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, May 31, 2013

Commercial Shoot Pictures!

Hooky Day

Although it is a school day, today we won't be following our typical schedule. We are playing hooky from school and are going to the ice rink. Yesterday Robby received an invitation to appear in a television commercial with Mike Green, a Washington Capitals player, and we just couldn't pass on this unique opportunity.

Both he and Scott were rendered speechless when I relayed the invitation, both breaking the silence to mutter "that is so cool" in unison. Although I think it will be fun to see Robby in a television commercial, my little guy is unimpressed about show business. However, he is over the moon about meeting and skating with a real hockey player. The minute I told him our plans he wanted to go to the ice rink to practice. His birthday party derailed those plans, but it didn't stop Robby from planning and demonstrating his skills to our guests! Last night was supposed to be about Robby's birthday, but it turned into Robby's hockey party.

With his birthday candles lit, we asked Robby to make a wish. He responded by telling us that everything he's wished for has already come true. This sentiment melted my heart, but I know that he was simply overwhelmed by the hockey invitation and the attention. Watching the wax melt all over the cake, I finally struck a bargain. Robby now has his birthday wish banked for a future time, and I was finally able to cut the cake.

After Robby's birthday party, I insisted that he take a bath. His normal complaints were absent and he obliged my request without hesitation. He even chimed in that he was going to use soap, so that he was "squeaky clean" when he met the Washington Capital.  (I didn't realize that soap during bath time was optional. I guess I'll have to keep closer tabs on what he is doing when I send him to get clean.)

In a few hours, Robby and I will hop into the car and we will embark on his first adventure as a seven year old. Considering his enthusiasm for playing hockey, I suspect that this will be difficult to top! I've stopped saying "break a leg" (for obvious reasons) but I will ask for luck. I'll post pictures when we get home!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Letter To Robby

Dear Robby,

Seven years ago today, at precisely 2:10 PM, you came into this world. I was never so happy to hear a cry as I was when I heard you for the first time. Holding you in my arms, I knew that my life was irrevocably changed.

The first words that I whispered to you in the delivery room are the same that I say to you each night when tucking you into bed.  "I love you the whole wide world, the moon and the sun and all the stars in the sky." I will always love you and you will always be my little boy, regardless of your age.

It is hard for me to fathom that you are now seven years old. It seems like just yesterday you were holding my hand as you were taking your first tentative steps. Now it is hard for me to keep up with you as you run around the yard and jump in the stream looking for tadpoles.

Sometimes I become sad, thinking about you as a little boy. Although we don't cuddle nearly as much as I would like, I love watching you explore, grow and learn. I try to avoid reflecting on how much you have grown and changed, opting instead to stay in the moment. I suspect I'll have enough time to think when you are grown and move out. I will say that I have thoroughly enjoyed each stage and I wouldn't go back in time even if it were a possibility.

Your curiosity and enthusiasm are contagious. After all, only you could make me excited about looking for snakes and digging for worms. I'm so happy that you continue to enjoy spending time with me. I realize that soon this too will change, and friends from school will become the preferred playmate. In the meantime, I'll try to soak in each adventure.

I realize that I am biased, but you are an amazing little boy. Your generosity and the innate empathy that you continue to demonstrate leaves me filled with pride and awe. I was touched when you asked for teddy bears for your birthday with the plan of sending them the children who lost their toys in the Oklahoma tornadoes. I am fairly certain I would not have hatched a similar plan at seven years old! 

Today is your special day, and we will celebrate with gusto. As promised, I'll bring pizza and bread sticks for you and your classmates during lunch time. Cupcakes and ice cream will follow, along with various koopa themed crafts. The festivities will continue when you get home with your Daddy picking up Fettuccine Alfredo (your favorite) for dinner before I unveil your birthday cake.

Robby, I am eternally grateful to be your Momom. Happy Birthday to my favorite little buddy! I hope that the day is as happy and wonderful as you. I am looking forward to my adventures with my super seven year old!


Your Momom

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ruffled My Feathers

The countdown is on! Robby only has 12 more days of school left. After the past few weeks I've had dealing with the administration and parents at his school, I venture to guess that I'm more excited than he to see this year come to a close.

A few weeks ago I was shocked, devastated and then infuriated when a request was verbalized (from the Principal) that I cover my prosthesis. Refusing to conceal my leg simply to satisfy the sensibilities of a parent, I have made it a point to wear either shorts or a knee length dress each day. I walk into the building with my head held high and smile broadly to everybody I encounter. Although I try to exude confidence, I continue to deal with hurt feelings concerning the request.

Until Friday the identity of the complaint lodging parent has been shielded. Although I had my suspicions, I lacked concrete proof about who complained about seeing my leg. Friday afternoon the coward stepped out of the shadows and confronted me directly. 

Leaving Robby in his classroom, I bumped into a classmate's father in the corridor. My smile straightened when I saw his disapproving scowl as he looked disgustedly away from my shiny black (and gently bedazzled) prosthesis. I am not proud of what transpired next.

Without even saying hello, the man (and I use that term only because I assume he has all of the anatomical equipment of the gender) began to reprimand me. I stood quietly as he stood 8 inches from my face and angrily said, "You should be ashamed of yourself. Don't you care that you are hurting your son by parading around with that thing showing?"

Something overtook me and my response was automatic. Although I typically avoid confrontation, this time I didn't hesitate nor did I flinch at his words. I maintained the hate-filled gaze, stayed within the same physical space that he invaded, and spoke purposefully. "I'm not hurting my son by wearing my prosthesis. But it most certainly will hurt you when I lodge it up your a$$ you ignorant prick."

Without providing him with an opportunity to respond, I walked past him and left the school. It's one thing for him to dislike seeing my prosthesis, but it is an entirely different issue when my mothering abilities are called into question. I have a high capacity for abuse and ignorance, but ruffle those maternal feathers and I'll stand toe to toe every time. 

Yesterday I was expecting to be called to speak with the administrators again. Instead the staff seemed oblivious to the confrontation. I didn't see the weak minded parent, but I did notice that his wife both dropped off and picked up their child. Hopefully they will continue this schedule for the next 12 days. I can hardly wait for Robby's end of the school year performance and celebration. I think my chromed socket will be fixed and ready for me to wear. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Back Breaker

Unlike many of my amputee friends, I have never attended formal physical therapy. Don't get me wrong, PT was recommended after my amputation, and I was willing to participate. Unfortunately, my insurance adjustor deemed the sessions unnecessary and denied the request. At the time, I was overwhelmed with emotions, and I just did not have the energy to fight.

If I had the opportunity to go back in time, I would have fought my adjustor on several issues including PT. Of course, going back in time is not a possibility, and I need to keep looking forward. I've been living as an amputee for nearly a decade, yet now I am seriously contemplating pursuing physical therapy.

I woke up Monday morning with my lower back in a spasm so severe that I was unable to move. It took me 10 minutes to sit on the edge of the bed only to realize that I had no easy method of putting on my leg. Unable to bend, donning my liner was a feat in acrobatics and contortion that was worthy of a medal. It took me 15 minutes of slow and deliberate movements, but I was finally able to slip on my prosthesis for the day.

After I popped a few Aleve and sat on an ice pack while sipping my coffee, the spasms began to release. I felt twinges throughout the day, but the pain did not keep me from going fishing with Robby and working in our garden. Although the pain subsided, I only have to look to my mother to realize that I won't always be so lucky.

My Mom has severe lower back issues. I've seen her laid up for days at a time, suffering with relentless and debilitating pain. I worry that I inherited her weak back. The difficulties I encountered when trying to put on my leg while my back tweaked has forced my hand. I need to become proactive about strengthening my back before it becomes too late!

Although I have a good gait pattern, I realize that the fact that I utilize a prosthesis alters the way that my body works while ambulating. My back, hips and shoulders all move and bear weight differently than my bi-legged counterparts. Not only do I need to make sure that my back is as strong as possible, but also I need to make sure that I am not prone to stress injuries.

I'm hoping to learn exercises to thwart future back issues. I know that I can't fight genetics, but I can be as proactive as possible. As I am approaching 40, I am realizing that I need to take preventative health measures seriously. After all, I admire my Mom greatly, but this is one attribute I hope to avoid as much as possible!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day!

I woke up this morning thinking about my Pop (maternal Grandfather). Having served through three military conflicts, he was proud of his Air Force career. Although he has been gone for almost 20 years, I continue to miss him and think of him daily. He was such a special part of my life.

I visited my Mom this weekend and it wasn't until I was driving home yesterday that I realized that we hadn't been to the cemetery to lay flowers. I felt horrible, feeling like the oversight was somehow disrespectful. Of course I know that my Pop would not have been upset because he would have approved of what I was doing. Between helping my Mom in her yard, visiting the local arts festival and finding a left handed hockey stick for Robby, the two day visit was extremely busy and productive. My Pop would want me busy and active with life, not mournful and sad over his passing.

Although I didn't make it to the cemetery over this weekend, I did visit in March. I went by myself, which hasn't happened since I was in college. I enjoyed the solitude and I felt the presence of both my Pop and my Nan, who is buried with him. I left with a renewed sense of strength, feeling them both with me and believing that they would be proud of me.

I'm thinking of my Pop today, but I'm not sad. I'm going to talk with Robby again about his Great Grandfather, the wonderful soul after whom he was named, and then we will go outside to play. Weather permitting, I predict a day full of tadpole hunting and badminton in my future. I can't think of a better way to spend the day!