Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's a Boy!...

I am now the proud mother of a boy.

Surprise!!

You didn't see that one coming did you? Me either but here he is. A 5'8", 150? or so pounds, eighteen year old boy.

I named him Bob-bay and he arrived a little over a year ago courtesy of, no, not the stork, thank God, can you imagine giving birth to an eighteen year old?, but of my eldest daughter, Blake. Bob-bay is her boyfriend and now just another member of the crazy Reidy gang.

Bob-bay, who I will now refer to as Bobby in order to preserve your sanity and his reputation, is the boy that I never got to have and never realized that I missed. I tend to baby him (when I am not giving him a hard time) and dote on him. The hubby even remarked the other day how whenever he asked for something like a certain food or a chore he wants me to do that I just blow it off but when Bobby asks, I jump right on it. I can't help it....Bobby is the kind of kid who you want to do things for.

When he first started dating Blake he was very shy around me. And as far as Tessie went, forget it. It was like she didn't exist. He just did not know how to interact with her so he simply avoided her. And not in a mean way (if I thought he was being mean about it he would not have lasted around here for five minutes), but you could just tell he didn't know how to approach Tess. So I let it go for a while but after about eight months or so of him being around, he was not so quiet and shy and would give me as much of a hard time as I gave him so I knew he was ready...I told him he had to start saying "hi" to Tessie and talking to her when he came in to the house.

At first it was hard for him but the funniest part is that Tessie thinks he is great. She smiles when she hears him and giggles when he and Blake get wrestling and tickling each other and thus get rather loud. He claims that she loves him because he is the only person who doesn't get in her face and actually gives her some space. He could be on to something there.

Of course having another child means more things that I have to do. For example, the Knowledge Quest. I am not a huge fan of going to the school for these events and I know it is awful to admit that but there it is. Anyway, I always go to Blake and Ellie's but this year I had to sit through many others in order to get to Bobby's presentation. But I wanted to support him and let him know he did a good job. And then there are sporting events. I used to just go and stay for my girls games but now have to stay and cheer on the boys as well. And if I leave early, he notices and pulls a guilt trip on me later. Oh yeah, that's my boy.

And this is tournament week. I went from staying in the hospital with Tessie to going to the boys tournament without even going home first and have packed her up two more times (which is a HUGE undertaking) to make sure I am there. Not to mention DVRing the game and then rewatching it on TV when I get home. All for Bobby.

It has been a harder adjustment for the hubby I think. After all, he is no longer the "man" in his little girl's life. But he also likes Bobby a lot so that does make it easier.

As for me, it has been fun to get to know Bobby and watch Blake and him together. Maybe because it reminds me of the hubby and myself at that age or maybe because they are such a cute couple...

Or maybe I just like having a boy around to be a mom to.

Who would have guessed it?....

Saturday, February 12, 2011

unexpected grace...

grace:the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.

I am in a hospital room going on day 3 with a very sick Toots. She has influenza B as well as pneumonia. She cannot maintain a healthy or even semi-healthy oxygen level without being in a continuous flow of oxygen through her nostrils. I thought yesterday, after hearing about the pneumonia, that she couldn't possibly get any worse.

Wrong again.

I was awakened this morning at about three-thirty by a screeching alarm. I flew up out of my fold out chair-bed to check on Tessie. She was seizing. The good news? It really wasn't too bad. How odd does that sound? A seizure...and me saying, "eh, it's not so bad." She seized 3 or 4 times in a half hour period but again, I really didn't get too worked up because she was handling them like a trooper and they were very mild and short compared to her 'normal' seizures. I guess even Tessie can catch a break from time to time.

The rest of the day I have watched The Toots sleep. All day. Spike a fever, become restless, seize a little bit, cough and then scare herself because she cannot manage the phlegm from the cough and chokes, and then sleep some more. It has not been a banner day for Tessie.

And so I have been sitting vigil. The hubby came to sit with me and see his "littlest princess" for himself and our CNA Brooklynn has been faithfully here as well as Sheila and a special visit from Leo. The phone has rung off the hook with family calling to check on her. All worried. All pretending not to be. All wanting to do something to help. All knowing there is nothing they can do.

Except they are helping. Many people are helping and probably don't even realize it.

Let's start with Blake and Ellie. They are helping just by being who they are. Awesome girls that I know I can count on to behave at home when I am not there. That is a HUGE help. My hubby. Because he is the father he is, I am able to be the mother I am. And then there are my parents, Ma, Ann and Dad. All picking up the slack on the homefront while I am away and letting me know they would be here in a heartbeat. I need only ask. There is Kris. She would say, "what am I doing to help you right now?" but the thing is, I know she would. Again, I need only to ask. There are Karen and The Bean. Always ready to be a support system for us. Then I have Lucy, "Auntie", who talked me down off a ledge when I frantically called her a few hours before bringing Tessie into the ER the other night because I was scared and wanted to hear a reassuring voice and has been checking in with the girls at home to see if they need anything as well as calling me here to check in. Can you imagine how much worry and stress that knowledge actually takes away from me? All these people just wanting to help make things easier for us. There is also, always, Heather. My cousin who is more like a sister. A phone call to her and she would be on whatever request I asked of her with the diligence and intensity of a mafia sister. We also have Brianna. Tessie's "Buh". The love of her life. Brianna and I have been through more together than most couples will in a lifetime and you know what? We still like each other. And my good friend Kellie, who I met because of Tessie's medical issues. She was The Toot's speech therapist and now is one of my best friends. How is that for a blessing in disguise?

Then there is Jen Desmond. My Toodle Bug's go to gal for health problems until we can get her to the mainland for help. Day or night she is there. On call or not, she is there. I cannot say enough about Jen. There are no words to express my gratitude to this woman. Suffice it to say that if Jen were not the doctor she is and the woman she is, Tessie would not be able to live in such an isolated location. She needs that much attention a lot of the time. And Jen gives it to us with a smile on her face.

Who else? Oh yes, Sheila. Our port in a medical storm and my own personal security blanket. Just how we lucked in to getting her as the home health nurse for Tessie I have no idea but I thank God everyday that we did. Sheila is the best. Pure and simple. And she has a boyfriend, Leo, who has fallen in love with my Toodle Bug. And she has fallen in love with him. Again, God putting the best people in our lives at just the right times. Believe it or not, the choice is yours, but how else do you explain all of these angels?

Lastly but not less important, is our little island. Our community. Vinalhaven. We gossip and back bite and can be very petty at times but the thing is, when the shit his the fan, we've got each other's back. People are quick to let me know they are sending us good thoughts, prayers, and love. It is just what I need when I feel all alone sitting here watching my baby hurt. And many often wonder how I can be strong or tell me they admire my strength but the reality is, any one of them could do it too if it were their baby. There is no secret to how I can get through the tough times and still laugh and be silly. It's really quite simple...people are essentially good at heart and are willing to extend themselves to someone who needs it. Especially a child. Even the people I don't know that well but still will reach out and tell me to hang in there or that they have put Tessie on a prayer list at their church. There was a time when I was very quiet and private about the 'travels with Tessie' but I have learned, that by putting myself out there, warts and all, people just want to help.. and they do. They let me know I am not alone. And what more can you ask for?

So when you think about the word grace, really think about it, isn't that what I have been given? I think so...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Forty going on Four...

I turned forty this year. I am not the type of person to really care about turning thirty, forty, etc. Although I must admit, the thought of turning fifty is a bit daunting to me. But since that is still ten years away and I am a firm believer in the Scarlet O'hara mentality of "I'll think about that tomorrow. Tomorrow is another day", I can pretty easily push it from my mind. As well as anything else that I really don't want to deal with.

And let's face it, at the present time I have bigger dragons to slay.

One of those dragons is keeping close watch on my cancer issues. I am supposed to see a dermatologist every year for mole/melanoma checks as well as my oncologist/surgeon for my thyroid cancer. Let's just say that with everything else I have had to worry about these past couple of years, I have been a wee bit remiss in keeping those appointments.

Besides, every time I go, they just want to hack into me with a scalpel. It gets old fast and I scar so badly that I fear that it may soon be my reality that I no longer have any places of just clear skin on my body. Only moles connected by scars. And the worst part? I am not exaggerating.

Anyway, as I was saying, I have not made my last couple of year's worth of doctor visits for myself. And somehow, someone (hello Ma), managed to leak this information to my father. And let me sum up his reaction in two words:

He freaked.

I was laying in bed with an ice pack and hot water bag over my head fighting off yet another migraine (as any normal healthy person-haha) when the front door opens and I hear, "Joanna!"

Now for most people hearing your name yelled out by your dad is not an issue but when it is MY dad , who always calls me either "little girl" or "rabbit" or something foolish like that, hearing your real name called out is a problem. I instantly reverted to a little kid who has been caught being naughty.

"Aw, crap" I muttered as I, in my best nonchalant whatever-could-be-the-matter-voice yelled back "Yeah?"

Then he started in on when was the last time that I saw my oncologist and why had I not been in a while and on and on and on it went. Then I really pissed him off because I just started laughing at him. He does not take well to being laughed at when he is in 'serious' mode. So then I really caught hell because I wasn't taking my him or my health seriously.

"I want you to call and make an appointment today! I mean it! You can laugh all you want but I'm coming back at noon time and if you haven't called then I will!"

So me being me and not liking to be treated like a small child said (very much like a small child would however), "You can't make me and you can't call because you don't know the name of my doctor!"

"I guess I CAN make you little girl! Don't think that your ass is so small that I can't shove my foot up it! And I'll just call Jen to get the name of your doctor."

"She can't tell you. Doctor/patient confidentiality! She needs my permission to tell you that and I'll call her and tell her not to tell you!" At this point I really wanted to add "so nah, nah, nah!" But I wisely held that back.

"If you think that Jen Desmond won't give me that name when I am standing right in front of her then think again! This is just stupid. You have too much at stake here to be missing these appointments. I know you've got a lot going on with Tessie but that is no excuse! I will be back at noon and will stand in front of you until you call if you haven't by the time I get here! Call!"

SLAM. He left all in a huff about it.

I fumed about for a while mumbling something along the lines of how I wasn't four, I was forty and I could do whatever I wanted and blah blah blah.

I had the appointment made ten minutes later.

My hubby couldn't believe it because he had been bugging me about calling all along with me swiftly sidestepping him at every turn. "Pretty good. I try to get you to call for over a year and you ignore me and he shows up for ten minutes and you call."

What can I say. Ask anyone.

You just don't mess with Big Daddy....