Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Momma Bear

You hear us parents say all the time, "You can mess with me, but don't mess with my family." Someone is about to find out just exactly what that means.

I know that LH is in High School and she needs to be responsible for her own actions. I also know that she needs to learn how to stand up for herself and be her own advocate when it comes to her health. It is very difficult to balance my desire to protect her and keep her safe against my desire that she be a strong and independent person. I really do try to step back and let her deal with confrontations and such on her own because I believe that stepping in every time there is a problem will prevent her from learning how to resolve these issues on her own.

Sometimes, though, people go too far and Momma Bear wakes up. This isn't going to be pretty.

Looking at LH and seeing her interact with other kids her age, you would not know she had only half a heart. You can't tell that the combination of heat and activity can be dangerous - even deadly. Seeing her grades, you might think she is smart but unmotivated  (and you might be right) but you wouldn't think she could ever fall in the category of "Disabled." I have spent hours talking to counselors, principals, and teachers making sure they all understand exactly what differences Little Heart has and what accommodations need to be made for her. I have sent e-mails, letters, scheduled conferences, and even stopped these teachers in the hall to make COMPLETELY sure that they know who my daughter is and that they are aware of her needs. I go these extra steps because I know how hard it can be to believe that there is anything wrong with LH.

This is not my first time around the tricycle track. I know what I am doing.

When I got to meet all of LH's teachers last week, I was very pleased that at least half of them knew my kids from outside of school through church or friends, or they had been working wither her for the past month. It makes it so much easier when they have already gotten to know LH so they understand her personality better. However, it makes it that much harder for me to handle it when one of the teachers drops the ball and doesn't relate the information to their assistants.

She HATES having to take breaks, leave class, and call attention to herself. She would much rather not be singled out as a weird kid and so she does not typically take advantage of the leniency that is due to her. For this reason, when she DOES attempt to use the "Nurse/Bathroom Hall Pass" I know that it is a big deal. You can also understand that if she asks to leave class and is denied  - not once, but twice - and then she is given a guilt trip about taking a break, I am going to be pretty much pissed. However, when my child calls me crying from the bathroom asking me to pick her up and bring a change of clothes because a teacher denied her a bathroom break when she requested it, well... heads will roll.

This happened last night during after school band practice. It was her first day of school, followed by a two hour practice on the field. I got the call about an hour after her practice started. I was so mad, I nearly dropped the transmission out of my car going to pick her up - and I drive and automatic. I did speak directly to the teacher when I came to bring the child some clothes and take her home. His answer was not entirely satisfactory at that time but instead of making a scene in front of his entire band, I left after he assured me that they would apologize directly to her. I decided I would calm down before talking to him again and I took LH home. Unfortunately, when LH came home from school today, not only was there not an apology, but other STUDENTS decided that it was appropriate to call her out for leaving practice early.

He will not get the benefit of me calming down before talking to him again. I hate to be nasty and I certainly don't want to make things harder for my daughter now or in the future. However, he apparently doesn't truly understand the nature of the situation here. I am going to have to explain to him so he will understand just how gravely he has erred.

Deb "Momma Bear" Lollar

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Angels are figures that have been in media quite a bit over the last few years, and frankly it bugs me. From underwear models, to cream cheese ads, to kids shows, it seems like every time I turn around there is another tall, skinny model with over sized wings strapped to her back. Why would I have a problem with the embodiment of love, kindness, and protection? Well, I have to say, it kind of creeps me out.

Growing up, my mom was part of an "Angel Club" where ladies would get together and make angel art out of lots of different materials. We lived next door to someone that I only remember as "The Angel Lady" who's entire house was plastered with collages, figurines, and decorations dedicated to angels. My mom was best at drawing, and I remember her drawing angels in all sorts of ways - baby angels, grown-up angels, cooking angels... she has her own style and I could pick one of her drawings out of a line-up of a hundred. She even has this beautiful alphabet she made with each letter formed by angels and their wings making each shape. Anyway, angels seemed pretty normal to me. At least, they did until I had my own kids.

I mean, I KNEW what angels were, I just didn't think about it too much. My religion teaches that souls live in heaven as angels. They come down, become a newborn baby and go through life as a person. Then, when they die, they get to go back up to heaven to be an angel, again. Sometimes angels come back down to watch over the ones they loved as a human on earth and they are what we call Guardian Angels. It was a comforting thought to me that we all start out and end up in the same place, together, and that I might be watched over by someone dear to me who was no longer alive. 

Then, when LH was a baby, someone gave us a book called The Littlest Angel. I am sure it was given with the best intentions, but that book scarred me and I will never be able to look at angels the same way. It is essentially a Christmas book about all the angels in heaven looking for gifts to give to the baby Jesus when he is born. Sounds innocent enough, but of course it gets deeper and eerier. The Littlest Angel decided that he would give baby Jesus some things he had collected from his time on earth, because he was just a little boy when he came to Heaven.

Oh, holy goodness that messed me up. Just a little kid. Now he was an angel. Missing his life on earth. Because he died as a kid. Do you see where this is going?

Suddenly, I could not even open that book again. In fact, even looking at the cover today gives me the creeps. I refused every request to read since then and I haven't even picked it up except to pack it away at the bottom of a box. The creepiness of little kid angels still haunts me enough that I don't even like other kids books or shows with angels in them. Disney has a series about a family of wizards and last summer they had a three or four show story arc about good angels and bad angels and little kid guardian angels... yeah, not for me, thankyouverymuch. 

Maybe I am over reacting to this, but I can't help it. When you look at your kid and you remember handing them over to a surgeon and not knowing if you will ever see them alive again, it kind of sticks with you and changes the way you look at things. Disney World will forever be that place I took my three-year-old because I wasn't sure she would see four-years-old. Birthdays for LH are even more bittersweet than they should normally be, because I am called to not just remember her birth and babyhood, but that her first month was spent in ICU. We nearly lost her when she got a cold and had to postpone her second surgery. She spent four weeks in the hospital with a chest tube right after she turned 4. She spent six weeks during 6th grade leaving class early to avoid getting jostled and bruised after she got two stints put in over winter break. Every birthday - every single day - has been a stark reminder that she wasn't supposed to live this long or be nearly as smart, healthy, or well adjusted. All of it could be taken away in a second.

Little Heart to me is a kid, a child, a teenager, my grown-up baby girl, but NEVER will I call her an angel while she is alive to hear it. For moms like us, "kiddos" means your living, breathing, with-you-right-now, child. "Angel" is what you call the ones who did not survive. If I were to ever call any one of my kids "my little angel" there would be dozens of hearts breaking across the world who would think the unthinkable had happened to one of my girls.

That is why I change the channel whenever I see that stupid cream cheese commercial or the convenience store ads that say Thank Heaven... It seems a bit sacrilegious and irreverent to use angels in commercial advertising so thoughtlessly. Besides, I have enough reminders in my daily life how close I have been to having my own angel. I don't want to be faced with it for another 30 seconds every three minutes of television. Now, I'm not suggesting a boycott or anything. In my country you can say whatever you want and if you don't want to hear it, you can just change the channel. I'm just stating my position on changing the channel whenever another a body wash commercial decides to use Fallen Angels as a way to sell their product.

Today happens to be LH's 14th birthday. Again, it is bittersweet and emotional for me. Instead of freaking out that she is starting high school in a week, that she is a few years shy of driving, that she is only four years away from being an adult, I am going to give my teenager a hug and be thankful I don't have to hug the picture of an angel.

Ok, I won't lie. I will be thinking about all that other stuff, too.

Deb "The Mom" Lollar

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Saturday, August 13, 2011


I am sorry for my lack of posting lately. The new job is actually taking a lot more time than I thought and it has started to drain my will to write anything for fun. I'm sure I'll get my old spark back before long.
Right now, I am just suffering from several blows to my self esteem. I keep making the same stupid mistakes and I am fighting everything I can to keep pushing forward. I keep replaying in my mind every time I've gotten fired or reprimanded. I don't know if I can go through that again, so I am really sweating over doing a good job and

Life always seems to get crazy this time of year, too. It's the last few weeks of summer around here and the girls are all gearing up to go back to school. Between gathering supplies to fill out their back to school lists, shopping for shoes (oh! the drama!), and attempting to get caught up with laundry, trying to focus on this new work stuff is actually pretty difficult.

The kids are getting stir crazy being cooped up in the hottest summer in decades so the normal activities are not keeping them occupied, and more importantly, quiet. If we hadn't moved to the other size of town a month ago, they would be outside playing and staying out of my hair. This side of town has mostly older neighbors and the only kids around are much younger or have a reputation for being rude and nasty.

I'm sure that getting on a regular schedule will help us all. Little Heart has actually been in band practice for almost a month already and that means getting her to the high school before 7:30 in the morning. As of yet, I haven't gotten up and stayed awake all day yet, but I'm working my way up to it. Of course, going to be at a decent hour would help that, but I'm working my way up to that, too. I hate going to bed at 9:00 at night just so I can get up at 6:00 or 7:00. Not only does it effectively destroy any "alone time" I get with DH, it causes him to have to take care of the bed time duties alone. No one likes that.

Anyway, I have more revisions to work on before I go to bed. Tomorrow is a day of rest and I am going to do my best to actually use it for its purpose.

Deb "The Writer" Lollar

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I totally didn't expect this to pan out so quickly. I found an add on WAHM.com (my favorite site for Work At Home leads) and POW! 24 hours later, it appears I may have found a regular freelance gig. At least, that's what I think is happening here. I submitted a sample of writing, the guy got back to me and asked me for a second article, and then he accepted it and welcomed me to "The Team."

Now, don't panic. I did my research before sending in my info. This is a reputable and recognized company. Is there a catch? Not really, as long as you know what you're getting into. It isn't a terribly large amount of money, but I'm just starting out here, so I won't complain. You also have to agree to produce a minimum number of articles per day and the guidelines for the articles are very specific. But, if you don't mind writing to a format and you like being given interesting subjects to research and write about, it isn't too bad a deal. Lucky for me, I do well when given specific guidelines and I love finding out about things I never considered before.

I don't think I will get rich doing this, but I am still super jazzed about it. I have wanted to write for a living for awhile now. I have even applied to a few places and gotten some feedback and requests for more. So, why didn't I do this before now? I was just plain chicken. I sat down to answer the leads and I froze up. Could I live up to the requirements being given? How could I manage to write every day? What if I got sick or had an FM flare up again? How could I walk into another job knowing how much I had failed in the past? Why should I start something new knowing I would let someone else down, just like before?

Ok, I won't lie. Those questions still scream through my head right now. The difference is, I can put a cork in it and go on about my business, now. I am sick to death of people (either in my head or outside) telling me that this isn't a good idea or I can't do that. Sure, sometimes the naysayers are right. But, if I never take a chance I will keep sitting here, gathering dust, wasting away, regretting my failures, and wishing I had acted on something - anything - before now. So, I took the leap. It might suck horrifically. Or, it just might be something to keep me awake and interested in life so that I can start to live again.

I keep looking for things that will help me find myself, but now I don't think that is really the right goal. The last several years have destroyed nearly every thread of who I thought I was. I have been humbled and shamed by my failures and there have been times that I thought I would never see the light. Now, I can feel the sun on my face again. I am healing and growing and stretching and getting stronger. Something I realized, though, is that I will never be 100% who I was before. That's ok, though. While I have had to grieve for the lost "Me", the time for grief is passed. Now is the time to figure out who this new person is that I have become.

Really, it is better this way. If I was so happy with who I was before, why did I get so sick that I couldn't function? Something about my life wasn't healthy. Or maybe, it was just fine for me back then but it wasn't who I ultimately needed to be. Perhaps all the pain and depression was necessary to destroy who I was so that I could be remade into something different, something better.

DH is a former Marine and he will tell you that basic training is all about destroying everything that makes you YOU so that you can be built up again the way THEY want you to be. You walk into this KNOWING that you will be changed inside and out. It hurts a lot. Days and nights run together when you get yelled at by everyone, sleep is minimal and food is scarce. Everything that you love and anything that makes you comfortable is denied. You are forced to do things that you fail at over and over again until you are able to do them easily. After several weeks of this suddenly, you wake up one day and realize that you are invincible. You have worked harder than you knew you could and you have prevailed, and become A M

Sometimes I think God is the ultimate Drill Instructor. Only you don't get to decide when or how or why. One day you just wake up and realize that you've been utterly destroyed by something - cancer, divorce, personal loss, financial disasters, or maybe some other trial that only you know about. Then, sometime later - maybe days, or weeks, or even years - you wake up to the sun on your face and Surprise! there is a whole new you.

Deb "The New" Lollar