The whining….oh the whining.

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The crying. The whining. The constant, non-stop wanting of something from me. Holy crap. Toddlers are kind of terrible people. A list of things that makes them cry/whine/throw/hit/stomp/roll-on-ground-like-monsters:

1. Putting on their shoes
2. Taking off their shoes
3. Feeding them dinner
4. When they’re hungry for dinner
5. When I’m not standing next to them
6. When I’m standing next to them
7. When one of them accidentally touches the other one
8. When the dogs bark
9. When dinner isn’t comprised solely of goldfish crackers and/or Nilla wafers
10. When I make them hold my hand in a busy parking lot
11. When I make us leave the  busy parking lot because they won’t hold my hand
12. When I say goodnight to one of them before the other
13. When the t.v. is on
14. When the t.v. is off
15. When a woodchip from the playground gets in their shoe
16. When the circle puzzle piece won’t fit in the square space
17. When they can’t climb the stairs and hold 17 toys at the same time
18. When I turn on the faucet in the bathtub
19. When I secretly shovel food down my throat in the kitchen for the first time in six hours instead of giving it to them
20. When I sing “You are my sunshine” and/or “This land is your land”

Seriously. Lord help me. These people are slowly sucking the life out of me. At any given point of any given day, there is a 30 pound person dangling from part of my body. This person is usually covered in peanut butter or boogers and is screaming for one of the aforementioned reasons above. They might also be hitting me in the leg while I desperately try and rescue them from the speeding highway of cars going past them. Oh, and replace one of these people with two of these people because that’s what my life looks like. Oh, and also throw on two strangely sized dogs who also seem to be going through a toddler phase, even though they’re actually quite old. 

What’s wrong with this age? They just seem to want want want. When they don’t want, they seem to complain complain complain. They don’t have language, I get it. Terrible, screeching whining is how they communicate. But does every single thing have to be a complete meltdown?!

Yesterday I had the twins by myself for several hours and after listening to said screeching inside the house for what seemed like decades, I decided we had to go outside or else I was going to put my head in the oven. I tried walking with both kids up the hill in our neighborhood towards a little park we use. Literally four steps into the walk, one child collapsed onto the pavement in a pile of snot and wails because, wait for it, a stick…brushed…her…ankle.

Yep.

The other kid had a finger in his nose and continued waving “byyyyeeeee” to the squirrels playing in the yard next door. I managed to pull the wailer up and forced them to keep walking. A mere seven steps later, another collapse. This time what happened? I…re-fastened…..her…..shoe strap. Wailing. Screaming. Hitting. Snotting. 

When this happens again, I am going to collapse on the ground with her and start wailing as well.

So if you’re looking for us in the next few weeks, keep your eye out for three people. All wailing. All snotting. All screeching. Two of these people are almost two. One of these people is 31.

That is all. 

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My battle.

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The picture above is of me at approximately 28 weeks pregnant with my twins. Believe it or not, I got a lot bigger. I had the babies 7 weeks early and by the time they were delivered, I was enormous. In total, I believe I gained around sixty pounds. Since then, I’ve lost it all plus some. I’m in the best shape of my life, I eat healthier, I work out harder and I lift heavier. My friends tell me I look great. They tell me I have never been skinnier.

But I don’t feel that way. I am proud of how far I can run and how heavy I can lift, but I am not proud of the body that I live in. No matter what I do, how little I eat or how much harder I run, my stomach will always be saggy and wrinkly and foreign. It is not the stomach that I spent 28 years living with. The belly button that I have now looks different and strange. When my son asks to see it (he is really into showing his belly button and looking at mine), he pushes down on my stomach fat with both of his little hands the way a cat stomps a pillow before lying down. He giggles and points at it and says “dats dat?”It’s adorable of course and I momentarily feel better remembering that my precious boy and my sweet little girl lived inside that wrinkly, saggy stomach. But then the moment is over and I am left to look down at a body that embarrasses me. I’ve never had a perfect figure by any means, but until my children were born, I wasn’t ashamed to be naked or in a bathing suit. And I am now.

This is going to sound stupid and maybe sheltered, but having children has made me acutely aware of how much value people place on a woman’s looks. Even the leering construction workers at my school who can’t see the wrinkly stomach beneath my dress, seem to look at me differently now that I am a mother. It’s as though I am tainted or changed. The birth of my children coincided with my turning 30 and these two “life-changing moments”, as they say, made me reevaluate my worth in the world. On the one hand, I am the single most important figure in my children’s lives. They want to be with me always. They copy my movements. They crawl on my lap. They kiss my cheeks for absolutely no reason at all. In that regard, I’ve never felt more important. On the other hand, I am getting older. The value I had as a woman in her 20’s is depreciating. And what’s infuriating is that men don’t get it.

Sure, we’ve all said it before. Their bodies don’t change. Their hormones aren’t out of wack. They don’t have to push a human out of a very small space. But it’s so much bigger than that. No my husbands body didn’t change when I got pregnant with my twins. And his body didn’t change when I delivered them early via c-section either. And he can go to work and hang out with friends and someone that looks at him might think he is just an attractive single guy without kids. But me? I am a mother and I wear it extrinsically and intrinsically. The wrinkles by my eyes show that I’m a mother who hasn’t slept a full night in two years. The kangaroo pouch that hangs over my pants shows that I am a mother who grew children inside of her. My worried expression and purse filled with cheerios and diapers and tiny Elmo figurines shows that I am a mother. The smeared animal cracker regurgitation on my right shoulder shows that I am a mother. A mother who will always be one. A mother who will not, who can not go one single second of any day without the mother-ness flowing through her veins. I am thankful for that responsibility and I am thankful for the experience. 

I am not proud of what I wrote above. There are moments when I feel empowered and decide I will wear a two-piece bathing suit and that I am strong and beautiful and that any man would be lucky to have me. But it doesn’t last. Days later, I find myself standing in front of the full length mirror, turning left then right. Chewing my lip as I evaluate and critique the parts of me that don’t look like “they’re supposed to”. This is a battle for me. One that I strive to win, but one that challenges me as a woman, and more as a feminist. It helps for me to think of my daughter. I imagine how I would feel if she told me she didn’t like her body, or that she felt ugly. It would devastate me. I would devote my life to making her feel good about herself. I would tell her that what’s on the outside boils down to a whole lot of nothing. That what is inside the body, what constitutes the soul and the heart is what makes a girl beautiful. I would grit my teeth and destroy anyone who made her feel otherwise. Why can’t that translate to me? Why can’t I celebrate what is inside of me-what makes me a fun and spontaneous mother? Why must I tear down the part of me that I absolutely cannot change? The part of me that, frankly, is healthier and stronger than it ever has been before. 

Like I said, it’s a battle. 

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Miss Idaho and me.

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What do these two extremely different pictures have to do with one another? On the left, my two beautiful and magnificent children. On the right, Miss Idaho who was recently crowned while wearing an insulin pump. And that was news. That she wore her life-saving device, the thing that keeps her alive, during a competition. Shocking. But that aside, the whole thing has got me thinking. A professor in class today said that you don’t understand stigma until you’ve felt it. I’ve certainly dealt with my fair share of stigma as a diabetic. Whether it’s questions like “oh wow. will you have to get amputations” or comments like “Man, that’s so sad my grandmother died a horrific and slow death from your very same disease”, I have dealt with the public’s opinion of my disease for all 20 years that I’ve been sick. Wearing an insulin pump has certainly brought about a fair share of  commentary. Some of it kind and inquiring and some of it insensitive, and frankly stupid. I once had  a guy stop me in the grocery store to ask if I was wearing a tracking device. I said yes, that my boyfriend was really overprotective and wanted to make sure I was “really going to the grocery store”. Strangely enough, he nodded in agreement with my pretend boyfriend.

So why did Miss Idaho make me think of my babies? Because I realized that a day will come when I will have to tell them what’s wrong with me. They touch my pump and stare when I inject insulin or test my blood sugar. But they don’t know what’s going on and they certainly, certainly aren’t judging me. But a day is going to come when I have to sit them down and explain to them that I have a life-long disease. And I don’t have anything amazing or prolific to say about that, just that it makes me sad to think about. A day will come when they come home from school after learning about diabetes, and they will ask if I’m going to die, or if I will get amputated or lose my eyesight. I will say absolutely not-that I will be here forever to protect them. But will I? As much as anyone else is I guess. We don’t know what will happen in our lives-what we are lucky enough to experience. 

I learned an  important lesson early in my life: everything can change in an instant. And I’ve been on the lucky side of unforseeaable tragedy. I have a disease. I didn’t get into a car accident, or die from cancer or lose a parent when I was a child. I just got diagnosed with a disease. But I still don’t want to tell my children one day that I have diabetes. I don’t want to show them what an insulin pump is, and how to tell if mommy is high or low. I don’t want to be their sick mother. I don’t want them to play with other kids and talk about me and say “oh our mom has diabetes”. That’s stigma. It’s the same gut wrenching stigma I felt when I was growing up with this disease. It’s what kept me hidden behind a bookshelf in sixth grade while I tested my blood sugar, terrified that another kid would see me and make fun of me or think I was gross. It’s what kept me from actually saying the word “diabetes” until I was almost in high school. 

Now the truth is likely different from what I imagine. Like most stigmas, much of the problem originates with the host. We imagine the whole world is looking at our pimple, or our limp or listening to our stutter. The truth is, everyone is fixated on themselves, on what they perceive to be wrong with their body or their appearance. I could have injected insulin into my eyeballs in seventh grade in the middle of the girl’s bathroom and I bet no one would have looked twice. 13 year old girls are debilitatingly self-centered. And when I tell my babies that I have a disease and that my insulin pump is what keeps me healthy and happy, they will probably nod and go back to picking their nose. And so while I scoffed at the attention around Miss Idaho wearing a pump, truth is, she is brave. She felt the same stigma and insecurity that I felt and continue to feel 20 years later. So that’s inspiring. I’ll take a cue from her, as I sit in a crowded coffee shop today debating whether to test my blood sugar publicly or not. I will pull out my meter, and I will prick my finger and I will feel my face burn as the guy next to me looks down at my drop of blood. I will imagine what’s going through his mind as he assesses the situation and likely assumes I have type 2 diabetes (or that disease Paula Deen has). And then I’ll  finish testing and move on with my life, because at the end of the day, who really gives a shit? Seriously. 

Now, if I could only apply that same thought process to wearing a two-piece bathing suit 😉

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22 months and happy.

10170902_10102436109758364_9016312540220830976_n So I haven’t written a blog in FOREVER. Actually in four months. That’s terrible, but the truth is, I don’t think anyone is reading my blog and while writing is cathartic for me, it feels silly to write to an audience that doesn’t exist. But alas, here I am. Updates: The babies are 22 months old and we are in a pretty good place. Are they babies anymore? I think they are. People who think they know better keep telling me they “aren’t babies so don’t call them that”, and to that I want to say screw off. They are whatever I want them to be for as long as I want them to be that because I grew them. So there.

But they’re fun. Our boy is really clingy to me and has a hard time bonding with my husband. When I’m not there, they’re pretty close. But when I’m there, I’m all he wants. Our girl is a cautious risk-taker and I love that. She wants to climb on high things but will carefully put her hands down and assess this situation wholly before attempting the climb. 

I continue to resent the people who “kindly” remind me that they are growing fast. Don’t people realize that it is extremely painful for a mother to watch her children grow? We are acutely aware of the time passing-we don’t need to be reminded so constantly. I think people trick themselves into thinking they are giving us sound advice-reminding us to not sweat the little stuff-but what people are really doing is looking for company in their own sadness of life changing. 

So that’s us and that’s all for now. Be back soon. I promise. 

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18 months and into danger.

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Just look at these little terrors. Where did they come from? Why do they have so much energy? Why does everything make them convulse…cry…whine? How did I make the most adorable little people the world has ever seen? And lastly, why do they insist on climbing into the dishwasher to play with the knives? 

18.5 months. That’s where we are. They are such little people now. They have personalities and wants and, moreover, not-wants. Really really not-wants. And by “not-want”, I actually mean hate with a thousand fires. Hate to the point that it causes full body thrashing, screaming, weeping and throwing of things. In the not-want category? 

Diaper changes
Changing of any and all clothes
Hand washing
Teeth brushing
Toy sharing
Dog kisses
When the dog won’t give them a kiss
Door slams
Car honks
Any and all food unless it is animal crackers
Being hungry-even a little bit
Hugs from mamma
Not getting hugs from mamma while brother/sister gets hugs from mamma

And in the want category?

To be left alone
To be around me at all times
To kiss the dog’s tail
To pick up sticks at the park and run with them
To pick up bark and eat it a little bit
To run full speed around the house with eyes closed
To bite the dog’s back

I guess they are toddlers now right? I don’t know. I think technically they are toddlers, but to me, they still look like babies. They giggle and squirm and kiss and hug like little babies. They sleep like babies do. They eat like babies do. For as monstrous as they can be, which they very much can, they can also be completely adorable, fascinating, sweet little people. For instance? When H is crying, C comes over and pats him gently and says “Hi dee-dee” (his name to her). When she is crying, H brings her one of his animal crackers. He also gives Elmo his animal crackers on particularly altruistic days. They run over out of the blue and hug me, climb in my lap-kiss my face. They love the dogs (sometimes: see list above of not-wants). I am really enjoying spending beautiful spring days with them-expoloring the world, rather re-expoloring the world. The best part of this journey as been in the sense that I feel somewhat reborn. Like I have been given another chance to experience life-with new, fresh eyes. Watching the the world around me blossom into spring through the eyes of two 18.5 month olds, has been perfect. Like nothing else in my whole world. 

I am making my way through school-slowly to say the least. And I waver between being a wonderful mother and being a serious student. I try to be both, but like many before me, I fail. I yell at the babies after a hard day at school. I forget homework assignments and handouts after a weekend at the park with the twins. I peruse various scholarship applications and honors programs wondering if applying would interfere with our time together. Time that I value and cherish like a treasure. I try to do everything, and many days end up doing nothing. Nothing well at least. Being a mother is more important. I believe that. That’s time I will never ever get back and I am simply not willing to sacrifice it. And yet, I want them to be proud of me the way that I am so proud of my own mother. When they go to elementary school, and kids ask what their mom does, I want them to announce proudly that she is accomplished and professional. And even though I know intimately how difficult it is to stay at home with them-to do THAT professionally-I want to do more. Perhaps because of my upbringing-what I was taught was expected. 

So here I sit. At school. On a beautiful April day. While my two babies play and leap and jump and smell flowers and see new things. And I hate that I’m missing that. 

And now it’s time for class to start.

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Ode to the two piece.

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Dear two piece bathing suit,

I’m writing to you from the couch, where I have taken solace after trying you on several minutes ago. The couch, my stretchy pants, sports bra and extra large glass of sauvignon blanc are comforting me as I prepare to face what I now know to be truth: you and I are over.

I’ve known this was coming for a long time. Frankly, for the past several years (especially last summer when I somehow convinced myself we were still together), I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that we were headed for the end. It was the little things. The way you got caught in a wedgie even when I wasn’t doing anything active or physical; the strange sunburn I got in between belly rolls on my stomach while wearing you; how I felt when I passed by a full length mirror and saw us…together…and grimaced. Heyyyyy, don’t cry. Come on now. We’ve had some pretty good years together.

2000 was a really good year for us. I remember being especially tan that spring break; I had just convinced my parents to let me pierce my belly button and you were aiding in showing it off; hell I even think back then I might have had a somewhat flat stomach. We sauntered around that white trash Florida beach and felt like it was the beginning of something huge.

Time passed as it always does and yet for several more years, we stayed strong. Remember summer 2005? I had just graduated college and had a new boyfriend (who would later become my husband). You and I were making our grand debut. You were strong and supportive in all the right ways and for a fleeting minute, upon passing my reflection outside of the beach club, I thought we might be together forever.

And then there was the summer of 2012. You knew I was going to bring that up. How could I not? It’s hard to talk about even now. I was 3 months pregnant with twins. I looked like I had eaten my whole family. And you were there looking at me, almost teasing me with your sexy halter and low cut bottoms. “You look fiiiiiine” you whispered. “Pregnant bellies are beautiful and meant to be shown off” you cooed. “Put me on, I’ll make you feel like your old self” you taunted.

And I fell for it. Each of your pathetic lines. I fell for it. I put you on, protected you with a sensible cover-up and walked out on that North Carolina beach with pride. Then I took off the cover up and in seconds, literal seconds, I realized we were headed for a break-up. You squeezed in all the wrong places. You didn’t support, well, anything. And you cut waaaaay too low this time. For anyone, but especially for someone who couldn’t even locate her feet. I marched back inside, took you off and threw you across the room. I pictured my life without you-a never ending montage reel of one piece bathing suits. I pictured my life moving forward: summers spent flipping sadly through the Jcrew swim catalog or the Victoria Secret swimsuit edition searching for those final pages. The ones at the end that are shunned from popular society. The ones that are even more shameful than the tankini-the poor man’s bikini. The one piece suits. The poor man’s tankini. The bathing suit the bikini made fun of all through high school. The social pariah. I looked at you lying in a heap on the floor. We will meet again I promised.

Here we are two piece. Sitting here having lost all of my baby weight (and some) and in pretty good shape for someone who grew two humans inside them. And yet, when I reached out to you, thinking we had both put 2012 behind us, you spit in my face. You little bitch. I thought for sure that we would again reunite and make beautiful imagery together and I was dead dead dead wrong. 

So here I am, biding you farewell. Forever. As I prepare to move into a world of one piece depression, I am reminded of our good times more than our bad. Of that summer in 2000 when we changed the world (or just a tiny slice of a Panama City beach). Good luck to you. I hope you make a handful of women who haven’t had children yet very happy. I will get over you. Over us. And I will do that by spending the next several years figuring out how to use the bathroom in a one piece without having to pull the wet suit down, pee and then do that horrible thing where I try to pull it back up over my very cold… dead… skin. 

Best,

Anna

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5 Signs you are failing as a parent.

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1. Your child isn’t wearing any clothes. You are failing because your child has literally buckets of adorable outfits that he/she can wear. There’s the blue overalls with the footballs on them; the paisley top with the pink leggings; the hand knit sweater that your artsy friend in New York made. And yet, your child isn’t wearing any clothes and that’s because you are failing. He/She may have started in clothes. He/She may finish in pjs. But for now, your child isn’t wearing any clothes. Just a diaper. And it’s sagging.

2. Your child’s diaper is so saggy it’s skimming the floor when he walks. You are failing as a parent because you are either so lazy or so tired that you can’t pick up your kid and change his diaper. He is trying to walk for the first time, but he can’t because his diaper looks like it’s filled with boulders. This tiny adorable guy is trying to stand but the weight of the world rests in his diaper and keeps pulling him over onto his side. You can see his butt crack and you know that when you finally stop failing and change the diaper, little pieces of it will fall out as this giant boulder diaper begins to disintegrate onto your child’s perfectly creamy skin. Failing.

3. Your child isn’t wearing shoes and it’s cold outside. You are failing as a parent because it’s basically snowing and you’re pushing your kid in the stroller and feeling pretty ok about yourself because you are outside and not ripping your hair out inside. Problem is, your kid is barefoot. You walk through the park with your tail between your legs as your child shivers and other moms-moms with leggings and furry boots and black North Face jackets and coffee cups with deliciously home brewed coffee inside stare and judge you and your cold child. Her child has shoes on. Her child has MATCHING SOCKS on. Your child has no socks on, no shoes on, and is licking her cold toe as you push by this dream woman and dream baby.

4. You stand on the porch while your children are screaming inside. You are failing because you have such a short fuse that simply being around your children for one more second is too much. Instead, you stand on the porch and wave to your next door neighbor who not only doesn’t have children, but is standing in her garden admiring her really nice azaleas. She can hear your children screaming inside. You can hear your children screaming inside. You continue to stand on the porch and nod and smile at the azaleas as though it’s just a relaxing spring day and you are two independent gals sharing gardening tidbits. She sees the madness inside you however and over dinner that night worries to her husband “that she’s concerned about what goes on over there.” F A I L I N G.

5. Your 1.5 year olds ate Valentine’s Day cookies for dinner. Twice. This is one of several reasons you are failing. You tried to force feed vegetables through the “Choo-Choo Train” and the “Bzzzzz Bumblebee” bite and instead they chewed that carrot one pathetic time and then let it drop to the floor in a sickening orange mush. They dropped the peas on top of the dogs head and rubbed the potatoes in their ears. You always envisioned yourself as like a kind of healthy mom-one who really worked towards an “organic lifestyle” but it’s important here to remember you are failing and so instead you reach for the tin of sugar cookies and proceed to break them into bite size pieces. SHOCKINGLY both kids seem to prefer the cookies to the carrot. You feel super guilty about this and when you put them to bed at night and their tummies look bloated, you die inside thinking about your sucky-ness. And then the next day comes and you find yourself ripping up cookies for lunch. Did you learn your lesson? You didn’t. And why? Because you are failing.
Bonus Failure: when the babies finish their delicious and balanced meal of processed crap, you lick your fingers, dab up the leftover cookie crumbs and shove them into your mouth. Double fail.

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Twenty Years.

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20 years ago today, I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. 20 years. 20 birthdays. 20 halloweens. 20 years. This is the big one-the one I’ve thought about for a decade, the one I thought about sporadically throughout the past few days. So what do I feel inside as I sit here and I type out “20 years”? 20 years is a lifetime. It’s a full grown adult in college. It’s an almost legal drinker. How can it have been this long? People say this about major events in their lives, but the truth is, I can honestly remember it like it was yesterday.

It all happened in a matter of weeks. I dropped weight quickly; I complained of constant thirst and hunger and fatigue; I was literally wasting away. My mother watched me carefully the way I now watch my children and she knew (as she would tell me later in life) what was coming. We made an appointment with my pediatrician-an incredible man with humor and kindness and actual respect for children-and the night before, my mom crawled into my bed. I was 11 years old and a young 11 at that. I played dolls incessantly. I loved dressing up and playing stories and reading books and drawing. I thought boys were disgusting and that my sister was perfect. I was in all matters of things, a child. My mom crawled into my small twin bed and together we looked up at my ceiling of stick-on stars and posters of Mia Hamm and Sheryl Swoops and she said “Anna, everyone has a dark cloud in their lives. Those that seem to have it perfect, never do. Tomorrow is going to change everything but you are going to be ok.”  I of course had no idea what she meant, but even now, I can remember that I was scared.

The next morning we went to McDonalds (which I’m sure my mom purchased thinking it would be my last for a very long time) and I drank four cokes in half an hour. I say that because diabetes is a terrible, sickening disease. It eats away at your body and kills you slowly but with fervor. For those who don’t know, type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease. No one knows where it comes from. No one knows how you get it. Your body inexplicably begins attacking itself and killing off the cells that produce insulin in your pancreas. Insulin is the hormone that breaks down food and separates it into material your body needs to grow big and strong, and material that goes out as waste. The pancreas is a part of the endocrine system and in many ways, it is one of the most important functions in your body. My body had stopped making insulin and glucose was flooding my bloodstream. This causes the body to turn on itself and begin eating at your stored fat (hence the massive weight loss). The sugar in the blood causes extreme thirst, frequent urination and crippling fatigue. Without any insulin, a diabetic would die in a matter of weeks.

We got to the Doctor and he looked me over and then he sent me out of the room. I remember sitting in the waiting room reading an old Highlights magazine about that one kid who did everything right and his brother who constantly messed up (what a terrible parenting message btw). After awhile my mom came out and told me to come back in the Doctor’s private room. I’d never been there before and I can remember that I felt nervous. I knew somehow that you didn’t go in a Doctor’s private office unless something was really wrong. My mom looked at me and very practically said “Anna, you have type 1 diabetes. We are going to the hospital now and Theo and Joe will meet us there. You will stay there several days while they explain everything to us. You’re going to be ok and I love you.” The Doctor watched me. My mom watched me. I didn’t cry until we got to the parking deck.

I spent three days in the hospital and my mother slept there with me the whole time. We watched “Beauty and the Beast” on VHS and ate sugar free pudding and jell-o. My dad made funny faces and pretended to inject his ears and fingers with my new set of syringes. Each family member had to practice giving injections of water into each other so that they could help me with my new life. Doctors talked endlessly about carbohydrate counting, insulin injections and calculations, hypo and hyperglycemia and the potential life threatening dangers of not managing my sugars. I listened to my walkman and read R.L. Stine’s Goosbumps while they lectured. Frankly, I didn’t care. This wasn’t my problem.

My two best friends, Lindsay and Caroline, came to visit and they stopped in the gift shop and bought me sugar free gum and tiny dog figurines for my home collection. They seemed uncomfortable in the hospital room but also sweet and silly and I remember feeling almost normal again. After three days, it was time to go home and as we walked out, the Doctor warned us that “this was when things got real”. And it did. I got home-I walked through the front door-and I began my new life. One that was completely and utterly changed forever. Everyday, I prick my finger between 8-10 times and test my blood sugar to make sure it’s in range. I wear an insulin pump at all times that is attached to my body through a tiny needle. I change it every three days and inject myself with the needle that will then stay in. I mathematically calculate the carbohydrates in every single piece of food that goes into my mouth and then enter it into the pump which, in turn, distributes the insulin. Somedays life gets in the way and I calculate incorrectly. In these instances, I either begin sweating and shaking with hypoglycemia or I can’t get out of bed, my eyes are glossy and painful and my legs ache from the nerves being affected by high sugars. Some days, I inject myself in a bad place and develop a hard growth in its place. And everyday, every single day, I worry that I will lose my feet or my fingers or my eyes. I worry that I haven’t done enough; that there will never be a cure for this goddamn disease and that this is my life. Forever.

Several weeks ago, I began to get depressed (a super fun side effect of having diabetes). I searched my mind for the cause. I’m stressed about school-sure. I don’t spend enough time with the babies-never. I want to be more sensible about spending money-always. But it was something more- I figured it out about a week ago while lying in bed feeling sorry for myself. I’m sad that I have had this disease for 20 years.  I’m sad that I’ve had it longer than I haven’t; I’m sad that I can no longer remember a time when I didn’t have it; I’m sad that my body-the thing I walk around in every single day-is broken…is irreparable…is defective. Mostly, I’m sad that there’s no end in sight. 20 years is an inconsequential landmark because in the grand scheme of this disease, it’s a blip. Diabetes is forever. It doesn’t rest, it doesn’t break, it doesn’t leave.

I want to write something happier. I want to comment on how proud I am to have lasted this long with minimal complications-I want to “celebrate” the fact that this defective body created and carried two perfectly beautiful lives. And sometimes I look over at them and I feel this enormous sense of pride in myself for doing what I was told was impossible for the first 15 years of my disease. I got pregnant and I delivered two healthy babies. And for several days, I do feel better or ok somehow about this journey-about having this disease. Maybe I am tougher than I think I am. No scratch that. I am tough. I can promise you that. I can thank this disease of mine for that at least. I am tough and there is nothing I can’t handle. At least today there isn’t.

I’m one of those people who always watches “Shawshank Redemption” when it comes on TNT. There’s this part in the movie where that old guy finally gets out of prison and he ends up hanging himself because he is scared of the outside world. He is so acclimated to prison life that the real world has become what breaks him. I always think about that scene when I read articles about Type 1 diabetes cures. Don’t get me wrong, I want one. Desperately. But I also am distinctly aware of how close my disease and I have become.

You see, my disease and I have a real love/hate relationship. There are times when it grants me perspective and empathy and an ability to laugh loudly and to celebrate life. And other times, it breaks me down and leaves me weeping on the bathroom floor after a particularly painful injection. It hovers over my shoulder when I pour a second (or fourth) glass of wine and it pesters me when I reach for another piece of bread at a restaurant. I have tried for years to shoo it away-to ignore it and pretend it isn’t mine, and every time, it fades away for a second and then reappears. Like an overly clingy boyfriend, it waits for me when I get home from a night out drinking and eating with friends. It stands there and watches me and I look back at it with hatred and resentment. Leave me the fuck alone. I don’t want you. I didn’t ask for you. Please, I plead to an empty room, please leave me forever.

This disease is what has made me different for so many years. It is what makes me google foot amputation and vision loss when I’m especially low. It is what rips me apart when I think of not seeing my children grow up or get married. And yet I know, and in some ways have accepted, that it is part of me. Totally and completely. Even though I can still separate from it for the briefest of moments,  it’s just a second before it climbs back in, is reabsorbed into everything that makes Anna, Anna and just like that, we are one again.

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Where the hell I’ve been these past two months.

1504075_10102273808790804_1648729824_nIt’s shameful how long it’s been since I’ve written. Really shameful. So much has happened that I haven’t remarked on. The babies celebrated their first birthday on October 5th. As I expected, I went completely over the top and stayed up into the wee hours of the night creating party favor buckets that no child wanted or would ever want. I stopped at one point and actually recognized how ridiculous this whole thing was. The babies wouldn’t know the difference. The party was fun and I was emotional and struck by the time moving and how different everything had become. Since then, I’ve been genuinely thankful that the birthday has come and gone because for some reason, it has allowed me to sort of let go of the whole birth and them as infants thing. As you may recall from ALL OF MY POSTS, I have a tendency to long for the past and romanticize it a bit. Celebrating their first birthday-their first major milestone-has allowed me some peace with the whole “time moving” thing. I feel more present.

Then November came and everything went downhill. I was scheduled to get my wisdom teeth removed the second week in Thanksgiving (apparently I should have done this fifteen years ago but oh well). Following the removal, I developed an infection in my jaw and ended up checking in to the hospital for a week. I had surgery. I went home. The infection got worse. I checked into a second hospital and had surgery again-two days later. I stayed there for half a week. Then I finally came home for good. I was highly medicated-even when home-and somehow managed to finish the semester and complete my finals. The whole thing was utterly horrible. Painful beyond belief, scary, lonely, and uncomfortable. Both surgeries required me to have drains put in my cheek that emptied out into a changeable bandage. I fluctuated between severe depression and horrific anxiety on a regular basis. And worst of all? I missed my babies and my family so much. It was a really terrible experience and one that I reflect upon because it provides me with such strength (now) and such a sense of “everything changes in an instant”. I know that in the grand scheme of things, I was fine, but at the time I didn’t know that. Several doctors mentioned putting me in ICU and nobody understood what was actually going on with me. I remember several extremely dark hours in the middle of the night just wailing all by myself in the hospital room. Add the constant 24 hour morphine drip, it was madness. What do I have to show for this time? A pretty gnarly scar under my chin, a slightly altered smile and an appreciation for every moment of healthiness that I and the ones I love are given.

Moving forward, I promise to make this blog funny again 😉

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Losing a friend.

1455189_10102238942807514_231608367_nSeveral years ago, after I was married but before I had our babies, I lost a friend. She didn’t die. She didn’t move away. Nothing actually happened. I lost her, however, because she decided she didn’t want me as a friend anymore. I fought for the friendship. I begged for the friendship. I pleaded for the friendship. And she still left me. She sent a note-one that I would have rather not gotten in retrospect-but she sent one nonetheless. It hurt in a very specific, compartmentalized way. This was a friend, you see, for the ages. Someone I spent years with-someone I trusted-someone I loved very much. And yet, she told me she didn’t want me as a friend anymore, and she referenced some vague, strange “happenings” as reasons for why she didn’t like me anymore. But again, nothing…actually…happened.

I was 26 or 27 at  the time- a grownup if you will-and yet the pain I felt, that I still feel, from that rejection is profound. It’s reminiscent of the pain I felt in elementary school when all the cool girls were invited to a sleepover and I wasn’t. Even though I was an adult when this friend left me, and arguably more of an adult today, the pain knocked me off my feet.  To this day, to this very minute, it still breaks my heart that we aren’t friends anymore. And worse, I will never know what happened in a world, in a time where nothing…actually…happened. What did I do? Did I change that much? Did she? At the time, and even now, it feels like the worst break-up I ever went through. It’s hard for me to see her picture, it’s harder for me to hear her name. The songs that remind me of parties we went to or nights out on the town-are songs I want banished from my playlists. The memories in which she plays a large part, are ones I’d like to forget-to erase from my memory…because it hurts so badly to think of them. Honestly? I thought that after a couple of months, I would get over it. I have plenty of friends who want to be my friend and who don’t send me nasty notes. Why should I care about this person? This person who doesn’t even like me? But this friend was different. As I said, she was one for the ages. Or so I thought. And here I am, all these years later with my beautiful babies and life around me, and I still miss her. I really miss her.

I look at that picture of my children and I think about the friends that they will make in life. I think about how important my own friends have been in my life-how woven into the fabric of my history they are. What a crucial role they play in my happiness, in my success, and I hope for C and H that they make good friends who treat them well. I hope, even if it’s just for a short while, that they have a friend like I did. Even if she/he leaves them in the end, I hope they can experience true and solid friendship because even though I miss it terribly and even though I still feel so much pain because of it, I wouldn’t trade the years I spent with her; the lessons she taught me; the laughs we shared. It was worth it. After writing that just then, I paused and thought about what I wrote. And I realized, it was worth it. I’m surprised by that statement. But the truth is, it was.

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