Impulsivity

Until two days ago, I didn’t even know this was a real word, much less that I was experiencing it daily. Impulsivity is how they describe the symptom of struggling with impulse control. It’s almost a disconnect between the part of the brain that tells you to do something and the part of the brain that tells you the consequences of doing it. You speak before you consider how it will affect others. You jump before considering if 20 feet is too high to fall. It is one of the many symptoms of ADHD and how it came on my radar.

Tuck has struggled since he was small with various small things. Things you wouldn’t notice if you weren’t around him consistently. He struggled with speech delay. At two he still hadn’t made much sound, besides grunting and screaming to get his point across, much less said any words. He had never said “mama” or “no”, which is pretty unusual. We began speech therapy and during that, the therapist talked to us about a possible motor planning deficit. Motor planning is how your brain tells your body to perform normal, everyday functions. Like picking up things, walking, running, talking, climbing. Things two-year-olds do a lot, but ours really didn’t. While other toddlers started pulling up and trying to walk, he never did. Tuck had never been a climber. He never tried to get out of his bed, which was odd because he didn’t sleep much and was very active. There were a lot of little things that we noticed and found odd, but never really grouped together until we talked to her. She recognized it immediately. She explained to us that it wasn’t that he wouldn’t be able to do things, he would do everything, it would just take him longer to master than other kids. He didn’t make the effort to try it new things because he couldn’t work out the details of how to make it happen. There was just a disconnect we needed to be aware of. It makes him seem uncoordinated when he tries something new, but after a few times he is up to speed. If you don’t know there is a problem, you would never notice it. Although not debilitating, it is something we have to remember, because it’s impulse to try to rush him or get frustrated when he can’t do something you feel is a simple task.

As he got older, it was obvious to us something was going on with his self control. It was like he didn’t care what you said or did or what the consequences might be, if he wanted to do something, come hell or high water, he was doing it. Punishment never had much effect. He doesn’t care what you threaten to do. He is in this moment and he isn’t worried about what happens next. Since he’s an only child, we assumed he was just spoiled and cracked down on him trying to make him understand there are rules and he was going to follow them. If you want to know the definition of frustration and despair, that’s it. But we really aren’t around other kids his age, so we couldn’t decide if this was something specific to him or just “boys being boys” his age, as people loved to tell us every time we voiced our concerns. One of the hardest parts of this particular journey is that people either deny there is a problem or tell you he’s just being a “boy/kid”. I never have figured out if they’re trying to reassure us or disregarding our intuition as his parents, but it’s hard to hear either way when you know there’s something more there. It makes you feel crazy and incompetent as a parent, which you already feel because you can’t get control of your one kid while other people juggle three.

Last year he started Pre-K. We knew this was our opportunity to get an unbiased opinion from someone who knew the “norm” for kids his age. His teacher was great. She was very structured and he thrived in that environment. At the first parent teacher conference we finally broke down our concerns for her. While she had noticed some of the things we talked about, nothing major like we were experiencing at home. At home he was having epic meltdowns. EPIC. Full fledged, our of control, couldn’t calm himself down, fits. It was overwhelming for all three of us. It was obvious he couldn’t control the episodes once they started, but we couldn’t figure out how to avoid them either. He wasn’t having them at school at that point, which immediately made us question whether he was just manipulating us. Anything you read on behavior in kids will tell you that they are more comfortable at home and so they act out there. Was that why he wasn’t having them at school? We had no clue. Pile on more frustration for all of us. While at some point he did start having more problems at school, we still couldn’t pinpoint what was going on or how to help him.

This year he started kindergarten. We were still having a lot of problems with his behavior at home. When you see your kid three hours a day and at least two of those are spent fighting for control and end with one or two of us crying, it is miserable. Family time is not happy and never carefree. You almost want to avoid it as much as possible, which adds even more guilt to this equation. You just don’t enjoy life in general. You can’t figure out if he is really this difficult compared to other kids or if you really suck at parenting. You don’t go places and do things like other families, because it makes everyone involved miserable. Tuck because he can’t do whatever crosses his mind and he is constantly in trouble, and us because nothing is enjoyable while constantly on high alert and arguing with a miniature terrorist. Along the way well-meaning souls told us we should get out more and he would learn to behave better in public. You just have to go, they say. You want to ask if they’re volunteering as tribute (that’s a movie reference, people – Google it). Because that crap is easier said than lived. Believe me.

About halfway through the year, his teacher talked to us about having him evaluated for ADHD. She had been having quite a few behavior issues at school, but didn’t feel like he could control most of them. She was concerned about first grade and wanted to give us a head start on evaluating him in case he needed to work on medication over the summer. She said he had no problem doing the work and was very intelligent, but compared to his peers and her previous students, he was having trouble staying on task and sitting still for an entire activity. That wasn’t huge in kindergarten, but first grade was going to be hard on him. He talked all the time and out of turn. He was aggressive with his classmates at times. He’s seen the principal A LOT this year. My brother has ADHD, so I was familiar with it on some level, but it wasn’t like what I experienced growing up with my brother. At that point I didn’t realize that every ADHD diagnosis is different.

So we scheduled a visit with his doctor. Each of us (my husband, myself and his teacher) filled out a three page questionnaire and sent it in before we met with him. Then we met with him for about an hour. I was nervous. I was terrified we’d get another, “I don’t see it” or “He’s just a normal little boy”. I love his doctor because he’s a no nonsense guy and doesn’t sugarcoat things. I knew he would tell us what he thought. And Tuck loves him, which is a blessing. When he doesn’t love doctors, it is a nightmare. Ask me how I know some time. Anyway, he asked all kinds of questions, both to us and to Tuck, while constantly being interrupted by Tuck, who was his normal talkative, busy self. He gave the nurse and the doctor a wealth of information on dinosaurs in that hour. After thirty minutes, he pointed out how often Tuck had interrupted us, which was pretty much an all-the-time thing for us. He told us that it wasn’t just Tuck being rude, he literally couldn’t control his impulse to tell us something and couldn’t make himself wait. Huh. That made sense. Then he remarked on how intelligent he was and how well he pronounced all the information on dinosaurs. He can says some words even I struggle with as an adult. He’s been that way since he started talking. He has a large vocabulary and uses words you don’t hear that often from five-year-olds. The doctor said that the way a lot of kids with ADHD are able to cope is that they are highly intelligent. They learn to work around whatever is holding them back and succeed, but it is harder than it has to be. We talked with him about on our concerns and his thoughts. He told us that he was not an advocate for medicating children, but in Tuck’s case he thought he needed some support. I’m going to be honest with you, the thought of having to GET Tuck to take medicine stressed me more than the thought of him taking something. At this point, our life was out of control. We were all miserable and he was beginning to struggle in school. We had to do something different. But first the doctor wanted to talk to his teacher and see exactly what was going on at school. I’ll never forget his teacher telling me that she’d spoken to him and I was like “ok, great” as I walked off. She stopped me and said she had never had a doctor actually call – they always say they will, but they never do. She was a little shocked. Again, I love Tuck’s doctor. Anyway, after that he called and talked to Jamie, because I can only handle so much stress in one lifetime. We started medication the next weekend, much to the chagrin of everyone we know. The unsolicited advice was intense. Apparently they felt we had never really tried anything else and that we were looking for an easy out and a fix-all solution to our “problem”. Or on the flip side, that there was no problem at all. Again, come back when you’re living it every day. To say that medication has been an easy solution is a joke. Besides the fact that you have to get the medication down his throat, that first one made that kid so mean and angry I was ready to run away. Not to mention he refused to eat anything. He was already tall and thin from being a picky eater, which was one of his doctor’s concerns, but this was a new level. We could barely get Pediasure down him and he was supposed to eat with the medicine. So since he didn’t eat, it made him nauseated, which meant he vomited it back up pretty often. Especially if you had to drive somewhere. You know, like school. We were more stressed and he was noticeably losing weight. It. Was. Hell. After two horrible weeks trying to see if he would adjust, we switched to a second medication. Not only has he been happier, he’s eating more than ever. I still don’t think we are at a good level, but it’s a step in the right direction.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to do some research to see what we’re dealing with and how we can help him. That’s how I came upon my word of the week. Once I started reading about impulsivity, it all started clicking into place. The things he says and does to us, not caring that it will make us upset or earn him punishment. When your small child tells you he’s going to hit you in the face and then is shocked that you get mad, it’s weird. Then there is the nonstop, and I mean nonstop, talking. I don’t mean he talks and goes away and comes back to talk some more. I mean he talks from the time he wakes up until he goes to sleep. He talks to us and if we won’t listen, he talks to himself or the dogs. When you ask him to please stop talking for a few minutes he says “Why does everyone keep saying that?!” That’s how much he talks. Jamie and I once drove six hours from the beach with no radio and very minimal conversation. To say the talking is overwhelming and stressful for us is a grand understatement. Then there’s the interrupting conversations, phone calls, TV shows, and any other thing he can disrupt. To the point Jamie and I couldn’t discuss what to do about Tuck because Tuck kept interrupting us. At first you think he just has to be the center of attention, and to a point he does, but it’s more than that. He cannot make himself wait. Doing things that make us ask “Why did you do that?!” at least 10 times a day is the norm around here. He never knows, by the way. And he’s not joking or trying to get out of trouble. He does not know. All of those are related to impulse control.

It probably sounds weird to you to say that every time we learn of a new “disability”, we are relieved. But we are. It means that we may actually have a clue what we are doing as parents after all. It means we have a problem we can address, as opposed to knowing there’s something going on and having no idea what to do about it. The unknown will absolutely drive you insane.

I say all of this because I’m struggling right now. I know suck at saying this in person. I never seem to get it all out in a way people understand. I am much better putting it all down in words. This is stressful as hell for all of us and it’s something no one really knows is going on. But mainly I’m currently struggling to keep my mouth shut. When you have a kid with a problem that isn’t physical, people don’t get it. They see an only-child and assume his behavior is because he’s spoiled and undisciplined. They don’t see the hours spent trying to fit him into the mold of a “normal” kid. They don’t see the tears of frustration from everyone involved. They don’t see that he really can’t control it, but we are doing all we can to help him. They don’t see the tears because I worry that he will never quite fit in with his peers. That he will always struggle to make and keep friends, because he can’t control what he says to them and doesn’t understand how his words affect people. They don’t see how their comments and snide remarks make you want to slap them. Yeah, cause that’s my reaction. I’m not going to cry, I’m going defend him and you will be the one crying. I’m not one of those nice non-confrontational mamas. I’m going to aggressively defend my kid against everyone, be it family, friend or random person. Maybe I AM a mama bear…

And most importantly, they don’t understand that he sees the world differently and what they think is weird and off-putting is what makes him unique and world changing. But that’s why he has us and why I’m done trying to keep the peace at the cost of my child feeling like he’s wrong and they’re right about him. I’m done keeping my mouth shut and feeling like a failure in private for comments said by a person about things they don’t understand or want to understand. I’m just done. ADHD is considered a disability, whether either of us really understand that or not. Like with any disability, I am his advocate and I am fierce about defending his rights and feelings. I have struggled with that role. He does a lot of things I don’t condone or understand. I can see how someone would form a snap judgment. I know why kids will think he’s weird. He has a vivid imagination and sometimes the line between real and imaginary is blurred for him. However, as an adult, once you know the circumstances, and a lot of these people do, you need to adjust your thinking and how you interact with my little man. Use a little compassion or keep your words to yourself. We are critical enough of ourselves already. What we need is a little support and encouragement.

I have said since the day he made his entrance into this world that if any baby was meant to be born, it was Tuck. The odds were against him long before conception and yet he prevailed. (You can read about that in my post, Pregnancy Done The Hard Way). God has a plan for this specific child and I can only believe that the way he experiences the world around him will contribute to that plan. It makes him uniquely qualified to do something and I can’t wait to see what it is.

Community

I live in a community. That’s an actual thing, not just a state of mind. Actually, it’s both, but let’s not argue. I grew up in a decent sized town in Tennessee. It’s more of a city now, but when I was there it wasn’t quite as large. I never understood community outside of my church, which I never quite felt a part of. My parents understood it. They both grew up in small communities and their roots will always be there. People used to be more familiar with it. The world was bigger and we weren’t one big online place. Now the world tends to be one big anonymous hole. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for anonymity. But in hard times, you need your tribe.

When we had dated long enough to come home and meet the parents, I remember I was shocked. I had no idea places like this existed outside of the big park in East Tennessee. Beautiful, clear rock-bottom creeks. Cows and cornfields everywhere. Big green fields and trees. It was gorgeous. I knew I loved it almost immediately. But the longer I live here, the more I realize the people are what make this place so special. For the first time in my life I felt like I was welcomed in as one of the group with no need for insecurity. They love me and I love them. I love that my little one gets to grow up here amongst people who love him.

It is never more apparent how wonderful a community really is until tragedy strikes. Our little community survived a tornado thanks to friends, family and help from each other. This week our county lost two young women. Both left behind teen aged children and husbands. One from cancer and one from unknown reasons. It has hurt this community. Lots of questions. Lots of anger, I’m sure. I personally am still in disbelief. I saw one of the ladies the day before. It is hard to believe she is gone. A lady posted this picture on Facebook. These are students in the town where my son goes to school. They are outside praying for the families, who they all know well, and our community as a whole. They are comforting themselves and each other. That’s community. No one told these kids to do that. They know what community is. It is truly caring about each other, even strangers. It is about helping in whatever way you can. It is rare in this world today, so I cherish it. I am proud to live here and proud to raise my son here.

#waynecountytennessee #collinwoodtennessee #luttstennessee

Sweet Freedom

Our family has lived through a weird five years. Some of it I’ve shared with you and some I’m still working up to sharing. All of this means every year by August, I am out of sick days and halfway through my vacation days. And I never, ever roll anything into the new year. I generally have a stranglehold on those last five days, that I haven’t even accrued yet, hoping for some sort of vacation. It is a stressful way to live.

On top of whatever craziness caused me to be off in the first place, when I miss work I worry all day. I fret over using another sick or vacation day that I might need later. I have left my son and my husband at times I didn’t want to because I was saving every minute I could in case of the inevitable heart attack, tornado, trip to the doctor, broken foot, ER visit, kidney stone, etc. I have never felt like I had the freedom to do anything differently. My husband would always say it was no big deal and people understand when you need to be off, but I always felt guilty. My job took up the majority of my life and I couldn’t afford to keep missing.

My husband doesn’t really understand my point of view, mainly because he doesn’t think that way, but also because he accrues time off like crazy. In addition, he has always had some side hobby that he used to make extra money. He could sell something or fix something. I only have my daily job. My hobbies are reading and sleeping and those don’t pay well…or actually happen now that I have a little one. It has been a sore spot with me for years that he actually has time off he can use and money to have a hobby, while I sit in my office with my ag degree staring out an office window. This was not the dream.

But this week something happened. My little one was sick. Pitifully so. Normally I would leave for work and his daddy or grandmother would hold him and pet him all day. He would cry, but I never felt like I had a choice. But this week was different. See I joined Young Living a few months ago. The people involved with this company showed me that there is a different way to live. That you can do something you enjoy, actually help people, AND even make money. And I’m doing it. And I’m loving it.

The freedom of knowing I have a goal date in mind where I will be living the life I want…it makes a huge difference in how I feel and face daily life. I couldn’t go to my daily job that day, but I could work on my oily job from home. It sounds stupid, even to me, but it is the truth. All of this makes a huge difference to me.

If you are out there suffering through another day of doing what you’re supposed to, listen to me. You can do something else if you want. You can change your life and move toward what you love. Set a goal and go get it. It takes work, but doesn’t everything? But you have to start somewhere. Go to youngliving.com and do some research. Contact me through this site. Find me on Facebook (katiesoilyjourney) or Twitter (@katiesoilyjourney). Join Young Living through my link. It is a worthwhile change. I promise.

This Day, Take 2

Today was not my day. No amount of Spearmint and Stress Away could save this day. It’s Monday, so that speaks for itself. I got to work and my phone and computer wouldn’t connect to the internet and therefore the system. No one else was having an issue. Imagine that. Both run off the internet, which is persnickety on a good day. (That’s southern for very difficult x 10). I eventually realized my phone was being an idiot and bypassed it so I could at least get in the system. In the meantime, my visitor arrived. For those that don’t know, my job is loan administration, which basically means I oversee loan operations. And that means sometimes you have people come in to make sure you are doing your job right. Usually it’s stressful, but that’s normal. Add in no phone and no boss and life gets less fun. Luckily his computer worked. Once I had him settled, I went back to working on my stupid phone. After emailing to let people know I had no phone on a day I could really use a phone, I fiddled with it until I considered throwing it through my office window and jumping from the second floor to freedom. It was awesome. In the midst of this, lunch arrived. What could go wrong? Hold on and let me tell you. After waiting 45 minutes, still no lunch. It was a burger and fries, not a four course meal. Turns out my order was placed as a to-go, so it was sitting in the back getting cold the whole time I sat trying to be patient. That’ll teach me. No good deed goes unpunished. You’ve probably heard me say that. Because it’s TRUE and I’m a truthsayer. At least I got it free. Someone asked how it was and I told them it wasn’t half bad for a cold burger and fries. Not exactly the hot burger and fries I expected, but I made it work. I came back and worked on what I now will forever refer to as “my idiot phone” to no avail. I gave up and decided phones are for losers anyway. And I’m a winner. Eventually the day came to an uneventful end and here I am. In my recliner reminiscing. I think I’ll leave my office phone off the hook forever. It was actually quite peaceful looking back. On to Monday, part 2. Deliver me Lord.

Welcome to the Unknown

If you’re a medical professional, I’m going to go ahead and suggest you skip this one.

So. This isn’t going to be funny or profound. It’s mostly me venting and feeling sorry for myself. So you’ve been warned.

If you are one of those fortunate people who go to a doctor with a problem and get a diagnosis, you won’t understand this one. I bet you didn’t even know there was a different way. But there is. I am one of those people that leaves the doctor’s office frustrated and often crying. Today is one of those days. You see, it doesn’t matter what I go for, cold, weird pain, rash, etc., I rarely get an answer. I get a ton of “I don’t see anything” and “I’m sorry, come back if you have another symptom,” but very few answers. It is unhelpful at best and soul crushing at worst. Today I went to a doctor I love. She is my favorite of all of them. But today she got to tell me she doesn’t know what’s causing my issue. There is nothing there. So what the hell is it? Is it really just in my head? I like to think I’m not that crazy, but am I? Honestly, appointments like this make me question my sanity on top of everything else.

This is pretty much constant in my life, except a lot of times I don’t like the doctor so I don’t go so peacefully. Ask the rheumatologist at Vanderbilt who basically dismissed me, so I insisted he test me, and he later had to call and tell me I am developing a very rare autoimmune disease. Moron. Just because I don’t look sick and don’t have the symptoms you are accustomed to, doesn’t mean you get to dismiss me. That day I was in no mood to be casually dismissed by a kid doctor. He will never see me again, though I’m sure he would love to study me. My endocrinologist is a genius as far as I’m concerned. He gave me my son. When he told me they had exhausted their vast resources and were out of options, it was hard to take. It’s hard to take when you are having trouble breathing and actually break down and go to the ER and are told there’s nothing there causing it. This is my experience with the medical world.

So again, you are truly blessed if you can go to the doctor and come out feeling relieved or even terrified. At least you have something to fight. I exit, call my husband or mom, and cry in frustration. I have to remind myself that doctors absolutely don’t know everything and there are things even they have never seen. But it is very hard. Especially when you sit here still having the same problem, trying to decide if it’s real or not.

If you have never experienced this, I pray you never do. It sucks. Does it do any good to tell you this? Nope. Do I feel better? Nope. Is there a point? Not really. Welcome to my frustrating world.

It Is Well

It really isn’t. If I’m honest with you and myself, it just isn’t. I would love to give you some really impressive motivational speech. But I can’t, because I’m not feeling it either.

Have you ever wanted something so badly and for so long that it consumes you? I have. In my teenage years I always imagined a house full of kids when I “grew up”. But it was not meant to be for me. After many years of heartache, we finally did in vitro fertilization (IVF) to have my beautiful little son. Prior to that I had done a lot of things trying to make this particular dream come true. Many, many things that I never thought I would allow my body to go through. In a way, IVF was a relief. I knew it was going to be intense going in. No surprise there. There was a set process and I knew it was going to suck. I spent a lot of time on the road (I live about two and a half hours from my doctor), taking shots in parking lots and sitting in rush hour traffic after leaving home at 4:30 a.m., sometimes twice a week. Looking back, it seems unreal that I went through that. But I have my son to show for the hard work, so it was fulfilling.

Most people don’t know, but we tried again a few years ago. I spent six months in what I can only describe as pure hell. Hopes up, hopes crushed. Hopes up, hopes crushed. My body would not cooperate like it did the first time. My nurse literally told me they didn’t know what else to do. After all that work, my doctor recommended we give it a try and pray for the best. Those that know me don’t see a kid walking around, so you know how that one went. Not only is IVF an emotional journey, it’s a financial one. To spend that kind of money for heartbreak is another level of misery.

People seem to think that once you have your miracle baby, you should be satisfied and content. And I guess a lot of people are. I am not. I want a brother or sister for my son. I want the chance to have a normal, uneventful pregnancy and delivery. The memory of my last delivery and first month of mommyhood are not pleasant. I guess I should be happy I even have a child, lots of people never do. I know that. But that’s not how it is, so that’s not how I feel.

When you struggle with infertility, you try to remain level at all times. Never get your hopes up. You pray, beg, cry and beg some more sometimes, but never get excited. You keep secrets from your spouse, because you don’t want to disappoint both of you. You lie to yourself to keep your excitement down. Never get your hopes up. Never. I made that mistake recently. I let myself believe for just a second. Just a second. The devastation never gets easier apparently. On top of the disappointment, you’re mad at yourself for being so stupid. I know my issues. I know how miraculous it would have to be to get pregnant without intervention. But I see it happen for others, so why not me?

So. It is not well with my soul right now. I’m trying. I’ve poured out my heart to God and cried hysterically while my sweet husband held me. It simply never gets easier. Fortunately I have my essential oils endeavor to occupy my mind when I have free time. But it still hurts. It hurts every time I see a baby. It hurts every time I hear someone say, “We were so surprised! We didn’t even want another baby!” It hurts every time I see a story of abuse or neglect. It just hurts. Over and over. These days I pray God will take the desire from me. Just take it. The relief of not wanting something I can’t have would be tremendous. I think I would be a totally different person. But it’s still there. I have to make myself stop hoping, because why would God give me a desire he doesn’t intend to fulfill? That seems cruel. But there it is.

I don’t know why I had to get this out. Maybe it will help me, but I doubt it. More likely it will help one of you. Which is wonderful. The only thing I see that has come out of all this is I have been able to talk to other people first hand about my struggle. When I did IVF, I didn’t know anyone else who had done it. I scoured the internet for support groups and information. I kept the whole process a secret. I was almost ashamed I had to go to such lengths. Now I can encourage other people and explain the process. I can empathize. I can encourage. With all of my issues, if I can get pregnant, anyone can. The options are absolutely endless for them. Me, not so much. But I think of all I’ve done and know that I did all I could. It just wasn’t meant to be. And I am afraid I will struggle forever trying to make it well with my soul.

This day, y’all

Some days are better than others, know what I mean? It’s not that today was a bad day, per se, it’s just blah. I don’t want to be where I am all day doing what I’m doing… today at least.

Most days I really like my job. I used to love it, but “like” is better than where I was before. I love the people I work with and let’s be real, I’m not going anywhere any time soon (so y’all stop panicking). But whatever is up with me makes me dissatisfied with my present situation.

Not my home life. It’s stressful, but whose isn’t? My husband is sometimes the only thing keeping me sane. I’m hanging on to him. It’s work, I think. I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing anything. I mostly repeat myself a lot and hope for the best. My favorite part is solving problems and helping other people figure something out. Everybody deserves answers and I love trying to break it down so it’s easier the next time. And I still do that a lot. But I am not happy there right now.

Some of it is this stupid boot. It is totally screwing up my mojo. But the real problem is somebody convinced me that work could, maybe, on a wing and a prayer, if the stars align, be something different and that I could actually look forward to it for a change. It’s a far off dream and one a lot of other people have had and failed to realize. I’m a lot of things, but stupid isn’t one of them. Are you still crazy if you realize you are crazy? I need to find that out. But right now I have this teeny tiny hope of light at the end of the tunnel.

So I carry on, confusing the heck out of people who know me well. Who is this Katie who is happy and doing something weird, even for her? I like to think it’s the new, better me, but today I just want to lay down and sleep. But have no fear, there’s an oil for that.

Gloom, Despair & Agony on Me

Anybody remember Hee Haw?  Yeah, well, it was a few decades ago.  And maybe it was only in Tennessee.  Well anyway, I was not very old, but I remember watching it at my grandma’s house.  If you ever saw the show, you recognize the title to this post.  This is a song that pops in my head at some of the most inappropriate times.  Like my brain is trying to protect my sanity.  In my memory, my dad walks around singing it happily.  That may or may not have happened (sorry, Daddy), but that’s who is singing it in my head today.  When I thought about posting about the last few years of my life, this song popped in my head again.  Today I just want to hit the high (actually low) points, so you have a pencil-drawn map of the road I traveled to get here – not exact, possibly slightly crooked, but it will give you an idea of where we’re headed.

In October of 2014, our life on the Double E changed forever.  That sounds super dramatic, I know, but honestly it changed everything.  My father-in-law had a massive heart attack.  He and my mother-in-law were keeping my son every day at the time.  That was about to change, along with a lot of other things for us and my little one.  We spent several days at the hospital crying and praying in the cafeteria.  He had open heart surgery and thankfully, is still mending fences and tending his garden today.  At the time I wasn’t very familiar with heart attacks.  I knew they told us he had a “widow-maker” and that was bad, but I didn’t understand the damage it caused and the way it would affect the day to day for him and by extension the whole family.  It was a hard time.

Fast forward 6 months…my husband and I, well mainly I, decided it was a good time to try to have another baby.  Life had settled back down, I thought, and I wasn’t getting any younger.  I say try because our son is here by the grace of God.  That is a fact.  Long story short, in vitro fertilization is hard on a girl.  But that’s a story for another day.  So we began that process in April.  The first week of May, my dad had a massive heart attack.  If I hadn’t been living it myself, I wouldn’t have believed how eerily similar this was to our time six months before.  Same heart attack, same floor of the hospital, same absolute disbelief and fear.  Same crying and praying.  This time we were more knowledgeable, but no less afraid.  I’d love to know the odds of two people this closely related both surviving 100% blockages and a heart attack aptly named a widow-maker.  It’s still hard to believe how very fortunate we are.  Luckily my dad didn’t have to have open heart surgery, but today both our dads sport matching defibrillators.  I liked to tell people it was the accessory of the season.  They didn’t seem as amused as I was.

Fast forward six months…after a truly miserable six months of stress over my dad while trying to make my stupid body cooperate with my once well-laid plan, our doctor suggested a “Hail Mary” of sorts.  It didn’t work.  Again, a story for another day.

Six weeks later, on December 23, 2015, a tornado destroyed our small town.  My husband and I were in the basement with our in-laws, our 80 year old grandmother, our 4 year old and our trusted blue heeler as the tornado passed over the house.  The destruction was, and still is, indescribable.    The fact that no one lost their life that night is a miracle in itself. Add that one to the list of stories for another day.

Fast forward six months…my sweet nephew was born on April 15, 2016.  Three days later our family crowded around him to both meet him for the first time and say our good-byes.  There are no words.  He was buried on my birthday.

Life has continued on that six month cycle for a while now.  To the point I start dreading the days as I realize another half year has passed.  When you tell people these stories, they don’t even know how to respond.  I can’t blame them.  But we carry on.  Maybe we carry on carefully, sometimes with something close to fear, but we do it nonetheless.

I am not sharing these things to get your sympathy or pity; I don’t need or want it.  I simply want you to see this side of me.  Because I intend to share A LOT of funnier things along the way, but you can’t fully appreciate the mountaintop if you forget the valleys.  Man I sound like I know what I’m doing.  And I totally do not.  The reality is sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying.  Who knew that was a fact and not just a weird quote?

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