Saturday, December 22, 2018


You know that wall we all hit at some point in the day? The one where we just can’t get over it and we need to just be done?

My wall seems to be right around 3:30, or if I’m lucky, 4pm. I just get so tired and so ready for the day to be over.

Of course, I also know as I’m flinging myself against this wall in a futile attempt to continue to be productive for the last hour-ish of my work day that even when my paid work is done, the real work begins because when I get home I will not be able to just stop and be, not even for five minutes.

No, there’s always homework to be done, dishes to be washed, dinner to be cooked and look, there are more dishes that need to be washed.

Most nights, early in the week, there will also be some towels that need to be folded and there’s a child who needs to be washed. Sure, she can bathe herself but she can’t be trusted to wash her own hair so there I am, kneeling over the bathtub, dumping water over her head while she screeches that I’m killing her. I always remind her that she’s not dead yet so yeah, be a little quieter in your protests, would you?

After bath, that same child always demands (that’s a strong word but go ahead and try to deny her) dessert. And yes, I know this is my fault because I always provide it for her but I’m a parent who will more often than not chose the path of least resistance and just giving her the stupid dessert is so much easier than arguing with her for what feels like hours on end.

I have it good. This same dessert demanding child takes medicine without complaint and never runs from me in a parking lot, she never has. I know there are others out there with children who refuse medicines without a horrible, physical fight and who have to leash their kids to keep them safe in a parking lot. I have a pretty darned good even if dessert can often feel like the straw that is breaking this mom’s back on a Wednesday night after what feels like a month of Mondays has led to it only being freaking Wednesday.


Where’s my freaking Christmas spirit? I need to find it and get over these December blahs.

Friday, December 21, 2018


I find myself feeling envious of some of the people around me.

I know how lucky I am. I know that I’m so much more fortunate than so many others. And yet…I envy people their time. Those who have enough disposable funds that they can take Christmas trips, or take weeks off at a time to spend with family.

I wonder why some have so, so much and others have to work so hard just to make ends meet. For what it’s worth, I’m somewhere in the middle of those two extremes.

Maybe I was spoiled by the time I spent at home last year at this time. I’d just started my medical leave on this day last year. I was looking down a long road of not having to go to work each day, not having to think about what the weather was going to bring. I was there with my kids during their Christmas break. It was lovely.

But I’d also just finished with a job where I had four weeks of paid vacation and a full week of paid sick/personal leave which could be used in fifteen minute increments. I knew I had it good but I guess I just didn’t realize how good.

I’ve had to start over with a new job. This job is a good one. I’m lucky to have it. I am lucky to enjoy the work I do (for the most part) and to very much like my co-workers. But…there’s always a but.

But I will receive three vacation days next year; one in March, one in June and another in October. That’s it. There is no paid sick time. I’m lucky to have flex time, I can come in early one day and leave early another day in the same week. But it’s not the same as paid time away.

I will get ONE week of vacation starting in 2020 through 2023. Then, whee, I’ll get a second week. I know, this sounds an awful lot like whining. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful.

I am grateful to be working. I’m grateful to be alive and earning an income to keep my family clothed and fed and to help pay our mortgage. Of course I’m grateful that I will be able to provide a good Christmas to my family.

But I’m also finding myself a little bit angry with the way life has twisted and turned in the past year and I find myself in a job that I’ve had for a whole four months instead of a job I’d had for almost eighteen years.

I know. We all have to start somewhere but damn it, I’d started somewhere almost twenty years ago. I’ve paid my dues, why am I having to start over?

I know so many others (former co-workers, for example) are in the very same boat. I know this. But this time, misery isn’t exactly loving the company.

It sucks and I guess I just needed to say so.

Thursday, December 20, 2018


Okay, even though I just said that I’m not one to complain (it was said sort of tongue in cheek) I kind of want to document my current complaints, just in case I need to look back and try to remember when certain aches and pains might have started.

So I think my right hip/lower back started hurting about mid-October, 2018. I know I was trying to figure out if I should mention it to Dr. Z when I saw him on October 30. I did mention it to both the nurse and the nurse practitioner and they both didn’t seem to think anything of it.

I also mentioned it to Dr. B, the surgeon, in mid-November. He also didn’t seem to think it was a big deal.

I saw my family doctor on November 27 (O’s b-day!!!) and was going in to talk about both the pain and my blood pressure. Lo and behold, the pain stopped the weekend before my appointment.

It comes back now and then these days, mostly at night, when I lay weird. But…it bothers me that I have this pain and no one seems worried about it.

At this point, I don’t know who else to tell. Do I request some sort of scan? Do I continue to ‘wait and see’? My problem with waiting and seeing is that if I’d done that when it came to the pain in my left breast, well, I’d be fighting a completely different battle these days. So yeah, I don’t like the wait and see game.

I just…don’t know.


I don’t know if the blood pressure meds are working. I don’t feel any different. I suppose I should check my pressure at some place like WalMart or Walgreens just to see. But I feel fine. Then again, I felt fine when my pressure was deemed high, so who the hell knows?

One thing I do know is that I need to lose weight. I need to go on a diet, move more and lose weight. The pain in my stupid right hip/back would probably go away if I’d lose about eighty pounds. Or, it might not and then we’ll have something to investigate.


This is why I don’t really talk about this stuff (ha!) What good is it doing me until I see a professional who can actually order the tests necessary to rule out some things or find something? It’s just a bunch of annoying venting.

Sorry about that.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Full Circle

One year ago yesterday was my last day at my former job. I was starting my new chemo a year ago today, December 19th. On the advice of my HR manager, I’d decided to go on full-time medical leave for the remainder of my treatment.

The facility where I’d worked for over seventeen years closed on December 31, 2017. Because I was on medical leave, they couldn’t officially fire me until I was finished with treatment.

Talk about a relief, right? The knowledge that I had insurance coverage, that I was receiving a percentage of my original pay, that I could concentrate on getting better and not drag my sick self to work each day…it was a huge blessing.

But honestly, being back to work feels like a blessing too. I feel so very lucky to have come full circle.

Here I am, working, taking care of my family, feeling pretty good (for the most part, but we all know I’m not one to complain *cough, cough*)

As Christmas looms, I find myself grateful just to be here. Just to get to see my kids’ faces on Christmas morning.

As I fell asleep last night, I prayed, giving thanks for each and very thing that I have. I know that things could have been so very different.

They’re different for my Auntie Nell. She’s facing her first Christmas without her daughter. Her first great grandchild was born last month (on Liv’s birthday!) and her daughter isn’t here to celebrate being a Gram.

It would have made Amy crazy knowing that her daughter was out in California with a newborn and Amy was stuck here in the Midwest but maybe she’d have found a way to go be with them for a few days.

I believe with all my heart that she’s with them now, keeping watch over her daughter and that beautiful baby girl.

Amy was so sick this time last year.

I was going through treatments, trying to get well. We were all doing our best with the cards we were dealt. I know I got the better hand. I’m sorry that Amy didn’t get a better one too.

But I’m not sorry I’m here. I’m so very thankful for every single day I get to be here. I pray that there are many, many more December 18ths and Christmas mornings and all the days that come before and after and in between.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Broken aka In Need of a Nap

On Thursday night after Olivia finished eating, Tom mentioned that there was some linguini in the fridge that he’d left for me.

I sighed (because I’m a drama queen) and said, “Alas, I cannot eat that. I’m out of mushrooms.”

“And you have to have mushrooms to eat the linguini?” he asked skeptically.

“Duh,” I replied.

He offered to drive to the local Family Dollar (four miles away) and get some canned mushrooms but that seemed like a lot of work for mushrooms. I delicately declined his generous offer.

A bit later, I lamented that I could not possibly go to Family Dollar myself because my hair was especially awful yesterday.

Tom looked at the mop perched upon my head and said, “But this is Edon. Your hair is perfectly normal for Edon.”

I was crushed. I blinked at him, as if holding back tears and said, “That’s the meanest thing you’ve ever said to me.”

He looked mildly confused so I continued, “How could you say that I have NORMAL Edon hair? Have you seen the Edon moms’ hair? I’m broken.”

And at that, I took to the couch and pulled a blanket over my horrifyingly ‘normal’ head.

Tom laughed and went about his business.

Ten minutes later, he came back into the living room to find me still on the couch.

He said something to Olivia and I told him, “I’m not actually pouting, I’m just resting.”

And then…I fell asleep for an hour. It was glorious! I haven’t had a nap in months. Maybe he should ‘hurt’ my feelings more often.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Best Laid Plans

There was so much laundry to do on Sunday morning. Actually, the laundry pile was so high, I started it Saturday afternoon, getting two loads washed and one dried before bed on Saturday night. I planned to do the rest (probably seven or so loads, there were blankets and sheets in there to be washed) on Sunday before and after Alyssa’s band/choir concert.

Alas…the best laid plans are just waiting to be derailed.

Friday night I noticed that Olivia sounded congested. I asked her if she felt okay. She said she felt fine. Saturday dawned and she still sounded congested and wheee, let’s add a runny nose to the mix just for fun.

We did our usual Saturday errands and by the time we got home, she was achy but not feverish. I got her settled and did those couple of loads of laundry, adding her sheets to the pile because germs.

I noted in the night that she actually sounded better as she slept. I’d given her some night-time Mucinex in the hopes of letting her get a decent night’s sleep.

When she woke up at about 8:15 Sunday I knew from the first few words out of her mouth that whatever was making her congested was settling into her throat and chest.

I also knew that a trip to the doctor/Urgent Care was in our very near future.

Tom was already gone for the day, taking care of family business, so I put O in the shower, woke A long enough to tell her I was taking her sister to Urgent Care and asking if she wanted to stay home alone (hello, she’s almost 16 years old!) or if she wanted to go with us.

She opted to stay home. Smart girl.

Olivia got out of the shower, I told her we were going to see a doctor and she asked, “What about breakfast?”

Obviously the gunk in her head was not affecting her appetite. After eating three blueberry Eggo waffles, away we went. We left at 9:40am, after I’d put a load of laundry in the washer.

We arrived back home at 12:50pm with an antibiotic, some nasal spray and three boxes of tissues.

Tom was on his way home to stay with Liv while I went to the concert Alyssa’s high school band and choir was putting on.

I managed to switch the clean laundry to the drier and start another load before heading to the concert.

I got home from the concert at 3:30. Tom told me there was no need to rush to the basement to check on the laundry because he’d already transferred what was in the washer to the dryer and started another load. Then he left again to return to his family business.

I made Olivia some hot tea, swept the kitchen floor and vacuumed, confident in Tom’s ability to load a washing machine.

When I finally made my way to the basement, both the washer and dryer were finished with their cycles. After emptying the dryer, I opened the washer. It was so stuffed full of towels I kind of wanted to slap someone. Alsas, Someone had already left the building. So…I stupidly put ALL the towels into the dryer and started another load to wash.

Three dry cycles later, and the freaking towels were finally dry. I’d actually had to separate them into two piles and dry each pile separately, hence the three cycles. By then, I’d managed to wash two more loads of laundry, so they sat in baskets, damp, waiting for the dryer to be free.

I did tell Tom later about how much he’d over-filled the washer. I tried to say it kindly because that’s how I’d want to hear it if I did it.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big a deal if the laundry is finally folded and put away on Monday instead of Sunday. The important thing is that Olivia is on the mend and eventually, the laundry will be done, until the next load, which is currently being worn by my entire family. Sigh.

Monday, December 10, 2018


I don’t think I’m all that stubborn. I don’t argue for the sake of arguing. I mean, that sounds exhausting and if I don’t feel strongly about something, I don’t usually want to put forth the energy necessary to fight about it.

But I suppose you could say I’m contrary. If someone tells me I should try something, my automatic response is to not want to try it. For example, most week nights after I’ve made food for Olivia, I’ll be scrounging around the cabinets and fridge looking for something to stuff into my own face. Tom’s learned not to make any suggestions whatsoever because whatever he suggests I will scoff at and not eat. I don’t do this on purpose. It’s not a conscious decision to NOT eat what he suggests, but my subconscious doesn’t want to be told what to do.

I do realize how childish that is but after 40+ years, I don’t see myself changing in that aspect. Lucky for me, it’s become a running joke in our house.

I do like to be right. In fact, I don’t usually argue unless I know I’m right.

I refuse to argue about opinions because there’s no proof either way. You have your opinion, I have mine, we can almost guarantee that no one is going to change anyone else’s mind, so why argue?

My freshman year of college I didn’t work the first semester. My grades reflected the fact that I had too much time on my hands.

I ended up starting to work at the cafeteria in my residence hall during the spring semester of my freshman year. My neighbor worked there and it seemed convenient. She’d told me how awful the dish room was and how everyone hated it.

Guess which job in the cafeteria was my favorite? Yep, the dish room. It was away from the public (my own peers) and I was able to just go in, rinse dishes, load and unload the huge dishwasher as needed and get through my shift with little to no interaction with anyone except the others who were working that shift in the dish room. It was awesome. And I can’t say whether my innate contrariness was what made me like it more than say the serving line (which was awful because college students are assholes) or even the check-in station where you had to swipe every ID card for every student coming in to eat that meal. I hated that one because the person manning that station was supposed to stop people from taking food out of the cafeteria. I’m sorry, but most 19 year old college students aren’t going to stop their peers from taking a freaking apple back to their room. That seemed like a lot of work for someone who was not at all invested in the process.

When I took the year off between high school and college, I knew I’d go to college. I just wanted to stay home for a year and help my mom with my littlest brother, who started kindergarten the fall after I graduated from high school.

I have a cousin on my dad’s side who is old enough to be an uncle. This cuncle (Ha! I just made that up and it cracks me up because it fits Phil perfectly) declared that if I didn’t go to college immediately after high school, I’d never go. He told me more times than I can count that I was going to waste my intelligence and that if I don’t go to college RIGHT THEN, I’d end up working production in a factory at 30, divorced with three kids. Now, I admit that Phil is a dick even on his best days but his insistence that I would never go to college was probably a big part of why I did go. I would show him, I thought in a state of contrary indignation. No one was going to tell me how my life was going to go!

And off to school I went that very next fall. Thank you, Cuncle Phil for pushing me to reach beyond that dire future you laid out for me.

Now, there are times when I probably come across as a pushover because I just don’t care enough about something to stand up for myself or others.

I’m working on that. I don’t want to come across as being spineless just because I don’t think something is worth a small argument.

I admit that even at 48, I still have a lot of growing up to do. I feel lucky that I am still here to do just that.

Saturday, December 8, 2018


I think…I feel like I’m healing. I thought about our old house, the one we brought Olivia home to twelve years ago today. She was so tiny; she’d finally gained back to her birth weight of 5lbs 2oz. She was on monitor that tracked her heart rate and her breathing.

We were all finally under one roof and it was terrifying.

Christmas was right around the corner and while the tree was up (that’s what had me thinking about the old house, I found myself trying to remember where we’d put the tree in that house. I did remember and it brought feelings of happiness instead of sadness or regret, so I’m taking that as a healing moment.) but not a lot of presents were purchased or wrapped.

Alyssa was going to be four in just over a month. She’d ‘helped’ with the tree. See, I hadn’t had a chance to put a lot of ornaments on it that year. I’d put it up, strung the lights and then…it just sat there. So sweet little Lyssie had decorated the tree with her toys that year. She put puzzle pieces on the branches, sat a few tiny stuffed animals on other branches. At the time, I broke my heart. Now…I see it as a chance for a little girl to make the tree her own.

Last weekend we put our tree up. We bought a new tree and it is much smaller than the old one. It’s also prettier and easier to manage. We started putting it up on Saturday afternoon. I got the lights on and we put in a Christmas movie (A Christmas Story) and we dug into the four boxes of Christmas decorations we have collected over the years.

Last year, I didn’t get into all the boxes of ornaments. Chemo and all that entailed just kept me from doing all that would have in the past. I did move furniture the day after chemo and put up the tree because, hello steroids! But once the steroid high moved on, I didn’t have the energy to put all the ornaments on the tree.

Sunday morning found me back at the tree. The girls had done a pretty good job but there were some spots that still needed ornaments. Alyssa looked up at her phone at one point and said, “You’re really the only one who puts real effort into decorating for Christmas. We’d be lost without you.”

It was as if she’d read my mind (or my blog) recently.

I just smiled and said, “I’m glad you have me then.”

She smiled back and went back to her phone.

I am so grateful to be here to do for my family. I’m grateful that Olivia is doing so well, that we came through our NICU experience intact, that while there are scars, they’ve scabbed over through the years and even those Christmas Tree cakes don’t trigger me like they used to do so. I can buy a box with barely a shrug to the significance of them and the season.

We’re all growing around here and that’s a really good thing.

Friday, December 7, 2018


I believe in the power of prayer. I believe that God hears all prayers and He answers them. He may not give us the answer we wanted, but He listens and He loves us and when we’re broken He puts us back together. Sometimes, He puts us back together here in this life. But sometimes, we have to go to Heaven for Him to fix us.

I felt all the prayers that were said for me last year when I was got my diagnosis and was going through treatment. I joke that I was probably on the prayer lists of all the churches in a thirty mile radius of my house but honestly? That’s probably not a joke. I worked with about 40 people and they lived and worshipped in a lot of different places. My dad attends no fewer than three churches himself. I was lifted up in prayer by so many strangers and I’m so grateful.

I know that God hears even the smallest, loneliest prayer but I also know that there is strength in numbers and those people were so kind to say my name in prayer, to ask God for healing and strength.

My step-daughter could use some prayers. She’s struggling again (still?) She’s hurting so much and she’s so lost and it breaks my heart to know she just wants love. She seeks love in the worst ways, the least loving ways.

She visited us last Friday. She was fragile and broken and lost.

Her mom called me while J was at our house. She wanted to let me know that J can’t be trusted, that we shouldn’t let her stay at our house more than one night because it wasn’t actually safe for me and the girls to have her there.

Imagine feeling that way about your own child. I know that J is thirty-one years old but she’s still Tom and D’s child. She has a hole inside her that she’s trying to hard to fill with things that are so bad for her.

So I pray. I ask God to hold her tightly in His arms, to show her the way, to give her strength as she fights the demons that threaten to overtake her.

I’ve asked my mom and her sisters’ to pray too. J needs some prayer warriors right now so much. We need to shout her name to God, to remind him that one of His weakest is lost and needs His light, His love, His strength as she fights to find her way yet again.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Just Like Old Times

Olivia finished antibiotics for an ear infection a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday night/Monday morning around 2am, I woke up to the sound of Alyssa’s voice. She was telling me that she couldn’t sleep.

She asked me if the medicine I’d given her that evening had caffeine.

Now, wait just a minute. Let me point out that when I gave her the generic Excedrin, it was noon. When she took more of it, of her own volition, I would like to point out, it was about 8:30pm. So, while yes, technically, the medicine I gave her did have caffeine but when I gave it to her, it wouldn’t have affected her sleep. When SHE took it again, all by herself, because, let’s remember this ‘child’ is about six weeks out from turning SIXTEEN YEARS OLD, yes, it was going to affect her sleep.

Whew, enough backstory? Okay, then.

So it was 2am and she knew that 6:45 was coming fast and she was stressed because she couldn’t sleep. She told me there in the dark of my room that she’d even cried a little because she was so tired but couldn’t sleep.

I rubbed her hair as she talked and told her that taking a PM medicine probably wasn’t a good idea because at 2am, it wouldn’t have time to wear off by the time it was time to go to school and she’d be groggy. Then I skootched over and suggested she lay down with me for a bit. She was asleep in five minutes.

And this, my friends, is how a family ends up co-sleeping well into the teen years. Because Mom is freaking tired and the kids wake her up and she’ll do anything, ANYTHING, to just go back to sleep, even inviting her teenager to sleep in her bed just so everyone can go back to sleep.

She stayed there for about an hour and a half before heading back to her own bed and sleeping until her alarm went off. She woke feeling remarkably refreshed and got through the day.

When we all got home on Monday evening, though, she said that her throat still hurt. She’d taken the generic Excedrin because of a sore throat. (I know…)

Tuesday morning, after a good night’s sleep, it was decided that her sore throat isn’t getting better and so Tom will be bringing her to town and I’d meet them at Urgent Care after school/work.

Yes, winter has arrived and with it the germs and lowered immunities that we all dread. Wheee!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018


Alyssa loves to read stories to me or share videos with me about conspiracy theories and moments that people are sure they’ve experienced a glitch in the matrix.

It’s amusing and fun and sometimes a little eerie.

I was driving home from work the other day and took a back road instead of the main state road to get home. This back road takes me through the little ‘town’ I grew up in. I put town in quotes because this place is more like a village in the middle of nowhere. There are houses, churches, cemeteries, a volunteer fire department outside which stands a Pepsi vending machine, the sole source of commerce in the entire community.

I lived in four different houses in this square mile village. My dad still lives there. Well, he has a house he visits daily. He actually sleeps at my sister’s house each night.

So I took the Metz Road home. About a mile down the road, I noticed that a house I’d looked at when I was house hunting had a truck parked outside it. “Oh,” I thought. “Someone finally bought that green house.”

Except, wait. That house is now blue…did they put on new siding? Weirdly, I don’t think so. It doesn’t look new. But I’m sure the house was green when we looked at it. And now it’s blue. The blue is not a modern, edgy blue but the baby blue of days gone by. If someone had put on new siding, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have chosen that color.

So…what the hell? Am I losing my mind? Was it always blue or did the matrix glitch and I’m remembering the green of the pre-glitch days?

I plan to ask my mom what color she remembers that house being. That ought to be fun. Just recently she insisted that my car is a 2014. It’s a 2012. I told her I was pretty sure I knew my car’s year but she was just sure it was newer than I was saying.

I finally called Tom to prove myself right.

Guess what? I was right. I do so love being right.

I’m just so sure that damned house was green. It was an ugly light mint-ish green. Now it’s an ugly light, sky-ish blue. So yes, still ugly.

My reason for not buying the house wasn’t the ugly color of the exterior so much as it was the odious man who was selling the house. When he heard that we might have to build a pole barn on the property to use as storage for Tom’s business stuff, he immediately declared, “Oh no. I won’t allow that. I’d have it stipulated in the purchasing agreement that no pole barns will be erected.”

Okay. Bye. No sale for you. I was not going to buy a house that he was asking WAY too much for to start and then have the old owner tell me what I could and couldn’t build on my own property. No thank you.

We kept looking and found our enormous yellow house…at least, I think it’s yellow. It was yellow when I left his morning for work. I wonder what color it will be when I get home this afternoon…

Dun dun dunnnnnn…

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Falling Apart

Okay. I started meds on Saturday for high blood pressure. Ugh.

I feel like this is the start of my decline.

I know. It’s so stupid. I mean, I fought cancer over the last year. You’d think I would have felt like August 21, 2017 was the start of my decline. That was the day I was diagnosed with cancer. That should be the day I felt like my life and my body was falling apart.

And yet…this feels bigger somehow.

I have to lose weight. I just do.

So do it, right?

Sure, it’s that easy.

Actually, I know it is that easy. I just have to DO IT.

I read the warnings about the medicine I’m going to start taking. It said not to start a low salt diet while on the medication. Okay.

Except, what if I want to try and lower my stupid blood pressure through diet and exercise (Ha! Exercise, hahahaha. But yeah, what if?)

Do I start the medication anyway since that’s what my doctor told me to do? Do I wait, try and change my stupid diet and try to add even a little exercise into my routine and see what my stupid pressure is in a month?

The doctor wants me to have a pressure check after a month of the meds. Do I cheat, not take the medicine, change my diet, exercise and then have the pressure check?

I don’t know if I’m disciplined enough yet to do that. That’s the problem. Heck, I’m not even sure I’ll be able to remember to take a stupid pill on a daily basis. Fine, I probably will. I’m not actually an idiot even if past behavior might say otherwise.

I guess a big part of it all is that I need to grow up. I need to develop the palate of an actual adult instead of an eleven year old who’s been left alone with Mommy’s credit card and sent to the grocery store where she gets a bunch of junk because lettuce and pistachios are gross.

I need to find an exercise that doesn’t feel like work.

I remember as a kid playing outside for hours, hitting a tennis ball against the roof of the house, swinging on the tire swing. I was so strong, so fit. I never felt like I was exercising.

But I know that adults don’t actually get to just play and magically get their exercise. I know this. So…we’ll see. I’ll try. I have to.

Monday, December 3, 2018


As girls, we deal with a lot of gross things. It’s just the nature of being female. Yay! Who rules the world?

Dudes, as we all know. But we’re working on that right?


Last week was period week in our house. Yuck for everyone involved.

I ask Alyssa each month if she will help Olivia with her pad each afternoon since I don’t get home until 5ish and its decidedly gross by then. And by ‘help’ I mean, she can just supervise. Tell Liv if the pad needs changed, make sure Olivia actually changes it, ensure the new pad is placed correctly and that the old one (so gross!) is disposed of properly.

When I got home last Wednesday, I went to work making cheese cake and rice krispy treats for Thanksgiving dinner at my mom’s the next day. I realized at about 6:30 that evening that I hadn’t helped Olivia check her pad.

I asked her if she’d changed it when she got home at 1:30 that afternoon.

She announced that she hadn’t.

I looked at Alyssa, who’d had N over for the afternoon.

Tom called from his spot in front of the computer to say that he’d asked Olivia about it earlier in the day and he was positive that Lyss was in hearing range when he’d asked.


I called Olivia to the bathroom and we took care of business. The entire time, I shot looks of disappointment at Alyssa.

When we were done, Alyssa declared, “You know, she’s not my sole focus in life!”

Oh. Oh no. She did NOT just say that.

I may have seen red at that point.

I told her in hushed but intense tones, “I have never asked you to make her your sole focus! I ask you, a couple of times a month, to help her with this one thing. It would have taken you less than a minute to go into that bathroom with her today.”

To Alyssa’s credit, she got it. She may have teared up.

I couldn’t let it go, though. I reminded Alyssa, “I know you think we baby her. I get that. But she is NOT normal. Don’t you think I would give anything if she were? Don’t you think I’d fix her if I could? I wish, with all my heart, that she were a typical twelve year old who could change her own damn pad without assistance.”

I stopped there because I was getting upset and I didn’t want Olivia to hear me. I love Olivia and I accept her challenges. I would change them in a heartbeat for her but I can’t and so when I’m not there, I need a little help.

I admit to being peeved by Lyss’s comment for several days after.

I told Tom, “She has no idea how good she has it. If we both worked outside the home, she’d have it so much harder.”

And I am glad she doesn’t have a hard life. I wouldn’t want her to have to work harder around the house or take more care of her sister.

But…I kind of wish she had a little more appreciation for the life we’ve given her. I do realize how ridiculous that is. She’s a teenager, they’re notoriously self-centered. They can’t help it. They’re brains are still developing and that’s a good thing. And honestly, she’s one of those really great teenagers.

I worried so much about Alyssa when Olivia was born. And that was before we even knew that Olivia had special needs. A little sister changes the older sibling’s life. A little sister with special needs changes it even more. I worried desperately that she’d be negatively impacted by Olivia’s needs.

I still have guilt over Olivia’s first Christmas because of how it affected Alyssa.

I’m so grateful that Tom and I have been able to provide a home in which Alyssa has always been able to just be a kid. She hasn’t had to do a lot for Olivia. Sure, when I’m in line at the grocery store, I will ask her to go to the restroom with Liv if she announces she has to pee. But that’s about it. She’s never been asked to baby sit, she’s never had to clean up after Olivia. She doesn’t have to make meals or wipe butts.

So I don’t feel like having to look at her sister’s pad two or three days each month and make sure she (the sister) takes out a used one and puts a clean one in correctly is asking too much. Hell, it might even build character.

For what it’s worth, I’m over the whole sassiness of it all. This isn’t a vent or my attempt to make Lyss feel bad. We’ve settled it and we’re good. This is just storytelling, an attempt to keep track of life itself as it continues on a fast pace day after day after day. I want to remember these moments when we both got a little testy because these are the moments memories are made of, good and bad. And this isn’t even a bad memory, just one of thousands that I hope someday we can look back on and laugh about.

It’s actually kind of nice to see my straight A, over-achieving teenager be human, a little self-centered and self-focused. It’s okay. It’s good. We’re good and she’s more than good. She’s amazing, even when she’s sassy.