Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dear Fates

I humbly request your attention,

I know it's only been a few short months since the last time we spoke. I begged you to change course, to make Preston healthy. By all accounts you granted my reprieve, but there is one small addendum to my last petition which I need to make clear. Preston is gaining weight, the holes in his heart are growing over, and yet his need for surgery may still be present. It rests on whether or not the left over holes are enough to cause irritation, inflammation, and possible endocarditis in my sweet, little boy. So my addendum is simply surgery.

I cannot have my child opened up. I cannot have a strangers hands on my sons heart. I cannot have his heart stopped and to live eight uncertain hours, and countless days hoping my son will be alright. Don't get me wrong, dear Fates, I will if I have to. If it's your wish...your put me through weeks of torture then I will count down the hours until my son's surgery date. I will hold my sons hand and kiss him goodbye as they wheel him into surgery. I will wait and beg the minutes to pass quicker. I will walk into his room and take it all in, the tubes attached to his body, the machines beeping, the nurses and doctors monitoring his progress. I will spend sleepless nights watching my son's chest slowly rise and fall. I will cry, and pray, and strain my eyes while staring uncertainly into the future. I will do what I have to do.

May 4, 2011 is my son's next cardiology appointment. Please grant me this one last request...I humbly beseech your cooperation in ensuring that my son will not need surgery. And if my life is too awesome, if it shines too bright and I need a lesson in humility...then let me switch places with my son. It's an easy switch you see, because I have a congenital heart defect too. One little twist from you and roles could be reversed, if you so wish. But no matter what you choose, it is my heart in your hands. I beg not break it.



Friday, March 25, 2011

The wheel turns

My life has been through it's up and downs. I come from an interesting background. A brain injured father with a short fuse. A mother who lost custody due to some unfortunate circumstances. A bitter divorce between my parents, a disturbingly brutal custody battle that I, as a child, got caught in the middle of. I have, in the past, turned inwards...afraid of the world. I was privy to some of the uglier parts of life being spewed by those I love and trusted the most, and it made me self conscious and scared. Don't get me wrong I love my parents dearly, but they were young and made plenty of mistakes...those achingly, normal humans. But I tried to reconcile the tough parts of my life with the idea of fate. The idea that all I had endured was for a reason. So I trudged through and I got on with life, sorta.

I made plenty of mistakes too - this flawed girl - especially with the losers I dated, with the friends I ignored, with the anxiety I let consume me so readily. But my world changed truly, and completely when I met Scott. When I say he is the love of my life it is such an understatement as to be almost laughable. Scott saved me. His calm, sweet nature. His patience and support. He showed me that we are only as flawed as we allow. Only broken if we don't take to mending ourselves. He taught me that life can't be ignored or run from just because you are afraid. Take the good with the bad, and all that.

Let me tell you that it's inevitable...the bad. Your Wheel of Fortune that goes round and round and ticks off your next adventure will eventually land on bankrupt. Fate slaps you down when you least expect it, my friend. But I've discovered that there are warnings, strange eerie warnings that preclude these occurrences. The first major obstacle Scott and I had to endure as a couple was Gabriel's prematurity. A week before my water broke I wrote in Gabriel's baby book.

            March 5, 08 (33 weeks old)

There is seven weeks left until your due date. Your daddy and I can't wait to see you. We are so excited and just want you to come home! We know you still have some growing to do and so we are waiting...impatiently...but we just can't wait until we can hold you in our arms!

A warning of things to come, or just a mother's over eagerness to have her baby home? Did I suspect something unconsciously? I brushed it off as just a weird coincidence.

A few happy years later I became pregnant with Preston. After giving birth to Edie I had become an avid mom blogger. I enjoyed keeping a journal for my kids, and I enjoyed reading other women's journeys. One day while blog surfing I came across a heartbreaking story about a woman whose child had essentially died while breastfeeding. They rushed the baby to the hospital only later to pronounce the baby dead and declare it was caused by something called a congenital heart defect. Because I was pregnant and crazy hormonal, by the end of her story I was balling. Scott asked what was wrong and I told him. "I'm so glad all our children are healthy, I would hate to have a child born with a congenital heart defect"...

Fate made sure I ate those words...

So now the wheel turns again, and when and where I step off next I don't know. I just hope it's less intense then this last go around.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Broken hearts love the best.

Little Puck,

You have found your hands and have developed a love/hate relationship with them! You will put anything into your mouth that your little fingers grasp; and if you can't get it between your teething gums the way you want, you scream baby obscenities at it. Your big brother thinks this is hilarious and often presents you a full head of his hair to tug on, only to pull away and admonish you afterwards.Gabriel enjoys giving you endless attention. From cuddles to peek-a-boo he never leaves you alone. It seems every time he screams in your face (just for the startle reflex) and I begin to discipline him, you break out into a huge grin, or giggle with delight! It makes stopping his behaviour extremely difficult! I have a sneaking suspicion you two will be plotting devious adventures every chance you get.

You are truly loved Puck, even by Edie. She is so rough and tumble I didn't expect her to have a gentle bone in her body. But when it comes to you... her tomboy exterior melts and reforms as a little mama. She, oh so gently, hugs and kisses you and lovingly whispers Puck as she strokes your head. The other day I was busy cleaning and you would fuss occasionally. Every time I turned around to give you reassurance, your sister was there handing you a new toy.  Of course this never lasts long! When she feels she has become too sappy she soon remedies it by attacking Gabriel in one fashion or another. Today she very slowly and gently kissed your forehead, then turned around to see your big brother and kicked his knee so hard he collapsed to the ground... She's an amazon happy she loves you!

Your father and I adore you as well, of course! Knowing you are our last baby has made every second of your little life celebrated. You are so spoiled! For a heart that was born broken, and still poses us some anxiety and worry, it sure has reached out and touched a lot of people. Especially those people who see you everyday.

I love you Little Puck. Now and forever.


Monday, March 21, 2011


We moved into our house when my oldest son was 14 months old. It was the middle of April and I was absolutely enamored by the crown moldings, master bedroom with en suite and jacuzzi tub, and beautiful hardwood floors. It is our first house. It is brand new. It's is 100% ours.

 Now I look around my house and groan. The beauty has been brutally beaten out of it by the destructive nature that is my kids... The off white color of my walls, which held the slightest of yellow tinge, now looks worn beyond it's years. The chips, holes, scratches, finger hand body imprints of my children smear every wall...even in places seemingly unreachable. And just in case their greasy, muddy, food filled, acts of vandalism isn't enough, they ensure that my walls also meet with stickers, crayons, and pens.

The beauty once held by my walls was highlighted by large, numerous windows; big, beautiful, and mounted over huge stark white, wooden ledges. Gorgeous. That is until my toddlers began to toddle, and their tiny little faces stretched to get a glance outside. As their tip toes propelled them onwards and upwards their mouths did what they did best. Slobbered and chewed on the ledges that were once the pride of my home. Now my window sills are marred by giant bite marks, and missing slivers of wood...

Speaking of wood...I have dark, hardwood floors that just add a certain elegance to my least they did before the toy assaults, dragged furniture, and practically fatal body falls. Everywhere you look you can see divots, scratches, devastating hardwood destruction. Before we move these floors will need a good sanding...or to be replaced all together. Sigh.

But alas, this isn't a museum, and those dirty, marred, walls tell a story...One wall has pen marks made by me, measuring my growing children as they stand (not so patiently) backs pressed pinned to the wall, waiting to be marked. And that hole by our front door was caused by Gabriel...who during a 'time out' unscrewed the door stopper and we didn't notice until it was too late. By the way, those crayon marks in the kitchen, those were made by Edie as her artistic talent just couldn't be contained to the paper I had given her. That trail of grime that leads up our stairs, that's where my kids place their food covered hands as we rush them up for their evening bath, giggling and screaming, the whole way there.

The teeth marks on my window ledges, are a measurement of my children's slowly growing confidence and independence. Unsteady on their feet, grasping tightly to the edge of their world; peering out, safe in this sanctuary I have created.

And my floors are where Edie took her first steps, where Gabriel had numerous potty accidents but through trial and error is now trained. These floors are where I lay Puck for tummy time and on occasion they become a wild dance floor for our entire family.

Yes indeed, my house has been destroyed and reborn as a home.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Toddler conversations...the bane of my existence.

So it's happened. Gabe learned a phrase I now regret ever uttering. He repeats it a million times a day..."Mom's bum hole". Yes. I now wish I hadn't told him that Metamucil, Raisin Bran, etc...was for my bum hole. At the time I was trying to ensure he understood that he couldn't eat what I was eating... and somehow "optimal digestion" for the "prevention and cure of hemorrhoids after birth" didn't seem the best explanation for my two (now three) year old.

Suddenly everything I do, somehow relates to guessed it...bum hole. I drink a glass of water at the table " Water for mom's bum hole?"... I eat a banana, " Oh, for mom's bum hole?". I lay down on the couch "mom's bum hole hurt?"  I eat  a bowl of Raisin Bran and he screams, "Bum hole cereal". But until a recent trip out in the real world I just found all of this very amusing...I soon learned it wasn't quite as funny as I thought.

Yesterday I went to the bank to replace my old card with a fancy, new chip card and he asks me in front of the teller "a go home mom?". I shake my head and reply "Not yet hunny, we have to wait for my new bank card"..."Oh!" he says while looking at the teller "My mom's bum hole broke"...The teller and I go three shades of red while I cover Gabe's mouth with my hand and mutter..."I'm fine"...

Yes. I'm so glad I explained proper nutrition for a healthy body so appropriately...Now I dread leaving my house.

Anyone else out there have a story about your toddler saying a little too much? Feel free to share and relieve me from my embarrassment.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Three years past

Dear Gabriel,

Three years ago seems so long and yet I remember it so clearly. Crystal clear. My water had broken too early, and I was scared. The fear I felt was of the unknown. The unknown of how you would do outside my womb when you needed so desperately to remain there. My fear that you would not cry, would not fight, the fear I would never get to know you.

Your birth was by far the hardest I have had. Hard because I wanted so desperately to be somewhere else. Surrounded by people, doctors and nurses, the men and women who were assigned the task of caring for your tiny, fragile life; a life I had naively assumed would be your father and I's task alone, was brought into this world silently. Your 4lb 12 oz frame stubbornly refused to cry. Your father and I waited, listened, strained to hear what we longed for. And after an eternity those few, your guardians, got you to breathe, to scream, and I collapsed on my pillow, praying that this would be the worst thing I would ever have to face. Two weeks was spent in the NICU. Two weeks of unease, and fear, and the unknown. Two weeks where you beat the odds, avoided infection and jaundice. And now. Now three years have passed and I'm amazed by all that you are.

Only three and yet older. A look in your eyes, the set of your mouth, the knit of your eyebrows? Something gives off a look of wisdom rarely encountered in a child your age. You have a sense of self and an understanding of others which is unusual for a toddler. Your empathetic nature is astounding. In an age that screams "mine"- which you do from time to time- you are often found sharing, teaching, and loving those around you.

Three years have come and gone; and although I have now faced a worse set of circumstances (thanks Preston)...your bewitching green eyes, your beautiful smile, and crazy rowdy hair ensures that the hope born in that wish; on that day, has not died- only grown- in these three years past.

My hope for the future lies with you and your siblings. My love for you will always go unmatched.

Happy Birthday my big boy. Laugh hard.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Am I in a tv sitcom?

I swear sometimes I feel as though my life is actually a TV sitcom. Right now the main character is lounging on her couch and you can hear her thoughts as she types...kinda like Doogie Howser or Carrie Bradshaw. I think I relate better to Carrie Bradshaw though. My life isn't exactly like Carrie's off of Sex and the City...but I'll have you know it's pretty damn close. Well...minus the promiscuity and famous writer thing. Oh and the no Kid I don't have four close girlfriends to hang out with.... Anyway... can we get back on point...voice in my head.

Today was one of those days were I would swear someone was writing my life out for me. Edie woke up screaming at one in the morning...pretty typical...and so she slept in my room for the rest of the night. (I just stash her in the play pen on her difficult nights because quite frankly she could crush Puck...with a thigh.) Then 6:30 in the morning rolls around and I hear "mom, wake up mom!" Pretty typical. I pick her up and notice she's pooped herself. Of course.  So I change her, but I don't have an extra diaper her size in my room (she hasn't worn size two since she was like...a month old) So I let her run around bare ass. Next thing you know I hear the tinkle tinkle of untrained potty bladder....and that's when I notice she's standing on my three-in-one printer...Not typical!! The normal, under the breath banter between myself and an invisible listener ensues. "Why, why on the printer?! Why can't I own just one nice thing?"...After mopping up the pee I get the kids dressed and ready for the day. I head downstairs to await the one visitor I've had in my house since Puck was diagnosed with his heart defect.

I'm sure her face looked like this while she tinkled on my printer
My cousin is looking to move to my awesome town so she stopped in for a quick visit. Things were...tear filled...between exhausted Edie and tired Gage (my cousins son). Every time Gage would cry, Edie would wail like someone was murdering him in front of us. After 10 minutes of these shenanigans... and more muttering to this invisible friend I have acquired... this is why you shouldn't wake up so early, printer pee princess... I put her down for a nap. Now that the screams have ceased my cousin and I enjoy our visit. Before she has to leave she asks me to watch her son for a few minutes while she loads the car. We joke back and forth about how I can probably do that and even keep him alive since all my kids are still breathing...When suddenly out of the corner of my eye I see my four month old (propped in a sitting position on the pillow next to me) barrel roll off of it and land face down on the couch cushion. I pick him up, brush him off, and Krissy and I have a good laugh about our parenting skills.

my adorable baby before he became a couch acrobat
 After my cousin leaves things resume to normal. Gabe, Puck and I hang out until Edie emerges from her nap. Snack time ensues and Gabriel decides he's going try and get himself some milk. He grabs the milk and attempts to slide it onto the counter so he can have his hands free to grab a glass...The carton tips and he ends up with a good dousing of ice cold lactaid all over his naked body ( I cannot keep clothes on this kid for anything) which leaves him crying and frustrated. I laugh...because it's friggin funny...and that's how the sitcom ends for the day...
Gabe in his police costume (the only clothes he keeps on for longer than 5 minutes)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

to be a parent

"Muuumm" the word echoes down the hall from my daughter's room. Her cries for me are heartbreaking...she's terrified...she's had a nightmare. I go in and comfort her and she slowly falls back to sleep.

"Mommy" the word whines at me while I'm doing dishes. "I eat, mommy?" And I glance down and repeat for the hundredth time that dinner is almost ready.

"ma ma ma" my baby coos at me while I tickle him and blow on his tummy. His eyes are bright and happy, his gurgles and baby talk melt my heart.

The first time I heard that word uttered from my child's mouth it felt foreign, wrong...I couldn't possibly be "mom" could I? Slowly the word began to seem appropriate...and slowly it I went through a true metamorphasis. From a caterpillar knowing only one world, his feet on the ground, crawling along, oblivious to the true majesty of all that is out there; to a butterfly scanning the world with new eyes, wings lifting it to places unexplored, a world once more filled with wonder. This is what it's like to become a parent... to become "mum, mommy, mama".

When your focus shifts to another person, when selfishness is washed away so completely that you no longer even ask to pee alone...the world is different. It's different because you have to show another person everything it has to offer. What once was so old, as to barely be noticed, is new and amazing again...the sound of the ocean crashing against the shore, the screech of a seagull as it sores through the sky, the view of the mountains from your small but adequate backyard...everything is noticed because your children see it, ask about it, marvels at it.

The clouds above our house are grey because it's going to rain; you can smell it in the air, before the rain hits the ground. Can you smell it, Gabe? I can. It smells fresh, and new... it smells like it did when I was your age.

Becoming a parent is like being a kid again, only with all the perks of adulthood. What could be better than that?