You’re doing ok.

I remember when Peanut was born.

I had no idea what I was doing. Even though I had friends with children, it felt totally foreign to me. This little person that I couldn’t hand back when they wouldn’t stop crying. This tiny life that depended on me for everything.
I would question myself constantly :

Is the water too hot?
Is he wearing enough?
Should I be worried about that cough?

Am I doing anything right?

I wish this had been around 7 years ago:

The little smile from the crib at the end?
It melts my heart… just like Peanut’s little smiles used to (and still do)

For all you moms out there… You’re doing ok.

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doctors, bosses, and normal

I’ve talked before about Monster’s disability. He was born with a hearing loss and has hearing aids. Since his diagnosis nearly 6 years ago, my life has been a whirlwind of appointments : Doctors, speech therapy, counsellors, ENT, audiology…. the list goes on and on.
For a time, there was an appointment every other week. Sometimes 2 or 3. It was exhausting – not only physically, but emotionally and career-wise, too. I am lucky to have a job that my supervisor is very understanding of motherhood and the time it requires, allows me to make-up time and switch shifts, but I wasn’t always so lucky. When all of the appointments started, my manager at the time hated me. She looked for any opportunity to drag me in her office and reprimand berate me. If I hadn’t needed the job so badly, I would have told her where she could put her job… alas – a single mom needs money to survive.
I thank God for my current Supervisor and Manager… after that experience, I will always appreciate a “boss” that doesn’t hold my child against me.

Monster has struggled with fluid in his ears for a few years now. He hasn’t had a reliable hearing test in over 2 years because there was constantly fluid or congestion.

He had tubes put in 2 ears ago, which helped for a while, but as soon as they grew over, the fluid came back. The doctors would not re-do the tubes, because it wasn’t “consistent” fluid. Every 3 months Monster would go to the Audiologist. Every 3 months she would shake her head and mutter under her breath because he would have congestion in one ear which makes it difficult for her to get an accurate reading on whether his hearing has remained at the level it was, or degenerated. Why wouldn’t they re-do the tubes? Every 3 months, the fluid was in a different ear. Frustrating.

Last week, Monster had an appointment with his Ear, Nose and Throat doctor. This is the appointment where the doctor looks in his ears, comments on the amount of fluid he has, then books an appointment to follow-up in 3 months because “if the fluid is still there, we will definitely have to re-do the tubes.”

But in 3 months, the fluid will be on the other ear and I’ll get the same speech.

Yeah. Wait for it.

“Right on – no fluid”

Huh?

I look over at Monster lying on the examination table, smiling and giving this new E.N.T., who I now LOVE, a big smile and a high five.

“None?” I ask him, hesitant because he is new, after all – and looks like he’s about 25.

“None. Been a while since you’ve heard that?” he asked with a big smile. Even the nurse looked pleased. Of course that could be because Monster was flirting with her for the whole appointment. He has a way, that little one. The force is strong in him. But THAT’s a whole other post.

Then we got whisked away to do hearing tests while we had a chance for accurate results. And they were a word I haven’t heard in some time : Normal. Well, normal for Monster anyway. While his hearing hasn’t gotten any better (and never will) it hasn’t gotten any worse in the nearly 6 years since he was born. This is just the sort of good news that I needed.

Normal.

Not a word often heard in our home. And definitely not used to describe any of us…

man’s woman’s best friend

When I was a baby, my parents got a black labrador retriever that they named Duke. Duke was a feisty little boy, with an ever-moving tail and boundless energy – at least that’s what I’ve been told. I obviously don’t remember.

What I do remember is long walks in the fields surrounding my parent’s house. We were surrounded by farmland, overlooking a quiet bay. Duke and I would spend hours out in the yard, throwing the ball, hunting snakes, swimming and enjoying life.
Having been raised alongside an infant, he was a gentle boy… never growling or biting anyone, greeting the tourists as they rode by on their bikes, offering his ball to them so they could throw it. Everyone enjoyed his diving tricks; throw a small stone in to the water and he’d come out with one so big he could barely lift it.
He was my Dad’s hunting buddy – he trained him for duck hunting, and he was skilled in the art of ‘sit’ and ‘stay’, ‘back’ and ‘release’. My father always said he had a gentle mouth, and would never leave a mark on anything that he retrieved.
His coat was so black, it almost looked blue. I brushed him all. the. time. so it shined like it was wet. He probably would have won conformation classes, as he was the exact dog that you will find on the cover of any Black Labrador book. Not a fleck of white on him, and no kink in his tail. A perfect head and strong bones.

Duke lived unusually long for a Lab – he was 13 when he was attacked by another dog and died from his injuries.

My whole family was at a wedding when we got a phone call that something had happened to Duke. We raced home to find him hiding in the barn, unable to breathe, and knowing there was nothing we could do, we said our goodbyes and he slipped away.

It was the first time I had ever seen my father cry.

The first time I had experienced death close enough to personally affect me.

We buried him in the back yard under a cedar sapling. Every time I see a fine-boned silky-smooth black lab, I think of Duke.

The boys have been bugging us for a dog since we moved here. There are dogs everywhere in our neighbourhood, and an off-leash part just down the road. Because Peanut and Monster have a dog at their father’s, and Speedy has one at his mother’s, they thought it was only fair to have one here.

The consensus was originally ‘absolutely not’ – too much work. We want to travel, we love to golf, we are never home. We don’t have a fenced yard, and I don’t want a dog in the house.

Until we realized that we are ALWAYS home. Yes we love to golf, but we don’t really travel, other than overnight sometimes. A fence isn’t that expensive, and the house is empty when the boys aren’t here… why not bring a furry friend in to love?

And so, the search began. First, it was finding a breed that fit with us. It had to be active, but not crazy; trainable, but not conniving, lovable and affectionate, with an even temperament. Then the debate: puppy or dog? Breeder or shelter?
While I love the thought of “rescuing” a dog, the unknown history would leave me feeling less than confident about having my less than calm children around it.

After much research, emails, phone calls, and a visit – we would like to introduce you to the latest member of the family:

Soul Man a.k.a. "Sam"

More to come, but have a look at this – Monster had known him for 10 minutes:

Best friends already

a letter to Tanya

Sitting here tonight, I feel heavy. I have just returned from saying goodbye to a friend. A friend that was taken too soon.

I feel numb.

A young woman, strong and beautiful, a mother, wife, daughter… friend.

I have happy memories. Memories of laughter, rich and real. That crazy black curly hair…both voluminous and impetuous. You laughed like me – there was nothing half-assed about it. If it was funny, you laughed at it. Throw your head back, don’t giggle… laugh. Eyes that sparkled like a million diamonds. A smile that rivalled the sun for it’s beauty and brightness. One smile could warm the coldest of hearts – yours often filled my empty, heavy soul with love and understanding. You listened when I thought no one heard me. Never judging, never looking down your nose at me.
And we laughed…

Your illness did not define you.

Life was a special gift to you. Every day a miracle. You told me: “Lindsay, the most important thing in life is to be happy. You shouldn’t worry about what anyone else thinks.” The words coming from your mouth made it seem so easy, when in reality it was so difficult. You helped me feel better, stronger; I drew from your strength.

You were positive, sure-footed and true to your beliefs.
You never let the heaviness of your situation weigh on the light and loving relationships you maintained with your friends.
One of my favourite memories is chatting about your hair.
“When it grows back, maybe it will be straight… that would be fun!”

Well?

It grew back curlier than ever. What was worse? It was grey.
And we laughed….

And the Lord heard you. He heard that laugh, saw that warm smile and knew he needed to have you nearer to Him.
And so,
Your smile is the sunshine now, your eyes the million stars, your laughter the breeze that rustles the leaves on the trees.

Goodbye my dear, sweet, loving, beautiful friend.

I will hear your laughter with every hair-curling, frizz-igniting rain.

And I will laugh with you…

xo