Thursday, September 10, 2015

8th Grade English....for the 3rd time

Cade's adjustment to the new school has been going along pretty well until this week.  In  the same day we hit a few snags.  We ended up changing his schedule around a little bit - which I think is working out much better and we had to get a handle on some English issues.  Which we all know "getting a handle on things" to a parent means that Jay and I have helped write and edit a Descriptive/Narrative Essay with a thesis of  How Crystal Shepherd was changed by the events of 9/11?  Otherwise known as we hate homework and we may or may not have hid in our closet at least one night this week. 

We have really tried to not be helicopter parents.  We've made him do his own thing.  We've made him remember to tell us when he needs food for a party, when he needs money for a Homecoming t-shirt and when he needs a permission slip signed.  Sometimes is works (normally he hounds me for weeks about when I'm going to give him the money for a field trip) and sometimes it fails (like when I didn't send food for the 6th grade Halloween party).  Now I'm also not going to lie and say we've never told him the answer to his math homework just to get the insanity to end.  Anyone who says they have never done that is either LYING THROUGH THEIR TEETH or they are insane. I mean flat out, we can't be friends kind of insane.  #clearlyyouarewaytoouppitytobemyfriend

We've gotten along pretty well over the years at school.  Of course minus the unfortunate incident of Jay, Cade's 3rd grade teacher and her boyfriend who happened to be the elementary principal.  That whole thing still makes me laugh. #knowwho'skissingwhobeforeyoucomplainaboutsomeone.   But we may have met our match this year.  I'm not sure Jay and I are prepared to try to pass 8th grade English for a combined 3rd time.  Those of you reading this blog know how weak my grammar skills are.  I'm one essay in and not sure I'm going to make it until May.  Of course the 4 year old blowing a whistle in my face while I'm trying to proofread isn't helping anything.

We were proof reading out loud tonight and there was a line that said "she recalled."  Jay started making fun of it saying that I wrote it.  I didn't write the word recalled I assumed it was Cade.  Cade said he wasn't the one that wrote that so it had to be Jay.  No one claimed the word recalled.  That's how crazy things are around here - forget grammar rules and restating thesisis (I don't think that's a word) Jay and I can't remember what words we may have added to a paper for our 13 year old son. 

For those of you who say they never have (or never will) help their son write a paper well you can stop reading now.  I'm sure we aren't the only parents desperate enough to just get something finished!  I feel like with 8 years under my belt I'm somewhat experienced enough to say this.  Actually let me restate my thesis again so I can get my 5 points of credit....Anyone who says they have never done that is either LYING THROUGH THEIR TEETH or they are insane.  But school isn't always about learning sometimes it's about surviving.  This week has been about survival....and asking questions like "is that supposed to be double spaced and does the punctuation go inside the quotes? and when are these interview questions due?" 

Everyone tells you sleep when your baby sleeps and all those other clich├ęs when you first have kids.  No one ever told me how much it sucks to write papers when your last grammar class was 25 years ago  Would that be considered a memorable ending?....... 
 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

My PSA

Here is a PSA/Reminder/Something to think about for you ladies.....

For the past several months I had noticed a change in my breasts.  I couldn't feel anything specific - no lumps or bumps but overall things were just different.  I watched it for a couple of months and thought I could see a pattern to it.  When I went in for my yearly exam with my  Gynecologist I mentioned it to him.  He automatically said "lets do a mammogram."  He went on to tell me that with my age I was close enough to 40 and he'd rather send 99 people to have mammogram's and not need them just to catch the 1 who does.  He didn't think I had anything to be concerned about but we both agreed that it was better to be safe than sorry.   

I scheduled my first one for August 24th.  They told me while I was there that since it was my first one not to be surprised if they called me back and had me come in again.  On the afternoon of the 25th I got that call.  I wasn't all that impressed with the nurse when she called.  Looking back on the conversation I think she may have been nervous.  I wonder if she was fairly new at making these kinds of calls. I also realize that my heart stopped beating for a few seconds when she started talking so I probably wasn't picking up what she was telling me either.  I thought I had the jest of the conversation so I repeated it back to her.  "We are doing this because you need a clearer picture and not because they see something."  Her reply was "I think so."  I refused to allow myself to worry about any of this so I took what she said to heart and went on with my week.

I went back for the 2nd mammogram on August 31st.  I ended up having a more in depth one which was then followed up by an ultrasound.  I did get a little nervous because at first the mammogram tech said I only needed the mammogram on one side.  The thought of that scared me more than thinking I needed it on both for some reason, but then she realized she had read it wrong and did both. 

Once Tuesday passed with no phone calls I felt like there was a good chance I was in the clear.  Then once Wednesday passed I felt pretty good.  I figured I'd get a follow up letter in the mail in a few days.  That all changed Thursday.  I was working in our Bolivar office that day and I had gone to lunch.  I pulled my phone out to check the time and saw the Doctor's office had called.  I immediately left the restaurant.  The message said they needed to talk to me but that they were leaving for lunch from 12-1.  I tried calling at 11:58 and they were already gone.

I had not worried one bit about any of this, but that hour was pretty rough.  Actually there was a 5 minute spell in there that was the worst.  Everything kind of flashed before me. I knew I had customers scheduled to come in so I had to pull myself together.  The only other person who knew I had the mammogram's was Charity and she was at work.  So was my mom and Jay and my dad was having medical things of his own that day.  I ended up calling Sharon and thankfully she was home and answered on the 2nd ring.  I explained to Sharon what was going on and I just needed to talk to someone for a few minutes.  We talked about mammograms and the different letters she had received over the years.  Talking to her made me feel better and I was able to get control over my emotions.  I had also emailed to ladies at work and asked them to pray for me because I knew they would.  By the time I got off the phone with Sharon I could tell the prayers were working because I felt calm. 

I survived until 1 and then I called the office back.  They answered immediately (which was another answered prayer).  The nurse (different one then who called me originally) apologized for leaving the message at the time she did.  She felt really bad about it.  She went on to say that I needed to have a repeat mammogram in 6 months.  I was so relieved.  I'm not sure I've got all the spelling on this right but I have Asymmetrical Fibrous Tissue.  They don't think there is anything there, but the doctor can't say with 100% confidence that he feels comfortable with me waiting a whole year for another one.  The nurse said that she sees this often and that the radiologist is extremely cautious - which is how you want them to be! 

So after the long story the take away is that I'm fine.  I'm not concerned about it at all.  But I will follow my doctors orders and schedule a follow up in February/March.  The other reminder is to notice those changes and if something doesn't feel right talk to your doctor!  My doctor had said that the worst that would happen if my mammogram came back fine was wasting time at the doctors office and getting my boob smashed.  I don't even feel like I wasted my time having it done.  It's been a good reminder to do monthly checks and pay attention to changes.  And if you are over 40 make sure you get your yearly mammograms! 

 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

An Adoption Letter

I don't mention much about adoption anymore.  I don't read many of the adoption blogs that I used to read.  Honestly I can't handle the drama - which that sounds really mean and I don't mean it that way.  When you are adopting it's just all drama.  Not that the adoptive parents are seeking the drama, it just naturally comes your way.  I remember almost feeling embarrassed when we got the call about our embryo appointment the day after we got back from our first failed adoption.  I didn't even want to tell anyone because I felt like I was causing all this drama and it embarrassed me to no end.  That's also why we didn't tell anyone about Camryn until the day she was born - and then it was just our families.  I didn't want to drag anyone else through the up and down drama we and them had gone through for the last million years (give or take a few obviously).  I've slowly realized to that I had to step away from a lot of that and just be a parent.  And honestly I was tired of everything adoption related.  So, so exhausted by it.  We talk about it some, but not all the time like we used to.  I read articles on occasion, but not like I used to.  I can't say this enough - It. Wears. Me. Out.  There are so many different opinions on what you should do, what you should say, how to raise your kids, blah!  It also irritates me at times to.  So the best way I've found is to ignore what irritates me, pray a lot, follow a few of the blogs of people I've grown attached to and just do my best winging it with Camryn.  At this point though I think investing in some good books about stubborn, head strong kids would be more in my interest than reading a million different perspectives on adoptive parenting. 

But I read this, this weekend.  A friend posted it on Facebook.  It immediately brought tears to my eyes.  I'm posting it here in it's entirety because I want a record of this some day.  I may be 4 years out of the adoption loop but one very well written article puts me right back there.  It may not be front on my brain anymore, but we adoptive parents do share a bond.  This is one of the best articles I've ever read that really sums up those emotions.    



Dear Mom of an Adopted Child,
I met you in adoption education class. I met you at the agency. I met you at my son's school. I met you online. I met you on purpose. I met you by accident.
It doesn't matter. The thing is, I knew you right away. I recognize the fierce determination. The grit. The fight. Because everything about what you have was a decision, and nothing about what you have was easy. You are the kind of woman who Makes.Things.Happen. After all, you made this happen, this family you have.
Maybe you prayed for it. Maybe you had to convince a partner it was the right thing. Maybe you did it alone. Maybe people told you to just be happy with what you had before. Maybe someone told you it simply wasn't in God's plans for you to have a child, this child whose hair you now brush lightly from his face. Maybe someone warned you about what happened to their cousin's neighbor's friend. Maybe you ignored them.
Maybe you planned for it for years. Maybe an opportunity dropped into your lap. Maybe you depleted your life savings for it. Maybe it was not your first choice. But maybe it was.
Regardless, I know you. And I see how you hold on so tight. Sometimes too tight. Because that's what we do, isn't it?
I know about all those books you read back then. The ones everyone reads about sleep patterns and cloth versus disposable, yes -- but the extra ones, too. About dealing with attachment disorders, breast milk banks, babies born addicted to alcohol, cocaine, meth. About cognitive delays, language deficiencies. About counseling support services, tax and insurance issues, open adoption pros and cons, legal rights.
I know about the fingerprinting, the background checks, the credit reports, the interviews, the references. I know about the classes -- so many classes. I know the frustration of the never-ending paperwork. The hours of going over finances, of having garage sales and bake sales and whatever-it-takes sales to raise money to afford it all.
I know how you never lost sight of what you wanted.
I know about the match call, the soaring of everything inside you to cloud-height, even higher. And then the tucking of that away because, well, these things fall through, you know.
Maybe you told your mother, a few close friends. Maybe you shouted it to the world. Maybe you allowed yourself to decorate a baby's room, buy a car seat. Maybe you bought a soft blanket, just that one blanket, and held it to your cheek every night.
I know about your home visits. I know about your knuckles, cracked and bleeding from cleaning every square inch of your home the night before. I know about you burning the coffee cake and trying to fix your mascara before the social worker rang the doorbell.
And I know about the follow-up visits, when you hadn't slept in three weeks because the baby had colic. I know how you wanted so badly to show that you had it all together, even though you were back to working more-than-full-time, maybe without maternity leave, without the family and casseroles and welcome-home balloons and plants.
And I've seen you in foreign countries, strange lands, staying in dirty hotels, taking weeks away from work, struggling to understand what's being promised and what's not. Struggling to offer your love to a little one who is unsettled and afraid. Waiting, wishing, greeting, loving, flying, nesting, coming home.
I've seen you down the street at the hospital when a baby was born, trying to figure out where you belong in the scene that's emerging. I've seen your face as you hear a nurse whisper to the birthmother that she doesn't have to go through with this. I've seen you trying so hard to give this birthmother all of your respect and patience and compassion in those moments -- while you bite your lip and close your eyes, not knowing if she will change her mind, if this has all been a dream coming to an abrupt end in a sterile environment. Not knowing if this is your time. Not knowing so much.
I've seen you look down into a newborn infant's eyes, wondering if he's really yours, wondering if you can quiet your mind and good sense long enough to give yourself over completely.
And then, to have the child in your arms, at home, that first night. His little fingers curled around yours. His warm heart beating against yours.
I know that bliss. The perfect, guarded, hopeful bliss.
I also know about you on adoption day. The nerves that morning, the judge, the formality, the relief, the joy. The letting out of a breath maybe you didn't even know you were holding for months. Months.
I've seen you meet your child's birthparents and grandparents weeks or years down the road. I've seen you share your child with strangers who have his nose, his smile ... people who love him because he's one of them. I've seen you hold him in the evenings after those visits, when he's shaken and confused and really just wants a stuffed animal and to rest his head on your shoulder.
I've seen you worry when your child brings home a family tree project from school. Or a request to bring in photos of him and his dad, so that the class can compare traits that are passed down, like blue eyes or square chins. I know you worry, because you can protect your child from a lot of things -- but you can't protect him from being different in a world so intent on celebrating sameness.
I've seen you at the doctor's office, filling out medical histories, leaving blanks, question marks, hoping the little spaces don't turn into big problems later on.
I've seen you answer all of the tough questions, the questions that have to do with why, and love, and how much, and where, and who, and how come, mama? How come?
I've seen you wonder how you'll react the first time you hear the dreaded, "You're not my real mom." And I've seen you smile softly in the face of that question, remaining calm and loving, until you lock yourself in the bathroom and muffle your soft cries with the sound of the shower.
I've seen you cringe just a little when someone says your child is lucky to have you. Because you know with all your being that it is the other way around.
But most of all, I want you to know that I've seen you look into your child's eyes. And while you will never see a reflection of your own eyes there, you see something that's just as powerful: A reflection of your complete and unstoppable love for this person who grew in the midst of your tears and laughter -- and whose loss would be like the loss of yourself.
***

I wrote this piece after reading an essay by Lea Grover titled "Dear Less-Than-Perfect Mom." The post by Lea was wonderful, and it made me think about us moms who found our sweet babies through adoption, and how we face unique challenges. I hope you enjoy it, whether you are the parent of an adopted child or not.
This post originally appeared on KathyLynnHarris.com.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Support Hose and Chainsaws

I'm going to really try to keep our blog updated more.  In the blogging world there have been two young mothers who have passed away in the last few weeks.  In all the conversations on social media the prevailing comments made have been...what a legacy those blogs will be for their kids.  I don't even pretend to think I'm in the same league as those bloggers, but there is some truth to that.  I also don't pretend that I write about the same things that they did, but what I do write is a remembrance for our own family.  I'm not a flowery person and I don't write with a lot of purpose - except to remember the funny day to day things that our family goes through.  I guess in itself that is the legacy I would want to leave.  I know my kids know that I love them, but I also want them to remember that mom had a good sense of humor and could laugh at most of the absurd things that happened around the house.  Do we have more weird things happen to us than others?  I doubt it, but trying to see the humor in what does happen is maybe a gift that I have?  Again, I'm not kidding myself.  Some things just aren't funny (like the time Jay told me I was getting grandma arms) and I don't laugh all of the time.  But eventually most things do become funny.  It also helps that Jay is a willing partner in all of it.  His dry sense of humor has always been a big part of helping me to springboard in to a funny story.  So here is just another day in the life.....

I have fought some varicose veins for the last 10 years.  My left leg looks terrible and the calf on my right leg swells all of the time.  Some days my legs ache so bad that when I get home the only thing I want to do is lay on the couch.  Since we've met our deductible this year I've decided 2015 is the year I get my veins fixed.  Not only are they somewhat of an eyesore and honestly a confidence buster - but they just plain hurt.  It's like being 38 with the legs of a 80 year old.  Last week I had my first appointment and the first order of business was purchasing support hose.  Mostly that was for insurance purposes, but I do intend to wear them.  Once we get into jean, leggings and boot weather I plan to wear them most days.  Sunday during church my calf swelled again and I was just uncomfortable.  I decided to try on the support stockings when we got home. 

These are actually thigh highs, which deciding between actual pantyhose and thigh highs was a conflict in its self.  I didn't want to pull a full pair of hose up every day, but I wasn't sure how thigh highs would look.  Since they are supposed to be tighter I was afraid it would push all my leg fat up and you'd be able to see a definite line where the hose ended and my fat started.  Much like an undie line only around my legs.  Also, imagine my surprise when I pulled the thigh highs out and discovered a lace band around the top.  I guess they were trying to "sex" them up?  I got them on without the struggle that I was warned about and then just put on running shorts.  So imagine running shorts, exposed skin, lace band and then hose....and I put on my house shoes so I wouldn't put a runner in the feet. 

I hold very fast to the rule that Sunday is the day of rest.  I like a good Sunday afternoon nap.  After lunch me and my thigh highs settled in for a nap.  Jay went out to do all of the things Jay likes to do on Sunday's.  I woke up to the tall ladder being on our deck and the sound of Jay on the roof.  I knew then Jay was trimming trees.  Of course all kinds of scenes from Christmas Vacation flashed through my head.  I should also mention that we have new neighbors....

I was transferring laundry when I heard the loudest crash from off the roof.  My heart stopped and I tore out the garage door fully expecting to see Jay's broken body on the ground.  Instead I saw the chainsaw but no Jay.  In fact I never laid eyes on Jay  during this exchange.

Me:  JAY are you ok?
J: Yeah
Me:  My gawd get down off the roof.  This is one of the dumbest things you've done.  It's ridiculous.  Call a tree trimmer tomorrow!
J: Ok (He'd never admit it but I think he realized standing on the roof with a chainsaw wasn't the best idea)

A few minutes later he still wasn't off the roof so this time I went out the back door.

Me:  Are you getting down now?  It's time to get down.  We can afford a tree trimmer but I can't afford for you to die or maybe worse yet become permanently incapacitated.
J:  All right, hold the ladder
Me:  Now that you are down do you realize what else this caused?  I'm outside in my support hose.  Do you realize that if the ambulance had came I would've forgot to take these things off and they would've seen me like this?  Also, the new neighbors probably saw me and heard me yelling.
J:  I was just trying to make sure the satellite had a clear signal......

Later I thought the only thing missing in that exchange was me holding a cigarette and can of beer and rollers in my hair.  My sister reminded me of a very similar exchange involving Grammy and Granddad, knee highs, a Mumu and the garage roof ( minus this beer and cigarette's of course).  Yup, I knew I has having a flashback Sunday afternoon!