I have a doctor’s appointment today; in Manhattan. It’s a run of the mill yearly appointment, not with a specialist or anything dire. And with today being a Jewish Holiday I’m off from work so it all works out well. I’m finding the older I get the less patience I have for most physicians who practice where I live. Specifically those who are supposed to specialize in woman’s health. When I was younger and having my children I used midwives for 3 out of 4 births. I received excellent care. I then had 2 losses and when I became pregnant with Samantha I received care from a male obstetrician who treated me like glass. But a few years later he passed away.

I then sought care from a very popular physician’s assistant (PA) who practiced under a very popular male OB/GYN here where I live. The PA turned out to be a flake who never returned phone calls and the popular doctor blew me off with concerns and questions I had about women’s health. Then, when I tried to make an appointment with another practice I was told I had to wait 3 months because I was a “new patient.” I felt like I was running in circles. How was this normal or acceptable?

Thankfully I was recommended to this wonderful woman run practice with an incredible reputation. I was sold! The only thing is that they are in Manhattan. Fine, whatever. I’ll travel the small distance by public transportation to receive “good” care. Well it is so so worth it. The woman physician I was recommended to answered every question I had and explained away all my concerns. I didn’t feel like I was being high maintenance or asking questions I was supposed to know the answers to. I’m a nurse and I like to think I’m reasonably smart, but I’m not an expert in all things related to health.

Why am I taking time to travel; however small the distance to another borough for “routine” health care? I’m thankful I don’t mind going to Manhattan, truth be told I enjoy going to the city. But… why do I have to go just to receive basic routine healthcare and visit practitioners that treat me appropriately, return calls, answer questions, etc…. I have one physician practice, my general practitioner who is 15 minutes from where I live. They are wonderful for general care. I see a Nurse Practitioner who doesn’t rush me and always asks if there is anything else before I leave. Wonderful practice. Well you can’t have everything . I’m off to the east Village !

A Different Normal

Let me just preface this by saying I don’t miss the days when my kids were all younger than 10 years old. Life was hard yo! Thomas was off the hook and the girls were; well… girls. No one was “bad” or made me sad or regret that I had them. It’s just that I don’t think people will admit that raising kids to be responsible adults is not an easy task. Throw a special needs one in the midst and boom! A really different kind of family dynamic exists. Especially when that social needs child isn’t properly diagnosed until they are almost 12 years old and you feel like you’ve been floundering in the past.

Anyway…it’s a new normal here in my house. Thomas lives at his group home and has a life there, Alyssa and Sam are living their best life together and Lelly recently moved out to live in Manhattan. No one was “kicked out.” Alyssa and Lelly each left home on their own accord with their own individual plans for their lives. I miss them though. With Alyssa there wasn’t any chance of her staying in our house; she was getting married! But Lelly, ah Lelly did things her way just as she’s been doing all her life. She graduated high school early, graduated college early, landed a great job and quickly found a roommate and nice apartment. It all went so fast but I wouldn’t expect any less from her.

Dinner these days are usually just Tommy and I. Samantha has been at volleyball practice everyday after school so she eats dinner when she comes home later. After she eats she usually goes up to her room and we don’t see her for the rest of the evening, pretty typical teen behavior. And that’s ok. Work has been kicking my ass lately so I haven’t been the most talkative person on the planet.

I seriously never thought of my life the way it is now. People would say to us to enjoy the kids when they’re young…they grow up fast…you’ll miss these days…Yeah, yeah. We did enjoy them, they did certainly grow up fast but I don’t miss those days. I like my quiet house, sometimes it’s too quiet but I’ll live. I like spending time with Tommy. He still makes me laugh the way he did when we were younger. He’s very quick witted and he gets me. This weekend Samantha is away and Tommy took off on his motorcycle, I already did the grocery shopping and hit the thrift store. I should vacuum bit sitting here is more enjoyable.

The Way It’s Supposed To Be?

We moved our Lelly out to her own apartment in Manhattan this morning. She was the smallest of all my 4 babies weighing in at around 7.5 pounds. We used to say she was small like a bird and my sister nicknamed her Lelly Bird. Actually her real name is Daniella but 5 year old Thomas couldn’t say Daniella; it came out Dallella and somehow morphed into Lelly and that is what stuck. We still call her Lelly although when she’s around her friends I try to call her Daniella. She’s officially a renter with her own signature on a lease. Very grown up for 21 years old; in my opinion anyway. Just as grown up as Alyssa and Sam getting engaged/married and then paying their own way for it all at 22 and 23 years old.

I’m crying today at the drop of a hat over Lelly moving out. This morning Tommy and I helped her move all her stuff into the U-Haul and drove her to the upper east side where her apartment is. I was ok until we drove away from our house. I began holding back tears and swallowing the urge to cry. I was ok the drive uptown. However seeing all her “stuff” in the bedroom of the apartment hit me like a lead balloon and the next thing I know I’m crying, and so is she. After a few hours there wasn’t much more we could do. The rest of unpacking and putting away her belongings was up to her. So Tommy and I decided to leave. That was terrible. We kept hugging and crying. It was so sad. I’m going to miss living with her so much. No one makes me laugh like Lelly, except for Tommy of course.

So after bringing the U-Haul van back, Tommy asked was it ok that our 2 older girls became so independent after graduating college; when they reached their early 20’sand moved out on their own. Whether it be because they were married like Alyssa or like Lelly did; chose to move out while still single. I said I guess this is how it’s supposed to be. But honestly I don’t know, I mean nothing about our raising children was typical starting off with Thomas. I tried my best with the girls all while killing myself to get Thomas help. I wasn’t ready to have the girls move out so fast. I was enjoying them so much as adults. The talking, the laughing, just being together. It’s nice. No pressure, no worrying about doing things “right”.

This doesn’t seem fair.

The Jersey Shore and Samantha

A couple of days after the summer program ended, Samantha and I spent 4 days at the Jersey Shore in a quiet town called Ocean Grove. It’s a “dry town” meaning no alcohol, quiet, mainly Christian influence. We really like it there. It’s also our go to beach for a day trip. No one bothers you there. There’s no loud boardwalk with tons of loud kids playing loud games. If you haven’t noticed I don’t like loud kids. Not to side track but when Tommy and I were in Aruba this summer we ate this Italian restaurant. I was seated facing this family with 3 children ages approximately 14 years, 10 years and 7 years old. The 2 younger children were so loud and totally obnoxious. Yelling at each other, banging on the table with cutlery/silverware, grabbing each other. I was so appalled. Never have my own children acted like that in a restaurant nor have my friends’ children. Like it just would NOT have been tolerated. And guess what? I looked over at the parents who were sitting with their children and they were both ignoring the kids and on their phones. Unbelievable! Thank God they were finishing up dessert and then left.

Anyway I digress; I was talking about staying in the town of Ocean Grove, NJ with Samantha. We had a really nice time together. We only spent one day on the beach because someone (who was NOT me) didn’t use sunscreen and ended up with a pretty decent sunburn. So we did other things, one cloudy day we visited my mom who lives about 20 minutes away, went to Asbury Park boardwalk where they have this arcade booth with just about every pinball machine and video game ever made. It was really cool. I didn’t play any games but my Sam certainly did. She had a good time and we even had a pictures taken in an old fashioned photo booth, the pics came out nice.

I even visited a psychic (yes I am aware as a Christian it goes against Christian beliefs) but I couldn’t help myself. She really didn’t tell me anything I didn’t know, except that she said there is someone in my life who would like me to “crumble,” to see my life fall apart. That was interesting. I’ve already crumbled when Thomas was violent with me. I told Lelly and she said, “Oh mom, you have a hater!” I couldn’t help but laugh a little at that.

When we arrived home we found out Samantha made the varsity Volleyball team for her high school! Yayyy! Go Sam, Go Sam!! We had a nice time together, I’m glad we went.

New School Year/New Everything

Next week begins the new school year 2022-2023. It also begins a new chapter for the school I work at. We have a brand spanking new building to house our students. It’s exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time. My computer at our old site was older than dirt, a desktop with a tower if you remember back far enough. I found out that we are being assigned brand new computers, yayyy! Rumor has it we also have a color printer and an ice maker. The ice maker is so cool because at our old site we used disposable cold packs for anyone who needed cold/ice applied to an injury. Now we can make up actual ice packs and keep them in the freezer. Sounds so silly to be happy about things a lot of people take for granted in their workplace. But that’s the way it is or was for us.

I miss my students. Don’t get me wrong I’m so thankful for my time off and I’m not looking to shorten the vacation I’m on, but I do miss “my” kids. I actually had a dream about one of my favorites, that this student had something wrong with them and I woke up a bit freaked out and had to realize it was only a dream. When I’m off for a decent amount of time I find I have dreams about my students. But the dreams are usually about me forgetting to feed someone or forgetting what new class they’re in. The last dream I had about this new school building had me running all over the place as if I were in a maze to find students who needed care in a timely manner. Weird.

I miss my co workers as well. When you see people everyday you form relationships and learn about their lives. Recently I’ve been talking with a social worker that has been hired to provide counseling to our students. I really like her and I find we have a lot of the same goals for the students and the parents we serve. During the summer program I ran down to her office to tell her something minor and we ended up chatting for quite some time. It was nice. She wasn’t aware of Thomas, that he is special needs and had attended the school we work for. When I explained Thomas’ situation and former experiences it took me back in time and I felt I was reliving his last year or so before he began residential school. It was unsettling in a way and I got over it but still…you would think after all this time it wouldn’t get to me. But it does. Not that I don’t want to talk about Thomas, I’ll gladly tell my story if it would help someone else. I guess I was caught off guard that day.

So here’s to a new school year! I hope we are all successful in meeting the challenges we face in performing the tasks for the different jobs we all have!