Thursday, November 5, 2009


Dragging my ass through what may or may not be the swine flu - survey says - probably not, but still our household has ground to a very slow motion version of its usual busy self. Three of the kids are flat on various couches and the youngest is unusually unbouncy.

Surprised myself with how worked up I have been over the h1n1 thing - done my usual thing of going into research mode and I feel a little better having plowed through a bunch of different articles from a bunch of different sources and cross checking those sources.

I am no more afraid of the vaccine than I am of any other vaccine - which is to say that I have a healthy respect for it and its possible side effects and yes I do believe those to be rare.

I am grateful that my brood does not seem to have any of the underlying conditions that would put them at greater risk.


Some things that have been on my mind:

socialized medicine in the U.S.:
I live with socialized medicine and I love it. Not because it is perfect, it certainly isn't but it does mean that as a society the majority of people in my country have decided that don't put a price on human life.
Yes, I know that sounds simplistic but in a very general way I believe it to be true.
If my kids or husband get hurt or sick, we simply visit our doctor or go to the emergency ward - I make sure I have my wallet with me before we go because I keep my health care card in there.
In the past four years we have been to emergency with my youngest daughter and a mild concussion, seen a gastroenterologist and had a gastroscopy for my oldest daughter, and I have had two colonoscopies, mole removal, and a visit to a dermatologist to have a largish section of shoulder skin removed and checked for melanoma and this does not include the various visits for checkups and for prescriptions for all six of us. And it cost us nothing.
Well actually it did cost us money in the form of taxes but that is fine by me.
I am happy that my neighbors, my friends, strangers and even people I don't like can all go and get medical care when they need it.
It keeps us as a society healthier, physically, medically and morally.

Lately we have had some experience with a system that seems more like the privatized american medical insurance system - but in my family it is with therapy. We are using therapy a lot right now. My husband has quite good benefits from his job for that, but ONLY if we use the therapists that the insurance company wants us to. And we don't want too. Our kids have very good, trusting relationships with two play therapists and don't think it would make sense to try and disrupt that and start again. So we are paying, a lot of money every month, and trying as hard as we can to convince the insurance company to reimburse us. It is a pain in the ass.
If this is the "choice" and "control" that some Americans think is the best for them - I don't get it.

More later.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

And so we roll along

We still have four kids:
-Oldest son is 18, I cried some on his birthday for all the time that has gone by and all the mistakes I have made and in joy for having him - he is a fine and thoughtful young man with a hilarious sense of humour and he is deeply connected to his brothers and sisters
-Oldest daughter is 15, the road is so rough sometimes for her - as sadness and self doubt grab at her and leave circles under her eyes but we grown ups know that this is a tumultuous time as bodies grow and hormones flow and we do get the other side when she shines and sparkles and laughs and shines. She teases her youngest brother with a truly gentle affection and wraps herself around her youngest sister both physically and emotionally to try and offer her comfort from the hurts of the world both big and small
-Youngest son is 13 and truly a joy, if that is a word that can be applied to someone who points out that he is gaining on me in height in hourly updates, rolls his eyes like they are loose in their sockets, can stretch out a whine for hours, his voice cracking, and make me laugh while he does it and flips his bleached hair out of his eyes as he leans in to hug me good night as he does every single night - he is ours, he is mine
-Youngest daughter is 9nearly10, oh so nearly. If you ask her right now she can tell you how many days it is until her birthday, they are dwindling away quickly and she is growing and maturing so much. Smart? Oh that child is smart! And strong! I tell her how tough and strong she is all the time and also try and let her know that she doesn't have to be all the time, that is a job she can share with me and her Dad. The other day she told me that her thoughts know that I won't leave her, it is just that her feelings aren't sure yet. That is big stuff for her. We still have some serious stuff to try and figure out around birth family and especially birth Mom - right now we have decided to put that stuff in an emotional box, away from us and take it slow and just deal with it a little at a time.

We are happy and lucky to have two good therapists to work with, the Play Therapist that has been with Youngest Daughter since she first came to us is still there every second week and their relationship is a good one and a helpful one. Family Therapist is a newer find in the last Year or so and has been very useful to the rest of us, singly and in groups. I think of him as being on retainer for us for the next few years and am very grateful that we can afford him - appointments with him help smooth the rough patches in life and really show the kids that their Dad and I take their feelings and our family very seriously and that is priceless.

Birth Grandma still shows up, either by phone or in person, usually about every six months or so. That will probably be her pattern in the future too. There is upheaval when that happens but it is worth it because the youngest kids really do appreciate the contact, she is a touchstone of who they were, where they came from and I think it reassures them that we welcome her and embrace her as much as possible - it shows them that we care about where they came from too.

Birth Brother - we don't know where he is, we haven't heard from him since before Xmas, when he blew out of his placement in the first foster home he has had since he was 12 (he has been in group homes since) and it was with the fosterMoM that he had at the time - he is now all of 16 and both my youngests were terribly upset during his birthday month - and probably are even now...

BirthMoM is a tough subject for me right now. The last letters we rec'd were in January and the one to our youngest daughter triggered some difficult behaviours and I haven't been leaving the house much on my own since then. Before my eyes, YD became the cold, emotionally distant 7 yr. old who moved in with us and OH how powerless felt to stop the transfomation! I have yet to write the letter that I need to write to her, I have been putting it off but the time is coming soon. I want to do it right. BirthMoM needs to understand that although five years may not seem like a long time to an adult for YD it has been over half her lifetime and that things cannot be picked up where they left off, it doesn't work that way and it is unfair to YD to expect it to.
But I have to, and want to, say it in the the most productive way possible and with input from YD, YS and therapists - hopefully I can.

So that is where we are right now.

I am afraid for my children in the future, at least a little, but most mothers probably feel that way...I want to protect them from hurts, big and small and at the same time let them grow and find their way...
I don't write here anymore for a couple of reasons, the biggest one is that I am trying to allow them to be themselves and not characters in my story.
And I have been exploring other parts of myself, the artist, the athlete, the writer, the woman who realizes that 42 IS the answer to the ultimate question of life the universe and everything (thankyou Douglas Adams) and I want to make sure that every number afterwards is too.

I still would like more kids.
Really and for true.
A baby lifts my heart into my mouth, any baby and I look with yearning eyes at my husband.
Toddlers have the same effect, okay almost all ages of child do....but it wouldn't be fair to the family we have right now, there is enough on their plates...but maybe someday this bigger family will become bigger still.