22 January 2008

What happened to my babies???

I knew it would happen...I saw it with my nephews...I just didn't think it would be so soon.

As the mother of three boys, there are just certain things you instinctively know will come to pass. For example, at some point, I knew I would go into the bathroom, sit down and come to find the seat left up. Fortunately for me, this rarely happens, but it still does.

My sister-in-law, Lydia has 8 children (yes, that was 8!), and the first 4 are boys. Presently, their ages are 21, 19, 17, and 16. I was their primary babysitters when they were young. I saw them transform from sweet babies to sweet little boys to these gargantuan men who to this day eat my brother's family out of house and home. There have also been altercations and disagreements (like the time one of them threw a chair at another and instead shattered the glass door on the oven, but that is a story for another day). I remember my sister-in-law telling me to wait, my day would come...For me that day started yesterday...

We had the day off from school and there was a beautiful snowfall outside. We had a jammie day where we stayed in our PJs and just stayed inside. At some point in the afternoon, the glory of the snow day wore off. I was on the phone, and was distracted by screaming. I walked into the living room to find not one, not two but three boys in a pile on the floor wrestling. What concerned me was not the antics, but the fact that my 2 year old fell right on in with his brothers and was going at it as aggressively as the other two. Eventually someone cried (my 4 year old), and it was over-or so I thought...

A few hours later, the five of us sat down to what is becoming a family favorite, the newly revived American Gladiators. I watched it when I was single and newly married. It is one of the few shows around that I can watch at night with the boys. Well, tonight, we had a transformation occur, and it was my 2 year old. One of the Gladiators is named Wolf, and as you can guess, he howls. When the other Gladiators respond the question Gladiators ready? The response is this deep-throated Yeeeaaah!, Wolf on the other hand howls. Well, my 2 year old began walking around the living room, actually stomping. He'd stop, crane his head back and howl like nobodies business. By then end of the show, he had also mastered the Yeeeeaaah! My only hope is that he never does this in Church!

16 January 2008

First Crush

My son, Peter, is 7 1/2 and in second grade. He is your typical boy-loves soccer, video games, and any active game. Until this week, I could happily say that the girl bug had not bitten yet. Did you notice, I said until this week?

Peter has many cousins and is in the younger group. Because of this, he has often had his older cousins ask him who in his class he likes. His response:

I don't like girls-yet!

There was always that pause before the yet. I always thought it was so sweet. He understood it that right now girls were something he didn't want to give a second thought to, but that he knew one day he would. I am afraid that day has come.

He's had lots of questions lately about marriage. It occurred to him that his father and I have not been together forever. One of his oldest cousins, Joe, just got engaged. He knows that eventually he will meet a girl, fall in love, get married and have babies (and yes, he knows it is in that order! ;)

Then, I did my first lunch duty at school the other day. Nothing seemed different. He sat with his cousin, Tim, and his brother, Drew. When they were done, they headed out for recess, but there was one girl in his class who was straggling behind. I told her she needed to hurry up or she would miss recess. Her response, I guess Peter will just have to chase me! I stopped dead in my tracks. What do you mean, sweetie? (I am withholding her name to protect the innocent!) Oh, it's just a game we like to play. And she strutted off to go get chased by my son.

I thought that was then end of it. I thought that it was perhaps a one-sided crush-her side. Then the bomb dropped last night. He began talking about marriage and said, then your family becomes the Milbrath-Blank family. Again, Blank is not her last name, just there to show you that not only was he thinking about marriage, he was thinking about hyphenating. I used the opportunity to say that I chose not to hyphenate my name, but instead take my husband's.

So, I have entered the world of school crushes. A bit earlier than expected, but here none-the-less.

13 January 2008

A trip to the doctor...

I went to the doctor this week, didn't want to go, but I did. I hurt my knee a couple of weeks ago, and was still favoring it. My niece had offered to come over and babysit, so I took the opportunity to be seen. I also decided it was time to have a little talk about my meds. I have been dealing with depression for a few years now. I was first put on an anti-depressant after the birth of my son. Looking back, I probably needed help with my depression much earlier than that, maybe even going back to high school. The problem, as I see it, is that there is a real stigma placed on anyone with mental health issues. It's OK to say you have allergies, OK to say you have asthma, but if you admit that you have a mental health issue you get the look, the change in the tone of their voice. If you have ever had depression or something similar, you know what I am talking about.

I come by my depression easily. My grandma had it, my mom had it, and now my sister and I have it. When I first went on an anti-depressant in 2000, my husband and my Mom were the only ones who knew. At the time, I knew how the rest of my family would take it...I had just had a baby, had just given up my career, of course I was down. What people don't understand is that there is normal pain and sadness in life and then there is depression. It kind of feels like this deep, dark sadness that you can't see past, no matter what. At this point, I began kind of a cycle of being on and off medication. On until my next pregnancy, off until the baby was born. Since my son, Michael, was born, I have been back on my meds. This time they don't work so well.

So, I've been to the doctor...a few times...First, I was put on Lexapro. it was the newer version of the one I had been on after Drew was born. I went back when it stopped working. I also complained to the doctor that I had not been able to lose any weight. He informed me that Lexapro had the tendency of making people gain weight! That frustrated me...I had been dieting like crazy and unable to lose weight because of a medication. Then he switched me to Cymbalta. It was supposed to make me lose weight (didn't), and make me feel better (did for a while, then stopped).

My doctor is very good at what he does. I have seen him for over 10 years because he is so good. Last week's visit was very discouraging. I told him that the anti-depressant wasn't working.

What do you mean by not working? You are on the highest dose and it is made to hit all three of the major receptors in your brain. I think I need to send you to a psychiatrist.

While I am glad that my doctor admits to when he has done all he can, he did make me feel like I was, well, crazy. Just because a medication is supposed to work doesn't mean it will. My feelings of what happened in his office got worse the next day. I had to call the insurance to see who would cover me. Then I had to call my doctor's office back so he could make a referral. Then it started. I first spoke with the receptionist whom I have known for years. When I said that my doctor wants me to see a psychiatrist, I heard Ooooh, he does? Then I spoke with his nurse, and it was the same treatment. WHO wants you to see a psychiatrist? (Who do you think, lady?), and WHAT are you being seen for? (why don't you try looking at my chart?).

The reason I am bringing all of this up is because I think that we, as a society, look down on people who ask for help. We poopoo people who say they are having problems because we aren't comfortable with the honesty of people. While I tend to be very upfront about what's going on, what about the people who aren't? The people who are afraid of seeing "the look" or hearing that darn tone of voice that clearly says I don't understand what you are going through, and don't want to. Everyone needs a little compassion...

08 January 2008

God is good!

My sister has not been feeling well for a while. Not feeling well would be kind of an understatement. She is in a lot of pain, is frequently weakened, and we have no idea what is causing it. I went to see her on Saturday night. I had not talked to her during the day, and just wanted to know how she was doing. She had been up too much that day, so she was resting in bed when I arrived. It is very frustrating to see such a strong woman like this, but what immediately hit me was although her body was weak her faith is so strong. She was simply putting herself in the hand of Jesus. I am always amazed by her unwavering faith, especially in times like these.

As I left that night, worried about her, I started one of my rants to God:

Why, God? Why does my sister have to go through this? Hasn't she been through enough? Hasn't our family been through enough?

After awhile I started cruising through the radio stations, and came upon Relevant Radio, the Catholic radio station in town. There were two things that I heard that night that were an answer to my questions. First, they were talking about St. Teresa of Avila. They told a story about a time when she fell in the mud. As she sat there muddy and wet, Jesus appeared to her and said, "Teresa, do you see this is how I treat my special friends?" Teresa's response,"No wonder you don't have many friends!" I did have to pause and laugh as it was a reminder to me that we are never given more than we can handle and that we need to laugh.

Then, the conversation on the radio turned to hope. The main point in all of this was that we need to have hope, especially hope in Jesus, no matter what. The prayer that they said went something like this:

Lord, I have lost my hope. Help me to put my faith in you.

I began to cry with the realization that God was sending those messages just for me. I need to have hope. I need to have faith. Oh, how God is good!