Monday, May 12, 2014

My Mother's Day supporters.
Abbey has begun sleepwalking. This is our first, real night-time issue, besides when Eli was six and first experiencing symptoms of the brain tumors. He would get up multiple times in the night crying in pain that he could not pinpoint. I have changed up some of our recent routine for her, like when she reads and goes to bed, and have given her benedryl per the pediatrician’s instructions, but still she gets up. We have never allowed her to watch anything realistically aggressive or scary, and I have questioned whether she was stressed over school or if anyone was bothering her. I’ve come up with nothing beyond that she is overly tired from our busy days, the chaos of us moving, and her sleeping environment being less than personally perfect (she wants the room cold and dark with the fan on, Hg wants the room warm and light with the fan off) So far, she just gets up a little agitated about something, like needing “help with the ocean current,” or “The kittens, they will lose their home.” I am, and have always been, a light sleeper, so I was able to hear her get up most times or she came to me to tell me whatever it is that is trying to escape her unconsciousness. The last couple of nights, she and I have been holed up in the back bedroom. As an 80’s teen, I have buried in the cellar
 of my memory the remains of horror films such as “Elm Street,” “Children of the Corn,” “Silent Night, Deadly Night,” “Poltergeist”, etc. So, her nocturnal jabberings and wanderings weren’t freaky until she jumped out of the bed quickly, and I said, “Abbey get back in the bed.” She whispered, “no, no. Didn’t you see the little girl.” Ok, nope, I’m done, we’ve got to fix this. So, stay tuned … if you dare……

It was mid-cyle chemo for Eli on Friday, which I think was week 18 of treatment. He has had a runny nose and cough, so he is also up some during the night complaining of sleeplessness. He seemed tired last week, and with a runny nose and cough, I kept him home from school on Thursday so that he would go into chemo as good as he could be. His immune system is working kind of hard, probably because of the allergies or cold he is fighting, so his ANC was not high enough to
Getting ready for chemo. He loves to look at
the Bruder toy mag and mark what he wants
for Christmas. Oddly, everything is circled.
 receive the full dose of meds. That was disappointing. His cough has gotten worse after an unexpected outing the day after chemo that I didn’t know was planned, so he missed school today because the cough is rough and the congestion is making his belly hurt. He did not need to go Saturday, but does need to go to school, so that is a shame. Overall, though, he is happy and content for the most part. Denial is a powerful and useful tool when skillfully applied. So, I am also happy and content for the most part, too.

So, I play the role of the mother in the story of our family. It’s a bit of a challenge for me. It is a departure from my past roles and a part to which my personality does not lend itself. I did not, through my childhood, dream of being a mommy. As a little girl, I did play with baby dolls and had a Baby Tender Love, and others along with the peripherals of diapers, clothing, blankets, a cradle and high chair. I had a couple “toddler” dolls that I really liked. They stood up on their own and had long hair - one blond, one brown. One year, the house of a girl at school burned down. We gave her the brown-haired doll (I could not bear to part with the beautiful yellow-haired doll that I so much wished my dull dark locks would magically change to one night while I slept.) and I can, for some, reason remember my mom preparing it to be complete with clean, crisp clothing, clean shoes, and combed hair. I was so proud to put it in the donation box at
We tried something different.
 school. When I was little, I don’t remember wanting any baby dolls, except maybe the Baby Tender Love, but my mom and grandmother thought that little girls were suppose to have baby dolls, so we had baby dolls. Of course, we had too many other toys as well, and were spoiled. We were far from rich, but we lacked in nothing that we knew of, really. I do remember so badly wanting a battery-powered ride-in car that sat on display at Roses department. It was the predecessor to the Barbie Jeep, I guess. I loved cars more than any doll, but mostly I was desperate to drive. It was not a go-kart and it was not a peddle-car, but it was shaped just like a real corvette and I had never seen anything like it my size. I have always loved to drive - a bike, a lawn mower, a car, anything. I’m pretty sure that is an inherited gene. Alas, the car was never mine. I have written about my dad often, but I don’t think I have shared much about my example of a mom. Daddy was a larger character, so he makes for an easier subject, but also because my mom just did all the regular,
Thank you to Austin Hyde and his buddies
at Auburn University for having members of
the football team autograph a football for Eli.
I am continually impressed by young people
and their desire to help others.
 expected mom things. I guess I just didn’t notice her as much. She was support and background. She was just always there, always making what we needed or wanted to work or happen. In my mind’s eye, when I think of anything in my childhood or young adulthood, she is in the picture. Though at the time of the memory, I’m sure her presence or participation was not thought to be significant, but was expected or assumed. I can list detailed situations to demonstrate her hand in my life, but the list would be endless. At the time, each would have been unremarkable to me, yet I remember so many. If Daddy was the foundation of our family life, then she was the house. A foundation is not of much use without the house built on top of it. I’ve never seen anyone just living on a foundation. So, she would be the roof, the walls, the windows and doors that provided the shelter for, the organization of, the light in, and the access to our daily lives. She grew up the oldest child on a farm in rural Alabama and has a high school education. I know of nothing spectacular during her childhood or early adulthood beyond that she always had friends, had family that loved her, and she contributed to the functionality of her environment in expected ways (i.e, she did farm and household chores, went to church, went to school, earned money.). She was somewhat shy and self-conscious, but was liked within her circles. She was a mediocre student in
Just the three of us a lot.
 school, but a hard worker and beloved employee in her jobs all her life. She has worked since she was a child, starting with picking cotton, then working retail, and then earning her beautician’s license. She made having a job a career of 50-plus years. For several years, early in my life, she cut hair on Saturdays at home, while she worked for my dad during the week. She supported him physically and emotionally in his business until he sold it, - which was their business, although she never understood why anyone would want to have such a business because it was hard work with little reward, yet it was her life - and continued working in the same industry, even after his death and beyond normal retirement age. She has been a widow for 16 years as of April 27 and mourns him still. She has a sense of humor, is and was spunky, and is and was always willing to fall in line and do what is asked of her. Church has always been paramount to her. I can remember as a young child going into Daddy’s room where he was reading the paper and watching “Meet the Press” on Sunday mornings to show him our dresses and tell him good bye as we went to church without him. He was raised in the church, but had never been baptized. Just as taught in I Peter 3:1, her diligence and example brought him to Christ and I can vividly remember him being baptized when I was very young. From then on, they were workers in the church together. She was always crafty and creative, possessing some artistic ability, and was a good seamstress, and a good cook - although after having worked all day, Daddy often took us all out to eat to keep from “messing the kitchen up.” I think, he suggested it so that Mama wouldn’t go from working all day for him, and then come home to work all evening for him, too. She was always busy with a hobby or project, and she liked the house to be clean and in order. She did and still does love nick-knacks. Our house growing up was covered in figurines, or antique cookie cutters, or vintage tea cups, or antique wood cut-outs. I HATED dusting on Saturday mornings. I believe this is why I have a minimalist taste to my home decor. After Daddy was gone, she continued to be a giving person of her time and money to us. She came when we called, gave when we asked and has never expected or asked for anything in return. She was generous to me with something that changed my life and gave me my confidence and health back - two things that I didn’t know were going to be so important facing the stress that I face now with Eli. It was a hefty request, but she didn’t blink when I asked for the help and never asked to be repaid. She was generous with her time, but only if we actually needed her help or if she could be useful in some way while she was with us. She rarely got together with us for just the sake of visiting or being together. Vic and I lived with her once when we built our first house, again with the girls when we built our second house, and, though she does not live at this residence any more, we are basically once again living with her in her home. Having fought the slow onset of dementia now for about five years, she moved to an assisted living facility and is doing well. She is considered “high-functioning.” She knows us all, and enjoys company and activity. Now, I know she is not perfect, and she and I have had our rounds through the years, though those times are few. I can remember her discipline. With Daddy traveling so much, she was the heavy hand as well as the soft hand. I am familiar with the backside of a hair brush and a belt. I can also remember that she was feisty at times with others. Some of you that know her outside of her children know more about her as a person than I do. One day I will make a t-shirt that says “Mothers are People, too,” because I think it is hard for children to remember that their mom is a woman. A person with a past, present and a future outside of her role in the family. A person with interests and talents, needs and wants. I am no expert, but it seems to me that children should know the person behind the parental layer. And, it seems to me that the parental layer should just be one of many layers. I think if we let our children see more of the “person” and less of the “parent” they would have a more realistic idea of what being a wife, husband and parent is like and be better prepared if they decide to marry and raise a family. Sometimes, I’m afraid we are too real around here when Hg says, “I think I’ll just have one kid.” And, then Abbey says, “Yea, I think I’ll just have one kid, then three dogs, two cats, a rabbit and a guinea pig … maybe some fish.” Oh, it’s real up in here, all right.

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