Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Where are the 12-Days of Christmas?

For several years I have had a 12-Days of Christmas giveaway and that was again the intent this year with a bunch of giveaway stuff ready in a pile.  As Christmas came and went without it up I almost gave into the stress of not having it up on the 26th but drew a deep breath and decided to go with not posting at all.  Sorry to disappoint and perhaps things will get to the point where it is in the cards.  I hope so as that means that I have excess time to spend!!  I have read that all super-successful women with children really got going after 50.  I believe it!  Think about the extra effort in being a mom and when that weight is lifted after they launch, that energy gets poured into career/job.  Watch out - my empty nest is coming up.  But life is certainly throwing in quite a few curveballs trying to get there.

As I breezed through the news yesterday, I came upon another article on the theme of 'women doing too much' on CNN.  There have been quite a few in the last two years brought on by the shear exhaustion borne by women during these pandemic years.  They concern the new understanding (now didn't all us women know!?) that there is significant energy and work in the process of thinking about everything that needs to be done and it isn't shared equally at home.  In the past we called it 'wearing too many hats'.  In this particular article it pointed out that it is usually the woman of the family who is keeping track of all the to-do items regarding the holidays.  The mental lists of who you need to get a gift for, what to get, shipping schedules, etc.  That takes energy to make sure things don't slip through the cracks.  And often because we are all socialized for this, we end up holding in our heads the tasks that our spouse said they would take on to 'help us' and hasn't gotten done yet (i.e. forgot about).  Yes that one hit hard as on the 23rd, hours before my extended family was to show up I asked my husband as he was cooking (yes, he does do a great job with that - as long as I plan it) - did you get that gift for your mom?  Uhhhhh...I grabbed the keys and back out again I went to save the day.  Exhausting.

I had a business trip to work at the MET mid-Dec on some amazing embroidery research for several days and that added to the balancing act and likely was the time that would have ended up being the 12-Days giveaway.  But at the same time, I needed out of dodge badly and I didn't realize it until I had been on the train a few hours.  The experience of the last few months melted away as 'it wasn't my job' at that moment to be Dr. Mom (ok, so the Dr. Dad texts were coming in for me to dispense advice on what to do).  As I was able to focus for a few hours on my work, I realized how much I haven't been able to do that for months.  My son at home had three concussions since late Sept and the dizzying set of symptoms have kept me on a knifes edge constantly.  I swear that even when I get him to school, he shows up a few hours later back with a migraine and I go into high gear again figuring out the triggers, calling the school, etc.  While the doctors are caring, they don't have answers.  My friend who is at Children's Hospital admitted to me that the research on recovery and thus their recommendations are changing every six months (yes, I agree!).  And on top of it, people who have learning differences are removed from all studies as they 'mess up the data' and doctors don't know what to do about their different symptoms.   

So I have had to dig into current research myself and figure out what is going on in my son's head and search out the right people to help him.  I play 20-questions with him constantly to tease out all the cause and effects daily in an effort to deduce what is going on.  We play small games to figure out capabilities as his abilities/deficits are confusing.  He can 'robot' like normal now but will often throw up after taking a math test.  I kept track of all the complaining and realized that he was right - he wasn't forming proper memories of new material.  All the while, holding him up emotionally, dealing with his teachers and the school about the big picture, and listening to my husband (who feels powerless) endlessly worry while keeping my worries to myself.   It got really dark for about a week and I stopped doing anything but making things move forward so my son had hope.  Since our other son was in the middle of his own exhausting competition and needed support as well - oh my gosh I felt like a ping-pong ball.  He tried to collapse here for Thanksgiving but couldn't as he had to do grad school applications, due days after his robotic competiton - so I spent that weekend being his muse and editor for the dozens of essays and videos he had to pop off so quickly.

Things are looking up, we have found the right specialist.  The therapies are slowly working - I am doing them with the kid daily to get them done and extend his brain time with them (they work at minimizing headaches in dyslexics so good for me too).  He and I stayed back from the family Christmas vacation because he isn't allowed to fly.  So we are alone here since Christmas in 'brain bootcamp' as he calls it.  He isn't liking the low-inflammation diet.  His brother has been a saint - offering immediately after his apps were done to tutor his brother in all his AP courses to catch him up on 12 weeks of high school.  Since they both get up insanely early this time of year, they work on it between 5-7 am.  That was one of the huge issues, the kid can't really read well at the moment and is toast at the end of school day - so we couldn't hire anyone to catch him up during normal hours leading him to be despondent.  His brother has been fabulous at getting a moody 18-yr old to do everything he doesn't want to do.  It's a whole family affair, I would have to say.  We have about three weeks in the new year to catch up the entire semester so his college apps are valid and move forward.  It is so much pressure - the Canadian colleges who would have already made a decision have put his apps on hold and he is starting to get deferrals from his early admissions applications.  The elephant in the closet is that with the high stakes college environment where the slots are going early, this short term injury may change his result and that is so hard for him to swallow after four years of just doing everything right.  

Once the new year gets going, I have to manage the school.  He has taken all the tests for Q1 but they still aren't graded as the teachers are in a slow-down, impending strike action.  God, I hope they don't strike that week or I will go nutcase.  Some colleges are waiting for the results of the incomplete transcript to put his application on the evaluation track again.

So I have had to take my 'Thistle Threads' hat off daily to put on my 'Dr. Mom' and 'Dyslexic Concussion Expert' hat on instead.  I was going to launch the Stumpwork Course again next week.  I was going to do a ton of new things - lectures up - papers written - new projects up.  Even those things that are pretty much ready to go - I have put aside as I just can't add to my mental load until late January.  Sometimes your injured family needs you to help carry them across the finish line.  I hope then I can celebrate with a 12-Days of Valentines Day or something like that!