Monday, August 26, 2013

What is this "Time Flying" Phenomenon everyone is talking about?

Okay~ so summer is coming to a close and kids are going to school all over the country~ some going to school for the very first time.....and some moving off to college.....and *everything* in between.

I've noticed in the bible according to Facebook that this has triggered a 'where did the time go' nostalgia and endless pictures of clean kids holding brand new backpacks~ most looking some kind of combination of fake smile and sheer terror. Now, I'm not sure why~ but here at the AGC my kids living at home don't go back to school until I'm late to the 'post the pics of your kids on the first day of school' party. Never fear~ I will post them too.

It just so happens that I have a daughter who is starting Kindergarten tomorrow~ and we ALL know that's a pretty BIG deal.
It also happens that the wonder boy will begin 3rd grade tomorrow. He looks less and less like a boy every day.
It also happens that I have a son who will never, ever have the chance to go to school.
It also happens that I have a daughter~ who despite being a divorced single mother ~ working her ass off to provide a life for my grandson~ a couple of weeks ago started school to earn a degree that will help her to do just that.
It also happens that I have a daughter who is navigating being a Navy wife~ who just recently watched her husband sail away on a very large ship~ knowing she'll not see him for 9 long months~ and SHE starts school as the TEACHER of the class going on 5 years now.

When I look at my life as a whole~ I sometimes feel like I have lived 3 almost entirely separate lives. Often when I think of an event or a place in time I'm known to say "gods that feels a *lifetime* ago".....and I really MEAN it!

So I experience my own 'time flies' sensation........once in a while......but I know it is not nearly as often as other folks do..........

My baby~ the youngest anyway as she is no longer a baby~ starts kindergarten tomorrow. This will be the very last time I send one of my own children off to Kindergarten..........and YES it is a BIG DEAL~ but in so very many, many ways~ it's a *big* deal for different reasons than it was for my other 3 children. And I suspect that it is also big deal for reasons only a select few moms have also experienced.

Over the last few weeks I've been asked literally hundreds of times "can you believe she's 5 and going off to Kindergarten?" or some variation of that question. Now~ as any good mother does I said "gosh, I know right?" and then the follow up statement from the question asker: "Man that went by so fast"......and HERE is where I pause~ and HERE is where the big deal difference is........

because it really *did not* go by fast~ or at least for me it really didn't. You see the last 5 years (more like 7 really)  have been some of the MOST challenging of my life. And believe me when I say: THAT'S saying something.

Although there were times when I felt time flying by~ last summer for instance~ my first summer not working in a long, long time~ last summer went by fast.........but when I reflect upon my youngest being 5 and starting school~ I really do NOT feel like time has flown. In fact upon reflection~ I feel quite the opposite~like there were more days than not that time actually seemed to slow down.

In my heart of hearts I *know* that I feel this way because there were SO MANY moments that turned into days and in some cases days that turned into weeks and months~ that I really was not sure I would survive.

There were lots of days when the heartbreak was so paralyzing that I could literally HEAR the seconds ticking in my head~ and I remember wishing and praying and begging the universe for those days to just be OVER......and yet they seemed to last forever.

There were lots of days that I woke up after 2 or 3 hours of fitful sleep~ auto piloted my way through some crazy combination of mothering, working and just barely surviving........and on those days I often found myself looking at the clock thinking: gods can it really only be (whatever) o'clock? I'm not sure I can make it (how every many)  more hours I need to survive before I can try to sleep again. Only to wake up the next day and do it ALLLLLLLL over again.

Ironically~ the last 7 years have also held some of my most incredible triumphs~ some of my proudest moments~ some days when I found that I was stronger than I ever thought I could be~ some of the VERY best days of my life............and yet even those were in some ways clouded over by a shadow cast by a very tiny boy.........for even the smallest of children can cast a very large shadow.

But *that* boy and his impact are also a huge part of the reason that I *have* a daughter to send off to Kindergarten tomorrow rather than another tiny urn filled with ashes and a mother's broken dreams and shattered soul.

*that* boy is a large part of the reason I am able~ even on autopilot days when I'm not sure how I'm going to make it to bedtime~ to find something to be grateful for.

*that* boy is a big part of the reason that I cherish every. single. amazingly wonderful. moment. in ALL of my children's and grandson's accomplishments.

*that* boy is a big part of the reason that I have learned AGAIN (for I always *knew* it~ but forgot for a while) to REALLY LIVE~ to love~ to find joy~ to find peace EVERY day~~~ because none of us is promised even another moment in time~ much less a day.

I've spent (what some would say were far too) many days in the last years reliving the grief and soul crushing pain caused by the death of my son. But having spent the last year telling his story~ bringing the sadness and the pain and the anguish out into the light~ and learning to deal with it better~ I'd say I am exactly where *I* need to BE in the process right now~ and I always *have BEEN*.

So as my daughter goes off to Kindergarten tomorrow~ there will be pictures, there will be tears (but not of sadness), there will be some nostalgia I am sure.

But there will not be a feeling of "I can't believe it's time for this already"......because from the very moment it was decided that we would try for another baby~~~~ right up to today~~~~~ precious little of her life came easily. We had to fight for every. single. step. and it's been a LONG 5.75 years.

So as she boards the bus bravely holding her brother's hand~ I will not be crying and thinking "where has five years gone"......

I will be crying and thinking "YOU GO wee tiny princess! GO and conquer your first day of Kindergarten the way you have conquered everything ELSE they said you would never do! You GO and make your mark on your brand new school the way you've made your mark on every person who knows your story!"

I will also be crying and thinking "thank you William~ thank you for giving me the strength to fight for her".

I will also be shamelessly proud of MYSELF for having never given up on her, for having fought for her, for having raised this miracle child to the very best of my ability~ DAMN that was a hard 5.75 years!

I will also be thinking "TAKE THAT DR. FUCKFACE~ YOU. WERE. WRONG. As I said to you in the teeny tiny hospital room on a dark night in March of 2008~ when you said there was no hope: WRONG~ there is ALWAYS room for hope~ and that girl getting on the bus right now is LIVING AND AMAZING PROOF!"

Friday, August 23, 2013

Syria? Where the fuck IS syria? Why the next Batman (seems to) get more attention than the world...

Syria? Where the fuck IS syria? Why the next Batman (seems to) get more attention than the world.......

Now this here is *my* blog. And the opinions expressed within are mine and mine alone....


evidently only 2 things happened in the world today: some devastation in Syria and the announcement that Ben Affleck will play the role of Batman in the next of the Batman series of motion pictures.

well~ at least according to the memes on Facebook~ and isn't Facebook the new bible of information?

So there was this meme in FBlandia that showed Heath Ledger as the Joker with the words "hundreds get slaughtered in Syria, no one notices. But Ben Affleck gets cast as the next Batman and people lose their minds"....and I laughed.....I did ......and I thought it ironic.........

until I looked at my OWN FB posts for the day: Batman 7; Syria 0

and then before I pressed the 'share' button I wondered WHY? Why do I hesitate to share this admittedly funny meme?

For the Ginger~ the reasons are many

But Imma thinkin for the USA at large ~ at least a *few* will understand my reasons.

Here are the top 4:

1. Christian Bale is a hard act to follow
2. Ben Affleck (although he has proven to be a good father and partner and make beautiful babies) is REALLY not the actor to portray the iconic and revered Batman
3. Heath Ledger's tale is a sad and tragic one
4. I realize there are things happening in the world and in my very own country of origin that defy the realm of even imaginable (the Batman role notwithstanding)

and then I thought about it

and thought about it some more

and I realized that having survived what I consider to be more than my fair share of tragedy and horror: THIS is my reality today:

**I go to movies to be ENTERTAINED. It has been a great LONG time since I've been able to watch any sort of movie that hits a little too close to home~~~~ these include any movies with graphic portrayals of child abuse, rape, incest, torture, the death of a child or even the death of one so young via heart attack.

**I can't be entertained by these movies because I have LIVED them in REAL life and SURVIVED them.

**I didn't even watch "The Dark Knight" because I couldn't handle watching Heath Ledger's tortured portrayal on the big screen.

**When it was time for the Academy Award for 'Best Supporting Actor' I turned off the TV~ *knowing* what I did that no matter the posthumous awards~ nothing could bring him back. Alcohol, drugs and living with a daily war inside himself had killed him~ and you cannot come back from DEAD no matter how many awards they give you

**We can NOT even engage in a debate about who the fuck the next Batman should be without slinging insults at one another~~is being referred to as a "nerd" or a "comic book Nazi" a COMPLIMENT???

**I know that right here in the city I live, the state I live and the country I LIVE: women are treated as less than equal. The sex of who you love all too often dictates whether or not you are treated equally and given the same rights afforded others. People struggle with alcohol and drug addiction: and often DIE in that fight. The color of your skin, amount of money in your bank account and life choices YOU make and that are inherited affect whether or not you will thrive, just barely survive.......or die.

**At the time of the Oklahoma City bombing: I could NOT watch the news 'reporting' from the scene~ babies being carried out bloody~ parents who dropped their most precious cargo off to be cared for only to pick them up in body bags later~~ same with Columbine~~ same with Sandy Hook~ and ALL but ONE of these happened WELL before I held a funeral for my own child

**I cannot watch the daily news: including what is happening in Syria for too very long~~ because to do so paralyzes me.

This last one is perhaps the most important in this particular blog.

You see there are MANY other things that happened in the world today~~~ and even in the state and country in which I live. For example: an 89 year WWII veteran was killed by teenagers; a US soldier who massacred innocent civilians was sentenced to *just* prison; the POTUS made very *bad* decisions.....I'm certain somewhere a young person was bullied, someone took their own lives after facing such bullying, children starved to death and YES Syria is involved in a Civil War.......

And I have kept abreast of these things.......But I cannot watch them for too very long. It DOES NOT MEAN I DON'T CARE.

What it *does* mean to me is that for me to *see* what humans inflict upon other humans kills a tiny part of my soul.

I'm not saying that lightly. I really MEAN it. There is only so MUCH one I can handle. I am tortured by the fact that THIS is the world in which we LIVE. THIS is the world I will leave for my children.

And so it is *there* that I try to make a difference. I can NOT take on the world all at once~ I will not win.....and I may very likely push myself off my own cliff of sanity~ if I dance too close to THAT edge~ I'll fall in and never escape.

But I can teach my children tolerance. And love. And acceptance. And how to take responsibility for their OWN actions.

I can speak out against hate.

I can speak out against racism.

I can speak out against assaults on our RIGHTS that others have fought and died for.

I can fight for the rights of Veterans, underprivileged, women, gays and ANYONE ELSE who is maligned based upon being different than our society's 'norm'.

But most of all: I can practice what I preach.

I talk about who the next Batman will be and I can watch only movies I can handle. You see Facebook for me is a social media~ it is where I go to be entertained. Sometimes, I engage in a fight about social issues and sometimes I just scroll through messages and copy & paste stupid memes.

This does NOT mean I care *more* about who the next Batman will be than I do about innocents massacred in Syria or anywhere ELSE. It does not mean I fight only the battles I can win.

At night I do not pray that they will appropriately cast the next action night I pray that my efforts make SOME difference. At night I pray that my children are wiser than I am. At night I pray for women, children, gays, vets~ and ALL who are treated as 'LESS than' in their very own homes, cities and countries.

And so I will not post the Heath Ledger Batman meme~ because there's REAL tragedy there~ and it has shit to do with Syria or Ben Affleck. And making FUN of tragedy is something I hope I do not ever do....and if I mistakenly DO~ I hope to recognize it and make amends immediately.

For today I will hold my family close, I will practice what I preach.....and I will pray  that I leave the world a *little* better than I found it.

Love and Light,

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Story of A Boy and His brand new baby sister part 19: The NICU Rollercoaster

Hello Gentle Readers

Thank you for sticking with me ~ and for reading my son's story. It is his legacy to spread hope~ and my task as his mommy is to help.

If you haven't yet had the chance~ please read parts 1-18 just makes more sense that way.

This is part 19: The NICU Rollercoaster:

27 April 2008

Back on the post-partum side to the familiar room in which I had lived for over 3 weeks now. Visitors came. In a way it was the same as when William was born~ people came~ but there was no baby to ohhhh and ahhhhh over.

But as was promised 4 long weeks ago in the teeny, tiny hospital room in the world renowned hospital~ and as had been everything with this pregnancy~~ *this time* was different. Because there WAS a baby. Yes she was teeny tiny, yes my husband is the only one who saw her for the first 36 hours, yes she was fighting for her very life........BUT SHE WAS HERE AND SHE WAS ALIVE! (take THAT doctor fuckface!)

I was very sad that they would not let me go over and see her: pshawww that I'm not stable enough. Retrospectively, the NICU nurses had enough to do~ what with all of those fragile babies to care for~~ makes sense they couldn't be taking care of the parents~ myself included. So I waited (not so patiently) and I visited with TONS of people who came in to see me. And I shared the picture of the teeny tiny baby girl and the HUGE diaper. Try as I might~ I could not manage to stay awake for long periods ~ I felt like a rag doll~ all of my limbs were heavy~ hard to lift. And so intermittently between visitors~ and sometimes when they were there~ very fitfully~ I slept.

Late that evening~ with all of my visitors gone~ with little more than the familiar sounds of the hospital to keep me company~ I began to really come out of the anesthesia and heavy blood loss fog~~ and I was desperate to see my daughter. I had a very kind nurse that evening and she helped me into a wheelchair and took me to the NICU. It was a supreme effort to stand long enough to scrub up before going in......... and then there I was~ in the darkened and surprisingly quiet calm of the NICU. Monitors beeped, ventilators wooshed, nurses floated around adjusting monitors, ventilators and babies........but it was quiet and calm...and that stilled my nerves.

Now if you don't know let me tell you~ if you or your child are hospitalized: the closer you or your child are to the nurses; the sicker you ARE. And so the kind L&D nurse wheeled me over to a place practically IN the nurses station and said for the NICU to call over when I was ready to go back to my room.

From the seated position in the wheelchair I really could not see very much~ so I stood........and I was *almost* overwhelmed to the point of fainting when first I saw my teeny tiny princess girl. She was SO very SMALL. I mean I *knew* that~ but DAMN! 1# 6.8 oz and 11.75 inches long~ shorter than the length of a ruler~ that is SMALL my friends.

She had a head full of black hair, her eyes were still fused closed, her skin still practically transparent and she was connected to a mind boggling number of tubes, IVs and catheters.

But there she was~ and I was all at once in complete *awe* of this miracle and in complete *love* with my wee tiny princess. It was surreal to stand there peeking into the incubator at this tiny baby that modern medicine had helped us create and hope had helped us keep. Her condition was so critical that I was not even allowed to *touch* the huge incubator in which she fragile was she that she could not handle ANY external stimulation. It would be days before I was even able to touch her teeny, tiny body.

I cried, I cried a LOT.

One of the NICU nurses came over and gently explained what all of the tubes and catheters were connected to. She explained how to read the monitor and not to panic when it alarms. She reiterated that my daughter was in critical condition but stable at the moment. She gave me a few more pictures that they had taken.

I prayed. I prayed a LOT.

The same prayer I had been whispering for weeks now: please let my daughter live and please let her be healthy.

Standing there, shaking~ in the surprisingly quiet calm of the NICU~ I was struck by how far we had come~ 4 long weeks~ with not a single drop of amniotic fluid...........being told there was *no* hope~~ and yet here we were.

In my mommy heart I KNEW that we were still at the very beginning of this rollercoaster ride. We had spent 4 long weeks clickity clacking up that first huge hill. A mere 36 hours ago we had paused briefly at the top~~ and when it was decided that I could hold out no longer~ that she HAD to be delivered via emergency C-Section~ we plummeted hard and fast down that first hill. And that first plunge had very nearly killed us both.......and yet here we were..........both of us......ALIVE.

I remember feeling so very, very tired. Gods I was so tired. I felt as though I had not slept in weeks. In the coming weeks and months I would learn that there is tired~~ and there is barely awake I can't believe I am even surviving much less functioning TIRED. And I would come to know that when your child is in the NICU you push so far past the barely awake I can't believe I am even surviving much less functioning TIRED~~ and STILL you carry on and live to fight another day.

And in that quiet calm of the NICU I could feel baby William with me. I knew in my heart of hearts that he was THERE........I *knew* because I had carried him to this place in my heart and in my soul. And I could feel him there. Watching over us. Protecting his sister and I. Giving us the strength to *fight* and to survive.

There would be other hills to climb soon enough. But for that night I allowed myself to celebrate just how far we had come. I allowed myself to revel in the fact that we had overcome all odds.....that despite my water breaking 4 weeks and 36 hours ago~ despite the fact that she had lived in utero for 4 weeks without a single measurable drop of amniotic fluid~ despite being born into the world at 24 weeks, 3days~ despite the fact that we had BOTH very nearly died in surgery~ WE WERE ALIVE.

And so it was in this mindset that I returned to my room.......and I allowed myself to sleep~ I mean REALLY sleep~ the sleep of the dead......the sleep of one who had not really slept in weeks~~~ I knew my baby girl was alive and safe~~ I knew I had done my very best to ensure her survival~~ and for that night I allowed myself to sleep ~~~ in PEACE.