Happy Halloween Everyone!
In honor of this spooktakular holiday lets do some randoms......
If you know me from the FB you know last night around 8pm I was in line at Wal-Mart buying pumpkin carving kits. What you don't know is what I was outfitted in.
Hot pink flip flops.
Bright Red 2007 Phillies T-Shirt.
Dark Blue Fleece.
I have no shame.
The best part? I was dressed better than most of the people that were standing in line with me.
I found out the other day that a guy I dated, briefly, in high school got married.
To a guy.
A Hot guy.
The pictures were GORGEOUS!!
My Starbucks' cup this morning had the same quote as the one from last week. I thought that maybe they just produced sleeves and sleeves of the same quote and they hadn't run out yet. I bought coffee for a friend this morning, too. His cup, totally different.
What are the odds?
I've decided that if my husband were to ever leave me I would rather he leave me for another man than another woman.
I've found this to be the consensus with my co-workers, as well, about their spouses.
Everyone around me is pregnant. Literally. Two family members. 4 or 5 friends. All of them. PREGNANT.
I am staying FAR away from my husband. And I may double up on bcps each day!
I started my Christmas shopping this week. Because FYI Christmas is less than 60 days away. Actually as of this moment right now, Christmas is 54 days 16 hours and 50 minutes away.
Election day is Tuesday. Not only am I excited to bring my son into the voting booth with me but I get the day off! Bonus all around!!
Make sure you VOTE!!
With Christmas being so close and all, I've started the Christmas music.
That's right. You read that correctly. It puts me in a good mood so I play it!
I was up until 12:30 this morning making cupcake pops that look like pumpkins for my kids to take to daycare today. Then I got up at 4:30 to go to work. I am tired but running off some MAJOR caffeine.
Do you remember when it used to cost $20 to fill your tank and you thought that was a lot? Last night it cost me $40 bucks to fill my mini van and I was so happy that I almost got out of the car and kissed the gas attendant. Almost.
I didn't pay a cent for either of my kids' Halloween costumes this year and I am so unbelievably happy about that. I cannot even tell you!!
After wallowing for a week, I've been doing pretty good at staying positive. Actually, staying neutral. I don't think about it. Or I try not to and it appears to be working.
I keep busy and when I think about it, I try to be really positive.
What I've discovered as an added bonus is that I have some of the most wonderfully supportive, funny and compassionate friends and family in the world. I knew that but this whole experience has just reaffirmed it. I am incredibly lucky.
We were supposed to go apple picking with friends this past weekend but it rained all day Saturday. We had a party instead. I am so glad it rained.
I am really looking forward to Thanksgiving. I love the food. But this year we're taking the boy into the city for the parade and I cannot wait. This was something I did as a child with my dad and cousins and I loved it. I want him to love it, too.
Truth be told, I am not looking forward to tonight. I can't wait to see the kids all dressed up in their respective, free, costumes. But I really don't feel like Trick or Treating or dealing with the candy high that will inevitably ensue!
Have a great weekend! Happy Halloween! Happy November! Happy Thoughts all around!!
Friday, October 31, 2008
Happy Halloween Everyone!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 7:54 AM
Monday, October 27, 2008
I cannot allow myself to sit and think about whether or not I have cancer for the next two months.
Do you know how freaking crazy that will make me?!?!
I cannot allow myself to NOT sit and think about whether or not I have cancer for the next two months.
Do you know how really freaking crazy that will make me?!?!
Have you read Leendaluu? She's great. She's funny. Smart. Tons of great things to share. I really enjoy reading her. She left me a comment the other day advising me to set aside time each day to think about what's going on and then move on.
At first, I thought that was crazy. I'm going to schedule time to think about cancer and worst case scenarios? I shouldn't be worrying.
Uh, yeah, all I've been doing is thinking about it. It invades my thoughts. It invades my days and nights. It has wrapped itself around my brain, my heart, my soul.
And it is making me CRAZY. I cannot do this for the next two months.
So, I've decided. I've made a decision.
I am giving myself 30 minutes each day. I get to dwell for 30 minutes. I get to think. I get to wallow. I can use my 30 minutes to research. To talk. To just focus on it.
Then I'm done for the day.
Will this work every single day? No, of course not. I'm pretty realistic about it. There are going to be days where I will not be able to erase the thought of what could be from my brain. And I am hoping that there will be days where the thoughts won't even enter my head.
It's kind of like dieting. You cannot deny yourself completely because then you binge and it all ends badly. If I keep myself from thinking about it completely for the next two months I will break down. It will make my head explode.
30 minutes a day.
And there's more.
I need distractions. I need something other than what has always been there to keep my mind from everything new. I'm getting up and moving. I'm turning over a semi new leaf. It's about reconnecting with my physical self.
I've been offered a coaching job. Coaching rowing for underprivileged girls. I've decided to try and financially swing a gym. Probably a place like Curves, nothing major.
I cannot change the fact that I might have cancer. If it is there then it's there. That's it.
Plain and simple.
I cannot dwell on it, either. I have to live.
So, I am going to.
30 minutes a day I get to dwell and focus. For the other 1,410 minutes I am going to do my very best to live.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 7:35 AM
Friday, October 24, 2008
I have to say thank you so very much to each and every one of you who sent me an email, called me, text messaged me, commented, im'd me, facebooked me, etc. Your words, your thoughts, your prayers, everything has meant so very much to me and I am so grateful and honored to know that I have your support and kindness. I am blessed to have such wonderful people in my life! Thank you! I cannot say that enough!! THANK YOU!!
Have you ever seen that episode of "Friends" where Phoebe is on hold because the warranty on her phone is running out and her phone is broken? She is waiting and waiting. Skips part of what's going on with the other friends because she doesn't want to lose her place in line.
That's how the past few days have felt. I have a feeling, if I allow it, that's how the next two months will feel, too.
I saw my doctor. Part of me thought I was going to get in there, she was going to check me and look at me and say, "You're so silly to be worried! Your breasts are perfect!!"
I currently have a 1cm cyst. Nothing major. Nothing great. The concern is that the discomfort, pain and tenderness I've been experience is not related to the cyst. She's unsure of what it's related to.
So, we wait. 2 months.
Not great news. Not terrible news.
Not completely sure how to feel.
I have relief. I feel as though it's temporary.
I still have fear. I cannot live in that.
I have worry. If I allow it, that will consume me.
I am doing everything in my power to be as positive as possible about this. I am doing all that I can to remember that she did not tell me that I have cancer. But she also did not tell me that I do not. I am doing all that I can to put this into the recesses of my mind until December 22nd.
But it's hard. It's hard to live with knowing. It's hard to think about what's there and what could be there. It's hard because I have a feeling and I hate the feeling. I have this feeling that it is something more. It is in my gut. It is in my heart. It is in all that I am.
I don't know why.
I do know that I cannot live that for the next two months. I cannot live each and every day thinking about what could be growing. I cannot live each moment full of worry.
It gets me absolutely no where.
Today is what it is.
There is something. I am not crazy. There was a reason I checked myself and there is reason for each and every thing that results.
It is what it is and I will deal with it as it comes.
I will not allow myself and my life to be completely consumed by this. If I do that than I am not really living. I am simply surviving and I cannot allow that.
Everything changed when I did that exam and it will keep changing but I will not live in worry until the next big change.
I will just live because it is what it is and right now I cannot change that.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:47 PM
This was on my Starbucks' Cup this morning.
The irony of it all and the fact that I'm going to get checked today does not escape me.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 8:14 AM
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
So, I've thought about how to begin this post 42 times today.
I've thought about the title.
I've thought about what I wanted to say.
I've thought about the fact that there probably was going to be no flowery language this time around.
I've thought about the fact that I wanted to interject humor because I use humor to deal with everything.
I've thought about wanting to interject awareness.
And now I'm here.
And now I'm just going to write. I'm just going to tell you.
Monday night I couldn't really find much of anything to watch on TV so I turned to my trusty TiVo. I LOVE the suggestion folder on TiVo. Most times. Lately, TiVo has been recording QVC and the music channels for us. I have no idea why. It's like that episode of King of Queens where Spence's TiVo records all shows that lead to everyone thinking he's homosexual. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)
I turned to TiVo and my suggestions. I passed over the endless Dora, Yo Gabba Gabba's and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and found "Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy". I watched this when it originally aired and I decided to watch it again. I liked it the first time.
So, I watched. And I cried. And I enjoyed it again.
Went to bed that night and decided that I should do a self exam on myself. Especially since the last time I did one was, oh, 3 years ago. (PS- TOTALLY should be done every month!!!)
My left side was fine. I never know what I'm feeling but it hasn't appeared to change so I guess it's ok. Right?
On to the right.
I moved into my armpit. And that's where it all changed.
I don't know what I felt. I don't know if it was a lump or a mass or what. All I know is that it was PAIN. I mean really.
Tender. Hurt. Pain.
It went from under my arm to my right boob. And damn, it hurt to be touched. So I stopped touching it.
I asked the husband to checking. Assuming he had these soft cotton ball fingers. Uh, yeah, no such luck. He tried to check it. He tried to feel, as well. Again, pain.
I made him stop.
The next morning I called my doctor. Of course she was closed for the day. Of course. I spent the day in waiting. It gave me time to think.
A week and a half ago the husband and I were in bed. Just laying there. It was probably the first time we had been in bed together, awake at the same time, in weeks! We were laying there and he rested his head kind of in my arm pit/on my shoulder. I had to make him move. It hurt so bad. It was painful and not in my shoulder. It was painful in the spot where it would be painful a week later during a random self exam.
Today, I called again. I got through to my doctor. My always overbooked but fabulous doctor. She got me in on Friday afternoon.
And now I wait in a holding pattern. I sit. I think. I try not to think. (That's actually not so hard.) I stay here and await Friday.
I have no expectations of Friday. Sure, I'm worried. But I know that I'll probably walk out of the doctor's office with a script for a bunch of tests and scans. I'll be in the same place that I am now, waiting. But at least my doctor will be involved.
I share this with you because any thoughts and prayers you can send would be wonderful. Appreciated more than I could ever say or express.
I share this with you because each and every one of you should be checking yourself. You should be doing your exam. You should be making sure you're ok and clear. And you should be telling everyone you know to do the same. Men included!! My grandfather had Breast Cancer.
I share this with you because I wanted to. I needed to. And I'm glad I did. I hope just one of you walks away from your computer and checks yourself. If that happens than sharing this fulfilled it's purpose.
So, go check yourself!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 7:36 PM
Monday, October 20, 2008
As a teacher I often think of the impact I have on my students. How will they remember me? What will they remember about the times they spent with me? Will they remember me at all?
I have the teachers that left their impacts. My second grade teacher I'll never forget because we, as a class, made her cry due to a poor performance at a school wide Stations of the Cross service.
My first grade teacher still keeps in touch with me through a teacher that I work with. She was one of the kindest nuns I knew.
My third grade teacher? We sent her into retirement. But she loved each and every one of us dearly. And made sure we knew it.
My sixth grade teacher got me in so much trouble at home that I had to write a letter apologizing for me behavior. I still maintain, to this day, that I did not talk or cause problems NEARLY as much as she claimed. Seriously.
My Senior year English teacher. Well, now, she's the one that got me to love real literature. She is THE teacher. The one I would thank if they shoved a video camera in my face on the street and asked me about that one teacher that had an impact. She had the ability to laugh with us and teach us at the same time. She was, is, strong and kind. She was scary, yet completely approachable.
Today is not about any of them.
Yesterday, the former Athletic Director and gym teacher from my high school succumbed to Pancreatic Cancer. She fought the good fight, as so many do. She saw Europe. She spent time with her family. She lived. And then she died.
I have fond memories of Fetrow. I also have not so fond memories of her. She could be a total B and she could be your very best friend. Most times it was the perfect balance.
She constantly wore these kelly green sweaters with yellow turtlenecks. Those were our school colors and if ever there was a proponent of our school it was Fetrow. She lived and breathed what we learned and stood for. And did it in green and "gold".
We made fun of her for that ensemble. She knew it. Most times she laughed right along with us.
She was the only person I knew that would order the Fish Sandwich at McDonald's- with extra Tartar Sauce!! Even now, as I laugh about it, I am dry heaving at the thought and memory of the smell of that sandwich.
She would talk of her children, endlessly. Share their travels and lives with us. She loved them completely and totally. She loved us, as her students, completely and totally. She shared with us her weekends. She spent endless hours at school. At sporting events. At other schools. At meetings. At the pub.
For those of us who were athletes she was our biggest supporter and sometimes our biggest enemy.
She went to bat for me. She stood up for me. I was a freshman. I was not doing well academically. Actually I was sucking wind. But I was doing well enough that I could still play basketball. I was a starter on junior varsity and a swing up to varsity on a regular basis. I was being groomed. The principal pulled me aside one day after class. That day would be my last game for at least two weeks. I was on academic probation because of my grades. (PS-the principal HATED me. Literally. Thought I was worthless.)
I informed the AD, Fetrow, that I was done for at least two weeks. No more practices or games. She did a little investigating. Apparently, there were girls on the team doing far worse than I was. They were allowed to play. There was no probation for them. Fetrow saved me.
I was back on the court in a week. I was back in practices. But, I was also in study hall. I was watched. My grades were coming up or she would take me off the team. She went to bat for me. It's what she did. It's why she was there.
Later that year when my parents went to surprise me with a jacket for basketball she made sure Varsity made it on the back rather than junior varsity. She built me up so that I would make it. She was disappointed when I allowed fear to overcome me and I left basketball.
Two years later when I "beat up" another school's mascot she stood up for me again. She defended me as the mascot and encouraged me. She commended my school spirit. She laughed and made sure I always had the equipment I needed.
The last time I saw Fetrow I was pregnant. She was driving around in golf cart on campus. Now that I think about it, it was probably just a short time after that when she received her initial diagnosis. She was wearing her green and gold. She was busy at a soccer game and a tennis match. But she stopped. We talked. She was excited that I was having a baby. She was genuine. She asked if I was playing any sports or anything like that. I laughed, looked at my protruding belly, and said 'not right now'.
That was it.
Fetrow wasn't the teacher that had the greatest impact on me. But the impact she had was important and memorable. And I will never forget the green and gold. Her green and gold.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 7:21 AM
Sunday, October 19, 2008
I've been having trouble writing lately. I really don't know why.
Things are pretty good. I think of things and I start posts and then I hit save and never return to them.
Some of them are crap. Some of them have the potential to be good. And some, well, I don't know about some them- they're gibberish!!
I have close to 600 items in my reader. I am reading. Slowly. Commenting is a bit hard but I'm trying. Even if you don't see me, I'm there.
I love TV. I have made this known before. I really do enjoy TV. I always have. It's a bit sad how much I enjoy it. I can almost always find something to watch.
I have been a fan of ER for quite some time. Since Dr. Greene and Dr. Ross. Since Carter and Weaver. Since the beginning. This is ER's final season. I'm a bit sad about it.
I watched it the other day, after my other favorite medical drama (Grey's), and it appears that Abby Lockhart has left the show. As she was leaving she did a voiceover of a reading from the book of Job.
I'm not familiar with Job. I have not really read much of it. Job had a hard time of things.
Abby Lockhart, the character, read part of chapter 38 and it just stuck with me. I don't know why. Maybe it was how she read it. Maybe it was because it was the show. Maybe it was simply the words.
It stuck with me.
It struck me.
I looked it up and I had to print it up. I love it. And I cannot fully explain why.
There is just something about it that touches me.
I cannot find the words right now to say much of anything. And that's not for any reason in particular. The words just aren't coming right now. It bothers me. I have to be patient, though. When the words need to come out, they will.
For right now, I'd like to share these words from Job that shook me:
Have you entered into the springs of the sea
Or walked in the recesses of the deep?
Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
Have you understood the expanse of the earth?
Tell Me, if you know all this.
Where is the way to the dwelling of light?
And darkness, where is its place,
That you may take it to its territory
And that you may discern the paths to its home?
You know, for you were born then,
And the number of your days is great!
I love all of it but the last two lines are my favorite. So hopeful.
We have so much to live for. So much to give to one another. So much to learn from one another.
And so many days to do it.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 12:30 AM
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Dear Significant Other of Someone Else,
If you knew what he said about you I have to believe you wouldn't be ok with it. If you knew that he called you weak and told others that you were not a good mom, I have to believe your heart would break. If you knew that he said you have no idea how to care for your children and that you have no idea what family is like, I have to believe you would be outraged.
I have to believe these things because I had all of those reactions and more when he said those things.
Does he say those things to you?
Does he share with you his views on women?
Does he share with you that he's told people he really does not care for you but wanted a second child?
Do those things ever come up in your "home"?
Are you ok with that?
I have to believe that if he has the cojones to say those things to strangers than he says them to you as well.
Those words have the power to kill. They have the power to sear and hurt. They have the power to crush one's spirit. And they have the power to induce nausea and sadness for a person that I've never even met.
Maybe you're ok with those word, these sentiments that he is perfectly ok with sharing. Maybe you feel that what he has to say is accurate. I hope not.
I hope I get to meet you one day. I don't know what I'd say but I hope I get to meet you. I hope I get to speak with you for even just a moment. Just an instant to see that you're ok. A second to see that you're not being crushed by his words. A wrinkle in time to see that he hasn't broken your spirit. Anything to let me know that maybe, just maybe, he is not the total and complete asshole that he has revealed himself to be to me.
What will it take? When will the lies end? What needs to happen for you to see?
Does he need to physically hurt you for you to finally walk away? Aren't his words and lack of actions enough?
Does he need to take you completely away from your friends and family before you can see that maybe it's just not right? Isn't enough that you haven't spoken to half of us in more than a year?
How long will you wait around for him to grow up and start treating your right?
When will it go from 'it's complicated' to 'it's over'?
It's so hard to sit on the outside and see what is happening. It is so easy for me to say I see where and when and how it all went wrong. It is so easy for me to see what he's doing and what you're ignoring. It is so easy for me to watch, yet it is so unbelievably hard.
You deserve more. You will not end up alone. You will find what is right for you. He is not.
You are not like her. Her life is not your future. There is a lifetime of happiness and joy waiting for you. I just wish you could move beyond the beast and see it.
It will be hard. It will be the saddest you've ever been. It will be life changing and depressing. But it will be exactly what you need and exactly what is supposed to happen.
Why didn't you call him? OR did you? Why didn't he show up when you were hurt? Why wasn't he there and don't tell me that you didn't bother to call. Nothing lines up anymore. Nothing makes sense from you and I am afraid of what you are hiding.
Living in hiding is no way to live. It is not living.
Come out of the hiding. We have always been here for you and always will be. He's not worth it.
I know. You're not worth it. I won't get roped in again.
Thank you for sticking around. Thank you for reading and commenting. Thank you for just being and sharing. I've been silent lately. I've been sporadic in my blogging and my reading. I am grateful for each and every one of you.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 7:28 PM
Friday, October 10, 2008
I've talked about positive thinking before.
It's all related to him. I blame him for not allowing me to wallow for nearly as long as I used to.
I also thank him.
October 27th is fast approaching. It will be one year since I was in a major car accident that changed everything.
I have passed other milestones along the way from other events. My daughter's first birthday. The one year anniversary of my last radiation which also happened to be the end of the time limit on my "not allowed to get pregnant" time. The one year anniversary of starting a job that I am finally happy in.
Other milestones will come over the next months.
I've been thinking a lot about where I was a year ago and what the past 12 months have brought. I was in such a different place. I was such a different person.
I was on the cusp of change waiting for it to come. I hadn't realized that I needed to make change happen. I had to bring the change to me.
Thank God I did.
I get to the end of my work week and I think about the weekend ahead. It makes me tired. I think about the fact that my husband won't be home with me and I'd really just like to sleep until 11. I know that won't happen. I think about the past week and the good points and the not so good points. I think about how tired I am. I think about the break that I want. The stoppage of time that will never come.
I get to the end of my work week and after I've wallowed momentarily, since I can't wallow for much more than that any longer thanks to him, I am excited. The prospect of moments alone with my children. The idea of hours spent with family sitting around the house or out and about. The notion of sleeping past 4:45am. All of it excites me.
The more and more I think about where I was 12 months ago and where I am now the more I see how the power of positive thinking really works.
Things are not always roses and teddy bears. I still have bills(too many) and I work too much (sometimes). I still have those days where I just want to stay under the covers all day and not face the world. Those moments of sadness and depression that were ever present and constant one and two years ago are few and far between now but they do still make appearances. They just don't get to stay as long.
Every school has students that are total pains in the ass. Every teacher has kids that sit in their classroom and make them want to re consider their career choice. It is what it is. But what I'm finding is that it's all in how you approach these kids. It's in how you handle them and deal with them. It's how you react to them.
I've been teaching for more than 5 years and I'm just learning that. I'm learning it because it's universal. It's applicable to every aspect of life. It's necessary to understand for every part of who we are and what we encounter.
It's all about how you respond. It's in how you deal with things. It's in how you react.
My reactions have changed over the past year. Every time something would knock me down I would become a bit more defeated. A bit more wallowing would ensue.
It's not like that anymore. The reactions are different and that makes everything else different.
I feel like I've painted this picture of pure and total happiness. It's not. But it's pretty good. Things are on an upswing and I'm planning on having them continue.
I get to the end of my work week or I hear the alarm at 4:45 and I'm tired. I want to sleep. But I am so unbelievably grateful for that exhaustion because it means that I've reacted in ways that have kept me active and positive. And plus, I'm awake and alive.
Who could ask for more?
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 7:22 AM
Sunday, October 5, 2008
I haven't been posting regularly. Things are just so busy. Busy good. But busy, nonetheless. I've had a lot to say, just not a lot of time to say it!! Hopefully, I'll be getting into the swing of things again soon!
Today, two friends and I took our kids to a large, giant, festival about 40 minutes from where we live. We were looking forward to a lot of fun and time outside.
We got both those things.
We also received an extra added bonus which I'd like to share with you.
Between us we have three kids- my two, and one other. My one friend doesn't have kids yet. We opted to bring just my double stroller and figured that the boy would want to walk everywhere. Which he did.
What we found, though, was that he wanted to walk on his own and be a "big boy". I get that. He is all about independence nowadays. (If only he'd independently stop pooping his pants!!) Needless to say we had hand holding issues. Meaning, we wanted him to and he didn't want to.
There were a TON of people there. Seriously. Most of the streets were shut down so people could walk right down the middle and the sides were lined with different vendors. Well, the middle, the sides, everywhere was FULL of people. It was really like standing in line and shuffling along. Having a child "free" and unwilling to hold your hand was not only annoying but also frightening.
You just never know what's going to happen.
My friend happened to bring a "leash" or tether for her child. She had planned to use it in case her child didn't want to be in the stroller.
Now, I'm not a fan of these. At all. The image bothers me. The idea of my child on a leash upsets me. I just don't like them. I've seen the cute ones that look like backpacks and have teddy bears on them. I've seen the coiled ones that look like phone cords. I just don't like them.
My friend's child never really wanted to walk or run, unless we were on the playground, so the leash was unnecessary. Or so we thought.
The boy had wandered a bit too far, one too many times. My heart couldn't take it anymore. My nerves were shot. My friend offered to tether to the boy while I pushed the stroller. She made it a game. She made it so that she and the boy had matching "bracelets". He LOVED it! Didn't even realize that he was "attached" to someone and when he noticed it, he played with it.
I was not completely ok with the leash BUT I was much more at ease with him on it. I was much more comfortable knowing that there was no way a stranger could easily walk away with him. I was calmer knowing that I didn't have to stop every 20 steps to make sure I knew exactly where the boy was. I was just feeling better about the whole experience.
We were walking through part of the festival when I passed two young women, childless at that moment. These two young women looked like they were early to mid 20s. If they were married, their significant others were not with them. And if they had children, they were not with them either. My friend walked ahead of me and the stroller with the boy right next to her. As they passed these two young women one of the women decided it was her God given right to pass judgment, out loud, on us as parents, "Your kid on a leash! That's real nice! Ridiculous, who puts their kid on a leash?"
I literally had to wrap my hands around handle of the stroller so as to stop myself from turning around, pulling her greasy, stringy, hair, ripping off her giant "bug-like" sun glasses, and screaming at her. I turned to my other friend and said, "Did you hear her? Did you catch that?" She hadn't. She missed what Dirty McJudgy had to say about my son on the leash. I filled her in, as loudly as possible knowing full well McJudgy was right behind us. And then we walked away.
I don't know what bothered me more, the fact that she felt it was ok to let her opinion, her judgment, be known in such a loud and obvious manner. Or that 6 years ago that might have been me.
I have always expressed my thoughts on child leashes, tethers. I may have even expressed them in the same manner that McJudgy decided to express them. I may have been that bitchy girl at the festival or the mall who decided it was her God given right to pass judgment on the parents who felt that the tether was necessary. I hope not, but I can't say for sure.
I used to feel that tethers were used because parents could not control their children. That clearly, they had no discipline and never ever listened. I assured myself that I would never leash my child like a dog.
I had also assured myself, in my pre-parent days, that my children would be potty trained by age 2. We all know how well that's working out for me!!
Today, I had to use the tether on my son. I think we used it for maybe 15 minutes. He got a kick out of it and I was able to relax and know that he was right next to me. I was not happy about it but it was necessary. It was not my first choice but it worked really well and I am grateful that my friend had it. I'm not running out to purchase one of my own. I did it because in the excitement of the day the boy was overwhelmed. He listened very well, on and off the leash. He was on best behavior. He just was so excited to see everything that he would lose himself in the moment. I didn't want to lose him at all.
I got a glimpse of myself, the much dirtier and stringier version, today. A blast from the past, if you will.
I had grand ideas before I had kids. I had these notions that while it would be hard, it would also be roses and buttercream filled chocolates (my favorites!). I knew that my kids would never experience the terrible twos. (My 18 month old has recently decorated our lovely walls with shades of crayola green and blue.) I was convinced that I would be that mom who had the spotless house and never more than one load of laundry to do. (The pile outside my laundry room is scandalous and my house FINALLY got cleaned today for the first time since school started!) I really thought that it would be different and never once did I stop to consider what it would REALLY be like.
I really wanted to stop that young woman and let her know I was just like her. I wanted her to see that while she thought it was close to child abuse to have my son on a leash, it was a protective measure. It was about making sure I left the festival with the same amount of kids that I showed up with. It was about staying sane and safe. It was about surviving and sometimes parenting is about just surviving.
I wanted to make her see.
I couldn't. It's not my job. My job is to be the best parent I can be. To care for my children in the best way possible. To protect them as best as I can while also giving them confidence and independence.
My job is to recognize that the girl walking by who has no idea about anything else doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. I have to be able to look myself in the mirror each day and I have to be able to say that I did my very best and what was right for me and my family.
Putting my kid on a leash or tether was what right for me today.
I'm ok with that because he's home with me and not lost. I'm ok with that because we had a good time today. I'm ok with that because I received a picture of what I once was and I was able to see what I am now.
I'm much happier.
And now I know I don't have to get a dog, I can just put the boy on a leash and he's more than happy to chase after frisbees and tennis balls! :)
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 6:46 PM