Friday, December 9, 2016

What Happened to November?

Wow!  I had no idea that it's been so long since I've blogged!  Wasn't it just Halloween and here we are just a little over two weeks away from Christmas.

Life has been insanely busy.  For the past four months, I've been working my a$$ off trying to secure a $2 million account (after 14 years doing this, it's my largest one ever!).  I won it at one point, and then just two days later, I un-won it because they thought the vote was too close.  So for ten more days, I continued to work the account in hopes of a good outcome, and fortunately I won it again!  We cut them an amazing deal, but it had to be approved by their Board and Purchase Orders need to be cut. The was a glitch in that on the customer's end.  We didn't think we'd be able to get all POs from them, which meant I didn't get 2016 credit for the entire order, which meant a significantly less bonus for me.  Ugh!  I am hopeful that I will get a PO by the end of the day today or first thing on Monday.  Needless to say, there has been an enormous amount of stress, lots of tears, upset stomachs, and sleepless nights. It's been quite an awful four months. 

But Halloween was fun and we had a 14th birthday party for Dog:


 
In not the exact words, Sidekick told me at one point when I was a crazy person with work that I was not a good Mom. Talk about a tug at your heart strings!  I was so in over my head that I was doing what I could to survive the stress of work and being a single mom.  It was really hard, but he somehow went with the flow and was rewarded with our first time going to Six Flags (bought 2017 season pass that could also be used in 2016). I think I may have redeemed myself a little bit that day, and during the fun time I needed to be reminded of what is really important in life, and it's that sweet boy who calls me "Momma".  And that took us into the holidays...
 
I'm not a fan of the holidays, and I've mentioned it every year since I started this blog.  I wish I could just go to sleep on Thanksgiving and wake up on January 2nd.  Shortly after my birthday and before Thanksgiving, I went into a bad funk.  For one week, I could barely drag myself out of bed to take care of Sidekick and work  If I was working from home (because I have a home office), I found myself working less and laying on my sofa more and sleeping.  One of the weekends Sidekick played in the basement or if he was lucky get to watch TV while I was two floors up in my bed for hours on end. I checked on him every once in a while, but I just couldn't function.  It was bad.  Really bad.  Through it all, Sidekick was amazing. 
 
I'm not someone who is very open with people when things are not going well in my life, which is probably why I blog anonymously.  I tend to just put on a good front.  During this time of my bad funk, I told a friend via text that I was not doing well and instead of receiving support from her, she gave me nothing. Absolutely nothing.  I was devastated because I thought she could be the friend to help me and to listen to me, instead she walked away.  Weeks later, she still doesn't understand why I was upset that she was being such a shitty friend when I needed her the most. Is it so difficult to just ask me what is going on, encourage me to talk to her, let me know she's here for me, etc.?  I had supported her so much through personal/work things that she was going through and the minute I hit rock bottom, she left. Eye opening. It really sucks that we work together and had to be together this week.  It was awkward, and I was miserable having to spend time with someone who I considered a good friend who ended up hurting me so much.  In the end, I decided we can't be close friends like we once were. I even unfriended her on Facebook and silly Fitbit so sever personal ties. I can and will be a civil colleague (as difficult as that may be), but I cannot be in a one sided friendship.  But, I miss her... a lot, so this is really, really hard. I'm trying to remind myself that I chose to do this because I didn't get out of her the quality of friendship and support that I was giving her.  Did I mention that I miss her?
 
So there's the latest in my life. I have invited five (or maybe it's six) SMC moms and their kids to our house on Sunday to decorate Christmas cookies.  It sounded like a great idea at the time, but now I have to make dozens and dozens of homemade cookies and clean my house. Today was supposed to be a vacation day so I could do all of that; instead, I had to work because there were problems with my $2 million account. And again, the stress level rises.  'Tis the season...

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Did Sidekick Get Gypped?

I have realized that as Sidekick gets older and we are out and about doing a lot of fun things, I find myself being more aware of everyone/everything around us.  I realize that I am very much on my own island with my boy.  I can't seem to explain what exactly I mean by all of this, but perhaps my fellow SMC pals will understand...

I get really sad around the holidays (I always kind of have), so we have to get through Halloween, my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve.  I just wish that I can go to sleep for two months and wake up when it's all over.  When Sidekick and I are out doing fun "family" things, I am so aware that our family is "different". Sometimes I think it's even silly to use the word "family" describing us since it's just me and Sidekick. Can two people be considered a "family"?  I consider us a "duo" more than a family because family just doesn't seem to fit they type (or is it size?) of family we are.  In fact, our return address labels refer to us as "last name Duo".  We are total out casters.

I (we) are bombarded with traditional families everywhere we turn.  I know (and I tell Sidekick all the time) that there are a lot of different families, but we are surrounded by the ones that have a Mom, Dad, and kids, so unless we are with our local SMC group, he doesn't see those "different" families. We don't even have divorced friends with kids.  I've written about this before, but it's hard to do things with other families when the Dad is the odd man out and families want to spend their weekends together as a family.  I get together regularly with my local SMC group, but I don't seem to have a close bond with any of them. It's nice to be around people with whom I can relate, but that true friendship just isn't there.  I really thought friendships would be easier once I had a child, and in some ways it is, but the deep friendships with people to whom I am connected through Sidekick just aren't there.  They are great people and have helped when I've been in a bind with picking up Sidekick from school if I have a late presentation, but I don't consider myself close to them.  Would they do anything for us?  Absolutely!  Would I cry on their sofa?  Probably not.

Yesterday we went to a fun Halloween evening event.  I invited some friends because quite frankly, I find it very lonely and depressing to do special things with just me and Sidekick. We got there and had to take a tram to the actual location.  "Party of Two" here, and we sat in our own row that holds four.  Why the hell does this upset me so much????  I felt like everyone was looking at us and feeling sorry for us.  I know that wasn't the case, but it seriously tugged at my heart strings, and it got me really thinking...



... is Sidekick getting gypped in life because I chose to have a baby on my own?  He has no siblings. His cousins, aunt, and uncle are an 8 1/2 hour drive away and his grandma is a five hour drive away. That's it! We aren't in physical contact with my aunts, uncles, and cousins.  Is the way he is growing up fair to him?  Did my desire to be a mom override what is best for him?  Surely it doesn't, right?  But while I try so hard to give him a great, loving, fulfilling, happy life, I wonder if it's enough. If I'm enough.  He didn't have a choice in the matter.  He got stuck with me. (Although, he does tell me often that God let him choose me to be his Momma, so maybe in fact he did choose his life.  Who the heck knows, and I am not a religious person to try and figure that out.)

We were supposed to go to our friends' house for our annual Halloween festivities, and their youngest has a fever, so they don't want to share their germs. Totally understandable.  I immediately wanted to cry because I felt bad for Sidekick that trick or treating is now going to be alone unless I can figure out another plan quickly.  It's no fun to trick or treat alone!  I'm crushed.  He seems much better about it than I, but the thought of him running from house to house with no one next to him just breaks my heart.  And me standing there alone while watching him have fun is very, well, lonely.  Is he as lonely as I am?

Maybe I'm the only SMC who feels this way.  Maybe I am the only SMC who yearns for so much more than I have.  I didn't think that a baby would make my world perfect, but I also didn't think it would make me feel the way I have been feeling... lonely and selfish for having a child alone. Maybe I am overthinking things, and the way things are are totally okay for Sidekick. After all, right now he doesn't know what's out there in this big world in which we live, but I fear that as he becomes a bigger, more important member of society as he gets older, he will soon realize that yes, he did in fact totally get gypped. 


Sunday, September 18, 2016

No Pressure... It's just $1 millon!

I'm currently trying to close a $1 million dollar account, and the order will come in in December.  While this won't get me to my sales goal (because that went up 50%, thank you very much company), it will get me closer and a little bigger of a bonus check. The pressure is on, and all eyes are on me right now.  I feel it coming from all directions in my company, and I need my personal life to be as calm as possible so I can focus.  Like that would actually happen...

Sidekick started coughing on Sunday and didn't sleep well all night.  I told the director at his school the next morning that I will not be answering their call the next four weeks because I have way too many important things going on with work to focus on Sidekick.  Haha.  Lo and behold, Sidekick had his own agenda and woke up at 2:45 AM very distraught that the pictures (of himself) on the walls were moving and changing colors.  Totally confused, I had him show me and obviously didn't see what he was seeing, I immediately felt his forehead and he was burning up.  His temperature was 104.7.  He was seriously freaking out about these pictures, so I called the exchange because of this strange hallucination he was having.  The nurse on call was definitely worried, and when she asked me to check him for a rash, he told me that Mickey Mouse was on his ceiling, and the nurse heard that which made her a little more concerned.  I gave him Motrin and was told if the fever didn't go down a degree within an hour, then I needed to take him to the ER. So, worried that someone may need to take care of Dog and seeing my not-so-clean-kitchen, I started cleaning at 3:45 AM, just in case (like anyone would even care if my kitchen counters had shit on them. Goodness gracious!).  His fever did get lower, and at 4:45 AM, he was still awake in his bed, and I was awake in my bed catching up on my DVR.  He finally fell asleep around 5:15, and I didn't. It was a long day and began worrying about meetings that I would be missing that day.

His doctor wanted to see him even though his fever had broken within hours after only one dose of Motrin to rule out pneumonia.  We went in and got the all clear, and the next day he went to school.  Wednesday morning at around 5:45 AM about 45 minutes before I had to wake up, Sidekick woke up screaming and crying that he had a bloody nose.  Already lacking on sleep because of several days/weeks of insomnia and a late night phone call with a friend, I dragged myself out of bed to clean him up.  His bedroom looked like a crime scene!  There was blood everywhere!  From every piece of bedding to his arms and face to his carpet.  Good Lord!  Let's add something else to my full agenda for the day. In between work appointments, I rushed home to switch the laundry over. After my work appointments, I rushed home to pick up Sidekick from school, give him a bath, fed him an early dinner, and headed out to a work event for parents.  Yep! I took him with me, partly because I didn't want to pay for a babysitter and partly because he had been begging to go to work with me again.  He did great, and when the event was over, I rushed back home, made his bed, and threw him in bed because it was past his bedtime.

I feel like I am being pulled in so many different directions. I have this $1 million account looming over my head.  I need to be in so many different places at once for this big account and meeting with customers pretty much every day.  I can't keep up (or who am I kidding?  I can't even begin) with pre-working 2017 sales because I am all consumed with this big account. I feel like I am neglecting all of my other customers (even though I somehow get everything done that they need me to do) because my focus needs to be on this big account.  I kind of suck at being a Mom, and when Sidekick needs me the most, I feel like I can't give him what he needs. I can't find a balance right now between work and my personal life.  And oh yeah!  I desperately need to go running, and haven't done that in weeks.  The good news is, this will all come to a screeching halt when I find out in mid-October if I won the account, and I'm afraid where I'll "go" if I lose this account. So damn much is riding on it. 

But if anything good came out this week, it's that I was so freaking busy, that I didn't have time to be in a slump. Emotionally I felt better than I have in a several weeks.  I was more exhausted than ever, but I felt like I needed to cry less, which is a good thing.  Yes, I bitched in my last post that my life is tied up in work and Sidekick, but I was too busy to feel sorry for myself this week.  I guess that's a good thing. 

I deep cleaned my house yesterday and had a friend and her daughter come over for dinner and to play.  Sidekick loves to help me clean, so one of the tasks I gave him was cleaning three toilets. I explained it was very important to get all of the blue cleaner off the inside of the toilet, and he took his job very seriously.  Who knew it would take so long for a four year old to do that!  It was nice to have a glass of wine with a friend while our kids played.  Today was our monthly SMC meeting.  We have a small, active group here, but Sidekick gets along great with one of the boys. We spent three hours at the park and then came home and took Dog for a long walk while Sidekick rode his bike.

My focus to continue the momentum of feeling a little better and less in a slump was to keep busy this weekend and surround myself with people so that the loneliness didn't creep back in. I think I succeeded.  

And as I was just about click "Publish" to post on this blog, Sidekick got another bloody nose... and much of it is on my brand new carpet in my newly finished basement. It was another gusher!  I was somewhat trying to sound like sunshine and roses a little more than my previous post, but right now... FML.  Now lets add an ENT appointment into my busy, stressful life.   

Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Post That's All Over the Place

I know I've written about this "issue" before, but I am circling back again:  

I never thought that my life would be all sunshine and roses once I had a baby, but I never imagined it would feel so empty either.  Sidekick definitely filled a void in my heart and my life, but how is it possible to feel so empty and lonely when my life is so consumed with work and Sidekick?  Oh yeah... that's right... because it's filled with work and Sidekick and pretty much nothing else.  Nothing!

My last post focused on the struggles Sidekick was having at school, and I can fully admit that he was my least favorite person in the world.  I literally dreaded picking him up from school and started picking him up later just because I didn't want to have this constant fight with him for longer than I had to.  He was just dragging me down. 

We were on vacation last week visiting my mom, and as soon as we got there, she couldn't believe what a monster Sidekick had become.  She clearly wasn't grasping the severity of what was going on at home and school, but she quickly caught on.  I was determined to get him (and us) back on track that week.  I gave him very little leeway with anything, and after I asked/told him to do something two times, I immediately did what needed to be done:  take whatever he was doing away, redirect, time out, etc.  I cracked down on him big time.  Between that and bonding with me and my mom, he got back on track and he has been a dream once again.  He had a great week back at school and got all of his stickers.  He's sweet, kind, a good listener (the majority of the time), and an overall great kid.  My Sidekick is back, and for that, I am so grateful.

Now, all that doesn't mean that holding him back in kindergarten next year has been pushed aside because I am definitely still considering that for the social/emotional reasons.  He's super smart, but as I see him with kids ten months older than him, I see a difference between them. He's crazy tall and looks like he's at least five, so when he plays with five and six year olds and blends in size wise, he's just not as fast, not as agile, etc. as he is with kids his age.  It frustrates him and I see him have an internal breakdown that he's not good enough.  I have to remind him and the older kids that he just turned four, but I feel like if he goes to kindergarten next year, I'll always be reminding him that he's younger when he eight, 13, 18, etc. and most of his classmates are a year older.  Is that fair to Sidekick?

Back to vacation... we had a great time, but it took me several days to just be able to let loose and relax a bit. I've been so stressed, burnt out, and in a funk that I couldn't let go and enjoy being away from the "real" world until several days in.  We rented a wave runner, played on the beach, jumped off the docks, fished, went to a carnival, and just chilled out.  My mom even encouraged me to go to the beach one day alone while Sidekick was napping.  I was in heaven while engaged in a good book and sitting in peace and quiet while I had the beach all to myself. 

Unfortunately, I hurt my back badly helping my mom store her patio furniture below the deck right before we were to get on the road and head home. After moving some things, I bent down to pick up a chair and the pain hit so suddenly and was so bad that I literally couldn't move from the position I was in and had tears streaming down my face.  Not trying to scare Sidekick, I tried to just lay on the floor as easily as possibly, but I literally couldn't get down to the floor. He saw me suffering, and he immediately got me a glass of ice water and a Nutella & Go.  He was sure they would fix my pain.  I managed to get in the car about an hour later and make the five hour drive home. I was afraid if I waited any longer, the pain might have been worse and kept me at my mom's for who knows how long.

The next day, Sidekick was pretty much on his own, while I laid in my bed all day.  I felt badly, but he did great entertaining himself and checking on me every once in a while.  I'd venture downstairs only to feed him and Dog and take Dog outside.  The pain was excruciating and even heavy duty pain pills were not doing the trick.  At 11:45 PM (as I was just about to fall asleep) and again at 3:42 AM, Sidekick came into my room to check on me, stroke my face, and see if I was feeling better.  Those are the moments when I have to remind myself that I really do have a super awesome kid. After all, what four year old is that aware of something/someone other than himself?

So... going back to my first paragraph, I knew that I would struggle getting back to reality once I got back in town.  When I hurt my back, I also knew it would be worse than I had anticipated because I was in so much pain.  Plus, I wouldn't be able to go running, something I was really trying to do several times a week for myself, but now couldn't since I was in too much in pain to even walk up the stairs.  I work out of my home which was a really good thing this past week because I just couldn't snap out of it to actually care about work to want to work.  I did the bare minimum and found myself laying on the sofa in the middle of the day partly because I was in so much pain and partly because I was just emotionally drained and didn't give a shit. I just wanted to lay there in a zone and not think about work, Sidekick, etc.  I wanted to feel like there is more to my life beyond work and Sidekick, and I couldn't find anything, so I sulked and cried and got angry for this life that I just don't enjoy living right now. (And I really hate admitting that.)

So here I sit on another weekend trying to be an awesome mom and give my son a fun two days all while not enjoying any of it.  I'm just trying to get through each hour and doing what I can to make the weekend go faster... not because I want to work but because I don't want to feel like a shitty mom, which I often feel like on the weekends because I'm just tired, have so much to do, and am not motivated lately to do special things with Sidekick.  We went to a park today, and I was so grateful Sidekick immediately paired up with a five year old boy so that I could just sit on the bench and watch, all the while feeling like a shitty, lonely, pathetic  Mom who just doesn't seem to fit into the "norm" since we don't have what is considered a "normal" family.  I thought making friends would be easier as a Mom, but that's not the case, especially since these other moms have husbands and other kids to keep up with. We are the 5th an 6th wheels in their lives.  We just don't fit into this world despite how much I try to normalize this world for Sidekick, and I feel like he is noticing differences. 

While I did take advantage of the beautiful day, after going to the park we took Dog for a long walk while Sidekick rode his bike, I felt super guilty that he watched a lot of TV. Yep, I used TV as a babysitter.  And while he watched TV, I crawled into my bed and took a short nap.  I don't really nap, and I rarely did when he was a newborn, but crap I needed one today. 

I can't imagine my life without Sidekick, but I just didn't think my life would "feel" this way, that I would feel so incomplete and empty.  The less Sidekick needs me because he's getting older, the more I feel it. I know I go through phases of feeling like this, but for some reason, it just seems worse this time around. Each time I eventually pull out of this funk, and I am hoping and praying that it happens soon because I'm not sure how much longer I can keep plugging along like this. 

(And if I didn't suck so much, I would post great pictures from our vacation, but I just don't want to download them.  Yep, pathetic.) 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Struggles at School

Sidekick has been a real pain in the ass at school the past few weeks, and his teachers, the director, and I were not able to figure out what the F was going on with him.  His class does a color system for behavior and they move their clothes pins accordingly.  Purple is the best and red is the worst with four colors in between.

Sidekick has always been super smart, spunky and spirited, often "teaching" the class during circle time when he knows everything.  (Ugh!)  However, his spiritedness and spunk have gotten him into deep water at school.  Circle time has been awful (not sitting still, talking, not listening, etc.) and his overall listening was atrocious at times.  When kids get on red, they get a red note explaining why and they have to sign their names.  At first, red notes devastated him, but most recently, he ran around the class singing, "I got a red note."  Yep. He didn't care at all. 

I dreaded picking him up from school and hearing bad news.  My almost perfect kid had turned into a complete monster.  Then his momma turned into a monster the rest of the night because she was so disappointed in her son's behavior.  It became a vicisous cycle, and our evenings just kind of sucked, and quite frankly, I didn't want to be with him because I hated his behavior at school and I took that out on him, and we just weren't "gelling".   

I finally talked to the director about coming up with a new system since the current system was completely ineffective for Sidekick.  We decided he would have a sticker chart and have to get four stickers a day for daily things (circle time, academics, rotations, and nap).  Knowing that circle time was his pain point, I bribed him and told him that if he gets a star during circle time, he could play on my iPad that evening.  I do NOT let him on my iPhone or iPad normally, so this is a huge treat for him.  I was desperate.  We set up his weekly goal of getting eight out of 20 stickers.  He wanted to make s'mores if he got eight.  Week one was a success, and I think he got 12 stickers.  I was so proud of him.  The second week, we upped his required stickers, and he got 18 out of 20!  Amazing!  So... he's back on track, but what was very troubling was this...

I felt like the director and teachers were thinking he may have ADHD (and maybe he does), and it started freaking me out. I've always been a proactive Momma, so knowing that his four year doctor appointment is coming up, I found it important to see how things go with a new system in place.  School started keeping track of his day in a spiral notebook to help all of us figure him out and what triggered his bad behavior, and then  I could show it to his doctor.  Fortunately, the notebook has stopped because he's been doing so great, but things still are a concern of mine. Was it just some type of a phase?

Oh!  And how can I forget... with a broken clavicle, he has to sit outside at a table alone and play with something.  He has no way to get rid of his pent of energy, so this may have contributed a little.. but the bad behavior kind of started before the broken clavicle.  But in his defense, a broken clavicle doesn't help things.

All of this behavior leads me to this...

Sidekick has a July birthday, and the cutoff for kindergarten is August 1st.  As soon as I got pregnant and realized my due date, I immediately thought... great (or more accurately "shit").  I'm in education, so I know how hard it is to decide whether or not to "redshirt" a kid, especially a boy, who has a late birthday.  So, while he can go to kindergarten next year, I'm totally on the fence about it especially with his recent behavior at school. 

This mom stuff can be really challenging, and overall, I've never found it very challenging or overwhelming on a day to day basis.  Sure we get in funks every now and then, but motherhood overall is not that difficult for me.  It's all the outside crap (work, errands, household chores, etc.) and lack of "me time" that make motherhood suck at times... not having Sidekick (if that makes).  I just want to always do the right things for him, and sometimes I'm not sure what the right things are.  Case in point:  Kindergarten in 2017. 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Another Trip to the ER

Sidekick just can't catch a break in 2016!  Let me remind you how he year has been so far:

1.  January:  One week sick and out of school with Croup.
2.  February:  One week sick and out of school with RSV (I think that's what he had)
3.  March:  Two weeks out of school for surgery to remove tonsils and adenoids and get tubes in ears.

And now July (almost one year from our last ER visit)...

I was outside on the playground talking to Sidekick's teacher when I dropped him off yesterday morning.  I saw him lying on the ground crying and told him he was okay and to come over to me.  He dragged himself off the ground and slowly walked towards me while holding his shoulder.  Sidekick has an amazingly high pain threshold, so to see him crying so much made me think that this might be a little more than a little boo-boo.  I eventually calmed him down and put him down so I could leave.  As soon as I put him down and his arms raised up since my hands were basically under his armpits, he immediately screamed and cried in pain. 

I decided to take him inside to get him away from all the kids and we headed to the office.  As soon as the director saw him crying (she knew that isn't normal for him) and holding his shoulder, she told me to take him for an x-ray.  I looked at her and dropped the F-Bomb.  I was out of town for two days for work and had a lot to catch up on, and a trip to the ER was not on my agenda.

I put him in the car seat and he again screamed as I was trying to get his arms through the five point harness.  I drove home to tell my mom (she's still in town) and she came with us to the ER.  Sidekick loves, and I mean LOVES the hospital, so he was excited to go.  We arrived and there was no one there, so we got right in (amazing!).  People came in his room to talk to him and check him and ask what happened.  Here was his explanation:

"I was playing Titty Tat (Kitty Cat) and Lion. (Mind you I have no idea what this game is.)  I was the Titty Tat crawling and Ty tripped on me and knocked me over."
 
I have no idea if that's what happened since I didn't see it, but I guess it seems logical and that's the story he's sticking with. 
 
He happily laid in the bed at the ER while being examined and did a great job with getting x-rays, especially since the technician needed to put his arms in painful positions.  We immediately got the results back that he broke his collar bone.  Poor dude.  He needs to be in a sling for four weeks, so that has pretty much ruined the rest of our summer.
 
I kept him home from school today and he just watched TV while I worked.  He's in a lot of pain and is just struggling with his new "normal".  Of course it's his right collarbone, so he's having to learn to function with his left side.  He's doing great but he gets frustrated with simple things like getting himself up on the sofa.  It's amazing how much our collarbone is used for just simple things. 
 
Being the cool mom I am, I got him a skull and crossbones patch and wrote his name in cool purple paint on his sling.  It looked super boring, but now it looks fun and he loves it!
 
I'm so lucky that he is so laid back and nothing really fazes him.  He's such a trooper! 


Friday, July 8, 2016

And in the Blink of an Eye he's FOUR!

Sidekick is FOUR years old today!  FOUR!!!!  That means he's one finger away from a full hand and one finger away from going to Kindergarten. I've been telling him lately that it makes me sad that he is growing up so fast.  His immediate response every time is, "Nobody else is sad.  I'm growing up to be a good man."  And he is.  I can see it every day.  His compassion, confidence, selfLESSness, humor, outgoingness, and kindness are setting him up to be an awesome man (if only I can find someone like him. Haha.)

I started a few traditions when he turned one:

1. I put balloons in his bed in the morning right before he wakes up. He woke up this morning and in the most excited voice said, "Woooowwww."  And he ran in to thank me over and over again.
2.  I trace his hand every year to see how much it has grown.
3.  I write a letter to him every year, add the number of dollars for the number of years he is, and put it in his treasure box.  I'm not sure when I'll give him all of the letters, but it will be fun to read them together.
4. We release a balloon in honor of his Donor (a very special time for us)

 
When I took him to school today, about six friends squealed, ran towards him, hugged him, and said "Happy birthday!!"  He looked at me and said, "Momma, I can't believe my friends are so excited it's my birthday."  I felt tears welling up in my eyes as I watched these kids that he's known since he was 13 weeks old surrounding him with so much love. I felt so lucky that he was in such a great daycare with such great friends.  And sadly, they all go separate ways next year when they graduate from Pre-K. 

We are heading to my mom's tomorrow for the week.  My nephews will be there also.  I'm looking forward to hanging at the beach, not rushing around, letting Sidekick soak up the fun with his cousins, and getting away from work. 

His birthday party will be towards the end of the month. I rented out a indoor play area at a church. We invited about 20 kids, so this is a real party for him.  He wanted a flower theme (whatever that means), so I turned his idea into a 70's theme, complete with "groovy" cupcakes and each kid will make a tie-dye shirt.  I also wanted him to know that a birthday is a good time to be thankful for things.  He loves books and as been obsessed since he was about six months old.  So, we are doing a book drive and donating the books to a great organization.

So... we made it four years. While three was really rough because he was a total "threenager", I hear having a "fournado" has it's own set of challenges.  Regardless, I am truly blessed to have him in my life, and I cannot imagine what my life would be like without him. I'm so proud of the boy he has become, and I've never loved anyone the way I love him. 

UPDATE:  We went to release the balloon after I picked him up from school.  Sidekick decided he was going to send up the balloon to God to thank him for his Donor. He really seemed to have a plan with regards to where this balloon was going.  It was a hot day and as we were walking to our favorite pond, the balloon popped.  I got such a great picture of his reaction, and it just made my heart sink a little bit. 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Finding Balance. Finding Me.

My world changed 3 years and 11 months ago when I became a Mom. It was the most amazing day of my life (and one that took a while to achieve). Along with that day came the "loss" of my life the way I knew it. It's what every mom feels as our role in the world has suddenly changed and we muddle through the days finding our new "normal". I was given the gift of an amazing boy who forever changed my world in the most incredible way possible, but my priorities changed from that day on. 

Aside from work, I don't have time away from Sidekick. I don't get alone time. I don't have family in the same state who I can call up and ask for help at the drop of a hat. I don't have someone with whom to juggle all of the responsibilities of having a family. I'm burnt out, and I've been burnt out for a while. 

I haven't really taken care of myself in almost four years. I barely run anymore. It's either a quick run before I pick up Sidekick from school, or I bribe him to sit in the BOB and go with me on the weekends, which makes running even harder because I have to push him. I used to be a voracious reader, and it now takes me months and months to get through a book. I used to get pedicures a few times a year (and a manicure every once in a while), and I'm lucky if I get one pedicure a year.  I haven't gotten my hair highlighted since before Sidekick was born, and I loved and miss my blonde highlights. I used to walk aimlessly and happily in the park, hike in peace and quiet, or sit on the sofa all day and watch TV.  That all ended three years and 11 months ago. But I don't regret not doing any of that.  I really don't because Sidekick is truly the best part of my life. And quite frankly, these missing things are not unique to me. Every woman gives up things like that as soon as she becomes a Mom. And every Mom tries to regain her sense of self in the midst of this crazy (and oftentimes chaotic) thing called "life".  

As a SMC, I don't have the ability to just up and leave to do anything because apparently it's illegal to leave a child Sidekick's age alone. :) Unless I'm working or am lucky to get that quick one or two mile run in before I pick up Sidekick from school, I don't get a break from the daily grind. I don't have the luxury of putting him to bed at night and going to Target to wander around. I can literally count on one hand the amount of times I've been out in the evening (not counting work related events) without Sidekick since the day he was born (babysitters aren't cheap). This has always been my biggest struggle being a SMC... the loss of my sense of freedom. I wouldn't change it for anything, but I need I find a balance. 

So, I'm trying to change things up a bit. The other night I decided that after I took Sidekick to school the next morning, I was going to go running.  A real run. A run that challenges me, a run that makes me feel/hear the beat of my heart in my ears (I'm still trying to figure out if that's a good thing), a run that let's me be "one" with nature All. By. Myself. And in a zone where my focus is not on my stressful job or my child but the challenge at hand. In the end, I ran an entire four miles without walking. The last time I ran that far without walking was when I was pregnant with Sidekick (or maybe it was when I ran my last half marathon, which coincidentally was the day before I conceived Sidekick).  Actually, I can't remember if I was running four miles when I was pregnant because I was so sick the 16 weeks of my pregnancy and then had to taper running back when I was about 30 weeks because running was harder with a baby on board.  Back in the day, I would have brushed off a four mile run as no big deal. Today, I celebrate it. 

I didn't enjoy that four mile run very much because it was really hard, but I felt like I accomplished something for me. Not my child. Not my job. Me!

While running, I realized that it'll be okay if I take Sidekick to school earlier in the morning or pick him up later in the afternoon once in a while so that I can give myself a break and breathe. The other day I decided to really commit to reading more often so that I can escape my world and be part of someone else's. 

Guess what I just realized?  I can sit down on the sofa next to Sidekick and read while he watches his one show a day before bedtime. And on the weekends, it'll be okay to let him watch TV in the morning, while I read my book in bed. Watching TV won't kill him or even his brain cells, and he'll be super happy having extra TV time. It's pretty much a win-win situation. 

Sidekick isn't going to love me any less if I make these little changes. In fact, I think he may love me even more because once in a while I'm going to try to take care of myself and when I do, that'll make his Momma a little happier. 

I realize every Mom feels this way at one time or another, not just the single Moms, which is why I felt like sharing my epiphany:
 
To remind ourselves that it's okay to take care of ourselves and breathe, even if   it's a few hours a week.
 
I just wish it didn't take me three years and 11 months to figure out. 

After my run, I felt rejuvenated. I felt like I could take on the world. I now feel like I am ready to challenge myself to not feel guilty taking a little time for me. After all, a happy Momma means a happy family. 

Join me, fellow Mommas, in this pursuit, won't you?  Who's in?
     

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Catching Up and Catching my Breath

It's been an interesting month to say the least. It's been a month where I have just be trying to keep it all together and have had some snags along the way. April and May are my busiest months with work, so any curve ball that is thrown my way can really make me stress out.

My mom lives in Wisconsin and was visiting a friend in Chicago at the end of April.  She was driving and wasn't seeing things correctly, so she pulled over to let her friend drive.  They decided to head to the eye doctor near by and when they arrived, my mom couldn't balance and walk. Her friend took her to the ER where she was on "stroke watch", but she had none of the symptoms/check marks for a stroke, so they were going to keep her over night for observation.  Shortly after that, she started slurring her words and they assumed it was stroke and quickly administered TPA to break up the clot.  Upon further diagnostics, it was determined that she had a stroke of the nerve. After being in the hospital for a little more than a week, she was taken to a rehabilitation center when deemed stable, so they could to physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.

It's hard to be five hours away from her during my busy work season with a kid, but I knew that she was in great hands, and there was nothing I could do.  Plus, my mom is like me.  We like to be left alone when we don't feel well.  Sidekick and I FaceTimed with her every night, and I usually talk to her during the day. She was happy in the rehab center, and she was joking that she was on vacation where they cook and clean for her.  Haha!

We were planning on surprising her for Mother's Day at the rehab facility, and the day before we were supposed to leave, Dog all of a sudden couldn't walk in the morning.  It seemed like she had a stroke, which is really kind of funny after what my mom had gone through.  I joked with my mom that her grand dog was following in her footsteps. 

I took Dog to the vet later that night fully preparing Sidekick for the possibility that we might have to put her to sleep.  He decorated the back of the car with a balloon, her bones, a couple of toys, and an electric candle.  It was so sweet.  The technicians put her on a gurney and wheeled her in a room.  She was diagnosed with Vestibular Disease (vertigo).  She was on three different meds we were hopeful that she would get better within 72 hours. I knew I couldn't leave her because no kennel would take her so we could visit my mom, so our plans were off.  After almost 48 hours, there was no improvement. 

On the Saturday morning of Mother's Day weekend, Sidekick and I were playing outside and I carried Dog (who is a golden retriever, not a small dog) outside to lay in the front yard.  About 30 minutes later she stood up and started walking.  She wasn't that steady, but she was walking!  I quickly called the kennel, jumped in the shower, got us packed, and headed to the kennel.  Within an hour, we were on our way to surprise my mom!  During the drive, she called to ask how Dog was doing, and I said she was doing better and that the doctor who called said it could take two weeks to get better. All the while, she had no idea we were heading up there.

We got up there at about 6:00 and she was so surprised to see us, especially after knowing how poorly Dog was doing.  We hung out there a couple of hours and then headed to my friends' an hour away to stay the night.  Late Sunday morning, we headed back to my mom's, were able to pick take her out of rehab, and went to brunch and the park.  At about 2:30, we hopped in the car for another five hours and headed back home.  Sidekick was such a great traveling companion!  He's such a go-with-the-flow kind of kid, and I am so grateful. 

Here we are a few weeks later, and while I thought we were for sure going to put Dog to sleep a couple of times, she rallied and is doing well! She seems weaker, but she's eating and able to take short walks (which seem to take forever!).  Nonetheless, I followed my gut and wasn't totally prepared to put her to sleep just yet without giving her enough time to see if she could somehow recover, and she did.

Dog, Sidekick, and I are headed to Atlanta to visit my sister and her family.  It's roughly a ten hour drive, and my limit is about six hours.  We are driving straight through because it doesn't make sense to drive it over two days.  I am slammed with work this week, so I'm still not able to wrap my head around this whole thing and getting packed, organized, etc.  Originally my mom was going to drive with us, but she's not up for travelling yet.  (She was released from rehab last Friday.)  So, we are off to an adventure!  It ought to be interesting. 

 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

How to Run Your First Race When You are 3 1/2 Years Old

How to Run your First One Mile Race (which happens to be in the rain) When You are 3 1/2 Years Old in 12 Easy Steps
 
1. Be super excited at the starting line
 
 
 
2. Take off running with the big kids.

 
3. Stop about .2 of mile in and insist that your mom take off both shoes to get (imaginary) rocks out of them.
 
4. Hydrate using the falling rain.


 
5. Take a little walk and then haul ass again.

 
 
6. Decide to pick up a branch along the way and sweep the trail.
 
7. 1/2 mile in, request your super hero cape to be put back on for fast running powers.

 
8. Stop to play in a puddle with branch.

 
9. Whine a bit and completely stop.
 
10. Approach the finish line with Momma's coaxing while still sweeping the trail with branch.
 
11. See Batman approach you as you are close to the finish line, drop the branch, and zig zag to the finish line to avoid him because you are scared.
 
12. Collect your Finishers Ribbon and say "Dat was really far."

 
His run may have been more painful for me than my 5k, but I'm so proud of this little dude.

 I've run about seven times since December, so I was totally unprepared for this race.  Plus, I have only pushed Sidekick in the jogger one time in about the past 12 months.  He's hated sitting in the jogger (even a stroller) since he was 2, but I really wanted to do the race, so we practiced last weekend, and I was exhausted trying to get in a groove of pushing him and running. 
 
My run was amazing!!! It was raining on race day, and the race was on gravel. Gravel and rain don't mix well, and gravel, rain, and a jogger with a 36 pound kid really don't mix well.  Nonetheless, all of that only slowed my normal pace down (and by normal, I mean my last race that I ran which was a half marathon the day before I conceived Sidekick. He'll be four in July, so that was a LOOOOONG time ago!) by about 40 seconds.  I wasn't expecting to do that well at all.  I felt good and was so happy that my body could do it, and I hope to concentrate on running again. I don't really enjoy running and never have, but I like the challenge and the sense of accomplishment in the end.
 
So, all in all, we both had a successful experience, and I hope we both get out there again for another race!  (Too bad Sidekick is almost too big for the jogger though.)