By the tips of my fingers


Part of me wonders just when, exactly, the hits will stop coming. And yet I say that and it's not as if there's really anything new. Maybe it's just the time factor - I suspect one can only live with excessive amounts of stress for so long before one finds oneself one good bout of hysterical laughter from the edge.

We've started back up with school. It's going about as well as school ever goes with kids who would rather be doing just about anything else. But we're finding the groove again. That has to be a positive, right?

Eldest starts with his new piano teacher at the end of the month. I decided I didn't mind the drive since she's up where the youngest does speech and OT so we'll just schedule for the same day and no big. So today I go do do just that and...they no longer have a speech therapist on the day eldest has piano. So as of now, we'll be trekking up three days a week instead of two. (It's remotely possible that we're going to drop speech, and if that happens then maybe it'll work out for us again. And maybe we'll not have OT twice a week at some point too. But that's a lot of maybes right now. Right now it's just three days of trekking because we apparently have nothing better to do with our time.)

A friend asked me if I was signing the boys up for swimming lessons again. I just laughed and laughed and laughed. I mean, I would like to. They would like it. But that's three hours out of another day and there really are only so many hours in the week. So it's become another "I guess we'll see."

Which is basically where mom is hovering. Some days she's doing well. Other days the end seems imminent. The ups and downs are harder, I think, than just a sudden loss, but I imagine that has hardships of its own that I simply don't see because it's not what I have.

If you need me, I'll be the one rocking in the corner.


Sometimes You Eat the Muffin

Since January (ish), I've been making a concerted effort to eliminate carbs from my life. I started out pretty strict keto but have gradually adjusted to what works for me and still seems to have the desired effects.

I'm not shedding pounds like they're melting away. I know keto, followed perfectly, can do this (and did pretty quickly when I started), but I'm also finding being too strict has impacts that reach beyond my health goals.

VBS a week ago was rough. Littlest and I tried it the first day. It was a major no-go. So, rather than irritate and annoy us both trying to make it work, he and I had a week of morning quality time with no big brother. It was fun, and I think he enjoyed the fact that he had me all to himself.

One morning, after we finished a quick stop at Target, we had about thirty minutes left to kill. Little one mentions he's hungry and hey, there's a Panera across the parking lot so why not.

I had no intention of eating anything. Panera isn't exactly a low-carb Mecca.

I got the kiddo his muffin and a drink for each of us and we settled at a booth. He eats for a minute, then looks up at me and frowns. Then he carefully pulls his muffin into two pieces and pushes one across the table to me. "Here mama, you need to have some too. It's yummy."

Now, I could have explained about how that's not what I can eat and how I appreciate the idea but you go ahead. I could have. And he would have gotten it. But I looked in his face and I saw there my sweet little boy who just wanted to share his muffin with his mom.

And so I ate the muffin.

Did it set my weight loss goals back a smidge? Yeah. But you know what? The grin he gave when I took that first bite? That was worth more than the next size down pants could ever be.


Weeks. Days. Hours.

The hospice nurse told my mom on Tuesday she thinks it's likely we're down to weeks. From my observations, that doesn't seem too far off.

It's a horrible thing to watch your mother die.

When I was eight (nine? somewhere in there), my Nana had a stroke. Mom brought her to live with us and we cared for her for the six weeks before she died. I don't remember that being this hard. Of course, there are differences. It was Nana (who I adored), not Mom. And I was a child. I got to go sit in the room with her and chatter at her, hold her hand, and turn the TV channels when I knew a show she preferred was on. She couldn't speak or really interact, but I think she knew we were there. And I have fond memories of all the times I spent with her--these included. We woke up one morning and she was gone. It was simple, short, and uncomplicated. (And maybe for her it was a horrible, drawn out nightmare -- six weeks unable to communicate or do anything for yourself would absolutely be hard.)

Mom is dying by inches, and it feels cruel.

My mother has always been a mover and a get it done woman. She eschewed committee, because adding people just made simple things harder. And everything was simple if you took the time to figure out how to do it. Now she needs a nap after getting out bed to use the bathroom. And is asleep more than she's awake.

The grief that accompanied February's notice that there was no more they could do to treat her cancer was sharp and hard, but it faded, sinking into hibernation for a while because there was no drastic change in her circumstance. She was as she'd been for the last year or so. Not the vibrant, take charge woman I grew up with, but that woman was still there and visible.

In the last month, however, the grief has crawled out of its hiding place and sometimes clouds the room so thickly that I wonder I'm able to breathe. I wonder how no one else seems to see it--thick and black covering everything.

We visit my parents every Friday, me and the boys. Mom can barely leave her bed--leaving her room is completely out of the question. The eldest, I think, feels it most. He doesn't like to go in and see her and I don't push. I want him to have good memories of his Mimi, like I do of my Nana. The youngest crawls up next to her and brings her seashells from her collection and would stay like that for hours. I want to be like him, but my heart hurts so horribly, I'm afraid I'm more like the elder and am, at least mentally, running away to hide from the reality of what is.

She's ready to go home to see Jesus.

I can't help but wonder if it hurts so much now, before she's gone, if I'm going to survive what happens after.


Let me explain. No, it's too much. Let me sum up.*


Y'all. It's crazy around here.

This week is VBS. Normally I spend my week teaching the Bible story to the K and 1st graders. This year, with youngest supposed to be moving from place to place with all the other kids who finished K, it seemed reasonable that instead I should just bop around with him and try to help mitigate the SPD.

We made it through about 90 minutes this morning. Then he was done. Capital D done. So we spent the rest of the time walking in circles around the outside of the church (thankfully the rain held off so it wasn't as horrible as it could have been. But my oh my it's humid.)

I don't even know if it's worth trying again tomorrow.

He doesn't seem to care. In fact, I'd say he leans toward not trying again tomorrow. But ... sigh. Honestly I have no idea what to do.

Throw in my mom's continual disintegrating health. My dad's predictably not good reaction to the impending loss of his mate. The crazy traffic that drives the husband up a wall and down the other side twice a day. And a tween (good golly, I used to laugh that tween was a thing. Now that I have one? Nope. It's a thing. He may not live to see actual teen. Or at least I wonder about it some days.)

I'm in the market for a dark hole into which I can climb and never surface.

*spot the quote


Spot the Sheep

There's a memory care facility near where we go to Speech and OT that has five life-sized sheep out front. Every week, we wait expectantly to see where the sheep are, because apparently there's someone there whose job it is to move them about to various places in front of the building.

Aside from it being amusing to spot the sheep, I do find myself wondering if transient sheep is really a wise idea at a nursing home for dimentia patients. I mean... wouldn't you want the place to always look the same just in case someone got out?


How to feel ancient

So I'm sitting in the waiting room while younger boy has his speech therapy and OT and the two receptionists have this conversation about dance lessons and social dance (swing dancing).

R1: So what are the ages?
R2: I have a lot of older friends now that I've started going to these. I'd say most of them are probably between 26 and 28.

Me, dying inside. 26 to 28 is now "older."

Perhaps it's a miracle I'm still shuffling this mortal coil given my advanced years.


SPD, Sunday School and Broken Hearts

Yesterday I was about ready to just quit church. Like forever. God's people really are big ball of hot mess a lot of the time. And grace is a good thing. We all need it. But man, sometimes I wish I could call in a smiting.

I've talked once before about younger boy's sensory processing disorder and how it is making church really, really hard. After that first post, we did indeed pull the boy from Sunday school and have him sit in church with us for a couple of weeks. It went okay and was getting better with each iteration, but the children's minister was like "No, bring him back! We want him to be with his peers! It'll be fine!" And honestly, all those exclamation marks should've been my first clue. But whatever, we went ahead and took him back.

For a while it seemed to be going okay. And then yesterday.

Yesterday, I was greeted at the door at pickup time by the substitute teacher (who, admittedly, if I'd done drop off? I would not have left younger boy in the class. But Tim didn't know.) who told me that littlest had been hitting and mean the whole time with no provocation.

I have so many problems with this, it's hard to know where to start. First up - I don't buy the no provocation. Now, I'll easily admit that his response may have been WAY out of proportion to the provocation, but I'm betting there was some. He routinely comes home and at some point that day or the next will cry to me about how the kids at church are mean to him and say, "Go away, we hate you." and how that makes him angry and so he hits them. We're working on that last part, because it's not okay to hit when you're angry, but that first part? Who's working on that? I'll tell you who. No one. Because no one believes it's happening. But I don't think six year olds make that up. I just don't. When I tried to investigate that, this woman says, "Well he did. I was there."

Fine. Whatever. I don't believe you, but whatever.

Let's address the second bit, shall we? If a kid -- any kid -- is hitting and mean more than like let's say twice, why are the parents not being called? They know how to contact me. I've explicitly ASKED them to get me out of the service if he's having a hard time. No one expects children's ministry workers to keep dealing with a kid who isn't having it for a particular day. No one.

So was the whole time hyperbole? Or was he really that awful for the full 90 minutes? And even if it wasn't the full 90 minutes, if it was more than twice then we return to my initial statement of COME AND GET ME BECAUSE THAT'S WHAT I'VE ASKED TO HAVE HAPPEN MULTIPLE TIMES.

Which makes me wonder whether things were actually going well for that little while or were they just not telling me about it at pickup? Given my trust level at this point, I'm going to assume it's the latter.

I spent the bulk of yesterday vacillating between anger and sobbing. Sometimes a mixture. Because I don't really know what to do. He obviously can't go back to Sunday school. (And talking to him about it a little this afternoon, that doesn't really upset him. Which breaks my heart even more, because there's obviously something going on that's prompting him lashing out. It may be as simple as it being over crowded (cause it is) or maybe there's something else. I have no idea.) But when do I try again? When we move classes in the fall? I don't see that being any better -- if anything, 1st grade SS is a smaller room and it's one with no toys. If he did badly in the K room, he'll fail miserably in the 1st grade room. But at the same time, I want him to have the opportunity to learn how to navigate social situations. And it seems like he needs to learn how to navigate them without mom holding his hand, but maybe not. Maybe the answer is for me to go to SS with him - not to help anyone else, but to simply help him moderate his behavior. And maybe with me there, other kids wouldn't be so mean to him.

For now, he'll be coming to service with us.

And I've bailed out of teaching VBS. If he can't handle Sunday school, there's no way he's going to handle 300 kids of all ages in VBS. There just isn't. And that breaks my heart too, because in the past he's enjoyed that week. The lady in charge asked me if maybe I took around a group of five, one of whom was little bit, did I think that would work and my answer is that I have no idea. It might. But it could also fail spectacularly. And if I did that? I'd be there for my doodle. Which means that if it was clear it wasn't working, there'd be four kids who'd have to be reassigned or something because at this point I'll pull him in a heartbeat if it's an unpleasant situation. So really, that equates to no, it won't work.

I don't like any of the solutions. They all seem to have one thing in common - my child loses. And all because the church has no semblance of an idea how to deal with kids who need a little extra something.