My husband and I are in our 50’s (ugh it sounds so old!). And I can’t help but think of how much things have changed in our lives over the past 27 years that we’ve been married. We were married in November, 1995 and Thomas was born July, 1996. We didn’t have that “just married” time to ourselves to just be together. And that is fine; most of me is glad we had our children when we were young because we are able to enjoy them now when they are young adults. I’m extremely proud of all my kids. They’ve each excelled or are excelling and doing their best to live their lives authentically and on their own terms. Especially my older girls Alyssa and Lelly. Alyssa was married at age 22 and Lelly graduated college and moved out at age 21. They’re both young adults, working and doing great at their respective jobs.
Tommy and I spent most of our 20’s and all of our 30’s and 40’s raising children, me staying home most of the time; working part time here and there. My full time gig was being a stay at home mom. I can’t say I totally enjoyed staying home, it was hard work. To make up for me not working Tommy worked a ton of overtime and also a second job. So on top of being a stay at home mom I was also on my own a lot with the kids. I’m not complaining it’s just how things were.
Now that everyone; including us are older life is so different. We are different. We don’t disagree with each other as much as we used to. When we renovated our house it went so smooth, we were on the same page regarding just about everything from cabinet finish, type of tile, wall color, to crown molding. It made the renovation go so smooth. These days I listen more and speak less when my husband is talking to me. When I was younger I was insecure and trying so hard to keep my shit together being with my kids all the time. Especially trying to get help and treatment for Thomas.
When we were younger I think I cared more about what people thought. Did so and so think we weren’t “good” parents? Why do this one and and that one seem to have a problem because we chose residential school for Thomas? These days…I don’t care much what other people think. I know I’m a good mom and Tommy is a great dad. I know our decisions regarding Thomas were the most difficult any parent would have to make and I know we did the best for our family.
When I was younger I was very anxious and wouldn’t talk to Tommy about what was bothering me. Many times I didn’t even know what the main anxiety causing issue was. Right now it’s that our health insurance company isn’t recognizing out of network claims I submitted last week. But we all have health insurance issues don’t we. My anxiety used to be so bad. I couldn’t control the thoughts in my head and my mind took off like a freight train running through all these horrible things that were going to happen because I did this or didn’t do that. I hated it. But I thought that was “normal”. Today I know it is not. After a lot of therapy and some meds things are much better and I no longer live with the runaway freight train in my mind. If I do get terribly anxious I know something is really wrong.
I have some regrets about the past, but don’t we all, please. There are somethings I would have done differently but who’s to say if things were done differently the end result would have been the same? I’m so happy to be married to my husband. Tommy really is my best friend. It’s funny because we started out as just friends when we were teens and so many years later we married and we are still friends. He’s seen me through the good and the not so good, the ups and the downs and also the very lows. He gets me.
I think it’s good to see how you’re not exactly the same person you were when you were younger. And reflect on positive changes.
Saturday evening as I let our 12 year old dog Riley out for the last time of the night I looked down at her and saw this large lump coming out her left side. I was like holy crap! And yelled for Tommy to come. It was late and Riley wasn’t in any distress so we decided to take her to the vet the next morning. We secured an 11:20am appointment at an animal hospital we hadn’t used before but came recommended by my friend Jenn.
We get there and I’m noticing Riley panting excessively, and thought to myself that our other dog was not panting like this and it was cool out so why was she doing this? The vet tech came and weighed our girl who came in at 106 lbs, wow. I knew she was big but oh my. The doctor comes in and recommends x rays and asked if she could put a needle in the swollen area to see what was inside. Of course we said yes. She comes back that there was blood inside the lump but the x rays and regular bloodwork were fine. She offered to send the blood from that area to a hematologist so they could see if they were cancer cells. Again we said yes.
No cancer cells. Turns out Riley has a hematoma from what, we don’t know. All we could think of was that Lola, our anxiety riddled other dog who is very excitable (understatement) often pushes Riley out of the way to get down the back stairs to get to the backyard. Maybe Lola pushed Riley off the stairs? Riley is so so sweet she never fights back or pushes Lola back. Meanwhile Lola who is so attached to Riley, freaked the eff out when we left to bring Riley to the vet. And I learned that when dogs are in pain they pant a lot.
So the vet put Riley on an anti inflammatory for arthritis, pain meds, thyroid meds and something else that I don’t remember what for. I really thought this was some kind of tumor and we would have to say good bye. It was a terrible thought as those of you with pets can imagine or have lived through. So meds and you can imagine how much money later, we were on our way!
Have you noticed that events that happened in the past never stay in the past? Some significant occurrences change your future. Others are so very important in shaping who we are today. I know if I didn’t have the experience I did in raising Thomas I would not be the person I am today. I used to be judge-mental, not very open minded and would be very quick to be loud mouthed with my opinion. I am very far from perfect; however, having a special needs child humbled me fast and made me stop and think a little more before speaking my mind.
I was speaking with my therapist yesterday and we were taking about Thomas. Thomas has always targeted me, hitting me before he even was a toddler. No one knew what to do to get him to stop. We tried everything and I mean *ev-erything* to stop this behavior. I think the worst part about it was that my pediatrician didn’t believe me. My family witnessed the behavior so they understood, but for whatever reason this doctor wouldn’t believe me. When Thomas became a little older, closer to 6 years old, I asked her for a referral to a child psychiatrist to help us. She flat out said she didn’t know any, effing liar. So I sought out my own psychiatrist/specialist who did not take insurance, and was located in Manhattan. My first experience driving in Manhattan; go me. This psychiatrist was and still is wonderful. He listened to me. I used to take notes on Thomas’ behavior, the hitting, the excessive tantrums and presented it all the the psychiatrist. Finally a professional someone that was taking me seriously. When I told the pediatrician I found a psychiatrist she suddenly came up with her own referral. Wow, how amazing. I told her I wasn’t interested in her doctor we already had one and I believed in and trusted him. Bitch actually became offended. I left the practice shortly after.
My point is that I hadn’t talked about that time in my life in quite some time. I had forgotten how terrible I was treated by this pediatrician and how awful it felt to have someone you trust flat out not believe you. I didn’t like that memory. And it made me think of events in your life that shape you. This is one such event. Once I grew a pair and realized how unprofessional and stupid this doctor was, I changed pediatricians to one of the best ever and didn’t look back. I also never let a doctor treat me that way again.
It’s funny when you’re children are young and you are pulling out your hair trying to do the right thing, make the right decisions, make everyone somewhat happy and losing yourself in the process; (take a deep breath) you kind of can’t wait for everyone to become more independent and/or less needy of you. Grammar school seems to take forever to get through no, really, I’m not kidding. Then junior high years pass a bit faster. Next thing you know it’s time for high school and those 4 years simply fly by. It’s really amazing and crazy all at the same time.
Alyssa went through college without much of a peep of a complaint. She just did her work and projects and even held down internships without a complaint. Alyssa made sure she completed college in 4 years to earn her bachelors degree. After that she was so so done with school. Sam proposed that summer and by March of 2021 they were married and off on their own.
My Lelly graduated high school 6 months early, began college early and worked so diligently to graduate from college an entire semester early with her bachelors degree. At the age of 21 she was ready to move out on her own to Manhattan. Which she did this past September. Bam, she was out of here.
I miss them. I miss them as the young adults they are now. I really don’t miss the younger years as I’ve pointed out in many a blog post, but I miss the fun and laughs we would have before Alyssa and Lelly moved out. I know they had to leave. Alyssa to start her new life with Sam and Lelly to start her life that she’s been ready to start since she was a young child. She’s always been a runner and eager to move to the next milestone or life event.
I know they still need me, I still need my mom. I know they both left with love in their hearts. When Tommy and I moved Lelly in to her apartment, Lelly and I cried and cried as we unpacked her things and I cried the whole way back home. I never imagined I would have reacted that way. It goes to show how your emotions take over.
Sam and I are off this week, her from school and me from work for February break for NYC public schools. Someone is bored and it’s not me. With Sam wanting to “do something” I’m taken back to when all my kids were younger and I had to come up with ways to entertain them when they weren’t in school. It was hard man! Honestly I used to curse the February break like it was brought by the devil himself. I mean didn’t they just have off for the winter break??
During one school break, it was warm out; Thomas, Alyssa and Lelly were young, like grammar school ages. Sam was a baby. I told everyone we would go to the local children’s museum here since it had a lot of different things for the kids to do. As I was driving and approached the children’s museum I felt like I was going to stick a fork in my eye if I had to go there one more time. So I kept driving and asked the kids if they wanted to go on a boat. I drove straight to the ferry. We already had lunch packed for the museum so we boarded the ferry and off to Manhattan we went! We ended up in Battery Park right downtown. There was a park with swings, jungle gym, huge blocks to climb, etc… (That park isn’t there anymore). It was so much fun. Who was pushing who on the swings, there wasn’t any fighting; Alyssa was climbing the blocks… And there was an ice cream truck right there, so we all had ice cream. I had such a nice day with my kids; all of them together.
We went to Manhattan a few more times like that, just jumped on the ferry. Sometimes we would get McDonalds for lunch and eat in Battery Park. It was such a great diversion from the usual frenzy. One day we walked further into the park a discovered a water park where sprinklers appeared from the ground shooting water up at the kids. It was great! Who cares if they got wet it was only water. After we played in the water there were street performers doing flips in the air. Good times.
Sometimes I miss that spontaneity. I should be more spontaneous in my outings with Sam since it’s only the two of us when Tommy is working. I’ve become a creature of habit and after working all week out of the house, I want to be in my house when I’m off. Or only go out for a little while, like to the Sal Val or mall or wherever. There’s still time to be spontaneous; we have a few days left in the break. Maybe.
I’m a strong believer of telling people how I feel in the moment. Especially expressing the good I see in that person. There are too many wasted moments when a person is alive and will appreciate what you have to say, rather than standing around at their wake/funeral saying all these great things about the now dead person. It’s too late then.
I remember the last years of my father’s life. I told him I loved him every chance I had. After every phone call and when I left him after a visit. It didn’t seem like I could say it enough even though I knew he knew I loved him. We do the same with our children. Not one leaves our presence without our saying I love you to them. I always say I love you to my mom whenever I say goodbye whether it be on the phone or in person.
I really appreciate my mom. She may already know this but it’s always nice to hear/read it. She’s an educated, strong woman who is an awesome nurse. She was told while in high school that she wasn’t smart enough to go to college. This was in the 1960’s. So she married my dad, worked for the “phone company,” had her children and after my younger sister became around 4 years old, she went to work full time (retail no less). Mom also began attending college full time to become what she always wanted to be; a registered nurse. Mom didn’t stop at her associates degree. While working full time as an RN, she went back to school and earned her BSN. After earning her bachelors degree Mom went on for her Masters in nursing education. Pretty damn good for a woman who wasn’t college material. She didn’t stop there; my mom then became a nurse practitioner. After becoming an NP she was finished with “school”.
Why am I writing this? Because I’m proud of my mom and I want her to know this now when she’s alive; not telling her story in a eulogy one day to other people. My point is let people know how you feel about them when you can say it in person to their face. Too shy? Write a letter, send a card. Just tell them.
My husband and I have known each other since we met at 15 years old. I remember him sitting down. I was standing in front of him. He looked up at me with those green eyes and I felt as though I was struck by something; that dark hair with longish curls, olive toned skin and green eyes. He never believed anyone who told him he was a good looking guy. Tommy started attending the same high school as me but between the time we met and him starting school I had colored my hair. I went from light brown to very light blonde hair. So he’s asking around school for me not believing anyone who said, “Oh yeah, I know Menay, she’s the blonde.” It wasn’t until his best friend kind of shook him and said yes that’s her! I always smile at that story. To this day I still color my hair often. Tommy jokes and says he could run out for milk and he’ll come home to me with different colored hair. It’s kind of not a joke.
We began seeing each other at age 17 ish. We had typical teen angst and drama and broke up for short periods of time. I was always devastated. The drama! My co workers at the auto parts store were soooo sensitive and would tell me I was “back on the meat rack” during a break up. Finally we stopped the shit. I began nursing school, finally I was serious about my major. I never thought about us being engaged, I never gave him an ultimatum or brought up getting married. Tommy proposed when I was a year into the nursing program. Anyone who’s been through the type of program such as nursing knows how tough it is, how it takes over your life and all you do is study, attend clinical and take tests. Yet, he still proposed.
My husband is really a nice guy. He’s been a phenomenal provider for us. Especially when I was home with the kids. I couldn’t work much anyway. Thomas was a handful and a half plus our parents worked so we decided I would be home. I had a couple of part time jobs here and there but nothing big. I can’t say I totally enjoyed being a stay at home mom, but I am grateful I was there for my kids in that way when they were young. I was able to run Thomas to various multiple specialists and on the other side of my life; go on class trips with the girls.
He’s a great dad, great listener and great with giving advice. He gets to know people well and has some of the same friends from high school. He has witnessed me give birth 4 times and was there when I miscarried twice. Tommy has the best sense of humor, he’s made me smile when all I wanted to do is cry. He has made me laugh during the most stressful times of our marriage. Even when Thomas was in residential school. Was it always appropriate? Hell no, but it was between us and we laughed so we wouldn’t always cry. I can’t imagine being with someone who didn’t make me laugh. Tommy has been making me laugh since we were first friends oh so many years ago. Now 26 married years later he still has those amazing eyes, dark hair and olive skin, and omg that sense of humor.
I always thought Thomas was our most complicated child. We didn’t get a solid diagnosis for him until he was around 6 years old when he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. He had things he was treated for such as speech impaired/delayed, muscle hypotonia ( received PT and OT as well as speech therapy) and behavior issues (he would hit me).
It wasn’t until Thomas was 12 years old did an amazing neurologist examine Thomas and all his MRI’s, educational, and developmental reports and come to the conclusion/diagnosis that our son was brain damaged. Static encephalopathy was the official words he used. It means brain damage that won’t get worse and won’t get better. It was a difficult reality to accept after all the years of basically not knowing anything official. Professionals would ask me why I wanted a diagnosis so bad? That they were treating what was wrong…. At the time I wanted to scream in frustration. A diagnosis puts a name to what is wrong, something to research, something you could “touch”. It’s hard to explain.
It’s now years later and we made the best and most difficult decisions I thought we would have to make as parents. We went through a terrible season and came through with God’s help. Now it’s a different child with challenging issues. This child is not special needs like Thomas. This child is a typical young woman for the most part. However she needs us as parents in a different way than the others, needs us to make difficult decisions and choices and be her advocate. I always thought after Thomas the rest of my kids would be smooth sailing. I was so wrong. Being a mom you’re never “done.” Stuff just keeps on coming.
Let me preface this post with: I’m fine. I had my yearly mammogram which yes is totally IMO necessary, and uncomfortable at best. At times I find it painful, not like I’m going to pass out painful but enough that I’m like ok that’s enough. I’m done. So at the end of December I had my annual mammogram; and I was called me back for additional diagnostic images. Well that was a sucky feeling, the worry that “they found something” and it wasn’t good. I made the follow up appointment for this morning. Turns out as per my union contract I am allowed 4 hours paid for preventative health care such as a mammogram. Go union! So anyway, I’m waiting all month for this appointment. To be honest I put it out of my mind and didn’t think about it until this past Friday.
Briefly here and there I thought about the appointment during the weekend. Sunday was mainly consumed by Thomas’ talking and taking him shopping for new sneakers. My guy wanted Nike Jordan’s. Since Thomas will wear the death out of things he likes, he got the Jordan’s. They’re really cool, Thomas has great taste.
So I go to work yesterday, we were busy as usual so I didn’t think about the appointment until I was leaving for the day. That’s when I began to get nervous. We ate dinner and I camped out on the couch watching television; which I really don’t do often. Well watching television and text fighting with Sam over her NOT dying her hair wild colors. You can guess which side I was on. This morning I was up stupid early, like 5:30. I’m usually up at 5 ish for work. My appointment was for 7:45 am, so 5:30 was stupid early. Tommy took the day off for me, he’s great.
We get there on time, I’m called to go in on time (impressive) and all the testing and results were completed in an hour. Like I said I’m fine. The tests were read by a physician at the radiology center and told to me at once. I really can’t complain. Effin mammograms.
I’ve written another email. I might be on a roll. This time it was to the current Pastor of the church I was a member of and used to attend. I’ve rescinded my membership. The Pastor responded much in the way I thought he would. Telling me that my family has been distant from the church (true) and that we’ve been prayed for, they’ve grieved the distance between me and my church family and we have been ministered to but they have disappointed us (?). I didn’t even give an inkling of such. I found the response to my email a bit self depreciating with a sprinkle of hopeful guilt trip. I expected better to be honest.
When I joined this church I was well aware of how conservative they are as a whole. And to some extent I agreed with most of their stances. However I have changed in a way that I can no longer shadow my beliefs. Of course if I were to express those beliefs to the formerly attended church I would be gently told how wrong I am and proven so by extensive quotation of scripture from the Bible. God is perfect, sovereign, all knowing, and does not make mistakes. Even when someone is living a life deemed sinful by those who live a conservative Christian life (such as LGBTQ persons), I find it extremely difficult to believe that God in his infinite wisdom has made an error in creating people who are born a certain way to live their entire lives committing sin which is displeasing to God. It doesn’t make sense to me.
I’m also pro choice. (Gasp!) What I’m writing is not meant to be controversial or challenging. This is my blog and my thoughts. And as much as I may love you, no one will change my mind. We all have solid reasons for how we feel. I’m in no way turning my back on God or feel anger towards God because I’m not getting my way in life. I’m grateful to Him. Without God’s presence and ever so wise guidance I would not be where I am today in my personal or professional life. Jesus Christ remains my Savior. To Him I owe it all.