Archive for the ‘children’ category

In Which Kid1 Is 16 And I Tell Kid1’s Story

September 8th, 2011

Today, as if this moment (1205 PM PDT), Kid1 is 16. Last week at GeekMom, I wrote about what turning 16 means. Today, I thought it would be neat to share the story of his birth, like I did when Kid2 turned 12. This story is published in my first book. For privacy reasons, I edited out the names. If you want names, you’ll have to purchase the book.

Kid1’s Story

Kid1, you and your brother have always been very unique individuals. You two are like day and night, and I am grateful for that. I always knew before I had children that they would be different and unique. Just how different and unique, I was very much unaware. You each reflect a part of me. Where as Kid2 has always reflected my joker, artistic, dreamer, lighthearted side, you reflected my serious, scientific, thinking, pragmatic side. I am so very thankful for this.

Unlike your brother, you have not been curious to hear stories about you as you grew up. They did not interest you. Of course, there are a few exceptions such as the story of when you were 7-months-old and scared the crap out of me when you decided to climb my bookshelf. Or the time you were two, had climbed up to the top of the fridge, waited for me to come into the kitchen and called out, “Mum! Catch me!” as you flew off the fridge, having faith I would catch you, and then proceeded to break the wrist I had broken when I was 10.

One of my favourite memories of you was when you told me you had finally decided what you wanted to be when you grew up, a psychologist. I was and continue to be so very proud. I still laugh when I told you how cool I thought that was, as that is what my degree was in and you responded with, “You have your degree in psychology?” I asked you what did you think I was taking when I was in university and you said, “I don’t know. Stuff. Well that’s… that’s interesting.” No matter what others may tell you, no matter what your barriers are because of your ADHD and learning disabilities, this is something you can do. Do not give up on your dreams and remember there is nothing you are not capable of. You are one of the smartest and wisest people I know.

On your 2nd birthday, I wrote you the following letter:

I hope your days are full of happiness and life. Never let your beautiful smile leave your lovely face. You are my little man. Your possibilities for the future are endless. Never let your dreams die. Follow them to the very end. And if you need help, I’ll always be here for you.

Love you always, Mum.

You will receive this letter one day.

I think however, my favourite memory of you happened on your 11th birthday. You had already been going through the “wonderful” period that is puberty for over half a year. You had grown half a foot and your voice had dropped. I figured it was time to have another one of those talks about the joys of growing up. I had asked you if you knew what nocturnal emissions aka wet dreams were. You said no. So I explained to you what they were and what to do if they happened, told you different ways of hiding your erections while at school and gave you a few other tips that I thought would be helpful. And that is when it happened. After I was done, you asked me to tell you the story of your birth. It was the first and the last time you asked. My heart soared. I got to share Kid2’s story with him a bunch of times but you were never curious. Finally you were and in my opinion, it was the best way we could ever celebrate your birthday; going from talking about puberty to the story of your birth. Without this story, there would be no other stories to share. I will now tell it again.

On December 10, 1994, I found out I was pregnant. The way I found out was unusual. I had to go into the emergency room because I was having huge pain in my abdomen. We had to leave a birthday celebration because I could no longer stand up due to the pain. The doctor asked the normal routine question, “Could you be pregnant?” I responded with, “Well, of course I could. But I do not think I am. We have been trying to have a baby for months but we have not yet been successful.” He asked me when my last period was and I replied with, “I think sometime in November.” He did a pregnancy test, and sure enough I was pregnant.

He then did a pelvic exam. That is when he found some type of mass near my ovary. The doctor thought that maybe I had a tubal pregnancy. This scared me. My mum had a tubal pregnancy, which ended up rupturing and she almost died as a result. This was not the news I needed right before Christmas. I would require an ultrasound to see what was going on.

I had to wait through Christmas for the scan. A couple days after Christmas, I went in for the scan. The ultrasound technician looked at it puzzled and said, “Are you sure you are pregnant? Because there is nothing on the scan. Not even a dot. It most certainly is not a tubal pregnancy.” Relieved it was not a tubal pregnancy but concerned there was no sign of a baby on the scan, I replied that yes I was sure, it was the hospital that tested me. So she sent me off for another pregnancy test and sure enough I was pregnant.

Because I was unsure of the dates for my last period and the “rules” regarding how hormones work and how pregnant you have to be to test positive, I was given an initial due date of August 20, 1995. For the next 9 months, I had a very uneventful pregnancy. Well, it was uneventful right up until 2 weeks before Kid1 was born.

A couple weeks before he was born, I experienced a TIA. That was very scary. Nothing to freak you more than all of a sudden not being able to see or speak, understand speech or read and have the left side of your body go dead right before you are about to pop. I went to the emergency room where they treated me and talked about doing an emergency c-section. They decided since the episode resolved itself, I would try to carry to term. Other than that episode, I was happy and healthy. I did not experience any of the negative things associated with pregnancy. The summer seemed hotter than normal but overall I had nothing to complain about. Well nothing to complain about until August 26 when there was still no baby.

I went to the doctor and said the baby is a week overdue, shouldn’t we be inducing or something. So my doctor sent me across the street to the OB/GYN to see about being induced. Back then it was the OB/GYN who induced and not your family doctor. He told me that he would look over my chart, and if there were no issues, he would be happy to induce. I would hear from him within the next 24 hours to find out what steps would be taken next. Later on that night, he gave me a phone call. He said, “I am sorry but we cannot induce yet.” I asked him why and he said, “Because you are not even due yet. I do not know how this was overlooked but you are not due until September 1.” I asked him how that was possible as I tested positive for being pregnant on December 10, so at that point I would have had to be at least a month pregnant. He did not know the answer for that, however judging by the ultrasounds taken from the first moments where nothing was detected and the two routine ultrasounds, I was not due until September 1. However he felt sorry for me and told me that since I had a true 9 month pregnancy (meaning I knew I was pregnant for the full 9 months) that if the baby was not born by September 4, he would induce on the 8th.

September 4 came and went and no baby. So I went back to the OB/GYN where he booked my appointment to be induced. The way it was done then was very different from when I had Kid2. I had to be admitted into the hospital the night before. They would put the gel on my cervix the night before, monitor me overnight and then if needed, do a second dose in the morning. What was similar was that I was not allowed to eat after the gel was applied in the event they would have to do a c-section. The night of the 7th, I was admitted into the maternity ward. They applied the gel and within an hour it started to work its magic.

I had the worst sleep of my life. The cramping was unbearable. Because I was having such a hard time with it, they decided to move me into the delivery room so that I was free to toss and turn or roam and not disturb the ladies that needed their sleep who just had their babies. A lot of babies were born that night. When I was not being kept awake because of the cramping, I was being kept awake listening to women scream and curse as they were delivering their babies. I needed to sleep damn it! I had my own baby to deliver soon.

Morning came around. I maybe managed to get 1 hour sleep and I was starving. I had not eaten anything since dinner the previous night. The OB/GYN came into the delivery room to check my progress. Over night I had managed to dilate 2 cms and become 50% effaced. There was no need for a second application of the gel. It was time to break my water and get this show on the road. Kid1’s dad showed up at 7:55 am and at 8:00 am, the doctor broke my water. I immediately went into labour. And it was not the nice little “ooo I think that was a contraction” type of labour that happens for 30 seconds and you have 10 – 15 minutes until the next contraction. It was the “OMG THIS IS NOT WHAT I SIGNED UP FOR” transitional period of labour.

20 minutes later I was at 6 cms. Kid1’s dad decided he was then going to lose his mind. The months of labour and delivery classes we took flew out of his brain. He rushed to the phone to phone his family and my family and say, “She’s at 6 cms. Gotta go. Bye.” Would rush back into the delivery room for other update and then rush out once again to make phone calls. I was left there alone, freaking out as this was my first pregnancy that was carried to term and I needed support.

10 minutes later I was at 7 cms. Not only was I at 7 cms, but Kid1 was impatient and wanted to come out. Now! His head went down the birth canal and he started to crown. The nurses had to push him back up. That is when I was informed that I would have to have an epidural because my labour was progressing so fast and my contractions were so strong, that they were pushing out the baby before it was time. I did not want the epidural; I wanted and had signed up for a natural birth. I wanted to feel the contractions even so they were not happening in the way they told us they did in the books and prenatal class. The nurses told me they didn’t have time to give me a full epidural anyway because of how quickly I was progressing. What they were going to do what give me a walking epidural. I would still feel the contractions, I would still know when to push, and the contractions would not be as strong. That is when once again, Kid1’s dad lost his head and went rushing for the nearest phone.

When he returned a minute later, I was frantic and ordered him out of the room. He was stressing me out. I did not need to be stressed out while I was trying to squeeze my legs shut to keep this baby, who was impatiently trying to get out, in until the anesthesiologist could make his way up stairs. He told me he did not have to leave that it was his right to be there. That is when the nurse stepped in and said, “At this moment, you do not have any rights. We need to think about the mother and the baby first and what her wishes are. You are clearly stressing her out. You are stressing us out and causing a disturbance. If you do not leave now, we will have security escort you out of here and you will miss the entire birth. However, if you leave quietly on your own now, we will call you back in when it is time to deliver the baby.” With that, he left.

When the anesthesiologist arrived 10 minutes later, I was at 8 cms and fully effaced. They had just pushed Kid1 back up the birth canal for the 6th time. He gave me the epidural. It was the most wonderful thing that could happen. My contractions slowed right down. I had time to finally relax before it was time to push. In the first 40 minutes of labour I went from 2 cms to 8 cms dilated. For the next 3 hours, things progressed nice and slowly.

When they checked me at 11:30 am, I was 10 cms dilated and fully effaced. They called my doctor and told him it was time for me to deliver the baby. He arrived 20 minutes later, checked my progress and told me it was time to have a baby. We called Kid1’s dad back into the room. On the next contraction, I was told to push. Being as I was a little numbed up, the first push was not effective. The nurse had to show me how to push. Another contraction came, which meant it was time for another push. I pushed again and this time progress was made. The contraction ended and I took a few cleansing breaths waiting for the next one. The next contraction came, I pushed, the baby began to crown and that is when I heard my doctor say, “Uh. Oh.”

I sat bolt upright and said, “Uh OH?!?!? What do you mean UH OH?! I am about to push a baby out of me. This is not the time for you to be saying UH OH!” My doctor then said, “Well since you only gained 22 lbs., we were expecting a small baby. He is not small. His head is very big. I am going to have to use forceps.” I then informed him, ”No. You will not be using metal forceps on my baby’s head. Use the vacuum extraction if you have to, to help him out, but no forceps are going to touch his head!” My doctor replied, “His head is too big for vacuum extraction. If we were to use it, it would just end up ripping off a piece of his scalp. I have to use the forceps otherwise you may tear.” I then told him I did not care if he had to cut me from ass to teakettle, he was not going to put forceps anywhere near my baby’s head. My doctor told me, “Okay, I will make a very small incision and we will try it your way. But if after the next push, his head is not delivered, we are doing it my way.” An agreement was reached and it was time for me to push again.

The next push and his head was successfully delivered. One more push and his shoulders were delivered without incident. As I was delivering his shoulders, I noticed the lunch cart being wheeled past the delivery room doors. On September 8, 1995 at 12:05 PM, weighing 8lbs on the nose and measuring 22 inches, with dark brown hair and blue eyes, Kid1 was born. They took Kid1 to do the Apgar tests while my doctor delivered my placenta and gave me the 3 stitches necessary because of the episiotomy. After he was done, he shook my hand and congratulated me on such an effortless labour and delivery. He told me despite outward appearances, I was built to have babies. One of his easiest deliveries ever, which is surprising since this was my first time.

After, they handed me Kid1. He did not look like a newborn at all. He was not wrinkly and ugly and pink and covered with gross afterbirth. His head looked as if he was a c-section baby, which was odd especially given the fact he had a large head at 36 cms. He looked like a little old man trapped in the body of a 1 month old. He was already wise beyond his years. He took to the breast immediately. Then it was time for him to go get cleaned up at which point I demanded I get something to eat. I was starving!

My mum and my sister arrived about 30 minutes later. My mum was surprised to find me sitting up and eating and she did not believe she missed the whole thing. When she got the phone call earlier that day, she thought I would be in labour for days as she was in labour with me for close to 72 hours. She could not believe that I was eating, I should have been exhausted. I told her how easy it was and that I had not eaten for close to 24 hours. Food was all I could think of at that point.

Food, laying down with my brand new baby and sleep.

The day Kid1 was born, I finally had the job I always knew I would have since the time I was at least 5 and that was being a mum. I had never been so happy in my life. I had my baby. I had my purpose. It took a long time to get pregnant with him but it happened and he was here and he was real.

He was my first reason.

 

Such a beautiful place it is, to be with friends

July 14th, 2011

Tomorrow, Kid1 will be taking Kid2 and me to see Harry Potter 7 Part 2, his treat. This is such a bitter-sweet experience for me and I’m not sure I could ever truly articulate why. But I am going to try anyway.

10 years ago, on opening night, I took Kid1 to see the first Harry Potter movie. Kid2 was not yet old enough. And if my memory is serving me correctly, it was the first movie I had taken him to see in the theatre. We arrived at the theatre a couple hours before curtain, waiting in a huddled mass with loads of other people.

It wasn’t until Harry Potter mania had started to build around the first movie that I read the first two books. I had heard the name in the media and how it was supposedly the next best thing since sliced bread, but it wasn’t a ‘thing’ in my small town. I knew no-one who had read the books or even cared to. The third and fourth books were already published as well, but I wasn’t going to purchase any of them until I had read the first two books, which were given to me to read by my mother.

I had decided to read them first, alone, in order to decide if this was even something my children would enjoy and to help me decide if it would be appropriate to bring my then 6-year-old child to see. I was immediately hooked.

It wasn’t because it was a great work of fiction. The books are not exactly literary works of art. But they were magic nonetheless. When I would talk with other adults who had read them, they would complain about how childish and simply written they were. Without trying to show my anger and snobbishness, I would politely try to remind them that is because they are children books. They are suppose to be written that way. Heated debates would begin, which went something like, “When we were children, we read Lord of the Rings in grade school. Those are considered children’s books. Is this the best authors can come up with now for youth?” I would smile and say, “Ah, yes. But we also had The Secret World of Og and Charlotte’s Web. Those are considered great classics and cannot be compared to Lord of the Rings.” But I digress. I suppose the main thing my friends had an issue with is that I, someone who can be quite a snob at times, adored Harry Potter. But as I already said, there was magic in them.

I can’t even begin to go into every thing I ended up taking away from the story when I would sit down and read each book. That would require a novel in itself. But outside of the emotional and personal journey these books took me on, these journeys were shared with my boys.

After I finally finished the first two books, I sat down with Kid1 and read them to him in preparation for the movie. I will never forget how freaked out he got when I would do the voices for the basilisk in the walls. One time, I made him cry and he begged me to stop using that voice when I read and instead, to use my normal voice.

These moments were wonderful. We would be curled up on the couch, under the blankets, as I painted the story of Harry Potter within my child’s brain to see. There were many nights of, “Oh, mum. Just one more chapter. PLEEEEEASE!” I would give in, only for the next, “PLEEEEASE, one more chapter. I promise, I’ll go to bed when you are done.”

These stories also were the cause of many wonderful talks about how to treat others, about what is fair and isn’t, about never giving up no matter what you are facing and more. These stories caused us to cry together, laugh together, get angry together, cheer together and mourn together.

After the successful indoctrination into the Harry Potter world after the first two books and the first movie, Harry Potter and his friends became a regular fixture in our household. I immediately purchased the next two books. As Kid2 got older, I would later read the books with him and watch the movies with him. Soon, Kid2 was old enough where when a movie was released or a book was released, all three of us were waiting in line together, reading them together, watching them together, talking about them together, crying together, laughing together, getting angry together, cheering together and mourning together. The exception to this is Harry Potter 7 Part 1, which Kid1 took Kid2 to see, his treat, just the two of them, as some brother bonding thing.

(No, I’m not bitter about that. I think it is sweet that the older brother wanted to take the younger brother on a bro date… Well, maybe I’m a little bit bitter.)

Harry Potter was also the source of many games. We fashioned our own wands made out of bamboo and would have wand duels in the backyard or on hikes. For years, I’ve been accused of having the ability to apparate because I suddenly appear in the same room with them and they didn’t see or hear me coming. That is when I would have to remind them that if I could in fact apparate, there’d be a definite cracking noise every time I did.

For 10 years, Harry Potter has been a permanent fixture in our household. My boys and I have grown-up together, alongside Harry.

And now, Kid1 is old enough where he is taking both his brother and me to see the final installment tomorrow. We have come full circle. It is really bitter-sweet. Thinking about how much we have grown together and have bonded together in the last 10 years, all thanks to Harry Potter, and thinking about how it is about to come to its final end is causing me to weep.

10 years is a long time to share something with anyone, especially your children. Out of every one I know, most families still have young children. It has only been in the last couple of years that they’ve poured all things Harry Potter down their throats. Some of my friends’ children are still too young and it will be a few more years before they introduce them to Harry Potter. And when they do, it will probably be in one large dose, instead of a constant stream of sharing and learning more about Harry and his friends.

I don’t know what I’m going to do now that it is done. Both my boys are really excited about tomorrow but they are also both sad. The entire household is in some weird state of mourning at the moment. Yes, for the hardcore fans, there is Pottermore and talk of other things. But, for this house, Harry Potter isn’t about JK Rowling or witches and wizards or being geeky or a fan-culture things. If nobody else in the world loved Harry Potter, we wouldn’t care because that does not diminish the experiences we had, thanks to these stories, over the last 10 years.

We will still continue to talk about Harry Potter. We will probably still continue to re-read and re-watch the movies together. But I am going to miss the shared anticipation and the newness of it all, this sense of complete joy and excitement that we are about to embark on the next installment of the journey, together.

And there is so much more. But I’m just way too sad and happy right now to even begin to express it all. I think I’m beginning to write and talk in circles.

Anyway, thank you JK Rowling for writing these books and giving something constant that my boys and I could look forward to together. Thank you for giving something to share, something we could rely on and escape into together when other things in our lives were crazy and scary. Thank you for allowing us to create our own magic in our family. Thank you for this gift.

Because Some Stories Are A Wee Bit Too Long For Twitter

June 3rd, 2011

For approximately seven days, Kid2 has been trying to get the Spice Girl’s song ‘Wannabe’ stuck in my head. First, don’t ask me how he knows that song. I have no bloody clue. Second, he picks up too many of my evil tricks. Example: Kid2: “Do you know what I don’t get?” Me: “Quantum Physics?” Kid2: “Well, yeah… but… Damn it! You made me forget! Damn you, vile woman!”

As I recently announced on Twitter, Kid2 is terribly sunburned. He has the misunderstanding that this gives him extra room to be cheeky. He may be correct on that assumption, but we will never tell him that. I went into the kitchen to make some tea. After seeing me, he started to sing ‘Wannabe’. That is when I began to sing, “I spank your ass til it’s red. I spank your ass til it’s red. I spank your ass til it’s red”, to the tune of Willow Smith’s”Whip My Hair”.

Before I continue, let me assure you, I would never spank his ass til it’s red. I would never spank it, period. He knows this. I was giving him back some of the cheek that he was dishing out at me and I thought I’d do it at the expense of his cheeks. Let’s not turn a cute story into a discussion on spanking, joking about it, parenting styles, etc. Thank you. Now back to the story.

He looked at me, stunned, for a few moments, not sure how to respond in an equally annoying and quippy fashion. After a brief pause and moments hesitation, he said, as he was bending over, “Go for it. May as well have my ass be the same colour as the rest of my body.”

I think he gets the point for this round.

In Which Kid2 and I Spend 3 Hours Bonding in the Emergency Room

January 29th, 2011

(Blogs published at this time are riddled with loads of toaster errors and mistakes. They will be mostly corrected when brain is more functional)

I’ve been wanting to write this blog every since the “incident”, which occurred last Sunday night. However, my week has been beyond crazy. Hopefully, enough of these events are still fresh enough in my mind where I can retell the magic of these events.

Last Sunday, as I was preparing to hand off the autodj at the radio station to the next personality, it had dawned on me that Kid2 was a few minutes late arriving home from playing at a friend’s house. I did my best to remain calm and not worry that some horrible thing had happened to him, causing him to be late.

15 minutes before I was to hand over the stream, I heard the door open and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that he had arrived home safely and in one piece. I continued on with my work, now relieved, freeing my brain from the distraction of wondering where the child was. That is when it happened. I heard what sounded like a child tumbling down the stairs, followed by the type of yell one would expect if someone, violently, fell down the stairs.

Without saying a word to the person I was currently in conversation with, I leaped out of my chair and ran to the door and opened it, expecting to see a twisted and mangled mess of a child. Upon opening the door, I discovered a child sitting on one of the bottom stairs, clutching one foot, nearly in tears and declaring, “I think it’s broken. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! (insert with the passion of “KHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN here).”

Trying my best to appear outwardly calm, I asked, “OMG! Are you okay?!?! How did you fall?!?! What happened???!!!? SPEAK TO ME!” I’m pretty sure I failed at the whole trying to convey that I am calm, in order to keep the child calm in an attempt to keep him from spiraling into further emotional distress. He looked at me like I was a wee bit daft and responded, “Yeah… I’m fine… I DROPPED MY LAPTOP DOWN THE STAIRS AND I THINK IT IS BROKEN!! THIS IS THE WORST!” Suddenly, I became rather confused and ask him, “So you didn’t fall? Then why the screams as if you were dying?” He regarded me as if I had two heads and replied, “Didn’t you hear me?!? I DROPPED MY LAPTOP DOWN THE STAIRS AND I THINK I MAY HAVE BROKEN IT!!!!”, which was followed by the “jeez, you’re slow” sigh that teenagers give us.

Still not convinced that he was okay and not broken, as it sounded like a body fell down the stairs and not a laptop plus he was clutching his foot, I said, “Forget the laptop. Are YOU okay?” That was THE wrong thing to say. After having a meltdown as  a result the end of the world being nigh if he broke his laptop, he said, “I’m okay. I just hurt my foot at my friend’s house and limping down the stairs made me drop my laptop and I THINK I BROKE IT!”

Trying my best to get him to forget the laptop without actually making the mistake of saying those words again, I said, “Take off your shoe and sock and let me take a look.” He tried to tell me that it was fine, it was just a bit sore and swollen, that it was no big deal. Remembering that I had someone waiting for me, I told him, “Stop arguing with me and let me take a look at your damned foot!”

That is when I saw it: the swollen and already bruised mess of a foot. This foot once was a sweet, Flinstone type, baby foot. However, in the last year, it has begun transforming into a man foot, currently made more manly, as it was swelling and turning black. He kept trying to reassure me that all was okay with him, that the real victim was his laptop. That is, until I pressed on one of his joints, which caused him to exclaim, through a yelp, “Okay! Maybe my foot isn’t fine. BUT I THINK I BROKE MY LAPTOP!”

Trying my best to remain patient over his obvious misguided priorities, I informed him that we would be having to make a trip to the emergency room. I quickly ran back to my computer, got the next personality settled, arranged for someone to deal with the autodj in the event I was not back within 4 hours, arranged for a ride to the ER, told him to put his sock and shoe back on his foot and told him NOT TO MOVE!

I was hoping that it would be empty in the ER, for two reasons: 1) Nobody wants to spend their Sunday evening in the ER, especially if they are having to worry that their child is broken; and 2) Lupus + sick people with their germs in the ER = the potential for a lot of bad things. My hopes were quickly smashed to trillions of shards, the moment we arrived. The line to see the Triage nurse began at her desk and ended at the entrance to the ER and that is how it remained for hours. At one point, people were having to wait in line, outside of the doors. Instantly, I prepared myself for a very long night, as I knew he was not critical and there were people with rashes, fevers and coughs (making them automatically more emergent) in line with us.

Finally, it was our turn to see the triage nurse. It was during this time my brain nearly exploded, yet again, when I learned that his foot had been like that for THREE HOURS, before he decided to come home. When he had said, “I just hurt my foot at my friend’s house”, I thought he actually meant he just did it, not that he meant in the “it’s no big deal, it is only a hurt foot” new fangled way kids talk, sense. I think my head may have pivoted, or something, and I found myself asking him three times, “You did this 3 hours ago and you didn’t come home?!?” because I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

The nurse proceeded to ask me about his allergies, medical conditions, etc. It tried my best to answer them, without looking back at kid2 and asking him the same question over and over. The entire time, my brain was overloading and doing it’s circular thinking thing, trying to assimilate that my child waited 3 hours before coming home, with his only concern being for his laptop.

The nurse finally cleared us from triage and waved us down to the registration desk, where I proceeded to instill into Kid2 that if any thing like this were to happen again, he is to immediately come back home. I must have told him, “If ANY THING like this happens again, you are to immediately come home” more times than I realised, as I was met with an exacerbated sigh and, “ALRIGHT MUM! I get it! Next time, I’ll come home, right away! SHEESH!”

Finally, we were able to take our seats in the waiting area and 30 minutes of failing to remain calm upon the realisation that my child has odd priorities, turned into magic.

He brought his iPod with him to keep him occupied during the wait. It was the first time I was ever happy that his dad had purchased it for him. He showed me all of his different apps and we discussed them whilst he played. It was a wonderful distraction from his hurting foot, the fact we were in the ER with what he was hoping was his first broken bone (something about battle wounds) and it allowed my brain to slightly distract itself from those who had fever, coughs and weird rashes.

After waiting for about 30 minutes, we were finally called in the treatment area. And that is when the real magic began.

We geeked out over so many different things. I also ended up learning a lot about the way his brain works during the process. We were discussing what he thought was better: Marvel or DC. This taught me that his brain works even more similarly to mine than previously thought.  Where I see the world as either “loud” or “muted”, he describes those things in “bold” and “flat”. An example of this is when he told me about his preferences and why. He told me he prefers DC over Marvel, not only because he thinks DC is more mature that Marvel but because DC is “bold” in his brain and Marvel is “flat.” He then told me that he sees most of the world as either “bold” or “flat” and he has a hard time describing things to other people, as those are the only words he can think of to illustrate it in any fashion. Immediately, I knew exactly what he meant when he said that and it was all I could do to not squee.

I have a hard time communicating the world to people, as I don’t really see my environment as “normals” do. It made me extremely happy that I actually got what he was saying. It made me even happier that he had someone he could describe the world to in such a fashion, who would just get it and nod, knowingly.

I considering him for a moment and I considered the situation. This prompted me to ask, “What would you do if you didn’t have a geeky mum? What would you do if you couldn’t share all of these things with me?” He replied, “I’d probably never speak because I’d have nobody who understood what I am talking about, especially when I have to use words like “bold” and “flat”. It is hard to talk with people sometimes.” Immediately, I understood exactly how he felt.

He went into his quiet place for a few moments. I considered him some more and asked, “Do you think you will have geeky kids?” He replied, “Well IF I have kids, I’m don’t really know. I would like them to be geeky so I can share with them like we do. But what if they’re not geeky, mum? How would I be able to talk with them?” I smiled and responded, “Well, I’m not sure if I’d worry about that, too much. I mean, look at you and your brother. You are both very individual people. However, you and your brother are my personality, split right down the middle. Your brother is my nerdy, scientific, overly rational side. You are my geeky, artistic, creative side. Yes, there are a few overlaps, but overall, you and your brother are me but split in half. Look at Auntie Catherine and your cousin. They are very similar as well. And I think you’ll marry an intelligent woman and end up having intelligent children.” That is when things went sideways, but in a wonderful direction. Well, wonderful to me but I’m not sure what those, who were listening to our conversation, thought about it.

He looked at me and asked, “What if I don’t get married. Then I won’t have any kids.” I chuckled and replied, “You don’t NEED to get married. Okay, then. Let me rephrase. I think you’ll enter a long-term, committed relationship with an intelligent woman and end up having intelligent children.” Mistakenly, I thought it was time to move on to the next topic of conversation.

Without pause, he asked, “Well what if I have sex with a girl who is delayed, mentally, the condom breaks and I end up getting her pregnant?” I responded, “I don’t think you’ll have sex with someone who has special needs. You are not going to be an asshat and take advantage of someone in such a fashion.” To which he replied, “But what if I get drunk, have sex with a girl who is delayed, the condom breaks and she gets pregnant?” With a mix of amusement and shock, I responded, “Well that is a asshat move and I didn’t raise an asshat who disrespects women in such a fashion. And if for some reason, that were to happen, then you’ll figure it out then. Regardless, the child will still be wonderful because it is yours and you are wonderful. Are you finished asking me the less likely scenarios?” He told me he was and he was ready to move to the next topic. (I think I taught him way too well to look at all sides of an equation and plan for all possibilities).

We continued discussing many other topics of nerd and geek nature, much the amusement of those around us. And then it was time for his x-ray and something else happened that I found to be so very wonderful and amusing.

As the x-ray tech was manipulating his foot and taking the films, she kept asking him questions about school and the sorts of things he is in to. He’d respond and then she’d turn to me and say, “Wow. He is so mature for 11.” Or she would try to repress a big laugh, smile to me and say, “Your child is such a doll. He is so well spoken and polite, especially for 11. I think he is great.”  The x-ray tech was taking the final film, when she asked him, “When I’m done here, would you like a sticker?” To my great pleasure and to her pleasure and amusement, he replied, “Nah. That’s okay. I’m not really partial to stickers. It is best if you keep it for the next kid.” She tried her best to repress her “awwwwh” as she gave me another “wow” and said to him, “Are you sure? They are glow in the dark!” To which he said, “Nah. Really. I’m okay.” She decided to tear one off of the strip anyway, walked over to him and said, “Look. They aren’t “kid” stickers. I think you’ll like this one.” He shrugged his shoulders and replied, “Okay. I suppose I’ll take it. I can bring it to school and brag to all my friends about how I had my first x-ray and here is the proof.” She tried her best to repress her laugh, but didn’t quite succeed.

We went back to the treatment area, where kid2 began to bombard me with questions about why I had to stand behind the wall with the x-ray tech. I told him that it was because it protects me from the radiation. A little bit horrified, he asked, “So it is okay for ME to be bombarded with radiation.. .me… a kid… but not you??” I repressed another laugh as I responded, “In normal circumstances, it is not okay. But these are not normal circumstances. Exposing you to radiation was necessary to take the x-ray. Had the situation been reversed and I needed the x-ray, you’d have been behind the wall during the process, in order to limit the exposure as best as possible.” With that, he breathed a sigh of relief and we were able to move on.

A little more time went on. We learned his foot was not broken, it was only badly bruised and sprained, much to his displeasure. (He was really wanting it to be broken). And just under 3 hours after arrival, we were able to go home, passing the still revolving door of walk-in patients.

I know I’m missing a lot of pieces from this story. However, despite the horrible circumstances surrounding the bonding time, it was one of the best times we’ve had in a while. Sure, we are always talking and sharing. Our days are spent exchanging geek banter. But that night we shared things on a level that we hadn’t shared in quite a while, allowing me to see him in a whole new light and gaining better understanding of who he is, how he thinks and just how amazing he is.

And I am glad for it.

More Mind Exploding Talent From Kid2

September 24th, 2010

I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Kid2 finished writing this yesterday. And remember folks, he is 11. I can’t wait for this to finally have some music behind it. If you haven’t heard his other partial song, check out this post.

So Crazy


Intro:

When the dragon squeals the secret is revealed
And tells me the story on why every body heals
And why every body gets a second chance
Except me and shuts me in the dark
In a closet of skeletons that scared me

Verse 1:

When I was just a boy
When I would just play with my toys
When I go to sleep my closet
Would make so much noise
And you think it is cool to trap me here
Face to face with all my sins
That are cased up in a ton of bins

Chorus:

My life’s so crazy
But I can’t seem to shake the fact that
I’m just so crazy
And I won’t live to see the world end
My life is over
And I can’t take any more of this torture
That you have brought upon me
Why oh why

Verse 2:

This is how I do it this is how I survive
The torture of you and many I have hidden
And taken away so that no one will ever face
The devil that I am and that I make people believe in
I am evil I am a vicious crazy lunatic
I am psychopathic I am more or less about it
That’s all about it I’m crazy

Chorus:

My life’s so crazy
But I can’t seem to shake the fact that
I’m just so crazy
And I won’t live to see the world end
My life is over
And I can’t take any more of this torture
That you have brought upon me
Why oh why

Verse 3:

That is my story this is the end
I say it once I don’t want to say it agian
I’m crazy but I stand in front of you all
Powerful after the danger I went through
It’s terrible I admit it now
I’m never going to again
I am a terrible man
With a terrible brain

Chorus:

My life’s so crazy
But I can’t seem to shake the fact that
I’m just so crazy
And I won’t live to see the world end
My life is over
And I can’t take any more of this torture
That you have brought upon me
Why oh why

In Which Kid2 BLOWS MY FRACKING MIND With Amazing Talent

September 22nd, 2010

I just came home from a short walk with kid2. I am not well and thought the walk, even so it really hurt, would be good for the both of us. We have some of the most amazing conversations while we are walking.

On this walk there were many hilarious moments, leading me to ask him, “Do you mind if I tweet this when we get home?” He responded, “Nope. I don’t mind at all. Then you can show the entire world how your brain fails in both hilarious and awesome ways.” One such moment of fail occurred when he was painting for me a picture, with very vivid details, of a book his class is currently reading. And then this moment:

Kid2: […] You know how there are islands off the coast of California? The island was inspired by one of those islands.

Me: Yes, I do know. Azkaban being one of those islands.

Kid2: Really? She named the prison in Harry Potter after one of those islands?

Me (bewildered): Wait. No. I meant to say Alcatraz .

Kid2: Didn’t that use to be a prison for the worst criminals?

Me: Yes.

Kid2: Well then I guess I can understand how you mixed the two up.

Throughout the walk, he kept making me laugh and telling me the most amazing stories. And the way he was telling the stories was actually a work of art and so very entertaining. In case you don’t know, when kid2 grows up, one of the many things he wants to be is a writer. He has been using his writing voice more and more while he speaks. It really is art in motion. I had told him that I need to start bringing my digital audio recorder with me when we go for walks because these conversations are just so fantabulous.

Kid2: No!

Me: Why not?

Kid2: Because you’ll post our convos on the internets and you do not have my permission for that.

Me: *sigh* Fine.

We continued our walk and that is when he blew me away even more! Aside from writing prose, he has been writing a number of songs recently. He was talking with me about his creative process and how he finds he gets his best ideas while he is alone in the morning, walking to school. How it is frustrating when noises from the outside world disrupt him when he is busy thinking and creating (this is when I said, “Now you know how I feel when you interrupt me while I’m writing and creating). And that is when it happened. He shared with me one of his unfinished raps.

This is not mother’s pride speaking when I say it is brilliant! And keep in mind, he is only 11. If he is coming up with this type of lyric at 11, he has a very amazing future ahead of him (he just finished telling me that one day I’ll be interviewing him). With a little bit of “AWWWWW PLEASE! Don’t make me beg.. PLEASE”, I was able to convince him to record this piece of awesome and let me share it with you all.

The Boy – By Kid2

Hey I’m not Dre
I’m not Slim Shady
I’m a boy who can rap
Rap stuff you can’t
Rap stuff that can run you over
As fast as you can puff

Puff the stuff your mom does
The stuff that gets you high
The stuff that lies
You know the stuff that dies
When you smoke it
It goes to your heart and strokes it
Pokes it then you’ll die

Die like how Freddy Krueger died
By Eminem, 50 cent, Dr Dre
And now I
I bye liddidy diddy die
If you don’t shut up
I might cry
Then beat your head with an extra 5

By 5 I mean an extra fist
That will come and strike your dick
Oops did I say that in a song
No no don’t take me to jail
I know I failed
Failed like Luke Skywalker ’cause
He turned to the dark side
And Leia killed him
Took him and shot him with his own gun
What a bum

Saturday Simplicity

September 18th, 2010

I’m ill. I’m ill to the status of turning into a “sucky baby”. I don’t complain unless it is really bad. My Lupus is really trying to kick my ass, showing me no mercy. I haven’t had a flare last for this long in a very long time. Even so I always live with a good amount of pain, I had forgotten just how bad bad can be. I’ve been running a fever since I awoke yesterday. Today, I woke up with mouth ulcers. I’m grumpy. I’m irritable. I’m liable to lash out at any poor unsuspecting soul. But thank Bob for my children. At least they can keep me laughing through all of this.

It started this morning. I got up feeling like shit and as if someone beat the crap out of me in my sleep, yet again. I put on my glasses and hobbled down to the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee. I sat down in front of my computer to check my email and Twitter while I waited for the blessed coffee to brew. Because I’m ill, my vision is also being affected and every thing was blurry and as if it had a white film across it. That is when the following conversation took place:

Me: Where are my glasses?

Kid2: What?

Me: I can’t find my glass. Help me find them. (Starts searching). Wait. Never mind. They are on my face.

Kid2: BWAHAHAHA! OMG! I thought that only happens in movies! Too funny. Mom, that was pro. You are so fail today! Way too funny, mom.

Shortly afterward, his dad picked him up to do some clothes shopping. Upon his return, I hear the following:

Kid2: Mom, look at this! I picked it out all on my own. You want it, don’t you? You’re jealous aren’t you? You’d wear this to your next convention, wouldn’t you?

Me: OMG! DUDE! That is so awesome! YES! I do want it! Man, you’re awesome!

Kid2: *giggles* I knew it!

And just now, the following conversation occurred while I was outside getting some fresh air as I’m burning up.

(After Kid2 and his friend rounded the corner into the backyard)

Kid2’s friend: I hear that you can walk on your hands.

Me: Yes, I can.

Kid2: She can also lick her elbows! I don’t know how she does it. It is freaky but still cool. Mom, show her!

Me: Honey, I’m not feeling well. My body really hurts right now. Otherwise, I’d love to show my freaky skills.

(Kid2 and Kid2’s friend try to lick their elbows while conversing over how they don’t understand how it is possible.)

Me: Fine! I’ll do it! (licks elbow).

Kid2’s friend: WOW!

Kid2: SEE! Told you! They say it isn’t possible to lick your elbows, but my mom can!

Me: Well, what “they” say is false. It isn’t impossible, it is just rare.

Kid2 to his friend: She makes a good point. My mom is a rare breed of person. It is one of the things that makes her so awesome. She’s rare and weird but in a really good way. (To Me) She also doesn’t believe that you squee’d when I showed you my Mario shirt.

Me: Yes, I did squee.

Kid2’s friend: Then you’d squee over my brother’s shirt as he has the same one.

Me: I probably would.

Kid2: Okay, mom. I have to go into the back forest now. I left my winter coat back there.

Me: Why is your winter coat back there?

Kid2: Because I needed it to sing The Mountain Climber song while climbing trees.

Despite feeling like death waiting to happen, at least I can look forward to a day filled with laughter.

Intelligent But Hilarious Children And Critical Thinking

September 14th, 2010

Today has been one of those day where the slightest thing has tried my patience. A normally even-tempered Jules had to avoid much of the internet today. Things that normally would cause me to say, OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE!”, had me yelling, “OH FOR FUCK OFF!” to my monitor. This is not good. So I spent a lot of my day avoiding blogs, which I normally love to read, and avoiding reading my Facebook news feed. I was in such a mood that I would have not felt any remorse at all when I inevitably stopped biting my tongue, so to speak, and lashed out.

In an attempt to calm the raging monster lurking inside of me, waiting for a moment to devour the first of many unsuspecting but deserving victims, I decided to listen to the one time that I was interviewed. Kid2 decided to join me for the last few minutes of the interview. And am I ever glad that he did. The conversations that occurred as a result managed to not only calm this savage beast but also subdue it into fits of roaring laughter.

Near the end of this interview, I was asked who I liked better, Wil Wheaton or Phil Plait. He came in just to hear the end of the conversation, where I say, “That is like asking me who I like better, Kirk or Picard” and some banter on that subject. Kid2 asked me, “Did Joe just ask you who you like better, Kirk or Picard?” I replied, “No. He asked who I like better, Wil or Phil.” His eyes became wide as saucers as he said, “OUCH! That is even more difficult to choose between! How could he ask you to choose?!” I howled and said, “You’re awesome! Yes, it is a more difficult choice.”

He sat with me for the remaining 10 minutes of the interview. We laughed together over the ridiculousness of it and other things; such as having Joe and Sammy team up on me being just as bad as if it were him and a myriad of other people, who are very good at teasing me, team up on me. Once it was done, I told him it was time for his shower.  Still laughing, he went to the shower and I checked Twitter. That is when I saw the following tweet from my friend Travis, “Just saw a good-looking woman I’ve never heard of accepting some kind of important Republican nomination on CNN. Most unpleasant deja vu.”

I HOWLED! I giggled and snorted for a good few minutes. I was still giggling when Kid2 got out of the shower. He asked me if I was still laughing from our discussion prior to his shower. I said, “No. I’m laughing at something a friend said on Twitter.” He asked me to tell him what it was. I told him he wouldn’t understand. He gave me that puppy dog look, which only children can give their parents, so I told him what it said.

Wanting to be part of the conversation, he laughed. I smiled at him and said, “You don’t get it, do you?” He shook his head, “No.” So, that is when I explained to him that it was a reference to Sarah Palin. He cocked his head and said, “That name sounds familiar, but I don’t know who she is.” I then explained to him that she was a candidate for the Vice President of the USA, she is pretty but she is not that smart. She believes that the earth is 6000 years old and that she can see Russia from her house in Alaska, among other things.

The look on his face and the ensuing conversation was priceless!

Kid2: Wait a minute. She thinks she can see Russia from her house?

Me: Well, that is what she said.

Kid2: Okay, well… that seems a little ridiculous to me. But what I have more issue with is, SHE THINKS THE WORLD IS 6000 YEARS OLD! REALLY? Has she ever heard of Science, mom?!?”

I smiled and said, “About 50% of Americans are what is known as “Young Earth Creationists”. Meaning, they believe that the Bible is literal, therefor the Earth is only 6000 years old and people and dinosaurs inhabited the planet together.

Kid2: Seriously?!? Again, have they not heard of Science??? Do they not go to school? How can they believe this?

It was then he gave me a demonstration of the history of the Universe using his arms. He held his arms as wide apart as they could go, told me to imagine this was the entire time line of the Universe and then showed me the minuscule portion of when the Earth formed, the even smaller portion of when dinosaurs inhabited the planet and the yet even smaller portion of human existence.

Kid2: It’s more complicated than that, mom. But that is basically it. That is SCIENCE! How can they rationally believe anything else?

Me: I didn’t say it was rational. I said that is what Young Earth Creationists believe. They believe that people rode dinosaurs, etc.

Kid2: Honestly!? You mean to tell me, what? That they think the time that the earth was all molten rock and stuff… and what about the ice ages, mom?!? What about those? So they think the earth being a molten lava pit and the ice ages, happened in like what? Minutes from each other?!?

Me: Pretty much. Well, you see, love. They have their own “scientists” who, with their own “science”, “prove” Science wrong.

Kid2: Well, isn’t that just stupid! That isn’t how you do Science! They are purposely going to find the answers they are looking for! That isn’t how it’s done! It’s like…  ummm… okay… as an example, if I go out searching for proof that God doesn’t exist, of course I’m going to find proof to suit my own beliefs because I’ve made my mind up on what the answer is. The same is if I go search for proof that God does exist! Of course I’m going to find “proof”. That isn’t finding answers or proof! That’s just trying to find things to support the ideas you already have! That isn’t how you are suppose to do it! And they call that science?!?

Me: Yes, hun. And you are exactly right. When you have an idea about something, you are not suppose to make up your mind first regarding the results but just test your theory and go from there. You gather the data, apply the math and let it give you the answers, not the other way around.

Kid2: I still can’t believe in this day and age people still think the Earth is only 6000 years old! That is just insane!

And with that, he went to bed.

I smiled. I am still smiling. I have some of the best conversations with my children. It makes me happy that I’m teaching them how to think critically and be skeptical about the world around them. I worry sometimes because Kid2 will see something on YouTube or elsewhere (2012 being a big one lately) and we have to have long discussions about the faulty science behind it. But then he will have a rant of Jules Epic Proportions or we will laugh and geek out about things together, and I can be content.

Aside from being able to laugh with my child tonight, chasing away the monster within, I had the opportunity to have a very good discussion about the world in which we live and the people we share it with. And to think, those comments came out of the mouth of an 11 year old child.

It is too bad that many adults still do not know how to apply such logic to the world around them.

Rainy Holidays And In Which Kid1 Builds Kid2 A Tree House

September 6th, 2010

Today is the last day of summer holidays. And of course it is raining (much needed rain). The last day to sit, relax and really enjoy my children before another crazy school year begins tomorrow morning. Two more days to enjoy having a 14 year-old before he turns into a 15 year-old. One day filled with soaking in all that is Kid2. You see, he has been away for the last 23 days. What was suppose to be 1 night with my sister, turned in 2 which turned into 5 which turned into, “I’m going to keep him until either I can’t afford to keep him anymore or I can’t handle him anymore.” (He isn’t a handful but he does talk A LOT.)

She then emailed me a few days ago, offering to keep him for a few more months. It was more of her telling me rather than offering. There are many reasons for this offer. I told her, as much as I appreciate her help recently (she was not always this helpful), I really need my baby home. I have missed him terribly and things are just not the same without his incessant chatter. Today he came back home, loaded with new clothes, school supplies, an xbox and xbox games, Star Trek Transporter toy (which caused me to squee), at least an inch taller, looking, sounding and smelling more like a man. (From Twitter: Kid2 is home. YAY! Kid2: Mom. I’m expecting a squee. Me: Why? Kid2: Come look. Me: *sees Star Trek transporter set* SQUEE! Kid2: tee hee)

When he had finished showing me all of the things he brought home (the transporter is SERIOUSLY AWESOME!), he finally gave me another huge, great big long, bear hug. He looked up at me and said, “You missed me, didn’t you?” I responded, “Boy, did I ever! I am so happy you are home.” He smiled and said, “I bet.” (Later he made comments about how I was probably happy to have the break as I needed it. I said, “Not really even so it was nice not to have the constant chatter all day long.” He laughed and said, “That is why I think it was a nice break for you. I really don’t know when to shut up.” I laughed and said, “Yeah… maybe. But I missed you more than not. Things are not the same when you are not around.”)

While he was away, Kid1 made him the best gift ever! He built him a tree house in the backyard forested area. Seriously, how many nearly 15 year-old boys spend days hauling material and building a tree house for their 11 year-old brother to come home to as special surprise? Not many. When Kid2 discovered the tree house, his reaction was, “OMG! OMG! THIS IS AWESOME! OMG! OMG! OMG! THIS IS SOOOOOOOOO AWESOME!!!!” My boys are seriously beyond amazing. They may argue like all siblings do, but over all they are rather fabulous together. Kid1 really takes the time for Kid2 (when he isn’t complaining about his annoying younger brother).

A couple weeks ago, I decided to take some video of his efforts shortly before kid1 installed the laminate flooring. Alas, you will now all find out the name of kid1 as I am too lazy to edit the video. The quality is shitty. I took it with my very ancient (4 year-old) camera. It is also rather shaky. But I think it rather cool. And you get a bit of a tour of what is my backyard.

How many kids get to have a tree house (built by their older brother nonetheless) in their backyard? Pretty groovy!

UPDATE: YouTube FUBAR’d the video. I tried to re-encode the video and YouTube still FUBAR’d it. So, here it is hosted on my server. Please be patient while it buffers.

Another Update: The video is out of sync again. Even so when I previewed it, it was fine. I don’t know why. Technology is deciding to hate me again. I may fix it over the next few days.

Yet Another Update: Okay, uploaded in original format. You’ll need to QuickTime plugin to view. When I viewed it, it was in sync. Hopefully it stays that way. Or you can click the link below to download the video. Once again, you will need to be patient while it buffers.

Kid1 builds Kid2 a Tree House

In Which I Attempt To Hold Down My Thoughts Floating In The Aether

September 4th, 2010

Oh yes. You guessed it. It is going to be another one of those rambling thought blogs. I find them necessary in order to vomit out some of the copious amounts of thoughts that run through my brain at any given time.

Many of you are probably aware that the last little period of time in my life has been quite difficult for me: financially, mentally, physically and emotionally. My Lupus has been attempting to beat my ass down in ways that are very painful. In the last week, I think I’ve managed all of 24 hours sleep due to it. My life has undergone an extraordinary amount of change recently. I’ve had many obstacles thrown in front of me. Most days, I feel as if I am running an octagintathlon, leaping and flailing from one event to the next in an effort to finish the trial alive. Winning and finishing unscathed, without any bumps or bruises, is not the goal. Survival and just making it through has become the objective.

I have loved ones who are poorly. I have baby’s daddy’s who are trying to make my life as difficult as possible. I have children who are each going through their own trials. I have family members who I wish would just cease to exist. I have people trying to attach themselves to me, not because of who I am but what they think they can gain from it. There are people who attach labels to me that I am not at all comfortable with. I have fear. I have doubt. I have moments of feeling defeated and then…

Somebody will reach out and say something to me, small things, that mean the world to me. I am all about the little things. This can be good and it can be not so good. It means that I’m easily pleased and can get quite giddy and squee with the utmost ease. It also means that I am easy to frustrate and want to bang heads. Thankfully for those around me, I am more patient than I am not. I can hold myself back in the moments where all I really want to do is rage against something. These small things give me the strength, power and energy to leap and flail over my next hurdle. They help me find my inner strength when I am unable to see it. And they always come when I need them the most. Lately, with such a frequency, it is almost unbearable and I feel as if I am going to explode. Unbearable may me a peculiar word to attribute to something that is quite positive. However, I grew up with more negatives in my life than positives. At times, the positives are more difficult to accept than the negatives.

Examples of these small but enormous things are: friends who know that I have an uncomfortableness around being referred to as a ‘celeb’ (Seriously. People call me that and with greater frequency lately), jokingly telling me on Twitter: “Liek OH-EM-GEE! It’s Jules! Let’s all be fan-kids over her and swoon!” Somebody sending me short but sweet email telling me that something I’ve writing really touched them or when people tell me that I’ve inspired them. And not because of who I supposedly know but for who I am and how I live my life. For me, this is really important. I need this in order to tell myself that living with Lupus is not for nothing. I need to know my life is not in vain and that I am doing actual good, even if it is inspiring just one person. I have been so very lucky to inspire more than just one. Somebody saying something or playing a song when I’m feeling the most vulnerable, reaching out in a very sweet and romantic way, a way that only the two of us know what is going on.

And I suppose this is where part of the paradox comes in. When I started with my radio show and online things, I honestly did not think anything would come out of it. It was purely for my own pleasure and needs. And then something happened. Somehow, I got noticed. For some strange reason, people started to pay attention and I had no bloody clue what to make of it or what to do with it. It was not anything I had intended nor planned. It was not my goal. There is one event that I can point to and say, “This is when I stopped being anonymous.” Sometimes I want to both thank and curse the person involved in this turning point. And then I stop myself. Not because I am not thankful for some parts they have played in it but because I actually earned it. I got the recognition, the head nod if you will, because of my work and talent. It was not asked for. Any recognition or head nods I have received have been unsolicited. In fact, I specifically said, “You don’t need to promote this. It is just for fun.” Well… for some crazy reason, they did.

And I suppose in reality, it is not for a crazy reason. I remember a wonderful conversation that I had a few months ago when I needed help regarding a crazy (but awesome) idea I had for a project (which I still hope to make a reality sooner rather than later). Somehow the conversation changed from tips to sharing moments of  (to paraphrase), “OMG! When did this become our lives?!?” I remember saying something like, “Sometimes I want to ask these people [who have helped in ways that I never asked for or have gone out their way to do something for me], why me? But obviously I’m not going to ask them. That would be stupid.” The response and following conversation will be something that I will keep with me for rest of my days.

The response I received was, “Why not? I mean don’t ask them but I think the question you should be asking is ‘why not you?'” I had a quick reply to that, “Because I’m just this girl from a very small city in Canada. There is no reason for anybody to do anything for me. And yes I realize they are just people too. You know that. But they are extremely busy and probably get a load of stupid requests all the time. And yet, when they can, they find moments for me. Something  I do not expect but is nonetheless appreciated.” And then he said (and I’ll never forget this), “It doesn’t matter what town you’re from when you live on the internet.” This conversation helped illustrate to me that I must be doing something right. That I may have more talent and abilities than I’m willing to give myself credit for. Most importantly, it helped to teach me that I’ve earned (through my own talents and hard work) any moderate successes (that for me, on a personal level, are HUGE) I have achieved. At the end of the day, I can proudly say I’ve gotten to where I am through my own blood, sweat and tears, not through the work of others. And I think it may all finally pay of, with real money (I’ll get to that eventually).

The last week and a bit has been a blur of events. I was finally able to announce one of my sooper sekrit projects (if you missed the news, check out this post and this post over on Geeky Pleasures). I figured out what it is I’m going to write about for clp.ly. And then there are more people reaching out in ways that cause me to want to yell, “SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! I want to tell you to fuck off right now. But only because I don’t know how to deal with this event as you just blew apart my brain!”

One example of this, is someone (not going to name names) leaving a comment on something I posted somewhere which reads, “I just came here to say “Hi Jules!” It was another moment where I wanted to get all melty and d’awwwwh and say, “thank you for taking a little bit of your time out for me and stopping by just to say hi” in ways that are even less eloquent than that, in ways that would leave me looking like a downright idiot. And in reality, I wouldn’t be an idiot but it is a result of me truly appreciating the really small things that people do, especially when there is no need for it.

And then, I received this email (Email shared with permission. Names removed to protect privacy):

Well then, Jules… If I haven’t made it abundantly clear yet…

I’m just this guy, you know? But when I say it, it’s not like when Wil says it. I’m actually at the bottom of the totem pole. So, whenever you do something as gracious as shamelessly finding a way to mention us when there’s no need to… Well… You’re like, MY [Name redacted. Me being compared to this person (not Wil Wheaton) left me at a complete loss for words and rational thought as it is someone I have a HUGE respect for]. It geeks me out to no end. Thank you again and always; I know you’re not just doing it because we’ve become friends, but on that note I’m so glad that we’ve become friends.

It was all I could do to not call this person an asshole for saying something that caused me to become extremely overwhelmed. But the thing I appreciated the most about his comment was not that they likened me to someone I have a huge respect for. It was because they see and appreciate that I don’t promote something just because they are my friend. And it doesn’t matter what it is that I put on Geeky Pleasures, except for the gaming press releases that I receive. It doesn’t matter how big of a name or how small of a name somebody has. I promote things on my site that I truly believe in. Not because it was asked of me. Not because it is expected of me. It is because I truly enjoy it and am very happy that I’m given the privileged to consume these things that people have made (we are not entitled to these things). I want to share the things I like with others. So when I see something I like or believe in, I’ll write about it because I chose to. I get quite pissy when people ask or expect me to mention something.

That being said, if you come across something you think I’ll like, I have no problem with an email being sent to me saying something like, “I thought you may enjoy this.” And if I feel it necessary, then I’ll make a mention of it. Also, if you want me to review something you’ve done, great! I’d be more than happy to. This doesn’t mean it will be a good review, even if you are my friend. It will be an honest review. This is one of the reason I found writing a review for Memories of the Future so difficult.

I’ve also been getting a lot of “guidance” type questions from people in the last couple of weeks. This is very strange. I am trying to figure out when did I go from the person who seeks others for questions and become the person people want to ask questions regarding media related things. Most days I still feel as if I’m a novice even so I’ve been working in various parts of the industry for years. I am still the person who asks others for advice on these things. And now people are asking me. It is such a strange phenomena. Sometimes I want to ask the people who’ve been nice enough to give me their advice, “How do you manage your life without wanting to explode with awesome giddy, squee and excitement over it all? Especially since etiquette tells us, in public, we are not to show our excitement. We are to remain ‘cool’.” But I stop myself because I know they are just normal people, who like me, keep asking themselves, “When did this become my life?!? Holy shit, this is awesome!!”

Now to make things even more awesome for me, I think it is all finally starting to pay off in a way that goes beyond HUGE personal satisfaction. As I’ve mentioned many a times in the past, when I started on all of this, it was for my pleasure only. I never planned, expected nor wanted to make a living from it. It was purely a hobby (in many ways). Then life threw me a curve ball and I’ve had to attempt to turn all these things that I’ve built into money. Without being an egotistical asshat, I am quite good at what I do. I am so very self-critical (I think this is true of a lot of creative types). I know when something I’ve produced is crap (even so others will tell me otherwise) and I know when it is good. I know what my strengths and weaknesses are in any given task. I know that I have many valuable skills, abilities and attributes.

I’ve gotten where I am because I have never been afraid to try. When I applied at the radio station, I went into it thinking I will not get the job because thousands of people will be applying. Sure enough, thousands did. But for some strange reason (well it isn’t strange, I just have a really hard time giving myself compliments), within a couple hours of sending in my application I was contacted for an interview. During the interview, I was hired on the spot and within a couple of weeks, I was asked if I wanted to be the Program Director. I’ve taken many such “risks” since then. Every single time I approach someone about something, I always expect a no. The results have been far from my expectation.

Last night, I decided to take another such risk. I saw another ad. This time for a writing gig which I thought for sure thousands would be applying for. To make it even better, it is a paying job which I get to do from the comfort of my home (something that is necessary). It is a writing job that, in many ways, is quite prestigious or at least has the potential to be. In the application process, you only had 2 paragraphs to illustrate why you think you would be a good addition to the publication. ONLY 2! Well, we all know long-winded Jules is long-winded. I wrote my two paragraphs, gave the links asked for and sent off the email. I went to sleep thinking I would be damn lucky to hear anything back because 1) The ad was over a week old, and 2) I know the industry and I know how much crap has to be waded through to get to the good things. Today, I got a response from the founder and publisher.

I’m assuming he liked what I wrote as he is forwarding my information on to the rest of the team. I suppose you can say I’ve been short listed. This really is a major accomplishment for me. I didn’t fail the audition process. I was able to impress in only two paragraphs. My inner editor did its job (I’m sure some of you wish my inner editor would do its job as I type out yet another blog that is sure to be near 3000 words). And to make me even happier about this success, I was asked my advice (once more), this time as a writer. Keyword here: writer. Not as a blogger. There is nothing wrong with being a blogger but there is this bad taste associated with “bloggers”, “self-publishers”, etc. There is this very unfair image of the blogging community. A very misinformed image, perpetuated by mainstream media. And I do consider myself to be a writer as well as a blogger. So it felt nice to have someone ask me advice “as a writer” and from a publisher no less.

This put a (much needed) added spring to my step. I woke up once more after only a couple hours of sleep, feeling beyond exhausted and like someone beat the shit out of me in my sleep. I was at a point of wanting to curse every thing and every one.

Then immediately afterwards, kid2 came whizzing into the house (my sister has had him for the last 3 weeks). I got extremely happy (because I miss his terribly) thinking my sister was bringing him back 3 days early. He quickly dashed my happy to sad by informing me, “I’m only here to get my iPod charger and then I’m going back to auntie Catherine’s.” However, before my sadness got the better of me, he added, “Can I have a hug?” I said, “Of course! I’ve missed you so very much!” And then he gave me the hardest bear hug he has ever given me. It was so very much needed and exactly at that moment too. My week and a bit has been yet another one filled with really high highs and really low lows. At times, I’m having great difficulties navigating it all.

My children are my reasons. I have been very lonely without the constant chatter from kid2. He will be 12 soon but he still finds excuses to crawl into bed with me. And he still wants my hugs. After giving me the longest and hardest hug ever, he whisked down the hall to get his charger and out of the house he shot. But not before “I love you”s were exchanged. I cried for a bit after he left for two reasons: 1) I was sad to see him leave when he has been gone for so long; 2) He still wants hugs from mommy.

These are just a small fraction of my thoughts floating in the aether and the events of the past little bit. Aren’t you glad I don’t share them all? However, now that I’ve purged some of them, hopefully I can get back to more focused writing soon. And at just over 3000 words, I’ll stop.