Friday, October 14, 2011

The Fear

We have felt The Fear.  Tuesday we sat in a hospital and held a frightened little hand and tried to ward off The Fear. Not only in ourselves, but in Fiona. 
The Fear is not only the fear of what is happening but of the unknown. It's not knowing but having to survive it anyway. It's the time as a parent when you are helpless to stop whatever is happening to your baby - regardless of the age.  It's when your driving teen leaves the house and then gets in an accident. It's when your tween falls on the soccer field and doesn't jump right back up. It's when your toddler is stuck in a hospital bed screaming about spiders and you just don't know why.
Finally Sleeping
Fiona woke up in the wee hours Tuesday morning screaming about spiders. It was the scream that has you half way down the hallway before your body even realizes you're awake. She's screaming about spider and trying to claw out of her jammies.  Doug was close behind and we did everything we could to calm her down from what we thought was a really bad nightmare.  
We shook out her bed, fixed her sheets,  brushed her off. We turned on the lights and showed her there were no spiders.  All to no avail. She was NOT going to get back in her bed, and keeping her calm was proving to be a challenge.  We decided that we would try to get her in our bed to try to catch that last half hour of sleep before the day started.  No good.  It was the same thing. Terrified screams coming from my normally happy girl.  Maybe it's the blankets touching her. Maybe she's just so tired that she's getting the tinglies right as she falls asleep. Maybe she was bit by something and so I checked her.  Top to bottom I checked her.  Nothing.
There is a special kind of helplessness reserved for parents.  When your child is sick or injured or scared and there is nothing you can do but watch it happen and it sucks.  That's why it is The Fear, because it is every parent's worst fear.  You have to lay down your superhero cape and admit that you just can't fix it.  

Little toddler butt peaking out!
Three hours into it I knew there was something wrong and she needed more than what we could give her at home. I called and made an appointment with the doctor and off we went.  Of course we get there and she is all sweetness and light. The doctor told me it was night terrors (which I was sure it was not) and sent us home with instructions to come back if it happened again. Which it did. As soon as we got all the way out of the building and on to the freeway. Of course. So back we went. This time, mid freak-out, the doctor took me seriously and not like a freaking-out-over-nothing mom.  They decided to admit her for overnight observation.
I'll save you the details of my 24 hours of hell.  No, they never did figure out what caused it. All of her tests came back clean (Amen!). She is, as one doctor told me (one of the few I could talk to without wanting to spork in the eye) that she was a 100% healthy 2 year old... that happened to be seeing spiders that weren't there.  There was nothing they could find. CT scans, blood work, neuro exams - all healthy.  They don't know why or what caused it or how to fix it. Hopefully it just stops.
I will say that I am OK with that diagnosis. The big things that cause The Fear are not there.  There is no sickness to beat, there are no further tests or hospitals in our future because of this.  I will not have to hold down my terrified little girl while she is poked and prodded by hospital staff, trying to calm her while I bawl and pray. 
Thank you to the friends and family that prayed for and with us.  Thank you to the doctors, nurses and various other hospital staff that did all you could to make facing The Fear a little easier.  Thank you to my husband, who did the hardest thing a parent will ever have to do - leave the hospital while your baby is in it - so that I didn't have to.

Update: The spiders are gone now and have been for a couple weeks.  Every now and again she will startle and say something about spiders but nothing like the wild-eyed panic that we saw that day. 


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Boyfriend's Back

I was talking with a good friend the other day who was asking how we were settling in.  I was telling her all about how great the girls were doing and how well they were adjusting. 
Then she asked about Doug and I specifically. You see, the last couple of years hasn't been the best for us.  We've both had a lot of job stress and bad communication. We don't communicate the same way. Not in the way that a man and a woman sometimes don't communicate.  More like the way cats and dogs don't communicate. Two different species speaking two different languages.  We went to a therapist in April and he asked us about our backgrounds and previous marriages.  When we were done he told us "To be honest I don't know how this works. It shouldn't. But it does.".  To be honest, we're not entirely sure how it works either. 
Doug and I - Orcas Island 2006
When Doug and I started dating he was going to school full time and I was working 50+ hour weeks with a 2 hour commute.  I was a single mom barely making ends meet. He was the calm to my chaos.  We were engaged after being together just shy of six months.  We had brought things to each others lives that were desperately missing.  We saw a happiness in each other that we had both been looking for.  So we made the leap.  We were veterans, we could do this!
Insert a wedding, honeymoon, pregnancy, job changes, layoffs, financial strain and life. Blend until smooth and serve chilled.  I don't know that either of us could pin-point the moment things got "hard". They just started getting harder. And harder. AND harder. Until it was getting to be too hard.
Then we moved 1200 miles.  Good Lord, whose bright idea was this?  And to the one place that I spent years trying to get away from surrounded by the chaos that I had worked so hard to separate myself from?  Apparently I drink. Or should. The opportunity was worth it.  The chance to take some of the stress and burden from my  husband. To give us some time and space to breathe.  Cut the workload but not the pay.  It had to be worth it. Right?
For the last few months we've struggled. We've fought. I mean really fought. In ways we never have before.  I was left questioning my sanity, my resolve and my marriage. 
Then something started to shift. Slowly but it was happening.  I didn't even see it, until one day it was just there.   I realized I had my husband back. No, that wasn't quite right. I had my boyfriend back! The man that made me smile and laugh. He never took himself or anything else too seriously. He has again been the calm to my chaos. My safety.  My serenity.  He is the one that has taught me that the worry and the stress only bring on more worry and stress and in the end all you can do is what you can do and anything else... it'll all fall into place. 
I don't know how it works, but it does. It shouldn't. But it does. I am reminded of why I married this man. I am given a glimpse of the man that whisked me away to an island where I was hit with sense of Knowing. He would always be there and we would always be together and I loved him.  I married him because that feeling never diminished.  Even when it did, when I was questioning it the most, it came back. I am reminded of the ebb and flow that is marriage - like the tides on that island. I have my safety and my serenity again.  I can breath. I can laugh. 
I love you, Doug. With all that I am and with all of my tomorrows. 

And now back to our regularly scheduled chaos...

Monday, October 3, 2011

Kiss My Brass

I never expected to be a Band Mom.  What I expected even less was LOVING it. So far we've had two football games and the Preview of Champions performance. These kids are awesome!  They work their butts off 3-4 days a week for 2+ hours at a time after school.  They show up on Saturdays, they are at school to practice before they leave for performances. They are running! I was surprised when Allie told me she was running the track during practice.  She comes home exhausted and sore.
I joined the boosters because I wanted to be involved. I attended the meetings, volunteered to coordinate volunteers and talked about fund raising. I volunteered Doug to drive the U-Haul.  I was definitely surprised by how difficult it was for me to get volunteers, but it has only increased my desire to do as much as I can to help these kids out.
I wasn't prepared for the Preview of Champions.  I had seen the band do their field show at the football games. There was another part that I hadn't seen before and I was so, so, SO proud of Allie and all the other kids. It brought me to tears! I felt like a giant dork and Allie laughed at me when I told her.  It's just such an amazing thing to see the hard work your kid has put into something come out so awesome.  After the performance we heard who messed up, who missed a step, Allie forgot where her starting point was... But to me it was beautiful. I was really impressed.  Now let's say for the record that the only instrument I play is my MP3 player. That's about as talented as I am.  I don't know that I even could play anything so this is some pretty cool stuff for me. 
I never knew anyone in band when I was in high school. Maybe that's why this is all so cool to me.  I feel like a kid with a new toy.
I'm finding that being a booster is going to be rather difficult. The fact that not all parents are as interested or involved as we are was a hard pill to swallow.  I don't understand why you wouldn't want to stand in the bleachers and cheer for your kid. How can you not want to be there for every step on that field? I just don't get it.  That means I'll have to work harder and it'll be more difficult to raise the money we need. It's worth it though.  Because these kids are awesome.  Maybe in a couple more years when Allie and I have become real Marching Band Veterans some of the sparkle and awesome will wear off. I sure hope not. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

To My Doula

Six months ago Georgiana Grace made her grand appearance in our lives.  She is an amazing little girl that fills the house with such joy. I am so blessed to  have such a happy baby.  She is all giggles and fat rolls.  I wanted to take some time to acknowledge my amazing doula, Jen. 
There is rarely a day when I don't think of her. Jen is an amazing woman that has such joy and love that it radiates from her.  I first met her at a VBAC support group run by the doula she was apprenticing with.   I had hired Patti and Jen to be with me for Georgiana's birth.  Patti had gone to a conference in Portland and was away the day I went into labor.  I called Jen and she spent the day with us. She gave me a support that was such a gift I can hardly put it into words.
Jen you were amazing. You gave me a gift during my labor that I will never be able to adequately say thank you for.  There isn't a day when I don't think of you when I play with Georgiana. You were such an important part of her birth! It is difficult for me to come to terms with not being closer and not being able to have you as a regular part of our lives.
I'm glad that we are able to stay connected through the wonderful power of the internet.  But I miss you, Lady! I miss your amazing face and smile.  I miss the love that just shines from you (and Patti, too).  I miss the wonderful community that I was able to be a part of with you.  I want you to know that you will forever be in a very special place in my heart. The world is a better place because you are in it. 
I love you, Friend.