So, I have to tell you two stories. I have to tell you about the kindness of strangers. I have to tell you about people and a company who were wonderfully kind.
First, the company. A little background....
The boy has these books that are puzzle books. Each page is a different puzzle and each book is based on different characters like Elmo or Grover or on planes and trains. They're really cute and he's really good at them and just loves doing them! So my mom decided before his surgery that she wanted to find him a few more puzzle books to make him feel good after the surgery. She went to Borders where she bought the first ones. They didn't have any. Then she went to Barnes and Noble. They didn't have any either. She looked on Amazon.com. They didn't have any either. The books were no where to be found. She searched the internet and contacted the publisher, Phidal Publishing, and explained the situation. She told them how much my son loved these books and how they were a source of entertainment and distraction for him. She told them how he would be having surgery and she wanted to have some new books to surprise him with after he came out of the hospital. She explained everything and asked for where she might be able to purchase more books or if there was a way she could buy them off their website. Customer service emailed back pretty quickly. They explained that there was no way to purchase the books from their website yet but they were working on it. They also said that the books could be found at bn.com (barnes and noble.com- not linked with amazon). Finally, the customer service representative informed my mother that she would be sending along the 4 books my mom had wanted at no charge to her. This was on a Monday, my son was scheduled for surgery that Thursday. We assumed the books would arrive Friday or Saturday. The books were in our hands by Wednesday. The company had rushed the books overnight to make sure that our little guy had them when he was in recovery.
Who does that? When do we ever really hear about anything like that? How often do we hear about major companies being so kind and compassionate? I don't know about you but I almost never hear about it. I was beyond touched by this company. I was beyond moved by their kindness and the extent to which they went to make sure my son had the books that he loved so much. I told everyone I could about this story. I shared this company with anyone and everyone. I hope you check them out. I hope you share this with your friends and family. This is a company that I would buy from repeatedly. This is a company that I would have no problem with giving my money to for high quality products and excellent customer service. This is a company, who without even realizing it, made my life so much easier because we had these new books to surprise our sick little guy and they really made his day. The kindness of strangers is overwhelming.
Second, the people.
I work in a Catholic high school. With the exception of a small handful of people, everyone pretty much cares about everyone else and shows concern and care when something happens. When a teacher is going to be out sick we have to call F. He takes care of securing subs and making sure that classes are covered and taken care of. He's very nice, pretty funny and very kind. He also has the classroom directly across from mine so we get to chat a lot. He teaches history. He's got two little kids. His wife is super nice. He went to Harvard and is BRILLIANT! When I called him to let him know that the boy was going into the hospital he was so sympathetic. He could not even find words to try and say what he was feeling about wanting to help and let me know that he would be thinking of us and praying for us. He even offered to give me some of his personal days since I have used all of mine between the accident and this. He really just was so nice. So compassionate. So kind. So exactly what I needed at that moment. I did not give school a second thought. I knew F would take care of everything along with the other teachers who were covering for me.
We were admitted to the hospital and brought to our room. I was talking with the resident about the boy's history and what was going on when there was a knock on the door. I looked over and there was a woman standing there with two coffee cups and a bag with a pastry inside it. I had no idea who she was. I assumed she was in the wrong room. We had only been there for maybe 10 minutes. I said hello and she asked for me by name. I told her that it was me and she explained that she was F's sister. Yes, F, from my job. His sister, whom I've never met...never spoken to...never even knew existed. She explained that F told her about me and the boy and she was in the hospital teaching a class but wanted to come and find me. She wanted to make sure I was ok. She wanted to check on me. She said she couldn't imagine what we were dealing with and wanted to bring me a cup of tea and a little something to eat to make sure I took care of myself. That was it. She didn't need anything from me. She didn't want anything from me. She just wanted to check on us. She and F and their family wanted to make sure we were ok during this time. My husband was floored. The resident looked stunned. I began to cry. This woman, who I didn't know from Adam, came to make sure I was ok. F, who I've only known since August, wanted to make sure we were ok, wanted to make sure I was doing ok as I watched my son get admitted to the hospital. I thanked her profusely. I cried. She hugged me. She told me they'd be thinking of us and praying for us and we were in great hands. Clearly, someone was watching out for us. Clearly, someone knew that this was going to be hard. Clearly, there are good people out there who do for strangers just because they know it is needed and they want to help.
Even now as I type this I'm crying. I will never ever forget F's sister, or F for that matter. I will never ever forget her kindness and I will forever pass it on to others because other than a profuse thank you, a note and that hug, there is not much else I can do to show how appreciative I am. If I pass on their kindness than the potential for unending kindness is there. The potential to do unending good is there. The potential to help someone who needs kindness and compassion is there. I encourage you to pass on the kindness of strangers. It really takes very little to let someone know you are there and thinking of them, I encourage you to do that I know I will be.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
So, I have to tell you two stories. I have to tell you about the kindness of strangers. I have to tell you about people and a company who were wonderfully kind.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 8:56 PM
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
It seems like lately fever has been around....Yes, in the traditional sense- my son had one for almost a week before we finally got it to break- but also in the non-traditional sense. My friend H wants a baby. My friend K thinks she might be pregnant (but maybe not). Kelly over at Ordinary Art was blogging about this a few weeks ago. And even me, I'm got it a bit. I find myself sitting and thinking about another baby. I look at my daughter who, when she was born, just about reached from my fingers to my elbow and now fills up both my arms. I see my son who seems to have matured and sprouted in the past two weeks into a little boy and no longer our baby boy. And I get nostalgic. I get weepy. I get baby fever. And you'll never believe it but the husband has it too.....
My real life friends and my mother can step back now, take a deeeeeeeep breath and don't worry. We're not getting pregnant. But I have the fever. Most days I have the fever. Some days, when both kids are screaming bloody murder and in foul moods, not so much. I think back to my pregnancies and while neither of them were stellar in the courses that they took, I had my moments where I kind of enjoyed it. I loved feeling the baby move. I loved seeing the ultrasound shots. I loved playing music to my belly and feeling my daughter react (my son couldn't hear it). I loved the planning. I hated the waiting. I loathed the morning sickness. I was exhausted for a good portion. I hated the weight gain and swelling. I loved the end result. And by the end I was ready....well, I was for my son. My daughter could have given me a few extra weeks but we made it! We asked the boy last night if he'd like another baby brother or sister and at first he asked for both. Then he asked for a baby brother, he already has a baby sister. The husband and I looked at one another and just sort of shrugged. It was an agreement shrug. It was an ok at some point down the line we can manage that shrug. It was a yeah we'd kind of like to give you a baby something shrug. It was weird.
We're not getting pregnant. We're both in school. I am beyond determined to finish my Masters- despite how much I hate my one class. The husband is determined to finish his degree also. We live in a house that's just too small. We have a bank account that is just too empty. And our lives, right now, are just right- well they are getting there. I am enjoying, or I will be soon, sleeping through the night. I am liking that my boobs don't hurt every moment of the day. And I am ok with the fact that my jeans don't have elastic or a giant fabric panel in them. Will all of that still hold true two years from now? I don't think so but I don't know. We're getting rid of our baby stuff. It's from when our son was born and most of the safety dates will expire before we even consider getting pregnant again. Maybe we're sealing our fate with that. Maybe I should hang on to the swing and the glider and bouncer and the bumbo but I'm not. I'm keeping some of the clothes. I'm giving some away- keep your eyes open J, your big man has some stuff coming his way! And I'm selling a lot. I want another baby but not just yet.
So, here is what I've decided. I have baby fever....I don't see it going away any time soon. Everyone out there who is of childbearing age and capability, go get pregnant. I'll throw you a shower, I'll be your lamaze/bradley/whatever partner, I'll be there every step of the way if you want me. Just please, someone have a baby so I don't have to!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:39 AM
Monday, February 25, 2008
This is just a sampling of things I have learned over the past few weeks
...that no matter how much you know that your child will be ok and will get out of the hospital, it does not make the time there any easier or faster
...that the night nurses are 1000x more on top of things and helpful and all around wonderful than the day nurses (at least in our particular case and our day nurses were pretty darn good!)
...how to operate and program an IV pump
...that reactive airway disease is just another name, to scare you, for asthma
...how to operate a pulse/ox monitor and hook up the necessary wiring
...that there are parents who have no problem leaving their children alone in the hospital
...that holding down a three year old and attempting to bribe them with toys will NOT make them more willing to take their medicine
...that my family and close friends are beyond dedicated and loyal to me and my family and really are there no matter what
...that my son has the attitude of a teenager and the ability to ignore just about every medical professional around
...that a sure fire way to encourage someone to poop to stick a suppository in their tush
...that getting a three year to lie on their stomach for three minutes is not a fun task, especially when you are attempting to hold their butt cheeks together
...how to "deal" with my child getting repeatedly poked and prodded
...how to obtain vital signs
...that the best time to give a breathing treatment to an obstinate 3 year old is at 2 in the morning when he fast asleep
...that having my son's tonsils and adenoids removed was probably the best thing we ever did for him and his breathing
...that there are some people who will just never ever be there when needed
...that there are an immense amount of highly intelligent and well trained female medical professionals working at Goryeb Children's Hospital and my son managed to ignore them all
...that repeatedly watching Dora and Thomas will give you nightmares
...that sleeping on a bench with a 2 inch cushion is an excellent way to begin a back problem
...that sometimes just because you work for a "compassionate company" does not mean that they will actually show you compassion
...that being away from one of your children for 4 days does not make them forget you it just makes you and them that much happier to see each other
...that text messaging is one of the greatest inventions known to humans- EVER
...that my body does not always love Au Bon Pain- especially not for every meal
...that my mom thinks Hot Doctor looks like an albino and my husband hates that I call him Hot Doctor
...that Hot Doctor and I are the same astrological sign so we could never be together- that's not the only reason we couldn't be together but it would be a major obstacle! ;)
...that my father in law surprises me every chance he can- and always in a good way without even knowing it
...that chocolate milk with two sweet n low in your coffee makes for a delicious mix that wakes you right up
...there are really good people out there who do things just to brighten another's day
...that there is a type of shampoo that you can comb into your wet hair and leave it there- you never have to rinse it out!!
...that my son looked adorable after his sponge bath in his little hospital scrubs with his hair combed perfectly
...that my three year old DESPISES nebulizer treatments
...that it is so important to celebrate and cherish every single day with your children because you never EVER know what tomorrow will bring with it.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:34 AM
Sunday, February 24, 2008
I'm so tired. My son is so tired. We are very near the edge of the forest and we are beginning to see the sun.
We are home. We're out of the hospital. It has been a rough couple of weeks, especially for our little man. He is SUCH a trooper. The boy still has the pneumonia and will for awhile. We have plenty of medicine to keep it at bay and eventually "kill" the mangy disease and we're keeping our boy hydrated with juice boxes, milkshakes, beer...whatever we can get into him! ;)
When I first graduated from college I was working at a large restaurant company in their purchasing department and as their marketing manager. Part of my job was to handle all of the PR and charity work that the company did. While there, the hospital we were in, Goryeb Children's Hospital, was just opening. Our company was a major contributor for a number of reasons, but mainly because it was a really good cause. As part of our contribution we went into the hospital and toured the center and provided food and drinks for the staff. I can remember walking through the hospital and just being in awe of the amazing center they had created to help children. I was in awe of the wonderful accommodations for parents whether it was in the PICU or the inpatient ward or in the day hospital where kids would be seen by doctors but not admitted. Everything was about making the hospital experience as easy and not scary as possible. The center is just amazing. The staff is just amazing. We toured the inpatient unit and there were a handful or patients at that point, mainly cancer patients. I can vividly remember thinking that if, God forbid, my future children were ever sick I would want them here. But in the back of my mind I never ever thought we would need the hospital. Maybe the emergency room but it never occurred to me that my child could be admitted to the hospital. I never thought it would ever become a reality.
Wednesday it became a reality. Wednesday, really a few days before that, my oldest child became one of 2% that develops this serious complication from the surgery he had. Wednesday I walked into the private room on the inpatient unit of the Goryeb Children's hospital behind my son's stretcher and thought that no 3 year old in the world should ever have to see the inside of a hospital room. Wednesday we stepped into the environment that would be our "home" for the next few days and would help to bring our son back on the road to better.
The ward was full. There were children who were sicker than our little guy. There were kids there for chemo and other cancer treatments. There were kids that may not have left the hospital in weeks or months. Yet even with all of that "sadness" the ward was a happy type of place to be. It was warm and inviting. The staff, the doctors, nurses, techs, everyone was wonderful. Each of them treated our little guy like he was their only patient and the most important person in their day. We received top care. We received care that was intelligent and well informed. I knew that I could trust every medical professional that entered our room. I knew that what they were doing was helping our little guy get back to healthy. I knew they were making him better and for that I am eternally grateful.
I never thought I'd end up in the hospital with my children. I certainly never expected it to be my son if we did. I thought for sure I'd be in a hospital room with our preemie daughter at some point but that has not been the case. My son is recovering and he's doing great. He's still pretty weak and tired, as anyone would be. He's drinking juice boxes, which is a HUGE accomplishment. He's blowing bubbles to help work out his lungs. He's getting better day by day. We have our rough moments but the care that we have received lets me know that the rough moments will be getting less and less as the days go by.
I have to say something about your kindness and support...
We are not strangers because really we know many of each other's deepest thoughts and feelings because of our words on our blogs but in many ways we are strangers. Most of us have never met in person. Most of us never will. So many of you have been so supportive and kind with your words and thoughts. You have left comments anywhere and everywhere to let me know that you're thinking of us and that has meant so much to us. Thank you from the very deepest of my heart, I cannot tell you how much your words have meant to us. It is very reassuring to know that there are so many people out there who barely know us that are thinking of us and praying for us. It worked! Thanks!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:08 AM
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
I thought we were out of the woods.....we're not.
The boy has pneumonia. We found out last night. I'll be on and off...reading, maybe writing!
Your thoughts and prayers and your words have been SO comforting, thank you so much!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:16 AM
Monday, February 18, 2008
So, surgery was a success. Recovery has been far from that.
The boy had his surgery on Thursday and we learned quickly that recovery was not going to go all that smoothly, nor was anyone lying to us or exaggerating when they said that he would be beyond miserable.
We spent the night before at my parents for a few reasons. 1) We lost power due to ice and snow the day before and I wasn't in the mood to spend my snow day in a my house with my children and no heat or power. 2) They are super close to the hospital and we had an early arrival time. 3) It helped to put everyone at ease to spend the evening together the night before.
We arrived at the hospital nice and early and we were greeted by another little boy having the same surgery, by the same doctor, and Cars playing on the TV in the waiting room. Things were going smoothly. We registered, I got my bracelet, the boy got his and we waited to be called. We went in the back with our super nice nurse Mary who got the boy ready and gave me my scrubs to change into and my hat to wear and we waited some more. All of the nurses stopped by to see the boy. We met with the doctor and he was great, as per the usual with the boy. (He had his wedding ring on a chain around his neck and for some odd reason this made me feel soo secure in everything. Not that I wasn't before....) Then we watched some Barney and met with the anesthesia team. We discussed what would happen upon entering the operating room- I would carry the boy in and place him on the table, the gas would be started and the mask would go over his face and he would fight it and cry. I was prepared, sort of.
It was time.
I carried the boy into the operating room and actually did a really good job of holding back tears. (The last time, I couldn't hold them back so much) I put the boy on the operating table and the lead anesthesiologist hopped up next to him. (He literally had to hop...he was short. This made me chuckle) Another doctor showed the boy the mask and told him to blow into the mask to make the "balloon" inflate. It's important to know that we'd been "practicing" with an anesthesia mask for over a week so that the boy knew what to expect. The doctors looked at me and told me to be prepared, this was where it would get hard. (meaning the boy was going to start crying) They put the mask over his face and he, just like the champ that he is, started blowing super duper hard to inflate that "balloon". There was no crying. There was no fighting. There was just my little guy sitting there blowing and breathing and slowly falling asleep. Within a minute it was clear that the boy was sedated and pretty much out even though his eyes were still open. I gave him kisses and was led from the operating room by one of the nurses. The husband was awaiting me and my tears and we went back to the waiting room to do just that, wait.
Roughly 45 minutes later...maybe longer...the doctor came out. Everything went well. They drained a bunch of fluid and removed everything that needed to be removed. He reiterated to me, again, that the boy was going to be miserable. I really thought that everyone was just trying to prepared me for the worst and that we wouldn't be experiencing something so terrible. We waited some more. Finally, we were called into the stage two recovery area. There was our little guy looking MISERABLE. He was pale and just completely knocked out. The next 4 hours were long. It was filled with IVs and pain meds and ice pops and anti nausea meds. I have never wanted my child to vomit so badly. If he had just vomited he probably would have felt a bit better. He never puked. We were in recovery for about 2 to 3 hours longer than expected. We took our little guy home and started plying him with pudding, ice cream, milkshakes, anything soft. He did not feel good.
That night was horrendous. Coughing fits. No sleep. Medicine fights. The next day dawned and my child was ridiculously CRAZY. We think that the effects of the anesthesia, rather than continuing to sedate him, caused our recovering child to become a raving lunatic. This child did not stop ALL DAY. Grandma came over to help me with both kids and we were both amazed by the boundless amounts of energy that my child, who had just had major surgery, was exhibiting. Evening rolled around and the energy came to a screeching halt once the fever entered the picture. Our second night was filled with more coughing, non stop fever and more medicine fights. Saturday morning dawned and we were off to the hospital. The fever had shot up beyond comfortable level for the doctors. We needed to rule out pneumonia and more infection. Saturday morning was spent in the ER. Saturday afternoon on the couch at grandma and grandpa's. It was a long day. Sunday was a bit better, but not much. We could not get him to drink or eat and the medicine fights continued. Last night was not great. The boy was awake most of the night which meant I was too. He does not feel good. He hates his medicines, hence the fights. His throat is killing him so drinking and eating is next to impossible. This has not been fun for him, at all. I feel so bad for him.
Each day seems to get a bit better. Although, it has felt like 2 steps forward 1 giant step back. We'll see how these next few days go. I'm off tomorrow and then the husband on Wednesday. Grandma is taking both kids on Thursday and Friday, thankfully, so that they won't see the inside of daycare at all this week. These past few days have tested me as mommy. They've made me do something I haven't done since just after our daughter was born. They've made me doubt my parenting and mothering skills. I know, deep down, that what I'm doing is right and the best thing for him but when you look into your child's eyes and you see fear and pain because you trying to trick him into taking medicine or force him to swallow the mind reels. The boy is getting better but it is not an easy road. I doubted everyone when they told me this would be terrible. I didn't believe them when they said that it would be horrible and our little guy would be next to inconsolable. I just didn't want to hear it. I don't think it would have mattered. Nothing could have prepared me for what has been these past few days.
So the little guy is on the mend. This post is disjointed. I haven't slept. I can't focus. He's doing well....ok....
Thank you for your thoughts and kind words and great encouragement! I cannot tell you what it has meant to have all of you, who I've only known briefly, be so kind and wonderful!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:26 AM
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
This is my son. He turned 3 on Sunday. I wanted to write about what I was doing 3 years ago Sunday, i.e. giving birth and then begging for an egg mcmuffin, but I decided to sort of write about something similar but different.
My son is having surgery this Thursday. I have every confidence in his surgeon. He is a top rated doctor and did a wonderful job with his first surgery. I have every confidence that my son will come through the procedure perfectly fine and recover and do wonderfully. There is no doubt in my mind that this is the right move for him. He needs this surgery.
Our hospital has an incredible Children's hospital and that's part of the reason we use the pediatrician we use and why I choose the specialists for my children that I do. I want my kids' doctors to be associated with this hospital. Part of the preparation for surgery from this hospital is a Family Surgery Program. They take the family of the child, and the child, preparing for surgery on a tour of the facility. They explain what is going to happen. They give them the masks and such that will help them get used to what they'll see on the day of surgery. It really is an excellent program and it helps, not only the child, but the parents, too. We were not able to get in for a tour because they don't run them every week but I was able to get in touch with the Child Life Specialist at the hospital who was extremely helpful and put together a whole package of stuff for our little guy to help him get ready for surgery. Hence the picture.
Kelly over at Ordinary Art left me comment about the picture scaring her and to be quite truthful, it scared me too. (She also left very kind words that made me feel good and let me know she understands!) When I brought all of the "goodies" home to help our boy get ready, I was nervous about it. What if I said something wrong that set off his fears? What if I used a word or phrase that isn't good to use with kids getting ready for surgery? What if I sent him into a tailspin of anxiety before this procedure and scarred him for life? I hate the fact that my 3 year old son has seen the inside of an operating room twice in two years. I hate the fact that he can name his specialists and going to the doctor is routine for him. I hate the fact that he is more comfortable with surgical garb and gear than I am. Most of all, I hate the fact that just like 3 years ago I am going to have leave him in the care of medical professionals and I won't be by his side during a very traumatic occurrence.
My son was born on time, maybe a week early, actually 4 days early- he was due Valentine's day. (Ironic considering his surgery- and kind of a "new life"- begin for him this Valentine's Day) He was perfect. Great apgar scores, nothing wrong with him physically. We had issues nursing and eventually he became pretty badly jaundiced. He went under the lights pretty quickly and stayed there for the remainder of my hospital stay. I gave birth EARLY on a Thursday morning and he was put under the lights sometime between Thursday and Friday. I went home on Saturday and he stayed in the hospital. We didn't know if he'd come home with us on Sunday- it was all dependent upon his levels and how much he got to eat and how well everything worked. We left Saturday night, by 11:59pm so that insurance wouldn't bill us, without our first born. I cannot tell you, although I'm sure some of you know, what that was like. Being wheeled out of the hospital with no baby was a horrible feeling. Leaving behind the life we had just "created" was horrendous. And while this Thursday I won't be leaving the hospital, I am still leaving him in someone else's care. I am putting all of my trust and my life in the hands of another- highly capable- human being.
That picture scares me. But at the same time it makes me smile. It shows me the resiliency of my child. It shows me that the endless doctor appointments, blood work, skin tests, medications and procedures have not broken our little guy down. He is still just as strong as he was when he was underneath those blue lights. I fear for my child going into surgery. I fear that 1% that you always have to sign away about. I fear the minimal risks of anesthesia. I fear the pain that he will have following surgery and that I won't be able to explain it or help him get through it. But I also know that he will be fine. He will make it through. He will be in pain but with the right medication and lots of hugs and TLC he will be ok. I, on the other hand, may need a giant bottle of whiskey and a percoset to recover.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:13 AM
Monday, February 11, 2008
I have the flu. Not the "good" kind either. I have the stomach flu. I LOATHE the stomach flu. I DESPISE throwing up. This whole situation blows chunks- literally.
We had the boy's birthday party yesterday. The husband got up and went to work for the morning and I rolled over to, first, be greeted by my newly aged 3 year old son and then, second, to be greeted by white out conditions outside. It was snowing. Pretty heavy and it was starting to stick. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?!?! <~~~~~~~That's what ran through my head. Then I sat up and the first wave took me down. I laid back down. I was nauseous. I attributed it to lack of sleep. I showered, got the kids fed and began preparing for the rest of the day. I refused to allow the nausea to break me!! The husband came home, sold his motorcycle (YAY! Another post, another day) and took care of the kids while I made a last minute run to the supermarket. I had pushed the nausea aside.
The day went well. It was a small party, just what we wanted, and the boy really enjoyed himself. We really are so blessed with generous family members, and friends, who just dote on on our kids and spoil them to no end! The celebration ended and I was NOT feeling good, at all. Cleaning was not in the cards. The husband had school work to do. The kids went to bed and I laid out on the couch, my stomach churning more and more. Finally, around 9 I had to head to bed. Within hours I was hugging the porcelain throne. Well, not really. I never made it to the bathroom...I was hugging the plastic garbage can and having murderous thoughts about the husband in between each heave. He laid there, as I violently wretched out my insides, and snored his freaking head off!
I fell asleep, about 35 minutes later, praying for no more puking episodes and arose at 5:30 when the alarm went off. I hit snooze until as late as possible and finally got out of bed and got dressed. I feel like shit. I'm at work because I don't want to use up anymore days. The boy is having surgery this Thursday and I didn't think it was "fair" to my colleagues to take off twice in one week after having been out for my own surgery. Plus, I'm hearing rumors of snow on Wednesday and I need to make sure my kids are getting some learning in!
So, I hear I sit. Living off Ginger Ale and nothing else. I don't want to put anything into my stomach that could possibly come out later on. I've just come to realize that the 4 dozen cupcakes I baked yesterday amidst the chaos of getting ready for the party are still sitting in my garage awaiting frosting for my son's daycare. Now, I feel really bad.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 8:36 AM
Friday, February 8, 2008
I got this off a blog today that I think I've read before but I'm not a regular reader, Life As I Know It. I couldn't resist posting this because I read it and it just struck me...
The world is full of women blindsided by the unceasing demands of motherhood, still flabbergasted by how a job can be terrific and torturous.
That is so very true! I love my job, I really do. Probably for the first time, in a long time, I really do enjoy where I'm working and pretty much what I'm doing. Are there days that I don't want to get up? OH GOD YES! But I just want to sleep...if I could go into work at 10, I'd be fine! :) I may complain about my students and we all complain about things going on at work. But I really do enjoy my work. But....
There are the days that I just want to stay home with my kids. There are the days when it is just too hard to leave them. The first day back is always the worst. Whether it is the first day after Summer or the first day after being home for 6+ months on disability and maternity leave or the first day after Christmas break, it always terrible. Sure, I like the break from being home but not being there to see my kids do certain things is hard, not being there to play with them and put them down for naps and take them to the park and everything else during the day is difficult.
It's a fine line that we walk when we work outside the home and still want to be home. My job is torturous on the days when I know one my kids is not feeling well but they are ok enough to go to daycare. If I didn't work, I could be home with them making them feel better or at least spending the day with them. My job is torturous when the call pops up on my cell from the daycare center and I know that one of my kids is sick or hurt and is 45 minutes away from me. My job is torturous when there is a Halloween or Christmas party that I can't miss because I know that somewhere in the winter there are going to be many days that my son or my daughter will be sick with an ear infection or tummy ache and I just can't use the day to be there. That's when my job is torturous.
My job is terrific when it comes to the end of the summer and I've run out of ideas to entertain the kids and I need to be around adults on a consistent basis. My job is terrific when I can come home at the end of the day and see what my kids have made for me in daycare and created for our refrigerator art gallery- without my job there would be no need for daycare. My job is terrific when I come into work and am greeted by students who, for once, actually want to learn and participate. My job is terrific when I realize, which is pretty often, that it makes me a better mom. It makes me appreciate what I have at home and what I have in my classroom and in my colleagues. My job is terrific and torturous and most days, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:11 AM
I had a different post in mind for today and I will write it...it's a rambler....but I have to acknowledge a couple of awards that I've received over the past few weeks. I can remember two or three but I thought there were one or two more so if I'm missing someone's award please let me know and I'll post it up here! Thank you to everyone who awarded me and shared my blog...I love that you're reading and sharing! Keep up the comments, too!
The Egel Nest gave me this award for being a new blog and a blog that needs to have it's traffic beefed up! Thanks Egel Nest!!
I'd like to pass this award on to a few of my favorite Bloggies who deserve some love:
Another Award I received was from Kelley over at Magneto Bold Too. I LURVE her blog. She's quite funny and wonderfully honest. I highly recommend reading her and sharing her. She gave me this....
because she thinks I have fun and play nicely with others! Hah! If she only knew....
I believe I shall pass this on to....
LunaNik, again...can't get enough of her!
The Sports Mama
OhMommy....she might have this already but she deserves it!
And now for what I believe is the last award....from LunaNik over at Secrets of a Black Heart, a fellow Jersey girl and all around great blogger and person this....
This belongs to anyone and everyone who has ever commented on my blog. You guys are great! Thanks for reading and for coming back and for sharing!!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 8:21 AM
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Today is Ash Wednesday. I am a Christian. I am a Catholic. I practice my faith. Sometimes I realize I need to practice a little bit more and a little harder because, like anything else, practice makes you better. For years my father would drill into me that I needed to practice dribbling and shooting with my left hand. Occasionally, I'd get on a kick and I'd be outside in the neighbors' driveway shooting and dribbling. I'd jog with the ball. I did everything I could to make myself better. As a Catholic, I don't think this is any different. I think I need to practice more. I don't think I'm a bad person, actually I think I'm a pretty kind and good person. I do think that occasionally I lapse. I feel as if I am not as good of a person as I could be. I feel as if I'm not as good of mom as I could be. I feel as if I'm not as good of a wife or daughter or sister or friend as I could be. ("Luckily" for me many of these feelings coincide with one another so it's like a major downer when this all comes to rest on me.) I don't think these things make me a bad Catholic but I do believe that my faith influences my life in such a way that it helps me to be better in all that I do.
Today is the beginning of Lent. Today marks the beginning of a season of sacrifice. Today begins 40 days of waiting and anticipation that culminates in the celebration of life on Easter Sunday. During this time many people give up or sacrifice something. I've heard from a number of my students that they are giving up junk food, candy, soda, using the word 'like', cursing, girls, and of course the perennial school favorite- homework. (FYI I don't think it's a sacrifice to give it up if you never did it to begin with!) I, of course, was asked the question of what I was giving up or sacrificing or trying to change about my life over these next 40 days. I gave them the same answer that I gave yesterday when asked who I was voting for in the primaries, "I don't know". It's true. I have no idea. I thought about rededicating myself to exercise because I haven't been doing it, although I have been following WW pretty 'religiously'. I thought about giving up soda because now that I don't drink my light and sweet coffee I rely on my diet coke or coke zero to give me my caffeine boost in the morning. I thought about making more of an effort to be a kinder and more open and giving person because at points lately I've felt very wrapped up in myself and my problems. I thought about giving up cursing because, when my kids aren't around, I can sometimes have a potty mouth and I think that does make me sound slightly less intelligent and takes away from who I am. I thought about many things but nothing seemed right. Nothing seemed to jump out at me as it did when I was younger and I would proclaim, "I am giving up wearing my uniform to school each day for Lent" and think that it was the very best sacrifice ever. I'm not sure what to do. So, I've been thinking of it. And I've been asking God for some help on it, among many other things. And maybe I've come up with a good idea...I'm not really sure.
I have this friend. She and I have become much closer over the past few months. We met a short time ago and we immediately clicked. Although, when I first saw her I totally discounted her because she's older than me and I just figured she'd be this soccer mom type who wouldn't understand where I was coming from as a young mom who chooses/has to work. (She was returning to work after a number of years home with her kids. She's really not that much older than me, now that I know her!) She really has been a great friend and I'd like to say that I hope I've been one in return. She, like a few of my other friends, makes it very easy for me to talk to her. She shares with me, I share with her and it's not always about good, happy things. We find, often, that we have very similar fears about our lives. We find that we think a lot of the same things and act a lot of the same ways. We're very similar, yet very different. A few months back, before my non-New Year's Resolution, I tried starting WW again and I tried to pull her into it with me. We were going to lose weight together and feel better together. We were just going to get healthy because we were both tired of feeling the way we felt and of our clothing leaving marks on us! It was short lived. I had the car accident and I was done and because I was done, I think it made it harder for her to continue. When I started my non resolution I tried briefly to get her to join with me. She wasn't ready. Over the past few weeks, she's commented a few times about how I look slimmer- and I have lost a few pounds and my clothes do feel a bit better, still leaving marks, just not as deep! ;)- and I think she's looking for an in. I think she's looking for that motivation that she needs to get started again. She's said it a few times about how she needs to do something and get moving. Maybe that needs to be what I do this Lent. Maybe it's not about giving up but giving to. Maybe I can help her. Maybe I can give of my time and myself, quite willingly, and we can do this together. The weather isn't getting warmer but it has it's moments. Maybe it's time for me to convince her to spend 30 minutes with me after work and go for a walk. Maybe it's time for me to ask her, again, if she wants to come to my meeting with me. Maybe that's what my Lenten promise should be about. A promise to try and help someone else realize how much they mean in my life and others lives. A promise to try and help another be a better them.
I don't know...maybe I'm just babbling. Maybe I should give up booze for Lent. Maybe I should really sacrifice. I'm not sure. It's a very strange feeling. I feel like although these past few months/years have been quite difficult, I have been very blessed, we have been very blessed. There are days where I feel as if I don't have anymore strength but I am able to go on. There are days when I just cannot take another doctor or physical therapy or blood test or anything and I just want it to be done, but I am able to go on. I don't know what to promise or sacrifice or give up or give to or give in. I just am unsure and I think that, more than anything else, bothers me the most.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:27 AM
Monday, February 4, 2008
Did you ever come to the realization that you're an A*hole? I did, today. I don't mean like a mean person kind of A*hole. I mean the walk all over you kind. When will I learn?
So I told work today that I couldn't stay late because my son was sick. A teeny tiny fib. There's some stuff going on at school and I didn't feel comfortable staying there this afternoon into the evening. Turns out my son is sick. He's been puking the night away. This is how we always prepare for this birthday- he gets sick. It's tradition.
I prayed to St. Anthony tonight because I lost something quite valuable. I thought I lost it at work and I had a few of my friends at work looking for it. I turned my house upside down looking for it. I emptied every bag I owned, every jacket I have, everything and I could not find it. I began praying to St. Anthony as I searched for the 4th time. I prayed, I begged, I pleaded. Then I walked into my garage because I knew I had grabbed a soda before I left this morning. There it was! Laying on the floor of my garage! I stopped everything at that very moment and thanked God and St. Anthony from the very bottom of my heart! I was and am beyond grateful! Turns out it is always in the last place you look! ;)
My son has to have surgery. Pretty major surgery. Turns out he's going deaf again. His speech is not great. He's losing his balance. He's having tubes put back in. He's having his tonsils removed and his adenoids removed. I feel so bad for him! I hated going through my surgery- well, except for the percosets! I knew what was going on. I knew it was important and necessary for me to have it and I hated it and I was scared and sad about it. He has little to no idea about any of this and I feel terrible for him. I just want to take his hurt away. I don't want him to be sick anymore. I don't want him to feel pain after the surgery and it's pretty clear that he will be in a considerable amount of pain. I hate it when my kids are sick or in pain. I want to take it from him and make them ok. I would take all of their pain and hurt on myself if it meant they were ok. Those final moments before I leave the operating room are the worst. This will be his second surgery in 2 years- not a lot when you think about it comparatively- but he's so little. This will be the second time I carry my son into the operating room and watch him get sedated and put to sleep- it's horrible. I am not looking forward to this. We're trying to prepare him for the surgery. We got him books on going to the hospital. We're taking him on a tour of the hospital we're trying to get him ready. I think he'll be fine. Me, on the other hand...not so much!
I love the show Jon & Kate plus 8. Seriously, almost obsessed with it. I watch that and see how Jon and Kate parent 8 kids and I can't imagine it. It's incredible to me the amount of organization they have! (Sorry, the show just started that's why that tangent appeared!)
The boy is turning 3 this Sunday. We're having a party. I'm excited for him to celebrate. I wanted to keep it small and we are. I'm a little hurt though. My extended family that were invited have decided not to come. I really wanted them to be here with us. I wanted them to celebrate with us and with the boy. I wanted it to be really special and it will be but I was hoping that more of my extended family would be here. The ones who will be here will be GREAT and it will be a lot of fun and the boy will love it- and that's all that matters!!
I'm ready for summer, yet I'm also ready for a GIANT snow storm!
Ok, I'm distracted by Jon & Kate- I told you, O-B-S-E-S-S-E-D!
I'm back and hopefully better than ever!
Thanks for the awards, Ladies...I'll be posting them in the next few days!
And can I just say, I have a wedding to go to at the end of this month and I now have scars all over my shoulder and I don't think I want to wear my spaghetti strap number I had originally planned on! D'OH!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 8:47 PM
Sunday, February 3, 2008
Friday, February 1, 2008
Kelly over at Ordinary Art offered this challenge yesterday. I accept your challenge...I don't love it, but I accept it and I'm glad that I am!!
This is my thigh. It's only one of them. I didn't take this one on purpose but the more I think about it, the more "poignant" it is. This is my left thigh. There were actually times in my life where I HATED my left thigh more than right. Most times I just could not stand either of my thighs. My left thigh has a scar on it. I had my re constructive surgery on my left leg. My legs were big before the surgery. They were strong before the surgery. The surgery rendered my left leg useless. Then it became useful again.
My legs are strong. My legs pushed me up and down countless basketball courts. My legs walked me home on many days after school or after the bus had dropped me off. My legs supported me in a number of scrums during my limited Rugby games. My legs walked me down the aisle to marry my husband. My legs provided me support as I pushed out my two children. Most importantly my giant quad heavy thighs did these things for me. My quads ached after numerous rowing practices and races. My thighs cried out for relief after 2.5 hours of pushing my son out of my body. My quads begged for a break after walking miles in support of breast cancer survivors and victims and their families and friends.
My legs may be big. They may have cellulite. They may prevent me from buying pants one or two sizes smaller. They may have even temporarily failed me on occasion. But my legs are strong. They are powerful. They are, as my rowing coach used to tell me, my powerhouse. They are so often my source of strength. They are so often my source of support. They keep my going- even though sometimes it's to keep me going to keep them toned! :)
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 4:50 PM