Sunday, January 16, 2011

Holes in my underwear!

Reader Beware! This may be more information than you want to know!

I was thinking today about a day in October that went something like this.......

While getting dressed in what I thought was the privacy of my own bedroom, Haley walked in. "Mom, you have holes in your underwear!" I looked down, yes I did in fact have two holes at the waist of my panties. With a little bit of embarrassment, and a bit of humiliation, I said to her "yes honey, I guess I need to buy some new underwear don't I?"

The rest of that day, I could not get that scene out of my mind. I kept on thinking about how sad it was really, to continue to wear underwear with holes in them. After all, I know I had been wearing them like that for nearly a month. I would never let Haley wear underwear with holes in them. Dave and I joke about how weird it is that I only have a one week supply of underwear. He asks me why I don't buy myself new ones. At one point in time, all I ever bought was panties! He would always be asking me "how many panties does one woman need?"

So on this particular day, I was wondering why I don't go out and buy myself some new panties. The reasons are plenty really. For starters, it would mean having to think about what size I would have to get. That would be medium instead of the small I once was. Strike one!

I would have to consider what style. Could I pull off the boy cut? I hardly think so. What about bikini. Well where would the little bulge of my tummy go? I hate when my panties end up falling to the line of my scar from my c-section. But if I lost a few pounds I wouldn't have to worry about that. Strike two!

I guess it would have to be the high cut.  But the nice high cut ones, not like the granny pantie kind of high cut that the old ladies wear!

What color would I get, oh and how much do I want to spend? Which brings me to the next strike. Money. I am no longer working, no longer a contributing money provider to our household. And please note here, that I say money provider. Because I am the provider of MANY things. Just not regular money!

So spending money on panties seems so selfish, so expensive. Strike number three! Then I get flustered, and go grocery shopping and buy myself another magazine, adding to the already ninety eight magazines I have at home! All the while, saying to myself, "I'll buy panties next week."

Later that week I actually earned some money on a special order of handcrafted cards that someone requested I make. So you know what I did? I bought myself new panties! And a magazine, oh and a few craft supplies!

With my new purchase in hand, I did not feel special, I did not feel like I broke the bank, and I certainly did not feel buyers remorse. I did however feel very pleased when I was getting dressed the next day that my choice of underwear did not have any holes in them. Those babies went in the garbage! This was my own private knowledge as I walked down the street, head held a little higher. We women all deserve new underwear! It just makes us feel better!

I have often gone over it in my head, about taking better care of myself. From getting my hair cut and colored on a regular basis, doing yoga more often, getting exercise in general more often, and eating healthier. I suppose wearing undergarments that are free of holes is an essential part of the whole, "taking better care of myself" idea.

Perhaps this is a start! Maybe next week I'll replace the bra with the protruding under wire!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

It's as easy as riding a bike

One of my favorite hobbies is scrap booking. I love it because it gives me the creative freedom to put together my memory books so that when you look at them, it is my story that I am telling. It is the story of life that includes my family, my friends, my daughter's friends. When I look at my moms old black and white photos, they are beautiful, they are treasured, but they are nameless. I don't know if someone in those photos is an aunt, an uncle, a secret love of my moms. So I hope that when my daughter is older, has a family of her own, she will show them the story of our life! All completely spread out in sequential order and labelled and journaled with all the love I put into them!

The other evening, I spent a few hours with a friend of mine, scrap booking. I was excited and felt so accomplished for completing another album. I should also say at this point, that the other reasons I love to scrapbook, is I find it relaxing, it is ME time and it is therapeutic. It allows my mind to slow down to a reasonable pace of thinking, and forces my mind to be present in the memory that I am scrap booking at that moment. This is what brings me to this post. This is a few of the pictures I was working with at the time......

I was on a school field trip with my daughter Haley. At one point, all of the kids were getting the chance to throw a hunting spear, to learn how people hunted for their food. I didn't think Haley would have a problem with this, but soon I was reading her body language and knew that she was uncomfortable. She told me she did not want to try, and I encouraged her to try. All of the kids were taking turns, and it was not a contest to see who could throw it the farthest. All the boys where yipping and hollering, imagining the kill of a buffalo, and this was making her nervous.

Someone tried to be helpful, by saying to her, "don't worry Haley, it's as easy as riding a bike." One look in my direction and tears welled in her eyes. I fought my emotions between being a firm, strong mom and telling her in a forceful voice to just try it and the soft, empathetic mom who wanted to hug her and say, don't bother, it's no big deal, we don't have to hunt for our food.  Hell we don't even eat red meat! In the end I tried both approaches, and failed at both.

You see, Haley cannot ride a bike. She is ten years old and she cannot ride a bike. Now I was not about to explain that to someone who was only trying to help, but they had no idea the awful emotions that caused for her.

Haley has hypotonia, decreased core muscle strength, and balance difficulties associated with her 8q24 chromosomal duplication. Wow, is that a mouthful or what! Try and explain that to someone in simple terms, and it is impossible. I know, because I have tried!

When it was time for Haley to learn to ride a bike, we tried. We got frustrated, she got frustrated, but we tried. Eventually, Haley was able to get special wheels put on her bike, all taken care of through The Children's Rehabilitation Foundation. But because of her core strength and her balance, it was still a challenge. It got to the point that because her friends were asking questions she didn't know how to answer, and people were staring, that I would take her to a large park near by to let her practice. We even tried taking the bike camping, because at camp, all kids ride their bikes.
She tried. Sometimes she gave up too easily out of frustration. Other times after I would tell her over and over again that she could do it, she would have a burst of desire to ride that bike. Dave and I eventually saw, and heard from a physiotherapist, that she may never ride a bike.

At some point, with the advise of an occupational therapist from Children's Hospital (who I am sure was sent to be in our lives from someone up above), I asked myself if it would be a big deal if Haley never rode a bike. With all of the challenges she would face, should riding a bike be a big deal?

Will it change her as a person? Will she still look at me when we are driving and reach out to touch my arm and say "I love you mom!". Will she be the same Haley that tells me she is so proud of me, when I make a new craft? Will she still be the crazy,  loveable girl who wears this to bed?...

And sticks her tongue out at any chance she gets?
Will it change the fact that she is compassionate at age 10, loves with her whole heart, adores any baby she sees, touches your face to make you feel good, and laughs with her whole belly.

Not a chance! We forgot about the bike, and we have never looked back!

It would be nice to go bike riding as a family, and I would be lying if I said it didn't pull at my heart strings when I see kids riding through the campground in the summertime. It makes me a little sad that Haley can't ride her bike to her friends house, or to school. But it does not make Haley sad and that is the most important thing. This strong, brave girl, with all of the hard stuff she has had to face, all of the challenges that are ahead, has a confidence that astounds me! Every day, in some way, she amazes me!

This may be something as easy as riding a bike, but from it, I have learned so much more. I have learned that it is not my right to ever have been embarrassed because Haley could not ride a bike. It is not about what our children can't do, but what they can do. That of course is an easy one, but it is about helping them to see their potential and all that they have to offer.  It is about teaching them values and how to love and how to embrace diversity. It is about learning that although I am the parent and I am responsible for living a life in which I lead by example, I was never quite prepared for all the things that she would teach me, for all the ways she is still teaching me.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Renewed Spirit

With a new year, always, I have a renewed spirit. It is one that evokes visions of a new start. I imagine new clothes, clean closets, spotless floors, a sanctuary in my home I can never quite achieve.

I can feel the need to stretch, to breathe deeply, to sit in the sunshine and day dream. Always it is fleeting. The thoughts, the feelings, the desires and the dreams, eventually flutter off like a butterfly seeking the next beautiful flower to grace it's presence with. This year, I have the almost indescribable need to find a way to make that feeling stay.

Keeping that renewed spirit and visions of all things good and new, seems almost essential to my survival, my want to be happy, my ability to dream. I want to be open to all the possibilities life has to offer. I will do great things, I will learn, I will teach, I will love with my whole heart, I will grow. Most of all, I will dream and I will work hard.

I walk past my bedroom, and dining room, many times a day, and when the sun is shining through the windows, always, I pause. My sunlit bed, and often the cats, beckon me to come and drink up all the sun has to offer.  It calls to drink up the heat, the strength, the energy, love and power it has to give me. Sometimes, I give in. I flop myself on the bed, run my hand along the soft fur of any one of my three cats. I listen to their breath, their purr, feel the rise and fall of their tummy, and I succumb. I succumb to either my thoughts, my daydreams, and sometimes to a nap!




Today I chose my dining room! The sun shines in my window (oh how I wish I could have clean windows in the winter), and I sip my tea. I flip through a scrapbook magazine, I dream of pages I will create, pictures I will take, friends I will scrapbook with. I am looking at my banana leaf covered book that I intend to use as my book of inspiration and I think of how I will fill those pages. Then I pick up my pen to write. Inspiration comes in many forms, often for me, it comes as the sunshine points it's rays onto my face, and when I close my eyes, the specks of sunlight glitter through my eyelids.

One of my new favorite Starbucks cups

So here I am, today is the first day of my new blog. As I sit and reflect on the previous year, I can do what we all do so much of....I can beat myself up about all the things I didn't accomplish, all the things I wanted to do and hoped to achieve but have not yet. But I choose to think of only where I am going, what I want to do next and consider the baby steps, and smaller goals I am willing to make. Oh yes my mind sure does jump into fast forward and overwhelm me, but I am putting the brakes on that one! I got myself a new set of brakes this year that are shiny, more determined and more aggressive than ever before. They are going to be my new best friend in a world that taunts us to want what everyone else has, set unrealistic goals, and lead an unhappy lifestyle! Don't get me wrong, I am the queen of goals, the princess of list making and my mind is the ruler of all things catastrophic, fraught with anxiety.

It has been over a year since I quit my full time job to gain a better perspective on my life. I gave up something I once loved, to be home with my daughter who has a learning disability, to achieve balance in my life, to be present in my marriage and to be completely happy. This of course, is where my typing slows down, as I realize this is the part where reality hits me full force and those shiny new brakes I acquired are screeching now. I need to let up on them and ride it out.......

This will be my journey, my groundwork, where I measure how far I have come, where I am going, and the success I will capture as I learn more about my daughter and her learning disability, share my joy of writing, and practice sharing myself with others. It will be a creative challenge for me, but I am up for it!

I hope you will take this journey with me, and grow as I grow, inspire each other with me, and feel connected! For me, this is like opening a brand new journal, feeling the excitement of writing on that first brand new page. I guess my first page is now filled, thank you for sharing it with me!