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 30, 2014

Happy Birthday Robby

Dear Robby Koopa,

Today you are eight years old. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was a scared new mom holding you in my arms for the first time?  I was so scared about being a good mom and although I have become more comfortable in the role, I continue to worry. The years have flown by so quickly that it feels like a blur.

Being your mom is one of the greatest joys in my life, and you are among my proudest achievements.  This year has brought many changes for you, from going to a new school to becoming a big brother.  You are much like me when it comes to change. We don't like it, but we always rise to the occasion and make the best of the situation. I am so proud of how you have accepted and grown into your new roles.

Adjusting to the family growing from a triad to a quartet has been difficult, but I am so proud of you. I find it amazing that a child your age can so aptly put words to your feelings and emotions. Rather than keeping everything inside, you feel comfortable saying, "Momom, I'm feeling jealous today." I hope that you will always find it easy to talk with me about what you are feeling and thinking!

At last count you have over 20 stuffed turtles. Somehow you remember all of their names and how you obtained them, yet you can't remember to bring your lunchbox home from school.

This afternoon I'll be bringing chicken nuggets and a cake to your school for your birthday celebration. I made you a special turtle cake for the occasion and your Daddy bought a pinata to surprise your class. I can't wait to see the smile on your face when I walk into the classroom with chicken nuggets and french fries for your class!

Although I'll be there for the party, I know that your interactions with me will be limited.  You won't be embarrassed. You'll simply be too busy playing with your friends to talk to me. Seeing you play with your peers, and watching your relationships grow warms my heart.  While I miss being your best buddy and playmate, knowing that you are part of a thriving social circle softens the blow.  I continue to be amazed with your confidence in social situations. You are self-assured, kind and compassionate.  These traits are your strengths and will take you far in this world.

One of my fondest memories is of us riding all the slides on vacation in Atlantis. We had so much fun splashing around, telling knock knock jokes and pranking your Dad. You certainly were in your element at the all-you-can-eat buffet, especially the bacon station.!

As much as I want to hit the pause button on your childhood I know it isn't possible. I'm so thankful that I have a heart full of wonderful memories!

I am looking forward to watching you continue to grow and thrive during the next year.  Please know how much we adore you. I love you the moon, and the sun and all the stars in the sky.

Happy Birthday!


p.s.  This is the outfit you carefully selected to wear to school.  You insisted that we tack the Ace of Spades in the hatband, just like a real Koopa Cowboy.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Spring Stares

I haven't worn a cosmetic covering on my prosthesis for almost a decade. Although I wore it dutifully during my first few tentative months after my amputation, I quickly decided that it wasn't for me. My cover resembled my biological leg from a distance, but upon closer inspection it was obviously a synthetic reproduction. Covered with stains, small holes and fabric runs, I am obviously not tidy enough to wear a cover on a daily basis.

After I removed the cover, it took me awhile to feel comfortable with the stares I garnered simply by walking through a store. I am rarely offended by the second glances and attention that my prosthesis receives. I am wearing something different, and it is human nature to look at things which are out of the norm. I know that the majority of the stares and glances are instinctual rather than malicious, and I have learned to ignore them. 

Most of the time I am oblivious to the onlookers. But each spring, I become acutely aware that I am different and that I am being watched. Wearing jeans and pants in the winter, most individuals are unaware that I am an amputee. When I switch to shorts and dresses, my prosthesis is visible and the interest returns. I know that it will soon become second nature, but it always takes me a few days to acclimate to the staring.

Yesterday afternoon Hamlet and I went shopping for Robby's birthday present. (Incidentally he was of no use when trying to pick the perfect present.) As I was happily pushing the stroller through the aisles, I noticed that we were receiving an inordinate amount of attention.  At first I thought that everybody was looking at Timmy.  After all, he is absolutely adorable! However, I quickly realized that the glances were bypassing the stroller entirely and were focused on my leg. 

I immediately began to feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I had gone from happily shopping with my newborn to feeling like the spectacle at a freak show. Trying to feign confidence, I continued to casually shop pretending to ignore all of the stares I was receiving. Inside I wanted to shrink and run away as I desperately tried to settle on a gift. 

I have been an amputee for more than a decade, yet moments like these continue to take me off guard. I detest feeling self-conscious because of my leg! Thankfully I know that my acute awareness of the stares is temporary.  The looks never go away, but in this situation becoming desensitized is a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Rain Drops

The weather has been nothing short of volatile the past few weeks. We've fluctuated between sweltering 90 degree temperatures to the uncomfortable 40's. Not only do the wild temperature fluctuations make dressing an exercise in frustration, but also it has caused some violent thunderstorms.

I don't mind thunder and lightening. In many ways I find the sounds relaxing and cleansing. Thankfully Robby has never been frightened by storms so we tend to ride them out without much fanfare.  Unfortunately, our ambivalence towards thunderstorms is beginning to wane- courtesy of our leaky roof.

Hamlet hasn't been outside during a storm, but he has already felt raindrops falling on his little head. Little guy was chilling in his cradle swing when the skies (and apparently another segment of our roof) opened up.  Needless to say, he was not amused. 

It feels like every time we experience inclement weather, we discover another leak in our roof. I love our house, but at times like this I am growing weary of being a homeowner. Ever just get tired of everything going wrong?

Yesterday we experienced another wicked thunderstorm which produced over an inch of rain in a short period of time. We purged our linen closet of towels just so that we could absorb all of the rain dripping down our walls and through the skylights. At one point I thought we were going to have to start lining up my prosthetics to catch the overflow!

As if the leaky roof wasn't frustrating enough, the storms have been wreaking havoc with my phantom pain. I was hobbling around like a lame duck trying to stay on top of all the leaks while all I wanted to do was take off my leg and escape the pain. I hope that the weather patterns stabilize soon because I'm not sure if our roof and my limb can handle many more changes!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Warning- I am Whining

It has been nearly five weeks since we welcomed Timmy (aka Hamlet) into our family. The transition has not been smooth, but I suppose it is going as well as can be expected. For the most part Robby, has taken to ignoring his little brother, which I suppose is far better than when he tried to list him on Ebay. As far as I'm concerned, we're making progress towards acceptance, so I'll consider it a success.

The past five weeks have been physically difficult for me, and at the risk of complaining, I'm beginning to feel broken. Timmy's intense feeding and holding schedule are brutal. Coupled with the infection and liver contusion with which I am also contending,I now feel like I am sleepwalking on autopilot. It has been so long since I haven't been in pain that I am beginning to doubt that I will ever feel healthy again!

I've been told by every health professional that the best thing I can do to heal my body is to rest. Dictating rest to a mom of a newborn seems absurd. Plumping up Timmy is my priority, and his needs will always trump mine.  Unfortunately, this choice also means that it is going to take me longer to recover and heal. I need to relax and show patience, neither of which has ever been my attribute.

The other day Scott took a picture of me sitting with my two boys. I was shocked when I saw the image. It looked like I had been sitting in the make-up chair of a Zombie movie. My skin tone was grey, unattractively offset by the deep purple circles under my eyes. Yikes! It was the first time I actually saw the effects of my health and lack of sleep.  I'm glad I work from home; I would certainly scare co-workers if they had to look at me!

I apologize if this blog reads like a complaint. I will return to my optimistic self soon, but today I'm tired and not feeling well.  

Monday, May 26, 2014

Wood Splitting

Although we have good intentions, neither Scott nor I are particularly motivated when it comes to working outside. I go through spurts of interest, typically only long enough for me to plant new flowers or the garden. We love our house and the tranquil wooded setting, but we are woefully ill-equipped to maintain the yard and landscaping.

Two years ago we had a large tree cut down from our front yard. In order to save money, we only contracted for the tree to be cut down and segmented into fireplace length rounds. We reasoned that we would not only save money for the removal but also we could rent a log splitter and cut our own firewood.  After the tree was laid, I worked for hours to roll the extremely heavy segmented trunk sections into a neat and orderly line on the edge of our property. The log train was rather unsightly, but we knew that it would be temporary because we were going to rent the log splitter.

We had the best of intention, but two years passed and the logs were still where I moved them. Friday afternoon our neighbor called and invited us to split the cost of the log splitter. Without hesitating, I agreed to the rental. I was delighted with the prospect of finally removing the ugly logs and cutting our firewood. 

In my defense, I did run the log splitter rental by Scott before the plans were confirmed. It is not my fault that he forgot, only to be reminded after a Friday night of revelry. I'm sure that splitting logs first thing on Saturday morning ranked among getting a colonoscopy on his list of preferred activities, but the machine was delivered to our front yard and an audience of our neighbors was beginning to form.  He had no choice but to swallow some ibuprofen, put on a smile, and get to work. 

Robby and I worked the controls while Scott moved the trunk sections and lined them up for cutting. Although it was time consuming, it was not nearly as difficult as we had anticipated. In retrospect, we should not have avoided the chore for two years. 

The yard is looking cleaner, and we have an impressive pile of firewood for next winter. Splitting wood was certainly not the sexiest way to spend a long holiday weekend, but it was certainly productive. Our neighbor who proposed the rental only used the machine for two hours. I'm beginning to think that the "split the rental" invitation was more of a ploy to get us to do something about the ugly wood pile. In either case, I'm glad that we finally conquered the wood train.