play it again: angst stained


What?! You mean not every one gets all angsty, emo and philosophical when they are doing laundry?

Originally published October 29, 2013

A perfectly grey Fall day like today is the perfect day for laundry…especially because some of us are down to that last clean pair of socks and underwear.

Yes, I am slacking.

But today was the perfect day to get it done. At least most of it done. Okay, fine. Today was a good day to get some of it done…at least some socks and underwear. And thanks to my ever attentive, don-t-tell-her-she’s-clumsy-because-she-is-a-cat-and-cats-are-not-clumsy assistant, Zelda, I made a discovery.

When I am gone…remember me for who I am & not because I’m me. I know it makes no sense…but you’ll get it someday.

Teenaged angst all over one of my laundry baskets. I have no clue which one of my clowns wrote this and when and why. But I am sure they had their reasons to pour their heart out all over the bottom of this old laundry basket.

I get it. I had teenaged angst too. A lot of it. Too much of it. I poured it out all over the place. Funny how when I run across something I wrote years and years ago how sometimes I can get the pain and the emotion being expressed and other times I shake my head a little embarrassed because that really was tearing at my heart…that?! Perhaps at a certain age we aren’t supposed to understand that teenaged angst all that much…even if it was once ours.

I don’t know…

I get kind of philosophical when I’m doing laundry. And, as you can see it is hereditary.

play it again: the most massive character


I have come to believe that our scars reveal just how strong that we are…how amazing we are…how wonderful we are. I have my son and every single scar on his body to remind me of this truth. Again I am in awe of every single tiny, mighty micropreemie I have been privileged to know and care for thanks to my own.

Originally published September 9, 2013

Daniel came to me the other day and lifting his t-shirt pointed to a circular, pale, silvery scar on his belly just below his old gastrostomy scar.

What is this?”, he asks me.

It’s an old scar from when you were in the NICU, when you were a tiny baby.

But what is it from?“, he presses.

From a transcutaneous monitor. It was used to measure the oxygen and carbon dioxide in your body so the doctor could adjust the machine helping you breathe when you were very tiny and wasn’t big enough or strong enough to breathe on your own. Your skin was very sensitive so they had to move the probe around often or it would leave a mark that was shaped like a circle. That is a mark left behind by the monitor.

He thoughtfully traces the silvery circle-shaped scar on his belly. I can tell he is still wondering about it.

Do you want to see what it looked like on your body? I have a picture.

Oh yes!

So I pull out the little photo journal I have that documents his NICU life in pictures and in words.

He regards the picture, carefully tracing the TCM probe on his back just above the tiny diaper that he wore.

Do I have a scar like that on my back too?

No. The one on your belly is the only one.

He shrugs and then begins to read out loud the words I copied from the nurse who took that picture.

I have a lot of scars, don’t I?

You do. Every single scar shows just how strong you are. How amazing you are. How wonderful you are. I love every single scar that is yours.

He smiles and hugs me tight. “I kind of like my scars too!

Out of suffering has emerged the strongest souls; the most massive of characters are seared with scars.

~Khalil Gibran

play it again: Dear Mrs. Hall


Mrs. Hall certainly struck a nerve in September. Some loved her and some, well, some could not believe that which she wrote to the young girls out there taunting and tempting her poor, dear, sweet, innocent, adolescent boys. As the mother of daughters and a son and the wife of a darling husband who time and again calls bullshit on the idea that a guy just can’t help himself I had to say something…as did, oh my goodness, pretty much every other blogger out there.

Originally published September 4, 2013

You wrote and shared a blog post to inform and educate teenaged girls everywhere on how they should behave online if they want to be friends with your boys.

Um…

And then you shared it again.

Well, Mrs. Hall I get how you sit down with your boys and, as a family, check out that which appears on their Facebook feeds, Twitter stream, Instagram and anywhere else in their social media world. Good for you! I creep on my kids’ social media sites too. Sure you might balk at me referring to it as creeping but let me assure you that kids do call it creeping when their parents check their social media feeds. You don’t have to be defensive about it. You’re just being a good parent paying attention to what is going on in your kids’ world. Good for you! Good job! You’re still creeping…so am I.

Like you, I sometimes see things posted by their friends that could be considered inappropriate or perhaps something they wouldn’t want a coach or teacher or college admissions clerk or employer to see; something you hope to never see on your own children’s feeds.

Right?

They way I see it is these are those teachable moments for my kids and me. Kind of like you do.

Except I see it as a teachable moment for my OWN child of how THEY should behave online…not how they’re friends should behave…or whether or not that person is good enough to be their friend. Like it or not, it’s not our job as parents of adolescents to dictate who they can or can not be friends with…unless you want them to hang out forever with exactly who you don’t want to hang out with. We certainly can and should keep tabs on the people they choose to hang out with online and offline but our kids are thisclose to being adults who can choose friends without our consent. As hard as it is, we need to respect this reality just a little bit.

Mrs. Hall I don’t blame you for being shocked by some of the more provocative pictures you might see on your boys’ social media sites from their friends. Really I don’t. But honestly, you really think a selfie of a female classmate or youth group member is going to lead your precious boys astray down that horrid path of thinking about…

S-E-X

???

because teenaged boys with raging hormones and body parts that sometimes seem to have a life of their own is not happening in your house full of teenaged boys unless they are PROVOKED by a GIRL!

Of course it is the girl’s fault you say because she is posed that way in her jammies and, and she’s not wearing a bra! It’s stirring things up in your boys that they just can’t control…not at all!

Bullshit, Mrs. Hall!

Yes, I call bullshit. Sorry if that offends you. But it is bullshit. My darling husband says it is every time someone plays the men just can not control those urges and thoughts card. Of course they can because those are somebody’s daughters. Enough with the slut shaming and blaming. Boys can be taught to have some self control and some respect. They need to be. They should be.

Mrs. Hall you missed the teachable moment…the right teachable moments.

First of all here is one of those moments where you teach those boys of yours how to treat a young lady…any young lady regardless of how she might be dressed or not dressed. These girls, as you yourself noted, are so much more than their tits and asses with a unique and colorful world-view that you enjoy. Like you yourself said, these girls are interesting and smart people. Teach your boys that. Teach them to look beyond the physical of the person…the person who just so happens to be female with female body parts just like your female body parts. Teach them this. Those are the men who are good, moral and upstanding…and who make great husbands..and fathers of daughters and sons.

Second of all teach your boys that provocative selfies probably aren’t the best thing to make public…probably not the best thing to share privately…probably not the best thing to take at all. Yes it seems that sexy, pouty selfies in the bedroom or the bathroom or anywhere practically are the thing with some teenaged girls but let me assure you that TEENAGED BOYS DO IT TOO! Remember I have creeped on my teenaged GIRLS social media sites. I too have seen things that I can’t ever unsee of nice, good teenaged boys from good homes just like yours! Selfies of them shirtless, in their shorts, in their boxer briefs, with just a towel barely wrapped around their body below their waists….

BOYS DO IT TOO!!!

How dare these boys pose in such ways and post them where my sweet daughters can see them and cause them to think thoughts…thoughts that they have no control over…

Oh for goodness sake, Mrs. Hall. Here is where we must teach our own children how to behave and think and have some self-control.

Mrs. Hall, teenaged girls and teenaged boys are going to do a lot of stupid things all in the name of growing up and discovering who they are as an adult…an adult like it or not who is very much a sexual being. Yes, it is our job as parents to guide them with what is appropriate and what is not appropriate and how to make good choices for themselves and anyone they might be attracted to. Then we are to trust them. We also need to trust ourselves…trust ourselves as parents who have done our very best to raise up our kids to be the best possible men and women that they can be for themselves and their future partners.

I know it’s hard but we have to…unless you really want to be helicoptering over…

EW!

Along with trusting them and ourselves we need to be forgiving because they are going to make some mistakes and even some bad choices… like everyone else…like myself and like you (you did point out that you have made some doozies of mistakes). We need to be willing to offer second chances…and third chances…and fourth…and fifth…and sixth…and seventh and eighth chances. We don’t have to offer ninth chances…unless that one of my kids makes that mistake again for the ninth time then I will have to wrestle with that line I have drawn.

Believe me, Mrs. Hall, if you have done your very best to raise up those sons and daughter right they will be okay. They will be men and women we can be proud of. They will be the man or woman their in-laws will adore. I have three adult children now to reassure me of this truth everyday that my darling husband and I continue to nurture their younger sister and brother.

Thank you for your time, Mrs. Hall.

You take care now.

Mrs. Scarborough

play it again: raw devastation


I hesitated re-posting this because as time goes on, as more has been discovered, our NICU family is still reeling in the shock of it all. But this was the most popular post of 2013 as it was shared over and over again amongst my co-workers and colleagues of Dr. Janet Pettit’s and friends and family of both Scott and Janet. Clearly my thoughts written down soon after learning of their deaths expressed a lot of what we all were feeling then.

There are still moments we expect to hear JP tell us to put on our big girl panties and get to work…actually I believe she IS telling us to do just that…all the time…and so we do. Still we mourn because one just does not just get over losing someone, especially someone taken away so suddenly and so violently. But, just as JP would want and expect, we do go on because there is work to be done in our NICU.

Originally posted August 9, 2013

As I type this, there is another smoke alarm chirping it’s low battery alert. I should be annoyed really because wasn’t it just four months ago that batteries were being replaced? Yes, It was just four months ago. I should be annoyed and irritated but instead I am broken-hearted. The chirping reminds me to dig up another 9 volt battery and again replace it. It also reminds me that one of our own in the NICU is gone…gone far too soon.

I saw the news online of the house fire in Modesto that claimed two lives and well, after thinking to myself how tragic I moved on about my busy day. It was later in the day that I discovered who the victims were.

I am still raw…as is the rest of my NICU family.

JP…DR JP,  was an amazing gifted and talented human being. Her dedication and efforts to offer her very best in what she did inspired so many to do the same…to always be learning, to always seek to offer the very best of skill and care in our nursing practice in our NICU. It was that dedication and talent that helped our NICU achieve the amazing goal of reducing our non-CLABSI infection rate for an amazing zero infections for 1,412 DAYS! As JP wrote in that ADVANCE for Nurses article, countless babies are now celebrating birthdays that might have been lost without the efforts of our motivated and expert team. Scrolling through my Facebook timeline I can see some of those very same babies with bright, happy smiles as they continue to thrive and grow up much too fast.

We truly are a highly motivated, expert team uniquely gifted in the art of caring for the tiniest and sickest human beings but we are also a family who has lost one of our own in a most tragic way and we are broken with the grief of this loss. My heart breaks for JP’s family, for her kids and it aches for each and every member of my NICU family. I can’t imagine not ever working side by side with JP ever again. Her brilliance, her wit, her calm presence will be sorely missed in our NICU, in our community, in our world.

I should probably summarize this post right about now but I don’t know how.  For now all I can do is selfishly mourn this loss…and pray that I will continue to work hard, work harder to measure up to the kind of nurse and human being that JP was.

play it again: on your 50th


Independence Day, the month of October, Christmas, a brother and sister sharing a moment, fluffy clouds up in the sky…all these remind me how much I miss my brother, Randy.

Originally published July 4, 2013

Today would have been your 50th birthday. Nine birthdays have passed since you’ve been gone.

I miss you little brother. I miss you just as much as the day when you left me forever.

For the longest time, you were the only one who really understood me and who accepted me. I, in turn, could always see past the faults others were so quick to point out and hold against you…because they never did anything wrong.

Just a few months before you died, you told me that we were bonded closer than any of our other siblings, parents, foster parents or step-parents could ever be to us. You were right. There was a time where we were all that we had. The history, the memories, the secrets, the laughter, the tears and the fears we shared together just us are ours alone. We got through that time together holding tightly to one another’s hands. Thank goodness it was your hand I held onto so tightly during those years. No one will ever understand that which connected us, sister and brother.

You were my biggest fan, my protector, my champion and you would tease me without mercy. I adored you just as much as I sometimes was irritated and annoyed by you. Brothers and sisters are that way, aren’t they? I would have done anything for you…given you anything…I tried to. Unfortunately I could not give you that which you spent a lifetime, ever since you were a very little boy, wanting, desperately needing. If I was one of the men in your life whom you looked to I would have gladly given you the unconditional love and acceptance you deserved. I can only imagine how differently your life would have been. Perhaps you would be here right now celebrating your fiftieth birthday and watching fireworks with me, your sister. Of course, as always, all the hoopla and fireworks is for you…all for you.

I love you, Randy.

I miss you. I miss you so much it still hurts.