And Then a Tornado Went By the House!?!

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…Here comes Friday for the win on a long, drawn out week. But wait, not so fast, said the weather.  From listening to the weather that morning, I knew that there was a line of storms coming in the afternoon.  I thought all the witches left Halloween night, so why a tornado….?!?

Jenny was off from school on Friday, so after taking Emma and Vivian to school, and running to Target, I headed home with my little coughing man to spend some time with my best teenager.  We hung out as the Baby Shawn napped and then headed out for a quick lunch at the best place – Panera Bread, of course.  I had some gorgeous lunch dates!

After lunch, we noticed the skies were getting darker and while picking Emma up from school, it started to rain.  Once we got home, it started to rain a little more, then I got a message from my step mom asking if we were OK.  So I turned on the news to find that there was a Torcartoon-1296854_1280.pngnado Warning in the area, so I told Jenny if I called for her to get in the bathroom, quick!  I covered all the windows but the kitchen window so I could see a little of what was going on outside.

It got pretty rough looking out and then there was a a strange calm.  This was just after the meteorologist explaining this certain occurrence he saw on the radar where a strong line a thunderstorms will come through then a calm, and it start a spin in the atmosphere, and poof, a tornado begins.

Shawn got stuck in some horrendous traffic trying to pick up Vivian from school.  The wonderful staff at Vivian’s school took care of our girl until he got there.  The roads were horrible with downed lines and accidents.  But Shawn and Vivi made it home, nearly two and half hours late, but safe, thank the good Lord above.

 

 

 

 

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That Moment…Part II

[…Part I…That Moment {I Found Out an Old Friend/Colleague Completed Suicide}]

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…as I mentioned, suicide is a very personal subject for me, and has touched, entered and affected my life in more ways than I can or care to count. So this subjected post had to become a two-parter.

When I read my friend’s message that Ru had taken his life, I was a stunned – I was surprised to see a message at all from her really, we aren’t that close, especially since I moved to Florida. And for the news to be about him. And for it to be that kind of news.

Let’s take roll the tape back twenty or so years.  And start my story where it really begins.  It was 1998, in the late summer after I graduated high school, that my own mother died by taking her own life.  That whole time period surrounding her death is a blur, I remember few specific details – I’m positive that’s my brain protecting itself from the trauma of it all.  I have a specific memory of standing in the outer hallway of the funeral home, next to the sign in book, but all the other memories of the funeral are vague and slight.  I specifically remember riding up to the burial site, behind the car my Grandmother was in, watching her golden hair swing as the car turned through the curvy back roads. And seemingly most painful of the reality bites moments at the time, I remember my two high school best friends, sitting on my bed, telling me, quite emotionlessly that they were sorry but there was nothing they could do for me because they were about to leave for college [in state, within 30 miles away, mind you], and goodbye.

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Obviously my mother’s suicide is a trauma in my life that has changed the way I am and who I am.  I always say goodbye.  I always say I love you. I’m sensitive, shy, keep many things and emotions to myself.  Everything we experience in life changes us in some way, minuscule or gigantic.

Shortly thereafter my mother’s suicide, in the winter of 1999, a best friend and someone who I also dated, Marc, jumped off the Bay Bridge.  We volunteered at the Maryland City firehouse together in Anne Arundel County.  That same jurisdiction had men searching the cold Chesapeake Bay waters for his body for days and never found him.  This time too, seems to be a blur, but I do remember walking into the Memorial Services, in this huge church, and it was packed with firemen, dressed in their blues, it was hundreds of people.13178978_10206358509498481_8081055669920174784_nI was heartbroken, I lost another best friend. Different terms, but again, how could I not see? I was a mere 19 this time, still naive as could be, especially because between my mother’s death and Marc’s death, I pretended like everything was ok, that nothing bothered me, that life was good.  Maybe this was part of being naive, maybe this was a strange part of grieving.  But I definitely still didn’t understand how complex suicidal behavior and mental health issues were.  I had always thought Marc was depressed, but looking back now and understanding so much more, I think he had a personality disorder, probably one of the Cluster B disorders.

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And lastly, because of many traumas, struggles, and my own depression, I too have attempted suicide.  So I personally understand the hopelessness my lost loved ones felt in those last moments.  In a way that makes a little easier, but in reality, it makes losing so many to suicide so much worse and more painful.

I share my story because I want others to know that if you feel depressed, if you’re struggling, you’re not alone. And it’s ok to reach out for help. PLEASE reach out for help. Call a friend. Call a family member. If you can’t any of them, call 911, they will help you.  I have also listed some resources below that are helpful if you are in need.  But please, don’t give up.  It’s always darkest just before sunrise.

NSPH

National Suicidal Prevention Hotline – The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of 161 crisis centers that provides a 24/7, toll-free hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.

 

afspAmerican Foundation for Suicide Prevention – The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a voluntary health organization established in 1987. It funds research, runs educational programs, advocates for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention, and supports survivors of suicide loss.

 

School Car Line Challenges

Any parent who has the luxury of being in the school line (particularly during the beginning weeks of school), knows how chaotic and frustrating these lines can be.  There is absolutely no standard between schools on how these car lines are setup and run. So, if you are lucky enough to have to go through more than one of these fun monstrosities you then need to learn two sets of absurd rules for dropping off and picking up your children.

I am one of those “lucky” mammas – my middle two girls in elementary school go two different schools because of their differing exceptionalities and special needs.  And each school has very different configurations for their car lines.  And from the parent point of view, one seems to work well, the other, needs some work.

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I only use the car lines in the morning – I go to Emma’s school first because her school starts a hour before Vivian’s.  I bypass the car line and pull up maybe ahead of the carline, far enough that it’s obvious that I’m “cutting” to the front of the line, but parking for a different reason.  And because Emma has been known to run off, an IA (Instructional Assistant) will come to the car and get her — the IA also gets a few other ESE students from the buses that are parked not far away.  Last year, when I did pick her up in the afternoon, the cars would line up (around the corner and on the side of the road, but hey at least it wasn’t on the road like many schools have problems with), and as you approached the pick-up area, there was a teacher with a microphone who called out the student’s name from your placard.  Emma always had an IA with her to ensure she didn’t run off, but she was with the rest of the students (inclusion).

Then I head to Vivian’s school where beginning this year, they actually want us (parents with ESE children who drop off in the morning) to use the car line.  I am usually there absurdly early because I drive directly from Emma’s school to Vivian’s school.  It doesn’t bother me, it actually gives me a few minutes to catch up on emails, social media, phones, and the like.  Given I am so early, I am usually the first one in line.  When it’s the appropriate time, a safety patrol helps Vivi out of the car and another dedicated safety patrol walks her to her class to ensure she gets there safely.  Which is all good and fine, now, but the first two weeks of this routine was a nightmare.

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Day One.  The first time, which I was really hesitant about, I told the safety patrol before it was time to get the kids out of car, that Vivian was a special needs student and needed help getting out of the car and needed an adult or a safety patrol who knew who she was to walk her to class.  He was seriously confused and ran and asked the school security what to do, who told him to ask the front desk. At the end, the receptionist walked her to class. Oh, dear.  I let Vivian’s teacher know through the communication app we use that the safety patrol had no idea what to do.  The teacher promised that the next day would be better.

Day Two.  As the little girl safety patrol was helping Vivi out of the car, I let her know she was an ESE student and needed to be escorted to class. She looked a little confused but said “ok, yes ma’am.” Hmm, nice manners. I like that.  I watched as she helped Vivi onto the sidewalk and spoke to another safety patrol, nodding her head.  It looked like a good sign.  Vivian’s teacher assured me that she would speak with the Safety Patrol coordinator and ensure all the Safety Patrols were adequately aware of all the ESE students that were care riders and their individual needs.

Day Three.  A nice looking little girl opened the door and rushed Vivian out of the car without saying anything, but unfortunately I was on the phone with an important call.  It looked like she had a  good handle on Vivian, so I drove away.  Later I received a message on the app letting me know another parent found Vivian wandering around the car rider area alone. WHAT?!? I was assured and assured again this would not happen again. I freaked out quite a bit, and was upset and angry.

Day Four.  Unfortunately I was on the phone with another important phone call (blog post about subject matter soon) Same little girl from the day before helped Vivi out of the car, silently.  I thought, hoping their impromptu ‘training?’ helped. She was nicer with Vivian, a bit more helpful, and I felt relieved. Well, until I heard through my cracked passenger window “I need someone to walk it to class.” Excuse me?!?  I was livid and that was inexcusable.  I spoke to Vivian’s teacher and that particular safety patrol was to never help my child out of the car again and apologized profusely.  The safety patrol coordinator now has one particular, very nice little girl help Vivian out of the car by hand, uses her name, and is very, very nice, kind, and patient with Vivian and walks her to class.  It’s a shame it took all that to get to this very helpful, responsible little girl I am thankful for.

 

Happy 8th Birthday Miss Emma!

Yesterday was Miss Emma’s Eighth birthday!!!

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Happy Birthday to my sweet and sassy, beautiful and bold, energetic Emma!

It’s very hard for me to believe she is eight, already!!!

We decided to keep all the kids birthdays this year low key, and to do the parties next year. We’ll probably do it that way (every other year) unless there’s a milestone year for one of the kids that is a “must-have-a-party” kind of a year.  And since Daddy had drill this weekend anyway, family-only and low-key seemed the way to go.

Emma picked the Chinese Buffet for dinner, so as soon as Daddy got home from drill, we were off to for dinner. Our big eight year-old got bumped to the higher-priced kid bracket (3-7 is one price, 8-11 is another) and picked cola as her drink (of course, because otherwise it would have been water!) and choose pizza, bananas, cantaloupe, sweet and sour chicken, and cookies for her dinner.  After and awesome dinner at the Chinese Buffet, we went home to have cake and open presents.

My princess Emma had a blast blowing out her sparkler candles on her pink and purple princess cake.  But I think mostly she enjoyed opening, and playing with her new toys – barbies, barbie styling etching plate set; art easel; frozen stationary; baby unicorn fingerling; some awesome new clothing, etc.

Happy Birthday My Sweet Princess Emma!

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Look Out, It’s Super…. Achoo!

lofty goalsSo, I had all these fond, super lofty goals (as one often does when beginning something super fun, like, say, a blog) with post at least once maybe even twice a week if I was lucky.  I mean, I wasn’t going to get all over zealous and say they had to be long blog posts with academic-type references at the end or anything… So I made a mental list of awesome things to write about because we have plenty of material to write about, and then boom, I caught the cold from hell.  Said cold put me in a what seemed like a time warp.

On a perfect day, making time to write (and if possible, checking my writing for silly errors before posting) is often quite difficult with what often seems like a gaggle of children. And then I caught that darned cold thing.  Thankfully, I was very careful and no one else got sick.

So there you go.  Seems I turned the corner on said cold, except for the lingering cough, and have pretty much caught back up with life.

So, back to life, back to reality….

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And, until next time…

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