Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Random memory - Children of the corn

I have the world's worst memory. I can't remember people's names until I've met them at least half a dozen times. Birthdays are completely beyond me and phone numbers are either saved in my phone or unknown. Because of my memory disability, I've decided to implement a new feature - the random memory. To preserve the simple but profound moments of my youth, I'm blogging them here for prosperity.

When I was in grade nine, I was still torn between two realms: the innocence and freedom of childhood and the racy, seductive thrills of being an adult. How I filled my summer nights during these tumultuous years seems the perfect reflection of this mindset.

With our parents safely consoled by the thought that we were watching movies at each others' homes, groups of hormonally charged teens gathered under the buzzing yellow lights of the street. Boys and girls awkwardly flirting by teasing, pushing and tickling. The boys roughhousing with each other as they jockeyed for our attention.

Behind the high school lay a field of corn, lush and green in the summer heat. With furtive glances, we would slip into the field, the cool leaves brushing the sweat from our tanned skin. The game was simple: a no-holds-barred game of kissing tag amongst the crops. The addition of carefully tossed ears of corn helped you to locate your prey amongst the rows (and perhaps leave him slightly dazed and requiring your full attention). The premise of a game managed to erase the awkwardness that usually plagued our romantic attempts.

Stalking through the neat lines of plants, my heart would race with possibilities. Would I be caught by the pasty skinned boy with the perpetully bad breath or would lady luck be with me and let the dark-haired, crystal-eyed object of my affection wrap me in his arms.

I remember one particular night where the moon was full and lit up the field like a bright cosmic spotlight. The leaves of the corn seemed to have an etheral glow and it gave the entire game a more magical feel. On this particular night, a closely-held secret crush was amongst the players.

As I cautiously poked through the rows, ducking incoming corn missiles and spider webs, I suddenly felt hands clasp around my waist. I spun on my heels, my heart now threatening to explode from my chest as I confronted my captor. My eyes must have matched the moon in both size and brightness that night as I realized that I was in the arms of my crush.

His t-shirt clung to his skinny body and the effort of the chase speckled sweat on his brow. His hands felt hot on my back and I was painfully aware of every one of my curves that bordered his touch. We smiled shyly at one another before he pushed on my back to bring me closer. As my lips grazed his, I could smell the too-sweet cologne on his peach-fuzzed cheeks. The kiss held for a moment, lingered as we shared the electric current of lust and love. And then, all too soon, the squeals from other players broke through the enchanting silence of the kiss. In a flash, we darted off in opposite directions, lest we be found and teased mercilessly by our friends.

It was through these green fields and stolen moments that I began to gather small grains of self-confidence and glimpses into the passionate world of adulthood. Amongst the corn, the tiny kernals of who I would become were nurtured and sprinkled with a touch of magic.

Monday, July 28, 2008

The grand finale!

The saga of heartsong's hand is finally over! We went to see the plastic surgeon this morning and he's given Hayden a clean bill of health. The wound has healed quite well thanks to the constant attention of the nurses at our local hospital. They bandaged his fingers straight every night and as a result, the scar seems to be healing loose enough for him to be able to use his fingers normally.

He left the hospital today with just a simple band aid over the biggest wound. The other fingers have healed enough that they don't need any further dressings. The whole way home and then to school, Hayden just stared at his hand. He'd touch his fingers cautiously and show them to me as if they were some strange new growth. I'm sure his skin is prickling with every little sensation after being tightly bound for the past two weeks. He was still holding it protectively when I left the school, not quite believing that he had two useful hands again.

I'm sure that by the time I pick him up tonight, he'll have forgotten he ever had the bandages. I wonder if he'll revert back to using his right hand or if he'll stay a lefty. I've had a few friends tell me that this might have been a great experience cognitively as Hayden would have formed all new pathways in his brain as he learned to use his left hand for writing and eating.

Someday, as he receives his Nobel prize, I'll remind him that mummy made it all possible.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Another kitty bites the dust

Yup, that's right, curiosity has killed this cat. When I first started blogging, a co-worker and fellow blogger told me how to keep track of how many people were viewing my words. At the time, I boastfully proclaimed that I didn't care who read my blog, I was writing it for myself and my heartsong as a living history. She smirked and told me wait and see.

I'm here to sheepishly admit that, a mere four months after my blogging debut, I've subscribed to a counter. Curiosity certainly did get the better of me. While yes, I am still writing for the same reasons, I recognize that others can and do read this blog. Keeping an eye on traffic seems like the prudent thing to do. I like to think it's akin to the friendly dingle of a bell when you open the door of your your local mom and pop corner store.

And so, in the infamous words of Apu, "Thank you. Come again!"

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Warm and gooey about my girls

You know, in all the hullaballoo of the heartsong hand incident, I never did blog about why we went to Ottawa in the first place.

Adam and I lived in Ottawa for about eight years. It was in this beautiful capital city that I met my very best friends. These were the friends I had longed for all my life. The kind of friends I could count on through thick and thin and back again. They never judged me, never made me feel insecure and always made me feel loved and supported. These women helped me to grow and stretch my wings in a strange city. They were there for me through a break-up, my marriage, my pregnancy and the birth of my heartsong.

It was visiting these wonderful friends that drew us to Ottawa last weekend. And on the Friday we arrived, I was enveloped in the delicious giddiness this circle of friends always brings me. We had a girly night with strawberry daiquiris, gales of laughter and lots of love.

It made me long for the closeness I had with these friends. As much as I love them all, 500kms makes it hard to keep in close contact. I'm often torn between the desire to live close to these girls in an absolutely beautiful city and living in Southern Ontario where I'm close to my entire family. I wish I could just pick up my family and move them to Ottawa - that would be ideal. But we'd have to win a big lottery to make that happen. (Remind me to buy a ticket.)

And so despite the fact that our weekend ended in disaster, it did begin exactly as I had dreamed. And I do have those warm, gooey memories to carry me through these tough times.

To my favourite girls - Dana, Josie, and Krista, thank you for being such wonderful friends. You are always quick with a smile and a hug and being with you just makes me feel a special kind of love. I think that friendship love is unique because it's a chosen love. At any time, you could check out of the relationship, but you chose to stay. And that just makes me feel priviledged that you chose me. I love you girls!

Occupation: preoccupation

I’m having trouble coming up with blog content lately. My mind is preoccupied with my heartsong. I find it hard to write about anything else with his bandaged hand acting as a constant reminder of his injury. We’re STILL waiting to see the plastic surgeon. Until we see the surgeon, we don't know if Hayden's hand will be permanently disfigured. The not knowing kills me. I just want to know if we're in for more surgery or just the slow healing process. I want my little man to be all better and for this to just be a story to tell his kids one day.

The good news is that he’s become completely ambidextrous and uses his left hand for everything now. Kids are amazing like that. So resilient and adaptable. I admit that I’d be totally lost without my right hand for weeks at a time.

We’re still going to the hospital every night for dressing changes so they can keep an eye out for any sign of infection. The nurses at the hospital are totally in love with him. I think they ask us to bring him in just so he can flirt with them. He's so polite that he says "Daku" (thank you) every time they finish bandaging his hand. Hayden is convinced that he goes to the hospital every night just to show the nurses how to blow bubbles.

And so that’s it. I still live with the guilt, I still don’t know what long-term affect this will have on Hayden and I still worry. If my blogs are sporadic, this is why. Between work and daily trips to the hospital, it doesn’t leave much time for creative thinking.

To all of you who have sent me such wonderfully supportive message (both here and on my personal email): THANK YOU! I’m really not sure how I would have got through this past week without your love and understanding. You guys are the best!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Heartsong Update

To watch him, you'd never know that he'd had such a traumatic weekend. It's like my mother said, kids just don't know that they're supposed to mope and groan about their injuries. His bandaged hand hasn't slowed him down one bit. And given it's his right hand that's injured, he's getting quite good at eating and playing with his left.

I still relive the day every time I lay down to sleep. And living those moments over and over, I began to share my anger. I am still angry at myself, but now I'm also furious at the doctor who treated my little heartsong. When we went to the hospital, we chose the specialized children's hospital as they're used to dealing with the special fears and needs of kids. But the doctor who performed Hayden's surgery was awful. I won't go into too many details, but she tried to perform the operation with him consciously sedated but without pain killers and didn't bother to don sterile gloves. A rather stern letter was written to the Patient Care Representative and I'm happy to report that they've already written back. They're going to investigate the matter, interview the doctors involved and contact me for further information. I was quite plesed to see that they took the situation as seriously as I did.

As far as Hayden's hand, it's now being observed every day by our local hospital (and they've been amazing). They change his bandages and make sure no infection has a chance to take hold. The black cut has returned to it's pink colour. My paediatrician was trying to get us in with a local plastic surgeon who specializes in hands, but he's on vacation all week. Instead, she's trying to get us in with a paediatric plastic surgeon. They just want someone who specializes in the field to look at the stitch job and determine if it will heal properly. Hopefully I'll hear about the appointment today.

So keep those prayers and healing thoughts coming. They're starting to work!

And if you want to see what that little hand looked like on Monday night after his bath, scroll down. Just be warned that it's pretty graphic and pretty yucky. You can't really get an idea of how deep the cut is, but you can imagine how painful it must be.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My baby. My sweet angel baby,

No one ever told me that becoming a mother means resigning yourself to a life of guilt. From the day you find out you're pregnant, you start to feel guilty.
"I shouldn't have had that glass of wine three weeks ago."

As your pregnancy progresses, you find more reasons to feel guilty.
"If only I'd remembered to take my multivitamins every day, he'd be healthier."

And then they're born and the opportunity to make bad decisions just multiplies.
"Maybe if I hadn't started him on solids when I did, he wouldn't have this wheat allergy."

And when they start moving, oh boy the chance for regret and guilt just skyrockets. (For proof just look at this post.)

After this weekend, I am absolutely riddled with guilt and can not suppress the feeling that I am the most inept and horrible mother ever.

We went to Ottawa for a four day vacation. The first two were wonderful and filled with reunions with our closest friends. Then, on the third day, Hayden and I were playing outside before we went out for breakfast. He kept splashing in our friend's dog water dish and I kept dragging him away and trying to get him interested in the birds and flowers. He ran back and picked up the dish, about to pour it all over himself. So I grabbed it to tug it out of his hands before he soaked himself in dog drool. When I yanked it from his grasp, he squealed and I assumed it was a tantrum. Then I looked down to see his hand covered in blood. Little did I know, the protective rubber seal that normally covered the handle he was holding was gone, leaving a sharp metal edge. When I'd pulled that dish from his hands, I'd actually pulled that sharp metal edge into his fingers. The guilt immediately rose like bile in my throat.

I ran inside with him, my grasp putting pressure on his heavily bleeding fingers. I ran them quickly under cool water and he screamed out in agony. When I opened his fingers to assess the damage, my heart flipped and my eyes instantly welled up. His middle finger had a deep gash on the first finger pad (closest to the palm) and it continued up and in past his first joint. It looked deep and angry and not something I could fix. Beside it, his other finger had a deep gash to the pad. With the help of our dear friends (and please guys - I hope you know that we don't at all even remotely think you are the least bit responsible) we bandaged up his hands and headed to CHEO (the local children's hospital). 11 hours, a conscious sedation (horrible to watch), a whole lot of blood, a horrible doctor, and five sketchy stitches later, we hobbled back to Adam's uncle's house.

I was hoping that tonight it would start looking a little better, but when we changed over the dressing, the biggest wound has turned black...not a good sign. We're going to see his doctor tomorrow and she's referring us to a pediatric plastic surgeon to make sure his little hands will work perfectly.

The guilt continues to overwhelm me whenever I think about it, if I try to sleep, when I see his little hand or hear him cry when it touches against something. The reasonable part of my brain tells me it was an accident and I couldn't have foreseen the result of my actions. But the deeper, darker part of me is needling my heart, asking again and again how I could hurt my own child this way. Snidely reminding me that if I had a little more patience, maybe I wouldn't have pulled so hard and Hayden would be fine; That all three times Hayden has been really hurt in his short 20 months of life, it's been under my watch; That I am one horrible mother. I can't stop thinking it. I can't stop blaming myself. And the thought that he might need more surgery or have more trauma twists my stomach until I gag on the guilt.

Every mother I tell this to tells me that this won't be the last time. That there will be many times in my life that Hayden will hurt himself and I'll relive the moment forever and think "if only I'd..." or "If I had just..."

I never would have believed that I would have three such moments before my baby's second birthday.

Say a prayer or think good thoughts...My gut tells me we're not through the worst of it yet.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sexy mama

Last night I was in a flirtatious mood and decided to tease my husband. I began dancing seductively for him, moving and humming to the music in my head. When he burst into gales of laughter I was completely confused...until he pointed out that the song I was humming was the theme music for Elmo's World.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

More than you wanted to know about WordMama

So my doctor's office called last night (at about 8:30 p.m. - strange) to say that she has referred me to a dermatologist for the lump in my armpit. She had second thoughts on her diagnosis of a benign cyst and wants a second opinion. Um, slightly alarming. So now I have appointments with a dermatologist, an OB/GYN (because I haven't had a physical in about two years), an ultrasound, a specialist that links some of my physical symptoms with mental ones, and a homeopath. The thought of it all is a weird combination of comforting and disturbing. On one hand, I'm glad that these specialists will be able to rule out anything major. On the other hand, what if they find something instead.

Now, if I'm straight with you, you need to know that in addition to being slightly OCD (things need to be done in order and to be in their place) and more than a little germaphobic (which stems from getting sick so often), I also tend to "prepare for the worst but hope for the best." This line of thinking is designed to strengthen you to deal with bad news, but more often than not, it just makes me a little manic. There's nothing yet to worry about, but it doesn't seem to stop me from fretting about it.

Before I had Hayden, I used to believe that I would die young. No definite reason why or how, just that I would never reach middle age. It's a lingering thought that has been with me since I was a teenager. Now that I have my heartsong, I find myself fighting back this notion. I can not and will not die young because I am a mother and Hayden needs me. End of story.

So reading all of this over, I realize that I'm coming off as completely insane. I assure you that I haven't come unhitched. The OCD, germaphobia and strange premonitions are things I've lived with for quite some time. It's stress that brings them front and centre. I'll just be happy when all these appointments are over and done with and the guessing is over.

Anyone else out there ever have these kinds of situations? Am I alone in my weird manic state? How do you deal with not knowing, modern medicine, and stress? I could use some real life mama tricks and tips!

Monday, July 7, 2008

*CRACK* .....did you hear that?

Lately my body hasn't been working up to par. I've been plagued with various illnesses from strep and scarlet fever to stomach bugs and headaches. I went to my doctor last week to try and get to the bottom of why my immune system seems AWOL. I brought a list of symptoms with me, as I figured any one could be the key to unlocking the mystery.

My doctor did some blood work (which came back fine) and then sat back thoughtfully and listened to my grocery list of ill health. When I was finished, her first question was whether my family had a history of mental illness. I was sort of taken aback as none of my symptoms were mental, they were all physical. I quickly dismissed her idea that I may be depressed or over-stressed. I mean, I have a very supportive husband, an equally supportive extended family, a pretty perfect life...what the heck would I be depressed or stressed about. But now, a week later, I'm thinking back on her diagnosis and wondering if she might have touched on a truth.

As you know, I have a huge aversion to admitting that I can't cope with things or that my problems are anything more than trivial. I can always find someone out there who has a much bigger burden than I have and who (outwardly) is coping fantastically, so I clam up. Afraid to admit that I'm having trouble dealing with much smaller issues. And yet, something in me seems to be cracking. There's a fissure behind the pressure and I think a large part of it is self induced. This effort to maintain a perfect exterior to the world is actually causing more harm than good.

I am stressed. In the past two years, we have had a baby, moved 500kms, changed jobs (Adam many times), lived through some pretty major infections, bought a house, started a business, and struggled to pay the bills. And the whole time all of this was going on, I kept my brave face on. I told everyone that we were fine. That it was just another hump and we'd push through. And yet, when I look back, our road of life looks like the car-eating potholed roads of Costa Rica. There were so many times we were balanced on the edge of one of those huge holes and somehow we teetered past. Often by the skin of our teeth. But I didn't talk about it. I didn't admit to anyone that we were struggling. I was too proud. And with Adam chugging along beside me, often picking up my slack, I felt that if I caved, I would bring him down with me.

Now that we're on the other side of the storm (I hope), the weight of it all is catching up with me. It's not easy being a working mum. And it's definitely not easy being a working mum who kept a stiff upper lip through some major life transitions. I think it's time I cut myself some slack. Let myself admit that I'm tired and drained. This is a tough gig, a 24-7 job. And anyone who can do it without breaking a sweat is probably wearing the same perfect mum mask I've been lugging around.

So I heed this call: Imperfect mothers of the world unite. Let's air this dirty laundry and admit that it's a grueling, filthy, stressful, never ending job to be a mother. That our hours stink and the list of duties grows daily. That every time we master the skills we need, a new one is required. That there are many days that our minds and bodies are pushed to the breaking point. That sometimes despite our best efforts, we can't fix the situation at hand. That the most important job on the planet, that of raising the next generation, is unpaid and under-valued. That we race to the ends of the earth and attempt to overcome insurmountable obstacles for those we brought forth into the world. And that we wouldn't have it any other way.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


I have to say that the freedom to blog honestly is a wondrous feeling. While I hesitated to go live with the last post, once I did, I felt a weight was lifted. That I was being more honest with myself. And really, I think people will like me more if I'm willing to admit my follies and faults. Who the hell likes perfect people anyways?! At least if I can publicly admit my weaknesses, maybe others will nod in agreement and we can both feel better knowing that others have suffered with the same problems. Isn't that what the blogophere is really all about?

Confessions of an imperfect mother

Pride weekend presented me with my first episode of blogger's block. I had so much that I wanted to say but sadly, I was too concerned with my reader's perceptions to write openly and honestly. I find that blogging about motherhood and work is easy because hey, those things aren't at all controversial. But when it came to Pride and my gay connections and this whole other side of my life that few people know about, suddenly my tongue was tied.

I've been disappointed in myself ever since I posted the 2nd This and That edition. Because it was a total cop out. It was the generic, conservative and totally un-Lucy version of the facts. In my efforts to not offend any of my readers (and let's face it, aside from one coworker, my mother and a very kind southern stranger, I have no idea who you are), I ended up offending myself.

I am not at all embarrased or ashamed about who I am or any of the things that I have done in my life. These experiences have made me who I am today - and I like that person! But I think that a large part of me is still this acceptance-seeking teen from high school. I have this need for people to like me. Doesn't matter if I'm at a party or at work or with family, I'm constantly seeking the love of people around me. (Sounds pretty desparate and I pray that I don't come off that way, but that's what's going through my head.) I think that insecurity is filtering into my blog.

I had a great conversation about the blogophere with one of my coworkers, who also blogs. In her posts, she freely admits her hardships, racy past, and weaknesses and I envy her that confidence to put herself out there. I find myself glossing over events just to try and paint this picture that my life is perfect (like mother's day, when really my son was in a terrible mood and threw screaming, flailing tantrums nearly the whole day). I know that my life isn't perfect, that no one has a perfect life. So why do I try to portray this idylic fantasy? I think it goes back again to wanting people to like me. Maybe you'll find out that I can't bake a cake from scratch or that I'm germaphobic and slightly neurotic or that I sometimes lose my temper with my son and you'll decide you just don't like me any more. Somehow, that would bother me. Even if I don't really know you, to know that you disliked me would irk me to no end.

All this to say I'm turning over a new leaf. This blog was started with the intention that one day, my son could read it and know who his mother really was. Know how much I love him. Know a little bit more about his family and his childhood. But it wouldn't be a truthful biography if I only talk about the sweet things in life. I want Hayden to know I have faults and insecurities and that that is okay. From here on in, I vow to be truthful in my blogs and not worry about what my readers will think. I'll blog knowing that I am not a perfect person and that I really shouldn't pretend to be one. I'll talk about the more controversial parts of who I am and what I do because I'm proud of those parts of me and I'm tired of whitewashing them to please an audience who does not exist. This is who I am. Take it or leave it.

And to launch it - my first controversial confession: In college, Phil and I ran the gay support group for students together. That's how we met. And yes, I fit in just fine.

*cringe* (You have no idea the mental strength it's taking to hit "publish" on this one.)