Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The teenage years a matter of pride and prejudice

 I’ve been away from my blog for quite some time.  In the fall of 2014 I decided to go back to school. In the spring of 2015 I completed one of my requirements to apply for respiratory therapy school. In May of 2015 I was accepted.  In June 2016 I graduated and I have been working as a respiratory therapist at Seattle Children’s Hospital since July of 2016.  This whole time was a struggle to juggle parenting along with school,  Clinicals and work.    I completed my bachelors in the winter of 2008 while having children and I thought that was hard. But I realize as I approach the eve of 20 years of being a mom, that parenting doesn’t get any easier, it’s just a different struggle. I think back to one point when my four older children were little, I had four children five and under. I had three in diapers at the same time. In order for my daughter to go to all day kindergarten I had to load four children twice a day into four car seats for an hour round-trip.   I still remember practicing counting to 100 with Savannah on the way to school because she wanted to be the first one to do so in her class.   Now she’s a sophomore studying business at Indiana University.    However as I spent my mom’s weekend with her back in February, I realize when I look at her she still six months old in my mind.   They are always your babies.

Now I have a seven year old and five teenagers between the ages of 13 and19.  I will say this for the rest my life, that there’s nothing harder than being a parent.  Every day you question your decisions, you wonder if your discipline is enough or too much, you try and hug more and scold less.  You feel pride and prejudice almost every day. I mention prejudice because your children are like your cubs and you are biased by their actions and choices because of how much you love them.  I have sworn over the years never to badmouth my children in public, ie this blog or Facebook.  It’s been very important to me that they never look back and see that their mom wrote negatively of them. That’s not to say I haven’t gone through major struggles and continue to struggle every single day.  You just won’t hear the details of those moments if it involves talking negatively about my child. Instead I’ve tried to praise them from time to time in order that on rough days if they feel like it, they can look back and remember no matter what they are facing or no matter who they feel is against them, they always know I have their back. They have my unconditional love from now until forever.  I’m not trying to paint a perfect picture, and I’m not trying to deny my frustrations or the tears I have shed over the years.  I’m just hoping that more than anything else I do for my children, I’m hoping to cheer for them and Today was a perfect example of that and inspired me to come back to my blog. Last year about this time Sage was diagnosed with a stress Fracture in her hip. She had to quit track and begin intensive physical therapy. I honestly don’t think either of us thought she would participate in high school sports again. In eighth grade she played football, then basketball, then soccer and then track.  The doctor thought it was possible that it was just too much for her. However, I will state for the record that all of this was Sage’s choice. She is very determined and drives the bus on extracurricular activities and school.   She puts enough pressure on herself that I try hard not to add to it.  But somewhere along the line Sage decided she wasn’t done.  She informed us earlier this winter that she was going to go to football workouts. She isn’t sure yet if she’ll play in the fall, but she wanted to continue her conditioning that she had done in physical therapy. Then during workouts she decided she would like to try and run track again. I was really nervous about her physical state and would often ask her how she was feeling.  She assured me she was okay and put her heart behind her healing in order to get back on the track and Today I watched my daughter run again.  She finished first in her heat in the 100 and despite a block malfunction, she finished with the pack in her heat in the 200.  This is where my bias comes in. I know my daughters journey and it wouldn’t have mattered if she came in dead last, she finished first in my mind. I’ve known her struggles through life and how her mind and heart battle every day to survive and I truly felt that my heart was going to burst with pride today.  Parenting is hard, but having my children is a privilege and today and everyday I thank a God for the opportunity to have them, love them and watch them fly.  I love you all so much, to the moon and stars and back.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Lego Boy

It's often a joke among parents that Legos are our nemesis.  Their pointy little edges feel like knives when you step on them, and they seem to multiply and strategically place themselves in the most precarious of places, especially in the middle of night when you least expect it.  

All of this went through my mind tonight when I literally ran into a pile of them while hurrying to gather my six year old's animals for bedtime.  However, I didn't curse them this time, instead I actually felt sad.  I suddenly realized someday these will be gone, no longer scattered about because in his mind he'll be too old for them and he'll be on to other things.  

So tonight I'll cherish that he loves his animals surrounding him in bed, lullabies and goodnight kisses. I won't mind finding a little person who's crawled in bed beside me in the middle of the night because he's had a bad dream, blanket and pillow forts in the hallway, or foam nerf bullets in my laundry.  Instead tonight I'll rejoice in Legos, match box cars and all the other things that represent my sweet little Max.  I'm very content to let them be, simply because I know they belong to a sweet little boy who won't be little for long... 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

My Sam

Today's my Sam's Sweet 16 birthday and I just wanted to shine the light on him for a moment.  Someone once said, having children isn't a right, it's a privilege.  This is so true.  They are a gift and it is our job to do our best to love them and cherish them like one.  They are the purest example of unconditional love.  My Sam is all of this. 
So, on his special day, I would like to share a few stories about him in order to exemplify his kind heart...
The first took place in the summer of 2014.  It was the morning when we were all leaving to go home. Sam was going to Indiana and I was going back to Washington.  We'd been together almost non stop for a month and my heart was so sad that it was time to leave.  I got up early to go for one last swim and Sam who was asleep in my room woke up and said he would come too.  So as the sun came up I swam out to the middle of the lake with my sweet Sam in the kayak next to me.  We talked and just shared a peaceful moment together.  Most teenagers would have chosen sleep over an early wake up call... But not my Sam.  
Fast forward to just this past January and again it was our last day together.  I suggested one last hike the next day before we had to all had to say goodbye and fly home.  Several of the kids said they'd go, but when morning came and it was cold and frozen outside, they all backed out... Except for my Sam.  There he was dressed and ready to go with my mom and I.  It was freezing out and we slipped, slid and actually even a fell a few times throughout our hike that morning, but it was still priceless because we were together.  
Sam, I hope you know that today and everyday I thank my lucky stars that God gave me you.  You're amazing and I love you more than all the stars and moons in the sky... Until I can hug you in person, I'm hugging you with my heart.  Happy Birthday. Love, Mom

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Power of Music

I've always had either songs or music as part of my little ones bedtime.  I believe in the power they have in helping to calm the spirit.  One of my favorite examples is how I listened to Andrea Bocelli when I was pregnant with Saxton and after she was born, his music would stop her from crying.  Now it's one of Max's favorites. 

I thought about this at clinical on Tuesday when one of the residents was riding up and down in his scooter listening to Reba.  Everyone really enjoyed it.

So Later, when I was talking to one of my patient's wife, I asked her what type of music her husband liked, as he was a stroke victim and couldn't verbalize well.  She said he liked classical, so I decided to play Max's bedtime playlist him and It was amazing how he responded. You could tell he loved it.  When Andrea Bocelli's Time To Say Goodbye started playing, it looked like he was mouthing the words.  His wife and a guest who was also visiting couldn't believe it.  It was like an awakening.

Later, during his trach care and suctioning, which aren't pleasant, I decided to play the playlist again and he seemed to tolerate the treatment better.   It's inspired me to try and bring more music into the healthcare setting and when possible, play it when I can for my patients.  After all, you never if it might be the magic tool that will help awaken the soul. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Tough Going Today

It actually started a few days ago, that aching feeling when it's getting close to Savannah and Sam leaving.  My heart gets heavy and a knot settles in the back of my throat.  I try not to cry, but eventually mind over matter doesn't work anymore.  The hours feel like they're minutes and before I know it, it's time to say goodbye.  This morning Sam, my mom and I took one last hike.  As we turned to head back home, the emptiness settled in.  

Unfortunately circumstances today made the goodbye even harder and as I stood at the edge of the security line keeping me from two of my loves, the all too familiar heart wrenching feeling settled in.   The rest of the day I sort of felt numb, but as I landed tonight and the reality set in about the distance between us, I lost it all over again.  I just want my babies back.

Life sometimes becomes so hectic and our concerns become distorted by meaningless stresses. But for a few days and especially during particularly sweet moments, life made sense and my heart felt complete.  For now it's those memories I treasure and cling to as the rest of my world feels torn apart.  

I love you Savannah and Sam to the moon and stars and back.  
I miss you so much it hurts.
I wish you were here. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Eve of Motherhood

Seventeen years ago today I was still pregnant with my firstborn and I went to bed not knowing it was my eve of motherhood.  I remember waking up in the early morning hours and realizing my water had broken.  Thinking I had hours until she made her appearance, I showered and we took our time leaving for the hospital from our apartment in the suburbs of Chicago.  However, now knowing Savannah, I should have known better.  Labor came on quickly and between the 45 miles between home and the hospital, we were pulled over twice.  After speeding through toll booths without paying and breaking 100 mph on 294, we made it to the hospital just 50 minutes before Savannah made her way into the world.  There was no time for pain meds and the delivery was an intense blur.  But then, just as the sun was coming up, she was placed in my arms and time stood still.  I'll never forget holding her and falling head over heals in an instant.  I couldn't believe she was mine. 

Now this little sprite is all grown up and I am so very proud of the young woman she has become.  
She is amazing, beautiful and so full of sunshine.

Happy birthday sweet girl...  I love you to the moon and stars... and back.

Monday, February 9, 2015

I'm back in the saddle again, #LifeAsAMomStudent.

So Savannah has a blog!  It is for school and she is still trying to find her voice.  I love it!  She asked about my blog and I admitted to allowing it to go to the wayside.  So on the eve of my second round of hospital clinicals (I am so nervous!) here goes!

The main reason I have been missing is because I am in school.  In May of last year I got accepted into the Respiratory Therapy Program I had applied to.  It started in September and the last several months have been a blur of school, homework, tests, lab practicals and trying to juggle being a mom, wife and friend.  I swore when I graduated from Colorado State that I would never tackle school again, but life had different plans.

The post below is from when I received some of my books from school... it was a scary, but exciting moment to realize I had just set of on a new quest.

It's starting to get real... I can't believe I'm going back to school! I thought after graduating from Colorado State, that was my last Hurray... Life and a little dream chasing said differently 
I think the hardest part of being a student at 38 is being 38.  My weekends are spent doing laundry, cleaning up my house and trying to spend time with my kids or doing homework.  Last week was insane, I shared this post more in a reminder to myself when I look back, what my weeks were like:

This is a crazy week! I have three tests this week and four practical exams. Today I had school all day and then I had to go to the grocery, get Sage from soccer come home take Saxton to skate night and then on to basketball practice. Finally home! (Poor Jerry also had to get Brayden from his basketball and now he's gone back into work.) It's time for my dinner and more studying! yeah! *I know I am blessed to be in school and I'm so happy the kids are able to play sports that they love.

I do know how blessed I am... but it comes with a price.  I sometimes spend 70 plus hours a week either studying or in school.  I listen to lectures and recorded reviews in my car most days, I live at my desk upstairs.  It is hard for the kids who were used to me being there for all their needs.  They have had to step up at home and help with the dishes and chores.  I feel pressure to be everything for everyone and that is hard.  I think the greatest pressure is the pressure that I put on myself to do well in school and make all of this worth it.  My family believes in me, I don't know what I would do without them, especially my Jerry who has helped so much and is the most amazing cheer leader!  I guess sometimes I just need to believe in myself.  I haven't changed much from high school, I still study at lunch and get nervous before every test.  I am a nerd who wants to learn the concepts, not memorize facts for test.  This adds a lot of extra work, but I am hoping it will pay off in the end.  But most of all I want to succeed at this... 

This is my life these days... (In addition to family and laundry ) Hours of school, 2x those hours of studying, clinical, flash cards, recordings of my lectures (once is never enough) and study guides. Walking and studying works well to tame my extremely stressed psyche. God bless my family and friends for picking up the pieces.
 — at Chambers Bay.

One thing that has helped immensely are my walks/hikes and sometimes runs at Chambers Bay.  It has been there that I can decompress and often quietly study.  I walk the path and down to the beach and listen to lectures and study my notes.  I love it.  Sometimes I even walk in the rain.  

Some days I walk and study watching a gorgeous sunset. Today I study in the rain... But I love it no matter.
 — at Chambers Bay Running Trail.

I spent a lot of my life searching for "my place" "my home" and I feel like I have finally found it here.  Now I am attempting to fulfill a life long dream of working in the medical field. I feel so lucky to have a place to go to bring me back to my center.  I feel so overwhelmed at times and so stressed and Chambers has helped me to find my center. 

I have the craziest feeling my grandma is sitting with me as I study. She's good momma... She's really good. She's with grandpa and her heart is so happy!!!
 — with Denise Frisoni Connelly Miller.

In November my beloved grandma passed away, the enormity of losing her is a blog post all in its own.  But I believe that when I went home to say good-bye to her, I was able to bring her spirit back with me.  I talk to her sometimes when I get stressed, I need an angel by my side.

I also need some friends...
I am so lucky because I have found some in school.  We all come from different paths, but now work towards the same goal, become the best Respiratory Therapists we can.  

Other School posts!

After 8.5 hours of school I'm getting miles for my babies! it's been tough... School for me five days a week... Watching my Rockin' Sage and her CC meets 2x a week, cuties playing soccer, school activities, Dr. Apt., laundry, housework, homework and tests and worst of all... rush hour! I just played hookie for a bit and enjoyed this bit of heaven on earth!
 — at Chambers Bay.
I've truly lost my mind! I am now singing Christmas songs to the tune of my Respiratory therapy notes!!! Whoops switch that!I'm singing my notes to the tune of Christmas songs! Let's hope I haven't lost my mind because I need it to take finals next week!

 A Mom/Student's purse and Max at my school.  I was proud to show him where I go everyday.