Tag Archives: marriage

I know I’m okay as long as I don’t make pancakes for dinner.

21 Oct

“Close the door Michael. I can still hear them.”

Michael obediently pauses Zelda and walks over to the lightweight door, closing it on the sounds of my parent’s argument.

“Now turn up the sound on the TV and just ignore them.”

Michael again complies without protest, spinning the volume control on the old 32” TV. He picks up the remote control of the Nintendo and scrunches up his little face in concentration.

He is probably about 7 years old.

I am probably about 10.

This is not the first time we have performed this ritual.

It will not be the last time either.

About an hour later my mother knocks softly on our bedroom door.

I get up, reluctantly pausing Link mid stride across his never ending quest through the green maze, and open the door.

Michael looks at me worriedly.

I look up and into my mother’s red rimmed, glassy eyes.

I see the tears still pooling in the corners of them just about ready to spill over. Just about, but not quite.

My mother will rein them in, sparing me from having to wipe them from her cheeks.

My mom will pretend to be strong for me.

Even though I know she’s not.

Even though I know that she has once again been defeated.

“Are you okay?” I ask although I already know what her response will be.

“Yes. I’m fine.” She answers in a voice that is too high, too cheery, to be anything but fake.

It is only now that I notice that she is carrying two plates in her hands. She lifts them up towards my face.

“I’ve made pancakes for dinner!” She says this like someone would announce that they are going to Disneyland.

She says it like she’s just given me exceptional news.

I’VE MADE PANCAKES FOR DINNER!!

“Thanks mom.” I respond quietly. I try to pretend that this is good news. Pancakes. I love pancakes and so does my brother Michael.

I know what those pancakes mean though.

My eyes cast around her to the doorway and towards the silence that sits awkwardly beyond it.

My mother is confused at first by my sad expression. Then she meets my gaze with eyes pooling with tears once again.

She knows that I know.

She knows that even though I am only 10 years old, I now understand that pancakes for dinner is never a good thing.

Pancakes for dinner means that my mother is not okay.

I’ve kept that memory since childhood. I still associate pancakes and dinner as a very bad thing. I’ve had my own children now. Three of them. And guess what?

I’ve made them pancakes for dinner a few times.

Very few times, but I have and I cringe at that memory too.

I told the young child me that I would never do it.

I would never turn those light, fluffy, syrupy plates of deliciousness into a dripping plate of sorrow…but I have.

I have fought against instinct and upbringing and tried to swim against the tide that tries to push me in the direction of my mother’s life.

To no avail.

Points in my life have begun to mirror my mother’s despite my every attempt to fight it.

Of course it doesn’t all look the same. But a lot of it does.

More than I’d probably like to admit.

And so when my life falls apart and the tears stream down my face and my sobs threaten to choke me… I do what feels right. What feels comfortable.

I make pancakes for dinner.

That’s how I’ve come to measure my sadness and my coping skills.

Am I making pancakes for dinner?

If I am?

It’s bad.

An Adventure With Seth

15 Feb

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The morning of Oli’s fundoplication surgery (reflux surgery) I awoke in the darkness. I turn over and glance at the clock.

Uggghhh…4am. We had to be at the hospital by 6:30 and it was an hour drive. I shook Seth awake and then got into the shower. A few minutes after I got in Seth knocked on the door.

“You’re not going to believe this Shannon. There was a snow storm last night.”

“What?” Snow in Las Vegas. Sounds like no big deal right? The first time I saw flurries in the desert I laughed that they would even have the nerve to call the slightly thicker rain drops “snow”. That wasn’t snow. These people had never been to Iowa. I had about the same amount of trust in my husband and his knowledge of snow as I had in the people of Las Vegas. He was from Hawaii.

I knew that it was probably just cold and raining. At most it might look like snow falling from the sky, but would melt once it hit the ground. We were in no danger of missing my daughter’s surgery appointment. I forgot that in order to get to the appointment we had to drive over the “pass”.

Pahrump sat higher than Las Vegas and in order to get there we had to drive over a mountain at 9,700 feet elevation called the pass.

As we left the house I wondered if we really were going to make it. Snow was actually sticking to the ground. I had heard when we moved to Pahrump that the pass occasionally closed when it snowed up there, but that it only happened maybe once a year. Surely it wouldn’t be closed the one day that we absolutely had to get to Vegas. Surely our luck wasn’t that bad.

It was.

As soon as we reached the base of the mountain I could see police lights directing people to turn around and go back.

I looked over at Seth who was driving. “What now? It’s going to take a month at least, to get another surgery appointment.”

“We’re going. I will get her to this appointment.” He says with determination and a look of excitement in his eyes.

Oh no. I’ve seen that look before. That look that comes from a man who loves off-roading and driving through the back desert.

“Are you serious? The gravel roads are going to be bad. I think we should just call and cancel.”

“Nope. Don’t worry. I’ll get us there. No problem.”

I am very worried.

Seth likes a good adventure and his adventures usually end up with us being stuck somewhere. I have been on many of these “adventures” with him. I have been stuck in the desert overnight, in the mud, with nothing to drink but cheap beer and coyotes circling us looking at my little dog like a quick and easy meal. I have been stuck 5 miles from the lake, with a flat tire and no jack, no one around for miles, for hours in 110 degree heat, with nothing to drink but cheap beer. Don’t worry. We always had beer.

These are just a few examples. Others include motorcycle trips in freezing weather and extreme heat when I have been totally convinced I was going to die.

I know Seth’s idea of an adventure.

This could end badly.

10 Reasons To Give Up Newborn Hell

13 Feb

I know some mothers get really sad when they realize they are done having babies. I just want to give you some things to look forward to when you give up Newborn Hell.

1. Sleep. Oh sweet, sweet sleep. I think I forgot that word was in my vocabulary when I had babies.

2. Little purses. No more 50 lb diaper bags packed with 400 of your baby’s things and the tiniest wallet you can find crammed into the little front zipper.

3. Clean shirts. Good bye booger, throw up and drool stains!

4. Cute bras. No more nursing bras. Dear God! Could someone please make a cute nursing bra?

5. No more leaky boobs. You can now sit in the same room with another baby without checking to make sure your nursing pads haven’t shifted positions notifying everyone that you are the milk machine.

6. No more carrying enormous car seats everywhere. It was a fabulous day in my house when I sold my last child’s baby car seat. Why did I feel the need to leave her in the seat, carry it a mile through the parking lot, into the store or doctor’s office, only to lift her out and carry her on my hip and then the seat in my other hand? Why? I did though…every…single…time…

7. You can have sex again…like maybe even longer than 5 minutes. I don’t know about you, but every little sound on that baby monitor when my husband and I were…you know…. Instantly killed my mood. Oh, and the leaky boob thing didn’t help either.

8. Hot showers. You may now actually wait for the shower to heat up and stay in it long enough to get ALL of the soap out of your hair.

9. You get your living room back. Say good bye to the giant swing, exersaucer, play pen, floor play mats and bouncy seat that now dominate your living space.

10. If you’re lucky…very lucky, you may even get your sanity back. Months and months of crying, pooping, spitting up, not leaving the house and children’s music will take a toll on ones psyche. This is not a guarantee however. I am still looking for mine.

By the way…I guess I should mention that none of these actually apply to me except for the bras and the non leaky boobs because I still have Oli. The baby equipment in my house has now just been replaced with therapy equipment. That may be why I am continuing to search for my sanity;) But the bright side is I no longer have to tote a baby along for the ride!

25 Reasons You Know You’re A Special Needs Parent

31 Jan

I recently read a post on the Scary Mommy blog entitled 25 reasons why you know you’re a parent.

I would to like to add a list of 25 reasons you know you’re a special needs parent:

1.You invite random strangers (new therapists) into your house and before they get there, tell your children to quickly throw their crap around the room so it doesn’t appear “too clean” because you don’t want the therapists to expect a clean house every time they visit.

2.Meeting a great therapist is like a 12 year old girl meeting a celebrity. There are tears, lots of hugs and phrases spoken like “you’re so cool”. You also make sure you to tell them multiple times throughout a session how amazing they are and you are thrilled to have finally met one.

3.Racing through the grocery store, hollering please stop biting my face, pushing a big stroller and a little cart, shoving gluten free snacks in your child’s hands, while you watch them slowly go from quiet whining to total combustion, still managing to remember to grab deodorant (since you’ve been out for two days and have been using your husbands), and NOT cry when the checkout lady insists on talking to you about her grandson and how well behaved he is.

4.Sitting in a doctor’s office for 3 hours at least a few times a month doesn’t seem abnormal at all and now you just remember to pack every single portable electronic device in your house, a picnic basket full of snacks and also a full meal because you never know when 3 hours may turn into 5 or 6.

5.When you have to wait anywhere else with your other kids they are always the best behaved.

6.The sentence “Her eye is crooked again” is not spoken by the sci-fi character in the TV.

7.The sentence “Her eye fell out” is not from the horror movie.

8.A diaper bag is required for at least 5 years. It’s probably the same bag purchased when your child was born.

9.The medicine cabinet in your house full of syringes, liquids, and pills does not belong to a drug addict or your 90 year old grandmother.

10.You have strange swinging contraptions hanging from the ceiling and huge jungle gym equipment in your living room.

11.You go to the gym not to get fit, but simply to get out of the house. Then spend the entire time you are there checking your Facebook and bursting into fits of crazed laughter because you have “escaped”.

12.You believe that all baby items should come super-sized so you don’t have to spend a gazillion dollars on special order items that are the same ones they sell at Walmart only bigger.

13.Driving an hour and a half for a 25 minute appointment does not seem like a waste of time.

14.An hour and a half drive is actually like a mini vacation.

15.You start to actually love driving because when your kids are crying you can say “Sorry can’t get to you. Mommy’s driving” and not feel bad.

16.You celebrate pooping on the potty and reward it with high fives, good jobs, kisses, and candy. (Oh wait. That was also my 2 year old)

17.You don’t even bat an eye anymore when you check out at the pharmacy and the bill is $400. You just smile sweetly at the cashier and say “Of course. Do you accept credit?”

18.The wrong look from a stranger in the direction of your child causes you to snort, snarl, and foam at the mouth. You have the world’s best stink eye.

19.Sometimes punching people in the face just makes sense to you.

20.If someone overheard your conversation with your husband while on a dinner date they would think you were from the CIA and speaking in code. blah blah… IEP. . . blah blah. . .ARD. . .blah blah… MMHR. . .blah blah. . . DARS. . .

21.LOL! That last one was a joke. You don’t go to restaurants!! And you definitely don’t go there with your husband!

22.Dates include wearing your best flannel pajamas, renting a movie on TV and falling asleep during the opening credits.

23.Poop on the walls is not an emergency.

24.You are somewhat proud of the title “that mom”.

25.You absolutely hate it when people ask you “what is your child’s diagnosis?” and are thinking of just handing out laminated business cards because it would just be so much easier than explaining it. And you forget how to spell the damn word half the time so having it written down would be nice. Plus they’d be handy in those time when someone has the nerve to look at your child wrong. While snarling, spitting and growling you could also hand them a business card.

He began to cry.

23 Jan

When I think of that moment I don’t even know what to say.

It still makes my heart race and my eyes tear up when I remember him looking down at me lying in that bed with our baby girl next to me. I’m sure I looked like a complete mess. I had been crying and panicking. Wondering when I was going to wake up from this nightmare.

He walked over to the bed with a panicked look of his own.

He knew.

He knew something was wrong with our baby. I could see it written all over his face. I was suddenly glad that I looked a wreck. At least the first words out of my mouth didn’t have to be…
“Sit down. I have some terrible news about the baby.”

Nope. I just looked at his face and blurted it out. “She’s blind Seth. They say she doesn’t have any eyes. Or if she does have eyes they’re really small and they probably don’t work. She’s blind. Our baby is blind.”

He put Kekoa down on the ground and did what any father would do.

He began to cry.

Mother’s Day Weekend

23 Jan

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” -Anais Nin

After the doctor left my hospital room that day I felt pain like I have never felt pain before. I started questioning things that I have never questioned before and I began to ask the obvious question, “What the hell just happened to me?”

In a mere 10 minutes my entire life had changed.

The worst thing was, I had to be the one to tell my husband. He didn’t even know yet. I had to tell this poor guy, who wanted nothing more than to give his children anything and everything in this life, that there were going to be things he wouldn’t be able to give his daughter.

I was going to have to break his heart like it had never been broken before. Damn that doctor for leaving me with this responsibility!!

As it was, though, I couldn’t really think of anyone else who should tell him. I surely didn’t want that doctor to come back in here with his emotionless tone and his slightly bored attitude. I didn’t want that guy telling him that all his wonderful dreams of showing his daughter the beauties of Desert Mountains and Hawaiian sunsets were never going to happen.

I had to be strong for him.

I had to pretend that I knew we were going to get through this. And I was going to have to do it soon because he had just walked through the hospital room door. He walked in holding my beautiful baby boy and an armful of balloons and flowers.

Because…it was Mother’s Day weekend.

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