Friday, March 18, 2011

After all the milestones...The hurt Moms don't talk about

Although I'm still new to the blog world a lot of the blogs I follow are new moms or issues that really interest me. To be honest, most of the blogs I read can all be classified as proud moms and the milestones their children are reaching.

I started this blog as a support system for other grandparents or family members who have adopted their grandchildren. A way to express how honored I feel and a second chance on life. Being 44 years old and raising another child. Life through my eyes. I never expected I would touch on other issues, yet I have.

What I haven't read anywhere is the hurt and despair a mom can feel beyond the milestones and into adulthood. The loneliness and loss parents feel as their children get older and move on. Heartache that doesn't seem to fade.

Having 4 children in 5 years was wonderful when they were little. They were best friends and playmates. We lived in the country and they had a close bond. One by one as they started school new friendships were introduced along with all the many activities they were involved with. We didn't always have a lot of money but I would like to say we were a close family and did everything with our children and for our children. My husband is my rock. He's not the birth father of any of the children. Having said that you would never know. He loves them more than life itself and it shows.  Rarely did we ever go anywhere without them. Our Anniversaries were even celebrated with our kids. Financially we had many great years and as well as hard times. We always tried not to let that effect our children. They always had the best of everything. The newest gadgets. The latest toys. All the newest fashions. Family vacations and even the many years at the lake.

So looking back, where did we went wrong? One by one they grow up and move on. You can about imagine how hard it can be to loose 4 children in less than 4 years. The first one was the hardest. I cried for a month. I knew in my heart this day would come and I knew he was a very responsible adult. After all, I raised him to be. So a year later when our daughter neared 18 I knew it was a matter of time. I literally made myself sick worrying about her leaving as she would be leaving along with our granddaughter. It was like loosing 2 children at the same time. So a few months later when she moved home and we later adopted the baby we joked about me going through the empty nest syndrome. A year later of course, came our youngest son. I should have been used to this by now. But I've learned it really doesn't get any easier. In fact, it gets quieter and lonelier. So here we are once again faced with the forth child, now 18 and ready to spread her wings. Again, we will be loosing not only our daughter but a granddaughter. The idea of not seeing them every day tears my heart in two. Soon enough it will just be the three of us. My husband, myself and our youngest. (Age 5) The house seems so quiet already. Its sad and lonely. Even though I know they will all be ok, I worry. And yes I miss them all.  Somewhere along the road they all grew up way too fast. This 4 bedroom home that once seemed so small is suddenly feeling too large. Time will tell.

The biggest heartache a Mom will ever know is a dispute with a child. A few days ago one of my daughters said some things that broke my heart. I noticed she has been short with me for awhile. In her eyes, we are the worst parents ever and she told me she couldn't wait until she had "gotten out of this hell hole!" Being the kind of parent I am I could have died a thousand deaths. My family and my kids are my life. To have a child say that  is something that will drive a knife through your heart. Whether she made this statement out of anger or not is now something I hold with me. I can forgive but it deeply saddens me that she feel so strongly about her life. I gave everything I had to give. Most importantly, I did the best I could. I made my children #1. I gave up my life for them. Yet apparently, it wasn't enough. Where did we go wrong?

Why is it that so many children wanted to live here? Why do our children's friends still stop by just to say hi or call and see how were doing? Yet our own child feels this was a hell hole. If we were so terrible why did she choose us to adopt her child? Instead of all the anger that's built up inside; shouldn't she be thankful. Can't a person look at the whole picture? The sacrifices we made for them? The love that we share for a little girl. Instead of her getting mad at the opportunities her child has am I wrong to think she should thank us for that love? We love that little girl so much. She is our daughter. No longer my grandchild. We still involve her in as much as she wants to be involved. She would never had this opportunity if not for us being who we are. If we made mistakes they were honest mistakes. Mistakes out of love. The ones that have made our children capable of surviving in this world today. I would like to think we raised responsible adults.

This hurt is more than a mother should ever bear.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What Does MS = To You?

March 14-20 is "MS Awareness Week" and the NMSS has sponsored a "MS =" program asking what MS means to them in 60 characters or less.

For me MS= uncertainty in an ever-changing body & mind

You can check out the National MS site at

Friday, March 4, 2011

After Obstaining a TBI My Daughter Chose Her Own Destiny

One of a parents greatest milestones of all is when your child graduates. For me, I always felt as though I too, accomplished something. I realize many parents have shared in this joy as they celebrate in their child's success. However, the odds change for many girls who become pregnant and raise a child in high school. What many of you aren't aware of is that at 15 years old, my daughter, suffered traumatic brain injury. Her doctors made it clear that she would never graduate and insisted on her quitting school. As a mother, that was not on option! Now I admit, I knew absolutely nothing about a TBI. So you can understand my unwillingness to cooperate. I was informed the best chance of recovery is the 18 months directly following the TBI. The more doctors and teachers told her she couldn't, the more my daughter resisted and the harder she fought to prove them wrong. Against all odds she accomplished what so many told her was nearly impossible. I hope you find her story inspirational!

I'm sure most parents would agree there's nothing like the very first time you hold your child. You would do anything to protect them. So many milestones come and go and as a mom it all seems like just yesterday. Each child so unique has their own personality. They grow up too fast. So when my older kids were all working it was no surprise that the youngest  wanted to get a job too. She seen all the things her older siblings were buying. Both my husband and myself started working about that age and so we didn't find any harm. To be honest, I didn't know of anywhere that would hire her at 14 anyway. She set her sights on one of the local pizza places and of course was too young. She was devastated. She stopped in every couple months and was finally told to check back when she was 15. Soon after her 15th Birthday she walked down and got an application. I should have explained the process beforehand because she added glitter and a touch of perfume to her application. To my complete amazement she was hired.

She started out as a banner shaker as she was too young to work in the kitchen. Her, being a cheerleader with a bubbly personality, quickly became known as the Domino's Girl. She sang and danced and made her own cheers. Her job was to draw attention to their sign and attention she drew. I was told by the manager that sales were dramatically increased when she worked. She was really happy and absolutely loved her job. Her enthusiasm and motivation was apparent as the other 2 stores asked her to come in for a few hours too. I was not so approving to let her work in town as I liked her closer to home. However, one day she went and I didn't have a clue.

It was 4:20pm. I was sitting at my desk. I was a receptionist for a Real Estate Company. With ten minutes left of the day I answered a incoming call. The man identified himself as a police officer. He asked if I had a 15 year old daughter? Yes, of course I did. He said something about her being hit by a car while walking across the street in town. I remember standing up as I looked at the clock. I was really confused as she wasn't even scheduled to work. Why was she in town? She doesn't work there? Then I heard a mothers biggest nightmare. Screams from my daughter as she cried in a voice I'll never forget. I heard sirens approaching and tons of chaos as the pieces came together. The officer then told me a driver ran a red light while she was carrying her sign. She was hit at 35 miles an hour. She couldn't move her legs and could be paralyzed. He went on to say he was sure there was internal bleeding and it was life threatening. They didn't know if she would make it. Don't drive yourself, he said.

At the hospital it was even worse. No one would give us any answers and everyone seemed to know her. She was like a celebrity. They wouldn't let us see her and my husband went anyway. Her only concern was me. After an hour or more they eventually came for me. God was definitely watching over her. She had numerous cuts and scrapes but had broken her pelvic in 2 places. There was no internal bleeding. She had a large bump on her head the size of a softball but they said she would be OK. Her hospital room became filled with immediate family and co-workers calling from all over the state. People she had never met.

The hospital began teaching her to use crutches and sent us home on our way. Over the next 6 weeks she became very irritable. All she wanted to do was go back to work. She cried alot and when she wasn't crying she was so angry you couldn't stand it. We had physical therapy 3 days a week for her hip and back. By the end of summer she was released to go back to work.  They started training her to answer phones and work inside. Summer was ending and she was excited to get back to school. On the outside she seemed OK. She complained about her pain alot but something about her was very different. Besides the terrible headaches; it seemed that when she wasn't crying she was angry at the world.

It was a school physical when her doctor suggested we see a neurologist. A professional 2 hours away. Her pediatrician had noticed this change as well. After seeing him and a battery of specialized testing it was confirmed. They had missed a TBI. We gathered all the information and thought we were ready for school to begin. As she headed back to school as a Sophomore we never expected school would pose such a threat. She never had it easy in school by any means. It seemed she was always being taunted by someone. Just 3 days after notifying the school of the TBI she was jumped by another student coming out of class. Right then and there I decided to take her out of her school. It was sad as all the kids had been with their friends since Kindergarten. We made the decision to transfer her to a rural school which was going to require alot of commitment on my part. It would mean a 30 minute drive one way to school each day. It would be nearly another month before we learned she needed to start therapy everyday in town. Again the doctors insisted on her dropping out.

Our daily routine was now to spend 5 days a week in therapy retraining and learning all over again. 4-5 long hours a day. All awhile driving back and forth to school 2-3 times each day. She also worked 2 hour shifts a couple days a week and would take hours attempting her homework. Between the teachers at the small rural school and the team of doctors along with her determination she slowly began to regain skills. One task at a time. She had lost nearly all her friends and it truly became just us in what seamed like we were taking on the world.

December brought another challenge as we learned she had gotten pregnant. I'm sure you can about imagine what her us as well as her doctors thought about that! Instead she added yet more to her plate. She reached out to Birthline and took class after class in parenting classes and joined numerous teen youth groups and support systems. Not once did she ever give up. By the end of her sophomore year and the economy taking an even further plunge we made the unforeseen decision to again transfer her schools back home but in an alternative setting. Her entire Junior year she and baby attended school together just 2 days a week. It was less of a burden on her but she was 5 credits short at the end of her Junior year and longed to go back to school full time with her peers. She knew it would require everything she had left in her but set her sights to reach for the stars and walk with her class. After attending summer school and 2 more credits down we finalized all plans for her Senior year.

That first day of school I think was the roughest on her. She wasn't sure how people would react. She worried she might still be picked on. But mostly she dreaded leaving her daughter all day to attend school. She worked and worked in Senior year harder than I've ever seen a kid so determined. She went to homecoming, Winter Formal and always kept an upbeat, positive attitude. She made many new friends and rekindled old ones. After 3 years she even eventually left her pizza job and moved on. She, my daughter, finished all course work today. The end of 2nd Tri-mester. Nearly 3 months early. She's hoping to have made the A Honor Roll. I'm happy that she just finished.

As we woke this morning there was alot of mixed emotions. A day long awaited and fought so hard for. Alot of dedication and hard work. Alot of sacrifice. As I wrote her a short note on her facebook wall congratulating her a tears began to fall. Only I, the one who sat with her through doctor after doctor, who drove her to school each day and all her appointments could ever understand exactly what it took for her to get here. She had alot of support from so many people but she also had just as many telling her it couldn't be done. She plans to start college this fall. First and foremost, she did this for herself and for her daughter. I believe she also had to prove something to herself and her doctors.... Never say never! She chose her destiny! A single mom. A full time parent at 16 with a TBI.

Congratulations Katie. We are so very proud of you..... You did it!