Monday, December 27, 2010

Post Christmas Catch-up

It has been a while since I have posted anything, and to be honest, I have had a hard time focusing on this journey to a healthier me during the holidays.  First it was just because of the chaos and prepartations.  Then it was because I was NOT healthy.  My sister gave us a gift this year that just keeps giving...  a stomach bug!  We are each taking our turn with it.  FUN FUN FUN!

Also we have had some unexpected out of town guests!  Which is AWESOME... but definately took me out of my routine.  First round of texas family was here a few days before christmas, the next round could arrive before I even finish this blog!  I miss my family so much, so it is a great gift, but when they are in Pittsburgh, we stay at my parents house instead of doing the hour and a half drive.  So, I'm not at home, not in my element, not in my safety zone that I have created.  My parents have been very supportive though!

With that said, I have been doing really well.  I have not overeaten, I have not eating compulisively, BUT I have eaten oustide of meal time and have had a few bites of sugar over the last week.  I have also had a lot of ginger ale over the last 24 hours...  I know that it is not good, but I am proud of myself at the same time, because it has not led to a binge.  The rest of the week here with more family and more unhealthy food after eating sugar, could result in compulsive overeating though, if I do not keep myself aware!!!  So thats it.  I need to get through the rest of 2010 without overeating, and then bring in 2011 really spending some time on me and this journey again once we are home!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Slip Slidin Away

I feel myself slipping right now.  Going back to old habits...  I have not binged by any means, BUT, I feel like I'm just not taking care of myself to the same degree as I had been.  I started to get tired of how much work this whole journey takes!  It is constant!  But I feel a thousand times better when I put in the work!  I wish that it was enough to keep me going.

My problem is my mind.  The self-talk that goes through my head.  For the first 60 days, my self-talk was positive and up lifting.  My self-talk would lead right into prayers.  I would say in my head all day long, "I can do this, I deserve this."  Then I would pray, "God I can do this only with you."  In the past two weeks, my self talk has been slowly creeping back into the negative.

I start to think, "you can't do this forever?"  I hear peoples voices that I have shared this journey with...  "You haven't done therapy or medication, how do you know you are better?"  "How can you guarantee that you aren't going to go back to the depressed place?"  I tell myself, that I don't deserve it.  I feel myself start to get tired and burnt out and I get negative and lazy!  Then I start to really believe the negative voice in my head.

I know that I have the control over my thoughts.  I need to not get wrapped up in them.  I need to tell myself that I know what is true.  I KNOW what works.  I know how I feel when I really, take care of myself and pray and meditate and FOCUS on what really matters.  But after at least 20 years of telling myself that I don't deserve that happiness and that I am not ok, it is harder to change that way of thinking, than it is to make the other changes in my life.

I don't know if it is my thyroid, depression, or hormones related to both that make me feel the tired worthless feeling. But I am aware that it is happening this time, which is a good thing.  I had started to try to eat "normal" food again.  Not all super healthy food.  But I think when I do that, I lose my focus.  I need to refocus today.  Get through this crazy Christmas week, and pray pray pray the whole time.

I have not lost anything in two whole weeks!  But its ok.  I am not quitting.  I am going to be mindful of taking care of myself instead of just going through the motions of life, and being swept away by the chaos around me! 

In fact, right now, I am going to turn on the Disney channel (so my daughter gives me some peace and quiet), get out my books, and work on my recovery!  Then I am going to get some laundry done.  Then this evening we are going to go for a ride to see some Christmas lights, an annual tradition for our family!  Today is a new day!  Happy Monday!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Crazy Bitch

So many times on this blog I have raved about my amazing, sweet, kind, and patient husband.  The one I feel is too good for me, that I do not deserve. Well, today's blog is different.  Let me start with this...   while he does have all of those amazing qualities, he is still a MAN!

If I want something done, I have to ask... several times.  He doesn't buy anniversary or valentines gifts, he says he shows me everyday that he loves me, "special days are stupid."  I step on dirty socks and underwear in the middle of the night on the way to the bathroom.  If the steelers, penguins, or mountaineers are on TV, I could stand naked in front of him and he wouldn't notice.  If he gets a new x-box game, we don't go to bed at the same time until he beats it!

He is also a man that is a mama's boy.  Which is not always a bad thing.  Its also why he is so sweet, caring, and kind.  BUT, he has had all of his needs met, and then some, since the day he was born.  We started dating when he was 19, so he went from being taken care of by his mom to being taken care of by me...  never did he have to worry about meals, or laundry, or planning and preparing for much of anything. Again, this is just as much my "fault" as his, I love taking care of him.  Also, I am control freak, so it is just "easier" if I do most things! 

Today we had my daughter's fourth birthday tea party.  I had to get a lot of things ready and it is my fault that I am a perfectionist about these things... BUT, when I need my husband to help on these days, I lose my patience!

He moves in slow motion! He over-thinks everything on a daily basis, so simple tasks appear to stump him sometimes.  He is an incredibly smart chemical engineer, so when I ask him to do something simple and I get a blank stare, I get SO frustrated!  Earlier I asked him to get me a roll of toilet paper...  I get the blank stare for a few seconds followed by, "where is it?" ....   REALLY???  Its in the same spot in the closet that it has been for almost 3 years that we have lived in this house! 

I tell him things and they go in one ear and out the other.  It makes me feel crazy when he asks me something that I JUST told him the answer to.  Another example from today; I say, "I swear there was more lunch meat than this, I guess I don't have enough for the adults." To which he responds, "OK."  Ten minutes later he says "Hey, I'm going to make more sandwiches for us."  AAAAGGGHHH! 

I was already hormonal and bitchy and mean.  He couldn't win.  It didn't matter what he did today, it drove me crazy. I yelled and I said things that I shouldn't say to him.  I feel bad. But it happens all the time.  I swear when I am PMS-ing, so is he.  If I feel fine, he doesn't irritate me and do stupid things.  But, as soon as I am stressed, he flakes and makes me worse.  I know that this is irrational and that it is largely my stupid hormones!  But I also know that we are normal!  They make sitcoms out of these husband/wife relationships!  Today we were a sitcom.  But I hope we can get back to "normal" before the holidays roll around.

By the end of the day, the party was a success.  The girls had fun and all my planning paid off.  I FINALLY got my hubby to finish decorating the outside christmas stuff (even if it was because he couldn't stand to be in here with me any longer)!!

I am still beyond grateful that I have this guy to be with forever.  Today is exactly one year since he went into the hospital and was super sick.  I am SOOOO  glad he is here to yell at today and to piss me off.

I'm sorry I am a crazy bitch jay, but I love you and appreciate you more than you will ever know!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

My Christmas "Present"

I struggle with anxiety.  I always have for as long as I can remember.  I worry way too much about the future and all of the things that could go wrong.  I worry about things beyond my control, so I concentrate on things I think I can control…  like the perfect Christmas.  I have gone to the hospital twice in the past 8 years because of chest pain…  both have been in early December.  Both times I was sent home with a clean bill of health and told to deal with my anxiety!

A huge part of recovery is living in the moment.  Recovering addicts live one day at a time.  Or at least we try to.  It’s the ONLY way to succeed in recovery.  When I think about never eating certain things again, I get overwhelmed.  When I think about not eating right now, I am fine with that! 

When I think about all of the inevitable “bad” things that will happen in my life, I freak!  I can’t breath.  I worry about who I am going to loose... Who is going to get sick.  But if I think about right now, everyone is fine, I am fine! 

Thank God I don’t know what will happen to me and my family in the future.  Even though some days I wish I knew exactly what is ahead of us.  Can you imagine knowing what is out there in our futures… Good and Bad???  That is NO way to live!

When I live in the future, or the past, I am driven by fear and regret.  I am consumed with all of the “what ifs!”  For so much of my life I have not REALLY been living!  My mind is constantly in motion.  I long for the peace that I am promised by living life as a recovering food addict.  Although I have not been overeating, I am still struggling with letting go of those fears and living in the now.

I have had more and more tastes of that peaceful way of life though.  I feel like I was getting close and for some reason started to take back control…  I think it is this time of year.  The chaos of the holiday and birthday season.  Trying so hard to make everyone happy.  To be a good mom.  I feel like I need to be super mom during this month.  There are so many things to remember.  My to-do list is miles longer than normal and I start to lose my focus. 

My gift to myself this year needs to be to take care of me and enjoy my family this Christmas.  To live in the moment.  To enjoy the times I have with my kids instead if worrying about what I have or haven’t done.  Today is my gift…  That’s why it is called the PRESENT !!!  

Monday, December 13, 2010


Five years ago, I spent my birthday in the hospital.  I was happily pregnant just days before.  I was ten weeks into my second pregnancy.  This one was planned.  This one was full of so much excitement and hope!  But then, I started to bleed.  It turns out that this happy planned pregnancy was ectopic.  I had to spend my birthday in the hospital, waiting to find out the best way to "end" the pregnancy.  This little life that we were so thrilled about was growing in the wrong place in my body.  I was so sad. I felt like it was my fault.  Like MY body had failed to do what it was supposed to and now this baby couldn't be born! 

We were told to wait at least three months to try again.  Three months later, without out any planning, we were pregnant again.  This time I was not as excited.  I was constantly worried that it was going to go wrong.  This pregnancy was a painful one.  Much different than my first.  After I had Jack, I swore I could be pregnant all the time!  I loved it...  not so much this time.   Then at 20 weeks we found out that it was a baby girl.  Everything on the fuzzy black and white screen indicated she was healthy and growing strong.  I still wasn't convinced. My eating was out of control again at this point because it was the only way I knew how to deal with all of my anxiety!

The morning she was born
But in the dark, cold, early morning hours of December 13, 2006 we drove to Mercy Hospital to have a scheduled C-section.  I was so nervous.  Nervous about her being ok, nervous about loving another baby as much as we had loved our first.  For four years, it was just us and Jack.  We were babies together.  This time, we knew what we were doing. But I was still not sure of myself. That is until they brought that sweet chubby baby girl up to my face for our first kiss.  At that moment,  in the bright lights of that operating room, I knew that I would never be the same.

Madelyn Mae Banes was born at 8 in the morning weighing 8 pounds and 14 ounces.  Oh. My. God.  I had a daughter.  A relationship between a mother and daughter is so much different than that with a son.  I knew I had so much to teach her!  Little did I know just how much she would teach me!!

She is strong willed and opinionated. She is rough and tough and mischievous. She is sweet and caring and kind.  She loves her brother more than anyone in the world. 

She has all of us wrapped around that little finger of hers!  She is a HUGE reason that I need to make these changes in myself so that I can teach my daughter to love herself!!!

Today, that sweet baby girl turns four!  When I laid there in the hospital, so devastated about the ectopic pregnancy, I didn't think I would ever understand why things like that happen.  But I am so glad that God was the one in control.  He had a plan.  He wanted us to have Maddie Mae and I am so grateful that we do! 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Amazing Mommy

I have two little sisters.  Both have been my everything at times and both have made me crazy too.  But I wouldn't trade them for anything!  We have very different relationships.  My "baby" sister is 7 1/2 years younger than me.  I've been in love with her since the day she was born.  Now as adults, we are able to be friends too, but because of the age difference, that friendship part took time.

My other sister, is only 2 years younger than me.  She has been my best friend, my enemy, my confidant, and my partner in crime for as long as I can remember.  For 5 1/2 years it was just the two of us.  We shared a bedroom for the first 10 years of our lives.  We would lay in bed, her on the bottom bunk beneath me, and giggle and talk and play for hours some nights when we were supposed to be sleeping.  We spent days, seasons, years, in the make-believe world of our backyard.   One day we would hate each other and the next we would spend hours together making up dances to the words of cheesy 80's songs and sharing our wildest dreams with each other.  

We have always been very different people.  She is confident, strong and fearless.  She is more of the "wild" one. She loved make-up and dresses, but was also a rough and tumble tom-boy fighting with the older boys in the neighborhood.  I was a figure skater, she was a soccer goalie. I was afraid of boys,  she would corner them in pre-school and kiss them on the head.  I cry 20 times a day, she doesn't "do" emotion.  We have gone years without having much in common.

But now we have a common bond.  A bond that I never thought we would share.  We are both mothers.  She was told a few years ago that she would not be able to have a baby.  I told her then, that I would carry a baby for her if she wanted me to.  She told me to shut up, she was not even thinking of having a baby at that point so there was no reason to have that discussion.

My sister spent a few years in her early twenties struggling to find her way in this crazy ass world, as we all do at that time in our lives.  Then a few years ago, she found a great job, something she is really good at.  She met a guy that is completely in love with her!  She was in a good, happy, stable place!  A place that I was so glad she had found! So when I got a frantic phone call from her one year and 8 months ago,  I couldn't imagine what was wrong.  The voice on the other end of the line said "um, I think I'm pregnant!"

I kicked into reassuring mode, completely sure she was over-reacting. After-all she didn't think she could have a baby at all!!  We waited days, weeks even, for the first appointment with the doctor.  She. Was. Preggo!  Holy COW!  There was fear and excitement at the same time.   She doubted her ability to be a good mother.  I never doubted her ability to be a good mother.  I doubted how she would handle the stress of it.

I always knew I wanted to be a mom, it was all I ever wanted!  New mommy-hood stressed me out completely!  It kicked my ass!  My sister does NOT wake up when she is sleeping.  I tell her she hibernates.  How was she going to do the middle of the night stuff?!?  I knew that she was not alone. I knew she had her guy to help her. My family and I would love both of them enough to pick up any slack!  But it turns out, that I am an idiot...  there was no slack!    She IS AMAZING!  A wonderful, caring, INCREDIBLE MOMMY! 

So what does this story about my sister have to do with this journey of mine?  It is one of the best examples in recent years of my lack of trust in God.  There is a bigger plan.  HOW could I not trust that she was pregnant for a reason?  How could I be selfish and stupid enough to not be able to see what this little life would mean to all of our lives!?!   I spent so much wasted time worried about how it would all work out instead of trusting and believing in something bigger than myself.   When I look at that sweet face, I am reminded how small we ALL are... How God has a plan. 

My niece was born one year ago today.  Motherhood has a way of bringing out the best of us and the worst of us.  But for my sister, motherhood has only brought out the BEST in her.  I can't even put into words how proud I am when I see how amazing she is...  how naturally it came to her.  The bond that she has with that sweet angelic baby girl  is stronger than anything I have ever seen...  It is TRUE LOVE!

Happy Birthday baby girl!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


As a little girl, the excitement of a big snow fall was one of the best things in the world! I have so many WONDERFUL memories of the winters from my childhood. Laying in bed, way back before the internet and tv news scrolls, listening to the seemingly endless list of school closings being read by the familiar voice on the radio, just praying to hear that our school was included on that list.  Taping plastic bags around our feet before shoving them into boots. Being so bundled up that we would be sweating before we even went outside.  Tripping over my sisters and dogs to be the first one out the door!  I couldn't wait to get out there, arms outstretched, mouth open wide, tongue out catching the snow!

My parents made it so magical for us!  I loved watching my parents become little kids themselves.  They were the best at snowball fights and snow forts and giant snow men.  They spent so much energy dragging us back up the hill for what felt like hours, just for the quick rush of the sled ride back down! Coming inside and leaving the sopping wet mess of coats, boots, mittens, scarves, and hats piled high by the door. Then mom would make us the best hot chocolate ever! 

For thirty two years I have loved snow!  I love waking up in the morning and just being able to feel that the snow has fallen over night.  I love the clean, pure, untouched blanket of white covering the world outside my window.  I love looking out the windows at night, watching huge snowflakes rapidly crisscrossing through the yellow glow of the streetlights.  I have ALWAYS loved the snow!

This year, however, I am not having the same warm fuzzies that I normally get with the first snow fall!  I'm distressed by it! I'm too cold, and I wasn't ready for it yet!!!  I think there are several reasons for this current annoyance with the snow!  First reason being that last year we had the biggest snow fall that can I remember! Thirty Two inches fell in my little western Pennsylvania town in a matter of a few hours!

Don't get me wrong, it was FUN!  My kids will remember that snowfall for the rest of their lives.  People will talk about that storm for years to come.  It was fun for the first day!  But that night the temperatures were SO COLD!  And then we were trying to dig out of that mess.  Schools were canceled for a week, and people were stuck in their homes without power for days on end.  There was snow left from that storms for WEEKS!!!

The second reason that I feel differently this year is my shift in thinking when it comes to food.  Particularly food as comfort.  I really think that some of the warm fuzzies that I would get each time there was significant snow fall, was more about the idea of going to the grocery store and stocking up on huge amounts of glorious comfort food!  I would be elated after getting home and stuffing the fridge and pantry with enough to food to feed our town for the next few days!

So tonight all I can think about is Chicken and Dumplings, a huge bowl of "real" pasta (the kind loaded with refined carbs), homemade chocolate chip cookies, and a gigantic Christmas mug filled with hot chocolate (2 packets and 2 inches of mini marshmallows)!  I want to blow 72 days of my "abstinence" because of the WEATHER!  That is insanity! Seriously, how can something as simple as precipitation make me want to throw away everything that I have been working for?  Don't worry, I am not going to give in!

There is one last reason that I can come up with regarding my disdain for the snow that continues to fall on Leechburg this evening....  Maybe I am just getting OLD!

Monday, December 6, 2010


Anyone who knows me knows that I am a disorganized mess!  But at the same time I love planning and organizing things.  I have learned a lot recently about the chaos that surrounds this disease of addiction. That chaos contributes to my scattered way of living!  So I am looking forward to the changes in this area of my life as I continue to recover.

I am already noticing some changes, but most days I still can't find one shoe, or my car keys, or my MAC card... well Jason's MAC card because I lost my whole wallet months ago and still have not gotten my own card again!  When I lost my wallet I went to get a new drivers license only to find out that apparently it had expired...  FOUR YEARS AGO :)  But I had been carrying my change of address one for two and a half years and it wasn't expired yet, which I thought was sufficient.  The state of Pennsylvania didn't agree.

I misplace things constantly.  "I JUST had it, what the hell did I do with it?" are words that come out of my mouth several times a day!  My house is "clean."  Beds are made most days, dishes are done and floors are swept several times a day.  To walk in my house, you wouldn't think it was bad.  But there should be signs on all the closet doors and drawers that read, "Open at your own risk as opening this my cause bodily harm!"  I try to give everything a place, and that works for some things, but then I have a crazy chaotic day or week or month and it all goes to shit!

I HATE losing things!  It makes me so angry... angry at myself.  My kids see me flip out when we go to leave and things are "missing."  My husband is afraid to ask me for my keys because nine times out of ten it leads to the appearance of psycho, screaming, self-hating me.  Saturday night my husband was running to the store and wanted to take the car since his truck was covered in snow.  He asked where the keys were,  I answered in my purse. He looked in my purse and left a few minutes later.  Sunday morning in church, I put my hand in my coat pocket and felt my keys.  I showed them to my husband and said, "I thought you took the car last night?"  His response, "they weren't in your purse and it wasn't worth pissing you off!"  That is sad.  He is one smart man, but that is sad!

Anyways, I am feeling the need to organize today!  I wanted to get an earlier start, but the first real snow and two-hour delay put a damper on that!  I am going to try to make sense of some of the big chaotic messes. It started last night when I went to put some clothes away in my sons closet and I wasn't sure what was clean, dirty, too small, or too big...  so I made my husband put all of it in laundry baskets (4 of them to be exact), and now I need to put it all back :(  It seemed like a good idea at the time!

One thing that I don't mind "losing" however is weight!  Today was my day to weigh myself and I was 270 pounds!  I didn't think I lost anything this week.  But that nice round number made me happy because it also means that I have lost forty pounds since the end of September!

In my recovery group, people talk about not losing weight, but releasing it.  Letting go of the excess baggage that the pounds represent.  Letting go of the addiction and the other things we have been holding onto.  I like this notion of "releasing" the weight instead of losing it because I don't want to find those forty pound ever again.  I certainly will NOT be looking for those forty pounds any time soon... As opposed to the stupid car keys!!!  Ok, now I am off to attempt to lose forty pounds of clutter in the next few hours! Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Welcome Friends

So last night I decided that it was time to put myself out there.  I knew when I started this thing, I was putting it out there on the world wide web for anyone who stumbled across my blog.  But those would be strangers, strangers that I would never have to see face to face.  They could read all my deepest feelings and it wouldn't change any of my real life relationships.  In the very beginning I invited a few very close friends to read my journey. I have also read most of my blogs outloud to my husband for his feedback and to keep the communication open about where I am with this thing.

But now I have invited a few more people into this blogging world of mine.  I did this not only because I want to read more comments and feedback on this thing that I put hours of myself into, but because I can feel myself starting to get lazy about this!  I knew that I wanted to let more people in so that I have even more people out there to hold me accountable! 

This thought first scared the shit out of me because of the "failure" factor.  What if I fail again and all of these people who know me watch me fall on my face again!  Especially the people that have supported me in the past and have watched me continue to gain weight.  But then this morning in church, Father Joe's homily spoke right to me again today. (Crazy how when I am open to it, it seems like I get so much more out of church...  go figure!)

Anyways, his message today was "Failure won't kill you, but failure to change could!"   So I continue to seek the courage and strength that it takes to make these changes on a daily basis.  I welcome all of those who are visiting my blog for the first time!  This blog has been a huge reason that I am stronger this time around.  I can't explain how amazing it is to get all of my thoughts out there and then being able to go back through and read the lessons I have learned and to see how far I have come! 

Please keep reading.  "Follow" me or leave me comments.  It gives me even more reason to continue on this part of my journey!  ~ Love you all

Friday, December 3, 2010


Any recovering addict knows that a huge part of the recovery and healing process is reconciliation.  Reconciling with yourself, forgiving yourself for your past as an addict. Reconciling with yourself means making the commitment to make the changes you know you need to make.  It also means learning to love yourself again and learning how to treat yourself the way you deserve to be treated!

Reconciling with your loved ones... all of the people you have hurt while engaging in the addictive behavior.  Many people do not understand food addiction.  It is easy to see how someone can be afflicted with the disease of addiction when it involves drugs or alcohol.  But everyone has to eat.  Many people are able to eat all food in moderation without it consuming their lives.  But being a food addict means that your life has become unmanageable because of the control that food has over you.  When your life is unmanageable it affects anyone who loves you.  For me as a wife and mother, my family has definitely had to deal with the consequences of my addiction. I need to continue to reconcile with them as I work on this journey!

Finally, the only way to recover from addiction is to heal yourself spiritually.  To reconcile with God.  To admit that we are powerless over our addiction and acknowledge that our Higher Power is the only one that can take control of the addiction and lead us to recovery.  Being raised Catholic, I learned that the way to be forgiven by God is through the sacrament of Reconciliation.  I do not feel that this is THE ONLY way to reconcile with God and be forgiven.  In fact, I had not been to confession since 8th grade when the priest told me I was going to hell because I did not know my Act of Contrition.

Those kind of experiences made me doubt organized religion.  I don't want to be told that if I don't believe certain things, then my relationship with God doesn't matter on Judgement Day. I do not want to be told by the church who to vote for on election day based on issues like abortion and gay rights!  However, as a parent wanting to give my children some sort of moral compass, I have had to reconcile with the Catholic Church.  I want my kids to learn about loving all people equally, but I also cherish some of the traditions and rituals that were part of my life as a Catholic, and want to share that with my children as well.

So over the past few years, I have slowly started that process.  AND, last night, my son had his first reconciliation.  How can I, as a parent, expect my child to do things that I don't participate in.  As we walked over to the church, holding hands in the bitter cold, my little man looked up at me and said, "Mom, you should go to confession tonight too."  What was I to say?  I told him I would.

We walked in the church and saw all of the nervous second graders, waiting to admit to all of the sins that they have committed in their short seven or eight years, and knew that I really needed to go too.  Only after I had promised myself and my son that I would go, did I realize that there was no confessional.  Just our priest and his identical twin brother, (who is also a priest), sitting on chairs in the front corners of the church.  You could see each child's face as they sat with the identical priests on either side of the altar.  The kids looked so serious. 

Most of the children were in line waiting and not one parent had gotten up to recieve the sacrament yet.  My confident little boy, who was not as nervous as the rest of the kids, (i'm not sure if that is good or bad), told his teacher that I promised to go too and that I had not been to confession in a REALLY REALLY long time.  So his CCD teacher waves me up into the line with all of the kids!  I felt like a 275 pound second grader waiting for my first confession.

It was my turn, I even went before my son had his turn.  I walked up to the smiling face of Father Joe, blessed myself and said, "Bless me father for I have sinned, it has been 19 YEARS since my last confession."  He smiled and said, "Welcome back!" To be honest, I knew that I would not be able to share 20 years worth of sin sitting in that folding chair in front of the chruch.  Years that included my entire life as a teenager and life before being a wife and mother. I didn't think I would really get much out of it because of that.  But I sat there and told him that I had probably committed all the typical sins of a young person, but what I was struggling with now was the sin of addiction.  I told him I had been recovering for 67 days, and that I have had some real lows, but that right now I was in the best place I had been spiritually.

Father never stopped smiling.  He said, "Lets make it 68 days, huh?  And then one day at a time, right?"  He also told me that he was proud of me for setting this example for my son.  He told me to continue to come back, and that I am definitely on the right path.  He gave me only two Hail Mary's and two Our Father's as my penance. Pretty small for 19 years of "unforgiven" sin. As I knelt there saying my prayers and watching my sweet boy receive his first confession, all I felt was complete peace!  Maybe there is more to this than I thought?!?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Welcome December, Please Be Kind!

I woke up this morning to my baby girl yelling...  "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy... there is SNOW!  Like real SNOW!  Look its on the grass, and the car, and the roof-es!"  Then my son comes flying in the room, socks sliding across the hardwood floor, practically ripping my curtains off the wall just to get a real look.  "Just in time for our real countdown til Santa, its December!!!"  All of the excitement has prompted my gigantic black lab to jump on my bed too.  Within two minutes, I went from being sound asleep to having both kids and my 100 pound dog jumping on my bed and on me!

Its December!  I love December!  I always have.  But in recent years, December has also meant chaos and stress and life changes!  Both of my kids have birthday's in December.  One before Christmas and one after.  Last year, my sweet little niece came into the world in December as well.  I try to get all of my shopping done before December even comes so that I don't have to worry about that.  I try to pick a few traditions and stick with them. I set high expectations for myself and for my family.  I try to prepare for our "prefect" Christmas.  The ones my kids will treasure and remember for the rest of their lives!

Last year, I went through all the preparations, made all the plans, and spent days decorating our home.  Then on December 17th, my perfect family Christmas came crashing down.  My husband had been sick for a few days, but on that Wednesday morning, he woke up in severe pain!  I had a house full of kids that I was babysitting and we only had one car.  I made him drive himself to the hospital.  Then I didn't hear from him for HOURS!  It was long and torturous. When I finally got the phone call from him, it was what I expected.  He had pneumonia.  I thought they would give him some antibiotics and send him back home.  They decided to keep him overnight.

His mom and sister went to see him first, b/c I had the kids, but I just wanted to get there!  To be with my husband.  My strong, reliable, brave husband that keeps us all safe and happy was stuck in a hospital bed.  I finally got there and spent a few hours with him, kissed him goodnight, and thought I would be picking him up the next day.

Well that was not the case.  His pneumonia kept getting worse everyday.  The doctors were telling us stories about people that were healthy people, strong young men like my husband, that were getting sick like this after the H1N1 virus.  Some of them recovered well, others were sick for months or worse.  I had never  been so scared in my life!

Our goal then, was just to get him home for Christmas with the kids.  On December 23rd, we had to come to terms with the fact that that was not going to happen.  He cried.  He hadn't cried in front of me in 10 years!  But he was so sick and tired and sad for our kids. The kids spent Christmas break with my parents.  They were spoiled rotten by Nana and Pop Pop and still had a good Christmas.
Sick 2009

My husband however, had to have surgery on Christmas Eve to remove fluid that was built up around his lung.  He spent Christmas in the ICU!  I went to my parents to spend Christmas day with our kids, and my in-laws spent their Christmas day in the ICU.  It sucked! 

 God's Gift 2010
Our story has a happy ending. Although we missed Christmas last year, my husband was home before the new year.  He recovered well and is pretty much back to normal except for two small scars on his side and some scar tissue in his lung that only effects him when he is exerting himself. 

I took our Christmas decorations down last year with sadness. I did not wrap each ornament with the care and love that I normally do. We didn't get to celebrate together and I was still pissed!  So this year as I pull out the boxes, I am definitely having  some anxiety.  I have to keep reminding myself that the chances of repeating last year are slim to none.  We are going to be fine!  I am trying to use the lessons I am learning now, about living in the moment and choosing our thoughts, to get through these memories that keep coming up!

I keep trying to remember the lessons we learned last year too.  That Christmas isn't about just decorations and presents.  Its about having the people we love with us!  I welcome this December with reservations and fear of the unknown!  But also with hopes that this is going to be our best Christmas yet.  We will now appreciate every moment that we have to celebrate together as a family!