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October 29, 2012

Monday Mumbles - 34

Yeah, I haven't mumbled in awhile. But here goes.

1.  This week is going to be one of the most interesting weeks of my life at work.  We have a big conversion and it's all about to go live.  And I'm one of those people who has the attitude -- "Just Do It!" so I am all ready to go.  :)

2.  Volleyball season is officially over for us in the Parochial League.  Sarah's been attending open gyms in anticipation of tryouts for a club spot.  Pray for her!  I really hope she makes a team -- mostly because I want her to practice, practice, practice!  (she really just wants to play the games...but at this point, I just want her to practice). 

3.  Dani is very glad volleyball is over.  It's just not her thing.  But now she can focus completely on swim team and guitar lessons.  

4.  I've been on a new medication for about 3 weeks now.  I have a follow-up appointment today with the doctor.  I hope everything is in order.  I do feel a difference in my head about 30 minutes after I take the medicine.  As far as whether it has assisted me in conquering my anxiety, I am not sure yet.  I have had a lot of stressful things happen in the last couple of weeks -- so I wonder if it will take longer to help me stop stressing out so much. 

5.  Sarah's informed me that the kids in her class are pretty much "getting over" Dominic now.  I am glad, I think.  I was wondering...if they did that for too long, how he might feel whenever they did ultimately "get over" him and I'm glad it's happening now just a couple weeks in, LOL.

6.  My Weight Watchers plan is going pretty well.  I've recruited two more friends to go through it with me so now that's 4 of us!  It really does make it easier when you have people in place for support.

7.  And now I present:  

Green Lantern....

...a Green Crayon

...SpiderGirl and Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

 ...a 1980's Rock Girl!!

8.  Helen took a pose before swim lessons the other day.  This girl does not take a bad picture, I don't think!

9.  I downloaded the Rosary on iTunes and have been using it to pray my Rosary in the mornings as I get ready for work.  I always worry that praying while I'm doing something else (like getting ready for work) takes away from the prayer I am praying.  You know, distractions and all.  Am I doing something wrong by praying a Rosary while I put on make-up, etc?  Just wondering...

10.  Happy Halloween on Wednesday!  Happy All Saints Day on Thursday!  And have a Blessed Feast of All Souls!  Please keep my Grandparents and Aunt Bea in your prayers, and I will also keep all the souls in purgatory in my prayers.


October 23, 2012

Pre Teen Cuteness

My last post kind of stuck in my craw for a bit. I don't like writing about the hard parts of having children. I don't like acknowledging publicly that I have a hard time with these crazy pre-adolescent years. But the fact of the matter remains that it's a big unknown for me, and just like the ages that come before, there will be parts that I like, parts that I could do without and overall, I'll be glad when the teenage years for each of my children are finished.

So, there are a few cute things I have noticed lately that I wanted to share.  Namely, how cute is it that Sarah has a crush on someone? 

Quick Side note:  It was NEVER considered "cute" to have a crush on a boy in my house when I was growing up.  I had crushes on boys but I NEVER admitted it publicly where my parents were concerned.  They were always adamant that I "didn't know what I was talking about" when it came to my feelings for boys.  They could never see a crush for what it was -- a crush.  Nothing more, nothing less.  I thought a boy was cute, I was way too shy to talk to him face-to-face, but was thrilled to have a regular phone conversation with one boy during 7th grade. When  my mom found out that I actually liked the boy that was calling the house every evening,  she did a lot to try and persuade herself - and in due course - me that there was nothing serious about it, it didn't mean anything, it was just silly childhood games, etc.  Of course, looking back, I don't necessarily see my parents' attitudes on the subject as the most healthy way to address it with me, therefore, I have chosen a different tactic with my Sarah, so far.

Sarah has a crush.  She admitted as much on Instagram one day.  I informed my sisters and Craig.  Then I asked Sarah if she realized she'd been rather public with her declaration -- to the point that her mom and dad knew who and all that stuff.  She affirmed her knowledge of this fact and left it at that.  She's pretty private that way.

As the kids get older, I am always looking for those things where I can relate to them a little bit.  Even though their lives are their own, their experiences are their own, I want to be able to remember what it was like to be in that place.  I realize that I, too, experienced some of those things (the good and the bad unfortunately) and try to walk with my children through these times in their lives. 

So, I have to admit that knowing Sarah has this crush on a boy thrills me in that part of my heart that yearns for similarity with my daughter. I remember my crushes when I was 11 and 12 and 13 and....well, you get the picture.  I remember being too shy to talk to anyone about it.  I remember how my heart pounded when I got phone calls. 

I also remember how my heart felt when the boy that called me during 7th grade told me that he wasn't going to call me anymore.  Interestingly enough, as I look back, I realize that I got over that pretty quick, but I do remember that little twinge I felt at rejection.

And so...there's that.

Another thing that really warms my heart recently is how much love is being shown to my 3-year-old Dominic.  He is in preschool at our parish school so he has the opportunity to interact with the boys in Sarah's class.  And they sure do seem to enjoy him a lot. 

Here are a few of the things:

1.  Sarah told me that the kids in her class have her bring Dominic to where they can see him as they pass through the hall to go to their carline in the afternoons after school.  They like to wave at him.  I have no idea what shenanigans he is doing as they wave and call to him, but I'm sure he's entertaining them somehow.

2.  When we got out of Mass Saturday, Dominic left the pew and received hugs from one girl in Sarah's class, then another girl came up and asked Dominic for a hug, too.  He then paraded around the parish hall getting high fives and hugs from older kids in the school who were at Mass.

3. I was checking stuff on the Sycamore site for school. They have a section that says "blogs" that is NOTHING like a real blog. Anyway, one of the boys posted this:

My son - a boss, LOL
4.  And finally, Sarah has been collecting Dominic's autographs for kids in her class which cracks me up.  I am not sure which I find more interesting - the fact that Dominic is able to write his own name so well or the fact that a bunch of 11 and 12-year-old kids want a copy of it.  Additionally, she's been taking lots of pictures of Dominic and putting together cute pictures collages of him. 

Here is one:

What warms my heart the most is that she is spending quality time with her 3-year-old brother (okay, he's almost 4 now) and they have a lot of fun together. 

That's really cute.

October 14, 2012

5 Things I Want to Try to Convey to my Pre-Teen

You know what? This mom is just about over the social crap preteen girls put each other through. 

And you know what else? It's just too bad because I'm only getting started

So in order to combat the negativity surrounding having a wonderful 11-year-old girl who doesn't feel wonderful (even though she should), I am writing 5 things that I really want to make sure she knows, and I hope I am able to help her understand at some point in the next 5 years.  I'm sure I'll think of 5 more some other time, and maybe 5 more after that.

1.  Sarah - You are beautiful, inside and out.  You have the deepest, most thoughtful soul.    You have always been prayerful and contemplative.  You are able to see to the root of people.  You often discount your ability when what you perceive isn't what you want to see in others.  As you grow up, you will get better at this and you won't second-guess yourself so much.  And when you realize that your perceptions are correct, you'll protect your honest and loving heart much better.

2. Sarah - You are loyal, to a fault...I don't want to see you sacrifice your own well being to be loyal to those who don't understand or appreciate your gift.  It pains me to watch as you learn that you are rarely the first one thought of.  But it pleases me to see that you're often the first that can be counted on. 

3. Sarah - you are intelligent.  You do well in school, but that's not the only, nor the primary place I see your gift of intelligence.  You are perceptive with peers.  You often weigh choices in front of you and I can tell that you see past the decision to the potential consequences.  So far, I have seen and have been told by teachers and other parents that you have chosen to err on the side of the right more often than on the side that is easy.  

4. Sarah - you are the best big sister.  Sure, you're growing up very fast now and on the whole, we're having some growing pains in our family right now.  But overall, I can count on you to be a good example for your siblings.  I can also count on your assistance with the younger ones, though not to the point where it becomes your sole responsibility.

5.  Sarah - your best friends in your early life will be your sisters.  Sorry, kid.  You're probably not going to be blessed with an abundance of invites to friends' parties and play dates.  You have lots of siblings and you will learn that family is what you can really depend on and the rest is just background noise, for the most part.  When you get into adulthood...probably long past your college years, you'll find some kinship among other women who will understand the same thing.  Knowing this doesn't make adolescence any easier, I'm afraid.  But I hope that someday, when you think back on this time (perhaps you'll be trying to help your own daughter navigate this period of life), you'll remember that you heard this somewhere.  You'll remember that you blew it off, but it turned out kind of like that...if not all the way, at least in part. 

You know, I always thought navigating the pre-teen and teen years myself was hard.  I look back sometimes and can remember how confused I felt about so many things.  I was so confused, I didn't even know I was confused.  As a matter of fact, I thought I had it all under control and I knew everything.  Of course, after I grew up, I realized how much I didn't know...couldn't know.  

Now, as I watch my daughter begin this journey, my heart breaks far more often than I would have thought possible.  I shed tears.  I sob.  I surprise myself.  Because there is this part of me that knows how unimportant some of these things are in the grand scheme of things.  But then...there is a part of me that also remembers - KNOWS - that some of these things mean THE WORLD to my daughter right now.  I guess that's why it hurts my heart so much to watch her struggle.  And the fact that she's not struggling with the real...the important...the truly impactful things.  She is struggling with those things that just aren't important overall, but feel like the world to her.

There's a part of me that wants to believe the first time through this is the hardest and the rest of my kids will go through this stage and I'll look back and laugh (a little bit) at how much I feel as Sarah is going through it.

But surely...life just doesn't work that way.  Does it?

October 7, 2012

Pride Goeth Before A Fall

PRIDE. I think it's my nature. It's a sin I struggle with over and over again. Whenever I prepare for confession, I mentally list out my sins and I try to get to the root of them to confess the proper sin. Because sometimes, the fact that I argued with my spouse is not really the problem...it is the WAY in which I argued and the fact that I was so convinced my way was the best way that I spoke to him as though I were all-knowledgeable and he were a dunce.  And the very root of that attitude is the fact that I took pride in myself and didn't look to God for the solution.  That's just an example.

But recently, I've had a great big slice of humble pie served up with a (literally) bitter pill to swallow.

I had my annual well-woman exam this week at the doctor.  Yeah.  That one.  Ugh, right?  But honestly, that "ugh" part is over and done with easy enough and then the discussions start.  I don't think I'm unlike too many people who kind of make note of things to discuss with the doctor as that annual checkup approaches.  I had made some mental notes of some physical things I have been experiencing.  And really only physical things because, you know, I have it all together up there in my brain.  

So, as I discussed a few of the concerns I had with my doctor, the conversation took a turn I did not expect.  He had me talking and I was explaining a little bit about the lack of "quiet" time I have.  I think I was telling him how I understood that just seems to be part and parcel for the life of a Mom who works full-time outside the home and has 5 active kids and a husband who is in the same boat.  I also lamented the lack of couple time my  husband and I have and the impact that seemed to be having on our relationship.  Nothing negative at its core, but I think I characterized it as a "minor annoyance" or something that I know will pass because the day WILL come when the kids will be grown and we'll have our couple time then.

As we were talking, the doctor opened up his drawer of handouts and pulled out a questionnaire.  I don't know if I was supposed to see the folder with the label "Anxiety" on it, but my brain made a note to kick that file drawer shut and not worry about whatever the folder said and listen to the doctor.  He simply asked that I read through, answer the questions, and he'd score it later.

After I got dressed and ready to leave, I approached the questionnaire and inside, took a deep breath and told myself, "Be honest.  If he wanted you to take this, he's just trying to get another picture of what's going on with you.  He can't help you if you don't answer honestly."

I would be lying if I wrote to you that I remember what the questions were.  I remember that there was one where I rated the frequency and the level of discomfort from numbness or tingling in the past few months.  And there was at least one (maybe three) questions that asked me to rate my level of fear regarding things outside of my control.  But there was a whole page and at each question I repeated to myself that I needed to be honest.

I turned it over to the nurse and headed out figuring nothing would come of it.  The next day, I received a call from the nurse that the doctor thinks I am suffering from mild to moderate stress anxiety and recommended stress counseling or medication.  

In the 24 hours I chose to take in order to absorb this information and think it over and make a decision, my emotions fluctuated.  I remembered how I felt when I took a week off from work last month and I wrote this post.  I thought about the comments and e-mails I received about that post and how relieved lots of you told me you were that you were not alone.  I remembered how supportive you all were to give me encouragement that my feelings of inadequacy were not in vain, that I did have a lot going on and you were relieved to learn that I really don't always have it all together all the time.  And I remembered the crux of why I HAD to tell myself to be honest as I answered the questionnaire:  Because my prideful nature makes me the kind of person who must always look like I have it all together.  

From my vantage point, I don't have time to lose it.  I don't.  I have six people depending on me to keep it together at all times.  I have five children who expect me to be strong, with it and happy about it all.  I have a husband who understands my struggles and supports me wholeheartedly, but who also would suffer immensely to see me suffer. 

I went to counseling for about 3 years, religiously, I've let that lapse in the last year because, let's face it, I just don't have time.  My schedule is crazy.  And you know what?  My pride is sitting there banging my humility on the head with an anvil-type hammer saying, "Don't you DARE write that and actually PUBLISH it!"

So, I thought about the doctor's diagnosis and recommendation.  I told Craig about it.  I let my sisters in on it.  I slept on it.  And the next day, I made the call to the doctor's office and said, "Yes, I'm ready to do meds."  Of course, I qualified it all over the place that this would be "temporary".  I told the nurse all about my new job where I went from managing a team of 4 (including me) to managing a team of 17 (including me) and how it's a high profile gig at my company and I am scared -- petrified, if I'm really honest -- of failing.  I told her about five kids who are active in many things and I coach two of their volleyball teams and I'm on the school board, and that really...things will calm down a bit in a few weeks maybe a few months, but I don't think I'll need this permanently.

Pride is a tough cookie to crack.

I admit, I'm not quite sure why I share this with you all, my readers.  I try to be the person on this blog that I am in real life.  I know it's this huge risk to put myself out there to the masses because you encounter all kinds on the internet.  But I think it is because of all of the support you gave me a few weeks ago.  I think you want to know about this stuff in my life.  I think you value the opportunity to pray for me.  And Pride be damned, I need to allow myself the opportunity to be prayed for and allow myself to acknowledge that I am not superwoman, or supermom or anything super at all. I rely more on God than I acknowledge and that is okay.  Let's face it, it's a miracle at all that we've come this far and it will only be through Him that we get through another year, month, week, day...

I haven't heard back yet what the plan is since it was late Friday when I was in touch with the nurse.  But a feeling of relief has set in because I let her know I was open to this course of action.  Oddly enough, it makes me feel a little bit more in control.  My sisters were encouraging and they helped me realize that truly, this IS probably temporary (from a humble standpoint) because I just need a little help to relax my nerves and make it possible to focus and prioritize.  

I am grateful to have this outlet to write about my experience with all of this.  Even though I haven't taken anything, yet, I think the medication is already working because I've taken a few more deep breaths this weekend and told myself to "relax" and to "focus" and to just take this day one hour at a time and enjoy my children and my husband and my friends.  And in that experience, I have learned that I do need a bit of help doing that because as much as I can tell myself to do it, sometimes, my neurological system doesn't cooperate.

And maybe, when I've calmed down a bit and I'm able to think my actions through before jumping into them, I will get to work on this Pride thing.  I don't think I'm ready to do that Litany of Humility thing again just yet.  Because I know that praying that has led to even more humble pie coming my way and I just don't think I can handle another slice for awhile.  

I hope to remember that awareness is half the battle.  

Acknowledging the problem is the first step in solving the problem.