May I Have This Dance?

Sometimes I feel like, as a mom, I have these wonderful, magical powers.

Have a boo-boo?  One kiss from my lips makes it feel all better.

Crying over spilt milk?  One hug with my arms wrapped around you makes it feel all better.

Scratches, scrapes, hurt feelings, and insecurities are no match for my mommy powers.

But right now we’re battling sometime that can’t be fixed.

Vista’s brain.

Would it be ironic to say that it has a mind of it’s own?

Because some days it really feels that way.

Sept2009EEG 300x199 May I Have This Dance?We finally got her EEG booked for March 9th.  Yeah, a month away.  This will be her third and that’s 3 too many.  Believe it or not, out of all the tests she’s had in her life, these EEG’s are the worst, because it involves me holding her down while she screams and cries and screams as they attach the electrodes to her head.  After getting her all worked up, I have to calm her down enough to fall asleep.  And after sleeping for 10 minutes or less, I get to wake her up.  I end up going home after them and crying as Vista clings to Bil wanting nothing to do with me.  And I can’t blame her.  I wouldn’t like me much either after all that.

But what’s the most frustrating is that I know the test will come back normal.  Just like the last two.  So I have to put her through all that for nothing.  Or rather, so we can see the neurologists so they can tell us “Yep, everything still looks OK, other than her normal brain malformations.  We don’t know why she’s seizuring or why she regressed so much after her last seizure.”

Did I mention being a mom also makes you a psychic?

I had a long talk with Vista’s Speech and Language Pathologist yesterday as she put V through her paces.  She’s confirmed for me that it’s not uncommon for people to regress after every seizure.  It’s just something that is.  And will be forever.  As in, when she’s an adult and has a seizure, she will experience loss of skills.

I watched, as we talked, as Vista struggled with a toy that a month ago had been a breeze for her to play with it.  A toy whose ins and outs she had mastered.  Now, it’s like she’s seeing it for the first time.

It makes me sad for her.  It makes me frustrated for her.  It makes me angry for her.

And Vista is all of those things right now as she struggles to make herself understood.  She went from being a toddler who was well on her way to being at a normal speech level.  She was talking in sentences.  She was easy and clear to understand.

Now our days are filled with “I’m sorry, sweetie, I don’t know what you’re saying” and she screams the same garbled words at me over and over hoping that volume will make me get what she is trying so hard to communicate.  Words that only weeks ago, I understood perfectly.

How do you explain to a two year old that half of what she’s trying to say is now reduced to babble sounds?  You can’t.   How do you explain that even though she was able to open that door a few weeks ago, it’s going to take some time for her to learn how to do that again?

So the next couple of months will be spent trying to return her words and motor skills to her.  And trying to manage the frustration and anger, both hers and ours.

I’m hoping one day we’ll learn this dance.  One step forward, two steps back, side shuffle, side shuffle. This stumbling along, trying to figure out what comes next is making my brain and heart hurt.

 May I Have This Dance?

I am a Powerful Force

I am a mom.

I may not make $80,000 a year a some stuffy corporate job anymore, but my value is now measured in my daughter’s love, not dollars.

I may not have some fancy degree from some overpriced university, but there are still things I know and things that I can do better.

I have been known to school doctors in their craft, heal hurts with the kiss of my lips, and convince a screaming toddler that they really do want to go to bed.  I am a powerful force.

Do not dismiss my worth.

I am a mother 24/7.  I assure you I’m good at what I do and I know how to do it well.  I’ve had two years of practice, day and night, to perfect and hone my skills.

You may not understand why I do what I do when I do it, but I there is always a method behind my madness.  And yes, I may get defensive when you question my methods.  Because although it may not always seem like it, I do know what I’m doing.

You do not walk in my shoes, so please do not assume you know how they fit, how they feel.

I listen to your corporate tales of woe.  To you tell the tales of what technical malady had befallen your world today.  I listen and I care.  I ask the same in return.

Do not then throw that in my face and accuse me of playing the ‘poor princess’ card.  Because I’m not.

I don’t want your pity.  I have no use for your pathos.

I just want your support.

Because although I am mighty, although I am strong, some days I’m still a mom who needs a little help.

True Love

Today was one of those rough mommy days.  Vista was tired (she was up every hour or two last night, and couldn’t or wouldn’t nap today), cranky, and just generally whiny.  Which makes for a tired, cranky, and generally whiny Mom.  Funny how that works.

I deal with a lot of things really well.  Medical stuff, I take in stride.  Developmental delays are no big deal, because they can be worked on.  Cuts, bruises, blood, vomit, seizures… anything like that… I can do with my eyes closed.

But, you give me a whining kid and I will be clawing at the windows trying to escape in 5 seconds flat.  I cannot do whining.  I don’t know what it is about whiny kids that grates on my nerves like nails on a chalkboard, but I just do not react well.  It is never a good scene.

Enter my darling husband, Bil.  He has this amazing ability to completely tune out the whining and just deal with her.  (which is probably why he deals so well with me… trust me, the whining is an inherited trait for sure)

Luckily today he was able to come home an hour early and they are now playing outside, and apparently laying in the bouncy castle looking at clouds.  How awesome is that.  I’m on strict orders to stay inside, have a drink, and twitter and blog to my hearts content.

It is moments like these when I fall in love with him all over again.  And the days when he brings home a bottle of wine and some fancy truffles… yup, that’s love.

Because sometimes the greatest gift you can give a mother is an hour to herself and a good, stiff, drink.

Identity Crisis

How we identify ourselves (and our self worth) can be a funny thing.  I’ve found, for myself, it’s so often wrapped up in what I’m doing, rather than who I really am.

Before I became a mom, I spent 10 years working for the same company.  My life was completely wrapped up in it.  It was, in essence, my life.  And for various reasons it had to be.  It’s hard to maintain relationships when you’re traveling a lot.  And it’s hard to plan an outside life when you’re told on a Friday to book a flight for the next day and, oh, by the way, you’ll be gone for two weeks.  But that was the job.  And I enjoyed it.  It was interesting.  It was dynamic.  And it was me.

Most people knew me as ‘Jenn, who works for ***’.  It was a huge part of my identity. And it didn’t help that I was a workaholic.  Even on vacations I was expected to be available by email and phone.  But it came with the territory (and the money) and so I felt it was all worth it.

Eventually, I got noticed by some of the right people, and started on the fast track for upper management.  This is what I had worked those 10 years for.  Yay me!  Until that one morning when I woke up and realized that maybe this dream of being a VP at a major multinational wasn’t really what I wanted anymore.  I looked at my boss, and his boss.  They had no family lives.  They were so stressed it was affecting their health.  It was expected that they would be available all hours of the day and night.  And I knew that on my road to the big leagues there was going to be a lot of moving around the country and shift work involved.  If I ever wanted to have children, this was not going to work.

By this time Bil and I had been trying to start our family for a while (with little success).  He was convinced I needed to slow down, relax, and de-stress. So after many weeks of soul searching I handed in my resignation.  The plan was to take the summer off and then look for a new job in the fall.

I didn’t realize I’d spend the entire summer trying to figure out who I was.  What was my identity now that I wasn’t working?  How would people relate to me if I wasn’t that girl who worked at that company?  It was really hard. And I struggled with it.  I still do.

momcallingcardvista Identity CrisisAt the end of the summer, I found out I was finally pregnant (which came with a big dose of ‘I told you so’ courtesy of my darling husband).   So, rather than go back to work, I took the time to start my own business.  Then that became my new identity; Business Owner and Virtual Assistant.  Until, of course, I had my baby.  Then everything else was once again stripped away.  Oh, I still have my business, but now I introduce myself as ‘Jenn… Vista’s mom’.  And I like that title.  I really do.  In fact it’s one of my favorite identities so far.

But some days I’m still left wondering who I really am and whether I’m really only defined by what I do in life.

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