Sunday, October 23, 2011


Life hands you a lemon.  You think, "When life hands you lemons make lemonade."  Good advice, you think, and you make yourself a glass.  And onward life goes.
But what happens when you get a whole crateful of lemons dumped unceremoniously into your lap?  What do you do then?
You lean on a friend.  It doesn't take a rocket scientist to tell you that the very best friends in life are there for the good times, but even more so for the bad ones.  These special people think of us when we are happy, sad, angry, depressed, excited, crabby, anxious, and everything in between.  Some of them even have an uncanny sense for when you need someone the most, and offer up some means of escape.
I spent the later hours of the evening-and into the hours that end in a.m.-at a friend's house last night.  We didn't do anything fancy.  No wine-sipping or truffle tasting.  (Though there was some fabulous cheese-eating.)  No outings to a bar, concert, restaurant, or nightclub.  We sat at her kitchen table in comfy clothes and slippers and played board games.  Yep, we're talkin Scattegories and dice games here.  Ate some deliciously greasy, cheesy pizza with Diet Coke.  Followed by various sweets.  We talked-a lot.  We told lots of stories-some that we have all heard a million times but are still great to hear.  Mostly?  We laughed.  Till we cried, in some instances.  It was fantastic.
Did we talk about the fact that recently I had somehow acquired a whole crate of lemons?  Yes, for a bit.  But then we moved on.  Those lemons are just a part of this life of mine.  It was refreshing to forget about them for awhile, and just be me.  Fully enjoying the company of M and her mom, and reveling in the fact that there are people out there that know the whole me.  That appreciate me for every part of my life, good and bad, and have helped me to cope. 
Last night, I was able to start putting those lemons back in that crate.  They aren't gone, and they never really will be, but they are a bit more contained.  I am feeling a bit more contained too-and really refreshed.
That, blog readers, is the sweetest gift at all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The "Right" Way to Parent

This morning, I was reading through some comments left on a friend's Facebook thread.  There was something said there that made me think, and, quite frankly, offended me as well.
This mom was talking about her decision to circumsize her son.  In her post she defended her decision (good for her!) and then went on to say she did "everything else right, such as co-sleeping, extended nursing, and not vaccinating."  This brings me to a few things:
#1-If she didn't view circumcision as "right", why did she do it?
and, probably more importantly, #2- who is she to say that co-sleeping, extended nursing, and no vaccines is the "right" way to be a parent?
I did not co-sleep for either of my kids.  I have heard too many horror stories of parents rolling over onto their kids in the middle of the night and suffocating them.  I myself would probably never ever sleep knowing there was a newborn in my bed, just for fear that I would hurt them somehow.  Motherhood is a sleep-deprived experience in and of itself, so why make it worse?
On to the circumcision discussion.  I am going to make that one short, sweet, and to the point.  It's not up to me to tell another parent whether or not to do it.  And it's not up to others to tell me what to do.  You are more than welcome to have your own opinion on matters, but don't use it as a stepping-stone to being judgmental and mean to people whose opinion doesn't match yours.
Extended nursing?  Yeah, tried that.  Apparently I just wasn't made to be a nursing mom.  I tried with both my children, and my body just decided that it didn't feel like making milk.  I gave it my best shot, and tried just about every idea thrown at me to make my body up its milk production.  It didn't work.  In fact, it just got progressively worse.  So rather than let my kids starve because I was determined to do it the "right" way, I went and bought formula.  And you know what?  It was fine.
That leads me to the last of the topics I have weighing on my heart today: vaccination.  There are so many out there against it, and it breaks my heart.  Smallpox was completely eradicated where there were vaccines given for it.  You cannot get autism from vaccines.  All those medical journals that had studies in them about the autism-vaccine connection have now been pulled from said journals.  The doctor that originally published these "studies" is now under investigation, and has totally recanted his "findings."  On our journey with Madi, we have learned a lot about the immune system.  As Madi's is not normal, and never will be, we cannot give her certain vaccines.  Live vaccines in a person with a weakened immune system can do much more harm than good.  So we rely on "herd immunity" to keep her safe.  The theory surrounding herd immunity is that if all the other members of the population are protected, they will not catch the disease, thereby protecting the person with the weakened immune system by getting rid of chances of exposure.  Without herd immunity, Madi could get very sick.  She could die.
So in the end, who are we to say what's right and what's wrong with an individual's parenting?  According to the mom that made that comment, I did everything wrong.  I take major offense to that.  Let's be real, here.  Every mom (and dad, for that matter) makes mistakes.  There's no such thing as a perfect parent.  Just because my friend uses cloth diapers and nursed her kids till they were one and a half doesn't make her any better than me.
The only "right" way to parent is to love your child.  To do the very best by them that you can.  To teach them to handle what life throws at them, and to let them know that they are miraculous, fantastic beings that are treasured. 
It's that simple.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Maybe some of you already know about the crap-tastic news we got last Friday.  For those that don't, we found out that Sydney also has the heart disease that led Madi to heart transplant.  (Sydney's CaringBridge site)

I am feeling many emotions right now.  Sad?  Very.  Scared?  Like you would not believe.  But the overwhelming thing coming through me at the moment is anger.  Deep, dark, anger threatening to boil over and consume everything in its path.  I know it's not healthy to feel this way, but I also know that it's normal. 
I have several reasons for the anger.  One is that after this diagnosis, I got a lot of comments like "Oh well at least you are a veteran at this."  Unfortunately, a lot of said comments came from members of my own family.  It's almost like they are brushing it off as no big deal.  And that's just what I hear from the family members that are kind of in touch.  I have many other family members, that, for whatever reason, have cut me totally out of their lives.  I KNOW they know about Sydney.  Yet I have not heard a single word from any of them.  This, my friends, is where the "boiling" anger comes in.  I was taught from a very young age (from my mom) that family is family, and family is first.  That means that even if you are not speaking to someone, or if you don't agree with them on something, if there's a crisis or something important going on in life, you swallow your pride.  You BE THERE for them.  Even if just to offer a shoulder to cry on, you still reach out and show that you are supportive and you believe that the family is stronger than any adversity that comes about.
I guess I don't merit that support from them.  And I know that it shouldn't bother me as much as it does.  That I have much better-and much more important-things to worry & think about.  But I can't help it.  It hurts to the very core of my being.  This is a hard enough battle to fight without thinking that you have been abandoned.  I lost a lot of friends when Madi got sick.  Now, with Sydney sick as well, it seems like they continue to drop like flies.  Even my children have noticed the difference.  Sadly, they no longer recognize photos of some family members.  That's saying a lot because Madi has a memory like a steel trap.  She even remembers things from before her transplant.
So for now, I am floundering like someone lost at sea.  I can see people in a boat up ahead, but they have their backs to me.  They don't hear my calls.  And if they do hear me, they pretend like they don't. 
Thankfully, there are a few friends out there that are truly "life preservers"-ready, willing and able to reach out their hands and pull me back onboard.  They are like beacons guiding me to shore, where I hope to find healing and peace once more. 
But for them, I do not know where I would be.