I’m Probably Going to Hell for This …

Image…but I had to laugh this morning.  There is a teen in our community who has a horrible illness that could have been life-threatening yet it was caught early and the doctors are confident that this teen has a 100% survival rate on kicking this disease’s ass.  The treatment sucks and the child is on various meds, missing a lot of school, etc. but in about four to six months, will be completely fine.

I know the mom must be going through hell and all the running to doctors and the hospital for treatment has to be a royal pain (been there!) but … you’re child is going to be fine!  The mom is part of the same group of people that I deal with on a regular basis who I have to treat almost like children to get them to understand that when it comes to Bella you need to remember certain things; 1)  You can’t pull on her limbs 2) Her arms aren’t long enough or strong enough to absorb the impact of a fall – it will be her skull that will take the brunt of it.  3) The closest hospital with the staff that knows how to operate on the head of a child with dwarfism is over five hours away.  I could go on and on but you get the idea.  If you are a parent of a child with dwarfism, you know the drill.

Yet, I can’t help but want to wave the “HELLLLLLLLO!” flag at this mom over her recent comments about being concerned about her suffering from PTSD once all of the trauma of this medical event with her child is over.  She said, “Everyday it’s something,” Really?  No shit? Welcome to my world!  (Yes, I said, “shit” it won’t happen again).

Not that I am screaming for attention here but other parents with kids with special needs don’t have the luxury of knowing that they just have to hold it together for a few more months and life will go back to some semblance of normalcy.   There will be emotional scars, sure, but for the most part, it will be all over.  Moms like me will never even grasp what that light at the end of the tunnel is even like, it just simply isn’t an option for us.

I know I am being irreverent here but I am just dumbfounded at how myopic people can be.  I really have to wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that we have always kept Bella’s situation within our family and close circle of friends.  If she has something going on medically, or potentially going on, we don’t go posting it all over Facebook to make people feel sorry for us or to tisk, “Oh! That poor family!”  It is our cross to bear and I am doing what needs to be done for Bella and no one else needs to know about it because it is just water cooler fodder for them.   If you need to be in-the-know, I will let you know!

I know that this mom is most likely just having a weak moment where she felt sorry for herself and made those feelings public.  I know that she is right in the middle of the storm with the medical side of her situation with her child and can only see how things affect her and not vice versa – please – don’t think that I am heartless.  I can totally understand where she is coming from but to be worrying about having PTSD when this is all over?  Come on!

I just wish people could take the time to realize that all of those kids with special needs that they pass in the store, at the mall or even at the hospital, have parents that live with whatever the condition may be, everyday …. forever.

(Thank you for letting me vent today!)

My Mia: My Gift from God

ImageAfter realizing that many of my posts deal with Bella as of late, I thought I would dedicate this post to Mia.  While Bella is at the beginning of a very volatile time in her life, Mia is at a very solid, comfortable place in hers.  Yet, that wasn’t always the case.  From the time she was very young, Mia preferred to play alone and be by herself.  She seemed more content that way.   As she grew older and started school, some social issues began to pop up and academic ones as well.  Everything really came to a head when her 4th Grade teacher came to me and told me that she was very concerned about Mia.   I won’t bore you with the details but once she was tested and her diagnosis of Central Auditory Processing Disorder was confirmed.  It seemed to truly help her and us to be able to put a framework to her uniqueness.

Mia was named after my grandmother and let me just tell you that my grandmother was one of my best friends.  I loved and adored that woman so much and losing her in the early 90’s was the most devastating event of my life.  When Mia was a toddler, she would look up sometimes and it was as if my grandmother was in her eyes.  Her physical features and some of her facial expressions are exactly like her great-grandmother’s.  In fact, a cousin was visiting once and I had told him about Mia’s expressions that were just like our grandmother’s.  He was on the floor playing with her and out of the corner of my eye I saw him almost jump out of his skin, startled by something.  I looked at him and he just shook his head.  Later he told me that he saw the expressions I had told him about and it was as if our grandmother was right there looking at him.

Now, I am not saying that Mia is the reincarnation of her great-grandmother, I don’t believe in reincarnation.  What I do believe is that God knew how much I missed my grandmother and he gave me a little piece of her in Mia.  He allowed the physical characteristics that were in our gene pool to be prominent in Mia to remind me everyday of my grandmother.

About a year and a half ago, Mia began to grow academically, socially and personally.  She and I were always very close because I seemed to understand her when those around her didn’t.  When Bella would be “kidnapped” by my mom for a few days at a time over the summer, Mia and I considered those days as “Mommy and Mia Days.”  We would do fun things that she wanted to do, go places and spend time together.  This was a wonderful time and it built an amazing foundation for us and that trust and comfort that we established then has allowed her to confide in me and flourish over the past year or so.

We understand her learning issues and know how to combat them now, we understand her social quirks and are well on our way to ironing them out and she has made amazing strides academically in the past year.  Yet, while I may take credit for some of these strides, I need to give credit to that one piece of the puzzle that, when it was finally put in place, made Mia one of the most incredible pre-teens I know.  That piece was karate.

Mia hated anything that was competitive; board games, card games, video games – if it was an activity that had a winner and a loser she wanted no part of it.  We tried exposing her to extra-curricular activities and while she would participate in them initially, once they began to get competitive she wanted nothing to do with it.  I cannot tell you how many flyers came home form school and each time I asked, she would say she wasn’t interested.  The day the flyer came home for karate though, I almost didn’t ask her but that little voice, which I am sure was God, told me to ask anyway.  I will never forget the smile on her face as she stood in the dining room with her arms raised in the air, “YES!”

This coming weekend she will be graduating to her 5th belt level and she has become one of the leaders of her class.  We are at the dojo at least five nights a week and I cherish every moment because she is so happy there; she is in her element.  She loves everything about it because they emphasize personal growth and getting better on an individual level and the competitive nature of the sport is gradually built into what they do.  The instructors are fun, well-trained and create an environment of positive motivation for the students and the kids have such respect for them – when one of them compliments Mia on how well she did something the smile on her face makes me tear up almost every time.  All that runs through my mind is, “Thank you, God!”

Karate spills over into all aspects of her life because they also teach her life skills as part of the program.  She works hard everyday at school and knows that because of her CAPD she has to work a little harder, yet through karate she has learned that hard work pays off once you put in the time and efforts necessary.  She is well ahead of those of her generation who expect things from life without putting in the work ethic required to earn those rewards.

Two years ago you would have regularly found me in tears, worried about Mia’s future and how she would survive in this world.  Today I cry as well, but for the opposite reason!

The Greatest Gift You Can Give Your Kids …

ImageI have always told my over-worked husband that the greatest gift you can give your kids in your time.  I can completely understand his desire to relax, watch TV or work in the yard when he isn’t working but I always tell him that he has to make time to just be with the girls.  He agrees but often times there is very little follow through on his part.  This past week, I really don’t know what got him to this point, but he has finally starting drinking the Kool-aid.

He came home a few days ago and told me that he was going to cut his hours and add another evening off during the week to just be here with us.  While I am thrilled with his change of heart, that means I have another night where I have to be good! LOL

In all honesty, I really am over the moon with his realization.  I have a close friend from high school who learned this lesson too late and his two oldest children tolerate his presence at best.  Yet, he does get kudos for making more of an effort with their youngest and being more involved in her life.  Unfortunately, I don’t think he will ever be able to fix the damage with the older two but, he does deserve applause for what he is attempting to do with his youngest.

Thankfully The Hub is making this move before the girls are too old and turn their backs on him.  He still needs guidance but he is realizing that he needs to connect more with his kids.  It can be something as simple as having a TV show that they are both into or taking them out on a date to get ice cream.  Maybe take one of them to the store with you or something as simple as that.  All they want is to be included – Your time is all kids really want.

Last night, Bella was having a rough time with some friends so I picked her up and without saying a word, instead of heading home, we went to a family restaurant and had an appetizer and just talked.  I didn’t say much, I just listened to her and let her talk it out.  I could see in her eyes that this was all she really wanted and needed, just some time with me, away from the house, the phone, the rest of the family to just talk.  It was actually quite entertaining to watch her talk her way through the situation, rationalize it and come to a conclusion about how to handle herself.  As I mentioned, I said next to nothing but at the end, she said, “Thank you, Momma for talking through this with me.  I feel much better.”

All I did was eat onion rings … but I gave her what she needed my time.

The Joys of the Over Parenting Parents!

Good Morning, Readers!

I hope you don’t mind my taking a week off from blogging.  Here in snow country the kids get two breaks in the early part of the year; Winter Break in February and then another week off for Spring Break just before Easter.  Last week the girls and I had a blast, which I will write about in upcoming posts.  But today, I am going to take the opportunity to share another of the things that irritate the hell out of me.  It is going to seem so trivial but when it happens five times a week for some 35 or so weeks a year, it grinds at you – and then the expletives start.

I just got back from dropping the girls off at school.  As you may recall, I explained several posts ago that Mia’s school is actually in a highly commercial area.  The school was built in what was then a rural area and over the past 20 years a commercial corridor built up around it. The grounds are quite impressive, they extend at least 200 yards and there are some five athletic fields surrounding it. It is quite convenient for moms who drive their kids to school because we can get shopping done once we leave off the kiddies.

Because the school is set back a good distance from the road there is one entrance that forks off in two directions; one for the buses and another for staff and parent parking and drop offs.  In the mornings parents line up in a circle-like drive to unload their precious cargo.  I don’t know if it was in reaction to Sandyhook or not but over the past few months, either the principal himself or the PE teacher are posted in the circle drive to greet the kids as they arrive and wave good morning to parents. 

As you can well imagine, at any given time, that circle drive can get pretty congested with vehicles.  For some odd reason, some parents, even with presence of the principal, feel the need to wait in the circle drive and watch their little ones and their bouncing backpack walk the entire way up to the front doors before they pull away and allow the next vehicle to pull to the curb for drop off.

Now, if you are dropping off your child and the school is set back from the road with only one way in or out and there is a school administrator at the drop off point; do you really have to sit there for three to four minutes and physically watch your kid into the building? Let’s get real here, you have no honest to goodness reason to do this other than wanting to make yourself feel better or to make others think you are some kind of wonderful parent. Between the administrators, teachers working bus duty and the dozens of parents in the drop off line, do you really thing that someone is going to be hiding in the bushes in front of the school, jump out and grab your kid and escape with him or her? Let’s not forget the twenty plus security cameras that directly feed into the District’s security center.  This waiting until they walk to the door is just over kill.

It only makes you look like an ass, pisses off other parents and makes other kids that much later for school than they need to be.

To quote Lt. Daniel Kaffee in A Few Good Men

“Thank you for playing, should we or should we not follow the advice of the galactically stupid!”