Monthly Archives: December 2017

MY SON IS PERFECT

When Patrick & I went for the 5th sonogram of my pregnancy with Andy I was about 16-17 weeks pregnant. Id lost so many pregnancies that I was considered “higher risk” so I was having more sonograms done than normal. This particular sonogram was to determine if our baby was at risk for Spina Bifida. As that had ben the cause of the loss of our first pregnancy. We’d told the sonographer we really didn’t want to know the sex. We had a healthy 1 year old baby girl at the time and surely didn’t care about the sex. I only wanted healthy. And I completely assumed it would be a girl. I was a girl Mom. Thats all I knew. So when she first placed the scanner on my belly and it just happened to be perfectly placed over the baby’s VERY obvious penis it was clear we were either having a baby with 3 legs or a boy. Even I could tell.

And what the ever loving fuck was I going to do with a boy? Holy shit. I only knew how it felt to have a girl. How would I bathe him? How would I hold him? How would I teach him to pee? I was extremely unequipped to deal with this. About as unequipped as I’d been before I had Maddie. And lo and behold….as biology often does….it all got figured out. I never knew I could love anything or anyone as much as I do my kids. That moment they were born, I was born. My heart grew. My soul was completed. And my girl is amazing. She’s very smart, funny, sarcastic, talented, she cheers, does DECA, does well in school and socially and overall is a pretty amazing person.
Andy was what the PC police would call “a handful”, “hyperactive”, “hard to discipline”, “strong willed”. In other words…he was an asshole. He climbed walls, ran away, escaped his crib at age 11 months, never listened and generally drove us nuts. But that kid loved me. He wouldn’t hug or love on anyone BUT me. He’d drive me crazy all day misbehaving to the point I’d want to lock him in a closet then crawl up in my lap and hug me so tight I thought my heart would burst. There is NOTHING…and I mean NOTHING like the relationship between a mother and son.
Relatives and well meaning people (of an older generation) suggested that he needed to be spanked, corporally punished….you know- beat the shit out of him. Id tried time outs and every other thing in the books to discipline Andy. To no avail. So I listened to those people. I spanked him. Several times as a toddler. And all of these years later I stand here and say UNEQUIVOCALLY, without a doubt, 100%….. I regret that. I should have NEVER EVER laid a hand on that child. He became aggressive when I started physically punishing him and biting other kids and his sister. I pretty quickly realized that hitting someone doesn’t exactly teach them NOT to hit. It had absolutely no positive outcome for us.
As Andy entered school it was a never ending schedule of conferences with teachers and administrators and advisors. It was meetings about behavior and how to get him to do homework. It was special schedules and rewards and consequences and tutors and hours and hours and hours and hours of tears. And frustration and anxiety and feelings of failure as a parent and anger and not understanding what we’d done wrong. What I’d done wrong. And so I listened, again, to the people tell me he needed to be medicated for his severe ADHD. Against what my heart told me to do. I was tired. And I was desperate. And we were all pretty miserable. And the years continued, the grades made no real improvement and the hate for school only grew. On top of that…the medication had some pretty YUCKY consequences. And this kid BEGGED me by 6th grade to stop making him take the meds. He looked me in the eyes and said “please, please do not make me take it anymore.” And I decided something in that moment….I decided my son’s LIFE and happiness and peace FAR outweighed my desire for him to excel in school. For him to get A’s and Bs. For him to “fit the mold”, “follow the crowd”, and ever be a teacher’s ideal student.
Andy is hilarious. And bright. And artistic and talented with complex structures. He’s witty and and has a lot of common sense. He makes me laugh. He apologizes when he hurts my feelings. And those things I know. What I DON’T know…is if the disease his father has is hereditary. No one knows. My kids are acutely aware of the possibility of them having Ataxia. So am I. Every second of every hour of every day. You can’t let that knowledge run your life. You can’t let it keep you from doing things, from moving forward and living your life. But you know what you CAN let it do…..you can let it help you see all of the beautiful things in your kid with ADHD. The coolness in him. The artist in him. The way he sees things differently. It can give you the perspective that he may not excel in a traditional classroom or aim to go to Harvard…..but he’s HERE. In this moment, able to ride his bike and laugh and draw and hug me. And every moment that he can do those things is a moment I am grateful for. My dear friend lost her 11 year old son this year. An hour long argument over getting a B instead of a C in Science seems a little ridiculous in comparison. Perspective.
Would I be happy if he got better grades? Sure. Would I be happy if he was more organized, more driven? Sure. Id certainly be happy getting less emails and calls from the school. But I love that kid more than life itself. I love his blue eyes. I love his crazy hair, his dimples, and his ability to make me laugh. And for all of the people who told me “stop breastfeeding…he needs milk to supplement”, “spank him- he needs discipline”, “put him on meds so he can sit still”…..shame on me for listening. Shame on me for thinking for one hot second you knew what was better for my son than I did. Shame on me.
Being just like everyone else is so fucking boring. So lame. So expected. And so unoriginal. I hope with all my heart he knows that he should embrace all of the things he is. And forget the things he isn’t. That straight A’s don’t make you kind. A teacher’s award doesn’t mean your compassionate. Sitting still for a 90 minute Economics class doesn’t make you any better than anyone else. In fact- it means you miss 90 minutes of doing something more fun. I make no apologies for the way I parent him. And I hope he NEVER makes any apologies for who he is. All I ever wanted for either of my kids was to be healthy, happy and peaceful. Because without those things…..what in the world would all the rest mean anyway?
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THANK YOU DALLAS

When I was 16 I remember driving to downtown Dallas for the first time alone. From the northern suburb of Carrollton (C-Town) where I lived with my family, downtown Dallas seemed a million miles away. I suppose it was. I remember getting turned around and lost and caught up in that tangled web of highway we called the “mixmaster”. Talk about anxiety and panic attack. For those of you under 30, there were no cell phones and no GPS devices in our possession at that time. You 100% relied on your inner compass, an old Atlas your Dad had stashed in your glove box and the Highway Signs. Those were the days. I found my way back home. Eventually. My Dad had always told me “if you get lost look for any highway sign that says NORTH. Head NORTH”. So I did. And made my way back to C-Town via I75 and the scenic farmland of Plano that is now a metropolis of suburbs.

 

 

My Mom and Dad were both born in Dallas. My maternal grandmother and my paternal grandmother were born in Dallas (one in the city and one quite rurally). My Mom’s GREAT grandfather worked for the railroad near Grapevine and my family has been in that area for 5 generations. Or more. I grew up with sweet tea and church on Sundays and new Easter shoes and Cowboys’ games and it was pretty awesome. Dallas means a lot to me. As I grew up and met people in college from other cities and eventually married and moved around….I got to see many cities, meet many people from many backgrounds, most had never even been to Dallas. Its funny- when you’re a kid your entire world consists of about 20 square acres. Back then it did, anyway. I though Dallas was the world! Guess what? Not everybody loves the Dallas Cowboys! ;)-

 

 

I understand why. If you weren’t born there, imerssed in America’s Team, taught to watch Staubach’s every move, knew Landry’s hat backwards and forwards…..then I’m sure Cowboy’s football isn’t all that important to you. It was and IS to me. Dallas is a city of juxtaposition. There are extremely poor people in urban housing that should be condemned. There are very wealthy people in mansions that rival Beverly Hills. There are taco trucks serving the most amazing tacos by people who actually KNOW how to make tacos parked in sketchy neighborhoods. And there are 5 Star restaurants where a tie is required and reservations take months to get. There are black people and hispanic people and Asian people and there’s a lot of concrete. There’s some beautiful art and amazing history. There’s the Oil Barrons’ Ball and Gay Pride Parade. (Guess which one I like better) 😉 There’s a moment in history frozen here at the 6th Street Museum that we’d rather not have had happened….but we accept it, and honor it. There’s amazing music venues and ranches and restaurants and architecture and sports. There’s stadiums that seat a bazillion people and back country hole in the wall dance halls that no one knows about.

 

 

I was born and raised in Dallas. So were my siblings and my parents. It is my home. It will always be my home. My Mom is moving away from Dallas soon. Then I will have  only my brother there. And that kind of hit me. For the better part of 45 years my entire immediate family lived in the Dallas area. It was one stop shopping. I could fly in and see everyone once I moved to Colorado.  I think in my heart I assumed it would always be that way. The truth is…things have changed a lot in 45 years. People used to work for the same company all their lives and families stayed within neighborhoods of each other. We don’t do that so much anymore. With technology and the ease of flying and the ability to move ANYWHERE…..we have. And progress is good I suppose. Moving to Colorado was one of the best decision I ever made. My soul is happy here.

 

 

But there’s a little part of me that is sad. I have friends in Dallas. They are more than enough reason to visit. My Dad and grandparents are buried there. But it seems to just get further away as time passes.  And though I am ELATED to build my home here in the mountains, happier than Ive been in a very long time, excited for things to come….a part of my heart stays in Dallas. Always has. Always will. I love that city for what it gave me, what it made me, what it taught me. I think when I drove away at 18 to college is when I knew you can never really go HOME again. Its never the same. It can’t be.

 

 

There’s some stereotypes of Texans. Of Dallas-ites. Some may be true. Some make me cringe. Ive never seen as many cows and horses or owned a pair of boots until I moved to Colorado- figure that out! But I am unapologetically proud to be a native Texan, a native Dallas-ite. To have grown up in such a place. A vibrant city full of culture surrounded by country.

 

 

I get a little homesick around the Holidays. But Ive come to realize its not about a location. Its about the people I miss. I miss my Dad. More than I can express. I miss my grandparents- all 3 of them. I miss my sister, my brother and my Mom. And I know geography has scattered some of us and thats how it goes I suppose. Funny thing about time…you can’t stop it. We grow, we flourish, we move, we find our own way. But at the root of how we got there was a sharp turn on I35 going South where a billboard with a REAL waterfall and a beer slogan let you know that you were home.

 

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MOTIVATION IS A FUCKING MYTH

As an online fitness coach I’ve heard the phrase “I wish I had your motivation” about 1,000 times. It always makes me giggle a little. Trust me…you do NOT wish you had my level of motivation. On a scale of 1-10 I’d say I consistently sit at a 3 on the motivation scale. It’s the truth. When you see pictures of me scaling rocks, climbing mountains, doing “Insane” workouts, working for abs, and hiking LONG trails…..it has almost NOTHING to do with motivation. There are only 2 things that get me moving- that make me push harder physically, that send me spider-manning up rock walls…..FOMO and what I like to call “The Stephen Hawking Effect”.
I know- weird. But here’s the deal…..
FOMO is, as we know, Fear Of Missing Out. I have it. I have a fear everyday that someone, somewhere is doing something fun that Im missing out on. That there’s a trail someone is on and they see a bear, a new rock formation and ascent to above 10,000 feet to take amazing pictures. And Im not in those pictures. There’s a group of women who climb Pikes Peak in under 7 hours and camp and climb back down. I want to hang with them. There’s a rock formation that Im perfectly capable of climbing but its over 14,000 feet in elevation and because I’m not in good enough shape I miss the climb. There’s a bull riding competition for women over 50 and because I didn’t train my core just a little bit more, I lose my balance, fall off the bull and lose the competition. All of THAT pushes me. I watched an incredible film last week on extreme rock climbing and the running joke throughout was “If Ryan calls you- don’t pick up the phone”. Its in reference to how extreme “Ryan’s” climbs are and how he expects his fellow climbers to walk through extreme conditions to get to these crazy climbs.  If I relax my fitness regimen and let my health slip, my core be less strong, my balance be untrained, my flexibility decrease……then when “Ryan” calls…I may hesitate to go. And I DONT want to hesitate. When someone asks me to do something fun, extreme, physically challenging…..I want to say YES without hesitation because I know Im physically ready for it. And THAT keeps me working out.
The second reason I workout and do all the scary things is what I call “The Stephen Hawking Effect”. Its very very very very simple.
 An estimated 48.9 million people in America are disabled. I am not. I am able. 
 
 
Trapped in a wheelchair, born without legs, cannot see mountains, cannot hear wildlife, cannot run, cannot walk, cannot dance….cannot. I imagine that those 48.9 million people would give all that they have to trade places with me. To be able to walk, run, hear, see. What a fucking asshole that CHOOSES to sit. That CHOOSES to not run or smell or hear see. If you CAN….you SHOULD. And that is all there is to that. Or by all means….sit on the couch, watch “Real Housewives”, and bitch about your gut.
 
 
So it aint motivation. It aint some inspirational Tony Robbins quote. It aint a feeling of “wow Im so damn excited to get up and sweat my ass off”. Motivation is dumb. Its non existent for me most of the time. Its a “catch phrase” a “feel good term”, a thing you THINK you’re supposed to feel because its quoted so much. Fuck motivation. Do it because “Ryan” might call someday. Do it because Stephen Hawking can’t. Just do it.
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