Saturday, May 23, 2015

If I'm right everyone else isn't wrong.

I shared at a meeting the other night. I totally bombed. I go over all week what I will say and then I get in front of the group and freeze. I repeat myself, I talk in circles, I forget the point I'm trying to make. Ugh...I HATE speaking in meetings and the only reason I say yes is because there were other parents there to greet me when I first came through those doors. I want to be able to extend a hand to a desperate and scared parent. I have been in their shoes... hopefully they see through my gibberish and can see that we are more alike than not.

So this meeting was a Forum meeting which means we read an article from the Forum magazine and we share our experience in relation to that article. Mine was on being right and what does that mean for others. In my world I have spent so many years from childhood on trying to be right, trying to control my environment with being right, trying to prove my worth by my rightness. If I am right then you are wrong. I loved to be in the "right" category. That proved that I knew more, I was on top, I was in charge, you needed me and my brilliant rightness to lead the way for you. I once listened to a speaker CD by Mary Pearl and she said she would create situations in life where "you may not want me, but you will need me."

What a concept that more than one of us can be right at the same time. What is right for me, may not be right for the dad (since he is who has had to suffer through the brunt of my rightness the most,) or my girl, or my Molly, or any of the others. It again brings my life down to what is going on inside of my hula hoop. What is right in my hoop stays in my hoop.

The other thought in this article was that every conflict doesn't need to have a resolution. What?! I thrive on neat tidy packages. We had a disagreement, we talked it through, and now its done, and packaged and tied with a bow. How can that not be right?!

Recently I wrote about the changes in Molly and my relationship. That didn't really ever have a resolution. We have talked and talked and I have cried an ocean....but she had her ideas and I had mine. I wanted to be heard and understood so so much and it wasn't happening on the level that I needed it to. (Can you imagine being one of my kids?!) My husband, the dad, kept saying "I think you need to settle down and give it some time. "But nothing is resolved!" I would sob. He would reply, "Not today, but maybe later. Give it some time." I wanted to slap him. Didn't he know that we can't go through life with loose ends flapping around behind us?

But this time, this once (lol)....HE WAS RIGHT and I was wrong. (thats me whispering.)

In time things are coming back together. There is room for her to be right about what her life can include and not, and for me to go on with how I live my life and we don't have to agree on everything and can still continue on in a beautiful relationship. The more I walk in it, the less scary it becomes.

Not having to insist on my rightness has opened the door for me to continue on in a relationship with my girl just as she is...and... just as I am. I think out of all of my kids she probably gets me more than anyone else. It has opened the door to look at my part and not have to be right or justified or the poor victim mom of this lost girl. I have made mistakes along the way. Did those mistakes destine her to the life she is living.....no. But there are things that in my fear, in my hysteria, in my quest to control the terrifying, I did wrong. Its ok. Its not the end of the world. There is room for us to not do everything perfectly and we can still be loved and accepted and forgiven and just be people. Fallible, loving, crazy, human people. That applies to all of us. There is more than enough grace to go around for all of us....if we can lay down being right and accept it as the medicine and healing ointment that it is.

I've missed being here y'all. I am still trying to whittle down my schedule.....its a work in progress, just like me.

Love you all and as my g-ma used to say.... God bless your hearts real good.
Annette

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Who Knew...

Thank you for the kind words about yesterdays post. I know in my head that its not my fault. The other kids who were doing all of the same things as she was, have gone on and created lives for themselves that don't include the struggles that she battles each day. There are lots and lots of other factors, chains of events, that set things in motion for our kids, and sometimes it builds a momentum that gets away from you (them.) There are however things that I wish I had done differently. I just do and it just is what it is.

So yesterday was one of those days you wake up ready to jump through the hoops of your day, not really thinking about what you are doing. I have several hours off today and I was thinking about what my day held yesterday. I spent it with a WWII Navy Wave who translated Japanese code during the war. We watched a you tube video about Elinor Otto, the last *working* Rosie the Riveter who only quit this last year when they stopped building the Boeing C-17 planes she had been constructing since the 40's. My client told me about living in "cubicles with bunk beds" and going to work each day to translate this code. I asked her if she knew Japanese and she said, "No, none of us did. But we learned."

My second client for the day was also a WWII Navy Wave who had written her life story a few years ago. It was typewritten on a typewriter. In a few places were words penciled in, important facts that she had left out on her first run through. She told of her childhood, family tragedies that she survived and went on to live her life from. She told of her *many* adventures moving and visiting all over the United States, her many jobs through the years, including with Boeing aircraft. I wish I could share it here....for obvious privacy reasons I can't but it was such a delight to read. She is hilarious and sweet and loving and it is my privilege to work for both of these women who lived during such a historical time. I love hearing their stories.

As I was finishing my shift with my last client of the day, I got a call that one of my long time respite clients was close to passing and would I come. I headed down my mountain and I got to spend the last 10 minutes of this precious woman's life with she and her daughter, holding hands, talking to her and letting her know how loved she was, and what an honor it had been to call her a friend and that she wasn't alone, we were there with her as she walked toward her freedom from this broken body, this life.

What a day! Who knew all of the wonderful people I would get to serve through the years. People who have been a part of our history, who have contributed so many good and wonderful things to our society.

I am always struck by their resilience, by their toughness, and most of all by their humility. They did what needing doing. Whether they liked the job or not, whether it was rewarding or not, comfortable or no.....they carried on. They didn't expect anything other than an honest paycheck. I have met so many honorable people. Some rough, but still would have given me the shirt off of their back if they thought I needed it.

Who knew......
Feeling blessed. 
Annette


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Pictures of the Past.....

My car is in the shop...so Im driving the dad's car which is 10 years newer than mine. It has stuff like bluetooth and a clock that works and air conditioning. I am fine with my old rattle trap bucket of bolts....and while its in the shop I asked them to charge up my air conditioner, because being 50 years old and not having any air could just be the deal breaker that pushes me into forking out the money each month for a second car payment. My dream car is a prius. lol

Anyway, this morning I plugged in my iphone to charge in the little usb spot and on came all of this music. I don't even have music on my phone! It was "little one's" play list which is connected to my i-tunes account.....so I drove to work listening to what was on her play list. I loved that. It was like this little connection to my little one. A glimpse into her insides and what she likes and what feels good to her. It made me happy.

The past couple weeks I have not felt good. Just out of sorts. I have had a God-awful work schedule for the past 5 months and I haven't been reading my daily readers, praying, exercising, nothing. Then some of "my girls" old friends posted an album of pictures on Facebook (and were kind enough to tag me in them) from their middle school days. There before my eyes was the transformation of my sweet little red haired, freckly, girl to the dark depressed gothic punk girl that she became in what felt like a whirlwind. As I looked at them this fear that I think has always been lurking around in my dark hidden places welled up and began its tedious job of accusing ....."You over reacted. She was just a kid figuring out who she was, if you had only not been so afraid, if you had only not yelled, if you had only not demanded that she behave a certain way, if you had only been capable of accepting her and loving where she was at during those years with no stipulations or expectations for who she would become....she might not have taken the path she has been on for the past 12 years."

I wish so much that I knew then what I know now.

I was left with a knot in the pit of my stomach. My sweet little girl who changed so drastically and so fast. There she was in front of my face and I got to look at her, at it all, with years worth of perspective and experiences between then and now.

So much regret. I have apologized numerous times for not knowing how to do "it" better. She always always always lets me off the hook. Never does she blame or say "if you had only......"

Who knows if I had known better and done better if anything would have been any different. We just don't know and while I did panic and over react.....I was also a good mom. I was present and there and could be counted on. I was always looking for my "in" into this foreign world she had entered. How could I reach her, how could I hang on to her.....which was probably a mistake because she didn't want to be held on to. She wanted to be free to do as she wanted. We used to say she was probably our kid who would backpack across Europe. The other kids didn't like to even go to sleep- overs....but not my girl. She was always out the door, ready for fun.

Its sad.

My hope is that nothing is ever so broken in this life that it is beyond repair. I have a God who works in miracles and redemption and grace and love and mercy and I am able to lay all of my mistakes, all of the places I messed everything up, lay my broken self and my beautiful broken girl, right into His hands and let Him put us all back together as He see's fit. In receiving thus, we are then able to be the givers of those very same gifts to others in need. We get to share what we are given.

God bless all of the broken hearted mama's.
Annette

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Camaraderie

My old blogger friend Syd wrote about the wonderful relationships we share here in our blogger world. I really don't have much to say these days. I am so busy, and tired, and nothing has really changed with my girl. However, I can't manage to leave blogging altogether, because I do value these sweet "anonymous" friendships that I have made here. Thank you for being here and reading my little thoughts that I type out for the world to see.

I have been just moving forward as if on auto-pilot. The layers of my onion are being peeled back and I am being brought to a deeper understanding of my powerlessness of not just "my girls" life, but everyone's. I don't get to have a say or any control over other people... which is so very hard for me.

It means I get to just love and accept people as they are and not try to change them....despite all of my really good ideas. 

It means I have to focus on myself....boring.

Once I get my work schedule under control in the beginning of June, I plan on focusing on myself, by taking the time to cook and eat healthy foods, slow down and be present, to take my vitamins, to exercise, to take care of myself...my physical body, my emotional self, my spiritual self....all of which have been severely neglected while I have been busy saving the world. Ok ok,  just my little corner of the world.

Oh and I also want to paint the living room.

There have been some significant losses and troubles in our blogger community these past few weeks. Ron's wife Darlene received a scary dx, Cheryl from Through An Alanon Filter recently passed away, Kel at This Can't Be It lost her second child to this disease. These are people who have shared their lives here and I have read them for years. I feel these losses and fears. I care about these people. My prayers include many many of the people I have met here. Even in this nontraditional manner of friendship, we really do touch each others lives...and for that I am grateful. Thank you All for being brave enough to put yourselves out here so that we all can know that we aren't alone on this wild journey.

Bless those who are hurting right now God. Remind them deep in their spirits that they aren't alone.

With much love and gratitude.....
Annette




Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pollyanna or Raging Anarchist?

 Everyday I read the newspaper out loud to one of my clients who is visually impaired. We start off by saying, "Let's see whats going on in the world today!" And as we read and discuss current events....and I avoid any articles that are overtly political or violent.....we end by saying, "What a crazy world we live in!"

 Today I read an article about some Georgia school teachers who are going to prison for cheating on their students standardized tests. First of all, prison seems a little much for this crime. Second, why is it mandated that kids have to take standardized tests? Why are money and jobs tied to these scores? Can you imagine the pressure that the children AND the teachers feel? It has become a convoluted venture in rules, control, money, and educrats making decisions that really have nothing to do with kids at all.

Currently in Ca. there is legislation that is pushing its way through, making vaccinations mandatory IF you want your child to be allowed to participate in any sort of public education system. Amber Weiss who is a Physicians Assistant for a Wholistic Family Dr in Santa Cruz, wrote a thought provoking Facebook post about SB 277. (I will copy and paste it at the bottom of this post in case anyone is interested.)

Let me say here that I DO believe in vaccinations. I did thoughtfully vaccinate my own children. I DO believe they have eradicated many deadly diseases through out history. What I DON'T believe in is having our right to choose taken away from us.

We also read about the Meitiv Family of Maryland. You may know them as the "free-range parents" who allowed their children to roam, together, unsupervised by an adult. Gasp. I bet each of my readers have stories about their free roaming childhoods. Recently on my "neighborhood page," someone commented about some kids playing outside in the street. "Who lets their kids play outside in the street" said the irate poster. I live in a rural area.....who DOESN'T let their kids play outside in the streets?

Uhhhh, I spent my childhood staying out until it got dark, playing kickball in the street, or tag, or hide and seek through each others yards. At 9 years old I could walk the couple miles to the train station, get on it and take it 3 towns away to my mom's job, walk several city blocks to her job, and then we would have dinner together in the city and ride the train home together. During the summer if I left early enough, I could stop at the Oakland Art museum and meander my way through looking at everything. There is something to be said for allowing children freedom to be independent and do things that are unstructured. Times are different today, and we do need to be wise and safety minded in the care of our children. But we don't need to be crazy.

The conclusion my client and I came up with was that we are all too smart for our own good. We have complicated everything until its a mess. "Just because we can, doesn't mean we should." What happened to a child being interested in something so we let them explore and learn about it until their questions are answered? Until they have run their course with that topic? Why must we rob them of their joy of learning by *making* them regurgitate the information back to us? Why must we test them? It stops the flow of their natural interest. The pressure shuts them down.

What has happened to reading about and choosing which age appropriate immunizations to allow your baby to have, and then being able to postpone any that you find questionable until they are older and more able to handle the side effects? Why does vaccinating children need to become a law?

If I want to allow my child to walk home from the park with her sibling, is it right that CPS steps in and begins to monitor my parenting? The Maryland police/CPS created the very situation they were fearful of, by picking those kids up off the street and holding them for hours without contacting their parents.

When I think about life in my perfect world that exists only in my head, I think about this Utopian place that I want to live in. Where people are diligent and make good decisions for themselves and their communities. They consider the impact their actions will have on others. Where they think through what their children truly need to flourish and thrive, and then they implement it with as minimal as possible an impact on others. Where neighbors are respectful of each others choices and we view each other as partners, team mates, in this huge venture of living that we all carry out each day. I think of parents of children who have specific challenges being able to rely on the kindness of teachers, friends, family members, neighbors, strangers even.....to help meet those needs. Not criticize and judge and gossip. I think of our government officials coming down off of their pedestals and joining us in all of our everyday lives, working along side us. Think of what could be done with all of those incomes!!! All of those government structures and positions being torn down and we all  just co-habitate and get along and help one another.....just because its the right thing to do. If I see my brother stumble, I reach out and help him up. Not wonder if thats my job.

Maybe I've read Thoreau's Walden too many times! I am brought back to the thought that I only have control over my own life. Its too overwhelming if you look at it all, but I really really wish that wasn't so.

Always praying for all of us....and hoping like there is no tomorrow that we can all find a way to keep it simple!
Annette

 Amber Weiss
VULNERABLE POST: Until now, I have stayed out of the vaccine conversation. I have read the comments that some of you have posted and I have hesitated to engage in conversation about this divisive topic. But with legislation for state-mandated vaccination moving forward in California (SB 277), I am no longer willing to remain silent on this issue, which I see as a serious violation of freedom of personal choice and my right as a health care practitioner to provide informed consent. When I was at Stanford Medical School, I learned a lot about a lot of things, including the importance of informed consent. This means explaining to a patient the risks and benefits of any medication or procedure before administering it, especially when the risks include serious injury or death. As a physician assistant (PA), I consider it my role to educate my patients on the risks and benefits of every medication before I prescribe it - whether that medication is an antihypertensive (for high blood pressure), an antidepressant, an antibiotic, or a vaccine. Every medication has inherent risks and anyone with a smart phone can quickly look up a list of 20-30 common and/or serious potential reactions to any vaccine. There are also, of course, risks with any illness and I consider it my job to also educate people about those as well. So we discuss the risks of high blood pressure, depression, sinus infections, or measles. Then I help my patient figure out which risks they are more comfortable with and I support them with the choice that is least frightening for them. Some parents feel quite comfortable and competent in taking care of an acutely ill child; some parents bring their children to the doctor for every earache or fever. As as PA, I consider it my role to educate my patients and support them on their path to health. How we medicate ourselves or our children should be a personal choice, not a political one.
The current proposed legislation SB 277 would mandate that every parent vaccinate their child according to the full vaccine schedule, without the option to defer or delay any of them. In 1970, there were 23 doses of 7 vaccines. There are currently 69 doses of 14 vaccines by age 18 (36 of which are given in the first 18 months). THERE ARE CURRENTLY OVER 200 VACCINES IN THE PIPELINE. By saying yes to this legislation, we are agreeing to not only the current schedule, but agreeing to force children to take any future vaccines that are introduced to the schedule WITHOUT GIVING PARENTS OR DOCTORS THE OPTION TO CHOOSE.
I am PRO-SCIENCE, PRO-THINKING, and PRO-CHOICE. Regardless of your feelings about vaccination or the current vaccine schedule, ARE YOU READY TO GIVE UP YOUR POWER to say no to any of the upcoming 10, 20 or more vaccines that pharmaceutical companies come up with? The fact remains that the current vaccine schedule has never been tested for long-term safety in humans. Perhaps vaccination is the best thing to ever happen to the health of civilization. If so, then where are the studies comparing the health of fully vaccinated vs unvaccinated children? Keep in mind that in the past 5 years, pharmaceutical companies have paid over $13 BILLION dollars in criminal fraud claims (including failure to report safety data). Yet to question anything about vaccines or their safety is equivalent to heresy.
I believe that every parent should have the right to decide which medications to give their child. I don't believe that parents should give their freedom of choice to the extreme pressures of the pharmaceutical industry or the government. Would I vaccinate Skyler to ebola or any of the other 200 diseases for which vaccines are in the pipeline? I don't know, maybe. But that should be my choice, not the choice of the government or the pharmaceutical industry. If you think that you have the right to decide what goes in your body or your child's body, I encourage you to contact your representatives and voice your opinion against mandatory state-enforced vaccination. Are we going to live in a country where the government gets to decide what goes into your body or your child's body - or where you and your doctor get to decide? When we give in to fear, we often stop thinking rationally and we frequently give up personal freedoms.
I share the public health goals of wanting our kids to be safe and healthy, but I believe SB 277 is an extreme infringement on personal medical choice and should be scrapped while the current law (AB 2109), enacted in 2012, does its work. Currently, California law requires that parents discuss vaccination with their physician (or PA) if they intend to get their children exempted from vaccination. This law reduced personal belief exemptions 20% in the past year.
I wish I could show parents multiple studies comparing health outcomes for vaccinated vs unvaccinated kids and offer proof that vaccines are every bit as safe as we'd like to believe. But having heard from multiple parents, "My child was developing fine until we did their x month vaccinations," it's hard to ignore that maybe some kids really are more susceptible to vaccine reactions. Unfortunately, we don't currently have adequate medical tools to predict beforehand which children are more likely to suffer negative consequences of vaccination. Anytime there is a risk of serious injury or death, the principle of informed consent dictates that there should be a choice.
I realize that it is the medical equivalent of blasphemy to question anything about vaccines or the vaccine schedule. I realize that some people reading this will be shocked, some angry, some may "unfriend" me, and some may say hateful things behind my back. But for me, despite the social and professional risks, I am choosing to take a stand. I am not some crazy, uneducated, liberal parent (okay, the liberal part is true). I have two degrees from Stanford, including one from their medical school. I am a thoughtful citizen, a concerned parent, and a well-educated health care provider who understands that mandating the forceful use of a pharmaceutical product that carries even a small risk of serious injury or death violates the principle of informed consent.
I SUPPORT A PARENT'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE. If you agree, please share and have the courage to post a comment.
For those of you who want more info on this bill and how to stop it, check out www.sb277.org




Thursday, April 9, 2015

So this is what happened....

My ugly cry post was about a falling out between Molly and I. Im not going into all of the details because family fights just shouldn't be blasted all over the internet, but I am going to share what this particular family fight taught me about myself.

First of all, this fight came out of nowhere. She and I have always been very close and we have never had disagreements that lasted more than a few hours. So this freaked me out and I acted accordingly. In my opinion she was jumping into something without thinking it through, without cautiously looking at all of the angles and waiting to let things unfold and open up before her....instead she was blasting ahead with no care or concern for anything but what was in front of her.

My response was old behavior:
  • talk and tell my every thought about the choices she was making (I called it honest communication)
  • sarcasm
  • fear
  • keep talking even when no one wants to hear it
  • crying buckets
  • deep sadness and feeling like the world was ending
I said my part, we met and tried to work things out a few times which ended with more hard feelings. We went round and round in this circle. We weren't hearing each other. Our usual connection was broken.

I read my daily readers and kept getting the message to let go. The dad gently (for the most part) kept reiterating that I needed to step back and let go....it was all very concerning, but my demands for change and acknowledgement were only pushing her further away. My sponsor said it was time to let go and let God be in charge. My best friend said, "Ok its time be silent now." WTF?! Isn't anyone on my side?!

What I realized from this whole situation was that I have "letting go" down to a science with "my girl" but not with other areas of my life. I can trust God, I can see her nestled in the palms of His hands, but only her. I still held claim to most other areas of my life.

What came out was that I was quite angry that I was constantly being asked to "let go" of people that I love, of anything that mattered to me, really.

Of everything.

I was so mad! Why are we given things that are so precious to us and then we are expected to hold them with open hands?! What the hell is up with that? The ultimate God joke.

As I have focused on my own self and stopped focusing on Molly and all of her stupid decisions (wink) I realized that living a life of surrender is just that. Its a life filled with surrender of EVERYTHING. We don't get to pick and choose the things we will relinquish control over. If we are going to trust God to be in charge, we hand Him our life and say, "Here you go, do what you will with it."

I will say that He gracefully takes us through a process and this Molly ordeal was just another layer being peeled back in me to show what was really there and what else I needed to trust Him with.

The irony is that as I began to shut up and let go, Molly began to come back around. She began to seek me out. Things aren't the same and may never be, but I am ok with that. I think what we will be left with will be a healthier relationship, close, but open and autonomous for the both of us. I think that all of this holy hell we just went through will produce good things for us.... if I can stay out of the way and let things unfold and open up before me. Just like I want her to be able to do in her life. (She did learn her "forcing solutions" skills from the best.)

At one point in our "trying to work it out" conversation she said, "Wellll we are so damned much alike... we are both stuck being right!"

Yep.....until one cried "uncle" and stepped down and surrendered, because really letting go is the only way to really get what we want, in its purest and most authentic form. Which is peace and assurance that a power greater than us has it all under His watchful eye.

Always praying for us all......
Annette


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ugly

You know when you are going through a process and it gets ugly inside and outside of yourself? My response has been ugly at times, I have felt intense pain, I have ugly cried so many times this past month my eyes are constantly puffy, I am often confused at what is actually even happening, I question my emotional and mental health.....and I definitely question others emotional and mental health. I am afraid and I react in fear sometimes, by trying to control the uncontrollable.

I have worked so hard and for so long to let go of my girl, to accept her as she is....and I am seeing that I have compartmentalized those skills just for her. I am not as capable when it comes to other people in my life. I still think I know best for other people. (Because clearly I do!)  I want to fast forward through the lessons of life and just have those I love arrive at the end result, nice and tidy, looking beautiful with nothing out of place. If I could only have my way, just once! Why are we asked to constantly let go? To live a life with open hands? Why can't we control and fix just once and hurry through and put it all together and be done with it?!

I have worked my own program long enough that I know the answers to those questions. That doesn't mean that it doesn't frustrate the holy heck out of me though. I am SO frustrated!!!

This week will be the beginning of me having Thursdays off. I need to go in and train my replacement for a couple hours that morning....but then my plan is to go straight to Adoration at the Catholic church to sit quietly with God and pour out my heart and listen for His voice. I miss Him. I have been so busy I haven't been reading, hardly praying except for the occasional "Lord have mercy!"

I began reading my daily readers a couple days ago:
Jesus Calling
Courage To Change
And today I added, The Language of Letting Go.

It felt so good. The words comforted me, encouraged me to keep moving forward....even if I can't pull it all off perfectly, keep moving.

I think it is safe to say that we are a work in progress until we are dead. I will never have all of the answers. Ever. And there are days that that pisses me off...but I will live.

Lord have mercy! Please!
Annette