Sunday, June 13, 2010

Crackin' the Whip!

Or at least that's what my oldest daughter said about my new chore cards made for my younger daughter. Chore CARDS..... chore CHUNKS... chore RINGS... I'm still not sure what we'll call them. 

When my younger daughter saw them (and even knew what they were!) she first said, "Hey, those are cool!", which brought a smile to my face. After all, I'd labored over them for hours, trying to make them look appealing, therefore making her chores more appealing???? 

Are you all laughing uproariously at me now?? If so, I don't blame you. I think we all remember how it felt to be an almost 14 year old, irritated by all the presumptuous demands put upon us as CHILDREN!!... heck, I'm not sure there has been an age when I liked chores. In fact, there are still times as an mature, adult woman (mature = attitude, NOT old)  just want them over and done with. And truthfully, there are times like this week that I  do a lousy job ***GASP***  (nobody better tell my MOM!)

Anyway, the idea is that she's got a ring of chores for each day, tho for Saturday/Sunday I lumped them together. I like Saturday to be free for lounging and family stuff.  Sunday I like to be free from chores as
much as possible, so it's bare-bones that day... make your body smell good and look presentable, unload the dishwasher, and keep your mess to a minimum in the family room

I gave each grouping a front/back cover made from some card-making kit I'd gotten years ago (see there really ARE legit reasons for recycling as is otherwise known as pack-ratting), and within she'll find each chore written separately with some having multiple steps. The idea of using the book rings came as I thought through how I might have a usable chore list with flexibility

Some basic rules were written for our summer days to outline when she can/can't enjoy her tv, computer, and PS3. Then I figured out and wrote up a reward system, so that if she does her chores she can earn a treat. I have the rewards written out in increments of 1 week, 2 weeks, and 1 month. The goal is to get her more independent with her responsibilities,  reduce the Mom Harping we all know & hate, and eventually phase out of needing a reward system.

My daughter lost some of her enthusiasm when she saw the Summer Rules, and then asked, "Why are you trying to ruin my entire summer????"

Friday, June 11, 2010

How to enjoy the silence....

Not long ago, the overwhelming silence was crushing to my heart. No more loud booming coming from the opposite wall of my computer, where my son was busy playing some online war game with friends... No more little feet approaching my sewing room over the hardwood floor that gave them away before they arrived...No more requests for snacks & drinks so frequently I wondered where it all went! When Montie died so did much of the noise in the house. 

Looking back I suppose the lull has also been caused by our lack of motivation to do much of anything at times. We're such homebodies and as such are used to being in each other's company. To have one of us missing is sorely felt by each of us all the time....

And now 15 months have gone by without Montie. It's such a surreal feeling. I know without a doubt that he passed away, and yet, there's a part of me that still just can't believe it actually happened. How could my 10 year old die right beside me on the couch?? Things like that aren't supposed to happen, right?? But after losing Montie, and in reaching out to find support & understanding, I'm finding that there are lots of kids that die each year, and it leaves me filled with such heartache & disbelief. Kids aren't "supposed" to die before their parents -not in this day & age of advanced medicine. 

The irony is that lately I am CRAVING some quiet. Lately there is so much noise in the house again, and I wonder when this happened? There are kids in & out constantly, the puppy is barking at "nothing" in the back yard, the next door puppies are both barking outside, which makes both my dogs bark more & they bark more, you get the idea.... The phone is ringing off the hook again, I have obligations, my Hubby has arrived home, the fans are running, the washer & dryer are running. The house is absolutely humming today, and the deafening loudness is grating on my last nerve.

Is it just for me or maybe just my circumstances that make silence a Catch 22? With silence comes the sadness of missing my little boy, and yet without it my brain is becoming fried from the nervous energy.

Tried to do some quilting earlier & am having "pokie" problems. I've left a message to advise the client & need to get her input before continuing, so I can't turn the big quilting machine on & get lost in that. I've cleaned the downstairs, done some laundry, did the dishes, put lots of random crap away, broke a salsa container & cleaned all that up, dealt w/a crabby 13 year old who doesn't think "all these chores are fair" but then wanted me to drop everything to p/u her best friend, which I did, tried to return movies to the Blockbuster kiosk & it wouldn't turn on... sigh, I think I'm gonna coast for a bit now & try to RELAX.... 

I have a charity quilt that's waiting to be pieced. I think I'll attempt to take my mind off being crabby by sewing a bit....

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Morning Drag

Just got back from the morning drag... umm... I mean the morning walk. Most mornings I try to take the black lab puppy for a morning walk to burn off some of the exuberant energy that seems to always be pent up in his 70 lb body. And since I've just begun this routine, we're still at the point where he basically tries to drag me down the road. I end up with something looking like rope burn on my palms, one day I had shin splints (?????), one day I swear he almost yanked my shoulder out of socket. I believe we're making progress since this week he hasn't thrown any body parts into spasm or to the point of aching.

It's a mixture of challenge & desperation that's thrown me into daily exercise. I want to tame this beast & make him normal, and I know I could use the daily exercise. But I tell you, I'm learning I have to steel myself for it... it's embarrassing to get dragged down the road, while occasionally yanking back & barking out, "Smokey WALK!", and as I yank back the bag of poop I've collected is swinging wildly, hitting my boobs, my back... sigh.... I wonder if anyone has caught the regular spectacle & had a good morning laugh?? 

The other reason I have to work up the courage to take the walk, is that there's still a part of me that just wants to stay hiding in my house since Montie died. People say the stupidest things to me when I'm out ... and then I, trying to remain composed & appear normal, respond with some inane, expected comeback & it'll irritate me for hours. How does one respond to the basic question, "So how are you really doing?" Do parents from my daughter's soccer team really want to hear the answer? Do acquaintances from our old school whom we run into routinely at the grocery store really want to know how I'm doing ... while standing in the middle of the pickle jars, mayonnaise, and quick-start dinner packets?? 

And the truth is no one really wants to know what I'm going through. In fact, invariably when I share the sadness & the depth of my ache with my closest friends they are quick to ask if I think I should ask the doctor for medication. Okay people, it's not like I'm rolled in a fetal position unable to get out of bed!! I still get up every morning when I'm supposed to, collect groceries, make meals, pay bills, work, clean, and play with/hang out with my daughters .... beyond those first weeks when we did nothing & went nowhere & barely ate, we have resumed much of the typical activities of a normal family. So truly there is no great injustice being done on my family, I'm not shirking my duties or even overly emotional or withdrawn. I'm just sad now & then & need to let it out. But society is uncomfortable with emotions. We've become so used to dealing with each other in non-personal ways such as email, blogging ;-P, or texting, that to deal with real-live emotions for some is just not natural. And apparently it's down-right uncomfortable.

I can't say I blame the awkwardness that comes.... I know I'm probably one of the scariest people on the face of the earth to talk to face to face... a mom whose beloved child not only endured 10 years of medical fragility, but also a mom whose beloved child died next to her on the family room couch.

Wow... I've really switched gears here, eh??? Today while Smokey was dragging me thru our little town, The Ambulance drove right past me & it filled me with such sadness. I was walking down the back alley & so not the typical place to find an ambulance cruising & they didn't have their lights on & never stopped at any house. So why was it there?? Sometimes I wonder when these strange occurrences come about if it's Satan trying to derail me, or could it be a sign from Heaven reminding me of Montie? I guess it could all be very random, but in my gut I don't believe that. And I wonder if the EMT's remember who I am when they pass me by?? Do they remember me or my little boy and how they tried unsuccessfully to save him?

I stood in the middle of the alley after watching The Ambulance as it passed by 5 feet away from me, the EMT's staring at me, Smokey yanking on my body, while the warm spring breeze blew all around me, and I started to tear up, missing Montie so much my heart actually aches, took a deep breath, and kept walking....

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Montie's Birthday

Today is Montie's 12th birthday. We're celebrating his birth & life without him, because he went to Heaven March 19th, 2009. He'd just had his 13th operation, the 7th he'd had on his back to lengthen rods he'd had implanted to correct severe scoliosis. He'd been so happy to come home the night before that as I got him changed into his favorite red snowman pjs, he gave me a quick kiss on my left cheek. Montie was definitely a hugger but not so much a kisser, so it was something special to be remembered!

I'd been up with him over night. He & I camped out in the family room: he on the couch & I on the floor, a roaring fire stoked throughout the night... we were cozy together, but he was in a lot of pain off and on. The last time I'd been up with him would've been around 5am. He had his pain pill, a drink, changed positions, and we'd talked a little. And while I waited for him to fall asleep, I lay there listening to the fire, thinking about what I had to remember to do in the next few hours when the house awakened, and I thought I heard Montie say something. I even asked, "What'd you say, Bud?" No response... and I thought I heard him utter something again, and again, no response. Initially this made me smile to myself because I thought he was dozing off & that the pain pill had kicked in -he'd been dozing off mid-sentence a lot while in the hospital... But all of a sudden the realization & utter horror kicked in that I couldn't hear his heart. And I digress.... he'd had two mechanical valves put in several years prior, so his valves sounded like a loud wristwatch that said, "tick-tick-tick...", but I heard absolute silence. The moments it took me to crawl over to him are still ingrained in my head in slow motion.. and I felt his chest & there was nothing....

Someone at the grocery store recently told me losing her dog was like losing a child... sigh.. I could just look at her in dumb silence. Because I've lost several beloved pets that I cried over, and I can vouch for the fact that it is nothing like losing Montie... Montie & I shared Star Wars, Indiana Jones, sushi, snuggling in bed to read aloud to one another, pj days, making smores on the stovetop, "walks" on which he actually  rode his red scooter & I'd have to run to catch up to his laughing smile, collecting autumn leaves, breakfast in bed on his birthday, holding hands, and I could go on & on.

My children aren't just my kids, they're my best friends & companions. In my heart I know Montie is soaring with God with no more pain, no more limited mobility, no more surgeries, headaches or health issues & restored to perfect health, but I'm just a selfish human being. I still want Montie here with me sitting in my lap, asking for the umpteenth time, "How many subjects are we doing today?", calling to me in the middle of the night to massage his headache away, talking away with his online PS3 friends, begging for more time with them....

Montie had Marfan Syndrome... it's a connective tissue disorder & he was born on the severe end of the spectrum. The majority of Marfan patients live a normal life span with proper medical care, however because Montie's symptoms were so severe to begin with, his Dad & I always feared we were living on borrowed time with him. And so for those 10 years we had, we're forever grateful... all of my children have changed me as a person & a parent in their own way, and Montie continues to leave a very special imprint on my heart....