A Love So Big It Hurts and The Gift of A Dream

One of my granddaughters fell ill over the weekend. REALLY ILL.

What Matters Most

Saturday night I received a frantic call from my daughter that one of the twins, Harper, who had just been to see the pediatrician on Friday for a mysterious fever and an unusual bout of lethargy, lack of appetite and not wanting anything to drink was much worse. Unable to find an obvious issue, the doctor diagnosed her with an oncoming cold.

He was wrong. REAL WRONG.

By the time my daughter called me Saturday night, my granddaughter was pale, screaming in obvious pain, barely able to focus or function at all and was in dire need of immediate attention. I stayed with the other two girls while she and her husband rushed this terribly sick fifteen month old baby to the emergency room. I’m going to name the lousy hospital emergency room too – Harbor Hospital in Brooklyn, MD. It’s the closest one but by far their emergency room fucking sucks!

My seriously ill granddaughter and her desperately frantic parents sat for THREE HOURS waiting to see a doctor! How do you leave a baby as sick as this sit in a waiting room for three hours?! You fucking assholes all need to go jump in the Baltimore harbor! I hate you and I wouldn’t take my cat to you if you were the last emergency room on earth!

To be honest, I’ve always hated this emergency room. I have been there twice now with one of my granddaughters and both times have waited no less than three hours. The hospital itself is not my problem, just the ER. I gave birth to my son there and had an excellent experience. I’ve known others who have been admitted there who have had good experiences but they can shove their emergency room right up their asses.

My granddaughter was so severely dehydrated that she required three IV’s before she could even wet a diaper. She was misdiagnosed with a bladder infection according to the house pediatrician who saw her this morning and claimed her tests for bacterial infection came back normal. Apparently, they never did find out what was wrong with her and labeled it a virus of unknown origin. However, my daughter will follow up tomorrow with her pediatrician because a baby who was perfectly healthy on Thursday night, somewhat sick on Friday morning and completely dehydrated, lethargic, disoriented and screaming by Saturday evening needs a fucking diagnosis!!!

Thank GOD she’s better. She was released this afternoon as her fever was gone, she was eating and drinking and had wet her diaper several times. Could the three rounds of antibiotics have cured her? Could her little body have cured itself? Maybe one of these so called medical professionals who will send out an exorbitant bill for her care will magically figure this out.

Oh, and please don’t come at me with how wonderful the medical profession and physicians and nurses are. I KNOW how wonderful they are and have far more great experiences with them than bad. I’m speaking on this one emergency room and this one situation with one of the loves of my life. I’m sorry but you can’t touch this.

My opinion is this: If you can’t figure out what is wrong with a child who cannot tell you what hurts, go back to medical school or send her to a pediatric specialty hospital! A virus of unknown origin is NOT a diagnosis! If anything like this ever happens again, we are going straight to Johns Hopkins!

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The gift of the dream is something directly related to this but a supernatural experience I will never be able to forget.

You can believe me or not. As you can tell, I’m in an “I don’t really care what anyone thinks” mood tonight.

Saturday night I was up very late. Harper’s twin, Scarlett and my eldest granddaughter, Esme were wound up and wide awake until after midnight due to the chaos and stressful evening prior to my arrival and my daughter rushing out to ER. They’d heard their sisters cries and seen the pain in their mother’s eyes and were difficult to settle down but somehow my grandmother magic kicked in and I had them both tucked in fast asleep by 1:00AM.

They conveniently live right next door so my husband had checked in on us allowed me to run over and make a coffee and grab my phone charger so as not to miss any updates from my daughter. Once he went home and the children were sleeping, the house fell silent except for the purring cat near my head on the back of the love seat.

Not that I slept. I was worried sick. I woke to every sound. Scarlett was fighting a cold and coughed a bit and whined. The cat leaping down and then her subsequent crunching on dry kibble in the kitchen. The occasional car driving by…you get the picture. Scarlett awoke at 4:30am for a bottle and At 5:00am, I received a text message from my husband asking me if I needed anything. He came over and checked on us and then went out and brought me breakfast and a well needed coffee.

I could see he hadn’t gotten any sleep either so I whooshed him back out the door and within minutes, that delicious sausage, egg and cheese bagel, a text from my daughter that Harper was resting in her room with medical attention, the knowledge that the other girls would most likely sleep until 10:00am, and the coffee, dropped me into dream land at last at around 6:45am.

By 9:15am, I woke, sobbing.

The dream started out horribly. I was in my daughters house and I opened the front door and a strange looking animal was trying to come in. At first, I thought it was a skunk as it appeared to have the while stripe down it’s back. I tried pushing it with my foot and closing the door but it got past me. I was screaming “No! No!” and suddenly behind it, chasing it were all kinds of cats. All different colors, racing past me so fast I couldn’t stop them and behind them were my children and some other people, chasing the cats!

I turned around and joined the chase but I was screaming at them to get the animal. My son yelled out, “Mom, it’s a big rat!” and I screamed back, “Well get it!” I turned back to the front door which I had finally managed to slam shut and the wall started to crumble away at the front of the house and a giant hole appeared and through the hole came more animals! All kinds, shapes and sizes and I screamed to run for the girls to get them out of the house and was shouting, “Help Me! Someone please help me!” when suddenly, everything went white.

I was sitting up on the love seat I was sleeping on and standing there in front of me in my daughter’s living room, was my husband’s grandmother. She was the matriarch of our family. We lost her last September. She was 93 years old. She was our rock. She was our light in the harbor, our adviser, our revered and precious elder. Her word was the gospel in our family and her loss was felt so deeply we are all still recovering.

Granny June Bug

Oldest Baltimore Ravens Fan!

I couldn’t believe my eyes. I have had no dreams of her since she passed. I think of her every day. I remember how she would scold us and discipline us and then take us in her arms and hug us and kiss us and make it all better.

She was wearing one of her signature light blue sweat suits with the flowery embroidery on it. Her hair was perfectly coiffed as it always was and she glowed. She looked so pretty. That’s what I told her.

I stood up and said, “Gran! Oh my God Gran! You look so pretty!” She held out her arms to me and leaned down and hugged her. She looked like she did the first time I met her over twenty years ago. I could feel her hands stroking my hair like she used to. She held me back away from her and said,

“Everything is going to be alright.”

I replied, “But Gran, we miss you so much. We all miss you.”

I grabbed her again and hugged her tight.

“She stroked my hair again and said, “I know honey I know. I miss you all too. Give them all hugs and kisses for me will ya? And tell them I’m wonderful. My beautiful girl. Don’t worry. Everything’s going to be alright.”

She started to pull away from me and I held onto her.

“No Gran, please don’t go!”

“Honey, I promise. Everything is going to be fine. Now I have to go.”

I was sobbing. She was gone. I was standing there in the middle of my daughter’s living room, sobbing.  I kept saying to myself, “This is a dream but everything is exactly right.”

What I meant was the room was EXACTLY as is really was. I can’t remember having a dream where the room was perfect. The stockings hanging on the mantle. The cat sleeping on the ottoman. The light on in the kitchen. The Santa clause on the ledge in the foyer. The baby socks on the floor. The blanket balled up on the love seat. It felt so real it scared the living daylights out of me.

My eyes flew open. Tears were running down my cheeks. I sat up and could barely catch my breath. I got up and opened the front door and stepped outside to somehow snap out of it but I was shaking. My hands were trembling and I started sobbing again. I texted my husband but he didn’t answer so I called him and told him I needed him right away. I told him immediately that my sobbing wasn’t about the baby so that he wouldn’t worry. Then, I told him about the dream.

I know she was there. She was there either as her soul, her spirit, her energy or some inexplicable image from my subconscious, that just happened to be able to replicate my daughters living room down to the baby socks on the floor.

The day before, my husband and I went to a fabric store because the eldest granddaughter decided she wanted her bedroom at our house completely redecorated in Disney Frozen, so I needed to make her all new curtains. When we were looking for the fabric, a family was picking out some fleece and the mother said, “Oh look at this. Granny June will really love this.”

I’m sorry but again, not a coincidence. You can say hearing her name in the store the day before triggered the dream but I believe in signs. Had we stopped to eat first like we’d planned, we’d have never heard that woman say what she said.

Last night, I was reminded of a similar dream I had…again, over twenty years ago. Almost the exact same situation. I was going through a terrible traumatic time in my life. My sister Barbara was always my rock prior to Granny June. She died very young at only 53. She was 19 years my senior and was like another Mother, as were most of my older sisters. I could always turn to her when something bad happened. She too came to me in a dream. Again, I woke up sobbing. Again, the room was exactly as it really was. Again I was embraced and told everything would e alright, which it was. The only difference was when I woke up from the dream with my sister, My clothes smelled like her.

Yesterday, after my dream about Granny June, I instinctively smelled my shirt. However, I only smelled a clean, fresh smell for a few moments and then I smelled like me. Then I thought…

My sister was known for her perfume. My Dad used to say you’ll smell Barbara coming in the house before you’ll see her.   I don’t even think Granny wore perfume but she always smelled fresh and clean. 🙂

Our little angel Harper is home safe and sound. Smiling, giggling and although she’s definitely not herself after having been through such an awful ordeal, everything turned out alright…again.

Goodnight my lovies.

Sweet dreams.

 

When Mother Was Bored aka Mother Loved to Redecorate

Here is 100% TRUE story #2.

Mom and Dad

Mother was always decor conscious and frequently enjoyed redecorating. Even if she was only changing up the pictures on the walls or hanging new curtains, she loved to spruce and paint. Painting was her favorite way of changing things up and she loved bright colors. This particular day’s project was a makeover for the first floor bathroom.

Mother’s revelation came because Daddy’s birthday was soon approaching–not that she needed an excuse but she decided to surprise him and paint it his favorite color.

Mother painted everything. She painted walls, ceiling, molding, frames, cabinets and even the toilet seat. Everything had to match.

During her afternoon of painting, curtain hanging and rug laying, she wore herself out and decided to take a break and lay down for a little nap on the sofa. About an hour later, she awoke to her name being called. She stirred from her rest and followed the calls.

Sure enough, it was her big fuzzy bear–my daddy, calling out to her from the bathroom. Daddy was one of the hairiest men I’ve ever seen…from neck to toes.

“Honey, what are you doing home so early?” she called to him through the door.

“Obviously, I had to use the bathroom,” he said through his teeth.

In her still slightly sleepy state, she had forgotten about her project, until she heard my Dad say, “Peggy, get the turpentine.”

Daddy’s favorite color was red…

Momanddaddy

They were so awesome!

Momanddad

Did You Miss Me or Did You Not Notice I Was Missing? ;)

My Mom used to say, “When a guy’s sick he don’t feel good.”

She would say it in the cutest voice. She would say it to any of us who weren’t feeling well, as she sweetly wiped our hair away from our brow and administered her one of a kind healing powers. Chicken soup, hot tea with honey and a kiss on the forehead later and you were on your way to dreamland.

Yeah, this weekend was nothing like that at all.

I’ve had a cold for a couple of weeks that I caught from my oldest granddaughter. She’s a sharer that one is and quite effectively spread it throughout the immediate family with great ease. The problem is, I’ve had pneumonia and pleurisy twice in recent years and as a result, I’m easily susceptible to it every time I catch a chest cold. The worst of it all is feeling sluggish and very uninspired. I saw the doctor this afternoon and am now taking antibiotics so I will hopefully be on the mend very soon. The lack of sleep however has been the hardest part of this to overcome. I also didn’t have health insurance for over a year so being sick has been more than a challenge, it’s been dangerous.

However, this potpourri of information post (shall we call it) isn’t going to dwell on negative thoughts. I did manage to outline the third book in the FIREFLIES series this weekend. I had to giggle when someone already asked me what the title was. I never know what my book title will be until I’m at least half way in and considering I’m only half way through the first chapter, I haven’t the vaguest idea what it will be named.

But wait there’s more!

If you haven’t purchased and downloaded a copy of FIREFLIES yet, starting August 18th through August 25th, you’ll be able to get your digital copy for ONLY $.99!!!

I’ll be heavily marketing this as I’m hoping this wonderful sale will finally begin to move some copies and gain the book some more reviews. Although this third installment in the series is a ways off yet, this sale will also hopefully generate more interest in HOPE FROM THE OCEAN as well and I’ll be able to find more readers who will be waiting when this third book in the series launches in early 2015.

Next, my PubSlush campaign is moving along well and if I can get my cover and rewards in place in time, it will begin September 1st. This campaign is to assist me with raising funds and awareness of my other novel, THE BLUE DIAMOND – THE RAZOR’S EDGE. I had originally called this THE BLUE DIAMOND – AN  IVORY RAZOR ADVENTURE but after an e-mail my aunt sent out last week, where she incorrectly named the book, I liked the name she used better! After some thought, I changed it because the whole series of books I plan to write for these characters will be Ivory Razor Adventures so this title just rang truer in the grand scheme of things.

All of this book writing and book marketing and finding readers is a huge challenge. It is not however a challenge I would trade for the world. I’m an author and I love writing. The rest is just part of the journey. I have been blessed with tools, a wonderful network of helpful people, a dedicated publisher and a new editor who I’m thoroughly enjoying working with. That in and of itself is a BLESSING!

Here’s to good health! May you all find it, keep it and cherish it. I’m working on it and I’ll try not to stay away so long next time.

Have a wonderful night!

I’m a 21st Century Mom. Well, Sort Of

Being a 21st Century Mom and a traditional Mommy is attainable.

My Mom holding her first born - my sister Barb

My Mom holding her first born – my sister Barb

I was born in 1964. My mother was forty years old and had already raised or was still raising ten other children. Yes, I said TEN. Granted, I had six older sisters, most of whom were like spare mothers; be that a good thing or not it was cool to have so many sisters.  We grew up in the inner city in Baltimore, MD. What is now dubbed “Federal Hill,” we simply called South Baltimore back in the day, with it’s neighborhoods inside of neighborhoods and I like to remember it as a modern day Mayberry. Everybody knew everybody and anyone’s mother had permission to set you straight if you were caught up to some mischief blocks from home.

My Mother was the traditional stay at home Mom for most of my childhood and mother she did. From sun up until sundown she mothered. Not only did she mother us, she mothered any child who walked through our front door. She fed you, advised you, sheltered you and reminded you of what a real mother is supposed to be, even when she was whooping your butt.

I call myself a 21st century Mom because I’ve worked full time; sometimes two jobs when necessary to provide for my children. When my kids were little, my Mom, combined with day care and private sitters provided care for my children so that I could draw a pay check and assist in keeping a roof over our heads. It isn’t that I resented not being able to be “My Mom” but I do feel like I missed out on a lot with my kids and wish I’d have been able while they were preschool age to be at home with them those first couple of years. When you consider having a child Miss 21st century woman, if you work, you better take into consideration that someone else is going to be doing almost as much of that child raising as you. Be prepared for that reality and choose wisely.

Do I feel guilty for not being as good a mother as my own? Sometimes. Sometimes I look at our children and think, “Hey, they turned out pretty good.” I believe having very good sitters and my mother to help played a very big part in that. I believe for the most part they are really good adults. Did I make mistakes? More than I can count but hey, I’m sure my mother thought she made plenty too and I’m not complaining but I still wish I could have been their only “mother” sometimes.

We as 21st century mothers have a lot on our shoulders and if you’re a single mom, I salute you. At least I had a husband to carry some of the weight. I believe the traditional roles as women as the chief cooks and bottle washers is far behind us. What I don’t see are the traditional values of mothering and the importance of being a mother as being a cherished occupation anymore. There is balance but that balance includes giving your children more attention and consideration than you’d give your boss or your best friend. Balance and being present with them is the most important thing you can do. I’ve made that mistake and they have called me out on it more than once. Keep in mind, no matter what you do, someday, they are going to blame you for something. Do your best anyway. Do it for you as much as you do it for them.

I asked myself tonight why I had children. Immortality? Love? Tradition? Trying to rewind my brain twenty five years was not not easy let me tell you. What I can tell you is I wanted to give to someone else; some little, helpless person, the same things that my Mother gave me. I wanted to love and nurture. I wanted to snuggle, rock, feed, obsess over and adore a little human being and do the best I could to live up to the ideal that I could handle it and be a success at creating a decent human being. After all, I had an amazing example to follow.

The truth is, I didn’t take into account that I was number eleven. I didn’t take into consideration that my mother had a dress rehearsal almost a dozen times over. I didn’t take into account that my mother grew up during the depression and she appreciated every little thing as if tomorrow it would be gone, including her children. Do I still consider myself a 21st century Mom? I definitely do but at the core, I still hold true to those traditional Mommy roles and values. I can never be my Mother. She like so many other Moms of her era were selfless and sacrificed anything and everything to keep her children healthy and happy. However, regardless of work, in that respect, I have tried my best but at times, I still feel I’ve been a little selfish. I know quite a few women whose needs have always outweighed their children’s and still do. I pity them not because they didn’t value the bond between a mother and child but because they don’t know what they’ve missed.

I’m proud to be a Mom and I’m proud of the woman I am today. All women should set the example for their children to be successful, independent beings who aren’t just Moms but also human beings on their own journey. However, I don’t believe our children should have to make sacrifices just to have us for mothers. I believe the traditional values of Motherhood stand true: the kids come first. Not getting the latest toys, the best clothes and every electronic gadget that comes out but face time, REAL face time. That’s all they want.

They want your hands to put the bandage on their knee and comb their hair, tie their shoes and put toothpaste on their toothbrush. They want you to be the one helping them with their homework, cheering for them in little league or dance recitals and tucking them in at night. That’s all they need and they should have it without having to ask for it. I think that’s the deal when you bring them into the world, isn’t it?

To all the 21st century Moms, Happy Mother’s Day and remember…times change. Mothering shouldn’t.