Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Learning to Breathe...

Me as Bree for Halloween
Breathe....something so simple that I forget to do constantly.

I used to be Bree Van de Kamp. No lie. I was the mom that had so many balls juggling in the air that it was shocking one never dropped. I was on the PTA, served on boards, chaired galas, was Room Parent, chaired Walk Committees, started support groups, ran an online business, got my Masters degree...all while raising two beautiful girls...all at once. I was seemingly perfect. On the outside anyway.

I don't really remember if it was hard to keep all of that going. I was operating in robot mode. I was going through every motion. I was having fun and I was semi-present but I was not happy. I was in survival mode. I was in a marriage that was falling apart and I had a daughter that had been diagnosed with a disease. And I was more together then than I am now.

I have spent the last few years trying to find that "Supermom" woman again. These past few days it has hit me that she is gone. I can't do it all anymore. I try. Instead, every extra ball I try to juggle hits me square in the head. What do I make of this? It's life. And I need to slow down and breathe.

I replaced some of those balls with happiness. I have a husband that I love and want to spend time with. I don't want to be away all of the time at meetings. I don't want to be glued to my desk.

I work. I have a job that I love. It is demanding and challenging and can be stressful, but I love it. Working from home has challenges. Finding the separation between work and home is hard. Being able to walk away from your office each evening is hard. It takes discipline.

My husband said something to me the other day that made so much sense. He told me that multitasking is overrated. What it really means when you multitask is that you aren't as focused on something as you should be. I used to pride myself in being a great multitasker. Nowadays, multitasking is leading me to failure on many ends. I am not present every day.

I don't want to be in robot mode. I want to be in the moment. When I sit down with my children, I want to give them 100% of my attention. I no longer want to be sitting with them and they are saying repeatedly, "Mommy look, mommy look, mommy..." and I am staring at a screen of some sort and half hearing what they are so excited to tell me. It is eating me up inside. If I give them a mom that is present and in the moment and focused...they will have the "supermom" they want. Not the one I think they need. They see me now with all of my imperfections. They see me struggle. They see me laugh. They see me cry. They see me fight. They see me work...hard. They see me fail. They see me apologize and take ownership when I do. They see ME, not Bree Van de Kamp. That's what I want.

So here is my promise to myself.

I will slow down.
I will learn to breathe.
I will learn to stop and smell life...

Because it's not always roses.

I will be the best I can be for my family and hopefully, they can accept that.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Special Child...

To my middle child, my sweet Abigail Lauren,

My beautiful red head...

You are special. You are special in more ways than I can count. Your smile is contagious. The dimples on your cheeks run deep like the love in my heart when I see them come out. I can get lost in your freckles...and love seeing the new ones pop up every day.

You squeal with delight pretty much all day long. It is rare that you aren't doing something fun, or being someone fun. You are usually the brightest light in the room. People flock to you my little turtle. You have the gift of gab and you don't sit still pretty much ever. You're like mommy in that way.

I never want you to feel forgotten or left behind. I never want you to feel like you don't have a special place in your family. You are still my baby and always will be. You are my favorite red head. I love it when you caress my hair around my face the whole time you talk to me. This is your way of demanding 100% of my attention. You make sure I am looking you in the eye. It melts my heart...every time. You are strong and confident and want big things in life. Just please don't tell me again that you will "dance for money" in college. You made my heart stop. You have no idea what that means and I hope you never find out. I am not raising you that way.

You are so special to me and to everyone around you. You don't need to be the baby or have a disease to be special. I hope you know that. You are special, Abby, because you are YOU! And never ever change. Your spirit is a breath of fresh air.



Monday, September 2, 2013

Reality or Imagination?

"But the trouble with getting what you've always wanted is that once you have it, you have to worry that you'll lose it. And the more you tamp down that fear, the more it comes out in funny ways." -Libby, The Lost Husband by Katherine Center.

When I read this book, that one line literally made me scream, "Yes, THAT!" out loud at the car wash. It was a moment of pure understanding. I am a worrier. I work very hard not to worry. If I don't have something to worry about, that worries me. My imagination can be a very scary place. I tend to go to the worst case scenario in my head. I wasn't always this way. Not at all. I think I can trace this back to October 7, 2007...the day Lily was diagnosed.

Something changed that day. I went from being a believer that bad things happen to other people, to being a realist that bad things happen to anyone. It is out of our control. That was very hard for me...something being out of my control. So began the path of my worry.

I have spent the last couple of years really trying to live in the moment and not let my mind wander to the hell of my imagination. I succeed at times and I fail at times. The hardest part is understanding that some of these nasty scenarios I conjure up are in fact a little too close to what could be a reality.

Diabetes. The big demon. The thing that hangs over my head and forces me to live in constant fear for my daughter...for our family. I found a little bit of peace and then JUST. LIKE. THAT...I am slammed into the concrete wall of reality blended with imagination again. My daughter will die without insulin...after a short period of time without insulin. She will DIE. I can't say that sentence with the proper inflection to show it's importance. No one gets the severity of that statement. The truth. It's not fair. It makes me angry.

We had a huge storm in Houston a couple of months ago. I sat in my car staring at the huge puddle in front of me and I was forced with a decision, do I drive through and take that risk or risk being stuck where I was? I looked in the rear view mirror at Lily's beautiful face. I looked around...no convenience store, nothing. I had one milk to treat a low. What if I was stuck for hours? She could have a seizure. She could DIE. So I drove through that puddle and we made it home. The fear comes out in funny ways. That strikes me. Was I being dramatic? Possibly. But could that have happened? Absolutely.

Lily went without insulin for a few hours the other day...less than 6. She was vomiting as her body poisoned itself. A few hours. That hit me harder than I would ever let on. If we were to be lost while hiking and not be found for a few days, she would die. It baffles me still.

So, we just keep living. It's all we can do. I will continue to worry. I will continue to drive around and think about idiotic things like if a plane crashed on an island...how would I keep her alive? We need a cure. Yesterday. So we can all have some peace for our imaginations. Or is it reality?

Our Reality...