11 “Amazing” Family Members Everyone Tolerates at Thanksgiving

Do you remember Thanksgiving as a kid? We’d have pageants dressed in brown paper bags and construction paper. We’d learn about Pilgrims and Indians. We even learned that the Indians Native Americans called corn maize. We’d get time off of school and inevitably we’d each be asked to say what we were thankful for each and every day. Oh wait…this was before Facebook. Never mind we just had to do it once in the month back in the good ol’ days.

At Thanksgiving dinner we would sit around the card table with our other little cousins and eat our blended turkstufftatoes and gravy. Parents constantly encouraging us to eat more, but none of us stopped moving long enough to actually eat a proper meal. We wanted to play and run and do just about anything besides eat the food around us. Except the pie. We always wanted the pie.

Holidays were always fun when we were kids. We were happy, we ran, and we played for hours upon hours oblivious to the grown ups around us. Oh, sure, we’d hear the moaning and groaning of our parents and others about how difficult the holidays were and how difficult it was dealing with family and good ol’ Uncle Jim, but as kids we never understood. How could we have understood? Kids don’t understand the nuances of adulthood.

Well, the time has come. We have been officially upgraded to the grown up table. We are ready to join in on the annual football game. We can’t wait for the real wine and real conversations, but mostly the wine.

Thanksgiving is going to be great this year!!!!

Except before the appetizers are ready and the turkey is carved you suddenly realize what the adults have been groaning on about each year. There are almost a dozen people every family has that when combined in the same household can make even poor Turkey Tom spontaneously combust into a dry, withering mess.

 

  • Cousin Paul (The wanna be jock)In he comes Mr. Football himself! You know the one I’m talking about. As soon as he walks in the door he asks why the So-and-So Game isn’t on and plops himself on the couch. He asks his wife or mom to get him a plate of appetizers and a beer so he doesn’t miss one exhilarating moment of the games! As long as he’s not asking you to wait on him then you could not care less about what he does all day. Go Bears! (The Bears are a football team, right??)
  • The Sister That Brought the New Boyfriend.Oh my gosh they are like so totally in love. They’re going to get married and have babies and oh my gosh it’s going to like be so great. That is, of course, assuming they are capable of taking their tongues out of each other’s throat long enough. Ugh, tonsil hockey never looked so gross.
  • Grandpa Phil– You love Grandpa. He’s awesome when he’s talking football with the cousin. He’s perfect when he falls asleep in his lounge chair. And he is hilarious when he goes off on his politically charged tangents about everything. The kids at the kids table are talking about why we celebrate Thanksgiving and sure enough Grandpa is the first to go off! He shouts across the room, “Them Injuns scalped those Pilgrims. Don’t be trusting those damn teachers. What are they teaching kids these days? All this politically correct nonsense! Why…when I was a kid we played Cowboys and Indians. Now it’s Cowboys and Native Americans. What’s next?? Calling white bread Caucasian bread?? Bull crap if you ask me.” But nobody asked him.
  • Grandma Mary- Grandma is the matriarch of the family and has helped prepare many Thanksgiving dinners. Although this year you suddenly realize that while she is sneaking off to the kitchen to help your mom with dinner she’s also sneaking some time with Captain Morgan behind the pumpkin spice.
  • Creepy Uncle Jim– Uncle Jim keeps talking about the sorority sisters you had…many years ago. Something about the way he is licking the gravy off of his fingers makes you want to help Grandma Mary “do the dishes.”
  • The Praising Brother– He is a good church going brother who loves to let everyone know he’s a believer just about as much as you love pie. Mmmmm pie. Each year he says grace and proceeds to pray for 15 minutes as he not so subtly puts down all of the sinners around the table. Especially your sister and her boyfriend which have just announced they’re moving in together while unmarried! *Gasp!!*
  • The Brother’s Wife- A religious wife, a sweet wife, a meek and mild wife. She couldn’t hurt a fly and buzzes around the house helping and catering to the whims and needs of everyone in the family. She also wisely volunteers to help the kids at the Kids’ Table eat their turkstufftatoes and gravy. If you didn’t know better you’d think she’s been sharing some of Grandma’s “Pumpkin Spice.”
  • The Vegan Cousin- She’s 26, a Buddhist yoga instructor, lives in the big city, and a liberal activist. She’s brought her own tofurkey and strongly encourages everyone in the family to now boycott McCormick spices because it’s not organic. She sits three seats away from Grandpa and before you know it each outburst from Grandpa results in an equally passionate response. “Those Native Americans were here first and we stole this land from them! Not only did we take all of it, but we gave them smallpox and death! Oh and now they all live on a small section out in the desert because we have a guilty conscious!! I’d scalp your ass too if you were raping and pillaging my people.”
  • The Bragging Aunt- She continues to over brag about her kids. “Didn’t you know that my Tommy went overseas to Europe for missionary work? Oh, and my beautiful Sarah is studying pre-med in school! They are just wonderful children!” You struggle to stay silent because you know from Facebook that Tommy is in Europe going to Ibiza clubbing, getting drunk, and running naked on the beach while Sarah is taking a single biology class at the community college as she works on earning her degree in parties and boys.
  • Cousin Aiden- He is 23 and keeps checking his cell phone. He’s quiet and has five plates of food as if he hasn’t eaten anything in years. He must have spent all of his money on that brand new iPhone6 Plus that has grown into his hand. You don’t know much more about him because he leaves without saying goodbye.
  • Mom and Dad– They’re drunk. It’s the only way they will survive the next few hours. Looking at them only reminds you that someday…you.will.be.them. Drinking only to numb the pain of yet another family Thanksgiving.

Yeah, I think I want my brown paper bag costumes back.

 

How Do You Have a Social Life with a Chronic Illness?

A reader reached out to me with this tricky question…”How do you have a social life between the kids and a chronic illness??”

 

It’s hard sometimes because we don’t want to disappoint our friends, family, and (more importantly) ourselves so we don’t know how to maintain this very delicate balance. I’ve asked myself this question many times before and since I’m not a lay down and play dead type of person I have a different take on it than some!

 

Watch the video below to see my answer and share with me your strategies for having a social life with a chronic illness!

Farah

Mom Mondays- Kimberly’s Story

I am so lucky today to introduce Mom Mondays! Each Monday I will be sharing an interview of a mother with a chronic illness and sharing it with all of you! My hope is that with time we will all have a chance to realize that we’re not nuts! We’re all going through a similar journey and are all doing our very best! I can’t wait!

I want to take this time to thank Kimberly for taking the time to share her story with me…and with all of you! Please check out her awesome fashion blog at Penny Pincher Fashion. She has great advice and tips on how to step our look no matter how we feel!

The interview is 25 minutes long, but definitely worth the watch!

If you are interested in being a part of Mom Mondays please email me and we can set up a time for an interview! The more the merrier!

Farah

How to Cure Over-Volunteering-itis

overvolunteer copyToday begins the first full week of school this year. Each Back to School season I find myself in the throes of being inundated with papers, sign-ups, and volunteer opportunities. Each summer parents grow with excitement as they begin the process of sending the kids back to school. Overwhelmed by the paperwork, but thrilled by the few hours of potential freedom to do as they please, we sign up to volunteer and be involved in our children’s schools. We are all suffering from over-volunteering-itis, a very common and curable disorder.

Except when you have lupus, the decision to volunteer becomes so much more difficult. You want to do it all. Your Type-A personality tells you that you can do it all. But, like a wolf stalking its prey, your lupus (Yes I take ownership of my lupus. It’s an unbearable pet I can’t ever seem to lose) is just waiting for you to become weak from exhaustion at what should be seemingly simple task.

Eleven years into having lupus and almost seven years into having children, I’ve realized that I can’t do it all. I can’t sign up for everything. I can’t push myself with the ferocity as I have years before. Last year’s attempt landed me into a spiraling flare that left me blinded with optic neuritis and weakened by my lupus. A flare that required six rounds of the chemotherapy Cytoxan. A flare that left me lying on the couch as my sons played trains and race cars around me.  This year I have to remember that I cannot be everything to everyone at the school. I can only be my boys’ mother, as simple as that may seem. I will carefully decide how I can be Supermom.

Even if you don’t have an autoimmune disease I know so many parents that over extend themselves and struggle with finding the balance between being involved and being stretched too thin. Here are the questions I’ve decided to ask myself to prevent me from over-volunteering.

1)      Why are you doing it?

I have a history of jumping in feet first to volunteer for all of the programs I can and last fall was no different. I became involved in the Halloween Party, the Art Program, and more. I couldn’t wait! I was like a bumblebee jumping from flower to flower to get in on all of the action. When people asked why I was so involved I told them I did it so I could be a part of my son’s elementary school experience and so that I could meet other parents. I’m not really a social butterfly, but I’m gonna fake it ’til I make it. If I’m honest with them (and myself), I did it because I needed to feel as if though I had purpose beyond dropping off and picking up my son from school. I was forcing myself into a part of a community that the former teacher in me misses.

 

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2)      Does your kid care?

We all believe that our kids remember every nitty gritty detail of their childhood. That they’ll remember every party we attended and every game we coached. Except they won’t. They’ll just remember bits and pieces of when you were there. What they will remember is how you make them feel. If I’m too tired because I rallied at the school then the less I can be patient and understanding at home. Shoot, I may just throw leftovers at them for dinner because I’m too worn out. Last year when I helped with the school wide Halloween Party even though I was flaring, I probably should have rethought it. Sure…  I painted games, I found items for the auction, and I decorated. Did my son care about any of this? No. He just wanted to go to the party. Did it matter to him that I had used my limited spoons to be part of the duo that put it together? No. He just wanted to pin the wart on the witch’s face and get some candy.

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3)      Is there another way to be involved?

By the end of last year I realized very quickly that I cared much more about being involved in helping my son’s teacher than I did in putting on a school wide event. I’m not made for the PTO. I’m more likely to be a Room Mom than anything else. Top that with the fact that I was a teacher and I know how much time the prep work and grading takes. To cure my “DO ALL THE THINGS” itch,  I began to help by doing things I could do at home. I cut out hearts, I decorated plates, I did things that I could do from the comfort of my couch in my pajamas and when I had time. I know that it meant a lot to his teacher and it made me feel good knowing that I helped her a little bit as she handled 24 five and six year olds day in and day out. My son thought it was great when he could say, “My mom cut those!” when he was in class. It’s the little things!

 

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So, after some trial and error I think I’ve figured out a healthy balance for being involved in the school this year. I’ll let you know in June.

 

Do you have any other suggestions on different ways to help you decide if something is worth signing up?

 

Taking Back Control

On May 30 I had my last infusion of Cytoxan…forever (I hope). The relief that comes with this is phenomenal and I am so glad to finally be done with that stage of my life.

Except on June 5th my neurologist scheduled me for an MRI of certain parts of my brain to search for lesions again. Whoopsie daisy.

Oh well. At least I’m not flaring.

So what does a normal person do when they realize they’re flare free, annoyed that their body is still trying to control them, and have an entire summer to enjoy it?

Why… sign up for a half marathon, of course! Because, you know, I’m completely normal. **Taps fingertips together and speaks in creepy hiss**

Taking Back Control

You see, as I drove away from the neurologist appointment I became frustrated. I cried at the thought that at some point the neuropathy will prevent me from walking someday in the long off future. I thought I was done with the medical stuff for a while. I thought I was able to move on and be happy and healthy. Except, as anyone with lupus knows, you can’t always be free of the wolf on your back. (I really should have chosen a smaller pet to carry around.)

The Cytoxan did help. I feel better, except for some annoying problems that won’t ever go away (vision issues, neuropathy issues, etc). I am so happy it’s summer. The boys are ecstatic. We live outside and I love love LOVE it!

So why can’t I actually be better?

As I drove home I had a conversation with my body that went something like this:

Body, what in the world do you think you’re doing?”

Me? Oh nothing. Just ruling the world in a pint sized vehicle. You know, if you were a little bit taller I would have a bigger playground and wouldn’t have to work so hard.”

“Huh?”

“Oh, yes…never mind. What was it you asked? Sorry I was distracted by my ultimate goal of ruling your life. So what do I think I’m doing? Ummmm ruling your life? Is that correct answer to this? Is this a new concept for you? I have to say, you did quite a number on me with that Cytoxan crap, but I noticed you said you were finished with it. I guess that will give me time to grow stronger again! I wonder if this time I can become werewolf sized! That would be good fun, you know? Anyways, Farah, good luck telling me what to do. You do realize I’m the one driving this crazy train.”

“Crazy train? Werewolves? Ummmm, ok then. How about this? You continue to try to knock me down and I prove than I’m in control of you. I’m taking back control, if you will. I should do something physically challenging. Something that I have to work hard at. Something I think I could handle. Oh….I got it! I’m going to run a half marathon. I’ve always wanted to start running. I’ll exercise everyday and I’m going to get in the best shape of my entire life. I’m going to be healthier than you can be strong. Boo yah! Take that, you punk ass mofo!”

“Say what??? Ummmmm, I’ll be right back. I have to consult with the rest of you to decide the best way to attack.”

“Good luck with that.”

“Bwahhahah. Good luck to you!” **Taps fingertips together and speaks in creepy hiss**

If any of you remember I’ve had one bad incident with running. This time, though, running has been fun! I enjoy the runner’s high. I hope to get a runner’s butt. It’s been great and while I know my body is screaming at me I also realize that I’m going to do this. Slow and steady wins the race.

I will take this one time, and one time only to control my body in doing something none of us thought it could do. I’m going to run and nothing is going to stop me.

We’ll see how it turns out.

See yah at the finish line!

Follow my hashtag #strongerthanawolf
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Social Media Makes Me a Bad Mother

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Oh My Gosh, I can’t breathe! I think. They’re too close. It’s too early.

It’s seven thirty in the morning. I’ve been up for thirty minutes, my husband has left for work, and as I try to sit on the couch so I can wake up my children climb on me.

Literally climb on me. Like I’m a  jungle gym at the park that’s just down the road. All I’m missing is a wood chip floor and a swing hanging off my back.

My four year old plops himself on my lap and starts rubbing my face. I hate when people touch my face. All I envision are little hands covering my nose and mouth making it impossible to breathe and easy for me to cry with fear. I much rather the vision to be of dirty grimy hands putting dirt into my pores, but alas my fear of suffocation overrides the Zit Creation concern.

He’s trying to be sweet as he coos, “Baby Mommy! Baby Mommy!” I am beginning to hyperventilate with the fear of suffocation. My six year old wants in on the action. He climbs up next to me and huddles so closely that he is now stroking my arm and mimicking his brother. My nerves are on fire and it hurts. My body is in so much pain, my neck feels like it’s being squeezed, and I’m starting to panic.

I just want them off of me.

Except instead of being able to ask my children to nicely get off, I sit there beginning to panic yet not wanting to break their moment of loving their mom. I want them to feel like they can show me love. I want to be able to accept that love.  I know it won’t be forever and I want to enjoy the moment instead of becoming the Hulk as he shakes off little villains. I take short shallow breaths as I remember memes telling me to love these moments. That every snot filled moment where they dribble green goo on your body are precious and I am such a bad person for not enjoying it.

Except I can’t. I’m irrationally afraid I may suffocate. I know it’s irrational. My mind understands this. My body can’t seem to catch on.

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Every day we see some version these memes on Facebook. They all have the same message. Enjoy these moments because they will be gone before you know it. Enjoy these moments because if you don’t you’re an unattached mom who doesn’t care for her children. Enjoy these moments because the ones to come aren’t as great as the moment you’re having right now as you’re elbow deep in poop while you clean up underwear filled with crap for the third time today.5e008b454e45acb7c128e45791f58da3

Enjoy these moments because if you don’t….we’re going to make you feel guilty because that’s what the Internet does.10151199_659183944117429_3781062308417268784_n

So, I sit there on the couch with my boys invading my space. I listen to their coos. I try not to scream and cry. I sit there because that’s what the Internet told me I had to do to be a good mom and to create memories filled with love.

Except I couldn’t…I eventually had to ask them to get off of me so I could breathe. I didn’t yell, I didn’t scream. I just asked them to get off.

And just like that I broke the moment.

Their little faces fell as I took my much needed space.

I felt horribly guilty.

Because all I could see in my mind was a picture of a mother with a child on her back that says, “You will never be this loved again.” While the subscript in my mind screams, “And you just pushed it away.”

Thank you, Internet. Now I can add being a bad mother to my list of things I accomplished before eight in the morning.

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You Probably Got This From Me- A Parent’s Guilt

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“I wonder where you got all of these things,” she would say. I was tired. I was sick. I didn’t care where or who the hell this disease came from. I have it. I must live with it. It is my heavy cross to bare all on my own. “You probably got it from your dad. No one on my side has autoimmune issues.”

“Does it even matter, Mom? I have it. I just have to deal with it,” I’d impatiently say.

“Well, no. I just…” she’d let her words trail off. There was nothing she could say. I wouldn’t listen and the guilt she had brewing in her heart was at a constant simmer. Each flare I have, each pain I felt….she felt it in her soul.

“It is what it is. Would you rather me not have been born? I either live with this regardless of where I got it from….or I was never born at all with no chance of being sick. Hey, I gotta go. The boys are about to destroy something.” I ended our conversations quickly each time she brought this up. Each time I would be annoyed that she would turn this into a oh you poor thing, you gave your daughter an incurable illness on accident moment. My expectations for her to automatically understand what I needed in that moment were too high for her to reach.

Why doesn’t she understand? I would think. This isn’t about her. Why wallow in self doubt for something you’ve never had control over? 

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When I was child I had severe asthma. The type of asthma that would land me in the hospital for a week at least once or twice a year from the time I was nine months old. Each visit I’d be held down for a nebulizer treatment, I’d have oxygen on my face, and I couldn’t laugh when my sister blew up a latex glove and held them as a gobbler without going into an attack.

Each visit my dad would be angry. I thought I did something wrong. I thought he was mad I was taking time away from the family because I was sick again. I thought he regretted having me because I couldn’t stay healthy when he could stay out of the hospital even though he had asthma, too. I cried to my mom asking her what I had done. She brushed my hair from my face, held me close, and, as I smelled in her motherly scent, told me that he felt bad that I was sick and that’s how he (and most men) handled feelings like that.

My father came to me during one of these hospital visits. My mother had clearly spoken with him about my fears. He sat with me alone in the glow of fluorescent lights and told me about the times he almost died from asthma attacks in the 1950s and 60s. He told me about the times he would cry because he couldn’t breathe and couldn’t handle the suffering. Each time he would promise himself he’d never have children so he wouldn’t pass this down to someone like his mother had passed it on to him. He wasn’t mad at me, he had said. He was mad at himself for letting me be sick.

Even then, as a child of 12 or 13, I was able to mutter the words, “Would you rather me not have been born? I either live with this regardless of where I got it from…or I was never born at all and no chance of being sick.”

Tears streamed down his face as he hugged me tightly through the wires and tubes. “No, Farah,” he whispered, “You and your sister are the best things to have happened to me.”

He never brought it up to me again.

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So ten years later when I was dealing with my mom and her own denials I didn’t have the patience I probably should have. I didn’t understand why she felt almost obsessed about knowing where I had received this disease from.

I couldn’t understand her obsession.

I wouldn’t understand it.

Then I had a son. And then I had another son.

One cold winter night, I slept in a hospital cage crib with my 20 month old son (one of the benefits of being tiny is fitting in a hospital crib when your baby is sick!).  He laid on my chest gasping for air, sleeping  and exhausted by the constant effort of something that should require no thought. He had RSV, they said. He had asthma, the said. I passed it on, they said.

That night, I sang Baby Mine over and over as I guiltily thought, “I gave this to you. How many nights will we spend in the hospital because of this? You have asthma because of me and I don’t have a clue how to take away your pain.Your pain is because of me.” 

Memories flooded back of my family around me in the hospital bed, my father feeling guilt because he knew he gave me asthma.

Memories flooded back of more recent conversations, my mother feeling guilt because she probably gave me lupus.

To me it didn’t matter where I got it from, but their love for me made the knowledge that they were (in literal definition) the source of my pain broke their hearts.

They felt a guilt that only a parent can feel. A guilt based on their own illnesses. A guilt that they were meant to protect me from bad things, but weren’t able to do that seemingly simple task.

It’s okay, Mom and Daddy. It’s okay to feel guilt for what has happened, but it’s not your fault. You had no control over which genes and characteristics were passed on. None of us do. Don’t grieve for what has come to pass. Don’t let my illnesses suck you into a cycle of guilt and hurt, too. Just know, that without my asthma there would be no breath. Without my lupus there would be no me.

And without me, no one could love you both as much as I do.

Farah

Shake your Gluteus Maximus- Naming our Body Parts

Naming Our Body Parts“Bend over,” she said.

Without hesitation I pull down the side of my pants and bend over. I’ve been through this before. I try to relax because tensing up only makes it worse. I take deep breaths. One. She grabs my love handle. Two, I breathe out as she finds the perfect bit of fat. Three! I squeeze only my eyes in anticipation…and BAM she stabs me with a needle full of hormones. She slaps on a band-aid and calls it a day.

I’ve been around the block a time or two when it comes to the medical world. It’s fun times I tell yah.

Now, when I’m dealing with my body and describing things to my medical providers you’ll hear me talk about my body parts with the correct terminology. Yes, I did find a lump on this breast. Yes, my vagina feels tender from the baby I had a few weeks ago. Yes, my glutes do feel numb when I’ve been sitting too long.

I use the medical terms in medical settings.

At home we have been naming our body parts with nicknames. Clean nicknames. The boys call their butts “bums” or “tooshies” and their penises are called “pee pees.” We don’t go with specific names because we feel there really isn’t a need for it and here’s why.

1) Medical terms aren’t cute. Whenever my youngest is trying to make me laugh all he has to do is come up and shake his little tushie and sing. He knows it’s a guarantee to least get me to crack a smile when he shakes his butt singing “Shake your bum bum! Shake your bum bum!” It doesn’t sound as cute if he sang, “Shake your gluteus maximus! Shake your gluteus maximus!”

2) People use the incorrect terminology all the time. I have heard so many parents tell their daughters “Boys have penises and girls have vaginas” when talking about their kids urinating. That is incorrect. Yes we have different body parts, BUT males and females both urinate out of their urethra…it just happen to come out of a male’s penis. When asking their little girl to wipe they’ll tell their daughter “Wipe your vagina.” She’s not wiping her vagina, she’s wiping her urethra (and the girly bits around there).

3) Even doctors talk in laymen terms. If I go to the doctor  and I want to talk about the pain in my butt I can easily say my “bottom hurts” instead of having to say “There’s a ring of fire burning around my anus.” Is it acceptable to say that? Yes, but only if you have the voice of Johnny Cash and you can sing.

So until there comes a point when I need to teach my boys where each body part will eventually go we will continue to call it “Pee Pees” and “Bum Bums”. There is no need to have them randomly scream “My penis is getting so big!” as I pick up tampons at Target. That’s a job for another woman.

I’m the Mom…

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I’m the sick mom.

There. I said it.

I’m the mom who has to spend days on the couch because she can’t move. Because of lupus.

I’m the mom who has to ask friends and acquaintances for help so she can go to doctors appointments, medical testing, and, most recently, monthly IV chemotherapy infusions. Because of lupus.

I’m the mom who, as she silently winces in pain while switching out the laundry, listens to her six year old discuss upcoming activities. Only to hear him add, “If you’re feeling ok, of course.” Because of lupus.

I’m the mom who has to decide when to sit her son down and explain that we all have superhero immune cells that kill germs. Except Mommy’s are confused so they attack each other. That’s why she’s so tired sometimes. Because of lupus.

I’m the mom who looks healthy, but haphazardly stumbles at the school pick up line.

I’m the mom that seems unintelligent because she stumbles over her words. She can’t formulate a coherent sentence or remember what was said a few moments earlier. She struggles to read bedtime stories because her vision comes and goes while her Central Nervous System is attacked. Little would people imagine that she graduated college with a degree in Biological Psychology, that she was a high school biology and chemistry teacher, that she was is smart, but she doesn’t feel that way anymore.

I’m the mom that people used to think had it all together…the mom that could fake it ‘til she made it. Except now faking takes up too much of her unavailable energy. She’s jealous of the moms that can do all of the school activities, PTO, Room Mom, play dates, and more. The ones that look put together, dressed, and beautiful. She’s not like them anymore…

I’m the mom that panics as her sick, fever ridden son coughs only days after her last chemo infusion.  She guiltily panics not because her child is sick, oh no, but because of what catching the virus can do to her.She has to tell her son that he has to cover his mouth when coughing because Mommy is on a medicine that if she catches those germs will make her really, really sick. “Will you have to go to the hospital, Mommy?” he asks. Her eyes glisten as she tries to formulate an answer that won’t make him feel responsible if, in fact, she has to go to the hospital at some point. Because of lupus.

I’m the mom looking for the silver lining in the chronic illness that has redefined her and her life. The silver lining that her sons will grow to be sympathetic and empathetic men. The silver lining that maybe she can help someone down the road travelling through a similar journey. The silver lining that maybe, after all is said and done, this is her purpose. Her legacy.

I’m the mom that thinks of her mortality. Prays she will get to see her sons graduate high school, college, get married, and have children of their own. Scared to leave a husband that needs her as much as she needs him.

I’m the mom scared about what may happen and how much worse it can get before it’s all over. Only to realize there is absolutely nothing she can do to change her future. Because of lupus.

I’m the mom guilt ridden because her children deserve so much more.

I’m the mom that struggles as a wife because her husband deserves a teammate. Not a liability.

I’m the mom whose home is a mess because she’s too tired to keep up anymore. Toys lay where they were placed. Laundry continues to pile up.  She seems lazy because she survives on the bare minimum during a flare. Sitting and knowing she is capable of so doing so much more, but her body refuses to allow her that luxury because of lupus.

I’m the mom that acts stronger than she is so no one will think of her family as victim to unfortunate circumstances. So no one will believe that she’s a whiner. So no one will think she is weak.

I’m the mom who’s not strong enough to fake being healthy anymore but refuses to let her children know she can’t do as much as the other moms. It breaks her heart because she knows they know. Oh….they know she’s different even if they don’t know it’s because of lupus.

I’m the mom who can’t give up on fighting to get better so she doesn’t have to be THAT mom anymore..

I’m the mom who works her hardest. Pushes herself beyond her ability. Ignores the aches, the screaming pain, the debilitating fatigue just so she does not to have to once again say…

I’m the sick mom…because of lupus.

 

The Three REAL Reasons I’m Getting Fit

Real Reasons I'm Getting FitOk, ya’ll…guess what I did today. I busted out my FitBit. You know those eensy weensy little pedometers that hook on to you bra strap? Yeah, I used to wear it daily and I was awesome about making sure that I hit my numbers, but once I started the Flare-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named I gave up. I stopped working out (it hurt too much and because of my Optic Neuritis I literally went blind every time I did). I stopped trying. I decided no one would know in winter if I put on a few pounds.

Then we had the the Winter-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named and I was certain that it would never get warm again. It has a tiny bit, but not enough that I’d needed to wear shorts and a tank top.

Except tomorrow…..it’s supposed to hit 80F.

I’m not ready.

The world is not ready for this jelly.

Jelly

This means that that bathing suit time is quickly approaching and I need to get my body back to bootylicious.

In that realization I thought I would take the time to share with you the three REAL reasons I’m getting fit.

1) Thigh chafing is painful.

So here’s the deal….during the winter it’s ok to put on a few extra pounds because your jeans protect you from your invisible thigh gap…and by invisible I mean non-existant. If you’ve never had chafing in that glorious region I’d like you to take a moment, close your eyes, and imagine a rug burn and a paper cut between your thighs. Some people are blessed with that. I, on the other hand, am pretty sure that mine is more like road rash and a cardboard cut….doused in pure lemon juice. I’m not sure what normal people have for a thigh gap, but if I plan on wearing a skirt or shorts for even a half hour, then I need to make sure that my thighs aren’t touching each other from my knee to my crotch. Thigh Gap

2) Elastic in my yoga pants are wearing out.

If you know me you know I currently do not own any jeans that do not have holes in the knees. Seriously. Every. Single. Pair. Of jeans have holes in the knees. I’m sure there could be fantastic jokes to explain why they all have holes in the knees, but honestly….I’m not sure why. I think it’s from playing on the floor with the kids? Right now I’m too cheap to buy new jeans so close to summer (I rather wait until fall) when I want to be outside all of the time, but unfortunately this is just the winter that will never end. Well, to prevent further embarrassment about having Holy Jeans, I have moved on to my yoga pants and the elastic is already wearing out. Top that with the fact that they’re becoming so skin tight that you can actually see my skin makes me almost willing to risk chafing in a skirt. Almost.Underwear

3) Being winded just walking to the fridge does not make for good playtime cardio fitness.

This summer I want to be able to be active. I want to run (and by run I mean act like I’m attempting to run, but only half-assedly jog). I want to play baseball. Most importantly, I want to be able to ride my bike with my kids. So when I get winded trying to scavenge my cupboards for an after dinner snack…welllll….that puts a whole new highlight on my lack of fitness. It also is completely ironic that I’m winded from being out of shape as I look for more junk food! I’m also slamming cupboards because I didn’t buy any junk food to prevent me from eating it all in those moments of weakness.  I’m a mean, mean woman. ran up the stairs and winded dr heckle funny wtf memes

Right now I feel like I’m starting at square one. This time last year I was in the best shape of my life and I felt proud of my body. Then this fall came and that all kind of went out the window along with my muscle tone. So if you see me, and I look like I’m trying to run, just smile, wave, and encourage me by saying….”Hey! I noticed your butt isn’t jiggling as much! Keep up the good work!”

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