Saturday, November 30, 2013

I'm so disgusted by the grotesque behavior that has been unfolding all over the U.S. for material things, all so stores can break even. It's sad, disturbing, and so depressing to live in a society where this is a common occurrence.

Earlier this week Alyssa and I met with her pediatrician. It was about her tonsils and adenoids, but I thought it also important that we address her ever-present, overwhelming anxiety. Some days she'll stress about how to cut a pumpkin out of paper properly. She won't stop until I agree to walk her to class and help direct her before the bell rings. Other times she'll cry about how she'll have to learn to drive and doesn't know how. She's worried about it now, at 5!

Her doctor assured me it's normal and that it all stems from the separation anxiety she's experiencing in Kindergarten. This transition was hard for Samantha, too, but not nearly this challenging or distressing.

He gave me some guidelines for helping her through each challenge, including finding humor to help her cope. Then he told me something that I had never thought of before. . . . He explained the overwhelming anxiety that we, adults, feel about things in the world, including Black Friday madness, become the fodder of late night TV comedy bits. He said that we have those programs as a way to provide humor about the crazy things in our society. It's the adult way to help ease our minds and allow us to drift off to a pleasant sleep.

I had never thought of it like that before. Interesting food for thought for sure.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I took vacation this week because the girls have Thanksgiving break. I wasn't prepared for it because I didn't read through the school calendar. It's still hanging on October! Thankfully, I had some vacation left over. It's challenging to work at home when the kids are fighting in the other rooms.

We haven't done much this week, which has been nice, although the kids are often bored. The girls have been helping me prepare some dishes for Thanksgiving and some of our "Harvey meals."

I'm anticipating that there will be quite a few occasions when I'm too tired, exhausted, or emotionally overwhelmed with my partial-week single-parent life. So I've planned to make several meals this week and freeze them. From meatloaf to carnitas to curried veggies and chicken, I'm preparing for more than a few weeks of sanity helpers.

We even put up the Christmas tree and got out the more challenging or time-consuming decorations. I knew that we would be too busy, and I've already stopped feeling guilty about putting it up before Thanksgiving. This year, it was a necessity. I didn't want to feel rushed or overwhelmed.

Next week Al stats a new job and Harvey rehearsals on the same day. We're also trying to get out last appointments in before the end of the year so that they hit this year's deductible. And I finally get to see an Orthopedist in two weeks. I am anxious to determine the next steps--to get me out of this pain funk and on the road to healing. I really miss painting. For now, we'll take this last week--the calm before the storm--and be grateful for the quiet and lazy days together.

Friday, November 22, 2013

This time of year is so exhausting for me and it's not even Thanksgiving. Not in a bad way, however, just a "full life" kind of way.

This is our third year involved in The Nutcracker. The last two years I helped with costumes, but with hand/arm issues, I am unable to be of much help. So Al and I volunteered to dance the opening scene. It's not my cup of tea but I keep reminding myself that I'm doing this for the girls. Even if we only do it this once, they'll always remember the time when all four of us played together on-stage.

Truthfully the dancing and the cast has been fun, but I tend to get embarrassed and giggle like a kid. I guess that is good because it'll look like I'm smiling for the audience instead of being embarrassed. I don't like talking/being in front of large groups of people.

Now, Al on the other hand . . . Al has finally found his outlet. After 14 years of "us," hoping that Al would find something to be passionate about, he's found theatre. We found it surprising at first because he can be so shy. I'm glad he enjoys it. While it is a sacrifice for me, he's been great about helping prepare meals or picking up more housework. (I'm trying to be better about refocusing my energy when I feel overwhelmed, too.)

Al received the lead in Harvey, coming out this winter. It's only a 12-man show--no pressure! He starts rehearsals in December.

Since all this craziness is consuming our lives, we're going to do the unthinkable! . . . The Christmas tree and some of the decorations will come out before Thanksgiving. (Cringe!) I typically start the Friday after and have it all up that evening. I do the tree fluffing, lights, and garland, while Al and the kids do the ornaments. This year, Al and the kids will have to help with the tree. I'll be able to do very little but provide instruction, hence the week needed to get the tree up. The kids are excited and Al hasn't complained . . .yet.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I'm grateful that I'm Samantha's mom. I dreamed of her long before she was born. My baby girl. 

We've come a long way in 8 years. And she's taught me so much about life without even knowing it. 

Samantha had a rough start to life. Seemingly healthy, we soon found out that she needed a little help. 

I'll never forge the helplessness and pain in my being when I played the answering machine on day 7 of her life. I'll never forget the doctor's voice telling me Samantha didn't have a thyroid and my doctor would contact me. In two minutes, I had searched the Internet and the medical book. All that stood out to me was "mental retardation."

Now, at 8, she's thriving, smart, beautiful, caring, sensitive, and creative--everything a mother would desire. And best of all, she's mine!

I love that she stays up too late most nights because she can't get enough of the written word. I love that she gets 100% on every spelling test and is proud of that. She loves with all her heart and soul. 

I am excited to watch her grow, although sometimes I wish time would stand still. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I am thankful for my acupuncturist, Stephen Chen. He's such an amazing man and has helped me so much.

Saturday, in the middle of my migraine, I went to see him. He could tell by my posture, the lines on my face, the dullness of my eyes, just how awful I felt.

I lay on the table, face down, with three needles in my neck. He touched the outside of my heel, but the ankle bone and I nearly screamed--a loud gasp of pain escaped and tears welled in my eyes. He didn't press hard, but apparently my migraine was in my feet too.

I stayed there for an hour and a half. I did feel much better after I left. Not completely cured, but much better.

Years ago, when my migraines were out of control and medicine was no longer effective, I sought out Mr. Chen. I was so desperate by then and I'd heard that acupuncture might help my headaches. I started with weekly sessions and then biweekly, and eventually monthly. My migraines nearly disappeared. I no longer needed my medicine.

Truthfully, I haven't kept up on the acupuncture this year. I got busy with softball and life and I didn't seek out my quarterly visits. And now that work-stress has a hold of me, I need him more than ever. I need to get back to that place where I can set my medication aside for 8 months to year.

There is nothing in my life more debilitating than a migraine. It affects my entire family. Not being able to care for my children is such a horrible feeling. But I'm confident that once I back on track I'll feel better again.

Friday, November 1, 2013

I am so grateful for my husband! I have to be on site at work for two weeks, but those darn fluorescent lights kill me. I've barely avoided a migraine all week, but today I was hit hard. I sat in a conference room with my head in my lap, rubbing the back of my neck. I tried so hard to beat it.

I finally gave in and drove home--I was so sleepy from the migraine meds, but made it home safely.

I walked in the door, kicked off my shoes, said three words to my family, and climbed into bed.

Al didn't complain. He made sure things were as quiet as they could be. He prepared dinner and got it in the oven and the kids ready for nutcracker rehearsal.

He had plans to go out and watch a play, but was willing to take a rain check if I needed it.

I felt much better after my nap and he was able to go see the play and support our local theatre.

I'm a lucky girl.