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Don’t Panic

7 Jul

“The ultimate key to freedom is recognizing that everything is a choice.”

I read this today and it caught my attention. I struggle with anxiety. Ninety percent of the time, I am fine. It’s that other ten percent that grabs hold and really takes control and causes me to reach a point of panic. Have you ever had a panic attack? If you’ve ever been in labor, it’s kind of the same sensation as a contraction. You can feel the panic building and your mind is saying “No, no, no, no, no…not now….please stop,” but there’s not a damn thing I can do to stop it. I have to let it come and know that it passes…pretty quickly at that. But it’s embarrassing. Having them in front of my husband is embarrassing. I feel weak and completely irrational.

So what brought this on? Well, Ava has a field trip to Sea Side Lagoon next week and I’m worried. Mike’s worried. There’s water involved. And Ava, well, she “thinks” she can swim. She’s in swim lessons and she’s learning, but I still don’t consider her safe in the water. So while we were lying in bed last night, we started talking about whether or not we should let her go. And Mike said, “I don’t want her to go. I don’t want to end up with a dead child.” And so the contraction began. And don’t mistake me here, I’m not blaming him at all for the panic attack. It just happens and it’s not easily explained other than when he said “dead child” my brain processed it and saw it as if it would happen. My mind imagined her dead, imagined the feelings I would have and then actually had the feelings.  And then my heart sped up and my breathing became erratic while my Mike looked on. Awesome.

This is the part of parenting that I have the hardest time with. As I’m sure most parents do. I want her to go on her field trip. I want her to have a great time with her friends. I want her to come home from school smelling like sunshine and saltwater. I want to hear all about her exciting day. I want to be the parent that doesn’t have the long list of things that could go wrong playing on repeat in my head.I have a daughter who is adventurous. She doesn’t dip her toes in the water…she cannonballs into the deep end. She doesn’t know quiet or slow or be careful. It’s not in her nature. She is so much like her daddy in this respect…let’s go as fast as we can, as hard as we can and get as much out of it as we can.

How do I keep her safe without completely sheltering her from the entire world? How do I make sure that the people I trust to watch her know how much it would devastate me to lose her? How do I make them promise to keep her safe? How do I control everything because clearly that’s the only solution? Haha! More importantly, how do I free myself from these fears? Because that’s the issue here…my fears are justified…but I can’t control them and I can’t let them control me. I can’t shelter her so much that she can’t do anything. So after talking to my own parents this morning and talking to Mike again, we are letting her go on the field trip. We decided she has to wear a life jacket at all times and that one of us may even go to chaperone. So while I can’t control the fears that I have, I do have control over the decisions I make to try to put my mind at ease.

How do you handle parenting fears? I’m not the only person who has them, right?

Goodbye to Stinky!

7 Dec

So Sunday marked a big day in our house. We had been preparing Ava for months that when she turned 4 she had to give up her pacifiers, which we call stinkies. The weeks leading up to Sunday Mike and I would both remind her that the day was fast approaching and she would say, “Mom, you don’t have to keep reminding me.” Almost like it hurt to think about it.

Sunday morning arrived and we hear her in her room waking up, so we both climb into bed with her to snuggle and she pops the stinky out of her mouth and hands it to me. I didn’t even have to ask. Now I know how this works…this moment of pride will be crushed at some point when she begs for it back, but at that moment I’m full of pride. She’s trying to be big and brave and do this four-year-old thing. So I take it and I feel the lump in my throat and my eyes sting. We walk around the house, check the cars and collect all the stinkies we can find…her much more enthusiastically than me.  

We had decided that we would send the pacifiers to Santa so he could deliver them to new babies on Christmas. So we made a beautiful envelope to put them in and she bravely put them all inside with a smile on her face. We dropped them in the mail and got ready for her birthday party.

That night at bedtime she was a little upset…she cried a little and said, “I don’t want my stinky mom…I just want something to suck on.” Her solution was maybe a lollipop…I may have given said lollipop to her. What? I felt bad and sad. But she did it…she went to sleep…until about 11pm when she woke up and it all finally came crashing down on her. She was inconsolable for almost an hour. So  much so that Mike came marching into her room with a pacifier and I chased him out saying, “No way dude!” It’s one hard week or waiting for her to decide at 42 she’s ready to give it up.

So last night was night #2…and she did awesome!!!! She didn’t ask for it…she didn’t wake up…all was quiet and this morning she was still so very proud of herself. For me…this was one of my hardest parenting moments. This marks the end of everything that made her a baby. The pacifier was the last link to babyhood. And while I’m really happy and proud of her for giving it up, I think my heart aches a little for my baby girl…I have to finally accept that she’s no longer a baby. Tomorrow she turns 4 and I just can’t believe how quickly it goes…I’m not ready for this.

Do lizards play dead when they molt?

21 Sep

So the husband is working late this evening and I have this thing called a triathlon looming in the near future. Since I have Ava, going to the gym is out of the question but I think, “Oh…I’ll just go run on my treadmill in the garage.” So I get all dressed and get out to the garage and get on the treadmill. My fingers press the start button and my legs start moving. I’m adjusting my ipod, look down and immediately scream and run back in the house and slam the door.

I gather myself and decide to go back outside and inspect what I think to be some sort of reptile in front of my treadmill. In case you haven’t caught on yet, I’m terrified of anything that crawls. Yes…even children. Anyhow. I go back out and creep up the treadmill and take a peek. DEFINITELY, a reptile…a lizard of some sort. I’m like, “WTH, why aren’t you moving?” I think maybe he’s dead and then I realize he’s got a layer of skin around him.

So I come inside, grab my phone and call Mike. Here’s what happens:
Me: Baby…there’s like a 6 inch maybe dead, maybe not dead lizard in the garage.
Him: Huh?
Me: Yeah. I know right. Only maybe he’s not dead. He’s molting. Or do only birds do that?
Him: Janice. Take the big push broom and sweep him out of the garage.
Me: I don’t think you understand. He’s in front of the treadmill. Between the treadmill and the wall.
Him: Okay. So go inside, get a broom and sweep him out.
Me: Okay. (walk inside get the broom)
Him: Is he alive?
Me: I don’t know I’m too scared to touch him.
Him: Use the broom.
Me: Even WITH the broom I can’t do it. I’m  too scared.
Him: He’s not going to jump up on your treadmill?
Me: OMG…I didn’t even think of that. Forget it. Guess I’m not running tonight.

And I’m terrified. I’m sitting in the house wondering how the little booger got into the garage. And I can’t stop wondering if he can get into the house. Maybe he’s dead. If he is he’s probably going to come back to life and scurry up my bed while I’m sleeping. OMG. This is why I can’t watch scary movies. I might have to go stay the night at Casie’s house.

I Lost Ava

23 Aug

I think every parent’s biggest fear is that something will happen to their child. Yesterday we went to a concert in the park and it was crowded. Very crowded. We were getting ready to leave and we were packing up and Mike and I both turned to put something in the cooler and Ava was right there. Except that when we turned back around, she wasn’t.

I immediately say, “Where’s Ava?” And I should note that sometimes Mike jokes around too much so I wasn’t sure if he was serious when he said, “I don’t know.” I quickly realized he looked panicked. We start looking left to right, up and down but we don’t see her anywhere. I started panicking. There were so many people and she’s so cute and I just thought, “Oh my God…someone has taken her.” We start frantically searching and still don’t see her. I start asking people, “Have you seen my daughter. She’s wearing a purple dress.” You guys…I NEVER want to have to describe what my child is wearing to a complete stranger again. It makes me sick to my stomach. About that time I see her running down a hill that was behind where we had been sitting. I should have known to look there…she had asked three times if she could run down that hill and I’d said, “Not right now.”

When I saw her, I started laughing. I’m not sure if that was an appropriate response but I think it was relief…it was manic. I don’t really know. Then I just hugged her and I wouldn’t let go. I was afraid to let go. I actually carried her almost all the way to the car and cried the whole time. Of course I talked to her and told her why she shouldn’t run off like that. She said she was sorry and she cried too. But I couldn’t shake it…and I still can’t shake it.

I was getting her dressed for bed last night and started crying all over again. And I’m not just talking watering eyes…I’m talking can barely breathe crying. It made me realize how quickly something can happen. You hear people say all the time, “It just takes a second.” I’m so fortunate and happy that my story has a happy ending. We are and have always been pretty protective and watchful of her. We both just turned around at the same time and she disappeared just like that, but I still can’t help but feel guilty. I can’t help but feel I kind of failed yesterday as a parent. It’s my job to protect her.

Feel free to share your story of how you “misplaced” your child so you can make me feel better.

Have you ever almost been eaten by a shark?

26 Jul

So about twelve years ago I took a trip to Catalina Island. Catalina is right off the coast of California and has some great diving sites. So, my boyfriend, at the time, took me there for an anniversary. I love snorkeling, so it was assumed I would love scuba diving. I’m slightly massively afraid of being eaten by a shark. I’m convinced I’m what’s for dinner each time I get into the ocean, but since I love the water so much I face the fear often.

 So here we are at Casino Point. I’m not a certified diver…the ex was. So we find a guide to do a guided dive. I get all geared up. We get in the water, snorkel out and start to descend. I paid attention to the instructions on how to equalize your ears, but my left one didn’t cooperate and at 27 feet down, I felt a pop and a stabbing pain in my ear. I gesture to the guide to go up.

My head pops out of the water and I’m bleeding out of my left ear. This is bad…really, really bad. Because not only am I bleeding out of my ear, I’m in an ocean where there are great white sharks and I’m BLEEDING OUT OF MY EAR!!!! The only way this story could get better is if I had steaks tucked under my arms. So anyway, I hear screaming…lots of it. I look towards the shore and all of these people are screaming for us to get out of the water.

In this instant, I was convinced that Jaws was behind me and if I wanted to live I should swim like crazy to get to the stairs to get out of the water. So I did. All the while I’m crying because a) I’m in pain and b) Jaws is gaining on me and I don’t want to die!!!!

I get to the stairs of the seawall, I step up, relieved that I’ve made it out alive, only to forget I have a weight belt on. I quickly proceed to flip over backwards right back INTO THE WATER!!!! I was certain at this point I was just going to land right in the shark’s mouth…why not, right?

After we get out of the water, we find out that a diver had gone missing. He had done a solo dive (not smart) and had been under far longer than the amount of air in his tank. This story has a sad ending, I’m afraid. At the time we came up, they needed people out of the water so they could find his body. It was a very traumatic experience on all levels.

As for my left ear…well, I’ll never be able to dive again. I ruptured my eardrum that day and once you have a ruptured eardrum it’s nearly impossible to get it to equalize while diving. We spent 3 hours in the emergency room and then the rest of the day watching them try to find the missing diver. He wasn’t found until the next afternoon.

Short Sales Are Not Short

7 Jul

So Mike and I are still in this whole home-buying process and haven’t wanted to say anything yet to the world about the fact that we put an offer in on a short sale what feels like ages ago. It really hasn’t been ages…maybe 3 months but man…when you want a house, really want it and it has all the things I previously wrote about, 3 months is a freaking long time to hear if the bank has approved it or not.

So we hear the term short sale alot these days thanks to the banks who gave money to people who couldn’t afford the houses they bought for various different reasons. Awesome. So basically what it means is that a buyer (ME) is offering less (shorting) than what the current sellers owe on the existing mortgage. Why would a bank do this, you ask? Well, they can either accept my offer and be done with it or the current seller forecloses and the process takes even longer.

Well, we found this house that we both loved (amazing, right?) and put in an offer. The banks did their thing and I waited ever so patiently (stop laughing) to get an answer. And I had just about given up. I mean tears were shed and I was so tired of waiting that I wanted to give up. And then it was like God heard my nervous breakdown and said, “Girl, shut up. Prayer answered.” I got a phone call the next morning at 8 am saying, “The bank has approved the short sale.” We opened escrow the next day.

So this is why I’ve been MIA on the blog y’all. I’ve been busy giving away our life savings and trying to understand everything I need to know about buying a house. Dude…it’s alot. I kept telling Heather, “It doesn’t feel real. I’m not freaking out yet.” Well, yet has come people!!!!! Our inspections went well and now it’s really happening and I’m like “OMG…this is scary. OMG I have so much to do!!!” And I’m a pay someone to do things kind of gal. I don’t like to paint, or move, or clean empty houses, which doesn’t bode well for me considering we’re giving up every penny we have to make this happen. Lucky for me, I found a bag of change in the closet today. I doubt it will cover moving, painting or cleaning but at least it will buy me pizza and beer at the end of a long moving day!

Pictures of You…

2 Jun

We all have them. These fears that creep up on us. For me it’s flying…I can’t explain why it terrifies me but it does. I’ll be fine until the plane actually starts going down the runway and then fear takes over and seizes every part of my body. I’ve actually fainted during takeoff. I wish I could explain why it scares me, but I can’t. Probably loss of control. Those fears I can live with and work through.

Tonight…I actually said my fear out loud. Two years ago I lost a dear friend in a motorcycle accident…a very dear friend. He was much too young to die and I was pissed. I was pissed because of how it happened and who it happened to, but unfortunately, God doesn’t just pick the bad people to die. He picks the good ones too…the ones who have served our country, a police officer and a son.

So tonight I was at his memorial, with friends and family and I was standing there next to his mom. And I don’t even know where it came from but I just blurted out to her, “You’re living my biggest fear. My biggest fear is that something will happen to my daughter and I just don’t know if I could ever come back from that.” You guys…I couldn’t believe I said that…for so many reasons. First of all, that’s not very supportive but sometimes I just don’t say the right thing…I say what I’m thinking…and unfortunately it was probably a reminder of what she’s faced with everyday. A life without her son. I just don’t think I could do it. Secondly, I couldn’t believe I said it out loud…for me…admitting a fear is like damning it to happen…which I know isn’t reality…things will happen whether we wish them away or wish them on…it’s the way of life.

But seriously…standing ther with his mom there were so many things I wish I could’ve said that would’ve let her know how sorry I am it happened….how heartbroken I still am….how much I think of him…that I dream about him and in my dreams we’re always trying to get through a crowd to each other but never quite make it. I always wish I could find the right words when people lose someone they love…but when a parent loses a child, I’m truly at a loss because that’s not the natural order of life. That is not the way it’s supposed to work. And so I never seem to know what to say…so I walked around most of the evening…avoiding the pictures that were sure to make me cry and praying I wouldn’t hear the song that just sends me over the edge…but wouldn’t you know…it came on during my drive home.

So tonight…kiss your babies one more time and tell the people you love, how much you love them because you really never know when it might be the last chance you get.