Monday, September 29, 2008

MRI results

First of all, many of you have expressed concerns as to why I was at the doctor last week. It was just a new appointment to meet a new doc. I am on my 3rd doctor at this practice in 5 years. They keep leaving. I have a spot on my leg that looks sort of like a mole that I wanted to get checked out because it really isn't a mole. Anyway, it looks like a something or other cyst, only give it some Latin name and you got it. It is nothing. It is basically like a scar tissue that has grown inward instead of outward, but I wanted to be sure, so I also went to the dermatologist. So, LITERALLY 110 seconds and 110 dollars later I am sure. That is all. Now I am off to insure my life while it is still insurable for my kids' future.

Secondly, we had the best time evah! at the Cardinals game with Matt and Mindi on Friday night. The worst part of the entire evening was the fact that we had to get up at 8:00 the next day to leave by 9:00 to be at the wedding BACK in Peoria on Saturday. And I will say that Mindi made up for at least half nine months of sobriety during her pregnancy in THAT ONE NIGHT. Holy Cow! That girl has a hollow leg! AND she kept farting. At the ballgame! And it smelled like Mom and Dad's septic system after a large family gathering before they added onto it. Just sayin'.

Brian had an oncologist appointment today. He had his 8 week MRI last week and the results were read to us today.

There is a small area of change in the tumor bed, meaning the area that the tumor we treated with gamma knife is located- the area we watch closely each scan. The area grew from 29 mm (about an inch) to 35 mm, so a growth of 6 mm, from last MRI to this one (in 8 weeks). The area does not have any swelling around it which is good, but it is difficult to say what the change is from. With an MRI of the brain, tumor does not look very different from other abnormalities like dead cells or scar tissue. Typically, with radiation the largest changes of necrosis (dying cells) and scar tissue will show up at around 6 to 18 months. Brian is 17 months POST radiation (late April 2007 in California), so the changes COULD be from radiation induced scarring. USUALLY, tumor progression is accompanied with other swelling which Brian does not have. HOWEVER, the Avastin he takes as part of this chemotherapy protocol also reduces that swelling, so it is difficult to say for sure.

Clinically, Brian is doing well. He tolerates the chemo (Avastin and CPT-11) pretty well, and his blood counts remain normal. He is not deteriorating with respect to his neurological functions, but he does not improve. He has some difficulties speaking. His right side does not work great - his hand and arm being the worst. He cannot feel his right side the same as his left side. All these things are the same as post surgery and rehabilitation. They are stable from where they were several months ago, given that on any day he may do better or worse with any one of these functions.

Because he is doing fine clinically and his change was so small and cannot be identified exactly, his oncologist recommends continuing on this course of Avastin and CPT-11. He is getting treatment as I write this. The brain tumor board will review Brian's scans this evening at their meeting.

So, that is about it. Not exactly the news we wanted to hear, but whatever. I don't really know what to say. It is nothing earth-shattering, but it isn't devastating, either, so there you go.

Can you tell I don't really know how to feel about it?

Brian says he feels good, so whatever. Besides, we don't know what the growth is, exactly.

Anyway, please pray for Brian to continue to heal and to feel good.

Please pray for a miracle, because in the end that is what we need.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

what to expect from us the next week

Here is our schedule from last Monday to next Wednesday:

Monday, September 22: wake up, work out, pack for school, get kids off to school, go to doctors appointment (Angie). Frantically find babysitter for availability at 2nd opinion doctor’s appointment (Angie). Go back and give blood with first doctor after 2nd opinion doctor’s appointment (Angie) because they forgot to take it earlier. Do some math with Gavin. Shove edible substance down my and children’s throats. Go to Grant’s soccer game. Come home. Shower. Read with kids. Go to bed.

Tuesday, September 23: wake up, work out, pack for school, get kids off to school, go to first Mom’s group at church for the year, do homework with Grant. Do homework with Gavin. Shove something edible down my and the boys’ throats. Brian has MRI. Go to Gavin’s soccer game. Come home. Shower. Read with kids. Go to Bed.

Wednesday, September 24: wake up (late), pack for school, get kids to school, work out. Pick up bagels and spend some time with a couple friends for an hour. Have a couple hours in afternoon to self – spend it returning some recently bought items and gifts. Realize I forgot half the items and will have to repeat during Thursday morning’s free time when boys are at school. Do homework with Gavin. Shove edible substance into my and the boys' throats. Go to Grant’s soccer clinic. Do not pass go and continue directly to Wednesday evening church service. Come home. Shower. Read with kids. Go to bed.

Thursday, September 25: wake up, work out, pack for school, get kids to school, return forgotten items from Wednesday run. Come home. Spend time with one sister-in-law to plan another sister-in-law’s baby shower. Pack (see Friday). Do homework with Gavin. Shove edible substance into my and the boy’s throats. Go to Gavin’s soccer practice. Leave soccer practice 20 minutes early to attend First Grade Family Math night in sweltering hot gym (which according to the note home today will mostly be spent on the floor doing math games with the kids. Please kill me now.) Come home. Shower. Read with kids. Go to bed.

Friday, September 26: wake up, work out, pack for school, get kids to school. Finish packing. Watch nephew for a few hours while sister-in-law plays tennis. Leave for St. Louis for a Cardinal game and an UNEXPECTED NIGHT AWAY! Rest assured the children are fine with Grandma and Grandpa. Relax and have fun at the first major league baseball game we have attended since CHILDREN SEVEN years ago.

Saturday, September 27: leave early to attend 12:30 wedding of cousin BACK in PEORIA (3 hours away from St. Louis). Attend 4:00 reception later. No time for work out.

Sunday, September 28: Scramble around to get ready for church after sleeping in from late wedding the night before. Rest. Work out. Unpack. Clean. Shower. Read with kids. Go to bed.

Monday, September 29: Wake up, pack for school, get kids to school. Get ready for Brian’s chemo appointment where we also get MRI results.

Rinse, lather and repeat crazy evening church and soccer schedules until November.

Getting in a blog post doesn’t seem likely for a while. I will update results on Monday, though.


Monday, September 22, 2008

The miracle of Gavin

(In the spirit of Gavin's birthday, I decided to use this letter I had INTENDED for his birthday post as a Miracle Monday post instead. I hope the story of how Gavin came to be part of our world encourages you this Monday.)

You don’t remember this. How could you? You were in your birth mommy’s tummy. July 2001, JUST prior to heading out of work early for a funeral, I received a phone call at my desk. I’ll never forget it. It was Memaw (to be). “Angie, umm, hey, I wanted to tell you something. Aunt Judy works with a girl who is 4 or 5 months pregnant. She didn’t know she was pregnant until recently. She wants to put the baby up for adoption and is looking for someone. Do you and Brian want to do it?” I kid you not, Gavin. That is how your journey into our lives began. “Mom, I have no idea. I don’t think you can just DO that. I have to talk to Brian about it.” I picked up Daddy for the funeral and told him about this crazy call I got from Memaw today. “Cool,” he said. “Let’s go for it.”

I didn’t even know how to process all of this. I mean, we tried a few cycles of insemination in 2000 to no avail and our first in-vitro attempt in April 2001 failed. Gavin, we had put our deposit down just one week prior to this phone call to try in-vitro again. I mean, who would give a baby to a couple when one of the parents had a history of cancer years ago? I didn’t know it was an option. I didn’t know I wanted to have a family that way. I wanted to carry a baby and didn’t know how I felt about all this.

So we did what we always do in confusing situations. We consulted our families and we prayed. We asked for guidance and wisdom and direction. And we felt vehemently guided to explore this adoption option further.

I made the phone call to Aunt Judy. She told me your birth-mommy, whom I will call Rose, was actually 7 months pregnant, due in September. She was a pretty girl, only 18 and she had been to Catholic Social Services and didn’t like them. They wouldn’t promise her that her baby would go to the family she chose (which was probably misunderstood). She wanted to meet the people and know them. Next I called Rose. I had to call her at work on her next working day since she didn’t have a home or a cell phone. It was a Saturday night. She was sweet with her southern accent and poor grammar. She was willing to meet with us as soon as we wanted. We drove 4-1/2 hours one way the very next day on a Sunday to meet your birth mommy and her husband.

We met at Applebee’s. We ordered chips and salsa. I will never forget how they were in such awe of the blue chips that came with the order. We exchanged pleasantries. We talked a bit. She told us you were a boy. She told us you were due Sept. 14. We told her about Daddy’s history. He had been free of cancer for 2 years now and no more chemo. They were okay with it. We told her about ourselves and our lives. We said we would help with some living and medical expenses and we wanted to adopt her baby if she was okay with it, but to let us know after they had thought about it. They didn’t need to think about it. They said, “Fine with us,” right there in that Applebee’s in July 2001. We stopped and told your future Memaw and Papa and drove 4-1/2 hours home reeling with new emotions.

We secured a lawyer in Missouri where the adoption would occur and began the process of home-study approval in Illinois. It was complicated because of Daddy’ history. We had to be counseled as though we were a possible single parent family and had to get statements of health from current doctors. AND we had to rush the process. You were due in mere weeks. We didn’t even know if we would be approved before your arrival and if you were born before the first of September, we would not have you. You would have been in foster care or you would have been placed with someone else unless your birth mommy wanted to parent you until our paperwork was finished and then let us take over. And come on? She couldn’t have done it. No one could have. You were too irresistible.

I talked with Rose weekly. We financially assisted them. They were an impressionable, sweet and confused young couple living in a world of constant financial struggles with a lack of mentoring and good guidance. It was a vicious cycle that broke our hearts. They were troubled, and even if nothing came through with the adoption, as was always their right, we were glad to be helping them. We wanted to help them.

Fast forward two months. September 10th or so, Rose had an appointment showing she was nowhere near dilated and ready for delivery. She was scheduled for induction on September 20. September 11, 2001, the world trade centers collapsed. I was so glad you weren’t born surrounding that. I was so glad we could drive to the hospital since airlines were shut down for a while. I couldn’t wait to meet you.

September 19th I packed my desk at work, praying I would be on leave (perhaps indefinitely) from a job I didn’t love holding my new baby boy. We drove to Missouri and stayed with Uncle Matt and Aunt Mindi. They lived a few minutes from the hospital. September 20th, early in the morning, Rose was induced. It began slowly. The potossin was increased. They broke her water to speed things up. Around 6:00 pm, the nurses started to get “that look.” That look I had recognized from too many hospital experiences years prior. Your heartbeat was beginning to drop. You were under some sort of distress. I saw the concern, but I don’t think Rose did. I didn’t tell her so as not to alarm her. She was instructed not to push until they called the doctor. They did. The doctor came in and said, “let’s try this.” Rose let us stay. A room full of nurses, nursing students, Rose, her husband, her OB, Daddy and me awaited your delivery. This is the closest I have ever been to delivery and I don’t remember much of it because I was nervous beyond nervous about what came next and what was wrong. As you came out, your face was a tint of blue and the cord was wrapped around your neck. Rose’s doctor immediately cut the cord from your neck and you began whimpering a bit with the next push. You began to scream. You were shivering. You were thin. You were amazing. It brings swells of tears to my eyes today to think I was there and I saw you breathe your first breath.

The staff was unsure how to handle our situation. Who holds you first? Who cuts your cord? Once I saw you were healthy with a reasonable APGAR score, my attention turned to the next thing that could go wrong, because, unfortunately, Gavin, that’s the way your mommy roles. Rose immediately asked to hold her baby once you were clean. She held you and started to cry. My mind raced knowing there was no way she COULDN’T change her mind now that she met you. She held you for a few minutes, turned to me and asked if I wanted to hold you. With tears in my eyes and a half-smile on my face, I touched your flesh for the first time. I said hi to you and told you I would take good care of you. Daddy held you next and we passed you back to your birth-mommy.

Your birth-grandma called. She sobbed into the phone for me to promise to take good care of her grandbaby. She was a bit of an expert on this as another daughter had placed more than one child for adoption as well. This family blessed with the ability to bear children was blessing those of us that can’t. Rose cried some more. Daddy and I left her alone for a few minutes. Daddy began calling his family exclaiming he was a Dad. “Seven pounds 2-1/2 ounces… 20 Inches long… His name is Gavin Brian… Ten fingers... Ten toes... One penis... He’s awesome...” It was all I had to make one phone call to my sister who was currently hosting my parents for dinner. I curtly gave her the stats and the name. I told her Rose was crying and I was really worried she would change her mind. I didn’t know what came next: how long Rose would be in the hospital, when or how we would be able to see Gavin, when the court date would be, etc. I was filled with uncertain emotion. This was the first time I realized that cautious optimism is one of the worst emotions possible.

cautiously optimistic half-smiling, half-empty Angie with Gavin minutes after birth

When the phone calls were completed, I sat down with Daddy in the waiting room and sobbed. As Daddy has always been a half-full kind of guy, he explained that worrying wouldn’t change one thing. We were this far. All we could do was spend as much time with you as possible and love you and show Rose and her husband what kind of parents we would be. “So, let’s do it.” Jan, your Mommo (grandma), said this, “No matter what happens, you spend as much time with that baby boy and show him parenting and love that is so fierce it will make a difference in his life even if it only happens for a few days. It WILL work out.”

totally optimistic, full smiling, half-full Brian with Gavin minutes after birth

That’s what we did.

The next day, your birth mommy was released from the hospital. She and I were given arm bracelets that matched yours. She filled out the birth certificate with her name and information. We would fill out another 6 months later. For the next 4 days, you stayed in the hospital despite your thriving health. We were not allowed to take you without a court order. With no agency involved, no one would take that legal liability and rightfully so. We came up to that hospital 3 times a day for 2-3 hours at a time holding you, feeding you, changing your diaper, inspecting you and devouring you. We brought up your Memaw and your Papa and your Aunt Mindi when we knew Rose would not be there, too. Not that we didn’t want them to meet someday, but we didn’t want the pressure of them knowing each other if something fell through. The town is small. We did it to protect everyone.

On Monday morning, September 24th, Rose and her husband signed the papers. We had a court hearing and were given legal custody of Baby Boy Thursday, which is what they called you in our petition for adoption. We went to the hospital with all our documents and met Rose and her husband. There can be no moment more bittersweet. The very event causing my utopia and elation was the darkest moment of Rose’s life. My unending gain was her forever loss. My greatest gift was her ultimate sacrifice. My respect for her decision has grown exponentially over the years. She had every right to parent you, Gavin. She didn’t ‘give you up’ as so many mistakenly claim. No, she gave up herself.

outside courthouse - Memaw, Angie, Brian, cousin Kim, cousin Jenny, Aunt Judy, cousin Scott, PaPa.

NOW totally optomistic, half-full (cuz we had a court order) FULL smiling first time Mommy!

We stayed in Missouri for a full week until the inter-state documentation could be completed. Mommo and Poppo drove 4 hours to meet you and then back to Illinois. Poppo put together your crib. Mommo painted your room and displayed all the baby things we had acquired cautiously. We had borrowed the car seat, bouncy seat and so many other items to avoid the pain of returning it all if things had unfolded differently. My family all came to meet you and held a baby shower for us. One huge party was thrown in your honor, Gavin. In my family of 25 aunts and uncles and 32 first cousins and multitudes of second cousins, you were the first to enter our family via adoption.

Daddy’s family had a shower for us when we returned to Illinois. Once again, you were celebrated and introduced to a family EVEN larger. Daddy’s family has welcomed several via adoption and we are very familiar with the joy that can accompany such a miracle.

Gavin, this all transpired seven years ago. The emotions surrounding that time were so raw and powerful – both the highs and the lows. Writing them fills me with such admiration and appreciation for your birth family again. It fills me with that first-time-mother uneasiness. It fills me again with the shock of experiencing a new kind of love. So many have asked me throughout the years, “Don’t you feel like he is so lucky to have you? That you saved him?” I reply, “No. There is no doubt Gavin would have ended up loved. So very loved. A birth mom who is willing to do what Rose did for us loves in a way even I can’t understand. No, we didn’t save Gavin. Gavin saved us.”

You came to us in God’s way in God’s time. I have come to understand adoption as an even greater miracle than childbirth. The same timing of a woman and man’s body needs to align. Further yet, an aching family has a need as another family agonizes over an aching decision. Oh how miraculous indeed. What makes our story even more miraculous was our timing – mere months prior, if in-vitro was successful, we would not have YOU. YOU make our family what it is today. Mere days later, we would have been on our next path to in-vitro again. Our paperwork was rushed and finalized a mere 2 weeks before your birth. Had Rose understood the process and had a better counselor at Catholic Services, she probably would have continued on that path. Had Aunt Judy not worked with Rose to begin with, we would not have known about you. Oh, Gavin, God’s hand was SO INVOLVED in this. We were not looking to adopt. Your birth family was not sure they wanted to choose adoption. It was all God’s choice for us. God spoke to Judy’s heart to mention us to Rose. God spoke to Rose’s heart to consider us. God spoke to our hearts to strongly consider this child he created (you). God timed everything perfectly. He even helped finance it. We had spent so many thousands of dollars trying various fertility treatments. Being an open adoption with no agency involved, we had our financial assistance to Rose and our home-study and legal costs. However, they were thousands less than the standard adoption fee of 15% of our gross income. Yes, God led us together as He so expertly does in His infinite wisdom and in His often unconventional ways, and we are humbly grateful for His constant provision in our lives.


Go read some more Miracles for yourself.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gavin is SEVEN today


To my dude who won’t let me call him Sweetie, Baby, Honey, etc. anymore. Oh no. You are too cool for that these days. Cuz, you know… SEVEN and all.

Seven years ago today Gavin, SEVEN years ago we were sitting in a hospital room awaiting your arrival. SEVEN years ago and it truly feels like just a few weeks ago. I know everyone says that, and it sounds SO cliché, but it is so darn true.

My original birthday post for you was going to be all about how you came into our lives. It is written and awaiting publishing, but as I proofed it, I realized it wasn’t so much about you as it was about Daddy and me. I am saving that post for Miracle Monday because, Gavin honey, your entrance into our world is nothing short of miraculous. BUT, I decided to make this birthday post all about YOU!

Gavin the things that make you who you are truly are unique.

At seven, you still cannot stand for your hands to be sticky or covered with strange substance, especially when it comes to food. You will ask me to cut food into pieces, including peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so you don’t get jelly on your fingers. However, you refuse to use a napkin. What gives? You would rather stop eating, go wash your hands and come back and repeat the same process 5 times during a meal. Also? You have no problem digging in the mud and picking up a worm or a live frog. Yet, you won’t eat a donut covered in powdered sugar with your hands.

At seven, you are now in full day first grade. You love it and all your teachers through all your years of school so far comment on how kind and respectful you are to all the students. I love that about you, Gavin. You rarely exclude others. You are kind and gentle and pleasing. You are loyal and honest. You are open and not afraid to try something and fail.

At seven you smile constantly. Everyone remarks on it. Teachers, coaches, friends, friends of friends, family, friends of family, strangers on the street, cashiers at the check-out line – everyone notices what seems to be a perpetual smile on your face. It is contagious and I think it shows the outward appearance of your inwardly happy heart.

At seven, you are a stickler for the rules. You abide by them pretty regularly and you tell others when they are not. While sometimes it worries me that someday you will be an outcast for being such a rule follower, I know I would rather have you this way than rebellious and dishonest. You do not lie. You thrive on routine.

At seven you are struggling a bit with sibling rivalry with your 5-1/2 year old brother. You don’t lose graciously to him, but you do to everyone else. You DO exclude him from some activities and you blame him for almost everything. You have had a blame issue going on for quite some time, but the fault seems to have shifted to Grant as of late. However, he is your best friend and vice versa. You look for him when you awake and you compliment each other’s ying to the other’s yang.

At seven, you still collect things. When you go on nature walks with grandparents, you stop along the way and collect expelled shotgun shells, birds’ eggs, acorns, scrap pieces of paper, interesting rocks, etc. When we are in the parking lot, you will pick up buttons and receipts and any other “treasures,” as you like to call them, and tell me you are adding it to your collection. Your collection sits in an abandoned toolbox Daddy gave to you. You thought the toolbox gift was such a rite of passage and were so thrilled about it. In actuality, Daddy gave you the toolbox to limit the size of your collection. All “treasures” must fit inside the toolbox.

At seven, you love Webkinz. You carry your “stuffies” around quite often feeling out those around you to see if they are into it or not. If not, you place them off to the side and ride your bike and skateboard like no other seven year old. If your friends are into Webkinz, your animals get to come along for the ride or jump on the trampoline or whatever activity you choose. You also love Star Wars and Indiana Jones and Spongebob and any Japanimation show, yet you will still watch Clifford and even an occasional Dora/Diego episode (if you don’t have control of the remote, which is rare). You constantly teeter on the threshold from little kid to big kid.

At seven, you do not play with your inside toys much. In fact, we have little left because you and Grant prefer large motor skill toys. One of your friend’s parents dubbed our house the X-games house due to the bike/scooter ramp and constant parade of bikes ascending up and plummeting down its inclines and because of the wheeled vehicles – Ripstick, scooters, skateboards, rollerblades, bikes in perpetual use in our driveway and down our walk. And because of the trampoline and playhouse/clubhouse with monkey bars and apparently optionsl ladder as you often scale the walls to enter. Yes, your love and interests are outside.

At seven you are still a lousy eater. Picky does not do justice to describe your eating habits. You are stubborn and refuse to eat vegetables unless threatened with the loss of one of your beloved wheeled modes of transportation listed above. Even at that, I realize a bite or two is all I am going to get for now and hey, it’s a start. I love you too much NOT to force some healthy food on you, though. Trust me, Gavin; I am trying to get you to expand your palate for your own benefit. You believe chocolate is a food group and would consume your weight each day in liquid form as long as that liquid is not water.

At seven, you are inquisitive, and TALKATIVE and a bit of a know it all. You will ask a question for which you have already formulated an answer and if anyone does not answer it “your way” you will correct him or her. Often inaccurately. Even when corrected, you often respond with your erroneous facts until either you succomb to a new revelation in your world or a truce can be called (read: Mom says, WHY DO YOU ASK ME IF YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT or read: Mom says, Whatever, Gavin. What.Ev.Er.) However, one cannot help but love your confidence in your firm knowingness and your willingness to debate and defend the response.

At seven, you are unique and fun. You are eager to learn. You make new friends constantly. You are a joy and a blessing. You help those around you learn more about the world through your eyes each day. I can’t imagine life without you, Gavin. Your smile, your honesty, your discussions and your enthusiasm brighten this world with your own personal ray of sunshine.

All my love, Gavin. All my love.
Happy Seventh Birthday, Buddy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

That time of month again...

not quite...
A few months ago, unbeknownst to us, a couple of Brian's college fraternity brothers were sitting around thinking of Brian and catching up on old times. After they had strapped on a few themselves, they informed us they had given Brian a 3-month membership to the beer of the month club. You may remember from this post (quick read) and this post (scroll to the very end really quickly if you do click on that link) that there is probably no more appropriate gift for my man.

This time of the month, the doorbell rings and an adult-signature-required package is left on our porch, without signature I might add, and we are graced with three bottles of three different microbrews to add to our beer fridge.

Unfortunately, though, our time of the month is reaching menopause and will end as the subscription is up with this last package:

Thanks to Jason and John (Hud and Doctor Johnny, to Brian) for the best gift that keeps on giving, EVAH!


Monday, September 15, 2008

Literacy ... a new chapter

Part of Gavin’s “daily homework” is an optional reading chart to tally each time he reads 15 minutes. Each night, we gather our “Bob First” books or our Dr. Seuss books and begin our endeavor. Since beginning this two weeks ago, I am profoundly AMAZED at his reading progress. I freely admit that we took the summer off from almost everything educational and intellectual, so he may have been a bit behind the curve entering First Grade this year. When I saw his yearly list of Spelling words, I nearly hyperventilated looking at words like “everything” “python” and “another” he is supposed to master by year’s end, not realizing he begins with words like “rat” “crab” and “raft.” The idea is to gradually build on concepts and simple memorization to counteract some of the English language EXCEPTIONS to every logical phonetic and grammar rule - I had forgotten that whole BASIC part of school. Listening to him read as of late, I have no doubt he will be ready for the 3 and 4 syllable words coming this Spring.

What I didn’t count on was how much this reading practice and this damn “becoming literate” would change MY LIFE

You see, this evening, we were reading a Magic Treehouse book Gavin chose from the library last week. This book is no less than 150 pages long, so I gave Gavin a reading breather this evening and decided to be storyteller myself in order to crank out 30 pages or so in one sitting. As I was reading at auctioneer pace, Gavin stopped me.
Gavin: Mom, you forgot ‘Yes’
Me: What?
Gavin: (pointing) Right there. It says, ‘yes.’ You didn’t read it.
Me: Sure I did. It says, ‘yes, we saw you.’
Gavin: No, It says ‘yes, he.’
I read it again – (“Yes,” he said, “we saw you.”) Damn this little bugger was right. You see, I often omit the ‘he saids,’ and other unimportant phrases and words when I read to the kids in order to get back to blogging speed things along. Kind of like you do in your head when you read.
Me: Oh. Sorry. Thanks, Gavin.
Double Shit.

You realize of course, this means I can no longer lie and tell him the sign says “No running and yelling” at the grocery store. Or that the restaurant menu says “Kids have to eat all their dinner to get dessert.”

Soon, he is going to realize I am being cheap at the checkout line for not buying the $.50 candy bar when he starts to comprehend currency and math.

* sigh *


Friday, September 12, 2008

I know this woman. I wish you could, too.

I know this woman. I wish you could know her, too. This woman is amazing.

This woman grew up in a very poor household with 11 kids. She was exactly the middle child.

This woman worked harder and did more chores in her first 18 years of life than her future children would probably EVER do in their lifetimes.

This woman was the daughter of a mother that never told her she loved her. She was the daughter of a father who was an alcoholic.

This woman LITERALLY walked several miles to get to school through many fields and farms smelling like cow dung and chicken coups from the morning chores she had to finish before school started.

This woman had to sneak to go to high school dances and basketball games in high school when her dad didn’t notice because he didn’t want them going out to that school. It was in a county he didn’t like. Never mind that where he lived dictated his children attended that school.

This woman shared an upstairs bedroom without heat and air conditioning in Missouri with several sisters. They sometimes slept three to a bed. Sometimes just for fun. Sometimes to keep warm.

When she was 19, she discovered she was pregnant. Her mother’s encouraging words to her were, “you made your bed, now lie in it.” And with that, she had to figure out what to do. Her boyfriend proposed, and they married in February. It snowed. They had their first baby in July.

This woman and her new husband moved away from the only state and town she had ever really known to Texas. She was homesick. She was lonely. She was scared. They made it work. Because that is what you did in the 60s and early 70s. You worked at things and made them succeed. She would teach this to her children.

After 10 years of marriage, three kids and three states, they moved back to Missouri to her husband’s company’s headquarters.

This woman worked part time when it worked out with kids and school. She was a “lunch lady” for a few years at some local public schools. She eventually went on to become a shipping clerk working hard filling orders, taking care of salespeople, and slipping in care packages to her kids in college.

This woman mourned the days when school started in September. She loved summers home with the kids. She enjoyed the sound of laughter and the mere presence of her children despite the constant sibling rivalry and ensuing feuds between them.

This woman demanded respect and responsibility and consequences from her children. They had chores. They were to help. She frequently reminded them of how good they had it and despite their constant eye rolls and condescending looks, they were listening. They would remember and one day appreciate what she was doing in them. The thankless job she was performing would pay off. I like to think it would anyway.

This woman and her husband bought some property in the town where the both grew up. A town in the middle of rural Southeast Missouri. Her husband would gradually convince her they should retire here in rural Southeast Missouri a bit against her will. She learned to love the country again – the open space, the animals, the fishing, the peace.

This woman and her husband lived on an Engineer’s salary for many years with her meager supplement from her part time employment. They put their kids in private Catholic school for all 12 years. They put three kids through college with their hard earned money. They did all of this and STILL retired when her husband was 51 and she was 48. They did is through various means: She bought one of her daughters ONE pair of Guess jeans and ONE pair of Jordache jeans despite her constant pleading. She bought her son slightly irregular IZOD shirts in hideous colors from the outlet store and normal colored off brand shirts from K-Mart. She tried to remove the IZOD symbol and reattach it to the off-brand shirt. This attempt failed miserably as she had to cut the fabric and all from the IZOD shirt placing the IZOD symbol with teal fabric hanging out on top of the blue off brand shirt. Perhaps this is a bad example of her frugality since I believe BOTH SETS of shirts were not worn. For the most part, they simply lived below their means. They were working towards a goal. Regardless, all this would give their children a financially responsible example. An invaluable lesson.

This woman struggled a bit with her identity as her children grew. Having no higher education and watching her primary responsibility for the last 26 years slowly leave her proved to be one of the most difficult tasks of her life.

This woman found her peace. She took joy in her new role as friend to her now-grown children. She was there constantly for support – such as when her 19-year-old son and girlfriend unexpectedly found themselves pregnant. Having lived through that with little support herself, she and her husband knew the support and love necessary to make that work. She once gave up a month of her own work and life to come to a foreign country while one daughter and her very sick husband embarked on a medical journey they knew little about. She came to that foreign country to watch her grandkids, ensuring they felt safe and loved when their parents painfully had to be elsewhere. She gave those kids the security and routine they needed in a very uncertain time and she did it all out of her comfort zone.

In the present day, this woman would amaze you. She has a gift – it’s called hospitality.

She can whip up a meal for 20 in minutes and I do not exaggerate.

She makes fantastic pies.

She can arrange sleeping provisions for 22 people in her 4-bedroom house and everyone would have a bed or a mattress.

She hosts many a weekend gathering and party in the most organized fashion preparing days in advance and making all guests feel welcome and pampered.

She has always worked very hard. She can stand on her feet for hours on end working non-stop only for short water breaks doing very difficult and very dirty physical labor. Hard, dirty work is not beneath her and she has never shied away from it.

She STILL works hard at her age of FIFTY-NINE today.

I know this woman intimately.

I am honored to call her friend. I am privileged to call her MOM.

I LOVE YOU, MOM. More than you can know.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A date to Remember

Seven years ago today, I was sitting at my desk in a job I didn't love. I was anxiously awaiting the birth of my first son. He was due in three days. He was not in my body, but the anticipation was intense.

Seven years ago today, one of my co-workers came to his desk and said, "Go to A plane crashed into the World Trade Center." The break room TV's were turned on. Every employee watched in horror as the events continued to unfold... We tried to work as usual, but as usual was redefined. It seemed with each passing hour, there was a new horror to report. "The second tower that was hit has collapsed to the ground." "The entire building?" "Impossible." "There is video of people jumping out of windows." "Today is September eleventh, like 911. I read on a website that is significant." "There is a plane down in some field in Pennsylvania." "I heard it was in Ohio." "The first tower hit has fallen to the ground." "They closed the Sears Tower." "The Pentagon has been hit with a crashed plane."

It seemed each time someone opened their mouth a new horror or paranoia would set in shadowing the last.

Seven years ago today, a skyline changed. A country changed. A war began.


Today, eating breakfast in the comfort of my own home, gazing at my boys looking their best because today is "picture day" at school, I couldn't help but realize that what seemed like an event that would forever stay ingrained in my mind is already becoming cloudy. As there are THOUSANDS of people that mourn the needless and innocent shed blood of their dads, moms, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles, nieces, cousins and friends each year on this day, my life goes on pretty much as normal. I mourn no personal loss, but I mourn a day that seemed as though it would strongly unite our country. A country that today seems so divided and is constantly bickering amongst itself in the hype of the upcoming election. A country that is great for so many reasons. A country that has so much wealth, so much freedom, so much luxury, so much technology, so much abundance, and so much charity. Today as we should be remembering an event that changed our country in so many ways, I pray that we as Americans can unite and be proud.

I tried to teach my boys a bit today about this important date.
I told them that seven years ago today, before they were born and when Gavin was still in his birthmommy's tummy, there were some very bad men who stole airplanes and crashed them into buildings and killed lots of lots of people. This was a very sad day and we need to remember this day as a special day in thanks for our great country and for our strong army (to my little boys, army means military) and our government.

Gavin: Did they die?
Me: The men that drove the planes died.
Grant: You are lying.
Me: No, Grant. This is very true.
Grant: (smiling) No, it's not. You are making this up.
Gavin: So all the bad guys are dead?
Me: Well, the guys that drove the airplanes died, but their leaders didn't.
Grant: Mommy, you are lying. You are teasing.
Me: Grant. No I'm not, sweetie. I wish I was. This was a very sad day.
Gavin: Did our army kill their leaders?
Me: Ummm, not exactly. We tried to capture some of their leaders, too. We still try to fight to keep those people that hate our country from hurting more people. We will probably always have to because there are people that hate our country because they don't know any better.
Grant: (sticks fingers in ears for remainder of conversation)
Gavin: Will they come back to our city and hurt us?
Me: No, sweetie. You are safe. But you have to thank your army and your country for that. (under breath) At least I hope so.

And I realized - there are some things just too horrific to comprehend. And I am ever so thankful that today I still have the freedom to get dressed and get my boys on this bus like any other day on this same day that thousands of lives are mourned. Because, isn't that what we continue to fight for?

God Bless America


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Two for one - depression AND vegetable gardening advice!!!

Blog advice ROCKS!

Okay, so yesterday after I hit publish, I started thinking, “Dude, You MUST be depressed if you just hit publish on a post seeking many strangers’ and friends’ and family’s that do not see you on a regular basis advice for DEPRESSION! DUH!!” Then each comment I read just made me feel better and better and more and more normal and has truly helped me these last two days. AND!! I got practical advice on how to handle my God-forsaken ever-green tomatoes.

I have researched depression some and I seriously do not think I am depressed. And that diagnosis comes from Dr. Angie with no MD behind her name. I do not feel like I am putting on a happy face for those around me. If something amuses me, I smile. If I find something funny, I laugh. If I find something hilarious, I snort my drink out of my nose. I think I am being very honest with myself. I feel generally happy with my life as is barring a few obvious issues.

It is the “what if” that concerns me. Right now, I stay home and have this wonderful luxury of time to blog, of the ability to volunteer and be involved in the boys’ school, of making dinners from scratch, of allowing the boys to be involved in extra-curricular activites, and of many other comforts. It is the thought of how to do any of this without the support of a spouse that completely rocks my world – like in an earthquake kind of way and not in a U2 kind of way.

That is the worry that consumes me. It is the worry of raising two boys without a father in this crazy world in which we live. It is not even the worry of being alone so much as the worry of the finances, the kids, and the making this all work together with only one parent.

So, I have an appointment with my GP on Monday and I can’t wait to talk to him more before I start taking anything. Because honestly? I feel enslaved to the worry.


I do not lack energy to face the day. I do not lack desire to face the day. In fact, I am ready to add more to my day. I want to go back to work part time. I am excited about the boys’ sports starting again. I want to do more with friends and family. I have huge desires to be surrounded by those that love me and make me feel “normal.” Maybe because they take me away from our harsh realities, but mostly because it is fun.

I do not think I have a chemical thing going on in my BRAIN making me more blue than NOT. I think I have a situational thing going on in my LIFE making me more blue than USUAL.

And I think I should probably talk to someone about my fears and my worries. If talking helps, then great. I need to get my pretty much NON-EXISTENT prayer and spiritual life back on track. I need to get my house organized so I stop feeling overwhelmed at home. I need to clean my car so I stop regurgitating every time I get near it. There are many things I know would help my situation. I don’t think they will take away the worry, but I think they would help a bit with the peripheral angst.

The medication my doctor prescribed is an anti-depressant and not an anti-anxiety med. I am more prone to take an anti-anxiety med than anything else, but even then, I would prefer to handle my situational blues with other means FIRST, MAYBE. Like I said, I am talking to my doctor on Monday about it. A doctor that does not know me. A doctor that is probably not overly qualified to diagnose or help me in the most effective manner, but is a starting point and maybe can recommend a counseling group to help me get some things off my chest. Because most of my worries and the places my mind takes me each day are accompanied with GUILT for “even going there.”

Some of you mentioned support groups, to which I say, BLECH. I know this is totally politically incorrect and you would think I would be more open to this, but I HATE cancer support groups and, naturally, I will tell you why. The people there? - they have cancer. Those support groups are full of sick people. They are full of complaining people. They are full of tired people. They are full of frustrated people. And YES I know we would be exactly those people. But honestly? I am around enough sickness and frustration and anxiety in my own life, I don’t want to bear anyone else’s. I know that is unbelievably selfish and contradicts the very reason for the SUPPORT part of the support group. Also? The support group I went to in the past consisted of one of two people. 1) those that were so sick they were dying (and averaged 25 years our senior) or 2) those that were way too healthy to be a part of this group of sick and dying people because they don’t want to be constantly reminded of what could happen to them. And anyone who hasn’t been told they have less than 3 months to live falls into category 2. So, I stay the hell away from cancer support groups. My reasons for going would be totally selfish, anyway. I want to be supported and to vent. I do not want to hear about anyone else’s issues at this point in our journey. And what I want? They call that COUNSELING, last time I checked.

So, there you go. I am going to talk with one doctor on Monday and simply get another opinion. (By the way, I just love and appreciate God’s timing on this one – we have a jam-packed week with lots of fun activities to pre-occupy us and I have had this appointment on Monday for over 7 weeks. I scheduled it weeks ago trying to get in right away, but had to wait because I am being treated like a new patient. So, God knew what he was doing when he allowed me to have this stressful last couple of weeks coupled with back-to-back doctors appointments I wanted to have months ago)

I am trying to live my life “one day at a time” and the worry I have is not for today, but for the POSSIBLE TOMORROW. I need help getting that worry in check so I can better enjoy my todays. Right now, my enjoyment of today is compromised. I don’t want anything to rob me of that joy.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Is this depression? Seriously, I'm asking...

Today I had my yearly visit to the girly doctor. My Ob/gyn has historically been only that to me - a yearly checker of my nether-regions. I have never been pregnant and when we attempted pregnancy all those times, we went to reproductive specialists and by-passed my OB/GYN altogether.

So, my visits are usually short and to the point. Small talk, expose breasts, get felt up breasts examined, scoot to the end of the table, insert feet in stirrups, awkwardly small talk while doctor sticks large q-tip type thing in my hooha, take deep breaths, wash up, dress, go home.

Today, was no different, except that my small talk consisted of Brian. My doctor seemed shocked even though we have small talked about Brian in the past, but like I said, I only see the man once a year. Also? the past small talk visit was 2 years ago and Brian wasn't diagnosed with his recurrent tumor at that point in time. He sat down and we talked in earnest for a while.

I coldly, matter-of-factly and without emotion spoke of Brian's condition, his problems, his diagnosis and how it affects our current lifestyle. I am getting good at this, honestly.

He wanted to know how I was doing emotionally. I hate that question. I know people are looking to find things in me that signal signs of depression. Everyone wants to fix me. "It's the least they can do," I feel it all around me. I found myself babbling on and one somewhat like this:
"Just fine... I think, anyway.... staying strong..... worry a lot..... take care of myself..... tear up out of nowhere..... occasional resentment..... good, though, for the most sucks.....fine, though...... it's not fair.....holding it together for the most part... "

He looked at me with tender compassion and asked about my support. I found myself replying a lot like this:
"I talk to my family in great length about my worries for the future.... can't really talk to Brian's family about it..... my family is a few hours away, but we talk every day..... have good friends...... Brian's family is close by..... would help whenever..... don't need help right now.... I worry because Brian's family travels a lot if I did need long term help....Good support, though...surrounded by those that love us...."

He looked at me with even more compassion, handed me a tissue for the tears I didn't even realize were running down my face and said:
"You know, there are lots of things you can do to help with the feelings of sadness and despair. I'm not saying you're depressed, but lots of times depression can set in suddenly after feeling just kind of blue for a while. There is counseling and many medications that could help if you felt like you wanted to try that."

Me: "Oh, I think I am fine. Honestly, I have been doing really well. Sort of, since the boys went back to school, I have been a little sadder. I also had an Uncle die of cancer two weeks ago just a couple months after diagnosis. That was hard and made me think a lot of thoughts I don't want to think. But, really I am fine. I am."

Him: Do you think a lot of thoughts about "what if"
Me: Oh yeah, constantly.
Him: Constantly?
Me: Yes, constantly.
Him: Do you sleep?
Me: Actually, I do sleep these days. Probably because I am getting up before dawn to get the kids to school, but I do sleep.
Him: But, you have a lot of worries?
Me: Of course. We are under-life-insured putting me in a position of having to go back to work full time if something happens to Brian. With school starting back up and trying to allow the boys extra-curricular activities, I can't fathom how I could possibly do it by myself and so, yeah, I pretty much worry constantly.
Him: You go to bed worrying, wake up worrying and worry throughout the day?
Me: Yes. All. Day. Long. Every. Day. No. Matter. What. I. Try. To. Preoccupy. My. Time. With.
Him: You know, there are some anti-depressants that can just help with that blue feeling, help your mind to stop thinking "what if" all the time. Just take that anxiety edge off.
Me: Will they make my thoughts and judgement cloudy?
Him: No. They will make the "what if" thoughts cloudy. They should anyway. Do you want to try something?
Me: I'm really not sure. I'll take the script, but I don't know yet.

So, I am filling the script. I have to decide if I am going to take it because I have to take it every day for it to be effective. I don't know if I am depressed. I really don't. I know lately, these are the feelings and events that are dominant in my life:

  • tears out of no where
  • resentment towards those that are able to do the things we used to be able to do, but no longer can due to Brian's issues.
  • constant worry about the future
  • short tempered and easily irritated with kids
  • unmotivated to do housework and organize
  • desires to be around friends and family
  • overwhelmed with existing duties
  • impatient towards Brian when he is overly sleepy and not feeling well
  • self-pity
  • lonely
  • feel like I always want to do something more fun than what I am currently doing

Do not judge me, please, for feeling any of the above. And, honestly, besides the worry, which I think is pretty normal for anyone in my situation, none of these are overly dominant in my life. I go about doing everything else - grocery shopping, helping with homework, running the kids around, scheduling appointments, paying bills, making dinner, cleaning house, etc.

Yes, I feel more blue than I did a month ago. Also, in the last month, I lost an uncle to cancer and it kickstarted my worry factor again. Brian has not been feeling well due to what we hope and assume is a bad cold for about 3 weeks. Brian has tests coming up in two weeks and that always makes me anxious. My kids started school. I am waking up and going to bed two hours earlier than just one month ago. The days are shorter, the air is cooler and my damn tomato plants never really turned red. I have about 25 green tomatoes sitting out there taunting me.

So, I am asking any readers and lurkers to help me understand. Am I depressed? Am I on the verge? Or am I just dealing with a lot of shit in a time of a lot of change?


Monday, September 8, 2008

I am lazy like that...

I have been keeping track of my google searches for a while now. Meaning, people actually type these things in their google search bar and they land here somehow. Most are pretty predictable and match my blog content pretty closely: brain tumors, cancer, chemo, how to keep believing, believing, etc.

And you wouldn't believe how many people google anything related to the "Mighty Mouse, Superman, Stand by Me" scene. I had to google it, too, to find it.

Then I get some that make me sad like this:

Why am I staying in this terrible marriage - and I think, why are you googling this? Seek marriage counseling immediately. And by the way, HOW DID YOU GET TO MY BLOG???

However, some crack me up:

I love having kids - Why, so do I, but I have never thought to google it. In fact, I can't think of one logical reason to google it. But, I am glad your search sent you here.

reasons to love children - ummm, apparently, YOU need more help and you don't love kids as much as the person above and need some reassurance. Did you find reasons here? There are many.

peeing in public accidentally - Woops. I certainly hope you are either under the age of 9 or over the age of 65.

fart headache - STAY AWAY FROM MY FAMILY. You will have a sudden onset of migraines!

young boy with smelly flatulence - You found ME? Honestly, if you were looking for a 36 year old woman with smelly flatulence, google is doing you a service, but my young boys' flatulence is only just beginning to have odor at ages 5 and 6.

April 2008 I am tired - the entire month? really? and exactly what were you hoping to find by GOOGLING this? other tired people? a calendar of tired people?

And my favorite:
I know my Valentine waits in a line of one night stands and it's not you it's me - to which I reply, What the????

On another note, I am terrible at acknowledging blog awards and I would like to formally apologize to anyone that gives me an award that it takes my sorry ass so long to post it and that I usually don't pass it on. I dare to buck the system am lazy like that.

The ever talented, witty, hilarious, sexy Tootsie Farklepants graced me with this beauty a couple weeks ago.

Isn't it lovely? It is to be given to those you find funny, sunny and happy. I appreciate Tootsie lying and saying this about me. I do not often find myself funny, sunny or happy.

I am passing this along to a few of my newer sunny, funny and happy blog reads:

The first and foremost being Texan Mama at WHOPUTMEINCHARGEOFTHESEPEOPLE. She is a real life friend of many years. We were BFF's in high school. She was a great writer back then, too. She and I went to separate colleges and didn't stay in close contact until we both graduated and then, guess, what? We married men from the same home town. Not our home town and we didn't meet them together. How's that for coincidence?

Secondly, I am awarding this to DadtheDude because I find him hilarious and straight forward and opinionated and delightful. I don't even know if he knows the extent to which I stalk him. He rants on Tuesdays these days. You will wait with baited breath like I do.

And off the category of newer discovered blogs, I am passing it to Beth at A Mom's life because I find her all three of those adjectives - sunny, funny and happy.


Friday, September 5, 2008

At which table would I sit?

I was looking around the other day at all the back-to-schoolers. I watched the high school bus come and go. In my day, I attended a Catholic high school that didn’t have a bus. We drove and carpooled. Watching the highschoolers board the bus got my brain spinning 6 degrees to wherever and I was taken back to high school momentarily.

When I think back on high school, as well as cheerleading, big hair, homework, late night telephone calls, learning to drive and my BFF, I am also reminded of one particular person I can’t get out of my head. There was a girl, CF, in my school to whom I was less than pleasant. When I say less than pleasant, I should say downright MEAN. I mocked CF behind her back as did most all of my friends. When I had the chance, I would engage her in incriminating conversations in which she would reveal more things that showed her peculiarity like where she bought her clothes or how she differed from the rest of the ever-conforming high school girl me and most of my friends were becoming. I got her to reveal that she shopped at K-Mart and that she thought K-Mart rocked which was TABOO for anyone to ADMIT in high school. (For the record, I do not shop at K-mart much now, but it is CERTAINLY not beneath me. It is just not convenient for me.)

In my puny defense, CF was odd. She spoke in a strange monotone way. We wore uniforms, but she dressed strange for most highschoolers. She was shorter than even me, which said a lot at my 5-foot height entering high school. Maybe that is why I picked on her. Maybe it was because she was too forthcoming and eager to try to meet people and make friends. Most likely, it was because I was just insecure and ignorant and found one easy prey. I don’t know, but I am not proud of it. At. All.

I think of the years that CF was tormented by not just me, but by most of the class. She wasn’t cool and she didn’t try to be. And what I remember the most about high school was constantly trying to be cool – at the expense of the law, my dignity and purity, my family, kindness and my grades.

I think of how my heart would PAIN if my boys' classmates were not treating my kids nicely or fairly. When either of my boys tells me of a bullying situation, we address it, discuss it and remove them from it if possible. Because, who wants their kid hurt? But that is what most of my class and I did to CF for all 4 years of high school.

CF would find a friend here and there to hang with. Her freshman year, she seemed unscathed and would find some folks to sit with at lunch or during assemblies. She showed up for many school functions by herself and would mingle with a few. In the next few years, as we grew and *ahem* matured (said rolling my eyes), our class seemed to have less and less to do with CF. She would resort to hanging with younger classes who didn’t know yet that she was somehow labeled by the rest of the student body as odd. She was welcoming to others and always interested in making a friend. When she came to school events, she resorted to hanging with the teacher chaperones. Eventually, she stopped attending altogether. She was probably beyond lonely.

I remember finding out later that one of the reasons CF was so small was that she had many health problems as a child. She wouldn’t dress in front of anyone at gym class (and come one, for whom ISN’T that act awkward at that age) because she had a huge scar from open-heart surgery as a child. It didn’t faze most of us in the class. Sadly, it just cemented her weirdness.

At lunch, I always sat with the same people. We had our group of friends. K, T, N, G, L, and I were always at the same table. Some would rotate in, out and around with other tables, but if you looked around the cafeteria, there was always the same people give or take a few that sat with the same people. Not necessarily because anyone was being exclusive, rather because that was our group of friends that we hung with mostly on the weekends, too. That is whom you tend to migrate towards. That is natural.

I can remember CF sitting by herself many times during our senior year. If her lunch coincided with the freshman lunch or with a person from one of the other classes that was nice to her, she would have one or two people to sit with, but it didn’t always happen.

It breaks my heart to this day to think of her sitting there by herself at lunch.

I think about myself today as I walk into a social situation and look around a room not knowing anyone. To whom do I migrate? I tend to migrate to those who look like me, dress like me and act like me. Why? I know when I leave situations like that, if no one befriended me or it was simply awkward the entire time, I leave feeling lonely and empty.

Where would I sit today in that cafeteria knowing everything I know today? Would I sit with the person who looks the loneliest and saddest?

I often wonder how my boys are doing at school. Are they getting along with their teacher? Are they obeying? Are they grasping the concepts? Are they struggling? But mostly, I wonder… Are they getting along with the other kids? Is anyone being mean to them and are they being mean to anyone else?

I picture CF sitting there alone in that cafeteria full of her classmates when I think of my boys at school and I don’t want that for my boys in two ways. I don’t want them to be her all alone and I don’t want them to be me ignoring her.

What would make me beyond proud would be for my boys to be the one to look beyond the taboo that stained this awkward high-schooler and befriend her. I want my boys to be the ones to tell others ‘they are ignorant and cruel and that is a person just like you inside with fears and ambitions and a past and a future’ and simply be her companion even if just for 25 minutes a day.

I wish I had been that person to CF.

I publicly, humbly, and ashamedly apologize to CF. I have no idea what has become of her and I think still think of her often.

What about you? Any regrets on how you treated someone?


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I can't think of much to say

I have all these posts swirling around in my head...

Like an idea for a parenting forum to ask some people some questions that I seriously want opinions on....

Or some cute stories that I can remember.....

Then I realize...

Oh crap, it is like 6:45 and the kids need to get in the shower and brush their teeth and we need to read and log our reading time and I have no less than 12 papers to lose throw away sort through and diligently read for details for my kids and the expectations on a kindergartner and 1st grader in this century of public school. Which, when translated, means I have more homework than them because in reality, any homework for kindergartners and first graders simply means, "parents, you will be doing this, too," and then I have the added tasks of getting all the upcoming events for them on our calendars and determining when my library rotation will fall in the month, and reading through the newest information for parents of school kids which is: "please check out this website and do these activities with your kids to supplement" because I didn't have ENOUGH to do before with the 6 pages a week for the kindergartner and the spelling lists and sight words and math suggestions for the first grader.

Then I get another, 'please read 15 minutes a day with your first grader and color these apples when you are done and have your child return at the end of the month' and I realize that there are actually the same number of apples on the chart as there are days in the month. And I'm wondering if the first grader will realize if I color in an extra apple here and there because, I'm thinking... I JUST WANT A DAY OFF HOMEWORK, MAN!

And I'm thinking, geez, they're 5 and 6 for cryin out loud. And I'm 36 and I'm not supposed to be doing homework anymore.

And then I'm thinking, didn't I send them to school so I didn't HAVE to homeschool. How is it that all my homeschool friends can teach their two or three kids in like 4 hours and not have additional homework. My kids are in school for 7 hours a day and still come home with all this crap.

So, then I'm thinking, don't these teachers care about the environment? cuz honestly, I don't keep much for more than a day, which has totally backfired on me TWICE as I have had to email a teacher for a spelling list and a username and password for the stupid websites we are supposed to be "supplementing" with at home after I prematurely tossed the paper. Meaning, I go through about an extra BAG of garbage a week with worksheet pages and practice writing and parent bulletins, etc.

So, then I'm thinking, when am I ever gonna have time for this blog? Because on top of all the extra stuff relating to school and every dish I have to bring for teacher appreciation day (which I fully appreciate by the way) and all the library volunteering for 2 kids and all the field trips and other school functions and the church activities ready to start up soon and the other pressing household chores, we had company last weekend and Brian had chemo and a doctors appointment today. And the only time I seem to find to work on this blog is around 8:00 at night which I DO like to occasionally spend with my spouse who so diligently fights for his life daily and provides a comfortable living for this household. PLUS, I go to bed between NINE and TEN these days (unlike my summer midnight oil burning time) because we get up and start this whole routine over every day at 6 am. So much so, that up until about two days ago, I was like, "Sarah Palin, who?" and "Joe Biden, who?" and "Aren't the Olympics on TV anymore?"

So, now I'm thinking - How many days til summer?


(I'm also thinking after spellchecking this post, how is it that I ALWAYS spell occasionally and determining wrong?- spellcheck catches it, though)