Always & Forever My Baby You Will Be

DCIM100SPORT

Last night I was lying in bed with my youngest reading him a bed time story and saying our prayers.  My oldest used to come in the room and listen to the stories and say prayers with us but about two months ago he stopped.  He now brushes his teeth, calls out good night, and goes in his room and shuts the door.  I follow him in to grab a quick hug before he shuts off the light, but the hug is more for me than for him.  He doesn’t need a hug and a kiss from his mommy anymore to go to sleep.

But Casey is still young and refuses to go to bed without his night time ritual followed to perfection, and I am happy for that.  Last night after we were done he kneeled on his bed, gave me a bug hug and said, “I love you mommy.  I’m giving you an extra hug because I know you like hugs.”  My heart just melted.  I do love hugs, and kisses, and cuddles, the feel of holding my little boy close, the unconditional love of a mother and child.

I stared at his little face, his blue eyes, rosy cheeks, and a thought hit me so strong.  In two weeks my baby is turning six-years old.  In a week he will start 1st grade.  My baby hasn’t been a baby for a very long time, but he is still small, and sweet and cuddly, but time refuses to stand still.  He is growing, and soon he will choose friends over me.  Soon, kisses in public will be embarrassing.  Soon he will tell me he doesn’t need to hold my hand in a store.

“Casey, promise me you will stop growing,” I asked.  “I want you to stay this size forever.”

“Okay, mommy,” he replied sweetly.  Then he thought for a moment about what I had asked him to do and he said, “But I don’t know how to stop growing.”

“I know.  Mommy is just being silly.  I am so glad you are my little boy.” I said.

“Me too,” he replied and gave me another kiss good night.

“Do you know how much I love you?” I asked.

“All the way to the moon and back,” he answered immediately, “and I love you all the way to Pluto.”

Then he rolled over, tucked his tiger under his chin, and grabbed a handful of his wobi before closing his eyes.  I turned off the light and shut the door.

I can’t freeze time, but I can take a minute to write down these brief but wonderful moments before they slip through my fingers.  Children will grow, become independent, and leave us one day, but the memories we make we will carry for a lifetime.

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Children…My Life…My Passion…and the Reason I Take Zoloft

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI was 23 when I became a teacher. Fresh from college and eager to change the world by helping one child at a time. I was 29 when I became a mom and took a year off to raise my little boy. After that year was over I returned to teaching. I was 35 when I had baby number 2. This time I took two years off to be a stay at home mom, and would have taken a third if it had been possible. What shocked me was how much harder it was being a mom to two instead of one.

Perhaps it was because I was older, perhaps it was because suddenly the mommy stuff was never ending, or perhaps it was because I was newly married, newly relocated, and just had one to many changes in a short amount of time.Kisses

As hard as I worked the two years I was a stay at home mom though were nothing compared to when I finally returned to teaching. Just because I returned to the classroom didn’t mean that all that mommy stuff went away. Laundry still needed to be done, cleaning taken care of, dinner cooked, quality time given to my boys, quality time given to my husband, making time to visit a sick parent. I was at my wits end. I remember standing in front of the stove cooking dinner as tears rolled down my face because I was so tired.

Part of it is me. I want things to be perfect always, whether it is at home or at work. Part of it really is my situation. I basically do the kid thing 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year. My job and my home life are just too much alike sometimes.

But I had to acknowledge one more factor that I really didn’t want to face. I am not a spring chicken anymore. I am now forty and like it or not, my hormones were starting to get a little wonky. Can we say “premenopausal?” Yep, it was definitely a factor.

When you teach first grade patience is literally the #1 job requirement and I used to have it in spades. The past two years, however, I noticed that I was becoming more and more stressed out. At first I thought that I had just taken on too many responsibilities. I was on the fund-raising committee, the reading committee, and the carnival committee, as well as that full time teaching gig and motherhood thing. So of course I had a full blown hyperventilation panic attack one March morning just as the children were entering the building. I was burned out, over worked, and NOT medicated. Although a trip to the doctor’s office that March day fixed that problem. One bottle of Xanax with two refills coming right up.

The following September I decided I needed to take better care of myself. So I quit all the committees and just focused on the job and home. Things would get better, right? Wrong. I was still stressed, and now, I was easily angered by little things. My heart would race all day and I constantly felt like I was in “Fight or Flight” mode. I left work completely exhausted, and then when I got home I had no energy left for my own kids. All I wanted my boys to do was go away and leave me alone. I started to realize that the problem I had wasn’t a job problem. The problem was me. I was broken and didn’t even recognize the person I had become anymore. I finally realized that I needed help.

I scheduled a visit to see my OB/GYN. After a very long office visit where I talked about everything that was going on with me she confirmed what I was already suspecting. I was indeed in the early stages of menopause and my hormones were steadily driving me crazy.

She started me on a low dose of Zoloft which ended up getting increased just once. After a while I started to notice a difference. I still felt angry at times, but the anger didn’t control me. I was able to take a deep breathe and respond in an appropriate way. The same was true at home. I could now give my boys the quality time they needed and not feel resentful.

I don’t feel ashamed to admit that I needed a prescription. I know a lot of people would just say to suck it up and deal, but that strategy had stopped working for me and I was seriously going to have a heart attack if I didn’t find a way to calm down and get control of my emotions. If taking a little blue pill helps me to cope and be a better mom then I will do it.

I would love to hear from other moms, especially older moms who are also dealing with this situation. How are you battling your menopause?

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