using the semicolon


When one becomes a person of a certain age, one sees their doctor more regularly…unless one is my darling husband who would rather hide from what the good doctor is recommending for him these days. He’ll wait until he’s bothered by his daily hacking-up-a-lung cough that becomes even worse than it already is or until his wife’s nagging becomes unbearable. Me, on the other hand, I do try to see my doctor annually and not just when I am sick. Just trying to walk the nurse talk of the importance of maintaining one’s good health, building trust with a good doctor-patient relationship and stuff like that there. So today was the day. The good doctor sits down with me going over the results of the physical exam and ordered tests. The physical exam…perfect. Cardiac function…perfect. Lab work…in his words his 30-something patients should have labs like these.

“You’re a perfect patient!”, he concludes.

“Yes, except for the depression, anxiety and panic attacks.”, I answer back.

“Yes, there’s that.”

And that is why I use a semicolon all the time.

A semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended, but chose not to. Every single day of my life I choose to use a semicolon.

No, not usually with my writing. I know my use of punctuation could easily be criticized…and sometimes is. Have you seen how often I over-use an ellipsis?

No, the semicolon here represents the fact that my story isn’t over yet. Far from it. I am my author and the sentence is my life and as long as I choose to live this life I will choose to use the semicolon…every day.

Every.

Single.

Day.

Some days it is a struggle. Some days it can be almost a knock down, drag out fight. The fight to choose the semicolon, to keep myself grounded in the love others have for me instead of the hate I feel for myself, remains a struggle…and one I don’t always share for so many reasons. I hate being viewed as weak or less than or even just as someone who struggles. I hate being compared to the parent who far too many times in my lifetime tried to put a period at the end of her sentence. I can imagine her pain and her struggle. I lived survived a lot of it with her. It was so hard for her. So very hard. Still, no child should ever be the one to call for help because mommy won’t wake up…again. No child should ever have to try and get her younger siblings out of the house before the ambulance comes to protect them from seeing mommy this way. No child should have to run down the hill that was Davis Lane to flag down the ambulance because you can’t see that gravel road very well in the dark of night. Add that to the many reasons why I, every day, consciously choose to use a semicolon.

I should be stronger than this.

I should be braver than this.

I will always have anxiety. I will struggle from time to time with debilitating depression. I will sometimes become frozen in panic for no rational reason whatsoever. I will, at times, choose poor coping mechanisms. But I will always choose the semicolon.

My story isn’t over yet.

The Semicolon Project 416

with love to the people we practice on


So apparently today is Siblings Day.

Yes, I know some of you are rolling your eyes, shaking your head and muttering under your breath…as you some of you sometimes do over things like this that you might find silly.

Whatever.

The day was created by Claudia Evart, who lost both of her siblings earlier on in life. She chose the date to honor her late sister, Lisette. After losing her two siblings to separate accidents early in life, Claudia realized the importance of remembering our siblings, both living and no longer with us. She has dedicated herself to ensuring the bond of brother and sister is forever recognized as the special gift it is.

Like many, I have these pictures of my brother and sister, who are both gone, but remain with me daily, not just in these pictures, but in my daily thoughts and in my heart. I lost both of them in tragic accidents, making me understand the everlasting bond we have with our siblings.

Yes, I am sentimental, and sometimes very emotional when I remember my late brother, Randy and think of where the consequences of life, our choices and others’ choices brought Randy, Billy, Valerie and me.

Sigh!

So many memories…good, bad, ugly and even WTF parents?! But they are/were ours and as Randy once told me, they are the one thing that we share and share only with each other. No one will ever get any of it and that is okay. Memories like that romper Billy is wearing…that haircut of mine which would be in the WTF parents? column. But ultimately the good is what I think of looking at this picture and other pictures of the four of us. Anything else would likely have destroyed me as it crushed my younger brothers and sister. And so I focus on the magic we created together, the four of us and I give thanks.

Then I celebrate some more because, yes, I have more siblngs!

Sisters…so awesome are they! So much younger than me, so much more smarter than me, more amazing than me and even taller than me now. Our memories are different, still they are good and always make me smile. I’m pretty lucky to have you, Angela and Elana both, as sisters.

But not to be left out, my own clowns began to share today celebrating their siblings.

Nobody tell those kids of mine that this is a dream come true especially when I recall the knock-down-drag-out fights that always ended up in tears, blood drawn and a broken nose or two in the past and maybe even last month.

Honestly, kids!

Zoë shared

And because only siblings are great in that way, Hollie declared this to be probably the worst picture to share.

Oh kids!

So I offer perhaps a better picture.

I have more…lots more…Hollie found some.

Oh the secrets, promises, laughter and tears these four have shared…and the fighting…with blood and a broken nose too that these sisters have shared!

Hollie shared: “Hey Daniel, thanks for being our brother. You kind of didn’t have choice in the matter (does any sibling ever have a choice, I wonder?). But you are literally the best thing to happen to this family. You’re crazy, and awesome, and weird in the best way. You’re brilliant and inquisitive, and so much like the four of us. You’re going to drive mom and dad crazy when you’re a teen (next year, OMG!). You were meant for us. And I love you so much. Happy Sibling Day!”

My heart just exploded with glitter and rainbows and unicorns.

Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring, quite often the hard way. – Pamela Dugdale

 

 

 

selfie love


As if this blog wasn’t self-indulgent enough, I have been participating in a 365 day photo project: the #365feministselfie project.

The what?

Why?

Go ahead and roll your eyes. I know you want to.

You feel better now?

Good.

Talking about one’s sense of self love and self worth, Tamryn Hall recently shared, “It was not a magazine that formed my opinion of myself, it was what my mother told me…“. Ms Hall’s statement struck a very loud chord with me. How true this is. Children learn what they live. She went on recalling all the positive words her mother, her father, her extended family have always said to her about her and how that has always been with her with every success and setback in her life.

When I started writing in this blog, I began because I needed a safe place to put my thoughts, my fears and frustration. My plate was overloaded raising my five children including a very angry teen pushing hard and breaking through as many boundaries as possible and a medically fragile toddler whose weekdays were busy with appointments with specialists, physical therapy, occupational therapy, feeding therapy. My brother had recently died and honestly, it seemed like I was the only member of my family who was mourning him. So much was rattling around in my head that I had to have a place to put it and here is where most of it went. Through the years this has been a place where I could write about what ever I wanted to write about…my thoughts, my fears, my tears, my joys, my opinions…and they all mattered here.

Pretty much my entire life, even now, I have been told what is wrong with me…how I talk, how I walk, the colors in my wardrobe, I’m too skinny, I’m getting fat, my career choice, my parenting choices, my opinions, my beliefs, what I read, what I watch, what I listen to, my thoughts…and on and on and on and on….and it STILL goes on because as I approach my 52nd birthday I still need the correction criticism like I am still a child. It’s hard, very hard to recall ever hearing “I’m proud of you for being you”.

Children learn what they live.

But as this blog grew through the years into more than 3,500 entries, I have evolved and have grown to like me a lot. I like the parent that I am. I like the NICU RN that I am and I wouldn’t settle for anything less. My thoughts, my beliefs and my opinions are indeed my own and they are most definitely just as important as anyone’s…maybe more so to me because they are mine. Ten years of navel-gazing writing has exorcised a lot of demons and damage. Of course, it is a work in progress.

Which brings me to my own #365feministselfie. Pretty indulgent and narcissistic of me, isn’t it? Oh, and definitely attention seeking too.

Enough!

Attention is power.

Of course, the self-portrait is an easy target for charges of self-involvement, but, in a visual culture, the selfie quickly and easily shows, not tells, how you’re feeling, where you are, what you’re doing.

In our age of social networking, the selfie is the new way to look someone right in the eye and say, “Hello, this is me.”

Hello, this is me.

I’m discovering that in this exercise.

I’ve never liked nor respected too much the image that reflected back in the mirror at me. I’ve never really seen what my darling husband has seen and still sees…I recently overheard him say that he has a hot wife. I don’t know if I will ever see what he sees or what my kids see; but I am starting to see things in these selfies that I do like…my curves, my edges and my perfect imperfections.

Self-indulgent.

Of course.

Still it is a very important part of my exercise in self-love.

Self-love is about taking care of yourself inside and out. It’s about reminding yourself that even on your worst hair day with a red zit glowing at  the top of your nose, your heart deserves to smile. A smiling heart and a passionate life will create a beauty within that transcends the standards of most. Only the weak and superficial among us will be unable to see the smile that shines from within because they haven’t earned the privilege to see into our souls.

Added bonus is the kids will have a few pictures of me for my memorial someday.

And if the daily blog ruminations and selfies aren’t enough to cluck one’s tongue over…

It’s my birthday month!

for my little sister who is taller than me


Back in the day before Bill and I were parents and easily frightened by the epic meltdowns of small human beings enough to never ever want to have children ever, my sister was quite possibly the champion of epic meltdowns. Oh, and she could and often would take off running forcing her parents to give chase because really what is funnier than two panicked adults running all out after a preschooler with a good head start who is headed right towards a busy street or the end of a dock or any danger. I might have sworn off the notion of ever having children ever were I not already pregnant. Truthfully, my sister as a little one only scared me more about this whole thing that is parenting. Of course, by then it was too late for me…besides our little sister, yet to be born, would show us all how a meltdown should be done and then years and years later my grand baby, Fallon Elizabeth, would be the one to throw an epic meltdown like a Boss making all other tantrums truly weak.

But back to toddler Angela and her epic meltdowns…I recall one particularly epic one that took place soon after Bill and I arrived in Washington for a visit with my Dad, his wife and my little sister. As things started to calm and we all were together feeling awkward the way you do when someone’s kid has finally calmed down after a very public, loud, epic tantrum, my darling husband smirked just a little and quipped, “How ’bout them Seahawks?”…and the tension was gone as we all laughed just a little. Okay, fine, we laughed a lot because the Seahawks…really?!

But today, because my sister, who was raised in Washington, greeted me with a text message that proclaimed “Go Hawks!” and because the Seahawks showed up and played and won I will say…

How ’bout them Seahawks?!

Congratulations.

Better yet…how ’bout that Bruno Mars and the Halftime show??!! Really the only good thing about this Super Bowl XLVIII unless you are a Seahawks fan.

#thickhairproblems


I have thick hair. No, I have REALLY thick hair. I have the kind of thick hair where perimenopausal hair loss is no big deal; once you adjust to the fact that, no, you are not dying because although it is a lot of hair there is so much more on your head. I have the kind of thick hair that most hairstylists hate. At least I have been told that…by a few stylists through the years…except for the one who does my hair now…whom I gave birth to. Perhaps she doesn’t complain because of the fact that I am her mother.

Nah!

Come on! This is Hollie we are talking about! No, Hollie insists that although there is a lot of hair to work with there could be worse problems that a stylist can have…

Like maybe a toddler with super thick hair sitting in your chair?

Perhaps so.

Little Miss Fallon decided that she wanted short hair. Yes, little Miss Fallon Elizabeth with that epic, thick, gorgeous, strawberry-blonde hair. Where in the world would this girl with the gorgeous hair get an idea like that? Damned if I would know! Lucky for her she has a mama who is quite skilled at cutting and styling epic, thick, hair with a stubborn life of its own.

Unlike some of those less fortunate ones whose mommy dearests would literally scalp them because they had no clue how to cut and style epic, thick hair with double barrel cowlicks. The photographic proof through the years would make you weep. I know it did for me.

Oh why?!

As for this little pixie, she is lucky and very adorable.

And clearly she approves.

You’ll excuse me now while I go and make a little pillow stuffed with baby angel hair.