Thursday, May 25, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

Firecracker had to have blood drawn today to test her med levels. Bless my husband for taking her, because I don’t think I could cope with little Firecracker and needles. I had to trot downtown for a meeting, and since I don’t like city driving, I was pretty annoyed. But someone bought me a birthday brownie, which went a long way to improve matters. Then I found that Dear Husband had let Firecracker leave me a happy birthday message on my cell phone. This was so adorable that I’m tempted to make everyone around me listen to it.

My MIL is coming in to visit. She’ll watch the girls while Dear Husband and I have a night to ourselves in a B&B this weekend. The girls are looking forward to seeing Nana, who will spoil them, tell them how incredibly smart they are, oo and ah over all their artwork, and let them watch too much TV. What could be better?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Firecracker Goes Off

Firecracker has had seizures since she was about a year old. She has what are called partial focal seizures. She never loses consciousness, but she looses the ability to control the left side of her body. Sometimes they are so subtle and over so quickly that you aren't sure what you just saw. She has been on a few different meds, and her seizures have been pretty much under control. But after a long period of seeing very few if any, she's suddenly having them every couple of hours. I know when they're coming on because she starts laughing uncontrollably, and then she starts tilting or crumpling. She's zonked now, whether from increased meds or multiple seizures, I'm not sure.

So I'm asking whoever reads this to say a little prayer for Firecracker.

May 23 Update
Thank you all for your prayers. The increase in meds seems to be working. We saw only a couple of seizures yesterday. She's still feisty as ever.

Yet another update--May 24
Abby had one seizure last night. She started laughing and trembling. Probably brought on by fatigue, because she resists going to sleep. This morning when her bus came she started screaming and crying. This is completely out of character. She loves the bus and school. I just knew--and it turned out that I was correct--that I would hear that she had a seizure on the bus. Poor Firecracker. She has an EEG coming up, which will tell us what we already know, that her brain patterns are abnormal. Her medication will have to be revisited. I've been lax about scheduling a sleep study (requested by her pulmonologist, as it turns out, since apnea can exacerbate asthma), but her sleep patterns may also be abnormal and contributing to the seizures. I'm grateful she doesn't have grand or even petit mal seizures, but our neurologist put the fear of God into me by telling me that left uncontrolled the electrical impulses will keep building until she does have a grand mal.

My birthday is tomorrow--I'm turning 40. I do not feel very celebratory.

Friday, May 19, 2006


Well, so much for work ethics. Here I am typing a post with 25 minutes to go to quittin’ time. I’m too tired and burned out to think straight.

The book discussion was, as I thought it would be, pretty dull. But like I said, I have a bad attitude. I thought the discussion questions were pretty lame. One was “What role does work play in redemptive history?” First of all, I don’t think I even understand that question. I don’t think I understand what redemptive history is. I was also introduced to the idea of work as worship. Well, that makes worship sound really exhausting to me. But it’s over now, and I can reflect on how it can be that the author did not mention one woman in the Bible. Considering how much women work, you’d think he could have mentioned one. Ruth, maybe. Or at least the Mary and Martha story. Or how about Mary the mother of Jesus? She must have had her hands full. But then, this is a denomination that won’t ordain women, so probably the women are used to being overlooked. Everyone else seemed to like the book. I thought it lacked any kind of exhortatory power. But at least it wasn’t Who Moved My Cheese?

So, I’m going to take my decidedly unbiblical perspective on work on home, where I can grouse about the amount of cleaning and laundry to do this weekend.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I'm Cranky

I’m tired and I’m cranky. I’m up to my eyeballs in brochures and I’ve been commandeered to work at our General Assembly next month. Ack—Atlanta traffic. I don’t like standing at a booth looking friendly and properly Christian. I have to remember to watch my language. I expect to be bored out of my mind.

Cranky Update: I also have to read a book for work. It's a book about biblical work principles. The fellow who wrote it is a nice guy and he has a great ministry, but I don't want to sit around tomorrow discussing this book when I have tons of work to do. So far, the book says nothing new. I expect to be bored out of my mind. I also expect to be irritated by the discussion. Don't you hate it when management starts trying to instill a work ethic in you? And then they pull out the Bible to back it up. I mean, really, does it help me to find the origins of work conflict in the Garden of Eden. No it does not. I start feeling all anti-establishment.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mother's Day--Can I Go Hide?

I'll have to confess that I'm not exactly looking forward to Mother's Day. I feel very uncomfortable being on the receiving end. I feel like a fraud on Mother's Day. Twenty years from now my kids will be in therapy trying to sort through the mess, just as I did and do.

If you had asked me when I was 25 if I was planning to have children, I would have laughed and felt the usual stirrings of impatience with people who felt they had to propagate. I didn't like children. The thought of small powerless creatures depending on me filled me with, well, rage. And I thought that was a pretty good reason not to have kids.

When I was 32 I had been around a few actual children and babies and discovered that I did not want to swat them. Usually. I still wan't planning on having any children.

I still wasn't planning on having children when I got pregnant. Being pregnant required an enormous shift in perception. I felt relatively good about the whole business.

As my children get older, I find that I am revisited by old and unpleasant emotions from my childhood. This is not good. I was furious with myself as a child. I made up alter egos to absorb my fury. Now I have actual children, and sometimes I feel that I walk very close to the line. My words can be cruel. Sometimes I don't like them very much, and then I burst into tears because I adore them.

I wish my mother were still alive. She wouldn't have any advice. Actually, she was wonderfully free of any parenting advice. DramaQueen was just over a year old when my mom died. My mother adored DramaQueen. She went through a hellish round of chemotherapy because she wanted to stick around to see her grow up. I wish she could have seen Firecracker. She would say, "Oh, she has the Akins temper!"

My mom raised five children. She had wanted children all her life. She couldn't wait to have lots of kids. She would be the first to say she wasn't a very good mother, and, well, she wasn't in many ways. There were some things that went very wrong, sometimes for reasons beyond her control. My brothers, who are much older than I am, lived through some really awful stretches when mom's behavior became worrisome enough that dad committed her to an asylum. But she was affectionate and had boundless love for her children. Although when she had delusions she could be mean and kinda spooky, she was usually gentle and kind. She made sure to call each of us every week after we were all out of the house. She was a very intelligent woman who had not had the opportunity to go to college. She would have felt at home in a seminary, I think. She listened to lectures on Augustine and peppered my husband with questions about Judaism. At her funeral her pastor said good-naturedly that she always pushed him into corners with her questions. Several women from her Sunday school class mentioned the same thing--that my mom thought of questions that never crossed their minds.

Mom's frequent refrain was, "I just don't know what to do with my life." This used to drive me crazy, but I find that I'm pretty much in the same boat. I've inherited her lack of drive and energy, her sensitivity to too much stimulation, her social discomfort, her disorganization and inability to actually finish anything. I have her questioning mind, but not one-tenth of her faith.

And I can't garden at all.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Firecracker Goes to the Library

Firecracker may be the only four-year-old girl whose chosen bed-time reading last night was Big Yellow Trucks and Diggers. This had some informative tid-bits such as "The sky is blue. The track-type tractor is yellow" and "The hard hat is green. The wheel loader is yellow" and my favorite, "The garbage is many different colors. The landfill compactor is yellow." As you can see, the theme was "yellow."

Every Saturday I take Firecracker to the library while DramaQueen is in drama class. Yesterday Firecracker insisted on wearing her gold dress-up shoes to the library. They had gotten mixed up with her sister's, so she was wearing two right feet, and she's still so small that there's a good 5 inches of shoe sticking out behind her. She was pretty delighted with herself, though. As usual she took off to find books for herself. I suggested she look in the section on animals. She likes to get books about monkeys and tigers now and then. This time she chose Tunneling Earthworms. Perhaps that will be our bedtime reading tonight.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Grace Is So Cool

Well, the ministry leader whose letter I screwed up told me that he had made so many mistakes in the last months that he had lost count. So, all is well. Thanks for your prayers.

It's those sorts of actions that make me really like the people I work with, even when I don't agree with so many aspects of the theology they hold dear.

For example, for administrative professionals day, all the support staff were taken out to lunch at an off-the-beaten track little cafe serving traditional Southern cooking. After that, we were taken to a local massage clinic for mini-massages. But best of all, when we got to work that morning, on each desk was a sheet of paper with our name and hand-written messages from the senior staff thanking us for our work. The HR manager was really thinking ahead, because most of the senior staff are scattered across the country and only come into town twice a year.

I doubt many people can top that.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Mistakes Were Made

This is a lousy day. I just discovered I made a rather large mistake in a mailing. Everyone is no doubt hopping mad about it—and they do not yet know that it was my fault. Ugh.