It's been 14 (long, sweet) months

6.30.2011

Happy 14 month birthday to my baby girl. You are the perfect mix of sugar and spice. Your sugar side is so sweet and cuddly and your spicy side packs quite a punch! I feel so lucky to be your mommy and watch you grow into such a strong, independent, funny little girl.

XOXO

I feel guilty not being there

6.29.2011

I am in Pensacola, Florida for my monthly visit with Brian. I so need this time with him. I really needed a hug. And a cuddle. I started crying as soon as I sat down in the car. I couldn't help it. It's just such a relief to not be so alone for a few days.

That said, I feel so guilty about leaving my mom. I worry that I am not there to watch for changes. I worry that no one else is going to see her scrunch her eyes and know that she has a headache even if she doesn't respond when they ask her. I worry that she is bored without having Eva running around livening up the house. I worry how much worse she is going to be when I get back.

I cannot imagine how hard it is going to be to leave her next month. Especially how fast her disease has been "progressing" over these past few weeks.

I am going to try to just be in the moment and enjoy my time with Brian while I am here.

Flying with a baby

6.28.2011

One of the things that many moms dread most when imagining taking a trip, is flying with their baby.  Eva and I fly... a lot.  In her almost 13 months, she has logged 4 round trip flights to Hawaii, a trip from Hawaii to Seattle and Seattle to Orange County, and  3 round trip flights (including the one we are starting today) to Pensacola, Florida.  With the exception of a one way flight to Hawaii, I have done every single flight with her on my own. 

I don't stress about flying with her.  It is just part of our life with her Daddy being in the military.  I wear her in the Ergo, push the stroller with the huge carseat perched precariously on top of it, wrap the diaper bag on the stroller arms, and pull my suitcase. 

Reading the American Airlines Safety Guide. Just in case ;)

It is worth all of the hassle, pain, and frustration for Eva to be able to see her Daddy and for me to be able to spend time with my best friend. 

Flying with Baby Travel Tips:
1.  Wear the baby in a baby carrier.  It is so helpful to have free hands.  According to current TSA regulations, you are NOT required to remove the baby from the carrier (despite many TSA agents ignorant insistance).  They are required to pat you down, pat the baby down, and pat the carrier.  The baby does not need to be removed from the carrier for this pat down.
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/children/index.shtm
2.  You and baby go through the standard metal detector; not the body scanner. 
3. Carseats get checked for free.  Strollers are free if you take them to the front of the plane with you (checked at the front of the plane).  Strollers need to get folded and go through the scanner.
4.  Bring lots of snacks.  Distractions are crucial.
5.  If baby is fussy on the plane, get up!  People want to see that you are trying to shut the baby up and walking around usually makes the baby stop anyways.

This is it.

6.27.2011

This is my current favorite picture.  This is it.  This is all that really matters at the end of the day.  I will try to take care of my Mom and Dad and the rest of my family.  I will try to do everything I can to be a wife to my husband who is an entire continent away. 

All I really KNOW is that I will be my daughters mom.  I will love her and raise her and comfort her and teach her.  I will giggle and dance with her.  I will dress her in tutu's and bows.  We will brush our teeth while dancing to Garth Brooks every morning.  We will cuddle and read books in bed every day.

It is what my mom would want for me. It is what she would expect from me. This is it.

What have I learned?

It has been an shockingly crazy 6 months.  I have learned a lot about myself.

* I am strong.  Not just my mouth but my character.  My soul.  My inner- most being. 
* I love my family.  For the first time in my life, I am thankful to have three sisters.
* My husband  misses me when I am gone.
* The love that I have for my dog should not even be called "love" if that is the word that I describe for the feelings that I have for my daughter.  I did not think I would be that sort of dog owner but Kingston is a dog.  Not a baby.  End of story.  (Don't worry, he is getting used to being outside).
* It doesn't matter how many miles I run, everything is still the same when I stop.
* I need to LIVE more and WORRY less about planning for the future.
* There is so much more to life than scrimping, saving, and obsessing about the perfect future.
* Life is really short.  DO IT.  Live.  Love.  Make yourself happy.  Don't wait.

Blogging? Here is the history, I guess.

This is the second time I have started a blog.  I deleted the first one after I send an email to my closest friends to read it; before any of them read it (almost... hi again Jolee).  There is something inside of me that is drawn to write.  So here goes again.

My mom is dieing of glioblastoma brain cancer.  It is non-curable, agressive, and resistant to treatment. Immediately after finding out about the tumor, she went in for a routine brain biopsy at UCLA so she could begin radiation and chemo to attempt to slow the growth of the tumor.  My sisters and I giggled and made jokes on our way down to the hospital to greet her after her surgery.  We wore matching outfits to try to bring a smile to her face as she awoke from her seemingly minor biopsy.  The biopsy went tragically wrong.  The surgeon had to cut her skull open and remove a "significant portion" of her frontal lobe.  Subsequently, she had two significant strokes that impaired every aspect of her life.  She improved for a few months and was able to walk with a walker and answer questions occasionally. 

Here we are almost six months after I found out my mom had brain cancer and almost 6 month after the tragic routine surgery.  She is going downhill.  Fast.  Faster than I want.  Faster than my dad can handle.  She can't stand without being held up by one of us.  She doesn't usually answer questions.  She sleeps all day.  She hallucinates when she is awake.  Her headaches require powerful pain medication every day now.  She falls down, hard, every few days (either when left alone, or trying to scootch in her chair or losing her balance).

My dad is obsessed with my mom.  Period.  They have been inseperable since they were 15 years old.  They are 57.  They got married the week my dad graduated from Notre Dame (in the Cathedral).  He retired immediately after the surgery to take care of her every need.  He spends all day trying to care for her, make her comfortable, and love her. 

I moved back in with my parents with my baby.  I try to take care of my Dad.  I do take care of my mom.  I cook and clean.  I try to manage the house (4000 sq/ft+), my Mom and her medications, my Dad, my youngest sister who still lives in the house too, and all of the other details that come from being the "woman of the house".  I am trying to be strong.  It is a lot.
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