Tristeza

Recent news; the school’s out for summer. What! it’s not May. We usually look forward to May and the finalizing of closing up classrooms and telling friends we have to meet during the summer so that the kiddos keep up the social contact.

Not anymore.

Not anymore of the playdates or pool parties or gaming nights, boys form of pajama party.

The past three weeks my teens are on their computers from 10 and until 10 pm. Claims of doing homework and schoolwork get slipped into unwanted tabs along with their screens. When I sneak up to check the screen tabs, there are always more tabs than seems necessary.

“Are you working on your schoolwork?”

“Yes, Mom.”

“Really? I’m going to check.”

“Okay. I’m doing it!”

“No, really! Why are your teachers calling and writing to me in emails if you were doing it?!”

“I don’t know…They like to bother me.”

This is truly an excuse to join the fifty percent dropouts in the county because Florida is a “right to work” state.

I’d like to think if I took the computer away, it would change them. I’d like to think that this situation is temporary and a miracle vaccine will show up so that there will be no more threat to all human life by sneezing, coughing or touching. But this nightmare to get my sons to realize that this working online is an incentive to make a better show of what they know and turn their grades into something so much more spectacular. They’re thrown off and seem like they’re trying to find a normal in all this.

I get it. I understand they’ve lost all contact with their friends. They don’t have extracurricular activities anymore, not to mention sports. They are upset at what life is throwing at them. It’s war, but there isn’t bloodshed like other wars of the past. Yet, people are dying.

It’s a scary world for them. No wonder they want to play computer games all day. No wonder they want to boost their emotions through cortisol. But the outcome will be harder and abstract until a new normal is established.

Meanwhile, I grab hold of my patience tighter than my tolerance for the hormonal whiplash that arrives every morning. I give them love through the Mom acts of favorite muffins and new activities such as learn a card game, hoping they’ll grab hold of the lifeline they need to swim through these chaotic waters.

Holding the Spark

Last week, I was contemplating a degree in Creative Writing; an MFA. Today, I’m contemplating the personal experience of my son’s tragic accident of four years ago. My mind spins with constant activity of new goals. New ideas and new projects that want to leap to completion without the drudging of daily plodding. This daily plodding often becomes derailed because of chores and incessant tasks of parenthood. As hard as I try to maintain focus, I always find an email or voicemail, laundry or other chore which fights to overpower my desire to create.

Starting a new project idea or creation is never an issue. My spontaneity is very strong and I can easily arrive at another idea. Creative thinking is my strongest asset. Follow-through is the difficult part. How do I maintain that spark of creativity fire-cracker-ed to keep sparkling with the same energy toward completion?

In September 2017, Writer’s Digest Magazine had an article written by David Corbett. He wrote, “It’s important that you not just write, but finish. Completing a project builds confidence, and confidence silences doubt.” (Corbett, D. 2017, September, p. 29).

How does a person build confidence to daily prod along toward completion? From where will I find the confidence to continue my daily trudging? I found a website to encourage me with confidence. Stratejoy has 12 rules written by Molly Maher. She is a psychologist with a mission to help women trust themselves and realize they have influence and should be proud of it. Her rules, called “The 12 Rules of Inner Confidence” helped me to realize the answer is within myself.

Of the twelve rules, I chose three to use as chunked information. Besides, three is a magic number.

  1. Be positive. Hold onto your positivity! I need to practice my writing and tell myself I am a writer; and write it every day. Like the Secret, taping the statement to my ceiling along with the latest project name or picture will help me to visualize completion. Daily input of seeing this before I go to sleep and when I awaken each morning will make my inner confidence stronger.
  2. Hold onto integrity. Ms. Maher states, “Building inner confidence requires being accountable for my actions and reactions; the good and the bad”. Once I accept my weakness to be easily distracted, I’ll be able to keep my guard up and focus!
  3. Get stubborn! Maher says, “Do things your way.” Just like Sinatra, there’s an influence of style when I can say, I did it my way. My disabled son always, regardless of action, says, “I did it!” There’s something to that.

When I take the first opportunity to act and follow-through, just as I am now with this article, I can feel the assurance and reassurance grow within. If I practice confidence and all the actions that help to make it stronger, it can only grow. Just like practice makes perfect; practice builds confidence and discipline. Each day I practice, each day I succeed; and the spark makes a fire.

Sources:

Corbett, D. 2017, September, p. 29. Writer’s Digest Magazine. F & W Media, Inc., 10151 Carver Road, Ste. 300, Cincinnati, OH.

Maher, M. 2017. Stratejoy.com/Twelve-rules-of-inner-confidence/

Flustered

It’s ten minutes before the hour of the time I decided several hours ago to stop my writing and pick back up on the Mommy Bus.  After dropping my son off at school over thirty minutes away from home, I realized I struggled with little results in writing production. I committed myself to looking forward to the opportunity to write while he attended school. Thank goodness for public libraries! I carry my portable office and get to sit in a place with minimal distraction. Right? Continue reading

Captivating

Reflecting on the memories; I’m skipping along the dirt road where the speed limit couldn’t be any more than 5 mph because the bumps, dips, and rocks slowed any vehicle trying to travel faster with terrible shock repairs afterward. The trees seemed tall and grand. The brook talked playfully as the dragonflies dipped and soared around, catching food unseen. The sun would peek through the pines, warming my skin as I climbed the rocks to cross the brook, pretending to be an explorer in a strange land. I loved being outside, the air expanding my lungs and making them feel bigger than the usual breaths in the city.

Every weekend, I stayed with my grandparents, was a treasure to keep and sear in my mind forever. Mom had to work, so Mem and Pep stepped in to keep us safe and captivated in the surroundings they chose to use as their legacy. Like surrogate parents, they taught me and my brother all the responsibilities to share in a family. They loved to be outside. Sun Valley gave them the opportunity to establish solid memories and great times of fun and teaching with the element of laughter whenever warranted.

Campfires were one-of-a-kind because Harvey had a way with fire that called neighbors to come enjoy some fresh popcorn, beer and a game of cards on a chilly nights when the sun went to sleep. Watching him build each fire was like peeking into the process of a highly crafted artist, each stick and log in a specific place so that the oxygen could flow and give the fire its immense breath. How incredible! The colors he could bring out of the fire,  made it seem like a rainbow with lots of reds, yellows and orange, then blues, purples and greens as the embers could still kick up a burst if prompted in the right way.

Just like the fire’s smells and colors, the days and nights spent in Sun Valley held our attention and our youth. These memories help me to see how camping and living with Mem and Pep on weekends, or whenever my mom had to work, pulled and formed me to become who I am and the pleasurable moments being outside can do.

Finding Strength

My son looks at me from under his glasses as he sets his head all the way back on his lower shoulders. I tilt my head and ask, “Is that comfortable or are you stuck?” He often does this when his medicines are full force or he is tired or bored. Sometimes I see him staring off into space, eyes darting from side to side. Sometimes they go faster, sometimes a steady side to side movement with nothing to focus on. I sit and watch his eyes pick up speed, while the drool comes dripping from his mouth. I pick up the magnet and hold it to the left side of his chest for a few seconds. He coughs and continues to cough for a minute. The Vegas Nerve Stimulator in his chest has sent a message to his brain, stopping the production of Gabba chemicals making the incessant seizures he experiences on a daily basis.

This is my life on a daily basis, with little change except that the seizures may be faster than I am able to combat with the magnet. Many of his seizures are flickers of impulse, a momentary daze, or a tremor in his arm or leg, or a sudden nod of the head for no reason. My nerves are fried; or desensitized by the effect of these seizures that they almost appear to be ticks. Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome is my worst enemy. Yet, I struggle to maintain a battle against the-hardest-to-treat-form of Epilepsy.

Where do I find my strength? My husband continues to shower love and affection on his “baby boy”. When he comes home for lunch or from work, our son drops whatever is happening and spins his wheel chair around or scoots his way across the floor to his Daddy. Joyful, happy vocals come from him as Daddy will sing his favorite song and clap with him.

When my other sons, sit with Lucho on the sofa while I get his seizure medicine so that he doesn’t fall, and I see them playing and sharing time together, I smile, giving thanks that I have children who are loving toward each other. It encourages me to see the positive interactions because I know that not every disabled child has siblings like he does.

When Lucho smiles at me from over his glasses, I feel stronger because his determination to love and be loved is his primary goal, each and every day. I see the angel in him. I see heaven’s extension of grace and glory because he is driven to continue to smile, laugh and  play.20171228_094739.jpg

Imagination

As I drove my son to school this morning, my mind began to wander to the memories of two years ago. In a rush, the feeling of a gravel sea tossing and turning us around in a storm pricked my sentiments. I checked my son in the rear view mirror. His smile causing me to imagine the Grace of Angels. My hands held the steering wheel a little tighter as we climbed steadily around and over the bridge that over-hung the Marina to our east. My eyes returned to the road. Taking a deeper breath than usual, I pushed the memories back again.

After passing the area where our accident took place two years ago, my imagination prevailed in creating a stable, normal sense of daily interactions. We are fortunate to be able to continue with our imaginable daily routine. We are fortunate to imagine faith, safety and grace. I have rosaries in my vehicle. My imagination helps me to see the symbol of power of faithful protection. While I am still plagued by the memories of that tempestuous event that nearly destroyed us, my imagination empowers me to strive for tranquility.pexels-photo-174540.jpeg

Brilliant

“I hold to the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgements he pronounced. ” (Paraphrased from Psalm 105:5)  I find this to be the most incredible coincidence….or not.

My son is attending school after four years of rehabilitation through the advocacy of his mother. While he attends a medically fragile classroom, he shows eagerness and joy to move closer and closer to his teacher’s classroom door where his friends are looking forward to seeing him. It’s 2018! Wow! He is shining. He is smiling. He is so happy to be.

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His miracle reminds me it’s okay to be. Take the time to “smell life”, to cheer when the sun glistens on the river, bursting brilliant rays that chase the chill of the night.

Diligence

As a little girl, I had a pet cat, which came to be mine through my mom’s second marriage. I enjoyed this cat name Kid because it taught me responsibility and was so much fun to play. I taught it to do ‘jack-in-the-box’ and scare my brother. Kids was the firs pet to teach me responsibility. My affinity for cats lasted more than twenty years.

Every pet thereafter was a cat. When I went to teach in Colombia, I raised four kittens without their mother, when they were recently born and still without sight. I kept them in a box with soft towels, and a baby doll bottle to feed them milk, until they were old enough to go to new homes. I was their surrogate. I fell in love with one of the kittens and kept her for myself.

Cats were a successful pet for me. They were always easy to care for and easy to play with. Litter boxes and food left in their bowls allowed me the easy freedom of singleness. They would wait for my return, always happy to see me as they walked up to push against my pant leg. Cats allowed me the flexibility of caring as a parent with the not-yet ready for the responsibility of true parenthood.

Since my true inducement into parenthood, I’ve come to be the dog lady. I did have a puppy years ago, but failed at my attempt of diligence at being a parent to my puppy, Maxwell. I gave him away, but never forgot my inability to be diligent and learn how to be a good dog owner. I look back and feel as though it could have been different.

Now it is different. I have two dogs which were rescued through the sheriff’s program. I’ve become a dog lady instead of a cat lady. I find it interesting when I reflect on how things change and turn for our better development. While being a mom of three boys, I’ve learned much about being a diligent parent. Moms almost always make comparative notes with other moms to decide and measure one’s caliber as a parent.

With the arrival of our new pets, I learned from my failed experience with Max. I learned that I needed to be trained with my pets so that we could live harmoniously. If it weren’t for the cost, I’m sure there would be more training to learn on all parts. Now, not only am I finding that diligence doesn’t stop with children. It continues with the dogs. Because the cats are more “independent” in their nature, the dependence dogs have on their owners is almost synonymous to children and their mothers. Happily, as my boys grow into adolescence and on to adulthood, I have our four-legged friends to keep life happening. The boys are better attached than before Angel and Daisy.

Even though my boys are becoming more independent, my diligence in character and discipline continues. Now it extends beyond three boys to include two females. While working hard to form good citizens, I am working to form well-mannered pups. The continuity of parenting children and pups seems synonymous. Thankfully, practice makes perfect.

Nurses

I’m thankful for many of the individuals who accepted the position of caring for my Lucho. While he is endearing, lovable and playful, his antics frustrate the most patient person on the planet. Even though he has a traumatic brain injury, he isn’t slow by any means. His grasp can swoop in and carry the least suspecting object with a reach that over-extends to lengths like Inspector Gadget. A cup or bowl perceived as out-of-reach becomes airborne within seconds of a blinking eye.

He gathers more speed and direction with each day and progresses in his therapies. I watch as he throws each bean bag with unyielding accuracy while the swing moves back and forth, then side to side. It amazes me how he performs so spontaneously. This spontaneity makes him so much fun, yet so disarming. It’s easy to fall into his playful antics and let your guard down, only to find you are scrambling to save him from a fall. The sudden sound of “scuh-thump” causing me to visually pinpoint where he is as instantly as the “scuh” sound reaches my ears. Then, there he is sitting on the floor with bewilderment as he looks to his right then to his left and wonder how he moved and what did he do.

His Nystagmus prevents him from having good depth perception. He has difficulty knowing where something is because it seems to move on him. Then the distance of the objects are not as they appear. Not only do they seem to move, but the drop from the table seems to baffle him. How did his toys suddenly drop out of sight? How did the floor come up to greet him so quickly? This condition combined with his traumatic brain injury and epilepsy make for a hodgepodge of challenges unseen until the effects have already hit.

Nurses face hidden challenges with Lucho. I’ve heard nurses say, “You never know with him. He is always full of surprises.” Often times, and now more often, the nurses are surprised at my lack of response or astonishment at the speed in which events can turn with him. I’ve had nine years of his unpredictable behavior. I’ve become somewhat desensitized. However, this is not the case for the many nurses who come into our house never knowing what adventure lies waiting for them with Lucho’s care.

Thankfully, most have a good sense of humor. Others have none. Unfortunately, they suffer. While feeding him, they sit on his right with the intent to prevent any food from flying. He eats with his right hand. This hand is more dominant due to the injury.  Not having a faster reflex than Lucho, they wear the oatmeal or the apple juice despite their positive intents. Because of this, the nurses who enjoy the adventure which awaits within my home each day, request that they keep some uniforms stored in his room’ just in case. That’s the way good caregivers and nurses approach Lucho.

There’s a saying prevention is nine tenths of safety. I try to teach the new nurses that strategy is necessary when caring for him. I can only model my strategies. Everyone has different forms of strategy, however, the experienced individuals manage to anticipate his actions of spontaneity better. These are the nurses who stay at least one year. These are the caregivers closest to my heart. I am so thankful for their endurance and sense of adventure.