Inner Claire

Wow, I can hear them from all parts of the house.  The screams, the shouting of orders, the pretend laser fire.  4 young and very physical boys run around my house, fake Star Wars weapons and grenades in hand.  Their screams shake the walls.  Just moments before they were in the extra bedroom playing what sounded like….a hailstorm.  They informed me that it was no hailstorm, but basketball.  I never heard any basketball game sound like plastic smashing the doors….”It’s ok, MOM”

The dog has curled up on the davenport as close to me as she dare come, looks warily at the soldiers.  Now instead of Star Wars they have switched to WWII. The lyrics to “I Believe I Can Fly” come from the littlest member of the posse.  I did not know R.Kelly has made his way to my house.  Interesting.

My phone buzzes or rather, my Iphone whistles its train sound.  (i have not figured out how to get free ringtones for my Iphone)  The phone whistles, and 2 moms are on my text alerting me to send their children home.  I gather one, get  them ready to head out…and of course, the child is wearing flip-flops (cause we can’t say thong in this day and time) and has not coat.  Ever the parent, I tell the child to get in my car and I will drive him home.  Back for round 2 sends another child home and the house quiets, a bit.  My oldest is playing Star Wars Battlefront and narrating the war.  I have no idea what he is saying, he is having a blast….I would like to hear something other than the constant narration.

I look up from the tap-tap tapping of my keys to see the Cosby Show on my television.  I smile. I watched and loved this show as a child, they are as much a part of my childhood as leg warmers, friendship bracelets, Tiffany, and New Kids on the Block (all of which I detested.)  I knew them, dreamed of being a sister to Denise, or better yet…BEING Denise!  I wanted Claire as my mom, who didn’t?

I still want Claire as a mom.  I am watching with new eyes as the chaos calms.  I smile even more as I hear the kids banter, yell, wrestle, and bang on the walls.   I remember hoping that I would be in a Cosby house.  I never thought for a minute that mine would be like that.  I admired Claire for almost everything that she did.  Ok, had to stop and swipe at my nose as the College Decision episode for Denise was on….The note that ma and pa wrote her to end the moment, makes me tear up, every stinking time.  I used to hear it from a kid point, hoping that I would hear something like that.  Now, I pray for the day I get to send my babies into the world.  Well I pray for the day, and I pray the day will never  come.

As I watch I think of no better compliment than to have swarms of shoes to trip over and coats to push out-of-the-way.  I fear that walls will shake, pictures will quiver, and lamps fall to their death.  I am most certain this will happen and much more.  This may not have been the experience I understood–far from it.  Maybe I can channel an inner Claire….I wonder what that looks like in 2013

Shalom.

cahl

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To BE…..Healed

Wow, I can hardly believe the road has taken me this far.  After 38 years and a constant battle up the hill and fighting, it appears I may have reached the summit and I hardly know how to react or what to do.

I sit here on a Tuesday night, I  can see the small string of lights attached to my house, i am seated right next to the Christmas tree and its lit branches, I can hear my oldest son play Star Wars Battlefront and narrate the scenario as my youngest plays on my Nook.  Most electronics make their way to my sons’ hands before I get a chance to get used to them.  It is the cost of having boys it seems.  If it were girls, they would be in my jewelry and make up and asking to borrow my clothes…I will content myself with the onslaught of noise and boisterous play.  My pug is seated on the floor, gazing at me with forlorn eyes, knowing that she would like to lay claim to my lap, but the square typey thing I call a laptop has taken that honor.  She sighs and snorts at me, then fixes her eyes back on the floor.  Maybe, she figures, the more pathetic and uninterested she looks, the more pity I will have on her.  She is right.  An invite to her, a call of her name and I have a 20lb, fawn colored, fur child resting her head on my typey thing.  She sighs a deep moan of contentment and settles herself into the crook between me and the chair.  All is well in her world.

She has not left me alone much in the last couple of weeks.  She has been my constant companion as I make multiple trips to the bathroom, grimacing in pain and logging them for a drug test diary.  The day before Thanksgiving, I was given the news that the last set of polyps I had were stage 2 and that due to the major damage done to my gastrointestinal system many parts had been compromised, including the pancreas.  GREAT.

Back up, did this just occur?  Heavens no.  My adopted family will even tell you, that while I am prone to moments of dramatic fancy, my stomach issues have been present my whole life.  I kid you not.  There has never been a day that I have not had a stomach ache, wondered where the closest bathroom was, or how quickly I would lose what I had eaten. As a young child, there were lists and lists of items that I could not eat…never knowing if I was simply allergic to everything under the sun or my system was that sensitive.  No sugar, milk, citrus, or dark-colored pop could I ingest.  This is not to say that I did not do a fair share of sneaking contraband articles, but I paid for it dearly later that day.

When I received my full adoption file a little over a year ago, many questions were answered.  Many I will not reveal at this time, but from a physical standpoint, many murky moments were made more clear.  I was well over 6 weeks premature, and weighed less than 4 lbs at birth.  Born in a rural and predominantly Native American town, the likelihood of good prenatal care is questionable.  I was born the beginning of Sept and was released from the NICU at the end of Sept– over 20 days in intensive care.  Already narratives talked about my inability to keep formula down and their concern about what would happen when I went home surfaced.  They were right to worry.

Within the first 14 days, social services had been contacted 3 separate times by my biological family to have me removed.  When the social worker made the first visit she wrote about the confusion in the house, the lack of care I was receiving, and the total disregard family members seemed to have for my welfare.  Of great concern were the stomach issues I had already experienced and the care that I required being a premie and of low birth weight, there seemed to be either too much frantic questions or not enough attention being paid to me and the social worker was already concerned.  Too little attention paid to a 4 lb baby?  How could you pay too little attention?

After I was removed the first time, I was placed back in the hospital where it was determined that I was not being fed, had not been taking in calories, and had in fact, lost weight.  I had none to spare.  The long spiral of stomach concerns began and were exacerbated by lack of care, my biological mother never did get it together and overcome her fear of dealing with one with such stomach problems.  It seems that much of the fine-tuning of system growth that happens in the last month in utero did not take place, coupled with poor natal care, and it is a miracle I survived birth….literally.  Yet, I did.  I survived bottles of beer being fed to me so that I would stop crying, and I survived enough to be adopted into a new home before I was a year old.  For that I am thankful.  Given the track record and the narrative I have, I would not have lived much longer in that environment.  I was delivered–again.

The stomach issues have continued to plague my life ever since I can remember.  There is no consistent behavior, nothing sets it off, nothing makes it worse, and yet, everything does.  I can be going along fine, eating a wonderful meal and 20 minutes later, am miserable.  I have been tested for every allergy–none appear.  I have undergone colonoscopies and endoscopes since I was 25, I am and old hat at the game, with more barium enema and radioactive eggs consumed that I can count.  Yesterday I underwent another set of scopes and found out for the first time in years that I had a clean one.  While there is much inflammation and scarring, I had no polyps to speak of and no reason to take tissue samples.  The dr even told me that I had beat the colon cancer for the 5th time, and he has not a clue how I have done it.  Neither do I, other than the host of angels and prayers covering me in the last weeks.

Tomorrow I walk into my Dr’s office and receive a drug (or placebo) which should start to calm down the constant spasm of my intestinal system, taking some of the pressure off the pancreas.  There is great concern about this as it has thrown off all my metabolic.  There could be an end to pain, an end to the constant worry and stress over how I feel and why.  An end may be near for the feeling of punishment that I have felt my body to have undergone my entire life.  You see, I believed wholeheartedly that much of what I was experiencing was a way to punish me for my existence.  If I had been born into a different set of circumstances, I would not feel this way.  Had I been a more docile baby, more adaptable, I would not have annoyed my parents….UH DUH!!!! I did nothing wrong.  Repeat, I did nothing wrong and I am not being punished.

Tomorrow could give me the permission I have sought my whole life–permission to feel and be pain free.  I have no idea what this looks like, I have no idea how to embrace this concept, parts of me have no clue what to do.  This is a gift, a wonderful chance to experience something I do not know.  There is fear.  What do I do when there is no pain?  How do I function if there is no reason to worry and carry a secret of inner turmoil?  Even the alcoholic will tell you they would give their right arm to be done, but the fear of the unknown, no matter how enticing is almost paralyzing.  That lifestyle is all they know, this pain is what I have known for 38 years.  38 years could be over in a manner of days—it has taken this long to get here.

38 years of tears, anger, humiliation, and hurt come together in a chance at something new, and here I sit scared out of my mind.  I am terrified to walk into that DR office, terrified to take the med (or placebo), terrified to think my journey down this road may be over and a new order will replace what i have known for 38 years.  The status quo is comfortable even in its dysfunction, but it is time for a change, a shift in the continuum.  I pray for the courage to move forward, to embrace this, to rejoice.  To LIVE.  I ask from you the permission to speak freely, to express my thoughts, and the space to work through some of what this calls me into exploring.

Let’s do this?

Shalom and healing to you!

cahl.

Captain, May I?

I am watching my boys this morning, as they gather about their dad, playing Star Wars Battlefront.  They love it.  I don’t understand it.  I have watched them many times before and found myself lost in thought.  There are times that I truly have no clue how they came to do some of the actions they do.

Most of the time I am shocked by my youngest.  I can be sitting somewhere in the house and he will find me, and invariably the beverage or snack option I have next to me.  Without a word of permission, he helps himself and then asks if it is ok.  Sometimes I am irked by the lack of respect he shows to simply grab and dash.  Other times, I know it is coming and silently smile to myself.  Most of the time, I am shocked.  I never would have pulled such a stunt when I was growing up-never!  Never were any of us allowed or motivated to drink out our parents’ beverages, much less share in the food on their plate.  That was unheard of!  I cannot think of a single time as I grew up that I would have felt comfortable walking into the kitchen to help myself to something in the fridge….I did a bit as I grew older, but never at the young ages my children represent.  I was also allergic to most items….sugar, milk, citrus, most spices…I took care of that when I went sneaking cookies or candy and hid them in my bedroom.  I paid for it later in a sick stomach, but in that moment, PURE bliss.  I watched my oldest walk into the kitchen the other night, get himself a glass, and fill it with juice from the fridge.  I stood amazed; partially due to the fact that I was not asked to help him, but that he had the identity to do so on his own.  I would never have done that.  I still ask at my parents’ house, or my mother-in-law’s if I can help myself to something.  hhhhmmm

I think about it when I am sitting anywhere in my house, and instantly one or two children and the dog pile into my lap and proceed to use me as their personal jungle  gym or pillow.  It shocks me.  What are they doing?  Why are they doing this?  Is this disrespect or the manifestation of a way to love their mama?  I don’t honestly know.  I would never have behaved in such a manner with my parents.  My children have their tv shows on in the livingroom most of the time.  There were times we watched specific programs..but never did we have the kind of say-so that my children have.  I wonder….I wonder a lot.

The kids joke with me, giggle with me, talk to me.  I love that.  Most of the time, I unsettles me.  Am I doing the right thing as a parent?  It seems so contrary to what I experienced and I find myself in this odd tension of wanting to live in this harmony and feeling like I should be parenting differently.   AAAHHHH the struggle.  I recall the other day I was at a restaurant with my mother and the boys….giggling in the booth, turning around to check out the people behind them, more giggling….changing their order a hundred times…WHAT!!!!??? Never would we have behaved in such a manner!  My mother told me their behavior was normal, let it go…the mom-child in me still wrestles with that.  If what my boys were doing was so normal, what did that make my siblings and I as we grew up? 

I am sitting here, typing and one of my boys is playing Lego battle ships…and the other is climbing on the loveseat next to me.  He just asked for a Cuddle Uppet for his bday.  When I told him he was not going to have a bday this year, he looked at me and laughed.  “Oh, mom, you are joking.  I can see by your smile!”  Then he reached over and tweaked my nose!  What????  As he watched me type he announced that he had to go to the bathroom…He has reached the age where he is scared of dark corners and places…”Mom, I can’t go by myself, you know that I am scared.  You have to come with me.”  So hand-in-hand I walked him to the bathroom and waited until he was done.  It puzzles me.  Too accommodating?  Not harsh and hard enough?  I am not sure.  They certainly have a connection, I pray it remains.  I pray also, the constant second-guessing gives way to relief at some point.  Either that, or Iam completely insane.

Blessings to you all as we navigate toward tomorrow….

Shalom,

cahl

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