Sending My Baby to Kindergarten and Finding Myself a New Normal

Here it is again, the start to a new school year.  But this year is different….very different.  This year my baby starts kindergarten.

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As I looked around, this summer, it was obvious that I am no longer a stroller mom.  You know the stroller moms. The ones who:

  • Takes 10 minutes to unstrap the kids and get out of the car
  • Has her hair unbrushed and spit up on her clothes
  • Tired (I mean, really tired)
  • Most days doesn’t leave the house due to nap schedules and too much trouble to leave
  • Carrying 100 things at a time

I could go on….

Although I’m still many of those things, I’m no longer in baby phase.  I still deal with tantrums with a louder much bigger child.  I still wear yoga pants when I’m not going to yoga.  I’m still tired and flustered but the differences are huge.

When I was a stroller mom, I remember someone telling me baby phase was ok because “Big kid, big problems.”  I remember looking at her and nodding while thinking, “Talk to me when I’ve slept more than 4 hours straight.”

And it’s true.  Baby moms can’t fully see the beauty in these chubby tiny babies because they suck the life out of you.  Their problems are eat, sleep, play, poop, repeat.  My baby now faces bullies, learning at a pace that is pushed towards testing, increased independence, relationships that I don’t control and situations I can not protect him from.
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As my son takes steps towards his kindergarten doors I regain some of myself.  I regain time in my day, energy that has been taken and quiet I have not had in 8 years.  All of these things I wished for as a stay at home mom desperate in the winter months feeling trapped and lonely are now coming to me.   And now I want my babies back.

For years, all I wanted to do was go to the store alone.  I was once tapped on the shoulder by a nice old woman who calmly said, “Miss, your daughter is standing in the cart.”  As I turned my head back from the cereal aisle she took a leap from her seat and I caught her.  I wanted the calm and now the calm just feels boring.  I talk to myself and look crazy (They were never really listened but at least I had someone with me.)  I need my shopping buddies!

I’m now the mom smiling at babies and telling stories about mine while the stroller mom is thinking, “Talk to me when I’m sleeping more.”

When your baby goes to kindergarten it’s an end of an era.  It’s an era that some may happily leave behind with the diapers and child care tuition.   But with new eras come new problems, big kid problems.

It will change us both.  As a stay at home mom, I gave up my life.  I gave up my job, my only friends were moms at the library and I sacrificed a lot while my husband traveled, I nursed and battled chronic migraine without medication.  I look back at those years as really hard.  Like, tears rolling down my face as I’m writing this HARD.  Those were the days I didn’t recognize myself because I wasn’t just myself, I was them.  Every second of my day revolved around these tiny humans that I had pushed out of my body and continued to give.  Gone are the days of playing and reading to them all day while no longer scraping play doh out of their mouths and  running around wild.

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The possibilities of this year are new to my kindergartener, new to me and similar in nature.

I hope he is safe.  We all need safety.

I hope he makes many strong friendships.  I hope to see more of mine.

I hope he is healthy with the new cesspool of germs that will live in his classroom.  I hope with the added time to myself that I can focus more on my health and advocating to improve the lives of many migraine and chronic illness fighters.

As my baby finds his way to the kindergarten doors, it’s hard not to think that I won’t be needed as much.  The reality is, after my oldest went, she needed me more in a big kid, big problem kind of way.  I may not need to teach him to speak, but I need to teach him to communicate.  I may not need to put him down for a nap but I need to help him understand how to relax and decompress after a long day.  I’m no longer his only friend and I need to help him navigate the ways of friendship, building lasting ones and avoiding toxic people.  Now is the time that my baby bird is leaving the nest and I know he will soar above the clouds as I count the seconds until he’s securely tucked back in.

Whether you were a stay at home mom or a full time working parent who has had their child in day care since they were a few months old, you still face the fear of “big kid, big problems.”  You may be looking forward to no more child care payments. You may be relieved to have some added time.  But we all face change in schedule and dynamics in the home.  Everyone’s lives change.

I’m no longer the stroller mom.  I’m the car pool mom, the sports mom, the where ever life takes them mom, the still tired mom.  Regardless of the title, I’m just so proud to be mom.

To a happy, healthy, safe and fun school year!

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Puppy Alert….We’ve Added to Our Family

I have an announcement to make……..

We have added to our family!  After loosing my best friend, migraine warrior and therapy animal, Lucia, we decided to add some love to our home.  Remember Lucia and Sammy here

Meet Charlie……

 

Charlie Red is a Golden Retriever.  He has brought happiness and puppy energy  into our house.  He is our new normal and such a good boy.  He loves to play outside and eat mulch, dress up and cheer on his sister’s swim team efforts and fully supports my writing and blogging career.  He eats a lot, plays a lot, and sleeps a lot.

 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me during my greatest loss.  Many people remind me that he’s not a replacement.  My answer to that is, OF COURSE NOT.  Charlie is a different life time for all of us and there is no comparison.  It has been the most difficult summer of my life after loosing Lucia, 13, and Sammy, 20.  Charlie has made the house less quiet, less lonely and fills it with new memories.  His sweet face and curious eyes  makes us smile!

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Wet ears=happy puppy post walk and big drink

Charlie plans to make his Instagram debut  @mymigrainelife

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Don’t forget to endorse my nominations for WEGO AWARDS.  WEGO awards many bloggers from a variety a conditions.  Let’s let Migraine be represented and supported.  Thank you!

ENDORSE HERE

To the Dog Who Helped Raise My Kids and Watched My Illness Grow

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I have this picture in my room.  One day, my daughter asked me, “Mom, is that the day you married Lucia?”  My answer was, “No baby, Lucia and I were already together forever.”  You see, my dog and I began it all….

I bought my dog to celebrate my first job out of college.  I had been lonely from leaving my college town and thrust into real life and big responsibilities.  It was love at first sight.  After I brought her to the vet, I was told she would most likely die from Parvo.  That fluffy little ball of fur proved them all wrong.

My Golden Retriever was my life.  She was part of my engagement, watched me get ready for my wedding and moved to an apartment and 2 different homes over time.  She was our first child.

When our first human child arrived, she didn’t feel pushed out.  My sweet dog thought our baby was hers.  She had paced the floors with me and pregnancy insomnia.  She sat with me during round-the-clock feedings.  She was there for me as I had meltdowns about being over tired, over worked, underfed and overwhelmed.  It was years of blurry joy and hustle and she was there through it all.

 

As a stay at home mom with a husband who traveled, Lucia was my constant companion during some lonely times.  I had days where I spoke to no adults.  I spoke to my babies and my dog.  Conversations can be had without words and my dog was always my biggest cheerleader and best friend.  Her tail, ears and eyes spoke volumes to me.

 

There was no better big sister for my humans than Lucia.  She was patient while they played vet and poked her in the eyes.  She was smart when she learned how to stand under the high chair to avoid flying sippy cups while reaping the benefits of fall out food.  She was even ok with squeezing hugs and the occasional ear tasting.  She was sensitive to yelling and was always a reminder for us to use our talking voices.

She was the emotional equalizer.  As I walked into the house with 5 bags on my arms, screaming children chasing behind me from the car and everyday chaos we entered a home of love.  Our Golden Retriever always came running with a stuffed animal in her mouth, a wagging tail, and an attitude that said ”Leave it at the door.”  We all changed when we saw her sweet face.

 

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Do you know those moments before Tick or Treating and everyone is melting down?  I  always had someone to laugh with

 

She put my children to bed every night without fail.  She’d lay on the carpet as I read to one and get up and move to the next room as I did the same.  There was never a night she missed tucking them in.

 

As my oldest became school aged, my dog started picking her up from school.  Everyday when my alarm went off, she went running for the door.  She knew it was time to pick up her girl and go for a car ride.

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Over the years, my dog had 2 knee surgeries, many teeth pulled, growths cut off and more.  Even as she was recovering, she still took care of me.  (link)

As she grew, so did my struggle with migraine.  She became a therapy and emotional dog to me that no one will ever fully understand.  She got to a point that she sensed my pain spikes.  She learned how to comfort me and held my hand very early on and never let go.  Her eyes were always on me.  No matter how many humans we added to our family, I was her number one.

 

Feeling like number one when I give my full self to my family was priceless.  I don’t even put myself first, yet she always did.  She followed me from room to room.  My shadow and my protector.

Over the years we spent countless hours in a cold dark room with my chronic migraine.  There were many nights where I collapsed to the bathroom floor and she slept pressed up against me.  She spent hours unmoving from my bed while I thrashed in pain.  I’d be covered in ice and wiggle my fingers to feel her little kisses on my tips.  She’d do anything to make me feel better and she did.

 

In her last days, our only concern was making sure she wasn’t suffering and that we showed her all the love that she provided for us over the years.  I had a vet once tell me, “Goldens will wag their tails and eat until 3 days after they die just to please their owners.”  On her last day, she did just that.  We bought her lots of treats and threw her an early 13th birthday.  She wagged her tail and cuddled us while we knew it was time for her to go.  She knew and her eyes told us so.

Saying goodbye was, without a doubt, the most gut-wrenching moments of my life.  I feel so blessed that it was in her best interest, we didn’t allow her to suffer, she went without panic and pain.  As I laid with her, I felt God take my best friend, my four-legged soul mate, my first child and migraine warrior.

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The days after, I saw her everywhere.  I heard her everywhere.  I felt her everywhere.  My son was sick and I was trapped in my house and grieved over every hair, nose smeared window and inch of my house.  My house was no longer the home I was at ease in.

She went to God on May 8th.  On May 11th my turtle of 20 years passed away.  He has lived in my family room of every home I’ve had since I was a teenager.  My pets passing away in 3 days was extreme! The numbers 8 and 11 are hugely relevant.  I was born on 8/11.  My favorite numbers have always been 8 and 11 along with being my numbers in sports and more.  It was not a coincidence that these were the dates they went to the rainbow bridge.

A week exactly from the day we said goodbye to Lucia my baby boy graduated preschool.  I thought it would feel totally different, but it just felt like a tremendous loss.  I’ve dedicated my life to my children and animals  and it just felt like everyone was leaving me.   It was as if my pets were saying, “We started this family and raised your babies and now it’s time”.  It felt like an end of an era and one I was not ready to say goodbye to.

I’ve heard the phrases:

  • Our pets don’t live long enough
  • When it rains it pours
  • You’ll never get over her but someday it will hurt less

I’ve been told to get another dog not to replace my four-legged soul mate, but to find another love.

I’ve been told that another dog can learn to be a therapy or emotional support dog too.

Here’s my answer to all of this:

This next dog will have a distinct difference from Lucia.

  • My family belonged to Lucia. We started it all!  I was her number one.  Our children were hers.
    • The next dog will belong to them. They will see her as their childhood dog when I will forever know Lucia as the dog who gave my babies joy and me sanity.
  • Lucia watched my migraine become chronic and she evolved as my therapy and emotional dog.
    • The next dog will hopefully see me get better. Her focus won’t solely be on me.  She is coming into an already made family and connections will be totally different.
  • There will never be another being on this earth that can complete me.  Right now I feel this painful hole in my body that physically hurts with every breathe.
    •  With Lucia went a piece of me that I will miss forever.  Yes, I will love another dog, but I know I won’t get that piece back.  She will be missed each day! I know it will get easier but everyone has been honest with me in saying, it will never go away.

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Is it OK to Get a Medal When You Don’t Win but Feel Like a Winner?

Another year, another Miles for Migraine walk completed.  Last year I participated virtually and received a medal for my participation.  This year, I was at the race and again received a medal.  I wasn’t a winner in either race (although I was the top fundraiser and team My Migraine Life was also so I consider that a win!!!).

It begs the question, are participation trophies ok?  Here is my answer 

What do you think?

Headache Hat and raising money for Migraine and Headache Disorders

 

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Holding hands with my support animal and icing with Headache Hat.  2 of my favorite ways to battle Migraine.

 

This year I am participating in the Miles for Migraine walk.  I have done it virtually in the past and will physically be there this year in Cleveland and Cincinnati!  While not everyone can participate by being at the race, anyone can donate virtually.

Please consider helping me raising money for  improving the lives of migraine patients and their families, raising public awareness about headache disorders, and helping find a cure for migraine.

Donate Now

I’d like to give a SPECIAL THANKS to my favorite Migraine product and friend The Headache Hat.

With all of the products I have reviewed and used, the Headache Hat is by far the best!!!  I am not an affiliate of this product yet tell everyone about it!  My recommendation is purely for my love of this ice cube head band.  I have several in my freezer, both standard and halo.  I use one every night and often change it out in the middle of the night requiring more.  I am not sure how I ever lived without the Headache Hat!  I used to pile on bags of wet ice or lay on stiff ice packs leaving me immobile and uncomfortable.  I now can ice and move around my house if needed.

The Headache Hat is so special because:

  1. The individual ice cubes give an exact pressure point pressure and freeze. It is  individualized for each differing Migraine and headache pain.
  2. It is dry and stays in place.  No more waking up soaking wet and laying completely still without movement.  I can sleep with it and often make breakfast or lunches while moving around the kitchen.  I also wear in in the car!
  3. It comes in standard and Halo sizes.  The Halo size is loved by children for fevers, bumped heads and more.
  4. It’s not just for Migraine sufferers.  I recommend every house having one (or many like me!)
  5. The creator of the Headache Hat is concerned about making a difference and helping those of us suffering.  She is also a headache and Migraine sufferer.  She works really hard, while having a family of her own, and is changing the world for sufferers one hat at a time.
    • She has recently been seen on Kelly & Ben winning the Good Housekeeping seal contest and HSN selling out!

Not only does she sell an amazing product, advocate and help so many, but she has been so generous in donating to MY MIGRAINE LIFE team for Miles for Migraine.

Thank you HEADACACHE HAT!!!  You have changed my life and will continue to change the lives of so many more.  Your generosity is more than appreciated!  Your hard work and product  is felt deeply in my heart and daily on my head!

Want to make a difference?  Please donate

Able to walk or run in Cleveland April 21, 2018?  Please join my team

 

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This is the face of Migraine.  No make up, puffy face, pained.  While my children both had the flu and I had a Migraine, this is the way we watched our Disney movies that day.

 

 

 

National Puppy Day 2018

Happy National Puppy Day!  Every year I post a picture of my dog.  She is my nurse, my therapy, my medicine and my first child.  As I was locked in my room with a 3 day Migraine from hell, guess who slept beside me?  Guess who kept me company in the middle of the night while the pain was raging?  My dog.  She’ll always be my puppy!  My almost 13 year old puppy!

 

Here’s more on her endless love and support:

How we doctor my dog and she doctors me

My dog with Migraine. Therapy, service, comfort, support and treatment. Pets can help heal

National puppy day 2017

Rockwell Pets Pro review of natural dog shampoo

National dog day

Miles for Migraine Race in Cleveland 2018

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On Sunday, April 21st, 2018 I am lacing up my sneakers and participating in the first annual Miles for Migraine Walk/Run Cleveland, OH. This event benefits a cause that effects so many and has a mission that is particularly close to my heart and my family.

Miles for Migraine is a non-profit organization whose mission is to improve the lives of people impacted by migraine, and their families through social awareness, community and supporting research efforts for a cure. Migraine is not “just a headache”. Migraine is the second leading cause of “Years lived with Disability”.  In the United States, more than 37 million people have migraine. Everyone either knows someone who has migraine or struggles with migraine themselves.

This year I’m so excited to announce that Miles for Migraine is coming to Cleveland!  In the past, I have raised money and participated virtually.  Here’s how we did last year.  This year my goal is $400 in honor of beginning my 4th year writing My Migraine Life (In June) and taking steps toward a better Migraine Life for myself and millions of others. This is Cleveland’s  inaugural race!  I’m so excited to be there in person and walk my miles along side so many migraine supporters.

Please consider joining the My Migraine Life team or donating and participating virtually.  Getting to my goal will bring us all closer to an improved Migraine Life.

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