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Saturday, November 21, 2015

National Family Caregiver Month

     I recently learned that November is National Family Caregiver Month, thanks to discovering a moving blog series by Heather Von St. James highlighting her battle with mesothelioma. Her passion for raising awareness about mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos are truly inspiring. I highly recommend this site for learning more: 
I've personally been meaning to write a post honoring my Mom, and this has given me the little push I needed. (I originally wanted to do write something for Mothers' Day this year, but that clearly didn't happen.) It isn't going to be terribly long or detailed, as she isn't a fan of her personal info and stuff floating all over the Interwebs. Which is fine. 

    Growing up, I always wanted to be more like my Dad. Maybe it was because I was already a lot like my Mom, or because his coolness factor was higher because gone a lot and was more mysterious as a result. I don't know. As I've grown older, I've noticed more and more similarity between myself and Mom, from the curling of our hair and our general build, to our tone of voice in the phrases we use. I've also come to appreciate being so similar to her, for she truly is a woman I want to emulate. Granted, everyone has shortcomings, but in spite of those I believe she was a fantastic mother. She would stifle her intense fear of creeping crawling things so our curiosity wouldn't be stifled. She powered through her fear of horses, and allowed me to see the realization of my dream of having one of my own, even to the point of taking care of him if I went somewhere overnight. She gave the best support she could give when I came to her with a problem. She gave me room to grow and be and figure things out for myself. 
     She's more than just a mom, though. She's a good wife. My Dad's had more than his fair share of bad luck when it comes to health issues, and Mom's been supporting him every step of the way. Yes, she's human and exasperation does show sometimes, but more often than not her patience, kindness, love, and ability to let go of things that don't matter in the grand scheme of things are what you notice. Her example of what it means to love and cherish in sickness and in health has been a profound inspiration to me. 
     A few years ago, we found out that Grammy, Mom's mom, had terminal cancer. Mom chose to bring Grammy to live with them for what time remained to her. I can't imagine what strength it must have taken, to care for her own mother in the last days of her life. And she did it with love.
     What I keep coming back to is how brave she is, though she has a hard time seeing it. She carries on in spite of all of her fears, putting the needs and best interests of those she loves before her own. And not once have I ever received the impression that she was some sort of a martyr for doing so. It is just who Mom is, and I am proud to be her daughter. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Made To Serve

     I am a servant. You are a servant. Whether we like it or not, we are all servants. We can't help it; it's built into our nature, and there is no escaping it. Everyone is a slave to something, whether it be our passions, our jobs, our families, what have you. The only question is, who do you choose to serve? Christians are often ridiculed for choosing to give up their "freedom" when they choose to serve Christ, but the reality is no one is free from service. The self-serving man is still just as bound to serving as the one who chooses to follow Christ. The only difference is in the masters they choose. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Eight Weeks

     It has been so long since I've written. I don't know what to write. While I haven't had a good opportunity to sit down and put my thoughts onto "paper", it doesn't mean that I have stopped thinking. On the contrary, I've been thinking even more, and now cannot decide on a subject. So I guess I'll stick with what we've been doing lately. 

Baby, lots of baby. Though this is only the third (and worst) blow out I've had to deal with. She is going to be 8 weeks old tomorrow. I could not have asked for a better baby. So calm. So content.
I love her smiles. I love that she's starting to "talk". I love her complaining cry; the one where she cries and closes her mouth and it sounds like she's saying "Meh meh meh meh". I love the little happy laugh she does when I pick her up after she's been fussing. I am so in love with my baby girl, it's amazing. 

Juanito is roughly 21 months. He's fantastic, though really fussy and whiny lately. I think it has more to do with his age than with the addition of Little Miss. He is a figure-er-outer. He likes trying to put things together and taking them apart. He is very rough and tumble, but oh so snuggly still. As much as Jose liked to be held, he never really snuggled. Juanito is also very much in the monkey see, monkey do phase. He adores Jose, and pretty much follows along with whatever Jose comes up with. Except when he doesn't. Then there are problems.

Jose turned three today. He, too, is a thinker, though I think more of a speculative type. His vocabulary is pretty outstanding, though some of the things he comes up with leave me wondering. He loves to be a helper, and to have his way. Which is why there are problems when Juanito doesn't want to play whatever game happens to be "mandatory" at the moment. He is currently interested in gymnastics and working out, though his form leaves a bit to be desired. Still on the sensitive side, he is quickly growing to be more outgoing. I'm still shocked by how friendly he is, considering how shy he used to be. 

As for myself, I'm doing alright. Recovery has been phenomenal. I can't believe it's only been 8 weeks, mostly, since I've given birth. The only things I did differently were stay in bed longer, and take my placenta pills. Yeah, I was skeptical too, in the beginning. But hearing how the placenta has worked wonders for Post-Partum Depression, I figured it was worth a try.
Because I *do not* want to end up in that place again. Oddly enough, whether it is the pills, or just not being pregnant anymore, I've felt so normal. Yes, there were a couple bad days a few weeks ago after I decided to stop taking my pills to see if there was a difference, but since resuming them I have felt so calm. Clear. Like some mental fog has lifted, and I can see again. Yes, I still get low blood sugar induced anxiety attacks, and I still don't do terribly well when there are three people crying at me, but my fuse is longer and the explosion is milder and over much more quickly. I don't know what it is, but I'm really glad for it. 

I should probably go, before Little Miss wakes up. I think her current schedule is nap from 8 or 9 til 10:30 or 11, then up for a bit and down for the rest of the night by 1. But I still have stuff to do that is best done without holding a baby. Like empty the dishwasher. Email the family and friends an update, since I haven't actually done that since, like, April. Or take a shower. Sometimes she surprises me and sleeps for what seems like ever. Anyway, there you have it. If this sleep trend does continue, though, I hope to blog more.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Continued Humility

     As promised (for once), I continue the story. The lessons in letting go didn't stop with varicose veins. At our 38 week appointment there was cause for concern regarding preeclampsia. I had some tests run that weekend, and the results were not promising. At my next appointment, the midwife was strongly suggesting to try and induce labor. I was upset. This was not how it was supposed to be, a week early. I had things that needed to get done before Mary arrived. Code Monkey had a project due that weekend. Things were just not how I wanted them to go. I reluctantly agreed to take the midwife's advice, and left the appointment with a kit to try and induce labor naturally. I honestly was hoping that it wouldn't work; this was not how I had planned it. God had different plans. After taking different herbal tinctures and homeopathic remedies every 15 minutes for 4 hours, there was some cramping but nothing consistent, so I went to bed. Around 2 a.m. I started timing the cramps, which were 2-3 minutes apart, and called the midwife around 3 a.m. We packed up the van, headed to the birth center, and Mary Ryan was born at 6:02 a.m. on the 14th. All things considered, it was the best birth experience yet, though I don't think labor will ever be anything remotely enjoyable for me.
     At any rate, it has taken me three births to finally allow myself the "luxury" of taking time off, and actually resting. Three times my body has been pushed to its limits, and it is only now that I am fully acknowledging that, and allowing myself to recuperate without guilt. But even now it is hard to let go of the control, to admit my inability to do things, or to force myself to say "no" to things I really shouldn't be doing, especially when I can see how hard my absence has been on the boys. Particularly in regards to not holding them. I ought not be picking them up, or anything heavier than the baby, really; and it is so hard because Juanito doesn't understand. Jose is able to comprehend that Mama has a boo-boo in her tummy, and can't do X yet, but Juanito only knows that Mama isn't holding him. I know I have a responsibility to take care of Mary, and take care of myself so I can get back to doing things again, but it breaks my heart to have to tell them no, we can't do that thing because I am too broken at the moment. 
     *sigh*  I know it will get better; I know it won't be like this forever; that it's been just over a week, and I'm halfway to the slowly getting back to normal stage; but sometimes that knowledge doesn't make it any easier.