Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Learning about Loss

In on year: one of my dear co-workers lost her husband suddenly of liver failure, another very close co-worker lost her son at age 22 in a terrible car accident, then her daughter less than a year later at age 25 from cancer. I had a baby that was very hard to love, then one very traumatic miscarriage, then another somewhat less dramatic miscarriage four months later.
I feel like I got the crash course on Loss. Loss of life, loss of dreams, of motivation, of hope, loss of love, loss of physical/mental capabilities. Loss of self. I have struggled to face the fears/feelings/and vulnerability that come with loss. 
I have experienced the heartbreak and sadness that come when a friend loses a parent, loses a friend, when dreams aren't realized, when expectations aren't met, marriages fall apart... But as i grow older and wiser, instead of pushing those feelings far FAR away, I've had to learn to just FEEL them. 
I pride myself on not being much of a crier. I like that my left-brained pragmatic self can avoid getting caught up in some of the drama of life. Over the years I cry almost never, yell less, and in general just calmed the hell down. HOWEVER, to avoid feeling negative feelings of anger, resentment, frustration, I also push away the feelings that are good- grief, empathy, sympathy, hope- anything that may cause tears or outward displays of emotion. 
For a while I didn't know what to do-I held back those feelings & then just freaked out in a huge breakdown of emotion built up over months. (Poor Brad!) Allowing yourself to feel sad, heartbroken, is scary. It's hard to just say "THIS IS AWFUL." and swim in it without wallowing in it. Does that make sense? You have to immerse yourself in these feelings, validate them, understand them, don't belittle it, while at the same time moving on with your life and not saying "woe is me" every moment of the day. It's a delicate balance.
Here's my dilemma- the more I let those feelings in, the more all the other ones come, too. Feelings of being left out, loss of friendships, insecurities, discouragement. I can't seem to have a soft heart and not have every other negative feeling attack it. How does one be strong AND sympathetic AND secure? I guess I just don't know. That's my struggle. We're working on it.
I'm learning to feel/express/accept and deal gracefully with all this. Grace isn't my strength. My strengths are more like "I can organize your office to make it more efficient." Things that you don't use feelings.
As a pause to reflect, which is usually in the middle of the night when I can't sleep or said baby is up screaming like he's being murdered, I see growth through the growing pains. I feel change. Necessary, good change. I'm grateful that these experiences have taught me more love & empathy & taught me to share my heart with others, even tho it's painful. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bring the parent of "that kid"

in our church ward a couple months ago there was a family with a very rambunctious little boy. he was very sweet but big for his age and, like a bull in a china shop, could not control his own strength and size. friends and congregation members would talk about him. he was "that kid." I was embarrassed for the parents and even more embarrassed of the behavior and gossip of the people around me. he's a three year old kid for heaven's sake!!??!

I always wonder: why we don't give each other the benefit of the doubt more!?!?

as a younger person I used to feel angry and upset when I had these feelings.I would react with sarcasm and rudeness. I have a very hard time expressing my feelings when it's something I do not understand. And this attitude towards each other, and especially children, I don't understand. In this scenario, now as an adult with more experience, I react more with kindness and with sadness. I always try to say something in their defense. I'm not perfect, and I'm guilty of thinking there are super obnoxious kids with terrible parents as much as the next person, but I try.

Faye is "that kid"at preschool.
She bit someone the first day. Scratched someone the second day. Third day was in time out. Fourth day she announced she didn't want to play with anyone. She's the only kid who tips the paint all over herself and the floor. Today she had an pee accident all over the shag rug that's probably impossible to clean....... The lists goes on. There have been more days so far with incidents than without. I'm am constantly dreading picking her up to know what it's been that day.
Luckily!! her teacher is wonderful and loves her& is very encouraging& not mean at all. She knows she's a kid. A 3 year-old emotional girl with practically no time to herself who likes, loves and asks for time to play or read books by herself. 

How do we as parents face the embarrassment and censure of other parents?? How do we treat our kids? How can I stop the other moms from labeling my kid forever??

The real and simple answer is: I can't. She's labeled. She's never going to have any friends from class because the parents are not going to want her to come to play at their house. The teacher is wonderful and encouraging, but she still has to lookout and spend special attention to make sure that my kid isn't acting out. Two of the little girls in her class she knew from before, with moms I know and loved from before. I thought it would make it easier because they know her, but honestly I feel like it just made it worse. instead of just offending people I don't know, I'm losing friendships. BC OF PEE ACCIDENTS. What??!! I know that the other parents are not giving my kid the benefit of the doubt like I would give theirs. It's a bummer. BUT a big learning experience.

I do not treat my kid any differently. I encourage and use lots of positive reinforcement for good behavior and I love her for who she is. Faye is very sweet, very artistic, loves crafts, loves to lead and be in charge, is overly crazy imaginative, and is aware of other kids' feelings. She's the first one to say "aw that person is sad!" and try to give them a hug. I know that right now, she only gets her mom 2 days a week, for 2 hours during Jimmy's nap. The other days I have extra kids I babysit and her time is shared. All things considered, she does OK.

I think as I've reflected on my own feelings of inadequacy, embarrassment, sadness, I've really learned a lot about the pressure we put on ourselves as parents, as well as the unrealistic pressure and expectations we put on our kids. Which is to say: IT'S TOO MUCH. It's ridiculous.

One of my best friends offers advice about potty training to me almost everytime we talk. I finally told her to can it, cause I've potty trained one kid and she hadn't even started potty train hers yet. I'm sorry that my kid has accidents on occasion! it happens! They're so happily playing that they wait too long to run and go. I finally had to come to the conclusion that it's not a reflection of me as a mother, it's just that she's a kid!! and a kid that probably drinks 48 ounces of fluid today. I am NOT a terrible abusive horrible neglectful parent- I just have a kid who has an accident once a month!

Let's just let our kids be kids, okay? Let's not freak out when they steal toys from others on the playground. Let's not judge them and tell them that they're horrible, and not let our kids play with them because they've literally bit someone two times in their lifetime. This kid disgusting drools all over the place all the time. This one is 3 years old and still uses one-word sentences to talk. This little boy only likes airplanes, that little girl will only talk to you if you address her as "Princess ."
THEY'RE KIDS!! I'm sure we can find something annoying about every single one. Let's make a pact to let kids be kids, okay?

And Faye, I love you for all your crazy. You zeal, your bright imagination, and even your inability to express frustration. It's hard to be 3 and frustrated. You will learn to express it better someday, and your mom will love you all the while. You are a wonderful joy me and will always be my lovely little lady :-)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A friend in faith

So I had a long, tearful heart-to-heart with my dear friend and ex co-worker Bridget today. I sought her advice. She gave freely with love and a little admonishment. We do not share the same religion, but we share the same love of our Saviour, Jesus Christ and faith in Him. I love this woman. She has been dealt one hard hand after another, especially with the deaths of her two children this past year. She is amazing, faithful, strong and humble. I am ceaselessly amazed and grateful for her friendship and advice.
Today I shed a few tears (I shed very few a year, as you know) and was bouyed up by her advice and encouragement. And humbled by her frank reprimands of my lack of faith.
We need each other in this big wide world. Feeling grateful and humbled by her example. How lucky am I to have such a person in my life!??

Monday, January 20, 2014

I love Doctor Bart Barrett

And this is why:
He is our family GP. He's seen my babies the day they were born, he sees me and my husband for anything and everything, and most importantly, he is a human being.

This last year has been rough. Seriously rough. I think I've seen Dr. Barrett more than my own mother this year. Two babies worth of visits, check-ups and colds. Two miscarriages worth of phone calls & tests. (Did I mention I had ANOTHER miscarriage a couple weeks ago? Fun.)

Anyway, so here is why I love him:
Today Faye had a weird rash on her arm, so I just brought her in to look at it & make sure it wasn't something super weird, or ya know, contagious. We were scheduled with the P.A., Brandy, so I gave Faye the heads-up that we wouldn't see Dr. Barrett (she loves him, so I didn't want her upset.) We were in the area between 2 exam rooms getting her weighed & measured when he came out of one of the rooms! My back was to him, but he instantly said, "HEY YOU!!" I turned around and said, "Hey."

He walked right over to me with arms outstretched and said, "How are you?" sincerely and gently, and then gave me a huge, real, tight-squeezing hug.

That is how every visit to the doctor should be. And that is why I love him.

If you live in HB or anywhere surrounding, you need him as your GP.