Grief is not Depression

I am in grief, I’m in it deep. It’s been two months since my brother died and just over a year since my father died. I hadn’t fully processed losing my dad, was cautiously counting down to the one year anniversary of his passing, when BAM!, my brother died at 29 years old. The initial shock is over and as my mom said to me yesterday, the reality and finality is now setting in. I’ve read many descriptions of grief that compare it to waves in the ocean. They come on strong and often at first, then gradually get...

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When the Advocate Needs an Advocate

Back in March I posted about Gavin’s win against our insurance company in the battle for his adaptive stander.  I am still in shock that it took us a year, numerous internal appeals and an external appeal to get it approved. But it also left me feeling worried and nervous if that would happen for every single device we would need for him moving forward. While at Shriners in April we had Gavin fitted for a new gait trainer (AKA walker) and I fully expected to have to go through the same year-long battle.  But this time things would be different.  I would be ready for that battle.  I had “people” now. In my excitement over the fact that we had actually won our external appeal, I only gave a brief nod to the organization that was the driving force behind our monumental (at least to us) win  – The Office of Healthcare Advocate (AKA my “people”). Simply put these folks are AMAZING! I cannot say enough about how responsive, helpful, supportive, informative and understanding our advocate, Caroline was. Not to mention EXTREMELY patient with me! In my opinion, Gavin wouldn’t have his stander if it weren’t for all the hard work and effort put in by Caroline. From the get go, Caroline told me it would be a process – but she was there every step of the...

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Summer Distractions

I realized as I repeated the question again to 12, she was still not paying attention. Or she was on some level, but I could tell her full attention lay elsewhere. My first thought was she had a headache as she is prone to those. But as I looked towards the direction of her distraction, I paused… not sure if what I was seeing was what held her so gaze: A boy-man, my guess 19, on the brink of 20, slender, with a full head of blond hair cut short summer-style. He was wearing the preppy pre-requisite “staff uniform”:...

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Twenty-Two Years…And Counting

My husband and I have been together for over twenty years. That’s a very long time. We met in high school and watched each other graduate high school, college, and graduate school, find (and change) careers, and become parents. We watched each other become adults and now we are watching each other age. We have had days together that glow in my memory as my most favorite days and we have had days that crushed me and hurt so deeply I was sure I wouldn’t recover. Through it all, however, my husband has remained “my person”. He’s the one...

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Guest Post! The Beauty of Turning 60

Acquiescence: passive assent or agreement without protest. I just turned 60, and did not want a big party. My daughters and I had just had one for my husband, Gary, complete with our patio festooned with lights, rented tables and chairs, a caterer, and live band. It was a stunning fall night with glittering stars décor for the dance floor. We couldn’t exactly ask the same people back nine months later; we couldn’t re-inflate those balloons. I could just be an old bag without any hoopla. But it sounds like sour grapes when you say you don’t want a party. So I suggested a series of activities instead. And while those ideas were swirling about, I thought about why I was happy to become a blue haired old lady. For one thing, I am a runner. The whole family juggles babysitting and training for 5Ks (my favorite), 10Ks (Shawna’s preferred), and half and full marathons (Ashley, Jeff, and David’s choice). My husband doesn’t love any of them, but does them for the solidarity, and to be part of the squad. As a runner, you compete by gender and age group, with increments of either five or ten years. So, when I ran as a 50 year old, I often placed second or third; sometimes first.  Wahoo!  I won an apple pie once.  One run I did with my dog and we came in...

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Our Review: Family Day Trip to Ocean Beach Park

My summer plans with my children have pretty much always involved free or nearly free local day tips. This summer, though, our sons are 5 and 7, and we decided to try something we’ve never done before. My children love the beach more than anything. We sprang for a CT State Parks pass this year ($67), so we spend lots of time at Rocky Neck State Park, partly because it’s gorgeous– my favorite public beach in the state– and partly because we go for free with our pass. I’ve always wanted to check out Ocean Beach State Park in...

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The New Challenge In Raising Our Girls Is Innocent and Well-Intentioned Sexism

Quick, read this phrase and tell me what immediately springs to mind: “Women in STEM.” Where did your brain go?  Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I doubt your first thought was “women are well-represented in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines and professions, not to mention the fact that they hold leadership positions in these fields and are earning as much as men in these careers.  Nope, nothing amiss here!”  You probably got that stomach lurch or brain flash that indicated the controversy and contention behind this topic.  The fact that we need to talk specifically about “women” in STEM, and not just people in STEM or STEM careers generally, tells you that we’re dealing with thorny issues about sex, gender and the debate over whether the under-representation of women in STEM is something we should worry about or just something that is the way it is, shrug.  In case you haven’t guessed, you can count me among the former group, not the latter. Many of us, especially the Boomers among us, have a story or two about a person, male or female, who has openly and quite unabashedly asserted that girls and women are simply wired differently than their male counterparts, making them ill-suited for careers in the hard sciences.  Hell, some folks believe, based on whatever pseudo-science they encounter on the internet or unearth from...

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Guilty: New mom who cries in the shower

Crying in the shower: “I can’t do this.” The hot water caresses your back as it drips over your face mixing with tears. It feels like everyone else has it together. They’re smiling in pictures like life a cake walk. They don’t look how you feel. And they talk about how much energy they have every. single. day. While you’re here sitting in doubt.. Motherhood. Some women make it look simple. Some make it look devastating. You…you cry in the shower. You sometimes feel like you aren’t doing a good enough job. At times, you don’t even know what...

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Simmer Down

I’ve had a sudden onset of migraines the past few months and while I’m working on the medical investigation part of it, I’ve had friends ask me, “could it be stress?” I keep saying, “no, how can it be stress? I have no more stress than usual.” And that’s fairly true. When this all started, life was status quo. I didn’t have any huge money concerns (other than the usual), no big relationship issues, no big work projects dumped on me, no major crises in my family or work life….it was just my usual everyday craziness. My status quo is a little stressful, but nothing major has changed. However, I’ve noticed that I’ve been on edge and more easily frustrated recently. I feel that I’m not so laid back lately and things are getting to be easily and quickly. And I don’t think that’s the normal me, but I could be wrong. I feel like a frying pan. I envision a skillet filled with oil. It’s constantly on a high temperature, only taking a little teeny item to make it sizzle and spew grease everywhere. I need to fix it. I need to cool that oil down. I’m not talking about taking a day off work to play golf or a “mental health day” to go to the spa. I’m talking about 5 minutes. Just 5-10 minutes every day....

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This is what family looks like

At the beginning of this past school year my son was asked to bring in pictures of his family to hang in his cubby. This had happened before when he had started at a different daycare, and will inevitably happen again when he starts Kindergarten this coming September. Every time it happens, I go through the same process of questioning and doubt in my head. What do I want Inti to convey to his classmates? How much explaining do I want him to have to take on? Will I be helping him feel comfortable with his non-traditional family by putting it all out there for everyone to see or will I be making him more subject to unnecessary bullying by forcing him to constantly answer questions about his family? Though he was born to a relatively “traditional” family, in terms of there being a father and mother, it was never really traditional by small town U.S. standards. A Bolivian father, a U.S.-born mother who frankly was more “Bolivia” than “U.S.”, two stepsisters, one who lived in Bolivia and one who lived in Chile. Several generations of parents and grandparents on both sides of the family who had been divorced, remarried, divorced again, remarried again, leading to a family tree of astronomical proportions (and a tremendous need for white-out). Now, Inti has all that same crazy family history, but he...

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