Chaos and Parenting

A couple of weeks ago my life was turned upside down when Munch’s dad was hospitalized the Friday before Father’s Day. His dad has lupus and a couple of other medical conditions and was going through a lupus flare and was admitted. Now, for the scary part. Munch has no idea of his dad’s health conditions. His dad never wanted him to know about his illness because he grew up with a sick parent and he thought the burden was too much for munch to carry. I however disagreed.

So, here we are on the 19th of June and I’m getting a call from munch’s dad that he has to be admitted. He then started to say something stupid like, “Well, I will call my cousin or my friend to get munch from school and keep him. I’m sure I will only be in the hospital overnight.” (Insert snarky remark here). Are you serious? I replied, “Why would you do that? He’ll just come back home to me and sleep in his own bed. He’ll be fine. Besides, since you won’t be able to make the Father’s Day presentation at his school, it will kill him if I’m not there either. “Okay” was his dad’s reply.

I let my boss know that I had to leave work early and head over to see my son’s performance at 4:45 for Father’s Day because his dad can’t make it. I tell her he’s hospitalized and now I’m a full-time mommy with a full-time mommy schedule for the foreseeable future. But, such is life!

I head over to the school later that afternoon to surprise munch and record his program for his dad. Now, it’s here where I will note that I had plans to Beer, Bourbon and BBQ that evening and thankfully my best friend agreed to keep my son for a few hours while I attended. I love my village!

I saw munch look around the cafeteria for his dad with tears in his eyes. I waved and smiled and gave him a big thumbs up and he waved back enthusiastically. This is why I came. To make sure that he knew that everything was alright. To keep his stress level at minimum.

Munch performed this cute poem for Father’s Day.

 

Note:  If you’re reading this on email, please click on the title of the link to see the video.

Munch did an awesome job and at the end he comes over inquiring about his dad. I explained that his dad wasn’t able to make it so he asked me to come instead. I asked him was it okay. He replied, “Yes mommy. Of course.” You see why I love this kid right?

The next morning, his dad calls me and says that he wasn’t being released from the hospital after all.

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I told him that I was bringing munch to the hospital to visit him and we should talk to him about what’s going on. He said “I’m not ready.” I said, “We have too.” So, I told munch that his dad was in the hospital, but that he’s okay and we were going to see him. He said, “Okay mommy.”

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We headed to the hospital so that munch can see his dad. His dad wasn’t in his room because they had taken him down for tests. They directed us to the waiting room. Munch asks the nurse, “Is my daddy dead?” The nurse looked shocked but replied, “No sweetie. He’ll be back soon.” Munch sighed and we sat and waited.

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Almost an hour of waiting and munch was getting restless. He wanted to see his dad. Finally, we see his dad being pushed in the gurney down the hall and munch has the most pitiful look on his face. We go into his dad’s room and munch starts crying, “Daddy, are you going to die?” His dad looked at me and responded, “Not anytime soon munch.” Munch took off his shoes and climbed into bed with his dad.

We sat and visited and I dozed off in a chair. Munch wrapped his arms around his dad and closed his eyes. After a few hours we were getting ready to leave. I had to fix munch dinner and get him bathed and in bed. Munch started crying and said he wasn’t ready to leave. “Okay” I replied. We stayed a little while longer. His dad asked, “Munch why are you staying? Is it because you want to or is it because you think something is going to happen to me?” Munch started crying. “It’s because I think you’re going to die if I’m not here” he replied. My heart broke.

We tried to explain that his dad would be fine and we would return tomorrow on Father’s Day and spend the entire day with his dad. He was reluctant, but we finally left. We got ten feet out the door and more waterworks. We turned around and he hugged and kissed his dad some more. I was emotionally drained and worried about my baby.

We get in the car and munch says, “Mommy, you promise you will bring me back tomorrow.” I replied, “I promise.” He sighed, “This is the worse day of my life.” I said, “Baby, you’re 7 you will have many more rough days ahead. How about we stop at Sweet Frog before going home?” He said, “That would actually make me feel better.”

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Ah, the joys of parenting!

One and Done

“The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness. When you become a mother, you are no longer the center of your own universe. You relinquish that position to your children.”

Jessica Lange

 

The pressure that society puts on you to have children can sometimes be stifling. I felt the pressure my first year of marriage. I was 27. Some of the things that I heard:

  • You should think about starting a family.
  • You know each day you age, your eggs die.
  • How long are you going to wait?
  • Are you trying?
  • You do want kids right?

So many questions about my reproductive rights. Dang, I had just gotten married. I would cringe when elderly women would ask me “So, why don’t you pop a couple of children out for your husband?” (Yes, this actually happened.) Really, like a chicken? I thought. Well meaning I’m sure, but to a career woman, this was not what I wanted to hear. My husband in fact wanted children the minute we got married. I made it a condition of our marriage….Not before I’m 30. He accepted.

As time moved forward and three years after my 30th birthday at the beautiful age of 33, I gave birth to Brennan. Perfect. I was elated. I felt complete. Whole even. But, a difficult pregnancy combined with a difficult birth, I thought…maybe we could do it one more time as I gazed into Brennan’s beautiful eyes. Three months later I was sitting in a hospital watching my husband hooked up to machines with words like auto immune diseases and strokes being passed around.

Scared. Overwhelmed. Alone. Those were the emotions that I went through when my life changed. That moment, changed me and my decision. No more children. I was “one and done”. It wasn’t a mutual decision. It was a personal one. Choice. Personal choice. I was supposed to take care of him and I couldn’t add another child on top of all that I had going on. Selfish, possibly, but I decided at that moment…our family was complete. We were a family of three.

Well, what do they say about the best laid plans? Yep. My marriage unraveled and we still only had one child. Now, that Brennan is 6, he constantly asks for a sibling. He has replaced the constant nagging I experienced from well-meaning folks and strangers. He wants a baby brother or sister bad. I smile and tell him, “You have 3 best friends who are all only children”. He replies, “But, mommy they are not my brothers and sisters.” I respond, “You have two god-brothers and a god-sister.” He says, “But, mommy they belong to God not me.” Dead face. I couldn’t think of anything to say. (He’s extremely smart on his toes.)

But, what do you say? Me: “Not going to happen man. You’re it. Deal with it!” However, as I’m approaching my 40th birthday I realized that my fertility is dying more each day. I’m like the elderly women except it is my own fertility that I’m wondering about. Motherhood was the defining moment in my life and I’m overwhelmingly blessed that I was able to conceive one happy and healthy child, but I wonder had I missed an opportunity to have more?

No, was my fervent reply. I’m good. Me and Brennan. Always. The gift that I was given, so let’s make it permanent right? So, I went to my OB/GYN visit for my yearly exam and announced to my doctor that I was thinking of getting my tubes tied as a birthday gift to myself. I said, “I think I’m done”. He responded, “There are a lot less invasive procedures. You’re still young and fertile. Think about something else.” Are you serious? Really? I had decided. I wanted to stomp my feet and yell “Why are you not listening to me?”

Why was this man suggesting or rather deterring me from my “one and done” motto? According to everyone and their mama, I was approaching “no man zone”. You know that zone where you’re absolutely too old to think about conceiving. I don’t think anyone in my family has ever given birth over the age of 40. What brand of crack is he smoking? Why would he even suggest an alternative to permanent sterilization?

Because he cared. Point blank and the end. My doctor wanted me to have all the options and not rush to make a rash decision just because my marriage ended and with it so did my hopes of someday giving Brennan a sibling. I have options. I have choices. My fertility is in my hands. I can be “one and done” forever or I can expand my family one day, but I’m in no rush. I have time to decide what I want to do with my own womb. Whatever my choice, I’m happy that I was able to carry this one six years ago.

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So What’s Happening Now?

Okay, so I know its been a while. Between bed rests, comedy shows and unscheduled delivery, I’ve been a little busy. Lee and I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy on April 30, 2008. He was 5 pounds 15 ounces. We named him Brennan Paul Thomas. Brennan after my cousin who died in December 2007 and Paul after Lee’s dad who is also in heaven.

Brennan has been our pot of joy for the last few months. We were exhausted and in pain, but he is the light of our lives. He reminds us what it means to experience perfect love. The love we have from God is perfect. The love he allows us to have for Brennan is also perfect. Brennan is almost 4 months old and is busy talking away, smiling, laughing and taking in the world. He’s experienced his first road trip (Danville, VA), his first time in the pool and will be taking his first flight in a couple of days. He is the little adventurer.

Brennan has packed on the pounds, thanks to his formula. He was 15 pounds, 5 ounces when I took him to the doctor’s on August 18th. His chunky thighs are the talk of the family. My sister lovingly refers to him as Fatty McFatterson. She says he has a glandular problem.

On July 31, 2008 Lee was admitted to Inova Fairfax hospital. He had been complaining of symptoms affecting his left side for the last week and a half. After 4 emergency room visits he was admitted to Inova and was discovered that Lee had a stroke. Actually multiple strokes. He has some slight problems with his left side, but he is healthy and has use of all his limbs. He is in occupational and physical therapy. He is recovering well. Through the new primary care doctor and neurologist, it was discovered that Lee has lupus. His blood has been clotting and it sent a clot to his brain which caused the strokes. We are blessed with the diagnosis and Lee has a wonderful team of professionals all working to take care of my man. God is awesome. All the stress has been overbearing but there have been many people praying for us. Love and support has gotten us through this painful journey. The storm is passing over and we will come through better than before.

So, now you’ve been caught up on our lives these last 5 months, I promise not to wait too long next time. Talk to you soon.