Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Taking a break

To all my faithful readers, a note to say I haven't had the time nor energy to post lately. I've returned to work and need to focus on getting in the groove of full time parenting and working. Just know this break is temporary and I'll post soon.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A birthday celebration

Yesterday would have been Debra's birthday. Sofie decided we'd do all the things Debra liked with purple being a theme! Sofie got dressed in the morning wearing her purple Camp Kesem t-shirt, I wore my Malaprop's t-shirt that had purple in it. We had a cuddly, low key morning with the emphasis on cuddles(something Mama Debra and Sofie loved to do!)

After lunch our friends from school and church, Mom Kimberly and son Avery, arrived after dropping sister Olivia at an all afternoon birthday party. It was such a beautiful Spring-like February day that Kimberly and I sat out at the table and chairs in the front yard while Avery and Sofie jumped and jumped and jumped on the trampoline. At some point the kids went in a played with Sofie's zoo while Kimberly and I continued to chat and bask in the warm sun. She kept admiring the neighbors’ backyard...they have a preschool, so it's an awesome backyard! Kimberly used to run a daycare in California, so their backyard had all that fun stuff, too. She's wanting to convert their backyard into a nice play area for the kids. So we walked over and she checked out all the things they'd created for their school. (Donna, I hope you don't mind!!) They had also created this wonderful play area around the now dried up creek bed...normally there's some water. I'm sure the kids love that area.

After perusing the school play area, we went back over and suggested it was time to go to Locopops...another thing Debra enjoyed. We piled into Kimberly's van and headed to Locopops. Sofie got coffee flavored, Avery cookies and cream, Kimberly got something with Raspberry and Rosemary and I got Raspberry Mojito...all were delicious!! After enjoying the pops outside in the warmth we piled back into the van and headed back home. The kids jumped and jumped again and Kimberly and I sat in the living room and chatted about all kinds of things. At some point the kids wanted to play the Wii, so I sat that up for them and they played until they got to a level that was too hard...then they jumped some more!!

They left around 6p and Sofie and I headed to the grocery store to pick up cupcakes and stuff for the feast we had planned in honor of Debra. While at the store, Betty and Delma called. They wanted to know what we were doing for dinner, so I invited them over for the birthday celebration and feast! I added a few desserts to the cart, picked up a few groceries and headed back home to cook a feast. Since I'd only thawed enough chicken for Sofie and I, they picked up a box of Churches fried chicken...yummy. As we were setting out snacks to feed on before dinner, Sofie said Debra would have liked this...she liked parties! So Betty entertained Sofie...or was it the other way around...while I cooked and chatted with Delma. The feast was prepared and we all gathered around the table. Sofie asked us to hold hands and she said her version of a prayer. I was a beautiful sentiment and tribute to Debra...this kid amazes me sometimes! We all feasted and chatted and had a merry time.

After dinner, Betty and Delma were entertained by Sofie as she "showed" them her movies she'd made...not quite sure what that meant but they were in her room for quite some time!! I printed out a few pictures that Betty and Delma requested and cleaned the kitchen while they were having fun. I brewed a pot of decaf, got the random desserts out and sat down and actually rested for a few moments! After making coffee for everyone, we sat down and sang Happy Birthday then gorged on desserts. We did a few other things in honor of Debra then the girls headed home and Sofie and cuddled in bed. It was a wonderful day and we know Debra was right there with us, enjoying every moment.

Today Sofie is going to a "remembering service" that Duke Bereavement center had planned for today. It's only for children. She's taking a picture of Debra and will join 10 or so other kids who've lost significant people in their lives for a celebration. Parents or the other adults will meet and chat about grieving and helping the kids through it. If it's 1/2 as good as it sounds, I'll be quite pleased!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

rock -->ME<-- hard place

That's exactly where I feel I am, between a rock and a hard place. Let me just say I do not like having to medicate my kid to get her to sleep. It goes against many things I believe. With that said, I also don't like a kid who is so fragile she can't get to sleep or make it through one day at school.

Friday, she met with the Dr. who prescribes her ADHD medicine. He's a wonderful doctor with years of experience and a kindness you might not expect from a psychiatrist. He spent time asking Sofie about school, her sadness, her sleeping. He had her read to him, he showed her a painting he did...it was a great appointment. I knew he's prescribe something different to help her sleep and I was convinced he'd also prescribe her something for anxiety. I was glad to see that he didn't change her ADHD meds and he prescribed only something to help her sleep. Of course as many doctors do, it was a drug intended for something else, but the side effect as a low dose was sleepiness. This a very short term solution to help her get adequate sleep while she grieves. I gave her the medicine that night and then I slept very little worried that this stronger drug might do something to her little body! Oy!! She did sleep well that night and I'm happy to say we had a great day...Debra's birthday. (I'll write a separate posting on that day.)

Back to the rock and hard place spot I'm in...Sofie is grieving very appropriately. Unfortunately it's interfering with her daily life at school. Do I keep her home? Do I send her and let her sort out her emotions? Right now, I'm sending her but picking her up right as school lets out and this week I kept her out on Friday. I'm going to try that again this coming week, but if she's still upset at school I'll keep her home more. Unfortunately, I only have 2 more weeks on my leave and don't want to go back...but I have to. I want to stay and make sure she's okay and certainly do not want to be 30 miles away at work! Creative thinking has been what I'm all about these days, coming up with alternate plans for re-entry. I'll have to contact HR to see if any of these options are viable.

This will all work out in the end...it's just a long road getting there.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A version of hell this long night

There aren't enough words to impress upon you just how difficult tonight has been. Show of hands...how many of you have had a colonoscopy? For those who have, you know what hell the night before can be. So, for those who have suffered that version of hell, just how many of you have had a child upstairs sobbing for over 2 hours...nonstop? I'm guessing that just cut the numbers down considerably and maybe I'm the only one who falls into that category.

My daughter has become a bundle of anxiety-ridden nerves. She cries all day at school, she takes forever to go to sleep at night (and that's WITH pharmaceutical assistance!!), she, according to her own words, "thinks about Debra every hour of every day." Wow, that's a lot for a little kid to think about.

Tonight was her session with her psychotherapist. The session started off with a bang as Sofie accused me of lying to her. I won't bore you with the details, but let’s just say, it was determined by the therapist and Sofie in her session that I did NOT lie to her. At some point during her session she came out and gave me a hug and said she was wiggly so she had to come out to the waiting room for a bit. Her therapist took that opportunity to give her opinion that Sofie's not dealing with depression; she's dealing with an extreme level of anxiety...that's all being compounded by little sleep. So that made me feel better and gave me something to tell her psychiatrist on Friday...he prescribes her ADHD medicine so he's being brought in the loop regarding all the other things going on with her. Hopefully something will work and next week will be a better week.

Tonight has been hell. I took all 20 horse-sized pills within the allotted hours time along with 8oz of liquid per 15 minutes. Here it is 11p and it's only produced a slight result. Thank goodness I had the wherewithal to have my mom come up the night BEFORE the day of the procedure. She did her best to console Sofie. I sent her to bed a half hour ago and luckily the meds held out and I was able to get Sofie to sleep. I hope she stays in her bed for awhile because I have a feeling it's going to be a long night!!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Playing catch-up

Okay, I admit it...I've been quite remiss in posting to the blog. I'm constantly amazed at just how many people actually read this thing! Little did I know that going over a week without posting would elicit concern from my faithful readers. On some levels, there's not much new to report but on others life is changing right before our eyes.

Sofie continues to grieve on such a profound level. Her days are filled with tears and her nights are filled with sobbing. It's heart-wrenching to hear the sobs pour out of her. Her world has been turned upside down. Not only did she lose a mother, she also lost the version of me she was most comfortable with. No longer the "fun mom" due to all the responsibilities of being solo mom, Sofie is painfully aware of the changes in roles. Boundaries are being set and in response being tested, behaviors are being challenged and encouraged to change. Life is changing and we're both trying to adjust.

Last night while I was cooking dinner, Sofie was running around hyped up on life and having a great time helping me in the kitchen. As I was preparing the plates, she headed in the living area. Next thing I heard was a loud thud, then an outburst of tears. A caveat about the type of mom I am...I'm very caring, sensitive and loving but I'm not the type of mom that gets stressed out when a kid hurts themselves. My M.O. is typically level headed and just trying to get the child out of a place of distress. Last night I felt like evil insensitive mom, ten fold!! I did the appropriate amount of cuddling and telling her it was going to be okay. We placed ice on the large bump on her forearm and I cuddled for awhile. The sobs continued. I was losing patience. After dealing with sobbing for weeks in relation to Debra's death, I found it quite difficult to be empathetic to her physical pain. Finally she agreed to sit down and eat dinner. That was challenging but we made it through. Then we cuddled and iced her elbow.

After finishing a movie, we went downstairs to play with our new Wii. I won't even go into the lack of patience I had with that experience! Just know I'm aware of emotions running amok in our house. Trying to deal with my own feelings and be supportive of Sofie's has been somewhat challenging these past few weeks. I'm worried this will go on longer than I expect or longer than I can process. Patience is what I'm practicing and love is what I'm giving.

Sofie is an awesome, loving kid. She's wide open when it comes to love. I hope losing a mother doesn't change that compassion and openness. We have lots of special moments and no where near all of them are surrounded by tears. Just the other day she told me, after being asked what one thing she'd take to a deserted island, that the one thing she'd take would be ME!! Awwwww.

A heartfelt thanks to everyone that's emailed and called. Please don't be offended if I don't respond. Life is a bit crazy and requiring much of my energy, so emails and phone calls are on the bottom of the To Do list. Thanks for understanding.