I wanted them to be worn out having been on every ride possible. The last thing I wanted was for them to ride a few and then complain afterward that they didn’t get to do all the rides.

With only me left to push a double stroller and a wheelchair I went on my way. First stop: the horse race. My first horse race, free for all fair goers.  I manage to find the wheelchair ramp leading to a platform. Of course, someone was sitting directly at the top of the ramp. He was kind enough to move, but I did wonder why he sat there. Each time anyone would get on or off he was going to have to move.

By the time the race began I had one kid screaming and another wanting to use the bathroom. I figured they would have enjoyed watching horses, but we packed up and left just a few minutes after arriving. The poor guy sitting by the ramp had to move again.

The rest of the day was spent walking around, going through buildings and turning salesmen down. I did enjoy the offer one made that was “only” for those who said they needed to think about it. I was told I couldn’t find them online, then that they were more expensive online and that I should act now. Sorry, but not sorry. No.

Throughout the day people must have felt pity for me. I received many offers of help. Near the end a man asked if he could help me. I declined because I didn’t understand if he intended to help me for the duration or just for in that building. I then felt bad for declining because I think he may have followed me for awhile to work up the guts to ask. I didn’t see him again.

After several hours I was done and my children were exhausted. The only problem with walking somewhere is that you have to walk back. So much for trying to be smart about things.