Thursday, December 10, 2009

I am frustrated.  Actually, frustrated is an understatement.  My son is in the first grade and has a learning disability, ADD, Anxiety and possible ODD. 
Last April I requested that the CST reevaluate my son for his psych evaluation and IQ test because his first results came back inconclusive because he refused to participate. 
The teacher wanted to hold him back in Kindergarten because of behavior concerns and the CST refused to give me anything more than a BASC test.  The BASC test was enough for the pediatrician to confirm ADHD and start medicating my son this past August.  He is now in the first grade (Thank you IEP for allowing me to decide whether to retain my child) and he started having problems with short term memory loss and a rocking tic.  I took him to a neurologist who told me it was ADD not ADHD what we thought was hyper is actually anxiety.  To confirm he wants my son to have a psych evaluation and IQ test. 
I contacted the CST and they are trying to tell me that they don't have to give him one because he isn't showing these outbursts in school.  Of course he isn't!!  He's MEDICATED during the day.  If I took him off the meds, they would see.  Plus I have last years reports from the teachers and the request from the neurologist.  According to IDEA, the CST must reevaluate upon parental request.  Why are they giving me a hard time? 
I am tired of jumping through hoops to get my son the services he needs to be the most he can be.  Having a disability is hard enough.  Having one that can't be treated because the school refuses to cooperate is bull****!  Anyone have any advice, gone through something similar, etc... Please send some guidance my way.  Thank you!  =)

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Real ME...

I wasn't the best daughter. 


I wasn't a good friend.

I wasn't always a loyal girlfriend.

I was the girl that others liked to talk about but not say nice things.

I was the daughter parents wondered about where they went wrong.

I was the girlfriend that would do things for boyfriends so that they could never get too close emotionally/mentally.

I was the girl that hid under masks and facades looking for answers and hiding the real me under layers not allowing others to get close.

I was a girl looking for answers to life's most challenging questions while dumbing down for the outside world.

Shit, I was seen as the ditzy girl that always smiled, laughed and knew how to "party like a rock star." I would do foolish things and just live in the moment.....but not really live as ME. Well, I guess it was me, just....Fake!

I did many things to disappoint my parents. Drugs, parties, cutting school --hell I didn't even show up for college and I was there on scholarships, -- abusive boyfriends... I did a lot and I put my parents through a LIVING HELL.

It took me years to realize who I was. YEARS!! My parents tried everything with me. I used to swear they hated me. They could never understand how their "Smart Beautiful Daughter" could do these types of things and/or hang out with this crowd or be with this person.

How do you tell anyone when you can't even admit to yourself that you are afraid of what people will see you as if you showed them the real you. I did it once. My first true boyfriend, Mike. We had an extremely intense relationship. I don't mean sexual in any way. We were very very deep. We got each other. I was 16 years old (he was 18) and I had someone to share these deep conversations about everything from spirituality, the arts, philosophy to....pink elephants jumping over the moon. It was something anyone could wish for....who wasn't a teenager. We broke up because our relationship was too mature for us.

So what did I do? I built a wall. Being dumb seemed so easy! Mixing with the wrong crowds and having foolish relationships and partying just seemed like the way to get by. Since obviously my way didn't work.

Well, things got out of hand as they often do. I ended up with abusive relationship after abusive relationship. The last one the worst and it made my parents realize there was something wrong with me. They "forced" me to go to a mental hospital for a few days to see what could possibly be making me go through this.

I had the perfect home life. My sister and I were extremely close. My mother and I are exceptionally close. My dad and I had a decent relationship although (at the time) I only thought of him as a disciplinary.

Back to the story, I went in and was very angry with my parents for "making" me go through this. The anger built up from years of not knowing who the hell I was.

After this incident I started looking for myself for the first time since I was 16. Mike and I were still friends and we would discuss these things and it made me feel great to be this person again.
I would sit and talk to my Nana and she always told me to not regret my actions. Learn from them. So that's what I did. I LEARNED from them. I GREW from them. Most importantly, I now UNDERSTAND why I went through these things.

Psychiatrists told me it was a way to fill the void between my father and I. That since I wanted to be a Daddy's girl I would act out because it was the only attention I got. I believed it for years.... until I figured it out on my own.

I wasn't trying to fill any void with a relationship with anyone other than myself. I did these things because I hated the persona I was living. I never allowed people to get to know the real me. Only one person did....and I hated that I was shy/embarrassed call it whatever you would like.....

I wanted the world to see me for MORE than what I put out there.

When I had my oldest son, I changed my way of life even more and have really had a lot of personal growth. Due to cafemom and goodreads, I have made friends that I probably would have never had the guts too in real life.

Yes, I was a troubled girl but it was all a way to find myself. I'm okay with that. It's my past. It has strengthened my character. It makes me look at things in a way I never thought I could. I look at my children and sometimes I could see them slipping into what they think others want them to be and I try my hardest to let them be free of this.

My mother used to cry and wonder what she did wrong. How did she fail me. I always told her it wasn't her fault. She raised me with the best of morals. She taught me the difference between right and wrong. She was the ideal mother. The mother that I wanted to be. It took years for her to realize she didn't fail me. To see that I ended up on the path that she willed for me. I just hit a few paths where I took the scenic route and forgot about the mission at hand. It feels good to have her respect and admiration. It makes me feel wonderful that my parents admire my parenting. I'm in awe that they no longer refer to me as "the bad one." They look at me now and they see the real me. The me that I hid for over 10 years on a journey where all I was trying to do...was escape myself.

Life isn't easy. No one can say it is. But, I can offer one piece of advice as my Nana did for me.

Her's ~Live life without regrets.

I will add to hers ~ Don't make life more difficult by denying others your true identity. Love yourself and share who you really are. Those who should be in your life will embrace you with open arms and those that don't...you will see were never meant to be there in the first place. When you do this, life is beautiful! Just like mine is today. Despite the drama and heartache, I am happy because I am living it, being true to myself.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Miss You Nana


"If I had a flower for every time I thought of you...I could walk through my garden forever." ~ Alfred Lord Tennyson


It's been six years and it still hurts as if it was yesterday. You are in my thoughts and you live on through our memories. You will always be my favorite four leaf clover. I love you, Nana.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Down syndrome (DS), also called Trisomy 21, is a condition in which extra genetic material causes delays in the way a child develops, both mentally and physically. It affects about 1 in every 800 babies.

The physical features and medical problems associated with Down syndrome can vary widely from child to child. While some kids with DS need a lot of medical attention, others lead healthy lives.

Though Down syndrome can't be prevented, it can be detected before a child is born. The health problems that can go along with DS can be treated, and there are many resources within communities to help kids and their families who are living with the condition.

About Down Syndrome

Normally, at the time of conception a baby inherits genetic information from its parents in the form of 46 chromosomes: 23 from the mother and 23 from the father. In most cases of Down syndrome, a child gets an extra chromosome 21 — for a total of 47 chromosomes instead of 46. It's this extra genetic material that causes the physical features and developmental delays associated with DS.

Although no one knows for sure why DS occurs and there's no way to prevent the chromosomal error that causes it, scientists do know that women age 35 and older have a significantly higher risk of having a child with the condition. At age 30, for example, a woman has about a 1 in 900 chance of conceiving a child with DS. Those odds increase to about 1 in 350 by age 35. By 40 the risk rises to about 1 in 100.

How Down Syndrome Affects Kids

Kids with Down syndrome tend to share certain physical features such as a flat facial profile, an upward slant to the eyes, small ears, and a large or protruding tongue.

Low muscle tone (called hypotonia) is also characteristic of children with DS, and babies in particular may seem especially "floppy." Though this can and often does improve over time, most children with DS typically reach developmental milestones — like sitting up, crawling, and walking — later than other kids.

At birth, kids with DS are usually of average size, but they tend to grow at a slower rate and remain smaller than their peers. For infants, low muscle tone may contribute to sucking and feeding problems, as well as constipation and other digestive issues. Toddlers and older kids may have delays in speech and self-care skills like feeding, dressing, and toilet teaching.

Down syndrome affects kids' ability to learn in different ways, but most have mild to moderate intellectual impairment. Kids with DS can and do learn, and are capable of developing skills throughout their lives. They simply reach goals at a different pace — which is why it's important not to compare a child with DS against typically developing siblings or even other children with the condition.

Kids with DS have a wide range of abilities, and there's no way to tell at birth what they will be capable of as they grow up.

Medical Problems Associated With DS

While some kids with DS have no significant health problems, others may experience a host of medical issues that require extra care. For example, almost half of all children born with DS will have a congenital heart defect.

Kids with Down syndrome are also at an increased risk of developing pulmonary hypertension, a serious condition that can lead to irreversible damage to the lungs. All infants with Down syndrome should be evaluated by a pediatric cardiologist.

Approximately half of all kids with DS also have problems with hearing and vision. Hearing loss can be related to fluid buildup in the inner ear or to structural problems of the ear itself. Vision problems commonly include amblyopia (lazy eye), near- or farsightedness, and an increased risk of cataracts. Regular evaluations by an audiologist and an ophthalmologist are necessary to detect and correct any problems before they affect language and learning skills.

Other medical conditions that may occur more frequently in kids with DS include thyroid problems, intestinal abnormalities, seizure disorders, respiratory problems, obesity, an increased susceptibility to infection, and a higher risk of childhood leukemia. Upper neck abnormalities are sometimes found and should be evaluated by a physician (these can be detected by cervical spine X-rays). Fortunately, many of these conditions are treatable.

Prenatal Screening and Diagnosis

Two types of prenatal tests are used to detect Down syndrome in a fetus: screening tests and diagnostic tests. Screening tests estimate the risk that a fetus has DS; diagnostic tests can tell whether the fetus actually has the condition.

Screening tests are cost-effective and easy to perform. But because they can't give a definitive answer as to whether a baby has DS, these tests are used to help parents decide whether to have more diagnostic tests.

Diagnostic tests are about 99% accurate in detecting Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities. However, because they're performed inside the uterus, they are associated with a risk of miscarriage and other complications.

For this reason, invasive diagnostic testing previously was generally recommended only for women age 35 or older, those with a family history of genetic defects, or those who've had an abnormal result on a screening test.

However, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) now recommends that all pregnant women be offered screening with the option for invasive diagnostic testing for Down syndrome, regardless of age.

If you're unsure about which test, if any, is right for you, your doctor or a genetic counselor can help you sort through the pros and cons of each.

Screening tests include:

  • Nuchal translucency testing. This test, performed between 11 and 14 weeks of pregnancy, uses ultrasound to measure the clear space in the folds of tissue behind a developing baby's neck. (Babies with DS and other chromosomal abnormalities tend to accumulate fluid there, making the space appear larger.) This measurement, taken together with the mother's age and the baby's gestational age, can be used to calculate the odds that the baby has DS. Nuchal translucency testing is usually performed along with a maternal blood test.
  • The triple screen or quadruple screen (also called the multiple marker test). These tests measure the quantities of normal substances in the mother's blood. As the names imply, triple screen tests for three markers and quadruple screen includes one additional marker and is more accurate. These tests are typically offered between 15 and 18 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Integrated screen. This uses results from first trimester screening tests (with or without nuchal translucency) and blood tests with second trimester quad screen to come up with the most accurate screening results.
  • A genetic ultrasound. A detailed ultrasound is often performed at 18 to 20 weeks in conjunction with the blood tests, and it checks the fetus for some of the physical traits abnormalities associated with Down syndrome.

Diagnostic tests include:

  • Chorionic villus sampling (CVS). CVS involves taking a tiny sample of the placenta, either through the cervix or through a needle inserted in the abdomen. The advantage of this test is that it can be performed during the first trimester, between 8 and 12 weeks. The disadvantage is that it carries a slightly greater risk of miscarriage as compared with amniocentesis and has other complications.
  • Amniocentesis. This test, performed between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy, involves the removal of a small amount of amniotic fluid through a needle inserted in the abdomen. The cells can then be analyzed for the presence of chromosomal abnormalities. Amniocentesis carries a small risk of complications, such as preterm labor and miscarriage.
  • Percutaneous umbilical blood sampling (PUBS). Usually performed after 20 weeks, this test uses a needle to retrieve a small sample of blood from the umbilical cord. It carries risks similar to those associated with amniocentesis.

After a baby is born, if the doctor suspects DS based on the infant's physical characteristics, a karyotype — a blood or tissue sample stained to show chromosomes grouped by size, number, and shape — can be performed to verify the diagnosis.

Getting Help

If you're the parent of a child diagnosed with Down syndrome, you may at first feel overwhelmed by feelings of loss, guilt, and fear. Talking with other parents of kids with DS may help you deal with the initial shock and grief and find ways to look toward the future. Many parents find that learning as much as they can about DS helps alleviate some of their fears.

Experts recommend enrolling kids with Down syndrome in early-intervention services as soon as possible. Physical, occupational, and speech therapists and early-childhood educators can work with your child to encourage and accelerate development.

Many states provide free early-intervention services to kids with disabilities from birth to age 3, so check with your doctor or a social worker to learn what resources are available in your area.

Once your child is 3 years old, he or she is guaranteed educational services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Under IDEA, local school districts must provide "a free appropriate education in the least restrictive environment" and an individualized education plan (IEP) for each child.

Where to send your child to school can be a difficult decision. Some kids with Down syndrome have needs that are best met in a specialized program, while many others do well attending neighborhood schools alongside peers who don't have DS. Studies have shown that this type of situation, known as inclusion, is beneficial for both the child with DS as well as the other kids.

Your school district's child study team can work with you to determine what's best for your child, but remember, any decisions can and should involve your input, as you are your child's best advocate.

Today, many kids with Down syndrome go to school and enjoy many of the same activities as other kids their age. A few go on to college. Many transition to semi-independent living. Still others continue to live at home but are able to hold jobs, thus finding their own success in the community.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


Domestic Violence and Abuse

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Abusive Relationships

Domestic Violence and Abuse: Types, Signs, Symptoms, Causes, and Effects

If you think your spouse or partner is abusive, or you suspect that someone you know is in an abusive relationship, review the red flags and other information on domestic abuse and violence covered in this article. Not all abuse involves physical threat; emotional abuse can also leave deep and lasting scars. Recognizing the warning signs and symptoms of spousal abuse is the first step, but taking action is the most important step in breaking free.

Domestic violence and abuse

Special note:

Stressful economic times trigger more instances of spousal abuse. To learn about reducing stress in your relationship, see Managing Relationship Stress

Domestic abuse, also known as spousal abuse, occurs when one person in an intimate relationship or marriage tries to dominate and control the other person. An abuser doesn’t “play fair.” He or she uses fear, guilt, shame, and intimidation to wear you down and gain complete power over you. He or she may threaten you, hurt you, or hurt those around you. Domestic abuse that includes physical violence is called domestic violence.

Victims of domestic abuse or domestic violence may be men or women, although women are more commonly victimized. (Note:this article will use the pronoun “he” for convenience only) This abuse happens among heterosexual couples and in same-sex partnerships. Except for the gender difference, domestic abuse doesn’t discriminate. It happens within all age ranges, ethnic backgrounds, and financial levels. The abuse may occur during a relationship, while the couple is breaking up, or after the relationship has ended.

Despite what many people believe, domestic violence is not due to the abuser’s loss of control over his behavior. In fact, violence is a deliberate choice made by the abuser in order to take control over his wife or partner.

Violent Behavior is an Abuser's Choice

Reasons we know an abuser's behaviors are not about anger and rage:

  • He does not batter other individuals - the boss who does not give him time off or the gas station attendant that spills gas down the side of his car. He waits until there are no witnesses and abuses the person he says he loves.
  • If you ask an abused woman, "can he stop when the phone rings or the police come to the door?" She will say "yes". Most often when the police show up, he is looking calm, cool and collected and she is the one who may look hysterical. If he were truly "out of control" he would not be able to stop himself when it is to his advantage to do so.
  • The abuser very often escalates from pushing and shoving to hitting in places where the bruises and marks will not show. If he were "out of control" or "in a rage" he would not be able to direct or limit where his kicks or punches land.

Source: Mid-Valley Women's Crisis Service

Spousal abuse and battery are used for one purpose: to gain and maintain total control over the victim. In addition to physical violence, abusers use the following tactics to exert power over their wives or partners:

  • Dominance — Abusive individuals need to feel in charge of the relationship. They will make decisions for you and the family, tell you what to do, and expect you to obey without question. Your abuser may treat you like a servant, child, or even as his possession.
  • Power and Control WheelHumiliation — An abuser will do everything he can to make you feel bad about yourself, or defective in some way. After all, if you believe you're worthless and that no one else will want you, you're less likely to leave. Insults, name-calling, shaming, and public put-downs are all weapons of abuse designed to erode your self-esteem and make you feel powerless.
  • Isolation — In order to increase your dependence on him, an abusive partner will cut you off from the outside world. He may keep you from seeing family or friends, or even prevent you from going to work or school. You may have to ask permission to do anything, go anywhere, or see anyone. Source: Domestic Abuse Intervention Project, MN
  • Threats — Abusers commonly use threats to keep their victims from leaving or to scare them into dropping charges. Your abuser may threaten to hurt or kill you, your children, other family members, or even pets. He may also threaten to commit suicide, file false charges against you, or report you to child services.
  • Intimidation — Your abuser may use a variety of intimation tactics designed to scare you into submission. Such tactics include making threatening looks or gestures, smashing things in front of you, destroying property, hurting your pets, or putting weapons on display. The clear message is that if you don't obey, there will be violent consequences.
  • Denial and blame — Abusers are very good at making excuses for the inexcusable. They will blame their abusive and violent behavior on a bad childhood, a bad day, and even on the victims of their abuse. Your abuser may minimize the abuse or deny that it occurred. He will commonly shift the responsibility onto you: Somehow, his violence and abuse is your fault.

If you feel you are in physical danger immediately call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-787-3224.

Cycle of violence

Domestic abuse falls into a common pattern, or cycle of violence:

  • Cycle of violenceAbuse — The abuser lashes out with aggressive or violent behavior. The abuse is a power play designed to show the victim "who is boss."
  • Guilt — After the abusive episode, the abuser feels guilt, but not over what he's done to the victim. The guilt is over the possibility of being caught and facing consequences.
  • Rationalization or excuses — The abuser rationalizes what he's done. He may come up with a string of excuses or blame the victim for his own abusive behavior—anything to shift responsibility from himself.
  • "Normal" behavior — The abuser does everything he can to regain control and keep the victim in the relationship. He may act as if nothing has happened, or he may turn on the charm. This peaceful honeymoon phase may give the victim hope that the abuser has really changed this time.
  • Fantasy and planning — The abuser begins to fantasize about abusing his victim again, spending a lot of time thinking about what she's done wrong and how he'll make her pay. Then he makes a plan for turning the fantasy of abuse into reality.
  • Set-up — The abuser sets up the victim and puts his plan in motion, creating a situation where he can justify abusing her.

The Full Cycle of Domestic Violence

A man abuses his partner. After he hits her, he experiences self-directed guilt. He says, "I'm sorry for hurting you." What he does not say is, "Because I might get caught." He then rationalizes his behavior by saying that his partner is having an affair with someone. He tells her "If you weren't such a worthless whore I wouldn't have to hit you." He then acts contrite, reassuring her that he will not hurt her again. He then fantasizes and reflects on past abuse and how he will hurt her again. He plans on telling her to go to the store to get some groceries. What he withholds from her is that she has a certain amount of time to do the shopping. When she is held up in traffic and is a few minutes late, he feels completely justified in assaulting her because "you're having an affair with the store clerk." He has just set her up.

Source: Mid-Valley Women's Crisis Service

Your abuser’s apologies and loving gestures in between the episodes of abuse can make it difficult to leave. He may make you believe that you are the only person who can help him, that things will be different this time, and that he truly loves you. However, the dangers of staying are real.

Domestic abuse often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to physical violence and even murder. And while physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of domestic abuse are also severe. No one deserves this kind of pain—and your first step to breaking free is recognizing that your situation is abusive. Once you acknowledge the reality of the abusive situation, then you can get the help you need.

Signs of an abusive relationship

There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The most significant sign is fear of your partner. Other signs include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, helplessness, and desperation.

To determine whether your relationship is abusive, answer the questions in the table below. The more “yes” answers, the more likely it is that you’re in an abusive relationship.

SIGNS OF AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP
Your Inner Thoughts and Feelings Your Partner’s Belittling Behavior

Do you:

  • feel afraid of your partner much of the time?
  • avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
  • feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
  • believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
  • wonder if you’re the one who is crazy?
  • feel emotionally numb or helpless?

Does your partner:

  • humiliate, criticize, or yell at you?
  • treat you so badly that you’re embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
  • ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
  • blame you for his own abusive behavior?
  • see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?
Your Partner’s Violent Behavior or Threats Your Partner’s Controlling Behavior

Does your partner:

  • have a bad and unpredictable temper?
  • hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • threaten to take your children away or harm them?
  • threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
  • force you to have sex?
  • destroy your belongings?

Does your partner:

  • act excessively jealous and possessive?
  • control where you go or what you do?
  • keep you from seeing your friends or family?
  • limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
  • constantly check up on you?

Types of domestic violence and abuse

There are different types of domestic abuse, including emotional, physical, sexual, and economic abuse. Many abusers behave in ways that include more than one type of domestic abuse, and the boundaries between some of these behaviors may overlap.

Emotional or psychological abuse

Emotional or psychological abuse can be verbal or nonverbal. Its aim is to chip away at your feelings of self-worth and independence. If you’re the victim of emotional abuse, you may feel that there is no way out of the relationship, or that without your abusive partner you have nothing. Emotional abuse includes verbal abuse such as yelling, name-calling, blaming, and shaming. Isolation, intimidation, and controlling behavior also fall under emotional abuse. Additionally, abusers who use emotional or psychological abuse often throw in threats of physical violence.

You may think that physical abuse is far worse than emotional abuse, since physical violence can send you to the hospital and leave you with scars. But, the scars of emotional abuse are very real, and they run deep. In fact, emotional abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse—sometimes even more so. Furthermore, emotional abuse usually worsens over time, often escalating to physical battery.

Physical abuse

When people talk about domestic violence, they are often referring to the physical abuse of a spouse or intimate partner. Physical abuse is the use of physical force against someone in a way that injures or endangers that person. There’s a broad range of behaviors that come under the heading of physical abuse, including hitting, grabbing, choking, throwing things, and assault with a weapon.

Physical assault or battering is a crime, whether it occurs inside or outside of the family. The police have the power and authority to protect you from physical attack.

Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is common in abusive relationships. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, between one-third and one-half of all battered women are raped by their partners at least once during their relationship. Any situation in which you are forced to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity is sexual abuse. Forced sex, even by a spouse or intimate partner with whom you also have consensual sex, is an act of aggression and violence. Furthermore, women whose partners abuse them physically and sexually are at a higher risk of being seriously injured or killed.

Economic or financial abuse

Remember, an abuser’s goal is to control you, and he will frequently hurt you to do that. In addition to hurting you emotionally and physically, an abusive partner may also hurt you in the pocketbook. Economic of financial abuse includes:

  • Controlling the finances.
  • Withholding money or credit cards.
  • Giving you an allowance.
  • Making you account for every penny you spend.
  • Stealing from you or taking your money.
  • Exploiting your assets for personal gain.
  • Withholding basic necessities (food, clothes, medications, shelter).
  • Preventing you from working or choosing your own career.
  • Sabotaging your job (making you miss work, calling constantly)

Domestic violence warning signs

Take Precautions

Call 911 or the police in your community if you suspect a case of domestic violence.

It's impossible to know with certainty what goes on behind closed doors, but there are some telltale signs and symptoms of domestic violence and abuse. If you witness a number of warning signs in a friend, family member, or co-worker, you can reasonably suspect domestic abuse.

  • Frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
  • Frequent and sudden absences from work or school
  • Frequent, harassing phone calls from the partner
  • Fear of the partner, references to the partner's anger
  • Personality changes (e.g. an outgoing woman becomes withdrawn)
  • Excessive fear of conflict
  • Submissive behavior, lack of assertiveness
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Insufficient resources to live (money, credit cards, car) Domestic Violence and Abuse: Help, Treatment, Intervention, and Prevention
  • Depression, crying, low self-esteem

Reporting suspected domestic abuse is important. If you're afraid of getting involved, remember that the report is confidential and everything possible will be done to protect your privacy. You don’t have to give your name, and your suspicions will be investigated before anyone is taken into custody. Most important, you can protect the victim from further harm by calling for help.

Help, Treatment, Intervention, and Prevention

Domestic Violence and Abuse: Help, Treatment, Intervention, and Prevention

If you’re a victim of domestic violence or abuse, you may be afraid to seek help out of fear of you’re your partner would do if he found out. However, there are many things you can do to protect yourself when leaving. Start by creating a safety plan ahead of time, so you know exactly where to go and how to get away fast when your abuser attacks. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) for advice and help with your escape.

If you need help immediately, call 911.

Getting help for domestic abuse or violence

Domestic Violence: Where to Turn for Help

For emergency help: Call 911 if you are in immediate danger of domestic violence or have already been hurt.

For advice and support: Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE). Additional contacts for the hotline:

Help through email: ndvh@ndvh.org

Help for the hearing-impaired: 1-800-787-3224 (TTY) or deafhelp@ndvh.org

For a safe place to stay: Call your state’s branch of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence if you need a shelter from domestic violence. To find your state’s hotline number, go to the State Coalition List.

How can a woman safely leave an abusive relationship and protect herself from further abuse? Most women cannot simply leave their homes, their jobs, their children’s schools, their friends, and their relatives to escape their abuser. They depend upon police to enforce the law against physical abuse. Yet, police cannot act until a restraining order is violated or until some physical harm again befalls the woman.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, you may believe that it's easier to stay with your abuser than to try to leave and risk retaliation. However, there are many things you can do to protect yourself while getting out of an abusive situation, and there are people waiting to help.

Protecting yourself from domestic violence

If you live with someone who abuses you or if someone is stalking you, you need to take immediate measures to protect yourself. You’re in extra danger if your abuser or stalker talks about murder or suicide. You’re also in particular danger if you are thinking about leaving an abusive relationship.

Because of the risk of being seriously hurt or killed when leaving an abusive relationship, it’s important to develop a safe plan for departure. The National Doemstic Violence Hotline site provides Hotlines for help. People who are staffing the phones or answering email can advise you on how to protect yourself, refer you to other services and domestic violence shelters, and inform you about local laws and restraining orders.

If you’re still living with your abusive partner:

  • Domestic Violence Escape Kit

    Pack a survival kit.

    • Money for cab fare
    • A change of clothes
    • Extra house and car keys
    • Birth certificates
    • Driver’s license or passport
    • Medications and copies of prescriptions
    • Insurance information
    • Checkbook
    • Credit cards
    • Legal documents such as separation agreements and protection orders
    • Address books
    • Valuable jewelry
    • Papers that show jointly owned assets

    Conceal it in the home or leave it with a trusted neighbor, friend, or relative. Important papers can also be left in a bank deposit box.

    Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Domestic Violence Awareness Handbook

    Know your abuser’s red flags. Be on alert for signs and clues that your abuser is getting upset and may explode in anger or violence. Come up with several believable reasons you can use to leave the house (both during the day and at night) if you sense trouble brewing.
  • Identify safe areas of the house. Know where to go if your abuser attacks or an argument starts. Avoid small, enclosed spaces without exits (such as closets or bathrooms) or rooms with weapons (such as the kitchen). If possible, head for a room with a phone and an outside door or window.
  • Be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice. Keep the car fueled up and facing the driveway exit, with the driver’s door unlocked. Hide a spare car key where you can get it quickly. Have emergency cash, clothing, and important phone numbers and documents stashed in a safe place (at a friend’s house, for example).
  • Practice escaping quickly and safely. Rehearse your escape plan so you know exactly what to do if under attack from your abuser. If you have children, have them practice the escape plan also.
  • Come up with a code word. Establish a word, phrase, or signal you can use to let your children, friends, neighbors, or co-workers know that you’re in danger and the police should be called.
  • Make and memorize a list of emergency contacts. Ask several trusted individuals if you can contact them if you need a ride, a place to stay, or help contacting the police. Memorize the numbers of your emergency contacts, local shelter, and domestic violence hotline.
  • Keep change and cash on you at all times. Know where the nearest public phone is located, and have change available so you can use it in an emergency situation to call for help. Also try to keep cash on hand for cab fare.

Additionally, to keep yourself safe from domestic abuse and violence you should document all abuse. If you’ve been injured, take photographs. If you have been abused in front of others, ask witnesses to write down what they saw. Finally, don’t hesitate to call the police if your abuser has hurt you or broken the law. Contact the police even if you just think your abuser might have broken a law. Assaulting you, stealing from you, and destroying your property are all crimes.

Protecting Your Children From Domestic Violence and Abuse

How to make your children safer:

  • Teach them not to get in the middle of a fight, even if they want to help.
  • Teach them how to get to safety, to call 911, to give your address and phone number to the police.
  • Teach them who to call for help.
  • Tell them to stay out of the kitchen.
  • Give school officials a copy of your court order; tell them not to release your children to anyone without talking to you first; use a password so they can be sure it is you on the phone; give them a photo of the abuser.
  • Make sure the children know who to tell at school if they see the abuser.
  • Make sure that the school knows not to give your address or phone number to anyone.

Source: American Bar Association

Leaving an abusive relationship safely

You may be afraid to leave out of fear that your partner will retaliate if they find out. However, there are precautions you can take to stay safe as you seek help.

Seeking help by phone

Protecting Yourself From Domestic Violence

Phone Safety Tips

When seeking help for domestic violence, call from a public pay phone or another phone outside the house, using one of the following payment methods:

  • A prepaid phone card
  • A friend’s telephone charge card
  • Coins
  • A collect call

When you seek help by phone, use a corded phone if possible, rather than a cordless phone or cell phone. A corded phone is more private, and less easy to tap.

Remember that if you use your own home phone or telephone charge card, the phone numbers that you call will be listed on the monthly bill that is sent to your home.

Even if you’ve already left by the time the bill arrives, your abuser may be able to track you down by the phone numbers you’ve called for help.

You can call 911 for free on most public phones, so know where the closest one is in case of emergency. Some domestic violence shelters offer free cell phones to battered women. Call your local hotline to find out more.

Seeking help online

If you seek help online, you are safest if you use a computer outside of your home. You can use a computer at a domestic violence shelter or agency, at work, at a friend’s house, at a library, or at a community center.

It is almost impossible to clear a computer of all evidence of the websites that you have visited, unless you know a lot about Internet browsers and about your own computer. Also be careful when sending email, as your abuser may know how to access your account. See the Women's law.org article on Internet Security for instructions for covering your online tracks and email history.


Monday, October 5, 2009

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the breast. It is considered a heterogeneous disease—differing by individual, age group, and even the kinds of cells within the tumors themselves. Obviously no woman wants to receive this diagnosis, but hearing the words “breast cancer” doesn’t always mean an end. It can be the beginning of learning how to fight, getting the facts, and finding hope.

Women in the United States get breast cancer more than any other type of cancer except for skin cancer. It is second only to lung cancer as a cause of cancer death in women.

Each year it is estimated that nearly 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 will die. Approximately 1,700 men will also be diagnosed with breast cancer and 450 will die each year. The evaluation of men with breast masses is similar to that in women, including mammography.


An Early Breast Cancer Detection Plan should include:

  • Beginning at age 20: Performing breast self-exams and looking for any signs of change.
  • Age 20 to 39: Scheduling clinical breast exams every three years.
  • By the age of 40: Having a baseline mammogram and annual clinical breast exams.
  • Ages 40 to 49: Having a mammogram every one to two years depending on previous findings.
  • Ages 50 and older: Having a mammogram every year.
  • All Ages:
  • — Recording personal exams, mammograms and doctors'
    appointments on a calendar or in a detailed file.
    — Maintaining a healthy weight, following a low-fat diet, getting regular exercise, quitting smoking, and reducing alcohol consumption.

Common signs & symptoms of breast cancer include:

  • A change in how the breast or nipple feels
    You may experience nipple tenderness or notice a lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm area.
  • A change in how the breast or nipple looks
    This could mean a change in the size or shape of the breast or a nipple that is turned slightly inward. In addition, the skin of the breast, areola or nipple may appear scaly, red or swollen or may have ridges or pitting that resembles the skin of an orange.
  • Nipple discharge
Risk factors for breast cancer include:
  • Age: Half of all women diagnosed are over age 65.
  • Weight: Being Obese or overweight.
  • Diet & Lifestyle: Lack of physical activity, a diet high in saturated fat, and alcoholic intake of more than two drinks per day.
  • Menstrual & Reproductive History: Early menstruation of late menopause, having your first child at an older age or not having given birth, or taking birth control pills for more than ten years if you are under 35.
  • Family & Personal History: A family history of breast cancer—particularly a mother or sister. or a personal history of breast cancer of benign (non-cancer) breast disease.
  • Medical & Other Factors: Dense breast tissue (often identified by a mammogram), past radiation therapy to the breast or chest area. a history of hormone treatments—such as estrogen and progesterone, or gene changes— including BRCA1. BRCA2, and others.

The Five Steps of a Breast Self Exam

Step 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.

Here's what you should look for:

  • Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color
  • Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling

If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor's attention:

  • Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin
  • A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out)
  • Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling
Breast Self Exam - Step 1Breast Self Exam - Step 1

Step 2: Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.

Breast Self Exam - Steps 2 and 3Breast Self Exam - Steps 2 and 3

Step 3: While you're at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).

Step 4: Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.

Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.

Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you've reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.

Breast Self Exam - Step 4Breast Self Exam - Step 4

Step 5: Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in Step 4.

Breast Self Exam - Step 5Breast Self Exam - Step 5

Friday, August 14, 2009

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil

Monday, August 3, 2009

Be as a Child

While we try to teach our children all about life, Our children teach us what life is all about. ~Angela Schwindt

Children always inspire. They make you yearn for days gone by. The simpler times. The times of carefree joy and innocence. We miss it. We miss those times, but are they really out of reach or have we just forgotten how to enjoy them?.

As we grow older we begin looking towards the future. We begin living with goals that are slightly out of reach - college, careers, homes, children, retirement - It's a never ending cycle. Yet, when we look at children it causes a yearning.

Children are the greatest inspiration for mindfulness. They live in the moment with no thoughts of tomorrow. They enjoy the little things -- those simple pleasures that we take for granted. They let their natural curiosity and imagination take them where ever they want to go. They are free spirits in a closed-minded world. Something we as adults still harbor inside of us.

I could watch my boys for hours. They can sit and build "the largest tower in the world" with their blocks without thinking about what they will be doing later or what happened yesterday. When they fall and get a "boo-boo," they will act as if it's the most traumatic experience in the world as they sit there crying. The moment I place that band-aid on it and give it an "all better" kiss, it is forgotten and they move on as if nothing happened. It amazes me that these little creatures can live in the moment and just the moment. So innocent and carefree. Full of life.

What we yearn for from our childhoods isn't far out of our reach. If we let go of the woes of yesterday or the unknowns of tomorrow. If we let children inspire us -- let them remind us to live in the moment. Maybe then, we can enjoy the moment for what it's worth and most importantly, just live.

Friday, July 31, 2009

We labor to make a house a home, then every time we're expecting visitors, we rush to turn it back into a house. ~Robert Brault

Why is it that when friends and family come over we feel the need to clean up our homes more than normal? Would it be that uncomfortable for others to see how you really live? Knowing that things aren't always perfectly placed, that maybe you don't always wash the dished in the sink right after using them and the coffee table in the living room usually has fingerprints all over it. Would they not be friends with you anymore?

Tonight my husband invited another couple that we are friends with over for a movie and some good conversation. We used to get together at least once a month but now we haven't seen them since May. They are recently engaged and I am looking forward to talking wedding talk.

When hubby came in and asked me if it was okay last night, I took a look around at my home that is disheveled from moving and not to mention that the actual housework has taken a back seat to moving as well. I looked at him mortified. Of course I would host but I needed the reassurance that they knew that we are moving and our home is a mess.


Why? We will still have a good time regardless of the way my home looks. They aren't going to pass judgment or think I am a bad housewife or mother because the place is unkempt a week before our move. They know I have three little boys yet when they come over after they are in bed, there are no signs that they live here other than the pictures on the walls.


How much of ourselves do we really hide from others? I have never been the neatest of people in my everyday life. I let the dinner dishes sit until morning and I don't always wipe the boys toothpaste from the sink before bed. I hardly worry about the fingerprints on the coffee table because the second I am done dusting I know they are going to put them right back. Not to mention that I am lucky if I run the vacuum once a week because my youngest is petrified of it. And the way I dress? I rarely get out of my sweats and tanks, I never wear makeup when I am home and my hair is rarely blown straight. Normally it is up in a sloppy ponytail.

So why, when I know I have company coming I go into overdrive making sure nothing is out of place? It's as if a rush comes over me and I am racing the clock to make sure that everything is perfect including my appearance before they knock on the door? What if we had surprise visitors? Would I let them in? What would they think? Of course I would invite them in and apologize for the mess. I know they would understand with the knowledge that I have three small boys and a ton of work to do.

So why am I freaking out about tonight?!?
No. I refuse to let this control me. I am going to take my time with my cleaning today. If I don't get everything done, so be it. I will make myself up and make sure the area where we will be hanging out is taken care of and be a good hostess as usual. But, I am not going to hide that I can't be organized during a move. It is impossible for me to do so and I don't need to feel more anxiety than this move has already given me.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet." ~James Openheim

Happiness. Is it a state of mind or a destination? Is it something that we can reach or that lives inside of us?

Bumps in the road of life are to be expected, so why do we allow them to control our happiness? Happiness lives inside of us. If we spend less time worrying about what the future holds or the current issue at hand, we won't lose sight of the moment. Satisfaction can only come from within when we truly accept ourselves, our lives, and our circumstances. Only then can we can truly enjoy what life has to offer.

Those simple pleasures that we don't take advantage of daily. The songs the bird sings outside your window. The smell of the flowers in the garden. The taste of snow on our tongues. The feel of the grass between your toes. Small talk with someone on line at Starbucks. These things that we normally don't put much thought into and just take them for face value.

Why not put more stock into them? These little things that bring us satisfaction. Make us happy and put a smile on our face. This is what life is all about. We only live in this one moment. If not just for today, lets not consume ourselves with our troubles and enjoy these moments and put most of our energy into being happy.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"It's surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time." ~Barbara Kingsolver

Little tics on the walls showing my boys how much they have grown over the past years. Pen and pencil marks outline their latest artwork even if they weren't supposed to write on them. Little fingerprints that have smudged after time and time of them holding on when learning how to walk or running down the halls. All of this being left behind in a week. Ready to be painted over in antique white. Erasing my children's memory so a new family can create their own.

Moving can be so difficult. The memories that you captured in a place are reason enough not to want to leave. Then theirs the actual packing. Picking and choosing the things that you will take with you. Leaving behind with those marks on the walls other material items that also hold some form of memory.

The crib that all three of my children slept in for 2 years of their live and has comforted my children where they enjoyed many good dreams will now be left behind. For Alex is no longer a baby and with this move, he will acquire a big boy bed. A new beginning for himself. The pack and play that has sat in my living room for 6 years will also not be coming with us. Now that Alex will have a big boy bed, he no longer will lay in there until he goes to sleep at night keeping my husband and myself company until he is fast asleep and moved to his crib. The baby clothes that started with my oldest 6 years ago and still have the smell of all three of them will now be donated for other little boys that are less fortunate than us. The toys that used to annoy me with how loud they were will also be donated leaving us with the quieter toys meant for older children.

I keep trying to think of how much nicer it will be to have a fresh start. My older two are excited because they will be getting bunk beds. Their room will be new and exciting. My little one will finally have a room he could play in. He will have a place to grow and learn. My husband and I will have a bedroom that we could go into and enjoy each others company without the clutter that we have acquired. No more disciplining the children for running on the floors so they don't upset the downstairs neighbors.

But what about the memories. Yes we carry them with us in our hearts but the daily reminders; the touch, the smells...these things we will be leaving behind. I feel I am letting go of my babies and have to accept that they are growing boys. I'm not sure I am ready to let them go. So, although I am going to be removing the crib, the play pen, the old clothes and the tic marks on the wall; I am also going to pack up their baby blankets, the ones that soothed them when they were babies. The hats they wore home from the hospital. I will take a picture of their growth chart and artwork on the walls. I am going to hold onto these things so when I feel the need to revisit this time, this home.... It will be in the new place waiting for me to remember.

Monday, July 20, 2009

"It is not the cares of today, but the cares of tomorrow, that weigh a man down." ~George MacDonald

What do you do when you are sitting at the dinner table and your 6 year old tells you that another student stated that he was making plans to kill the whole class tomorrow? Would you take the threats seriously? Would you contact the school or police or would you take it lightly?

This happened to me today and I am still a bit unsure of how I feel. At first I wasn't sure if I should make my fears known to my son or if I should discuss it more with him or act like it was no big deal.

The child who made the threats honestly scares me. Last month at a class function he kept staring at my 2 year old and telling me I need to give him a spanking. He kept going on about it with this look in his eyes. Then he placed his hand over my sons and held his gaze. He then looked at me and told me if I wasn't going to reprimand him, someone had too.

What was my son doing to deserve this? Well being a normal 2 year old, he was play tapping his brothers and close friends. They were all laughing but this child didn't find it amusing. He then pushed in front of my tiny 2 year old and leaned in to take one of those hits to himself. When it happened he grabbed his arm and started squeezing it hard. I got his arm free and then my oldest got in his face and told him to stay away from his brothers. I separated this argument that wasn't looking like it was going in the right direction before the teacher even noticed what was going on. When the bell rang I quickly picked up my kids and got out of there. Then told my oldest that he could forget about me forcing him to invite said child to his birthday party. He was not allowed NEAR my children.

Back to today.

After sharing this information with my mother, I called the teacher at home and explained the situation. The teacher told me their was an altercation between this student and the rest of the class earlier today but it was taken care of. He wasn't aware that it escalated to this by the end of the day. He further informed me when I confided with him my past with this child and my fears, that their are 8 students in the class and 4 teachers so my son was safe to go to school tomorrow.

I'm just not sure how I feel about having this child in class with my son. I know a lot of 6 year olds play with words and show signs of rage and are completely harmless but I know their are a few that are dangerous. I have looked into this child's eyes. I see he has a very disturbed home. I see he has a lot of anger issues and I could see a child like this losing it.

Do I trust my child in the hands of another adult? Do I let fear control my life? I can't keep my children in bubbles. I can't raise them to fear society and life because their are a few bad eggs out there but when is it walking the fine line? I know my son will be okay tomorrow because the teacher will have a steady eye on this child. But what about next week or the following? What about in September after a month break when this child has not been around peers and may be going through more things that bring on more anger? Am I being over-protective? Am I looking into this too much? I want my children to be safe. They are my life and as their mother it is my duty to protect them. But how long do I let this fear harbor inside of me?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Branching Out

Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best. ~Henry van Dyke

I decided it might be best if I separate my blog into three separate blogs. One for my book reviews, one for inspirational thoughts and musings and still keep this one for my reflections on life. I will be removing all the book reviews from here soon to keep it organized.

You can reach all of my blogs on the tops of all of the pages. They are all interconnected. I was thinking of doing a bio page as a starting ground but I haven't gone past the thinking stage yet.

I would love for all of you to continue following me here as well as the other two blogs. So, when you have a chance please check them out. I worked very hard on the layouts and afterthoughts and really just put a lot of time into them.

Simple Serenity ~ http://embracingsimpleserenity.blogspot.com/
Literary Life ~ http://onechickonlit.blogspot.com/

I hope you enjoy. =)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk in my garden forever." --Alfred Lord Tennyson

My Nana and I were very close. As you can tell from her picture she is Native American and Irish. (Not that you can see the Irish in her)Well she was very in tune with the earth and very wise about the world.She taught me things about life by watching nature. She had such an amazing soul. I know how to tell the weather by watching the leaves on trees or what the winter has in store for us by the tails of the squirrels among many other things.

I just felt the need to sh
are a few stories about her today. She has been on my mind a lot and I just want to share a few things.

When I was younger, we used to pick four leaf clovers together and every time we found a feather she would stick it behind her ear.We would sit for hours in the backyard (even when I was a teenager) and pick literally 100’s of four leaf clovers. No one could understand how we always found them let alone so many. It was a memory I always cherished. I went to Woodstock, NY when I was pregnant with my oldest and they were selling necklaces with real four leaf clovers in them. I had to buy her one! I gave it to her and we sat and chatted for hours about them and our special tradition at every visit. After she passed away, I wore the necklace and oddly the four leaf clover disintegrated or something. I think she just took it with her.

My Nana, became ill in 2003 and I visited her almost daily in the hospital. I brought Mikey (her baby in the basket) to see her and I swear he brought her strength. She adored him so much. When she got better she had lost control of her bladder and she could not go home so they transferred her to a nursing home. My Nana was so against it. She begged my Mom to take her home and my mother told her not until she had control again. The problem was she couldn’t get it back. So she gave up. It went rather quickly. Every day she lost more and more. Her eyes started rolling and the rattle. That horrible rattle. I will never forget that sound. I continued to visit her daily and sat and cried and begged her to get better. My mom and dad told me I had to tell her to let go. I didn’t want to. I stayed selfish for a week. I finally built up the courage to tell her she could go. I didn’t want to be there when she passed away. I didn’t want to be in the room. My whole family came down that day. Everyone was saying goodbye and everyone stepped outside to smoke a cigarette. My mother, myself and I’m not really sure who else was in the room were all there when I finally told her it was okay. My mother sang Wind Beneath My Wings to her. I was squeezing her leg and my mother was holding her hand. She for the first time in 2 weeks made eye contact with my mother for a brief second. A tear rolled down her face and she squeezed my mothers hand lightly and that was it.

I was beside myself. I ran out hyperventilating and screaming. I called my friend Joey and was trying to make things clear in my mind and explain what had happened. All of a sudden, a dove circled above me and it grabbed my attention. I became completely silent and intrigued. Then a second one came and they circled each other and then they just flew off together. I sat there in silence. (Meanwhile Joey is freaking out because I haven’t said a word and cut off mid sentence) I finally told Joey, I was finally okay and I needed to hang up. I ended our conversation and had the greatest sense of peace. It was as if I had an out of body experience or meditated all day….the sense of peace was amazing. I went back into the nursing home gave my mother a hug and told her it was okay, that my Nana had found my Grandpa and she was at peace. It was the most amazing thing I ever experienced.

My Nana is always with me. She has ways of letting me know she is there. Every birthday,
holiday, event….I always find a four leaf clover. She always lets me know she is with me. I have found them for my mother on her birthday and so on as well. This year I couldn't find any for a few months and I was getting really upset because I always find them. Two weeks ago I was sitting in front of my parents house and I found 5. I was so excited. There was one for my birthday, one for each of my boys birthdays, my anniversary and mothers day. On my way into the house to wrap them, I lost one. But I wasn't disappointed because I knew she was there for me. Last weekend, it was my boys birthday party and I found another one which I gave to my mother.

Another funny thing that reminds me she is watching over me is, three years ago
for Mikey’s birthday when I was hanging up decorations in the back yard at my parent’s house, I found a feather. (Remember, she used to wear them in her hair?) I taped it to the chimney and told
everyone that my Nana was there. Three years later and after many storms that have passed it still hung there until a week or two ago when my parents replaced the chimney. When my father was cleaning up the yard for Mikey and Alex’s party the following year he found a new feather on the ground right below it. My mother called me and told me my Nana left me another present. At the party, I proudly hung it up right below the one from the previous year. This year when cleaning up the yard for the party, I found yet another but didn't hang it since my parents just replaced the chimney. But I smiled and admired it for a little while.

No matter where she is, I know she is with me. I love sharing stories about her and admire the woman she once was. She will forever live on in my memory and in the stories I share with my boys.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

My post yesterday reminded me of an old email I received 2 years ago. I shared it on Cafemom as a journal entry thankfully and was able to retrieve it for a smile today. Now I know why the "Mean Mom" label didn't hurt so bad. I'm a proud "Mean Mom", are you?

MEAN MOM

Someday when my children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates a parent, I will tell them, as my Mean Mom told me:

I loved you enough to ask where you were going, with whom, and what time you would be home.

I loved you enough to be silent and let you discover that your new best friend was a creep.

I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that should have taken 15 minutes.

I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, and tears in my eyes. Children must learn that their parents aren't perfect.

I loved you enough to let you assume the responsibility for your actions even when the penalties were so harsh they almost broke my heart.

But most of all, I loved you enough to say NO when I knew you would hate me for it.

Those were the most difficult battles of all. I'm glad I won them, because in the end you won, too.

And someday when your children are old enough to understand the logic that motivates parents, you will tell them.

Was your Mom mean? I know mine was. We had the meanest mother in the whole world! While other kids ate candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal, eggs, and toast.

When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch, we had to eat sandwiches.

And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was different from what other kids had, too.

Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times. You'd think we were convicts in a prison. She had to know who our friends were, and what we were doing with them. She insisted that if we said we would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less.

We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerve to break the Child Labor Laws by making us work. We had to wash the dishes, make the beds, learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, empty the trash and all sorts of cruel jobs. I think she would lie awake at night thinking of more things for us to do.

She always insisted on us telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. By the time we were teenagers, she could read our minds and had eyes in the back of her head. Then, life was really tough!

Mother wouldn't let our friends just honk the horn when they drove up. They had to come up to the door so she could meet them.

While everyone else could date when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we were 16.

Because of our mother we missed out on lots of things other kids experienced. None of us have ever been caught shoplifting, vandalizing other's property or ever arrested for any crime.

It was all her fault.

Now that we have left home, we are all educated, honest adults. We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was.

I think that is what's wrong with the world today.

It just doesn't have enough mean moms!

;;