NYE 2016

December 31, 2016 § Leave a comment

Christmas has passed  – amen.

There were many people who were so wonderful to us this holiday.

Everyone told me it would be hard. I didn’t believe them. I was going to be fine. Christmas is about the kids. My kids had been through enough this year. It was going to be my mission to give them a great Christmas. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and yet another third day of celebration. I stood up straight and tall put a smile on my face. Told everyone I was fine and I was doing great and had what was seemingly a wonderful time. But all three nights driving home I was dizzy and nauseous.  I had to sit in back so I assumed I was car sick. Until the end of the 3rd night when I could let my guard down. That’s when I really “lost my shit”. I haven’t cried that hard since the funeral. I mean I cried to the point my muscles ached. A big ugly cry where you just can’t stop for hours. I realized then I was never car sick, I realized then I wasn’t “fine”, I realized then how hard I have worked since my mom passed to “put a smile on my face” and take care of others. I realized then that I have only just begun to grieve.   I have been, since that night, basically just knocked off my feet with exhaustion.  I feel like I finally gave into it all.  I finally stopped. Being home for a week has been a good thing. I haven’t accomplished anything and have spent half of my time in bed binge watching TV. I have no guilt about doing that.  I need it right now. My kids have been in the same boat. Just wiped out.

New Years Eve last year and New Years Day are when my mother’s  decline began. We spent New Year’s Day in the ER at Mass General. She ended up in-patient for weeks having her crushed spine (from the cancer) reconstructed.  Then rehab. Then home with more drug trials and scary  side effects until finally she said ENOUGH this past May.  I was happy for her when she decided. I watched her suffer for almost 4 years at that point. She knew what she wanted. She wanted to be free. And after many more months of suffering, lingering, all of us waiting…. she was free. And in the moment it felt like a blessing. We yelled “go mamma go! Be Free! ” we cried, we wailed, but still – it’s not real -and now I have thoughts like “I don’t have a mother anymore.” When I hear other people complain about their mothers I get upset. When I hear other people talk with wonderfully about their mothers I get upset. I feel like a jealous little kid.

I don’t know how to handle the next two days. I want to rewrite the New Years story that I have from last year. I want to cover it up with a new better memory. Is that even possible?  Am I just back to fooling myself again?

I am praying for a good year ahead for my family. It’s been so hard for so long. I am praying for reasons to celebrate, reasons to laugh and ways to enjoy everyday.

I want to let go of all awful painful memories for a while without letting go of my mother.  I want to remember the laughter, the good times and I have not yet been able to do that – again I know it will come.

I want to heal.

I  want to know she is still with me.

I want to be happy again.

but….. I miss my mama.

 

The after

November 6, 2016 § 1 Comment

The after sucks.

The after when your mom has left the Earth sucks.  That’s all there is to it.  No more, no less.

It’s a strange limbo we live in now.  She always guided us and now we have to guide ourselves. I don’t like it.  I talk to her more now than I did over the last year of her illness so there’s that. My worries aren’t so life vs death anymore right now so I guess that’s a good thing. But the gaping hole she left behind is there.  I honestly try not to think about it.  I mean it’s just so damn looming that it takes up most of my subconscious so why waste conscious energy on it…right?  Is that called denial?

Her voice lingers in my mind. I hear her advice constantly.  I know she is with me.  That brings me peace.  I feel like she is more with me now than she was capable of being over the last year of her illness. Weird but true.

I can’t remember her healthy face. When I see it in pictures it’s foreign.  I can only seem to bring to my memory the last few months where she looked nothing like herself whatsoever. I have heard this will pass and I will be able to remember her once again as a healthy person.  I long for that.

The holidays are coming. I know it will be hard it already is.  The holidays last year were hellish enough.  I am somehow super focused on making these holidays happy. I feel like my kids deserve it.  They sat in the sadness too for so long.  Life is truly about the memories we make … I want to make sure these holiday memories for them are good ones.  I am afraid I won’t be able to pull that off because you know that looming subconscious of the gaping hole she left behind sometimes gets the better of me.

Being busy helps most of all.  Being alone in the car is the hardest thing of all.

I try to remember how much she loved to laugh.  I know she would want to see me laughing. I rather laugh than cry.  But… I wish I could laugh with her.

Just going to keep moving forward thats all anyone can do – just keep on going…

 

States of change 

August 8, 2016 § Leave a comment

During our summer we have all been in a state of change.

I would be lying if I said it’s been a great summer.

We have had some fun but we walk daily with heavy hearts and fear as my mother’s illness progresses. 

Aidan is preparing to change schools. From public high school to private high school. 

I am preparing to switch roles at work which has kept me busy this summer creating new curriculum.

Tim is preparing for some possible changes at work.

Ari is prepping  for a new school year.

And my dad is preparing for the inevitable (as are the rest of us).

We are cocooned and I am not sure what will emerge . 

I love change actually but all of at once like this is overwhelming. Especially when there is one dreadful change lurking. I suppose that is how life always seems to happen – all at once.

I am so grateful for the amazing friends and family that have supported us through this hellish year.  

I hope a time of peace awaits us all.

I remind myself “God has a plan and it’s perfect every time …. Even if in the moment I think it sucks”. 

Where have I been?

August 2, 2016 § 2 Comments

I don’t write much at all anymore.

Much of the reason is out of fear. Fear of everything being misconstrued and being taken personally by the wrong people.

It’s hard to voice your opinion when you are worn out.

For the past year I have been helping to support my mother who is now on hospice because of kidney cancer. This is where most of my mental energy goes. It is not my place to write more about her here. Other than I love her, I am glad she is here in my house and I savor every moment we have left together.

I have also been busy finishing my specialized certificate in assistive technology to push me up to a masters degree + 15.  This is where a good chunk of my mental energy has  gone this year too. 

I still have passionate ideas, philosophies and stories to tell about special education as a parent, teacher and now assistive tech specialist. I keep the under wraps for when the time is right and maybe a time when its ok to share my thoughts without fear.

Summer has been very tame, mostly home and researching for my new classroom experience for next year. Making the leap from kindergarten to high school is kind of cool!

My kiddos are amazing as always and take up what’s left of my mental space.

Just trying to check in and say hello – 😘I’m still here, still thinking about writing  – 

Visualizing and “Super Powers”

March 14, 2016 § Leave a comment

Since the time my son was 7 years old and he was in a competition I told him to visualize himself winning. I taught him to see the details in his mind and see himself holding the prize. He did – instant success the first try! Talk about reinforcing a behavior! Every night, even now, I say to him two things “pray and visualize”. He does this every night. Admittedly, sometimes he falls asleep before he’s done. He is 15.
In the morning on the days we haven’t given into the horror of getting 4 people out the door before 7AM – before he leaves I say to him “have a good day, be smart, be kind…lead” 
My son so far has been very successful in school, socially and with sports.
Tonight I feel horrible as I realize I do not say these things to my daughter. I could give you a million excuses as to why – but the truth is I just don’t.

———

So right there, just above, that’s where I stopped writing the first time I sat with this thought. I was upset and thought about how awful I am that I don’t give my daughter wth a disability the same advice as I give my son. I quit writing this and went to sleep.

———

When I woke up I realized I don’t give her the same advice because she doesn’t need it, not because I don’t see her as a success. In fact, she is a huge success, just in different ways then her brother. All of his weaknesses are her strengths and all of her weaknesses are his strengths. For her school is hard, but she keeps on chugging. Socially she is happy – success for any kid! Sport just are not on her list. But drama and music are and she holds her own there.  

What is different with Ari is that she doesn’t need to visualize, she just expects things to happen how she wants them to and they do. Her priorities are not always in the right place (in my opinion) but that child can manifest just about anything she wants! She is magic! She dreams about special surprise events happening to her at Disney World, we get there, she wiggles her way into the hearts of everyone and low and behold it, is one extraodinary moment after the next! She walks into any room and elevates the happiness factor just by her presence. 

We were recently on a cruise and by the end 75% of the passengers knew her by name. She would walk by a bar and everyone would turn and yell “Ari!” And even in the middle of a show they stopped the production for a staff member to give her a shout out. Yeah that girl does just fine!

So what started as a post on self bashing, bad mom, how could I do that to my daughter has turned into what I and every mother has always known – my kids need different things from me. What works for one doesn’t work for the other and shouldn’t. They are their own people. My two kids happen to be polar opposites. What they get from me is obviously going to be different. 

I believe as educators we are forced to look at all students to meet the same goals. To meet the standards set forth by policy makers. These standards have nothing to do with children as people and often times students like my daughter who don’t have strong academics but have “super powers” elsewhere are labeled as failures because they are not like everyone else. In truth, it’s a sucky experience as a parent to know your kid will likely never meet any academic standard, especially when your other kid is beyond successful. But I have been blessed enough to recognize that In the end “who cares”? What will truly matter for both of my children are the following ideas:

1: Are you happy ?

2: Are you kind?

3: Can you live independently?

4: Do you have people in your life who love you truly and that you love?

5. Do you have a job or do something everyday that makes you feel fulfilled?
Teachers – let parents explain their vision for their children. Help them realize what is truly important. Guide parents to see their child’s “super powers” and know the value and contribution those “super powers” make to your classroom and school!

Limbo 

January 3, 2016 § 3 Comments

This past two weeks my life and my family’s life has been stuck in limbo as we watch my mother suffer from her cancer.  Everyday just hanging on to what will happen next.  

It has been impossible to plan for anything at all.  We just don’t know what the next day will be. 

I have missed more than my fair share of work.  I am an only child and so is my dad – so it’s like the two of holding each other up to get through this.

My extended family is amazing- the texts, the visits and the food. It helps it truly does. Sometimes we just don’t know what to say because we are so numb. 

My children have not gotten the best from me and I feel terrible. When I am with them I am trying extra hard to be “cheerful”.  I don’t want them falling into the deep dark abyss my dad and I are in. 

Cancer sucks – there is no other way to say it.  

To my fellow teachers – thanks for putting up with all my absence.

To my friends – you know me and have been glorious in your support – you all know how to make me laugh and distract me.

To my family – ahhh you are the true  embodiment of love.  We are a small group but tough and I am blessed to have you all! Thank God the Zucchero sisters taught us all how to be strong and take care of each other – I suppose that is their legacy.  

My husband – my rock – picking up the slack and trying his hardest. I love you more everyday.

My kids – my loves, my light, my sunshine – your smiles and hugs melt everthing away and sustain me.  

Me – I have faith.  I was taught about faith through watching a friend suffer through a horrible tradegy.  I told her this many times. Her gift to me from her own personal hell. 

I have found a personal mantra I try to remember “God has a plan and it’s perfect every time…. Even when it sucks” 

Thank you for reading what I write – I suppose my blog has shifted from its original purpose but it is truly my own therapy.  It helps me clear my head. 

Love to all

Prayers for my mom

God bless 

Praying 2016 brings more laughter!

December 31, 2015 § Leave a comment

I hate New Years Eve.  I mean let’s face it as we get older it’s just another night.  Looking back on this out year it was mostly full of hell infused with some really good times.  Over the past year I watched my daughter suffer through having rods surgically placed in her spine and continue to watch my mother suffer through cancer.  I have been sad more than happy but have become extremely good at “putting a smile on my face.”  

This year as well I decided to go back to school and some other professional adventures.  Those are good things but some days I feel like “What the hell was I thinking?” When regular life seems hard enough.

I have struggled with staying fit this year.  There is so much stress! – this is making me feel like crap but I know it will eventually improve.

We did have excitement with Aidan and his progress in lacrosse and academically. He works so hard to be the best kid he can be and he knows how much his dad and I appreciate it.

Ari is happy at school. Period. That is a blessing.

We took a wonderful trip to Disney as a family and that was a great wealth of happy memories. 

We had a relaxing week in New Hampshire that my Parents were part of – likely the last trip I will ever take with my mom.  I savored every moment and I am so grateful for some fantastic laughs we had!

In the spring my mom, Ari and I took a trip to Kentucky which was quite an adventure but full with some sadness. Although the stories we have to tell from this whirlwind trip make it worth it.   Someday I will tell you the story of Namny and her bus ride with Big Daddy! Lol.

And then there is Tim – my love, my rock and the one person I don’t get to spend time with.  We work so hard to support our family there is seldom anytime left over  for ourselves.  We know this will eventually change and for now we manage, hold each other up on the days we want to crash from emotions or exhaustion. But God knows even on the days when we aggravate each other there is no one else I’d want to go through this crazy life with. 

Another blessing has seeing my parents love for each other in action – daily. Cancer sucks and can tear you apart but watching the love my parents have and how strong my father is – although the source (cancer) is hellish – watching their love is so beautiful!

I am praying 2016 bring more laughter than tears!