Friday, January 11, 2019

Speaking of Orthodontics

As mentioned yesterday, Olivia started her orthodontic journey on Monday, January 7. She got the blue bands that wrap around the back teeth put on. This will make room for them to put on the bands that will anchor her braces next week. She’s going to get the brackets put on the top four teeth next week. These will be used to pull those four teeth together to make room for her canine teeth to come in. One is already trying to make its way in but the other one, the one on the left, is either being stubborn or there just isn’t room.

So we’re making room.

My mom has said several times that braces are going to drive Olivia crazy.

Maybe so, but could we maybe not say that in front of her quite so often? Because even if they do, is that a good enough reason to NOT put them on her? Is that a reason to let her have a bad bite and messed up teeth for the rest of her life?

I get that there are parents out there of kids with 5p- syndrome who choose not to put their kids through orthodontics. I get it. There are a lot of reasons to decide not to go the orthodontic route.

The thing with Olivia is that she’s capable of understand why we’re doing this. We can explain that the tightness and soreness in her mouth is temporary, she’ll endure, we’ll give her medicine to ease the pain and ice cream to numb it and it will be over in a couple of years.

She sucked her thumb until she was four years old. She has an overbite combined with widely spaced teeth. They need to be fixed to fix her bite and make it easier for her to close her mouth. She has chronically chapped lips due to her overbite.

I honestly think it would be unfair and unkind to not put braces on her. We did it for Alyssa for appearances mostly. Sure, there were a few issues with her bite, but nothing like Olivia has. So if we did it for one kid, damn it, we’re doing it for the other.

When we met with the orthodontist back in early December, he said we’re looking at about 30 months of treatment. That’s about what Alyssa had so…yeah, par for the course, right?

Alyssa had to have seven baby teeth pulled before we started braces.

Olivia had five pulled back in July in preparation for braces.

Olivia is a smart, capable kid. She can tell me when she hurts and I can help her deal. This will all be worth it.

Thursday, January 10, 2019


Alyssa turns 16 next Monday. She’s scheduled to take her driving test for her license on Tuesday. I hate to be one of those people who say that these past sixteen years have flown but…they have.

Sure, those early days were tough. She was a terrible sleeper, we drove way too many miles in her first year. She spent way too much time in a car seat and I had a lot (A LOT!) of resentment toward Tom for all the miles we commuted.

But those days are so far in the past. We’re in a good place right now.

Alyssa is so excited to be able to drive by herself. Tom’s…not so excited. He’s apprehensive about her getting her license in January. He’s already informed her (quite sternly…enough so that it brought her to tears, she’s a sensitive soul) that she will not be driving in bad weather. He also told her she won’t be taking her sister anywhere alone in the near future. ON that one, I think he’ll change his mind since Olivia started her orthodontic journey yesterday and this will last at least two years. He’s going to REALLY like the fact that we have another driver in the house, one who can take Liv to Angola and meet me there rather than him having to schedule his life around her appointments. So yeah.

She’s already asked if we can morph into the kind of parents she can just call out to from the back door, “I’ll be back later.”


Probably not, but nice try.

She’s biting at the bit for some independence.

I get it; even as I fight the urge to grab her and hold on tight her, I do get it. This is her life, it’s just beginning, she’s got so much to look forward to, so much promise. And being able to jump in a car and GO is appealing to her.

It also terrifies me (and obviously, Tom.) But that’s our problem, not hers. We can’t stop her from growing up, we wouldn’t even if we could. We have to let her make her way, reminding her often that we’re always here, always a place for her land if she needs a break from anything and everything.

This past Sunday our TV was being weird and so Alyssa and I sat on the couch and watched the first season of America’s Next Top Model on my phone. She laid her head on my shoulder and we held that stupid tiny screen between us. It was awesome. It was moments like that the remind me that even as she spreads her wings, I will always provide her with a nest to call home.

I’m so lucky to have had these sixteen years with her; to have watched her grow and thrive. She’s amazing. This next step is just one more in what I hope and pray is a very long journey of discovery and joy for her.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019


Here’s the thing:

The more I move, the less I hurt.

I need to cross-stitch that onto a pillow or a sweater or something that I can read every single day, that I can take with me and remind myself every moment of every day.

I bitch and moan here about how much I hurt (I’d like to think I only bitch and moan about it here but ask my family and let’s see how much I bitch and moan to them about being in pain…)and yet I know, I KNOW, that when I move more, I hurt less.

The more laundry I do, the less my hip hurts. Our washer and dryer are in the basement. The closets in which I hang the clean clothes are upstairs. So I traipse up and down two flights of stairs, fourteen steps each (yes, I’m stair counter, have I never mentioned that) so just one trip from the closets to the washing machine is twenty-eight steps, not including the walk down the hall from the bottom of the main stairs to the top of the basement stairs.

So if I know this, why don’t I get more actual exercise every single day?

I don’t know. I mean, I do know, but I don’t really know. Sure, I’m lazy but isn’t is more work to bitch and moan about how much my stupid hip hurts than it does to go for a twenty-minute walk that would actually make my hip stop hurting?

But wait, my foot hurts too. Yes, my stupid left foot is hurting again. The plantar fasciitis is back with a vengeance. My heel hurts pretty much all the time. The last time I saw the doctor about my stupid left foot was just before I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a cortisone shot in my heel and wow, the relief was immediate. I couldn’t believe it. It may be time to see that guy again for another shot.

I’ve taken to wearing the brace he gave (sold) me for the tendonitis in the outside of my stupid left foot. It helps. Which also helps the pain in my hip. I think when my foot hurts, not only do I not want to move as much but I also tend to favor it, which puts a weird strain on my right hip.

I’m just a mess.

And yet…I’m not anymore. I’m better. I need to change my mindset of being a mess and just get off my rather large butt and move.

I know it makes me feel better, which should be all the motivation it takes. Alas, that’s not the case. So…what to do?

I’m trying to take it one step and one load of laundry at a time. When I’m going up the stairs for the twelfth time in on Sunday afternoon, I often marvel at how much I don’t hurt. That’s a start; acknowledging that I feel good. I know we don’t always do that. When we hurt, it consumes us but when we’re feeling good, or at least not in pain, we often take it for granted. I’m trying not to do that.

We’ll see.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

New Year's Eve Thoughts


I feel like maybe 2019 will be our reset year.

I pray our family won’t have any medical issues this year.

I would like to learn to eat better, move more, relax a little about everything.

2017 and 2018 feel like they were the Years of Cancer.

I want to leave that behind me, move on from cancer and all it entails. I want to enjoy life, enjoy my family, enjoy my body again.

I want to learn to appreciate and celebrate the things I do well and not dwell so hard on the things I don’t do well.

I love well.

I…watch television really well. Huh.

I’m good at keeping my family fed and I don’t let filth overrun out house. That’s something.

I’m a good reader. I got three new books for Christmas and have finished one already. I do love escaping into a good book.

I need to find my place in this new, post-cancer world of mine. I need to gain momentum and make a difference. Where do I go from here?

I guess we’ll see.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Another Catch Up

Written Friday, December 28:


I sat at my desk the other day and ate old, stale M&Ms. I know, you wouldn’t think M&Ms, with their colorful candy coating would go stale. Trust me, they do. Yech.

So why was I eating them?

Duh, because they were there.

To my credit, I did stop after realizing how truly stale they were. There were fourteen left when I threw them away; two red, two orange, two yellow, two green and six blue.

Maybe that’s my biggest problem.

Everything feels stale these days. My attitude is stale, my drive. Everything about me is stale. I eat too much, I don’t move enough. I don’t take care of myself the way I take care of my family.

Speaking of my family, my life with them is good. Tom is good, he makes me laugh and I believe I make him laugh too. We are kind to each other and I don’t feel the need to make faces at him as he walks away the way I did a couple of years ago.

The girls, oh my goodness, my girls are so amazing.

Olivia needed an adjustment to her glasses recently and we did a walk-in at her eye doctor’s office. The nice lady who adjusts glasses frames was so patient.

But Olivia was awesome. She used her words. To the best of her ability, she explained how her glasses were bothering her, describing where they were pushing or feeling loose/tight. She had to work so hard to get those words out but they did come out. I was so proud of her I bought her KFC afterward. (Shhh, don’t tell but I was going to get her KFC anyway, but it was a good excuse to get it.)

Alyssa, well, that girl just shines. She painted several pictures as Christmas gifts this year and each recipient was so grateful for her thoughtfulness. She’s got talent oozing out her pores.

I am so very lucky to get to be their mom and maybe that’s where a lot of my fears stem.

I want to keep being their mom. I’m not doing parenting yet.

Several of Alyssa’s friends’ parents are so over parenting these days. They can’t be bothered to know where their kids are or what they’re doing. They don’t go to their kids’ events/performances/games.

I’m not done parenting. I’m not ready to not be here for my girls. Even on my most impatient, tired days, I’m still here, loving my girls, loving my husband, being present in their lives. I don’t want to be done. Please don’t make me be done. I’m not ready for motherhood to join the staleness of other parts of my life.

Sunday, January 6, 2019


I wrote this one before Christmas but...better late then never.


Even though I’m back to work (because I’m back to work?) and don’t have as much time at home with my family this Christmas/New Year season, I definitely feel like this year has been better than last year.

Last year I realized on Christmas morning that I hadn’t given Olivia nearly enough to play with. I fixed that this year and she’s in Miraculous Ladybug heaven. She got four new dolls from the cast of Miraculous Ladybug and two new books. At one point I looked over and saw that she’d lined her four dolls up and they were reading one of the books. I mean…can you even?

It was just adorable.

Tom has been…less Scroogy this year. I don’t think he’s ever really meant his Scrooge-like attitude, I think it’s mostly always been sort of a joke with him but this year, he hasn’t seemed to need to be quite as “Bah humbug” with the whole Christmas, gift-giving, spending time with loved ones scene. I appreciate that from him and refuse to ask him if it was due to my medical issues in the past year. I mean, if I mention it, he might decide that this gentler, merrier version of himself has to go and I don’t want that.

Alyssa, being just over three weeks away from sixteen knew pretty much everything she was getting this year. But I was able to surprise her a little, with a pair of duck-foot slippers and a t-shirt that reads: Just a girl who loves ducks.

Have I mentioned the loves ducks? It’s a new obsession and it’s cute. She mostly wanted clothes and hair stuff. But she got a piano too.

Before anyone starts to think we won the lottery or something, this piano has been in the family for years. In fact, my mom has been trying to give us this piano for years. I’ve been trying to convince Tom to let us bring it home for years.

He gave up the fight this year. Wheeee!!! I asked him what his biggest objection to having it in our house was. He admitted that he just didn’t want to have to move the heavy thing.

I told him that my mom promised the help of my brothers and bam, he agreed to do it.

Alyssa is in musical heaven. She’s played it every single night since it’s been home. She’s so excited to be able to practice the song she’s singing in the solo and ensemble contest in a couple of months.

I feel like since I didn’t have nearly as much time off, I’m soaking it all in as much as I can when I am there with my family.

I hope we’re building memories and making the best of our time together. I can’t help but want to make each moment count, just in case I’m not here next year.

I know that’s morbid. I wonder if all cancer patients/survivors feel and think this way in the year following their treatment.

All I know for sure if that I think it. I worry that this is my last Christmas with my family, my last chance to make it magical for them, my last opportunity to lavish them with my own brand of love and affection. I know that this time with them is the only guaranteed time so I’m trying to make the best of it, the most of it.

I hope and pray that I’m wrong, that next year is better yet and the year after that better still for decades to come. I pray for miracles every single day, for each and every one of us.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Not Really Resolutions

The girls started back to school on Thursday, January 3rd. It was kind of nice for them to start on a Thursday. It meant they had two days of school and then, wheee, the weekend. It’s a nice way of easing them back into the school routine rather than plunging them back in by making them start back on a Monday.

All day at work on Thursday, I told myself that if, when I got home, Olivia announced that she had homework, I was going to pretend to be a really good mom and just say gently, “Okay, let’s get on that.”

That is in direct opposition to my usual response of, “Ugh! Fine, sit down and start working on it. No, don’t erase the word. Why are you erasing it again? Olivia! If you erase every single work five thousand times, we’ll be here until April. Just write the word. Write the word. Write the stupid word. Stop erasing, that letter was fine!”

Ahem. Yeah. I want to be better than the mom in the above paragraph.

See, every so often, I decide to pretend to be a kind, patient, loving mom. It drives Alyssa crazy when I do this because my gentle voice is very annoying. But honestly, I think my annoyed voice is so much worse. So I do it for two reasons: One, because I want to be better and two, bonus, because it annoys Alyssa. Win, win.

And guess what? I did it! When I got home, Olivia announced that she had one worksheet as homework. And I said, “Okay. Let’s sit down and get it done.”

And we did. There might have been a little bit of groaning when I realized that even though she’d ‘read’ the article she’d brought home in class, there was no way she was going to be able to answer the questions herself so I had to read it too. It was not a huge deal, just a little annoyance and I think I managed to mask just enough. So one point to me as the good mom.

So while it’s not really a resolution, I am going to try to pretend to be a good mom a little more often going forward. It’s the very least I can do for my girls. I mean, I should be doing more than the least but I’m trying here, people.

I’d also like to get organized around my house. I mean, if I were to die in the coming year, my poor husband would have to deal with the mess that I’ve made of our house in the eight years we’ve lived there. I know that’s morbid but…

So yes, I need to purge our house. There is so much crap in there. The ‘toy room’ has become a storage space for junk no one even looks at anymore. It needs to be tossed/donated/burned. The master closet is a disaster. The seasonal closet is horrible. So much to do. I hope I have enough time to do it.

No, not really resolutions, just kind of a wish list.

Friday, January 4, 2019

January 4th - Already Behind

I have so many posts written and sitting in my inbox, waiting to be copied and pasted and posted.

What’s stopping me?

I have no idea.

I wrote about Christmas and how different it feels this year than last. Different better, for the record.

I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just post them day after day after day for the next week just to catch myself up. I often feel like this blog is a journal for my girls. Someday, (tomorrow if it’s Alyssa, who reads often) they can check out my meandering thoughts, my worries, my joys (them).

I gave my dad a journal for Christmas that has writing prompts. I told him that I hoped he write in it and share it with me. He turned 79 just before Christmas and I feel the march of time in both him and me. I want to know his story, his life, his joys and memories. I want to keep it to pass on to my girls so they can remember him and me. It’s how we humans attain immortality.

I should spend more time with my grandma, writing down her stories, her memories. She lived a very interesting life, born in 1924, married young (18, which probably wasn’t young for her time but damn, 18!) and then she went on to have twelve children, no twins. She raised those kids with an alcoholic husband who I think was mean to her, maybe not physically (but I don’t know that for sure) but definitely mentally.

I spend a lot of time with my mom but I don’t know all her stories. I want to know them. I should ask her more questions, get her a journal too, remind her to write it all down so we can remember and pass it on.

I was invited to join a Facebook group that brings together cancer fighters/survivors. The woman who runs it found me on Instagram and invited me through that. She’s a three-time cancer survivor. THREE TIME! I mean, damn. Can you even freaking imagine? Well, I can, actually because I’ve imagined it over and over again. Every single pain I have has me imagining that it’s cancer again, so…yeah.

But it’s nice to connect, even virtually, with other survivors, to know that my panic over the fact that my stupid eye is bloodshot (could it be because of a tumor in my toe?! WHO KNOWS!) is normal, it’s natural, it’s something that I just have to power through.

Please pardon my melodrama.


Happy New Year