Thursday, February 27, 2014

Don't Get Your Hopes Up.

I bite my tongue and fight the urge to parrot my mother's favorite phrase since having children of my own. I try not to say it to my kids, and I have to work even harder not to say it to myself.

I'm sure my parents had the best of intentions, thinking they were protecting me from disappointment by reminding me resources were limited. Life wasn't fair. Good little girls didn't always get the rewards they deserved. It was safer to not reach, don't dream, you'll fall...

Disappointments came anyway, of course, coated in the bitter taste of knowing I didn't try.  It was a comfy place to lean back on, pretending I didn't want whateveritwas anyway. Trying hard is for suckers anyhow.


The first kick of my daughter's life thrilled me in a terrifying way. My little flutter, safely tucked under my heart where nothing could get to her was about to fly. How was I going to keep her safe once she was out in the world? When they placed her on my stomach, and we took a long look at each other's outsides for the first time, I reached. I dreamed.

I flew.

SO many years of closing my eyes and holding my breath, so many times I almost grappled for her to hold her back, by instinct... stay close, don't go, it's safer here.

Guess what?  She flew too. She traveled away from me. She fell, she hurt, she loved, she lost and she came out on top in the end.

She taught me that if I was her safe place to land, flying was fun. THAT was my job after all that worrying.

I can do this.

When my son decided he was too ready to charge headlong into life, he landed in the middle of the consequences of my body not being strong enough to hang onto him until he was truly ready.

His own body tries to hold him down, to keep him from reaching, from trying... but the moment his doctor taught his Daddy and me a lesson by palming him like a basketball holding him up so he could feel what it was like to soar, I saw us trying to reach up with our hearts to snatch him back down to safety and understood in that snap of time I had my work cut out for me if I wasn't going to hold him back to keep myself safe.

The first time I had to hand him over for surgery, I wanted longer arms. Even though I knew, HAD to know it would be okay, I didn't know what to do with my hands without him in them. The unfortunate first person to tell me not to get my hopes up that the operation would solve the problem got pushed back.

That felt good. :)

You don't tell a mother not to hope when hope is all she has.

I'm still grateful for that doctor who waited until AFTER Steven started reaching and doing to tell me of his own uncertainty and initial pessimism. He declared open season on whatever Steven wanted to try. His words to little Steven as he combat crawled/slithered to the door to try to get the nurse to come back and give him another treat... "Go get 'em!"

Thank you, Doctor Allen. :)

To those who tried to tell me what goals were "realistic" and that I was in denial if I thought my son had the potential of yours?

Eat my shorts.

We're flying,

To all the other mothers of kids with their unique challenges, whether it's running, walking, wheeling or even trying to make words from sound or movement so the outside world can know the soul inside a body that wants to hold it back...

Go get 'em.

I'll stand behind you and we'll show whoever says "Don't get your hopes up." how it's done.

I've got my sassy pants on today.

Thanks, kids.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Spring Always Comes

If there's anything living in North Dakota teaches you, it's patience. It takes a long time to get where you're going over the endless miles of prairie. Heck, it takes forever just to get the van warmed up to drive across town.

Winters like this one pretend they're never going to end.

You can't fool me. Grandma taught me better than that.  The more winters away I travel from the quiet moments I spent with her all snuggled up in the old farm house, the farther my heart travels from the sounds of her in the kitchen, the harder it is to remember the patience she had.

I can still feel it if I listen.

This is the time of year for the little packages to roll in from the seed catalogs.We would laugh when the catalogs started coming in January, and Grandpa would come in from his daily trek to the mail box with a swirl of winter, but by the time he and Grandma settled into their chairs for a look, it seemed Spring was going to be ANY DAY NOW, so much planning to do!

If my sister and I lived for the arrival of the big Wish Book before Christmas to set our Santa dreams on fire, those catalogs with the bright colors and promises of bounty were even better. The promise was proven, some of it still hanging on in multi-colored jars on the shelves in the cellar. I was too scared to go down there often, but to inch my way down, sitting on one step at a time was exciting, until I remembered I'd have to make the trip UP again, including that stomach-lurching moment when I'd have to turn around and flop like an exhausted little miner, back onto the safety of the dining room floor. Solid ground.

More waiting.

The little signs would start showing, starting with a new attitude in the sunshine as the days pushed their way longer by a minute here, a minute there.

Two little girls were more than likely testing the patience of every adult in the house by then, too. It may have warmed up some, but going outside to play wasn't as fun as when the snow was a fresh new plaything. Mud puddles held a lot more appeal, and they were never going to come!

More waiting.

Over weeks, it took a little less bundling each time we tailed Grandpa out to the garage to watch him get the tiller ready. There was still too much mud, he said, but best get ready.

To our ears, of course, that meant... more waiting.

Sometimes, when winter had one last fit, we'd have to give up the comfort of the car out on the road and walk (or piggyback-ride on Dad) through Grandpa's path around the snow drifts and past the muddy holes occupying the driveway to get to the house. Slushy, wet indecision was piled all over the yard.  I'm not sure how he had so much patience left over after hours of pointing out landmarks in hopes of teaching us not to feel the need to ask him if we were there yet every five minutes, but he did.

 For the record, you can't even make a decent snowman when you end up knees -first in snirty slush with one wrong roll.

Yep, more waiting.

There it was, though, Spring... it started sneaking in around the foundation of the house with the first peeks of tulips testing the air with their sharp little spikes of greenery. There'd be a brave patch of grass growing bigger in the afternoons, then another...and another...

Don't even get me started on my lack of patience when Grandpa finally deemed the garden spot dry enough to work. I'm pretty sure one of my jobs, pouncing on worms like a noisy little robin to gather for a promised fishing trip, was more for his sanity than a walleye dinner. I was adorable! Twenty Questions had nothing on me when it came to trying to will those seeds to turn into delicious peas with my watching and prodding.

I did learn how much easier it is to wait when you have a job to do, even if it involves worms. :)

Almost there...

Giddyup, Daddy!!!

My sister got to walk. She was far more trustworthy around puddles.

The further I find myself removed from the cycle of the dirt, I still find myself repeating "Spring always comes." as a mantra when things get rough. It's like "This too shall pass.", but it has a promise on the end that keeps me going. Better things are coming, so be patient and work with what you have so you're ready.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014


This past weekend, my heartbreaker learned how to keep one running.  Thanks to FM Ambulance and West Acres Mall, we had a lesson in compression-only CPR.

This is a big change from "the olden days" when I volunteered as an EMT.  There were times when it just didn't seem they made plastic thick enough when it came to planting lips on a stranger.

In a nutshell, The Chick Magnet will demonstrate. :)

If you come across a person who appears unconscious, check to make sure they aren't just napping. Instruct bystanders, if any, to call 911. If  available, send someone for AED.
Place heel of hand, supported by the other, mid-chest at the nipple line. Giggle at the term "nipple line", then proceed to compress hard and fast, to the tune of the Bee Gees' tune "Stayin' Alive". I kid you not. It's the exact rate needed!

Many public places are now equipped with AEDs. The devices have illustrations, and even talk you through their use. Early response with CPR and defibrillation is the best chance someone suffering a heart attack has.

That's it! 

One important last step if you're Steven.

                                                            Schmooze with the ladies. :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Cabin fever... I'm not alone. Siri-ism for the day.

You know it's been a long winter when even Siri is being nagged by the Chick Magnet to the point she said "I'm doing the best I can, Steven."