Part Mom/ Part Robot…sort of

The date Friday October 13, 2000 is one that will forever be remembered as the day that changed my everyday normal.  That morning started off as any day. I got up went to work, I processed medical and dental claims for an insurance company.  The day went by as any other normal Friday and at 4:30 my then husband was there to pick me up and take me home.  I had talked to my mom and we agreed to met up with her over at my grandmothers after we picked up the kids.  When we got there my mom was sitting in the living room, with my grandmother and my great grandmother, sipping coffee and watching television.  My kids, 5 and 2 at the time, quickly ran over and started passing out hugs.  My mom and aunt were going to a local fall festival the next day and asked if she could take the kids with her.  I told her that would be fine I just needed to run home and pack them an overnight bag.  We sat and ate a piece of cake, my grandmother insisted, before we went to go pick up the kids things and that’s when my 2 year old son spilled juice down the front of his shirt.  I grabbed a towel and dried him off as best as I could and gathered up our things to leave.  My mom quickly told me, “You can’t not take the baby out with a wet shirt in this weather” ( it was in the mid 60’s just for the record)  I tried to reason with her but she had back up both my grandmother and great grandmother.  Now I could argue with my mom but when it came to arguing with my grandmother or great grandmother that was something that just did not happen.  So I said fine and asked if they would mind watching him with we ran home. They also offered to watch our daughter while we were gone so instead of taking either child they both got an extended visit at grandmothers.    To this day I am thankful for the spilled juice on my sons shirt.

 

As we drove home we made plans for the evening seeing we would not have the kids.  We talked about our days and made other small talk.  We arrived at our driveway about 30 minutes later.  When we got to our driveway there was a few cars coming down the road so we had to stop and wait for the traffic to pass, and that’s when it happened.  I was saying something about going to dinner and I heard my then husband scream, “Hold on” before I could ask what a speeding truck slammed into the back of our car and came up the passenger side, my side.  The next few moments are somewhat a blur but I remember the fireman asking me where the baby was over and over.  I managed to get out “they are with my mom”  I was later told that my son’s car seat had been smashed up and under my seat from the impact.  If he had been with us he would not be here.  Thank you Jesus for spilled juice.

Over the last 16 years I have had countless shots in my back, arms, neck and legs stemming from this accident. The guy hit us goes 55 miles an hour, we were sitting still. All because he saw a dog running down the road.  I have had more nerve blocks, RFA’s (radio-frequency ablation) procedures and stellate ganglion block injections than I can count. And that does not count all of the other pain injections. I also have not one but two SCS (spinal cord stimulator) devices (one for my neck, upper back and arm and one for my lower back and left leg) that I have had implanted and replaced in six different surgeries.  The first SCS surgery was done in June 2004. The first SCS had a charger that needed to be plugged into the wall.  So every few days you could find me sitting in our oversized chair with the one end of the charger band wrapped around my waist and the other end plugged into the wall socket.  Yes, I said plugged into the wall socket.

wall outlet

The kids thought it was awesome that their mom was part robot. In fact they often had friends over and would ask “Mommy can you plug yourself in my friend does not believe you are part robot, please”  Now I’m not actually a robot but I if my kids thought it was cool why not go with it, right. I had spent a few years in so much pain I used a cane or walker to get around. At one point I was told I would be in a wheelchair by the time I was 35.  The stimulators gave me a way to have a life back. With them I was able to function, I was able to walk, and get around.  I was even able to write again. My left hand had so much nerve damage I could not hold a pen or pencil much less write with one. The downside was that the left side of my body now always tingled, by that I mean have you ever had your arm or leg fall asleep?  You know that annoying tingling sensation you get?  You try your best to shake it wake but you just can’t. Well for the last 13 years the left side of me body as felt like that, all day and all night. After about 6 years the first two stimulators had to be replaced, by that time technology had made big changes and the new units were rechargeable with a portable charger.  You plugged the charger into the wall charged it and then wrapped the portable charger around your waist and you could go and do whatever without being stuck at the wall socket for hours.  Much better, but still a sight to see. Jump forward to this past June it was surgery time again.  My stimulators needed their batteries replaced.  When I went in I was told that there had been another break through with the stimulator design and I would be getting new slightly smaller SCS units to replace the ones I currently had.  These would not require me to charge them (they have some kind of funky battery that does not require charging) and I would have an Iphone with an app to control the amount of electrical stimulation I would receive ( There’s seriously and APP for everything nowadays) and both units could run off the one phone.  I had the surgery and recovered well.  But over the last six months my left arm would just fall asleep. I could be doing anything like driving, or washing dishes, or fixing dinner and my arm would just stop working.  So yesterday at my 6 month post op appointment I asked the doctor about it. He said it could be a result of over stimulation and asked if I cared to see the programmer, I of course agreed.  The programmer came in and had me lay down on the exam table.  With he IPad hovering over my stomach, just like something you would see in an old Star Trek episode, he ran a scan.

Image result for star trek medical scanner photos
Photo from an episode of Star Trek  my dad still loves this show
 Why am I telling you all of this?  Because yesterday I was introduced to what they call BurstDR.  It is a new program where the electrical leads in my back can now send a message to my brain and tell my brain “This part of her body does not hurt”  it acts as a blocker.  For the first time since I had my stimulators placed my left side does not feel all tingly. It feels, well nothing.  I can turn my head without getting that little electrical shock because I moved to fast, I can hold my husbands hand without jerking, I slept without rolling over and getting that little jolt because I had my head in the wrong position.  For the first time in a very long time I feel almost normal. Like really normal.  Thank you Jesus for advances in medicine.  I was the first patient at my doctors office to have two stimulators so I am the first patient to have two stimulators running the new BurstDR program. Kind of neat I think.  If it was not for the SCS I would be in that wheelchair the doctors talked about 16 years ago.  But thankfully today, a little over 40, I can still stand on my over two feet.  I am so thankful for all that has been done for me to keep at the level of health I am at.  Nerve damage,arthritis, deterioration of the spine and RSD (Reflex sympathetic dystrophy) are not things you can physically see so many people assume I am OK. And I’m glad they do.  I don’t want people to feel sorry for me or take pity on me. I just want to be me. They don’t no the pain that I live with daily.  They are not here to see the mornings I can’t get out of bed or the days I can’t dress myself or the days it takes everything out of me to just wash my hair.  I don’t complain for if I did that’s all I would get done.  I hurt daily, but God is good. He has placed wonderful doctors in my path that have provided ways for me to function on a daily bases.  I am truly thankful.  And who knows, maybe one day I will be back to what society deems normal the advances are coming quickly in the medical field.  For now I am going to enjoy laying me head on my husbands shoulder and take in the complete beauty that I can do so without being shocked.  Robot mom 2.0 at her finest lol

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my wonderful husband and me
From our beautiful chaos to ours just because you can’t see someone else’s pain does not mean its not there.  We are all going through something some of us just choose to smile through it.

I can’t be the Person You need Me to be

A few weeks ago at church our family pastor talked about forgiveness.  The message was about not only forgiving others but also forgiving ourselves.  I found myself nodding along as he delivered the message and the idea behind the message stayed with me long after we left the church.

 

As we grow older I think its safe to say we change.  Our lifestyles change, our surroundings change, and the people in our lives change.  I truly believe God places certain people in our lives for seasons.  For instance, in my early twenties I had my friends who my then husband and I hung out with.  As we got older and our divorce was finalized those friends changed and so did my surroundings.  I did not go to the bars anymore. I did not hang out with the friends we had together anymore, some by my own choice others chose my ex over me, and I had to do some growing up.  Life is not always kind.

Then I met my new husband, well re meet  anyway.  If you’ve read any of my post then you know the story.  He and I went to high school together. He joined the military after high school and I married my high school boyfriend.  We were reintroduced to each other through a mutual friend and married in August 2009.  Our life has been non stop since then.  We had a fairly average wedding party, he had three of his best friends and my son on his side while I had three of my friends and my daughter on my side.  I look back at our wedding photos and wonder what ever happened to some of those we were pictured with that day.  We did not stop talking to them because we were mad or upset, life just got in the way.

During both of these times I had a few good friends.  I am not one to have hundreds of people I call “friend” in fact if you look at my facebook I may have around 300 people listed as friends but that’s because I am related to 80% of them (my mom comes from a large family in which most of them have large families of their own) I am a cautious person.  I have had a lot of bad things happen so I don’t trust others often.  It’s something I need to work on.  So if I am your friend I do trust you and try my best to be a good friend. But I am not a perfect friend.  I know that.

When my husband and I decided to become foster parents we did not realize just how much it would change our lives.  We slowly stopped going out to eat with others, we cut back on hanging out with our peers and we placed all of our focus on the kids. I could not just drop everything anymore to go to the movies, or have time for 2 hour phone calls, or time to go shopping, its easy to find a babysitter for one and in most cases two, but when you have four or five little loves running around babysitters are hard to find.  So one by one friends stopped calling or inviting us out.  And I get it.  I would stop calling too.  But then you have the true few.  You know who I’m talking about.  The ones that stop calling and just come over to your place to hang out with you and your kids.  Or like the ones we made while taking the foster parent classes because they too understand you can’t just drop everything and that life now revolves around our ever changing family.  There are a few who get that this is the new you, and they are okay with that.

 

So when we moved I had decided to weed out those I did not talk much to.  I personally didn’t think I would upset anyone the criteria was simple.  If I talked to you daily or weekly we were good.  If you commented or talked to me on social media anytime within the six months prior to me moving we were good.  I didn’t delete people because I didn’t like them I simply figured if we hadn’t had much interaction in six months they would not want their news feed full of pictures of my kids after we moved.  (trust me I post a lot of pictures for my parents and in-laws back home)

But the message from church got to me.  I started thinking about a few people that at one time had been really close friends with.  Some I had known since grade school, a few others I had meet along the way.  Many I didn’t talk to anymore simply because they had moved or life had taken them down a different path.  A few simply because we had had a disagreement about something and the friendship and we just stopped talking.  For whatever the reason there were a few people I missed and I wanted to reach out and try again. So I did.  I sent a few text messages, a few I added back to my friends list on social media and one I called.  I don’t really know what I was expecting but I can tell you I did not expect what I got.

I was accused of being a bad person and a fake friend.  I was told that I used people and did not truly care for anyone.  I was told that I only had time for those that were willing to drop everything to be at my beck and call.  I was told I never truly cared about their feelings or other people in general…….Smack in the face.  That hurt.  I don’t know what I was expecting but let me tell you that was not it.  This person was someone I had, and still do, wanted nothing but the best for.  Some of my actions during our friendship where done not to hurt them but to shield them. Maybe I was wrong in handling it the way I did.  I didn’t ask this person to watch my kids because I knew it would be to painful.  Maybe I did have others over more because they didn’t mind being around our kids.  I grew tired of trying to downplay my happiness because they were unhappy with things in their life.  I know life is not fair, and that sometimes the one thing we want more than anything is out of our reach.  For that i am sorry.  Truly truly sorry. I hope one day you find what you are looking for. I hope you find happiness and peace.  I wish you nothing but the very best.  I wish things were different and that we could go back to the way things use to be but I can’t be the person they want or need me to be.  I am happy and I will not pretend not to be.   I wish we could all be cheerleaders for one another instead of being hurt or jealous of others.  I can’t imagine what life would be like without my kids and for those that don’t have kids but want kids I can’t imagine your pain. If that makes me a bad person or a bad friend then I guess I am.

I have changed.  I am not the same scared twenty something girl who lived in constant fear of her abusive husband.  I am not the same thirty something woman that overcame her fear and tired to piece her life back together for her and her kids.  But guess what you have changed also. We all have. I will be the first to admit I am not always a good wife, a good mom, or daughter, or daughter in law  that makes me human.  I let the most important people in my life down daily but I’m trying to be better.  To the people I have hurt in my past I am sorry.  To those who simply think they can no longer be around me I am sorry.  For those that were there for me when I need them the most I thank you.  I know there are people I have let down and I hate that.  If I could go back and fix things I would.  But I can’t be the one that you are always upset with, the one you always cancel plans with, the one you get mad at, I can’t.  I need to surround myself with positive people.   Negativity only brings about negativity.  And yes I really do wish nothing but the best to you, hell I wish nothing but the best for my ex husband.  God has shown me that life is to short to be consumed with hate.  I have changed and I’m okay with that.

From my beautiful chaos to yours if God has closed a door in your life, keep it closed.  He allows us to walk through open doors for our good and closes off those we no longer need.  Enjoy the memories that cross your mind of the good times and smile, then keep moving forward.  Closed doors bring nothing but heartache.

 

 

One Proud Momma

Today I want to take a few minutes and talk about my oldest daughter and son.  With all our little loves, many times not on purpose, their achievements go unnoticed….but not today.

My daughter and me before the ceremony

This morning I woke up at 4am so I could drive four hours to watch my daughter receive a certificate. The whole “ceremony” if you want to call it that took less than five minutes.  Why in the world then did I drive four hours up and four hours back (actually longer my car decided to breakdown) to see this short ceremony?  Because that’s what moms do, we support our kids.

Thirteen years ago next month my oldest son, five at the time (let me let that sink in….sigh) wanted to start taking martial arts.  After much thought me and their father (now my ex) decided that if our son was going be in martial arts then our daughter would have to be also, so when he started fighting with her or using her to practice with she could hold her own. She was already in dance but agreed to try it out.  We looked around at different forms of martial arts and decided on Tae kwon do.  In February 2003 my kids took their first steps into the dojang.

They were naturals when it came to the forms and take downs, and of course my son loved the free fighting (my daughter not so much)  They quickly moved up in rank. Every three months there was a belt test and every three months they passed. Seeing them together working for something so hard still brings a smile to my face.  

My kids early on in their Tae kwon do career

In 2008 their father and I divorced. It was not an easy time in their lives and I worried how it would effect them.  The dojang, their friends there and their instructors helped them more at that time than I ever imagined. The head of the school Master R. Loved them as his own. He was a man they could look up to and one that they had respect for. He taught them more than just the ways of tae kwon do, he taught them lessons for life in general.  I’m not sure they would have stuck with it if it after the divorce if he and his wife had not been their to in courage them to keep moving forward. They helped save my kids from darkness. 

Then the unthinkable happened. Their  head instructor passed away unexpectedly.  One of the biggest influences in their lives (and in the lives of many) was gone.  The town was in shock, we are still in shock years later.  The fate of the school was unclear, his wife, my dear friend was dealing with so much no one expected her to continue. The students, parents and friends rallied together and keep the school going for her and for him until she could came back or  until she decided to close the doors. In time wife was able to make it back and continued where they had left off.

My daughter and Master R at one of the annual Christmas parties
 

A few years pass by and one Saturday in July came another belt test.  This test was special. For the first time in the schools thirty year history a female would test for fourth degree black belt.  She did her forms, her one steps, broke her boards and explained her thesis. With her brother,other black belts and lower ranking students surrounding her she passed the test.  I am sure Master R was looking down smiling on her that day.  Years of practice, sacrifice, discipline and determination had paid off.  She had made school history.  And together they are the highest ranking siblings at the school.   

My daughter and son before the test in July. They are the highest ranking siblings at the school

Today was the day she received her new belt and her certificate. So naturally I had to be there.  So yes I drove for hours to watch a ceremony that took less than 5 minutes, and I would do it again. Tae kwon do is not just a form of martial arts for her or my son. It is a way of life, it’s the way they live their lives.  They both have made me so proud. And I am sure as she received her certificate making her “officially” a 4th degree black belt 🥋 that Master R was looking down and smiling yet again.   So thankful for all he done for my kids and the other students while he was here. His legacy will carry on in those he taught. 

Mrs Master R and my girl with her 4th degree certificate
Receiving her new black belt

Thank you for the memories. 

From our beautiful chaos to yours no matter what life throws at you always follow your dreams 

My Nonsense 

I am a strong person. I am independent and confident. I am the shoulder for a crying friend and a warm hug to my family. I am a good mom and a loving wife. I am not this super human some see me as. I’m just me, ordinary me. And even though I may walk through life with a smile on my face that does not mean my feelings escape from hurt. Earlier a simple phrase hurt deeper than it should have.  But it hurt nonetheless.

The call came in, “Schools are closing three hours early” as we were setting down to have lunch.  I quickly fed the kids and we loaded up to go pick up diva and wild man. While waiting on wild man baby girl and Elmo fell asleep and Big Al was being his ususual “I need to go to sleep but refuse” grumpy self.  I get wild man off the bus and get him in the car and we drive over to wait in the growing line to pick up diva.  While he played his new ABC game he downloaded and Big Al fused about not being sleepy I sat and worked on a new post. That’s when I got the message this, my blog ,was nonsense.   I am sure it was not meant to sound the way it did, but the word nonsense cut hard and deep.

I know I’m not a world famous novelist. I am sure my posts are littered with grammar errors and typos. My thoughts are simple and my words are common, but it’s who I am.  I do not have a masters degree, and with two kids in college and five little ones at home, I don’t see obtaining one anytime soon. But this nonsense is MY NONSENSE.  If you don’t want to read it don’t. I will love you anyway.  This nonsense is my life story and I would not have it any other way. I enjoy writing about my kids, my life, and my experiences, while they maybe meaningless to most it means everything to me. I know that this blog may never be huge or that there is a chance no one will read my book after it’s finished. And I’m ok with that. I struggled with the idea to start this blog and the book, but when a seed is planted (And I do believe God planted the seed for both) then it has to be given a chance to grow. So I stepped out in faith and started to write.  


I don’t see myself as attractive or super smart. I do not see myself as better than anyone else or perfect in anyway. But I do feel blessed that God allowed me to become mom to seven wonderful (most days) kids. And I am blessed He has given me the courage to share our story  with those you want to read it. I was hurt by the words for most of the day. I started doubting myself and wondering if I should even continue. But after some thinking and a little praying I decided to go a different route.  I could let this really get to me and stop the blog and stop writing the book, but I will not let the devil use those words to stop me. Someone may need a good laugh, someone may want to hear how our day has gone, and someone might actually enjoy hearing what I have to say. So to that I will say, sorry devil this is my nonsense and there’s nothing or no one you can use to make me feel that my nonsense is useless.
From our beautiful chaos to yours don’t take what other people say or message so seriously. They could be having a bad day and their words reflect that. And even if they do mean what that say it’s ok. You can’t please everyone all the time….

Who am I?

In the beginning I was just a dream of my mother’s. Then I became a daughter, first born child, to my parent’s.They are truly like no other’s.

As a child I was a granddaughter, apple of their eyes, stay and play with me awhile, card playing, garden helper, and slumber night at grandpa and grandmas kind of gal. 

I am a big sister, though sometimes not the best but siblings argue from time to time I guess.

I am an aunt of two spunky teens, they make me smile oh how I miss seeing them it’s been quite awhile.

For awhile I was Dave’s wife, mother of two, then I became his ex-wife if people really only knew.

 I am a survivor of domestic violence. It took years to escape, I had it search within to figure out this was not my fate. 

But who am I?

I am a Christian. I love my Jesus, the hallelujah host, I am not perfect not even close, so thankful for the times God love me most.

I am a friend, been both a good one and a bad. I have been there for some at their weakest moments, yet lost some because I was to consumed with life events. 

I am now Todd’s wife, mother of seven. I really miss living in WV “almost heaven”

There I was wife, mom, foster mom, adoptive mom, and so much more. Here I feel a loneliness  like nothing before. 

I miss my foster group meetings and dinners with the family. I miss my best friend’s girls night outs and and surprised bags of peanut M&M candies.

Don’t get me wrong I love my kids, our new house and state, I just wish I was adjusting faster and could have an occasional husband date.

Here I am only mom and wife, and half the time I don’t feel I am even getting that right.

I am now a Tennessean, Mountaineer at heart, Packers are my Pro team after all I am smart. 

I still hate frogs and stormy nights, but love to held around bonfire lights.

I am a kisser of boo-boo’s, a taxi, and a toilet bowl cleaner, sometimes life maked me just a little meaner. 

I am who I am, I’m lucky and blessed sometimes though I wish I knew who “just me” was I guess.

Do You Ever Think of Them?

A letter to our birth mom(s) ….

All the little ones are tucked into bed. I have finished the second round of check-ins to cover them back up, change diapers and kiss them once more. Life may be busy and at times overwhelming but I would not change a thing.

It’s in the moments like this I find myself thinking of our birth moms. Our adoptions were not the typical ones you see play out on TV or like the ones in the newspaper ads. We did not submit our story to an expecting mother for her to look over our file and pick us to be her child’s forever parents. We do not have an open adoption were we(the adoptive parents and birth parents)can share photos and stories about how the kids are and what we both hope their future holds. We do not share stories about our own childhood in hopes to give them the same type of wonderful memories. No our story is nothing like that….so I wonder.

I wonder if on their birthdays do you think of them? Do you ask yourself ” I wonder what toys they like now or how tall are they now?” I wonder if you think to yourself “School is starting soon, will she like her new teacher?” ” Will he ride the bus?” I wonder do you miss late night cuddles and having the magicial mommy kiss that can make the biggest boo boos all better? I wonder if you miss hearing the phrases I love you mommy or Can you tuck me in tonight? I wonder if you even realize what you have lost or have the drugs completely consumed you? I wonder and wait for the next call to come in saying ,”she’s had another baby.” I wonder if you miss them. I wonder do you ever cry yourself to sleep? Do you catch yourself looking in the crowd to see if anyone looks like what you picture them to look like. I wonder if friends or family still ask you about them? I wonder what their lives would be like if the state had not stepped in to save them. A million thoughts and questions run through my mind, especially late at night while I rock our youngest back to sleep or while our son is judged by outsiders on his actions, things he can not help because of the drugs and neglect he had to go through. I get so mad at you and the things you’ve done. You have no idea the damage you placed on their lives because of your choices you made without thinking of the outcome for them. But then God reminds me if it was not for you I would not have them with me. So I wonder what do you think of me?

I am thankful and grateful that I have been given the chance to be their mom. I am thankful for the few talks we had as we waited outside courtroom doors. I am thankful for a system, though broken sometimes, allowed us to keep 4 siblings together and also allowed us to adopted one who had no one. I could not picture my life without them so I wonder what your life is like without them. I wonder if they have your smile, your laugh, or if they have your personality. Does she get her unruly behaviors from you, does he think and solve problems like you? I wonder if they will ask me questions about you later in life. I wonder how I will answer these questions. I wonder if they will thank me for giving them a chance at a normal life or will they recent me for keeping you away from them? How will I handle that? I wonder if you pray for them and wish them well in their new life. Or if once they were removed from your care you never gave them a second thought? I wonder if your ok. I wonder if you are safe. I wonder if you even care.

I know you never planned for drugs and alchol to take over your life. I know that having your children removed and placed in state care was not how you saw things when you were a little girl. I know you must have been angry, scared, and maybe a little ashamed. But I need you to know they are okay. They are better than okay they are great. Know that I love them. All of them. I love them with every beat of my heart. I love early morning wake ups to giggling down the hall. I love story time and playtime and all the times in between. Know that they are happy, sassy, talented, and yes they fight with each other like all siblings do. Know that I vowed to each of them they will always know how special they are each and every day. Know that I am grateful you had them and did not abort them. Thank you for giving them the gift of life. I am blessed to have them here. I am blessed to be their forever mom.

I may never know the answers to these questions. And I guess I will be ok with that. I am thankful God placed each of them in my arms. I am thankful He had a plan for them when life throw them a curve ball. I pray for you and your life choices. I pray things start to look up and help is received.

I will continue to pray for you I know the circumstances where not what either of us planned but because of you I am mom to my beautiful chaos. We are forever connected in God’s great plan.

From our beautiful chaos to yours its okay to question the unknown but dont get stuck there.Someday you may get the answers you are looking for. Until then just have faith in God’s greater plan.