Tuesday, November 7, 2017

We shall overcome


It's been a rough day for me, and it seems like at times like these are when I need to sit down and write again.  I wish I felt the call to write in good times as well anymore, but I guess those times come out in my photography.  It's times like this where it seems like the creative outlet of my photography does not cease the voices in my head and I turn here to give voice to them and release them from my mind.

I started this blog with the purpose of keeping family members up to date with my life.  It was easier to just get things out in the moment than remember them for Christmas letters.  Which I never seem to write.

Little did I know what it would turn out to be.  A chronicle of the lives of 3 amazing children, but really one super hero.




Yesterday was her 8 year check up.  Yesterday was the day she had the awakening that she wasn't like other children.  That she was different.


Yesterday, I sat with my child and held her while she cried.  And asked me why God made her this way.  And if this would ever go away.



She asked me if we were disappointed in her that she struggled to keep her attention where it should be.  She worried that her grandparents would be mad at her.


She talked of things far beyond her 8 years.  And, of course, I bawled with her.  My heart in pieces on the floor.  And the conversation has been at the front of my mind all day.

There is no manual for parenthood.  No book to read to tell you how to deal with these types of conversations.

But I told her, and I told myself of all the things she has overcome.  That I know she can do this too.


I told her of how she was born breathing.  Well before her lungs should have even been developed enough to do so.  Of how she had to learn to eat, and that she showed that she was ready to try well before her gestational age said she should have been.

That she came home before her due date.  Well before her due date.  And how amazing that was.


I told her of how fast she has brought herself up to grade level this year.  Of how smart she was and how proud I was of her hard work.


When you bring a child into this world, you never hope or wish for them to experience challenges.  You want them to have everything that you didn't.  I just hope that I can teach her to love herself for who she is.  Even with all of the challenges she experiences.  That the girl that she is - is so special and unique and someone to be treasured.  And that this won't keep her down.  She has shown her fighting spirit many times over the years, and I know she can do it again.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

It's a funny thing.

PTSD.

It sneaks up on you in ways you never expected.

I thought I was ok.  I thought, hey, I even was able to go back and look at "on this day memories."  I got this.  This October will be different.

But it isn't.  Will it ever be?  Isn't 8 years enough?

How do I know it's here?  It dawned on me today.  I've been feeling stressed.  Overwhelmed.  Anti-social.  I thought it was just because we've been working 7 days a week.  Between 3 businesses and children, I thought I was just tired.

Nope.  That overwhelming, anxiety filled, you-just-aren't-good-enough-never-will-be mantra that surfaces every year at this time.  It always feels the same.  Most of the year, I can keep it at bay.  But October?  October is a lost cause.


I still don't know that I can read my blog posts from then.  Hopefully, some day she will.  Hopefully someone will stumble upon them and read the story of an amazing little girl did.  And it will give her hope.  And I will be glad that those memories are stored somewhere.  Even if I can't manage to deal with them.






October sucks.  Prematurity sucks.  PTSD sucks.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

I see you

One of the hardest things for a parent is to watch their child struggle.





But there is something I want you to know when you are grown and maybe I'm gone.  And maybe you stumble upon this in some random memory or search or something.  I want you to know that I see you.




I see the girl who sees someone or something get hurt and immediately jump in to try to help.  I see someone who is so full of compassion that her first reaction when I got hurt was to get a plastic bag to fill with ice.  I see someone who told me not to worry because you'll be ok so I wouldn't hurt anymore.




I see someone who is struggling with things well above her age and who doesn't know what to do.  I see someone who has immense strength and tenacity and will, who has shown this since the day she was born.  Well before her time.



I see someone who puts such complicated thoughts together that she often leaves me in awe of just how smart she is.  I see someone who can reach the stars, if only she'd believe in herself.

I see you.  I see a beautiful, brilliant, strong, courageous, tenacious girl who will move mountains.  And it breaks my heart to see you see yourself as anything less.


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving

Today is a day we celebrate all the things we are thankful for.

And though it is sometimes hard to remember all of the blessings we have, especially in those times where it feels like life is doing its best to bring you down, it can be helpful to be reminded of what you do have.

But today, we spent with my family.  As I was rocking my youngest to sleep, I was listening to my oldest having a conversation with her grandmother in the other room.

I don't remember exactly what she was saying.  But I remember just being in awe at the intelligence in her statements.   And how observant she was.

And it brought me back to this picture 7 years ago.


And how little we knew of what the future held and how scared we were.  She still wasn't eating much by bottle and we had no idea of what her long term issues would be (if any.)

I just had to smile, looking back on it.  And how thankful I am that it turned out the way that it did.  And how thankful I am that she is in my life, the lessons she's taught me.  And continues to teach me.







Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Beating those giants

"Don't you be afraid

Of giants in your way
With God you know that anything's possible
So step into the fight
He's right there by your side
The stones inside your hand might be too small
But watch the giants fall" ~Francesca Batistelli

Most days, I feel like the stones inside my hand are too small.  That they will never take down the giants in my life.

But when I heard this chorus (Francesca Batistelli again, for the win!) I immediately thought of my first born.

Her stones were incredibly small, but boy did they take down some giants.



I can't even take credit for her taking down those giants.  SHE did that.  All on her own.



I wish I could remember exactly the words our favorite nurse used to describe her.  Small, but mighty.

She's overcome so many challenges in her short life already and I know she'll overcome so many more.

You can't keep this child down.




"We could really live like this
Can't you imagine it
So bold, so brave
With childlike faith
Miracles could happen
Mountains would start moving
So whatever you may face" ~Francesca Batistelli




Wednesday, November 2, 2016

This kid. Oh how I love her.

She truly is so smart and aware, even if she doesn't want to share.



It's been a rough couple of days for me and I was just at my emotional end this evening and she was not in a good mood. We fought, and battled, and argued. Every night, I pray with her before she goes to sleep and tonight I started bawling in the middle of it. Her concern was immediate, and like a light switch. All posturing, stubbornness, anger towards me disappeared from her little body and you could see her face immediately become very concerned. She asked me why I was crying and I tried my best to explain how much I loved her and how much I hated fighting with her.  Her answer?

"Mom, it's ok.  Sometimes you just push my buttons and sometimes I push yours.  I don't mean to do mean things to you, you just push my buttons sometimes."

And then she finished up with this, as I cried even more,

"Now, go hug your husband."

The tears of sadness were immediately replaced with those of laughter.

How is it that one so small could know just how to make things better?  

I hope she knows, truly knows, just how special she is.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Spend a moment in my head

It's hard to explain the thoughts running through my head on most days.


A cacophony of noise, never slowing, never ceasing.  I'm extremely observant, often sensing things to come before they even happen.  Many times, I've known a friend was pregnant well before they've told me and only because something in my gut said so.

I've been accused, many times, of being "over anxious," of bringing bad things to reality simply because I "believed" something bad would happen.

What they don't realize is just how many times and in how many ways that little voice in my head has been right.

The year my grandmother died, I mentally began preparing myself for her loss.  My grandmother was exceptionally healthy.  She had never been sick.  She had far outlived my grandfather.  She traveled everywhere and was living the life as a retiree.  That year, I began to have a feeling she wouldn't be with me for long.



She died that December.

The "voice" was right.

I knew from the beginning that something wasn't "right" with my pregnancy with Elisa.  I didn't know what was wrong.  I didn't know why I felt that way.  I thought it was just anxiety because of the two I lost before her.

I had no previous experience to go on, but my mind was screaming at me the week before I left for Arizona that something was wrong.  Even when everyone kept telling me everything was ok.  To not worry.  It would be fine.

And then, there she was, 11 weeks early.



That "voice" was right.

I was strangely calm with Aidan.  I'm not going to say I wasn't scared, because I was.  Because I knew what could go wrong.  I was worried that it would happen again, because I KNEW it could happen again.  But that "voice" was strangely quiet.



That "voice" was right.  He was my only baby to avoid the NICU.

I knew the endometriosis was back and with a vengeance back in 2014.  Even though I was asymptomatic.  That voice, again, was screaming in my head.  But I had no proof.

It took 9 months and 3 doctors before I had proof.  And a resolution.



That "voice" was right.

I knew in those final days with Avery, again, that something was wrong.  I didn't feel your typical excitement at knowing you were going in to have your baby.  That you'd made it again.  I kept telling myself it was ok.  She was 37 weeks.  I'd made it.  I was relieved because I wouldn't be in physical agony anymore.  But I also was terrified, deep down in the recesses of my mind.  I knew something was wrong.  I cried when they were putting the epidural in.  I cried when they laid me back on the table.  I cried when they lifted those sheets.

But I closed my eyes and I took deep breaths to calm myself.  And I won.


But that "voice" was right.

So, what's my point in all of this?  I don't really know.  I know I'm PTSD triggering.  I know it's because Avery's birthday is approaching.  I know I'm physically sick with anxiety, but what do I have to be anxious about?  I know I want to go into a room and close the door and never leave until this is over.

But, until what is over?

So I also know I'll stop that door and prop it wide open.  I'll take deep breaths, I'll square my shoulders, I'll hold my head high and I'll move forward.



And please, if I ever tell you that I know something is wrong, but I can't tell you what it is, don't tell me I'm worrying about nothing.  That it's all in my head.  That my "negativity" will cause bad things to happen.

Because, so far, that "voice" has a perfect batting average.