Sunday, October 16, 2016

Perfectly flawed

My aunt posted about missing my grandmother. She died what seems like many years ago... before I had kids. She had ALS. It's a horrific disease. My aunt said she was "perfectly flawed". It made me think about myself and about my kids.

When I went to visit my sister in law before Bella ever started daycare, another mom came in to pick up her son. She said "he was born with a cleft lip, it's not like missing a hand or foot something." I remember my heart sinking as I nursed my little 6 pound love bug under a nursing cover. I don't remember the specifics of what happened but I do know that although Bella has an obvious limb difference, it's by no means a flaw in my eyes.

Bella is perfect. She has flaws just like EVERY SINGLE PERSON on this plant. Some of them have yet to be discovered I'm sure.  I'm her mother and I am not here to put them on the internet... what I will put out here are my flaws. Some of my flaws are also my strengths... one example, I'm SO type A and I like to get things done perfect the first time and I don't like to delegate. This can make life challenging at times and also frustrating. Another thing about it is that it gets done the way I want and then it makes me happy in the end... so what is my flaw is also a strength.

I'm full of flaws. Some are visible and some are not... I challenge you to be perfectly flawed. To celebrate your differences, whether visible or not. I challenge you to support those around you and their flaws as well. Kindness makes a giant difference!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Life and madness

This life is a crazy life but it's our life and I wouldn't trade it for the world...

I'm sitting at our kitchen table trying to work. I'm surrounded by half-eaten bowls of cereal, a reading journal, play doh, a number of water cups, a cereal box, tiny shoes, messy walls and sight words to name a few. I'm also surrounded by this computer, a pediatric textbook (that's a mere 2046 pages), a binder full of exams, printed off powerpoints, highlighters, pens, post its, a flash drive, my cell phone and a purse.

Today was busy as are most days. I did 4 loads of laundry without rewashing a single one (Can I get an Amen?!). I met with a student. I met with another mom. I met with a teacher at our child's school. I went to recess with Bella and Grayson. I heard a secret from one little girl about how Grayson told her that he loved her so much he could kiss her (help me God!). I laughed... and I've almost cried.

I'm a full time working mama. My days are filled with emails... hundreds of emails. Emails from students, other professors, school, other moms at my kids school, parties, and random other junk. My mornings are rushed, making lunches, cleaning faces, fixing ponytails, encouraging teeth brushing and racing out the door in the nick of time. My evenings are filled with snacks, dinner, homework, reading, worksheets, grading, more emails, more reading, bath, snuggles and bedtime. There are nights I fall asleep on the couch... more nights than I care to admit.

I wouldn't trade my career for the world. I love nursing, I love pediatric nursing, I love students, teaching, my colleagues at my college, education, labs, lectures, clinical and simulations. I'm teaching my kids about my passion and showing them that I can be successful. I'm helping to afford us to skip the new couch and go camping instead or on vacation. I've traded bedside nursing and long shifts to more time at home in the evenings and no weekends. I've traded missing holidays to being present at every single one.

I wouldn't trade being a mother for the world either. It challenges me many times more than my career. It's filled my house with tiny shoes, messy floors, laughter and most of all love. Someday, I'll miss the many loads of laundry or finding a potato that came down the laundry shoot. I'll miss the tiny handprints on the mirrors and the messy floors. In my heart, I know that I will. I wonder if I'll even feel a little lonely without them here. My kids have taught me to love unconditionally and how to stand up and set a solid example for them.

As mothers and parents, I encourage you to be supportive. I'm on pinterest although most days it makes me feel inadequate. I mean who has time to complete 20 projects, fancy dinners, totally organized houses? Do you remember me saying that I'm proud that I didn't have to re-wash any laundry from forgetting it today? Be kind to each other. I know I could use a little support every now and then to feel more normal.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Facebook depression

I teach a growth and development class for the college where I work. I love love love my job. It makes me feel proud. Proud that I get to shape these individuals into better students, into future nurses, proud that I have a group of dedicated colleagues, that care as much or more than I do, that give 110% all of the time. I'm truly blessed to be combining two of my favorite things, nursing and education.

Last week, I taught about family and social media. There's a thing in our text book called "Facebook depression". Each time I teach that topic I wonder what our world is coming too. Social media has the ability to make people depressed. As if we don't already have enough going on in our world that we need to add to it in a negative way.

Last week I thought about it in a different way. Maybe people get depressed from social media not only from the negativity but maybe it makes them feel like they are not enough. They didn't create the perfect pinterest classroom project, they didn't cook a gourmet meal for their family every night, they didn't get to the gym as much as someone else, their marriage isn't as good as someone else. Social media has the ability to bring out the best and the worst in people. It's an easy outlet for people to express themselves quickly to a number of people and friends.

For me, I post the good, the bad, the ugly. Motherhood and life is enough. I don't need further negativity in my life. I block the posts that bring me down and read more of the ones that lift me up. I love the honesty of some of my friends. One friend posts about going to the gym one day and eating mexican the next. It's all about balance for her... and for me too. One posts funny pictures about her kids and her husband.

This week, I encourage you to use social media to lift people up. Don't post things that are highly controversial, take a break. Don't you already have enough going on in your life? Post about how you find the balance, post about how you manage your time, how you handle your stress, how you find the balance between being a mom, a wife and an employee... Lift people up... See how it helps you and makes you feel.

As for me, I'm still finding the balance. I started my "new" job as a full time faculty just this past summer. I'm struggling to find the balance between doing work at work and bringing it home. I'm struggling to get meals on the table that are healthy and that people eat. I'm struggling to feel like I am a good wife AND a good mom. I will tell you that I'm doing the very best I can. I'm giving 110% of me all of the time. My house is often messy, we really, deep clean it about once a week. There are often backpacks on the floor and shoes scattered around. I'm figuring out that it's okay... someday those tiny shoes will be the same size as mine, some day the backpacks won't be there. Right now, I'm finding the balance between purging and keeping. How do YOU find the balance?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Love the ones your with

Life is short... the dishes will be there, the house will still be waiting to be cleaned, the toilets- they can wait too... Let the laundry pile up, let the rooms be messy, let cleaning wait and love the ones you care most about. Really love them. Let them feel the love. 

A few days ago, something happened. It's private and I intend to keep it that way. It scared me, my life flashed before my eyes, things can change in an instant. Often times, we get so caught up in the every day things, homework, dishes, dinner, baths... that we forget that the people that we love the most are waiting for us, wanting and needing our attention. Cherish those moments, turn them into memories... When all is said and done, you will remember the memories the most. I promise. 

This wake up call has made me think. I've kissed my kids more than ever. I've actually stopped in the hallway to kiss my husband. I stopped cleaning the kitchen to wrap my arms around his body and really feel it in my arms. I'll be the first to admit, that I don't do those things as often as I should. 

My husband gets pushed to the way side while I hug our kids, read to them, do homework, make them breakfast for the 3rd time in one morning. Today, I held him extra tight. I even told my beautiful babies that I loved him first, long before they ever came along. I told him that the love we created allowed us to create them. That I fell more in love with their daddy with each and every day. That their births allowed me to fall in love with him all over again. 

You see, it's my husband that gets the brunt of my bad day. He's the one I adore. He takes my shit when I'm having a bad day. He's kind and gentle, yet hardworking and stubborn. It's he that consoles me when I'm sad, that tells me to back off the cliff when I'm ready to jump. It's he that wraps his arms around me and holds me when I cry. It's he that takes the time to listen to my excitement, my fears, my happiness, my craziness, my madness, my silliness. He loves me in a way that I know no one else could. 

Take it from me, love the ones you love the most. Really love them, love them in a way that no one else if capable of loving them. Love your babies, love your husband, call your mom, pick up your friendships, take time to do something that makes you happy. Love your life... please, don't let it slip away without loving it. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Class talk

Two weeks ago I went to talk to Bella's class about her hand on her request. That's kind of how we've worked it every year. She tells me IF she wants me to come talk and then I reach out to her teacher when she says something. It turns out that the teacher had a super cool activity planned so she thought my talk would fit right in, turns out, I also don't teach on Fridays so it was perfect timing. It also happened that I received a text from a classmate's mom saying "ask Bella about Billy" *name changed to protect privacy*... so basically all the stars aligned for it to be perfect timing.

This year we talked about some of the same things: She was born that way, I found out when I was pregnant, she can do everything you can, she does some things that you do but just differently. She has to TRY things even if she thinks she can't. Their class has a saying "No I can't, only I'll try". This fit in well with my chat. I explained that sometimes she may do things different and get the same result. One example that we used was tying her shoes or cutting with scissors.

This year, I changed a few things. I added in words that make us feel good, that lift us up and make us feel happy. Those words could be friendly, kind, warm, happy, caring... I also added in words that make us feel sad or are hurtful. Those words could be creepy, weird or stupid. I explained that it's much nicer if we could try to lift up our friends and make them feel good. That kindness comes full circle, if you are kind, then others want to be kind to you. I asked them to come up with words people used to describe them that make them feel good. I heard words like helpful, funny, happy, athletic, crafty... They were THRILLED to share those words that made them feel special.

We talked about how some differences we can see, like a missing hand. We also talked about differences we can't see like diabetes. We talked about celebrating each of our differences and what makes us each special. We also talked about how each of us has physical differences that we can see, such as hair color, eye color, freckles, moles... and maybe we had differences on the inside that no one could see or knew about. One child even felt comfortable sharing that she was diabetic and had to get her blood sugar checked.

This was the FIRST time I took notes with me to talk about Bella's limb difference. It's EASY to get off track with a bunch of squirrely second graders at the end of a busy school day. I'm happy with the results. I'm also happy to report that Billy has been much nicer since our chat!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Myoelectric testing

We've been waiting...and waiting...and waiting for Hanger to tell us that they received insurance approval for a prosthetic. Our pediatrician already wrote a prescription for it. Who knew you'd need a prescription? Crazy but true... Turns out Hanger never submitted it to insurance at all. Instead they went ahead and retrieved the myoelectric (myo) tester from another location to be sure that Bella's muscles in her left forearm work properly to control a myo. This has been over a month long process just to get the tester.

(This is an image from the internet that shows what a myo could look like for someone like Bella)

Yesterday, we went into Hanger to do the testing. Turns out, Bella's muscles are on fire! She was able to move her wrist in the ways that our prosthetist asked in order to trigger her muscles. Demonstrating that these muscles triggered means that Bella would be able to control a myo. She was super excited! She loved watching the tester lights go up and down on the monitor. She loved being able to "see" her muscles do something on a machine. It was a really sweet moment watching the excitement in her eyes and her face light up.

Our prosthetist said "She likely wouldn't need much occupational therapy if you practiced at home. All of her muscles are intact and fire properly. She's able to control them to trigger the muscles when asked. That means that she could open and close a hand on the prosthesis." Watching her face was like watching fire works on the fourth of July. She was thrilled to hear that she could make the muscles work in the way that she needed to to control a prosthetic myoelectric limb. I was excited to watch her continue to trigger the machine and watch her laugh with delight.

It was a short 15 minute appointment. An appointment that could change things for her and our family. We've always said that we would support our children. This was Bella's idea. She really wanted to try a prosthetic. She says that she thinks it will make some things easier. I would agree with her... I'll also be the first to say that it'll make some things harder too. Things she used to doing with her hand the way that it is. Things like playing with certain toys, tying shoes, doing pony tails, cutting things with scissors, eating... she'll have to do things differently. Kids will be curious in a different way.

Now, we wait...and wait...and wait... for Hanger to talk to insurance and our pediatrician to talk to insurance. For insurance to deny a prosthetic and then to appeal... that's how this works. So for now, we wait.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Oh Apple...

It's true that I love Apple products, they are so user friendly... WHEN they work! My computer isn't currently recognizing my phone which creates some issues when trying to upload photos. In the meantime, a LOT has been going on! Stay tuned for a TON of blog updates!