Monday, November 14, 2011

There was a moment today when I laid down, covered my face with a shirt (yes, dirty laundry scattered about my room, so when I reached for the nearest thing, I grabbed a shirt -- a cute light blue hoodie. A hoodie passed down to me from my mom because I don't shop). I covered my face with the hoodie and cried.

I cried because there are days when I am the worst mom. Moments when I yell and have the meanest look in my eyes. And that is never, ever the mom I thought I would be.

I cried because we have changed our plans so many times in the last 6 years. This roller coaster the kids have been riding. And I can't blame cancer for all of this. In fact most of our moves and life changes have been cases of the grass being greener over there.

And frankly, right now, the grass is pretty green. So why don't I just sit down in this field and have a picnic with my kiddos?

My tears today, the worries that brought them on, are trivial. And not only by comparison to cancer.

The little red-headed monkeys are happy and healthy. They have friends and loving, supportive teachers. They are growing and thriving.

So I looked back at our Caring Bridge post from this day in 2008. I was so sure it would be bleak and depressing and remind me of just how lucky we really are. Instead, this is what I found:

"Just a quick update:
We are home....finally! L is doing very well and so are the rest of us. We've got a few days of being homebodies, then it's back to Brenner."

So it revealed something else, even more important. We were in the middle of hell. And we found reasons to smile and use exclamation points!

We are home now. We are together, even the dogs! And even though I had a bad day, I'm not going to dwell on it!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Cup Runneth Over ... could I get a new drink?

The kids are on day 6 of fevers.

Lindsay declined to stay up to celebrate the New Year saying, "I'm sick. I need my rest!" They do need their rest. Hell, we all need our rest. We have had very little sleep since Monday. Not cancer-parent sleep-deprivation, but we're so out of practice!

Lindsay has managed to sleep well despite her low grade fevers and annoying cough. She's remained pleasant, even helpful spirits. Michael ... not so much.

His fever has been in the 101-103 range for much of the week. He and Lindsay both slept well Monday night and Matt and I made the mistake of saying, "Wow. They slept really well! It could've been way worse." Yep. Jinx.

Michael hasn't slept well since Monday. He wakes up when Lindsay coughs, covers his ears and yells, "Her coughing is (cough cough) too (cough cough) loud!" Yes. That is Michael coughing while he complains! He cries out "I scared! I need to snuggle!" And when I bring him to bed he sees dad and screams, "I don't like dad! I don't want to be near dad!" When Lindsay tries to get in the bed and snuggle he screams, "I don't like Lindsay! I don't want to touch Lindsay!" When we try to give him medication - for fever, for cough, regardless of flavor, he clasps his hands tightly over his mouth. We count patiently to 3 ... 1 -- 2 -- 3. Nothing. "Michael, you need this medicine to help you rest. What can we do to help you take it?" Nothing. "Michael, would you like to rinse it down with juice?" Hands still clasped tightly, eyes bugging out of head.

So I raise the stakes.

"Michael, we can do this the hard way or we can do this the easy way..." ... This is a line I stole from Ashton and Big Guns. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Ashton and "Big Guns" are cancer-fighting super-hero parents. Big Guns apparently uses this line for oral meds with their little cancer-fighter. Umm... Lily ... did you talk to Michael? Did you share your book, "101 Ways to Avoid Taking Medications?" Because "we can do this the hard way" resulted in sticky cherry syrup flying across the room leaving what can best be described as a blood spatter stain on my 400 thread count sheets. 4 letter words were muttered (by Matt, for once ... not me!). Attempts to medicate were aborted.

After the fact, we giggled. We reminisced about Lindsay's behavior in the hospital. Screaming. Kicking. Crying. Refusing meds, procedures, etc. And we said to ourselves, "Oh, poor baby. She has cancer. She's so scared!" And we were ENDLESSLY patient with her.

Fast forward two years. And 3 year old Michael (same age as Lindsay when she was being treated) is now behaving the EXACT same way! No cancer. No hospital. No scary procedures. And we are not even close to being as patient. I should be saying "Poor Michael. Second children are so neglected. Especially when first children dealt with cancer!"

In all seriousness, I sometimes wonder if parents have a limited amount of patience. Like a cup that gets filled when you decide to have kids. And you can dole out little bits here and there but it doesn't get replenished so choose your moments of patience wisely. I doubt this is the case, but ... Matt and I were SO incredibly patient with Lindsay as a baby. She was "colicky" for lack of a better word. We walked her, bounced her, used the sling, the baby carrier, white noise. We did not let her cry it out. We did not force her to go to relatives or friends who wanted to hold her but didn't know how to soothe her. We did not sleep much that first year. Then Michael came along, the easy baby. The sleeper. The smiler. The "put me down I need a nap, please" baby. And life was great. Then cancer. WAY more patience being poured from the cup.

And now Michael is three. And though he is still my sweet little fella, he is 3. Terrible threes, anyone? And Matt and I are WAY less patient than we ever were with Lindsay. And if you put their behavior side-by-side, played a video, I'm guessing we'd see that Michael's "3 year old behavior" is way tamer than Lindsay's. Where did all the patience go?

So while I usually avoid New Year's Resolutions, this year's will be:

1. Be more patient.
2. Find ways to replenish the Cup of Patience.
3. As much as possible, draw from the children ... let them refill the Cup of Patience.
4. Get a pedicure. This has nothing to do with the Cup of Patience. My feet are really crusty and need some attention. I figure if it's a New Year's Resolution, it'll happen ... right?

So, how do you refill your cup?