I’ve never met a strong person with an easy past

I have had one hell of a week.  One hell of a few weeks actually …or a few months or years… depending on when you want to start counting.

Yesterday I drove past a church and the sign said, “I’ve never met a strong person with an easy past.”  I thought… wow, that is very true.   I internalized that for a moment and realized that I feel that I am stronger than I’ve ever been before, yet I feel so defeated.  It was an interesting thing to contemplate.

So why have things been increasingly hard this week?  I’ll tell you.  I used to work for a company that does senior care.  Wow!  What a rewarding job that is… seriously.  I got to “meet” some of the sweetest seniors and had some of the greatest conversations.  I had excellent coworkers and felt very rewarded in what I was doing.  However, there were things that also stuck out to me that weren’t quite right. I won’t go into those details here because they’re personal and they will be dealt with but just trust that though I found a wonderful industry, I needed a better company.

I decided to put out applications and was delighted to hear from a seemingly wonderful company that was voted top 100 places to work last year!  I was so excited to advance my career with this company and continue to work out my passion of helping seniors, the disabled, etc.  Of course, before I applied for these positions I checked with the HR at my company to make sure there was nothing preventing me from doing so… and they said I was good to go.  I wasn’t good to go.  In my paperwork was a non-compete.  I have no recollection of signing it and am certain I didn’t know the extent of what it meant but that’s neither here nor there.  Long story short, my previous position stopped me from stepping into my new role.  She smiled as she handed me the document.

I consulted a lawyer and she told me that in NC it would be a very difficult, costly process to fight them.  And for whatever reason, I didn’t have it in me to fight them.  I felt that even though I’d been so wronged by these people trying to make an example of me… that the universe would work it all out in some way.

I’ve heard things here and there about them and I feel that they’re reaping what they’ve sowed I guess.. but more importantly… I’ve seen such generosity from others.  I saw my psychiatrist this week and had a wonderful talk with her.  I told her that everything felt like shit… things were shit and I felt like shit and …those were my exact words really.  She let me get them all out and she reassured me.  I really got connected with my psychiatrist after the birth of my daughter and what a blessing that was.  She genuinely cares about my well-being and is there for me through every stage.  I’ve raved about her this week because when you find a business that is truly wonderful, run by people that are genuine and pure in their intentions… it should be celebrated.

My daughter’s daycare reached out to me as well and told me they were willing to half her tuition for the next several months until I could find a job. WOW!  This is a very wonderful school and I believe it has a waiting list! She did not have to offer something so generous… but she did.  She told me that we were a good family and my daughter was a great kid.  She wanted to help out as MUCH as she could.

I’ve also had so many friends reach out to me during this time. I mean, seriously guys… Phone calls, texts, lunches… I have been so blessed with the connections I’ve made and the people I’ve come to know and love.  When shit sucks… I have friends all over the world sending me those good vibes, praying for me and checking on me.  I love you guys!

With that being said, even with the love and support and the very-necessary-perfectly-timed-generous-gestures… there are hard times.  There are really difficult times.  I cried the other night until I couldn’t cry anymore and then I fell asleep.  I woke up at 3 am and cried some more.  My 22 month old rolled over (co-sleeping for the win!) and in the silence of the middle of the night I heard the SWEETEST sound.  She said, “mommy.”  I looked at her and said, “hey baby… i’m sorry, go to sleep.”  She said, “mommy sick?”  I said… “no baby, just sad.  Mommy is okay. ”  She then sat up and said, “Mommy, let me hold you.”  My little perfect girl.  She held me and I couldn’t help but cry harder.  My baby is such a caretaker with a gentle, sweet, caring spirit and she knew what her mama needed.  So blessed.

This morning, my son didn’t want to go to school.  He told me there would be a fire drill… that school was cancelled, etc.  I took him there and told him I would ask the teacher if there was going to be a fire drill and if there was going to be one I would stay with him for as long as I was able to.  I got to the school and was surprised there was no fire drill.   I told him this and he stood there panicking.  He started pacing, digging at his arms and tearing up.  I sat there and held him and talked with him.  He then told his teacher that “mommy needs to work here.”  My heart fell into my stomach.  I realized that my sweet, perceptive, beautiful little boy was worried about my situation.  He had been worried about it all week and was trying to fix it.  I’d thought I’d been careful about discussing anything in depth with him… and explained everything “kid friendly,” but he is such a sweet soul.  Our souls are so connected I know he feels when things aren’t quite right.  My heart broke into a billion pieces as I had to walk away and let his teacher help him cope/breathe/relax and adapt.  I knew it was the best thing but I sat there in the car crying and staring at the rain beating the windshield for 45 minutes… frozen.  I couldn’t leave… but I knew I probably shouldn’t stay and all I wanted to do was tell these people that they’d ruined everything… and now my kids?!

I called my husband over and over and over and tried to get him to talk me down but then I called my former employer.  I wanted to tell her what this was causing… that the loss in income was the LEAST of my worries at the moment… all I cared about was making my child feel secure.  I wanted to say that what’s “Business” to you… is someone’s life… but I’ve said it all before.  Some people don’t change.  Nothing I say or do will make them feel any remorse for what they’ve put us through… but regardless, it shouldn’t matter anyway.

I am trying to stay calm, focused, and pure.  My heart aches but I’ve utilized many resources.  I’ve called my parents, my friends, my husband, my psychiatrist, the crisis hotline, etc.  I’ve tried to find inspiration in little moments and encouragement in everyday things that maybe I wouldn’t have noticed before.  I do find that so much negative makes you really, really appreciate and see the positive.  It becomes quite clear and in focus.  It was always there and is always there but sometimes you have to go through some things to really see it.

I am blessed beyond measure.  I’ve always been taken care of and I always will be.  My children are pure, beautiful, caring, kind, amazing humans.  My husband and I are doing a FANTASTIC job of raising beautiful, loving people.  I can say that honestly and therefore I have everything.  I have a lot of work to do.  I have to start with what is most important and work my way out.  I need to protect my kids and help heal their hearts and minds… focus on finding a new job and calming myself.   Each day I have to remind myself that it IS worth it… and that I am worth it.  Practicing self compassion is not something I am good at doing.  I am the first to beat myself up when it all goes to shit… but hey… maybe now is the time to work on it even more.

This post is long and I don’t even know where it started… but I had to write it.  I don’t even know if I’ll re-read it.  I just hope that if you read it… you practice kindness.  It makes a huge difference.

 

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Look what you made me do


There is something that I haven’t been completely open with in when writing in this blog.  Its not that I haven’t gotten around to writing about it… or that I’ve tried to hide it necessarily… but it is something that I’ve struggled dealing with and accepting.  So here it goes…

My perfect, hilarious, beautiful, quirky, intelligent, blessing of a child, Jack, may be on the autism spectrum.  I’m sharing this information now because I’ve begun to realize how much this affects my life, my son’s life, my family, etc.  I will elaborate more in future posts because if there is anything I hope to convey more than anything else is …I love him EXACTLY the way he is.  Every bit of him is perfect to me.  He will always be perfect to me.  I’ve struggled with expressing it here because the idea of autism physically hurt me. It hurt me because I didn’t want him to suffer at all.  I didn’t want life to be hard for him.  I didn’t want him to miss out on opportunities.  As the days go on I’m starting to realize that autism doesn’t have to mean that Jack’s life will be any less fulfilling than anyone else’s.  It doesn’t have to mean the worst.  And the reason I say that he “may” have autism is because, well, honestly he acts exactly like I did as a kid.  We are very similar in many ways that hurt me because I know the challenges I faced when I was younger.  Whether he is or he isn’t… right now, we are chugging along and he is happy.  He is in school, he tells jokes and laughs, he loves his sister and is making friends.  I am so proud of him.

The reason I’m writing all of this out today is because there was something that happened this week that upset me deeply and without understanding the challenges we face you may not understand why the comments were so upsetting.

When I was a kid I was very shy, much like Jack.  I had friends but I was only comfortable in small groups.  I was nervous about talking to boys or anyone I decided was “cooler than me.”  I could determine who was “cooler than me,” at a very young age also.  I remember it happening as early as when I was 5 or so.  Jack struggles talking with children his own age.  We’re working on it but it is not something that comes naturally to him.  As for me, as I grew older I would pretend like I was a famous. Being famous would mean that everyone would just have to like me and I wouldn’t have to figure out how to make them like me.  Obviously, the desire to be famous has faded drastically with time but the love of music I developed many years ago when I would sing pop songs in my room for hours at a time has not.  It was therapeutic then and it is therapeutic now.  It was something that was my own and it helped me get through a lot of hard times.

When I got pregnant I prayed my children would not be like me.  I prayed they wouldn’t overthink things… or worry or obsess.  I prayed they would be confident and outgoing.  Though my kids are not exactly like I am, they do suffer from some of the things that I have suffered with.  At 4 years old, Jack is such a deep thinker.  He’s hyper aware… and so perceptive.  He also struggles with expressing himself and having real conversations at times.  A lot of this is because he is …4.  But some of this is because the words just don’t come to him.   I find it hard to know what he’s thinking sometimes or how he is feeling all the time.  Any way I can connect with him each day makes my heart so full.  It lets me know that my boy is in there.  Even if he’s hidden behind lots of chaotic thoughts, fears and obsessions… he’s there.  I can get to him and he can get to me.  We can find each other.  I’ve found many of these connections take place with music.

Recently, Taylor Swift released, “Look What You Made Me Do.”  I turned it on in the car and, on our way to my parent’s house, I turned to Jack in the back seat and sang the entire song to him.  Complete with sassy faces and dance moves hahah.  He loved it.  He tried to sing it back.  He danced.  We were connecting.  In a moment, we were both care free and happy.  When you’re a worrier, a constant over thinker, plagued with mental issues… you don’t have many moments of peace.  So, seeing my son smile, dance, laugh and perform… for me and with me- was a really beautiful thing to see.  We sing and dance to other pop songs too. Britney, Beyoncé, Spice girls… you name it.  When Jack was a baby Jeremy and I harmonized “Ghetto Superstar,” and it made him stop crying!  Pop music, for Jack, is solace in a very busy, hectic life.

Music is amazing.  It is healing and therapeutic.  It’s hard for my dad to hold a conversation with Jack at times but when he’s in my dad’s car and he turns on the Bluegrass, Jack slaps his knee and bobs his head to the beat.  He takes interest in it and he loves it.

At night, when I’m lying down with my sweet boy to get him to sleep I sometimes sing “Down In The River To Pray.”  One night, Jack turned to me and softly said, “Mommy, I like this song.”  Again, a connection.  My heart felt so full and my eyes teared up.  My boy was calm, happy and enjoying the moment.

So, getting to the point of this entire post.  Someone criticized my son’s knowledge of pop music the other day.  “Why does he even know who Taylor Swift is?” He shouldn’t know who the Spice girls are.”  “You don’t want your kids dressing like ho’s.”  “Let him be a kid.”

The words cut deep.  I thought to myself that this sort of thing happens… ALL the time.  People are so quick to throw their judgments at others.  They don’t think about what others are going through.  The person who said these things compared me to another mother.  They implied that this other person was raising their kid’s right when I was raising mine poorly.  Maybe they didn’t think through what they were saying.  Maybe they stand by it.  I don’t know… and I don’t care really.  I’ve never written anything more true than what I am about to write:

I absolutely adore my son.  I will do ANYTHING to help him.  ANYTHING.  I will constantly look for ways to connect with him, console him, heal him, make him laugh, keep him healthy and keep him safe.  I don’t care if it makes me look like the worst person or mother in existence.  If it is helping my son…I don’t care what anyone thinks.  The same goes for my daughter.  No one knows my children better than I know my children.  No one knows our struggles, our day to day lives, our family… more than us.

If pop music, hell, any music… makes my son smile– we’ll listen to it all day.  If a Taylor Swift song gives him a few carefree, fun minutes… we’ll listen to Taylor Swift.  I have sat in my room for hours practicing to Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Whitney Houston, Dolly Parton, Dixie Chicks, Janis Joplin, Gwen Stefani, Joni Mitchell, Alison Krauss, etc. etc. etc.  As recently as a few months ago I spent an entire night with one of my best friends doing NOTHING but singing for hours on end.  It was one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time.

So… to those of you that want to judge me… or anyone else.  Just don’t.  Keep it to yourself.  The way I raise my children may not be your style… but it is what works for us.  The 3 minutes we get to perform our favorite songs… is 3 minutes we’re connecting, smiling, loving and feeling peace.

Quick Tip Tuesday: Get up and move


Today’s tip is about mental health, again.  (Is anyone noticing a trend? lol)  Things have been hard, I haven’t been shy about admitting that… and I haven’t even tried to hide how hard they’ve actually been.   If I didn’t have kids I would no doubt be in my bed, under the covers until my stomach growling forces me to wake up… where I would no doubt drink something rather than eat to calm my stomach and spend the rest of my day zoning out in front of the TV or Internet.

BUT… I am a mom– and as HARD as it is to push that natural inclination away, get up when the kids get up and get out of bed… that is what I have to do.  That is what I WANT to do… its just hard to get there.  Its easy to move one foot in front of the other but its really hard to keep going sometimes.  I get stuck in my head and it is hard to be present for them.  As hard as it is, I keep doing it each day and I’m thankful for my littles because they give me that motivation that I need.  Doing it for them..helps me too.

Kids don’t sit still.  They don’t wait for you to feel like doing anything…they very much operate on their own timeline.  So… I wake up and make them breakfast, change diapers, get them dressed, and try desperately to figure out SOMETHING for us to do that day.  Whether its read a few books for circle time, drive around while on a Starbucks run, go to the park, or meet up with a friend– doing something is important.

So my quick tip today is, in a way, faking it until you make it.  When you can’t find it inside of yourself to keep on going for you… you can do it for your kids.  I’ve said it before, children are such beautiful, bright blessings.   When I get up and do things for my kids, I get more energy to do things for myself, our home, my husband.  When making my daughter’s breakfast I can tidy up in the kitchen for a few minutes, I can take a walk around the neighborhood because my kids need to get out.  As a result, I am walking and exerting energy.  I’m getting some stress out and moving forward, physically and mentally.

When you can’t carry on, do it anyway.  The fact is, we all can give just a little bit more.  Sometimes you need your sweet, innocent babies to show you that you do have it in you.  They have absolutely no idea how much they’ve changed my life for the better.  I struggle.  I’m not perfect and am not even close… but I’m just a little better because they are my babies.  I’m thankful that they are wild, energetic, healthy children.  I have to keep up the energy to keep up with them… and even in the darkest times, I’m always happy to do it.

5 steps to getting your anxiety and other mental health issues under control

Have you been dealing with a lot of anxiety lately?  I have.  Truthfully, I’ve been dealing with anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder since I was a young child.  I didn’t always know that was what I was dealing with, but it has become obvious in the past few years that I’ve been dealing with mental health issues for a long time.  I mean, how many 4 year olds do you know that refuse to sit in Santa’s lap because he wasn’t wearing his gloves?  Yep.  That was me.  I was that 4 year old.  Even at 4, the obsessive compulsive disorder was there and it was gearing up for a long ride.  I am 31 and still suffer with crippling anxiety and OCD.  However, because I am 31 and have been working on it since I was 18 years old… I’ve developed quite a few strategies for making it. And yes, I said making it… because for a while you just have to make it.  Once you start making it… you work toward other goals like living a happy and fulfilling life.  Goals we’re all working at!

  1. Therapy.  I cannot stress the importance of therapy.  Therapy has saved me time and time again.   However, I also cannot stress enough that the important thing is finding a therapist that you mesh well with.   I’ve had several over the years and some were not a good fit.  I currently have a phenomenal therapist that has helped me through the hardest times and has helped me see my own worth.  She has been a true Godsend.  Find a therapist that is there for you and not because it is a job.  Find a therapist that you trust and are comfortable with.  You can start searching here.  (Make sure you read reviews and talk to them ahead of time about what insurance they accept!)
  2. Medication.  This one may get me a lot of backlash and that is fine.  I have tried over and over and over again to tackle my issues without medication.  I’ve told myself I didn’t need it.  I’ve told myself that I’m better off without it.  The truth is, I can’t really function.  I am a miserable wife and mother.  I am an obsessive ball of crazy that can’t see past my own eyeballs.  I only see everything inside of my head.  I’m not present.  I’m not well.  I started seeing a psychiatrist (which is important, I have issues with general practitioners prescribing these and then not adequately following up)  and started Prozac several years ago and the change it has made in my life is unbelievable.  I am more level, I have fewer obsessive and anxious spells and am able to see more clearly.  When I miss doses and really get off track, it is obvious.  This drug has helped me and I am thankful for it.   I think medication can be really helpful, especially with therapy.
  3. Self-Help Reading.  Mental health is something you need to work at like a subject in school.  For some people, they just “get it.”  They don’t have to work at it as much as some of us… but for me, mental health is like math.  I’m always having to really work at it to try to figure it out.  Thankfully there are excellent resources out there that really help.  I recommend the following books:  Self Esteem: How to Heal Addictive ThinkingFeeling GoodFull Catastrophe Living.  These books have helped me in the hardest of times.  I’ve read and re-read them and they are amazing resources.  Very beneficial.
  4. Mindfulness Meditation.  Meditation may feel silly at first but the results speak for themselves.  I’ve had random meditation apps on my phone that didn’t do much for me, but then my therapist recommended the Insight Timer app.  This app really changed the way I viewed meditation.  I could feel the changes in my body.  I remember the first time I really got lost in the meditation.  I suddenly had this awareness of every move– Every small move in my body.  I was so calm and in tune with myself.  Studies have even shown that meditation changes the brain after a period of weeks.  Seriously! Really about it here.
  5. Support System.  Finding a support system is very important in treating debilitating anxiety and other issues.  Explaining your feelings and thoughts to a trusted individual whether it be a spouse, friend, parent, etc. is very important.  They may not fully “get it” but they will know that it is something you’re working on.  Let them know how to help you.  It isn’t always easy or fun, but it is necessary.  My husband has learned so much about my issues and can even tell when they’re coming on.  He knows how to help me and reminds me to take my medication.

When you’re living with anxiety/depression/OCD, etc… it can be hard to know where to begin when getting help.  Sometimes its hard to see beyond your own thoughts.  It is hard to get out of bed… it is hard to be a good parent or spouse.  It helps to know that others have been through it and you’re not alone.  If you’re struggling with what to do next or how to help yourself, please just take these few steps first.  One of my favorite Martin Luther King Jr. quotes comes to mind,

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”  

You don’t have to set any huge goals at first.  You don’t have to fault yourself or tell yourself you have to be cured immediately, just do what you can to get through each day and then each day will become easier.  You will get through this and things will start to fall into place.  But to get to where you want to be in life, you must help yourself first!

 

 

Let him be three.

Parenting is hard.  I think I’ve written that sentence more in this blog than any other sentence… but its true.  Kids are wild, they get sick, they are demanding, they don’t sleep, they throw tantrums, etc etc.  They’re tiny little terrors and completely worth every bit of crazy they put you through.  I love my own kids so much I can’t even attempt to describe it here.  They are my life.  However, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that parenting them is difficult.  At my best, I feel like I’m only doing an okay job.  That feeling is worse when you’re approached by an outsider about their behavior.

Recently my son started his second year of preschool.  He was so excited to go back.  He loves school.  He comes home and tells us about his day and sings the song they teach him. Being that he enjoys it so much, I was pretty shocked when his teacher approached me one afternoon and asked, “does he always flap his hands?”  I was caught off guard and said “well, yeah.  He always has.  He mostly does it when he’s excited or running.”  She then continued on to ask me “does he have any other obsessive behaviors?”  I was becoming pretty irritated at this point.  She was asking me a ton of questions, in the presence of my child, with no context. Long story short, after only having my son in her class for one week… she had determined that something was wrong with him.  She was concerned about his “parallel playing, hand flapping, obsessive behavior of closing the bathroom door when other children were in there, not listening, etc.”  She recommended having a specialist come in to observe his behavior.

Being the overly paranoid, OCD, stress-case of a mother that I am, I cried all weekend.  I’d only ever seen my son as the perfect little 3 year old that he is.  His hand flapping, which I had noticed over the years, seemed pretty normal to me.  He is growing and learning so much every single day and absorbing everything.  Its a coping mechanism.  I equated it to my obsessive need to lick my lips the ENTIRE time I am shopping at Target.  I don’t know why it happens, but I know that it makes me feel better about being in a crowded store.  I’d noticed that my son is cautious.  I know that he takes a while to warm up.  He will talk to a kid after he gets to know them, in an environment that he feels comfortable.  No, I didn’t know that he slams the door every time a child goes to the bathroom… but I do know that we close the door when we go to relieve ourselves and well… most people do.  And of course he doesn’t listen.  He’s 3 years old.  He has been on this Earth for 3 years.  There is a whole lot left to learn.  He is a CHILD.

Despite knowing these things — I still found myself telling my son to put his hands by his side.  I told him not to flap his hands.  I tried to MAKE him talk to children… almost feeling depressed/irritated when he wouldn’t.  I wanted to scream.  In a few ignorant statements, this teacher caused me to go from seeing my son as a bright, beautiful, perfect little 3 year old to a child that was flawed, socially challenged, with a possible real problem.  I am not perfect.  I had a few moments of confusion and panic, but eventually I realized that I didn’t like the way I felt around my son anymore.  I was seeing his personality as a flaw rather than how I’d seen it just days before– which was unique and beautiful.  Nothing had changed with him.  His mannerisms and behaviors were still the same.  So why did I feel this way?  I was allowing someone’s  quick judgments to cloud my own judgment and perception.  I was allowing the joy I felt about and with my child to be taken.  I wasn’t going to allow it anymore.

Next week we will have a screening done for my son.   He will go to a “special school” to play and professionals will watch and judge him.  I will listen to what they have to say but I won’t take it to heart.  I know my child.  I know his personality.  I know he is cautious, a bit anxious, incredibly smart, hilarious, sweet and wild haha.  I know he has a one-track mind like his dad did at his age.  I know he has trouble approaching groups like I did.  I know that no matter what, I will help him, love him and cherish him every step of the way.

As for his teacher, and everyone else for that matter– I think its important to remember that kids should be kids. A 3 year old should be a 3 year old.  If they slam a door to get a reaction, this shouldn’t be immediately considered an obsessive behavior.  I encourage everyone to stop finding fault in others. I am not naïve to the fact that there are potential disorders that kids could have that need special attention.  However, there are also quirks and behaviors that are typical for a 3 year old.  We need to have common sense.  As for my child, no teacher should have determined that my son had special needs after only knowing him and having him in a classroom for 1 week.  If it turns out that he needs special attention, that’s fine.  But for now, he needs to be 3.  He needs to play, learn social norms, learn how to approach and talk to others.  He deserves the time and our patience to figure this world out.

(I wrote this 6 months ago.  My goal is to incorporate more posts from my previous blog into the blog I have now… –Now that I am coming to terms with many things involving my children and am willing to share them with those I know, and those I don’t.  I read this tonight and still stand by it 100 percent. 6 months later my son is still as wonderful and amazing as he was then.  He struggles with things… but don’t we all?  Also, I hear his teacher has retired- and future toddlers are better because of it. ha!)

Quick Tip Tuesday: Keep it real

My tip this (almost) Thursday… is to keep it real.  Weird right?  This isn’t really a tip is it?  Well, I’m not really in the mood for a tip.  Lately, I’ve been tired.  I’ve been really beaten down by life and things have just been hard.  I sat around tonight wondering what my tip could be this week and all I could really think about is how I’m feeling right now.  Specifically, how there is no tip that anyone can give me to make things easier necessarily.  So… I decided to just come to the blog with how I feel.  So… my tip is keeping it real.

If I’m being very real… rather than post a tip, I wanted to come here and tell you guys that I’m extra exhausted right now but I can’t do anything but obsessively clean my house.  (Wow! What a work in progress that is… I could work for a year and not be done most likely)  All I can think about is how I want to organize things or what needs to be cleaned next.  I don’t know why …but its the only thing I feel like I have control of at the moment.  I’m also sad for my husband… who is sad, obviously.  I’m sad when my son realizes each day that granddaddy is indeed still in heaven.  I’m stressed beyond belief… and I’m having trouble managing it.

Tonight, I texted my doctor to tell her that I couldn’t remember if I’d taken my medication, and feared I may have taken it twice.  Though I knew this would not be a problem, I compulsively had to text her.  And call the pharmacist.  And my mom.  And my husband.  This panic and paranoia landed me a 9 am trip to her office tomorrow morning.  When things feel out of control I start to spin out of control.  It is my reality.  I have dealt with it for many, many years.  Thankfully, I have amazing healthcare providers that can see it and know when to step in and check on things.

Overall, I think we’re doing a pretty damn good job of handling the absolute insanity that has come our way this year.  My kids are happy.  I get out of bed every morning.  We sometimes make it to story time.  We drive around… we talk, we play and we laugh.  So, even though I have very hard moments, I’m still happy and I’m still blessed.  And I’m not just writing that so that this happy mommy blog post has a happy little ending.  I mean it.  I’m lucky to have my kids, my husband, our home and so much love.

Maybe next week I’ll come at you with a new tip… a real one.  But for now, this is all I’ve got.  <3.

When it rains, it pours

Wow, what a week.  What a month… What a year.  What a …2 years.  This is a rough… rough time in our lives.  Is it okay if I put it all out there?

2016 was extremely difficult for us.  I couldn’t wait for the new year.  I hoped and prayed that the new year would bring with it a rebirth of sorts.  I needed everything negative to be behind me… I needed to move on.   My son started 2016 with lots of illnesses he got from preschool (fun!) and I was a stress case the entire time.   Then in March I had my beautiful daughter.   She is absolutely the most beautiful, wonderful thing to come out of 2016.  She was a healthy 8 lb 10 oz.  I was in love.


Then, the postpartum depression and anxiety really escalated and became unmanageable.  I’d never felt so unlike myself.  I had this beautiful angel of a baby and I couldn’t enjoy her because of a million different irrational fears.  I was out of my mind.  The stress hurt.  I found my therapist and went back to my psychiatrist and I got medication to get things under control.

Fast forward to May and my son had a reaction to penicillin and had to go to the emergency room via ambulance with a very high fever.  He developed erythema multiforme.  His rash looked worse than any google images out there.  I was terrified.  I thought I would fall apart.  However, he recovered and things carried on as usual.


In July, my daughter had two bouts of intense vomiting after eating baby cereal.  The second time we were at my parents for the 4th of July holiday and my daughter woke up 2 hours after ingesting the oatmeal screaming.  She screamed and screamed until she got a bottle, which she promptly vomited all over her aunt.  She then became very lethargic and floppy. I called 911 and my 4 month old was carried via ambulance to the emergency room.  After hours of tests, failed IVs and blood draws… we were sent home.  I consulted her pediatrician that reassured me it was probably just a sensitivity and told me to avoid oats.  I knew it my heart it was more.  I took her to a pediatric gastroenterologist and then a pediatric allergist.  We found out our sweet girl had FPIES.


I cried my eyes out in the allergist’s office.  I wondered if it was my fault.  Maybe it was all the cookies I ate when I was pregnant.  Maybe it was not being able to breastfeed.  Why had I been so selfish to have postpartum anxiety and DMER.  ?  I told myself that I should have fought harder to break through the mental anguish.  I should have eaten better.  I should have been better for her.  The doctor assured me over and over again that this was not my fault.  I would tell myself for a long time that it was.

After this experience we went about our lives as normal and made the decision to hold off on solids for my daughter for a few months.  In those few months we were preparing for my son to start his second year of preschool.  I was nervous that he would get so sick again, but I knew I couldn’t keep him in a bubble forever!  So… In September he started his second year of preschool.


By the end of his first week his teacher came to me with concerns.  This part of the story is probably going to be the absolute hardest to write– but I’ll try.  Long story short, she had concerns that Jack was developmentally delayed.  (I had concerns that she was an idiot — but that had nothing to do with Jack.  That is a whole other story. ) So… we were referred to a service provided through the local school system to have an evaluation for our son.  We took my son to an office downtown and he sat with a clinical psychologist for a while… and I thought he did a great job.  Of course, the evaluation showed that he needed an assessment.  The assessment determined that he had a developmental delay.  I am pretty sure that, had I consented, he would have been diagnosed with autism right there.  I did not consent though… for reasons that I will get to in another post.  In fact, for more detailed information about all of this feel free to visit my previous blog, The Glimmer.


The months that followed were incredibly difficult.  My husband and I spent many nights in bed crying… wondering, researching, asking ourselves how this was possible… etc.  I felt like the ultimate failure of a mother.  Was this my fault?  Is it because I ate poorly, allowed him to have junk food every now and then, let him play on the ipad?  I couldn’t stop with the questions.  Every therapy session was devoted to this.  Through the mental turmoil, Jack was acting out at school.  He was being punished, yelled at, ganged up on and treated awfully by his teacher and the other people at the school.  I had panic attacks after dropping him off in the mornings.  Finally, we made the decision to withdraw him from that toxic place.  My beautiful baby had been treated so badly by ignorant, awful people and I didn’t realize it because they were the ones telling me he was a bad child with all of his problems.  Everyone was telling me something was “wrong” with my child.

Nothing is wrong with my child.  Nothing.  He is exactly the way God made him.  He is beautiful, bright, hilarious, brilliant and perfect.  He loves phones… a lot.  He flaps his hands when he is excited.  He jumps up and down … a lot.  His best friend is his sister.  He adores her.  He strikes up random conversations with strangers on the street– shakes their hands and says, “hello, how are you?”  –He cannot talk to a child.  He can’t say hello to them or acknowledge their presence.  I don’t know why…and he can’t tell me.  These are facts… and these are things we’re figuring out as the days go by.  These are the things that go around and around in my head on a loop.  I lost many months of seeing all of the wonderful in my son and instead focused on the things that supported the fact that “something was wrong with him.”   I will never forgive myself for that… or the people that were persistent in telling me that something was “wrong” with him.  Even if there is a delay, or there is autism… or whatever the hell is going on… nothing is wrong with him.  Everything is right.  He is my love.


As my husband and I dealt with this new reality… we started the new year with putting Jack in a new school and all was well.  His new school was amazing!  His teachers were perfect.  God sent them straight to us.  I prayed about it, I asked for an answer and God delivered.  His teachers truly loved him.  They appreciated the beautiful person that he is.  He never got in trouble one day at school.  He started making art again.  He had progress with students in the classroom.  It was a true blessing.  He started working with an itinerant teacher and she was so supportive and helped him immensely.  He started play therapy and he loves it!  I am so grateful for these resources.  We stopped focusing on what was “wrong” with Jack and helped him with anything he struggled with.  He has overcome SO many fears this year and grown so much.  We are so proud of him.

2017 was looking up and then my husband’s father got sick.  He had complications with diabetes and was in the hospital in March.  He recovered but had to have his leg amputated.  Fortunately we got to spend a lot of time with him in the past few months.  Our family went most weekends to help out and visit with him.  We were very grateful and he pulled through everything and got better.  Then, on May 15 we got a devastating call.  He was very sick again and in the ICU.  We rushed to the hospital and seeing him like that was so painful.  I immediately felt regret for every argument we’d ever gotten in (we had a few misunderstandings… we’re both stubborn and hard headed haha).  The next few weeks were a true rollercoaster.  There were moments of hope and then moments of being let down.  It was like this over and over.  Finally, on June 2 he left us and we have missed him every moment since.


One thing you should know about my father-in-law is that he helped me get a transcription job at his company– this was amazing for having kids.  I could keep the kids and work from home.  This saved on daycare.  Though it was extremely stressful and hard to deal with at times… it was essential for us financially.  There were moments during this job that I struggled with working home alone.  I hate being alone.  It is torture for me to be alone.  I can’t focus, I start to fear things… I struggle.  This affected my work several times over the years but I persisted.  I’d recently grown to appreciate the work nights after the kids were in bed.  I could zone out and think of something other than how hard things had been.  Well, the company my father in law and I worked for is full of drama.  No need to get into any of it here…but the people are less than kind and it has been difficult to be employed there.  However, when I was let go via email this past Thursday I was upset.

We have two kids.   Both with “special needs.”  Formula is expensive.  Therapy is expensive.  Appointments are expensive.  Everything… is expensive.  Though, I didn’t make much money the money I made was essential.  So… here we are.  Still grieving the loss of my father in law and then let go by the company he devoted many years of his life to in the same week as his memorial service.  It adds insult to injury is the expression I think.  I’ve been there for 6 years… and now I am here… trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up… and I’m scared.  I’m lost… and I’m scared.

I’m stressed out.  These are the biggest events in the past 2 years and I feel… a little beaten down by them.  To put it mildly.

Now that I’ve gotten it all out there- I do want to share a few things that have helped me get through the madness:

–Having Claire with no epidural.  I felt strong and amazing.  I had a goal and I did it.
–Trusting my mama gut so many times and being right.
–Advocating for my kids.
–Getting over my own fears because I needed to be strong for Jack.  We have gotten over fears together.
–The love shared in difficult situations.  There are no better hugs than the hugs from my husband when he knows I need one.  He holds me like he’ll never let me go.  These hugs keep me going.  They help me breathe.
–Friends.  Oh God, how would I have made it this year without my friends?  They text everyday, they send cards, come to birthday parties, have a drink, make me laugh, come to my rescue, watch my kids, etc etc.
–Family.  My parents have really stepped in and helped me immensely in the past few years.  My in-laws have helped us.  We would NOT be okay without this help.  Our families are true blessings.
–Tickle fights.  I’ve noticed that in the past few months, all four of us have gotten in the floor several times and laughed for so long it hurts.  These moments are so special.  Our phones are away, the TV is off… and we’re just enjoying each other.  It is euphoric.  It is pure joy shared among 4 people that love each other so much.  I thank God every single time for these moments.  They are amazing.


We’re going to get through all of these things… and we’re going to do it together.  I’m going to be okay. I’m going to try… and fight… and grow and change and learn.  I’m going to pray that things start looking up.  Lately, I’ve been focusing on the negative because it seems there has been nothing but negative… but I need to change my outlook.  Prayers are appreciated.

Have any of you gone through a difficult season in life?  How did you cope?

<3.