Today, during a session with our wonderful school team, something was pointed out to me: "Boy, Sydney sure is a kid that is really into routine, isn't she? Is Madi that way too?"
Hmm.. yep. They both are. And you know what? I did a bit of thinking this evening and have come to the conclusion that they get it from me. And I, despite my very best intentions at just being an "on-demand' kind of mom, have become a Scheduler. Even worse, I am a Superstitious Scheduler.
Before my children got sick, I did schedule things here and there, but for the most part I kind of just let them determine what they needed and when. Then I got thrown headlong into the cardiac unit of Children's Minneapolis and skidded across the first of many visits there. When I was able to pick myself up and dust myself off, I latched onto the first coping mechanism that came my way: something in my brain just clicked somewhere and decided "You. Must. Write. Everything. Down." So I did.
I find it oddly comforting, writing. It doesn't really matter too much what it is either. It started with medication lists then progressed to vital signs, liquid input/output, calorie counting, and the like. I have to say that it has come in handy more than once-being able to quickly spout off the days "stats" faster than any nurse can read them off of a computer screen. Now that we are past the transplant days-that seemed so long ago and now are quite a blur-I can look back to my oversized calendar pages and see exactly where Madi was at on any given day. I think it makes me appreciate how very far she has come that much more.
Being a mom of kids with medical needs has changed me in a lot of ways. I never would have anticipated, though, the level of superstition that has come over me. It's like I slip into my "rituals" without even realizing that I am doing them anymore. For instance: if we have to go to the Mayo Clinic, I have to have my house totally clean before we leave. Just in case, for some strange and unexpected reason, we would have to be admitted. When Madi first got sick, my mom stopped by my house for something and had to clean up waffle batter that had been sitting out since the ambulance came and took Madi to the hospital a few days before. I hear it wasn't pretty. Also, the night before we go to Mayo, I have to take out everyone's clothes and lay them out-in certain places-and then reorganize my diaper bag and medicine bag for the twentieth time. Following that, I always write a Post-It note with things that couldn't be packed ahead of time on it. Like meds that are in the fridge. Cause, you know, I might forget my kids' heart meds. Pssh. I also absolutely refuse to make solid plans that are for after the date of a Mayo Clinic appointment. Again just in case we were to get unexpectedly admitted. Go ahead, shake your head. I am too.
But cut me a little slack here. It's these small (if not slightly obsessive) "rituals" that get me through what can sometimes be brain-deteriorating feelings of helplessness. Don't judge this Superstitious Scheduler. It's not like I have a voodoo doll.