Last Monday marked an important night in our household- the return of Dancing With The Stars! If you have followed my blog you know Mom and I are big fans of the show. This season though felt more special and more fun kicking off. Sister K even agreed to watch it….we’ll see if she sticks to it.
But it felt special because as I am feeling lots of changes with Mom right now, one thing that remains is this TV show however silly that may sound. She loves Dancing With The Stars and so do I. We can talk about the show and recap it together. We have our favorite performers, our favorite pros, our favorite songs to discuss…all of it. It is truly a fun life escape for us together and an experience we can share even though we aren’t physically together. Dancing With The Stars is easy to follow, fun and uplifting…it gives me a guaranteed special moment with Mom every Monday evening and for days to come…and for that I am thankful.
It also isn’t lost on me that Jack Osbourne who has been diagnosed with MS is on the show. He specifically said in his introduction last week that he is doing it to raise awareness for MS. Remarkable. It feels personal too. Every time I watch him I smile thinking of his courage and strength and how he is out there speaking and dancing for Mom.
So here we go again for another season of Dancing With The Stars…are you watching? Who are your favorites? Do you and your family have any shared TV shows you are loyal to watching and discuss after?
I am having a hard time. There I said it. I am having a hard time. I don’t have a handle on this and feel like instead of getting better at handling Mom’s MS I am getting worse at it. To the outside world I tend to seem like I have it all together. I talk positively, I say all the right things, sure it’s tough, I am dealing with it, I am fine, etc etc.
Inside I am feeling differently.
Inside I am struggling. Inside I feel lonely. Inside I miss my Mom even though she is very much still here. For the past five years since I started working Mom and I have spent the majority of my lunch hours on the phone. Lunchtime chats is what we fondly referred to these conversations. I wandered around outside, talking about my morning, talking about life, just talking and then when my lunch hour was over I went back to work and Mom continued on with her day. These carefree conversations were something I never gave much thought but I could depend on them no matter what kind of day I was having- and in the course of starting new jobs, changing cities, managing challenging situations there were many moments where these conversations were what got me through the day.
But now things are different. Mom isn’t as sharp as she once was and I am not sure if that is the MS, the amount of medicine she is on or a combination of both. But regardless our conversations are not the same. There is a lot of repetition and a lot of simple topics that are not too complex. There are times where I just need some advice but I can’t get Mom to understand the story and in those moments I feel frustrated. There are times I call and Mom may be having a bad day or be in pain and in those moments I feel sad. There are times when we are having the exact same conversation we have already had before and in those moments I feel stressed.
When I get off the phone I am typically not in a better frame of mind than I was before and I need to shut it off and go back to work or go back to life….and that is hard. I feel like I am living a double life in my head- the person who has it all together / the daughter who feels like she has nothing together…and I am having a hard time managing it.
I need to come here and talk about this. I need to continue to talk about this. I have faith I’ll find a way to positively handle this new chapter in my journey with Mom’s MS…and I think a big part will be holding myself accountable about my true feelings here so I can begin to manage them.
How do you manage multiple emotions and situations going on in your life? How do you manage the tough parts while living the good parts?
Today is Sister K’s 27th Birthday! I have been thinking a lot all day about Sister K and how she entered my life 27 years ago today. How before you know your sibling you don’t know them at all and after you meet them you can never again imagine your life without them. I think of us 27 years ago with Mom. I have no idea what those early days of a two year old and a baby were like but I imagine they were a combination of emotions. I have also been told that one day when Sister K wouldn’t stop crying I suggested we give her to Goodwill!
I have also been thinking a lot about Sister K because her friendship has become so important to me as we navigate our Mom’s health issues together. Together. Having a sister has become my greatest advantage in all of this and the major way I am able to make it through the tough moments. We both get it. We really get it because we are both experiencing it with the same person- our Mom. We laugh about it together, get sad about it together, and share stories together…but through it all we are handling it together.
On another note…For Sister K’s birthday this year I got her a shirt called The Home T. I thought they were cute because you can buy a shirt to represent the state you are from in a trendy way. But what I didn’t know is that a portion of the proceeds go to MS Research because of their own experience with people they know being impacted by MS. In case you haven’t heard I thought I would pass it along. I can also endorse that it’s a great gift! http://www.thehomet.com/about-us/
Have you ever thought about how thankful you are for a sibling or someone in your life? Do birthdays make you reflect about your family members and your relationships with them? Have you ever heard of the Home T?
It was a rainy-ish afternoon and with not many plans I decided to conquer my usual Sunday grocery shopping on a Saturday. Next door to the grocery store is a Hallmark store and I decided to run inside to grab a card for Sister K whose birthday is on Monday. But while inside I got distracted and ended up with not just a few too many cards I didn’t need, but a nostalgic memory of Mom.
Mom loves Hallmark stores. I have distinct memories of being on summer vacation home for college with Mom and she would drive us to a Hallmark store because she had a $5 off coupon that was going to expire. We didn’t need anything in particular and didn’t have a specific occasion we were shopping for but we would wander around together. Candles…nick nacks…picture frames…funny gifts…you name it and we saw it.
Fast forward to today and Mom doesn’t drive anymore. She doesn’t leave the house too much anymore either. She still gets her Hallmark coupons but life has gotten in the way and they don’t get used like they once did. Dad tries to take Mom when they can make it but that isn’t very often. It also isn’t the same for Mom as this was her place of refuge, her place to kill time, her place to wander around and be Mom.
As I wandered around the store this afternoon I couldn’t help but think what Mom would think of the things inside. How she would stop to look at all the trinkets and treasures besides cards..she would see things she didn’t really need but buy them anyways..she would pick out surprises for Sister K and me..she would wander and shop without a purpose or a plan. The Hallmark store was her place. It still is her place but it is different.
I feel a strange pull towards this store whenever I see it. I have never lived near one and this one is so convenient. But more than being convenient it is like a big hug for me. The women inside are kind. The cards are funny. The knick knacks are cute. It’s like this magical oasis I have discovered inside of the big city I now live inside- and it’s an oasis that reminds me of the way Mom was before MS. So today when the woman asked me if I would like to sign up for a Hallmark Rewards card, I proudly said “Yes. My mom would be so proud to find out I am signing up for one right now.” As I look at my wallet with that little purple rewards card inside I can’t help but smile thinking of these memories of shopping with Mom and Hallmark and that even though life is changing, I am thankful to still have those memories.
Did your family shop at certain stores that will forever remind you of them? Do you have a favorite store that brings you a break from life when you visit it? Have you ever visited a Hallmark store?