Lemon Juice

posted by Momo Fali on November 4, 2008

I do my best to look at life through rose-colored glasses. I’m not saying life is always easy, because it’s not. But, no one will ever be able to convince me that any good comes from being gloomy. That negativity stuff? It can be soul crushing.

But sometimes, you get slapped in the face with something so bad that you can’t find the slightest tinge of rose anywhere. Sometimes, when life gives you lemons you just end up making lemon juice.

My son is sick. He was born sick. The concept of being thrilled about a newborn is something that is completely and utterly foreign to me. When I look back at the birth of my two premature children, I recall anxiety, and in the case of my son, fear that I would lose him before I ever got to see him smile.

That fear kept me from bonding with him. I kept an emotional distance because I didn’t want it to hurt if he wasn’t going to survive. It took me a long time to recognize that, but it’s true, and I hate myself for it.

When my boy was an infant, if not sleeping, he was crying because he was hurting. He didn’t want to be held because he associated touch with pain, thanks to all the poking, prodding, IV’s, nose tubes, and catheters. That made it easy to create a gap between us.

He doesn’t want me, I can’t soothe him, he’d rather be left alone.

Now tell me, what kind of Mother distances herself from her sick child? This kind. You can’t really own up to something like that with rose-colored glasses on.

But eventually, with the right medical cocktail, he stopped crying so much. After lying around lethargically for 13 months, he had his first heart surgery and started to crawl. His pale face with the blue circle around his lips grew chubby, bright and pink. He was awake, alert, and happy, and that black hole in my heart started to close right up.

Somewhere along the line, I can’t say when, I stopped counting hospital stays and started counting my blessings. Compared to a lot of other families, we are one of the lucky ones.

And, after my son survived a strep pneumo infection that almost took his life when he was two, and after he stopped breathing after a surgery when he was four, I became fully aware that my boy means the world to me.

After I finally fell madly in love with this kid, I watched as he struggled and damn-near clawed his way out of more illnesses than I can count. He has had more IV’s, EKG’s, blood draws, CT Scans, x-rays, surgeries, tests and biopsies than most people will in their entire lives, and yet he finds a way to make me laugh every day.

He is kind, sweet and funny. He is also as ornery as the day is long…and I love it! Go ahead and embarrass me, kid. It means you’re alive and kicking.

Losing him now is not an option. The thought of it just makes me mad. Which brings me to this post.

Today he complained of neck pain, then he developed a rash, then he wouldn’t eat, then he came down with a fever. The pediatrician thinks it could be a bacterial infection called adenitis. He was immediately put on antibiotics, and we will be following up with the doctor tomorrow.

This could involve draining an abscess, IV antibiotics, and a hospital stay. And, anytime we’re dealing with something bacterial, there is a risk to his already defected and malformed heart.

The thought of this, of him going through a bad illness yet again, causes me to take off my rose-colored glasses, throw them to the floor, jump up and down on them, and as I’m walking away from the crumpled heap of metal, I turn and hock a big, fat, thick, loogie on the twisted mass.

I hate that he may have another up-hill battle and that he will suffer in any way.

This kid taught me that love can be scary and it’s not always easy, but that letting something true and pure into your life can be the most fulfilling experience you will EVER have. He has shown me strength beyond measure and more happiness than I thought possible. I love that kid a lot.

Huh. See that? I already fixed my specs.

Calling Willard Scott

posted by Momo Fali on November 3, 2008

I was uncomfortably holding my daughter on my lap when I said, “I can’t believe you’re almost 10 years old. In less than two months, you’ll be in double digits.”

She said, “Oh no. That’s true! I will be!”

I didn’t think I heard her correctly. “What? Aren’t you excited to turn 10?”

She replied, “I am, but I’ll be in double digits for the rest of my life! It’s so permanent. Unless…”

“Unless what?”

“Well, unless I live as long as those Smucker’s people.”

I Actually Always Look Like That

posted by Momo Fali on October 30, 2008

In honor of Halloween, I would like to share our family’s costumes that have been my favorites…

This is my daughter as Jessie from Toy Story II. I know, she’s adorable.

This is my son as Frankenstein. They have a lot in common, what with the stitches, scars and speech delay.

This is my husband. He really likes bananas.

And, here I am as Milk, Gone Bad. Get it? You can tell I’m a chain smoker by the way I’m holding the cigarette backward. Speaking of hands…with palms that large, I should’ve gone as Meadowlark Lemon.

Tell me, boys and girls…which one is your favorite? Hint: Don’t vote for the monkey.

Giving the Finger

posted by Momo Fali on October 29, 2008

One of my daughter’s traits that I brag about is her sense of compassion. When she was little, she went to preschool with a severely delayed boy. Without prompting by us, or by her teachers, she would seek him out and invite him to play each day. She even offered him the coveted job of helping to pass out napkins on her birthday.

I can’t say my son shares her kind nature. He will cry when he sees someone else upset, but we really can’t be sure if that’s because he feels sorry for them, or if they’re just irritating him.

But at his school, they are trying to help us lead him down a compassionate road. At least a couple of times a month, my son has been taking canned goods to school to donate to needy families.

At first, he didn’t understand why we were giving away perfectly good peanut butter, so I explained that we were providing food to help people who don’t have any.

Yesterday, I bought these Halloween lollipops to give to some neighborhood kids.

My son saw them and said, “After dinner, I want to have one of those!”

I replied, “No. Those aren’t for us.”

He nodded and said, “Oh! Are we going to give them to people who don’t have any fingers?”

Maybe he’s getting this whole compassion thing after all.