Breathing.

Somedays I have to remind myself that it’s ok that all I am doing is just breathing. It means my head is above water. I am not drowning. I am breathing, and that means i am alive. And if i’m alive, we’re all still alive.
Things are flowing along at their typical pace – some days ultra crazy and other days ultra boring and somewhere in the middle we find our rhythm and ride the waves and just keep breathing.

Kendall is improving every day. Well – in her usual way. Two steps forward, one step back. Overall – her pain is being well controlled with the addition of two “long term” medications, both in her J-tube (yay for no more IV narcs!), and her strength continues to return in amazing ways. That girl is the very definition of fierce determination (also of massive distractibility and wild banshee screaming at random times, but hey, we can’t nitpick here i guess!)

The other girls are doing well. Kealey had tried out for her school cheerleading team and did not make it and that was a really tough blow. I think maybe more for me than for her. She took it in stride. I was crushed for her. She worked SO hard on learning the routines and I tried to help her even though I was exhausted that week and I just wanted her to have something FUN and GOOD and something to look forward to…She gives up so much, you know? They all do. I just wanted her to GET something for once instead of having to give something up again. But that’s not life I guess. You want a lot of stuff and sometimes you don’t get it and you move on anyways and find something else new to look forward to and work on. She has her sights already set on how she will improve over the next year to try out again next fall. That’s my girl.
Karissa is doing well – she has become ultra loving and affectionate towards everyone since we’ve been home. She is a girl who can both read and pick up on emotions in people, even in a room full of strangers/people she doesn’t know well. It is hard sometimes to hide my emotions from her – whether that’s exhaustion or frustration or whatever – she picks up on it and she takes them on as her own, or tries to fix them somehow…She is doing pretty well in school finally with the help of her Special Ed teacher through her IEP. That is a huge relief in so many ways. Mostly I am happy for her that she doesn’t feel dejected or overwhelmed by school anymore really. It actually almost moves me to tears to think about because it has been SO hard for her the past few years, the struggles, the frustrations, the helpless feeling at knowing she needed better support but not knowing how to get the school to recognize or address it. But we are moving forward now with her support and it is so huge….
Kaylen….oh my little hurricane. Where do I start? She is doing good. She is just one of those kids IMG_7565 who will find her own way to get what she needs. She will get the attention and the love she needs one way or another – good or bad! I realized a few days ago that she is the age Kealey was when we brought Kendall home from the hospital…and I look at how much she does, how independent she is in many ways and yet how very much she still needs me. My heart breaks for her sometimes, and other times she makes ME want to break something….She also is doing so well in school and I credit her teacher with a lot of that success. She was Kaylen’s first grade teacher also and we worked very hard to ensure Kaylen stayed in her class this year because her bond with Kaylen is such a large part of Kaylen’s day to day success at coping with our somewhat chaotic family situation.  Mrs. P – I don’t thank you enough – but thank you – for all you do. 

And that’s about how that’s all going. For those of you who have been bringing us meals and sending cards…I am overwhelmed at your kindnesses and my own gratitude for you. I will never ever ever be able to write the thank you cards fast enough or respond back to emails and messages in timely manners. But if you have sent something, or done something, or brought something….it has touched my heart and given me strength. Know that. Please know that. YOU are the reason I am able to tread water and keep on keepin on. I am tearing up trying to even write this. Thank you written here seems so completely inadequate – but I hope you know how much of a difference you are making for the positive in our life. I am SO very grateful for the meals – and the love that comes into our house with every single bag of food delivered. They are the difference between me going completely over the edge of insanity and being able to know that at least one thing is set and taken care of on those days.

So there it is. A brief update of sorts. For the most part, things are under control. Supplies are ordered for the month and week, things are in place and moving forward, I am *pretty sure* that everyone has some semblance of a costume for tomorrow night for Halloween…..yeah I can’t think of anything i’m forgetting….
At least for right now!

I’m working on getting my NaBloPoMo – blog every day in November – posts all set up. I enjoy the challenge of doing it but am usually SO glad when November is done! If you aren’t already – go “like” the Terra Talking page on Facebook so you can get the notifications when the posts go up. Plus it will make me ridiculously happy to hit 1000 fans on that page (SO PAINFULLY CLOSE!!!!) Kendall’s birthday is two weeks from tomorrow which just blows my mind….this is the first year we aren’t doing some bigger thing for her birthday so i think that’s why it hasn’t quite hit me yet that it’s that close!

Anyways – now i’m rambling because i just drained a Venti mocha in about twenty minutes and i am JITTERY!!!!! YAY!!!!

I hope you are all having a beautiful week. Thank you for coming here to check on us. check on me. See what craziness i’m up to. Keep checking back. November will be chock full of it.

Peace out party people.

T-crest.

Today. the 28th.

Just a sampling of the randomness of my days:

I did laundry today. And by “did” i mean I washed four loads, dried them all, and now have it all stacked in baskets in the TV room. I will attempt to fold it all tomorrow. That’ll do, pig, that’ll do. (you have to say that in the accent of the old man in “babe” at the end when the pig has herded all the sheep {Baaaa RAmmmmm Ewwwwweee} into the right ring at the competition. Otherwise it makes no sense.)

Kealey told me today she had deja vu about the second coming of Jesus.

This led to kaylen asking a whole bunch of questions like this:

“Does Jesus have a mustache?”

me – ummmm sure. If you want Jesus to have a mustache, he has the rockingest mustache ever.

“Does Jesus wear socks?”

me – uuhhhhhh……yes. Because Jesus likes warm feet and fuzzy things.

“Does Jesus wear glasses?”

me – (Oh i know this one!!!) No he doesn’t – he has perfect vision and we all will up in heaven.

“Does Jesus have boobies?”

me – “NEW TOPIC!!!!!! Look at that crazy thunderstorm behind us!”

 

To which all three girls started screaming at me to drive faster before the storm got us.

 

This Pin made me crack up. like literally about to fall off the couch laughing. I don’t really know why it struck me as so funny.

get it together, crayola.......haha i'm still laughing lol

 

And then Kendall had a crazy day of what i hope was just autonomic wonkiness – which is our code for “we have no idea what she’s doing but her vitals are making me uncomfortable so let’s hope some oxygen at naptime settles things down”. she did wake up in a slightly better mood, and has a little bit of improvement in her vitals, so i’ll take it. Ben’s in Nashville all week and then I leave for St Louis with the bigs for dance comp so we REALLY dont have time for a stay at the CHdubs. Not to mention that this coming weekend is one year since the first of the big crashes of last summer and i am trying very hard to not let the memories of that day overtake my brain and emotions and turn me into a hot blubbering mess. So we will NOT be visiting the hospital again anytime soon thankyouverymuch.

(side note – i cannot guarantee that that little tidbit up above will not be revisited on or before may 5.)

And sometimes I guess there just aren’t enough rocks.

 

there.

two blog posts in a row.

bam.

 

t-crest out.

The others – kealey grace-elisabeth

I saved this one for last because there’s honestly so much I could say.

 20130408_163202000_iOS Kealey was the one who taught me how to be a mommy, who stretched the limits of my patience and my body, who showed me how amazing this whole mom thing could be. She is my baby, she is my friend. She still fills me with awe when I look at her, and I think – I did that…I grew all that awesomeness inside of me and then I gave birth to it and it became her, my kealey grace.

She has always been a responsible kid, always tried her best to please everyone around her. Not to the detriment of her own likes and personality, but in truly just a servant’s heart type of way, to make life easy in any way she can for those around her who she loves and respects. Her teachers all have glowing things to say about her, she is an amazingly smart kid who is excelling in her classes. She handles anything and everything they throw at her (she is a “tutor” of sorts to kids who are struggling in her classes), she is a leader of study groups, she is just so smart…
And beautiful. She’s all of a sudden this young lady – and not my baby anymore, and definitely not a little girl, but she’s just….growing up before my eyes.
I wrote this post about her first day of school a few years ago, and it still rings so true. She is still my helper and my companion and my friend and I have no idea what I’d do without her.

I think sometimes, that of all of them, Kendall’s hospitalizations are hardest on Kealey. oh she’d never tell you that or admit to it, but I think they are. She imperceptibly shifts into “responsible mode”. You can just see this resoluteness in the set of her jaw, watch as her eyes steel over into “get through this, be strong for your sisters, put one foot in front of the other” from their usual giggly sparkliness. No one asks her to do this, it is just who she is. She knows that I cannot do it all and keep it all together, and that my focus has shifted to Kendall, so her focus shifts to her sisters, to protecting them  from what she can read in my eyes even if my mouth is saying something different. That i’m worried, that it probably will be longer than one night, that kendall is really sick again. I don’t try to ever lie to them – but I have a game face while I am hugging them goodbye. Kealey has learned to see through that. I don’t know when or how, I just know she does.
I am sorry she has so much responsibility she loads onto her own shoulders, and yet I am proud. This kid – IMG_3466 she has this wisdom and maturity that is far beyond her years. (Except when it comes to teasing her sisters – she is VERY age appropriate in that arena!) While many of her friends are caught up in name brand clothes, electronic gadgetry,  and all sorts of things money can buy – she worries about things like whether her sister will be home for the holidays, she wants a cure for mitochondrial disease, she’s learning how to read words like onandesetron and diphenhydramine so she can grab meds for her sister when I am out of hands.

I am so so so glad though to see that she does have times of being a regular, normal, healthy 11 year old girl. She DOES love her aeropostale sweatshirt, she does have an ipod on which she texts her friends, she loves when we get to go on mommy/kealey movie dates, which I try to do every couple of weeks with her. I know these next few years are so important. Big changes are coming her way and if I am not ready with answers and responses to her questions, there’s no telling who or where she will turn to for those answers.  I am so glad that she has an amazing relationship with her daddy still (she always has been and always will be a daddy’s girl), and that he too works so diligently to keep that relationship up, especially as we enter the pre-teen/tween years. I don’t know that we have all the right answers, or any answers really, but I know we love her fiercely and will do our best to get her safely through this time.
20130311_015138000_iOSShe also has dance as an outlet, along with Karissa, and it is SO very rewarding to see her growing and learning and becoming an amazing person, able to express her feelings through her dance. The studio she dances at is full of amazing people as teachers, friends, and in general an amazing support system. It is my deepest hope that we are able to continue sending them to this amazing place, and to even get Kaylen dancing there soon too. For all of them, having the outlet of dance, even in the midst of chaotic medical stuff/hospital stays/etc – it is so important, to us and to them. We have seen so many amazing things come from them being in such a great studio, doing what they love to do.

Anyways – I could go on for days about Kealey Grace. She, like the others, is amazing. I am so blessed by them, and to have them. None of this, our family, our days, our craziness – would work without them. They all bring something unique to the table and they all help counterbalance each other.

Kealey – I am so proud to be your mommy, and I am so lucky that you are my baby girl~

love,

mommy.

My girls.

you thought i’d miss a day, didn’t you? This is technically going to be “yesterday’s” post, even though it will show up today, and then today’s post will show up LATER today. confused yet? good. we all operate better under that assumption of craziness.
Yesterday I was just so busy…

One of the prompts for NaBloPoMo is to write about “a day in my life”….That would pretty much be a book so i’ll spare you the gory/overwhelming/boring/crazy details and just say – I was busy doing all the things I normally do to keep Atkinson General Faux-Hospital running and then I had to add in Parent Teacher conferences.
Kendall’s 15 minute conference turned into nearly two hours of IEP Re-evaluation planning with part of her awesome team from her school. But in spite of the fact that it took so long, it was awesome to feel like my concerns for her were being truly heard, and I think our IEP progress for Kendall will be so much smoother thanks to all that brainstorming.
Then we ran to therapy, then home, then I had to run and pick up the girls from my friends’ house where they had all gone because we were at therapy when they got out (early dismissal due to conferences), then home to get dance stuff together, then to dance, then to conferences. Then dinner, Kendall troubleshooting, cleanup, bedtime. Ehh – I guess that wasn’t so bad.
Anyways – we all survived.

Conferences for the middle two were a split. Karissa is currently in the middle of a re-evaluation for services at her school due to a MAJOR gap in her tested intelligence/cognitive level, and how she is performing at school (her grades). She is just such a non-verbal learner – symbols, patterns, numbers, choreography, movement – these things are how Karissa interprets the world around her. Everything is a dance. And words interrupt that dance. In her words “the letters squiggle”. She wears bifocals (progressive lenses), made in an effort to help her vision be as good as it can be for both near and far sight. We have identified a visual processing disorder (her brain doesn’t always interpret two-dimensional information – words on a piece of paper for instance – as one cohesive image), an auditory processing disorder (she cannot differentiate background noise from a dominant noise – for instance, if a teacher is talking while there is ANY kind of other noise going on in the classroom, papers rustling, pencils scratching, noses sniffing, etc.), and we believe there is a possible element of an ADHD like process at play too (executive functioning, the ability to prioritize and order tasks into a list to be done in order to complete something like homework, or getting dressed in the morning, etc).
All of this is making it very difficult for Karissa to perform to her best in a typical classroom setting. She is in the honors program at her school, but is quickly falling farther and farther behind compared to her peers because….well – we don’t know why. I am hopeful, but not optimistic, that her school is going to be able to help us identify WHY she is failing at school all of a sudden. I hope that someone is able to help turn the lightbulb back on in her mind and help us unlock all of her amazing mysteries residing in that crazy, cloud-filled, puppy-riddled world in her mind. I know there is SOMETHING, some piece of info out there, that we will be able to say – “Ah-ha! this is how we help Karissa! THIS is her problem, and THIS is the solution!”
To that end, a child with a less than stellar report card, a frustrated teacher overwhelmed with how to keep a child like Karissa at grade level, and my own worries for my child led to a less than productive conference for her. But still – I’m so proud of her for fighting through all that is stacked against her, for plugging away at homework that “squiggles”, for not letting any of her issues get her down.  she’s awesome.

Kaylen, however, the one i WAS worried about – sure her conference would be filled with stories of how she destroyed this, that or the other thing in her classroom, or other tales of the terror she can bring on at home – Blew me away.
Her teacher told us a story at the beginning of her conference that left me with tears in my eyes.
They were having a special day where all the students got to eat lunch in the classroom with their teacher. (I’m not sure how or why such a thing would be a “reward” for the teacher, God bless her, she’s an amazing person…I digress.) anyways – there was one little boy in the class who was sitting off on his own. My beautiful little social butterfly got up from her group of friends, took her lunch, and went and plopped herself down next to this boy. She told Mrs. Pullos – “I think he is lonely and needs someone to sit by him.”

Would I have done that? Would you?

Oh to be more like my beautiful Hurricane Kaylen…
(Later when I asked her about that situation, she said “yeah i think maybe he didn’t WANT anyone to sit by him. But it’s ok. I sat by him anyways.” That’s my girl!)

And then today was Kealey’s conference. Her school does this super trendy “self-directed” conference thing. It actually worked out very well for us – Kealey is such a good kid and it was so great to see her really digging into her work to look for areas where she excelled and areas where she could improve. Every single one of her teachers came to tell us that they were so impressed with her work ethic, her compassion for others, and her amazing persistence in doing her very best, all the time, no matter what. And my girl who works so so so hard to be my little helper, my mini-me, help me keep everything together when Ben is out of town – this girl on whose shoulders rests so much responsiblity, and grace, and grown-up-ness – this girl made the High Honor Roll.  I sat there listening to her read her self-assessments to us, looking at the beautiful young lady she is becoming – and I could not help but cry, just a little bit, just to myself.  How did we get here? How did my little Kealey Grace, my constant companion for all these years, the wriggly little crying baby who i brought home scared to death I was going to break her almost 12 years ago – how did that little baby grow into this vision of loveliness? Where did that time go?

So that is what I wanted to tell you about My Girls.

They are amazing and I love them and I am so so so proud of them. For all that I do wrong – THEY are what I do right. By the grace of God, my own amazing examples of parenting, a village of friends and family around to support us – by all of those things – my girls are amazing.

IMG_0005

Terra.

It’s been too long…

To do a really proper catch up. So i’ll just try to hit the current highlights for now and catch up later!

Let’s start with the easy ones first:IMG_3656

 

Kealey – doing fine and great – as usual! Really making huge strides in dance and school – when did she grow up so much? No worries on this one, thank God, because I don’t know what i’d do without her quiet calming strength.

Kaylen – also doing great! She’s been complaining of tummy pain more and more often these last few weeks, and even requesting enema’s at a few different times as they are the only thing to help relieve the pain and pressure (I know, strange, right?) – so she will have an appointment with the constipation clinic team up in milwaukee in a few weeks. We give her a lot of miralax and ex-lax already to try to keep things moving along, but hopefully they will have a little more insight for us about how to help her feel better. Preschool will be done in a few weeks and she is SO EXCITED for her birthday (in July – some of you may or may not have received your verbal invite to her pool party already? For IMG_3601 the record, we have a blow up pool that is not even put up yet, but whatevs) and then to start Kindergarten next August.

Karissa – *deep breath* – she’s karissa, what can i say? Had a “tie up the loose ends” appointment with her pediatrician last week due to her taking a leave of absence this summer, and the school breathing down my neck to get a letter to address some school concerns. Apparently when we saw the neurologist in February as part of the MRI followup for the tethered cord concern, he wrote this thing called a “summary letter” (note my heavy sarcasm here). Well the letter never made it to us – and everyone else assumed the other doc had spoken with us. Long story short, we are being highly encouraged to run the mito testing on karissa sooner than later, followup with a neuropsychologist for academic testing (to see if she has an actual learning disability or something along the lines of ADD/ADHD something like that), and we are supposed to followup with a neurosurgeon regarding the tumor that was found on her spine on the MRI. While I am glad that all of these things are taking place so that we can know for sure what is going on on all fronts, it was a lot to process last week. Dr. Natalie also ordered an abdominal x-ray for Karissa due to some “incontinence” issues picking up in frequency and intensity. Sure enough Karissa is full of sh poop and we have to start a “cleanout” on her. (Remember that old Saturday Nite Live skit called “super colon blow”? Yeah, that.) This should be all kinds of fun for everyone involved. I’m really looking forward to it, as is she I’m sure.  We did get the note for school (she is having a hypoglycemic type crash after lunch every day so she has to start having a protein based snack in between recess and their regular snack time).

What all the rest of it will mean I have no idea. The neuropsych testing should help point us in a direction as far as her school issues go (she will likely need to have an IEP put into place next year due to some strugglesIMG_3666 she is having academically) – but we will wait to see how that appointment goes before we do anything, especially since there’s only 3 weeks left of school! Hopefully the “cleanout” is successful and helps resolve some of her other issues. She is also seeing the urologist up in milwaukee when we are there for marathon appointment day in a couple weeks to see if they can help us come up with a better plan for the issues/pain she is having. We will likely have the mito testing labwork pulled at that time too. (We haven’t done it already because a. – it’s better when done under stress like a vomiting type of illness, and b. – i don’t trust any local labs farther than i can throw them. So now we will just have it done up at childrens – which karissa has thus far not had reason to be at, but will now. got it? good.)

And last but not least – Miss Kendall – oh where to begin trying to catch up with this one???

SUPER LONG story made very short – we have been dealing with what appears to be a “site infection” where her broviac (IV) line enters the skin on her chest. It has been very painful for her for the last two weeks, which got a teeny bit better when she started IV antibiotics last week. The culture of the pus that is leaking/oozing out around IMG_3644 the site grew MRSA (a resistant type of staph infection that we all probably carry around on our skin all the time, but until you have a deep open wound, you never know it). The ER that cultured it two weeks ago didn’t feel the need to let us know that it was growing (they determined it was a contaminant). However, given how symptomatic she was, the growing redness and hotness around the site, and the fact that you couldn’t even pretend like you were going to lift her shirt up to look at it without her flipping out all convinced her docs that we should probably treat it seriously (ya think?!?!?!? I mean, hey, it’s only got a DIRECT ZIP LINE into her heart/bloodstream. Sure, let’s go ahead and let that fester for a couple more weeks while we twiddle our thumbs. Great plan.)

And while we are very very very lucky that it was actually resistant to ONE drug that is an 8 hour dosing, it is still extremely tiring to do IV antibiotics at home. For the uninitiated, it requires about an hour of set up/prep work, time for the medicine to run in, and take off/cap. This is all good and fine for the 8 am and 4 pm dose, but man, that midnite dose is a doozy. And JUST when I could see the finish line in sight – her tpn nurse took a closer look at it and determined that it is not, in fact, getting any better. We had a very very very long day at Milwaukee last week doing a lot of testing to determine if there was a crack or leak in the line causing the oozing, going over her dressing protocol (the sterile stickers we have to put on her site to protect it every week), analyzing the site, having four other doctors and nurses analyze the site (she was a HUGE fan of that let me tell you), getting x-rays and fluoroscopy and labwork. Did i mention it was a very long day?

So now we will start one more week of antibiotics and then go back up to milwaukee next IMG_3669 Thursday for an outpatient surgery to have her line moved. Basically, you only have a finite amount of veins that are large enough to be used for “central access”. Once they have scarred over, they are unusable. Once you’re out, you’re out. Kendall has managed to keep this line in for almost 9 months, which is AWESOME in light of the cycling infections we were dealing with last spring. Up to this point, the surgeons have been unsuccessful in finding any access on her left side – we aren’t sure if the veins are just underdeveloped on that side and she might GROW into access, or if they are just unusable period. But right now, we have half the available number of spots left for her to have access. Of course the hope is that she grows out of her need to even have the access sooner than later – but right now, she needs this line. We need this spot. So her surgeon is going to go in and keep the main catheter in the same spot, but tunnel it back under her skin to come out at a different spot on her chest to give this infection time to heal. He is pretty confident that this will solve the immediate problem – but he is hesitant to do it until this current infection is cleared up. However, her line is sliding ever so slowly out of place, millimeter by millimeter. The “cuff” (a thicker part of the line that ideally has skin growing over it to anchor it in place in the chest wall tissue) is now at the entry site (pulling all the internal tissue it was connected to with it), compounding the problems of her irritated and infected skin. Once that pulls out, the rest could easily slide out, and we would risk being able to use this same vein. I’m considering ordering a pediatric strait jacket to keep her immobilized for the next 7 days.  (i’m only kidding.) (kind of)

Hopefully it is an outpatient procedure. It is scheduled as one right now, but her last two broviac placements have taken roughly 3 times longer than they do for the “average” patient, so i’m kind of in a toss up.Hopefully since this isn’t a full “hunt and find” mission it really will be the quick in and out they are supposed to be.

She has also been having a lot more issues with her bladder/ability to pee. I won’t get too into the details but i’ll say it’s definitely not normal, makes for a LOT of laundry, and leaves her dealing with a lot of pain. She has had this issue her whole life, but it’s definitely picked up in intensity over the past couple of months. Hopefully on marathon appointment day they can help come up with a better plan, cause watching her double over in pain and knowing the only way through that pain is more pain (catheterizing her) – well, between that and the fear of her broviac sliding out, i’m on track to become addicted to a controlled substance PDQ. There’s so much more that is actually going on – but the bottom line is that overall, she’s doing “good”. The average observer on the average day would not see all that she endures, would not notice that her binky is in her mouth because she is grinding her teeth in pain otherwise, would not see her holding her tummy under her jacket, would not see the meltdown crash that comes after she’s held it together on the rare outing to the store or park. And that’s good. I’m proud of my babies her strength and resilience. But every once in a while, i’d just really love to give her a break from it all. Be able to relieve her pain for a few hours.

Me and Ben – amazingly – have managed to have one whole month where neither of us got some crazy random injury. I know. Be proud. We’ve lost one cat, gained one dog (temporarily! we aren’t that crazy), and in general are just keepin’ on truckin’.

HOpefully i’ll be able to get more details/go back and tell more of the catchup story over the next few days. And i can’t believe I missed my own 5 year bloggiversary! I’ll definitely have to go back and celebrate that!

Thanks for comin back to check on us~

 

T-crest

{2002.}

IMG_3410

 

Ten years ago at this moment I was doing my hair. And makeup. And feeling very very large.

And very very excited. Nervous excited.

And crampy.

My aching back was tired of the weight it held up in front from my 10 day overdue pregnancy with what I HOPED desperately would be a baby (but had been having strange dreams about being a litter of kittens that talked instead). I was 25 years old. I worked in an office for a construction company. I had been married for almost 5 years. We had a little house in a little town outside of Tacoma, WA. It was a drizzly day.

“We” (because I don’t really remember whose idea it was to be surprised – but I’m thinking it was mostly mine, cause I love surprises, and Ben hates them) had decided to wait to find out if we were having a boy baby or a girl baby until the birth. Which was also going to be full of love, bliss, calm and quiet, in a natural environment, with our midwife helping guide us through this journey that my body would be making on its own (ok seriously I am deathly afraid of needles as large as the epidural needle is. And in my spinal cord? no thank you!) But blah blah blah – we lived in granola-ville. The end. Anyways – the day before, on February 26th, I had put in about a ten hour day, bouncing away on my back-saving huge labor ball in front of the computer, filing stuff that had been sitting out for weeks, getting things lined up – I wasn’t having full blown contractions, but I guess it was my mind’s way of “nesting”, getting things ready for the birth. I remember being at the office with one other person there, and my friend Mia was talking me through the “weird asthma attacks” I was having (they were actually super high contractions beginning – that would hit so close to my crushed lungs that I thought I was having an asthma attack when I couldn’t catch my breath), and going home and eating almost an entire box of cereal (I usually despise cereal – that should have been my first clue!). Ben went to work around 3 am like he did at that time of our lives – and I basically stayed up after he left – I could NOT get comfortable! Looking back now of course I see that I was in early labor – but I remember then just feeling like I was never going to not be in pain again. It had just been dragging on so long! (Ok so i had worked myself up into having a Valentine’s Baby and when that didn’t happen I got a bit dramatic about being so overdue…)

And then on the day of her birth, I got up, did my hair, went to talk with my mom at her work who convinced me my “asthma attacks” were probably going to need to be checked out and that I should call Ben home from work. He took me out for a nice lunch that I could eat exactly two bites of, and off to the hospital we went. Funny story about checking in: I had just been at that hospital on the SAME DAY the year before because of a broken shoulder, so when I went in – huge as a hippo, breathing like I had run a marathon, gripping the counter in pain every time the waves of contractions hit, the nurse was like “when did the incident occur?” and I was like thinking – oh my gosh she has to know when we had sex and got pregnant?  “It was roughly 9.5 months ago, I don’t remember the exact date” and she was like – “You injured your shoulder 9 months ago and are JUST NOW coming in???” I was so baffled I couldn’t even form coherent words at that point so I stood up and pointed to my stomach  and she got the picture then. It wasn’t until later that I was able to put together that she had just looked at the date of my last check in, assumed I had been sent to the hospital from an urgent care, and was just there to check boxes on papers!

Anyways – it seemed like a LONG time from that point until I met my baby girl – but it was actually only about 6 hours. I labored on a ball and in the bathtub and i was sooooooo delirious with pain by the time Ben had to literally drag me out of the tub because my legs were one huge contraction. I remember walking to the bed from the bathroom and they had the lights dimmed and the table all set up and the little baby warmer in place and i started to sing “happy birthday”…and then a few of the most painful intense waves of pain I have ever endured in my life, and they put her on my tummy and said – tell everyone what you have!!! And i looked at her and I was so confused because it was all so swollen (as babies usually are) and I was like – “ i have a hermaphrodite child!!!” and started crying and the midwife had to yell out “It’s a Girl!” so my family behind the curtain could all know that she wasn’t really a hermaphrodite.

and I looked into her eyes and told her “hi baby girl – I’m your momma!”

and that is pretty much all I remember about the next 9 months or so.

She made me a mommy. She has taught me how to learn being a mommy at every age and every stage.

She is a beautiful wonderful little girl, with an amazing laugh, and beautiful eyes that sparkle like sapphires every time she is super excited about anything. She carries the weight of a world far beyond her 10 years on her little shoulders. She has seen more, and learned more, and knows more about real life, and real priorities, than most 10 year old little girls I know. I wouldn’t wish a different life for her – because I know these things have made her the awesome person she is today, and the one she will grow up to be someday.

I can hardly believe it’s been ten years.

I hope you have a wonderful birthday  Kealey Grace – I’m so glad your littlest sister didn’t try to ruin your birthday this year by being in the hospital like she has for the past few years! We’ll party it up soon!

 

love,

your momma.

Labor Day.

I do not take these days for granted.

 terratalkingLD3

Days when my baby can be a part of our family.

Days when we are not limited by activities that involve an air conditioned environment and hours calculated on IV fluids.

Days when all four of my beautiful K’s can participate in activities together.

terratalkingLD4

Days when we can just look and {pretend to} be Normal.

I love these days.

They are few and far between – be it because of the heat and humidity, because of our schedules dictating that we are not all together as often as we’d like, because sometimes we are just too worn out.  So when they DO happen, I cherish them. I cherish them in ways that many people might not.

I cherish the fact that Kaylen has learned how to perch herself on Kendall’s wheelchair, not being bothered at all by the fact that her sister is in a wheelchair. I cherish the interactions that take place between the four of them – how the older two understand that times out with Kendall don’t happen very often, and they are so excited to show her things and tell her about things and watch her light up with excitement. My eyes well up with tears when I see them interacting like this, when I see my baby who faces so many challenges, and the sisters who have to carry so much on their shoulders – all just being regular kids.

Seeing Kendall on that ride yesterday was a weird sort of milestone. I know most people probably don’t bust out the camera for “your first ride on a teetery carny ride”. But for me, it was more about one of the first times she was able to just BE a regular kid. We juggled her fluids and her feeds, took the calculated gamble that she’d be ok from an autonomic standpoint without the oxygen – and she just went. Tube free. Wire free. And if it wasn’t for the chair – she’d probably have been stare free. But we didn’t mind the stares. It wasn’t THAT much to deal with anyways. People who WERE staring were probably staring more at Kaylen riding on the handle than anything else!

but whatevs. we were just us. it was a really good feeling.

i can’t quite put into words how awesome it was to just BE yesterday. Be out, be together, be enjoying life.

So that was our Labor Day. (or Memorial Day, as our “happy memorial day breakfast in bed” from the girls declared…)

terratalkingLD2

Hoping for lots more “normal” days. Loving our boringness right now!

 

thanks for stopping by.

 

terra.

 

Back To School

(just a twee bit late with this one. They started school wayyyyyy back on August 18th. But i’m catching back up!)

 

Back to school time is always bittersweet for me. On the one hand i remember those days as a kid, getting the new school supplies, the shiny waxy new crayons all still lined up so nice in their box, the dozen no.2 pencils waiting to be sharpened, a new lunchbox (my fave was my softsided Strawberry Shortcake one. Man I can still smell that super-plasticky smell that i am sure was awesome to have my food drenched in…) (another side note, my lunchbox was apparently so rare that i can’t find a link to it ANYWHERE. They have a jillion of the metal ones, none of the softsided vinyl ones like i had. TRENDSETTER baby.)

blogterratalking5 anyways – for my own babies, I approach this back to school time of year with a mixture of feelings. Happy to have some sense of quiet order and schedule again with the two older ones gone, excited for all the fun new things they will be doing & new friends they make in their classes, sad that summer is ending and they will once again be spending most of their day with their teacher and not at home with me. (Not that i am all that exciting as moms go, and goodness knows the kind of excitement we DO get around here usually involves hospitals and medical procedures…) But it’s a weird mixed bag.

For this year, Kealey is going into 4th grade. I remember 4th grade. I remember it as “the year I learned there were individual leaves on trees and that the floor of the mall had actual separate bricks in it”. I got glasses. A WHOLE NEW WORLD literally opened up to me.  My mommy was my school teacher. Or she became my school teacher when our first teacher had some kind of mental breakdown. And I know she had a mental breakdown because a few days before she blogterratalking3wasn’t our teacher anymore, she literally tied my ponytail to the back of my chair to force me to keep my head up off my desk while writing. (I think this was perhaps the pre-cursor to the eye dr appt wherewith i was equipped with spectacles.) And then the Challenger space shuttle blew up and my mom ran across the street to our house to get our little TV and plugged it in in the corner of our room and I remember watching that, and not quite knowing what was happening, but I remember it. I remember a lot of stuff about 4th grade. I remember mostly that it was the year i started being more “me”. Becoming myself.

I see this struggle in my baby girl. The arguments about clothes before school have already started.  The eye-rolling huffiness of not wanting to do her homework cause its “hard” have begun. She wants her hair straightened or braided or done a certain way and she is LOVING her new back to school outfits as she puts them together and she is just “becoming a big girl”. not a baby anymore. And I wonder when did this happen? She is in 4th grade, and has a teacher who is barely above legal drinking age and they are doing 5th grade work in most subjects (its some accelerated hoo-rah the school is trying to do blah blah blah), and i just want her to stay my baby.

blogterratalking4And then there’s Karissa. *sigh*….still gathering clouds on a daily basis. I don’t think its really even hit her yet that she’s back in school and it means no more random pool parties or sleepovers on a whim. And that the homework is here to stay. And that yes she really DOES have to read her own directions/books/etc.

So far, things are going pretty well. Dance has not started yet, and this is sure to throw some kind of wrench into the otherwise semi-smooth after school goings-on.

In other news…

Kaylen gets to start dance tomorrow with big sissies. She is SO looking forward to this. It is finally something for HER to do. That is HERS.  She is such a crazy funny kid who is also growing up before my eyes. She is the age Karissa was when Kendall was born and I sometimes catch myself looking back on the past 3 years going – WHAT HAPPENED…. When did we all grow up? What’s going on? Who am I? Who are YOU? WHAT IS ALL THIS MEDICAL EQUIPMENT DOING IN MY HOUSE??!?!?!?! It’s a lot to process through on some days. But i think i am luckily finally at a place where i AM processing it. Trying to learn to adapt it still. Trying to soak in the good days and hold on to them during the bad ones. Kaylen is luckily a lot of comedic blogterratalking2 relief during these times. She says the craziest stuff sometimes and I just bust out laughing. And then she goes into her room and changes clothes 4 times and strews crap from here to heckandgone and makes me SO FRUSTRATEDDDDD!!!!!! Good thing she’s cute. And still takes naps.

And Kendall… poor sweet Kendall. The kid who faces crazy pain every day of her life with a brave face on. She is doing so good. I mean, not counting the fact that she isn’t peeing or pooping very well and eats probably less than a mouse on her own. Besides that, she’s happy. She’s mostly “healthy” (meaning we haven’t had a line infection scare in a good stretch). She is learning new vocabulary words or parroting back things we say at the funniest times. She has no idea of the concept of what she is doing, but she can count up to five if you start counting (this is a fun side effect of having your life be therapy!) She has a new obsession watching “bew-wee cork-cake” (Strawberry Shortcake – ahhhh my life has come full circle now!!!) Although fear not, she does still watch Hot-Gog. Except now in Spanish. Don’t ask. Netflix. That’s all I’m gonna say. Netflix. Today was a rough day for her.blogterratalking1 We bumped her forward in her feeds last nite and had a very very very nauseated and in lots of pain baby on our hands for most of the day. Even trying to push in her anti-nausea meds was causing some pretty extreme discomfort. And then we had to add in the typical Monday routine of dressing change/labs/therapies – oy. Not a pretty sight around here.  i really felt so bad for her. But in typical Kendall fashion, she just took herself out to a quiet corner of the room, pouted it off for a little bit, and then had a good nap. She’s such a good kid.

 

And that’s about all I have to say about that. mostly cause now i’m tired. And we have to get up and start the whole cycle all over again in a few hours!

 

 

 

thanks for stopping by!

 

terra

Sucky Week:28975 – Us: 0

So this week wins.

But I will not cry.

I will not cry.

i. will. not. cry.

Roll back to 2 weekends ago when we discovered that the fish tank in Ben’s office had leaked out of the filter, and into the carpet, and into the floorboards below that. we had to rip up the carpet, live with the crappy feeling of mold circulating in the air for the last couple weeks, and now replace the padding in that room. This past monday the week came roaring in with a “derecho” – basically an inland hurricane. I’ll spare you the details but let’s just say that for a few seconds I had a VERY REAL FEAR that I would become infamous for being that woman who the whole neighborhood saw on the toilet when the entire side of the house got ripped away. It was one of the loudest noises I have ever in my life heard. The whole house was shaking side to side. Then we had to go out  and clean up stuff out of trees and from two streets over because it was trash day. Good times.

Tuesday was Kaylen’s birthday, and the birthday fairy DID deliver the special new bike she wanted! Since it is her 4th birthday, this is her year for a real party (with friends, vs just family at home with cake), but of course, life is

all crazy-like right now, so it won’t be anytime soon. We tried to go have a good time with some friends, but Kealey started feeling very badly so we headed home early from those festivities. Kealey fell asleep in the car and basically went right to bed when we got home (at 1 in the afternoon) – and within an hour of us getting home, the nurse let me know that Kendall had a fever also. Kendall gets “fevers” anytime she’s outside for more than ten minutes, but they usually respond to ice packs/tylenol/going to sleep. This time she hadn’t been outside and hadn’t really gotten off the couch all day, and it was MUCH higher than her usual fevers (102.5), so I figured something was up. I took Kealey’s temp at that point and sure enough, she was 102 also. Now, in a kid with a central line, you are “supposed” to head in to the ER for  cultures/antibiotics/further evaluation whenever your temp hits 100.5 (technically a fever according to the hospital). However, Kendall can get up that high going from the back door to the car, so I had a little pow-wow with some of our docs up in Milwaukee about the unrealisticness of that as our baseline “come here now” temp, so we were able to get them to concede that 101.5 is our “fever” guideline. Keep in mind that Kendall typically hangs out in the low 97 range, so you can imagine the crazy swings her body is taking on most days. Of course the week after we agreed to the 101 range, she decides to start flirting with 101.3 or 101.4 every day. *Hand to forehead*  So anyways – I am standing there trying to convince myself that maybe 102 is her NEW new baseline and is probably ok, when we put her on the monitors at home and she is beyond tachycardic and working to breathe in spite of 2L of oxygen.

So then my argument in my head is – how can i convince them to let me draw cultures at home, since I am relatively sure that she and Kealey probably just both have a summer virus? We decided to go to Edwards, where they a.) don’t know jack shank about complicated kids, and b.) are scared to death of her and her attachments so they try to shuffle us out of there ASAP! PERFECT!!!! I’ll take it!  So we headed in – leaving the other three wailing and gnashing teeth because they know when we go to the ER, we usually don’t come out of it for a few days. No one was in the mood to have us be admitted so I looked them each in the eye as I held them tight and promised them that we WOULD be home. It might be late. But we would be home. It was so hard to walk out and leave them there with the nurse, Kealey just doubled over in pain from her head, stomach and throat, and spiking up to 104. I hate hate hate times like this. Where I can’t be a good mommy to all of them at the same time. Of course Ben is up in Green Bay (about as far away as he can get, a good 7 hour drive away), and EVERYONE of our usual “support” people are on vacation or out of town. my parents, our babysitters, even casual acquaintances who I thought MIGHT be able or willing to sit in the house of ebola with three crying kids – everyone kaylen bday1 was gone. I thought I might lose it right there in the ER when it was looking like they were going to admit her cause her BP was through the roof, HR not responding to the oxygen, and her temp going HIGHER in spite of double doses of ibuprofen and tylenol.  When the nurse commented “oh my gosh it’s like she doesn’t even absorb the meds in her gut!!” I asked where the nearest brick wall was so I could go bang my head against it for the 93rd millionth time in Kendall’s short life because I THINK i’ve been telling them that for, oh, almost three years now. Anyways – I begged them to call milwaukee and talk to our doc who DOES know me, and knows that I can handle just about everything at home, and please please please let us wait this out at home and i promise that i will bring her right back if anything crazy grows in the cultures or she gets worse. so they opened up the floodgates on the fluids, which managed to stabilize her vitals after about 3 hours (with more fluids than she normally gets in one day, and enough to definitely bloat up an adult!), so we went home! She was obviously headed towards something not good because she got the equivalent of 5 cans of coke, and did not pee a single drop till we were JUST about ready to leave. Keep in mind that she is on IV fluids for the better part of the day also. Yikes. We got home around 1 in the morning, and THANK GOD for our amazing nurse who had stayed with the other girls because I was desperate, and then stayed to help get Kendall get hooked up to everything again and asleep in her own bed. (Thank you E – we couldn’t do it without you!) After checking on the other girls and waking kealey up to drink a little something and get more meds for her still high fever, I managed to crash around 3, only to start it all over again at 7 when Kaylen was up and ready to go ride her new bike!

we also managed to discover at some point on Tuesday that the TV was completely broken (a little indicator on the front of the TV was flashing “lamp”, which makes it easy for Captain Obvious’ like me to figure things out). So Wednesday I had some very tired, very ill-feeling, very cranky kids, who had NO CARTOONS!!!! (I know, the horror, right? Until you don’t have TV! And don’t have the energy to take them outside on nature hikes or crafting with noodles and recycled materials or any of the other things that good moms do instead of using the TV as a babysitter.) anyways – it just fit with the already crappy theme of the week, so not shocking. The two sickies managed to STAY sick all day on Wednesday, but we couldn’t get them in with their ped, and we were seeing SOME flickers of the fevers breaking or weakening at least, so we thought we could wait it out one more day.

sure enough by Thursday, they were all doing MUCH better, we still had no TV, but we somehow made it through with the help of some awesome friends with a pool who invited the big girls over so I only had to entertain Kaylen! By thursday nite, I was completely done (its my usual breaking point of the long weeks that ben is gone). So I thought I could sneak out for an hour or two of quiet time since we had nite nursing (such a rare but lovely treat!!!) As i get to the end of our neighborhood I get a call from our nurse and can hear chaos in the background that “Kaylen woke up screaming and dry-heaving and is running in the front yard……” So scrap those plans. I turned around and come home to absolute chaos – everyone is up, every light in the house is on, and Kaylen is screaming “take me to the hospital take me to the hospital” with wide crack-head eyes. Heaven help me. Given that Kaylen was conspicuously absent a fever or any kind of REAL vomit anywhere, I figured it was just her hitting HER limit, so after a LOT of threats from me to remove anything fun for the rest of the weekend, everyone managed to get themselves back in bed and fall asleep. I don’t remember crashing that nite, but again, thank God for our nurse who managed to keep it all together overnite so I could drug myself into more than 4 hours of sleep!

Friday Ben came home to the relief and joy of everyone. On his way to pick up dinner with Kaylen, she casually mentioned that she “did NOT swallow the screw by her bed”. Which is pretty much a dead giveaway that at the very least, it was a real possibility. So he brings her home and we get out the largest strongest magnet we can find, get the stethoscope, and start a white trash scientific search for one large screw in one little belly. I had seen the screw she was talking about the nite before, and I thought i might connect the dots of her crazy break from reality the nite before…..but after a thorough search of her belly from the outside, giving her basically the 5th degree of interrogation, and searching her room top to bottom – i THINK I found the screw in question. I am sure she did at one point have it in her mouth. But i am pretty sure its the only one from the floor and that its twin is not sitting in her jejunum or anything crazy. Friday nite the air conditioner started making strange noises, which led to us today realizing the air con was NOT on in the house, and that it was 75 degrees. Within an hour of us noticing this, it was 76. And upon visual inspection, Ben realized the outside unit looked like an ice sculpture because ice is just forming on the outside of the A/C.

God has provided us with an amazing source of support at our church however, and we were able to call a friend who is an HVAC tech. He was able to come over and begin testing and looking at things. which is SUCH a relief because Kendall was going on hour 6 of her nap and was already nearing that “101.5” mark with her temp, which was going to make for some VERY interesting conversations with her docs. It is so scary to watch Kendall just heat up from the inside out and not be able to cool herself off. And the next time you are in a good deep sleep, have someone come lay cold wet towels on your naked body and see how comfortable that is. But that was our only option at the time – that or let her keep cooking.

unfortunately, the news on our air con is NOT good. and that is why I will not cry. I WILL NOT let this week win the war. We were SO very blessed by the fundraising efforts of a team of 13 year old baseball players last weekend.  I know that if God can provide the money we needed for Kendall’s medical bills, he can provide the money we will need to fix the air con. and the TV. and the carpet. The bigger the problem, the huger the miracle seems when it comes, right? I mean, after all we have still SO MUCH to be thankful for. We are all home this weekend. My babies are all mostly healthy. We have a basement that is pretty cool temperature wise (cause its NOT cool decorating wise…). We have each other, we have our friends and our family, and I still have the internet. So I will at LEAST not go completely crazy.

But that’s about all I have to say about this week.

Good riddance.

Speaking of good riddance, have I ever told you how much I LOVE Billie Joe??????????? <3!!! This will cheer me up!

 

 

So anyways. Stay cool tonite. We have a heat wave coming through starting tomorrow, so we may still end up needing to either schlep half of an ER room to the mall (or some other large air=conditioned free venue), or just take our craziness to the ER! But one thing I have learned on this crazy journey of the past couple years is that just when I think it’s hopeless, Hope Shows Up. and usually in a very unexpected way. One I could never have thought of if i had tried to plan it out perfectly. I hope Hope still works in the 100+degree heat.

I hope…

 

Don’t stop believin’~

 

T-crest.

a letter to me.

An open letter to the me that was me before I was mommy. And to my babies. For hopefully someday they will be mommies too.

Dear Terra –

do not become too attached to your name. Someday you will hardly hear it at all, because it will have been replaced by “mommy”. And this will be the sweetest sound you will ever hear (except for the times/days/entire weeks where it will be the most screeching sound you will hear. It may even be sweet AND screeching in the same day, but rarely at the same time.)

While the concept of motherhood has always been something you took for granted would be bestowed upon you, you will not realize what an awesome weight and responsibility it will be until you look at the four offspring you have created, beautiful little girls so unblemished by the world, and the horrors of what is on the news, or lurking in dark alleyways, or not even in dark alleyways but in broad daylight down the street makes you realize why your own mother thought “culottes” and shapeless dresses and “why can’t we all just dress like the Amish?” was a good idea. But beyond even shaping and protecting your offspring as little girls who will someday be beautiful women – it is the responsibility of creating human beings.

mommy1web it will be YOUR job to teach them how to keep food in their mouths when they chew. How to say excuse me and please and thank you and “rock on” at all the appropriate times. How to open doors and walk through them. how to tie shoes, and better yet, how to pick out shoes that don’t need to be tied. how to not dress like orphans (we’re still working on that one, just for future reference…) How to add 2 +2, and WHY we have to learn how to add 2+2. You will indeed teach another human being how to eat, how to sleep, how to walk, how to talk, how to get on the bus to school, how to interact with friends….you will be their mommy.

and while the first three will be a breeze (HA!!!!!! oh boy…..are you in for a treat with that third one though!!!) – you will learn what motherhood REALLY means when number 4 comes along.

You will learn that nothing, absolutely nothing, prepares you for the gut-socking pain of watching your baby hooked up to tubes and monitors the first time you see her in the NICU. You will learn that everything you THOUGHT about motherhood will be swiftly shoved aside for a whole new manual called “mothering the special needs way”. This new way of mothering involves learning a whole slew of vocabulary words, and even having to do math. Math is how you will learn to count out the calories in your babies formula, when you’ve been used to just breastfeeding. Math is how you learn to count respiratory rates and add in pulse rates too (at least until a new machine comes into your house called a pulse ox, it will do those things for you.) Math is how you learn to try to stretch some very limited dollars to pay for all the new expenses associated with therapies, doctors visits, medicines and hospital stays. You hate math. You always have. But hold on – its about to become a huge part of your life.

you will learn that there’s tired, bone-weary tired, exhausted, and walking dead. You will consider good days those when you are only bone-weary tired or just plain ol’ exhausted. Being just “tired” will be a luxury that you are rarely afforded. all those nites when you used to stay up till 2 or 3 and hardly bat an eye will come in handy as you lay hands on feverish foreheads and administer meds to hacking coughing puking children. The only downside is that you will not be able to just “skip class” to make up for the lack of sleep and roll out of bed at the crack of noon. so stock up on those days and CHERISH THEM!!!!

You will learn that life rarely turns out the way you ever planned it or thought it would.

you will learn that as strong as you have always thought you were – you have no idea what strong really is. You will get glimpses of it, when you look back on a harrowing week in the hospital and your brain conjures up images you tried to ignore, of watching your baby go through horrific pains in the throes of a sickness you can’t even fathom, of helping to hold your baby down and look in her eyes and tell her you wish you could trade places with you cause you’d do it in a heartbeat, of scanning a list of lab results and going “ohhhhh {expletive}”. (and yes, as goody two shoes as you used to be about your language, expletives have become a part of your life. They are one of the few perks of mommyhood. Well –deserved expletives. I might be making that part up though…}

You will, all along this journey though, find a shared strength in the bonds you will form with your own mommy, and with friends who are on the mommy-journey with you. Both with your “regular” kids, and more essentially, when you are learning to be a mommy to a baby with “special needs”.  motherhood will begin to take on a sort of ethereal quality – and you will find one day that it is hard to separate the you you once were from the mommy you are today. It seems as if you have just always been mommy. and you will realize that this is ok with you. Oh sure, there will be times when you wish that you could go to the bathroom in peace (peace being not asked for cereal/fruit snacks/candy/gum/nail painting/ice cream/where the toothpaste is, or referreeing fights or trying to help pinpoint the exact location of some heretofore unnecessary object) – but most of the time, even when you get that much craved for privacy – your thoughts will drift towards the beautiful faces of your babies, and you will wonder if they are sleeping ok, eating enough protein, if their foreheads feel warm, if they are missing you at that moment as much as you are missing them.

you will look at pictures of the small herd of children you have procreated with your husband and you will wonder – are they really all mine??? Andspecial Ks web you will realize why you are constantly tired. You are WAY outnumbered. You look at their beautiful little faces – each so different and yet so very many similarities – and you think – I did this. I grew them within myself, giving a small part of my heart to each of them as they grew underneath it – and they each took a part of me. I have split myself into four parts and when i ask myself where “me” is, I have no further to look than these four creatures. My love of learning, my crazy self that can shake my groove thang when a mean beat comes on the radio, my desire and ability to make people laugh, and the courage and strength to keep on truckin’, even when the road seems all uphill. They are all there. They are named Kealey, Karissa, Kaylen and Kendall. I have their names tattooed on my arm, forming a bracelet – my “wonderwoman power cuff”. Because of them, and for them, i will deflect bullets – and mean words and bad people and bad days and everything else that would threaten to hurt them.

and this is why you love Mothers Day. Because it is a reminder to you – and to the you that you once were and the you will someday become – that you always were their mommy. They have always been a part of you, you just didn’t know it yet.

I love you babies. Thanks for calling me mommy~

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