Thursday, April 25, 2013


I'm working on a project at work that looks at decision making and how a certain federal agency measures "fuzzy" concepts and how that effects its ability to prioritize resources in a budget reduced environment.  We're looking at other disciplines (psychology, sociology, conflict resolution and peace building) to see if any measurement methods could be applied.  I was thinking about work this morning as I drove in and it got me thinking about how I make decisions during to day.

It is a constant struggle of prioritization.

Some decisions are easy.  Feeding the kids or scrolling through facebook.  Obviously the minions must be fed.  Go to my own soccer game or watch D play baseball.  D is going to rank on top every time.

Some are a lot trickier.  Read to L or listen to E vent about her day.  Fold laundry or watch A skate.  Sleep or spend quality time with K.  Get some work done or do dishes or help M with homework or do all of the million logistics things that come with parenting (make appointments, talk to therapists, fill out forms, make lunches, etc. etc. etc.).

Among the five kids, some of them tend to get prioritized higher.  The girls and D usually win out because they are the loudest and most demanding with their needs. A is a pretty quiet kid and doesn't complain too much (especially if he is being fed---see decision number one above).  He regularly puts others' needs ahead of himself.  L, being the youngest, is also a pretty "go with the flow" kind of guy.  He is easily distracted by his DS or legos or drawing pad so I can deal with the more pressing need.  Actually, as I was writing this, it dawned on me that A and L usually gravitate to each other during the day, cosed up next to each other playing angry birds or skateboarding together.

My therapist and I have talked a lot about shifting the dynamic in our family and trying to even things out.  I remember writing a while back about thinking of each of the kids as banks and trying to make a deposit each day.  When I really look at it, however, I certainly spend a significant amount of time making deposits with the girls.  As individuals they are so demanding and, M in particular, needs so much support and help.  I know this makes sense.  They both have issues with attachment and feeling secure in our family and in my love. 

I'm not sure, though, about the long term impact this will have on both the girls and the boys (especially my two chill guys).  I worry about this.  I worry about making the right decisions and whether I'm using all the tools (methods) I have to make sure all their needs are met.  There is only one of me and just like the problem we're addressing at work, there is only some much to go around.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


To win just once would be enough
For those who've lost in life and love
For those who've lost their guile and nerve
Their innocence, their drive and verve
For those who feel they've been mistreated
Discriminated, robbed or cheated
To claim one victory inspired

To win just once is their desire
To win just once against the odds
And once be smiled on by the Gods
To race with speed along the track
Break the tape and not look back
To never have considered losing
As if to win is by your choosing
Bare you soul for all to find
An honest heart and an open mind

--To Win Just Once, The Saw Doctors

Today is starting out to be one in which I just want to yell at...God?  the universe?  everyone within listening distance?...that I have had enough.  Enough already!

I woke up with a pit in my stomach wanting to hide under the covers and try to will the day not to start.  We just have too much going on today and it's an in office day today for me so I have to smile and be professional and listen to 20-somethings complain about their terrible day because they ran out of their favorite coffee flavor in the kitchen.  I have to work on a project that I think is taking the wrong direction and makes no sense, but have to keep my mouth shut and just be a team player because I need the hours and ultimately need this job.

On the way to school, I had to field the same question I've answered now 5 times to the resource teacher about standardized testing this week with M.  In M's student assistance plan we have accommodations in place for extra time in certain tests.  She also takes some tests in the resource classroom to avoid distractions.  M has a learning disability in math, ADHD and anxiety disorder.  All three of these contribute to her academic performance.  These tests mean nothing for M, but obviously are important for the school.  She does not want extra time and says it just stresses her out more.  For some reason nobody at school likes that answer and continuously is questioning ME the person who lives with her everyday and sees how her three challenges play out.  More time for her means more time to let her mind wander and lose focus.  More time means missing her regular academic classes which in turn adds to her anxiety.  It's just not worth it.  Enough!!

K seems to have caught the flu/upper respiratory thing L had.  He has been coughing for 3 weeks now.  According to my research, it takes longer to recover from these types of things when you've had lung damage and pulmonary embolisms.  I still think he needs to go into the doctor.  He sounds terrible.  I'm worried.  He's in denial.  Enough!!

We still have no idea when my grandfather's funeral is going to be.  Why you might ask?  Because my cousins in New York who have done nothing to take care of him in the last 5 years are trying to find a "convenient" time to schedule it.  Really?  My dad is paralyzed in this.  I tried to talk to him on Monday about moving forward for the kids' sake and was told to butt out and be more patient.  So I can sit vigil all night by myself and watch and listen to him die, then hold him in my arms (again by myself) as he dies, but am not allowed to inquire about when we might actually have a funeral?  The kids are really anxious about the whole thing.  I just want to grieve and have a funeral and show the kids a normal process.  Oh, and my dad asked me to host the luncheon after the funeral at our house. Enough!!

I know I complain about this all the time, but our house is a mess and I just can't get a handle on it.  I don't have the time and when I do I want to spend it being with the kids or just chill because I'm exhausted.  Some days I fantasize that Nate Berkus or that British guy on the Rachel Ray show will just show up at my house and organize it from top to bottom.  Laundry is never ending.  Feeding the masses is never ending.  Cleaning up after the minions (my new name for them) and keeping track of all the uniforms, socks, etc. is never ending.  Enough!!

It all comes down to the fact that while I've had enough of all the stress and work, I continue to feel not enough.  I love the comments I get here and from close friends encouraging me and telling me I'm doing the best I can, but at the end of the day someone has to get everything done and that's me.  Even the word "enough" connotes the idea of just getting the bare minimum done.  I'm tired of settling for the lowest standard.  That's not me.

Today, I'm exhausted.  I'm lonely.  I'm overwhelmed. I'm sad and angry.  I'm all those things and simply tired of feeling not enough.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Passings and Other Assorted Things

1. My grandfather passed away last Wednesday. He was 96 years old.  I sat vigil with him the night before he died.  It was not a pretty sight and really hard to watch him struggle to breathe. Very traumatic.

I held him in my arms as he passed away.  I was by myself with him and told him it was okay to go.  I told him that I loved him and that he should go see Grandma and Jeanne and Mike.  It was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but also one of the most profound.  I'm still sorting out the whole experience.

I've brought three lives into this world and now I've had the privilege to help someone move to the next.

I've probably got an entire post to write about the days leading up to his death and now days after how my family is handling everything.  My dad is having a hard time. The kids are pretty upset and I'm proud of myself of how I dealt with it all and how I've been able to talk to them in an honest way.  This is our first death in the family since Jeanne and Mike, and although it's different dying at 96, it's opened up a lot of grief and questions and anxiety.

2.  In the middle of spring break Liam got sick (turns out Asian flu b) and then he got better and then he got viral myositis and was hospitalized.  Turns out the flu virus can attack your muscles and in L's case it was his calve muscles and he stopped walking.  Scary.  He's fine now and after lots of IV fluids and blood tests, he's back to his normal self.

3.  I have a new baby niece!  Little sister S had a beautiful baby girl and I got to be the first person to hold her...As I wrote that I just realized how weird it has been to hold new life and watch another end a week apart.

4.  The girls have both gotten in trouble in the last week (social media and car related respectively).  Relatively normal kid stuff, but as with most things the drama was heightened since we are still working out my role as a disciplinarian in their lives and teaching them how to take responsibility for their actions.  It's been draining.

5.  K went to a hematologist at the Virginia Cancer Institute last week.  Turns out his problem isn't a genetic blood clotting disorder.  This is good and bad. Good for the rest of the family and the boys. Bad because a lot of cases of unexplained DVT's in a man his age and health lead to a cancer diagnosis with a year.  The doctor also recommended he stay on the coumadin which is not good.  I know the alternative is worse, being an active 43 year old on blood thinners sucks.  We are trying to figure out what the next steps are.  He's really not talking about it much so I'm treading lightly.

6.  Despite all of this crap (please excuse the language but that's exactly what it's been), we still have lots of fun and joy in this house.  Lots of impromptu cousin play dates.  Baseball and soccer games.  Report cards and first honors (go A!).   Skateboards and prom dresses.

When things start to feel out of control, I try to remember these things.  I close my eyes and try to picture these images.

My family rocks.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A little bragging...

I'll get back to normal blogging in a bit (need to post about our recent hospitalization with L), but here's a bit of bragging on my incredible A.  On the last trick he had an epic fall and amazingly he got back up again to try it and nailed it.