Saturday, June 16, 2012


I became a mother knowing that it was never going to be a walk in the park.  That I would have moments that would make me want to scream, cry, or run away.  Maybe even throw up.  I knew I would have to "put on my big girl pants" and deal with it, just as my mom and many others have for all of time.  That doesn't mean it was always easy, nor does it mean that I always dealt with things so well.
For instance, when Madi was just a little person, (well, littler than she is now) when she would throw up I could not handle it.  Could. Not.  So Noel was the one that was on puke patrol while I was sitting in another room trying not to lose my own lunch.  Luckily, in those first years, she didn't get sick very often and I rarely had to deal with those types of things.
Then came the big heart stuff.. the strokes, the ambulance rides, the endless tests and blood draws.  The cardiac lingo kind of slipped under the rug for awhile, and I feel as though the only reason I survived those initial days after Madi was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy was because I was totally and completely numb.  Shut down.  I honestly can't recall most of those early days, and that's just fine by me.
When Madi had her transplant, I cried rivers of tears.  In her room when we got to see her for the first time post-surgery, I almost passed out.
Then, Sydney got diagnosed.  And when the doctor spoke the words "Sydney's echo is not normal", I left the room.  It was the only thing I could do.  I went into the bathroom and laid there, angry at the world (and God), and overcome with nausea and dizziness.
I used to think that I was a big sissy when it came to motherhood.  When people would say that I was strong, I brushed it off like it wasn't a big deal.  Because, really, what choice did I have?  It's not like I would have ever even thought to give up and walk away-not when I knew that my kids had it in them to fight.  To live and be happy.  When you are a parent, you bear the burdens asked of you for your child.  You fight demons, slay dragons, ask questions, give medicine, and chase monsters from the closets.  Isn't that what we all do?
But today I was told something that made me think twice about my assumptions.  Today, Sydney's cardiologist-a world class cardiologist in the top 1% of his field in the nation-said to me "I think you will have a special place in Heaven; probably at the right hand of the big man Himself."  He then turned to the intern that was in the room and said "She just keeps bubbling right along!" and nodded to me.  In that moment, I realized something.  I will try not to brush off those comments anymore.  I have earned every emotional battle scar I have.
I AM strong. 
I AM a good mom.
I CAN do this.
I WILL do this.
Today, I left Sydney's appointment with a renewed belief in myself.  All it takes are some kind words to change a person's day around, and this afternoon, I was in need of a pick-me-up.
Honestly, Dr. Driscoll's words were probably the nicest thing someone's said to me in a very long time, if ever.  They couldn't have come at a better time.  It's like God was speaking to me through the doctor, and telling me that even though I have my moments, I've totally got this.  Talk about empowering.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Daddies & Daughters

It's been said many a time that a father is a daughter's very first love.  I myself have a great dad, and though we have had our moments, I can truly say that there really is a special bond between daddies and their daughters.
I don't know why it is, but sometimes dads are just easier to get along with.  (Though you can bet your butt that when I am sick, to this day, I still want my mom!)  In my case, I think it had something to do with the roles in our family.  My dad worked outside of the house, oftentimes putting in 60 hours a week or more.  My mom was the consummate stay at home mom who did it all-and the primary disciplinarian.  I think that made the scales tip a little more in Dad's favor-he got to be the "fun one" a lot more than Mom did.  (Sorry, Mom!)
I see it more and more with my own daughters.  When I am gone for the day and my husband is home with his girls, anything goes.  It can be two in the afternoon, and they are still in their pjs, hair untouched by any comb or barrette, bellies full of Pop-Tarts, Funyuns, and cookies.  Daddy is the one that turns on the Wii and plays RockBand, to their delight.  (He says it's for them, but we all know he really wants to play too.)  He can also be easily swayed into getting Culver's for dinner, followed up with a yummy ice cream creation from ColdStone. 
I would be wrong if I said that this wasn't head-shakingly frustrating at times.  I find myself thinking 'Hey, I get you dressed and do your hair and find educational activities and try to feed you balanced meals and, and, and..'  But the girls love every minute of it, of course.  And I do think that Madi, at the ripe old age of 6, has started to learn the fine art of getting her way, batting her super-long eyelashes at her daddy.  Which is why you will find Noel playing tea party, dressing Barbies, and painting fingernails.  (He's actually quite good at that!)  He is learning to do girls' hair, even if it does take him what seems like an eon to put Madi's hair in a ponytail.  He knows the names of all the Disney princesses, and can probably sing along with any of their movies.  Noel's world is one of sparkly pink things, clouds of glitter, and plastic high heels.
They say that when a girl marries, she looks to find someone that is like her dad.  My dad and Noel are a lot alike, but in many ways are very different.  I don't think my dad would have been caught dead in a tutu, something I have seen Noel do more than once.  (Now, if his granddaughter asked him to, that might be a different story.)  I would never have asked him to paint my nails-he wouldn't have known what to do with himself.  We did, however, sculpt many an awesome Play-Doh creation together, and don't even get me started on our puzzle-building skills.
My dad had two sons after I was born, so he got his fair share of all things boy.   Noel, though, won't get that chance, as our two daughters are it for us.  Luckily, Madi & Sydney also enjoy baseball, monster trucks, rock music, dirt, and all the stereotypical boy things too, even though they prefer frills and lace.
 Good thing Noel wears it well.

The father of a daughter is nothing but a high-class hostage. A father turns a stony face to his sons, berates them, shakes his antlers, paws the ground, snorts, runs them off into the underbrush, but when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, "Daddy, I need to ask you something," he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan.
~ Garrison Keillor