Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Letting Go

On Tuesdays, I share a Slice of Life hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  Hop over to their blog to read even more.

On Saturday morning on our way to karate, my youngest son, C.J., commented that he enjoys riding in the car with me.  He said that our rides together are the best place for conversations.  My son has OCD and anxiety.  We first began to notice these tendencies when he was seven, but they displayed themselves full force when we moved to a new house three years ago.  The move put his whole world in a tailspin, and despite our best efforts with therapy and support at home, he descended into depression and became suicidal.  My 12 year-old and I have been in the car often lately, as I have driven him back and forth to his partial hospital program and then to his partial day therapy for the past three weeks.  Last Thursday, he finally transitioned back to full days at his regular school, the culmination of a long journey that began at the beginning of March.  After two months of hospitals, medications, and intensive therapy, he is back to riding the bus to his home school.  This Saturday  after two days of bus rides, said he missed our time together in the car.

Often, we would talk about his worries and the strategies he was learning in therapy, but most of the time we just let our thoughts flow.   We told stories about things we remembered from childhood, asked each other questions about our favorite water ice flavors, or blasted our favorite songs on the radio. We never ran out of things to say or do while zooming back and forth in the car together.  You see, we have a lot in common, my son and I.  I have anxiety too.  

Today I was back behind the wheel with my boy, but this time we were headed to the oral surgeon.  My son has hung on to his baby teeth too long, and two more had to go.  After consulting with the doctor, he asked my son if he could just pull them out today instead of going under full anesthesia like last time.  C.J. said, "Sure," as I felt panic rise up from my belly to my throat.  I wanted to ask, "Are you sure?  Will you be OK?" but as they ushered me out of the exam room, he smiled and said, "Let's do this!"

On our car ride back home, with gauze in his mouth, he chatted away about how awesome his teeth looked in the baggie he was holding.  He asked if his lip was hanging down, because the Novocaine made it feel all heavy.  Then, he realized that his other tooth was wiggly, and he pulled it out.  Right then and there.   Despite my warnings about the Novocaine still being in his system.  Despite my worry about the pain he would feel when it wore off.  Despite my flat out opposition to the notion that he should be wiggling any other teeth right now... with his dirty fingers, oh GERMS!  

He did it anyway.  

When the bile in my throat finally made its way back down where it belonged again, and we were sitting at a full stop, I looked at the third tooth.  It was a baby molar, and it was flat (no roots left) and round.  It had been ready to come out after all.   He put it in the baggie with the other two, and continued to chat away.

When he first told me that he missed our car rides together, I worried that he may not have been quite ready to re-enter his school life.  I worried that he should have more time, or if it was a sign that he needed more support.  Today, after our tooth adventure, I know that he may have been feeling sentimental, but that is it.  Despite all of my worries, despite my hang-ups- despite my anxiety, I realized today that maybe I have been hanging on to my baby for too long.  He is ready to go.  


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Puppy Therapy

Every Tuesday, I share a Slice of Life hosted by Two Writing Teachers.
Stress.  Anxiety.  These two words have escalated to a whole knew definition for me lately.   My life turned upside-down on its head last month with the hospitalization of my youngest son, whose depression turned into suicidal ideation.  His struggles with depression and anxiety had mirrored my own, but when he shared his plans to hurt himself, all of those feelings spiraled to the surface, raw and churning, throwing me down and beating me like a rowboat stuck in a storm.  So, of course I began seeing a therapist.

Therapy.  There are many kinds, traditional and not-so-traditional.  We are doing the traditional cognitive behavioral therapy; however, we decided as a family to introduce another type into our home- a furry four-legged kind.  Puppy therapy.

Yes, we already have another dog, Piper, who is a high-energy and naughty Corgi.  Yes, puppies are work- training and housebreaking and chewing and up in the middle of the night.  Yes, it was a bit of an impulsive decision (although I have been pining for another dog for almost a year, because I have a secret wish to have as many Corgis as the Queen of England).   Yes, it probably isn't the ideal time in our lives to add to our stress with this four-legged barking ball of fuzz.

But, then again, maybe it is.  This moment, captured in this picture taken this week, is the reason why it is the right choice, the right kind of therapy for all of us as a family right now.

And Piper is pretty happy about it, too.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting this annual challenge.
What a gorgeous day!  The smells of pretzels, cotton candy, fries, and cheesesteaks filled the air as we took our seats.  We laughed at the Phanatic and cheered as we heard the crack of the bat, sending our home team around the bases.  We groaned as the other team scored, but what mattered most was that we were all together.
Our fighting Phils lost, but we didn't care.  Outside in the crowd, we enjoyed each moment.  Happy to feel the sunshine on a crisp spring day, all of us, having a family fun day.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Birth Story

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting this annual challenge.

Once upon a time, two and a half weeks ago, my son told one of his teachers at school that he was planning to commit suicide.  Not only had he thought about it, he had considered three possible ways to go about it.  He had said that he tried to tell me that he was feeling very sad, but he couldn't get me to understand how much he was hurting.

He is 12 years old.

We had been working on his anxiety for some time, seeing a counselor regularly, and he had begun medication to treat the visible onset of depression.  We had strategies in place, and I felt like we were making progress.  I wanted to make progress.  I was determined to make progress.  Until that day, I was not willing to accept anything but progress.

That day he was begging for help.  That day I opened my ears and listened.  That day my husband and I drove him to the hospital.  That day was the hardest day of my life.

Now we are in the After.  After his discharge, I told him about his Birth Day.  That day was one of the best days of my life.  My third baby, my last baby, he arrived full force in a hurry.  We barely made it to the hospital in time.  No meds, no epidural, I barely made it to the bed before his head began to crown.  I wanted him to know every detail of that moment he arrived in our lives.  I wanted him to experience the joy of his birth story.  After he was born, our lives were forever changed for the better.

His Story is important.  Ever After should be full of life and adventure and hope.  Now his adventure will continue.  He knows it won't be easy-- he will have battles and struggles along the way, but the light has returned to his eyes.  He will continue his Ever After.

Monday, March 18, 2013


Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting this annual challenge.

My younger self could not predict
What she would be today
She would not have known she was brave enough
Or smart enough
Or strong enough

What would she have imagined
To think or do or say
She might have planned the perfect path
The easy road
The straightest course

But her steps have been uneven
At an intermittent pace
Could she predict she'd carry on
Sometimes stumbling
Often climbing
Always moving forward

She could not have had the foresight
To prepare herself for now
Today I whisper in her ear
You will persevere

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tips and Toes

I'm way too old for neon green.
I did it on a dare.
But now that glow is on my nails, I flaunt them everywhere.

My toes are teal for contrast.
They're better off that way.
Coordination's not for me, I like the disarray.

Don't judge me by my grey hair or the wrinkles on my face.
My heart is young.   I'll have some fun.
My digits state my case.

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting this annual challenge.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Officially Certified

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers for hosting this annual challenge.

It's official.  I am certified to give the PSSA.  Here are my take-aways:

1.  Make sure students have two sharpened #2 pencils.
2.  Make sure calculators are clear before distributing them to students, and clear the contents after they are done.
3.  Collect all electronic devices. (Not allowed during the test.)
4.  Count test booklets and answer booklets in the presence of a test administrator.  Teachers must carry the booklets and keep them secure and organized so that they do not fall into the trash or under a desk.
5.  Make sure the test booklet and answer booklet numbers match for each student.
6.  Read directions directly from the manual as they are written.  Do not stray from the script.
7.  Actively monitor students during testing, but don't look at the test items.
8.  Do not help students with test items.
9.  Return test booklets to test administrator, counting them in his or her presence.
10.  Be positive and encouraging!  This is students' opportunity to "Show what they know!"