Tag Archive: birthdays


Fourteen

Hello, Fourteen. It’s nice to meet you, though I must say I’m still occasionally baffled that you’re here. It’s hard to believe that my little cabbage patch baby is Fourteen! But here we are.

Thirteen brought challenges of its own. I knew to expect some of them. Others we’re still working on trying to figure out. But that’s okay, because we’ll do it together, the three of us.

In some ways you’ve changed a lot this year, but in others, the changes are smaller, more subtle. You’re processing things on different levels (when you decide it’s worth the work), and it’s fascinating to hear how your brain works.

Thirteen saw you struggling a lot more with feelings that we all have from time to time, from feeling alone in the world or feeling like you don’t fit. It’s normal, as frustrating as that sentiment is, because I know it doesn’t really help address the issues you feel. Sometimes, though, the knowing that you’re *not* the only one who feels a certain way can be a stronger balm than actually figuring out how to change the feeling. I’d love to tell you that these awkward feelings are the realm of your teenage years, but the truth is that you’ll likely visit them many times in your life. It’s hard, but it’s okay, because there will always be people who can tell you that no matter how you feel, you’re amazing the way you are.

That’s what I want you to learn this year: that you’re amazing. Even if there are things you need to work on, you’re still amazing. Life is a journey of self-improvement; there will always be room for change, but that room for change doesn’t make you any less amazing. It really just doesn’t.

You’re becoming more of your own person which is an interesting journey. You’ve made some choices with that autonomy that I’d have preferred you hadn’t, but even so, it’s kind of interesting to see the person you’re trying to become. We’ll work on the rough edges, Fourteen, and we’ll explore your autonomy while reminding you that you still have plenty of time to be a kid. That’s okay, too.

You bring me a lot of joy. If there is one thing I could hammer into your head, it would be that. I know the last year that might have been harder to tell, but that’s not through any fault of you. Mommy’s had a rough year. (And you have no idea how happy it makes me that I’m still “Mommy”. No idea.) I’m afraid you’ll look back and see how often Mommy couldn’t leave the bedroom or couldn’t go to this thing or inadvertently made everyone miss that thing and you might be angry. I could understand that; truly, I could. My comfort, though, is knowing that your Mum, your Rin, has been there right beside you the whole way, picking up the pieces that I just wasn’t able to hold.

In a meeting with your therapist, he told me that part of the job of a good mom is making certain that her kid is well taken care, whether it means leaning on her partner for help, asking for help, or stuff like that. I argued with him for a good give minutes because everything I believed about parenting said that I should be able to do everything, no matter how hard it is, so it meant I was failing. Between Tom and Rin, they finally got me to stop and listen – really listen that is. It’s taken me a few months, but I think I finally *get* it.

The truth is that you *are* well taken care of. You are well loved. Rin does an amazing job with you, often better than I ever imagined I could and that makes me happy. I’d be lost without her. She’s helping to raise you into an awesome person, & that makes me so damn happy.

I have no idea what you’re going to bring to the party, Fourteen, but I know I’ll meet it with the same sense of wonder (and mild trepidation) that I’ve met each year, along with a slightly bittersweet sense of sadness that you’re growing up in front of my eyes. You’re a beautiful, intelligent, awesome person, Fourteen, and I’m going to spend the next year helping you learn that for yourself.

Thirteen

Hello, Thirteen. We finally meet.

I have worried about our meeting off & on over the years as today you officially become a teenager. It is often said that the teenagers are some of most intractable, as you search for independence, a sense of self, & a passel of other things depending upon who you ask. As a young mother, I feared those far off years wondering how I would ever survive them. (Of course, there were years I wondered how I’d survive the toddler years, the tween years, and honestly, the infant ones, too.)

As a thirteen year veteran mom, I know that trying to define which stage begins & ends is a fool’s errand best left to people writing books to terrify young parents. Reality says that there’s no clear line, & trying to define it is as aggravating as trying to navigate it. I know that I’ve seen flashes of diva attitude often attributed to “teen years” since you were Four, and I’ve seen glimpses of the woman you could become at every milestone stop along the way.

I also know that the fear I’ve felt for the teenage years – and Thirteen especially – was pretty much vanquished by Twelve & all of it’s ups, downs, zigzags, & curveballs. (Never fear: I’m not challenging the universe. I’m not saying anything crazy like, “how much worse could it get”, it’s just, Twelve pretty much set the bar for Hard Shit. I was talking to Mana in the wee hours of this morning, “She only has one cyst in her brain, so that surprise has already been sprung.”) After Twelve, it seems silly to worry about an arbitrary number that defines nothing about you beyond how many years you’ve been on this planet.

Trying to define you is almost impossible these days. At your surprise birthday tea today, you said something was probably obvious & I didn’t have the heart to tell you that “obvious” with you isn’t always “obvious”. There are a few constants: you’re a huge nerd & proud of it; if it’s My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, odds are fair that you’ll like it; you hate washing dishes (something we’re going to work on this year); you love pink (with a few rare exceptions); you’re an amazing kid that I love (even when you’re being a pain in the tush) more than I ever knew was possible.

I honestly don’t know what to expect from you, Thirteen. Twelve gave me a lot more silvery-golden hairs than I had before, made me face a situation that was similar to one of my worst nightmares, & in general, was downright terrifying (& not only because of the beginning of our journey to Seizureville). That fateful June day at the allergy doctor’s office changed all of our lives forever, though looking back I think it’s more accurate to say the life changing moment was when the ER doctor walked into the room & said, “It’s not nothing because it’s obviously something, but it’s nothing” just after he said they’d found a cyst on the CT.

My heart skipped a beat & I struggled with myself to remain brave for you even though inside my head, I was screaming a variety of things that could best be summed up as, “NOOOOOOO! NOT MY BABY!!!!” I listened to that ER doctor explain what they did know & also how much they didn’t. From that point, we began a journey that has changed all three of us in good & not so good ways. It’s still a journey as there are still so many unanswered questions, but the one thing that I know is we’ll make the journey together, your two moms & you.

Twelve also saw a spike in inattentive behavior, a tendency for slacking in your work that’s been downright maddening at times, & a few hints of attitude that I’d really like to not see repeat too much with Thirteen. While the seizures likely account for part of this, we’ve also confirmed that you likely do have ADHD though trying to sort those two things from, as your therapist put it, “a healthy case of being twelve”. All of this has made for rocky times, but I also know that it’s something you’re trying to work on, & I’m hopeful that between the strategies you’ve learned in the last few months & a genuine effort on your part to improve that Thirteen will find even more improvement. I hesitate right now to include this section & may yet delete it; however, it was definitely a recurring theme of Twelve, and I want you to be able to look at this in the future & say, “wow! Look how far I’ve come.”

Thirteen, I have no idea what to expect from you. Your therapist suggests that one thing to expect is a quest to define yourself as a separate entity from the you that we as your parents have helped shape. This both intrigues me & terrifies me; I’ve always been amazed by watching you grow & change before my eyes. It terrifies me, because I don’t know what to expect & that’s always a challenge for me.

In the last several months, you’ve been doing some work both with our help, with your therapist’s help, & on your own to learn to be able to communicate your thoughts & feelings more clearly & to find a better balance with your emotional self-care. At times, this has frustrated you beyond belief, made you in turns angry & sad, and has clearly been a challenge, yet you keep trying. I’m so proud of you for that; I know how difficult this type of sorting can be.

Thirteen, I know that no matter what happens, I’ll love you more than I have words to speak & I know the same can be said of your Mum, because no matter what, we’ll always love you. Always, baby girl. Always.

Twelve

In a little over an hour (though this post will appear magically one minute before you were born because technology), you’ll magically be twelve. I’m finding it a little sad tonight, as mommies are prone to do when we sit down and think of our babies and how fast they grow. This time twelve wyes ago, I was being prepped for the emergency c-section that would put you in my arms. I can still remember how cold the operating room was and how very weird it felt to be lain out, crucifixion style on a table, while doctors and nurses gathered around my swollen belly to set you free of the womb you didn’t want to leave.

I remember my first glimpse of you, even as drugged out as I was. Your eyes were my favorite shade of purple and your little ears were at their most elfin in that moment. You were amazing and I couldn’t wait to hold you even as my heart tripped with fear at the thought of someone handing me a little being to care for. I can still catch a hint of that brand new baby smell of you if close my eyes and think hard enough…and sometimes, I can still smell it on you when you’re very tired and need hugs. It could be there or it could be a trick of a Mama’s brain that says “you still need me, baby girl”; either way, it is one of the more magical smells I know.

You constantly amaze me now, even as you did then. I never quite know what to expect from you, and you learn things in such interesting ways sometimes that it certainly leaves me guessing. Sometimes I fret that I’ll never get you past some of your more frustrating tendencies, but most of the time I am able to stop and realize that most of those tendencies are normal and that coaxing and nudging and dragging you along whether you want it or not does eventually make changes. But I also see you put together some of the most mature thoughts in ways I know you’ve not heard either of your mothers say to you and it leaves me almost breathless at the magic of it all. Your brain – a brain that I helped give life to – makes some of the most beautiful connections, and it is a gift to watch you grow and learn, even when you’re being a pain in my tush.

I remember holding you against me when you were a baby and wondering what you would become, what your voice would sound like, what your laughs would sound like. I love to hear you laugh, especially when something strikes you as so genuinely funny you can’t help but to laugh. It is a magical sound and one of my favorites in the world.

I also love your facial expressions. I never imagined you would manage to become so much more expressive as a tween than you were as a toddler, because you made some pretty epic faces then, and yet, you manage to surpass those early facial expressions that could be both comedic and exasperating on an almost daily basis. Your face tells so many stories even without words to go with them and I love that about you.

I love that you still call me “Mommy” and I’ll be okay with it if you want to do that forever. I know that at some point, you’ll likely be too “grown up” for it and I will sigh wistfully and do as other mothers do, but for now? I cherish each “mommy” as special.

I love that you love to learn and I love to watch you and your other Mama go on educational forays on random subjects. You both become so engaged in what you’re doing and I sometimes just sit back and watch, not so much listening to what you’re talking about, but instead focusing on the way you interact with each other with excitement and curiosity. It is incredibly amusing when you both get so excited about a topic that you manage to sound like little kids, eager for more, without either of you realizing you’re doing it. Sometimes, I want to video tape those conversations for you both to see later, but I know that as soon as I pull out the camera, some of the spontaneity and magic will be lost, because you’ll both be adorably self-conscious, so for now, those moments will have to remain mine to cherish and remember without mechanical intervention, because I wouldn’t want to crush that magic for anything.

Eleven has been hard, I know. You had a lot of losses in the last year and it is something that we have all been working on together. Losing people or pets is never easy and losing several in one summer is even harder. I have been so proud of how you have started to embrace the idea of writing things down when you’re upset and how the memory of Lain and Grandpa Dave dying aren’t hitting you near so hard. I know that memories of those gone before us can sneak up on you at the most random times and it can be frustrating and painful. I’m so glad that you come to Rin and I when it happens so we can talk it out and give you hugs and let you know that the world will be okay again.

The light always returns.

I also know that things have been stressful the last few months with so many new health things cropping up for me and with trying to get so many things done at home (for the house and for school). I also know that the beginning of this trip started more stressfully than anyone anticipated and I’ve been so proud of how you’ve handled it, both by offering comfort to Rin in the face of losing her aunt and also in how you’ve shown maturity in the things you’ve written on the other subjects. You keep making me blink a bit owlishly as I wonder where this new level of empathy and understanding are coming from, and yet I marvel at it as well because I know I’ve seen bits and pieces of it before as I watched you work through other things. Those times were all bits and pieces though, so to see the whole picture come together is pretty amazing…and I know it will never stop being amazing to me.

I have no idea what Twelve will bring. I know that in homeschool, the subjects will become more tricky as we work past the basics into more difficult concepts. I know that your independent streak will likely grow and I know that there will be head-butting because of it, for this is the way of parent and child. I know that I can’t wait to find out even as I want to take things so very slowly sometimes.

Eleven had its ups and downs, but it was nice to see you change and grow (though you could slow down a little on the “growing” part, kiddo, cause pants are expensive, ya know) into a new version of you. I’m sure Twelve will be similar (complete with more pants if I have any guesses about how you’ve been eating this week), and I marvel at what new things you’ll do to amaze me this year.

No matter what, no matter how hard things become, no matter how frustrating you become, what I do know for sure is this: I love you a little more everyday and that will never change. You changed my life when you were born kiddo, and I naively thought that would be the only time. Twelve years of you have taught me that you change me on a regular basis. I strive to be a better person for you because I want you to be an awesome person. I strive to be a better person for you because I want to be the me I see in your eyes and I want to be the person you believe I am. You teach me things (sometimes annoying ones, like how creative I have to be to convince you to do your work) constantly and I’m okay with that because learning is good and it means we’re learning together.

Here’s to Twelve. Your Moms are both super proud of you and can’t wait to see what happens next. For now, though, I’m going to give myself a few more minutes to think of the wee baby you were on that oh-so-long night twelve years ago so that when I wake up tomorrow and meet Twelve, I’ll have hopefully gotten most of my stealthy sniffles out.

Hello, Twelve. I love you more than words can say.

My Birthday and the Days Following
So, since last I left off, I had a birthday. I am now 29 for anyone curious. For a starter celebration on Friday, Rin made me cupcakes and we took them to the SCA work group that meets at a park. It was really kinda neat to hang out with new friends and talk about random things and just have fun. After that, a smaller group of us went to a Chinese restaurant where I was able to appease my lo mein craving and, in general, have a great time chatting with really cool people. The Baroness for this area is really fucking awesome and the more that I get to know her, the more that 1) I realize that she and I think a lot alike and 2) I really want to get to know her even more. Her husband is pretty awesome, too. The fact that they have a son a couple of years older than K is also pretty cool.

Heck, there are several really cool people in the group that I’ve had a great time just hanging out and talking to which is making me much less nervous about the whole SCA thing in general. I do know one thing, well, two things: one, K is super excited about it all and two, she’s gonna be pretty mad when she finds out that Rin and I had birthday cupcakes with the SCA. Woops. 😀

I actually had a really good day in spite of having slept through most of it. (Extra pain meds the night before due to the craptastic storm front that came through kind of helped with that.) We had dinner with Tadhg’s parents and his aunt, uncle, and cousin at Doc Pierce’s which was kind of neat looking. It’s an old style pub type place. The food was all right; I suspect that I would have enjoyed a couple of other things better; however, it was still pretty good.

After that, Rin and I lived the wild party life with a trip to Old Navy to check out their clearance and the kids’ polos followed by ice cream sundaes at McDonald’s. I know what you’re thinking: why the fuck did you go to McD’s for ice cream? Well, that’s simple: getting one of the dollar sundaes with caramel and hot fudge is pretty yummy and was just enough of a treat for after dinner. From there, we headed home and did a few things around here. Actually she did most of the things, and I played Lego Harry Potter on the DS. 😀

Sunday was a fairly low-key day which included a trip to Target (again to check polos) and ended up with a rain-check for girls’ polos, new laundry baskets, a new toilet seat, and a couple of other odds and ends. See how exciting we are?

Today has perhaps been the busier day thus far. We went to Hamilton Traditional School hoping to find out if we even had a snowball’s chance in hell of getting her in. The secretary was quite honest and said she was not certain and likely would not have an answer until the end of the week; however, she did say that she would call and let me know, even if it was just to say she wasn’t certain yet. The short version is that they do applications in the winter, and in March, when they made their decisions, all the slots were full (well obviously since that’s what they were doing); however, they sometimes make exceptions for students who move in from out of state depending on class size and other factors. So…the answer is maybe. Either way, she is not officially registered with SBSCS, so that’s one more thing done.

The next stop was lunch at Pizza Hut which was kind of a mistake. The lunch buffet was pretty terrible and they failed to tell us when we walked in at 1:23 that the buffet ended at 1:30 which meant that nothing was really replaced. The food also kind of made both of us feel like crap so, I don’t think we’ll be going back there. About the only thing I really managed to succeed at was giving myself a SPECTACULAR bruise on my hand when I was walking in the door. How cool is that?

In terms of writing things off the list of things to do, we also went to the Post Office so that I could fill out change of address forms for K and myself. It wasn’t a major thing on the list, but it was a fairly large step all the same that didn’t entirely catch up to me until we were in the middle of Meijer getting the things we needed for dinner. Yes, the moving prep has been “real” all along, but there were two rather large things done to make it more so this afternoon.

After the brief lots of that moment, I got dragged through the shoe section since Rin noticed that they had sneakers on clearance. I’ve been looking for a supportive pair of sneakers for over a year now. This endeavor is harder than you might think. For a start, I really don’t want white ones because they don’t match anything I wear normally. There are other reasons that I won’t go into, but it’s really not a preference. Have you ever gone athletic shoe shopping in the women’s section? MOST of the sneakers are white with pastels. It’s annoying.

That said, I put on my game face and actually tried on a couple of pairs because I really need more supportive shoes before working Celebration. In what is perhaps the best stroke of luck I’ve had in the shopping department lately, I actually found a pair that fit…and were comfortable. At first I was whining because “something felt weird under my arch” to which I was informed that was “the arch support, you know, that thing you need.” >_> Have I mentioned that I’m a stubborn pain in the ass? Yeah, I totally am. However, I have a cool new pair of sneakers that are comfortable and aren’t white so that’s something, eh?

On Family
In the middle of trying to finish up testing said sneakers, I checked my phone to find a voicemail from Mom asking about school clothes for K. Well, that’s still a bit up in the air since Hamilton uses uniforms. I called her back to chat and tell her that and…knew something wasn’t right from the get-go. She just sounded odd. *faint sigh* I wasn’t wrong. She is not handling the move thing very well at all. I’m somewhat frustrated because while I understand her upset and the feelings behind it, I don’t entirely understand the sense of “I’m losing you forever,” because it’s ridiculous. It is not like I am taking her grandchild to Siberia; it is not like we are dying. We’re moving across the country; people do it all the time. No, we won’t be just a couple of hours away. Yes, she’s going to have to go longer between visits. I know it will be hard. It will be hard for K. Hell, she doesn’t believe it, but it’s hard for me, too. I’m leaving everything I’ve ever known to chase what I want. Am I doing it the way she wants? No. Am I doing it the way most people do? Probably not. But I’m still doing it: I’m doing something to chase down what I want. I’m making certain that my daughter is being taken care of in the process. That should COUNT for something, and yet it doesn’t seem to. Add in the kerfluffle she is having with my little brother at the moment and you get a recipe for a lot of upset and crying.

I truly do understand the stress of the situation. I understand that she is upset and never really thought that I’d move so far away. I also know that I’m not doing this thing out of spite or out of some deep-seated desire to torment her from now til kingdom come. I know that she doesn’t understand this and doesn’t believe it when I say it. I know she thinks it’s the worst idea ever. I’m sorry she feels that way. I’m sorry she thinks I am trying to break her heart. *sighs* I’m sorry that I am frustrated that her continuing to be so upset and “I am losing you and K” at me is leaving me in tears at the grocery store, but it is.

I know that she’ll either grok it or she won’t. I just wish she weren’t hell bent on seeing it as the biggest mistake that I could possibly make or as some damned plot against her.

And that’s enough about that right now…

In the Coming Days
We have a crap ton of stuff to try to get done around here before we drive to Georgia. We were pondering leaving tomorrow night; however, odds are fair that it will more than likely be sometime Wednesday. We need to be there before Friday because Chris and Troy want to take Miss Ma’am and Mr. Monkey to Lake Winnepesaukah which means I really need to retrieve her before that. I know Rin and I have wanted to take them to Lake Winnie for awhile; however, I have no idea if we will be up for going or not. We’re going to have to wait and see.

Plans from when we get to Georgia and Tuesday are still a bit up in the air; however, we need to leave sometime Tuesday night to head to Orlando since there is going to be an Elite Squad meeting sometime Wednesday afternoon. I am actually getting excited about the convention in spite of my reservations and concerns about my ability as a face painter. In the end, we shall see what happens. My biggest wish is that I had a camera to take with us. I may have to see if Troy will entrust me with one of his. o_O Maybe. 😀 I’d hate to break one of his cameras.

We will be getting home likely sometime Monday evening, though I’m not exactly sure when we’ll leave Orlando, etc. I will likely Travel Post to FB like I do for the inter-state drives to let people know what’s going on and where we are and all that fun stuff.

Post Celebration, we will have a few more days in Georgia, but then it will be time to head back up here to start making certain that everything is ready for school to start for Rin and K. I hopefully will also have theoretically applied for the couple of jobs I am looking at and will have word on those. Beyond that? Who knows? *laughs* I’ve barely got a handle on the next three weeks, let alone what comes after.

A Little Bit of Whining
So, I’ve mentioned before that it is unlikely that we will be at D*C this year. At minimum, we are letting Chris and Troy have our room at the Hyatt because we know we cannot afford -that-. So, imagine my utter OHNOEZSOSADWHYYYYYYTHISYEAR response to the news that Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon are coming to Dragon*Con for the first time in ten years? Oh yeah. It was pretty epic. I am totally *RAWR* about this, because I know people who know her and Larry personally so the odds of being able to meet her would actually be pretty high. Rin has tossed out the idea of maybe (huge fucking maybe if you ask me) heading out Friday afternoon when K is out of school and driving down. The catch is that we would have to leave, for sure, on Monday to be back Tuesday morning in time for everyone to go to school. It wouldn’t leave a whole lot of time to do anything. Something that may actually lean that into more of a possibility would be the fact that it would give us one more car trip to bring stuff up in. I…am iffy on the idea. It is a really fast turn around and would involve a lot of stress in the execution; however, it would be good to see people and hang out at Con and maybe get to meet someone who created the character that I named my daughter after. *groans* Sometimes being a grown-up sucks!

Bringing the Train into the Station
So I’ve been typing this for awhile now and I am starting to bore myself. I actually have a couple of things that are handwritten that may or may not eventually make it into the backdated archives. Who knows? Sometimes I manage that and sometimes I don’t. *wry grin* That’s just how I roll.

Aside from boring myself, I also have things to do that don’t include rambling on about whatever else falls into my head. You know, like how I didn’t write about the fact that Rin made an amazing dinner of garlic chicken, pasta, and asparagus spears which was really freaking good and she worked hard to make it. 😀 But now I’ve mentioned that and yeah, I am TOTALLY rambling. Also, I think if I scroll back up and add one more thing to the damn list I may shoot myself. Or scream. Or something. So that, as they say, is that.

Well, with one minor addendum. I am contemplating sharing the link to this little writing project of mine with a few other people. If I do, “Hi new people.” If I don’t, well, I’m a chicken shit sometimes. 😀