Sunday, April 7

"Everything is perfect when you are a liar"

I'm a huge fan of Kelly Oxford.  Huge.

She is a stay at home mom in Canada, been blogging forever and raising her three kids. 

So when I saw her new book,  "Everything is perfect when you are a liar" , I knew I just had to read!

I like her because her form of comedy is satire.  Satire.  And when done correctly, or heck just anyway shape or form, it's hilarious.

Comedy that allows a recognition, "out loud" that we are SO much less than perfect.  So much.  A hilariously written, self declaration of all of our short comings.  Those thoughts that usually happen quickly and silently in our brains when we recognize and start to stress over our failures.

"I hope the meaning to life isn't something we're all going to hate" was one of her top tweets from a few years back.  I don't tweet, but found that line hilarious and on my mind for sure lately.

A few weeks back I participated in an evening event "Hope and Help" where Parent 2 Parent hosted what seemed like a hundred parents, to discusss a new book "Optomistic Parent" and ways that us as parents raising children and young adults with special needs can self care for ourselves, take care of US while taking care of our families.  It was an amazing event, met so many new people and was inspired by a few stories from families.  I was reminded when a behaviorist was speaking that HUMOR was one of the ways we can "self care". 

Six years ago.  Once I delivered the twins, and finally left Seattle with a "new and improved (repaired)" Tommy, or as the insurance company refered to... you have reached the cap on the plan for him,  I will never forget meeting one of my earliest "new" friends here in Bellingham.  Gretchen.  I had stopped by the Mother Baby Center and was struggling to select a breastfeeding pump because, well, feeding twins becomes a wee bit of a mechanical adventure of sorts.  And this lady knelt down next to our twin baby carriers...she was a complete stranger.. and she was fascinated with Tommy.  She introduced herself, heard our story... and trust me Colin and I went on and on and on with our story because we were only back in B'ham for about two hours and sooooo lonely... and then we went on and on and on some more.....and then she smiled... and she calmly said her son has Down syndrome too. 

I will never forget, she didn't say he had Ds when she saw that Tommy did.  Rather she concentrated on our story.  On our relationship.  On how lonely and isolated we were.  She asked questions.  She offered support.  And then she shared our commonality. 

And then.... she made a funny statement about how there were more of "us" in Bellingham and she would arrange a meeting, etc.  I had never seen a person with Down syndrome in all my years of living in Bellingham/Ferndale.  It was the first moment of satire between us in that I didn't know or believe there were more of "us" in the county.  Gretchen was funny.  She made it okay to laugh.  She validated ANY question.  Any frustration.  And when I met with the "other families", they were the same, HAPPY and willing to talk and laugh about the situations we were now enjoying.  Kristy and Kati and Amy and more.  The volume of black humor, of satire, of retelling our strange stories was, and thankfully is to this day on our "girls nights out", tremendous.

Sometimes it's hard to ask for help from a friend, or talk about some "strange" thought, but in retelling a story with satire it becomes vivid and easy and by making it verbal or written, you can get it out of your mind.  Getting it OUT of YOUR mind.  And it becomes liberating to just get it out in the open.  And usually it can just be laughed off.  Trust me, some BIG stuff, I've been there, can be laughed off.

A huge form of self care can be just talking, openly communicating, what is on your mind.  I can remember being so depressed over a thought of wanting to leave Seattle Children's and just drive away.  Just drive.  And not stop.  And it wasn't until I talked about those thoughts that I realized I was so much more similar to everyone else in their thoughts of wanting, on a seldom occasion, to walk away. 

I should mention to all those with their jaws open right now, I would never walk away.  But I would be lying if I said everything is perfect or was perfect.  Being isolated and sleeping at Seattle Children's in a "sleep room" capsule and not being able to hold your baby and bond with him and just watch all the horrible procedures being done for weeks upon end.... it makes your MIND want to run.

Not my heart though. Not your heart either.

Taking care of myself, my mind and heart, thru laughter and friends and sharing my story and current thoughts are the biggest ways that this mommy takes care of herself.  Reading Kelly Oxford.  Watching Saturday Night Live religiously.  Going to "The Upfront Theater" to watch live comedy.  Talking to friends, or heck whomever will listen, and trying to be funny while telling our story is what keeps me sane. 

On another subject, I'm going to try and find time to download the photos from my phone.  Some fun stuff happened in my 9 "stay at home days" with my entire family of six.  It was one of our best "stay cations". 

Tommy Adventures