Tuesday, April 27, 2010

cougar like moves~Stealthy

The following is a "mom moment" that cracks me up every time it happens BECAUSE every time I really BELIEVE that I can pull it off!!

I put the kids to bed. Kadence goes to bed in her bed. Cohen falls asleep in my bed. (They share a room) Once Kadence is asleep and I am ready to go to bed myself,  I usually pick Cohen up and do the transfer. I realize someday I am going to have to put them in there together. Oh well not today.

So it goes like this......
I think to myself "haven't heard anything for awhile, maybe it's safe."

Step one is always navigate the quietest path to the bedroom door. I know exactly where to place my feet to avoid the creaks that shoot Kadence straight up in bed to say "mommmmmy" which of course starts the whole bedtime process all over again.

Tonight I make my way to the door. Nothing. This is good. Very good. Slowly ever so slowly open the door. Wait. Wait for it..... whew okay. Nothing. No movement.

At this point I get cocky thinking yes, okay, she's asleep. Time to move. You know as well as I do that a mom cannot just know if their child is sleeping you of course have to see how they are sleeping, so you move in for a closer peek. You as well as I should know better. Never move in closer....but I do anyways. Everytime I think, why didn't I leave well enough alone...but I have to know: Is her face covered with a blanket? Does she have covers? Is she close to the edge? Etc etc etc....

Back to tonight....I slowly, delicately pick up the blanket to cover her up. I am literally holding my breath. Easy. Easy... and she shoots up in bed and I DROP flat to the floor with (what I think are) cougar like moves.
Maybe she didn't see me.
Don't move.
 Lay still.
Don't breath.
 Surely she'll just lay down and go right back to sleep.
I am thinking so hard about not moving that I am concerned about even turning my head to look back up at the bed.
As I slowly ever so quietly turn my head upward, Kadence is laying on her tummy just staring down at me on the floor. Probably thinking "What the hell is my mom doing?!" 

Cracks me up every time BUT sometimes those cougar like moves work and I will now openly admit that there have been nights that I actually crawled out of the room for fear that if I stand up someone will wake again! Those few times when I do pull off the drop and crawl...when I hit the hallway I feel all victorious, complete with my very own adrenaline rush!

I am still chuckling over here and it's not like it's the first time I've been Busted!

There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What a beautiful day

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. ~Anne Lamott

I am renewed.

I am astonished. Surprised. Humbled. Speechless (yeah I KNOW! how often does that happen?!)

My cup is full.


Sometimes you come across people who have walked a pretty hard path in life.  Sometimes I meet people whose lives are pretty rough. Sometimes I meet families that because of where they are in life I feel like there is really nothing I or anyone can do to be of any assistance at all. I really try hard not to judge. I really try hard not to come across as looking "down" at them, I just really try to be okay. No matter the environment, but sometimes I do walk away thinking..."really. what can we do here to make a difference?" And we will team and brainstorm and plan and try and before we can even take a step we are diving into a different crisis. As much as I hate to admit it to myself, sometimes I do judge and sometimes I do give up a little on hope.

Sometimes I see families who live in chronic crisis. Every day is a new battle. The rent is due. The electricity is being shut off. There is no milk. There is no food. There are no diapers.  The kids are dirty. Diapers sag. Trash sits. Crumbs linger. Piles stack. Stains stain on top of stains.  Bugs crawl. The house is dirty. Their own childhood stories leave you speechless. The sheriff stopped over the day before. They were fired from their job, so they had no money to pay the child support. Drivers License is revoked due to lack of child support payments. Can't drive to get a job. No one will hire them anyways. They jump from place to place and life is hard. Every day is hard.

The kids run amok as the parents drown in stress and crisis. Sometimes when I leave some homes there is a tug on my heartstrings because I "know" where this childhood goes. I know and you surely do too, the "rest of the story" as to who these kids will be as teenagers and young adults.  The tug~the fear~the realization that the pizza stained-innocent face of that chubby cheeked 2 year old, will be pregnant or in jail by age 18.  Oh yes, there will be a few that are able to rise above and succeed, but they are the exception.

Today a mom stopped in my office. I had not seen her for 4 maybe 5 years. The last time I saw her was at the funeral for her ex husband and three of their children who died in a house fire early one morning.

As she shared her journey the last few years. I was touched, moved, motivated, astonished and most of all proud. Words cannot do justice to her story. Words cannot capture my feelings today.

Maybe. Just maybe. Today was the "proof" I needed to keep going. To keep going back even when steps forward are few and far between.  To keep trying. To keep trying even when there seems to be little point or hope. Just keep trying.

Because today proved that I will never know when I have met that one. That one that will rise above. That one that will overcome the life they were born into.
That one that despite every single card being stacked against them, will somehow manage to come out strong and making it.
Making a new life.
Defining a new self.
Strong and insightful.
To keep trying because they could be that rare one that finds a way out. To keep trying even when I may never know if it makes a difference.
What a beautiful day.

When the world says, "Give up," 
Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."~Author Unknown

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hop, shuffle-step

Moto for the week and it's working wonders!
Be pleasant until ten o'clock in the morning and the rest of the day will take care of itself. ~Elbert Hubbard
I saw this quote and thought So true, so true. Sounds like a challenge and why not this week?!

You can dance anywhere, even if only in your heart. ~Author Unknown

I started the week out thinking "okay this is another "Rock Star" week, get ready rock star you are going on tour and it's going to be WILD!
The kind of week where you find yourself sighing before it starts!Okay well somehow this week I went from a rock star to tap dancer. Yeah I know it doesn't seem as glorious so I am not sure why the switch but the subconscious knows more than my "worry" brain so this week I am rolling (or shall I say tapping) with it! Hey whatever works right! I believe I am allowed to play mind games with myself!

I've never taken dance lessons, but this week I am perfecting a lil move I have nicked named hop shuffle-step, partly because it captures the week and also because everytime I think it I smile and laugh to myself. So in the midst of the shuffle I'll sing the lil ditty to myself hop shuff-le step and how can I be anything but happy.
It's gone a bit like this....Saturday Cohen burns hand on stove. Call on call doctor. Decide not to go to the ER. Poor Cohen. Rough times for him lately. He is so strong and never complains (his hand had to hurt like the dickins!) Man could I take some lessons from him sometimes!

Monday blister pops, I'm thinking yeah maybe we need to see the doctor and the hop moving to shuffle begins. Work work work...Arrive David City 2:30. Leave David City 3:30 Doctor appointment 4:15. Cutting that close. Daycare lady meets me at dr. office, we make it right on time "HOP" over that possible blunder.
In deed Doctor thinks it is a pretty good burn and maybe the start of an infection. Start medicine.
Cue Mark to arrive at Peds Clinic at 4:55. Shuffle. (Trade cars.) Mark drove to Columbus to get kids, get meds, drive kids home. AND step right into the Foster care Review Board with 5 mins to spare.

Tuesday involved less moves which is good. The biggest hop came when I sat in my hairdresser chair and she said "so what do you want to do?" and I said "let's cut it." Okay that might have been more of a jump.

A Shuffle of the kids as Mark and I met on top of the bluffs (which someone at work thought sounded romantic! oh little did they know it was merely a "shuffle" but they did make me chuckle!) to once again shuffle and switch cars. He drove the kids back to Rising to Grandma's, which was all the rage with the kids,and then went into C-town for work and I too went back to Columbus and stepped into the Health Dept Annual meeting with 10 mins to spare!

I'm still trying to work out the shuffle part of tomorrow, as I have yet another 6-8 meeting tomorrow night with a 4pm right before that. Hmm. No set shuffle. No step. Must shuffle. Must step, but I am confident and I am going to Hop into tomorrow trusting that the shuffle and step are going to work out! That trusting part is a biggie!

Thursday. No daycare. That is a full fledge hop shuffle and step, but I think I've finally got that choreographed.

Did I mention that Cohen is "on" for Snacks at preschool Friday and oh yeah so I am for my meeting Friday Morning? I must tell you I chuckled out loud when I got that email yesterday! OF COURSE I am on for snacks Friday! Of course!

I am hoping by the end of the week I will  have a lil....hop, shuffle, step, kick, spin! I think I am going to need to take my moves to the next level by then!

Nobody really cares if you're miserable, so you might as well be happy. ~Cynthia Nelms

So that is a very condensed version shall we say review of my little dance this week. I am a super star! (Really-right now-try saying that about yourself!.... I mean it........do it now. I am a sup-er starr and you have to say it to yourself with conviction!..I am a supa' star!..do it....I'm gonna wait here all night........It does make you smile, doesn't it. Even though it's silly..see hop, shuffle-step) You go girl!

All that "stuff" above is just stuff. Logistics. Normally those logistics bog me down. Mentally-physically-weeks like this week tap me out.

This week seems different, which is great. I am still smiling! Yea!
I am so..........happy and thankful. *okay and a wee bit tired....I said super star not super hero! *smile

*The kids and I have been totally rocking it out to "bubble gum" (the song) in car. That is the time we've had this week to just be. Just be. Okay can't dwell there or worry brain takes over!

*I met the neatest foster parents. No kids, New to the system and their first placement was a teenager. (Oh come on you have to be thinking what I'm thinking. YIKES A TEENAGER in foster care,I'm scared of the thought of my own kids being teenagers, NO THANK YOU) but they are so in love with him. Oh the love was spilling out of their words, their faces, their eyes. It was really one of the most moving things I've heard and seen in a lONG time. I am so thankful to have met them and heard their story.

*I cut my hair off. When I cut my hair off.....I always feel free! Don't you! It's like a way of shedding some of my "baggage" and starting down the path a little lighter! *Check in tomorrow to see if I still feel that way when I have to fix it myself!

*Oh there are others, but time is ticking and my eyelids are drowsy and frankly my butt is sore (the hop, shuffle step is only a figment of my imagination) I really only had a combination of sitting at my desk, sitting in a car, sitting at my desk, sitting in the tahoe, sitting in the pick up, and sitting at the meeting. I am sure you see the theme.

Life is crazy sometimes. That is just how it is. Whether you work or stay home, whether you are young or old, whether you have kids or not.....It just is. This week I am choosing to see it differently. This week I am choosing to look at it and say "yeah that's a lot, but I am capable of so much more. Let's go. Let's see what life has to offer. I do believe I can hop shuffle step with the best of 'em this week. (It is only Tuesday isn't it?!?!)

I better watch out I'm a gettin' a lil cocky over here!

Give thanks for what you are now, and keep fighting for what you want to be tomorrow. ~Fernanda Miramontes-Landeros

**A couple things, that really have "no place" to blend in nicely with the rest of my thoughts.
If you come a lot. Give me some comments. Initially I didn't think I would care/like or want any comments, but I do. I love them. I can't help it. I don't want to want them. I don't want to love them, but I so do and I can't change that part of me......so you know let me know if you are stopping by. I have seen some "drop in's" from other states and that peaks my interest so...who are you? Do you relate? Friend or foe? (My grandpa used to say that whenever you knocked on the door!) So leave me a comment tell me the mind games you play with your mind to manage the craziness of life!
and have you ever noticed that your work 'people" sometimes know more about you than most?!
(I told you they were unrelated thoughts!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

rewriting the handbook

I am sure it is a great mistake always to know enough to go in when it rains. One may keep snug and dry by such knowledge, but one misses a world of loveliness. ~Adeline Knapp

This was kindergarten round up week. Kindergarten Round up was Wednesday. *Sigh* Tuesday night was a very late night.

Well the last few days have definitely been full of rain....in the literal sense as well as the abstract.

When we got home Tuesday night Cohen was running a fever. I looked in his mouth and holy tonsils. As a reminder he had strep throat 2 weeks ago and ever so bravely got a shot! As the minutes ticked by he started to talk more and more using the sore throat voice. You know the one right!? So some, probably my mom included, would say I made a rash decision and packed the lil fella in the tahoe and at 8pm at night drove him to linc care in Lincoln.

*Mark was working nights so I was flying solo on this one! God Bless all those single parents out there that do it on their own every day! You deserve a special gold star award!

The doctor said it was the worse throat he's ever seen. Kid never complained once about feeling bad! Really!? The few times I have had strep it hurt so bad I wasn't even swallowing my own spit! * Is that too much information??

After a bit of a wait at Walgreens Pharmacy, 10pm, we were on our way back home. I so smartly put him in Kadence's carseat (adjusted the straps) so he wouldn't head bob all the way home.

The night was complete with me standing outside at midnight, in 50mph winds, with a flashlight wedged between my knees, aiming the hose at just the right angle to spray the chunks out of Kadence's car seat and yet manage to dodge the backspray. Vomit had managed to seep into any crook cranny crevasse and inside workings of that car seat.
He's a pucker I should have been ready for that.

The two of us were quite a pair that night. One poor friend got quite the late night rantings email from me. It was a sad night! Complete with not all good honest wholesome mom decisions!
*for the whole story you may just have to call*


So we remain home today. Yes home for a sick day. Again.

Sick or not sick Cohen is resilient.
He does not complain.
He does not whimper.
and he begged to play in the rain..........and after a night like Tuesday.

How could I say anything but Let's do it!

Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain. ~Author Unknown

Both my babies are napping after our little escapades and I know that my mom will have a heart attack that I let Cohen splash in the puddles and rain on a sick day, but whose to say that a glimmer of happiness and fun won't wash those sickie germs away!

I chucked the "good parenting" hand book out a few years ago!

We are writing our own!

Friday, April 9, 2010

beautiful process. beautiful faith.

*warning I cannot find the spell check anymore!
I sit here tonight waiting for my little ones to drift off to sleep (a little later than usual).

I remember more than one person asking me, "How could you ever work in Hospice?" which was usually followed by 1 of 2 comments : "I could never do that. " or "You must be something special to be able to give like that."  I always wanted to say that hospice gives to me! It kept me grounded in my faith. Not my religion. My faith.

The death and dying process is really remarkable when allowed to fully exprience it with someone. I promise that if you sat in room full of hospice nurses your faith would be renewed. The stories are nothing short of miraculous everytime.  Actually jaw dropping at times really........

We once had a gentleman that was an atheist on hospice. He was very firm in his beliefs that there was no God. When you died. You died. End of story. Sadly in his last moments, he cried out that his feet were burning and was yelling at "someone" at the foot of his bed to go away. leave him alone, let go of my feet, stop........

We had a younger woman who was losing her battle to cancer. She was at the end. The nurses knew it. The husband knew it. She had been fairly unresponsive for the last couple days. The husband called our nurse and said I really think you need to come. Her time is coming I think and I need you here. She went and while she was there, the lady opened her eyes and was watching "someone." She would follow them with her eyes and head, just like I would if I watched you walk across the room. Our nurse told the husband, "someone" is here for her. He asked his wife if her sister was here (her sister had died several years ago) she nodded yes. He told her it was okay to go.........and she did.

At the nursing home we had a lady with a large family. She had severe-end stage-alzhemiers and end stage alzheimer's is really not pretty. She had been non verbal for, geez, a year at least probably. We had called the family because we felt her time was coming and all her kids and family came to see her and say good bye. She hung on. She continued. It was remarkable. Days she kept going and no one could explain how. We had several conversations with the family brainstorming ...was there anything she would be holding on for..anyone? They couldn't think of anything. They had all given her "permission" to go. Then her brother remembered something. Her sister had died a few years back, but due to her poor condition the family hadn't told her. They whispered to her that evening....that her sister was gone....she needn't wait for her.....she died within minutes. Minutes.

When I was in the nursing home in Hastings there was an elderly couple. One was fairly healthy and the other had alzhemiers pretty severly. Her cognitive impairment had worsened to the point that she did not recognize her husband and if he would enter their joint room she would get very irrate and scream for help that a man was in her room. The family made the heartbreaking decision to seperate them. Two seperate rooms. Two competely different wings of the nursing home. The husband. Oh he was sad.  Could you imagine? In the middle of the night, one night, fairly unexpected she died. Per a phone call to his family, knowing how upset the husband already was about the move, decided to wait until morning to tell him, his wife had died.  He died 2 hours later in his sleep. No one had told him.  Completely unexpected. Completely "unexplainable."

Yes hospice as a profession probably isn't for everyone. I would tell you that the reward far out weighed the loss. Yes it indeed gave me more faith than any church service ever could. Yes it gave me more than I ever gave a "client."

So the reflection has a point....this brings me to today.

I get a call from mom (yes mom I know you read this!) that she has signed the paper to have muffie put to sleep. *Muffie is my parents' dog that they have had for probably 14 years*  She has been battling some health issues and this last tumor was pretty large and had cause lots of troubles. She had been at the vet for a few days.
So mom calls, upset, crying, that she did not say good bye. Dad, although puts on the tough face, can't bring himself to go to the vet to be with Muffie. Mom can't leave work. Mom feels bad that Muffie is alone and no one said good bye..........so I cried in the middle of Walmart.

And there in the middle of Walmart I offer to go, a few random things in the cart.

I wheel the cart to the check out wondering if it is too late.

Wondering, if it is too late, should I lie to mom and tell her I made it in time, just so she feels better about it.

So while the happy lady is casually scanning my random items, I call Mark at home, which went like this (remember he knew nothing) "Will you look up the number to the animal hospital?"  mark "why"  me "Because Muffie's dying" okay crying again. Happy check out lady pauses to stare at the lady on her cell phone proclaiming that someone's dying.  Mark "oh. why?' me  thinking Jesus just give me the number, like I can have this conversation with happy check out lady staring at me! I really said: "Long story Just call me back with the number." 

So I call the Animal hospital and they say....you can come but you need to come now. (It was already close to 4pm)
As I drive over to the Animal Hospital I ponder...what do you tell a dog that is about to transition from this life to the next?  I got a little teary thinking about Muffie passing on, but as I got closer to the Animal Hospital I started my self pep talk. "Jen really, you did Hospice.  You were with people when they died. People. Really, Put yourself together and think of something to tell a dog... You are a social worker for God's sake." 
The lady has me sit in a room and she carries lil Muffie in and what do I say..."oh Muffie you look like you feel like shit."  *Okay really Jen that's all you got! No wonder Social workers don't get paid much!  So one brief not professional moment first, but then my hospice side kicked in and I thought, when someone was dying and someone needed to say goodbye but couldn't make it we had them call. Even if the person was non responsive we would hold the phone to their ear so the other person could say good bye. Works with people. Why not dogs? So I tell Muffie. "Muff, I'm sorry you feel yucky and soon it won't hurt. It's okay. I am going to call mom she needs to tell you goodbye."

So I call mom and say....I made it and I am with Muffie. She looks bad. She doesn't feel well at all. Poor Muffie. Her breating was erratic with probably about 3-5 seconds of apnea.........So I tell mom, I am going to put the phone to Muffie's ear and you can tell her good bye........... and she did.

I had my hand on Muffie's side and the moment I took the phone from Muffie's ear and mom was crying and going on and on about how I didn't have to stay for the next part if I didn't want too....but I already knew. I didn't say anything, but I knew.
Muffie had stopped breathing. Muffie had made her transition out of this world. I told mom I needed to go. I got the lady from outside the room. Told her I thought Muffie wasn't breathing any longer and I was right.

She was waiting for her goodbye. She was waiting for her "person" and she went. On her own.

So coming from someone who isn't necessarily a "dog lover" (I am not a dog hater, but just not a dog lover if that makes sense), after today I can't dispute when someone says dogs are just like people. Because today Muffie proved that.

That renews my faith once again.

Beautiful process.  Beautiful faith.

"You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us". ~Robert Louis Stevenson

*The picture is Cohen and Muffie a few years ago....Cohen said to me tonight "Muffie died. Grandma's sad. We said a prayer to Jesus. "Dear Jesus, we loved muffie. I can't remember the rest of it" "mom I bet God has tons of chew toys and chew bones in Heaven. Muffie will love that."
 End of conversation.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sugar hangover

I think I am experiencing a sugar hangover.

The holiday let down.

The aftermath.

The Easter Bunny was doubly mischevious this year, which led to such a high!
I do believe that I said in my previous post that I am addicted to holidays, well I guess with any high, you have to come down, the craving for the next "fix." I do believe that is where I am today.
The thrill of sneaking out late at night when everyone is tucked in their beds, dreaming of chocolate bunnies and bright spring colors I was up to no good and loving every moment. Completely sucking the life out of the night! (only it is really hard to be sneaky with automatic headlights!)

The Easter bunny neglected to hide those huge piles of paperwork that I happily left behind  on Thursday for an extended weekend.
The piles that haunt my dreams this week.
The piles that are sucking the life out of me.

Today I am not fun mom.

Today I am not even nice mom.
Today I am that mom you see at the store yelling at her kids for doing things that kids just do and you think to yourself "geez lady, back off, they're kids" and you just want to grab those babies and take them home with you. Today I am that mom.

Tonight I have nothing left to give. I have given everything I had to work the last two days and tonight there is nothing left. These are the nights that leave me feeling depleated and sad. 

For these are the nights that I yell too often.

I am quick to lose my patience.
I have no tolerence for those little things that normally I don't even hear...the truck tires on the kitchen floor, toys that beep and play music, the yelping.

These are the nights that I am ashamed at my own lack of control.

These are the nights that I go to bed praying my kids won't remember.
These are the nights that I go bed replaying the lost moments where my kids just wanted my attention. My love.
These are the nights that it takes everything I have not to go climb in bed with both of them and kiss them and tell them how much I do love them, despite my actions.

These are the nights I wish I could do over.

Instead I sit here. Depleted. Sad. Embarrassed. Annoyed. Done. Yet needing to give once again to work.

I am hoping that by getting this out I can move on because my kids, my husband, my work, don't "care" if I have nothing left.

They "require" me to keep going. I know that I need to sit here tonight and complete at least one of those piles of work before the sun greets us tomorrow. Before the rays of sunshine require me to start over.

To give more. 

To try this life again

and do better!
Tomorrow I have to do better. Tomorrow I need to be the mom, my kids deserve. The mom they deserve every day. Tomorrow, my day will not suck the life out of me. Tomorrow I WILL suck the life out of the day! 

If only I can get through tonight and one more pile.....

*I want to make a footnote here and say I do not believe that it is just because I work that I have hit bottom and have nothing left to give. I think (or hope that I am not alone) that no matter what or where you are in life you have those moments when life has sucked you dry. Today just happens to be my turn. I am waiting ever so impateintly to let someone else take a turn.
Duck Duck GOOSE...You're IT!
and where the heck did Blogger take my spell checker! REALY! COME ON People!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

I confess. I am addicted.

"Spring bursts today, For Christ is risen and all the earth's at play." ~Christina Rossetti
God is good. Is there really anything else to say?
I love the magic of the holidays. Any holiday really! Cohen asked the other day "mom,what comes next (after Easter)?" I, of course, said MAY DAY! Who doesn't LOVE May day?!
I am in love with the little traditions and hoop la's that go with holidays. I am in love with the get togethers, whether is it is family or friends. I am in love with the laughter generated by those get togethers. I am in love with the magic.
Yes I admit it. I am a holiday addict.
We of course ventured up to the 'ole RC Easter Egg hunt, which I must publicly say would put any big town's hunt to shame!

"Listen up girls this is how it works."

The anticipation. The excitement. The happiness. I love happiness. I love spring!
"The Prize loot"
The time finally came to dye Easter eggs.
Kadence did master the art of making the perfect egg, only after she ate most of the pink.
*yes we had the Easter egg dye that you mix with vinegar*

Cohen was in love with the *magic* of putting the fresh clean white egg in and then out comes a beautifully colored spring egg. I must admit that I too love that part.

Oh the rainbow of colors, the possibilities are endless

This is the new "pouty face" which I was happy to finally catch on camera! It is accompanied by the perfect little "hump" sound.

Tonight is coming quickly and the Easter Bunny is going crazy with anticipation. I also happen to know that the Easter Bunny has some tricks up her sleeve this evening. The Easter Bunny is bordering on giddy!

The "annual" Easter Video is finally completed, just in the nick of time!

"All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt."~Lucy Van Pelt

Added much later Saturday: I must confess that it is now 10pm and the Easter bunny's hop is much slower. Is it bad if the Easter bunny just poured herself some cherry vodka and turned on a mix of Eminim and Kid Rock in a ploy to keep the bunny hoppin?!?? Man the EB has a lot to do after the little one's are tucked in!