Living With Pain Vs. Pain For The First Time.

Wisdom tooth1

Wisdom tooth1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My 19-year-old daughter had her lower two wisdom teeth removed this morning. They gave her a little laughing gas while we kept her company until her surgeon appeared (20 minutes later) and then he turned on the laughing gas way up high. After, he sedated her so she fell asleep and when she awakened she was the most giggly girl I have seen since she was about five. It was delightful to see a glimpse of my grown-up daughter back in time when her defenses hadn’t evolved, her moods were just plain happiness and silliness and she looked at her brother and me lovingly.

Back at home she is still high as a kite but experiences no pain, she refuses to even try to go to sleep even though as her mom, I see she her blue eyes are closing and that she is so tired.  Being her mom I was a nervous wreck last night and I told my son sleepily when he came to wake me up: “they should give anxiety sedation to the moms, not to the teenagers.” Anyone reading this that’s a mom will know exactly what I’m talking about, right?

Having Fibromyalgia, I know what Pain feels like but I’ve known it many times. I’ve had the “dreaded” Eppiglottitis two or three times that is more painful than childbirth and I dread it constantly. Childbirth is no picnic but that’s a different pain. At the end you know that you will get a reward: your new baby so it doesn’t really count as much and it’s a pain you mostly forget. Notice I said mostly. I’ve had broken ankles and broken wrists, I’ve had my tonsils out and my gallbladder removed so I have known pain pretty much early on and often.

I had fallen asleep on my bed for a few minutes today when my daughter woke me up her painful grunts and her cranky face. “It hurts” she whined and I knew that it must. She hadn’t slept and the sedation had all but left her body and she hurt. I brought her back to her bed, removed the cotton from her mouth, got her some raspberry yogurt as requested because she was “hungry” and afterwards helped her to swallow a pain medication that her doctor prescribed.

By the time the medication worked (a good 25 minutes) she moaned and groaned and complained about the pain. I felt the pain as much as she did if not more. Parents, you know… Then I realized something and I asked her “Is this the first time you’ve ever felt pain?” She said yes, quite honestly. The scowl etched on her face forming deep, unhappy lines. I thought to myself, “oh my God, maybe she will have more understanding about what I go through with Fibromyalgia, intense pain, most of the time.”

It seemed like I had always known pain but when I thought back I hadn’t known it until I was a young teenager and tripped over myself in my parent’s living room, causing my ankle to swell up to a deep purple ball and going for an X-ray for confirmation that yes, indeed it was broken. My first cast of many, I was 15, I remember and I was in high school.

It’s not likely that my daughter will be more sympathetic to my pain or even understand it, kids forget things so quickly but at least I know, that she’s never had a frame of reference. Maybe now she will.

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Family Matters

daughter & dad

daughter & dad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When my neighbor, Lisa, a young woman with two children, told her father, on the phone, that she didn’t WANT him to pick her up for her CAT scan, I felt an unexpected lump in my throat. My father would have done the same thing. Oh G-d, how I miss that. After a few minutes Lisa  decided to let him pick her up and I was glad, “let him do this for you, it will make him happy” I said.  I quickly entered my house with tears stinging my eyes.

I expect the holiday season as a frame for us to mourn family members and friends who have died.  I was not prepared for this. This was unexpected and it hit me harder because I didn’t see it coming. Isn’t that always the case? I prepare myself for the holidays from November through January but it’s always what you don’t expect to happen that throws you off-balance and hurts the most.

When my father was alive and healthy, years ago, nothing would have stopped him from helping his two daughters, at any time, day or night.  Lisa’s situation brought those old memories back, piercing my heart, draining it. I remembered the time I was terrified of the sounds of the mice running in my walls and a couple that ran over my toes in my studio apartment and he picked me up to “take me home.” Or the one time in college when I had no idea about money and bounced a check (I did what?) and he resolved it and explained it to me. My dad made everything better; he was always on my side. I pray I said “Thank you” I pray I said, “I love you Dad.” I hope I did.

My father died on New Year’s Eve, ten year’s ago, my whole family is aware of that date.  I was not at all prepared for the random comment with my neighbor and it struck me so deeply. How lucky she was to be so young, to have young kids and young parents. I was looking back in time; this was me twenty years ago, this was me before we moved to New York, with two healthy parents and two young children.

You have no idea how fast time flies by. I didn’t know either. It flashes by so unexpectedly, the toddler whose hand you were holding to cross the street is in his second year of college; the baby girl you longed for after him is in her first year of college, far away. Two children, two completely different personalities; the mystery of motherhood finally solved for me.

“What did you do to make my sister and me so different?” I would ask my mother over and over again. It didn’t make sense. The same parents, the same setting, the same upbringing, what happened? We were so different, I needed to know. My mother would laugh and say “Nothing” and I didn’t believe her; I felt like she was holding out on a secret. That was, until I had two children, 21 months apart, completely different from one another and I knew, my mom had been right all along. We did nothing differently, they came out of the womb their own person. What they did have in common were that both were separate, perfect, miracles and yes, (hear that kids?) we love them exactly the same.

The Start Of Good-Bye

In two weeks my son will graduate from High School and head to his summer job, after that he will be going to college. This is harder than I thought it would be. It’s also brand new and I’ve never been too good with change.

Simple yet elegant prom corsage

I literally want to sink my head into my folded arms on my cheerful, flowery bedspread and cry. I want to cry loud and hard enough to erase the pain of change and sadness, new beginnings and endings. I want to cry for all the graduating seniors that will say good-bye in two weeks to their life-long friends, their girlfriends, their boyfriends, their parents, siblings, dogs, pets. I want to cry for me, I want to break down in unwavering sobs because it feels like I am losing my son to the future and I know that things will never be the same. Already, the “Seniors” have changed you can see it on their faces. Next year, my baby, my daughter will graduate High School as well.

I am a fluctuating emotional mess, happy, sad, crying, excited and miserable.  It is after prom and before graduation; it is the time in-between. The Pre-Prom party was at my son’s girlfriend’s lovely home. For me, it was like a Hollywood set, the girls with their glowing, shiny faces and beaming smiles, the sun streaming down on the back lawn highlighting their hair. Girls in long dresses of all colors: fuchsia, beige, royal blue, gold, gorgeous girls, each one of them, with the light in their eyes dancing, their faces sparkling. Their wrists adorned by delicate  wrist corsages awkwardly put on by their dates. I have known some of these girls since they were four. The young men in their tuxedos, stand tall and proud, handsome and mature. It felt like the tuxedo added years of wisdom and maturity to them.They stood brave and beaming, handsome and charming, strong and proud, very proud. Each one had a boutonniere shakily attached by nervous girls with manicured fingers.  My son posed willingly with the three best friends he has grown up with, solid friends, forever friends. He posed with his girlfriend, he posed with his family. This was a boy who refused pictures taken of him since he was nine.

These were not boys and girls anymore, here stood young men and young women going off very soon, to follow their dreams. Even though as parents we try to be prepared for the good-byes, it still hurts us. Like pieces of our heart literally being chipped off never to be repaired exactly like it was before. Our hearts still work but differently. With the young men and women’s new-found freedom, so too, comes pain. As a parent, not being able to prevent that pain is horrible yet I know, being a good parent means just that, letting them go solve their own problems, make their own mistakes.

As a mom, I am on an emotional roller coaster. Am I grieving beforehand like I usually do? Merely picturing graduation makes me wince. When my son actually leaves for college, I hope I will be just fine but anticipation is truly my downfall. I look at the photos I took of Pre-Prom over and over as if I will learn something new each time. Yet, every time I see the photos I see the same thing, utter, unblemished joy and happiness. As a parent, I wish that these things would continue but I know in a mere two weeks a lot of that joy will become heartache. It doesn’t seem fair does it? That is what growing up is all about, I’m afraid, there are always trade-offs.

These youngsters have precious little time to say good-bye to all their friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, best friends. I don’t envy their losses but I am happy for their new adventures. Tonight, on a dark and windy evening, I dread my own loss. My son is one of the nicest people I know, he is moving on and I will miss him. I love this boy of mine and in addition, I truly like him. Follow your dreams, first-born, the world will be a better place with you in it. That, I know, for certain. We will always be here for you, will always love you and support you unconditionally, when you are ready to leave, place that in your heart forever.

If I Had One Hour in a Time Machine… (Plinky Prompt)

Strawberry ice cream in a cone.

Image via Wikipedia

Looking Back, Way Back

I would head back to my childhood, to my past. Life was simple, four best friends played together every afternoon and our only choice to make was what type of ice cream cone we would buy. Everything seemed perfect back then. Our moms were all near-by but in my time machine, the dads would be there too, all of them being kind and supportive. There was no problem back then without a solution. If you skinned your knee, someone would have a band-aid. We celebrated our youngest friend’s effort to ride a 2-wheeler; her blond hair wispy around her little face. I still see that image in my mind today. We were on the street corner across from Gussie’s candy and ice cream store. We skateboarded and roller-skated, played hand ball or jumped rope or hopped our way through hopscotch. “The Moms” would talk happily and if they were complaining about anything, we never knew. When it was time for dinner, we would all head back to our own apartments. Claudine and Roger in one building, Glen and I in another. We all ate dinner, usually at someone else’s house. When woke up in the morning, we headed to school together and knew that at 3:00pm, we would be right back where we were the day before. Together.

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