She Wouldn't Let Me...

Monday, May 18, 2015

I was at the lowest point of my life when it caught my eye. 

And instantly, everything changed. 

It's amazing what we will allow for ourselves but would never even think to allow our children to consider enduring. We make excuses, sweep things under the rug, try to cake some pretty on top of a whole lot of ugly....

...while the core is just rotting away. 

But when you look at your child, and you honestly can say that you don't want them to grow up to be just like you...

... absolutely have no other choice but to run like hell from that situation, choice, thing, relationship... whatever... that you would lay down your own life to protect them from. 

Addie has rocked my world on a number of occasions but on that particular night, after everything fell apart, and I was just about to fall apart right along with it...

...she wouldn't let me. 

And here we are - little bit rough around the edges but whole, happy, healthy, thriving, hopeful. And although I'd move heaven and earth to spare her from so many of my mistakes, shield her from the pain I have felt and hurt I have caused...

...I can honestly say I would be honored to be someone she looks up to and wants to be like when she grows up. Even though I have to admit I'm still striving to be more like her when I grow up. 

Princess PJs and all. 

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Chop Chop!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Today Addie and I needed some girl time. And I needed to do the one thing I've been dreading... get Addie's hair cut. She has had the longest prettiest hair for so long...

...but it had become a battle to keep tangle free. So...

We got a big girl haircut just in time for summer and our upcoming trip to the beach! And, lucky for Mama, the hair salon was right next to Build A Bear ( please note the sarcasm ). Addie saw a giraffe, and signed giraffe, and signed please. So $40 later we built a freaking giraffe that she felt required a pink sparkly dress.
You can't say no to such great spontaneous expressive communication.

You just can't. 

To top off our big day we decided on Sweet Frog for dinner because well, why the heck not? And Addie decided she would impress me with her new self-feeding skills that I drive us to therapy and pay a pretty penny for every week... 

Apparently cake batter frozen yogurt with hot fudge, whipped cream, and vanilla wafers is a good motivator for the lovely fine motor/feeding issue debacle that is using utensils.

It was pretty awesome. 

It's so humbling that I get to be responsible for raising such an incredible little girl. Days like today just motivate me to do battle over anything the stands in our way. How one little girl can both completely drain me and fully recharge me at the same time I will never know. 

But she does, every single day. She challenges me, tests me, pushes every button... all while showing me the most genuine love, growing my understanding, and pushing me to be a better mom and a better person. 

I love this little girl with everything I have and I love this adventure we are on together with so many incredible people.  

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Buy Your Own Damn Flowers

Friday, May 8, 2015

I waited...

...and waited. 

And sometimes they would come. Sometimes unexpectedly though it was usually after I hinted, cried, begged...

...they'd come. 

The thing that is hard to truly grasp is that I never wanted the flowers, I just wanted someone to want me to have flowers.What I needed was to know I was thought of in the middle of the day, that I was worth the extra effort and money, worth the inconvenience of time spent. And when you don't truly know you are worth it... well... it comes out in very strange ways. For me - flowers. 

What do you really want from your relationship?

I want and need to feel wanted. To know I matter, that I am a priority. When I know I am important to someone by their words and actions I feel secure, loved, and I'm able to be a better partner in that relationship. 

What does that look like to you? 

Feeling connected through emails, texts, calls... knowing that it's important to them when we will be together next. Planning things, even just popcorn and a movie at home, so I know I was thought about. Taking the time to know who I am, to show care or concern for what matters to me - especially Addie. 

Is it something the other person can reasonably be expected to give?

Yes and no. I can reasonable expect someone to make me a priority and show me that I am a priority but I don't really have the right to dictate how they might do that. They should care enough to find out what is meaningful to me, but I can't expect that the idea in my head that... Friday... at dinner... he will bring me pink flowers... tied in brown paper... with a white string bow... will happen just because. 

What can I do to meet my own need? 

I've learned a lot over the past two years and one of the major growing points for me was my independence. It was learning I don't need anything outside of myself to feel secure and to be happy. It was also in being able to honestly say that I do, in fact, want those things. Becoming fiercely independent while also acknowledging I want to share a life with someone isn't as contradictory as it seems. I know that I am okay on my own in every way - I can provide for myself, my daughter, I'm surrounded by supportive family, I have an incredible career and amazing people in my life, I've found things I am passionate about...

...I have those things. They are mine apart from anyone else.

But I want (and don't need) to share those things with someone. To have someone be a part of my life and to be a part of theirs. And although I know I deserve to be one of the priorities in someones life... I also know I don't need to be the all-consuming center of someones life. 

So when I realize I would really like flowers, particularly yellow tulips...

....I buy my own damn flowers. 

Because it was never about the flowers. It was about feeling like I matter. And I do - to myself. And that is absolutely enough. 

And when you realize how incredible you are and that you really are worth it - without any one or any thing else - you find yourself surrounded with people who see it too. 

And so you get flowers for no reason, and other sweet surprises. The things you say you want to do actually happen. You never wait around for a text, a call, or an email. The people that are important to you become important to them. 

And it's magic. 

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"I'm very, very, happy" - Granny

Sunday, April 12, 2015

No matter how much she had, she gave more.

No matter how hurt she was, she loved more.

And then, she was gone.

May 19th, 1925 - March 30th, 2015 

I don't know how to deal with losing my granny, the person who shaped so much of who I am. I don't know how to cope with the decisions that had to be made that fell on my shoulders both before and after her passing. So I'm not. I'm not dealing or coping. I'm just focusing in on the next right thing I have to do and doing it.

But in waves I see her laying in the ICU asking for a Coke. I think of making that choice to stop aggressive treatments and let her have that Coke. I think of her surprised face when I tried to explain things to her as best as I could. The doctors who counseled me, the nurses who hugged me and told me I was doing the right thing, the eyes of my brothers, my nephews, my mother and father... the people I love most. Looking at me, to me, and trusting each step. And the fearful tears from all of us as we realized we had never known a day without her in it and now every day moving forward would never be the same.

Each morning she is missing from Addie's side at the breakfast table.

Every Thursday I have no one to bring lunch home to and every evening her spot on the couch is where Addie runs to... hoping, expecting, to see her there. When I get ready to shower at night I don't have to warn her in case she needs to use the bathroom first.

But I still hear her voice trying to sing the songs on Addie's shows she watches in the morning. I still want the smell of McDonalds, her most requested lunch, to linger in my car. I still gather my things at night and walk to her room before I shower.

My comfort is in her legacy - it's in my beautiful daughter spending almost every day for more than a year in her company. It's my two strong nephews who are becoming such incredible young men and who stood by my side through these hard moments. So many moments...

...but the one I treasure most? 

After the hard decisions were made and my friends gathered around her bedside with me to pray for her and stories were told and memories were shared...

...she woke up.

And with so much strength and passion she said...

"I'm very, very, happy". 

Well, Granny, if you are happy, I am too. 

Happy to have been blessed to be your granddaughter, happy you had the opportunity to meet my daughter and help me raise her. Happy to know you were loved by the people I love most. And I am so incredibly happy you were able to know that I am okay... able to finally see me happy and settled.

The world will never be the same because you were in it, and it will never be the same now that you are gone. 

That is a life well lived. 

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Team Cakes

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dear Addie...

Oh sweet girl, here we go again. Another surgery on your perfect baby blue eyes. My heart is broken. You've had two surgeries so far to replace the lenses in your eyes because of massive cataracts that were caught just in time. And now...

...on Wednesday April 1st we will wake up early and you'll ask for your breakfast and I'll tell you no, not yet. We will load up in the car with your Grandpa, Grandpa Dave and Nanny Carolyn. We will drive to the place you've been two times before. The people who love you will entertain you while I check you in. "Team Cakes" we call them. They are a mixture of family, friends, and fans who support you any time things get rough. You'll have even more friends and family all over the country and even the world who will be supporting you with thoughts and prayers too. The members of Team Cakes who can be in the waiting room will be there - we will take up half of the waiting room as usual - everyone shows up for you sweet girl. 

I'll carry you back and hold you tight as your nurse helps get you in your gown and we get ready for the eye drops. I'll restrain you through my own tears as you cry. And then I'll restrain you again as they hold the mask up to your face and you fight like hell before you drift off to sleep. It is so hard to watch but it is also inspiring. You are my fighter girl - it's why you are even here.

Never stop fighting.

I'll return to the waiting room and I'll hold it together long enough to say I need to use the bathroom. And then, as I always do, I'll finally be alone, and I'll weep - for everything you've been through, for everything you've yet to go through. I'll jump to my feet the moment I see your surgeon. I'll be there when you wake up, thrashing and angry. I'll see the pain in your face and I'll feel it and wish to God I could take it from you. I'll comfort you as best I can through something I can't begin to explain to you. We will be greeted by Team Cakes as we walk out of recovery and you'll be held and loved by everyone before I get you back into your car seat and drive you home. Grandpa will sit with you and hold your hand, I'll play Taylor Swift, and we will all try not to cry. 

We will take it easy, try some juice, cuddle, nap, and relax. Grandpa will stay with us and make sure we are okay. The next day it will be you and Mama and your great Granny. We will have visitors to help take care of us, it will be a better day. Then the next day Tutu will stay home and help Mama take care of you. This will be the day I might leave you for a few minutes to shower, Tutu will hold you when I can't. Mama needs a shower. 

Then, if you are feeling up to it, your Dada will come and pick you up Friday so Mama can have a night off. You two will cuddle, take it easy, and you'll keep Dada up all night because you have him wrapped around your little finger and I know he wouldn't have it any other way. You'll see your Mimi and your Papa and you'll be the happiest little girl with an eye patch ever. You smile through all your pain, you are so strong. 

Then you'll come home and we will sleep because the next day is Easter Sunday! Mama already got your Easter basket made and your dress picked out, we are ready to go. You'll be surrounded by more of Team Cakes and even though your eye will still hurt a little, you'll be able to do all the things you love and we'll have fun hunting eggs and playing outside. 

Monday we will stay home again, just to be safe. Lots of cuddles and lots of love. We might go to Mama's office to see if anything super important needs some attention and you'll charm the socks off of everyone. Tuesday, God willing, you'll go back to school and life will get back to our normal and Thursday we will visit your doctor for your post-op. 

Why is all of this happening?

Well you have strabismus in your left eye. You have hypertonia in your extremities but mostly on your left side, we think it's all connected. I could tell you big words like "perinatal hypoxic ischemic brain injury" but for today just know you are so incredibly unique and sometimes being unique means you have to fight a little harder. 

Never forget that, sweet girl, no matter what. You may always have to work harder but nothing is out of reach for you. Not one single damn thing. 

We are going to rock this surgery my darling girl. 

“One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.”  ― Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry,

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