The Alzheimers Nightmare

9 Jun 2015 In: Mommy Musings

I must have forgotten to take my anxiety medication today and not realized it. I rarely miss a dose like that, but when I do, I have really crazy dreams and night sweats. It’s happened before but never like this.

Tonight I had the most realistic and strange nightmare. It started simply with me coming up with what I thought were brilliant Saturday Night Live skits based on some tv show I’ve never actually seen before. It got to the point where I had many different skit ideas so I called my Dad to tell him what I had come up with. There were all of these actors playing the parts in my skit, and I was both a character and voicing over telling my Dad about the skits as they were happening.

After a few of the skits, I wasn’t on the phone anymore. Instead, I was just in the skits, but they kept changing rapidly. Then, I started to realize that I couldn’t get out of the skits to get back to reality. I couldn’t figure out what reality was. I didn’t know who I was, where I was, who should be around me, etc. I didn’t know what to do or who to call so I started trying to piece together my history. I couldn’t remember anything about who I was. I would try to remember, but I would only get a little piece like one of the dorms I was in at college. I remembered Josie and tried to yell for her, but I couldn’t remember where I had lived with Josie. At this point we were just floating in a sea of white. Things were happening around me (a new dorm being constructed, actors performing a scene, etc), but none of them involved me. I tried to remember who I was and where I was supposed to be, but it was just blank. I remembered a few phone numbers and tried to call people, but no one was there. I tried yelling. Sometimes a piece of a moment would come to me, and then be gone. I didn’t remember that I was married or that I had kids. I didn’t know what city I lived in or who lived near me. I tried and tried, but I could only get tiny snippets that led no where. There was just a lot of white.

I woke up absolutely hysterical with the worst headache of my life. I thought I was dying. Truly, I thought I was having a brain aneurism (I don’t know if you can feel those). Even after I was awake for a few seconds, I was still piecing my life back together, but at least when I tried to recall something, it would come back to me. The first thing I remembered was Luke, and I called him in Seattle to wake him up.

Then I realized that he is my shared history. All of the amazing, wonderful, funny, frustrating, difficult things that have happened over the past 15 years are our collective memories. If I lose my memory, it will have to live on through him and vice versa. And even if I don’t lost my memory, there’s still so much that I’ll forget. I’ll forget how soft my cat is purring here by my side at 3am or how the dog will struggle so painfully to get up to come to see me just because she hears me make a slight whimper while I write this.

And then there’s my beautiful girls. I don’t ever ever ever want to forget a single moment with them, but I know that I will. It’s inevitable. I guess I already have forgotten some things, but there’s a difference. If I really try, I can pull pieces of their lives out of my memory bank. That’s a gift. I didn’t think it was a gift, but after that nightmare, I know it is.

I’m not sure what the point of this post is other than I wanted to remember somehow the night that I had Alzheimer’s in my dreams. Truly the scariest night of my life and a good reason to pick this blog back up if I can. I think I actually stopped writing it around when Hailey learned to read. I suppose that I was afraid that she would find it and be angry that I was posting her life on the Internet, but I’m not afraid of that anymore. I’m not afraid because she actually found my blog the other day, read it for a minute and said, “Mom, I have to get off of your blog because it’s so boring.” Ha! It’s too boring for her. And the second reason I’m not worried about it anymore is that nightmare. I’d rather risk putting our memories out there and having this record than experiencing for even one minute the pain of losing all of the history that I’m living today.

Pierced

21 Aug 2014 In: Hailey, sophia

Hailey has been asking to have her ears pierced for almost as long as she could talk. I remember the first time she brought it up like it was yesterday. We were in the car on the way home from daycare, and she still had a little girl lisp. It’s been a long time since those days.

I don’t know why we said that she could get her ears pierced at 8 years-old. And by “we” I mean “me” because Luke would have let her do it at 4. Anyway, she is eight. So, we did it. She was very brave and didn’t cry until it was over when she gave out only a little whimper.

Sophia, on the other hand, is not 8. Nope. So, why did she get her ears pierced? Because life isn’t fair. Actually not really. She did try the “it’s not fair argument,” but that really doesn’t fly with me. What it came down to is a selfish selfish selfishness on my part. It’s easier to just take care of both girls at once rather than do one now and one in three years. Yup. That’s the reason.

I did ask Hailey if it was ok though. I didn’t want her to be upset that she had to wait and Sophia didn’t, but she is THE best sister in the world so she didn’t hesitate to give her blessing.

And so we have this. Actually, Sophia went first, and she was also very brave. I will never forget the look on their faces in between ears because we told them that they couldn’t cry until both ears were done. Both of them looked like they were going to bust out into full on wail, but they held it in and then only whimpered when it was done. They are so great!

Sleepover Pros and Cons

16 Aug 2014 In: Hailey

We survived Hailey’s first major sleepover birthday party. We had three girls plus Hailey which actually equates to 327 screeching girls if you are counting by the sound alone. I feel the need to document the pros and cons of a sleepover party so that I never forget what it’s like.

Pro: Virtually no planning is required because they entertain themselves.

Con: Their form of entertainment requires screeching (different than screaming) and running around.

Pro: You pretty much have the evening to yourself because they don’t really want you around.

Con: You can’t actually do anything because you can’t hear yourself think or talk or breathe.

Pro: You can put on a movie for them

Con: The movie room ends up looking like this, and all they’ve been doing is conserving their energy for as long as they can sit still to watch.

Pro: They will sleep anywhere.

Con: And by “sleep” I mean play until 2am at which point I will pound up the stairs, turn off the lights, and then lay on the couch listening for another sound.

Pro: Hailey has lots of fun.

Con: Everyone is cranky in the morning, including me. Everyone refuses to take a nap, except me.

And that concludes my list. I wish I had taken more pictures of them all sprawled out all over the bedroom floor then crammed onto the bunk beds. They did have a great time, and were really sweet girls. I could have lived without the screeching though!

In My Defense

13 Aug 2014 In: Random Thoughts

I’m at the point with this blog where I’ve missed so much that I don’t even know how to catch up. So, I’m not going to really try. I’m just going to start from where I am because that’s the best place to start.

Thus, I’m just going to tell you that I feel the need to start documenting all of the things that I know my girls will talk about in therapy one day. For example, today I put an egg timer in the shower with them and told them that they had to be out of the shower in 10 minutes.

So, dear future therapist of my children, yes, I did time their showers. There I admit it. Save yourself the effort and talk about something else, perhaps something that someone else did. Because, frankly, I’m not sorry about it.

Not that I should have to explain myself to you, but I did it because they could (and have) stayed in there for 30 minutes without ever picking up a bar of soap. And, I pay for that water. Actually, it’s not even the money. It’s the simple fact that it doesn’t take 30 minutes to wash a 4 foot frame and some hair. Seriously. It just doesn’t. There I said it. Go ahead and judge. It’s a Stalinist regime up in these parts, and they’ll have to live with it until they are old enough to see you.

Inquiring Minds

19 Apr 2014 In: sophia

It’s the Easter-eve, and the girls are snug in their beds. Of course, Sophia couldn’t go to sleep until she confirmed that the Easter Bunny would visit our house…

Sophia: What if the Easter Bunny misses our house?

Me: He won’t

Sophia: How do you know?

Me: Because I pre-arranged it.

Sophia: How did you call him?

Me: I didn’t. I went to the Easter Bunny website of course.

Ok. That’s about all that I could come up with on the fly, but my response really isn’t the point. The fact is that this kid is going to figure out all of these little stories that we tell.

I actually wonder if Sophia is going to figure everything out before Hailey. She’ll just keep asking all of the right questions, and one day I won’t have the answers anymore.

Notes from the Backseat

26 Feb 2014 In: Sibling Stories

I hope that I can accurately transcribe the conversation that occurred in the car this evening…

Hailey: Mom, I would like to learn about what it was like to live as a Native American.

Me: Ok. Well, then next time we go camping, you can sleep under the stars and make your own shelter.

Hailey: I’ll need a deer skin.

Me: Where are you going to get a deer skin? They don’t sell those in stores.

Hailey: Hmm. A trading post?

Me: Not likely that you’ll find a trading post anymore.

Hailey: Well, I’ll just have to kill a deer.

Sophia: Don’t kill Rudolph.

Hailey: I’m not going to kill Rudolph.

Sophia: Good because then no one would know how to get to the North Pole.

Winter Storm Work at Home Day

11 Feb 2014 In: Mommy Musings

Today is the first of what I’m sure will be 2-3 “snow” days for the girls. At the moment, it’s raining…just raining! However, they’ve predicted snow and ice so we are all home from school. Since Luke is out of town, I’m on duty for the next few days – working at home.

Working at home when the girls are off from school generally amounts to sneaking in work and conference calls in between attending to their many needs. As an illustration of how difficult it is, I thought I’d keep a diary today.

8:30am – I ask for privacy while going to the bathroom. Without moving, Sophia covers her eyes with her hands and says “there, are you finished yet?”

8:32am – Sneak away to the basement to play a few minutes of soccer with Sophia.

8:46am – Back up to the office to set up for the day and prep for my first meeting at 9am. Get the girls started with their Rainbow Looms.

9:02am – Just got on the call, and we have our first Rainbow Loom emergency. Time to mute to attend to the rubber band crisis at hand.

9:42am – Off the call, but in comes Sophia: “Mommy, we’re having a tea party, and we want you to come.”

9:44am – “Mommy, I have some food that you can eat.” Good God, what does that mean? “It’s popcorn, and it’s in there.” Oh gross, she’s going to make me eat popcorn that’s been sitting on the counter since yesterday.

9:46am – Finish email and rush to tea party across the hall to find that they had actually made tea, complete with tea bag. Unfortunately, they didn’t actually heat the water. So, I shall drink tepid brown water now. Oh, and eat the day old popcorn too.

10:03am – Sophia: “Mommy, don’t you want to eat your popcorn?” Me: “I don’t know. How long have you been chewing that piece in your mouth.” Sophia: “a while.” Yum.

10:25am – Learned an important trick…told them that they had to clean up so they could do homework. Haven’t heard from them since! Perhaps “homework” is the magic word.

10:42am – Homework was an epic fail. News flash – Sophia can’t read. That translates into me doing her homework with her, which precludes me from doing my own work (of course).

11:18am – Is it too early to eat lunch? Can we go somewhere? Please? Anywhere?

11:20am – Getting ready for a mass exodus from the house. Nothing is open. Did I mention that it’s just raining? RAINING!!!

Leaving the house necessitates us changing out of our pajamas (even me).

11:37am – We made it to Chick-fil-A despite the RAIN. It’s the only place I can think of that would be open and has a playground. Sure I don’t agree with their politics, but putting my screaming children onto their playground is a bit of a punishment, isn’t it? And not putting them on the playground is punishing who? Me? Not cool.

Plus, they are adorable drinking their little shake together…

12:51pm – It’s after noon now and I have conference calls pretty much until the end of the day. That can mean only one thing – Movie Time!

2:38pm – It’s been quite now for sometime. They have been watching and rewatching mini-minion movies. Very nice.

2:49pm – Melissa just arrived…Praise the Lord! Help has come to save us all.

3:32pm – Melissa and Hailey are embroiled in a spirited game of Monopoly while I am back on the phone.

4:32pm – I’m juggling a conference call with a trip to swim practice where Hailey is doing this.

WP_20140211_026

5:58pm – Just arrived home to find that Mel has purchased and cooked crawfish. I’ve never had them before so we all get to try something new and exciting.

6:02pm – Crawfish = massive disappointment. It’s like taking the time to dig a string out of a shoelace and trying to eat it. Not much substance and even less flavor. Oh well. She also made pasta, which is something we can all love.

7:24pm – The girls just finished licking the beaters after making some awesome cookies with Mel. Of course, none of us needs cookies right now, but I can sure use another glass of wine.

9:12pm – Just turned back to my work. Time to actually cross some things off of my To Do list for the day. At least I’ve finished this blog. CHECK!

Swim Meets…Ugh!

26 Jan 2014 In: Sports and Recreation

Hailey loves swimming. We are supportive parents. Thus, we attend all of her swim meets as a family.

I think all three of the statements above are awesome and as life should be. And yet, we’ve been sitting at this YMCA in Northwest Bumble-Butt for 4 hours, and we still have 2 events to go! Yes, I said 4 hours! Actually, we’re going on 4 and a half hours. It’s kind of outrageous. We might get home by 9:30pm at the rate that we are going. None of us have had any decent amount of dinner, unless you count over-oiled popcorn, frozen yogurt, a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato, and Snickers bars as dinner (which I don’t by the way). Good thing we all had a good lunch.

The thing is, you can’t blame Hailey. It’s not her fault that her swim team has 1 million kids and this pool only has 4 lanes and no starting blocks. She can’t be held accountable for the lack of organization or the spacing of the events she swims in 1-35-45-65-75.

I love watching her, don’t get me wrong. Oh, and she’s really good. She placed 6th in her 50-freestyle today, which doesn’t sound good, but the only kids who beat her were 8, and she beat some 8-year olds too. She also has a 2nd and a 3rd place so far in this meet. She loves getting ribbons, and we started a scrap book this year so that she could keep her ribbons nice and all together. That’s exciting for her too.

So, I realize I’m just killing time here until her next race. We are on 61, and she swims 65. Unfortunately, these are IMs which take roughly FOREVER. I guess I could at least post a picture or a video so here goes.

Nope. Total fail. Can’t figure it out. It’s on Luke’s Facebook page.

Public Service Announcements – Take 1

15 Jan 2014 In: sophia

This is the first of several unprompted and spontaneous public service announcements from our very favorite resident four-year-old.

WP 20140114 003 from luke hamilton on Vimeo.

A Day In the Life – Post Script

7 Jan 2014 In: Holiday

I wanted to write a blog tonight about a day in the life of the girls on their holiday vacation. Today wasn’t technically their holiday vacation because they were supposed to be in school today, but alas, it was too cold. It was 3 degrees when we woke up this morning, and we live in GA. I laughed the night before when I received the two minute call from the district telling us that there would be no school because of the cold. What?!?!? Who doesn’t have school because it’s chilly out? Us. That’s who. Basically, the schools couldn’t trust that us parents would dress our kids appropriately so they had to close school. Fine. One more day at home with the girls.

We did lots of stuff today. Well, the girls did lots of stuff, and I mostly worked. They made the most delicious chocolate chip cookies with only minor supervision.

They created an awesome tent with some limited assistance.

They dressed Josie up in a pink ribbon.

And they had a delicious dinner prepared by the talented Angie Moore.

All of this was awesome. Then they went to bed, and I started contemplating the day. They had so much fun today, and I worked. Tomorrow I travel for business and get home Thursday night. Over the next few weeks, I have several other trips planned.

I like my work. I love my children. I still can’t always reconcile those things. I can’t always put them in separate boxes and say that I can be great at both. Sometimes I just feel mediocre at both, and I worry that the girls will look back on their live and feel like I wasn’t there enough. Plus, I won’t end up anywhere with my career so I’ll just be a crappy mother who had a career with no meaning. I know. It’s a dark place, but sometimes it’s just where you end up at the end of the day.

I guess I hope that my girls don’t face these same issues. I hope that they can have their cake and eat it too. I hope that they can go to bed at night and feel like their best self in every way. I hope that they feel happy in whatever choices they make.

About the Players

Mommy (aka Alisa, Mama, Al, Moo Cow, Mama Mia)

Daddy (aka Luke, Gadget Boy, Lukas)

Hailey (aka Big Sister, Turtle, Hailey Waley, Princess)

Sophia (aka Fifi, Phia, Lizard, Sophia Wia, Grabby McGrabstein)

Josie (aka Crazy Dog, JoJo Beans)

Anubis (aka Newbies, Mr Annoying)

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