A tribute to Donnovan Castellanos by the Burbank Vikings… The “The All Heart, Never Quit” Award

I am very rarely caught off guard unless a tragedy happens.  I am a pretty normal mom.  I love my kids, but sometimes I just want to scream.  Yesterday in fact I told a friend about an incident with one of my children: “I really could have slapped them”… ( I didn’t of course, I’ve never hit my kids… but I could see how it could happen!)   Some days I get, well bored, with the same routine; up at 6:20 AM, breakfast, lunches, school, house work, my work, pick ups, activities, asking my son to take a shower 95 times until he finally does it… etc.  I often think, as I did today, ” I guess this is it.  This is the life I chose and it’s great. I have two great kids, a house I love, I am doing what I love, we have food…. but this is it.”  It can be a hamster wheel.

Then tonight happened.  Tonight was my sons end of the year football banquet for his team the Burbank Vikings.  I was to sit at a different table, but kids over ran it.  My son and I randomly sat with a few other players, a sister of one, and the parents of another.  People think I am very out going.  I’m not.  Unless I know someone, I want to start drinking or go home. I have been braver as the years have passed and I started talking to the dad, Sean Moreno’s father.  I think it started out with “I can’t believe this glass of wine was only $3″  He said: ” I know, this beer was only $3.50″…. The Elks Lodge man, they are AWESOME.  We spoke for quite a while.  I remember seeing him when football conditioning happened in August, but I never saw him at the games.  Turns out, he is a forest ranger and is gone 6 days a week.  He only sees his family one day a week…THINK ABOUT THAT…. He had accrued vacation days and is getting some time off until February 1, which is so wonderful.  I remember this man when football just started.  His son Sean had never played football, in fact his Sean is quite a baseball player. I believe some kind of an All Star.  Played all his life.  I remember his father being a bit nervous for his son at the beginning of the year. During the banquet his son was quiet, just sitting by his parents, very patient, never said a peep.  All the boys at our table were very quiet and well behaved, and this think was long….

The Burbank Vikings lost one if it’s players in March, a true angel on Earth, Donnovan Castellanos.  The “All Heart Never Quit Award”, in memory of Donnovan was awarded to Sean Moreno tonight.  I have posted the link to the video on this page and the tribute to Donnovan Castellanos as pictures on this post.  In the future I may rewrite it (with author credits) so it is clearer to read, but honestly I don’t think I could get through it with out breaking down.  To Donnovan and his best friend Sean.  Life can be horrific.  There is absolutely no benefit to Donnovan being taken so early.  There is NO beneficial explanation why his parents should have lost their son.  All I know is Donnovan is and had always been an angel here on earth, and his best friend Sean, who played for him this year will never let the world forget him.  My hope is that both the parents of Donnovan and Sean walk with their heads high and proud until the end of time as they raised AMAZING human beings.

I am grateful beyond words for my “hamster wheel” and I hope it never stops spinning.

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Taking Responsibility. Words Hurt. Actions Hurt.

I had a conversation with my therapist today, an honest one, and he listened. He didn’t want to agree with me, but I know on a certain level he did.  Suicide: those left behind blame themselves; friends of those that blames themselves tell them it is not their fault. It is the person that killed themselves fault; They did it, it was their choice, they were selfish, how could they inflict so much pain on themselves, family and friends.

Here is a statement of truth: I know I was just a teenager.  I know my father was MY parent, THE adult. I KNOW he killed himself. I know it is not my fault.  However, I also know that the moment he died he thought to his core that I hated him. I KNOW the last exchange I had with him I disobeyed him by taking the truck to school when he asked me not to. I SAW the look on his face when he walked our dog and I was in the truck driving to school.  I KNOW that the reason he left 3 days before he died was because of a fight I started. I KNOW in that fight I blamed him for something he did not do. I KNOW I lied. I KNOW I told him I hated him. I KNOW that I wished him dead, not to his face, but the words were spoken in my mind.  All of those facts are just always there. They will always haunt me.

Of course there was something wrong with my father. He hurt me too.  He refused to come into the kitchen to sing Happy Birthday to me on my 16th Birthday. For months he wouldn’t let me in the house. For months he didn’t speak to me. One day he changed and he just never could come back to the same person he was. However, I know he tried. Days he tried to reach out for me I shut him out.  Nights I cried in my bed he refused to say he was sorry.

My point is; words have meaning. People do hear what you say to them, and they feel what you say and do to them, sometimes forever. Teach your children how much meaning words have. Bullying is real and a horrible problem. Teach them not to hate… Teach them just how important love is. Teach how important forgiveness is and how to apologize.

More on this subject later.

I realize that I shouldn’t have any more kids

The past 12 months I have been going crazy with the pounding of my biological clock.  I had my tubes tied after my second child, but knew if I really really wanted another child I could do In-vitro (suck the eggs out with a needle, have them fertilized and shoot them back in my uterus).  There were two specific reasons why I had my tubes tied;  I KNEW I could only handle two small children. I only thought we should have two children because that would replace us when we died – population control.

It is amazing how nature throws you for a loop at the end of your reproduction years on earth and is pretty much shouting at you: “This is your last chance BITCH…. get pregnant…. YOU NEED ANOTHER BABY.”  It would be all I thought about.  Every crying baby was adorable.  I WANTED to change diapers.  I WANTED to get up six times in the middle of the night and therefore be a zombie during the days.  I WANTED to unintentionally stall my career I have mad some pretty great strides in the past few years……… Wait a minute…. did I want all  of those things?  When I had issues with cysts due to my thyroid medication being adjusted, at one point I was told I would have to have an ovary removed AND I was told I had maybe one more year to even try invitro. I flipped out.  I cried. I was an emotional roller coaster.  I looked into freezing my eggs.  Over and over in my head: “One more year… you are turning 40 and you only have one more year of good eggs….that’s it…then it is over.  You can NO LONGER feel a baby grow inside of you.  You don’t have another chance to really enjoy the baby years that were so hard on you with Sedona and Jett.  No more seeing first steps, or hearing first words, or buying adorable baby clothes.”   It has been a couple months since the freak out.  Life stepped in and I became very busy with my kids and their activities, my projects, my career.  Saturday I watched the movie, Still Alice, and I cried the whole way through.  Alice is diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s due to a genetic condition at age 50.  It is odd to me what resonated in the movie but what did was that she said if she would have known, she wouldn’t have had kids so she wouldn’t have passed it on. (* Her eldest daughter does have the gene and was trying to have a baby. She found out in time where they could test the embryos to make she she didn’t pass it to her child. However, those tests were not available 30 years ago.) What resonated with me is that some people shouldn’t have children for many different reasons.

When I had my tubes tied I knew I could not handle more that two kids, so what changed? Nothing. With my family history of alcohol, depression, suicide, OCD it is a miracle that I am still alive at 40.  In raising my two children I feel like I have done anywhere from a great job in certain areas to a failure in others.  If I had just one more child would that put me over the tipping point to be a failure in more areas?  I think all the time how I could be a better parent in different areas.  When I do see an area that is lacking I instinctively want to say: “Oh it is too late”. I do not want to do the work.  Then I have to push myself to say, “nope, it is never too late.  A perfect example is today.  Yesterday was Sunday and the first day we have had absolutely NOTHING to do in WEEKS. I mean NOTHING!  It was just my son and myself home all day.  I slept until like noon, took a nap at 2pm, Jett watched TV and played video games all day and we watched a couple movies together. At 6pm I decided to get out of bed and do a few chores, but then went back to watching movies with my son and then my daughter came home and we watched another movie.  The day was glorious. I felt all the stress release from my body.  However today with my son home from school because of parent teacher conferences and we have nothing on the to do list until 5 pm all the stress came back and I am all tense.  At 10:30 am I feel like I slept too late, I’m letting him watch too much TV, and video games, I should be doing stuff with him.  Stuff? what stuff? we don’t normally do any stuff besides whats on the schedule for the day.  There is no football practice anymore, no homework to bug him about… OMG!! A bike ride. I’ll take him on a bike ride.  Something I suggested yesterday that never happened, yet I was ok with that.  We are going to go on a bike ride in 15 minutes, so fine… we have accomplished something.  I can check that off the list.  However, there are two issues that make me wonder how good of a parent I am. 1. We NEVER go on bike rides.  What kind of a mom am I?  I used to bike ride all the time when I was a kid with my parents, grandparents, friends. 2. (the opposite) What is wrong with us having two days off in a row doing nothing but watch TV and playing video games?  We never get two days off doing nothing.

With the kids getting older and having to wait on them less there is more free time to do other things like bike ride.  There are no diapers to change, they can make their own snacks, they do spend more time with their friends.  I have more time to myself.  Is it ok for me to have more than one day off in a row to do stuff I like to do like sleep and watch movies?  I even though of reading a book DURING THE DAY.  Or, should I fill that time taking care of a new baby 24/7. Eventually that baby will grow up just like my other kids, I really wont be able to have any more kids. I will have more than one day off in a row and will need to figure out how to fill up that extra time. Maybe now is the time to start finding new fun things I can do with the kids I already have now in this stage of life? Bike riding, throwing the football with them, painting nails with my daughter. I could really work on myself and find it is ok not to have the day filled up with to do lists.  Give time on reflection on what I have accomplished and find solid goals for the future.  My career is important to me and my fulfillment with my soul and being successful in it will not just benefit me, but my children financially and give me the means to help others. So, today I have decided I shouldn’t have anymore kids.  Let’s see what tomorrow holds.

The Value of Health

My son, Jett finally went back to school today.  He has been out since Monday with some kind of virus that made him cough non stop during the day.  I’m exhausted and I am not the one that was sick!  I don’t even feel like I did that great of a job taking care of him.  I feel like I was too frustrated, wasn’t as comforting as I should have been, and I did not get anything done all week.  The house is not even that picked up and I haven’t gone anywhere.  Basically, I feel like a mom failure.

Last week when we were all healthy I do remember saying to myself, “We are all healthy. No one is sick.  Enjoy this moment.”  I’m glad I did. It’s not like Jett was even THAT sick this week.  It was just a slight fever a couple days.. and that never ending COUGH.  However, there is ALWAYS that nagging voice deep inside me that says: “What if I’m wrong?  What if it is something worse?”… then the panic sets in…. because my best friends toddler died in his sleep nine years ago this week.  My son went to bed two days ago just like my best friends son did nine years and two days ago.  My son woke up the next morning and her son didn’t.  I can not put into words nor conceive the pain my friend deals with every single day.  It is always there.  The loss never goes away or even dulls. This past week I’ve checked on my son at various times in the night to make sure he was breathing, but even if I was right next to him sleeping I would have to have a heart monitor on him to know how he was doing every second of the night.  My friends wife died in her sleep a month ago and he was lying right next to her…. He didn’t know.  I took my son to the doctor yesterday and the advice was just to rest another day…. When that is the advice you feel like you wasted a trip and money going to the doctor.  I recently went to the emergency room for 4 hours due to a cyst in my ovary and the bill was 15k reduced to 10k ( because I had insurance) and it is only my responsibility to pay (thank goodness), $100.  However, and ultra sound I had done a week earlier cost $800. Again the diagnosis was… just wait and see.  I question myself all the time: “Should I go to the doctor?  Do I really need to take the kids to the doctor?  Is it worth it?” My son sprained is ankle last week and the school made me go to the doctor for a diagnosis of: “Stay off if it for a while.”….. Really? No shit?

There really is no point to this post.  I am not drawing any conclusions.  I do know that maybe it is a blessing I am too old now to have any more kids, even though my body has wanted them desperately this past year.  I just don’t think I could handle the anxiety of the baby, toddler and preschool years when the kids get sick…. and it turns into nighttime.  I have so many friends now with babies that think it is so easy.  I’m happy for them that they don’t know.  I’m happy their new babies haven’t been sick. They are in the dark on just how scary it can be when your child is sick.  That kids do die in their sleep.  Kids can die of the flu or a virus you thought was just part of kids getting sick.  For illnesses we do have vaccines for they really do save lives.  Talk to some elderly people.  See how many kids in their families and surrounding families died from diseases that are now preventable. However, some things are not preventable, and there are millions of parents around the world that are grieving for children they have lost whether it be last night or 90 years ago.  Have compassion for everyone. When you are healthy enjoy every second.