Saturday, May 12, 2018

Mothers (We're Not Really Superheroes)

*Disclaimer* There are a LOT of pictures with this post. Because I have that many spectacular memories with my boys.

Moms. They're described so many ways. Superheroes. Queens. Leaders. Healers.

I know I'm none of those things. I'm just a mom.

Becoming a mother was 100% the best thing I have ever done with my life. I was a YOUNG mother at 21. I had so many unrealistic expectations at that time.

David was my world. For 6 months, I was in new mommy bliss. Exhausted mommy bliss. The boy never slept. The boy didn't want to eat. But he was so happy. And so loved. We were a team from the start because Michael worked so much and we were in another country without any family. 

And one day-we had a follow up with a different pediatrician than usual after a 10 day hospital stay for a severe case of pink eye. Seriously. Hospitalized for IV antibiotics at 5 months old with pink eye. Had no idea that my world was about to change. 

This doctor took one look at him. She said "Your baby isn't right. There's something wrong. He's not like others." Keep in mind that this doctor was German. She was very blunt, but not unkind. I was 21. Alone. And in denial. 

Guilt. That's what happened to me. I felt incredibly guilty. Did I do something wrong? Did I need to do something different?  

We came home when David was 14 months old to pursue better treatment and testing stateside for him. 

I was no longer in denial. Still so young. But smart enough to know that my baby was definitely not typical. We went through years and years of testing with no real answers. 

And again......guilt. Always feeling guilty that I wasn't doing enough for David. 

We made the decision to have Kyle. It was a HARD decision knowing that what David had was most likely genetic. But we took a leap of faith. And when I was 27, Kyle was born. 

It was a difficult birth for me. I ended up having an emergency C-section. And again I felt guilty. While I was in recovery, I knew Michael was with Kyle......and all I wanted to do was sleep. And again I felt guilty. One of the very first pictures that Michael took of Kyle was of his little toes. Seems innocent enough, right?? But we had ulterior motives. We didn't know until David was 2 months old that he had webbed toes (talk about more guilt). Which is a sign of a genetic condition. And while we certainly didn't know that Kyle didn't have what David had.......seeing his perfectly separated toes was a slight relief to us. 

Kyle was so different than David. He was super serious. Cried pretty much the first year of his life. He challenged me. And I was exhausted. And again. I felt guilty. What could I be doing differently to make this kid happy? Why COULDN'T I be Supermom and not be tired and have all the energy in the world to be the perfect mom for these 2 kids??? 

Kyle didn't really notice David at first when he became aware......I think he just grew up and David was a constant that didn't interact with he didn't interact back. Little did I know how much Kyle was really taking in.

As the boys grew, I always wanted to do more. Be better. Be more alert. Be more loving. Be happier. 
And the guilt was always there. No one wants to feel like they're failing. 

The years continued to fly by. People don't lie when they say that you blink and the time disappears. We created so many memories with the boys. They were (and still are) my world. 

Before I knew it they were both in school. David was sick a lot with respiratory stuff. He failed a swallow study. And I felt like I failed him. Six months later, he had his gtube placed at age 9. In hindsight, we should've done it immediately after the failed swallow study. But again. Guilt. Guilt that he needed it and guilt that we didn't do it sooner. 

When Kyle was in second grade, he was having so many issues focusing. Again. Denial on my part. We tried SO many different things to try to make him more aware and more focused. And they didn't work. He was diagnosed with ADD in the middle of that year. We finally went the route of medication for him. And the guilt of that. I was embarrassed that I couldn't seem to get it right. Even though the medication was by far the best thing we've done for him. 

These kids are my world. You cannot compare motherhood to anything else in life. They lived in me for months and months. I held them for as long as they would let me (David was able to be held much longer than Kyle!) The emotions of motherhood are indescribable. 

They're growing up so fast. David is an ADULT now. And as a person with a compromised immune system, we've seen some scary times. But nothing as scary as January of 2017. This is where I often feel my biggest failure during this mommy-ing journey fell. I usually read him so well. I normally KNOW when he's coming down with something. I feel like I must have missed something to almost have him die before my eyes. GUILT. 

And again. Guilt because Kyle saw this all happen. Kyle was crying. I had to send Kyle off worried and afraid with a friend so I could focus on David. Guilt that a few months later, Kyle was diagnosed with anxiety. Guilt that I have anxiety. 

I know none of that time was my fault. Believe me. I know in my head that it was a weird, freak thing that happened, And I am SO grateful that we pulled through that time in a positive light. I know how fragile life is now. 

Which leads me to this conclusion. 

Those boys are my greatest accomplishment. Guilt is something ALL mothers feel. I have no doubt that no matter what kind of circumstances moms and their kids are in, whether it be a failed math test, the near loss of a child, or something we've seen numerous times in the special needs world-the actual loss of a child. As a mom you are going to feel guilty. 

But the love that invades you, overcomes makes the guilt worth it. It makes the world complete. Momming is hard, but so rewarding. I will never regret having David and Kyle. Even on bad days. They are part of me and their dad. My world is so much better being a mom. 

And Happy Mother's Day to my mom. If it weren't for her, I wouldn't be here and I wouldn't be able to experience my own motherhood. It kind of all started with her. 

And to my sisters. Who are mothers of their own babies and angel babies. We are so lucky to have one another. 

And to all the moms. Don't let the guilt overshadow the happiness that our children have given us. We all have it. We will continue to have it. Sometimes it will consume you. But don't let it stay. Have faith. We are ALL wonderful moms. 

Not superheroes.
Not queens, leaders, or heroes.

Just amazing mothers. I think "mother" means so much more than any of those other titles. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

12 years

I don’t even know how to begin to write a blog post about someone I love so fiercely, but drives me to the brink of insanity.

Because I do love him fiercely. I almost chose not to have a second child. I was scared. I was anxious. I was a little bit crazy. But I’m so glad I made the decision. Because without Kyle, my life would be so empty. He shows me what life is about. The ups, the downs, the calm, the crazy. He does them all for me. 

We might be way too much alike and that’s why he drives me insane. He pushes my buttons daily. He sighs at me. He rolls his eyes at me. He only hears what he wants to. He’s a slob. He’s unorganized. But we’re working on all of that. And sometimes it’s better. And sometimes he’s a hot mess. But it’s all typical. And I didn’t know what that was like until he came along. 

When Michael is at work, it’s him & I that form a team for David. It’s me changing the diaper. It’s him running to get me the wipes or a plastic bag. It’s me feeding David & him getting the water I forgot in the kitchen. It’s me carrying David to the van. It’s him opening the door & getting the diaper bag. 

Kyle branched out this year to do track for the first year. He was one of the smallest kids out there. He worked hard & learned a lot. He was exhausted. But happy. He wasn’t the best. But improved. And I missed him a lot when he wasn’t home. I realized how much he really DOES help me when he’s with me. But spreading those wings now is what part of growing up is about. And I hope we continue to show him how to do that. 

Our life is messy, lovely, gross, and funny. It’s also weird, but normal. It’s a lot to take in. But Kyle has embraced it & doesn’t know anything different. Nor do I think he wishes for anything different. We’re just who we are. And he knows that’s who we are. 

Happy 12th Birthday Kyle. I’m very lucky to have you & so happy that you drive me so crazy. 

Love you lots.