Friday, July 29, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Putting Mallory to bed last night...

Me: "We had a fun day today didn't we?"

Mallory: "It was fun, but not super fun"

Me: "What would make it super fun?"

Mallory: "It's complicated."

Saturday, July 23, 2011


This year I said no to VBS!! This was pretty big for me to do. Last year was the first time the thought of not working it occurred to me. That is how entrenched it is. It was a "supposed to" in the highest order when you throw God in there with the fact that I am a stay at home mom. It took me up to the week before to actually say no, but then I did. My inner instinct just said this isn't a good idea and I went with it. There was a smidgen of guilt and when I dropped the girls off, I kind of ran through and didn't want to make eye contact with anybody.

But I said no. There must have been some divine guidance because the week prior, GaGa had a rough week, which meant I did too and I was not prepared to deal with a gathering of over 420 kids on Monday. I barely made it through the building without crying the first two days.

I am now practicing taking care of myself, so that I can take care of my loved ones. It is a fairly new skill and this was a further step along the way. One of my friends, described that feelings just want to be recognized. This is so true. My immediate instinct with negative feelings and sometimes even the positive ones would be to avoid the experience of them at all cost. With more and more practice, I see how they just want to be acknowledged and then I see how they can move through. I am still amazed to watch this happen when I have a horrid day and then wake up and be okay the next. I practiced stuffing the feelings for so many years, I got pretty good at it, and it is incredible to now be able to do something different and more healthy.

On Thursday evening, I was again at my wit's end with some occurrences. I was irrationally irritated and I knew it but the feelings were there because I had been so stressed out the entire week, my tolerance level was low. Finally, one of my besties and I just started joking about the situation and I started to laugh, really laugh hard. It was very dark humor and it felt soooo good. I then realized I had not laughed all week. Now THAT is a crying shame. So in the middle of strife, dark humor prevailed. It helped me turn the corner and my mood lifted. So I continue to practice. Whatever works.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I have been having a hard time the last couple of days. I have a need to understand why I feel so stressed. I know that this situation is stressful but having never been through it up close and personal, it is unbelievable draining. I found this quote on a website about a research study of caregivers.

To watch someone, particularly a parent, lose cognitive abilities so that they cannot do the 'thinking' tasks that they used to, is very hard on the caregiver emotionally—and often is actually more stressful than assisting with the more physically demanding tasks such as bathing or cleaning."

Ahhhh. I am not dealing with the everyday basic care needs. (except for clothes and snack shopping!!) But this help explains why this is so emotionally devastating. And it comes in waves, I can be moving along fine and then 3 pain phone calls in one week and I feel waylayed. Her memory is going, she cannot describe things anymore. Thus, conversations are more difficult. She called one of my girls, Joanie and I am learning to roll with it. Now George and I have to make the decisions for her about more and more things. And reading this little bit of research about stress of caregivers makes me feel better. Perhaps, I'm not losing it, this is what stress does.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Anderson Cooper, a WASP Suppressing Emotions

I knew there was a reason I have always liked Anderson Cooper. Recently I watched him dissing The Countess of the Real Housewives of New York, and her latest new song. I can't stand the Countess at this point, mostly because she is just plain mean and condescending to many but especially Alex, who is finally finding her voice. Alex is not getting it right yet, but she is practicing and I am pulling for her. I applaud anyone who is trying to change their ways for the better. I feel very sympatico with Alex, as you can tell. Team Blondes.

Then I dug this gem up online. Anderson was on the Ellen show and wouldn't dance as the guests normally do when they walk out to meet her. This is what Anderson said...

"No one really wants to see a middle-aged guy with silver hair wriggling," he said. "It's not gonna happen. I'm a WASP. I was raised to suppress my emotions. I can't be publicly expressing things."

Love him. I look forward to being able to make fun of myself having been raised to suppress my emotions. BUT I do love to dance and sing (in privacy.) I think Anderson could really rock it, and he probably does, in private.

This is the website of Anderson putting the Countess on his Ridiculist and I could not copy it.

This is her latest video...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Getting to the Bottom

Last week was a difficult week. I received three different phone calls from my mother in law, saying she was in pain. In the past, these phone calls meant it was time to go to the hospital because something was wrong, but now we work to manage the pain. Now, I ask questions to get to the bottom of it and this is not easy as she is getting more and more confused. I inquire if she has told a nurse, when was the last time she had pain medicine, and does she feel like she wants to pull her hair out too which means there is some anxiety as well. These phone calls take me through a wave of emotions, and having three in a week put me over the edge by Monday morning.

The emotions begin with first a sense of panic, that I HAVE to get her out of pain. Second, I have sadness that she is in pain. Third, I wonder how long is this going to go on? Fourth, frustration because there seems to be a breakdown somewhere as to why this is happening, on a simpler level in regard to the pain and on a deeper level, cancer. But the system is not perfect, nor am I. Sunday morning while attending church I felt the emotions sitting on my chest ready to come out but when and where? To someone or by myself? what do I do with the kids? And how does George feel about all of this and I KNOW he doesn't process things the same as me. After church, I wrote a post to a closed group that I belong to on FB and vented and the tears started to fall, some relief was coming. Monday, I talked to two different close friends in and around taking my kids to VBS and I cried and they listened without judgement and it was cathartic.

By the end of the day, I was drained, and utterly empty. I don't like the way this feels either but it is better than trying to push the feelings down. I am experiencing them head on. As the Hospice worker says, some people take the rest of their lives to learn to live with uncomfortableness. And it is slowly becoming easier to allow the feelings out and knowing it is okay to be overwhelmed and then exhausted. There is nothing wrong with me for having feelings. Today I feel tired but cleansed, ready for the next wave. I have taken three calls from the nursing home while trying to type this but this is good because we are getting to the bottom of the breakdown. And it is a good thing to get to the bottom of a breakdown...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Doogie Howser and Forgiveness

On vacation, the family and I discovered the Hub cable channel. I delighted in the whole family sitting down and watching "Family Ties" which I had not seen in years. After the kids went to bed, "Doogie Howser" came on. I love Neil Patrick Harris in his current work. As the show came to a close, he typed his signature ending and I thought, wow, is that where the seeds of my blogging and self examination began.

A few weeks later, I flipped on Doogie again towards the end of the show just to see what he was typing. A son who works at the hospital was unable to forgive his father, who must have come in as a patient. The show ended without a reconciliation. Doogie typed out and I'm paraphrasing, he wished the son would forgive his dad not because the dad deserved it but because.... the son did.

Oh holy moments of clarity, just what I needed to hear from a sitcom! I was grappling with forgiveness myself. All of the stories that I hear it is not for the other person but for the "forgiver." Yet letting go of the anger is soooo difficult. Anger can become a very comfortable place to be, even if it keeps you mucked in the past. Moving to a different emotional territory and way of being is scary and extremely uncomfortable but I am plugging along. (And you know how much I don't like being uncomfortable.) After reading and doggedly keeping my mind on the topic, with the help of an online friend, I began to realize that the anger that would come over me, was actually me, "my soul" trying to tell myself not to be mad at the other person but to DO things a DIFFERENT way. Channel all of that anger into the next level of my true self. It takes lots of energy to change my way of being. I REALLY want to do that I had been beating myself up, telling myself I needed to forgive and I knew that I needed to accept but how? It took the aha moment to start thinking of things in a different way. Breaking it wide open and rewiring those synapses.
I'm letting that revelation just set for a while and funny I also haven't been angry either...
But like Doogie, I look forward to typing it out. I love learning from life. At this point any other option is unacceptable.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Box

Quit putting yourself in a little box by trying to live consistently with your past and explaining every little action you take. BE YOU. Fully. In this moment. Independent of what others may or may not 'expect' from you. ~Brian Johnson

I read this on FB, it was a quote from a friend. This succinctly says what I am trying to do, but some days it can be oh so hard to put in play, but the more I do it, the better. Practice. This message came at just the right time as I was trying to figure out whether to take a small action, and I read it and had to think of all the thoughts that went into me, thinking I SHOULD do this small action. (Those "shouldisms" are my box.) And then it became apparent that it was ridiculous and I forget about it for most of the day. I just need to keep practicing and paying attention to the thought patterns. And listen to my gut.