Wednesday, December 30, 2009
It starts with a few unreturned phone calls.
Maybe some ignored texts.
Then the cancellations.
Outings with others, people left out. Ignored.
The obligatory brief emails. Updates on crap that doesn't even matter. The big stuff was missed.
Random chats. Occasional facebook posts.
The meaning is gone.
It becomes forced. Pushed. There is nothing to talk about.
Nothing to say.
Where once there was laughter and endless chats.
There is nothing.
But was there ever really anything? Was it real? Was is EVER there?
Sure. There was something. But it just wasn't meant to be. And it's sad and okay all at once.
And it's not because the ending wasn't natural. But it happened, and it's done.
And we continue to force and push because we think we're supposed to.
But what if we just left it alone?
What would happen then?
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 7:44 PM
Monday, December 28, 2009
I just realized that I never gave anyone on here an update.
Everything came out all clear. Best Christmas present, EVER!
I'm now on a yearly schedule for screening and I am in the clear until next December!
Thank you so much for all of your kind words and thoughts and prayers. I am truly blessed and grateful for all of you!!
Here's to a Wonderfully Happy and Healthy New Year 2010!!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 8:10 PM
Monday, December 21, 2009
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 12:44 PM
Friday, December 18, 2009
Yesterday was a terrible no good very bad day for me for no other reason except that I let myself get so down and sad that I couldn't pull myself out.
It started in the morning, some song- wish I could remember which one, came on the radio on my way into work. And then my mind wandered. And then the tears. And then the downward slump.
And that's where I stayed for a lot of the day.
I left work to get some stuff to get ready for my best friend's birthday. She turned 40 today. I wanted to get her gift and some gag stuff and decorations. I was still down.
I came back to work to get ready for basketball practice and a friend of mine, a teacher from my department, was staying late to help the seniors decorate for the hallway competition.
He and I sat on the floor of the school, watching his current students and my former students decorating for Christmas, and we just talked. He was going to his wife's work dinner- she works with a bird sanctuary. We joked about how awkward it would be to eat any type of bird at the dinner. We laughed and really talked about nothing in particular.
And I walked away significantly lighter.
Last night, I had a conversation with another co-worker/friend with whom I've been struggling and it was normal and fun. I walked away even lighter.
I stopped to get more decorations for my friend's birthday. I thought of how wonderful she has been. I can't even begin to tell you how grateful I am to have a friend like her. She has been incredible and I am extremely blessed. I realized how lucky I am as I walked through the dollar store. And I headed home feeling that much better.
I got home and my husband listened as I described my sad day that was only sad because I allowed it to be. And he just listened. He didn't offer me a solution. He didn't say it was going to be ok. He. Just. Listened.
And I was relieved.
This morning I came into work and there was a six pack of Guinness on the floor of my room with the kindest card.
And, again, I came to see how lucky I am. I am surrounded by the most incredible people. I am supported by the most wonderful friends and family.
I am lucky.
I have no idea what Tuesday will bring.
I don't want to hear that it's going to be ok because no one really knows that. I don't know what lies ahead of me after my tests on Tuesday but I know, more than I know anything else, that I will have the most incredible support system regardless of what the outcome of all of this is.
And for that I am lighter and happier.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:37 AM
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
So, the mammogram happened. And it was fast. And painful. Really uncomfortable.
And then the waiting began. And when it went on I thought there was little reason to worry.
No news = Good news. Or that's what they say.
No news = Slow radiologist and double checking and checking over and a weekend.
No news = a phone call on Monday morning. "You need come back. The films showed something. The radiologist wants more. 45 minutes of tests. You'll leave with results."
Breathe in and then breathe out.
One day at time is how it's been. A very slow one day at a time.
Tuesday. It was their first available. I begged. I pleaded. I played the age card. There. Was. Nothing.
And now I wait.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:42 PM
Friday, December 11, 2009
This Has been Cross Posted At My New Blog: The Dirty Thirty Tridea
Go ahead over and see what else we have to offer!
We've touched on the fact that I'm a weight loser. Since last January I've lost close to 40 pounds. I've put a few back on but I'm looking to lose about 20 more and then maintain. I'd be happy then.
Or would I?
I have a terrible body image. Seriously. And I'm not saying this so you all- you know the 3 of you who read this besides me- will comment and tell me what a fabulous body I have. Believe me, I am very proud of how far I've come since starting my weight loss and exercise journey. But that doesn't mean I am happy with how I look.
I love that I've dropped close to 3 or 4 sizes- although the cost of new clothes has been difficult to wrap my head around.
I enjoy that I tend to have more energy than before- although that does mean that my kids take advantage of it and make me run all over the place after them. (I secretly enjoy that even though I pretend I don't.)
It makes me happy that I feel like I can hold my head up a bit higher than before because my confidence is greater- although it is starting to make my neck and back hurt, standing up straight all the time.
All of that being said, I still have this image of myself as this terrible fat person. I still look at pictures of myself and think I look terribly fat and out of proportion. I look in store windows and mirrors and sometimes just can't stand how I look.
And really, that bothers me.
At my heaviest (non-pregnant) I was well into the 200s. Now, I'm really not even near that- the 200s, that is. And what's funny is that even at that weight I thought I looked ok. I look back now and there are times when I did look ok but I can see myself behind the weight. I can see the person I'm in the process of becoming behind the too fat face and the extra wide hips and the super jiggly arms- which I still have, DAMMIT!
I wasn't lacking self-confidence, I was just viewing myself as an image that was probably better than what it truly was. Now, I can't escape the physical images I have of myself from then. I still see the super heavy me when I walk down the street. I can't stop viewing myself as obese and gross. I cannot let go of my fat image and I cannot figure out why.
Don't misunderstand what I'm saying here- I am confident in who I am as a person. This is not a crisis of personality or character. I know who I am as an individual and I am proud of everything I've accomplished and done- weight loss and non-weight loss related. I love myself for the most part. I just don't always love the way I look.
I feel like I have more "fat" days than skinny days. I constantly feel like I weigh 300 pounds- even though I've never come close to that. I constantly feel like my clothes don't look good on me and I'm readjusting myself and what I'm wearing. It's daily that I wake up and change my clothes- especially my shirts- 9 times because I never think they look ok. I still hate my thighs and forget about my hips- I've considered taking a vacuum to them and performing my own liposuction.
Is my poor self-image so bad that it limits what I do and who I see? No, it's not. This summer I wore a bikini for the first time since I was 6 but truthfully, I was completely uncomfortable in it. My chest was too small, my stomach not firm enough and my thighs too jiggly. But no one noticed that except me.
I am too critical of myself and I need to stop that.
When I set out on this journey I wanted to be healthy and I wanted to feel comfortable in my own skin. It's funny, in a lot of ways I feel like I've become more uncomfortable as I've lost weight. I've become more self-conscious as my body has taken on a more shapely form rather than the blob like form I felt I had before. I'm now at the point where I need to let go of the self-conscious and move more towards the self-accepting but actually doing that is much harder than saying it.
I don't worry about what other people think. But I worry too much about what I think and my thinking appears to be wrong.
I have a terrible body image and I'm not looking for a miracle to occur by completing this Triathlon but I am hoping that the journey I'm on will create in me an image that I can accept as real and true. I'm hoping that I can finally shed the pounds of fat that are really no longer on my body but are clearly occupying my mind.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 8:59 AM
Monday, December 7, 2009
I'm not one to get easily distracted. As a matter of fact, when I have something in my head it's often very hard for me to let go of it or forget about it.
I have been trying very hard since just before Thanksgiving to keep myself distracted.
I had been having some minor health problems and went, the day before turkey day, to have them checked out. I ended up having to get blood work done and start some new medication.
And make an appointment for another mammogram.
This will be my second. I'm not yet 30 and I'm fully aware that that shouldn't matter.
At any rate, I called and made my appointment- January 8th.
Wow, that's a lot of time to keep myself occupied and distracted. Christmas should be fun with that in the back of my brain.
Since finding out that I need another mammogram not a day has gone by where I have not thought about it and what it might bring with it.
*And before you chime in and tell me not to jump to conclusions, don't bother. They're my boobs and I need to be prepared for whatever may or may not come down the pike.*
Yesterday was the first day where it was not at the forefront of my mind. We had a small Christmas tree trimming gathering and I spent the day with family and friends. And I didn't think about my boobs and what may come until this morning as I drove into work.
Yesterday was a wonderful distraction. Yesterday was comfortable and easy and a reminder of everything I have to be thankful for and what I am blessed with. Yesterday was just what I needed just when I needed it.
That's why, today, I made another phone call.
I cannot keep distracting myself- not until January 8th. And it just seemed too long to wait for something that is fairly serious.
Apparently, it was all a misunderstanding. I was given an appointment for a routine mammogram. I should have been given an appointment for an emergency mammogram given my symptoms.
Tomorrow morning I get to get squeezed before work. No more waiting. No more distractions.
Because, really, I'm not easily distracted at all.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 8:50 PM
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Don't worry this isn't the post where I spew my Catholic views on Christ and Christmas.
Well, not totally.
This is my very favorite time of year. I adore the holidays and it has little to nothing to do with gifts or parties or anything like that.
This is a time of giving and compassion. This is a time of peace and family. This is a time of tradition and I am steeped in it.
Sadly, it is also a time of consumerism and greed. It is a time that rushes by because we do not stop to appreciate those things with which we have been blessed.
One of my favorite things to do is to set up our Nativity set. It was my favorite thing as a child, too. I used to play with the figurines and I was so excited on Christmas morning to see that Baby Jesus had been "born" into his spot between Mary and Joseph.
This year I find that people are putting out Christmas lights earlier and putting up trees before December 1st. And I cannot tell a lie....I love it.
But in the rush to get everything up and decorated I find that we are forgetting the true spirit of the season.
I understand if you participate in the holiday for purely secular reasons. I don't agree with it but it's your choice.
One of my biggest pet peeves about this time of year, or really any time of year when this gets used, if when people decide to use Xmas instead of Christmas.
Is it really that difficult to write out or type out those few extra letters?
I have been seeing this in blog posts. I have seen this on assignments my students are doing. I have even seen this on CHRISTMAS cards.
ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!
You can write out more than a handful of cards to random people that you barely know and never see but you can't write out the word Christ?!?! Really?!?! Are you opposed to it? Do you not believe in Christ?
Well, then maybe this holiday isn't for you.
Do we get that without Christ there is no Christmas?
Do we understand that Christmas is a celebration of CHRIST'S birth?
Do we get that at this time of year we need to slow down and reflect on those things and people and gifts (not material) that make our lives wonderful?
Is it really too much to write out Christ?!?! I mean really, come on!
Fine, be opposed to the Church. Hate the Catholic religion all you want- I don't agree with you but I will NOT force my belief system on to you.
But you know what? Christmas is NOT a Catholic holiday. It's a CHRISTian one.
I just don't understand how we cannot take the extra 3 second to write or type or text out the word Christmas instead of Xmas.
Maybe, just maybe, this holiday is not for you if you can't make that change.
Or maybe, just maybe, I'm crazy and spewing my religious venom all over the place.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 8:39 AM
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
This Could be fun..... Go Ahead, check it out...you KNOW you want to!
The Thirty Year Tridea .
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:26 PM
Monday, November 23, 2009
If there is one thing that I have learned in the almost 7 years that I've been married it's that I know very little about being married.
Every day I learn something new about marriage and my husband and how to make things work.
Our first year of marriage was hard work. Every year since then has been hard work but it has been worth it.
There are days that we argue.
There are days when we can't stop laughing with one another.
There are days when we don't even see each other.
There are days when my husband supports me.
There are days when I support my husband.
Today was one of those days.
My husband works hard. I mean really hard. He busts his ass at just about everything he does. He works two jobs and until recently he was in school full time, as well.
When we got married he was working in sales and was a top performer every year. The company he worked for SUCKED. In every single way this company sucked. When the opportunity arose for him to get out he jumped at it. It was an adjustment but we rolled with it and dealt with all of the changes that came with the new job, new company, new responsibilities, new schedule.
The new company was really great. Great people. Good pay. Great benefits. Okay schedule. Not bad commute. And my husband was really happy.
He moved up quickly. Raises and promotions. He was motivated to continue working hard and never looked back.
He was up for a pretty big promotion. A really big promotion that had all but been promised to him.
He had been groomed for this position. It. Was. His.
Until it wasn't.
Tonight he came home and it was time for me to support him. It was time for me to be there for him. It was time for me to put aside my crappy ass day and my ultra high stress level and listen as he ranted and raved about this "injustice".
And it is an injustice.
This sucks for him. He deserved this. He wanted this. And he is so very upset about not getting it.
Tonight, over dinner we talked. Or really he talked. I listened. I offered words of encouragement and sorrow. I shared his anger and his pain. And then offered optimism.
Maybe this is all for the best. He may not be getting a promotion- yet- but he got a raise and he is being moved closer to home.
That doesn't erase his need for comfort and compassion.
And it doesn't erase the fact that he needs to know why he passed over.
But tonight I learned that I am his compliment and he is mine.
Tonight he is hurting and I want to make it stop for him but all I can do is listen and offer some optimism.
And that is the something new I've learned today.
That, and sometimes it really sucks to get passed over for the one thing you wanted and deserved.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 7:55 PM
Friday, November 20, 2009
I am very fortunate. I know this. I remind myself of this constantly. I try, very hard, to make sure that I give back and say thank you for all that I've been given and blessed with.
Last night I was reminded, again, how lucky I am in the friends that I've been blessed with.
We gave our dog back last night. Her foster mom came to get her and in a matter of minutes we were dogless.
My son was sad. Very sad.
My husband was said when he got home after work and saw we were without dog.
I was sad when there was no little furry friend curled up on the couch with me.
My daughter waved gleefully at the door as the dog walked away from us.
I had a friend over for a mini girls' night (the husband was working late) and she could have very easily detached herself from this whole situation and left. She didn't.
She stepped up and helped me console my son.
She held my daughter while I helped the boy say good-bye to his dog.
She consoled him while I loaded the pup's things into the foster mom's car.
She "held my hand" throughout the entire process.
She could have very easily gone home. She could have sat on the couch and watched TV. She could have ignored all of the goings on.
It is constantly and consistently amazing to me that the people who surround me have stepped up to the plate to help me and support me in times of joy AND times of sorrow.
Things have been good for us and we have been very fortunate, lucky even, and we have been surrounded by people- friends and family- who share in our good times.
When things do go wrong and we struggle or are hurting we are reminded of how truly fortunate we are. The same people who were there during the wonderful times are with us in the times of trying. Sometimes, they are even more present.
I am so very fortunate. I realized that, again, last night.
I realized it yesterday when I received an email from a friend whom I haven't seen in years. She was reaching out and putting me in contact with another mom who knew the ins and outs of food allergies and asthma.
I realized when I got into Facebook and there was a message from another blogger whom I've never met but share a connection with. She just wanted to let me know that she really felt we were friends and that I was special. ( She is too!)
I realized it as I planned the last minute details of my girls' night away for this weekend. Three very good friends and I will get the chance to spend time away from everything but each other and enjoy an evening out and overnight laughing, talking and sharing.
How do you not consider yourself fortunate after all of these things?
I am surrounded by people at home and at work who are amazingly caring and I am so very blessed.
When I sit down to celebrate Thanksgiving next week these are the people and things that I will be thankful for. My family's health and happiness, these are things that I am thankful for. Our continued love and devotion to one another, these are things that I am grateful for.
I am very fortunate and I am blessed.
We all are.
I need to make sure that I remind myself of that and give back in honor of those blessings.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:54 AM
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
We got a dog and as quickly as she came, she will be going.
Before you jump to every conclusion you can think of let me tell you a few things:
My husband and I discussed this quite a bit
We searched for just the right dog and made sure our kids met the dog first
We prepared ourselves for the work and time commitment necessary for having the dog
We readied our home and our hearts for the pup
And we got images in our heads of how this was going to go and hoped for the best.
We brought Tilly home on Monday night and tomorrow morning I will call her foster parents and let them know that this will not work.
It's not about the 5am walks.
It's not about the poop and pee (outside only).
It's not about the afternoons at the dog park.
It's not about any of that.
Our daughter is so terrified of the dog that she refuses to be in the same room with the animal.
But our son is so in love with the dog that he wants her to sleep in his bed with him.
Did we make a mistake getting a dog? No, I firmly believe we did not. I think the next few days, as we prepare to give Tilly back, will be hard but it is right thing to do.
Let me tell you something, though, Tilly is unbelievably smart and just a wonderful dog. Seriously.
I have struggled with this decision in certain respects. How do I disappoint one child when another one is so fearful that when I pick her up at school she greets me with, "Mommy, I don't want to keep the doggy"?
How do I leave one child alone with a new, unpredictable dog that is normally friendly and kind but could turn at any moment?
How do I leave one child upstairs to watch tv alone while I watch my other child with the new dog?
My husband wants this work. My husband wants my daughter to love this dog and get used to her. My husband thinks we just need to keep giving it time.
My daughter cries when she sees the dog in the car when I pick them up at daycare.
My daughter requests to sit on the counter in the kitchen while I cook dinner because then the dog can't get her.
My daughter requires that I carry her around so that the dog can't come anywhere near her.
Each day- and granted it's only been two- has gotten worse.
Right now, my daughter is on my left side in the dining room because the dog is on the couch sleeping soundly. She will not even entertain the idea of going near the couch.
This has been hard because I wanted this, too. I wanted it to work out and for our family to have a wonderful friendly pet. I had the image in my head that my husband did and it's not showing up for us.
And as quickly as she came, she will go and it will be sad and hard. But it is for the best. My children- one or both- come first at all times.
I fully intend to accept all responsibility for having to give Tilly back. I will not have my son resent my daughter for her fears just as I would not allow my daughter to resent her brother for his desire to keep the dog.
I'd rather they both hate me and deal with that. It's much easier because I'm secure in the knowledge that I've done what is absolutely the best for my children and my family and the dog.
Bye Tilly, you were a wonderful pet for the two days we had you. Now you belong with a family that will ALL love you and care for you.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 6:18 PM
Thursday, November 12, 2009
My initial urge, after phone calls were made and prescriptions dropped off and kids settled was to sit down and write about everything that went on yesterday afternoon.
I'm 24 hours into this now and I feel like I've gained a bit more perspective but not much. And now, maybe, I can write about it in a better way.
Yesterday I took my almost five year old son to see a specialist. He had to have his eczema re-evaluated and we needed to find a new course of treatment to try and help his skin and allergies. Plus, my husband was convinced that our son had Cystic Fibrosis and he wanted it explored.
He does not have CF- Thank GOD.
But the appointment that I had assumed would be simple and quick was far from either of those things.
I walked in expecting to get a new antihistamine and some new steroid creams. I left with 4 prescriptions, orders for bloodwork, and an appointment for a month from now for more tests.
And I walked out into a whole new world.
My son has severe tree nut allergies and an apple allergy, as well as moderate to severe asthma.
I have been trying to keep this in perspective.
My child does not have cancer.
My child is not dying.
My child is not suffering in pain.
But I cannot get away from the idea that if my child happens to eat something wrong he could die.
I cannot walk away from the pile of medications that is currently sitting on my dining room table.
I cannot throw away the allergy action plans that I've filled out for his school and my purse and my parents.
I'm 24 hours into this and I'm lost. I'm upset. I'm scared for my son.
My son is innocent to all of this and part of me is ok with that. The other part recognizes that I need to make him an active and responsible participant in his choices now.
I know that two weeks or a month from now this will all be routine. Supermarket trips will only take a little bit longer than they did last week instead of 4 times as long.
I know that I will have a list of foods and juices that he can eat freely and enjoy without worry.
I know that we will get into a groove with his medicine at night and the treatment for his skin.
I know all of this. But right now, I am having a hard time.
I worry about school, even though they have already placed a BRIGHT YELLOW sign with all of Nicholas' restrictions in his classroom.
I worry about eating out and what might have nuts or have been prepared on a machine that has traces of nuts.
I worry about him being different.
Could he outgrow this? Sure, but it doesn't appear likely.
Could it be that we never have to use his epi-pens? Of course, but I'm in the process of training everyone who will come into contact with him on how to use the pen.
Could I carry around his rescue inhaler forever and never have to give it to him? Yes, but I've still ordered all the necessary medical supplies needed to make sure he gets all the medicine he needs.
I'm 24 hours into this and our world has been flipped around and I worry for my little guy and how this is affecting him.
And I worry that a bite of a cupcake or an accidental sip of juice could turn our world upside down all over again.
And I'm trying to gain and keep my perspective because a few weeks from now this world won't be so new anymore. And hopefully not as scary.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 8:51 PM
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
This is still so very weird to me.
And it is so not about me.
I find my days are not really occupied with thoughts of the murder or who committed it.
But at night my brain and my heart race.
I put my children to bed and I kiss them goodnight. I think that because of a choice Jose may never be able to do this with his children again.
I lay in my bed and I try to put myself in his shoes. I cannot. What made him so angry? What made him break?
What made him become someone I never, ever, knew?
I see that horrendous picture of him and it is not the man I knew. Except for the glasses. Jose ALWAYS had glasses that never really "sat" on his face correctly.
It occupies my quiet time.
It surrounds my mind.
It breaks my heart.
I try to describe the man I knew. I try to tell people about the Jose who I met as a 12 year old and who asked about me and my children consistently.
I want to tell them about one of the kindest souls I knew.
I want them to understand that this man was good.
I want them to see the man I saw that night at the Easter Vigil with my friends. The man we supported when he chose to become Catholic.
But I cannot find the words.
They are there but I am trying to come up with words to convince people that the Jose I knew was NOT a murderer.
Except he is.
And this is not about me but I cannot get it out of my mind and my heart.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:32 PM
Saturday, October 24, 2009
I really debated about whether or not to write this or how to. I'm going to try and see where it goes.
I grew up in an idyllic town. Not perfect but far from dangerous. So when things go wrong in that town- where my parents still reside- it makes the news.
This weekend was no different.
If you are in North NJ you have most likely heard about this. If not, here is the story link:
I knew both men.
Fr. Ed Hinds was not someone I knew well but I had interacted with him many times over the years. Being a former parishoner and being a Catholic high school teacher, our paths would cross from time to time.
He helped to bury my grandmother when she passed away.
He was behind the scenes at my wedding making sure things were taken care of and going beyond his "duties" as a pastor and priest to help make the day wonderful.
He has been at mass at my school more than a handful of times over the past year.
And he was mercilessly killed by another man.
There are no words to express the shock and sadness that this death has brought to the community in which I was raised.
There is very little that is clear right now. There is very little that provides any type of answer.
There are so many questions and so much left to be figured out.
There is so much pain and confusion.
And so much loss.
I knew Jose Feliciano. I did not know the man that murdered Fr. Ed Hinds. Sadly, it appears they are one in the same.
I met Jose as an 8th grader. As I grew, I came to know Jose as a compassionate and quiet man who was giving and welcoming. I worked with him during the summers. I joked with him after school with my friends.
I was there the night he became a Catholic.
I knew his wife and his children. He had met my son when the boy was only a few months old. Jose was there on my wedding day, as well. He had helped to get the church ready and then helped to clean it up.
Were we the best of friends? No. But Jose was the person who always asked how you were doing and was willing to talk and listen and help in any way he could.
That is the Jose I knew. This is also the Jose that will be prosecuted for murder- a murder he confessed to committing and will be tried for.
Tonight I sit here and I cannot begin to fathom how this comes to be. I cannot begin to understand how this man who worked tirelessly for his family and loved to be around people and joked with us could commit such a heinous crime.
But he did. He waved his Miranda rights. He confessed to this disgusting crime. And he is behind bars tonight.
I don't know when the Jose I knew "died" but clearly he did.
There is so much loss tonight and it will not go away easily. It cannot be packed up or ripped down as the police tape and command center will be.
The pain will not get washed away with the rain storms we are living with right now.
The sadness will dissipate but it cannot be blown away as the leaves are blown off the trees.
The idyllic place that provided me with cherished memories of childhood, my teen years and college homecomings is no longer all that idyllic.
We mourn the horrible death of a man who was quietly kind and showed his faith and dedication in simple ways.
We question how this all could have happened and we look for answers in any and every spot possible.
And really, right now, there is nothing.
There is loss and sadness and it needs to be embraced and dealt with. It needs to be accepted in order to even consider moving forward.
There are no words. To be quite frank, I'm surprised I got all of the above words out.
I used to laugh when people would talk about feeling like they were in a nightmare and they wanted to wake up. I keep thinking that this is all a horrible nightmare.
And any minute, we're all going to wake up and life will be idyllic.
But we won't and it's not.
Life does not have to be perfect to wonderful but a little less sadness right now would be appreciated.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:04 PM
Friday, October 23, 2009
I am not above bribery.
I use it on my kids. I use it on my husband. I use it on my friends.
I have no shame and I have no problem admitting that I use it freely and openly.
That being said, I have some of the most wonderful students around.
Teenagers are TOUGH. I thought that an almost 5 year old and an almost 3 year old were difficult, they've got nothing on teenagers. Especially teenagers who have no blood relation to me whatsoever.
I think teenagers want to please. They want people to praise them and recognize them. They want to be appreciated and have attention paid to them but more often than not they don't want to ask for it or do much for it.
I get that.
I work with very typical and very a-typical teenagers and for that I am BEYOND grateful.
I teach at a Catholic high school and I am a Theology teacher. To be quite frank, I'm usually the last class that kids want to take but one of the only classes they HAVE to take for four years straight.
I start off the year, sometimes, with the deck stacked against me.
Over the past few years, I've had some awesome students and some not so awesome students- both academically and personally. I count myself extremely lucky to be where I am with the kids that I'm with.
One of the big "pushes" that we're doing this year is to get kids to come to morning mass. Each morning we celebrate mass in our school chapel at 7:15am. It's early and I admit that I don't make it everyday. But it's really a very nice way to start the day.
Calming. Unifying. Energizing.
So, I've been trying to come up with ways to get kids to come to mass.
How do you get a 17 year old to school 40 minutes earlier AND get them to sit through a 20 minute mass?
This plagued me as I drove in each morning and home each afternoon.
This bounced around in my head as I lay in my bed each night and showered each morning.
It was everywhere.
And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. Or bagels, actually. (Either way it's 2000lbs)
I brought a bagel in for breakfast the other morning and as I was sitting at my desk one of my favorite- ok my favorite student- yes we have them- came into my room and we chatted. We chat almost every morning.
He bounces things off of me- emotions, thoughts, problems.
And I listen.
He watched me eat my bagel and I offered him half. He passed. Then a few minutes later, "Well, if you're really not going to eat it...." And he ate it. Saved me the calories.
And there it was.
Where there is food there is a teenager. Where there is a teenager there is food.
I don't give out extra credit points or grade points for going to church, I think it's a "conflict of interests". I am not above giving out food for going to church, though.
So, I gathered a small group of kids. Come to mass on Friday morning, I said to them.
Ok, they replied.
I didn't even have to promise food. They said ok, for me. Every Friday they promised to be there.
And then I promised food and their eyes lit up.
Today, was the first day. I got into work early. Hot bagels in hand. Orange juice. Apple juice. Cream cheese. Butter. A lovely little breakfast. I was worried.
Worried they would let me down.
Worried they wouldn't be there.
Worried I'd be "stuck" with bagels.
And then they filed into the chapel and my worries were erased.
I have some of the best students around and I am not above bribing them to join me in mass each week. There is a value to be found in spending some time in prayer and meditation first thing in the morning.
There is also value to be found in the time after prayer spent with bagels and juice and conversation. There is a recognition and attention that is given to even the smallest action- getting up early and coming to church- that is important.
I bribed my students to come to mass with me this morning, but I didn't have to. And for that I am grateful and lucky.
And I have every intention of doing it next week.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 8:45 AM
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Very rarely do I find it appropriate or necessary to comment on how other people parent their children. We are all doing the best we can and what is right for me and my family may not be right for anyone else's family.
So, I try my very best to keep my mouth shut in all instances.
There are exceptions.
I think it's ok for me to call the parent that beats the crap out their kid for any reason at all a bad parent.
I think it's perfectly acceptable for me to pass judgment on the parent that calls their kid horrible names and puts them down simply for the sake of putting them down. They are doing a shit job as a parent.
And today, I'm going to take a leap and be ok with myself when I say I witnessed some horrendous parenting today.
I took my kids to a party at a family member's house. It was mainly this family member's friends and their kids, with a few other family members thrown in. Honestly, it started out being a fun day. The kids were looking forward to it. I was looking forward to it.
Then Mother of the Year (MOTY) and her beast child showed up. Please understand this child is clearly a beast because her mother has allowed her to become one.
MOTY drops her kid inside with my family member and me and my kids and then proceeds to go out to her car and talk on the phone for 35 minutes!!
The beast child, who is bigger than my almost five year old son, will be three at the end of this month. She proceeded to pick up every knicknack and small object around the house and carry them on her person as if they were hers. When my family member tried to take them back, the beast refused and freaked out!
MOTY comes back inside and proceeds to demand coffee and sets up her Angel, or beast, with a juicebox while my children look on longingly. Never bothering to offer one to us.
The beast gets all up in my little one's face and tries to take her hot dog.
Now, anyone who knows my daughter knows that you do NOT take food from her. EVER. The beast didn't care- she wanted that hot dog.
And where was MOTY you ask?
The day went on. MOTY left again to take a phone call and never bothered to let anyone know she was leaving. Just walked away. Where was the beast? Taking glue and pouring it all over herself while she ate cheese balls and screamed at everyone to get her decorations for her pumpkin.
MOTY returned and grabbed her demanded coffee and plopped herself on the couch while the beast went in the backyard, in a nor'easter, with no jacket, no hat, no nothing, and my family member's full size German Shepard. Luckily, another mom was willing to go out there and supervise and offer the beast a jacket. I believe the beast's response was, "No, stupid!" MOTY handled that one by screaming at the beast 45 minutes later when the "caring" mom was able to talk with MOTY about the incident.
MOTY pushed everyone aside to get food for herself and demanded her child's juicebox when it was time to eat and then demanded a seat at the table for herself but wasn't overly concerned about the beast. Know why?
The beast was on the front porch, alone, pouring bubbles all over the floor. That was after she had tried to use the mini-pumpkins as bouncy balls.
MOTY disappeared again because it was time to talk about her extra-marital relationship or maybe it was her husband's or maybe it really didn't matter because at that point the beast was in the midst of mocking my daughter and taunting her with toys and candy that I wouldn't allow my child to have because, well, I don't want her to look like the beast.
It was time to go. I had to leave before I said something to MOTY about the fact that she basically dumped her beast on to people she barely knows so that she could go off and do whatever the hell she wanted all day.
Lucky for me, I was blocked in the driveway by, you guessed it, MOTY and the beast.
We said our good byes. We said our thank yous and nice to meet yous. We accepted cupcakes graciously and happily. The kids gave hugs and kisses and I apologized for having to jet before dessert. And then MOTY was asked to move her car.
And it seemed like it was going to be ok, she claimed she was leaving, too.
Not until she took 16 pictures of the cupcakes that she and the beast would be missing.
Not until she got another cup of coffee.
Not until she forced the beast to the bathroom.
Not until she argued with the beast to get her to put down the bubbles and put on her coat.
Not until she took another phone call.
Not until she got everyone to help her out to her car with the beast and their bag o tricks.
Not until she made my blood pressure go up so high that I was reminiscing about being on bed rest and seeing spots during my second pregnancy.
I had to hold myself back from getting out of my car. Thank God for text messaging, Mobile email and the DVD player in my minivan, otherwise you would have been hearing about me on the news tonight.
I drove home and I could not help but think about how this was something I had never ever experienced before. I had never been around a parent that was that lackadaisical. When I take my children to places where I know there will be a lot of unknowns, especially people, I take extra care to make sure I am with them constantly. I do this for their safety and comfort and also because it is no one else's responsibility to care for my children.
Did MOTY know that she had basically dumped her child on everyone else? Did she know that her child was misbehaved and rude? Did she know that her child was a bully and mean? Did she know that she left such a sour taste in my mouth and the mouths of my children that it still makes me sick to think about the events of today?
Does she have any idea that her crappy ass parenting is making her child a total raging beast and she's creating problems for herself more than anyone else?
Probably not, I think she's on the phone.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:11 PM
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Let's go for some randoms...haven't done those in awhile and I need to get some shit out of my head.....
* I am in loathe with my primary care doctor's office staff right now. This is nothing new. They are incompetent and lazy. And inevitably make me cry everytime I talk with them on the phone. Today was no exception.
* My son has some sort of cold/flu coming on and I am PRAYING it's not the swine flu.
* If it is the swine I'm hoping God is not "punishing" me for telling my son if he doesn't wash his hands he'll get the pig flu and his nose will turn into a snout
* My daughter is almost potty trained and I am hoping that this weekend will seal the deal.
* We have open house at work tonight for prospective students and parents. This is one of the longest days of the year.
* One of my co-workers wore sweats and sneakers to work today and has no intention of changing for the open house tonight. He's a history teacher.
* I have been in a cast and on crutches since Friday and I have managed to get myself dressed in professional clothes and NOT wear sneakers because I thought it would be inappropriate.
* I had planned on arriving late to work this morning, even called in and got coverage for my homeroom, but one of my co-workers happened to be behind me on the winding single lane road we both take to work and she tailgated me the ENTIRE way.
* I am still furious with the liar in my last post but they stepped up to the plate and have been beyond helpful this week. Although last week they didn't want to know me because I wasn't in "crisis" mode.
* This stupid ankle has put me in such a funk that all I want to do is go home each day and sleep.
* I've been sleeping on my couch because I can't do the steps in my house more than once a day and children can't join me on the couch and kick me in the leg.
* I'm going to a wedding on Sunday and I now have nothing to wear because not much goes with ankle casts and crutches
* My students decorated my crutches for me and I thought that was one of the sweetest things to happen this week
* My friends at work have been unbelievably helpful with anything I need and I could not be more grateful
* I was given two Xanax for my MRI on Friday but now I realize that I won't be in the tube completely so I really don't need them. I may hang on to them anyway.
* I feel like I shouldn't get to complain about this injury because I did it completely to myself.
* I just realized that unless you know me personally or on Facebook you probably have no idea what I'm talking about
* I broke my ankle Friday night at the Springsteen concert while dancing on the arms of a chair- I'm an idiot, I'm well aware.
* I would get right back up on that chair a million times over the show was that good and that worth it
* I have stopped drinking from Monday to Friday- alcohol that is
* I refused all painkillers from my doctor and I am just doping myself up on 800mgs of Advil- it doesn't help
* I was up until 3am in pain last night
* I really want to take my kids pumpkin picking and had planned to last weekend but as stated above, I'm an idiot and I dance on chairs and slip off of them
* I am just so tired
* I hate feeling like I'm invited or included as a second thought
* I hate feeling like things are my fault when someone else's conscience is guilty
* I really wish it was Friday
* I am so looking forward to happy hour on Friday after my MRI- I'll definitely need it
* My husband has been wonderful through all of this injury crap
* I can complain until the cows come home but in reality I am unbelievably lucky and have been shown that through my family and close friends who have really stepped up to the plate this week
And I've vented....not everything but enough so that when my next class walks through the door I don't explode at them as much as I may have.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:44 AM
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
What do you do when someone has lied to you?
What do you do when you find out that lie and it's thrown in your face with no regard for your feelings?
What do you do when the lie was pointless and stupid?
What do you do when it hurts so much that to look at the person every day makes you angry?
The friendship is over. The lie- the stupid stupid lie- sealed that deal.
The camaraderie is destroyed. The inability to be mature and honest killed that.
The hope of continued laughter and fun times is gone.
All over a lie. A stupid lie.
It's funny when I found out I wasn't surprised. It was like I had known all along that the lie had been told. I just figured that it would be covered up for longer, and in a better way.
It's only now, the day after, that I'm finding the hurt and sadness that comes along with the ending of a friendship. It's only now that I'm seeing the authentic nature of someone whom I admired and respected and, wrongly, trusted.
I hate lying in all forms but, really, if you're going to do it- do it up big and lie about something better than what was lied about.
I cannot even stand to look at you. I cannot stand to be in your presence. I cannot stand to hear your name. Just the thought of you, right now, makes me angry and hurt.
Why should I mourn this? I have a wonderful husband and family to go home to. I have incredible friends who have been there through good and bad and who do not lie to me. I have a support system outside of you that I can rely on for anything and everything.
Yet, the lie you told sucked the wind from my chest and broke my heart.
And it was just so stupid.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:11 AM
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Do you remember that scene from "It's a Wonderful Life" where Donna Reed, aka Mary Hatch Bailey, is fixing up the old Granville House after she and George have settled there? She's hanging wallpaper, she's painting, she's got kids hanging off of her yet she's able to do it all- and more.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 12:51 AM
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I had a meeting yesterday about my benefits.
I don't take medical from my job because my husband's is better and it would be silly to pay for a family plan at his work and not be on it.
Still, I had a meeting yesterday about my benefits. My dental. My health and my choice to waive those. My life insurance. And my newest one, my Critical Illness insurance.
Sounds like a fun and positive meeting, no?
Really, I thought it was going to be me going in, meeting with the rep, declining my health insurance and then signing the paper giving them permission to deduct for my dental and life and disability.
Not. So. Much.
First, I found out that I cannot add on medical next year if we decide to have another kid. Well, I can but I have to add on the premium, not the POS plan where I wouldn't have to pay. Ok, scratch secondary medical off my list.
Then, I come to find out if I ever want to add on medical- AT ALL- I have to prove that I'm the primary breadwinner. Duh, I'm teacher. Scratch that off my list.
Then, we start going through all of the questions and luckily my rep, whom I've never met before and really I wasn't too fond of when she forced me to take notes during the meeting, knew everything about my history and was kind enough to answer all of the questions without actually asking me them.
"Uh, yeah, that question about long term and lifelong illnesses and cancer- you might want to go back to that one."
"I had radiation treatments two years ago. I have a lifelong illness that will require daily medication fo-eva."
*Blank look* followed by, "But you're not even 30."
Can I get a hand to the forehead?!?!
"Um, Cancer and diseases don't actually discriminate by age anymore." Not that they ever did but clearly this woman was not firing on all cylinders.
"No, no of course not. I just..."
"Yeah, I know."
"Ok, we need to go way back. We need to introduce you to a few different insurance products."
"I don't want medical benefits. I just want life insurance above the basics."
"Let me tell you about Critical Illness coverage."
And there it was, my death. Laid out in front of me in a lovely packet with the tagline "Financial Protection for the Unexpected".
Awesome. And all before lunch.
After we discussed that and added that option on we moved on to Life Insurance which should really just be called "The Worst Way to Get Money, EVER!"
Currently, we get a base plan for life insurance. A standard number that equals a little bit more than our salary. Nothing spectacular, but still better than nothing in the event of the unexpected.
I went above and beyond that.
My family will be taken care of in the event of the unexpected. My children will have a sufficient amount of money to live on if I pass. My husband will have some funds there to make sure they are all able to live the lives they are accustomed to.
But they won't have me.
Call me crazy but I'm betting they'd rather have me. I hope.
I had to know if my co-workers had this same conversation. I had to know if there were others with this critical illness option.
Not many. We're a "lucky" few.
I walked into this meeting ready to sign a few papers, double check some names and social security numbers and confirm choices made three years ago when I was first hired.
I walked out of this meeting holding on to benefits that will keep my family safe and secure in the event of the unexpected that really is not so unexpected.
And all before lunch.
Mortality in the midday is never a good thing, I don't care how much the benefits pay out.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:38 AM
Friday, August 28, 2009
I had a wonderful night tonight.
I had a wonderful night last Friday night.
You are not going to ruin this for me.
I'm sorry we are not next to one another.'
I'm sorry I'm enjoying myself.
I'm sorry that I am going out and have good times and staying in and having good times.
You could be a part of it.
You don't call.
You don't make contact.
You don't make the effort.
I cannot do it all and I won't.
I will not stop enjoying myself simply because you're upset that I am.
Life is good.
Life is hard.
Sometimes life sucks.
Sometimes I just want to stay in bed and watch sad movies all day.
Sometimes I want to be boring.
Tonight I had a really good time and I won't allow it to be ruined.
You want to be involved and be a part of it?
You make the effort because I just can't anymore.
It's a two way street but for a long time the sign has been facing ONE WAY.
Two Way or No Way.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:52 PM
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 1:39 PM
Friday, August 7, 2009
Every so often I get the urge to re-do and redecorate. Normally, I can feed that urge with a new picture frame or maybe a new tablecloth or decoration.
Not so much right now.
We are in the midst of a major overhaul at the Mountain Momma household.
Currently, it's disaster central. Crap. Is. EVERYWHERE.
My free time? Non-existent. I'm either painting, putting something together, hauling something out, bringing something new in or at Target or Home Depot.
And I love it. And it provides me with some great stories. Target and Home Depot are like sociological petri dishes.
Currently, I have 22 cases of hardwood flooring in my dining room, eagerly awaiting installation.
I have random pieces of furniture all over my house because they are either waiting to be picked up or I've just picked them up from one of my Craigslist finds.
I have paint cans in different rooms waiting to be shaken, poured and rolled onto my walls.
And plastic bins. Tons of plastic bins with little boys and little girls clothing in it waiting to be put in the attic.
Freecycle.org has become my new BFF and Craigslist is singlehandedly, along with a former MTV VJ, responsible for providing me with all new, custom, furniture for my living room.
And I love it.
Why the change?
We decided to do the floors because our rugs are G-R-O-S-S courtesy of our two children, numerous parties and lack of a good stainfighter. From there, it just grew.
We're at the point where we are no longer in survival mode constantly with our kids. We are starting to look at things as more than just functional and how can our kids destroy it. We are captives of the housing market but we refuse to allow it to keep us from being comfortable and happy in our own home.
So, we redecorate.
There is a sense of comfort and calm that overtakes me when I think about our new floors and our new furniture and our new bedroom. Like we are shaking off the past few years. We are moving forward and not starting anew but refreshing.
It's time. It's exciting.
But, God, my house is a disaster and all I want to do is make is stop being a disaster.
Patience is a virtue. I do not possess it.
But I do possess a number of good stories that involve Hipsters and Home Depot. And, of course, that former MTV VJ- seriously.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 9:54 AM
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
My evenings this week are being spent at soccer camp.
This has very little to do with the fact that soccer is not one my favorite sports.
This has very little to do with the fact that my son is LOVING soccer camp.
This has very little to do with the fact that soccer camp the week after vacation is somewhat of a letdown when you've spent the previous 6 days on a sunny beach down the shore.
This has EVERYTHING to do with little girls who can be bitches at any age- apparently.
As a child, and even as a teen, I was never really part of any one group. I was excluded and it sucked.
It sucked not being invited to birthday parties or random sleepovers.
It sucked having to hear about said parties and sleepovers on Mondays and beyond.
It sucked being picked last for certain gym games. (Rarely ever basketball because I was GIANT in grade school)
It just was not fun being excluded. As a result, I'm very sensitive to it now both towards me and towards others.
I try very hard not to exclude others, ever, regardless of anything.
I make sure that I teach my children the same thing.
I will not permit my children to be the kids that exclude other children.
To be quite frank, I'd rather my children be excluded than exclude others, or be part of a group that exclude others.
But I hate to see my own kids excluded- especially intentionally.
So, at soccer camp there are moms and dads and siblings that sit on the sidelines and watch as these mini aspiring Beckhams and Peles run around after each other and after soccer balls. They are having a ton of fun.
On the sidelines we sit and play with our cellphones, we munch on snacks and sip on bottles of water and juice boxes. We snap photos and send them along to dads who can't be there or grandmas who love getting pictures of their soon-to-be soccer stars.
And we try to entertain the siblings on the sidelines.
My daughter is unique. Every child is. My little red head will approach just about any little kid and say hello and then do a little dance or sing a song. It's really quite cute.
Last night there were two little girls who were right around the girl's age who were playing together- having a great time. I encouraged the girl to head over and say hello, and she did.
She walked right up to them. She gave them a big wave and big hello. She did her little dance. She smiled. She giggled.
The little girls?
They literally turned their noses up and walked away hand in hand.
I picked up the girl who began to follow and had her come and sit with me and her dad.
I was in shock.
I wasn't aware that bitch came in size 3T, but apparently it does.
We went back to camp tonight and I thought it would be different. Maybe these little girls just needed to warm up or something.
Tonight it was 'Ring Around the Rosie'. These two little girls- the same from last night- came over to the tree where the girl was playing and began to sing this little song/game. The girl turned to her Pop-pop and told him the girls were playing and she began to sing the song.
Logic dictates that the two little girls would turn to my child and hold out their hands and invite her into their little circle.
The two pint-sized peaches did another round of the 'Rosie' and then the bigger of the two turned to the smaller and said, "We need someone else to play with" and looked right at my little red head eagerly waiting to play.
Then they walked away.
They walked over to their little brother, who was strapped into his stroller, and invited him to play.
I looked my mom and I believe my exact words were, "How the hell do they even know how to exclude someone at that age!?!? And so deliberately!"
"They have to learn it somewhere."
Exclusion is taught.
The only reason that exclusion comes in 2T and 3T is because it is learned from mommies and daddies who teach by example.
My dad, Pop-pop, and my daughter played a little 'Rosie' on their own and when the two exclusion twins came over and wanted to play they were welcomed.
I was never taught to exclude, I'll be damned if my children learn that.
Exclusion is not a phase. It is not something that little girls do because they don't know any better. It is not something that little boys do when they don't like the cartoon character on another little boy's shirt.
Exclusion is taught.
Exclusion is learned.
Exclusion is a family tradition that was never passed on to me and will never be passed on to my children.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:35 PM
Friday, July 24, 2009
I won my lawsuit from my car accident. I won a settlement for the damage done to my car, my family, my children.
All of it.
None of the money I won will give me back the months that I lost.
None of that money will give me back the hours spent in an ambulance and a hospital. Surgery and physical therapy. Painkillers. Crying. Days out of work. Pain to lift a container of milk.
None of it will take away the images or the memories.
None of it will give me back the moments that I lose every single time I drive that curve and see that car coming at us.
None of it will give me back the months I lost holding my baby daughter, comforting her, cradling her, rocking her.
The money was rewarded for many reasons, one of which was pain and suffering. The amount we received, I don't believe, equals the pain and suffering we actually endured at the hand of the other driver.
I rarely complain about my shoulder. I rarely talk about the ache that I feel when I carry one of my kids for too long on that side or on my shoulders.
I rarely complain about the pain that I feel when I put my purse or my briefcase on that side of my body.
I almost never talk about the pressure and pain that I have when it rains or snows or is humid and the weather changes so drastically that I have to pop 3 or 4 Motrin to help me deal.
The pain is real and I hate to think about it.
So, I've lost 35 plus pounds. I love that I've been so determined and driven to be able to do this. I love that I am in the best shape of my life. I love that I've wearing and shopping for clothes that I would never have dreamed of wearing before. I am just happy.
But I am in pain.
There is one pain that I will not discuss.
Leave if you want.
My knees are my weakness.
They are shot. Years of sports took care of that. Years of being overweight sealed the deal.
I had my worst knee reconstructed when I was 20. It was horrendous. Close to a year of physical therapy. Horrendous pain. Worrying about whether I'd walk again, let alone play sports. Horrible depression.
And the pain has returned. In both knees.
When I had my first done my ortho made it clear that once I was done having kids I needed to have both knees replaced.
REPLACED. I am not 75 years old.
I vowed never to return to him unless ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. (I love him. He is an AMAZING physician.)
Tomorrow, I am calling him.
It hurts when I stand.
It hurts when I sit.
It just plain hurts.
And I am completely fearful of what he is going to tell me.
I would relive my car accident.
I would tackle severe PPD all over again.
I would do just about anything to not have to worry about what he is going to tell me.
I love running
I love exercising.
I love being an athlete again.
He doesn't take those things away without good reason.
I am fairly certain my knees will present him with good reason.
I'm not done having children.
I'm not done running or shredding or doing jumping jacks.
I am just so afraid of the replacement.
I am just so afraid of what comes next.
But the pain.
The pain is just too much and for me to admit that lets me know that something is really wrong.
So, tomorrow I make my appointment. Then I go on vacation and I run.
I run on the streets.
I run on the sand.
I ignore the pain. I pop the pills. I pretend it's not there.
Nothing can make up for what could be lost if he says what I have a feeling he will say.
But I can no longer ignore the pain.
I'm facing it and dealing with it and I'm not even close to ready.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 12:08 AM
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Before we had kids of our own my husband had really never interacted with children on any type of level. He would spend time with my extended family but his interests never were surrounding the babies or little kids at the parties we would attend.
Since having kids, he has shown that he is an amazing father and provider and loves his children unceasingly and unconditionally.
There are days when he will be angry and frustrated with our kids and it shows. We both have them. But we always come back to the fact that he adores them and loves being able to spend time with them and play with them.
One of the things I have found since becoming a mom, and even for some time before that, is that I am constantly aware of children around me no matter where I go.
I see that child in the shopping cart who has managed to wriggle out of her seat belt and is reaching for the Oreos on the top shelf while her mom is bending down getting the whole grain organic graham crackers.
I spy out of the corner of my eye the child who has escaped his father's hand at the zoo and is now running straight for the penguin exhibit but doesn't see that the tram is coming right through that same path.
I notice the toddler who has managed to undo the lock on their front door and has escaped into the driveway in nothing but a pj shirt and a pull-up. Wait, that's my kid......
Anyway, I seem to have become more aware of kids around me because I have kids or maybe it's a mom thing or that nurture instinct.
I don't know.
I just know that I was convinced that my husband didn't have it because he never seemed to catch those things.
Last night we went out for ice cream and we were coming out of the ice cream parlor walking towards our car, our kids grasping our hands, when all of a sudden- literally split seconds- my husband handed me my son's hand and was chasing after a little boy sprinting across the parking lot.
All I heard was, "One second, hold on buddy, be careful." And then I looked my husband had put his body in between this little boy and the path of a car backing out of a spot.
The boy's parents were steps away but I guess didn't see the car or didn't realize their son would take off like that. I'm not really sure. But they smiled, grabbed their son's hand, and walked in to get ice cream.
And we got in our car and left.
I didn't say a word to my husband. There was nothing to say. He did what any parent would do.
Hopefully, what any decent human being would do.
His action, though, showed me that I haven't given my husband enough credit.
I often wonder if fatherhood has affected him in as great a way as motherhood has affected me. Everything is different because I'm a mom. Almost every choice I make and every step I consider I put my kids' and their well being first. Almost.
I know that my husband works hard, very hard, to make sure he can provide for our family. And I know that we are at the forefront of his mind. But I wonder if being a father is one of the first characteristics that he mentions when someone asks him to tell them a little bit about who he is.
I wonder if he says, "Well, I'm Mountain Dad and I've got two kids."
I wonder if he defines himself by his fatherhood status. Because sometimes, most times, I find that I'm defining myself by my motherhood status.
Last night I saw that fatherhood has affected my husband in a way that is different from what I had initially thought or expected. I saw that he, too, has become aware of other children and has emotionally opened himself to something that I don't think he ever thought he would.
It was a positive change that I saw in my husband last night. A refreshing one. One that made me love him that much more and made my respect for him grow that much more.
And it also made me feel good to realize and know that he is a dad all the time, not just when he needs to be.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 3:27 PM
Monday, July 13, 2009
I made my first trip in Babies R Us yesterday in probably more than a year.
The husband and I are finally getting around to childproofing our home. Our son was only born 4.5 years ago and our daughter 2.5 years ago.
The boy never really got into much of anything. Don't get me wrong he made messes and we had to put certain things up higher than others but true childproofing was almost unnecessary.
Then we had our daughter.
Oh. My. God.
If it is there, if it is available, if it can be gotten into, there is a very good chance she will get into it.
The weird part is that there is almost always a purpose. It's almost never just for shits and giggles that she does things.
She loves to go into the fridge That's probably he most favorite place to be. She always has a purpose in going into the fridge. 9 times out of 10 she's going into it to get something to eat. The other one time, she's looking for something to tempt her taste buds and just doesn't find it there. Inevitably, though, she leaves the door wide open and things in the freezer will melt or food will get left out. It's frustrating.
We bought a fridge "lock". This could work out well for my weight loss endeavors, too!
The garage is her second favorite place to go. We keep our juice boxes and older toys in the garage. We have plans for the garage but right now it's just storage. Many days I will find her sitting in the garage playing with a random toy that we haven't had out in months, or years, while sucking on a juice box.
We got a special lock specifically for the garage. I know either my husband or I are going to have problems figuring out how to work the stupid lock!
Her final favorite place? The bathroom. This child LOVES the bathroom and all that comes with it! She plays with the soap and the lotion. She's enamored with toilet paper. But what do I find her doing in the bathroom more than anything else? Going to the bathroom!!! She's sending me a message- It's potty time! How can I mad at a child who is effectively potty training herself?!?!
We have a lock for the bathroom doors and we use them but we're now moving forward with potty training boot camp. We go on vacation soon and it would be a lovely present to all involved to have all children OUT of diapers!!!
As I stood in front of the safety center at Babies R Us, with cribs and bedding to my left, I thought about the extreme differences in my two children. I thought for sure that we would of had to babyproof everything for our son and when we didn't I sat back and was certain that none of our other children would require babyproofing.
Boy, was I wrong!
At least we're prepared for the next one to come along because if number 2 has been like this I can't even imagine what number 3 will bring along!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:30 AM
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Tell me a story.
Tell me your story.
Write me your words. YOUR words. Not the words you think I want to read or the words you think you're supposed to write.
Write your words. Simple, but expressive.
I don't need veiled language. I don't want extensive and overly dramatic metaphors. I don't want you cover your story in bullshit.
I want to read what you have say. I want to hear what you want to share but I can't.
You want to share your story of your sordid past? Share it, but put it out there. Don't hide behind the words.
You want to tell me about your children and their lack or manners or their extensive achievements? Tell me and make it clear. Don't make me dig through piles of extra letters and phrases that only hide what you really want to say.
You want to express your undying love for your husband or your deep seeded anger and resentment towards him? I want to know about it. But make it real. Make it palpable not covert and confusing.
We are simple, at heart, yet complex in every single way. We have these stories to tell and we want to share them. Why do we cover our stories with drawn out words and phrases that only serve to mask the true story we are looking to share.
I have a story to tell. It is ever changing and developing.
You have a story to tell. It is complex and unique.
Do not hide yourself behind your words and your complexities. The stories need to be told and shared.
We want to hear them.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:20 PM
Friday, July 3, 2009
Been awhile, hasn't it?
Not much to talk about, I guess.
I could talk about the end of my school year and how it was welcomed but bittersweet because I do enjoy my job and my co-workers so much.
I could talk about my kids and how my daughter is off the wall but hysterical and my son is becoming more and more like a little boy than a toddler each day.
I could talk about my 35 pounds gone off my body and how I feel really good and how I want to keep pushing forward.
I'm just busy. I'm out there living it all and more and enjoying it. I want to write and I will. It's forthcoming.
But for now, tell me what have you been up to?
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 5:01 PM
Thursday, May 21, 2009
What do you do when you realize that your husband works too hard?
My husband works two jobs and is in school full-time. On his days off he's normally with the kids because I'm at work or at practice or a game or taking care of something for myself.
This past weekend we had a garage sale and I strong-armed him into taking the day off. That meant that the kids were in daycare an extra day last week but that really didn't matter. I wanted him home for his muscle and also because he hasn't had a Saturday off in months!!
He helped us set up and dragged things down from the attic and then he went inside and hung out. He cleaned. He played some PS3. He hung out with the kids- especially when they were in time out. He actually had a chance to relax.
This past Monday he played golf for the first time since the beginning of last summer. The kids went to daycare, again, an extra day. Again, doesn't matter- they'll be home with me tomorrow.
Monday night he was in such a good mood. He wasn't tired. The kids didn't frustrate him. He willingly and excitingly took them up for a bath. He was just so freaking pleasant to be around!!
It was nice to have him back.
Please don't misunderstand me, my husband is not a bad guy. He's not mean. He's not angry. He's just stressed. He's overworked. He's pushed quite a bit.
We all are.
I've come to the realization that maybe, just maybe, he's working a bit too hard. There is very little I can do about that, though. We need the extra money from his second job. We can't afford to put the kids in daycare full time. The second job is with his family and getting out of the family business is harder than it seems. And really, he enjoys working with his dad and brother.
I, so often, talk about taking time for myself and getting a break. But I've been so lax in recognizing that my husband needs the break just as much! He needs a true day off- no kids, no work, no nothing!
I wish there was more I could do to make that happen. I wish that he could have every Monday off to sleep in and play golf or go to the movies or simply lay on the couch and relax. It's just so hard to give that when we're spread so thin.
I think ahead to the coming weeks. Summer means a break for me, although I will be working part time. Summer means I am home much more. Summer means that we can finally relieve ourselves and break one another.
My husband was relaxed and calm and not stressed for two whole days and it was wonderful! He needs that more often. I need that more often.
I see Summer as my vacation and my chance to recharge. This summer it will also be his chance to relax and recharge, as well!!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 1:19 PM
Saturday, May 9, 2009
It's 20 minutes to midnight on Saturday night, May 9, 2009. My youngest child just ran the length of our hallway upstairs and climbed into bed with my husband. Tomorrow is Mother's Day and I am so looking forward to it.
We're not going to brunch.
There won't be any breakfast in bed.
My husband actually won't be home tomorrow morning. He has to work.
Tomorrow morning I plan on finishing things that my kids and I started today. Gifts.
I also plan on planting all of the Summer bulbs and plants that we've been collecting for the past few weeks.
Then my husband will be home and we'll join my parents and sister and we'll enjoy a family day.
Today, I spent my Mother's Day eve with my kids and it was pretty great. I can't lie, there were moments where I was ready to send both of my kids into the stratosphere because they had worn away my last nerve and were creating new ones for the sole purpose of wearing them away. But, for the most part, it was wonderful.
We ran a TON of errands.
We started and finished gifts for the mothers in our lives.
We spent the day together, just the three of us.
We ate lunch out.
We picked out flowers.
I disciplined. They ran off in random directions in the store warranting said discipline.
We spent the day as mommy and children and it was great.
My daughter woke up when my husband got home from work tonight, around 11pm. She came downstairs and sat with me and in those moments that she laid her carrot "red" head on my chest my heart swelled and then skipped a beat.
This is being a mommy.
My son did the same thing, and still does. He has those evenings where he cannot sleep or wakes at a respectable hour for us but terrible one for him. He will curl up on the couch or in bed with us and it is precious.
It is perfect.
Tomorrow is officially Mother's Day and I am so looking forward to every part of it. But today was Mother's Day for me and I loved all of it!
I'm not going to lie...sleeping in tomorrow would not be refused!
Happy Mother's Day to Everyone out there that deserves it! May your day be filled with wonderful moments of love and happiness!!
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 11:38 PM
Monday, May 4, 2009
So, I've been running.
There's a backstory.
Isn't there always?
When I was little I adored my grandparents on my mother's side. I would have rather been with my grandmother than with anyone else in the world. My grandfather used to pick me up from school sometimes and I loved it. For a period of my life we lived just blocks away from them.
Then we moved to NJ.
Then they moved to FL.
Many of my Summers were spent in Florida. It was fun. Coming home was horrible. I still adored them.
My father's parents? I loved them. It was nice seeing them. But they were different. It was a different relationship with them.
As a young child I saw them as less fun and the "B" grandparents.
All of that being said, there was something special between my grandfather, on my dad's side, and I.
There still is.
It's hard to describe. It's hard to put into words.
My grandfather is a craftsman. He builds things. He creates. When I was child, my grandfather created a doll cradle for me. It was, and is, gorgeous. He put my name on it. He decorated it especially for me.
And then my grandmother told him he had to make one for each of his granddaughters, not just me.
My daughter inherited that cradle and uses it in the same manner that I did, for her dolls.
I would venture to say that I was my grandfather's favorite. And, I'm not going to lie, I love that.
I came to appreciate my "B" grandparents as I grew older. I came to view my father's side of the family as something different than what I had on my mother's side and I came to see them as more than before.
I also came to recognize my grandfather as a wealth of knowledge, strength, and, most of all, love.
My grandfather, before I was born, battled colon cancer. He lost a large part of his digestive tract. He beat cancer.
My grandfather, when I was a teenager, battled breast cancer. He had it removed. He beat cancer, again.
My grandfather, during my mid 20s, battled the beginnings of lip cancer. He had cells removed from his lip. He beat cancer, yet again.
I have been running for my grandfather.
I have been running for the man that made me a cradle and has showered me with love and stories and friendship.
I have been running because he has battled cancer and beat it, three times.
I have been running because my grandfather is one of my idols and I want to show him that his strength is what pushes me on.
And I want to run to honor the life he has lived and the life he has given to me through my parents and his love.
June 14th I will be running my first 5k to benefit the American Cancer Society. A friend and I will be running over the George Washington Bridge.
I'm scared out of my mind but my strength and my determination come from the man that I bonded with before I was born.
My strength and my motivation were born in his fight for his life the first, second, and third time around.
I am excited to be able to do this for my grandfather and for everyone else that has battled and won.
And especially so that those who battle always win and never lose.
If you can support me I would be eternally grateful. Your thoughts, words and encouragement in any way, shape, or form, is beyond appreciated!
I am running for life, and for my grandpa.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:51 PM
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Allow me to reiterate. I love my job.
I love working.
I am not cut out to be a Stay At Home Mom.
The more and more I do it, I believe that I was meant to be a teacher.
All of that, plus more, does not mean that I don't question my choice to put my children in daycare/pre-school.
I don't question the choice my husband and I made, on a frequent basis, because if nothing else, I work because I HAVE to.
I don't question our choice when our son comes home with new additions to his vocabulary such as, 'shut up' or 'that's cool' or 'you're freakin' me out'. (Ok, that last one MAY have come from me!)
I don't question our choice when my daughter comes home in clothing that does not belong to her because she had an accident at school and was out of extra clothes.
I don't question our choice when my son's teacher pulls me aside and lets me know that there is lice in the school.
I question our choice on days like today.
I got a text at work from my mom, who had the kids today, that my daughter's eye looked pink and maybe I should consider taking her to the pediatrician.
OYE! (We're doing 'Fiddler on the Roof' as the Spring Musical at work...this word is now permanently in my vocabulary!)
My daughter did NOT have pink eye. NO WAY!
I was waiting for the text that told me that she was having flu-like symptoms and maybe we were experiencing the Swine Flu.
I left work early and met my mom and the kids at the doctor. I took the kids in and waited to see one of the extremely capable women who run the pediatric practice that we use.
The kids were actually quite good. Surprisingly for the pediatrician's office. Usually they are like wild banshees set loose at the zoo when we go there. Today? Not so much.
That should have been my first clue.
We got in to see the on-call sick doctor. Who, incidentally, was rated as one of the top pediatricians in NJ.
Not even 10 seconds into her examining my daughter she stopped and looked at me, "Uh, yeah, she has double pink eye."
She proceeded to examine the rest of my daughter's head.
She stopped again.
"Has she been acting differently? Is she teething?"
"Well, she has a double ear infection, as well. And her right ear is quite bad."
Seriously?!?! WTF, DOUBLE?!?!?!?
In a matter of moments I went from feeling like this was the most ridiculous doctor's appointment ever to feeling like the worst mother ever.
How in the world did I NOT know that my daughter had a double ear infection (raging, mind you) AND double pink eye?!?!
I could blame it on the fact that my child, my children are in daycare/school three days a week.
I could blame it on the fact that I work my ass off everyday teaching over 100 teenagers and then coaching well into the evening.
I could blame it on the fact that I'm convinced my daughter has the attitude and personality to match her fiery red hair.
But I won't.
My daughter showed no signs of any type of illness. She has not been sick. She does not have allergies. She has not slowed down one bit.
Yet, I questioned the choice that my husband and I made when we decided to have children. That choice to work and send our kids to daycare/school.
I questioned it because there are days when I am convinced that my daughter wouldn't end up with double ear and eye infections if she were not in daycare. There are days when I truly believe that my son would not have landed in the hospital for a week last year if he were not in daycare. There are days where I think it would be easier to be home and not work.
And then my daughter cries when I tell her we won't be going to school tomorrow. She wants to see her friends.
My son asks me what is going to happen to all the of the stuff he was supposed to learn tomorrow at school.
And then I know that the choice we made is right for everyone. It doesn't matter that the choice, for the most part, is based in the need for that second paycheck.
My kids love school.
I love my job.
Our choices are exactly as they should be.
And tomorrow, I get to stay home and sleep in and spend the day with my kids. And we'll have fun and enjoy our day together.
And by Monday, I'll be ready to go back to work and my kids will be ready to go back to school.
And that's ok. Our choice is right for us.
Even if it does mean Antibiotics and Eye Drops sometimes.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:16 PM
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
My daughter is incredible.
We rock her before she gets into bed each night. We have been doing this since she was about 6 months old. Once she was able to get herself to sleep, we started rocking her.
Backwards? I think not.
So, each night either my husband or I (usually my husband since she is the biggest Daddy's girl I've ever encountered) get my daughter ready for bed and then we sit in her rocking chair and we sing some songs and when she's ready, she points to her bed and that is that. She's out in 10 minutes or less.
Last night I had the privilege of being allowed to be chosen to put her to bed.
Those moments are my favorite.
She ran into her room and stood in front of her chair and said, "Rock with me mommy."
We sat down and I asked what she wanted to sing. At first it was clap hands. I put the kibosh on that song pretty quickly. Clap Hands leads to dancing and dancing never leads to bedtime! We did the itsy bitsy spider and I watched in the dark as my daughter sang along.
Her tiny mouth, that can seem so large at times, formed each word with perfection. She sang along with perfect inflection. Her voice getting softer as she became sleepier.
We did Twinkle Twinkle next and she sang along with that, as well.
We only made it halfway through the ABCs before she pointed to her bed and asked to sleep. She was asleep before I made it downstairs.
My daughter is incredibly fearless.
We have been taking the kids to the park and having dinner there most nights. It's been nice. The kids eat and then run off all of their energy and by the time we get home we do baths and head to bed. It works out quite nicely.
My daughter adores the swings. She chooses the "baby swing" over the grown up swing. She does this because she can go higher in the baby swing than in the grown up one. She constantly asks to go higher and higher.
With each new height she laughs harder and becomes more excited.
With each new height my heart skips another beat.
She is incredibly fearless but I am full of it.
Fear, that is.
I pushed her the other day and as I watched her climb higher and higher it was all I could do to contain my anxiety. All I could think of was, "If I can barely deal with her on a swing, going a touch too high for my comfort, how in the world am I going to deal with her in sports and going out with friends and as a teenager!?"
I used to wonder how I could or would deal with two children.
I would hear stories of parents dealing with their child in the hospital and I would question whether or not I would ever be able to handle that.
Along the way, each obstacle and bump in the road that we have encountered, we have met and conquered.
I often talk about fear because I think it is the one emotion that, for me, is overwhelming at points.
My daughter is incredible and fearless. She throws her body in every which way and lives life to the fullest. She seizes moments, as a two year old, that I am afraid to seize as a 29 year old.
I may live with fear. Fear of overwhelming everything, but my daughter she makes up for what I cannot do.
Isn't that what we want as parents? Don't we want our children to go above and beyond what we have done and cannot do?
While my fear may be overwhelming and frightening to me, I often wonder if it is what guides my daughter. She conquers that which we tell her cannot be conquered and amazes me at every step.
My daughter is incredible and fearless and has been since she was conceived.
Posted by Alison McGeary-Stella at 10:37 AM