Nurturing A Woman

I call my daughter LittleLady. Among an assortment of other nicknames including: LadyBug, Gidget, and GoGo. But she’s always been my LittleLady. I love to watch her navigate the world around her. She’s a fact-checker, list-keeper, and rule-enforcer. She is an actual factual Mini-Me (though she looks more like her father). I love her so completely. She’s beautiful, amazing, and absolutely terrifying. I can’t wait to see who she grows up to be.

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Margo was breech. She blocked the door, and ensured that between her and her twin brother, that she would be first. Even if it was only by two minutes. She ruled the womb, and she’s very much ruling the outside world. Her brother succumbs to her requests, demands, and brutality. He loves her and he always gives her what she wants. If he doesn’t hand it over, she’ll take it. At times I wonder if this is a good or bad quality? She knows what she wants, and she doesn’t wait for anyone to give her anything. On the same note, her love for her brother is incomparable. She’d take on a silver back gorilla for him. And she’d win.

Much like me, she is methodical. She keeps things in order. She has a naive compulsion about her that requires her to bring tidiness and neatness to her surrounding area.  She’s unable to close anything or put anything away without first verifying the correct order of the contents and returning the item to it’s rightful home. This is a great quality. She clearly got this from me.

She’s a no-nonsense gal. She has no time for your feelings, your small talk, or long answers full of adverbs or synonyms. She suffers “resting b*tch face”, in as sweet and innocently as a four year old girl can. For example: my mother was recently diagnosed with and began treatment for cancer. In the first hours after my being notified, I cried off and on. As we all sat upon the bed preparing to read, I cracked. My boys hugged me, and comforted me, and whispered “It’s ok mama”. But my daughter stared at me with that gorgeous STONE FACE and said “are you gonna read”? You can count on her to keep things on track.

She never forgets anything. She remembers when it happened, how it happened, where it happened, who was there, what they were wearing, what they said. She is the family journalist. I have email addresses established for all of  my kids and I write to them and send them pictures. I’ll give them the password when they are age appropriate and sufficiently responsible. I fear that she will respond to every email with her account of the events mentioned. I kinda look  forward to it. And I’m also scared.

I cannot explain why, but raising her seems infinitely more difficult and involved. Perhaps it’s because I’m a woman and I am raising a woman? Someone’s future wife and / or mother? I just know that outside of nearly passing out and vomiting when I was told “the first baby is a girl”, I felt shook. A sense of worry came over me that I know will never leave. All children are soft, sweet, and vulnerable. But my daughter seems infinitely so. I am realistic about the fact that this is somewhat unreasonable, but it’s how I feel.

Being a woman is hard work. I will not get into the mechanics and specifics of feminism in modern day America, or being a black woman in this here America, or having been a victim of a numerous amount of situations. Perhaps this is why having a daughter is so alarming. I feel like there won’t ever be enough time to tell her all of the things I want her to know and be cautious of.

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In 1998, Lenny Kravitz released the album “5”. The eleventh song is called “Little Girl’s Eyes”. It was always such a beautiful song to me. You could hear and feel the love and heartache he felt for his daughter. It would be fifteen years before I had my little girl and now that song has taken on a much more profound meaning. She’s petite and cute, with prefect curly hair and an affinity for pink and rainbows. She’s classic. Yet she’s unlike any girl you’ve ever known. And she knows all of that.

So beautiful and so wise
I can see the woman from within my child
When I look in my little girl’s eyes

 Margo watches me do just about everything. When I make breakfast, she approves (and protests) the menu. When I cook dinner, she’s my sous chef. When I bake, she’s my assistant. Whenever I spend more than three minutes looking in the mirror, she wants to know what’s going on. She surveys every thing with curiosity and seeks solid answers to her many questions. She demands prayer at meals and bedtime. I think she’s perfect.

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I pray I can be the kind of mother that she needs. And even more so, the one she wants. I hope that she’ll share with me and laugh with me — right through her teens (a mama can hope, can’t she?). I know there will be a day that she won’t need me to tell her not to put too much milk in her eggs, or too much flour on the counter when she rolls out her dough. But I hope that she’ll think about me and know how much I love her.

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Cast Your Cares

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:6-7‬ NLT

(Note: I started this post on my phone, and mistakenly hit “publish” before anything had been written).

Has life ever weighed you down? Have you ever been hit by so many things at once that you have to just sit down? Do you have times when the struggle is so real that it seems unreal? Me too.

I am in the crux of all of those things. There are so many different things swirling around me that I can barely differentiate one from another. It’s just a blur of life passing me by. It feels like I am sitting in the eye of the storm… “criss-cross applesauce” parked in the calm center of a tornado that contains every precious part of my life.

I have SuperSonic thoughts. My mind travels at the speed of light — when I’m asleep. And as you may have guessed, at times it can be exhausting. So I’ve set myself into a mode of mindfulness. Taking time out each day to breathe, to quiet my mind, and to take intentional steps to being present. I’ve set the “Do Not Disturb” on my phone hours before I go to bed. I also returned to the phenomenal practice of yoga. And I’ve let the dishes and laundry and homemaker concerns fall (a little further) by the wayside so that I can better love and enjoy my children… with all of my heart, all of my soul, and all of my mind. ❤️

More quintessential than mindfulness is the power of prayer. The. Power. Of. Prayer. Do you pray? I do. And as much as I do, I don’t pray hardly enough. I realized this when I received some bad news. Much to my dismay, I don’t often pray in praise and gratitude, but in despair. The truth is that God wants our praise, our requests, our questions, and our sorrows. He wants to have a genuine heart-to-heart relationship with us. He wants us to come to Him first. And always.

I have found tremendous solace in the bronze statue grouping that adorns the front entrance of the hospital I work for. It is a scene named “Come Unto Me” and is a beautiful depiction of a small crowd gathered around Jesus. I have made a regular practice of taking a route out of the hospital that sends me directly to it — I always stop and pray.

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The shiny spot on the bench to the left of Jesus is worn and buffed due to traffic. People are often sitting there — sometimes eating lunch, praying, or updating family members on their loved ones and the related hospital situations. There is a small garden surrounding the scene with soft meditative music playing in the background. It is picturesque and beckons to anyone passing by to: please pause, please stop, please“Come Unto Me”.

The magnetism of the statue also solicits touch. It is evident that many people are drawn to the hands and feet of Jesus. The most common areas are discolored, shiny, and smooth. I know that this statue is not the resurrected body of Jesus Christ, but it demands the same level of respect and adoration as would the living, breathing, Son of God. It is amazing.

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As of late, I have needed the solace of this bronze representation of my Lord and Savior. I have made special trips just to be able to pray at it’s feet. I have felt the figurative relief that comes from laying my cares at His feet. And I can honestly say that some of my prayers have been answered. I took these pictures on November 3rd. It was the first time I sat down, and I was unable to resist the urge to place my hand on this likeness of His.

Though this representation of Jesus’ hand is made of bronze, and is unaccommodating to the touch; it is the sentiment, the mere idea of sitting alongside Jesus that is so endearing. I can only imagine what it was like to be in His presence.

Three of the Gospels of the New Testament (Matthew 9:21, Mark 5:27 and Luke 8:44) share the story of a woman that knew that she would be healed if only she were afforded the opportunity to touch His robe. She had only heard about Him, but she seized her one opportunity and as surely as she touched His robe, He knew. He healed her, because of her faith. He healed her because she believed.

All of our troubles, trials, and tribulations are God’s way of calling us to Him. He wants us to lean on Him and trust in His timing and His will. When we suffer through without leaning on Him, we are merely suffering. SUFF. ER. ING. Without Him, our suffering is truly immense and immeasurable. But with Him? WITH HIM, with His grace, mercy, guidance, and love, we can power through our suffering and reflect with reverence and gratitude. Without Him, we are mere mortals — attempting the impossible (and all of it will seem impossible). With Him, we can do anything for we are his beloved children and He made the greatest sacrifice just to show us that there is nothing, nothing that He wouldn’t do for us.

Philippians 4 13

 

 

no home training

people are rude. people are rude AF (as f***)! I apologize to my readers who are of a more conservative nature, but some things really get under my skin. rudeness and lack of “home training” is at the top of the list.

you know what home training is right? it’s basic! it’s almost innate… well it WAS innate. but now with the world closing the gap electronically there seems to be a severe lack of etiquette.

let me give you my first example: i am in a service office, the office of my cable company. there are 40+ people in here and it’s already after closing time. only three employees are still working. when i walked in i was 27th on the list. i’m currently #10. it’s the after-work hour and there are lots of tired and hungry children in here. there is a young lady (she’s really not a lady). she’s wearing slippers, pajama pants and certifiable bed head. she walked in on her phone and left without ever getting off the phone. the problem is that while on the phone she proceeded to get louder and louder (and louder) while explaining her very personal story and flagrantly cussing. she was no more than 2 feet away from someone’s child and she exercised zero filter, zero cooth, and zero maturity.

i cuss. mm hmm, it’s true. i know plenty of people that do. but I do my best to lower my voice and control myself in public. especially within whispering distance of someone’s child. like i said, i cuss. my kids have heard it and hear it. my toddlers have told me to stop. my nine year old (he’s ten now) has asked me to stop. but my occasional slips are nothing like the run-on sentence of expletives that girl was spewing.

my next observance was of the greeter. this was my second time at this office and my second time seeing him. while polite, he seemed to be low-key racially profiling the customers. for the Hispanic people that came in behind me, he greeted them in Spanish. with me he was rather generic. with the young Hispanic couple that was there before me he continued to call the guy “homie”; and for the two black guys that came in three minutes before closing he only referred to them as “dawg”. hmmmm. is this the 2017 approach to customer service? poor choice if you ask me. poor on his part, but much poorer on the part of his supervisor, and manager.

my next observance was literally set out before me. i didn’t ask or prompt anyone for it:

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what has to be said about this? anything? anything at all…?

someone was eating (i’m going to guess that this is stolen fried chicken from the deli), while shopping, and was just flabbergasted by the distance to the nearest trash can so they just laid their partially eaten fried chicken drumstick on top of this box… and they also chose not to purchase the two overturned greeting cards (probably because of the chicken grease stains would be my guess). i mean, seriously.

what is this the result of? why are people so flagrantly disrespectful to everything?

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if anything is clear, it’s that Walmart should really tighten up their security.

how many people are walking around eating chicken, and donuts, and opening packages of …. peanut M&Ms? teddy grahams? or whatever that piece of yellow packaging belonged to. trust me when i tell you that i understand there are some families that aren’t able to afford much. perhaps this is the result of a food-poor residence and one too many cries of “mama, i’m hungry”. my observance is simply of the trash left around. it’s a sad world that we live in when there isn’t enough food to go around, but at the same time a stale donut can be discarded on the nearest shelf. you don’t have to be a pig. you just don’t.

it’s not just the fabulous shelves of Walmart that are covered with litter. this is a photo just outside my front door.


it looks like this all of the time. someone in the complex has a “store” in their apartment. they furnish the kids with all sorts of “hot chips” and “poppers”. in other words; unadulterated and unlimited amounts of sodium, MSG, food coloring, food dye, hydrogenated this and that, a plethora of preservatives and artificial flavors, and sweeteners and the ever present HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. the end result (besides the overweight, hyperactive, pre-diabetic juvenile population) is all of this trash where trash shouldn’t be. i’ve complained. it didn’t help. NOT ONE SINGLE BIT.

i got an evil stare in a parking lot yesterday because the other driver was backing up and i guess they got offended that i didn’t just readily stop for them … as they were in the wrong. i’ll stop, i’ll wait — because you’ve clearly got more important business than i do. i got a strange vibe from the lady in front of me in the grocery store because i moved the divider that she’d placed between her groceries and mine. really? you’re mad because i moved the divider closer to your food? ok. weird, but ok.

i could go on, but i think you get the picture. there’s entirely too much selfishness in this world. everyone just droning on about their own lives and not showing an ounce of care, concern, or love for their neighbor, their neighborhood, or their environment. it makes me sad. it’s always made me sad, but it weighs heavy on me as a mother. i can only hope that my children will pay attention to my words, my actions, and my prayers that the world changes for the better — and that it starts with us.

i write for my pleasure, not yours

my friend called me and challenged me to explain exactly what it is that keeps me from writing. in writing. i’m sure she’s not the only person to notice that I write less and less. i’d love to hide behind the fact that I work full-time and I have three kids, two of which are twin toddlers, and that I’ve just stepped to the other side of a most harrowing personal battle, but why? none of those things really matter in the scheme of things. while discussing all of this with my friend, I discovered my true feelings. i’m scared of success, and always have been. if I do what i’m doing, then there’s no pressure, no expectations, and no disappointments. if I just keep truckin’ along at my whatever-pace-I-feel pace, then the only thing I have to top is myself. selfish, huh?

therein lies the key! I am selfish when it comes to my writing. I write for myself. I write to get the words and phrases out of my head. I write for therapy and closure. and at the core of it all is the fact that I write so that I can see my thoughts. does that make sense? I write, so I can better understand myself. don’t get me wrong, I adore my readers, my fans, and my avid encouragers, but I write for me. I revel in the fact that someone finds my thoughts interesting enough to read, enjoy, laugh at, and comment on. without that validation, i’m certain that I would feel a twinge of rejection, but for every post I’ve written and shared, there are two more just like it that remain private.

thus far my posts have remained non-fiction glimpses into my personal life. i’m not ashamed or embarrassed about any of it. I did share a few things that I chose to withdraw at a later date, but that’s not because I was scared, nervous, or disgraced. I withdrew them because they contained information about other people and they aren’t as open as I am. c’est la vie, no?

another REAL reason that I have slowed in my writing is because as much as I have already shared, and want to continue to share, I feel that my children deserve a certain level of anonymity. I would like for them to grow up and make their own mistakes, publish their own stories, and not have the reputation, fame, or stigma as a blog post legend or celebrity. I want them to create their own pen name, secure their own web/blog site, and carve their own little place in the world wide web.

so, in retrospect, I have a few tangible and a few not-so-tangible reasons not to write. but they’re total malarkey in the grand scheme, even if they happen to be valid. i’ll just have to resort to writing nonfiction works about people not related to me or in my social circle. perhaps my grand hiatus is due to those very facts. perhaps I find it less entertaining and less pleasing to write because I want to write about my life and my kids, but at the same time I don’t…? quite the literary conundrum. I guess i’ll just have to get over it.

or give up on it.

(you know i’m not doing that).

me.

me.

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miracles of maternity

“a miracle”, “a blessing”, “how wonderful”, “so beautiful”, “you’re glowing”, “you carry it well!, “AMAZING!”

these are some of the top phrases heard by most pregnant woman. each and every statement is true. even the most uncomfortable, miserable, painful and trying pregnancy is still a miracle. a God given, (yet man made) miracle. even the woman who is sick all day, on bed rest, completely uncomfortable in her body, unable to eat or rest and appears to be all of these things — still carries a glow signaling the phenomenal goings on inside her. a woman’s body is made to receive, grow, birth and nurture children. the human body itself is insanely complicated, but the inner workings of a woman’s intricate birthing center are remarkable. pregnancy is astounding.

this week, i am thirty-four weeks pregnant with twins. one boy and one girl. Miles Raymond and Margo Rae. two unexpected, spontaneously conceived blessings. i’m a lucky girl. I AM BLESSED. i have endured far more (emotionally and relationally) during this relationship and this pregnancy than with any other relationship or pregnancy previous. but I cannot look at the ultrasound, hear the heartbeats, see the profiles, faces, and limbs and not feel completely loved and in love. whatever come what may, no matter the hardships and difficulties that the future holds; the blessing of twins is miraculous. i am in complete acceptance of this gift, and i’m grateful.

it is almost five a.m. and i’ve just been awakened by the crushing of my bladder. who can say if it’s stomping, jabbing, or just pushing. either way, there is additional pressure alongside the already full bladder pressure. this is somewhere close to the twentieth time i’ve gone to the bathroom in the last twenty-four hours. it’s an hourly trip made whether i’ve got a full tank or a solitary drop. to me, it all feels the same and carries the same urgency.

as i return to bed and settle into my far too familiar left-side-leg-propped-up-pillow-hugging position, my swollen belly starts to dance. the little people that live in there are awake and active. this will go on for another hour. their motions are sometimes abrupt, sometimes mild but always alien. my stomach jerks and pulsates out of my control. often times I giggle, but other times i squirm and grimace at the shape of my fetal apartment. i am hostage to their whims. my physical person is their home. i have tenants.

so far i’ve gained a little more than thirty pounds. i’ve outgrown my clothes, my first round of maternity clothes and my brazierre (an item that has not changed for more than TWENTY YEARS). i am the girl who ate a watermelon seed or swallowed a basketball beach ball. the thirty pounds appears only in my distended belly and according to spectators, i don’t “look pregnant from the back”. this is a compliment, i’m sure. ;D the rest of my body remains the same as it was thirty five weeks ago…

it is hard to see and feel the movement of a fetus and not be in shock. while contained within me, these two separate people are living their own lives. this isn’t to say that they don’t need me, only to point out that i hold them within but they do what they want. i am their life force. i provide the environment in which they will come to fruition, but they are essentially leeching nutrition from my being and energy from my soul. i am their guide to the universe. through me, they have their first everything. they are nestled amongst my relocated internal organs and are the sole disruption to my altered digestion. still, i cannot control their kicks, turns or hiccups. i belong to them much more than they belong to me.

it is in these times of quiet that i find myself most in awe. i share in the laughter and answer the questions of those around me when they marvel at my size, my shape, my glow. but as i lay here silently delaying my thirty eighth trip to the bathroom — i revel in the reality. what a wondrous time. they are dependent, yet fiercely independent.

ten months, forty weeks, or two hundred eighty days. during that time two microorganisms come together and create a life!! from invisible to visible, and on to touchable, holdable, hug and kissable. from the merging of cells comes the emergence of life. out of complete stillness comes a beating heart, breathing lungs, and blinking eyes. from pulsing blood and combinant DNA comes brain matter — that absorbs, transforms and consumes all it comes in contact with. the forming, growing and birthing of a child is a technology beyond all others. more advanced than any item of invention.

even the technological advancements that have allowed me to actually see the faces of my unborn children doesn’t compare to the fact that they are there. they are alive and everyday they become more alive, more aware, more beautiful, more prepared to tackle the world outside my body. and i will miss them so. as exciting as it will be to enjoy them with all of my senses, i will miss their presence within me.

perhaps this is also what makes pregnancy such an amazing journey. everyday that i am with child, my body morphs and changes to accommodate what is going on in my womb. the anticipation builds ever so slowly as does my size. my weight, moods, emotions, hormones and memory fluctuate in accordance with what my body needs. and i haven’t an inkling of control over any of it. a complete hostage, right down to my taste buds. something that i used to love may only bring disinterest or even nausea. and things i might not have ever liked seem appetizing. i am me, always, but now i’m a different me. forever changed.

i have turned the corner and moved from relatively comfortable to barely comfortable. my shape is awkward and “comical”. it takes time for me to move, as my center of gravity is shifted, my back and stomach are extended beyond their means and this makes me downright clumsy. all of my habits are modified. it won’t be long before i am unable to sit at work for nine hours. and soon thereafter i’ll be a mother, for the second and third time.

hopefully my sweet angel baby Little Miss Margo performs a miraculous acrobatic feat and turns her whole body around. as of two weeks ago, she was breech and blocking the door, while her smaller brother My Main Man Mr. Miles is smooshed into my rib cage. at least he is headed for the exit. either way, my doctor won’t let me go past thirty eight weeks (apparently every day past that can present complications for multiple births). that’s just a month from now. four weeks. in four weeks everything I’ve just written will seem like a dream — a vanishing memory that set in motion a new chapter in my life, my love, and my parenting. my heart is swollen with excitement, anticipation, anxiety, fear and urgency. before me lies the double edged sword of no longer being pregnant, but having to nurse TWO babies at the SAME time (say whaaaaat?). i long to see them, kiss their little faces and nuzzle with them in all ways. it will be nice to see what they actually look like and whom they resemble. but sadly, it marks the end of my pregnancy. don’t get me wrong, i don’t want to be pregnant forever (i’ve pretty much had my fill) — but i will certainly miss my little uterine terrorists. ;D

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allergies, asthma, and aha’s

i was close to twenty years old, living in Hawaii and JUST found out that i had allergies. nothing severe, but enough to make springtime in the island of aloha slightly more annoying than beautiful. for the first time ever, i discovered MY sinus, where it was located and that it was the source of a great deal of distress. dis-STRESS! and it was another ten years before i experienced my first asthma attack. again, nothing major. it came with a bout of bronchitis that had me down for a week. i may have used my aunts inhaler a few times over the next two days. in the long run, it seems i was lucky.

that luck has come in pretty handy when dealing with the one and only SuperBoy! being the parent of a child with allergies is rough business. i am unable to imagine how i could be helpful to him if i didn’t have firsthand experience. that’s not to say that those without allergies or asthma are of no assistance, just that it provides a level of “comfort in knowledge” for he and i. i have more comfort asking him about his pains and ailments and am more able to help him define the specifics of what’s going on.

while mild for me, allergies and asthma are very serious where SuperBoy is concerned. he has been in anaphylactic shock three times, hospitalized on three occasions for other allergy related ailments, and spent the better part of his six years being triaged, diagnosed and treated in emergency rooms, urgent care centers and doctors offices. i have spent his college fund and any vacation monies on prescription and over-the-counter medications. this is, in fact, why i call him SuperBoy. he’s a trooper. he takes it all in stride and embraces the reality of his condition. he doesn’t resist much (‘cept SHOTS) and is quite charming, as always.

today, SuperBoy saw a pulmonologist! a certified professional assessor of breathing (and asthma and allergies as they pertain). she is an amazing doctor who started our visit with a quick handshake and an immediate verbal interaction with my son. he was a bit bashful today and so we moved quickly into the “getting to know you” phase. she simply stated “i see he has a strong history, tell me all about it, I’M HERE FOR YOU NOW“. and that, my friends is what’s known as bedside manner! needless to say, she had the obvious knowledge and experience of someone who’s been helping children breathe and improving their quality of life for as long as i’ve been breathing and alive. her words brought me an instant feeling of compassion and understanding. she’d read his history (as requested of me with the intake paperwork) but exhibited a real interest in the QUALITY of my son’s life.

i led her through the milestones and major events of SuperBoy’s amazing existence. all the while she took notes but rarely took her eyes off of us. she asked what she wanted to know but already knew the answers. she kept her eye on him and soon asked him join her at the examination table. still bashful, he resisted, but she appealed to his gentlemanliness with requests for assistance in opening some drawers that doubled as steps. SuperBoy can’t resist a damsel in distress! she examined him and listened thoroughly to his breathing (remember? he had bronchitis two weeks ago, and the stomach flu last week). she spoke briefly with a young resident (medical school intern student person along for the ride) and returned to the chair next to me. again, she floored me with her understanding of us (i paraphrase):

he’s a good boy. handsome obviously, and smart. his lungs sound good. clear. he has been fortunate, he’s had some good doctors, BUT HE HAS A GOOD MOM. the doctors have guided you along the way, as they should, but you’ve done a good job making the right choices for him and you. my job is only to assist you further in maintaining a good quality of life for him in which he can be a child, be a boy, play and do sports and you’re both comfortable. we need to change a few medications and tweak a few things and it will all go smoothly. we will test his allergies and find out where he stands and keep an eye on everything. tests can only tell us this or that. but what you see with your eyes and what you know is what is true. what you experience is what is true. ok mom, let’s go over his medicine.

a weight was lifted. a weight i’ve been carrying for almost six years. you can never hear “you’re a good mom” enough. i believe the words but have doubts, as i think most parents do. i’ve been told by family, friends, coworkers and other doctors, but this time it really soothed my soul. i’ve spent so much time and energy worrying about my choices to limit certain foods and activities. questioning my own judgement calls. this lady is a doctor of breathing! and she gave me kudos for keeping my son breathing. it was the best pat on the back i’ve received in a looooooong time.

after changing pounds to kilograms, she tweaked his prescriptions, gave me a list of medicines to swap out, requested a phone book sized list of tests, showed me a short video and had her nurse demonstrate a few things, we were on our way. before leaving, i was given the option to request any additional foods to test for allergies. an option? for me??? i’ve been waiting for this!! for three long years!!! to pick and suggest things that iiiiiiiiiii think could be affecting him. happy happy! joy joy!!

perhaps (at this point) you’re (a little) unaware that this may possibly have been the best doctors appointment for me where my sons allergies and asthma are concerned. THE. BEST. after almost six years of battling allergies and asthma, after three long years of dealing with food allergies and reactions, after years of colds turned bronchitis within hours, years of missing school and work and fun — we have someone telling us that not only could it not have been avoided, but that we have been doing the right things all along. HALLELUJAH! she requested a follow-up visit in three months to assess her assessment.

being sick can be hard. having asthma and allergies is harder. and caring for yourself during those times is nothing less than excruciating. caring for a child who is sick because of asthma, allergies and food allergies is one of the most painful things a parent can endure. it’s a sit and wait type deal. you have to watch everything they eat and come in contact with, while trying to keep them as normal as possible. you have to teach them how to protect themselves and deny themselves yummy treats if you’re not there to examine and approve said yumminess. and if something does happen, you do what you’ve been trained to do and then you have to wait. wait for the reaction, wait for the medication to set in, wait for the breathing treatment to work. wait wait wait. all while involved in a life or death situation.

as the parent of a child with life threatening allergic reactions…. you worry, you question and you fear the worst, everyday. you arm your little one with emergency medications, information, phone numbers and the like. and still, you worry. if you’re lucky, you get a doctor who can explain it to you in a way that makes you comfortable, yet informed and prepared. if you’re luckier, you get a doctor who says “don’t worry, you’ve been doing it right all along”. this was that doctor for me and this was that day.

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my first, my little man, my SuperBoy.

wanted: experienced parent

parenting is a job. no, i’m serious, a J-O-B. it’s no wonder that it’s not listed in the local paper or employment website. the “job description” would frighten even the most confident applicant and cause the weak to piddle themselves where they stand. who, in their right mind, would volunteer for round the clock body fluid cleanup? or unlicensed, never paid, nurse/therapist/doctor/best friend? perhaps that is where the magic lies. in the fact that we only have an inkling of what it takes to be a parent and the true test and real reward come with the learning. so we do the deed, sew the seed and parents we become. or so we hope.

it’s 5am where i reside and i’ve slept only a percentage of what a normal person should. most days (as of late) i would have slept all of those lovely “doctor recommended” hours and would be on the verge of waking to start my day. but, my son currently has bronchitis. he’s coughing, sneezing, wheezing, barfing, whining, writhing, sleeping intermittently and highly feverish. did i mention he’s barfing, vomiting, and throwing up?

in the last twenty-four hours he’s returned everything that he’s eaten, missed school, been to the doctor, and slept like an infant. he’s coughing like a thirty year smoker and just exhausted. at six years old, his tiny man frame cannot handle the force of continually coughing, wheezing and sneezing…so, he’s just pooped out. and without food in his system he is unable to retain his harsh medications so we are in a “break the fever” and “try to get antibiotics into him” limbo. it stinks.

at almost thirty weeks pregnant, carrying thirty extra pounds, i too am pooped. for the last two months we’ve religiously gone to bed about nine and i lazily get up after five to start our day. i think i slept from one to two, and then again from three to four. all the while reaching for him to check for fever. a little after four, SuperBoy woke me requesting water. and soon after “some food”. (hallelujah!)

after giving him some water and having a short discussion on what causes an itchy throat and a noisy tummy we settle on a snack of white rice (in an attempt to keep the body fluid cleaning persona of parenting at bay). after slowly gathering my faculties and balance (a thirty pound belly fulla twin babies makes a gal a little clumsy), i retrieved the rice, more water, the antibiotics, ibuprofen and a napkin. once he was all set, he asked me if he could watch tv. on any given day of the week, he would not be awake at this time, but he’s slept more than he’s done anything else and i know he’s feeling better, and hungry. both are good things and I cannot protest. he looks at me sweetly, with dark circles around his eyes, a grain of rice stuck to his lip and while donning the cutest smile he says “you can lay down, i’ll turn the tv down, i know you’re tired” and he grins again. instantly i became verklempt.

verklmept

SNL verklempt

that. that right there is what it’s all about. that is what makes every other moment worthwhile. the fluid cleaning, pseudo-chef and unpaid unlicensed respiratory therapist that reside within me cheered and high-fived because even the mind of a sweet but sick little boy can recognize my efforts. if you’d explained on the parenting job description that my payment would come in the form of foggy-eyed smiles and the tired but genuine hugs of a tiny man, i’d tell you to take your job and shove it. but in this moment, i couldn’t have asked for a more satisfying payment.

you’re not a parent because you’ve submitted DNA or given your name. pushing a stroller, holding a baby or changing a diaper does not a parent make. parenting comes with the sacrifice. in fact, it is synonymous with sacrifice. parenting is the relentlessness that it takes from an adult to make a child happy and healthy. a parent isn’t born because a child is born. a parent is born when an adult puts a child before themselves. when the adult, after having no sleep, not brushing their teeth, showering, or changing their clothes can drag themselves out of the house with a worse-than-bedhead look and get more juice. a parent is born when you forget about yourself and focus only on the child. sadly, parenting and child bearing don’t actually have anything to do with each other — even though they are directly related (thehellyousay?).

some parents are better than others. some parents have more than others. some people had great parents and role models and became awesome parents and role models. some awesome parents are born from horrible people that shouldn’t be allowed to monitor houseplants, but they change their everything for their little ones. some people are well studied and some seem lucky. some people beg for parenthood and never get the chance. some people don’t want it but are blessed with it, repeatedly. It doesn’t matter how you became a parent. what matters is that you take the job seriously. children are persistent in all things. all things. and they need their parents, guardians, monitors, and providers to be just as persistent — and then some. parenting is for the wholehearted. it’s for the givers, the doers, the encouragers, and good listeners. parenting is not for the weak. it’s for the open minded, willing to learn, compassionate, young-at-heart who don’t have time to think about themselves, because their only aspiration in life is to nurture their child.

the rewards of parenting are not instantaneous or consistent. they are not guaranteed or even measurable. the rewards of parenting can only be felt in your heart — when your baby shows you how your hard work has been absorbed and appreciated. the biggest reward comes from watching your little one become a happy successful person and the look they give you to tell you they couldn’t have done it without you. the reward for parenting doesn’t come from the community, the classroom or the PTA. it can’t be handed to you, gifted to you, ordered or purchased. the real reward comes from your child, the child you care for, provide for, mentor or foster. it’s immeasurable but invaluable. more often than not, you won’t see it coming and that too is it’s beauty. the love, the respect, the appreciation for what you’ve done for that child will knock you flat on your ass, and it is in THAT moment that a parent is born.

let me plainly state, as well, that successful parenting is relative and situational. we don’t all have the same background, aspirations, resources, goals or passions. it is up to YOU (and to ME) to feel and appreciate the success we achieve as parents. we cannot look to another to validate this and we cannot succumb to the criticisms of others. only you know your struggle. only your kids know your parental love. that is a dynamic exclusive to you and yours and no one can take that from you.

i’d also like to point out that we are all human. we are not divine, perfect or flawless. we can and we will make mistakes. learning from them is all that we can do. mistakes in parenting are as constant and consistent as the doubt, love, frustration and satisfaction. it must all be taken in stride. after all, parenting is a lifelong career choice. it is not for a limited time or even for “eighteen years”. loving and caring for your child will extend beyond your imagination. from the first audible flutter of their tiny heartbeat to the day that you draw your last breath — your child, your children, your babies will be evermore the focus of your life. their happiness, pain, fun, love, dreams and desires become your own and you will exhaust yourself time and again doing whatever you can, as hard as you can, for as long as you can to guide, advise and help them. they are parts of you that live independently outside of you and you will forever-ever-ever be in awe of them.

children change you. they change your life, your views, your plans, your thoughts, feelings, and time schedule. they take over your heart and your mind and you go from being your own person to being theirs. you are their everything…but not half as much as they are yours. there won’t be a millisecond in time that you are not consumed with them from every angle, and it is in those moments — when you find the reward: the indescribable and overwhelming sense of love and pride in knowing that you “made that”!

as always, i can only tell you my experiences and share my thoughts. i welcome yours. i sought help with this post through my Facebook world and my friend JBRN shared the written advertisement below. he advised that this was not his own creation but one that he treasured and my prompt allowed him a timely opportunity for sharing. it’s quite ideal. please enjoy. don’t forget to comment, like and share! 🙂

  • POSITION: Mom, Mama, Mother (we know it’s not just moms though)
  • JOB DESCRIPTION: Long term team players needed for challenging permanent work in an often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24-hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.
  • RESPONSIBILITIES: For the rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5.
    Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf.
    POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT AND PROMOTION: Virtually none. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you.

    • Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers.
    • Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects.
    • Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks.
    • Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next.
    • Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys and battery operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.
    • Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product.
    • Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.
  • PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE: None required, unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.
  • WAGES AND COMPENSATION: You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.
  • BENEFITS: While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for
    life if you play your cards right.

p.s. call your mother and say something nice.