Writing 101: Day 3 It Comes and Goes in Waves

There was this random line from a song that I could not identify. I just could not get it out of my head. I found myself saying it over and over to myself.  It came to me at times when I wanted to throw my hands up in the air, which seemed to be a lot lately.

Instead of saying “I give up!” or throwing in the towel, I heard this quiet whisper, as if a little guardian angel was sitting on my shoulder reminding me everything would be ok.

“It comes and goes in waves….”

Sometimes it comes and goes in violent, crashing waves.

Waves that slam into me like a brick wall.

Waves that pull me under.

And then sometimes life is a little more merciful, and it comes and goes in gentle waves.

Up and down, up and down, almost rolling.

Up and down, up and down.

I ride them out.

Because I know the waves will never stop.

Blood sugars, papers to grade, piles of laundry, memories, things breaking down and things needing fixed up, sadness and happiness, boredom and motivation, stress and peace, bills and surprises, loneliness and contentment….

It comes and goes in waves….


Day After Day

I guess diabetes makes you grow up faster than you should.  You are forced to take care of yourself in a whole new way. Instead of being a 10-year-old who sneaks candy, spoils his dinner, and has midnight snacks, Ian has to be a disciplined young man who politely turns down treats, who settles on cheese for a snack, and who semi-graciously accepts he can’t have seconds if we didn’t allot for it with his meal time shot.

What a tough place to be in.  Wanting to make your own decisions, being able to make many, but facing limits all the time.

Ian’s quest for independence has been slowed down by a disease that is out of his control.

I guess after a while you just get used to it.  But that doesn’t mean he likes it. And sometimes it must just get so old…especially if he thinks to himself that this is the rest of his life.

That kind of hit me the other night.

Thursday night Ian had to eat an extra 110 carbs due to a mix up of meds.  His dad called to tell me and I knew all was well and under control. Ian was drinking a coke and eating A LOT of Doritos to compensate for 7.5 units of Humalog.

I was worried but we’d dealt with this before, so it wasn’t as scary. Besides, he loves Doritos.  He must be thrilled.

So, I sent him a text.  His reply made me feel bad.20140126-113738.jpg

It’s sad that a bowl full of Doritos can bring such a response.

I could hear it in his voice, “I’m just tired of this.”

Think of what he hears on an average, uneventful day:

Good morning.
Wash your hands and check your blood sugar.
What was your number?
Here’s your shot.

On the way to school.
Make sure you check at 10:00 to see if you need a snack.

At lunch.
Wash your hands and check your blood sugar.
What was your number?

After school.
How was your day? 
Did you have to check your blood sugar before lunch?
Were you low?
Did you have a snack at 10:00?
Did you eat all your lunch?
Was the tray what they said it would be?
Wash your hands and check your blood sugar.
What was your number?
Go get a 15g snack.

Before dinner.
Wash your hands and check your blood sugar.
What was your number?

After dinner.
Do you feel low?
I hope I counted those carbs right. Tell me if you feel low.

Before bed.
Wash your hands and check your blood sugar.
What was your number?

Tucking him in.
Night buddy. I love you. Wake me up if you need me.

Geez…no wonder sometimes he just wants to lay on the couch, put his headphones on, and be left alone.  He blocks out all the questions and the “nagging.”

And me joking about Doritos….that was probably just annoying.

As I was thinking about this post, Ian turned on one of his favorite songs for us to listen to. For real….this song is as much his favorite right now as White Walls. 

My little boy with the old soul.

Growing up so much faster than he should.

I love him so.

More on Perspective

Last Friday night, as we were walking Blue, Ian came to the realization that we haven’t gone on a bike ride in forever. 

Thinking about it for a minute, it turns out “forever” is how long we’ve had Blue.

We spend a lot of time outside with him  – taking several short walks a day and playing outside while he’s safely tethered on his yard stake.

I told them that next weekend we’d pump up the tires and go on a ride if we had good weather.

Blue would have to stay home while we went, obviously.  He is not ready to run beside a bike, nor do I think he ever will be.

On Sunday night, while the kids were at their dad’s, I was looking online at the possibility of a basket or carrier that would allow Blue to go on a bike ride with us.

To my surprise, they do make such a thing.

Can I imagine him sitting in it?

Yes. And no.

Not to my surprise at all, the kids had different perspectives on the idea.

I sent a group iMessage with a picture of the first basket I saw:


Gotta love how MJ shoots down the idea rather quickly. Still, I decide to challenge my middle school daughter and press on and ask her WHY it is a bad idea….


And as an honest 8th grader, she tells it like it is….

I immediately start laughing and tears start to form in the corners of my eyes.

To torture her, I send her another picture to show her how “cool” it is.

And then, Ian, ever the optimist, joins the conversation….


(Thank you, Ian! I knew he’d be on my side!)

But his big sister gives him the “Talk to the Hand” emoji.

By now I am hysterically laughing to myself. The dog is looking at me like I’ve lost my mind.

And I send one more picture for laughs.

Looks like Blue won’t be taking any bike rides anytime soon.

Lying in Life’s Flower Bed

Lying in Life’s Flower Bed

The giant weeds that choke
and strangle
and poke,
It’s beyond-words-satisfying to rip them from the roots,
to dig their anchors and claws,
to release the innocent plants they have suffocated.

The smaller weeds….
or are they flowers?
Nestled around the bases of bigger plants,
they try to act casual.
They disguise themselves with cutesy flowers,
Some I leave, give them a chance,
since they appear to be doing no harm.
Others are not so convincing.

Exotic Tiger Lilies,
flamboyant and sneaky,
taunting and teasing,
looking down on the others.
Just another pretty face.

The perennials that have had their chance
and their season to shine.
I cut them back, their dried and withered stalks.
I let them go.
They may or may not return.
They were beautiful, while they lasted.

The Black-eyed Susan’s with their tall, thin stems.
They peek around the mailbox.
Quiet, and somehow bold, at the same time.

The Barberry bush, vibrant and hardy.
A natural lancet.
It pricks my finger
and draws a tiny drop of blood.
A reminder there is no escape.

The random unnamed flower,
in an unlikely and unexpected place,
makes me laugh while it teaches me a lesson.

The Hosta, started out few and scattered,
now filling and overflowing in all directions.
Tiny holes perforate the leaves,
but the damage is undetected from the street.

And, oh, the clovers!
Clovers everywhere!
And yet, not a single good luck charm among them.

The grapevines,
growing and twisting,
grabbing on to whatever they can.
I know they will not produce fruit this year.
I do not cut them back. I do not snip the vines.

Instead, I let them grow.

I gently guide the vines, wrap them around the arbor’s poles,
and alter their path.

I spend the day in these beds alone,
but not alone.

I am with the ghosts,
my exes,
my friends,
my enemies,
my family,
and my children.

From this colorful bed
I clearly see my past,
my present,
and my future.

Flying Free

By Saturday afternoon life was back to almost normal here.  We managed to get outside, play some basketball, ride our bikes and take a walk. It felt so good to be free!

While I was making dinner, the kids were supposed to be picking some lettuce in the garden. When it took a little longer than I wanted, I opened the door to holler and MJ comes busting through the door, “I need my iPod. I gotta take a picture! Ian caught a butterfly!”

A minute later I hear a knock on the window, “Mom, come out here!”

Ian was holding an old butterfly net and trapped between his fist and the netting sat a big brownish-orange moth. It kind of looked like a dead leaf. It wasn’t moving and it wasn’t much to look at.

I almost said, “Um…I think that is a moth” but decided not to burst his bubble and instead offered, “That’s cool buddy. Did you take a picture?”

I went back inside and then another knock on the window, “Come see this, Mom! It won’t get off the net!”

Surprise! surprise! How pretty!

Surprise! surprise! How pretty!

Well, would you look at that?

Yet another lesson I have learned from my kids.

It wasn’t a plain old ugly moth at all.

In fact, it was an unexpected beauty when it got the chance to spread its wings and fly!