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Tag Archives: Atlanta
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It Finds You

4 Mar

Blaise woke up promptly at 7am, “I am hungry mom, I need an apple.” Today is our day to sleep in, I was hoping for just 20 more minutes, well nope, not today. I got up and BAM. Holy, you know what, migraine city. I don’t typically get headaches, let alone migraines, up until recently. I think to myself, “I am fine. I have medicine for this, I will rest before work, this shall pass.” Six hours later, 2 pills later, a nap later, and I still think my brains are ready to come out of every possible crevice in my head. Oh did I mention today I decided to start my juice cleanse/fast/feast.

juice fast

Probably not smart because I am going out-of-town on Friday and well, let’s just say it’s about that time of the month. I went forth with reckless abandon, thinking I made it four days last time, I can definitely do four days this time. Ha! At just around 1:30 I was ready to eat my left arm for lunch. I started thinking. Listen to your body, what is it telling you, it’s telling you to eat. I had some nuts. Headache still here.

Rewind:

7am in my house:

Rachel: “Blaise you need to get on the scale it’s been a while.”

Blaise: “Okay Mommy”

Rachel: “Oh my god you gained 4 lbs. What the heck. I did everything the doctor said. How could this be?

hate the scale

My husband senses a major meltdown and hides under the covers. My heart starts beating. Oh my god. I hate PWS. I hate scales. I hate food. I hadn’t planned on getting on myself, having gorged on some serious Italian last night, and the night before, but of course I did anyway. I stepped on. OH MY GOD I am up another 10 lbs. Panic sets in, sweat beads are forming on my forehead, my voice deepens, every living thing in my path should run for cover. I deal with panic, I ask for help from good friends and move on with my day. Experience and release, I hope.

WHAT YOU SEEK IN LIFE WILL FIND YOU

I am sleeping in my bed when my phone goes off. It is 1:45 headache is still raging, it’s Blaise’s teacher. Shit, do I answer? Is it important? Oh god, I want to sleep. I answer. Conversation goes as follows. “Blaise had an accident, a big one, he wet his pants big time. Oh and there are no clothes here that fit him, they are all too small, oh and by the way he needs bigger pants his butt keeps showing.” Well, after that mouth full I am fully awake. I rub my eyes, put my shoes on and head out the door. I start the car, oh I need to bring clothes, my child is naked in his class. I get to school and he is wrapped in a blanket, naked from the waist down. Conversation from phone continues: “Blaise needs BIGGER pants, his butt crack shows, he is too big for his clothes.” Yes, I get it.

Universe said to me: You wanted to deal with this today. You asked for it. You put it out there. I didn’t say how I would give it to you, but I did. So the universe presented me with this horrible and ugly situation with my son. For the non PWS  parent let me explain why such situation is ugly and horrible. Our kids gaining weight is the ultimate enemy, (the bigger PWS kids that is). After leaving the doctor in January and her saying no more weight gain, another four pounds feels like I have an elephant sitting on my chest.

elephant-on-the-chest

I pulled up my boot straps and drove his little hiney down to the store and got new pants. Situation handled, NOT.

Said voice in my head(in one long breath): You are failing as a PWS mom, this is too much to bare. I have to monitor everything he eats, make sure he gets exercise and therapy, I have to practice reading, writing, and math at home, dole out countless medications everyday, make sure his GI tract is functioning, make sure he is breathing at night, keep him safe from food, help him dress, brush his teeth, use the bathroom properly, give his GH shot every night, drive to Atlanta and Florida for countless doctor appointments, and there is too much more to list. OH AND SHIT HE GAINED 4 LBS, like I need one more thing.

This is the voice inside my head. Sometimes I wonder how I get the courage to wake up in the morning and face another day of battles and victories, or joy and hurt. All I know to do is keep moving forward, connecting with my support system, and write.

My mom was here for 2 months when I got sick, she is an angel from heaven. Just knowing I had somebody to turn to at any point in the day was heavenly. I still have that, via phone, but I have it. PWS can make you feel so alone. I don’t feel alone today, but in the spirit of ABTTT(always be telling the truth) I am admitting that today I am overwhelmed and exhausted. If it was weight issues I wanted this morning I sure got them.

Sometimes I can do all the right things and the outcome still doesn’t fit my plan. This is that such case. I did everything the doctors told me and it still backfired. Time for plan B. I will always turn to plan b, and then c. I will do whatever it takes to get it right for Blaise. I want him to live a happy life, I want him to be healthy and fit, and move with ease. I will tackle this latest monster. I am tired and don’t know if I have the energy for monster slaying, but there is a job to do and so I go forth, with reckless abandon, because I love my son.

monster slayer

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Little Lion Man

25 Feb

I never knew how to be a guarded person. I always felt completely at ease sharing with others. That is part of the “story” of who I am. Sharing personal issues, triumphs, victories, and defeats all comes with the territory.

I am the proud mother of 2 young boys. I love them both dearly. They are little tiny heartbeats of mine walking around this earth. They are each a  little tiny phenom. I am in love. I have loved them both since their first breath, and our first touch.

Saturday evening I decided to keep my word and leave the house. An old friend, a woman I have not seen in 20 years, had come to Atlanta for a visit. I was so tired, not a shock, so I really debated going or not. I heard a little voice in my head tell me, “Your word is all you have. Have integrity and go.” I went and took Blaise with me. We went on a date as he shouted so eloquently across the Barnes and Noble parking lot. Prior to the bookstore Blaise and I enjoyed a wonderful dinner with our dear friend and her husband. Two hours we sat there, he was a perfect gentleman. He looks so “NORMAL” it really is the bain of my existence. It is confusing to the world when your child looks “normal” on the outside, but is fighting a full-fledged war inside. After almost 4 years of dealing with Prader Willi Syndrome and Autism I think I got this. I am doing well. I go out in public, I travel with my kids, I go on living my life. That is not where it ends. Remember I have 2 children. My second child, “my typical” child is anything but “typical.” I have written of this before, and it is worth re visiting.

I recently saw an article posted on Facebook regarding medicating small children. The article was long and some of their argument alluded to the fact that; these children have nothing wrong with them, the drug companies just want to make money. Now, I am no fool. I know we live in a capitalistic society, but I also know there is a real possibility that my Little Lion Man has mental health issues. It’s not his fault, but it’s there. It lives there.

There is nothing wrong with him. You are a first time mom. Your first child is disabled, you weren’t able to parent him. You don’t have a clue with your second. This is normal behavior.”

I ducked when that sentence came flying out at me. I was in front of the big spinning wheel as the magician is throwing knives at me.

YOU ARE A FIRST TIME MOTHER. YOUR FIRST CHILD DOESN’T COUNT.

The knife went in deeper. I could feel the warm blood starting to pour out of my chest. It stung. I put a bandage on it, covered it up gtfvwith two layers of clothes and moved on. The cut was just superficial, painful, but not deep enough to kill me.

Here is the truth, my second heartbeat, my Little Lion Man, has mental health issues. They are real. A mother knows. A mother can feel when her heartbeat is hurting. A mother can feel when her heartbeat fades in and out.

My little man turns to me and says, “You hate me. You think I am stupid. I know you think I am stupid.” Those words have never crossed my lips, never. Where does it come from? Where does this glitch start? Where can I go in with my tools and repair the loose wires.

As I drive my normal route home I pass a sign on a PreSchool billboard. It reads:

“How we talk to our children becomes their inner voice”

I always tell him I love him. You are smart little man. You are loved little man. You are the best thing in my life little man.

Those should be his inner voice, but they aren’t. My son is diagnosed as having a mood disorder and ADHD. Yes, he is 3 years old, the doctors didn’t even think twice. They knew he could hurt himself or us.

Sadly I had to take him off the medication, again. Insurance won’t cover mental health. Nobody wants to talk about mental health in small children. It is taboo, We need to talk about this, it is a real issue. I am not here to debate the issue of medicating young children. I am here to say lets call it what it is. Let’s talk about it. Let’s offer help to the families who feel helpless. Mental health effects people of all ages, even Little Lion Men.

little_lion_man_by_bigdaddyez-d32ec9t

 

 

In life things may seem perfect and tidy on the outside. They may pass all the tests, they may make all the marks. My hope is that we have the courage to take our looking glass and look a wee bit closer. Take a loving look inside. There are little lion men all over who don’t show that their little heartbeat is hurting. My little lion man is brave and courageous.

How many little lion men do you think you pass everyday? Do you see them in the store, the movies, at school? Where are they in your life?

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Home Depot Men

2 Nov

There is a Home Depot on Ponce De Leon Avenue in Atlanta. It is in the same shopping center as Whole Foods, you can imagine how busy this place is. On the corner as you turn in there is always a host of men waiting there, looking to get hired as ‘Day Laborers’. I have never  been one to look down on the men waiting there for work but,  I have been guilty of not looking at them.

I am not feeling well today, and with two sick kids in tow it has just been slow-moving. After an hour of sitting at the doctor’s office and x-rays we headed off to Whole Foods for a slice of pizza and some steamed veggies. When we were through eating I exited the parking lot at the corner where the Home Depot men stand. I got to the intersection right as the light turned red. It is a long light and for some reason I was compelled to look over at the men. There was probably about ten or twelve men there but, one stood out from the rest. He was dressed nicely. He was wearing a really nice pair of shoes, clean jeans, a nice button down long-sleeved shirt, and a clean white baseball hat. I couldn’t help but watch him. I started to create a story about him.

He didn’t look homeless. He didn’t look like a drug addict. He looked like a regular guy, a ‘normal’ guy, whatever ‘normal’ is. I started thinking what if he has lost his job and can’t find work in his field? What if he is a father and has kids to feed? What amazing character he has to go out and do whatever it takes to take care of your family. What a great example for his kids. I was deep in this fantasy about a complete stranger.

Of course my story doesn’t mean anything, and probably most of it isn’t even true. For all I know he could be a wife-beating drug addict who was arrested 49 times since last year. We shall never know, but I like my story better.

I started immediately to think deeper. What if my story is true? How many times have you passed a homeless person on the street and not given them a second look? That could be any of us, really it could. If you follow my blog then you know that the economy has hit my family really hard. We have had to give up everything and start over. We are still okay and we have great family that has stood by us. What if you don’t have any family? What do you do then?

I really think we need to start thinking like a community. I think we need to start looking at people and seeing them for who they are, not where they live or what they have. I think we should reach out and connect with people. I am not suggesting that you run out and try to save every homeless person you meet but, a smile is a start. A kind gesture goes a long way.

I didn’t grow up having a lot. We grew up in a modest home, had food in our stomachs, and clothes on our backs. I always knew that I would be taken care of, but I also knew as a young child that everything could be taken away in an instant. I think that has been the saving grace in my life over the last few years. These are tough times we are living in now. The comforts that we have grown accustomed to could be taken away and then what? What do you do when it’s all gone? Who are you, if you don’t have your ‘things?”

Are these people that we see on the street sub-human because they don’t have homes?

What if they were you in a not so distant past? I think we have a habit of sympathizing with things only when they relate to us. I think we need to remember that pain, hurt and loss don’t know economic lines or ethnic background. We can all be affected by these issues.

Go out in your world and take the time to really look at someone. Take the time to see the people who you have chosen to eliminate from your field of vision. Go home and write about what you saw in their faces. Read it to yourself and think about what you saw that you never did before.

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Is it Right?

11 Oct

English: This is a photograph I personally too...

When I went with my sister and saw Wayne Dyer speak in Atlanta is was magical. Wow, is really all that I can say. The energy in that room was electrifying. Dr. Dyer spoke about the book he had just released entitled ‘Wishes Fulfilled’ and he spoke about many of the main points of his message in the book. The following point really stuck with me.

It must feel natural to you. You have to be able to say to yourself ” Even if I don’t know how to do it, even if I have no experience, even if everyone has told me I can’t do it, my wish fulfilled feels natural to me!”

Last night as I drove to work and waited, nobody came. It was the first time in a month that I didn’t have at least one student. It does make you feel a bit defeated. As I drove home I began to feel a flurry of emotions. Things that caused me to really dig deep within myself to find the answers.

Does this feel natural to me? Is this right for me? Am I a fraud, a phony? 

Am I really meant to be a yoga teacher, a leader, a connector?

So how do you know when it’s right? Is there a magic formula for equating the “rightness” of something?

I suspect not but I do know a few things:

1. Is an old conversation you have about yourself  preventing you from feeling comfortable in your life? If so, what would happen if you took away that conversation and replaced it with one that serves you better?

2. Are you living your dream and not the dream that others have decided for you? If you are living your dream then give yourself some time and you will slip into your skin soon enough.

3. Fake it till you make it. If you love what you do but still feel a bit unsure of yourself then ‘Fake it till you make it.’ Wing it as they say. Eventually all the pieces will fall into place.

I thought about all the above things in relation to my situation. Here is what I cam up with.

I realized quickly that my ‘old and bothersome’ old conversations about myself are butting in and interfering with my ‘rightness’.

Old conversations like, “I am not good at this. I haven’t been doing yoga long enough. People are going to find out I am a fraud. I don’t know what I am doing. I am not as good as others, blah..blah…blah…”

I am not special we all do this, some to a deeper degree than others. 

Wanting to be at point Z before barely leaving point A. Yet another behavior that many of fall into. It’s a trap. Of course it doesn’t feel completely ‘right’ yet. I am barely beginning. I am a rookie. It is like a pair of leather pants that are brand new and never worn, it is going to take some time for them to fit all my curves and melt into my body just the way I want them to. It is going to take time for me to find my voice, to find my way of teaching, leading, and connecting.

I am a lover of yoga. I am a writer. I am a connector and sometimes I feel not quite right in my own shoes. 

Can you relate?

“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.  Watch your words, for they become actions.  Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they become character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” – Unknown

All Grown Up

22 Aug

 

Sara Blakely 2012 Shankbone

Sara Blakely 2012 Shankbone (Photo credit: david_shankbone)

 

 

Did you ever think that you would be married to a skateboarder with two kids and living in Georgia? I did imagine all those things, except for living in Georgia. Yes I always knew my life would look relatively close to what it does.

 

I always knew that I would have tattoos. I also knew that I would most likely marry somebody who also had prominent ink. I always had a thing for skateboarders, so no real stretch there. I always knew that I would marry somebody that was a bit like me, somebody who lived more on the edge, than on the fence. I always knew that I would have children who would possess a great amount of spunk. I always knew that I would not always fit in with “typical” suburbia. I love suburbia, but at times I am all too aware that I am a round peg in a square hole.

 

 

I recalled the story last night about when I met the owner of Spanx®, Sara Blakely. I was recounting how amazingly down to earth she was. I spoke about how friendly and warm and approachable she was, oh and she just happens to be a BILLIONAIRE. That statement really got me thinking. Does money really changes people?  Of course money can change you slightly, but I don’t believe it can intrinsically  change who you are on the inside. I truly believe that if I was suddenly rich that I would still be me, the same me that I am now. I can’t imagine being altered to such a degree that my true self  is not recognizable. I believe that the people who become successful and distance themselves from the common folk, or believe themselves to be somehow inherently better, were always like that inside, or at least partly like that deep down.

 

Two years ago we lived in a big house, had beautiful things, and lived a pretty good life. Last year we lost our home, moved into a very modest house to rent, and gave up many of our ‘things.’ That all being said I am still the same person I was when I had the big house. I didn’t change because of the square footage of my house. I haven’t changed because of the quantity, or lack of quantity of ‘things‘ in my life.

 

 

Having these type of dialogues have become frequent for me lately. I am always striving to be more self-aware, more conscious of who I am in the world. I always hope that I can show people by my actions that it is always a safe bet just to be yourself.

 

 

 

 

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