Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Escape from Vinalhaven...

Yesterday I flew the coop. Got the hell outta Dodge. Took a break.

It all started because there were some errands that had to be done by the end of the day yesterday and could only get done on the mainland.

I did try to con the hubby into going in my stead but he outright refused. Fine. As the Little Red Hen once proclaimed, "I will do it myself!"

I hate to sit in the cabins on the ferry because the seats make my back want to cry by the time the ride is over so I decided to try to get my van on the boat.

I dutifully set my alarm for 5:30 and, when it finally dawned on me that I might actually get a whole 5 1/2 hours to myself, was raring to go as I anxiously waited in the line of cars to see if there would be enough room on the ferry for mine. It was also around this time that I spied, with my little eye, someone who I thought would probably be able to run my errands for me thus making the whole trip unnecessary. I asked this person if in fact they could run my errands for me and they very kindly said it would be no problem.

What to do, what to do?

By this point I really wanted to get away for a bit. I love Tess with all my heart, but oh my God, the days can sometimes really drag on. This was my shot. I could watch a movie in the van that I wanted to without feeling guilty and without those big brown eyes judging me or I could nap during the ride. The world was my oyster!

Okay, that was a bit dramatic but you get what I mean. I just wanted some time off.

I decided then and there that if my van got on the ferry I would go. If not then I would just head back home and deliver the good news to Charlie that he could, in fact, go to work to try to support his family. And I know, I should have done that regardless considering there now was really no NEED for me to go but guess what?

My van got on the boat. *insert guilty and yet self satisfied smile here*

And I got to chat and laugh with a friend on the ride over. Shop at Walmart without dealing with feeding tubes, jump bags, and wheelchairs AND I got my errands done and STILL got home in time for my older girls soccer games! I am woman hear me roar!

Did I mention to the hubby that I didn't actually need to go? That he could have gone to work and that I went just to get a break? Let's just say that I hope it's a long while before he reads this particular post.

But in my defense...

Well, I'll get back to you on that.....

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Laughter is the best medicine...

As probably all of you who read my blog know, my cousin Heather's son was in a bad accident while at college a little over a week ago. He is in a coma but showing steady signs of improvement. She and her husband have been with him at the hospital trying to basically just get through it without losing hope, faith, their minds, you name it.

I call or message Heather on average of about once a day. And to be honest, it is as much for me as for her because I need to be sure she knows that I am here for them. Because that is all I can do for her right now. That's it and I hate it. But I know from personal experience, that this is a ride you take alone. Yes, it helps immeasurably to know you have support (and boy have they been shown that and more from everyone in our community and beyond) but ultimately, they are in this with just each other and we are outsiders who can only imagine what they are going through.

Since life goes on, even though when you are in the hospital it feels like time has frozen still and you can't imagine that the sun is daring to shine outside and that other people are going about their "normal" lives while you are in what feels like suspended time, you start prioritizing what has to happen in your regular life.

Who is helping take care of the other kids? What about groceries? Laundry? Housework? Not to mention keeping up with all the household bills while nobody is working because they are in the hospital. You start dealing with the details of a life that almost doesn't feel like your own anymore.

At least that is how I have often felt when being with The Toots in the hospital. The feeling like my heart has literally been ripped out of my body and is now laying on a hospital bed and I am helpless to make things better. All I can do is just watch and pray and wait.

Oh yeah, and laugh. That's right, I said laugh. Not because there won't be tears, because there will and plenty of them at times, but because you need to grab on to joy and hope when it feels like you are going to drown in fear and sadness.

I am notorious for going into inappropriate gales of laughter while in the ER or, God help me, the Special Care Unit with Tess. It is how I cope. I can find humor even in the worst of circumstances and I thank God that I can. What little is left of my sanity is only there because I choose to laugh when it would be so, so easy to just cry.

And so when Heather managed to take about five minutes to get home to work on those details of her life, I went to go see her. I didn't know how either of us would be when we saw each other. I knew it would either be laugh or cry.

So we laughed. Mostly over absolutely nothing. To the point where her other son who was talking with us starting teasing us and saying, "Would you two get it together?!"

To which we responded by laughing more. Poor Jack. He could only shake his head at us in what I can only assume was pity over the fact that we had both lost our damn minds or maybe fear that he would have to keep listening to us.

But laughter truly is the best medicine. At least it felt pretty darn good last night...

Monday, September 5, 2011

School Days...

Normally this is a truly wonderful time of year for me. I love the Fall weather and the fact that the kids are heading back to school. I love that having them go back to a normal routine also puts me back into a somewhat normal one. I love going to the soccer games and chatting with folks while cheering for my girls.

But something feels off this year. I am not as excited. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding and scary thoughts racing through my mind. There is a black cloud hanging overhead that I can't quite escape from.

The Toots is going to school as well. And I swear to God, I don't think I am in any way ready for this.

Now, of course you are probably thinking that I have completely lost my mind since Tessie has technically been going to school for three years already but here is my dilemma. I have basically removed Tess from the school and had her tutored at home most of that time rather than send her. I did this for a variety of reasons. The biggest one being that she gets every single germ that another kid has but gets a thousand times sicker than those kids. I couldn't risk it.

Another reason, valid in my mind at least, is that The Toots hates school. As in, forces herself to fall asleep in the van on the ride to school and will only miraculously wake up when she hears (through her veil of sleep) that she is being brought back home. Then, POP, her eyes open wide and she grins like the cat that ate the canary. Because she has won and she knows it. She is going home to her mama and her recliner and her Spongebob.

But thanks to that UNE Neuromotor Clinic that we went to over this past summer, she can no longer get away with that behavior. Why? Because they basically told me, in a very, very nice way, that I spoil her rotten and it is not helping her. Damn!

They informed me that most eight year olds would rather stay home and watch their favorite movies but should they be allowed to? Would I have allowed Blake and Ellie to? Well no, of course not. But Tessie is NOT "most" eight year olds. I put up a pretty good defense of myself, I will say, but they seemed to have an answer for every single one of my arguments! I hate that!

My point: she hates school

Their point: most 8 yr olds don't want to go

My point: she falls asleep and won't do anything

Their point: Because it has always worked for her in the past. This year, when she falls asleep in school, she will have to wake up in school and will then realize she did not win that battle.

My point: She gets SO FREAKIN' SICK and to be brutally honest, what if she got so sick it killed her? How would I ever be able to live with the knowledge that I could have prevented it by simply keeping her home with me. Where it is safe.

Their point: She is getting exposed to all these germs every single time you take her anywhere. The doctors, the store, etc. Plus, Blake and Ellie are bringing home the school germs anyway. And finally, you have to consider QUALITY of life versus QUANTITY. In other words, what is the point of being alive if you aren't allowed to live?


But they are 100% right. The Toots deserves to have the best, most fulfilled life possible and that very much includes going to school. Much to my chagrin.

So tomorrow, Sheila will take her to school and I will have some time at home to myself. And I cannot even remember the last time that happened.

What will I do with my time? Oh, sit and worry. And then worry some more and second guess myself for even letting her go. And God forbid she gets sick in a couple of days after being there. I will beat myself up one side and down the other.

Then I will put on my big girl panties and deal with it. And then send her back to school. Because I refuse to fall back into that safe comfort zone that makes me feel good and secure while taking away something that Tessie deserves.

A life.

When I ran all this by my trusted Heather, she agreed with UNE while remaining empathetic to my worries. Then she left me with this quote that she thought was good for both Toodle Bug and myself...

“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." ~Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh