Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Calm Closing Sense of Complete...

The old rice filling up the pot was the most beautiful thing. Suspended in water, and hugged by each molecule. It was lovely as I tipped the pot and let it spill over into the sink. Swirling like a sea of stars, the rice was over taken by the gravity of the drain. I flipped the switch to let it be eaten by the sink machine. It sucked it in gladly and away the rice went. That thing eats more than my kids. What a waste of lovely rice, what a terrific sacrifice.

You know what I miss....? I miss driving home from my job. It was such a relief and good feeling. I would turn my music up really loudly and lean way back in my Mini Cooper seat. When I last had a job I was really into Pinback, which isn't particularly a band one plays loudly, but it sounded so good in that car. I listened to the mix CD I made over and over. Driving down the canyon was a blast in that car. I could go so fast so easily, not even afraid of slippery curves. I know Parleys like the bad of me hand. After the season ended in Park City, I worked downtown. That was also a fun drive home, all the people and the cars to look at, wondering where everyone was going and who they went home to. Any drive home was a good one....I felt accomplished and that I had really earned my living. I worked very hard at the spas. I made it a personal mission to "take care," of these strangers and let them know that they deserved to feel good and relax.

Now I am on the other side...needing to feel good and relax. My days are hard and long, but full of love. I get to take care of the people I enjoy most. There is just no drive home. No sense of completion or relief, because this job does not stop. Even when I am away, I am here. It makes no sense this mommy occupation. I love it, it frustrates me, I question myself constantly and get to the breaking point, then I get hugs and kisses and it melts away. The days are schizophrenic and controlled, the deep, the scars, the emotion that rises and falls- all swirling like a sea of stars. I am in it all for keeps.

In my imagination, as I move through my days, some one beautiful brushes my hair, wraps it in a towel to keep it clean as she washes my face, and takes care of this stranger. Some day I will become reacquainted with that relief, that calm closing sense of complete and it will be good for everyone. But as for now I have pots of old rice that are beautiful in their sacrifice, snotty noses to wipe, and applesauce to clean up. I notice everything and keep it close. For when I am away, I want to remember what I have to come home Crazy, dirty, crying, snuggly, you... and we are all better when Mom comes home.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It has been a year...

On September 3rd of this year Elodie was getting casts done for new braces, last year she was having a biopsy of her tumor. It is amazing that it has only been a year. It seems like an eternity, because of everything that has happened since then. I have been particularly sensitive to all of this lately. I guess it has to do with me coming off my antidepressants and the thought of where I was a year ago. Standing over my little lady in a hospital crib, waiting, and waiting, and waiting to hear the most beautiful word in the English language...benign. I did hear it (thank the lord) and had everyone repeat it to me, so it could forever sing in my mind that she was going to be fine. She will get those new braces on Friday.

She is so fine. She is hilarious and loving. I think she is really good at making all of us feel loved by her. She cuddles and compliments and tries to get everyone to smile. She can use her walker like a champ now and she is getting bigger braces. The other ones, pinch her cubby little legs. While waiting for the new ones, we have been working on more abdomen exercises to help stabilizer her so she isn't relying so much on her hands. It all depends on the day if she is willing to not use her hands. I know she can sit and kneel without them, I have seen it. When she is tired she cheats and puts her hand down.

We haven't any news on the wheelchair. I have no idea what is going on there. I think I haven't investigated it, because I am tired and I am also just nervous about it all. My emotions on the subject run kinda high. I know I need to tone it down and have a better sense of humor about my daughter being in a wheelchair (or whatever), but it is hard. I have to stop trying to be the champion of the world and just be the champion for my daughter. I am doing my best. But I need better skills, I have no idea where to go for help on the subject. I don't know what I would do if she was made fun of for it, I would be crushed. I need to be stronger, as strong as she is. I am so glad that child was born with a natural wit, and smart-assness that could go up against most adults. She is too stubborn and tenacious not to completely conquer the world.

I need to breathe, deep, deep breaths. Maybe I should quit worrying about where she will be fine and turn it in on myself. Vanessa will be fine. Fine. Fine. Fine. This must be how Sally Field feels in all of her movies. She always has one of those frantic "I'm okay going insane" speeches and things work out okay.....even if she does pick up a few more personalities along the way. Oh...boy.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

They are Leaving on a Jet Plane....WAH!!!!

The unbelievable is about to happen. My world as I know it is going to halt for 10 days. I will be made to entertain myself for hours and hours on end. There will be no schedule, no meals to be made, no laundry to be done, no stories to read, no appointments to run to unless I choose to do any of those things. What is going to happen?!? My kids are going to Florida to visit their grandparents for 10 days!!!

I am a bundle of nerves and excitement. Just thinking about it makes me shake inside and breathe heavy heavy sighs. Mostly I am excited for my babies and their grandparents, they have never had them at their house before. The last and only time we went to Florida I was recovering from my first eye surgery, that was like 2004, so yeah no babies back then. Joaquin is so thrilled to get on a plane. Grandma Julee sent them a book about going on vacation and we have been reading it everyday. He asks me nearly every time he hears a plane, "Do we go on da airpane today? We see Gampa, Gampa?" He calls them both the same thing. I hope that the tornado twins are good for their grandma. She is taking them on the plane. Camden was supposed to, but he doesn't feel well enough to fly. It is better that way. They are usually better for other people than they are us anyway. I have left them before, and their grandparents have watched them here, but never ever have I been that long in this house without my children. When I think about it, I have to close my eyes and clench up my hands tight to force back tears. Gulp. I really can't wait to see the pictures and hear their little voices over the phone telling me about all their adventures. I hope this can become a tradition for them. Florida is such a different place than Utah (duh) and I would like them to have a very close relationship with their grandparents. Even when they are older I would like them to spend entire summers there with them. How awesome would that be for a kid? I want them to stay close to their grandparents their whole lives.

I still have to pack for them. Man, I guess I have been putting it off because it is going to be so hard to be in this house without them. I really have no idea what I am going to do with myself. On Saturday I am going to Lagoon with friends. That is going to be super fun. I haven't been to Lagoon without kids for years and it is a lot more fun when you don't have to push a stroller everywhere and change bums on the dirty Lagoon changing tables. Bleck! So yeah, that is it. Those are the only plans I have so far. I kinda feel pathetic that I don't know what to do...I want to do something and not just waste my time sleeping in and wandering around my house unshowered, holding a teddy bear, and asking the cats if they will let me dress them in Elodie's clothes. I have this image of myself in dirty pajamas, hair oily and knotted, eyes sunken in, yarn tangled around my feet, dried mascara clumps in the corner of my eyes and nothing to do but cry. Okay that is super dramatic. But really I am afraid of being without them. They are my little rays of sunshine that give me such love in the morning I can start the day smiling. Ugh. I am going to miss that. Also I have them pretty scheduled mostly, give or take a half and hour and that is going to be gone. It will be interesting. I plan on getting to know myself and new friends a little better. So if I call or text you, please answer. Take pity on this lost little momma and help me fill my days with love. I will try my best to not feed, clean, or mother you in anyway, but if I do, please let me, I will be going through lovey dovey withdrawals.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cacophonous Crescendo...

I get a moment to myself and think, "What the hell?" I can't believe this is my life and I can't believe that in a week's time I will have lived 30 years of it. WHAT THE HELL, indeed!

It has been a month since I started on the skin regimen. Some places on my face have responded better than others, but I think it is moving along okay. My doctor said that we wouldn't know if it is really working until I have been on it for three months. Fingers crossed. I am sick of looking like a teenager with crow's feet.

My bedroom also looks like it belongs to a teenager. It is really awful. I haven't cleaned it in god knows how long. My dresser drawer is broken so it lays lifeless on the floor, getting panties throw at it and regretfully accepting said panties. I have clothes everywhere, I know what is clean though, because the dirty ones do end up in the hamper, yeah me! The clean ones lay on a llama fur rug I have on the floor. There is a cup left on my side table from milk and cookies I had last night. The space next to me on the bed is covered with books ranging from such titles as, "Feng Shui Made Easy," (pfft...scoff) to "The No Cry Potty Training Solution." In reading the last book I have come to learn that it means the kid doesn't cry; the mom on the other hand can't stop crying as she cleans puddles of pee off the bathroom floor. No cry, pfft...scoff, whateves man. Anyway, by the time I get back into my room it is far too late to even think about putting my laundry away. I just want to watch the Food Network until I pass out and my television shuts itself off. "What about the weekend?" you say. What is a weekend? I am a mom I don't get those anymore, everyday is the same. Joaquin comes in my room first thing in the morning, and puts his little face right up to mine and says, "Wake up, Mom. I wanna wah-wah," (waffle) so that is exactly what I do, wake up and give the children their wah-wahs. I would much rather hang out with all of them then put away stupid clothes.

Week before last I was much more ambitious. I got out made an effort to connect with new people, it went well. Things were good. I felt like I was settling into this new life I have created. I could text people and they would receive my text and text something back in order to make plans. Ummm. What do ya know, eh? I had fun, went to a movie, went to Mike's for a fight, saw a bunch of people at the Twilight Concert Series thing, that was good but really packed. Fun though, I felt grounded and important to people.

Then last week, Monro was home and he was so excited to go to camp that he couldn't focus on anything else. I had so much to do to get him ready. He was a total spazz cadet. Elodie had two sessions of therapy with her two different therapist. We were/are only down to one car. I don't know what is wrong with the Honda, but the "check engine" light is on so we can't drive it. Can't get it fix because there is no money to pay anyone to fix it. It is a whole ordeal.

Last week felt uneasy and it was just peaking more and more until there was a completely collapse on Sunday. My heart was once again broken, so to the sewing machine I went to stitch it together. It is hard to not have an unconditional love to run to, eyes red and puffy, snotty Klenex in hand and not feel shame. I know that as an adult I should be strong and grieve in silence or alone, but fuck, it is hard. So hard when I have lived almost all 30 of my years with a friend to go to. I haven't had parents to support me like that, so there is your answer to that, no mom. It would be nice to have a love to trust to just let me know that even though things are rough I am good and I can do this. I do and have been telling myself that, but there is very little reinforcement. I know that I am a tough girl, if you read over my blog, you can see the things that I have been through and that I made it out with a smile on my face and a lesson to tuck into my pocket. But...I want that...I want closeness. It is not like I depend on it. Obviously, I haven't had it in awhile and I am still breathing and able so smile and laugh, but gah...I just want some love in my corner. I know I have a lot of support out there I really do, and I am so grateful. A lot of my friends from growing up are scattered across the country. I wish I could wrap my soggy arms around you in real life and have you pet my head and tell me to shhhh. Just shhhh....because it is going to be fine.

As I sit here writing I have a knot in my throat and my eyes have become all glossy. What a painful year! I guess it was needed, some sort of cacophonous crescendo at the end of my twenties to remind me those were ten hard ass years. I can only hope that next Tuesday when I turn that corner onto my thirties it will be toward a sunnier side of the street. It is all a series of moments, I am making the best of mine, thankfully with the help of my loves there will be more and more of this dainty evolution.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Skinny on My Skin...

My face is in an identity crisis. The top thinks it is 30, properly getting fine lines and what have you. The bottom thinks it is 15 and is getting acne like I rubbed a Hot Pocket on my face. No good. I have been trying my best on my own with the knowledge I got in esthetics school. It has worked in the past, but I am under so much stress that my hormones are a bit whacked. So yeah, a medical intervention was needed.

Getting into the University hospital is ridiculous. It is all tore up from da floor up, but it is a confusing layout anyway. After getting more directions from a student, I finally found the office. I seriously don't understand why doctors have you make appointments, they should start calling them approximations because they are never even close to being on time. She finally came in and was very nice. I was completely honest and told her how much this was affecting my self-esteem and how stressful my life is and whatnot, which is kinda hard for me to do. I was taught to be tough, to never talk about myself or my situation or how I truly feel about things. Nice eh? I am getting over that quickly.

The dermatologist asked me how aggressive I want to be, aaaa... Urijah Faber aggressive please! So I got three, count them three medications to try! Woo-to-the-Hoo!!! I am on spironolactone which is a hormone that inhibits androgens that can be released during times of stress. Also it is a drug that is used in hormone therapy for male-to-female transsexuals. Yeah, this is weird but what the hell. Side effect for females can be bigger breast (I am already busting outta my B's, I don't know what the deal is with that, but it is a welcome change), and I might have to shave less often (I AM a hairy monkey). Okay, yes, I can totally deal with that. Second, I am on an antibiotic. It is different than the one that caused my psuedo tumor cerebri, , so hopefully I won't have any more brain fluid issues. Geh geez I have a weird body. Lastly, I got Differen gel. It is a topical vitamin A which is cool because it will also help with the fine line issue I have on my forehead and around my eyes. I have been using anti-aging stuff on my face since I was 23 so I am pretty proud with the way my face looks on that front.

This is the beginning. Grabbed all my stuff last night before I came home, downed all the pills and rubbed all the goop on my face. Ahhhh work, damn it work! I am going back in 3 months to see if any of this madness has helped. In the mean time, I might try a laser resurfacing or a peel. Not only is is good blog material, I am serious about getting rid of this pubescent nonsense that my face continues to exude. I am done with wearing so much make-up. That is the trouble with being a make-up artist. I can hide a lot of flaws, but I hate wearing foundation. HATE IT! I want a naked face like I had when I was a kid. I didn't have acne until I was an adult. How much does that suck?!?! Anyway, all of this is going to be done with soon enough, the stress, the acne, the make-up, the lameness. OVER IT! I am moving on and taking charge of my health both mentally and physically. I will post updates, but no pictures until my skin is porcelain pristine. Well, it might never be when it is better. That is what I am hoping for, for it all to get better. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Denver G. Olmstead, Happy Birthday!

I got an message in my facebook over a month or so ago from Denver, asking for memories from friends for her 30th birthday. I was so happy when I got this, but also scared. I have been thinking about what I would write ever since, there is so much that it is really hard to narrow it down. With the help of Josh, decided to quit being a wuss and post it. So there. Thanks Josh.

I met her when we were 14. She came into the 9th grade from Logan. I remember starring at her in chorus. I memorized everything about her. She was wearing a navy blue Waterfront t-shirt, (I thought I knew everyone in the world that knew that band), her jeans were cut off on the bottom because she was so tiny, self-made Fimo beaded necklaces and a hair wrap. Her hair was really long then and she parted it in the middle. I even remember how she sat there with her Doc Martin boot crossed on top of her knee. My friend Laurel introduced us and that was it...Together everyday there after. I loved her.

We had so much in common and it started mostly with music. We even had an imaginary rock band called Suck Box. We each gave ourselves nicknames and I wrote ridiculous poems about us. She was always so encouraging of me and my writing. We planned shows for The Red Bennies, Catfish, The Numbs, Grain, gah...I can't remember all of the bands, the shows rocked the armory and a local theater in Vernal. Big hits with the kids all of them. It was so fun. Although after one of those show it was particularly stressful for Denver and I am ashamed to say, that I gave Denver her first cigarette at age 16. I clearly remember her getting extremely sweaty and flushed and then vomiting next to my car. Eeek, so sorry about that one. Denver was such a good influence on me and I was such a bad influence on her.

We both got way into photography together and took pictures of ourselves posing all over her house on Christmas day after she got her first camera and dark room kit. I still have all of them. We were terribly cute and terribly late 90s, big jeans, thrift store jackets, and big ass t-shirts. I will scan them soon so you can all see how adorable we were. We were in plays together and went to Lagoon a bunch times. When we went in the 9th grade, Denver got a Playboy bunny painted on her face and I got a fake tattoo on my chest. We died our friend Julia's hair hot pink. Separate hairstyling occasion I cut our friend Emily's hair in Denver's bedroom. It was sort of a disaster. We would just BE together a lot....talking, listening to music, burning incense to this day I can not smell Nag Champa without thinking of her. As an adult I rarely do that outside of being with my kids, I wish it was easier for adults to not have to be DOing something and to just BE.

I spent so much time with Denver and her family and I am so grateful for it. I would sleep over there a lot. We would spend hours playing with the Ouija board or putting another hair wrap in my unbelievably long hair. Denver comes from a very welcoming family. Her mom is the sweetest lady and damn can she cook. The best crepes I have ever had, seriously ever! Her dad is so nice and even when I would go over there and she was still at swim practice, he would invite me in to wait and he would chat with me the whole time. Shannon was away at school, but when she would come to Vernal she was so cool to us. And then there was Waterfront the black lab, loving big old doggy.

I picked her up for school sometimes. She was not a morning person and it was such a hassle getting her up and out the door. She was one of the only Juniors I knew that would come to school with a mug of coffee. I would drive her home before she had her car. I remember once when I was leaving the parking lot we almost got hit on Denver's side by a car full of cheerleaders. I lost it, got out of the car, spit a lugee on the windshield and screamed something to the effect of, "Watch what the fuck you are doing! You almost hit my car and could have killed my best fucking friend!" That is love right there and also me being a bitchy bad influence.

Denver stuck by me through a lot of crazy and horrible stuff. I really wasn't mature enough at the time to know what that meant. We stopped hanging out near the end of our Senior year, but we still walked the line together at graduation. That would have been the perfect opportunity for me to stop being obstinate and let whatever was causing us friction die. Unfortunately that didn't happen, I was unaware of what a good friend I had in Denver. I have yet to find another girl that could match the love and loyalty I got from her. I took her for granted and have regretted it ever since. I missed out on so much of her life these past 12 years. Even now we hover around each other in the same social groups and have yet to reconnect. Life, I guess.

Denver Graziani Olmstead is brilliant, sweet, loving, funny, and has a great sense of taste. I miss her so very much as my best friend, but I am so thankful for the time she was in my life. I am so happy to see all of her success and wish her so much more. She is so special and beautiful that only good can come to her. Thank you Denver for being my friend and for teaching me so much about myself. I will always love you and wish you the greatest joys for the next 30 years and beyond.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Prose of 3

Recently Rabbit girl got a Caesar pulled on her by three would be Bruti (yes, I know, you define the plural for Brutus, eh?) Some might say that the little Rabbit did deserve it, as she was stretching out her limbs to tickle the tail of life still swishing under her door. But the three did not stop with the stabbing, no, they left that body alive to see...and now you are here to hear the gaping breathes that still breathes of this story. (suck in hard, gurgle, cough, bleed) And it goes a little something like this....

1) Hid hurt heroically. Held in 1's horror at the happenings so well, Rabbit didn't skip a beat. She skipped to that beat. Until that beat did stopped and her little feet dropped back down down down on the earth to see the quake and shake she did repeat. "Oh sigh, where have I been?" Little paw to mouth as her mind did think. Reckless, thoughtless, violent and mean she was. Mean. Back to 1's hand she tried to be, run to 1 naked, clean and free. Try Rabbit, really try. Gone, and 1's hurt not hiding, but gleaming in 1's eyes to repeat, to re-punish, to rub in the burn that lay on Rabbit's arm. Unbearable the hurt was so strong in 1's eyes that it wrapped around 1's head and pulled it down into the bottle where 1's heart had been returned. (Rabbit put it back there weeks ago.) She drank the pills and fell asleep and when she woke, her dream was real and 1 was off and running straight into the insane. Rabbit let go of 1's hand and cut her tangles of hair from the ankle like a bandage on a bloody wrist.

2) Coiled planned and planted bombs in 2's head. Remembered everything Rabbit and 1 had said. A love story copy, just a copy, and terribly sloppy. Rabbit doesn't drink really and hates it when she swears and always wears clean underwear. Tisk, tisk...some things were not paid attention and 2 was there to drop 1's other shoe. A yes, and then another, so tired and sad the tube fell out of 2's mouth and 2 began to sink. Sink and crush under the pressure that it takes to be someone your not, to walk around with someone else's talk. Pressure and fire began to split 2's seams and all that was left was all wasted dreams. Swarms of bees began to buzz around 1's head, costumed as sleep, food, and rest. A yes too many and not the right voice, the mask fell off after 1 made the choice. "Poisoned and precious, sweetly and viciously yours, follow the fishes into the desert they will bring you home...." Ah the Rabbit voice heard deep in that sleep and singing a lyric from way back when...London. The true spiral burn the slow deep began to throb and poorly planted crops were reaped. There were weakened husks and shriveled pods from the lack of care...1, sadly was not all there. 2 has gone back to play pretend, but you and Rabbit know what will get 2 in the end. Lovely Karma dresses all in black at times and sings a song of sorrow that has a sharp discord and doesn't rhyme. 2 will continue to play dress up in someone else's clothes as Rabbit clicks, clacks on as she digs her latest prose.

3) Loving lied to Rabbit. Opened Rabbit's hand and put the word "sister" in it. 3 began so slowly a decent into the great dark open water made of four little letters that swirl and grab and pull and consume and continue and repeat and repeat and repeat...L. I. A. R. The open water eventually filled 3's lungs so all that was exhaled was L. I. A. R. Before Rabbit could see all that 3 could only breathe L. I. A. R, 3 and Rabbit opened psychic circles, widened channels and danced to songs sent by the universe. Twisted smoke around their fingers and gathered wood for the witch burning. Under eyes of black 3 held a secret, held a lie...and then the worst part 3 tried to justify. Which is never good, not to Rabbit oh no, oh my my. Curious thing Rabbit can be, the mind of a lawyer she can fully see. Someone can try to hide behind a logic knitted quick and loose then Rabbit comes to cut that yarn and tie it right into a noose. One will drip and hang by their own words and deep demise. Rabbit's scissors are particularly sharp for cutting rambling logic down to size. Rabbit understand that secrets cannot hide, they come to her, float up and out of mouths, like a feather from a pillow, impossible to put back without releasing another. 3 has a ring around a finger to remind 3 of a time when a soul was given and yet....3 touched, 3 got burned, and 3 lied. Rabbit doesn't feel she has gone cold and numb on this subject of 3, for she knew in her deep tiny heart she and 3 was never really meant to be.

So there is another bloody dress to rise from, Rabbit's Ghost of Friendships Future flutters over the body it called home. That body chokes and sputters all the blood and tears in the world as it's ghost repents and gives of itself to the earth and home. Rabbit's ghost looks like the dust in the air on a Sunday when the light is just right through the blinds. Golden, fuzzy and there waiting for a new host like any respectable ghost. It will wait, it will find, it will seek and Rabbit will begin a new...after all what else does the tiny thing have to do?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Lady Lump...

Nearly three months ago I found a lump in my left breast. I waited a month to see if it would change or go away, and no change and it didn't. Waited another month, it hurt and concerned me so I called my doctor. I went in to see her after waiting weeks to get an appointment. She was pretty sketched out about it, so she sent me to St. Mark's for an ultrasound.

I don't know if many of you know how much distain I have for ultrasound techs. I do, a lot of it, distain. Not all techs, but mostly the ones I have come in contact with. Some think they are doctors and they try to tell you what their opinion is while you are in a very vulnerable state. Again this was the case with this particular tech. She was very condescending, and didn't want to bother the Radiologist with my results. He wasn't that interested in giving them to me either. I had to wait and wait and wait, because my doctor was once again out of town.

She called and said that yes, there is something there but it was small and just looked like dense weird tissue. She thought I needed to see a breast surgeon to get a second opinion on it. That is what I did today. The receptionist at the surgeon's office was very nice. She called me Sweety and complimented me on my cute ass kids, of course. Joaquin was full on Harry Potter today, complete with English accent. Dr. Naylor came in and examined me. He was also very nice and very knowledgeable. He said that he definitely felt it and had some concerns but was calm about it. He gave me two options, one to have surgery and just take it out, or two to wait three months and see if it changes.

In the months since I have discovered it, it hasn't changed. So...I have decided to wait the three months and see. I couldn't bare to have surgery right now with everything that is going on in my life. The fact that it hurts is a good thing. If it is still there in three months I might just get it removed anyway. I am taking vitamin E and have lowered my caffeine intake, so I will see if that helps it disappear. I am glad that Dr. Naylor was calm about it. I know that it would be extremely hard for me to fight a serious disease like cancer at this particular point in time. Usually my personality is far to feisty to be taken down by a stupid lump, maybe in three months I can take charge of it. Now I need to let it ease away and do my best to take care of myself gently. So...if you find it in your heart to think of me, think of my little lady lump and tell it to just fuck right off, because really, do I need this right now? No, I don't.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Wheelchair

Last week we went to Shriner's to have Elodie's wheelchair evaluation. It was sweet. The tech put Elodie up in this giant measuring chair. She was measured head to toe. It was like she was getting fitted for a fancy suit. They stretched out her legs and arms and measured how wide she is. So funny. She was pretty stressed about it, being in that big ol weird chair. She was saying, "Mommy, mom, help," the whole time and doing the "gimme, gimme hand." Those are so hard to resist, but she had to stay put. The wheelchair is going to be tiny, twenty-two inch wheels. It will be small enough that she can learn to get in and out of it. It is teal, we are into teal lately and the kind of frame she needs didn't come in pink. I am glad about that. She has far too much pink.

I am happy about her getting a wheelchair and more independence, but there is a part of me that still can't believe it. My little girl is going to be in a wheelchair for God knows how long. She can move her legs more, and she is getting better at standing on her own, but the nerve impulses to walk aren't there yet, and might never be. It does make my heart ache. No one ever expects a tumor to grow in their baby and cause that baby's legs not to move. At times I blame myself for this happening. I think about my pregnancy and how stressed it was. My grandparents died, my mother went insane, I was still in an ugly custody battle with my ex, I had a small baby Joaquin to care for and I had panic attacks from all the stress. I felt so alone and just tried so hard to keep it together. Camden tried his best to deal with me, but he worked all the time. I remember reading that in Japanese culture the mother has to be protected from all negativity while she is pregnant, or health problems will come to the baby. That small story has echoed in my head. I know, I know, it isn't my fault, but it is so hard as a mother to not want to take on all the responsibility. All I want in life is to care for my children and do the best by them that I can, I feel like I failed Elodie when I was pregnant. I feel I should take some blame because I didn't take care of myself while I was pregnant with her. I took on too much. I still feel like I take on too much, but that is sort of a necessity. There is no one else that can do what I do, so I do it....and I do really love it. A mommy life is hard but ridiculously rewarding. No amount of money comes close to the feeling I get when my kids want one more hug and say I love you with their smiley little faces.

Everyday is interesting and full of dainty evolution. Elodie and I are coming closer and closer to being stronger. She has a lot of special talents. She is pulling up on her knees, big and tall. She speaks so well. She dances (on her bum and knees) and sings, I will teach her to harmonize. She loves everything so much. She hugs hard and kisses hard and bites HARD. Elodie has old eyes and can see right through to the very heart of people. She is going to be such a powerful force in mine and other peoples' lives....and now she is going to do it on wheels!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Elodie is a Badass!

Just got back from the latest Elodie check up with her Shriner's doctor. Other than it taking absolutely forever (nearly two hours!!!) it went great. What was not great, was hanging out in a tiny room with two very sleepy, very hungry, pre-schoolers trying to see who could whine/cry the loudest to Mom. Joaquin won of course. I wonder how many years have been taken off my life by just sitting in tiny waiting rooms with whining crying pre-schoolers. Where is the data on that one I am guessing, four at least!

The orthopedist said that we are doing everything we should to keep her growing strong. We are to continue with physical therapy, get the wheel chair and walker and then wait and see. Also she wants me to continue with her massage so that her feet don't turn in and contract. Without that they could be like the wicked witch's in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy takes the ruby slippers off. Not good. We have to be careful that she doesn't get injured on her legs, she could have a sprain or cut and not know it. We just have to be aware and not to let her get too crazy when she is playing.

Elodie also saw a neurologist to discuss what kind of sensation she has in her feet and legs. She examined her reflexes and said that there is actually quite a bit of response, so her decreased sensation might not be as bad as we first thought. She was also very hopeful about us being able to potty train Elodie in a regular way. Some kids that are paralyzed can't feel down there when they have to go, so they have to be catheterized and use enemas and whatnot. Ugh. But Elodie has periods of dryness and she has never been a constipated baby, so the out look on that is great. Phew.

The doctors today were very hopeful about Elodie someday learning how to walk. She will need assistance, but they even think that she won't always need assistance. Woo-Hoo! I would trust these doctors over anyone else. They see kids similar and more severe to Elodie day in and day out and can spot the ones that really want to move and groove. Elodie is for sure one of those. She has been getting into so much trouble lately. She has been acting like a two year, a regular bitch ass two year old. It is awesome! Just love her to pieces and I am so happy that she is developing and growing up. It may not be the "normal" way or always an upright standing-walking sort of way, but it is her own and she is rocking it! Who cares what "normal" is anyway when you are that freaking adorable? If I do say so kid is cute.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Some Things Stay the Same...

"I'll need you to write the patient's full name here," the receptionist said as I wrote down Elodie's enormous name. "Oh Elodie, that is such an adorable name."

"Thank you." I said, followed by my daughter's sincerely little parroting of my words, "Danku!" She is terribly polite and she cracked the receptionist up. I can't help but brag about her, she is awesome.

We didn't have to wait very long before the nurse came to take us back to the MRI waiting rooms. Elodie's nurse was named Christy and she instantly remembered her from last time. While waiting I got some very sweet text messages from friends encouraging positive thoughts and energy. It was very appreciated, because this time I was not being very brave. My heart felt so heavy and my mind was so distant from all the unknown possibilities. The nurse practitioner came in to hear the history...on and on and on I went. I have told this story so many times it doesn't feel like it really happened to us. It feels as if it was a movie I saw, or a story I read. That is good I guess, to keep it far from me in times such as this. It helps to not collapse into tears.

Elodie's hands and feet were really cold. The nurses took four tries to get an IV in her. FOUR!!! They finally got one in her foot, and it was sad. She really didn't flinch too much, she said ouch, but that is about it. It really made me realize she just can't feel very much in her feet. There is feeling, but it is slight.

We were then shuffled over to the MRI room. Elodie and I had to sit in a chair outside the door when she was getting sedated. I have metal in my body, so I can't be by the giant magnet. I held her in my lap as the nurse gave her the medicine to put her to sleep. She fought it pretty hard for a second. Her head rolled back over my arm, her little eyes met mine and she kissed toward me, a sleepy loud kiss. Tears fell heavy and hard from my eyes. Elodie is the sweetest little girl. She loves to love and cuddle, it is the best thing ever. I handed my baby to the nurse and kissed her good-bye and in my head told the tumor to fuck off and quit making me cry. I watched on the monitor as the nurse laid Elodie on that big machine. It was hard to breathe. I went down to the cafeteria to force feed myself breakfast. I had no appetite, even less than usual. The breakfast was actually really good. French toast and bacon. Bacon is the miracle food, you can't cry when you are eating bacon. Seriously, you can't.

I went back to the recovery area and waited for my baby. I sat there for another twenty minutes or so getting more lovely text from friends. Ah technology, I love it. When the tech brought her out it was like slow motion. She looked so tiny in his arms and felt so lovely and warm when he sat her on my lap. It didn't take long before she was awake and demanding juice and crackers. This time at least, she can tell me more of what she needs. Her speech is really good. Elodie was all finished with her post vitals and we were able to leave. She charmed the whole staff again before we left. In her drugged state she was blowing kisses, saying thank you and good-bye. She is ridiculously sweet.

The next day we headed back to Primary Children's for her results. I felt pretty okay about it. I got all my crying done the day before. When we went into the oncology office, they all remembered Elodie. "Oh it is that cute curly headed girl, look how big she is!" That is so cool. They see tons of people going in and out of there and we were lucky enough to only been there a few times in the fall. Some kids are there every week being pumped full of cancer killing chemicals. Sigh.

Turns out the tumor has stayed the same size. Not growing or dying anymore. Stagnant. So that is really good. The spinal atrophy that the tumor caused is still there. It looks like a little dent on the scan. What that means is that she still has the nerve weakness that is causing her legs to not move very much or have much sensation. The doctors do agree that she has had mad improvement. There is no surgery or anything else we can do, so far, to improve her skills. We just have to keep on keeping on and hope that she gets more movement and sensation. She will probably need a lot of assistance for a few years. Wheelchair, braces, or crutches to help her walk and get around. I don't know why, I mean I knew all of this, but when Dr. Fluchel said it, it once again broke my heart.

I don't really think about how Elodie can't stand or walk until I am confronted with it. I will see a baby about her age cruising around the store or wherever and remember that she can't. My heart does sink, I am only human. I do morn that she probably won't be in dance when she is four or be able to ride a bike. I do love her just the way she is and will in no way put any pressure on her to do what she isn't ready for just yet. She will be just fine and so will I. This is her challenge and she is facing it head on. I love seeing her in therapy. She gets so fired up to move and she is doing so well. There has been great improvement and I know she is just going to get better. I focus on the progress and not on what she can't do. She is amazing and so sweet and smart. I can't take that girl anywhere without her getting compliments on how cute she is. It is rad hanging out with her.

She has an appointment with the orthopedist on the 23rd, so we will see what she thinks about Elodie's progress and if there is something more we can be doing. I am so thankful we got hooked up with them. It is the best place for her to grow and develop under their very experienced and watchful eye. So we are still in the holding pattern, doing our thing and being cute. I will blog about the 23rd visit and with hope and love everything will be a-okay! Elodie is a fighter, a fluffy panda with hidden powers of fierceness! I am so glad she is that way, she helps me stay positive.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Elodie Evolution Evalution at the CDC...

She did grrrreat! Tony the freaking Tiger couldn't have said it better. My Elodie was in a cheerful mood and showed Dr. Winter and Scott, the physical therapist at the Child Development Clinic, all her tricks. She did sorta started to loose it in the end, but hey, they always do at doctor appointments.

So the plan is...We are going to stay on track with the physical therapy at DDI and Shriner's. Scott also suggested we think about getting her a wheel chair to use as a tool for exploration. Elodie probably wouldn't use it all the time if we did get her one, just when we where out. She could really move and explore with other kids. We will cross that bridge when we come to it though. I plan on asking Mark, her Shriner's PT when we go there on Friday what he thinks. Apparently, kids younger than Elodie learn to navigate in a chair just fine and she would still be gaining strength through therapy and being down on the floor crawling around. So yeah...not a bad assessment. She is also going to have another MRI in February to make sure that the tumor is going away (yeah!), or staying stagnant (meh), or if it is growing (God forbid). Those two days are going to be tough for me, find me and hug me tight. I have already prescribed myself deep breaths and yoga.

My day was totally made when Dr. Winter, a very excellent doctor and just all around cool person, said that I was smart and a good mom. GAH! That so rocks! She said I was so calm, level headed and easy to talk to. That made me feel like the cat's pajamas. I respect this woman so greatly. She was there through all of Elodie's tests, even though she didn't need to be, early on in the process her part was finished. She really helped me feel that she cared about us and that I was not alone in all of it. She was there and that can be rare for a doctor. It was a good appointment all around. And Camden came! So this time I really wasn't alone! We had lunch afterward and that was really nice. Joaquin was good and followed directions. It is rad when everyone is doing their thing and getting along. That makes me feel like, "Yeah, maybe I am doing a few things right, and maybe it is going to work out like I hope." Here to having really cool kids!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Step back in the Evolution, Step forward for Mom Kind...

I just finished playing my show and I couldn't sleep or even calm down from what transpired there tonight. I had to write to get a sense of peace within me. Usually this wild energy is a good thing; more glasses are raised, hugs are given, happiness is abounding, but tonight was sorely not the case.

We rocked it! It was a great show. There were tons of people there, a lot of which I had been hoping to see for a long time. The crowd was into it and totally dancing and every thing. We finished and I get off stage to hug my Jennifer, and I hear that a girl was pointing out my stretch marks to people while I was tearing the roof off the dive. (I wore a black tank, with a sparkly silver cardigan over it, so while dancing my tank would creep up a bit to show my stretch marks like a half an inch at the most) "WHAT?!?" Was my first response and then, "Oh hell no..." came next.

I was possessed by such anger and disgust. There was no way in my mind I was going to let a person walk out of that bar thinking that they could totally down play everything I had just done on that stage, just because I carried and gave birth to three beautiful kids. I found the girl and promptly said, "Hey, heard you were pointing my stretch marks out to your friends while I was singing. Yeah, I have three {expletive} kids, and I have {expletive} stretch marks, and I {expletive} dare you, {expletive} dare you to do what I just did on the stage! So you better think about what you are saying the next time you want to comment on someone's body! {expletive} YOU! You {expletive, expletive} (The last word is one of my favorite swears of all time rarely used in the states, but it is probably considered the worst thing you can say to a girl ever! *blush* Censored version for my LDS mommy friends out there, it was said pretty loudly too) I reduced this twenty-two year old clueless girl to tears, which I feel TERRIBLE about! As a mom, I should be better and not fly off the handle like that, think of a better way to say it. I was filled with a rage for all moms and their struggles that I couldn't just let this roll off my duck back.

Then her friend comes up to me to try to explain her friend's stupidity...Saying that it was so cool that I would even get up there and play a show like that. The way she put this did not sit well with me at all. She called me insecure for being upset about it. I said how could an insecure person get on stage and do what I did. Doesn't make sense. This girl wouldn't lay off, she was totally setting herself up for a punch in the mouth. Ryan (best man ever) told her to get the {expletive} out or she was totally going to get messed up and she was two seconds away from hitting the floor and she totally was. She even had the gall to say that I wasn't open minded enough to here her side. BAHAHAHAHAHA! ME!

It wasn't about me though. People really can say what they want about me and the way I look. The thing that kills me with this mindset is, if you don't have kids or aren't close to someone who does, you have no idea and no right to comment on how it is to have children. When I heard that smack had been talked, I immediately felt that it was said about someone close to me and not really myself. Moms struggle so hard to weigh their personal lives against the care of and lives of their children. It is so hard for me to tuck my babies in and leave them with a sitter to go play a show. It is so hard for me to see my son get in his dad's car when it is time for him to go to his house for visitation. It is so hard to see your life and interests be split down the middle and then try to balance them with everything your kids are into.

To be a mother, adoptive or biological, you sacrifice EVERYTHING! You give up your body, time, sleep, food, drink, last bite of a cookie, you favorite stuffed animal, bed, pillow, intimacy, privacy, television time, and nearly every waking thought for your children. It is all done gladly and with a full heart of love. I am glad that I was ripped apart and sewn back together for my children, I wouldn't have it any other way. If I have a few scars, so be it. I created life! I know unconditional love. I am unconditional love from head to toe.

Mother's struggle with this crazy portrayed sense of what beauty is on a daily basis. So when I am out doing something that is completely for myself, but supported by my kids and family, it is incensing that someone could comment on how my body has been badly stretched out by those fantastically supportive people. I felt all the pain and insults that have been thrown at me over the years boil to the surface of my stretch marked skin and had to say a resounding FUCK YOU to all of those that are ignorant and themselves insecure. (Sorry not censored, because some times people need to hear what is coming to them)

My hope is that those girls will think before they try to speak on someone else's life and experiences before making assumptions and judgements. That someday they can know exactly how it feels to give your full self to a person and not expect anything in return, it is a beautiful thing. That they can understand it isn't about what it looks like, but how it feels. My hope is also that I never ever ever hear again, "Wow you look great for having three kids!" I look great because and feel great about myself and I work hard to have a healthy body, mind and soul, so that everyday I can get up and take care of those amazing kids.

All my Mommies, I love you and I stood up for us tonight. Without us, there would be no world. Let's teach people to not tear down what can create life. Start by teaching your babies what it is like to love like this and how wonderful it really is to be called MOM, no matter what you look like.