February 2, 2015

Cole and I both apparently have the flu…influenza A. He has it much worse than I do. It came out of nowhere and hit him like a ton a bricks. He was seemingly perfectly fine Saturday and woke up Sunday with some aches and then raging fever. Now his head is full of flu, he’s contending with post-nasal drip (which is hard for him and ends up upsetting his stomach too) and a very stuffy head. Fortunately, it’s not settled in his lungs and his blood oxygen is good.

We both started Tamiflu this evening…What fun. Not exactly high on my list of fun mother-son activities!

The worst part for me is how miserable he is. He can’t articulate exactly what feels badly. I think his throat may be sore, but he doesn’t respond with any definitive affirmation. He hasn’t smiled once today…He’s a kid who smiles a lot and whose smiles mean things beyond simple joy. Nary a grin or even half smile. today It’s bad when there’s nothing worth smiling about (even when I bumped my head in the car which usually elicits huge belly laughs!). (I sometimes bump my head pushing his wheelchair up the back ramp into the car…I don’t bend down quite enough and wham!).

Times like this are when I feel most helpless. I can take care of the symptoms I am aware of and do my best to make him feel comfortable but without any feedback it’s hard to know if all of the needs are tended to. It’s hard to know if there’s more I can be doing or something special he wants from me. I’m honestly not sure he always knows exactly what hurts or what’s just some of his normal ache. He’s so used to the tire comes from working hard in P.E. and then standing in one or two classes. He used to the soreness in his hips that comes from sitting in a wheelchair all day. I’m certain he could differentiate the ache that comes from this flu from his everyday aches.

But I don’t know…which is where the helpless feeling comes in. I can only assume things and try to help his doctor assume things better than I am. I wish I could simply him tight and wait out the flu with him and that it would be enough to comfort him and make him feel better. But it doesn’t…

January 16, 2015

Tonight is Cole’s middle school Winter Formal Dance. It will be held the school auditorium from 6-9pm. Cole’s going, It took him a while to decide whether or not he really wanted to but ultimately he decided he wanted to go.

He loves to dance, but in truth, he never really has a great time at these school dances. I’m not sure why. Probably the poor acoustics in the in auditorium making the music unbearably loud and the general chaotic nature of middle school dances. He’s not one for big loud or crowd.

However, I suspect that the lure lies, in no small part, in the desire not to miss out. Kids have been talking about it for the past couple of weeks. Everyone’s asking everyone if they’re going…trying to figure out if the cool kids will be there.

All of the kids in our little friend/family tribe have been wavering as to whether they’d attend or not, and slowly as the day approached, each decided to go in the end. Funny how they’ve all come to the same conclusion. No one wants to be the one who missed out.

Missing out on a school dance is a big deal when you’re thirteen. Even if you don’t really want to go, you could be missing out on the chance to witness something everyone will be talking about or to dance next to or with that cute guy or girl in your class, or to just have fun hanging out with your friends on the sidelines. Being the lone kid out on Monday morning when everyone is rehashing the dance feels terrible.

So off he’ll go in his cool dotted Crew Cuts button up with a contrasting striped tie (it is a formal)…ready to dance and have a memorable time with friends. I’ll probably be sipping wine somewhere nearby with the other parents as we wait for the kids to text us to come pick them up…kind of wishing I was dancing too…

January 15, 2015

I dream of finding a little alone time in my day, my week, my month, my life…

My weekday generally consists of waking around 6 am, going through the morning routine of getting everyone ready for school and work. The boys leave around 7:30 am, and I usually run around the house doing a little tidying, having some breakfast, and getting a jump on work emails before I head out to the office. I am guilty of using this time to dawdle too. It’s literally the only time I’m consistently alone in the house, ever.

Then I work…I work for an international film distribution and production company. It’s a business I’ve been in for about twenty years in one way or another. I currently do contracts and financing and formerly, pre-Cole, did international sales. I enjoy it. I work for an interesting company, with a great group of people, and am challenged by my work. I generally leave work by 6:30 and arrive home sometime around 7-7:15 pm.

My husband picks up Cole from school and usually has his homework and dinner handled by the time I get home. One of us then prepares our dinner, we try to cook most nights, and then we settle in to eat, bathe the boy, and get him tucked into bed by 8:30. He still prefers if I sit with him while he falls asleep, so I usually try to watch a one of my TV shows quietly while the boy falls asleep (my husband and I have some shows we enjoy together, and some not so much!), whilst playing Words With Friends or catching up on some favorite web news.

If I don’t fall asleep while putting Cole to bed, I’ll indulge in some TV with the husband and then do some reading (pre-bed reading is a must) before I fall asleep around 10:30. And then, it starts all over again. It’s very Groundhog Day.

There’s little opportunity in the day for alone time or me time. Maybe it’s selfish. There’s nothing specific I do when I have a bit of time to myself. In fact, I usually end up doing some of those little housey projects that never seem to get done – revamping the linens closet, or clearing out Cole’s old clothes and toys, or tossing all of the old tea from the cupboard (yes, tea expires as I’ve recently learned! That 2009 box of Christmas Chai is probably not going to taste very good!). All mundane, but all satisfying accomplishments. All simple tasks, but all things that an impatient, sometimes demanding child make so hard to do in the context of shared time.

And forget about the kind of me time where I can take the time to give myself a pedicure or manicure. The boys complain about the odors of the remover and polish making it harder to do in shared time.

Weekends tend to be more family time, or time that Cole and I spend together. Because I’ve got longer work hours and commute than my husband, they have several hours of time together that he misses with me, so come Saturday morning, he craves mom time. We usually try to get out of the house and do something, even if it’s just errands and our regular lunch with my mom. It gives my husband some time to himself…The boy is less inclined to go out with just dad during the weekend because he’s somehow come to view it as “our” time. Unless of course he’s holed his teenage self up his room to have his own alone time (his new favorite thing). I suppose I should learn to take advantage of his need for “me” time, and try to sneak a little of my own at the same time!

November 13, 2014

I just finished reading Caitlin Moran’s novel How To Build A Girl, which I loved! Johanna, her lead protagonist felt so familiar to me despite being of a slightly different generation and locale. The novel chronicled Johanna’s creation of her alter ego, Dolly Wilde, teenage music critic, who exploded on the scene in a grand way, allowing Johanna to experience her first kiss, drink, smoke, concert, and many other firsts. Dolly brought out the best and worst of Johanna, but all informing the young woman she will eventually become.

Teenage girls often find themselves categorized and shelved depending upon their appearance, smarts, interests, athleticism, and finally, their willingness to experiment with boys, drink and drugs. Subcategories exist within the groupings but overall, there are the usual sterotypes, the popular girls, the nice girls, the drill team, the drama girls, the girls who play.

As I’ve aged, the sad thing I’ve come to realize is that it’s not just others (parents, teachers, adults, boys) who determine the status of girls, it’s other girls. We allow ourselves to be defined by outside influences rather than us defining ourselves, and others accepting our designations. For better or worse, more often than not, it’s the pressures other girls put on us that become pivotal reflections of who we are and who we become.

Like Johanna, I felt the pressures of being kind of middle of the pack. I was kind of cute, not model thin, smart enough, nice enough, and above all, super insecure as a teenager. I never saw myself as the chosen girl or the girl who gets chosen. I learned that kissing boys opened doors, many that I wish I hadn’t walked through, but that did ultimately help shape the adult I became.

I learned that pursuing some of my interests, like punk rock music, both gave me refuge and cast me as a bit of an outcast at the same time. I wasn’t extreme enough in any one pursuit. I learned that a couple of drinks (yes, I admit to underage drinking) eased the discomfort at parties and made me an uninhibited dancer at clubs. I often found myself in the role of wing girl, which gave me great insight into the games we play. All of this informed the woman I became.

I’m still not the prettiest, smartest, nicest, most interesting of all of the people I know but I am comfortably me. A “me” I accept and generally approve of. I’m kind, compassionate, curious, caring and loving. I’m a good mother, wife, employee, and friend. I strive to be the best me I can be without sacrificing the things that make me special. The scars, visible and not, that I carry from my evolution are there and I wouldn’t be me without them. I treasure the experiences that created me.