Raising Girls

My three girls are each unique and amazing in their own way.  each possess pieces of me and pieces of their dad but manage to be their own person that is not like either of us.  This is one of those things that I find absolutely intriguing and incredible.  The fact that a two people can come together in love and create 3 uniquely different human beings with the similar traits has always fascinated me, but watching my girls grow in20141114_190321to the independent young women they have become has created in me such awe. Wow, we done good!

My oldest is in college.  She graduated high school nearly two years ago and began her college career as a music education major.  After her first year, she determined that although she has a passion for music, educating the youth in music wasn’t necessarily for her.  She was concerned that she wouldn’t have a job when she was done despite going to a school renowned for it’s music ed program.  She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do and was feeling depressed as a result.  She tried to hide her depression from me.

She returned for her sophomore year as a communications major.  Unfortunately, her heart wasn’t in it and her depression was getting worse.  Watching your child go through that when you are suffering from your own stress and depression makes you feel absolutely helpless.  My baby was away from home and falling hard.  She started seeing the counselor on campus and I went over there to meet with him as well.  It was decided that she needed to come home for a while.  We needed to get her some more help so she could figure out what she truly wanted to do.

As a baby and a small girl, she was my easy child.  She was easy in every way.  She was helpful, easy-going, laid back, and so very sweet.  I often said she would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it.  Unfortunately, her father and I divorced when she was nine.  Emma’s personality changed somewhat over the next several years.  Some of this I’m sure was due to having more responsibility to taking care of her younger sisters as well as moving from her home, her city, her friends, her dad.

She’s doing much better now.  She’s decided on nursing, following in her mom and both of her grandma’s footsteps.  I know she will be a great nurse.  She is very caring and always very concerned for others. She is easy to talk to and has an joy for caring for others in their time of need.  I saw this firsthand when she helped me care for my mother before she passed away.

My second daughter is extremely bright and determined.  She has always has known what she wants and isn’t afraid to do the hard work to get it. She was the jealous sister when we brought home her little sister, but not so when we brought home her baby brother.  Clare has always been very focused on her homework and getting work done.   She is talented in many things but feels “subpar”.   Her friends are all overachievers like her and she has a sense that she is never good enough, I suppose.  She is beautiful.  She just had a lead in her senior high school musical and will start the pre-med program at university in the fall.  She amazes me every day with her talents.  Then again, so does her older sister.  All my girls can sing well.  The only thing Clare can’t do well is draw like her little sister, Katie.

Clare will make the best physician. Her dream is to become a pediatrician.  That’s been her dream since she was a little girl.  With her determination, she will do it.  I know that she may change her mind eventually as to which specialty, but I know she be a doctor and I’m sure she will do something with children.

She has always loved children.  She is a much sough after babysitter.  She’s managed to get herself a sitter job for the summer and is looking forward to it very much.  She has a great deal of patience with small children, even more than parents do sometimes, including this mom! She will even speak French to the tiny ones.  She’s in the National Honor Society and the French National Honor Society.  She just excels!

My third daughter is hilarious.  She is my sweet, funny, artistic daughter.  She is an amazing artist.  I have heard people say that her art is beyond her years.  It’s truly incredible.  If she would give me any, I’d be glad to post it here. Alas, she has not.  She shares it on her instagram, just not with her mom.  Sigh. She has the best and weirdest sense of humor to those who know her best.  At school, they see her as the quiet little mouse, but at home, she is loud, very musically talented and always perfecting her art.

Katie was a fairly easy baby, but if she wanted something, you knew about it.  That was the way Clare was too.  Clare wouldn’t even give up then.  Katie, on the other hand, would curl her legs around each other in a sort of knot, we called it “the ball of fury”.  She would even twist her little chunky legs through and around the slats on her crib, locking them together on the outside.  It always frightened me trying to untwist them and get them back through the slats of the crib.  I was so afraid that her little legs would break and I would be carted off by DCFS.

Katie plays the ukulele which she just acquired on Christmas Eve.  Believe it or not, she is really very good.  She has a very good ear for music and refuses to take any more music lessons.  She also plays piano and knocks sparks out of those keys.  It usually takes her a day or two to learn a new song, but then we are listening to it until she gets tired of playing it.  Her artwork, as I’ve said is unbelievably good.  Her freshman art teacher said she belongs in college level courses.  This is the first actual art class that she’s ever taken so perhaps that gives you an idea.

She does suffer from anxiety and panic disorder.  This has nearly crippled her at times.  When my mom suffered a severe stroke and was hospitalized for 5 weeks before passing away, Katie suffered a migraine caused by the anxiety for most of that time and the time just after that.  It was nearly paralyzing to her.  My heart was broken.  I had her in counseling because hospitalizing her for the migraine really didn’t do much for her.  She is now with a counselor who has really helped her so much.  I owe Katie’s health and wellness to that wonderful counselor.  My baby girl has her life back, although 3.5 months later, she is still playing catch up at school.  As long as she gets through this year, she will be fine.

All three girls are similar but so very different.  From the way they were as babies, to the way they are as young women.  I wouldn’t change the people they are becoming and just hope that my best was good enough.  Someday they will understand why I did the things I did and the way I did them.  Now, I just need them to know how much I love them. They will always be my babies.

Slinky and Smudge, A Cat’s Tail

black cat and hamster

“Well Slinky, our humans are definitely mad as hatters.” Smudge glared at the strange tailless mouse in the tiny cage.  His perfectly smoothed fur and debonair face looked quizzically back at Slinky.  “Why would they catch it and not eat it right away?”

“Because, if they catch it and put it in one of these things, it means they plan on keeping it.  My question is how do we get it?  I’m hungry.” Slinky, the slightly pudgier of the two felines confirmed what Smudge had been thinking.

The two felines were best mates.  Although Slinky was slightly older, Smudge always appeared more suave than Slinky.  Humans were often heard referring to Slinky as “being more like a dog”.  Smudge thought this was an insult to all felines, but Slinky was nonplussed by such comments.  He felt that he was always accepted as he was and if that meant that he seemed dog like because he was affectionate and followed his humans around to get what he wanted, that was alright.  Smudge could be so aloof sometimes.  Slinky was more playful than Smudge, especially if someone had some catnip.  He was a fiend for his nip.

“Slinky, get your head out of the clouds.  You’re always daydreaming,” demanded Smudge. “How are we going to get the mouse thingy?”

“Are you sure it’s  a mouse, Smudgy? I mean, it has only a stub of a tail.  And it’s ,well, beige! Have you ever seen a beige mouse with gray ears?  And for that matter, it’s too big to be a mouse but not as big as Bellatrix was.  She was huge and she had no tail.”

“That’s because she was a guinea pig, stupid.  We could never eat that in one sitting.  But this thing looks like so much fun to play with and eat!” Smudge was very adamant that this was perhaps not an ordinary mouse like the ones they had caught so many times before.

“Well, maybe they caught it so they can play with it.  We never share ours with them.  Maybe they were jealous.  Maybe they are making it nice and fat before they let us have it!”

“Now that would be something!  I like the way you’re thinking.  But why now?  Slinky, humans, even our strange humans do seem to like other species besides us.  What if they plan on keeping this mouse as a pet?”

Slinky, his jet black fun shining in the warm sunlight, licked his polydactyl paw, thinking this over.  “Well, you do have a point, Smudgy. However, I’ll give you one reason for each of my toes on this paw so that makes 6.”

“1. We are cats.

2. We are the supreme pets.

3. We deserve special treats more than the dogs do.

4. We love mice.

5. Even if we don’t get to eat it, we can watch it run around the cage and try to bat at it.  This thing is crazy fast.

and 6. We want it and we always get what we want.”

“Slinky, you and your 6 toes and those are the best reasons you can come up with?  It’s no wonder humans are still ruling the world, or at least they think they do.”

Smudge and Slinky sat quietly staring at the mouse thing  saying nothing to each other.  Each was lost in his own thought.  Slinky was thinking about when his owner was going to have another tub of yoghurt while Smudge was pondering another method of world domination.  Nothing out of the ordinary for a Monday afternoon. Then the mouse thing ran up the little slide and said something to them.

“Hi cats.  I have a name.  I’m not going anywhere either and you don’t get to eat me, so get that crazy notion right out of your pretty little heads. I am a hamster.  My name is Creamsicle.  No, I did not choose my name anymore than you chose yours.  I could have been Daisy or Petunia or Maisy, but no, I’m bleeding Creamsicle. So, don’t even think about getting me or about dominating my world.  I am now a pet of this house like it or not. Got it?”

Both cats jumped off the desk sending papers flying everywhere.  Oh no, what would the humans say? Would they be lucky?  Would they blame the dog?  The boys were scared out of their wits.  It spoke and it had a name and it wasn’t afraid of them!  Now what?

Slinky spoke first.  “Okay, well looks like we have to share the humans with yet another thing.  And it said it was a ham-ster. I’ve never heard of one of those, but I still say it’s a mouse with no tail. I’m not scared of it though.”

Smudge was a bit more timid than before. “Well, hamster or mouse, I think I’ll maybe keep my distance.  I didn’t like the look in that things eyes.  And it understood what we said.  It speaks feline.  How is that possible for goodness sake. Now I’ll have to plan some other recreation for myself that doesn’t include that thing.  The rabbits are interesting but they are huge and there’s something about that gray one.  I don’t trust that one either.  I think I’ll just go back to my window for a little while and think about things.”

“Do what you like.  You always talk the big talk, but you really are a scaredy cat.  I mean, really, how can you be afraid of a little thing like that?”

“Did you see the teeth? Look at those beady little eyes.  I don’t trust anything with beady little eyes like that.  And to think it talked that way to us.  It’s a bully.  It’s not like any mouse I’ve ever met.” Smudge shuddered.

Smudge wandered back to his window wearily but sat with his eyes slightly open and fixed on the cage with the hamster.  Slinky, on the other hand, was amused by the little hamster and decided to get to know this little creature better.  Always curious Slinky.

Slinky spent the next 2 hours curled up beside his new little friend.  They told stories of how they had come to be here in the house of Conran.  Slinky assured Creamsicle that these humans were caring and wonderfully kind and would take the best care of her.  All she had to do was trust them like he did and the rest would just happen.

A New Start

20150611_145700Silent as snow falling, Her footsteps fell on the stairs.

No one would hear as she left the cozy, little house.

She had all that she needed packed in her tiny, red bag, to start fresh and new in the big city.

Tears flowed freely as she whispered one last goodbye to the dog she loved and grew up with. It was time.

Time to move on. Time to see if she could make it on her own.

She grabbed her guitar and her red bag and the money she’d saved waitressing. She knew she had to leave now or she’d miss her train.

Scared and excited for what lay ahead, she placed the note on the table. She didn’t know when she’d be back, but she vowed she’d make this work.

Her mama woke, as if on cue. “Sweet girl of mine” she said, “you are destined for greatness. You always have been. I knew this day was coming”.

“Make me proud and make it big. Not just for you, but for all of us here at home. Here’s what I’ve saved for many years.”

“Don’t squander it. Make it grow for you. Now don’t you cry and don’t be late. You have a train calling you.”

With that, the two women hugged like they would never let go, then her mother kissed her and turned away.

She was on her way to a better life to make a new start in the big city with her mama’s blessing. Her determination bigger and stronger than ever. She was going to make it. For her mama.


When in Paradise…

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Sometimes unexpected or bizarre things can happen when you’re on your holidays and this vacation I’m the cause. Earlier in the week, I was feeling ill enough to head out to the ER at home, 1250 miles from where I am right now. I had terrible belly pain. Please know that for me to go to the emergency room, I really, REALLY, have to be sick, but that night, I couldn’t take the pain anymore. The pain has lasted for 2 days and wasn’t moving. In fact, if anything, it was worse. My wonderful husband, the loving, faithful and patient man that he is, took me to Prompt Care first. They decided that a trip to the ER was in order. Yuck!

Obediently, we went there and waited for our allotted 2.5 hours prior to getting a room and being attended to. I will say our caregivers were kind and thoughtful but the place was hopping. Not unusual for a Monday night but so difficult when you have that much pain.

When I left there at 1:30AM, I had been diagnosed with gastritis and a urinary tract infection. Okay. But I still had pain. I dutifully took my meds and improved over the next few days so off to Florida we drove. Well, minus my sweet husband, that is. He was unable to join us due to his work.

Our van, loaded up, we arrived safely 24 hours after leaving home  and many, many potty breaks and one stop for dinner at IHOP with tired kids and an exhausted mom. The problem came the next day, our first full day in paradise.

Did I happen to mention that it’s Easter weekend? Oh yeah, something always happens on holidays in our family. Always. My mom passed away the day before Thanksgiving last year, dad was misdiagnosed with pancreatic cancer when it was a pancreatic abscess, and now there’s me. I spent my evening in a wonderfully organised, well staffed ER while here in paradise. Didn’t expect to be making that trip!

The belly pain came back and it’s not been diagnosed as a UTI or gastritis this time. This trip they did more than run blood work and have me pee into the tiny cup. They did a long, very long ultrasound of my abdomen then decided to clarify something using a CT scan. The diagnosis you ask? Well, it’s on the head of my pancreas. Its either a cyst or pseudocyst or a small possibility of cancer. Are you kidding me? Thank God my 18 daughter was there by my side since my husband is unable to be here.

I had fabulous care and amazing drugs which make me do very silly things. I kept my daughter amused at any rate. This diagnosis is similar to my dad but I’m 39 years younger than him. At least no one said I have cancer though. That alone makes me feel relieved for now.

I have never received that level of care before in an ER. I pray that I won’t need to return to another one anytime soon again either. If I happen to need it while I’m here, however, it’s nice to know it’s here too!

For now, my view of paradise has been from bed. I would never wish this unrelenting pain in anyone. For now, it’s pain relief until I get home again and then follow up appointments. For now, it’s still a holiday. My husband will be taking a flight later this week to drive us home. How could I not absolutely love this man!

I know in my heart everything will be just fine. I just know it will be. Now though, I’ll be seeing paradise through mind fogging spectacles. Good grief, what a holiday to remember!