Friday, August 29, 2014

It's December So This Must Be A Christmas Post

In a round-a-bout way today's ramble might be about Christmas. 


I love this little drummer boy ornament.  He has a matching little drum.  Both are made of felt and sequins, beads, embroidery thread a little stuffing and a whole lot of love.  My mother made the set for me the year I was married ... so thirty years ago. 

 
I've learned that while I haven't stopped missing my mother's physical presence in my life, she is here every single day.  Let me count the ways:
 
At some point during the day I will hear my mother.  She makes a comment, sighs, or says a prayer, "Jesus, Mary and  Joseph!"  It's her.  But with my voice.
 
While sitting chatting on the phone I'll notice her rubbing her eyebrow.  In contentment, frustration, annoyance, boredom?  Oh yes, it's her. But with my fingers.
 
When I look at her hands working over cutting the vegetables or stirring something delectable in the pot I see her age spots, freckles, wrinkles and her strength.  She's cooking with love.  But with my hands.
 
If it's right, it's right.  And if it's wrong, it's wrong.  It's black and white (but there is always a little area of grey, just in case) And when I see her disapproving look reflected in the mirror I am glad it's not directed at me.  But then I realize it is me.
 
I'll see her sitting quietly.  She's reflecting (and worrying) on the lives of those she loves and I might hear her utter a concern and then offer a simple prayer.  But if I look closely and stop for a moment, I know it's me.


The original Elf On The Shelf, made of felt and ribbon and pipe cleaners and a tiny bit of stuffing. 
 
I don't hold all of my mother's traditions and customs but I remember  how she could make Christmas magical without money to spend and seemingly little effort.  (I should be so talented or resourceful)
 
After years of preparing Christmas for my own family I have learned to appreciate even more the special little things she would do for us; from hot chocolate served from a Santa pitcher into our Santa mugs, to the white sheet tacked to the doorway so we could not see our unwrapped Santa gifts as we headed to the dining froom. Our stockings were the beginning of our Christmas morning, filled with all the essentials, they were each carefully layed out at our places on the dining room table.

There was Christmas divinity and snickerdoodles and time for us.  Always time for us.

There are two things I love about December.  Well, okay, there are more than two things, but I'm going to just point out two:  Snow.  If it snows.  And Christmas.  It's guarenteed to arrive.  And cause a little stress.  But just a little. 

 
 
 








Saturday, November 2, 2013

It's Been A Long Time So Why Not Just Jump Right In

This post started out on Facebook:

"I found myself wondering today what people would think of me if I shared what's really going on in my head. Pretty sure my parents did a great job raising me: If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
Some days I wonder, where's the fun in THAT?"

Quoting myself.  Now that's fun.

After a busy weekend of activities for my twenty-four year old, youngest daughter who has Down syndrome, I found myself tiredworn-outexhaustedreadytodrop, a bit crabby and thinking about my life  (instead of hers). 

I know that she is the heart and soul of our family.  THE heart and soul.  Without her, my husband and I wouldn't be us.  Or would we?  Without her, the sun wouldn't shine as brightly.  Or would it?  Life would be boring.  Or maybe it wouldn't.

So as she reaches out to a milestone birthday just a little more than a month away with way more enthusiasm for it than I,  I find myself thinking.  Way.Too.Much.  I am freaking out.  Just a bit.  It's part of the maturation process, I am sure.

Where the hell did those twenty-four years go?  I swear, if one more person tells me what a great mother I am, I will weep.  For I fear that I am not.  That I never will be.  And I try every day to be.  I'll settle for good.  Great should be saved for mothers that aren't sitting with a cup of tea on that rare occasion when they have a moment to themselves, thinking, when am I going to get my life back?  

I've discovered that I don't like my friends so much anymore.  Yes, you read that correctly. It's because I am jealous.  I am jealous of their weekend plans with their husbands, sans adult children in tow.  I am jealous of their trips to the drug store, the grocery store, all on their own.  Jealous.  Of everything they can do, that I cannot.  

I am no longer the friend that you could call and say, 'hey, want to go to the mall for a while?'  Nope.  Can't do that.  I have to have someone stay with her.  Or I have to take her with me.  Don't get me wrong, I want to take her with me.  Most often I'm the one that wants to stay with her. In fact, I often prefer her company to that of others.  She's funny, witty, smart, clever, engaging, and entertaining. She doesn't have many complaints. She's a bright light in a long list of dark days.  She is an inspiration to me.  She is so much more than Down syndrome. She is also a child in a young woman's body;  it's not something you can overlook or forget.  

I yearn for an evening of appetizers and cocktails with adults.  In a bar.  With no time limit on when we get there or when we get home. (and maybe even a hangover in the morning) Without having to ask 'are you going to be home so I can go out?' or plan who will stay with her and what's on the agenda for the next morning.

I think it would be really nice if my friends took a serious look at me and just knew that sometimes I need help; that they could help me and that I would accept help. If only they would offer.  One time many years ago a friend told me she'd have my daughter stay over one Saturday night so that The Husband and I could go out for an evening or for a quick overnight stay out of town.  I was so appreciative of the offer.  But I would have appreciated it more if she'd actually, you know, followed through.  

Friends (and relatives) mean well.  They say nice things.  They tell me how great I am.  How "you do so much for her."  How she's so wonderful.  Did you know?  I am an inspiration.  Ha.

What I am is a sixty-year-old woman woman watching her friends send their children off into the adult world, dating their husbands anew, starting anew, traveling, retiring, attending college, downsizing, wintering in warmer climes.   I am happy for them.  But what about me?  

I promise, this isn't a pity party.  It is is a moment of darkness in an otherwise wonderfully funny, always interesting adventure growing up with a daughter who has Down syndrome.  We've grown together and because of that I am truly a better person than I ever could have been without her. I wouldn't want her to be any different or any other way. She has taught me so much.  She has been the inspiration of my days.  

Have I done enough for her?  Hell, I don't know.  I'll keep working on it. 

I'm sure my life will turn up again one of these days.  


* Cross posted on:  http://womenon.blogspot.com/
 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

And That Cat.

Lucky Kuzzeefowndus



We had a little cat problem over the weekend.  Lucky was out of sorts and letting us (me) know it.  In all the wrong ways.  If you're a cat person you know how they are.  And what those wrong ways may be.

It started with short bursts of attack mode -- on the dog.  The dog isn't much bigger than the cat and now that I am looking at the two of them together, I'd say Lucky is taller than the dog.  The poor dog spent most of Friday, Saturday, Sunday and yesterday in hiding.  He'd be under the bed, the sofa, a chair or the table.  If he happened to be out in the open when the cat began to saunter his way the dog hastily made his way to cover.

Lucky was bound and determined to fill each day with some form of angst.  I caught him attempting to tinkle on and in spaces that are not tinkle-safe.  For him mostly, for a cat who tinkles outside the box pays handsomely.  (okay seriously, what can you do other than mutter and clean it up? But you get my drift) He even saved a hairball or two for me.   I feel blessed I tell you.  Blessed.

He loves cellophane wrap and since I had a number of gift baskets wrapped and ready to go ... yep, he thought it was a good idea to chew the edges of the wrap.  At 2:00 am, 3:00 am, whenever.  Do you know how loud cellophane wrap is when wrinkled and chewed in the quiet of the night?

I began to think his behavior was related to a change in his location within the house. By Sunday I was sure he hated me for moving his UGG box to the office counter top from the kitchen counter top.  But I did explain it was only for a few days and I made sure he had extra treats.

You guessed it.  He didn't care.

Home from work yesterday, not feeling well, I had time to pay a little closer attention to his meanderings and malingering ways.  I began to notice that he was squatting, attempting to tinkle in corners, on the sofa (that didn't go over well) and ha!ha!ha! in the dogs bed.  Each time I followed behind him with a paper towel.  Hmm.  No tinkle. Well, not really.  Less than a dime-sized drop and some of them were pink.

Uh-oh!  A visit to the vet is in order.  

This morning I made an appointment and since I needed to get into work I asked Hubby Dearest to do the honors.  Which he did. Quite willingly.  He called me after the appointment to tell me that the veterinarian gave the cat two vaccinations that were due and talked about x-rays, which he declined, and urinalysis, which the doctor didn't do.

"She said he has a small bladder but they could put a needle in and get some urine."
Well, did she?
"No. And I don't know why.  We talked about changing his food back to what he had before."
And?
"Urinalysis.  But she didn't do it but I don't know why."
You don't know why?
Any medicine?
"No.  Nothing."
"Just change his diet back."

Argh.

So, how's the cat now?
"Still trying to pee."
Ah.  I see.  I will take care of this when I get home later.  Thanks for taking him for me.  And for picking up the new food.
"No problem"

Home from work I pick up the phone to call the vet's office to see what can be done about Lucky and his misery.  He is obviously miserable.  Can't settle, can't eat, can't pee.

Ring, Ring.
Attitude answering. How may I help you?

No exactly what I was expecting.  I was simply going to ask if I could bring the cat back over to get the urinalysis done when Miss Attitude started sniping at me, "He refused all offered treatments!"  Dr. O offered x-rays and urinalysis and he refused them"

Me:  Okay.  (taking a calming breath) I am not going to get into a pissing contest with you.  I have been a client of Dr. Wendy's for many years.  So many years, in fact, you weren't even born.  So. When can I bring the cat back over to be seen?  Because he is sick and I sent him there to be treated and all he got were two vaccinations from Dr. O that could have waited until he was feeling better.

I wanted the cat to be seen and treated and all I've gotten is your attitude and a sick cat returned to me.  I want him better.

After some back and forth it was agreed that I would drop the cat off and pick him up before they closed tonight.  They would x-ray him (yeah, yeah) and do urinalysis (provided he had any urine) and they would treat him with something.

I'm pretty sure they would treat him with anything just to shut me up.  Whatever.

An hour after drop off, a call from Dr. O came through.  She had given the cat some pain med, some anti inflammatory med, gotten his 'radiographs' which showed no stones or blockage and she was going to put him on fluids because he seemed dehydrated and had no urine to test.  Maybe he'd have some after he had some fluids.

Yeah.  And maybe he wouldn't.  Which would mean another trip back to the vet's tomorrow.  *sigh*

I arrived to pick him up before closing and Dr. I came out to see me.  There are three docs in this office and I prefer only one.  But a vet is a vet when your pet needs one.  She explained that they were able to get a wee bit of urine from Lucky and they were sending it off to the lab.  Results will be in in the morning and they will call me if he needs medication for a UTI.  In the meanwhile, Lucky and I can go home and wait for their call. Try to watch what he eats and drinks and if he isn't doing either of those things you need to get right back to us.

So, here we sit ten hours later. Waiting.  Me.  And that cat.



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Limping Along, But In A Good Way

I'm essentially over my angry tirade of the other night. Or rather the anger.  But.  There is always the fall out to contend with. 

With Miss Emily I spend hours of every day listening to her chattering along in the background.
She's not background noise exactly.  But it is like that.  When she's not home the house seems eerily quiet and sometimes borders on uncomfortable silence. 

She has many conversations with imaginary people.  I used to think it was unhealthy or something was 'wrong' with her but over the course of many years and many of her conversations I began to realize that her one-sided, easily understood conversations are her way of coping with events in her life.  They also entertain her.  And me on occasion.

The last few days' conversations have been difficult to get through.  She's working through it with comments like "OTL?  No, hasn't called yet.  He'll get over it".  Thinking to myself, 'yeah, he'll get over it, but will you?'  Of course she will. 

Miss Emily rallies herself and moves on to, gosh, I don't know what:  school, television shows, being  a superstar with Cd's, perfume, tee shirts and concerts. She'll live in LA and she'll date Nick Jonas.  Don't tell OTL.  He doesn't need to know.

Go figure.  Anyone who has heard her sing knows that she can't carry a tune in a paper bag, but God bless her for her enthusiasm and effort.


For my part, I just sing along. 





Saturday, December 1, 2012

It's My Party & I'll Cry If I Want To

Ah, life.  On the one hand I celebrate all the wonderful things I enjoy every day and then there's this other hand.  It's tight fisted and mean and when you pry those fingers open what you find in the palm is not-so-great.  In fact, it's pretty lousy.

I am a most patient friend.  I am a thoughtful (albeit occasionally forgetful to be thoughtful) friend.  A solid friend.  A friend who is there when the chips are down more often than when the chips are up.  I love my friends for all the right reasons and I ignore all the wrong reasons.

I am fiercely loyal.  F.I.E.R.C.E.L.Y.  Fiercely.

Fiercely loyal. That is, until you mess with Miss Emily.  Mess with her and all bets are off.

For two weeks now Miss Emily has been planning on having a few friends over to celebrate her birthday.  Miss K., Mr. R., another Miss K and of course, her One True Love.  All of her friends have their own special needs and so when things 'crop up' I handle them (the things) delicately because understanding is not always the first strong point to be noticed.  I mean nothing bad by that comment.  It's a fact of life that you have to listen, judge, pay attention and think quickly and on your feet so that all bases are covered and everyone understands what happened or what is going to happen. 

So imagine this afternoon when Miss Emily gets a phone call from her One True Love. (Silly girl is fiercely loyal like her mother.  Trust me, it's really a curse) and he tells her that:

We break up.  You annoy me.  You bother me.  And, well, then he hangs up. 

"Hello?  Mother of One True Love?  You couldn't have called me yourself?  You couldn't have the common courtesy friends of over twenty years extend to each other and picked up your friggin' phone?"  No? Well, great.  Go pound sand. 

Gotta let the anger go.  It's counter productive, isn't it?

Modus operandi status quo.  Eff you.

I consider the possibility that Miss Emily may not have understood what he said, but in my heart of hearts I know it's true.  How do I know?  Well, One True Love's mother, just two weeks ago told me they would be down for her birthday celebration and they would stay over.  I stupidly thought she'd come through, but should have known better.  History repeats itself; earlier this week I sent messages and called and haven't heard anything back, so I knew, I just knew, that this would probably happen.  When I tried to discuss it with Miss Emily before this afternoon, she wanted nothing to do with it so I had to let things unfold the way they had to unfold even though it was making me anxious and worried and, yep, angry.

Give me a second while I FLOG MYSELF before I go on.  Let me BERATE myself for thinking, yet again, that this woman cares at all about Miss Emily and me.   You know.  Her friend.

Her One True Love is not the young man he used to be.  He's mean to her and nasty to her and although he'll tell you he doesn't want to hurt her feelings, he does it routinely, glibly and without a bit of hesitation. He has turned into 'all about me' selfish and it is not pretty in the least.  He didn't know how to be this way before and I know he learned it from someone.  Who wants to take responsibility?  Yeah, I didn't think so.

Did I mention One True Love has DS too?  So I extend an awful lot more patience, kindness and understanding than I would to say, that idiot my oldest daughter used to date.  (yeah, that one)

His mother will make excuses;  he's not the same since his surgery. He's really not doing well, Kath.  Okay, that may be true, but, um, you aren't the same since your divorce and that's really when he started to change.  When you and Knuckle Head couldn't see beyond yourselves to know how you were affecting One True Love. 

Whoops, a little anger creeping in there ... stop it.  A little more SELF FLAGELLATION please.

When Emily told me first and then her sister what he said and then asked, "Where's One True Love now, Mom?"  My heart skipped a beat or two.  I tried to gently lead her into the One True Love isn't coming most likely conversation and all that got me was a beautiful, fiercely loyal young woman reduced to tears.

Thanks a boatload One True Love and your mom. 
Thanks a boatload.

Life changes and things happen and we sort through, we work through, we understand, we don't understand but we accept it anyway.  Let me ask you this:  Why?  Why accept what is completely unacceptable?

Insert more FLOGGING right here.

For his part, One True Love, for a long time was a sweet little guy until Mom and Dad got too busy one-upping each other with work hours and outside friends and what-have-you.  Until One True Love was left, very often, unsupervised in some naive game of chance, which didn't always work out well.  For him.  And then it was all about his being a victim.  And I'd have to agree that yes, in many ways he was (or is) but not of the world ... more a victim of his parents inability to, um, I dunno know exactly.

This has happened more often than not in the last year or so and about a month ago I had to take the phone from Miss Emily and tell One True Love not to call her.  I told him that he upset her and she was crying and there was no reason for him to keep calling her over and over to, essentially, just be a prickly little bahstard.  No. No. I didn't name call.  I was calm and nice and kind.  And I let his mother know what happened.  She finally sort of discussed it with me via e-mail.  Way to go.

Shame on me.  I'm being judgemental.  It's easy to be that way when you aren't walking in someone else's shoes.   But you know what?  I don't care.  I'm sitting in my chambers right now and I am thinking about what sentence I am going to impose. 

Sadly, whatever the sentence, it will have the most effect on Miss Emily and on her family.  We are the ones who will pick up whatever pieces have to be picked up and we will work to build her self-esteem back up.  We will be there for her and we'll even be nice about One True Love because that's what Miss Emily will expect from us.  We'll be nice because she'll want us to.  You know.  Because she's fiercely loyal.  Just like her mother.  Poor girl.

Let me go outside and find a nice willow tree SWITCH.

At the moment I am not a woman who wants to say I will never let  Miss Emily see One True Love again.  I am not a woman who wants to throw away a friendship of over twenty-years.  A friendship entrenched in the 'battle of special needs' and you know, trust.

But, um, I think I have to.  I think I have to let it all go.  I absolutely have to do what is best for Miss Emily.  And sometimes, doing what is best for her hurts.  A lot.

I'm no stranger to pain.  Good thing.

Pass the Willow Switch, will ya'?











Friday, November 30, 2012

Here we are!  Back for another run at blogging.  I'd like to tell you I don't know how so much time passes between posts but the sad truth is that Facebook really does, er, occupy quite a bit of my free time.

That and my bug-a-lug; my side kick, my favorite person to hang out with.  Hands down. It's Miss Emily.  I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, ahem, you know who you all are, but well, it's true and I know you'll get over it.  

There's a certain quality about Miss Emily that I don't easily see in others.  She has an openness and an  honesty and a 'here I am and I'm fine with it you should be too' attitude.  She makes me smile.  Even when she justwon'tstoptalkingorshakinghercheerpompomatmyelbow day. I still smile. Inside. Outside.

My life has depth that I would not have known possible were it not for the arrival of Emily. Sometimes I don't pay close attention to the emotions of that depth.  But when I do those emotions flow from my core and they, the emotions, bring out the best in me.  The long and the short of it is that Miss Emily makes me a better person.  In spite of myself.

That is why I believe God chose me for Emily.  Or maybe He chose Emily for me.

Our lives have laughter and humor and a significant amount of craziness that follows us around and I swear I am the one who carries it with us in an invisible back pack that I am unable to remove because, well, it's invisible. I wouldn't change any of the crazy because that's where most of the humor lies.  We all know we need a good, solid, ridiculous laugh for ourselves now and again.

I spend an exceptional amount of time sorting through the misinformation that Miss Emily provides.  For instance she will tell me, quite confidently, that she has not been weighed at her day program, when I know that she is weighed every month.

"Really Emily?"  "Really Mom."  Ten minutes later (or maybe ten days) she'll bring me the slip of paper the nurse dutifully jotted her weight on.

She hasn't changed much since she was a little girl.  She has a smile that brings joy to others and a feisty little streak that makes one stand and contemplate what's going on in total consternation.  How can one short little person bring so much to the table of life?

It's a Gift.

And so, as Emily reaches forward to her twenty-fourth birthday, "two more days, mom", I am reflecting on what gift to give to her but remembering more importantly what a gift she has always been to me.

Miss Emily is, without a doubt, a homemade chocolate pudding, just warm from the stove, with rich buttery flavor and melting whipped cream on top.  She is the deeply rich chocolate flavor in my life and the burst of sweetness in every day.

She is more special than her special needs could ever be.





















Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Thoughts on Thanksgiving Day

Some of you know me on Facebook and also know that I spend the month of November harping on gratitude. That's after I spend the month of October harping on mammograms -- and how you need to get them done!

And after I spend the entire year harping on not using the 'R' word.


I do my best to entertain, after all.

Although I spend an extraordinary amount of time harping ... I also spend every day feeling grateful, thankful, appreciative -- call it what you will -- for the every day funnies, the on-line friendships, the real-time friendships, my family, my work, your work (because some of you had been unemployed and some of you still may be), good health, helpful people, prayers from others and prayers for others. I am forever whispering "Thank-you God" in appreciation of answered prayers and sometimes the ones I think go unanswered. Because, as we all know, God answers them all, but occasionally the answer is a decided, "NO" [insert thunder booming and a lightning strike here]. It may take a while to recognize that.

I am grateful to our military personnel who week in and week out, work to keep our freedom alive and well and living in America. I am thankful for police, fire, EMTs, for without them, mayhem might ensue. Okay, sometimes it does in spite of best efforts.

I am appreciative of a good vodka, a great cup of coffee, a waiter or waitress who serves me. It is without a doubt a most thankless job, so if you are one, know that I appreciate your long hours, your tired, swollen legs and feet and how miserable some people can be. I applaud you and I appreciate you. And I tip well!

I hate doctors, but am thankful for them. I love nurses ... you are the best. Lab techs, x-rays techs, support staff ... sometimes just the smile you bring in to a room with you is all it takes to make a day, no a life, better. So, just when you're feeling no one notices or cares or appreciates you, remember, I do.

I think fall leaves on trees are beautiful, not so much on the ground all brown and crispy. But I love hearing them beneath my feet when I take a walk. Those old dead leaves add a little something to the footfall. The pond down the road, the one with the view ... how I love to snap a photo each season ... to mark the years I've enjoyed driving by on my way into work.

Ocean waves crashing to shore, churning shells, pebbles and sand into a symphony of sound. Birds all a twitter and crows, (yeah, even those noisy buggers) black as night, a glimpse of them flying over head against the bright cloudless, blue sky.

There's much to be grateful for every day of my life, although I'm not sure about traffic but I do like my wheels. Travel is great, returning home is better. How thankful I am to lay my head on that feather ... pillow, so soft and scrunched and just right. A roof over my head to keep me warm in the winter and cool in the summer and windows that open in spring and in fall.

I'm grateful and thankful for family -- good and bad, happy and sad, joyous and proud. We really are one crazy, loud crowd. We're getting together today at my house, just one more thing to add to my list.

Thanksgiving is just that extra special day of the year to remember our friends and those we hold dear. It's a day to give a little more than we get. So I'll say, "Thank you!" right now and Happy Thanksgiving too! From my house to your house -- I do mean it all year though.