I have a child that has been driving for almost 2 years, a boy. I also have another child with a permit, and will get a driver’s license in July, a girl. She always wants to drive, and I get it … I was 16 once upon a time, too. She’s a very good driver … Actually, she’s such a good driver, that she “kindly” tells me how to drive, at times … yeah, it’s impressive! <insert heavy eye roll>. That being said, why do I have such a hard time handing her the keys, and just letting her drive?! Things would be a lot less “yelly”, if I just gave her the keys, every single time we have a place to go, but I don’t … and if I’m being honest, I won’t. Because after a lot of soul-searching, I have come to the conclusion, that since I cannot control the hands of time, I can control whose hands the keys land in. She has the rest of her life to drive, I only have three months left to be her chauffeur, before getting a car of her own, and ONLY a little over a year, before she graduates high school, and starts her own life. I know it sounds dumb … I know she should be practicing … and she does, just not as much as she wants. Once she has a car of her own, and the “freedom” to come and go, I’m pretty sure she’ll go, more than she comes, and I’m okay with that, at that point in time. I am the person who likes to celebrate growth and milestones, and very much looks forward to a reason to celebrate my children. I try to not be overly sentimental, however, it’s a different set of emotions, that is so unexplainable to parents who haven’t been here yet. Knowing that the time is coming for my older two children to spread their wings and fly, is a lot to handle. As much as parents “look forward” to empty-nesting, it’s a wee bit scary for this mama. I feel secure in how we’ve raised our children, to be great products of society, but have I really done enough?! Will my “life lessons” resonate with them … Will they remember my words when it’s time to make an important decision?! Oh my goodness … Have I done enough?! It’s a scary reality knowing that your kids will be on their own, making grown up decisions, making mistakes, hopefully learning from those mistakes, and growing from them. My daughter has this false sense of reality, that as long as you’re doing the right thing, everything is peachy keen. In a sense, yes it could be, but you never know what bumps in the road could arise, what crazy forks in the road you will come in contact with, and have to make a decision … LEFT or RIGHT?! Have I done enough, have I said enough, have I taught them enough?! At the end of the day, and in my defense (wink wink) … I know she’ll be okay … I have been in the car with her enough, to know that she will be just fine. She thinks she neeeeeds to practice, I know that even with all the practice in the world, it doesn’t stop all the assholes that ARE on the road, and as long as she’s paying attention and doing the right thing, she will be fine.
For now, I’m holding on to the little girl who never wanted to leave my side … the little girl who couldn’t let me leave the house without her being in tow … the little girl that I have a bond with that no one can touch … the little girl who used to sleep in my bed … the little girl who looked at her mama with those green eyes …
… the little girl that I am just having a hard time, letting go!!
It’s the little things, that make a huge difference …
Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose, right?! Right. My “conventional marriage”, was finalized in divorce, at some point in Early 2004. We brought another child into our marriage in July of 2001 … my only full-term baby (that’s right, in 2010, I had another premature child, 6 1/2 weeks early), and even she wanted to be born six weeks early, but doctors were able to stop my contractions .. with a little bed rest, I was able to hold her in until 39 weeks … July 2, 2001, it’s a girl … 6 pounds, 6 ounces, at 6 am … Hmmm … you said a girl, right?! Not the devil?! (Again, I joke … sorta)
My ex-husband started cheating on me in November of 2000 … That’s right … You do the math! Yet, I still fought for what I thought was mine … I lost, but eventually, when I realized he got another person pregnant, I won. I won my freedom from him, back … I no longer had feels for him the way a wife should have for her husband … Soooo …
In January, 2003, I moved my children and I to Hickory, NC. I was no longer a wife. I had a new title: Single mom … with nowhere to go. My mom, and my brother lived there, so it made sense. We spent about 6 years there. I have nothing, but wonderful memories, and few close friends that will be cherished forever. I do believe it was when my older two kids were happiest in life, if I’m being 1,000% honest with myself. It’s also where, for four years, twice a year, my son was injected with botox injections, in both legs, and then casted (to stretch the tendons in his calves and ankles) for 6 weeks, each time. Even though his cerebral palsy only affects the right side of his body, the doctors felt that doing it to both legs, at his age, would give him an “even” feeling. Along with the botox, came extensive, intensive, physical and occupational therapies, 2 – 3 times per week, during these four years, and beyond. I could sit here and list the numerous procedures and therapies my son has had to endure, but I can’t remember them all. There have literally been hundreds, and if anything, I’m under-estimating!
Single mom, 2 kids … my world … not such a bad title to hold.
I seem to have forgotten to mention what exactly caused my son to develop cerebral palsy (CP) … At birth, he suffered a Grade III, out of IV, bleed, on the left side of his brain, affecting the right side of his body. In other words, he had a stroke. Given too much oxygen at birth? Maybe. However, for all the things that SHOULD be wrong with him, he is truly blessed, and a FUCKING MIRACLE!! Through the years, I have seen many kids born at 26, 27, 32 weeks. I have also seen many born at full term, with cerebral palsy, requiring a wheelchair, having no speech or any motor skills … I KNOW HOW LUCKY WE ARE!!! It’s trying to teach a kid with a severe disability, just HOW LUCKY HE IS!! Even though I have ingrained, in my son’s brain, that CAN’T isn’t in his vocabulary, I still struggle with showing him that he fucking CAN!!
He can do anything he wants in life … He may have to work a little harder, but he FUCKING CAN! (He’s almost 19, so I don’t feel bad swearing at this point).
In 2008, I decided that my ex-husband needed to be in our kids lives more. So what does every sane, normal person do?! Oh … I upped, and moved back home to New Jersey, in August. This whole section of life, is a whole other blog! wink wink!
August 2009 … Children’s Hospital Of Philadelphia (aka CHOP) …
My son had some testing done at CHOP, to decipher exactly what could be done, surgically, to help aid him in his growing years. You see, it was these tests that clued us in that his right hip was growing in, instead of straight, causing his right leg to be extra tight, shorter than his left leg, and caused him to tippy toe his right foot for many years, walking with an EXTREME limp. What brought me to this point, as his mother?
Mean people! Cruel fucking humans.
Earlier that year, in the Spring, my son wanted to play baseball … a great little athlete, he was (is) … even with his “gimpy limp”. He had (has) an arm on him, like you wouldn’t believe. It’s a damn shame that some people have to be complete, fucking assholes their whole life, and a mother, at that. Being that we were new in town … No one knew that I was his mom. I was so proud of my kid for joining a team, where he hardly knew anyone. The kids were pretty accepting of him … 3rd graders are still sweet! The first time my son was up to bat, he hit the ball … AWESOME! … and as he ran to first base … Cheering him on, I overheard another mom question who my son was … (in my best snotty voice) “Whoooo is that kid?! Isn’t he considered a liability?!”.
NOW, in my best Mama Bear voice, “I’m sorry … WHAT?! BITCH! … THAT is MY kid … He is NOT a liability … he is a fucking miracle, with a heart of gold, and a smile that would melt your cold ass heart! He has cerebral palsy, and has EVERY right to be here, just as much as your perfect little liability, er … son does!”. ((GTFOH!!))
Can you believe the audacity of some people?!
September 21, 2009 … Morristown Memorial Hospital … Surgery Day!
Look at that sweet, sweet face! How could you not fall in love with this kid?! His big brown eyes, super long eyelashes, and a smile that just makes everything okay in the world! Side note: I love his smile so much!!
THIS … was the scariest day of my life. My baby boy was about to endure EIGHT procedures, in EIGHT hours, and while my memory fails me to know the exact terms of each procedure, I can give you the synopsis … Basically, the doctors had to break his hip, rotate it out, put a temporary plate in (which was removed a year later, during another surgery), while it fuses back together, along with lengthening his groin muscle, heel-cord surgery, stunting the growth in his left leg, so his right leg can play catch-up (those tools were called 8 plates, and they too, were also removed, in a separate procedure, once his left leg caught up, about 2 years later) … that’s five … the other three things were minimal. He was supposed to come out of surgery in a body cast, for 6 weeks. It was a last-minute decision, by the orthopedic doctor, to NOT cast his body … Because he knew my son, and he knew it would only hinder his recovery … and he was CORRECT!!
Again … Look at that face … all drugged up, and still has a smile for his mama! GOD, I LOVE THIS KID! So, now that we have gotten through the surgical aspect, now starts the long road to recovery … A full year recovery, and then some. He had to learn how to walk again. “It’ll be a good 12 weeks, before he’s ready to start to walk,” Dr. Rieger said, “However, I decided to not body cast him, in hopes that he may walk sooner.”
And that he did! He walked 6 weeks before he was even supposed to start trying! “YOU ARE FREAKING AMAZING!”, I would tell him time and time again. “There isn’t anything, YOU CAN’T DO!”, would roll off my tongue, over and over. We went through a full year of physical therapy, and unless you knew he had CP, you would never know it. Mission accomplished!
Fast forward to sixth grade … Ahhhhh Middle School!! Difficult transitions to get used to. You’re expected to do more for yourself in school, change classes, etc. When Sean started middle school, we lived in a neighboring town, to where we live now. After the first marking period, his teachers were all telling me that he needed extra help, or maybe he was a resource kid … a kid who needed help in every aspect of school.
WHAT are you people telling me?! I have NEVER had a problem with his schooling, except in 4th grade, but that’s when he had his big surgery, and got a little behind. He was totally fine in 5th grade, when his lowest grade was ONE C, the whole year?! I literally left there in TEARS!! Who the hell wants to hear that their kid is resource material?! NO ONE, but here we were! Because of his cerebral palsy, he was always being tested, and was always “over testing”. They could never find any learning disabilities … EVER!
Other circumstances in my life, caused us to move from that town, to the one I live in now, allowing my son to change schools in the middle of 6th grade. He did okay that year. Seventh grade, we struggled with some bullying and grades … Of course, I thought it was the bullying that was causing his struggle with academics. WRONG! In 8th grade, yes EIGHTH grade … it was his Math teacher, who finally “heard” what he was trying to say. Long story, short, it was found that he had a terrible processing speed. So things that should normally take you a few seconds to answer, would take him a minute or two … or longer … therefore resulting in a documented learning disability. The poor kid was struggling for years, but didn’t manifest, until he had to do things for himself … such as MIDDLE SCHOOL!! I felt like the worst parent ever … for pushing him so hard to do better. His step-father and I really didn’t accept anything, but his best!! To our credit, every teacher, and counselor has told us that if it weren’t for our “push”, he wouldn’t be where he was at that point.
The very first day of 8th grade, he had broken his “bad” leg, in two places, from a little spill on his dirt bike … Here we go again … Getting behind in school, and MONTHS of physical therapy. I remember when Erica, his therapist, asked me what my goal was for him … without hesitation, I said, “I would like to see him run … properly.”
It’s the little things in life, that people without any type of disability take for granted. I had never seen my son run with both arms at his side, pumping back and forth. Instead, the left side worked “properly”, while his right side flailed in the wind. Although cute, he was about to enter the next four years of his life, in high school …
It’s the little things, that make a huge difference, and the day came …
December 18, 2013 … Drayer Physical Therapy, Sparta, NJ
I saw my son run, like a person without CP, for the first time in his life … LIKE A BOSS!
Tears roll down my face, and I’m reminded, we’ve already come so far.
April 24, 1999 … 7:15 am … Trying to place an epidural, in a spine, on a body that has gained over twenty pounds of water weight in less than three weeks, is proving to be near impossible. I was “stuck” in the back about five or six times, before the anesthesiologist said,
“If I can’t get it this time, we’re gonna have to put you under, and do the c-section while you sleep.”
“Ummm … there is a chance that my son won’t live … You WILL get it this time, because I want to see him alive, even if only for a minute!” (Wow! Look at me! Haven’t even met my son, and I’m already a Mama Bear!) With that, the epidural was inserted properly, and within minutes, the doctor who delivered my son, Dr. Yvonne Thornton, entered the room, and said …
“Now, please remember, that his lungs are just now developing. You will probably not hear him cry, when he is born. This is normal. We were only able to give you one steroid shot to help his lungs, versus the two shots, that you would normally get. We are running out of time … for you, but I assure you (in her most sympathetic voice), even though you probably won’t hear him cry, technology has come so far …”
She continued on, but that’s all I really heard … Technology?! WTF does technology have to do with MY SON, and his premature lungs … Actually, I remember a nurse saying that he was so early, that it wasn’t even considered premature, but rather … immature. HA! A title he still holds dearly, to this day!! (I joke … sorta)
April 24, 1999 … 8:54 am … I heard the sweetest little “Wahh!”, that I have ever heard in my entire life! “It’s a boy … One pound, nine ounces, 12 1/2 inches long, apparently with a better set of lungs, than we anticipated!”
I will never forget that sound. I have it on lock down in the memory banks of my heart, and my brain … I will never forget his first, tiniest of whimpers, and the thoughts that scattered through my brain …
That’s my boy!
Stronger than even the doctors thought!
A fighter from birth.
Strength you didn’t know you had.
YOU HAVE PURPOSE!
You got this, kiddo!
I will never leave your side … EVER!
THAT, is my promise to you.
July 30th, 2000 ~ One year “corrected” age ~ When you have a child that is born three months early, you learn a lot of new jargon that you’ve never heard before. You also become super acclimated to the NICU, and you start to believe that you could be a nurse, with all that you have learned. Especially when your child is there for 12 weeks. Today’s word is “corrected age”. He’s 9 months old, 6 months, corrected age. For ONE YEAR, and three months, I had to use this term. It was frustrating. Unless you know, you DON’T know. To the mom who has her babies when they’re supposed to be born, it may sound silly to you, that I complain about this … It seems minimal, in the grand scheme of life, however … it’s ANNOYING … just another way to point out that my kid is different from yours … like I said … ANNOYING, and perhaps, dare I say “judgey”?! The only positive, is that if someone overheard me saying “corrected age”, it brought on the conversation, and I was happy to talk about it. Knowledge is power, right?! Getting back to my point … In August of 2000, I had to bring my son for a developmental check up. I had noticed that he was favoring one side of his body, over the other. When he crawled, at nine months, he would over use his left side, like an army crawl, but the left side did the majority of the work. After a three-hour evaluation, the results were in …
“Your son has a condition called Hemiparesis, which affects his right side.”
Have you said this before, or maybe heard someone else say it? Well, for me, it’s pretty much true. I like everyone (I’m working on this, as it is a legitimate problem). However, why not like everyone? I mean, don’t get me wrong … There are the few people who have rubbed me the wrong way upon meeting them, but I always give it a chance. I mean, what has a “new person” in my life, ever done to me, to warrant me not liking them?!
That would be a big, fat NOTHING.
It doesn’t mean I need them to be my best friend for life (I have one of those), it just means that I give everyone a chance. I do NOT listen to what “Susie May” has to say about “Mary Margaret’s” kids being a real pain in the ass. I make my own decisions about people (and their kids), based on how they treat myself, my kids, and their own kids and family. I do NOT listen to what other people have to say about “Joe Schmoe” down the road, who never mows his lawn (maybe Joe Schmoe is dealing with something that can’t be seen by naked eye), or whatever crazy things people like to conjure up, just to make their own miserable lives, a little more bearable.
WHAT did she say?!
You heard me … It’s fucking true! People tear down other people, because they are not happy in their own person. They want everyone else around them to be equally miserable. Why?!
Well … Misery LOVES company!
We’ve all heard that statement before … But why? Although the person may not come off as “miserable” … You can hear it in every word they speak … They complain about themselves, their significant other, their kids, their job, their boss, their diet, other people (my favorite … NOT), the fact that the sky is blue … the list is endless. So, if misery loves company, and no one wants to be labeled as miserable, why is it so hard to just be happy (or at least fake it … kidding … kind of)?! Why not look at what’s positive in your life, rather than what’s negative … WHY is this so hard?!
I don’t know, but this brings me to another point …
What is it about that one person who seems to love to “drive” people in other directions (sometimes without the other person even realizing what’s happening), rather than the direction they were already “driving”?! Who’s to blame … the person doing the driving, or the person listening to the driver?! ((ohhhh the things that make you go hmmmm))
What is it about that one person who will do anything to make someone feel like they don’t belong … if that person hasn’t done anything to deserve it? Again, who’s to blame, the person doing the insulting, or the other person not standing up for themselves, and asking the questions that need to be answered … “WHAT DID I EVER DO TO YOU?”.
It’s frustrating. It’s lonely. It’s sad.
See … when you’re the person who feels left out (and I have been, plenty of times), you take a chance on asking what’s up. The chance being … honesty. You may throw hints here and there to your peers, hoping to get answers, but when you’re made to feel like “it’s all in your head” (when you know damn well that it’s NOT) … you stop asking. You stop trusting. You just move forward, wondering what you’ve done so terrible, to be treated so unkindly, when all you really want … is to just be friends.
Honesty IS the best policy!
Is it?! People say that honesty is the best policy … I believe it, but so is communication. However, there are times when communication has been met, without the honest answers. So, how are you supposed to deal with the situation, if you can’t get honest answers, even from the person in question?!
You have to make the realistic decision, and accept that you can’t make everyone happy, so don’t even try. You will only drive yourself insane. So, you smile, you’re cordial, but most of all you’re kind.
Kill ’em with Kindness!
Kindness will never get you hurt. It feels so good to be kind. It feels so good to give. It feels so good to be a decent human being … So why are there so many miserable people in the world?! Maybe they aren’t “miserable” … maybe they are jelly … not grape or strawberry, but legitimately …
JEALOUS! (oh no she didn’t)
Oh YES she did!!! They are jealous. Jealous?! Yes. Jealous. Say the word JEALOUS, five times in a row … It sounds silly, right? However, if you listen … by the 5th time, it sounds like “Gel-US” … Gel us together, and knock out the jealousy!!! (Ahhhh, perhaps another movement I would love to create?!)
If I were in a situation like this, I would say … “JEALOUS OF WHAT?!!? I’m overweight, my house is a “mess”, I live each day to please the ungrateful twits I call my kids, and my husband … not that he’s ungrateful, but I do live to please him too, I’m lucky if I shower daily, and I mean LUCKY, I don’t get paid for my “job”, I’m insecure … shall I go on?!”.
Being jealous of anyone, or anything, is silly, actually. There are so many directions I could go with this, but let’s start here … People tend to create a facade, if you will, of what their lives are, especially in this day of social media. People tend to post about all the “good” in their lives. No one really posts about how crappy of a day they are having, or how much they can’t stand their kid (at the moment) … well, unless they are the type that posts about every single detail of their lives, (yes, you know who you are, maybe not lol) … but for the most part, people are showing their kids on their GOOD days, posts of loved ones that might be ill, needing some comfort, but still not awful, vacations, etc.. We, as a society, scroll through Facebook, Instagram, etc, as if we’ve been doing it our whole lives (umm, you’re doing it now! lol). It’s crazy to think how the impact of social media, truly makes us feel. Let’s be honest … if people don’t acknowledge that they’ve seen your post, with a ‘LIKE’, you may get mad … or, at the very least, a little upset.
I’m sure there are millions of other people who feel this same way. So how do we change this? What can be done different?
When you find out … please let me know!
I’m being facetious … sort of … I would LOVE feedback on this issue. For now, my advice is this … Support and Kindness. Give support, and be kind to everyone in your life. No matter how big or small. Be supportive of your girlfriend, whose husband just lost his job. Be kind to the cashier, who couldn’t muster up a smile, because her family is in dire straits, and she had to quit school to get a job, to help her family. Hell, just being kind to the person who isn’t so kind to you, truly does makes a difference, if not to them, definitely to you.
So bottom line is this … We do not know what goes on behind closed doors. We do not know the reasons why some people are miserable in their own skin. We, as a world, need to be a little more nice … a little more friendly … supportive … positive … and see how much different the world looks. It’s pretty amazing!
Peace, love and happiness to you all!
(even the haters!)
Do you know what it’s like to be me
Happy, easy-going, loving, carefree
Your vision of my face
You can clearly see
I’m smiling, I’m joyful
I’m bursting with glee
PLEASE … Do not be mistaken
While I smile for you
Inside, my heart is breaking
Broken … shattered, really
Somehow I’ve failed you, my son
Somehow I’ve failed you
My number one
Tell me what it is that
I haven’t done
You see, in my head
We’ve already won
From where you were
To where you are
Do you even realize
You’ve come so far
Dig deep, my son
For you will see
That pushing yourself
Will set you free
Can’t is a word
You’ve always been told
To eliminate from your mind
No matter how old
Remember the time
You knew how to walk
Then surgery stole it
We sat, and we talked
“Mommy, oh Mommy
This isn’t fair
Why did God create me
Just to make me wear
Braces on my legs
I’ve been casted too
Procedure after procedure
Please tell me it’s true
I’ll walk again, Mommy
Maybe one day soon
Tell me I can, Mommy
Please sing me a tune”
From my heart they would come
Along with my song
I could hear him hum
My sweet young man
You have come so far
I wish you could see
Beyond every scar
That God makes no mistakes
You do have a purpose
For heavens sake
Never give up
My eldest son
Never give up
My number one