Archive | December 2012

Again

I rarely if I should write about things that I hear on the news.  Half the time, I’m a day late cause I never get a chance to watch the news until late.  Usually hubby emails me or calls me and tells me that something horrible or outrageous happened.  It’s not that I don’t care, or I don’t have an opinion, but other people can express it better than I can.  Certainly, JJ at Too Many Fish to Fry had a  post  that was useful and straightforward.   I stopped watching CNN years ago because it turned into Armageddon TV. That kind of journalism only serves to spawn fear and notoriety.  Hubby often comes home in a horrible mood because of some awful sensible tragedy, usually involving a child. He believes the world is going to hell in a handbasket.  I hang on to the stories of those who did make a difference even if they had to die in order to do so.

The mass killing in Newton, Connecticut though was so unbelievably horrifying that I could barely hold the facts in my head.  And so I need to write about it.  Tears slid down my face and I immediately tried to stuff down my reaction.  I wanted to un-hear what I had heard. I wanted to change the channel.  It didn’t seem right to hear that children went to school one day and were murdered and then just talk about something else with a glass of wine.  Seriously, again?  I have no idea of where I can buy a gun, but apparently you can get a hold of a gun and ammo in the States as easily as you can buy a can of Coke.   As a matter of fact, you can probably find one under the bed or in a closet.   It’s not that mass shootings don’t ever happen in Canada, they do.  The Eaton Centre shootings were supposedly gang related and the child that died was collateral damage.  They are just rare compared to the news coming out of the States these days.   I don’t know anyone who owns a gun for hobby purposes and we don’t do a lot of hunting in Vancouver.  My husband and I  used to work for a clothing company that also sold accessories related to law enforcement. For some strange reason, we even had a sample firearm (unloaded) gun in the office and I actually held it.  Didn’t like it, didn’t see the point of it unless I intended on using it and that was that.  Hubby brought it home once when he began working from home.  Once I found out about it, I INSISTED he remove it from the apartment.

Canadians are always smug about our culture not being enamored of guns.  Typically, we think of random shootings, in schools or elsewhere as an American phenomenom.  Oddly, during this weekend-  at a Christmas party, at my Buddhist meeting, during a visit with out of town friends, not one person mentioned it.  I knew that people were aware of it, but the subject seemed also taboo. Perhaps it was because they were Christmas parties, having a good time and discussing the joy of chanting  and dead children don’t generally mix.   Certainly, I did not want to discuss any of it with my kid present.  He’s only three, but he’s got ears and I didn’t want to put any of the horror in his head. Cause then I’d have to explain it.  He would ask me why?  How come?  (He’s at that stage where everything is why, why, why.)  I don’t have any answers.

In a way, it doesn’t really matter to me why a young man would shoot his mother in the face and then go to a school and kill children.  Yes, of course  the details, the understanding of the cause  does matter, but in the end, knowing why does not seem to affect a lasting change.  Having information makes people feel safe.   It certainly makes me feel calmer.  All is well if we can just line the facts up in order.  People will talk about mental illness, gun control, the right to bear arms, guns don’t kill people, people kill people, blah, blah, blah.   The adults, the children will still be dead, families will continue to grieve and suffer, and sadly, somewhere else it will occur again.  The details will be different, but the effect will be the same.  It’s becoming commonplace.  Like a fatal car crash on a highway during bad weather.  We tut-tut, shake our heads, hug our children tightly and change the subject. We don’t really talk about death in our society.  The death of children, innocents, in particular. Especially when it happens in the most familiar of places, the safest of neighbourhoods.  I’m not going to throw the race card in there (cause I could) because it’s not the point I’m trying to make.

I think there is a deep, deep, cause in the minds of all people, disturbed or otherwise, who believe that killing others and then killing themselves is a way to relieve or express their suffering.  What are people willing to do in order to make a lasting change?  I do believe dialogue is more powerful than diagnosis, but I also believe that practical actions need to be taken.

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Keeping my head above water

If I had a nickel for every great post I wrote while still in bed….I have one in particular about adoption, but don’t have the brain space to put it all together quite yet.

The holidays are approaching (footsteps of seasonal dread in the background), the in-laws are coming to visit – which means I’ll not have a minute to myself and I’ll be put out of my comfy bed to sleep on a pullout downstairs.  NOT that I don’t simply adore them and appreciate them, but the older I get, the harder it is to be without my creature comforts.  Starting to feel that I’ve got a million things to do but not enough time and money feeling again.  To be optimistic though, I’ve been feeling a lot better than I have in months.  The flip side to the Precious being sick is that he’s been sleeping in, meaning I’m getting more rest.    DH has been getting up at 2am  (even though he gets up at 6) to give him his breathing treatments so I can sleep.  I’ve been taking my iron citrate pills which has given a boost to my energy levels and for once, I actually don’t feel exhausted when I wake up!  This has done wonders for my attitude and overall patience.

I haven’t seen mum since last week though I did talk to her doctor.  I could hear hear yelling in the background.  She was consulting with the mental health doctor about possibly giving her a powerful narcotic to settle her down, as opposed to another anti-psychotic drug or nothing.  They seem to think it’s a sign of her dementia progressing.   I gave her permission to try out the pain killer for a couple of weeks.  She’s been getting increasingly agitated and the last time I saw her, she was calm, but then started to get more and more upset and then she starts making whooping noises, etc.  The entire floor can hear her and their only method to calm her has been leaving her in her room staring out the window.  It cut our visit short as there was nothing I could do.  I tried to sing to her, I played music videos on my smartphone, I held her hand, etc.  I used to be able to calm her down and reassure her but nothing seems to work.  And of course, since I can’t fix it, well, visits with leave me feeling distressed and shaken.   I’m going to try music therapy next.  It was suggested to me by someone at the home, but for obvious reasons I’ve been procrastinating, busy, eating chocolate,  making photobooks for hours, trying to occupy the Precious every waking hour since he’s been sick at home.  I’m dreading Christmas Day already as this will be the first Christmas I won’t have her here with me.  It’s just too difficult and disruptive for everyone.    Sigh.  I’m trying very hard to not think about any of this at all til I absolutely have to.  Mmm, buy presents or see my therapist?

Moving is back on the agenda.  Pretending not to be stressed about that.  Watching DH seal all the windows, move the space heater up and down the stairs, the Precious’ respiratory issues all have made that choice inevitable.  This will be the last winter we spend here, that’s for sure.  Just have to make sure we don’t move from the frying pan into the fire though.  I reminded DH that we moved here not because it was the PERFECT place, because we wanted to buy our own place.  Of course, that was when we though our financial picture would be better than it currently is.   We love our area we live in, but then every piece of crap around here jumped about $1Million dollars in the past 3 years.  No, I’m not kidding.  Now that owning seems  a distant dream, we need to make sure we can actually enjoy our home.  Renovated homes (ie. not broken down old homes) currently rent for $3000 and up around here.  No, not kidding again.  So that means we’re leaving the hood.  I’m sure we’ll find something nice.  Home is where your heart is after all.  As long as we’re together, we’ll be fine.  Right?  Breathe.

Well, the Boo awaits, as well as the laundry, the dog, the shopping, paperwork,  and my neurosis.  Breathe.  Nam myo ho renge kyo.

Cooped up, coughing, crazy

You want to know how to absolutely guarantee you’re going to get sick? Tell someone  that you never get the flu.  And if you want your kid to get sick, announce to the pediatrician that you had a cold and your kid didn’t even get it. And no, you don’t want to give him a flu shot.

A couple of weeks ago, I felt like hell.  Not sneezing or runny nose, just dead tired and no energy.  Rarely do I declare to my hubby that I don’t feel well because he’s such a nag, that I need to make sure I REALLY don’t feel well.  I just took to my bed earlier than usual.  About a week later, I felt better but I had developed a nasty, sleep busting cough.  And for some strange reason, Neo Citran is nowhere to be found in this city.  I went through the last 3 envelopes I had and then moved on to my beloved Nyquil to help me sleep.  Then, with the worst behind me, the Precious caught a nasty cough(two days after his birthday party – which was a hell of a lot of work but was awesome! Gangnam style dance party! ). He wanted to know why I had given him my cold.  Uh, sorry, kid.  I kept him out of preschool and away from other kids.  Needless to say, it was a long week cooped up in the house with the exception of dog walks.   We were supposed to go the island to ride the Christmas train with the in-laws so I took him to the pediatrician as his cough was getting worse. It sounded really wet and chesty.

He was diagnosed with RSV, respiratory syncytial virus.  Apparently most  kids get it, but according to the doc he was “overreacting” to it meaning he needed an inhaler to open his airways. I was really taken aback, but relieved I had brought him in.  We finally make it to the pharmacy to fill the prescription of not one inhaler, but two along with a breathing tube.  More waiting, and I was seriously crabby cause my kid had a slight fever and I needed to get him home to give him something for it.  He was being perfectly awesome by the way, not one complaint.  Then when finally we get home, I put him in a bath and assembled the cheap ass breathing tube which was not the one the doctor used in her office, but a cheap facsimile which didn’t really fit over his nose and mouth effectively.  I called the pharmacy and find out they had to order the model I wanted and it wouldn’t in til the next day.  Yes, that meant buying ANOTHER one cause I couldn’t really return it because I needed it and had NO MORE TIME to find another one at another pharmacy.  Did I mention, I had a babysitter due any minute because I was planning on meeting DH at his  office Christmas party?  I considered  not going, but the Precious was doing just fine, he was having a blast with the inhaler and found it all very interesting.  Our sitter was so sweet and insisted she could give him his breathing treatment just fine and I should go and enjoy myself.  I pulled myself together and squeezed myself into something glamorous with 3 inch red heels.  Yep, me.  It’s so rare that hubby and I get to share an evening out, but I knew I would be home at a decent hour.  After scarfing down a few appies cause I hadn’t eaten all afternoon, I relaxed with a giant glass of wine and had some lovely conversations.  It felt good to be out of the house and wearing pretty clothes and makeup, even if it was just a couple of hours.

We were home before I knew it and I had to wake the kid up at 2 am  to give him another breathing treatment.  He didn’t take kindly to being woken up and eventually he ended up in our bed trying to get a party started.  Needless to say we skipped our weekend with the in-laws, stayed home and went a little cabin crazy but the kid was over the moon having us home with him to watch movies with and play with him.  I did start to get that panicky, crabby feeling but I got out to walk the dog with a friend and go Christmas shopping.

I haven’t been to the gym in a few weeks due to my cold and then the kid’s cold and I’m going a little squirrelly.  Last year, my son would insist on going out for a walk in the cold, wet dark late afternoons and I’d be grumbling.  Now it’s me that going nuts penned up inside the house and I’m begging him to go outside and around the block for some fresh air.  I once actually lost it one day and stamped my foot and said, yes, we are going out!  He responded with another foot stomp of his own and screamed, No!.  Minus one for Mummy.

And speaking of fresh air, with the exception of the Boo’s room, we are now sealed in for the winter.  It’s getting colder and if we have on one too many lights with the space heater, the breaker flips.  Sigh.  The forced air heating is definitely not helping me or the kid so we are definitely moving in the spring.  Into what and where, I have no idea.

Identity and unconditional love – 2

I was telling a friend the other day that I feel like I’m going through adolescence again.  Like I need  another go at rambling around the house trying to get an adult to listen to what I have to say. The searching for identity, the not knowing of where I fit in, feeling misunderstood and ignored and put upon all at the same time.  It’s weird.  I want to be the old me, you know, the one before infertility and the world of adoption, back to where all was possible if only I worked hard enough and I could buy as many shoes as I wanted.  And I thought I was beyond all that.  Truth be known, when I was an adolescent, I wanted to anywhere but where I was.  I could never get over the feeling that somehow my circumstances was a tragic mistake, my real parents would show up and bring me back to a world where your parents didn’t fight like mortal enemies, my sisters and I got along,  and I had my own room with fantastic furnishings and my own phone.  And present day?  Now I wish my  hubby would worship me as a goddess, my fantastic son would biologically be ours and  didn’t have to be wondering how to handle the topic of adoption on multiple levels of our lives or feel guilty on Mother’s Day and Christmas,  I’d be busy filming at least once or twice a month, leaving me both time and money for our family, and I’d have a healthy mother available for on demand babysitting.   A smaller waistline and a better attitude goes without saying.  Where is my deus ex machina?

Yet, I’m in the fight.  To be present. For myself and most especially for my son.   To find my voice.  To be heard.  To be accepted as I am and acceptable to myself.   To communicate in a more effective way  with my partner.  I’m not willing to just go along with just what I’m told anymore. I keep looking to others to have my life validated, and justified and I am so done with having to apologize for needing what I need.  I don’t want to hear “NO” anymore.  Now I have a toddler –  don’t think that’s a coincidence!  It’s disappointing to realize that at this point in my life,  I’m still not satisfied with what I have.  Or what I don’t have.  Like a walk in closet.   For my neuroses that is.   It used to piss me off to no end when I was a kid and I’d have to split a Twinkie package with my sister.  Just once, just once, I wanted to have the whole fucking pack to myself.  Could there be a shortage of unconditional love for myself here?  Like I’m waiting for someone to give me the other half of the Twinkie? What if I were to give it to myself? And how in the hell do I do that?

So much of my Buddhist training has been about being the master of your own mind.  And I certainly haven’t felt that way of late.  Of late, my mind has been kicking ass all over the place. I have the heart of a fighter underneath all this existential angst.  That’s why sometimes I don’t mind being angry.  Being angry for me is almost the best place to be.  My thoughts crystallize, I’m motivated to get off my ass, if no other reason than revenge.  Unfortunately for me, I can only maintain that for so long before it moves into depression.  I need to move my practice into a more consistent space.  Not having a lot of  alone time to chant and meditate is a problem I haven’t found a solution for yet.  I keep having to choose between exercise, errands or sleep. I keep going to my meetings, however, and it never fails to inspire me.

I went back the doctor to clear up a few things.   According to her, I scored fairly low (mild) on the depression scale and I felt I asked the right questions this time and I felt I was listened to and that I was listening to her.  It’s funny though, she asked me about symptoms and taking medication, but doesn’t ask about causes.  She asked me when was the last time I felt happy.  I thought it was an odd question but I couldn’t really remember when.   To her credit, she handed me a book about mood elevating without meds.  I think it’s about cognitive therapy from the first few pages that I’ve read so far, but frankly, so is Buddhism. I also went to get a blood test.  I found out later, the lab flagged my iron levels but the doctor’s office says the lab results are normal.  Really.   I feel like I’m running on vapours halfway through the day, , but according to them the results are normal.  I have suffered low iron for most of my life, that’s why I can’t donate blood, so I’ll just go back to taking iron supplements like I used to.  I also had my thyroid levels tested, that came back within the “normal” range, but my doctor didn’t ask me if I had any symptoms either. Well, what may be normal doesn’t feel so good these days.  I know she wants to help out my biochemical imbalance in my brain, so I just told her I was going to hold out for a while.  She was quick to write out a small prescription for Ativan,at my request,  to take the edge off and to help me sleep.

Things have been going well between the Precious and I.   I  have put more effort into staying present for him and it’s paid off.  He’s no longer peeing on the carpet to spite me or to get my attention.  We’re not battling as much.  I’m not running away from him to catch my breath.  He’s still running around the damn car instead of getting into his car seat, but I’m working on that.  We’re cuddling on the couch watching movies and sharing popcorn, and today he even fell asleep on the couch with me rubbing his feet  for a blissful nap, no car needed.  I tell him how much I love him and I kiss him up and he tells me he loves me too.  I told him he was the best little boy in the world and he just says, “I know.”  Of course, not much else is getting done and I’m too tired after 8pm to do anything but veg out.   I haven’t seen my mum lately (when we went on the weekend, she was sleeping peacefully), and I’m trying desperately to not feel bad or guilty about that. I’m making time to go out with friends, see a play, talk with like-minded grownups, remind myself that I can still talk about things other than my kid.

The funny thing about this adolescence is that I’m a grownup now and I have the power to make my own decisions but I still have to be responsible to my family.  I am aware that it isn’t entirely about me.    So I’m digging deep,  trying to figure out what those decisions are and how to bloom in muddy waters.