Wednesday, September 23, 2009

When your son is a Soldier...

I like being a mama. Of all the titles I have acquired in my life, the title of mother is among my most treasured. Any derivation of mother, be it madre (what my oldest OS calls me), mama (what my middle OS calls me) or mommy (what my orange haired, freckle-face OS used to call me) those names are like a song to my ears.

I am the mama of a soccer player/ basketball player (Ike) and the mama of a thespian/10th senator in student government (Aaron) and the mama of a West Point cadet and Soldier (Nate).

And with each acquisition of a new title, I am attuned to things which pertain to that OS. Especially the latter. As soon as my OS was accepted into West Point, my ears were keen to anything relating to West Point, the Army and New York. I admit I hardly gave a passing thought to those things previously. Those days are gone. I listen to news about the Army, Iraq, the Middle East and I have read two books about Afghanistan.

Yesterday as I was driving to a speaking engagement to MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers), I heard some worrisome news about New York City. If I were a doberman, my pointy ears would have perked up. New York City. Terrorists. Bombs in backpacks. Those words get my attention. The city is on a heightened state of alert. Thus so am I. I try to remain calm and not let fear overtake me.

Last night Nate and I had a conversation I'm sure we're bound to have many times in the future. Knowing that he has some important plans in New York City this weekend, I did what any good mama of a Soldier would do. I suggested he cancel his plans and opt for a safer time on post. I also stated that not only did I think he should stay on post but his grandma concurred..

His reply, "Are you serious?" I think a part of him wanted to laugh at our outrageous request.

I had readied a response. "Nate, look, this is my job. I'm supposed to tell you that I'm concerned about you. I'm supposed to ask you to be safe. I already knew your answer before I asked my question but I just had to ask. I say my things and you say yours, that's how it works."

You can't tell a Soldier not to go somewhere and expect him to listen to you because it might be dangerous but hey, it can't hurt to try, right? RIGHT???

I have asked moms I know to pray for safety in NYC especially on Saturday. Not just for my OS but for everyone in that city. All I know is that I will be happy when I hear my OS's voice on Saturday evening. May it be so, O Lord.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

PIcture Day problems

Ok, admit it. We all have had some bad experiences with Picture Day at school. Because I am so honest and brave, I will now share with you perhaps one of the ugliest pictures taken of a 10th grade student at Naperville North High School. Who is this hideous creature??? Moi, thank you very much.

My little brother had a very funny school picture taken which still brings me chuckles. Since he's a lot bigger than I am, I will only tell you about it and not risk my life by posting the picture although I'm sure he doesn't read my blog. I will simply tell you that I dubbed him Triangle Head because his bangs were combed into a serious Isosceles triangle.

And my oldest OS has a silly elementary school picture but it doesn't rival to the school picture we got this week.

Whether it's genetics, puberty or just bad luck (if I believed in luck), I don't know but it appears that something went terribly awry with Aaron's 10th grade picture too.

Brace yourself, friends. It's not pretty...(He is pretty but the picture is not!)

When my middle OS set down the envelope containing his school pictures, I opened it excitedly. He's a good looking kid, nothing to worry about right???


I looked at the face in the photo and the child in front of me, I was incredulous. "For Pete's sake, Aaron, what did you do? This is a horrible picture!" Aaron completely agreed and feigned innocence. It's almost like the photographer wanted to get the most unattractive angle of my OS possible. I mean, really! His head looks misshapen, the smile is forced, his eyes look strangely placed, this is not my child!

We have returned the pictures but I admit I almost wanted to buy them because they were so bad and surely would be good for laughs for years to come.

I'd love to hear that my family isn't the only one with quite a collection of bad Picture Day pictures!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Like a bowl full of Jello

I wrote on Tuesday how I enjoyed being normal. Then Wednesday happened and I went to the hospital with a fast and irregular heartbeat. When they hooked me up to the monitors, my stupid heart was pounding at 209 beats per minute. I felt faint and clammy and utterly exhausted. My moment of normalcy was short-lived.

I've lived with a weird heart rate since I was a little girl. When I was pregnant with my oldest OS, I had an especially nasty bout of it, quite similar to Wednesday's episode and was hospitalized overnight for that event. Finally they gave my heart problem a name, it's PSVT, paroxysmal supraventrical tachycardia. With little warning, my heart will flutter like a bowl of Jello. If you know me at all, you know that I do not like gelatinous things, in particular when that gelatinous thing happens to reeking havoc in my body.

A friend called and I tried to ignore my crazy heart and speak normally. I'm not sure I succeeded though. Then another friend called and this time, I felt too weak to talk. The Hubs was having lunch with a friend and when he returned, he noticed I wasn't any better. I didn't complain or protest when he announced we were going to the hospital.

If you are ever looking for a quick way to be seen in the Emergency Room, have a heart problem. You will suddenly become a high priority patient. I was quickly ushered into a examining room and before I knew it, an IV was inserted into my arm after two tries. I felt very weak and lifeless and then the doctor told me I was going to have some medicine pumped in my veins.

The nurse grabbed my arm and asked me if I was ready. Say what??? I couldn't understand why they were asking me this, what was going to happen? Was I going to feel something? The nurse emphatically told me yes, I was definitely going to feel something. No sooner had the medicine entered my system, then my heart rate went from about 209 bpm to about 113 in a matter of seconds. It's like you're driving fast on a slippery road and then suddenly you hit the breaks and stop.

I was blessed because the medicine worked on the first try. I learned that this doesn't always happen. I also learned I do not like bedpans...

I saw the cardiologist today and I'm going to try another medication to help keep my heart beating normally. Have you ever thought about how we take for granted things like a strong and steady heart beat but as of Wednesday, I praise the Lord for my husband being home to take me to the hospital and for my beating heart that's behaving.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sometimes being normal is a good thing

I have never wanted to be normal. I like being different. I like bright colored walls, streaks of pink on my hair, making my own chicken broth and although I have many insecurities, I like those things about me. I don't consider myself weird or strange but also not ordinary.

That is until today. Today I found out I was "normal." Today I found out I do not have cancer.

For almost eight months now, I have been suffering from constant hip pain. I took an exercise class back in February and I'm not sure what happened but I felt something like a tear in my hip. I had trouble walking out of the class and even to my car. I learned that I didn't rip any tendons but I haven't been the same since that class. I've been to numerous doctors, physical therapists, massage therapists, you name it and the pain hasn't abated. I've had MRIs, CT scans and felt drained emotionally as the pain has traveled to my back and left hip.

A recent x-ray revealed something that required further tests. I have waited about a week to get the results. This afternoon, as I sat in the doctor's office today by myself. I alternately played Scrabble on my iPod Touch and prayed to Jesus. When my doctor walked into the room, I barely exchanged pleasantries. I just wanted to get the news.

When she said that the tests didn't show anything cancerous, I felt so thankful. Today I found out that I was normal. As much as I enjoy being different, I want desperately to be normal.

I realize that some of you reading my post today have been in my place. You've sat in the sterile doctor's office waiting to see if your life was going to drastically change. I know some of you have accompanied a loved one to get test results and surely your heart sank when you didn't get the kind of news I received today. I have hesitated to even write this post today because I do not want to cause anyone sadness. Please forgive me if you have heard different news and you are hurting because of me, in some small way.

I still have another medical test regarding some ovarian cysts. And I am not giving up on overcoming this ongoing struggle.

But tonight y'all, although I don't have all the answers, I am happy that as far as certain things are concerned, I am normal. ;) I raise a bowl of homemade chicken broth in Paris up high for being normal!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

September 3rd was a very good day!

All week long I have been anticipating writing a post about going to the hospital. I awoke Thursday morning excited to think that I was going to the hospital. I knew something good was going to happen on September 3, 2009. Normally I don't look forward to going to the hospital but on September 3, 2009, I wasn't going to see just a regular, ordinary person...

Oh no, my friends. You see on September 3, 2009 I was going to meet my niece for the very first time. I babysat my two nephews while their mama, (my sister) went into labor. We played, I wiped a butt, fed them lunch, read stories, watched train videos on YouTube and had a very silly time. It doesn't get better than that! Here is video proof that we had fun in case there was any ever doubt! (I'm trying to load this onto my post, I apologize in advance if you don't see it!)

The Hubs came with me so as soon as my brother-in-law called, I could hustle on over to the hospital. And at 2:22 pm, my darling niece, Rachel Shiloh entered our world. I was honored to meet her before she was even an hour old. I never cried at the birth of my own OS (of course I was overjoyed!) but when I saw this little bundle of girl, tears filled my eyes. Rachel is probably my only niece that will know me well because she lives nearby. It will be wonderful to see her grow and develop into her own little person. I am now AuntDeeeees to Rachel Shiloh, praise the Lord!

So that was suppose to be my blog post - as my nephew Josiah would say, "the-end!" Happy, happy, joy, joy, right???

But then my intended blog post became altered. That's because on September 7, 2009, I returned back to the same hospital. This time it wasn't to see my niece, it was to visit my mom. She has pneumonia and had a slight heart attack on Sunday. My mom was going to help my sister and in the wee hours of the night, she became disoriented and shaky. She was admitted to the hospital and there she remains until things get better.

It's times like these that I am ever thankful for my faith. I am not leaning on my own understanding (Proverbs 3:5) and I'm trying not to borrow trouble (Matthew 6:34). If I get too caught up on all the "what if's" I will be miserable (Philippians 4:6).

All I know is that today I got to see my mom and although she is sick, she is a blessing and still laughs at my jokes. And before I saw my mom, I went to my sister's and got to hold Rachel and rub her little back. She was sleeping so soundly, her pink lips making a sucking motion and her tiny legs tucked snugly almost as if she was still in the womb. One of her arms rested on my side and yes, I melted.
This week I hope to be going to New York to see my oldest OS, my baby!. May it be so dear Lord!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Fish fear me

Life is good, very good when you're no longer a plebe. My oldest OS is a second year student at West Point which means Nate is a yearling or a yuk which might sound worse than a plebe but trust me, it's not. There is almost no lower life form than a plebe. We are now proud parents of a yuk which might sound weird but it's not...

To that end, Nate is now enjoying being able to wear Army casual clothing. He likes being called by his first name. He enjoys the freedom of going to the bathroom in a t-shirt and boxers. You gotta love it!

As a mama, it is a joy to hear about the new things he is doing. During our telephone conversations, my boy sounds like the weight of the world has been lifted from his broad shoulders!

Although the demands at West Point are
considerable; my Soldier joined a new club. He's now in the Fly Fishing Club! Fly fishing sounds like a great way for Nate to let down his hair, (that is, if he had hair! WP requires short hair!) Being a West Point has its advantages. As an internationally renown institution, it is not uncommon to see nationally known people walking around post. During his plebe year, he spotted Geraldo Rivera, marched by the President of El Salvador, caught a glimpse of Miss USA and lately the folks at Fox News are rumored to have been at WP.

Well, professional fly fishers from Orvis came to the Fly Fishing Club and showed my OS and other cadets how to cast. To hear the excitement in his voice lifts my mama's heart. He has big dreams of getting some waders and going trout fishing, I love it!

One OS is an aspiring thespian and musician, another OS is a confident athlete, I enjoy seeing my boys blossom. Look out little fishies, Nate's coming after you!