If I Didn’t Laugh…

I would cry.  Seriously, I could lose my shit, or I can take a deep breath – relieve stress through laughter and keep being me.  Not that one way is more right than the other, but given the options, I guess I would rather laugh – even when it doesn’t seem appropriate.

This is a long post – but I am going to pour my heart out here….. maybe some folks don’t want to know all the details, maybe some feel it should not be shared.  I kind of feel like you never know who you can help by sharing your story.Photo Jun 23, 12 31 26 PM

My dad is sick.  He has some sort of a seizure disorder. They don’t really know what triggers them.  He is on a whole pharmaceutical regimen that baffles my mind.  Sometimes we go for months and months without any major “incidents” – the various meds doing what they are intended to do, and all seems okay with the world.  Then something shifts.  Something changes and we find ourselves back at the hospital….

It is like a bad version of the movie Ground Hog Day

It sort of goes like this…. he has a seizure.  Sometimes at home, sometimes in public.  The folks that live in the building with him are typically really good about calling an ambulance, but sometimes he manages to convince them not to call.  Most times they will at least call one of us kids to let us know it happened. 

A seizure occurs when there is abnormal electrical activity in the brain.  Seizures may go virtually unnoticed.  Or, in severe cases, they may produce a change or loss of consciousness and involuntary muscle spasms or convulsions.  Seizures usually come on suddenly and vary in duration and severity. 

Most of the time, my dad has what would be considered a severe seizure.  He doesn’t remember them happening.  He doesn’t really know when they are coming on.  He falls down and is injured often.  He is usually completely out of it for at least the first 24 hour after we arrive at the hospital.  We have driven him to the hospital ourselves (with him having NO IDEA who we are), he has been taken by ambulance more times than we can possibly remember.  That part of the script is always a bit different and a bit more challenging – but the hospital visit pretty much goes like this (**insert inappropriate giggles here**):

Dad is understandably out of it.  ER staff asks us the same questions – name, date of birth, what we think happened, has he been drinking, is he on any drugs, etc, etc…..  While he may seem like he is drunk – he hasn’t had any alcohol for over nine years.  The only drugs he takes are the 20 different things that are prescribed to him by the team of doctors he sees on a regular basis.  MOST of the time, he takes them as prescribed, but as I mentioned, he can be confused and his thoughts muddled – it a a disorder of the brain, after all.  My dad keeps a typed list of all his current meds and dosages – we hand this over to the staff.  They input it.  They take him for a CT.  The CT comes back clear.  They ask us if he has a kidney or liver disorder.  We tell them they have tested that multiple times. Ultimately, they will admit him.  They will tweak his anti-seizure meds.  They keep him for 24 hours to see how he tolerates the change. They hydrate him through an IV for a day or two. They tell him he is fine and send him on his way, tell him to follow up with his neurologist in a couple weeks.

The nurses sometimes get annoyed with us kids, because we seem light hearted about the whole situation, but seriously, until we can find some doctors willing to try something different to help him, we can tell you how this whole thing is going to go. We have now seen this played out too many times.  It is frustrating… so we laugh sometimes.

There have been times where he doesn’t know who we are.  Even after we tell him.  It hurts, but it isn’t him – it is his illness.  Again, I can either laugh it off, or let it break my heart.  Sometimes he is extremely paranoid – one time he was convinced that he was all alone on the floor they moved him to, and they were trying to kill him.  There was a poor technician trying to do an EKG on him, and he FREAKED out. He started yelling that she had killed her husband, he saw it on the news, she did it first in English, then in Spanish….  He tried to pull out his IV and leave, he was very scared.  What do you do when you can’t do a damn thing to help someone you love?!?  It was scary.  It sucked. Mostly I was sad because I was completely helpless.  I fucking hate that.

This week, my dad had a seizure and went to a hospital.  He didn’t want to stay, he didn’t want to go to his home…. so my brother brought him to Hollister.  I saw him that afternoon, and I could tell he didn’t feel good.  He hadn’t been taking his meds – still not sure why.  The next day he got worse – though my brother had him start his medications again – he became unable to respond/communicate, and my sister and brother called for an ambulance. 

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waiting in the trauma room in the ER…..

The ambulance took him to Salinas, because the hospital here is not equipped to deal with it – so here we go again…..  I joined my brother and dad down in the ER a couple hours after he was taken down there.  Pops was out of it when I walked in, but what he said tore out my heart and scared me…..

Dad: We have got to be getting near the end.

Me: The end of what dad?

Dad: The end of the end…..

He was pretty much asleep, so I tried to not make too much of it.  When they finally took him to a room, I heard him tell the nurses that he thought he was getting on a ship.  I laughed, because he was safe, he was being cared for, and it was completely ridiculous.  My brother and I were answering the questions again for the staff that would be caring for him and my dad was getting upset…. he kept interrupting our conversation with the nurse.  He was insisting that she take us outside to see the sea urchin, before it dissipates….  so we said okay and left the room to see the sea urchin.  Because what else can you do???

After a day or so, my dad starts making some sense.  But it takes a while for him to be himself.  The nurses and staff ask if he seems “normal”…. uh – no?!?! The only thing that is close to normal, is his frustration that he can’t get his thoughts out clearly.  His irritation with being in the hospital is normal.  Yesterday he told us that he thought we sent him off on a ship to die…. He said, “I thought I died, I swear, I thought I died.” Ugh.

Something has got to give!

The hospital is talking about discharge again, and we are trying to take a different route.  We are trying to get him into a facility in Hollister.  It doesn’t feel good putting him in a “home”, but he needs someone to help make sure he is taking his medications on schedule, that he is eating well, that he is getting rest and hydration.  We want him in town, so that he is closer to all of us.  But it is difficult.  There is insurance, approvals, his limited income, his risks…. and the emotions – oye, the emotions are epic.

He doesn’t like to be a “burden” on us kids.  He doesn’t like that we worry about him, or that we are constantly running to the hospital to see him when the seizures take over.  But how could we not?  I feel like he is too young to be in a care facility, but I am not able to take care of him myself.  It is hard for me to reconcile this version of my dad, with the guy who was larger than life. I am SURE he hates this.  I hate it for him.  I don’t want to take away his independence, but he NEEDS HELP.  We need help.  

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Classic Pops look from back in the day… with Bubba at Monster Trucks

Just like there is no instruction manual for raising kids, there is no definitive source for how to care for your parents when they need you. What is happening to my dad is not anything to laugh at, but sometimes it is the only thing helping me keep it together. Adulting is hard. If you need me, I will be in my pillow fort, coloring.

#CrazyAsAMother #SometimesYouHaveToLaugh #AdultingSucks

 

Rub Some Dirt On It

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This kid of mine LOVES baseball.  Seriously.  He loves everything about it.  He loves being a part of a team.  He loves great coaches that help make the team feel like family. He loves improving his game year over year, and season over season…  Outside of little league, and watching his friends and cousin play – his favorite MLB team (right now) is the Washington Nationals.  His favorite player is Bryce Harper.

My boys just turned 10 years old a week ago.  As a birthday gift for our baseball fanatic, his dad bought tickets to tonight’s Giants game, where the visiting team is none other than the Nationals.  PERFECT GIFT.  A little dad and son time.  A chance for the kid to see his favorites right here where my favorite team plays….  My kids have been to plenty of games, but this was a big deal.

Maybe you all don’t eat, sleep and breathe baseball, like we do around here.  Maybe you didn’t see the spectacle that took place at the game on Monday. Just in case you missed it, here is a little glimpse at what took place:

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Giant’s pitcher, Hunter Strickland, pitched a ball right at Bryce Harper and hit him in the hip- apparently over some hurt feelings from a few years back, during a play off season (in a year the Giants won the World Series).  Rather than take his walk to first base, Harper went straight toward Strickland, threw his helmet, and fists started flying. Seriously ridiculous.

Now, I am usually as entertained as anyone, watching a bench clearing brawl on the ball field…. But, this one I am looking at through the point of view of my 10 year old.  Of the kid who thinks Bryce Harper is the absolute BEST player right now.   He heard about the fight, and thought it was crazy.  We watched the clip, he defended the fact that Harper stormed Strickland after that pitch….sadly, he said he would have done the same.  Then I told him that both players will likely face suspension. His heart broke.  He was so upset.  He even teared up.   KILLED ME.

His idol and team are here, and he has second row tickets next their dugout at AT&T Ballpark… and he doesn’t get to see this guy play.  Maybe if he is lucky, he will catch Harper during batting practice or on the way to the dugout to support his team.  I hope he is able to get some autographs and that he sees a great game.  I am disappointed for him, that ego trumped sportsmanship this week and he will miss out.

Major league ball players are role models to a lot of kids.  Usually they are great ones – they show hard work, athletic ability, and teamwork.  But as a parent, sometimes you have to explain that they are in fact people, and they do peopley things….  like make bad choices.

Can you imagine…. being 10.  Being so excited to see your FAVORITE player play your FAVORITE sport – only to have a bad choice take him out of the game?  Ugh.  Why do these grown men have to act like kids?!?  Oh well. I guess life is full of teachable moments.

We talked about the consequences of Harper’s decision to storm the mound….  I explained that while he thought it was cool or understandable that the fight happened, he is likely not the only fan who is downhearted that their favorite player isn’t playing – not due to injury or some other unforeseen event, but due to a poor choice made by both players. People always have a choice to try and be their very best.  Unfortunately, sometimes even the best have bad days.

When Nate is playing we always tell him to have a short memory.  Don’t let what already happened in a game hold you back from doing your best.  If the previous batter took your pitch for a ride, shake it off, and strike out the next.  Short memory.  Learn and move on.  For the love of the game, do not hold a grudge for years and throw at a player who took you yard. That isn’t a good example for kids to look up to.

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I told Nate if he ever pulled something like that – I don’t care how old he is, or how successful of a player he may be….  I would NOT be a happy momma if he chose to purposely hit a player with a pitch or start a bench clearing brawl.  And he would hear from me about it.  He knows it’s true.

As long as Nate loves the game, I am his number one fan.

Now, I don’t expect any role model to be perfect.  Baseball players are as fallible as anyone. Just remember…. no matter who you are, what you do for a living – there may be little eyes (and hearts) watching your every move.  Learning from you.  Striving to be like you.  So, please – always try to be the best version of you that you can be.

#NaterTaterTot #CrazyAsAMother #MyFavoriteDiamondIsDirt #AlwaysBeHumbleAndKind

 

 

Reality Check

The other day I was cleaning my room, and I came across this little gem….

Reality Check
Kevin wrote this last year – excuse the phonetic spelling….

I have shared it before, but it still is a good reminder.

I don’t remember the exact circumstance, but I imagine it was one of those days where I felt I had to completely lose my shit in order to get the kids to pay attention.  Ugh.  I hate those days.  The bickering, the back talk, the constant reminders to the boys that they have certain responsibilities…..  The frustration level builds and builds – until it happens.  I yell and scream and cuss – and sometimes even cry.  Completely ridiculous.

Somehow, this “apology note” (and the little gift he made me) was like a flick in the forehead.  Seriously.  Was there anything that happened that day that should have caused a complete and total breakdown?!? Again, without remembering exactly what set me off on this particular day – I can say with certainty that my kids have never done anything so horrible that deserves me becoming a raving lunatic.  So was I really mad at them?  Or was I upset because my day did not go how I wanted it to go? Think about it for a minute…..

My kid was somehow able to see through my tantrum and apologize – not for his behavior, but for my missed unrealistic expectations.

Being a parent is challenging. That is not news to anyone.  In a previous post, I talked about “choose” being my mantra this year.  We all have the chance to choose how we react to any situation that life throws at us.  We can’t always control the situation, but we can always control how we act.  Being a mom is really no different.

Sure, who doesn’t want days with no sibling rivalry?  No arguing over who needs to put the milk away, or who rode in the front seat last.  No whining because they are bored or hungry or tired.  A day where everyone does what they need to do, without me being the bad guy…  And yet, when that day comes, I will probably feel like I am not needed – and that will suck so much more!

Just yesterday, I allowed my crappy attitude to perpetuate a bad day, until I pulled my head out of my ass and adjusted my path.  And… it had NOTHING to do with my kids. Granted, the people I was dealing with have the mentality of high school mean girls, but still…

I’m not saying there won’t be more days like this. I imagine the frequency is about to increase as we approach the boys 10th birthday (next week).  I am positive my frustration level will grow right in line with my expectations of their behavior.  But I am going to honestly try to keep this reminder from Kevin in the back of my mind….

Make the best of the days you have.  Especially when it comes to spending time with those that you love. Adjust your expectations.  Change your plans.  Make the most of life & live it to the fullest.  OR…. Choose to be miserable and angry. Miss out on the good stuff.

The choice is yours.

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My philosophical sweetheart of a kid – Kevin.  He seriously has the best heart……

#CrazyAsAMother #ChooseHappy #RealityCheck

Mom’s Day Off?

This morning I was thinking…. I am going to take today off – kind of a private Mother’s Day Celebration! 

Kids are at school & with their dad today.

Jerritt is at work. 

House is quiet. 

The dog and I can lay in bed all morning, sip coffee, watch last nights Grey’s Anatomy & whatever else….  I can take a day off from worrying about job applications, cleaning house, getting anyone to practice, or games, or whatever…. I don’t even have to cook dinner tonight, because I am the only one eating (snacking, whatever)!

I mean – best Mother’s Day gift ever, right?!?

Then mom-reality sets in…. I need to at least go to the store. We need coffee (seriously NEED), I need snacks for Nate’s last regular season little league game tomorrow, we have people coming over this weekend – so I need to do some cleaning…. 

So while my fantasy of taking a whole do nothing day will have to wait – I am going to at least give myself a lazy start to the day! 


Hope you have a great Friday my friends! Be sure to make some Mama’s day a little brighter this weekend…. she deserves it (trust me)!

#CrazyLikeAMother #IWokeUpLikeThis 😂

When I Grow Up…..

Well.  Here I am. Pushing 40 years old (in 10 months), and I have no clue what I want to be when I grow up.  Maybe I am already supposed to be a grown up, but sometimes it is clear I missed the memo.

There is a distant memory from childhood, where I really wanted to be a Marine Biologist (and sail on the “Voyage of the Mimi” with an adorable, young Ben Affleck to study humpback whales) – but I don’t have the same dream today.  I still love the ocean – but science & math….  I have never been one of those women who has a clear professional vision or goal.  I never set out to be some highfalutin boss lady.   Don’t get me wrong, I am good at what I do.  I have built a successful career so far.  So what the heck have I been doing for the last 20+ years, and how did I get where I am today?

So let me start by stating…. I have a long term, lofty dream – and I am working on making it a plan.  But that isn’t what I am sharing today.  Today I am talking about finding my next adventure (you know, to finance the dreams).  I want a job.  I need to work.  I need to feel productive.  I need to contribute to my family – really… I don’t know how to let others take care of me.

I have had amazing opportunities throughout my career to train & work with some of the best organizations world wide.  The title I have carried most often the past 20ish years is Program Manager.  That same title has had multiple meanings across multiple organizations.

I have been parts of companies that have seen tremendous growth and devastating loses.  I’ve been part of acquisitions, closed down facilities, and I have been downsized right out of a job more than a few times.  Each time has been a new learning experience, and no matter how painful or scary – it has meant personal growth.

I am a problem solver by nature.  And a “people-pleaser” to a fault.  I love understanding what people need and figuring out how to make it happen.  Primarily I love building relationships with people – customers, internal team, CEO, janitor…. they are all people.  They all have a voice, and all have a stake in the success of an organization or project.

I love to learn about new things.  I never went into manufacturing with a burning desire to learn how to manufacture amazing, beautiful product from flat sheet metal and hardware – but I learned all that I could.  I soaked up the knowledge of as many people around me – because it made me better at my job.  It built relationships with every person on the team, and it made them invested in the success.

And there is this…. I don’t have a degree.  I know.  Shocking.  I have been working my ass off and having a very successful career, but never finished a degree.  It is amazing how 20+ years of experience means less to employers than a degree.  But I have missed out on amazing opportunities because of this little (huge) fact.  I am not opposed to getting a degree.  I am at a point in life where I can see it happening…. but reference the start of this story – I don’t know what I want to be.

My boys are getting older – they will hit double digits in 13 days *sigh*.  They won’t want me involved in all the school stuff as they head to middle school and beyond.  They would rather go places with friends’ families than with me….  Sure, they have loved having me home the past couple of months while I figure this out – but we may not survive the summer.  Seriously.  Not without some day drinking.

I want a job where I can make an impact on people.  Make their lives a little brighter.  I want to be a part of something GOOD.  A company I can respect.  A company with values and leadership that I am proud to be a part of. I would love a work culture that doesn’t care if I have some purple color in my hair or tattoos… because they know that it is just a part of me.

Me.  Wonderfully flawed, mistake making mom – just trying to save the world.

There are a lot of great opportunities out there.  I am thankful that I am given some time to consider my options and choose.  That is my word of the year.  Choose.  You can choose to be happy, or you can choose to be miserable.  You can choose how you respond to the world, even if you can’t always choose what happens.  But there is always a decision to make.  You always have the power to choose to be the best you.

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(the beautiful watercolor art was done by my amazingly talented friend Stacey Wilson)

So, if you see me running around town like a chicken with my head cut off…. now you know why.  I am trying to figure out who I want to be and how to get there.  I am sure the right path will appear soon, but I’m doing the best I can for now.  Try to figure out how to turn my dreams into plans and be the best me I can be along the way.

So – What do you want to be when you grow up?  And when are we officially grown up?  Ugh….

#CrazyAsAMother #OneMistakeAtATime #MomOfTheYear