Somedays Are Like This

Today sucked! For those of you who have had children, do you remember the strong feeling of love and protection you felt when you held your little one for the first time? Did you ever feel like you were going to knock the shit out of the doctor when they poked your little one with a needle because it caused them pain?

Today was one of those days. Stacy had her biopsy this morning and I hated that she had to lay on that sterile flat table while they poked her. She was already nervous, and when the doctor confirmed that a biopsy was necessary I could see the tears well up in her eyes. They begin to blurt out information to her and having her sign paper work, and all I can see is that my baby girl was upset. All I could do was hold her and plant seeds of courage. I wanted desperately to trade places with her.

We should get results by Tuesday. Until then we wait and hope for the best case. A benign mass that doesn’t need to be removed with surgery.

Worst case– well we can’t think about that can we?

What’s totally serendipitous is that I have been doing this book study Thursday night, in a small group called “Living Free” at Sagebrush Church. They’re small support groups for fucked up people like myself. This study is about fear. How to handle fear in our lives, because we can’t completely get rid of it that shit. (I’m cussing more than usual because I am PMSing, emotional, and had my own medical stuff thrown at me today as well, so I feel like cussing!) Anyway, the author, Steven Furtick, wrote this book, “Crashing the Chatterbox,” and how we can deal with the fears in our life. He suggests that we should think about our fears when they start to creep up on us. In other words, when the “what ifs” start playing roller coaster with your mind, you should face it and face it with a counter of faith. Here is an example. What if the tumor is not benign? That would be devastating. She would have to get treatment. She may need surgery. She’s been down that road before. She’s tough! She can do it! This girl will overcome this and I will support her and damn it–I’ll shave my own head in solidarity! No matter what happens, I know she will get through this. I know she will. She is a fighter, and she is strong!

I don’t understand friends. So much bad shit all around us. It’s easy to give in to the fears and then let them control us down the rabbit hole of darkness and despair. It takes faith to face the fear and know that somehow, in someway, everything works out. Somehow we come out of it stronger and wiser.

As her mommy I wish I could give her a life that is free of suffering and pain, a life that is smooth sailing. No troubles. Just like Nemo’s dad! Keep her in her room and never let anything bad happen to her, which means nothing will happen to her…

Meanwhile, I have been having issues with my bladder and after a consultation and exam with my doctor, she has ordered me to quit caffeine, alcohol, and chili. There may be a body in my backyard that has been fed to my chickens… just sayin. I think I need a new doctor! CHILI?!?! NO! I don’t think so bitch! Maybe I should move to Colorado!

Love Always

A Mother’s Day Story

The parking lot was empty. Just an old building, falling apart but sturdy on the foundation. She just couldn’t hold it in anymore. The tears started to cumulate and the choking feeling in her throat had to be released. She laid her head on the steering wheel and cried. The baby was sound asleep in the back seat and the one forming in her womb stirred. “God, I need food to feed my babies and the church pantry is closed. What do I do?”

It was just two years ago, drunk and no worries in the world. All that mattered was satisfying her desire to fill the void. To feel beautiful and wanted.

The pregnancy test showed positive and all she could do was stare at it and murmur “No, No, No…” She wanted a baby, eventually, but not now, not like this. After all, she did just go through a divorce, at the ripe age of 19. The baby daddy was someone she only knew for a few months.

When she sat on the examining table, the doctor confirmed that she was indeed expecting. He asked what she wanted to do. She was paralyzed with fear but she knew in her heart and soul that she was going to have this baby and to do whatever it took to raise her. It didn’t occur to her to terminate.

The odds were against her. Oh! they were very much against her!

Unmarried. No permanent place of her own. No job. Just a 20 year old college girl trying to find her place in this world.

Leaving that doctor’s office she made a promise to her baby and to herself. She placed her shaky palm on her womb and whispered, “No matter what happens, little one, I promise you that I will give you everything I never had, I promise you that I will protect you and love you.”

That day she and the baby daddy found a place to live and started on journey that would not be comfortable, a journey that would encompass growing pains, hardships, heartaches, and redemption.

Two years later and she was expecting her second child. There wasn’t enough money for the month, and not enough government subsidies to assist with the necessities of life. She knew that a church offered food to families in need. It was closed and she just couldn’t hold it in anymore. Hopeless. Empty. Angry. Angry for letting her life be exactly what she didn’t want it to be. She stared in the reflection of the rear view mirror, eyes swollen and tear stains on her cheeks. She had to admit that she was falling into the same footsteps as her own mother. She stared into those eyes and murmured, “No, No, No… I will not let this happen.”

She left that parking lot, feeling a lot like that old building- falling apart, empty but had a sturdy foundation. That foundation was love, grit, determination, and faith.

A few years later, with a lot of therapy, support groups, faith and facing some Giants along the way, she made a life for herself and her children.

If you ask her today about her “why,” about what makes her so strong and why she works so hard. She’ll tell you their names are Stacy and Kevin. Fourteen years later, God said, “Well, since you love them so much, let’s bring Avery along to spread even more joy, to remind you that children are not an inconvenience, they are the symbol of love, hope and wonder. They are a blessing as you are to me.” There are days I disagree with God when these kids drive me to my breaking point sometimes… but they truly did save my life.

And how true! Because of my children, I learned what God’s love was all about. I may have lived my life backwards, but I would not want it any other way. I cannot imagine a world without my Stacy and Kevin and Avery. After that day at the parking lot, I no longer wondered where food was coming from. Don’t get me wrong, I still hunger. I hunger for more joy, love, peace and faith for the remainder of my life.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mamas out there. Doesn’t matter how your children came into your life, you love them and will do anything for them. I promise you that you are doing better than you think you are.

Also don’t forget to use condoms or don’t forget to take your birth control pills people. 😉 After all, are we not all a product of druken sex? 🙂 That was a joke…

Love Always

Slavery to Smiling and Love

Toothaches suck. When I was sixteen I woke up one morning with a throbbing pain in my mouth. At first it wasn’t so bad, I could tolerate it. All I had to do was chew my food on the other side of my mouth. Then before I knew it, the pain was so bad I couldn’t focus on anything else.

It’s true that I neglected my oral hygiene when I was young. I was never told to brush my teeth before bed or in the morning when I left for school. In fact, my own mom was wearing dentures when she was in her forties.

The only time I even attempted to brush my teeth was when my uncles would come for a visit. When I saw them drive up our driveway, I would run to the bathroom and brush my front teeth as fast as I could. Every time they would come for a visit, they would ask us (my sister and me) if we have been brushing our teeth. They grew up without habit of oral hygiene and ended up with some expensive crowns.

I would open my mouth real wide, and they would take a look inside, and then give my sister and I a pat on the back for what looked like clean shiny teeth.

Although the quick brush was able to fool my uncles into believing we brushed our teeth on a regular basis, the deceit was not fooling the natural consequences of what I would have to face!

The only time I ever visited the Dentist when I was young, was when the pain was so unbearable due to the abscess in my tooth that was infected. I sat in this uncomfortable chair, and when the Doc looked into my mouth, “WHOA! It’s the Grand Canyon!” No joke. The Dentist said I needed a root canal and a crown. Since we didn’t have the money to pay for such a procedure, he prescribed me some antibiotics and very strong painkillers in the mean time.

This was the summer of my Sophomore year and we were headed to Farmington, New Mexico for a Basketball Camp. I don’t remember anything from that trip. I was so high from the medicine and the abscess wasn’t going to relent, so the entire trip I was sleeping in the Hotel and trying my best to stay awake on the bench. Pretty sure I didn’t get a lot of playing time.

When I finally arrived home, I was able to see another Dentist in the rural town of Questa, a much smaller village and so the cost of seeing a Dentist was cheaper than one in the small village of Taos.

The Dentist told my dad that I needed a root canal and a crown. My dad refused. He told the Dentist to just pull it. The Dentist explained that doing that would cause my teeth to shift and I was too young to pull my permanent teeth.

My dad didn’t care, he didn’t have the money to pay for the procedure. The Dentist refused to pull it. So he had his secretary call around and found a Dentist in Santa Fe who would do it for practically no cost.

That also meant I had to deal with the pain and taking the painkillers until I was able to see the Savior, my Hero of saving my tooth.

When I was finally able to sit and have the procedure done, the Dentist was able to save my tooth with a root canal and placed a “temporary” crown on it. That will be important information later.

You would think after that ordeal I would have been better with my oral hygiene. Well, it just wasn’t a habit I formed.

Fast forward to my early twenties, and I kept getting sick. No matter how many times I took my antibiotics, the sickness kept coming back.

Since I was a young mother of two children, and did not have a good paying job, rather I had no job because I was still working on my undergraduate degree, we were able to receive Medicaid, which meant I could start seeing a Dentist. When the x-rays were developed, the Dentist showed me this black stuff hanging around my tooth that was saved a few years ago. The crown, that was supposed to be temporary, was leaking and bacteria was growing and making me sick.

So I had to undergo ANOTHER root canal and this time, I was fitted for a proper crown. I remember when I saw my Dentist for a follow up and the Hygienist was giving me a good cleaning. She was telling me that I needed to do a better job with my oral hygiene, so I humbly asked her, “Can you show me how to properly brush my teeth?”

She smiled, grabbed the model they use when teaching young children, and she showed me exactly “how” to keep my teeth clean with floss and a good toothbrush, and therefore free from any oral crisis.

To this day I am a slave to my toothbrush! Isn’t life just the same way?

If you really think about- there really isn’t any other way to live, even though we don’t like it.

In other words, if we want to be free from cavities, root canals, crowns and such we have to become a slave to the toothbrush. We can’t be free from the toothbrush and expect to have a clean, shiny smile free of pain and bad breath.

If we want to have financial peace and we continue to charge credit cards and take out loans, then you are a slave to the lenders, no peace there! In order to be free from those nasty collectors and bankruptcy, you must be a slave to saving your money and managing it with a budget.

If we want to be physically fit, we have to become a slave to physical exercise and eating right. Otherwise we are a slave to heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

If we want to have loving, healthy relationships, we have to become slaves to forgiveness, compromise, setting boundaries, and let go of the need to be right all the time. Otherwise we end up becoming a slave to assholeism–(don’t think that is a word) which is a case of resentment with a touch of bitterness and pride.

I think you get the picture, and maybe the word slave is too strong an adjective to describe it, however, the more I think about it, the more I realize that although the word slave does have a negative connotation, the consequences of being a slave to certain ideas, habits, and life styles will result in a high cost– whether it be a negative result, or a positive result. So I do believe the word slave fits just right, because depending on our choice of who we are a slave to will determine the quality of our lives.

Yeah, that did not make any sense! Maybe I should smile more, because I can and it’s my best feature, and let the world know, I am a slave to love and hope and the rest is just that–live and let live!

LOVE ALWAYS and SMILE!

My Son

There is a secret I have been carrying in my heart for quite some time now. A secret that needs to be revealed into the light so that it can stop haunting me and I can make the changes that are necessary.

There at times at night, very late at night, where I cry my eyes out and cry out to God to help me with this. I feel so ashamed, alone and powerless.

If you follow me on any kind of social media, and if you are reading this, then you probably do, you  may or may have not noticed that there isn’t a lot of posts about my son.

My son who I love more than anything in this world, but who I cannot seem to help.

My son is fifteen years old. He goes to Cibola High School. He plays basketball and the trumpet. He misses a lot of school. He is in the gifted program, however his grades don’t reflect his potential. He is depressed, angry, and oh so different. Different or should I say unique? His sense of humor is rather dark and he isn’t the most open or sociable person around. He would rather stay in his room and play his video games than do his homework- then again what kid doesn’t these days, right?

My son’s name is Kevin. Kevin has very high expectations for himself and for life in general; a sense of perfectionism that prevents him from taking risks and enjoying the messy life that is his. He tends to shoot himself down- constantly criticizing himself. I’ve heard him call himself “a loser”, “a nobody.” All because he couldn’t make every shot during a basketball game. All because he doesn’t seem to fit in with the popular crowd.

What you all don’t know about Kevin is that he is sensitive and loving, affectionate and caring.

In middle school, that hell of a bridge we all have to cross, was a miserable time for him. His parents divorced. Going back and forth from home to home. Mom too busy to notice or too scared to admit the issues he was facing. Teachers were constantly emailing about his horrible behavior. Conferences being held to “come up with solutions” to his misbehavior. Phrases like BIP (Behavior Intervention Plan) and ED classes (Emotionally Disturbed) were being thrown out- immediately I withdrew him and enrolled him to a different school. Only to go through it all again.  All the meetings were nothing but a ranting circle to confirm what he already believed about himself- nobody cares about me. I am just a loser.

Then jokes about suicide start.

I remember driving him to the evaluation specialist at APS for at risk children. The counselor at his school was concerned about him harming himself and so the protocol was for me to drive him to the center for evaluation. He was sent home that day. What does a mother say to a son after that? I tried. I gave my love- but it never seems enough.

My secret? I don’t know what to do. I am a failure as his mother, because I don’t know what else to do!  I have taken him to a psychiatrist, a therapist, tried to shove pills down his throat, threatened to enroll him in boys home, or some kind of military camp to help him “snap out of it.”

My other secret? I am ashamed and embarrassed that he is going through this. I teach a group of sixth graders who are gifted and seem happy and well adjusted. I sometimes wish in my heart that Kevin could be like the kids I teach. I know- how awful of me to think that. Well, I use to think that.

Kevin now lives with his dad full time. It’s just more convenient.

I miss him dearly. I know I am missing out on a big chunk of his childhood, and most importantly the last part of it.  It pains me knowing I am missing so much.

When I married Dan, I fantasized that we would all become one big happy family. I suppose that was my second mistake.

You see, to think that we are suppose to be happy all the time is not only unrealistic, but foolish. To think that Kevin would immediately adjust to a new family, and a new school over night, or a week, was just plain dumb.

I fully admit to you tonight, that I am more than grateful that God chose Kevin to be my son. Having Kevin in my life has not only taught me valuable lessons like humility, patience and unconditional love, Kevin has brought truth and reality to my life. You see, I have realized through Kevin that our world truly is divided.  It doesn’t matter how much we preach about acceptance and forgiveness and kindness- we are so far from all of that.

There isn’t a lot of people who accept Kevin. They find him awkward. They find him dark. They find him “weird.” I have read the posts on his Instagram account. I have tried to instill in him self-love, self-acceptance, and to not care what others say or think about him. We all know that for a child, the acceptance of friends and family is gold- is life.

Yes, all I have ever wanted for him was to be accepted. To be loved by others- and that is my fatal mistake.

I know deep down that my son is different. I know that I accept him for who he truly is. My fight now is to teach him how to love himself- the same way I have learned to love myself despite the criticisms and rejections of others.

It is sad that our world is so divided- so hateful- so smug. Until we  can see these qualities in ourselves, and change it in our hearts and souls, it will remain.

Love Always.

IMG_5200

 

It’s Going to be Alright- HAPPY BIRTHDAY AVERY!

Three years ago I gave birth to my third child. Three years ago. Time is so elusive. Joy, happiness, nostalgia, love and so many other feel good feelings are in the air. However, when I go back to think about three years ago, it wasn’t so happy or good feeling.

I was depressed.

“Was” being the key word here of course, but it doesn’t take away what happened to me when Avery was born.

All I remember is crying a lot. I remember being angry. I remember feeling bad all the time. What made it worse was the isolation. I almost ended my marriage. I seriously wanted to be dead.

Three years ago.

I’m so grateful for the love and the support around me to help me get through that dark time.  I truly have the best husband!

In some ways, I experienced a birth of my own.

I walked into a therapist office and cried and pleaded for help.  We started talking about my depression and started to unfold the burdens and pain I kept inside. Slowly and surely I began to feel like myself again.

I still take my Prozac religiously and I continue to work on my mental health with my therapist.

Friends, depression is not a choice.

Sometimes when depression suffocates you and takes over your life, you hurt the people around you.

I hurt some people during my period of postpartum depression. What sucks the most, is that sometimes those people won’t understand and they leave you. And sometimes they forgive you and hug you and say, “It’s going to be alright.”  I believe that.

I don’t like to talk to about this part of me. I don’t like it because it makes me feel vulnerable, and imperfect. But ironically, talking about it, is part of my healing. Letting you all know that I struggle with this, that I try so hard to fight this battle, and although some days are better than others, somehow you knowing my battle, gives me the strength to fight even harder.

As I celebrate my daughter’s third year around the sun, I am beyond grateful for the love and lessons I have found. Even though there are some relationships in my life right now that are not completely mended, I continue to hold on to hope because I believe in the power of love, the power of forgiveness, and the power of letting go.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY SWEET LITTLE ANGEL!

IMG_0190

It’s Only a Game People!

As a parent of three interesting children, ages 16, 14, and 19 months there is nothing I desire more than wanting my children to be happy and successful people. I want them to find their passions and have enough courage and confidence to chase their dreams and live a life their little hearts desire. As their parent I feel obligated and responsible to help them and guide them to their goals. Since they were babies, I have sacrificed a lot of my own time, body, money and resources to ensure that they grow up to be productive members of society. Of course, as a parent, there is nothing wrong with wanting the very best for our children. I am confident that most parents feel the same way, and therefore, our intentions may ever be so noble and good, but sometimes those intentions can be disordered.

I teach 7th Grade Gifted Math at the moment and I see everyday the pressures my students face in succeeding in my classroom. This success is no longer measured by effort and learning something new.  It is no longer good enough to achieve A’s, but to achieve A+’s. That plus signifies excellence, honor and perfection! What kind of people are we raising when it isn’t good enough to try our best anymore, but we must be better and perfect?

The competition in my classroom is stiff, and rather than enjoying the process of learning, there is an environment of stress. This isn’t brought on by the kids themselves, it is coming straight from their parents. On the surface it looks like these parents are being loving and supportive because they only want what’s best for their child  and what is wrong with teaching our children the ability to achieve excellence and to be winners? Nothing, except when that desire becomes disordered.

And speaking of arenas, this attitude of wanting our children to be winners goes into their arenas of sports as well, and what I have witnessed in the stands while watching my son play a game of basketball is not only disordered, but disheartening.  It’s one thing to sit on the stands and hear parents cheering their child on to perform better, and quite another to hear parents yell at other children and cheer their failures. I have seen these well intentioned parents dehumanize the referees and shout out profanities to them and even threaten them. Yes, threaten them!  I am not sure what to make of the booing and despising attitude of the opposing teams. What is wrong with us that we think it is acceptable to treat our children in this way? What is wrong with us that we act so verbally violent over a game of basketball?

Most importantly, how can something as noble as teaching excellence and the love of winning turn into something so disordered? 

It’s just a game people!  Nobody is going to die or lose a limb over a loss. Making mistakes is how kids learn and yelling at them for making them is causing a lot of anxious and stressful little people in this world.

Speaking as a parent and an educator, play is no longer play when it fosters stress and anxiety, because play time should be fun and relaxing. Play should be a time to learn problem solving skills, and how to work well with others. Instead, even though our intentions are ever so good, we are teaching our children that winning a game is more important than keeping our composure and character in tact. That it is okay to dehumanize humans in order to achieve our accolades.

So I would like to make a plea to parents out there, STOP! Let your kids be kids and let them enjoy their childhood. If they are not what you want them to be- they can’t jump as high, or solve quadratic equations with ease, calm down. Interfering with their development- the ability to grow and learn at their own pace and in their own way has serious consequences. Life is already tough, stop making it impossible. Yes, encourage them to do their best, guide them to their life goals, but for crying out loud, grow up! Realize that your behavior is modeling to our children how to behave. It’s just a game or a grade. Isn’t your kid more than that?