Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

Let the Storm Rage On

Frozen-150x150My 2-year-old does not ask to listen to the Frozen soundtrack in the car; much to my delight, she asks to SING FROZEN! A former musical theater actor, I have a particular love for singing in the car. I first bonded with a most precious friend singing Cabbage Patch Kids songs in the car on the way home from college…yes, college.  It makes me incredibly happy singing along with my mini-Idina in the back seat. Like most of America, my daughter’s favorite song is Let It Go, which she sings with absolute abandon. To my surprise, this song continues make me cry every damn time we play it. Something about the idea of

I don’t care
What they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on,
The cold never bothered me anyway.

has me by the heart-strings. It speaks to my life with chronic pain in such a clear, defiant way. A sort of screw-you to the day-to-day struggle to remain normal, to ignore the rejection, to be tougher than this disease I do not control. I know I’m not the only one who has found myself in the lyrics of this anthem. Sometimes you just want to scream

And I’ll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone.

Ultimately it is the idea of being free that makes it all so right. I never, not for the briefest of moments, feel free of this pain. So if you see me and my kiddos in my car belting with everything we’ve got, please understand: I am standing on my ice castle, hair flying behind me, absolutely free. Can’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried.

 

Good rain

Playing in the rain

I’ll take the blame for this absolutely ridiculous blizzard in April weather (sometimes a bit of crazy narcissism is just what the Doctor ordered). I have been waiting, hold-up in my little house, hoping for a seismic change. Old man winter seems to be sympathetic to my plight, dumping slushy misery in solidarity. However, I am forecasting a change in the weather this week. My pain pump implant surgery is Wednesday and it is about time for spring to sprung.

These last couple of weeks, as I’ve been wrapping my brain around this change, a Storyhill song has been rolling though my mind. It has been reminding me of that smell of rain on the hot pavement, when it starts to fall after a steamy summer day.

It was a good rain
The kind that you wait for
And it’s not like it’s been too hot
It’s just that we’ve been waiting
And everything is different
Now that it’s raining

Everything is about to be different. I will soon be taking my girls puddle jumping in the spring rain. I’m going to need all of the finger-crossing goodwill I can get, so please keep me in your thoughts and prayers. Much love and so much gratitude.

Hitched for the Holidays

This week, I am the leading lady in a Lifetime movie plot – it would be a Hallmark Hall of Fame, but their charactersfala are a little too naive for this storyline.

Our first daughter was born just before Christmas; during those hazy midnight nursing sessions, my husband and I discovered Fa-la-la-al-Lifetime.  It beats infomercials and Public Television Membership Week hands down.  These movies play 24/7 throughout the 6 weeks before Christmas and we have seen almost every one.  There are 3 plot lines and the best ones feature actors from my teenage years (I never miss anything starring the kids from 90210).

One of my favorite story lines, and the one I am playing in this year, is the one where a beautiful single person (pretending to be undesirable) is tired of hearing their mom complain about their lack of spouse and they hire a companion for the family holiday festivities.  I don’t want to spoil the end for you, so don’t’ read on if you prefer the suspense. They fall in love with their partner-for-hire and kiss under the mistletoe.

So, as you might have guessed, my version is a little different: my blind date for the holidays is a new miracle medication meant to sooth an ailing digestive system (I already have a handsome man friend). Scorned in the past, I was not hopeful. However, the last few good days have me skipping towards the mistletoe.  On my new pancreatic enzymes, I have been eating without regret for the first time in 20 years. Cue make-over montage, I feel like dancing!

These movies (and med trials) usually have a bit of drama after that first longing-look, so I am waiting for the other Louboutin to drop. But I am hopeful, and isn’t that what this cheesy season is all about?

I hope Santa brings you and yours everything you’ve been wishing for, including a made-for-TV happily ever after.

 

My girls are magic

My girls are magic.

I have proof by way of illustration: My pain has decided to double in the last week for no apparent reason (really must figure out who has my voodoo doll).  I came home from work a grumpy mess, extremely self-loathing and unhappy that my husband had to leave for work instantaneously.

Seeing as I’d taken all of the pain pills allowed, I self-medicated with a piece of leftover pumpkin pie – which my sweetly smiling 15-month-old ate most of, who can resist those big blues? She then insisted I sit on the floor with her to play Little People, while her big sis did her practice-spelling test at the kitchen table.  I grabbed a couple of pillows and hit the carpet.  She proceeded to pull all of the plastic animals out of the toy barn and pile them on top of me, while making the appropriate animal sounds.  Then she tried to shove every one of them in my mouth or up my nose. We were both giggling and it broke into an every-girl-for-herself tickle-slash-kiss-every-part-of-her-face fight. For 15 minutes she did what my Doctors cannot, what my meds cannot, what I cannot do myself; she made my pain disappear.

Magic.

The Mitten Monster and other back-to-school magic

 

I was not at home to snap pictures of my daughter heading-off for her first day of first grade today. I was running around taking pictures of your kids. Well, maybe not yours specifically, but the greater you. I was playing photographer for the school district where I work, looking for that perfect Facebook shot. And I have to say, your kids were lookin’ good today, in their shiny new shoes (with room to grow) and their stiff backpacks – ready for a year’s worth of library books. They were very willing to show-off their toothless grins, big smiles paired with that tiny hint of anxiety. I tried to capture the squeals as older kids spotted their friends, taller since they hugged fair-well in the spring. I was feeling that ache that all moms feel when they can’t be there to cheer their kiddos on.

To distract myself, and to keep the weeping at bay, I considered the fun in the fact that I was taking pictures at the school where I started Kindergarten myself, years ago. It was a brand new school and my class was the first to go entirely though it. I don’t remember much from that first year, mostly visiting the nurse (I was one of those dreaded strep carriers) playing house at free time (wish I still loved to iron the way I did then) and losing every mitten I ever wore (to the mitten monster living in our cubby, of course). I do have the vaguest of memories of the girl who would one day become my oldest friend. I wanted to be her friend because I loved her dress, which might be the reason I chose most of my friends. This particular dress reminded me of Laura Ingalls, which meant it was awesome. I was all the more impressed to hear that her mom made it. I had no idea you could make a dress.

My memory of those first days may be a little foggy, but I do know that I managed to make a friend for a lifetime. A relationship which is, I realize now as an adult, as magical as the mitten monster himself. Although I couldn’t be there to hold my daughter’s hand as she walked through that big doorway today, I am wishing her every happiness school can bring. Especially, a friendship to hold her up and carry her through those wondrous childhood days, and beyond.

 

Happy Trails

My almost-one-year-old daughter is on a mission to wrap everyone around her little finger. We are twelve hours into a fourteen hour travel day and we are boarding our last flight. I know my fellow passengers are not thrilled to see a baby lining up for their evening trip. Stroller stowed, I’m lugging my daughter down the tight aisle, waiting impatiently for the crowd in front of us to shove their carry-ons overhead, bouncing to keep her content. As I grimly swap her from hip to hip, she catches the eye of a woman across the way, her eyes go wide, she holds up her little fingers and says “H-i!” as if she is greeting her best friend after a long, heartbreaking absence. The stranger melts right there in front of us. My little diplomat then repeats this greeting to everyone she can beguile. By the time we get to our seat, every passenger on the plane is our friend, fawning over her for the rest of the flight.

My online signature quotes “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” And most days I succeed at remembering to treat people as such. I know that chronic pain has given me a unique perspective on personal battles, one I should use in all of my daily interactions. However, had anyone given me a reason to, I would have turned bitchy fast on that last flight of a very long day. It was amazing to see how quickly road-tired people warmed to the genuine greeting of a baby, inspiring even. To be seen by anyone, really seen, can make every difference in the world.

In honor of my miracle girl’s first birthday this month, take a minute or two to see and sincerely greet each other. Forget your pain, recognize the struggle and strength of the people around you. I promise, it will make your trip all the sweeter.

Drug Babies

Can you watch this video without grinding your teeth? I can’t watch even 5 seconds of it, and my daughter was one bad Doctor away from being a drug baby herself. I’m not going to rehash the details here, if you are new to my blog, please check out the early story starting here. However, I never mentioned that the first Doctor I discussed my potential pregnancy with told me to go ahead, to get pregnant on my narcotics and to stay on them, because it would be too stressful to quit. This advice didn’t sit well with me so I moved on to a new pain Doctor who was willing to help me deliver a drug-free baby. I say a little prayer of gratitude every time I see one of these recent stories about the upsurge in babies born addicted to pain medications.

Having been through a pain-related pregnancy, I have an intimate understanding of the difference between someone trying to have a family while managing a chronic disease, and someone stealing Vicodin to feed their addiction during pregnancy  (I am not equipped to discuss the disease of addiction here today, but I know it is a monster) . I have had the privilege of befriending many moms who have fought tooth and nail to deliver healthy babies, pain be damned. I am deeply worried that the general public, and their trusted reporters, do not/will not understand the difference. I am torn to pieces every time I see one of the recent reports, a bit of me wishing the story would disappear from our screens as quickly as possible.

I fear this current scrutiny will not benefit moms like me. In this black and white world, our gray-area-pregnancies are hard to explain. We tend to hang-out in the shadows, in our private chat groups, or the safe harbor of our homes. Doctors aren’t sure what to do with us, there is no research, so I don’t expect the average person to understand how I managed my pregnancy. I am worried that, after seeing this damning news coverage, the average person will feel they can tell me how to manage a pregnancy.

I guess I just wish I saw myself somewhere in the reporting of this story, some information about how moms like me use their meds responsibly, fighting the lack of support around every corner. Something deeper about why some of these babies are suffering as a direct result of the inconsistencies in the world of  pain management. If this story was as black-and-white as it seems, my daughter would not have been one Doctor away from a tortured welcome into this world. So please, take a moment before condemning every mom-to-be on pain medications, there is another story, even if I am the only one telling it.

* Please feel more than free to share your story, if you are so inclined. 

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