Saturday, March 4, 2017

Marriage is funny. You one day decide, well not one day, hopefully it's after a year or two of dating, that this other person is the one person you want to spend the rest of your life with. The. Rest. Of. Your. Life. The next 70 years or so, if your lucky, thanks to medical advances. That's a long fricken time to spend with one person. If you are religious, as I am, than you went through your church to get married. It most likely involved some sort of marriage classes. Let me be the first to tell you, they mean shit.

Zilch.

Nada.

It's like going through the fire drill at school. You get the jist of what is expected of you. But when it really happens, nothing is like what you practiced. Everyone is freaking out and you are just trying to make it out of the building alive. If your a decent human being, you don't trample those that fall and help anyone you can. If not, well... times like those show the world your true colors.

Unfortunately, no matter how "prepared" you think you are for marriage, you aren't. You can never account for another's actions. I made a list of qualities I wanted in a mate.You see, my parent's were never married and had a very volatile relationship. I did not want that for myself. I promised myself I would do everything in my power to have a "normal" relationship. I would be everything they weren't in life. (What kid doesn't think that of their parents?)  So, I made my checklist and if a guy didn't meet the criteria, they were not put on the long term list. What I didn't account for was a guy could meet thing on the check list and still fall short where it mattered.

What do you do when a guy is:
✔educated
✔ financially stable
✔ family orientated
✔ interested

You think, "I won the lottery", or "I don't deserve someone so normal".  I've never had normal. His parents are still married. He went to college and finished all 4 years. He owns a house.

You start noticing things. Every time you buy things for people, (your money) he makes remarks that he hopes people are as "generous" when you guys :have kids, get married, etc. It seems like he's keeping tabs on what you spend versus what others will spend on you. Now... You grew up poor. Like, dirt poor... Welfare Christmas poor. You know what it's like to literally have NOTHING in the house to eat. To depend on free lunches at school. To shop the Goodwill for your "new" school clothes. This man, he went on vacations every year. He's gone to Disneyland. His family scrimped and saved, but they were never poor. Not food shelf poor like you. He has never wondered where his next meal will come from. You don't hold it against him. But you do expect him to have a little sympathy for those that come from places he can't fathom. Yet, he keeps score.

Then you become pregnant. Or maybe your a first time dad. And your spouse is more worried about their parents being included in on the birth process than you guys experiencing it together. At first, you think, maybe this is how "normal" family's react to this. And then you talk to other people. And you find out it is not normal for your mother-in-law to be over every fricken day and to buy your first born every milestone thing. And it's perfectly normal for you to be pist about that. And when you say to stop talking baby talk, or that your child's name is ____,  please don't call them anything else, and they don't listen. Be mad. Say something. Your spouse needs to speak up, too.

Scripture calls for man to leave his parent and cling to his wife. (Genesis 2:24) If a man is unable to do this, than he is unable to spiritually fulfill his duty as a  husband. When you marry, you make the person you take as your spouse the second most important person in the world, after God. Next comes your children, then you. If you are unable, or unwilling, to make that so, than you are not ready to be married.                                                          

While my checklist had everything I though would be important to a successful marriage, it didn't take into account what I would want to make me like the person as a human being. I want someone that thinks of others before themselves. I want someone that will make me and our children #1. I want someone who seeks God in all that they do. I want someone that loves me so much that our daughter seeks to find a man like her father. I want a love our children want to emulate. I want them to know that in all they do, they were surrounded by love.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Women's Rights, Rape Culture, and Religion

Can you open your browser without seeing a story about Planned Parenthood or a college football players being suspended for sexual assault, or a similar story? It is absolutely sickening the amount of times I see a headline about sexual assault. It's maddening to see another story spreading false information about abortions and Planned Parenthood. These two topics may seem a little weird to put together, but I'll get to that...

I live in Minnesota. The University of Minnesota has been in the news recently because it suspended ten football players over an incident that happened in September of this year. Apparently another female college student was raped and sexually assaulted by multiple members of the Gophers football team at a party. She reported the incident to police. The Minneapolis police did not press charges nor did the Hennepin County prosecutors. The University of Minnesota’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action did an investigation and it concluded that these men did do something wrong. So much so, in fact, that at least one person was expelled from the U of M. I will say that I really didn't get into this story much until an anonymous person release the 80 page document that the EOAA had written up. Why? Because until then, they wouldn't even release if the sexual assault charge in September was the reason for the suspension, let alone what the allegations were. Oh yeah, and the rest of the football team is now boycotting all practices and games in a show of solidarity. 

Oh, man, do I have a lot to say about that one. First, this story has been plastered all over the papers and evening news for weeks now. I see their faces everyday. Yet, I largely ignored the story. Then I heard the whole team was "boycotting" practice and games. Are you kidding me? Every single player that is there on scholarship that is not participating in practice and games as scheduled gets his scholarship pulled. Done. Next, anyone not showing up is off the team. We forfeit the season and they do not get to try out next year. Actions have consequences, folks. If this were your job, you would be fired. But I lost it when the 80 page investigative report came out. I read it. The whole disgusting thing. The first paragraph I was like "well, I can understand where the confusion is if it was consensual or not." But then I kept going and I thought, "what the hell is happening?!" The U of M got statements, pictures, texts, and videos from evidence provided by the Minneapolis Police Department. How were charges not pressed against these men? That is what I want to know.

Do you know that 1 in 5 women are sexually assaulted while in college? More than 90% of sexual assaults that happen in college go unreported. 63.3% of men at one university who self-reported
acts qualifying as rape or attempted rape admitted to committing repeat rapes. 50% of sexual assaults happen in August, September, and October. And 8 out of 10 victims of sexual assault know their perpetrators. Do any of those statistics shock you? Do they scare you? I think about a lot of things when I hear them. The first thing I think about is my daughter. There is so much more in this world I have to prepare and protect her for. How do you teach a 5 year old that she can do anything she wants and to be fearless while knowing there are people out there that want to hurt her?

Saturday, December 3, 2016

I am going to go on record as saying that I oppose burning our nation’s flag. I am a daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of servicemen. Most my cousins have served or are serving in a branch of the military. Many of my family members have fought bravely for this country. Regardless of how I feel about the current political situation or whether I am happy with the climate in America, I am proud of who am. I am an American.

I heard an interesting argument about burning the flag from none other than Whoopi Goldberg. Apparently, the conversation took place on her show, “The View”. I do not watch that show. Can’t stand it. Not because of her, however, I just choose to steer clear of it.  But I read an article with a synopsis of the segment in it and, I kid you not, I had an AHA! moment. I finally understood why someone would feel the need to burn the flag.

‘Actress Whoopi Goldberg got into a heated debate with her co-hosts on The View this morning, arguing the merits of burning the American flag.The hosts were reacting to President-elect Donald Trump's tweet in which he said that flag-burners should be jailed and possibly be stripped of citizenship. "The flag does not always represent all of its people-- All of its people were not taken care of under our flag," Goldberg said. "People are angry. They sometimes get angry and they burn the flag," she said. Co-host Paula Faris said that flag-burners have the Constitutional right to do so, but they often hate the United States, to which Goldberg adamantly disagreed: "They don't hate this country. Stop saying that." "That's your interpretation. It's like the person at the dinner table who's just complaining about the food... if you don't like the food... just leave," Faris said. "Why just leave? Why not just have something else that's on the table?" Goldberg responded.’ You can watch the video here.

If I go to a restaurant with a group of my friends and order a steak medium well, and it comes out charred, can I not complain? After all, I’m paying for it. I ordered the steak to be cooked a different way. What if I didn’t get steak at all? What if the waiter had brought me soup instead? And when I asked for it to be fixed, he was rude and said no or only did so after I became loud and asked for a manager. Do I not have the right to protest my bill? Why can’t I leave a bad review on Yelp? Just because the other waiters that worked there that night were phenomenal and didn’t mess up a single order all night does that make up for the fact that mine brought me the wrong dish? Should I not leave a bad review that might affect them just because of my bad experience? I have every right to. I work hard for my money. When I go out to spend it, I expect my food as I order it. I’m nice and polite to my wait staff, so I expect them to be nice and polite to me. After all- they are in customer service. That’s kind of their job.  Now, because I went out with a group, this horrible waiter, who never refilled any of our drinks and would not split our bill for us, tacked on 18% gratuity. Why do I have to pay that? Should it not be up to me if and how much I tip?

Turning this into a flag situation became easy for me once I started thinking along those lines. After all, we pay taxes. We vote. We have a right to expect that those elected to positions within our government will be doing things with our best interests in mind. We have a right to expect that our police will protect us, no matter our skin color. We have the right to hold our government accountable and when it’s not performing to our high standards, we have the right to protest it.
What I think those that are burning the flag don’t understand is that it’s not just a piece of cloth that flies outside of a government building. We don’t just wave it at the 4th of July parades or hang if from our porches during the summer months. You don’t hurt the President when you put a flame to Ole Glory. You stick a knife in the heart of the eight-year-old kid who has the flag that was draped over his dad’s coffin, folded neatly into a triangle, and put in a memorial box with a glass pane and a gold plate with his dad’s name on it. You sucker punch the 48-year-old mother who watched as her only child was taken from a plane, her casket covered by the stars and stripes. You bring back the memories of dirt, blood, bombs, and flames as a veteran relives pulling his childhood friend back behind cover, but it’s too late. The body goes limp and he’s struggling to stay upright. For those of us that lived through such tragedies as 9/11 and the attack on Pearl Harbor, seeing the flag fly free reminds us that we are still here. We have not been beat. There have been hundreds of times throughout our 240-year history that our country has been in turmoil. But we do what we do best. We march Washington, we elect different officials, we change laws, we kick ass if we have to. And we do it all under the American flag.

Another interesting debate I seen was between The Blaze’s Tomi Lahren and the host of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. It was regarding Colin Kaepernick’s choice to kneel during the national anthem in protest of what he deems are wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States.  "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick told NFL Media. If you have ever seen any of Tomi’s rants, you can about guess that she went off on what a little crybaby Kaepernick was being and how disrespectful he is. Trevor then posed a really thoughtful question; How should he protest? Now I want you to stop and think about that for a moment. I don’t want you to debate on why he’s protesting. I want you to think about how he should do it. What he’s doing is reminiscent of sit ins that took place in the 1960s. I would encourage you to watch the video. They have a great conversation with a lot of thought provoking points. I will throw in my two cents in the fact that I think Klaepernick lost his right to protest when he chose not to exercise his constitutional right to vote. Sorry, but you can’t complain if you aren’t willing to try and fix the problem.
All we need is another person blogging about the sad state of political affairs in the U.S. today. I think what is making it such a huge topic is that we have not seen unrest like this in 40 years. Not only do we have a volatile political arena with half the nation unhappy, but racial tensions are explosive, too. Throw in the threat of terrorists both foreign and homegrown, the fear is palatable. We need to reach beyond our comfort zone and try to imagine things from the opposite point of view. I’m not telling anyone to compromise their morals or am trying to sway anyone in any certain direction. Now, more than ever, we need understanding.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Modesty

I am the proud mom of an almost 4 year old daughter. As she is getting older, I have been confronted with the fact that eventually she will not only want to dress herself, but also (gasp!) pick out the clothes that we buy for her. As of right now, she can dress herself in almost anything in wardrobe and go out in public. Except now that the weather is getting warmer, she wants to wear her swimsuit all the time. I'm still trying to explain to her that is not appropriate attire for the grocery store.

I never thought much about dressing modestly. It was not stressed in my family, and as a girl, teen, and young woman, I wore some pretty revealing outfits. Outfits I do not want to see my daughter in. I'm not going to lie, I thought buying my 18 month old daughter a little bikini was adorable. But what was I teaching her? Would I want to see her in this type of swimwear at 10 with budding breast and hormones starting to come into play? It's not only swimwear that I struggle to find a balance with. Leggings, short shorts, and tank tops are making me second guess myself these days, too. Leggings on little girls seem fairly harmless in my book. But what about when these little girls become teenagers and the leggings are skin tight? That's not leaving much to the imagination. I'm trying teach my daughter that in a place of worship and school is not a place to wear sleeveless shirts, or if you do, to wear something over them. A hot day in July when your bumming around outside- perfectly acceptable.

Of course, when I started my search on modesty, I went where any well-informed parent goes- the internet! :) What I found was both helpful and disturbing. Isn't that always the way it is with all the information out there? So many parents, parents of boys- both boys and girls or just boys- said they couldn't believe what girls these days were wearing. Their biggest complaint was that they had to teach their sons to look at the ground to avoid seeing all the skin women were showing! I'm taking a liberty here, and saying they meant cleavage. I have an issue with this. I have two kids. A girl and a boy. Let me tell you something right now. My son will show respect to ALL women. I don't care if that women is wearing a hijab or is nude, is a lawyer or prostitute. When you are looking at someone, you look at them in the eyes. NOT the chest. Same goes for my daughter, mind you. You speak to everyone respectfully and make eye contact. When did we stop teaching this to our children? And while we must teach our daughters to respect their bodies and be modest in dress, actions, and speech, what about our boys? How many times have you been to the beach and seen boys without shirts on? Is this considered immodest? Why or why not? It seems to me that we put this burden of being pure and perfect on our daughters while teaching our sons it's okay for them to do what we are teaching our daughters not to do and then judge them for it.


Monday, March 23, 2015

Head Ultrasounds and Radiology Classes


We had a full day of appointments for Tripp today. He had a head ultrasound to see how well his shunt is working and if his hydrocephalus is under control. A renal ultrasound to check his kidneys and make sure we don't have to start cathing him to empty his bladder. Then we met with Peter (Dr. Nagib's right hand man) who is with neurosurgery to go over the results of head ultrasound. Good news is his head is growing at a steady and normal rate and is also a normal shape, which is not always the case when you have extra fluid on your brain. His cognitive function is right on track for his age. Bad news is that his ventricles are bigger than last night. But there are some silver linings to that, too. We have been a cesspool of germs and seem to have caught every bug we could this winter. Tripp is still getting over a double ear infection and an RSV-like illness. Being sick can cause your ventricles to get bigger. (Not sure if this is true in adults, too, or what causes it... Is it something to do with your lymphatic system? I would be interested to find out. Any of my nurse or PA friends know?) His ventricles are bigger, but maintaining their shape, not ballooning out like they normally do if it's the hydrocephalus causing it. And he's acting well, so they are not too concerned. But we were reminded that 100% of VP shunts placed before the child is a year old will fail. (Although, they said every now and again, a kid slips through, so we are still crossing our fingers!) He will be rechecked in 4 weeks and if his ventricles are still big, or if something happens that make us concerned between now and then, he will have a shunt revision. We are praying that it's just the infection causing this and everything will go back to normal by then!

 Next, we went to see Dr. Marker. He's pleased with Tripp's progress would also like to see him back because of the extra fluid. Darn it! We had been doing so good with making it to two month appointments.

 Our last appointment of the day was at Gillette's to check on Tripp's AFOs. Now he has not been in any kind of bracing since he was hospitalized for cellulitis February 27th. We had to wait for his wounds to completely heal before we could even think of trying to put them back on. Well, Saturday, his feet were looking pretty darn good and I knew that I needed to try before our appointment today. Three hours in the AFOs on Saturday and his feet are still red today. Dr. Sundberg decided to modify them and move where the straps go across his feet since that is where the breakdown happens.  We need to start having him wear the braces again, starting in short intervals and working our way up. I am skeptical that they will work for him. I want them to sooo bad! I believe the Ponseti method works for club feet and I think this will give him the best chance at permanent correction, but I’m filled with doubt that AFOs are the right choice for him. At least these ones. His skin is so darn fragile that I think he’s just going to break down in new areas. I’ll be keeping my fingers and toes crossed, though.

Now I’m trying to study for two exams on radiology. I really don’t know if I should have taken this course. I’m beyond lost. The amount of science behind x-rays is staggering and I’m bored out of my mind reading about it. I’m like most people out there, if I’m not interested in something, I have the hardest time concentrating on it. As you can tell by me writing this, I’m very good at procrastinating. I can’t put it off any longer. The exams are going to close in a couple of hours and I need to finish them before that happens. J

Sunday, January 18, 2015

My life, consumed.

When you become a parent, your life changes in ways you never knew it could. As a first time parent, you constantly wait for things to return to normal. Not realizing until the new normal has already set in, that normal as you knew it, will never return. You become a parent for the second time and you think, "I got this." You know things are going to change and that, instead of waiting for things to get back to normal, you work on adjusting to your new normal. Hopefully, this time, it won't take you so long with this realization and the transition from mother of one to mother of two will go smoother. I don't know if I had a "normal" kid, if this would have happened. But I didn't. I have a special medical needs kid. And I just can't seem to adjust to this new normal.
I'm going to address a very serious, common, hard, private topic. Depression. Not just clinical depression. Not postpartum depression. MY depression. My depression did not start with Tripp. I want to make that clear. Although, for any parent facing a prenatal diagnosis that will impact their child and their families lives, depression is not only a natural reaction, but a common one.  You are not alone. It's ok. We start planning for our child the minute we find out we are pregnant. Anything that impedes that future we have planned for them is seen as a loss. Knowing that your child will have to work harder to have what you or I take for granted can piss you off. We all want better for our children than what we had. To know that we will be bringing them in to this world with a disadvantage is enough to throw the most well balanced person off.
My depression is deeply rooted in my genetics. I don't remember the first time I got into funk I couldn't get out of. I know I was young. I know being female and having hormones didn't help. My depression is more than being weepy and sad. I get angry and agitated.  I take the most benign remarks personally and become aggressive. Not just with words, but physically. My empathy for most is gone. I don't care your circumstance. Man up. My heart hardens. It has to. For my survival. I become an introvert. I don't leave the house unless absolutely necessary. I stop conversing with friends. Showering becomes a daily goal instead of an activity. I eat. I sleep. Oh Lord, I love sleep. Except the recurrent dreams I have.  For me, it's high school. All I want to do is graduate with my class in Elmwood, but I can't. I've already graduated, so have they. Instead, I'm stuck trying to fit in with a class that doesn't know me and doesn't care to get to know me.  They have a history and I'm not a part of it. Yet, I moved, so I'm no longer a part of Elmwood '03. So I'm stuck in a sort of school purgatory. Every time I close my eyes, the dream starts again. It starts with my going away party and ends with a graduation I can't see.
Depressions goal is to alienate you. It wants you to feel bitterly alone. I know this. Yet I fight against it every time. It takes effort to text my friends. Making plans? You cannot imagine the excuses I make up in my head to cancel. The effort it takes to go out, pretend everything is ok, even laugh, joke around, is PHENOMINAL! I cannot tell you how exhausted I am after an outing. It takes me days to recover. I am so glad I went. Moments like those chase the dark to the farthest corners of my soul, but it takes a lot out of me, both emotionally and physically.
I want to thank my friends and family that don't give up on me. Those that stick up for me and have my back when all others seem to give up and walk away. You have no idea what a kind word or a stance against those that don't understand means to me. Life

Thursday, November 20, 2014

So I'm sitting at my computer and tears are running down my face. I'm on empty and I still have a hundred miles to go. Tripp has been super crabby the past couple of days and yesterday when I got home from work, I noticed one of his casts has slipped. This could be what the issue is, but with all of his other health problems, you just never know. I feel like I'm constantly over reacting, but then I'm guilt riddled if I don't do something. What if this is the time it's more serious and it's his shunt? What if he ends up back in NICU? So today I called in to work and spent the morning on the phone with various people and will spend the afternoon various clinics. I have to bring Tripp to his specialist in Minneapolis and then to Gillette's to get his casts redone. Meanwhile I feel like I'm a huge disappointment to my work for always having to call in. There always seems to be some medical emergency I need to tend to. I feel guilty because this is the second time I've had to cancel meeting a person to pick up something I bought from them. I don't feel like I can make any plans farther than an hour out otherwise I'm going to end up disappointing someone. Tripp is screaming his head off and Natalie is yelling for him to be quiet so I better go.