Saturday, September 29, 2012

The glasses situation

Recently, part of Jennifer’s glasses broke. It was the temple part – though a lot of people call it the “arm.” Anyway, they broke while I was carrying them to her classroom at her school and I’d stopped to talk to a secretary. Jennifer had forgotten her glasses that morning. On the way to the bus stop, I told her I would bring them at lunchtime. But that plan was a bust when they broke in transit and I asked the secretary to notify Jen’s teacher that her glasses broke and she won’t be able to wear them after all that day. (She had gotten into trouble one day when she had forgotten her glasses, so you can probably understand my tension over the situation. I didn’t want her to get into trouble again for something that was out of her control!)

So she’d gone that day without wearing her glasses. The next day, she was asking if I would be able to fix them and bring them to her school, but I let them know to tell her I was unable to fix them. So that’s two days without her wearing her glasses!

It seemed to be two days too many, though, because last night, she started to panic. She came up to me looking worried and saying she will go blind if she doesn’t wear her glasses.

This made me pause. Why on earth did she think she was going to go blind if she didn’t wear her glasses? The only reason why she was even supposed to wear her glasses in the first place is because she was born with a lazy eye. At that time, we were unable to get the corrective surgery she needed for her eye, so we went through the whole “eye patches and glasses” episode. Her vision has been closely monitored since then. We were told that wearing glasses did improve her eye, but that she would, unfortunately, have to continue to wear glasses.

There has been the occasional day or two in which she did not wear her glasses, though. And sometimes she didn’t wear her glasses when she was supposed to, and when told to put them on, she would whine about how much she hates wearing glasses. (I hate wearing them, too, but I prefer glasses over contacts, so here we are.) We have explained to her the same thing her eye doctor told us: She has to wear her glasses every day or else her vision will go bad again. Contrary to popular belief, not wearing glasses does not strengthen our eyes. Actually, I’m quite convinced that eye exercises strengthen our eyes. (Well, that, and carrots!) Granted, this could mean we’ll all forever be dependent on wearing glasses to keep our eyes strong, but given that the choice is to either have poor vision or good vision, I would opt for good vision! So, yes, she has to keep wearing her glasses.

I started to wonder if these past lectures are what influenced her sudden panic that she’ll go blind if she doesn’t wear her glasses every day. I explained to her that not wearing her glasses would not hurt her eyes that fast. It had only been two days and I reassured her she would be getting new glasses on Monday after her dentist appointment. (That’s the plan, anyway.)

This, however, did not make her feel any better. She REALLY wanted to wear her glasses again!

So she asked me to give her the broken glasses and let HER try to fix them. After I did that, she grabbed some tape and got busy.

And she was able to fix them! Wow. Good for you, Jennifer!

So she was happily wearing her glasses again last night. And she is wearing them right now as I type this.  She is calm and confident again, and that’s a good thing. If it takes a pair of semi-perfect glasses to make my kid happy again, I’m all for it. Calm has been restored and she is doing something good for her vision again.

I guess it’s like the dieter who goes off the diet for a couple of days. The dieter realizes “Hey, I can’t keep eating all this junk food! I gotta get back on track with eating right again!" (Of course, exercising, too, but as with vision, that is just one variable to keep a person healthy.)

We are still getting her new glasses on Monday, though. Maybe they can fix these “old ones” while we are there. And the “old glasses” can now be her spare pair of glasses, something we could not afford when we got her glasses many years ago. And having a spare pair of glasses is a good thing. It’s just something that will keep her calm in the event something happens to the new glasses, because then she won’t have to do without.

Friday, September 21, 2012

This week was NOT a good week to get the kids to school on time

Getting the kids to school on time. It’s a challenge a lot of parents face. It was a struggle getting Jennifer to school on time for a while when she first started kindergarten; we had to go through several different systems until we settled on one that worked. With Jesse, it’s the same challenges in the mornings: Trying to keep him focused on getting ready to go to school, not taking an hour or so to eat his breakfast and actually getting dressed instead of sitting on the bed, in his birthday suit, looking at a book.

We’re working on it, and I DO make it an effort to get them there on time (or, in Jesse’s case, at a REASONABLE time where he is not too early or too late). But sometimes, there are factors out of my control preventing that from happening.

One of those factors was my alarm clock.

Because hubby and I are both deaf, we have one of those special alarm clocks for the deaf and hard-of-hearing that vibrate the mattress when the alarm goes off. It also flashes the lamp on and off but we have it set to just vibrate.

But it seems like it’s time to replace this same alarm clock that hubby has had for years, because we’ve had problems with it. It wouldn’t work!

And on the mornings it didn’t work – that it didn’t go off – those were times I woke up later than usual and had to RUSH to get Jen to the bus or school. And sometimes, she was late for both.

Also this week, Jesse has been having what I strongly suspect are night terrors. He wakes up in the middle of the night crying, screaming and acting like he’s trying to run away or escape from some monster. He is just terrified. Last night, it was REALLY bad; he was running around the house crying and screaming, and when Jennifer or I tried to talk to him or calm him down, it was like he didn’t recognize us or hear our voices. It was like he was in a waking dream, moreso when he kept trying to climb the walls and scratch at the door. (Jennifer often woke up from this since Jesse was also screaming and sometimes my husband would be home when it happened). It has been horrible and last night it was scary. Sometimes he’d wake up more than once. Which meant we hardly got any sleep! (One thing that put a stop to them on certain evenings is if I let him sleep in my bed with me and I had to leave the light on.) So that, too, has been a problem. We’d all be zombies the next morning because we hardly got enough sleep!

And that slowed down the whole process of getting ready for school and out the door.

But I’m hoping things will start to look up. Got my alarm clock to work this morning(yay!) and I hope it will continue to work. As to Jesse, we are going to work on the nighttime thing. Jennifer had night terrors, too, when she was a toddler but it was never that bad and it went away after a while. This has been going on for some time with Jesse, but more often this week than normal. So we’re going to try to work on resolving this. I definitely need to make his bedroom safer so he doesn’t get hurt the next time it happens.

I hope next week will be better.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Walking a fragile line

Yesterday, I made a list of book projects I need to complete before the year is out. There are a total of seven books that need to be typed, written and revised. But that's nothing compared to today. Today, I worked on one of my books. After seven days of not working on any of them.

These are big steps I have taken since writing a short story inspired by my mother's death last week. It was a story I was inspired to write because it helped me to cope with the loss of my mother. (Though I know we have not REALLY lost her. Death is not the end.) But just because I am back to work on writing, revising and editing books, it doesn’t mean I am completely “over” or healed about my mother’s death. The truth is, I’m not. I don’t think I’ll ever stop missing her or ever “get over” her passing.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t go on living life like I used to. Because I know we all have things we have to do. Responsibilities. Deadlines. In the beginning, I did things I had to do out of necessity and I was on autopilot. Now it's with a sense of purpose, because I KNOW my mother would want us to continue with life. And I know she would want me to continue writing. So we do the things we gotta do, even if we do these things with a sad look on our faces and with a downcast look every now and then. Or the occasional tear trickling down our cheek.

I have had a lot of help to get through the first week. Lots of tears were shed and lots of prayers were whispered. There were times I just sat down and sadly stared at the sky, wondering if I’d see Mom’s angel, and times I held my kids extra close just one more time. Times I wanted to cry and scream, and times I just kept asking God why. I also turned to a personal journal that I keep. I usually don’t write in it very often, but lately, I have written in it. A lot. I just had a total outpouring of my thoughts, feelings, memories, emotions and struggles. I dealt with the anger instead of lashing out at people with it. Struggled with guilt. Groveled in my sorrow. Kept asking things like was I a good daughter? Did I do enough? Did she know how much I loved her? I just let it all out on the pages. That helped me so much.

It also helped that people took the time to reach out. All the comments and messages on Facebook from relatives expressing their condolences and words of support really meant the world to us. The emails from other people also meant a lot, too. It really means so much that these people took the time to share their condolences and thoughts. It also helped when people shared their own experiences of losing their mothers. One person said you can’t really relate to it or understand it unless you have gone through it, too. I so know what she means. And I also know that sharing this experience helps. I have known others who have lost a mother or father in the past and while I expressed my own condolences to them, I was not able to REALLY relate to what they were going through. Now I do. Now I have been there. And now I can help someone else who goes through such a loss, because now I know what it is like.

It is a little strange losing your parent. I mean, this is a person who played a role in creating us. This is who we came from. And that's a very strong connection. Losing that person is like losing a part of oneself.

The cards we received in the mail were a surprise. We did not expect them. Well, I hadn’t. But they were a very pleasant surprise. I was very grateful for the cards and we will cherish them. We also received a lovely plant. I don’t see it as a reminder that my mom has died; I see it as a sign of just how strong a bond is between people who care about others going through a difficult time. And that says a lot.

And I have also really noticed who exactly have reached out. And who has not. Makes you wonder about who is paying attention. And maybe even who really cares.

One big thing that has changed me since my mother’s death is that I definitely won’t be wasting my time anymore. Time is all we have, really. Time for ourselves, yes, but most importantly, time with the people who matter. For months I hated the habit I had of spending hours on the Internet reading everything. No more of that. If I don’t HAVE to be on the Internet, then I won't be on the Internet. There is a life out there in the world to be lived. I am going to live it. We are not meant to box ourselves away from each other or spend our lives PLANTED in front of some form of technology or another. We are meant to enjoy this world that we live in – the world that is outside our door – and spend time with people. As much time as we can.

So I have made changes to where that is possible. I still work on books, yes, but they’re not going to take up hours of my life every day any more. No more of that!

I have also gotten to where I ask, when I am unsure of something, What would Mom do? What would Mom say? Of course I don’t have an EXACT answer. But I can guess. And that’s the next best thing.

I may be tough on the outside, but I’m still fragile on the inside. I may act and look like I am over my mother’s death, but I’m not REALLY over my mother’s death. I don’t think I ever will be. Life goes on, I know, but it's really hard to pick myself up and keep going without having my mother in this world, too. But at least I am slowly finding my way along this path I must travel, even though my mother is no longer there for me to call on the phone or send a card to. No, but at least she’s still with me in spirit. And that helps, too. That means that she is not really gone. Not really.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Remembering my mother

On Sunday, September 2, my children and I had a small memorial service for my mother, Carolyn Colclasure, who left this world on August 30, 2012.

The display I set up does not show the pictures well so I have included some of them below. I tried to include as many people as I could. For the purpose of privacy and this being a public blog, I did not include names, but those of you in these photos will recognize yourselves and the other family members. Also, some pictures included here were not in the display. However, I am going to place all of the pictures on a board and we're gonna write special messages to her then put that on the wall.

The card included in this display is a Mother's Day card I was going to send to my mother this year. Unfortunately, I lost the card, which I was upset about since it's such a beautiful card with a lovely sentiment. Jesse happened to find it on the same day we learned my mother passed away. So I thought it was appropriate to include it for this occasion. the poem on the card reads:

"Mom, no matter what I do or where the future takes me, I promise I'll always remember everything you've taught me, and appreciate everything you've done for me..."

On the inside of the card, it says:

"...and wish that I told you more often what I don't say often enough...

I love you, Mom."

When it was time for this occasion, the children sat on the couch and I explained what this was for and that we were going to remember their grandmother.

Jennifer read a story she wrote about an angel, Jesse shared a picture he drew of a unicorn (sorry the pic is so blurry) and I read a poem I wrote in her memory. Jennifer also talked about a picture she drew for the occasion. After that, we talked about my mother and shared memories. We also talked about how she isn't really gone; that she is a beautiful angel now who will visit us in spirit.

Then we played music -- the kind Mom liked to listen to. Elvis and assorted songs from the 50s. The kids danced and I could've sworn my mom, who now had both of her legs back, was probably in that room, dancing right along with them to her favorite songs.

And speaking of songs, all day long I had songs like "Peace in the Valley," "You Needed Me" (an Anne Murray song my mother loved) and "I'll Fly Away" in my head, just playing over and over.

It was a special time for us and having this little memorial for her really helped us through our grief.

Rest in peace, Mom. We love you very much.