Monthly Archives: February 2016

Alcoholism & The Family (With Honesty and Knowledge Comes the Power of Healing and Forgiveness)

Alcoholism & The Family (With Honesty and Knowledge Comes the Power of Healing and Forgiveness)

Welcome Back!

Back  Home = happy place (physically & mentally)

Bridges = help us get there

 

I grew up in the late 60s and early 70s.  

It was a magical time.  

It was The Wonder Years.

 

In our typical suburban neighborhood, the newly built split-level houses and perfectly manicured (un-fenced) lawns lined up like dominoes.

Everything looked pretty darn pristine and idyllic.

 

And summers were the best.

 

The teenage girls sunbathed in the backyards (baby oil & all), while the boys played hoops against nets bolted above garage doors.

The rest of us kids, just ran from sprinkler to sprinkler and played endless yard games like, What Time Is It Mr. Fox and Capture the Flag.

Moms were busy making meatloaf dinners, JELL-O mold desserts & ironing in front of the TV while watching their favorite daytime shows.  

Then right around dinnertime, most of the dads rolled up in their Granada Gold or Grecian Green Chevy Impalas.

 

If a neighbor hosted a barbecue, the lighter fluid flowed over the charcoal briquettes as freely as the beer, wine, and mixed drinks flowed in every adult’s glass.  

It was the era of Canadian Club and Whiskey Sours.  Most parents were never without a cold cocktail in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other.

 

Life was predictable.

 

Kids played.

 

Parents smoked and drank.   

 

And if there were problems in your family, in your home… no one seemed to care about addressing them.  Especially during the summers.  Everyone was overjoyed to simply bask in the carefree warmth of the sunshine.  

 

I adored the distraction of summer and absolutely dreaded the isolating cold, darkness of winter.  Because, that was when the pain of my family’s problems weren’t so easy to ignore.

I figured everyone’s parents drank a lot… But it wasn’t clear if their drinking caused the same intensity of problems.  

 

In fact, it wasn’t until the late-80s, when I first realized my dad was an Alcoholic.  

 

It was 1987 and I was teaching high school.  Educational programs on Addiction Awareness were just starting to be included in the curriculum.  We began teaching students about Alcoholism and the ripple effects in the family.  

All the teachers had to attend a mandatory In-Service on the disease.  

As I sat there, in a dark room watching a movie about Alcoholism and the Dynamics within the Family… it was the first time I’d ever heard of the term ACoA (Adult Child Of An Alcoholic). The acronym that would prove to describe me so well.

 

That moment was pivotal.  Suddenly everything came into focus.  

 

The extreme behavior my dad had exhibited my whole life… from his flash temper to his unpredictable rage.  The excessive, inappropriate physical affection to extremely cruel psychological mind games.  The betrayal and infidelity.  His extreme success and equally extreme failure at work.  

 

Everything seemed to be explained  by his drinking.

 

His addiction to alcohol produced a ripple effect of disfunction in our family.

For example, my mom’s emotional frailty revealed itself  in ongoing depression and anxiety.  And because everything around me was so out-of-control, I felt like I had to be as good and perfect as possible.  

It was like being on an airplane and both the pilot and co-pilot were incapacitated and completely unable to fly the plane.  So, I believed I had to be really well-behaved or else we’d all crash and burn.

 

So, why was my dad’s alcoholism so hard to diagnose?

 

Partly, because Family Dysfunction was never talked about or discussed during The Wonder Years…  But there were many other reasons too.

 

For example, he had a job with a very flexible schedule that helped mask his addiction. His workday started around noon and ended very late…usually at one of his favorite bars.

There were many nights (well after midnight) my mom would get me out of bed and sitting at the kitchen table, with an open phonebook… she’d dial the bar’s number and I would ask the bartender if my dad was there.

When we’d finally track him down, it was my job to ask him to come home.

Then I would lie awake until I heard the garage door open and the fighting begin, because then I knew he was home safely and I could finally fall back asleep.

The next morning he’d sleep in late to recover from the heavy drinking the night before.  He’d clean-up, get neatly dressed in his crisp white shirt, tie and “Don Draper-esque” suit… and begin his work day, once again, looking quite handsome and well put together.  

 

Another reason was because back then, we believed Alcoholics were unemployed, creepy old men lying drunk in a gutter of some back alleyway.  And he didn’t fit the picture of a drunk mess.

In fact, he was just the opposite.  

My dad was blessed with an amazing, funny, outgoing, entertaining, charming and charismatic personality.  And when he drank,  it produced a remarkable synergistic effect…

He. Was. The. Life. Of. The. Party!  

The downside was, he could also be a very angry, sinister, and cruel sober…but few people saw this side of my father.

 

This is not about bashing my dad.  

 

I Love My Dad.  

 

He has a disease.  

When I was a kid, his disease was pretty bad & he was a pretty shitty dad. Back then things were out of control, but now things are better.  

 

And that’s what this story is really about:  How Things Can Get Better And Not Worse.

 

He and my mom have really evolved into the loving, caring, great people I always knew they had the potential to be.  They just had to fight a lot of demons to get here.  And I couldn’t be more proud of them.  

It seemed the older my parents got, the weaker their demons got.  

I know it doesn’t work that way for a lot of people.  The truth is, they were lucky.  And even though they occasionally have to still fight those demons… they just keep on fighting to make things better.  

And this year they’ll celebrate their 61rst Wedding Anniversary.

 

I wanted to clearly identify the reality that even though everything looked pretty darn pristine and idyllic during The Wonder Years, some of us were being raised in a spectrum of dysfunction on many levels.  

And, sometimes it took decades to gain the knowledge to figure out what was wrong.  

 

I believe true healing can finally occur

when the source of the dysfunction is recognized:

With Honesty and Knowledge Comes the Power of Healing and Forgiveness

 

Unmasking my dad’s struggle with alcoholism was the beginning of me finding my way back home.  To the place I had always longed to be:  Safe

 

I discovered the following Bridges to help me get there;

  • I went to my first Al-Anon meeting when I was 25   

  • My family and I attended a wonderful intensive counseling program called “Concerned Persons”

  • I read tons of books on the subject.  My favorite author is Melody Beattie

  • I try to be patient with myself and my parents

 

This may no longer be The Wonder Years, but we’ve come full circle.  

We now know every home, every family, probably has some dysfunction… unfortunately that is a fact of life.  

The good news is, we can still make Our Years Wonderful by learning how to identify the problems and take action to make things better and not worse.

 

Have you found your Bridges  Back home after a living through a challenging dysfunction in your childhood??

Please share your story in the comments to help others…

 

 

Time Alone (When The Mouse Is Away, The Cat Has A Time-Out-Day)

Time Alone (When The Mouse Is Away, The Cat Has A Time-Out-Day)

Welcome Back!

Back  Home = happy place (physically & mentally)

Bridges = help us get there

 

 

My wonderful Hubster (whom I frankly Adore), recently took his son on a Snowmobiling Trip.

Not only was I grateful he has sons who can join him on those COLD Weather Adventures (somewhere up in Yukonesque Territory with below-zero-double-digit temperatures)…

I was also excited to have just a couple of days All Alone.

Okay, somewhat alone…with all the dogs.  And cat.  And goats.  And cattle…

 

Bottom line:  The minute they pulled out of the driveway (at the crack of dawn)… I felt like Kevin in  Home Alone !!!

 

home-alone

But, instead of running from room to room waving my arms overhead…

when I finished cleaning up their breakfast dishes and feeding, watering, and letting animals out & in… and then out & in once again:

I went back to bed and took a Nap!

 

What. A. Luxury!!!

 

I am a Stay-At-Home-Wife (gladly)… but, contrary to what some might think,

I. DO.NOT. SIT. around with my feet up watching soap operas and eating Bon-Bons.

 

Quite the contrary!!!

 

We SAHW’s are a busy group.

As with any profession, you have hard chargers and loafers.  And I’m gonna guess most of us SAHW’s would crush your styreotype.

From the moment my alarm goes off at Noon (LoL, JK) 6:15AM… I am off and running!!

To be honest, I don’t have time to even turn on the TV during the day and have never eaten a Bon-Bon (unless it was a high-proof liqueur infused variety).

bonbon

However, I will confess to eating handful’s of M&M’s sporadically during my day as I;

Run errands, cook, clean, grocery shop, organize, vacuum, tend to laundry ‘n animals, drive kid(s) to & from school, and try to keep up with my Blog, all the while orchestrating a smoothly running family calendar and household…

 

Oh, and did I mention, Cleaning!?!?

 

I’m not bragging or being a martyr or keeping score, because I love my job and I also happen to have a very hard-charging husband.

He also does more than his share around the house (mostly all the outdoor stuff!!!) plus has a Full-FULL-time job.

 

I’m simply setting the stage for why a Nap was a Luxury!!!  And why being alone, provided me with a weekend full of my kind of Luxuries…

 

Day 1

(single-digit-below-zero temps & weather advisory snowstorm)

 

It was a very cold and blizzardy day.  I forced myself to get up from my cozy nap and made myself Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup for breakfast and finally turned on the TV.

I planned to watch all those Grey’s Anatomy episodes I’ve had TiVoed forever, but after watching just two I was pretty bored.  Maybe Grey’s just isn’t the same without Derek???

derek

I scanned HBO, but nothing looked all that interesting, so I made lunch.

I made a box of Jell-O “sugar-free” Chocolate Pudding and the whole thing fit into my bowl.  It was really good.  I didn’t even wait for it to cool, it was soooo good hot!!

 

By now you might realize I never bothered to make the bed… or get out of my pajamas; a pair of Gap plaid flannel pants and an old Grey’s Anatomy T-shirt that says: “Seriously.”

 

Seriously!

 

I must say… as I took care of the animals throughout the day, I kinda felt like they were judging my attire just a little bit…

FullSizeRender              IMG_1398

                    Really?????

 

The rest of the day was unremarkable and passed slowly.

There was plenty of time to O.D. on social media: reading Blogs about life, decorating, girlie-girl things, etc…

social-media

I was able to catch-up with all my kids; via texting of course, because nobody seems to answer their phones nowadays.

And then I ended my evening, eating dinner (a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, without the milk) in bed and watching a sappy Hallmark movie until I fell asleep.

 

Day 2

 

Pretty much a repeat of Day 1!

Until about 3:00 PM, when I simply couldn’t take it anymore… I  bathed… dressed… and ventured out to Walmart in a virtual white-out-blizzard to get milk for “dinner”.

And to buy a “couple bags” of Hersey Foil Easter Eggs to replace the ones I’d been snacking on…

IMG_1401

Day 3

 

For three whole days I took care of the animals, watched sappy girlie stuff on TV & pretty much did and ate whatever I felt like.  I didn’t have to think about anybody else or their needs.

I didn’t need to plan, prepare or clean-up any big meals…

I had resorted to recycling the use of just one bowl for all my meals.

 

And by the third day of being All Alone… I was really missing the Hubster!!!

 

Wise people say: Even the Sun burns when you get too much.  And the goal to a happy life is a Balanced Life.

 

So, after my three days of “Luxury”… I got up at 6:30AM… okay 9… and very HAPPILY (with Renewed Enthusiasm) tackled my regular SAHW routine and had everything Spic-n-Span, and a full course dinner waiting… when the Hubster returned Back Home!!!

 

Everybody needs a little time away… or so they say…

What would you do on your Time-Out-Day???

 

 

Home Decorating (Photo Tour: The Living Room)

Home Decorating (Photo Tour: The Living Room)

Welcome Back!

Back  Home = happy place (physically & mentally)

Bridges = help us get there

 

My childhood Sunday afternoons were spent with 6 women: my mom, sister, Tia, twin cousins & Abuela.

What did we do??  We looked at houses…“Open houses”.  

I’m serious.

Sounds wierd.  I know.  

Why would we do this?  

Were we in the market to buy a house??   No.

 

We did it because we came from a long line of Interior Designers and we Loved to look at different architectural styles of homes and their interiors.  

 

They say my grandfather’s family (who still owns one of the finest Interior Design Firms in Vigo, Spain) were the personal interior designers for Franco.  

 

So, obviously, It’s in my blood.  And while most kids wouldn’t find this outing a particularly “Funday Sunday”…

I learned to like it.

 

Not many 7yr olds are overly concerned with decorating their bedrooms; color coordinating their bedding with their curtains… or wanted Lime Green Shag carpeting for Christmas, but that was only the beginning of my life long passion!

 

Fast forward, I still Love home architecture and interior design.  

 

I’ve had two homes built from floor plans I designed, and have renovated/decorated eight additional homes, including the one I’m living in now.

 

I also love helping friends with everything from tweaking their houseplan blueprints, to redecorating or just choosing the perfect paint color.

 

In a recent Blog posted on 1/14/16,  I shared some design elements I believe are the Bridges we use to make a house… our Home.

 

 

Essential Design Elements

 

These are essential design elements that are independent of your home’s decorating style, be it Contemporary, Country, Arts & Crafts, or Victorian.  

And they make the difference between a house and a Home.  

 

They help your home not only meet your physical needs… but more importantly, fulfill & nurture your spiritual needs as well.

 

They focus on soothing your senses of sight, touch, sound and smell.  

They are the things you Love to have surrounding you.

They nourish and refresh your spirit… so, your home becomes your safe haven.

 

They’re the little things… the details you incorporate into your decorating, so that every room in your home is a reflection of your personality, your passions… your spirit.  

Because it’s the little details that make your home the place you want to retreat to after a long day and a place where your friends and family feel equally welcome and at home.

 ♥

I’ve decided to do a Photo Tour of our Living Room to illustrate some of these design elements and the importance of detail when decorating a

comfortable and inviting room.

 

Before & After

 

     FullSizeRender (23)                          IMG_1382

  • I chose to replace the wall-to-wall carpet with rustically finished hardwood flooring, this made a huge difference and was my way of reflecting the texture of nature and the woods surrounding our home.
  • The wall color was painted in my go-to shade: a warm buttery yellow.
  • The wood trim was sanded and painted warm white, including the stairway spindles!
  • The room was missing architectural details and the stairway wall was sticking out like a sore thumb, so built in cabinetry was custom designed to provide depth and much needed storage.  Also the mirror reflects a beautiful wall of windows.

 

FullSizeRender (59)                             IMG_1384

  • The curtain rods were painted to match the woodwork and trim.
  • The curtains were changed to a sleek, pinch-pleat style that exposed more of the windows to bring in the natural light.

 

  • FullSizeRender (28) The curtains were hung by wooden rings, in the same rich wood-tone as the piano, floors and other wooden pieces in the room.

 

Custom Designed Wall Cabinetry

 

 As mentioned above, these cabinets were a big-bang-for-the-buck:
storage, texture, reflection, display room, etc…

I’m thinking of adding some antique wicker baskets across the top ledge. What do you think??  Any other suggestions??

 IMG_1385

All the shelving is adjustable!

FullSizeRender (17)   

 

  •  FullSizeRender (13)The finish chosen was a creamy white with a faint mocha wash  and MacKenzie-Childs Knobs… always my go-to choice for knobs!!

 

  •  IMG_1386  The center counsel jots out 7″ from the bookcases, providing plenty of room to display festive decorations during the Holidays, etc…

 

  • Did you notice the one thing this room is missing???  A fireplace.  So, it is awesome when the candle light reflects and flickers in the mirror!

 

  •  This provided the perfect space to display some of my favorite things.  A rock from Omaha Beach placed next to smooth crystal candlesticks provides a pleasant contrast in texture.

 

Filling Bookshelves With More Than Books 

 

The bookshelves provide a special place to gather meaningful treasures alongside practical things.
 
  • FullSizeRender (18)                  IMG_1234  Collectibles are grouped on the top shelves.

 

  • FullSizeRender (19)                  FullSizeRender (20)  MacKenzie-Childs Winter & Summer display platters create symmetry.  A wooden bowl filled with seashells and a birds-nest bring the texture and benefit of nature indoors.  An antique Tibetan Bell, a treasured keepsake.

 

  • IMG_1368                  IMG_1365  SONOS speakers placement ensures sound projection at the perfect height for the room.

 

  • FullSizeRender (14)                  IMG_1366  Books, scrapbooks and albums are placed on the bottom shelves to anchor the visual weight

 

  • IMG_1129 (1)                  IMG_1367  For the best quality albums check out Exposures.  My absolute favorite resource for preserving memories!

 

 

 Furniture

 

The photo below shows a good view of the rooms furniture placement.
The room has a cathedral ceiling,
so the height of the custom cabinetry
balances out the bank of floor to ceiling windows it reflects.
Also, a set of matching leather recliners were not only chosen for comfort,
but because their high backs also help to balance out the room.

 

FullSizeRender (64)

 

  •  IMG_1383 These pecan brown leather recliners, with rolled arms and nail head trim, provide the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine and catch up on the daily happenings with loved ones.

 

  • FullSizeRender (49)        FullSizeRender (38)        FullSizeRender (37)   Nestled between the chairs is a table holding thought provoking books and a small crystal bowl filled with Acorns collected from the French countryside.  I have bowls of Acorns, Chestnuts or Seashells in every room of our home.  They’re some of my favorite things!

 

  • FullSizeRender (63)  A big wicker basket holds several soft, warm and cozy blankets within reach.

 

  • FullSizeRender (29)        FullSizeRender (47)        IMG_1124   Every room has certain pieces that you couldn’t live without.  Our family piano has been well played by all my children through the years… it holds a very special place in my heart, in our family and our living room.

 

  • FullSizeRender (33)        IMG_1153        FullSizeRender (34)  This sofa is the first high quality piece of furniture I ever purchased.  And I love it as much today as I did when I bought it 16 years ago.  The fabric is a delicious Chenille, in a perfect shade of creme and is down filled for extra comfort!!

 

  • IMG_1151        FullSizeRender (52)  I can’t wait to replace this end-table…but in the meantime, it’s the perfect height and size.  So, I’ve added a piece of rough-hewn slate to the top, and the lower shelf is the perfect spot for a mini farm menagerie I put together.

 

  • FullSizeRender (50)        FullSizeRender (51)        IMG_1085  This coffee table is one of my very favorite pieces of furniture.  It is a Kittinger antique table that has been passed down in my family for generations.  A traditional Spanish wicker cafe tray protects the well-worn table top while providing plenty of space to set down your glass of wine or cup of coffee.

 

  • IMG_1133  Without a fireplace, I use plenty of candles to provide warm, flickering light.

 

  • IMG_1387  This is my quiet corner to cuddle up with a warm blanket and a good book!!!

 

  • FullSizeRender (44)        FullSizeRender (45)        FullSizeRender (40)  Filled with my favorite books…

 

  • FullSizeRender (35)  This calf-hide provides a soft place to put up your feet and also hides a hole in the upholstery.

 

  • FullSizeRender (42)  This carpet was purchased in 2000 and has been the focal point in all my homes…this time it set the color-scheme for the whole room.  I bought this Bergere Chair and Ottoman 25 years ago!!!  I have had it reupholstered twice and I’m still madly in love with it.

 

 

Birdseye View

 

IMG_1388                                                       FullSizeRender (25)

 

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I hope you enjoyed the tour and learned something along the way.

Something you can use when designing your living room to make it a reflection of your personality, your passions… your spirit.  

 

Remember to choose design elements that ease & please your sense of sight, touch, sound, and smell.  

 

We didn’t forget about smell… I am a believer that the best room fragrance is to simply open your windows and let in the fresh-air… and the benefit of our Living Room being right of the kitchen is there are (usually) plenty of good aromas in the air!!

I’d love your feedback and questions!

 

Would you like to see a photo tour of essential design elements used in a another room???

 

 

 

 

Parenthood 2016

Parenthood 2016

Welcome Back!

Back  Home = happy place (physically & mentally)

Bridges = help us get there

 

parents_child_silhouette1

The art of raising kids seems to be on my mind a lot lately.

Parenting has never been as simple as a mom & dad happily raising a child, as it appears in the silhouette above.

And I would believe parenthood in 2016, is probably somewhat complex.

There are now so many types of families; single parents, 2 dads, 2 moms… the options, dynamics and circumstances are infinitesimal.

Even though some aspects of parenting remain steadfast… our world has certainly faced a variety of changes which have affected parenting.

 

I do wonder what it’s like to be a parent of young children in 2016

 

Let’s face it, technology is moving so fast… we are living in a very different world from the one (28 years ago😉)  when I started raising my kids.

 

And we have become quite an introspective society.  

 

Everyone seems to have an opinion on the topic of being a parent in today’s world.

 

Lately, I hear so many people saying— “God, I would never want to raise a kid in today’s society!!”

 

In a way, I understand where people who believe that are coming from… for goodness sake, I’m not even so sure that I like raising myself in today’s society.

 

I do believe the opinions people have on parenting are “Generational”.  

 

What I mean by that is… our opinions are formed by what we know… what we have personally experienced.  They even depend upon our personalities, our temperament and outlook on life, but that’s a whole other blog!

 

So, let’s stick to the realization that someone’s opinions are formed by what generation they grew up in and raised their own children in.

 

Therefore, I can see how someone may say raising a child in today’s society would be a daunting task.  Something they would never chose to do, and are downright grateful they won’t have to.

 

Remember the popular saying  “Parenthood is for the young!” ??  This may have been written by a wise old (very tired) parent from a previous generation.

Seriously… who wants to run another marathon, after you’ve just crossed the finish line.  

I bet not too many.  

Yet, all of us absolutely love and adore precious, sweet little babies… and THAT is obviously why God invented “Grandparents”.

 

This all brings me back to my first question:  

How do the people who are facing parenting

in today’s society

feel about raising kids?

 

Since I didn’t perform any formal surveys or scientific research on that question,

I’ll just give you my opinion (based on what I see & hear)… 

It depends on who you ask!

 

1. I think a lot of young adults don’t want to have kids.

 

It’s much more acceptable to say that nowadays, than it was 30 years ago.  

I’ve also heard MANY different reasons why they feel that way…

Some of them are just choosing to have dogs instead of kids.  

They think it’s easier.  

And who knows, they may be right!!

 

Lucky for the human race…

2. Many of them want to have kids.

 

Honestly, it’s never easy to have kids.  

I really can’t think of a time or generation when parenthood was easy, breezy.   

It is always tough to raise a kid.  

Hence, the saying “Parenting is one of the hardest jobs you’ll ever have”!

 

So, what advice/suggestions would I give somebody raising kids in today’s society?

 

Here  are  just  some  Bridges  I  would  suggest  to  make  navigating  Parenthood  a  little  easier

 

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it’s ALL small stuff?

Actually I believe that is total bullshit!

 

When you’re raising kids… it’s all BIG stuff and you’re going to sweat it… (at least for your first baby)  So, just do your best to get through it.

 

  • Be really, really careful picking your parenting partner!

 Nuff said!

 

  • Work hard to stay on the same page with your parenting partner!

Yes, people are all different… but you have to compromise as much as possible when it comes to parenting styles.  

You MUST (and I rarely use the word “MUST”) have a Cohesive-Parenting-Front, because when these little sweet babies grow up, They. Will. Divide. And. Conquer… with the skill of ancient Samurai warrior.

 

  • Try not to let social media make you feel like a bad parent!

Nowadays people are posting everything from sonogram pictures to first birthday parties. And they ALL LOOK SO GREAT!  

Keep in mind that a picture is sometimes just that…

a snapshot in a second of time

and what goes on before or after that second, may not look SO pretty as the second the picture was taken

  

  • Try to enjoy every minute because it goes so fast?

This is so much easier to say, that than do!   

I remember how upset I used to get when somebody would say that to me

Usually in the grocery store… while sweetly admiring my precious little child, who was smiling innocently and looking irresistibly adorable just sitting there in the grocery cart…

the same child, that had kept me up ALL night screaming and crying with gas.

 

  • Don’t forget to take care of yourself!

To be honest parenting is somewhat of an exhausting, thankless job. There are no medals, no trophies or paychecks to be earned…. no vacation days.

But we do it because we’ve been called to do it… we want to do it and we Love to parent, protect, teach, guide, and nurture our kids.  

And the best way we can take care of those we love, is to first take care of ourselves.

(Again, I’ve always found this much easier said than done!)

 

 

  • Don’t take everyone’s advice (even mine)!

Every situation is different.  Every mom, dad, kid and set of circumstances are different.  So think twice before you buy the latest bestseller book on Parenting, or pick-up the magazine touting the best solution to, getting your newborn to sleep through the night.  

 Simply think of all these influences as “suggestions”, not fact.

♥ 

But there’s one suggestion I think all parents (new & old) should do…

watch the movie Parenthood with Steve Martin.  Even if you don’t learn anything… you’ll get a much needed laugh!!

 

Tell us (in the comments below) some Bridges you’ve used to make parenting a little easier… fun… etc…

 

 

Spoiler Alert… (A Mother’s Prayers)

Spoiler Alert… (A Mother’s Prayers)

 

Welcome Back!

Back  Home = happy place (physically & mentally)

Bridges = help us get there

 

Spoiler Alert: This story has a Happy Ending!!

 

Someone posted the illustration below on FB the other day and it really hit home with me.    

Since having my three kids, I will admit I have never spent more time on my knees praying for their protection and well being.

FullSizeRender (11)

 

Even before I had kids, I always felt the most disturbing scene in a movie was when Shirley Maclaine’s character is pleading for pain medication for her dying daughter in Terms of Endearment.    

OMG, I can’t even post the actual clip here, because it literally tears my heart right out.

termsofendear4

The Fact is, when it comes to Our Children it seems

Worry and Love 

are synonymous and synergistic.  

Then again, I grew-up in a Sicilian/Spanish family, so I’m not sure if that increases the intensity of this synergistic effect.

♥ 

This all got me thinking about an important story in my life.

 

I delivered my third child, a daughter, the day before Thanksgiving.  It was my third C-section and this one was very complicated and difficult.  But, there were many reasons why she was my miracle baby.  

 

I remember every moment of her First Thanksgiving dinner…  

I was filled with gratitude as my precious baby girl and I snuggled together in our hospital bed.  She rested peacefully in my arms feasting on mama’s milk, while I looked forward to every delicious pump of my Morphine drip.    

 

And back home, my parents were having the full Thanksgiving dinner I had prearranged (from Wegman’s Catering) with my two young sons and husband (now, ex)… whom I will call “Hex”.

 

Before the family came to see us following their pumpkin pie dessert, in walked my favorite nurse to see how we were doing.  

I don’t remember her name, but I will call her: Madea because… She. Was. Madea.  

madea

God, I LOVED her!!  She was AWESOME, Funny and Protective.  

 

On the day of my daughter’s delivery, Madea overheard Hex bragging about the important 10-day business trip to South Africa he’d be leaving for in less than a week, and how cool it was going to be…blah, blah, blah.  

 

This really ticked Madea off, and she confronted him about… this not being the time to leave his wife at home with a new baby and two other kids ???

 

Madea… Was. Not. A. Fan. Of. Hex. and she was not shy about her disdain.  Every time they ended up in the hospital room together, it was downright entertaining to see her behavior.  

 

The day we left the hospital,  I wish I had a tape recorder for the tongue-lashing she gave Hex.  It didn’t phase him one bit, but I stifled my laughter so many times, I almost popped my C-section staples.

 

My parents were going to stay and help me take care of everything when Hex was gone. I was having a particularly painful recovery and then one night (just 2 nights before Hex was supposed to leave) we noticed the baby had a fever.  

 

A fever at less than a week old requires a trip to the Emergency Room and I just about lost it.  

 

Hex, my dad and I took her in, and after some preliminary tests…  our fears were confirmed. Her fever was bacterial, and if she didn’t get IV antibiotics and the source of the infection quickly found… she could die.  At the very least she would be admitted to the hospital for a minimum of three days.

 

Well, (even though this diagnosis might not have been deserving of such a response) I’m pretty sure I was channeling Shirley Maclaine’s scene in Terms of Endearment as I was on the ER hallway payphone trying to explain what was going on to my mom.  

 

I would guess those viewing this conversation, may have thought everyone I had ever loved, had been wiped out in some horrific accident.

 

Even though it was 9:00 pm, my second phone call was to our priest who came right over and blessed our baby girl with holy water held in a hospital styrofoam cup.  

I will never forget how grateful I was for his presence during (what I believed to be) the worst moment of my life.

I silently prayed to God (as I had been doing from the moment that thermometer showed a fever) and suddenly,  I felt calm.

 

Sure, I was still worried to death, but I knew she was in the Palm of God’s Hand and I felt a sense of peace.

jesus

 

I told Hex he should probably call his boss and explain the situation.  He said, since my parents were already in town to help, he felt comfortable still leaving on his trip.  (over 8,000 MILES away from US!!!).  

 

I wanted to march right up to the Maternity Ward to see if Madea was on duty and bring her down to the ER with me, because I knew this was a fight I couldn’t deal with.  

Luckily, my dad who had been a tower of strength for me during this whole ordeal… suggested Hex just make the phone call to at least “inform” his boss about what was going on.

 

When Hex returned from making the phone call, he looked terribly disappointed.  

 

He said his boss told him… To. Stay. In. Town.  That his family needed him now, and the company would simply send someone else.    

 

I wasn’t sure if I was glad or sad with this new revelation because, as serious tests (like a spinal tap for god-sake!!!) were being performed on our little baby, it was obvious his mind was somewhere else.

 

It was after midnight when we were finally moved up into a private hospital room. My dad drove back home and Hex and I accompanied our baby.  

 

In the room there was one metal crib and two reclining chairs.  Hex took one look at that chair and immediately asked a cot be brought in for him because… He. Could. Not. Sleep. In. A. Chair.  

The kind (and now bewildered) nurse said, as soon as they got the baby settled… she would address his needs.

 

It was late.  I was still very sore post-C-op, and with tubes and wires now attached to our little baby, it made nursing her quite a challenge.  I’ll never forget… there was Hex, laying on his cot, with his blankets pulled up to his chin.  

 

And while I struggled to lean into her crib, so I could feed our baby… he asked me to “turn off the lights” as they were too bright and keeping him awake.

 

That night I asked him to go home in the morning and please send my mother to the hospital.  

 

For the next two nights, my mother helped me navigate every feeding… even in the middle of the night.  

And late one night, while watching a Christmas Special on TV, as my mom slept in the reclining chair next to mine and my baby girl was sleeping in her metal hospital crib…

I felt the peace of God and gratitude fill my heart.

 

peace-of-god-3

 

It turned out my baby girl was very young to present with Kidney Re-flux.  She was on daily antibiotics for the first two years of her life and had a couple more hospital visits… but luckily outgrew the condition before she was three.

 

Even though this ending was a happy one… my heart tears apart for those parents who don’t get the happy ending they pray for.  But that… Is. A. Topic. For. A. Whole. Other. Blog!

 

The Bridges I used to get through this health scare with my daughter were:

  1. Pray

  2. Know who to ask for support

  3. Pray

 

Please share the Bridges you used to get you through similar situations…

 

PS… Hex left for South Africa on day three.