Sunday, June 27, 2010

Apparently, We Are A Little Flip Flop Challenged...

You might recall that RNR Princess left the house with one flip flop a couple of months ago.  Then, you might remember that she deposited one flip flop on top of a snack bar.  Attempts at retrieval were unsuccessful.  On June 22 two minutes into our visit to the library (which was the first in a long string of errands for that day) I hear:

Oops.  How did that happen?  Mommy, I need you to fix my flip flop.

I glance down at her foot and think she has popped a strap that I will be able to poke back through the hole in the sole.  Until I look more carefully.  Actually, she has somehow managed to break rubber.  Week old amazingly cute silver glitter Roxy flip flops (I wanted a pair) destroyed.  In the quietness of the public library.  While she was standing in one spot.  Her talent for this sort of thing amazes me. 

And then, she wants to take the shoe off because it feels weird.

Of course, she can't run around the library in one shoe, so I tell her she is going to have to make it work for the moment.  She hobbles around the library and picks four books.  We find a Scooby Doo book for Bonus, which delights him to no end.  Then, we head upstairs to the Teen and Adult sections to find books for me and Miss Proper.  Miss Proper finds a proper book.  I check out The Lacuna (Kingsolver) , Prodigal Summer (Kingsolver, again), and Song of Solomon (Morrison).  Books in hand, we head out into the beating Texas heat, load up the minivan, and head for Big Lots to find a CHEAP pair of flip flops because I am done spending money on summer footwear for that child.  

Are you placing your bets yet?  I would say "mama needs a new pair of shoes", but you know who will probably need them more...

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Whew!

The "Whoa!" was thankfully, blessedly, prayerfully turned into a real honest to goodness "Whew!" after two years of waiting.  I can get back on the schedule of once a year like the rest of you.  Can I get an amen?

If you are my age and haven't had your first mammogram yet, get it scheduled, Missy!  Yes, I'm talking to you!!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mammo Gram

Some of you have are kind enough to know what is going on in my life and actually follow up on it.  Thank you, ladies.  It's a pleasure to know you.  As you have asked, I'd like to let you know that I did have my umpteenth mammogram in May.  The hospital mailed me the Mammo Gram a couple of weeks back.  Only I haven't really felt like talking about it much. 

Now, I don't really like the Mammo Gram.  It has delivered unwanted, unexpected news more than once.  The first time it told me that I had abnormal results before my doctor could get in touch with me.  That wasn't a fun day.  Once it told me I had a BIRAD score.  Last time it informed me that my BIRAD score had increased.  So, when I saw the Mammo Gram in the mail, I got a little nauseous.  I took it into Mr. Incredible's office and sat down in one of the comfy chairs.  Pulling my feet up into the chair and tucking them underneath me, I showed him the envelope.  He asked if I was okay.  I nodded.  I quietly and slowly ripped open the envelope and fished out the dreaded letter.  Always folded in tri-fold, I right it so that the letterhead will face me when I open the first fold.

Dear [Reckless],

Your recent mammogram was normal/benign. Blah. Blah. Blah. WHO CARES what the rest of the letter said.  Normal and benign.  A HUGE relief, blessing, praise.

Whew!!!!  I've been waiting two years for a letter like this one.

But, then, I find myself saying, "Whoa."  Am I to believe that digital radiology technology has advanced so far in the past six months that I can go from needing to visit a breast surgeon again to not even having a BIRAD score?  I begin to wonder if the letter is wrong or the images were of the wrong section of my breast.  Maybe they have finally figured out what "normal" is for me.  I mean I do want to hear "normal."  I do want to save $$$ by returning to a normal schedule of once a year boulder crushing appointments.  Mainly, I want to quit focusing on these lobes of lumpy flesh that hang in front of my chest muscles.       

Before I get any further, let me say that my relationship with "the twins" (not identical, btw) has always been your standard love-hate.  I vividly remember their entrance into my world.  I discovered that they were growing when one of them collided with the banister at my best friend's home.  Pain is not an accurate description.  Having a breast bud meet wood is actually a fifteen on a pain scale of one to ten.  It makes childbirth look like a cakewalk.  I just got a chill thinking about how much it hurt, and it is THIRTY YEARS LATER.  Wow.  So, I rubbed the newly injured area as one might rub any bumped area on the body.  My fingers are halted by a lump that I knew had not been there a short time ago.  Being the hypochondriac that I am, I IMMEDIATELY jump to the conclusion that I have breast cancer at the ripe old age of ten.  If the pain wasn't enough to kill me, the cancer surely would. 

Breasts were just a little too much drama as far as I was concerned.   And then they grew a little and the training bras were replaced with actual brassieres with underwires and four hooks.  A cute little boy named Jeff began teasing me that I was a pirate's dream and laughed hysterically when he told his friends the punchline: a sunken treasure.  Or the other one he liked was that I was a carpenter's dream--flat as a board.  Only, I wasn't flat.  I was really the only girl in the fifth grade who had anything that needed to be "trained,"  so I told him he was an idiot.  And inside I got pretty upset because I was shy and these bra occupants were attracting unwanted attention.  And they still attract a good bit of male attention in the bathing suit or in a sweater buttoned up to my nose.  They just do.  I'm pretty well used to it now, but every now and again, it still catches me offguard. 

I guess I should have known way back in elementary school that these things were gonna cause a ruckus.  They make my shirts gape open.  They flop up and down when I run (so I rarely run... yeah, that's my excuse...).  Some days I think I would like it better if they just got lopped off.  Then, I remember that I fed each of my baby darlins with them while dreaming about who they would grow up to be and who they would marry and thinking about how much I loved the tiny little person squirming in my arms.  I cried tears of joy and thankfulness with those babies at my breasts and praised God for letting me have not one, not two, but three unique opportunities to be face-to-face, skin-to-skin, belly-to-belly with these people who once grew inside me.  I know breastfeeding is not for everyone, but I loved it.  Miss Proper nursed until she was two and a half, RNR until she was eighteen months, and Bonus until he was two.  RNR got cut off early because she kept biting me; that gets old real quick.

And then, there's that part with my husband and how he thinks they are a pretty interesting part of me that he would sorely miss. With that, there's the whole deal of how they make me feel feminine.

So, I go to see my specialist on Thursday, and she will tell me what she thinks of the latest pictures of my ducts and calcifications and masses.  And hopefully the "Whoa" can be a full "Whew."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Gimme A Break. No, Seriously, I Need A Break.

A week of crazy busyness thus far.  Mr. Incredible has been traveling to the far reaches of TX and AR this week, and I can't wait until he gets home because I'm tired of all the yuck that happens when he is gone.  If it is going to break, cost oodles of money, make me lose my cool, make me afraid, make me panic... it only happens the second he gets on an airplane.

Yesterday, the front blower on the air conditioner in my ancient van stopped working while I went up to pick some movies out at a Redbox.  Cold air.  Choose The Tooth Fairy and Alice in Wonderland.  No air.  What?  It did get fixed by me, a pair of needlenose pliers, and a miracle from God.  Seriously thankful.  There was much rejoicing when the cold air started blowing.  Much rejoicing.  Just call me Handy Mommy.     

Today, RNR Princess had her six month check-up at the dentist.  SIX interproximal (between the teeth)cavities and several others on the surface of her teeth.  I asked the dentist how she went from "looks great" to "there goes the possibility of me ever getting a new car" in six months.  Referred to pediatric dentist.  Sealants recommended on all permanent teeth.  Fluoride every night.  Braces are suggested along with a labial frenectomy.  I almost fell out.   Mr. Incredible says she will never eat another piece of candy in her life and that he is throwing all the candy away when he gets home tomorrow.  Is chocolate really candy?  Do you think I can slide it in the healthy category for its antioxidants?  Please say yes.  I've hidden a stash just in case he's stone-cold serious.  

I'm whining.  I know it.  Big girls don't whine.  Good thing I quit growing at such a young age because nobody would dare call me big!  Okay.  I'm stopping now, and I am going to focus on the good things that have happened and are scheduled to happen in the next few days.

Monday:  W.O.W (Week of Worship--like VBS) started at our church.  I love this week.  It's exhausting, it gets crazy and chaotic, and in moments, it tries my patience.  I wouldn't miss it.  Ever.  If you aren't involved in this, you are missing out.  What a blessing to have my own Bonus take a sticker that said "You are wonderfully made by God" off of his shirt and put it on me saying, "Mommy, I am wonderfully made.  Mommy, you are wonderfully made."  Made me so proud.  It also made me think about how I am wonderfully made.  I may not be the most beautiful woman around by the standards of the world, but God thinks I'm captivating.  Hard to wrap my head around that thought.  I know it, I believe it, but I'm not sure I'm capable of understanding it.  Also, I enjoyed swimming fun with kids and my most excellent neighbor, Kernsie.  I even cooked one of Miss Proper's favorite dinners--TaterTot Casserole.  Not my favorite, but all the kids eat it, and I had not made it for them since LAST YEAR pre-p90X.  They are tired of grilled chicken and all the healthy food.  So am I. 

Tuesday:  More W.O.W. fun.  Hair appointment.  First hair appointment since before Mr. Incredible and I went to San Diego.  That was Valentine's Day.  I was WAY overdue.  Amber made me promise to come back for another trim in August.  I'm much blonder than I was on Monday.  I don't have pictures yet, but I will get some.  I only had the ends trimmed, so don't worry about the last hair-rah.  It is still completely on.  A couple of my friends aren't sure they can see me with long rockstar hair.  I'm 100% sure it'll look smokin'.  Here is the look I'm going for.  Row two, first picture and row three, second picture.  It's the same haircut, just curly first then straightened.  I PROMISE I will NOT wear a denim corset or vest with my "do" though.  I won't promise that I won't wear them in leather.  Following new hair, a wonderful start to a new study on Ruth with my NOGS.  I ADORE these ladies.  They are proof that God loves me.  They are probably in for a great deal of tears from me in the next six weeks.  Ruth wrecks me.  It always has.  More on that later. 

Wednesday:  BONUS wrote his name.  By himself.  And you can actually read it.  This is huge.  He has not been interested in writing at all.  However, today he decided he could do it and he did.  I also spent ninety-one minutes on the phone with my mother, which was good for me but probably a little depressing for her because I kept telling her all hard things going on in my life right now.  It always helps to talk to my mom.  Even if the only thing she can do to help is say, I'm sorry and You won't have any money until all your kids are gone.  We didn't either.   With this being the third day of WOW, exhaustion has fully set in, and I crashed on the couch for a little while.  I just love a good nap.  Sleep and I are old friends.  I don't get together with him as often as I used to, but I should because me+sleep = true love.

Thursday: More WOW fun coming.  Mr. Incredible comes home, and I have missed him.  I don't like to use needlenose pliers.  Hopefully, I will have some wheels on around 1:00 tomorrow.  As long as Mr. Incredible makes it back from the mecca of Midland by noon, I will get to be ROLLERSKATING, which I love.  I really would join a roller derby team if they would: a) actually let me join and b) let me be called Reckless Housewife, number 867-5309.  Also, I am afraid of getting my teeth knocked out.  My parents paid for me to have braces three times; I should respect the thousands of dollars that my mouth represents.  But, if they do a race tomorrow, I'm in.  My daughters will die of embarrassment, which means I'll do it TWICE.  I need to go put my socks in my purse right now.  I also need to watch Whip It! 

Friday:  The end of WOW.  I love it, but I'm usually ready for it to be over by Friday morning.  We'll see.

Saturday:  Sleeping in!  Summer's here.  I can finally take a break.  

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Last Hair-Rah...

So, as you may know, I'm turning F-O-R-T-Y this December.  Yes, the big one.  Over the hill.  The second half of life.  The backside of youth. 

OR

Forty is the new twenty.
Forty and fabulous. 
40... the party continues. 
Life begins at forty.

However you want to look at it, right?

I want to look forty square in the face and have it run home screaming to its mama about how I'm a mean bully who beat it up.

I want to be in better shape than ever before.

I want to run a marathon or do a triathlon.

Only I'm not really that beast. That's a phrase from my fourteen year old nephew, btw.  I kinda like it.  Since I'm not all "that beast", I've decided to grow my hair out.  Really long and wild and curly like the rock star that I am in my head.  And maybe blond and red.  Or maybe blond and black.  Or black and pink.  Or black and blue.  Or blond and mahogany.  Or just blond.  The options are only limited by my imagination (and Mr. Incredible's wallet).  Since Mr. Incredible has all but nixed the idea of me getting my belly button pierced (wah) and I can't quite decide how to fix my tattoo yet, hair is all I gots to work with (and my poor grammar... colloquial... don't hate...).

So, girls, it's my last hair-rah. When I'm tempted to cut it off, please preempt me and remind me that "women of a certain age can't wear their hair down to the middle of their backs because it's aging." Because that "women of a certain age thing" just isn't going to work for me.  Women of a certain age love their husbands, take care of their children, and cherish their friendships.  This woman of an almost certain age is going to rock long hair one last time. And when I say rock, I mean ROCK!  With big hoops and a biker vest.  I may even wear a feather when it's all grown out and looking fantabulous... and I happen to know where I can get one with my name on it.


My Starting Point.
Can you see the edges of rock star beginning to poke out already?

What Happens When You Get Bumped?

I know an extremely wise woman who tells me that you can tell a great deal about a person by what happens to them when they get bumped. And by bumped, I mean, when life hits you with the unexpected jolt, how do you react? What spills out?

So, on Monday, May 17, I took Miss Proper and the Rock 'N' Roll Princess in for their annual well checks.  Well check.  It's supposed to mean that your child gets weighed and measured, and the doctor will say that your child is practically perfect in every way.  That's what we expect as mothers.  We pay our copay, and we are on our merry way until the next year.  Tra-la-la!

That's not what happened this year though.  RNR is awesome.  She has grown; she is healthy.  We need to track her migraines to see if we can find her trigger, we need to try to identify the ingredient in Bath & Body Works soap that makes her hands swell (but, since we are not buying it anymore and she can read a label... not on the top of my priority list), but she is basically all good.

Miss Proper, while healthy and growing and deep in the throes of puberty and all that, is not practically perfect.  In fact, at eleven years old, we have learned that she has a neural tube birth defect.  She was tested for this same defect at birth, but the doctor said it was a false alarm.  Hmmmm.....  If I were a different kind of person, I might have a strong case against this hospital, but I am not.  Miss Proper has been diagnosed with a mild form of spina bifida.  Spina bifida means "split spine."  And, yes, Miss Proper's spine is split at the bottom in the sacral area (right above your crack).  She was experiencing some symptoms that caused me to ask the doctor to examine her skin in this area.  As Dr. B examined her, I could see the seriousness develop in her eyes. 

Was she tested for spina bifida when she was born?

Yes.  They said she was fine though.

I'm going to need to look at those studies or else get new ones.  Do you remember where the tests were done?

Yes.  It was while she was in NICU.  She was couple of days old.

I continue to relay the details of the procedure and provide the where, when, and how.  Then, we discuss the need for new studies, and eventually, I am given the orders for a spinal x-ray, which say plain as day, "rule out spina bifida."  Tough directive to read.  Tougher with two of your three kids in the room and your husband out of town.

So, you gotta be strong when your kids are sitting there looking at you with big eyes.  I manage to hold it together, but I feel that lump pushing in my throat.  RNR is delivered back to school.  Miss Proper and I head for the imaging center.  I run a stop sign on the way there, which is the second one in two weeks.  I don't even remember it.  Scary.  Apparently, my head is not where it needs to be these days.  Officer Not-As-Friendly-As-I-Needed asks me questions about what is going on because now I am crying.  He still writes me a ticket though, thanks me for my courtesy (and I want to say some not so courteous things to him) and tells me he hopes everything is okay with my daughter.  I was hoping for a little more compassion, but as I had run a stop sign the week before...  I couldn't blame him.  Now I had to add the expense of TWO tickets to the mix.  Great.  I say aloud that Mr. Incredible is going to kill me.

Sitting at the imaging center, I text two friends and ask them to pray for us because I'm starting to fall apart a little, and I need to know that there are people praying for us and with us.  They tell me I am covered, and one takes care of the physical needs I have at that moment, which include ordering dinner for the twelve women who are coming over for dinner the next evening.  Thank you, friend; I love you.  Fairly quickly, we are taken back, and the x-rays are completed.  I return Miss Proper to school, see an acquaintance, and fall apart.  I mean to pieces.  Big, ugly, sobbing cry.  The kind where she probably had no idea what I was saying kind of cry.  I do not have enough experience with this woman to cry like that in front of her, but she was there the second I was childless and could break down. 
The emotion of the day was too much for me.  I know I am such a baby when it comes to my emotions.  I was bumped.  I know we are not supposed to compare ourselves to others, but I also know, in all honesty, I do at times.  At that moment, I was wishing my faith was stronger, my courage was bigger, that I was more grace-under-fire than the fall-to-pieces-girl that I am.  I'm knowing in my head that God is in control of all of this, but in my heart and on my face and on my sleeve, I'm a mess, which means I really am a mess.  It means I'm not really trusting or resting.  When my head and my heart don't match, I get so disgusted at myself and wonder what my problem is.  And this splash outside my cup is not what I want it to be.  I want it to look more like the splash that my friend has.        

I've had a couple of weeks to take this information in, roll it around my head, and adjust to it.  What does all this mean for Miss Proper?  Best case scenario... cosmetic difference covered up by all but the tiniest of bikinis, which Mr. Incredible would never allow her to wear.  Also, it's great insurance that she will not find a career as a "fabric free" artist (hopefully, we are teaching her other reasons to refrain from that kind of profession).  Worst case scenario... she has spinal cord involvement that could eventually cause tingling, numbness, loss of strength and loss of use in her pelvic area and legs.  We will take her to see a specialist over the summer.  The blessing of all this is that we found out BEFORE any potential damage.  If she has spinal cord involvement we intervene before she has symptom.  We can be proactive rather than reactive.  I'm thankful for that perfect timing.

I'm also thankful that I got to have a conversation with Miss Proper about the lack of perfection common to each of us and how it keeps us mindful of our need for a Savior.  I think it helped her accept the news.  Right now, recalling our conversation, it's helping me remember that my cup is overflowing with blessing upon blessing upon blessing.  I'm going to work harder to put good things in my cup, so that when I am bumped better things come out.          

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Second Infamous Shoe Incident

You'll remember that my darling daughter, RNR Princess, left the house one day with one shoe.  Well, the shoe that remained at home on that day now resides on the roof of the snack bar at the Lake Cities ballpark. As it was hotter than tar that day and has been ever since, I would not be surprised to find that it has melted into a yellow pool on the green, metal roof.  But, nothing really surprises me anymore.  Unfortunately, I had no camera to document the shoe's new placement. 

I also was not able to capture the pictures of Bonus telling the big kids that they needed to have a meeting to figure out how to get said shoe off the building.  When Bonus called the meeting, a swarm of eight and nine year old boys came running.  Even though they all put their heads together, a reasonable plan could not be devised.  And, yes, there were attempts to bring the shoe down with other shoes.  No other child had quite the aim that RNR did though; all the other shoes made it back down to the ground.

I can't quite explain how the shoe wound up on the roof.  The whole sequence would have made a most enjoyable Brady Bunch episode.  Let's just say that inconceivable is now entirely conceivable.  The aerodynamics of this flip flop from The Children's Place would make Southwest and American jealous. 
We bought two new pairs of flip flops today.  I might should go ahead and place a large wager on her wearing one of each by the end of the summer.  Could be a sure thing. 

Who am I kidding?  By summer's end she will be completely barefoot.