Irrational Fear

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I don’t know whether it’s listening to all the news stories or terrorism, hate, and violence, but I’m becoming more and fearful of even normal things. I’m not sure it’s at the “I need a psychiatrist STAT” mode, but it’s enough that I check in with my kids a lot, I look around nervously when we’re in a crowd, and I lie in bed at need creating terrible scenarios in my head.

I guess I’m wondering how many people are dealing with similar issues. I don’t think I’m alone. These are scary times. I don’t want to get into a political debate but the current turmoil in our country is not helping.

If you take one look at Facebook you’ll scroll past people bashing President Trump followed by people saying horrendous things about “Libtards.” I’m wondering where we want wrong that the two sides are so far apart that we don’t even listen anymore.

I’m of the believe that 15% of the people on each side are extreme and the other 70% of us fall somewhere in the middle. While we may not agree or like Trump, we’re not pretending he isn’t president. Or while we may have strong beliefs about abortion, that doesn’t mean we can’t find common ground on other issues.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not seeing any of that at all. There’s not much in between, even at a local level. I have previously discussed the nightmare of politics in my small town. I won’t rehash it all as it’s been two years but when I attended a meeting this past week and realized things haven’t changed all that much.If thing scan’t change in a small town with so many people working for the betterment of schools and the community, how can we do it on a larger scale in the country?

But it’s not just politics that are causing my fear. I’ll be driving down the road and fear one of my cats got out and eaten by a bobcat. Or I get a strong feeling on our boat that it’s going to crash.

At the moment, I’m not stopping myself from doing things, but I’m also pretty okay staying home if I don’t need to go anywhere. I guess one could say these are irrational fears, but then I start to think, are they? There are people murdered every day. There is human trafficking, kidnapping, and so many other horrifying things going on and I’m here in my bubble.

I know enough psychology to know that my fears stem from losing people I love early in life and then again when I was a grown up. I’m afraid that something will happen to my kids and I won’t be there to protect them. How do you balance letting them grow up and holding on for dear life.

My kids are my everything. They are three very different little (not so little) human beings. My son is starting high school and I keep thinking I only have 4 more years with him at home. I’m NOT ready!

I’m not going to be a good empty-nester. I’ll be one of those women with 30 cats an a few dogs. I need to mother something! In the meantime, I need to find a way to push back the irrational (or even rational) fears standing in my way. I’m not afraid to say I’m scared. I just need to figure out some sort of plan of action (other than Xanax) when I’m a mess.

I’ll work on that. If you have better ideas, I’m happy to hear them!

Girl Drama

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My older daughter is turning 12 in two weeks. For those of you that have been there you probably know the signs. Going from 0 to 10 on the freaking out scale for no reason. Stomping around her room because she has “no clothes,” and sometime I’m just waiting for her head to spin.

Honestly, I’m pretty lucky. For the most part she is an even keel kid with a good head on her shoulders. I think being a child with dyslexia has made her work hard for her grades and in turn she knows that hard work will get her where she needs to be.

She has had the same core group of friends since kindergarten or first grade. I feel blessed that they are good kids. But now it’s middle school and life is changing. I’m proud of her for standing up for her friends when people are unkind, and in general she really hasn’t had any girl drama…until now.

My daughter is a quiet kid. She is busy with ballet several hours a week and spends several hours studying to keep up with her peers due to her disability (which we never refer to as a disability in this house).

In the past few weeks there is a girl that has gotten upset if she doesn’t have enough of my daughter’s attention. For example, my daughter was talking to her friend abut something that happened on the bus and this girl cried because they were leaving her out. This girl cried when my daughter’s friend offered her some potato chips, and then decided they were no longer friends and she wasn’t going to talk to my daughter again.

My daughter came home upset but we talked about it and I tried to explain that there are girls like this at 12 and there are women like this at 40. If someone brings drama into a friendship, it’s not worth your time. Surround yourself with people who make you happy. She seemed good with that talk, until she heard from other friends that this girl was telling mutual friends my daughter was bullying her.

Now I don’t live in a glass house and my children are not perfect. Every person who knows my daughter has burst out laughing at this, because she is one of the kindest souls you could meet. My two other children struggle a bit socially and if they feel hurt, they have been known to come back with some not so nice things…we are working on that. Again, not a perfect family, but my shy middle child is not a bully.

I let it go because my daughter knows she’s not a bully. She has friends that know she’s not a bully and I believe that we need to let our kids try and solve their problems as much as possible. That was working well for me until today when I found out the mother is telling people my daughter is a bully and mean.

Now I will say things here with unnamed people that I would never say to people I know, but this mom should really spend more time paying attention to her daughter’s needs and cries for help than worrying about my daughter. When her child is texting girls at a party that she is going to kill herself because she wasn’t invited and the party host’s mom calls the mom worried…and the girl’s mom laughs it off, that’s a fucking problem.

Sometimes we need to look at our own situations before we start casting blame. I’ve done it with my own son. My son has pushed away friends because he doesn’t know how to fit in and when he feels hurt, I’ve wanted to blame the other kids, but I do know my son is very much responsible for his actions.

That’s not to say I’d ever condone a child being mean. But when this girl tells two other girls at a party that the song they are singing sucks, and my daughter tells her that is rude and that makes her cry, I’m sorry…that doesn’t make my kid mean.

And for heaven’s sake if you have a problem with my kid how do you think going to other moms to talk about her is going to help? Are you trying to enlist other children against her? Because that’s super mature.

I’m sleeping well tonight because at the end of the day, my daughter has at least three friends she knows she can trust and count on. She knows they like her for who she is and she like them just they way they are.

If I’ve done anything right through this it’s that my usually shy and sensitive child really understands this isn’t about her as much as it’s about the other girl’s insecurities. I told her she could ask the girl what it is that she did that made the girl not like her, but I doubt she’d get a straight answer. I left that up to her whether it’s worth doing.

At 44, I don’t do dramatic people who suck energy out of you if you aren’t paying enough attention to them. She might feel differently at 12. We all have to learn out own way.

 

 

Motherhood: The Perpetual State of PMS

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Well, ok motherhood doesn’t come with bloating, but the emotional highs and lows of being a mom closely resemble my hormonal change during the month. I won’t lie. I’ve always been that person that gets overcome with emotion and cries thinking about a moment. What someone put into something; what it must feel like; etc.

My children mock me because I cry at every one of their events from First Communions to dance recitals, to football banquets. It’s jut a known family fact that if my kids are doing something special, in all likelihood I will cry. I tell them it’s my God-given right as a mother.

Today my oldest daughter, who is 11, had a recital with her vocal coach. She is my shy kid. It’s not easy for her to get up in front of people and she panics. When she panics, I panic for her. I decided in the car the other day that I’m like an empath. I take on other people’s feelings. I’ll get back to that in a moment.

Last year was the first year she sang alone and she did fantastic. She completely broke down during intermission and didn’t think she could do it, which then had me on edge wondering if she was truly going to be able to do it and what we’d do if she ran off or it didn’t go well. I wasn’t going to let her back out because I knew she could do it, and I knew she had the talent. There is no way I’d force her to sing in front of an audience if she wasn’t really ready to do so.

This year she shocked me and chose a song that was really hard. It switched keys in the beginning and switched octaves later on. The good news was she was singing BEFORE intermission this time. She would get it over with and not have to panic for the entire recital.

I dropped her off to warm up and my younger daughter and I went to a few stores to kill some time. I ended up buying my daughter a bracelet that says, “She Believed She Could, So She Did.” It’s a struggle to get my daughter to believe in herself. I wanted to get her something to remind herself that she needs to remember she has the strength inside to do whatever she sets her mind to.

As I stood in the store choosing the bracelet in tears (again), my younger daughter who does not sugar coat said, “Mom, pull yourself together.” (She’s 9.) I was blessed with my youngest daughter for a reason. She challenges me a lot and will likely be the cause of all of my gray hair, but she make me laugh like no one else can, and she says exactly what she thinks which is mighty refreshing.

I popped a half a Xanax when we got to the concert, don’t judge. I did okay through her groups numbers, but the solo killed me and I cried the whole time. Oh I tried to cry quietly, but apparently I made everyone in the rows across from me cry because they were watching me cry. But, my daughter sang beautifully and I was so proud.

Later we went to dinner and once again my kids were asking why I cry so much at events and I think my son was wondering if I cry in particular at his events. I’ll admit I don’t cry during football at this point. I cried the first time his name was announced. I cry at the banquets when the coach is speaking about him, but he doesn’t always catch those moments. My son has been struggling to find his place in the world of sports. He desperately wants to be a great baseball and football player and maybe he will be, but right now he’s just okay. But when it comes to golf, the kid is amazing.

I turned the subject to golf and said, “Well someday when you’re playing at the Master’s, I’ll be at the side of the putting green sobbing while you’re trying to make a very important putt.” I also asked if he’d wear pants with flamingos on them if he was going to be a professional golfer but I was completely shot down on that.

My kids are all kind of finding their own way and it’s a good thing, but they are getting big and it’s just a new phase for us. My son does baseball, football and golf. My oldest daughter was just offered a spot on a dance team, and my youngest has moved away from dance and found a great love of gymnastics. Honestly, I could care less what they pursue as long as they are active and happy.

Back to the empath issue. When I was driving the other day I was thinking about a friend that was going through a difficult situation. Immediately I can put myself into her shoes (as much as possible) and feel that devastation to the point of almost a depression. It can also go the other way. When a friend has a wonderful success, my feeling of happiness and joy for them is very intense, like I can feel the joy they have inside. I decided I’m an empath and that’s not a good thing.

It causes me to have some highs and lows that really have nothing to do with me. Do I sound crazy enough yet? Eh…it’s a blog. If I’m crazy, I’m crazy. At least I’m honest about it.

In other news, I’m down 20lbs. I still look terrible and heavy, but I’m down two pant sizes. I need to be down two more before I’ll really celebrate, but it’s a start. I was gaining 2-3 pounds per week with the medicines I was on for chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis, anxiety and birth control.

I am off meds for chronic pain, and yes…I’m in pain. No Alleve doesn’t fix it, but moving often helps. I hate when people tell me that, but for me it has helped. My neck has been pretty bad lately and that’s been tough, but other than that I’ve really been okay. As I mentioned in a previous blog the anxiety has been rough.

My new combo of meds is allowing me to lose some weight, though. So for that I’m thrilled. I have a lot of work to do, but I’ll just keep walking/moving/jogging and cutting down on late night eating, which is darn hard when you’re an insomniac. I get hungry at 2AM!

So I’m going to try and sleep before I get up and eat something.

 

 

Explaining Things to Kids…

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I didn’t expect to have a heart to heart with my youngest daughter tonight. Actually, all I really wanted to do was come home and go to bed. Yesterday was my birthday and somewhere around 3pm my headache went from bad to horrific. Since my new insurance decided they weren’t going to cover the only medication that has ever worked for me (Maxalt/rizatriptan) I was forced to try a new medicine.

As any migraine sufferer knows, once you find something that works, the last thing in the world you want to do is try anything else so this came as quite a blow. But, here I was about to try my new medicine. At first I didn’t think it was doing much, but we went out for sandwiches about 40 minutes later before bringing the kids all over God’s creation for their activities and I thought I was doing okay. Then I got in the car and it all went to hell from there.

I got clammy and nauseous and had a plastic bag ready in case I needed to throw up. I laid in the car while my daughter was at gymnastics, just trying not to puke. I managed to keep everything down until we got home and then there was just no stopping it. I felt awful. The pain from my headache seemed to subside, but I was nauseous and vomiting terribly.

Fast forward to today, which I spent in bed because a night of puking does wonders for a person with an autoimmune disease. I was shot and all I could do was rest. We had told the kids that we’d go to dinner, though, since we really didn’t get to celebrate the night before.

Let me start by saying my kids need to work on their table manners. They drove me nuts at dinner. On the way home my daughters driven the car with my and my youngest loves to hear stories from when she was a baby and when all of them were little. She asked who was the first person to hold her and I said that she was my only baby that the doctor immediately handed to me without the nurses taking to weigh and clean off, etc.

In hindsight, this is probably why she was my best breastfeeder because she started from right away. My daughter asked if it was the same for the other two kids and I explained that no, daddy held them and then the nurse took them to weigh and do a screening right there in front of us and then I got to hold them.

She asked why she was different and I guess I thought we’d been through it before and it shouldn’t be anything new. I don’t lie to my kids so I explained that my doctor knew how worried I was about her because her legs and feet were very twisted and we didn’t know if she’d walk or the extent of what was wrong.

I didn’t tell her I was afraid to look at her, but I was. I was petrified to see how bad it was, but I have the most wonderful doctor who had been with me through several miscarriages and three hellish pregnancies. She knew me. She knew I was afraid to see her, so she didn’t even let the nurse touch her. She handed her to me as she was, a little bloody and messy, but so so beautiful. I told my daughter that as soon as I saw her I wouldn’t let anyone else hold her and didn’t want to let her go.

I looked at her and she had tears in her eyes as she asked why her legs weren’t normal. While I don’t lie to my kids, I also don’t tell them things they don’t need to know at 9 years old. She doesn’t need to know that she had a twin that died and that she was crushed in utero. How would that help her? That would only leave her with questions and sadness. I explained that the way she was positioned in my tummy left her very cramped and her legs didn’t have room.

I know she had seem pictures of herself in casts. Maybe it was so long ago that she had forgotten but she had casts from her toes to her upper thigh from 3 days old to 6 weeks, that were changed weekly, each time adjusting her feet to turn a bit more.

I said to her as a mommy I was scared. I didn’t know that she’d grow up to be able to do all the wonderful things she can do now. She’s my kid that never stops moving. Currently her latest obsession is gymnastics and it’s all she wants to do and talk about. For the kid who our 20 week ultrasound we were told “many people years ago would have aborted for this because it often goes along with neurological issues” to my funny, crazy, spitfire who is always running, jumping and dancing…it’s been an interesting road.

I was sad, though, that she didn’t remember or that it felt like she didn’t know this. I have never hid anything, but at 9, it’s just not a huge part of our life anymore. She still sees the orthopedic doctor every so often because she has hyper mobility and they keep telling me as she gains muscle that will help (so far she’s still able to bend like a pretzel).

It just broke my heart to see tears in her eyes that she was born perfect. First, no one is perfect and though she knows that, she didn’t get that there was something really wrong. It led to a long talk about my relationship with her as a baby and how I kind of became overprotective and a bit of a baby-hog. I was so convinced she needed to be protected (don’t even ask me for what, looking back I’m sure I had some kind of postpartum depression) that I just wanted to hold her and love her.

My other two kids were amazing with her. They loved her from day one and wanted to help. I was so blessed because I didn’t have the whole sibling rivalry on top of everything else. In fact, they mostly fought over who was going to help get her a diaper or hold her, etc.

We are very lucky that my daughter is okay, though I get very stressed for each orthopedic appointment that they will tell me she’s going to need some kind of surgery. Our next appointment is in June and we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Even though I wanted to go to bed, my conversation with my daughter was so important because I know she went to bed knowing how much she was wanted and loved and that from the very moment I saw her, I loved her with all my heart and never wanted to let her go. It doesn’t hurt that she also feels a little special that she’s the only baby the nurse didn’t insist on weighing, etc. before handing them to me. That bonding moment is something I’ll never forget.

I miss having babies. My kids send my over the edge on a daily basis, but there aren’t even words to describe the intense love I have for them. They are my everything. They are what I’m most proud of; what I’d do anything for.

So not really an autoimmune blog tonight, but this situation really hit me hard. Someday I know I need to tell her she had a twin…mostly because her siblings know and I don’t want her to hear it from them, but I worry that she’ll start feeling like a part of her is missing 😦

These things keep me up at night.

Aside from still being nauseous, my joints are not the best today, but still not horrid. It’s like they are just saying…hello, we just want to remind you we’re here and we could start casing pain at any given moment. I know. I know. I’m taking it easy!

 

** Disclaimer: the pic above is not my daughter, but another baby that needed the same Ponseti Method of casting. My daughter’s legs were a tiny bit more severe in terms of the beginning stage, BUT…they were deemed not to be what is considered “clubbed feet” which is what can often go along with neurological issues. Hers were positional based on being crushed be her twin in utero. The pic was just to give an idea because it’s hard to describe.