Little's Life

Little's Life

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Times, They Are A-Changin'

Things are happening in the Palmer house.  2 Months ago I had my heels (well, more like calves) stubbornly dug firmly into the ground on the whole "we-re getting the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of the Army in 2014" issue, I was 75% sure I was going to turn down preschool for Little until August, I was barely keeping head above water most days trying to keep my emotions, motherhood, and responsibilities as a wife balanced, and suffering from debilitating chronic headaches/migraines.  (Which reminds me, I never posted about all the crazy things I tried to ease the pain - check this one out!)

Man, I look amazeballs there.  I look like a bobblehead now, as you will see in some of the pictures below from Andrew's birthday party.  That's a whole different issue, though, that I don't have time for in this post.

Anyway - here we are, just a few months later and just a few weeks into 2013.  My headaches are better.  Turns out it was my antihistamine that was causing my frontal sinus headaches.  I've stopped taking it, so that part of the head pain is gone.  I'll have to work with an allergist to figure out something else before spring, though, as I'm allergic to grass.  I also have tension headaches, which cover tha back of my skull and my neck, so those are obviously still going strong.  My migraines are better but not gone as my Topomax only covers some of my triggers but not all of them.  At least they are less frequent.

As some of you know, 2012 ended on an incredibly low note for me.  I was not in a good place.  I was filled with grief over the way I had been putting my entire existence into Andrew's Duchenne to the exclusion of everything and everyone else - including my own husband.  I had been unknowingly pushing him away with how I had been trying to survive/cope with the new life Duchenne had brought with it.  I had been focusing so hard on doing what is best for my son that I had forgotten about what is best for my husband, myself, and my marriage.  God lets us know that if we are married, after Him, our spouse comes next - not our children.  I know, I just blew some of your minds.  That concept is sooooooooo hard.  It is against our very nature as mothers.  Mother's instinct is to shove our children to the forefront of every priority list no matter who we have to trample over to get there.  And that is exactly what I have been doing to Mister in the job department.  By refusing to consider reenlistment as an option in 2 years, I have stomped him into the ground.  I have added so much pressure onto his already burdened shoulders.  This man allows me to stay home and raise our special needs son.  He has given me one of the greatest gifts any mother could dream of - the ability to be present for every single miraculous milestone that my courageous little man fights to achieve   Guess how many Mister has been present for?  Yeah.  Exactly.  Because he's the one at work, doing his best to provide for us.  And I dare to try and dictate which jobs he can and can't accept in 2 years?  SHUT UP, ME.

But back to the Bible.  A married man is to love his wife as Christ loved the church (Eph. 5:25).  Christ's first priority after obeying and glorifying the Father was the church.  So God first, then the church/wife.  In the same way, wives are to submit to their husbands "as to the Lord" (Eph 5:22).  Please don't get hung up on the word "submit".  It doesn't mean bow down.  The principle is that a woman's husband is second only to God in her priorities.  You know the saying "Happy wife, happy life"?  Well, it's kind of like that for the husband and "Happy Husband, Happy...........Flusband" for us wives.  Flusband, of course, being that new hip slang for "life"....that all the cool kids are saying these days....yeah.  Flusband.

So in another post or two I'll get into Proverbs 31 and what I got out of Sarah Horn's book My So Called Life as a Proverb's 31 Wife.  Super cute book, btw.

Cut to today.  Many realizations and apologies later (from both of our mouths and hearts) and Mister and I are both trying very hard not to let Duchenne divide us.  We do not want to be another statistic of this disease.  We are trying to let go and let God more, which is difficult for 2 stubborn old bats who are prone to bouts of cranial rectitus.  I've also gotten a few counseling sessions under my belt now, so score for sticking to my new year's resolutions!  I learned something very interesting that I wanted to share.  I know I said I wouldn't share much from my sessions, and I won't but this really was an "Aha moment" to quote Oprah.  I learned that one of the reasons I have been so sad lately is that I am grieving not only for myself and Andrew, but also for my husband.  For everything he has/is/will lose from this disease.  Every dream he had for Andrew or for himself that will not come true - even silly ones like thinking they'd be able to go take the dog for a run one day.  We don't have a dog.  Sam doesn't like to run.  But what if 10 years from now Sam takes up running and wants a black lab and wishes that Andrew could go for a run with them?  My nose is burning just typing that in here.  I want to cry.  What if Mister wanted to cheer him on from the bleachers as Andrew played running back or tight end?  What if Mister wants to hop on a plane for an impromptu deep sea fishing trip off the coast of Florida for a surprise 16th birthday trip for Little?  You can't do that without advance preparation and planning when wheelchairs and medications and handicapped accessible van rentals and arm muscles that are too week to reel in the line and who knows what other adaptive equipment he'll have at that point are involved.  I am sad for my husband that he can't have everything in life that he could ever want.  I don't just grieve for myself.  I don't just grieve for my son.  I grieve for 3 people when I allow myself to feel it.

The next change in the Palmer house?  Little Face turned 3!

We had his birthday party the following day.  It was supposed to be from 11-2 come and go as you please, but it didn't end until about 7:30 p.m.  So I'd say it went pretty well!  Please don't be upset if you didn't get an invitation.  We have a tiny house so we kept it to immediate family and his 6 little friends (which is actually double the amount of friends all the websites say a 3 year old is supposed to have at his/her party).  Next year if we have the party at an external location, we'll be able to invite more people.

The front and back of the invitations.  I don't know why my scanner made them look dirty.
the mustache decor
Cake pops!  My awesome friend, Desiree baked them.  She tried to shape them but they looked like squares and brains, so I taught her what a ball shape looked like (it's not her fault they skipped that part in preschool) then the next morning my mom and I coated them in chocolate and sprinkles.  Guess which ring I frosted?  Yup, the one on the right.  Because I fail at cake decorating. HAHAHAHAHA!  I did the 3 in the middle, though!
A 3 for  turning 3, an A for Andrew and a P for Peyton.
Pin the mustache on Andrew!

Yeah, Cheater Mghee here did not win.
Kayleigh gave him a marshmallow.  He immediately spit it back out.  But really, this is the only picture where  you can see his party shirt in it's entirety.  "Well, if you really mustache [must ask] I'm 3"

What's a party without forcing your guests to wear fake mustaches?

That's the spirit, Liz!

Even L.W. was a trooper!
"What in the world is that on his arm?!?!?!"  It's a tattoo in progress.  So just ignore it for now.  He's got at least 2 more sessions to go, then I will show it to you and explain if you need.

Andrew was less than thrilled...

and less than cooperative...

and less than worth the trouble...

And here we've managed to capture the elusive ginger unibrow.
meh seester!
My  friend Desi who is super awesome fantastic for coming over the day before and busting out some cake pops and helping me decorate and her husband George, who was kind enough to bring his own mustache.
Another (my dad) and my mom, and Andrew who couldn't be bothered to stop eating potato chips long enough to take this picture.

Suh Cyeut!

So this is a fort built by "The Middle Scarlett", as Mister calls her.  Mister torments her - all in fun, of course, and she loves it.  She's behind the toy box, you can see her blue sock.  I darkened her drawings a bit so you can see just how hilarious this little girl is.

I told everyone who came, that presents were NOT necessary.  Little has way more toys than we know what to do with or have room for.  You can always donate to Little's League if you feel like you just HAVE to do something.  Did anyone listen?  NOPE.  So now my house is completely overun with monster trucks, Thomas the Tank Engine items, various cars, remote control vehicles, things that make terrible loud noises, and I should probably buy stock in Duracell.  Thank you all.  I love  you, Mister loves you though he'd never admit it, and most importantly - Andrew loves you.  You guys rock our faces off.

 The other change here is that I did enroll Little in preschool.  He started this week and he goes on Tuesdays and Thursdays for 3 hours each.  He receives physical therapy one day and occupational therapy the other.  We're still keeping our precious Heady and Jiffy as private therapists here at the house once a week, too.  Thank the Lord for Tricare (another on the pro column for staying in the Army if that's the choice Mister makes) bc we could never afford that much therapy out of pocket.

His first day was on Tuesday the 22nd and I almost stroked out all morning.  I purposely dropped him off in the classroom before I actually enrolled him at the front office so that I would have to pull myself together and not sit in the car in the parking lot bawling my head off all day.  Little was totally cool with my leaving him there.  I told him I had to go and he said, "Ok!  You will be back when school is over.  Bye!" and gave me a smooch.  I made it out the door, down the hallway, had the exit door in sight and........could do nothing to stop the tears.  I cried like a fool all the way to my car and then sat there for 2 or 3 minutes and just let it go.  I pulled it together after sternly yelling at myself (silently, of course - didn't want anyone to see me and call the cops about the crazy lady in the parking lot) to snap out of it and drove around to the front entrance   I went to the office and got scolded by lady behind the desk for putting Little in class before enrolling him.  I didn't care.  I knew I did the right thing by making sure I had a way out of crying in the car for an hour.  Then when I finished there, I felt the tears coming back so I texted my friend Whitney from that parking lot that I was headed to her house.  Thankfully she was cool with it and I killed time with her until I had to pick him back up.  His teacher said he did great!  He only teared up once and he was a little hesitant to play with the other kids, but she said all that was normal for the "new kid".   So we both handled his first day pretty well.

Don't you.............forget about me...............don't don't don't don't...........don't you.............forget about me..............Will you call my name............Will you walk on by....................I said la lalalalaaaaaaa lalalalaaaaaaa lalalalalalalalalalaaaaaaaaaa
hahahahah!  Sorry, he totally Breakfast Clubbed this one up all by himself.

His backpack didn't arrive in time so he had to use his lunch box instead.

Hand full of popcorn and a Lego table before he even got his coat off.  

There's the door, Mom!

The picture I had wanted to take the 1st day.

His school PT sent me this.  He's made a little buddy already. Not shocked at all that it's a girl.  Watch your man, Ayla.
I believe another thing I promised myself I would do this year is to make time for myself and friends and life outside of Andrew - well, in about 2 hours, I'll be meting a group of gals from church for dinner sans Andrew.  Big steps in just a few weeks.  For the times, they are a-changin'.......

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Video Time

It's been a while since I posted videos of the little guy, so I thought I'd just show you what he's been up to.

He is walking like a champ these days - when he gets excited, he loses his balance and has to grab the wall a bit, as you'll see in this one, but he's got some speed!  He also shows off his mad "jumping" skills.

Here, he breaks it down to the musical stylings of a singing moose, courtesy of his aunt and uncle.  The moose lives at Grandma's house.  Forever.

Part 2 may be even funnier than part 1

Here he has a little fun with Dad in post lodging at Ft Lostinthewoods during the few hours where none of us had the Death Virus a few months ago.

And this one speaks for itself....

I may have posted this one already, or maybe just on Facebook, but this is what he and his girlfriend were up to during church a few weeks ago.

Found someone he knew on tv!

And here he is completely misunderstanding how to play with a kitten.

This blog's featured Little's Leaguer is Kade!  Thank you for your support, Cutie!

And don't forget to donate to Little's League for MDA's Muscle Walk 2013!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Goodbye to Sandra...Me

So I've never been big on New Year's Resolutions.  I've never really seen the point.  We all say we're going to change, but none of us usually do.  One time I actually did quit smoking (2007), but that was about the 5th time that had been my resolution.  Still going strong on that one, btw - 6 years now.  Yes, I've had a few cigarettes since then, but only on certain social or ridiculously stressful occasions (like the day Little was diagnosed).  But still, not a smoker anymore!  :)

This year is different.  This year, I have resolutions.  2012 has not been my best year.  It's been downright hard.  I have struggled with finding a balance between Duchenne and everything else and I have had some health problems (mainly in the form of headaches and migraines).  I have been burnt out, mistakenly believing I am in this alone, I have not taken care of myself, and I have been incredibly selfish in my way of thinking about what needs to happen in the future.  All of these things have caused me to lose focus of the person I need to be in the world and the wife my husband deserves.  Until recently, I had no idea how deep into my own grief and worry I had spiraled.

So here they are, my New Year's Resolutions:

1.  Stand behind and beside my husband with whatever job decision he thinks is best when his contract with the army is up in 2014.  I have been so ready to run away screaming "Were freeeeeeeee!" when his enlistment is up in 2 years that I had been demanding that he do ANYTHING but re-up in 2014.  I was convinced that Little could not live an Army lifestyle with the constant PCSing and finding new doctors and therapists and schools and friends (me too). I was adamant that it was time that we get to live near family in Arkansas - bc hey, I moved all the way to Alaska for him!  Wasn't it my turn?  Mister said we were only going to be in the army for 4 years.....we just hit 8.  Yes, the army means total health care coverage for Andrew.  Yes, it's a steady paycheck.  Yes, it's job security.  Yes, he'll be halfway to retirement when his contract is up.  But I WANT OUT.  Do ya'll see how selfish I sound?  Well I didn't.  Not until a few days ago.  Not until some deep soul searching and hard praying.  What is wrong with me?  How dare I put my wants over my family's needs like that?  That is so so very unlike me.  I cannot believe I was putting added pressure on him by taking one of his options completely off the table then making him feel like I would hate anything else that didn't get us back to Arkansas.  I feel stupid and mean and ignorant.  How can I be so selfish as to refuse to consider a perfectly acceptable solution to our needs just because I don't like it?  It's not about what I like or don't like, it's about what my son and husband need.  So if Mister decides, even at the last day of his enlistment to stay in and submit a WOC packet, then I will applaud him for his honorable and intelligent decision and handle whatever that means for us, just as I always have.

2.  Make time for my marriage.  For the past year and a half, I have not been a wife and mother, I have been Andrew's caretaker.  Andrew doesn't need a caretaker, he needs a mom.  Mister doesn't need a roommate, he needs a wife.  He needs someone to come home to who has more to talk about than genetics appointments and how we should break all of Little's crayons to promote a better grasp on them.  The last time we left Andrew with a friend and went to dinner?  Our anniversary.  In June.  And we were back before his then bedtime of 7:15.  Way to go, Palmers.  I want to be a wife my husband is excited to leave work for, not one he stays at work to avoid.

3.  Learn to be more like a Proverbs 31 wife.  Oh yes, that part of the Bible.  Don't know what I'm talking about?  Check out this link: The Wife of Noble Character   I am currently reading a book by Sara Horn called My So Called Life as a Proverbs 31 Wife and it's pretty eye opening.  It's right up my alley, with her sarcasm and self deprication and introspection.  But I am learning that I have not been the wife that God wishes me to be.  I am supposed to lift my husband up and I don't always do that.  He is a good man.  I haven't necessarily treated him the way I feel about him this past year bc of how my headaches and medications and trying to figure out how to plan for Andrew's future and blah blah excuses have made me feel and act.  Well it's time for me to cut that crap out and make sure he knows everyday that I know that he is a blessing in my life and that I love him more today than the day we took our vows.  I need to learn how to let God lead instead of my pride or attitude.

4.  Learn to let go of Little a little.  This one is going to be very difficult, but I think preschool is going force it on me.  I have to take a few layers of that bubble wrap off and let him be a child - even though it might kill me.

5.  Go to the dentist.  I can't believe I said that either.  I may have to be fully sedated, but this is the year!

6.  Start counseling.  Not counseling other people, but going to counseling myself.  I've been wanting to go since Little's diagnosis, I just haven't done it.  But it's time.  I can't do this alone anymore, I need to talk to someone who can help me figure out how to find the balance.  Please don't expect me to come type it all here, what we talk about in the sessions (some stuff does remain private, believe it or not), but know that I'm going and I'm not ashamed.  And if you go, you shouldn't be ashamed, either.  Life is big and heavy sometimes and I am learning that sometimes we need help with the load.  Heck, sometimes we even need someone to point out that we are carrying the load all wrong!

My migraines have been getting better, my medication for them seems to be working and I stopped taking my allergy meds which seem to be the cause of one of the other types of headaches I was getting - so that's awesome!  I've been going to the Y pretty regularly now and working with a wellness coach and taking yoga and it all does wonders for my mood and self esteem, not to mention ability to let Andrew out of my sight for an hour or so at a time.  I am feeling better, so I am hopeful that these resolutions all have a good chance at sticking - even the dentistry one (ohhhhhh dentist......).

So I am ushering out a difficult 2012 with hope that 2013 will be a start to a better way of life, a better sense of direction.  I have hope that I can give my family a better version of myself - a version that they deserve.  A version I wish I had been all along and am so sorry that I haven't been.  I have gotten lost in Duchenne for a while, but I refuse to stay under the cloud.  I'm coming back up this year.  I promise.