Thursday, October 18, 2018

Out of the frying pan

Teddy is finally sleeping through the night. For anyone who has ever cared for someone who's sleep is being disrupted (pain, illness, insomnia, etc), typing such a sentence is a bit of a dream. For us, it signals that we're turning a corner regarding pain management; that the healing is finally hitting a stage where the tissue in his throat is less raw and we're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (and hopefully crunchy foods again too).

While all of this has been happening, we've been preparing for Grey's first work trip to China. Between getting a visa (an adventure all its own), arranging travel plans (the travel agent assigned to him failed miserably on this end), and doing all things necessary to travel to a foreign country by oneself to represent your employer, there's been a lot of stress. Add in that this is an extended trip and the summary statement is it's about to get interesting.

It's hard not to cocoon oneself when there's a lot of hard happening. My natural instinct is to curl up in bed for the next few days, but the truth is that wasted time will ultimately hurt more than help. Still, even though things are getting better and recent events are actually roads to better things ahead, I'm also craving something to be easy in my life. That instead of hopping from fry pan to fry pan (and sometimes directly into the fire with a miscalculated jump), the landing would be someplace safe, cool and solid, afford us the time to heal and regroup.

This week has been spent finishing a round of job applications, reaching out to new contacts and hunting for new opportunities, all while concurrently medicating Teddy and transitioning him back to his normal. As I've been scanning the internet, it's been hard to avoid the news, making me increasingly disheartened by those who are in positions of power. But one thing I have learned is that hunting for silver linings and paths less traveled is rarely easy, often requiring one to risk jumping out of the frying pan and landing in the fire.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Adding light

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

Even though the sadness is less acute, there's a bit of calm that comes when we remember them. Because though only a handful of people even knew of their existence and short time here with us, they still were here. No less loved than their siblings we are fortunate enough to be able to hold.

So we add to the light, remembering all the others who left too soon. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018


The past few days have been spent in a state of sleep deprivation delirium. Teddy's surgery went very smoothly, with us learning that he only needed one eardrum patched as the other had already healed, and his time in the recovery area was fairly standard (we also learned Maddy is now the stuff of legend given how hard her recovery period post operation was so rough). 24 hours post-surgery, we were beginning to feel overly optimistic as Teddy was eating popsicles like a champ and taking medication without complaint. That all changed on Sunday at 3 am, where suddenly I was dealing with a small child who was inconsolable about being in pain and was refusing to swallow medication that would alleviate it. Last night was the first night he was able to sleep through, fighting us when we tried to rouse him at 11 pm for one final dose (he ordered both Grey and me out of his bedroom), but we're definitely not out of the woods.

As I've been living in this small bubble of post-surgery recovery, the world around me has been reeling from the news about Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation. The shock from the lies others in power have told themselves to confirm an overly privileged individual has resulted in societal levels of denial, anger, and disbelief that most who have lived through trauma are acutely familiar with. Watching all of this, it's hard not to see the same patterns seen time and again for those new to ALI community.

What's been most surreal is making the comparison about Maddy's and Teddy's surgeries to what needs to happen in the world. It's painfully clear that the current leadership is irreparably broken, but underlying all of that is also acknowledging that our mindset about the situation is too. Article upon article has come out analyzing how people could support Brett Kavanaugh or any man like him following Christine Blasey Ford's testimony, with enough articles and opinion pieces to fill a small section of a library. The truth is complex, with acknowledging that not only is this not a black-and-white issue but that often humans have multiple layers with their actions and intentions. Good people do bad things and bad people can do good things, but often we all exist somewhere in the gray with treating those we love well while treating those we don't agree with or view as outsiders horribly.

Watching all of this, I cannot help but feel we're rapidly approaching a period where radical change will happen; that things are becoming so intolerable that a great upheaval will happen to correct. What scares both Grey and me is that this tension is fertile ground for war, something that would be horrible for all involved, but it also can usher in a period of reset and reestablishing order. Like with an operation, cutting out the disease and problematic tissue will also result in healthy tissue being disposed of, so the goal is figuring how to minimize all of that to preserve the greater good.

Teddy is healing and we're already seeing the benefits from this surgery. He no longer sweats at night and he's sleeping for longer stretches. But the pain has been something that would test most people, bordering on intolerable during some moments that make me question whether this was a good idea. Being mindful of that, I'm preparing to carry that mentality into this election session with cutting off the life-long careers of some politicians and giving life to those who aren't backed by the parties in hopes of injecting in change.

But I think this needed change will require more than that. It will require also speaking out instead of staying silent, angering many who have benefited at the expense of others, but also calling out that there isn't a black-and-white outcome to our current ills. Acknowledging there are women who are abusers, that there are men who are victims, that racism comes in all colors and forms and that a lot driving this is due to socioeconomic inequality. That it's only when we acknowledge our role in this problem that we can truly begin to enact the change that is desperately needed.

Because without cutting away the disease, it's only going to get a lot worse.

Monday, October 8, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: Gudetama

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

I don't know why I got sucked in. Part of it is wanting a distraction from job hunting; part of it is being insanely tired after two straight nights of medicating a 5-year-old (the screaming in pain from swallowing medicine which will relieve said pain has been hard). The other part came from a request to patch an old knit elephant coupled with hearing about how the 9-year-old East Coast twins are clearly obsessed with getting their hands on a figurine, resulting in Lucas's recent trip to Japan evolving into a mission to find this character.

I don't get the appeal of Gudetama; anything that whines leaves me wanting to pull my hair out. But I do know that there are currently zero knitting patterns (and the one on Raverly costs $11.50).  So in a fit of inspiration, I decided to put my knitting skills to use and 20 minutes later this was the end result.

I have a few more that I want to try, including trying to perfect the butt (who knew an egg yolk would have a butt), but I'm thinking what I've got so far isn't half-bad. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Letting go

Teddy is in surgery as I type this. After 8 rounds of being in a surgery center, you think I would get use to this, but each time is hard with me wishing it was me who was about to undergo anesthesia and be going under the knife; that they were operating on me but giving the benefits to these two kids.

This morning, as we prepared to go to the surgery center, Teddy asked Grey if he could be the one to take him in. This isn’t the first time requests for “Daddy” or other people have come, with both kids routinely asking for have other people in their lives do things with them. From drop off at school to trips to the store to even preference to car (Lenny is currently the favorite vehicle given they don’t get to ride in him much any more), the preference for all things not me has been increasing. Today, though, was the first time either kid has requested not to have me there when going into something scary.

I must confess, I’m feeling odd about this. For the most part, I’m proud that Teddy doesn’t require me for everything in his life. Whereas not so long ago, the idea of any separation was not even on the radar, this development means that both kids are learning not only to trust others but also themselves. This independence is important and should be fostered.

Sitting in the waiting room, though, I’m surprised to also be feeling sadness. Because the baby I once believed I would never be holding has grown into a small child and as proud of him as I am, I’m also hit with the fact that those baby years are gone. A selfish aspect given that I’ve been given an incredible gift to even experience them and that both kids are generally thriving.

Sitting here, I’m working on shedding this sadness and letting go of things that have served their purpose. There’s so much ahead that needs focus and attention, fueled by a lot of good. Just wishing my heart was in sync with my head.

Thursday, October 4, 2018


Tomorrow Teddy goes in for surgery. My morning has been spent on the phone, making final arrangements for a 2-week absence and rearranging deadlines to accommodate. In addition to this, I'm fulling in job hunting mode, already fielding some interesting conversations from potential employers and reworking resumes and cover letters to circumvent HR entirely. All this while dealing with all the other drama.

So in light of this heavy, you can imagine my amusement finding this bathroom graffiti. The polarizing and provocative statements, poems, and observations written by authors who have newly entered adulthood and are holding an audience who has next to no choice but be surrounded.

A reminder that so many things we see in black-and-white can become grayed as we walk down our individual roads in life.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Price of advocating

On Tuesday, I connected with the director for aftercare and asked for an update on all that had transpired from the week before. Following a Monday morning of emails to the principal and some discussions with the aftercare teachers, I had a sneaking suspicion that the mother of the other child had stopped attacking, finally seeing that her aggressiveness was actually making the situation a lot worse, but no one had confirmed with me what had happened. Talking with the director, my hunch was confirmed. I learned that an extended meeting had taken place, where not only were the rules of proper and acceptable behavior laid out for this woman, but she was told what the next steps, which would involve CPS, would be given the seriousness of this incident and the safety concerns for all involved. I learned that this mother was finally open to listening, reversing a lot of her previous story and statements.

Then I learned that she apologized to the staff, the director and the principal, leaving all of them feeling better about this situation. It was when the director saw the look of surprise on my face and then learned this woman had not reached out to me, she froze. Then she asked about the medical bills, learning I had again heard nothing.

I've been struggling since I learned about these apologies. A part of me says to let it go and proceed with this new normal; embracing forgive and forget is something many would like me to do. The problem is that the other half of my brain reminds me of all the trouble and heartache that came from this approach, often exacerbating bad situations and leading to far worse outcomes than if I had addressed them sooner. With Cyrol the end came after he filed a lawsuit against the association with his explicit goal (detailed in a letter) aimed at hurting me. It took a judge ruling against him, the association winning a counter lawsuit and threatening him with jail time to get him to reconsider. Even then, the stalking didn't stop and likely would still be happening if not for the fact he has no way of contacting me. With Latham, the man who raped his 16-year-old daughter, it took social isolation and holding him accountable to debts to get him to move. Fleur literally missed a forcible eviction by the sheriff by 1 day (he showed up the morning she finally vacated the property after months of squatting). And the list goes on. There's also my history of being the whipping boy in my family, with my emotional health taking a beating solely so others wouldn't become upset about being called out. Being silent has not served me well.

What's foremost on my mind is that I don't want Teddy to become a focus for bullying from this other kid. Though I know CPS investigations are stressful, the child is still enrolled in this aftercare program and the mother has not modeled for her child the need to make amends following wrongs. No mediation has been scheduled to resolve this issue. And given all the lies, false accusations and anger, I don't foresee this mother taking ownership.

Yesterday, after doing some reading and reflecting, I contacted a personal injury lawyer about the unpaid medical bills to explore our options and gather information for how to proceed. To date, nothing has been done and no one has been hired, but I also am aware of the power of knowing one's options, even if they are unpopular to those not intimate with the situation.

I'm already paying the price for advocating, even though all of this is speculative; very similar to ones I have paid before. What those outside looking in don't consider is the much larger price that comes from not advocating. How remaining silent and not rocking the boat can ultimately enable unhealthy acts that can spiral out of control. Frankly, the paying the price for silence isn't one I'm willing to face given all we've already been through.

Monday, October 1, 2018

#MicroblogMondays: The journey

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

For the highs and the lows
and the moments between,
mountains and valleys,
and rivers and streams,
For where you are now,
and where you will go,
For "I've always known,"
and "I told you so,"
For "nothing is happening,"
and "all has gone wrong,"
it is here in this journey,
you will learn to be strong,
you will get where you're going,
landing where you belong.

~Morgan Harper Nichols
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