About Me

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I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Good Enough

My fitness quest was sidelined by my fall in November which resulted in injuries to both my residual limb and my ankle. True to the prediction of my doctors, it took months to heal and to walk without pain. Just as I was feeling normal, the verrous hyperplasia decided to rear its ugly purple head reintroducing pain and limiting my activities again.

While my limb is still not fully recovered and healed, I am well enough to resume some level of exercise. I have to avoid high impact activities such as running (which isn't difficult to avoid because I detest it), but I am cleared to walk. My first jaunt through the neighborhood left me sore, winded and discouraged. It is horribly ironic that it can take so much time and effort to become conditioned but getting out of shape is so easy!

True to form, I began to mentally berate myself for my lack of strength. I hate that my internal dialog is so negative! I have really been working on recognizing this unsavory trait and trying to change the message to one which is more uplifting. So many people in this world are more than willing to point out my negative flaws that I really don't need to keep doing it for myself.

It has occurred to me that I have spent an inordinate amount of time and energy beating myself up. I am highly critical of my weight (especially my hips and bum), my mediocre housekeeping skills (I would never win the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval), and my parenting abilities (thankfully I'm not a candidate for Nanny 911- yet). I wish I could figure out how to accept myself, strengths and weaknesses, without going through a long dialog of self-condemnation.

I take solace in the knowledge that I am not alone with this struggle. So many of my friends have confided to similar themed self-destructive thought processes. Why do we invest so much time and mental energy striving towards an unattainable version of perfection?

In an effort to change my thinking, I am trying to embrace my muscle pain instead of berating the soreness. I was not able to exercise because of a series of injuries, not because I was unmotivated or unwilling. Setbacks happen; life happens. I am now trying to reestablish my fitness and that is a good thing. It would be easy to give up and surrender to the fatigue and negativity. Instead, I'm going to keep plugging away, knowing that I'll have both successes and failures.

By consciously providing myself with a positive spin, I'm hoping to be able to minimize my negative thought processes. I'm tired of beating myself up! I'm going to be 40 sooner than I would like to admit, and I want to be able to accept myself for who I am, not punish myself for who I am not.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Biker Boy

After seeing Robby sit on his bike for the first time this spring, it became clear that a trip to the bike shop would be in his future. His treasured Lightening McQueen bike was now too small for him. Even with the seat fully extended, he had a difficult time pedaling because his knees kept hitting the handle bars.

A few days ago we surprised Robby with a new "big boy" bike. We parked it at the end of the walk for him to casually discover when he was helping his Daddy take out the trash. Our surprise plan backfired as we ended up investing in a lengthy discussion trying to convince him that the bicycle was for him and wasn't parked by a door-to-door salesman. He finally accepted that the bicycle was for him but only after he suggested that we include a note or a tag next time we want to leave him a surprise so that he won't get confused.

For most little boys, a new bike would be reason for celebration. For Robby, the acquisition has sparked anxiety and apprehension.  It wasn't the bike that has caused him to worry, rather the lack of training wheels that has sent him reeling.

I tried to calm his fears, promising him that we would take it slow. I reminded him that both swimming and ice skating were scary and difficult when he first started, but now he is swimming like a koopa and sliding across the ice like a pro. He seemed more comfortable and willing to try a two-wheeled bike after reflecting on everything that he once thought to be hard but now finds easy.

Seeing Robby mount the bike, he looked like such a big kid. Of course, the fact that he was still wearing his cowboy boots reminded me that he is still my little boy. He stood straddling the saddle and slowly lifted one foot off the ground.

Boom! Down he went, with the bike on top of him. My little trooper simply offered "that stinks" as he hopped back on for another try. This time he tried to lift the opposite foot- and proceeded to fall on the opposite side. 

After two falls, he finally agreed to allow me to hold the handle bars. We were quasi-successful, but truth be told I was exerting a lot of pressure to keep the bike erect. For some reason he doesn't seem to have a strong sense of balance.

We'll keep working at it, and hopefully by the end of the summer he'll be pedaling around the neighborhood with his friends. He promised that we would keep practicing, but also provided me with a warning. "Momom, I may never be really really good on a bike. That's okay though. Not everybody is meant to be a biker dude." 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Short Stares

After being kept inside by working on the colossal report, I have been trying to spend every spare moment outside. On Monday I spent the afternoon clearing the woods of the brier bushes and various thorn protrusions. Yesterday I spent the morning planting 200 sunflower seeds along the perimeter of our property. I can't wait for them to start growing and blooming! Assuming I planted them correctly, it should be gorgeous in a few months.

Working outside coupled with the rising temperatures, I've transitioned my wardrobe into summer. I still have my jeans handy, but they are on a shelf in my closet and their space in my drawer has been taken over by shorts.

The first few days of wearing shorts is always disconcerting. I become accustomed to blending into the crowd during the autumn and winter. Nobody can tell I'm an amputee when I'm wearing jeans, and I rarely garner the second glances and hushed comments.

Now that I'm sporting shorts, the stares and comments have resumed. I realize it is normal for people to look at anything that is unusual, but sometimes being the recipient becomes disorienting. I am so comfortable wearing my prosthesis that sometimes I forget that it isn't a normal part of everybody's life. The second glances, the nudges between friends and the gawking from the teenagers reminds me that, although I feel normal, I am indeed different.

I know in a few days I will adjust to the reactions of onlookers. By the end of a week (or maybe two) I will be completely oblivious to the attention. Until then, I just need to keep holding my head high and doing my thing. I love everything about spring except for this transition (and my allergies).

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Good Deed?

There can be no doubt; spring has definitely sprung in my neighborhood. The cherry blossoms (as well as my allergies) are in full bloom. The song birds are happily chirping, and all of our daffodils are open. I'm sure the report being finished has something to do with my sudden appreciation of the beautiful weather!

Before going to school yesterday morning, Robby asked if he could pick some daffodils to give to his teacher. "After all, Momom, those flowers are yellow and yellow is my favorite color. I think that they will make Miss Lauren smile." How could I say no to that sweet request. We stopped the car and picked a handful of springtime happiness to share.

Clutching his little bouquet, Robby was so proud entering the school. Miss Lauren, who obviously saw him carrying the flowers, did a fantastic job of feigning surprise when Robby finally presented them to her. After gushing about how nice it was for him to think of her and how beautiful the flowers will look in the classroom, she asked Robby a simple and benign question: Did you pick the flowers in your garden?

I was hoping that Robby would simply say yes to avoid the need for explanation. You see, we didn't exactly pick the flowers from our yard. We plucked them from the woods belonging to the "Old Lady." I didn't want to take the flowers from our yard because they looked so pretty. I justified sharing the flowers grown in the Old Lady's yard because she isn't home (she's been moved into a nursing home in New York) and they were just going to whither away without being enjoyed. 

I should be proud that Robby opted for honesty in his response, but I wish he would have just said yes. Instead he replied by saying, "No. We picked them from the Old Lady's yard. It's okay though, she won't call the cops on us this time because she wasn't home." 

His teacher seemed a little taken aback by his response, and I was left dumbfounded, able only to feign a smile. Trying to explain the history of the police complaints against us by a woman with dementia, as well as my reasoning behind taking her flowers instead of ours, seemed like a lost cause. So much for a nice gesture!

Monday, April 08, 2013

Last Minute Barriers

Friday morning I woke up before the sun rose, optimistic that I only had a few final touches on the report. I planned on working until Robby went to school and then travel to the office so that we could ceremoniously hit the "send" button. Feeling bad that I was not attentive to Robby during the week, I even toyed with the notion of pulling him out of school 30 minutes early to surprise him with a trip to the Animal Park.  Sipping the first cup of coffee, I was confident that I was destined for a happy and much needed stress-free day.

I should have kept my optimism in check because apparently I succeeded in jinxing myself. My "finishing touches" ended up taking far longer than I anticipated. After waking early and frantically working almost 9 hours, the final file was ready to send. At least, that's what I thought.

With my boss sitting in the next room, we decided do a test email to make sure the files send and opened correctly. I'm glad that we took this precaution. After some troubleshooting I realized that the file was now too big. The limit was 5 MB, and mine was 6 MB.  D'oh! 

I packed up the computer and went home to tackle what felt like Mission Impossible. I needed to shrink my file, without compromising content so that it could be successfully sent. First my hips and now my file- why am I always struggling to shrink things?

Big props go to my husband who happened to phone during my meltdown on the drive back to our house. He listened to the issue and did some research for me. By the time I finally arrived home, he had several potential solutions. By remaining calm and talking me through the directions, I have no doubt he saved me hours of pulling out my hair and banging me head on the keyboard.

After another extraordinarily long day, the file was successfully transmitted at 2:40 on Friday afternoon. Sitting in my living room, my eyes were glued to the spinning circle as my email was being sent. When the confirmation finally appeared on the screen, I dissolved into a puddle of tears. Relieved that the report, which at times felt overwhelmingly daunting, was complete felt liberating.

It is now out of my hands. I can't predict the results, but I do know that I submitted my best effort. I left nothing out, and I did not cut any corners. While I know I'll be disappointed if we are not awarded the contract, I know that the decision is not reflective of the work I submitted. 

I feel a wonderful sense of satisfaction having the report behind me. I'll soon be ready to tackle another project, but I'm looking forward to just being a Mom for awhile. I need time to enjoy my family and recover.