Mothahhood

life in my hood with 2 teenagers, a toddler and chronic pain

yes, we can June 19, 2009

O.K. ladies, anyone recognize this conversation?

My little one finished year 1 of preschool and brought home 2 absolutely beautiful finger paintings. My husband came home from work a little while ago and observed the loveliness of the artwork. So far so good, but here’s where it gets…shall we say fucking annoying?

J-“I really like these paintings that she made.”

me-“yeah, they are great.”

J-“Can we get some frames for them and hang them up?”

me-“Can we get some frames? Yes, we can. You can go about 4 minutes over yonder there in that there direction (as I motion with my hands in a general westward direction) to a place called Aaron Brothers Art and Frames and buy some frames and then come home and hang them up.”

Yes, we can. (I wonder if Michelle Obama originated this phrase.)

nufced

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Can I get a witness?

Can anyone relate? C’mon I know you can. I love to cook. Or at least, I used to love to cook. I used to plan really good meals, whole dinner menus, even. And, I used to shop, go to the farmer’s market for the best, freshest, organic produce to have all the right ingredients in the house. We used to have dinner parties consisting of fabulous food, wonderful wine and witty repartee. And I did all this in a fairly small, cramped kitchen with crappy appliances. Then something happened. Or many things happened. 3 kids happened. 3 kids who don’t eat any of the same foods except pizza, burritos or macaroni and cheese.

And then something else happened. We remodeled our kitchen with beautiful countertops and stainless appliances and a prep sink and opened it up to our den, creating a “great room.”  And then pain happened. Pain that makes me tired and makes me lose my appetite. Do you know what it is like trying to plan dinner when you are tired and have no appetite or nothing just sounds good and the kids don’t like the same food and your husband could be late from work on any and every night of the week? Probably you do know. I end up throwing out more perishables than could feed a small island and we order in food enough times in a week to stimulate a small economy and I feel like a loser of a mother because I don’t have dinner, steaming in its serving bowls, on the table every (or any) evening and I hate it. And then I remember the starving children in Africa and I feel guilty for being such a spoiled, whiny bitch.

nufced

 

Why does this not surprise me? June 16, 2009

Teen Outsmarts Doctors In Science ClassSelf-diagnosis impresses docs who’ve missed signs of her disease for years

By EMILY FELDMAN

High school senior Jessica Terry studied her own tissue samples as part of her school’s biomedical course.

When doctors didn’t give a Washington state high school student the answers she wanted, she took matters into her own hands.

Eighteen-year-old Jessica Terry, brought slides of her own intestinal tissue into her AP science class and correctly diagnosed herself with Crohn’s disease.

“It’s weird I had to solve my own medical problem,” Terry told CNN affiliate KOMO. “There were just no answers anywhere … I was always sick.”

For years she went from doctor to doctor complaining of vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and stomach pains. They said she had irritable bowel syndrome. They said she had colitis. They said the slides of her intestinal tissue were fine, but she knew that wasn’t right.

“Not knowing much about a disease you’re growing up with is not only nerve-wracking, but it’s confusing,” Terry told theSammamish Reporter.

So when local pathologists stopped in to teach students in her Biomedical Problems class how to analyze slides, the high school senior decided to give her own intestines a look.

What she found? A large dark area showing inflammation, otherwise known as a granuloma–a sure sign of the intestinal disease.

To confirm her suspicion, she checked in with her teacher.

“‘Ms. Welch! Ms. Welch! Come over here. I think I’ve got something!” she shouted.

Mary Margaret Welch, who has spent 17 years teaching science at Eastside Catholic School, had a feeling Terry was on to something.

“I snapped a picture of it on the microscope and e-mailed it to the pathologist,” Welch said. “Within 24 hours, he sent back an e-mail saying yes, this is a granuloma.”

The finding impressed doctors.

“Granulomas are oftentimes very hard to find and not always even present at all,” said Dr. Corey Siegel, a bowel disease specialist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. “I commend Jessica for her meticulous work.”

While Terry’s glad to finally have answers, she now knows she’ll have a tough road ahead.

Crohn’s disease is an incurable, though treatable condition caused by inflammation in the intestines. It can cause malnutrition, ulcers, pain and discomfort.

Still, she looks towards the future with optimism.  She’ll begin nursing school in the fall and hopes to have a kid’s book on Crohn’s disease published.

nufced

 

monday morning blues June 15, 2009

Monday morning blues…So much to do, but I’ve got the flu.

nufced

 

Dear Mr. President, June 9, 2009

While I would never presume that you will actually ever read this, I am going to write it anyway. The Supreme Court today, rejected, some yadda-yadda thing about DADT (I’m not trying to make light, I just really don’t know the details and for now, am too tired to study up on it.  I do, however, know the gist.). A couple of weeks ago, the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, preventing gay couples from marrying in the State of California. It wasn’t that long ago that the same conversation took place about people of color in the military, women in the military, interracial marriage.  It seems that gay is the new black. 

You may wonder where a letter like this fits in a blog about being a parent. This is exactly the place it belongs. It belongs here on behalf of my children for whom I wish a world in which equal rights are a given, and on behalf of the children who have had to lose their jobs because of their sexual orientation. I write it on behalf of all children who would be safer because of having certain individuals back in the military protecting us rather than back here fighting for the very rights the rest us take for granted. 

When you were running for president, you stated explicitly, that while you were not personally in favor of gay marriage, you were in favor of equal rights and that you would very quickly into your presidency, overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Now, I understand that you are a very busy man, running a country that was previously run into the ground, dealing with a war started by criminals, trying to rescue a sinking economy that was set afloat and then popped by your predecessor, etc, etc. You are busy, as am I. I don’t run a country, but I do run a household, and I can tell you that it is no easy task either. All in one week, washing machines break, brakes on 2 year old cars go, toilets back up, lamps short out, televisions flash their dying whatever it is they flash, children get sick, dinners need to get made, etc, etc. (BTW, I have been in chronic pain for the last 2 1/2 years as well and I am here to tell you that that in and of itself, is a bitch.) Like you, I have almost no time off, no time to myself, and people who rely on me for their every little (and big) thing.

O.K., to get to the point. We all have tasks that we put off, even willing to take on harder, more grandiose tasks, to avoid doing-tasks that (and here is the important part) when all is said and done, we imagine to be much harder, much more onerous, much more difficult than they really are.  In our imaginations, we make the task bigger than it is and in doing so, we give the task power over us. (For an example, see my post from last week called “A Daunting Task.”)

You can, with the stroke of your pen, overturn Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  There is a bill in the House called HR 1283, which, when it passes, will do just that. But meanwhile, you hold the power in your hand. You know the facts-since DADT became policy, 13,000 service men and women were released from their duties-men and women who actually want to be in the military, all the while extending tours of personnel who want to come home. There is no evidence that keeping gays and lesbians out of the military is of any benefit to our country and could, in fact, be a major detriment. The public, overwhelmingly (yes, church going Republicans, even), are in favor of ending DADT. It is time. It is a task, that I can only imagine, seems worse to you than it could ever actually be. Once DADT is repealed, the conversation around it will disappear, the people who support you will continue to support you, those who don’t will continue to not, and those that are now sitting on the fence, those GLBT folks who supported you in a big way and are having doubts, will have faith that they will see equal rights in their own lifetimes. We will have access to thousands more troops who can live their lives openly, willing to fight for and die for our country just like any other poor soul. (I can’t believe I actually just typed those words, considering what a pacifist I am.)

Let those in the military closet come out. Let those that have served long past their commitments come home. Reinstate those that were discharged and give them back their dignity and honor. You are a smart man, and the writing is on the wall. DADT will end. Let it be part of your legacy to end it sooner rather than later. I assure you, once you do it, you will realize that it is not nearly as big a deal as I am imagining you are imagining it. You face big, complicated, scary issues. This one is easy.

I’ll make you a deal. You overturn DADT (by weeks end, let’s say) and I will tackle those EOB’s and medical bills in the corner of my office. What do ya say?

Then I’ll give you an earful on healthcare…

Yes, You Can!

With the utmost respect and admiration,

Lesly M.

nufced

 

daunting task May 29, 2009

There are a stack of envelopes sitting in the corner of my office calling my name, beckoning me to open them.   The task of doing that is hanging over me like a college term paper.  Do you ever have a chore to do, a call to make, an errand to run, that feels so onerous that you find anything and everything else to do in it’s place?  You know that the idea of tackling it is worse than the thing itself, and that if you actually do it, you’ll feel better, but still you procrastinate? That is how I feel about this task. The envelopes fall into two categories-EOB’S(explanation of benefits) from my insurance company and bills from my doctors and hospital and diagnostic centers. The task it to match the EOB to the bill, like one of those matching games where you match the hat to the job, i.e. baseball cap to baseball player or firefighter hat to firefighter that we used to do in school or in those kid’s magazines, only not nearly as much fun. Then part 2 is to pay the bill.

Here’s the thing.  The task is certainly easy enough.  The problem is that I don’t want to do it for 2 reasons.  First, opening the bills and EOB’s just reinforces the reality that I live in daily pain.  Second, as I described in an earlier post that my pain is like a bad child-whining, demanding of my time, sucking my energy, but also demanding of a great deal of money, money that could be used for so much more joyous purposes, like a family vacation, or college for my kids, or summer camp, or our eventual retirement or for causes more needy than us.  But unlike my real children, I get no rewards from this one, no baseball games or dance performances, or delightful thoughts, or spontaneous hugs, or unconditional love.  This child takes me away from my real children and that fills me with resentment many days.  I have tried to come to terms with this part of my existence and much of the time I am at peace with it. I know I have it better than many. I also have no intention of giving up the battle to destroy this little demon. Like any true Red Sox fan, I do feel pessimistic at times, even with a four run lead, but like any good Red Sox fan, I do continue to keep the faith that I will prevail in lifting this curse. I just hope I don’t have to wait 86 years.  I don’t have that long.

nufced

 

don’t ask, don’t tell? May 28, 2009

I just put my 3 1/2 year old to bed.  She was chanting “What do we want? Civil Rights! When do we want it? NOW!”  Crazy, right?

She doesn’t know the meaning of those words and it is my deepest hope that long before she has her own children, there will be no need for rallying cries such as this. But until that day, the chant must be repeated loudly and clearly across our nation and across our world. An hour ago, my family returned from a demonstration, one that was organized very last minute, in response to both the disturbing decision by the California Supreme Court and the firing of Lt. Dan Choi for publicly coming out of the closet. Lt. Dan, as many were calling him tonight, was there to speak, passionately and from his heart about knowing first hand how important it is to fight for the right to love.  As simple as that. This man spoke, and many listened as he put it so clearly. This man who has risked his very life for this country is fighting the battle of his life for the simple right that so many of us take for granted. I don’t agree with war and I have never understood a person who would choose a life in the military, but this man, this strong man, this eloquent man, who has become a symbol for a movement to which he has been drafted, showed me the true meaning tonight of the words “courage” and “hero.”

 

Lt. Dan

Lt. Dan

 

 

This afternoon, I told my children that I wanted to attend this rally and that I wanted them to go too. I wanted them to understand what it means to be a part of something bigger than one’s self. We went, and my husband met us there and we held signs and took pictures and chanted and listened. And my children felt the energy that is created when many voices come together as one. I told my children after, that the reason I wanted them to go is that I want them to be able to tell their children what it feels like to be the change they want to see in the world. I told them that I hope that their children will ask them with confusion how it was that homosexuals could not marry, could not be afforded the same rights to love and live and die for their country-that their children will not be able to even imagine this world.

Here’s the thing. I was going to write a funny piece about the “don’t ask, don’t tell” life of a mom. How as long as you don’t ask me if my beds are made, I won’t tell you that they aren’t. As long as you don’t ask me when I last showered, I won’t tell you. As long as you don’t ask me if the kids had cereal for dinner, I won’t tell you. We all walk around with our dirty little secrets and an unwritten code that we won’t ask the real questions and we won’t expect the real answers. BUT, after going to this rally, after listening to Lt. Choi speak of the necessity to deny his very being in order to keep his job, a job that so many Americans consider heroic, my dirty little secrets seem insignificant, not even worthy of mention. To live your entire life as a lie-don’t ask me if I am gay and I won’t tell you, is incomprehensible to me.

There are so many problems that we as a country and a world face-the environment, the economy, healthcare, disease, education-that it is entirely mind boggling that we even need to spend our resources to fight for a basic human right. Rick Jacobs, chair of the Courage Campaign, Lt. Dan and another young man whose name I did not get, spoke of these things and we listened and we replied and we shouted and we told our children that we must pick our battles and when we do, we must fight for them with everything we have. I grew up in a time when, in certain places, people of color could not drink at the same water fountain as white people. Last November, we elected an African American man to the highest office in our land. Yesterday that very same man nominated a Latina woman to the Supreme Court of the United States of America.

Times have changed. Times are changing.

It is time to change don’t ask, don’t tell. It is time to ask. It is time to tell. 

 

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nufced?–not sure