Thursday, September 30, 2010

And then I panicked...

Around a year ago at this time, I was sitting in a training about helping children deal with tragedy and loss. As a mental health professional in a military school district, I was participating in some professional development around the grieving child. It was excellent and engaging material.

But I had something on my mind at the same time.

I had received a voice mail the night before from the dermatologist. They had asked for me to call them back. They had said that they would call whether it was “good news or bad,” but I was feeling a little anxious when all the message said was, “Please call us back.”

Now, I know that my biopsies could come back with that “harmless” skin cancer type or a very fatal one. That was really the extent of my knowledge about it.

I knew that I had grown up in the 80’s in Phoenix and no one used sun screen at that time. I also discovered the evil joys of the tanning bed in my 20’s, loving the deep color it gave my legs and the little boost in confidence come summertime. Fucking vanity.

There was a nagging thought in my head as I sat and listened to the effects on a child when experiencing the stress of a fatally ill parent in the home.
I would never want my child to experience that…

My phone vibrated. I excused myself. My heart was beating out of my chest. I figured it was the dermatologist’s office calling me back in our second round of phone tag to give me the results.

“Hello?” I asked.

“Kristina?” The receptionist asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Hi! This is (for crying out loud, I don’t remember her name) from the Colorado Springs Skin Cancer Specialists, and I’m calling to schedule your surgery.

…(empty space and time)…

And then I panicked.

Surgery? Specialist? Cancer?

What the fuck was going on?!

“Um, have you not heard from your doctor yet?” the perky receptionist asked.

“No, I haven’t,” I said, my voice tight.

“Oh, I’m sorry. Well, I can explain what is going on…” And she went on to say that I had basal cell carcinoma on my neck, and I would need something called Mohs surgery to have it removed.

After I got off the phone, I looked in at the people in the training. I could not go back in there. I started crying. I. Freaked. Out.

All these people told me, “Basal cell! No big deal! It will get taken care of. You are fine.”

I believed them in my heart. I was thankful it was basal cell and not something more difficult or life threatening to deal with. But at the time, I still felt fear and all I could think of was that I didn’t want to feel that way around my child.

I didn’t want my child to suffer in any way that I had been hearing about in my training. I only want my child to be happy forever. For us to be a happy family forever. Isn’t that what every parent really wants?

When something, anything threatens that, it’s only natural that the hair on our neck is raised.

Looking back on the whole experience, I regret having panicked so much in the moment and in front of co-workers. Of course, everything worked out ok. Of course, the basal cell was not too big of a deal in the long run.

I am so grateful for that.

And, here I sit, about a year later, with a bandage on my toe and on my face. Another biopsy. Waiting again. Staying strong. Hoping for good news.

This post was written in response to Mama Kat's writer's workshop. The prompt was "And then I panicked."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

You Can Call Me Chicken

It is a little scary to realize that more than once a day, I have this thought:

“I am a chicken with my head cut off!”

I am running around like a crazy person. I thought the word “maniac” applied mostly to my son, but I was sorely mistaken. It applies to me as well.

I don’t mean to complain, but, well, I am.

Too many days have strung together in which I hardly feel I catch my breath. (And, if that’s the case, then dammit, why am I not losing weight??)

When I get to feeling this way, I notice that there is also a progressive decline in my language expression abilities.

First, I say a lot of, “For crying out loud!”

Then, it turns into metaphor-speak. “I am a chicken with my head cut off!” and “I can barely keep my head above water!”

Then, I start speaking in broken sentences. “Where’s my…Oh, let me tell you…I don’t remember what I…Oh, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD…I am a chicken with my head cut off!”

Finally, it just all turns into cussing.

Believe me, the people who are close to me in daily life can hear me right now because this is exactly what I do.

I am past the point of, “Agh, Kristy, just have a glass of wine and maybe get some exercise.” (er, just not in that order.)

I am simply in need of REST. And sleep. And a little more room on my calendar. But, I honestly don’t see this happening any time real soon. So I just keep going. And going.

Like a chicken. With my head cut off.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Supermom? No. Sucker? Yes.

I am such a sucker.

I have been disillusioned and entranced by the lure of letting my sweet, precious boy share my bed.

I sit here now. Exhausted. With a sore neck. And a strong desire for naptime to last at least six hours today.

He is so cute.

How could I resist?

My husband is out of town. Parker was sick for a couple of days with a stomach bug. I felt sorry for him. I wanted extra cuddles. I asked him at night, “Do you want to sleep in Mommy bed?”

He smiled, so sweetly, and exclaimed, “Mommy bed!” and proceeded to kiss me all over my arm and my face. He even threw in a good lick.

It was a lovefest. Love conquers all.

Well, let me tell you now. Love does not conquer all. Love does not conquer a too-excited-to-be-in-mommy-bed-toddler who wakes at 5:00 am jumping on the bed. Love does not make this child LAY DOWN AND GO BACK TO SLEEP. Love does not make this child USE HIS BIG BOY VOICE when he is tired and cranky and whining by 9:00 am. Love does not conquer all when this said child throws a fit because he can’t have cake for lunch.

Apparently, Mommy needs a little more discipline, than love, in her life right now.

Parker will be going to bed in Parker bed tonight.

And Mommy will turn off the monitor.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Where I Am From

I originally wrote this poem for Red Dress Club.

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop has now offered the same prompt, and I'm linking up because I'm quite proud of this poem!

It is a poem in which you follow the pattern, "I am from..." To learn more about the origins of this idea, click here.

Where I am From

I am from a phoenix rising in the ashes of a desert valley, the hum of an AC, and hope for rain.

I am from the smell of oleander leaves – they take over a backyard – and compete with the smell of chlorine in a busy pool.

I am from cactus and roadrunners, birds of paradise and mesquite. They were quite common to me, and under-appreciated for too long.

I am from Grandma’s house on Swiddler. I am from Grandpa Jack and Grandma Ruth’s parties and bologna sandwiches. I am from birdhouses and strawberry plants and a passion for living life without looking back.

I am from a spirit of longing and searching. For more.

I am from a place of being seen but not heard. Until you have proven yourself.

I am from do as I say, not as I do. Create your own model.

I am from a place where God resides in the world around us, in unsuspecting places.
From a place of grace, in the midst of human error.

I’m from a city of escape, to where new standards can be created.

I am from the whirring of an ice cream machine maker, crushing ice into something softer, in the heat of a night.

I am from John Lennon in the morning, windows wide open, and a mother cleaning the kitchen. Making life fresh.

I am from rain that is rare. Rain that pours down the gutters. It calls to children to play in a moment that doesn’t come often.

I am from a hope chest that holds letters and blankets, obituaries, and sheet music. I am from a hope chest that is full, but with enough space to hold a little more.

I am from all that is before me, with hope to hold a little more.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Proud of the Pee – Almost Wordless Wednesday

My boy is starting to use the potty to go pee-pee. He is so proud. He should be.

He is quick too! He sits down, pees almost instantly, stands up, points down at the pee in the potty, and exclaims, “OOK!” And, of course, a big smile.

Everytime, it reminds me of an illustration from a Judy Blume book, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. There is a birthday party, and the little girl is so proud that she can “make tinkles.” She drops trow at the party and tinkles right on the rug. Then, she stands, quite proud of her accomplishment, smiling while everyone takes a look.

Maybe I’m strange, but I find this to be too charming.

You can find a Wordless Wednesday link-up at Kristi's Live and Love Out Loud.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I Take You With Me, In My Heart

I attended the services yesterday for my Grandma, Dorothy Anne Gourley Shaw.
Even though some may think that the death of a grandparent is somewhat expected, this couldn’t be further from the truth about my grandma.

Even the pastor yesterday said, “I was surprised when reminded of Dorothy’s age (81). She always seemed so much younger than she was.”

My grandma was truly one of those special people that only come along once in a while. She existed to inspire and amaze others.

Her death was the result of a sudden turn of events. She was diagnosed with multiple myeloma about five weeks ago. It was the final stage. It was an aggressive form.

Five weeks ago, Grandma was not feeling well, but she was up, talking with others in her beautiful Santa Ana home. She was e-mailing. She was planning parties. She knew how to plan a good party.

And, now, she is gone.

I do not feel as though I was done learning from her yet. I’m sure the lessons from her up above will keep coming. But just her presence in this world was a reminder of strength, humility, creativity, grace, class, and energy. The characteristics in myself that I am most proud of, I hope come from her. I hope to only be able to live life like she did – with an adventurous, loving spirit.

Listening to the speakers yesterday in the beautiful Crystal Cathedral, one could only be impressed by the list of accomplishments and interests in my grandma’s life: entrepreneur, national speaker, world traveler, a painter and artist, an author of 8 books, a gardener…

She was my grandma…

She was a bit of a pin-up babe in her younger years.

She was always ahead of her time. Tolerant and accepting toward all others, approaching life and the world with a curious mind when those around her in her generation many times closed themselves off from anything other than “traditional.” Hanging above her bed, was a gorgeous nude of a young woman, and the face on this nude? Her own.

It’s hard to define charisma. She had it. I know that. She leaves you wanting for more.

If she had lived to be 120, she would have left me wanting for more.

Wanting for more of her. Always.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Shout Again, "Supermom is a Myth!"

This is my 100th post! How appropriate then that I celebrate that by participating with the SITS Girls today!

The SITS Girls are asking that we re-post a story that we wish had received more comments! You must have heard me mention before that I believe Supermom is a myth. Well, way back when I first started blogging, I dedicated a post specifically to that subject. The following post captures the spirit of why I began blogging.

Supermom is a Myth

It is time for us mothers to be honest. It is time for us to be more forgiving of ourselves and each other. We all agree that the very best and most precious thing in our lives is our children, but let’s face it, there are times when things don’t feel as rosy, and it helps to know that you are not alone. I think there are some moms out there that are not being honest so that they can perpetuate the myth of their Supermom-ness. Let’s end that right now and be bold and honest and have some fun with this! Here’s my list of things I may have been embarrassed to think or say, but SOMEBODY out there must have felt the same way at some point:

1. I’d like to go to work now.
2. My child is a maniac.
3. How terrible would it be if I had a glass of wine with these chicken nuggets and tator tots?
4. Let’s take the child to daycare, take a day off work, and lay around the house all day.
5. How much time do I have left before nap time/bed time?
6. Can’t I just go upstairs for awhile, and my husband can tell Parker I went to the store?
7. I need to have at least one more glass of wine to feel comfortable with my body in anticipation of “intimate relations.”
8. Are we getting close to when Parker can make his own breakfast in the morning and watch cartoons without us?
9. This child has taken YEARS off my life!
10. Oh, man! We don’t have any more batteries for that toy! (blatant lie)

Of course, these are moments, bad-mommy-moments (there I go judging myself again!). I do not feel this way the majority of the time. But I know you mommies are out there that feel or think these things sometimes too. It’s much more fun to laugh together about it then try to pretend you don’t have some of your own “bad-mommy-moments.” So go ahead and spill it! What do you think or feel sometimes that you keep inside because you’re afraid to be judged? This is a JUDGMENT-FREE ZONE!

If you enjoyed this blast-from-the-past, perhaps you would also enjoy reading my post that has the MOST comments:

Scenes from an Airport, Part 2 (or Read This to Feel Like a Better Mother)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Prolific Blogger

Drama Mama from The Scoop on Poop gave me The Prolific Blogger Award! Wow. I must really be going places! I don't know where, but it's somewhere.

A blog titled Advance Booking created this award in the spirit of “prolific bloggers, who read voraciously, blog tirelessly and have made the blogging community such a vibrant place. This award is in recognition of their achievements and their enthusiasm.”

There are a couple of rules for this award:

1. Every winner of the Prolific Blogger Award has to pass on this award to at least seven other deserving prolific bloggers. Spread some love!

2. Each Prolific Blogger must link to the blog from which he/she has received the award.

3. Every Prolific Blogger must link back to This Post, which explains the origins and motivation for the award.

4. Every Prolific Blogger must visit this post and add his/her name in the Mr. Linky, so that we all can get to know the other winners.

I am grateful for this little bright spot of an award today.

I award The Prolific Blogger award to (I did eight. I just had to do eight.):

Wanderlust (I just can’t resist giving this woman awards – let’s face it – she freakin' deserves it!)

Aging Mommy

Ma, What’s for Dinner

Let’s Have a Cocktail

Woog’s World

A Nut in a Nutshell

In Through the Out Door


Friday, September 10, 2010

A Series of Letters...To Myself

This post was inspired by the Red Writing Hood prompt for the week. The assignment was to weave a story through a series of letters to yourself. I did not develop an actual story. If I had more time with it, I would. Here is what I have...

Dear Kristy,

Listen to me now. High school doesn’t matter. I think you already know this deep down, but believe me. After high school, the guys will get taller, and the girls…well, some of the girls will still be mean but you get to choose who is around you, and the rest…well, they just go away. Keep your head up and your shoulders back because what you become rests on the character you build now. You have it in you. Keep following your heart.

Dear Kristy,

You’re in your twenties, and you’re wondering – have I chosen the right paths, have my decisions been too reckless, will the past destroy me? All you have in your heart has carried you to where you are. No matter the mistakes you may have made, you are creating a life that will love you back. The questions and the angst that remains…let it go. It’s going to be ok. Trust your instincts, keep moving forward, and the gifts will only keep coming. Worry only steals from the life that is waiting to take you by the hand. What you are feeling is only an attempt to make sense in a senseless world. Your heart is stronger than the evil that threatens its strength. You will come through this like a sculpture. You are rock that chips away with each of life’s lessons to reveal the sculpture of the woman within.

Dear Kristy,

You have had no problem with riding the waves of life and yelling, “More!” Now it is time to sit back and learn a bit from where you have been. There is NO SHAME in living your life. There is NO shame. Only gratitude for being able to look life in the eye with a curious mind. You will soon bring a child to your family. You will be rocked by the impact that a little angel brings to your existence. Keep trusting your instincts and holding tight to the family and the people that matter. Just like I said before, the rest…slips away. Everything that matters only becomes a little more important. You are beautiful. You always have been. Keep living strong. When you start to lose a little faith in yourself, read these letters over…and over and over.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Freedom Is

The prompt from Mama Kat: Write a post about freedom.

Freedom is feeling
Every moment of the now you are in
And accepting it for what it is.

Freedom is knowing
That you only need to be who you are
And you only need to be where you’re at.

Freedom is doing
What you love
And never looking back.

Freedom is creating
Your surroundings and the beauty around you
With every choice you make.

Freedom is kicking
Fear out the door
And welcoming every surprise without resistance.

Freedom is riding
The waves of uncertainty
And choosing peace.

Freedom is rare
Until we allow ourselves
To revel in possibility.

Freedom is letting go
Even when it’s hard
Even when your body tells you no.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Don’t you ever just want to scream, Shut the Fawk Up!?

Warning: Here is a surly moment from my airplane ride on Sunday.

My anxiety is riding high. I can tell by the increase in my sound sensitivity. All the people around me are fuckers. This is just how I feel.

I used to wonder at my sound sensitivities. Why do I go through moments when noises get the best of me? It turns my brain into scrambled eggs and soon I’m fantasizing about violence, or in the least, making very rude remarks. Like, “When you pop your gum like that, you are really UGLY.” Or, “Nobody likes loud page-turning magazine fuckers.” Or, “What kind of asshole thinks we all want to hear you chew ice?”

A therapist years ago (Yes, I’m sure it helps you feel better knowing that I have been “therapized.”) keyed me in on the fact that these are indicators that my anxiety is running high. No, I am not turning into a rage-filled lunatic ready to take everyone out. I’m just feeling anxious is all. On edge. Uncertain. NOT IN CONTROL of everything.

And when that happens, I get all ballistic about people that CHAT a little too loud or have the audacity to chew. For crying out loud. I have, sadly, even snapped at my mom before about banging on the computer keys too loud. She was so sweet. She said, “But, Kristy, they’re broken. I’m sorry. I’m trying to be quiet.”

The next day, I discovered that our keyboard had been attacked by a one-year old maniac, and the keys were, indeed, very hard to push, and I felt so bad that I had said anything to my mom.

Ugh. Anxiety. Waiting. Wondering. Hoping. Hearing all these INVASIVE shit noises around me. This too shall pass.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane

We have all joked in our family that our grandma will outlive us all! She will break records and live to be 115! She will dance at her great-grandchildrens’ weddings and keep a personal trainer at the gym. We are surely setting ourselves up for the extreme outrage that would come if we were wrong. But we did not think of the possibility that we were wrong. That is just how other-worldly and amazing our grandma is.

This may be it. This may be the end for my grandma. And it will never be enough.
Even if there is some great surprise around the corner (she has a years to live!), it will never be enough.

Have I shown her enough just how special I think she is? Is there anything left to be done, to cram in, to bring her? Is it enough that I am there to hold her hand? Am I enough?

She is always the woman that was hard to buy for. She seemingly has “everything.” And here I am, still, wondering if there is anything I can bring to her. I have nothing.

I am sitting in the airport of my childhood city, waiting for a connecting flight to get to her. I find it a little ironic that I stop here, in Phoenix, before going on to her in California. I can hear people complaining of the heat. We have not boarded yet because the temperature on the plane is not “acceptable.” You would never know it, sitting here in the AC controlled terminal. The Phoenix airport is where I learned to travel. It is the airport I first navigated myself. It is the airport where I have been the most. It is the airport where an escalator nearly sucked my child into a frenzy of metal hell and tarnation.

It is the airport that interrupts my journey to get to her. It feels that it is an eternity to get to where I need to be. Life keeps getting in the way.

But, there is a voice. It tells me, stop fighting. Let life happen. Everything you have is enough. Everything you are is who you are meant to be at this moment. Retire the boxing gloves and ride the waves that come. Be grateful for every single moment. Moment by moment by moment.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Guest Blogging - Don't Let THE GUILT Get You Down!

Hey, everyone! I am thrilled to be a guest blogger at Gillian's Finding My Weigh today! Gillian and I began blogging about the same time and quickly developed respect for each other and discovered similar interests. You know, like drinking wine, finding humor in everyday situations, and damning our “points allowance” for the day. Gillian asked me to post about the DREADED WORKING MOTHER’S GUILT since she is soon facing her return to the working world.

Please go over and check out my post! Right now! Here, click HERE.