Better Not to Know?

It’s Catholic Schools Week, and Little Brother’s school celebrated today with an ice-cream party for the kids. They do this every year. It’s a fun tradition.

But when you mix diabetics and ice cream, chocolate syrup and sprinkles (not jimmies–sprinkles) it’s not an easy tradition.

We didn’t want Little Brother to have to say no to the ice cream. He can have a reasonable portion (and maybe even a little bit of the toppings), but in order to “cover” that with insulin, we need to know how much ice cream he’s going to have. And that involves measuring cups. wonder cup metric

I’m at the school, on average, a couple of hours a day. Today I couldn’t be there for the ice cream, so I had to do some of the homework ahead of time. I left our measuring cup, along with a list of the carb counts for the ice cream and toppings, with the nurse.

In the middle of all of that, I ran into one of the teachers, who is herself the parent of a diabetic (also diagnosed in grade school.) She gets it, and she has been very encouraging. Today she let me know that someone (and she didn’t mention names) was wondering why I was so worried about measuring the ice cream. She told me that she’d set them straight, telling them that because we’re new to this, we’re not ready to just “eyeball” portions yet–but we’ll get there.

I think I’d rather not have known this. I am in and out of the school, because my child is just not feeling confident enough to manage this without me. I am also a substitute teacher there. The whole faculty has seemed so supportive. And now, I guess, someone supports me to my face but judges me publicly behind my back.

Thanks for that.

I know I should be grateful that there is a teacher there who has my back. But all I can think about is how someone else in that school kicked me in the gut today.



All Clear

love vs cancerWe are breathing a big sigh of relief here after getting the good news that TheDad has passed his 1-year Cancer-Free Anniversary.

We are grateful that after this morning’s X-ray and CT scan, punctuated by a surprise blood test that led to a little bonus panic, came out clear–we knew this even before the smiling surgeon spoke the welcome words. (That big smile gave it away).

I passed the morning of waiting with my rosary in hand, bouncing around on social media on the iPad. TheDad sat beside me, dealing with work emails. I am beyond grateful for the people who left encouraging comments on this blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Waiting rooms are lonely places, even if you’re sitting there with a loved one. The prayers and encouragement that reached us across the miles (and, in some cases, across oceans) mean so very much. You were very much with us in that big, crowded, noisy, lonely waiting room.

My tears this afternoon are grateful ones–grateful to God for the blessing of 6 more months cancer-free for my husband, grateful to Fox Chase Cancer Center, and grateful to all of you.

Conference Time

CWCO_live_smI’m getting ready for an adventure this week:  I’ll be attending the 3-day Catholic Writers’ Conference that’s being held right here in my home state. It’s more than an hour away (and way more than that given the traffic on the major highway that leads to the conference center) so my family has graciously agreed to hold down the fort here while I *stay overnight* for two whole nights.

(Does anyone have any idea how far out of my comfort zone this is? I’m a homebody to the max. I don’t like to stay overnight anywhere that’s not my own bed.)

So there’s a bunch of stuff–some silly, some not-so-silly, that’s on my mind. I figured that maybe if I write about it a bit, I’ll be able to make some sense of this nonsense. If not, well, then at least I’ve gotten it out of my head, and sometimes that’s half the battle right there.

  1. I haven’t written a book. I do have an idea for a book, and part of the reason I want to attend this conference is so that I can learn what to do with that idea to turn it into a reality.
  2. I worry about talking about my idea for a book. It’s a nonfiction topic, and I guess there’s some fear that if I talk about it, someone else will hijack it and write the book before I do. How awful is it to have that fear when we’re talking about a faith-based topic and a faith-based conference…but there it is. I am hoping that at this conference I will be reassured that this won’t be a problem, and that I can gain valuable insights from people with whom I discuss my idea.
  3. I’m an introvert (in case you hadn’t already guessed). And I’ll be rooming with people I’ve never met “in real life!” One of them seems to have the same Introvert Problems I do, so at least we’ll have a mutual understanding that sometimes we just need to hide out.
  4. Here’s the really shallow part:  I’m worried about wardrobe. I want to look nice…but I have very few clothes that fit properly around my abdomen after my surgery (why didn’t that doctor give me a tummy tuck while he was there?) There’s going to be a good amount of driving on 2 of the days, and plenty of sitting in uncomfortable chairs on all 3 days, and I know what that does to me when I’m wearing my comfiest clothes, never mind “business casual” wear. I’m devoting an awful lot of mental energy to this problem.
  5. I’m also worried about budget. I’ll have to get about 6 meals (including 2 dinners) while there, in addition to lodging. And there’s the Catholic Marketing Network going on, and I’ll want to get stuff.

On the upside, I’m looking forward to meeting Ellen Gable Hrkach, Daria Sockey and Pat Gohn–I think we’re all transplanted Jersey girls! I live in South Jersey now, but grew up in North Jersey, so I’m a “transplant” as well. South Jersey is pretty much a whole different state.

And I’m looking forward to learning everything I can, and to being among people who love to write!

But I Switched to Decaf (well, Half-Caff, anyway)

I was having a really good (and quite productive) morning. By 10:30 AM I’d started laundry, hung one load on the line, had some “prayer and coffee” time, made my to-do list for the day, set up the kids’ chore schedule for the week, and gone to Mass, the bakery and the supermarket.8046b-michelesplanners

Then I got home and started working the phones and the planner.

I needed to call the soccer camp where we’d just registered Little Brother to clear up a few questions (such as why I’d never received an email confirming his registration, for starters).

I called the pediatrician to schedule Little Brother’s physical.

I called my gynecologist to make an appointment for my mother-in-law, who has dementia and needs to see a gynecologist (but can’t remember who her GYN is or when she last saw that doctor).

I scheduled 4 college visits in the next 3 weeks for Middle Sister.

And then I couldn’t settle down. I was so agitated that I couldn’t sit here and write. I’m having a hard time writing this, actually. I can’t get calm.

I decided to run over to the GYN’s office and pick up the new-patient packet that needs to be filled out before the appointment. Then I went to the Carter’s store to get a baby gift for my cousin’s little girl who’s being christened this weekend.

Driving home, I was still agitated and really wondering what the problem is. I’d had 2 cups of coffee today, but one was half-caff and the other decaf. Yet I feel like I’ve had a whole pot of high-test.

Then I thought about how I spent my morning. Phone calls, scheduling of appointments and college visits and other things that are going to be unsettling at the very least–no wonder I’m agitated. Anxiety is in high gear right now.

And there will be no more coffee for this mama today.


And the walls came tumbling down.

Not the walls of my home (thank God!) but the emotional walls that I use to hold everything in and keep it all together.  Sometimes there is just way too much for those walls to hold.  And usually it’s some stupid little thing that causes them to cave in.

So I made the dinner, and when Middle Sister told me that the pasta was done, I asked her to drain it and call everyone to the table.  And then I headed upstairs where I proceeded to melt down.

After she ate, Middle Sister came upstairs to ask what was wrong and to listen to me vent a bit.  She just listened.  She’s a good kid.

I appreciate that she was there, that she gave me the gift of her presence when I was on the edge (or over it, really.)  At the same time, though, I feel like it’s not her responsibility to have to help me put the emotional pieces back together.

I’d love to hear what you have to say:  would you let your 16-year-old daughter see you fall apart?