The New Year Newsletter I Didn’t Have the Guts to Send

I just found this little gem from last month. We’ll call it the cathartic holiday newsletter since I didn’t actually send it to people. 

“I just choked back the annual New Year newsletter. And let me tell you, it was the perfect mix of happy crappy nonsense with a side of truth-telling. I wanted to go with the whole “honest Christmas card” thing but got cold feet and decided on the safe and “normal” card instead.

People think we’re weird enough.

If I’d had the actual guts to write an honest Christmas card, this is what I would have written:

Greetings and salutations dear friends and family! I could not manage a family Christmas photo shoot this year, because the truth is, I’ve eaten my feelings for the whole of 2017 and the only pants that fit are gray and slightly stained, not very festive looking, and would not coordinate with any other family members.

It’s true, I could go out and buy new clothes for everyone, and yes I have seen the helpful Pinterest tips on how to maximize outfit matchiness, but the idea of trying to color coordinate makes me want to drink before noon. And who am I kidding anyway? My children live in sweats and dressing them up for a photo that I will send to a bunch of people I don’t ever hear from just to make them think I have my life together doesn’t feel very authentic.

And 2017 was the year of authenticity for me. Damn you, Bréne Brown!

2017 was also a crap heap of emotions. We lost loved ones, had other’s diagnosed with life-threatening diseases,  were plagued with endless hospital visits, and Trump became the actual president of the United States.

But I digress.

My husband has a job, so that’s good news.

The kids are great. They love to fight and argue and have some really creative name-calling skills.

As for me, I put much of my life and career on hold so I could homeschool the kids. The mix of ADHD, having your mother as a teacher and your brother as your classmate makes many days barely bearable.

It wasn’t a great year, and despite my efforts, the holidays didn’t feel very cheery for us. The movie Elf still made me crazy and no amount of mocha spiced cheery chino, holiday music or perfectly coiffed holiday photos posted to social media soothed this Grinch.

But I’d be exaggerating if I said all was lost in 2017. We did have some fun, and we definitely learned some valuable life lessons. Dealing with chronic illness taught us a lot about how strong we are as a family, and who we can rely on when things get difficult.

Well, here’s to the New Year! May it be brighter and better and less of a dumpster heap.”

From the Parenting Files: Temporary Insanity

Last night was going to go smoothly. I had it planned. The kids would go to bed early, the Mr. and I would get an evening to chill, and we might even get to bed early ourselves. Because that little combo is the ultimate worn-out-parent trinity.

And we are worn out.

I was in and out of a work project when I decided I would get up and play mom for a few minutes. I scanned the room. When I realized the five thousand Legos strewn on the floor had not been cleaned up, I made the rather brilliant and time-saving decision to sweep paths to and from each bed to the door with my foot. They could clean in the morning.

It was 7:45, both boys were in the pajamas and in bed reading. I couldn’t believe it, but I was standing on the precipice of Friday night nirvana. Then it happened. I gave my child his anti-seizure meds like I do every single night, and after swallowing them, he said: “I think dad already gave these to me.” Clearly, this could not be possible, but I calmly (maybe half-psychotic calmly) yelled down to my husband to ask. I remember him saying yes and the rest gets a little foggy.

I do recall telling my husband to see if he could get my son to throw up. I also remember trying to find the number for my son’s neurologist. But the screen and the phone- so white and so slow. In the midst of cries from my child, and stroke-like bursts of white before my eyes, I found the number. For some reason, the young woman with the call service thought it best to patch me through to poison control instead of taking the patient’s name and number so an actual doctor could call me. But hey, I was in the stroke- zone and couldn’t think clearly. So instead, I connected with poison control. And that’s when things got really fun. Because poison control could not hear me. So I spent the next five minutes running around my house, saying the thing I refuse to say “can you hear me now?” in every possible nook and corner. I stood on my dining table. I went outside. Nothing. No reception.

At this point, I figured AT&T and god had colluded to punish me for all of my previous reception gripes. I gathered myself enough to string together an impressive array of profanity and decided to try to call the Dr. again. Because that’s who I really wanted to talk to. So by now, the husband is in bed with the child who could be overdosing, little brother is cowering under his sheets on the top bunk, and I am going stark raving mad trying to get more than 1 bar of service so I can make a call and save my child.

At this point, I was practically hanging from my rooftop. I’d successfully registered for a call back from the doc when I decided to try poison control again. Someone answers, there’s a long pause, and then they speak. But not in a way that I can understand. Enter insanity. Having lived in Asia, I pride myself on understanding the English spoken by many different accents. And maybe it was because my kid could have been dying, but I could not understand a word this person was saying!

As I was trying to spell the drug for the tenth time, the on call Doc rang through, saving the poison control woman and me. His calm and reassuring voice cut through the insanity with “He’s okay Mrs. Kinney. He might just be a little tired and wobbly in the morning, but he will be ok.” Suddenly I could breathe again. The white pops of light disappeared. I even had a good laugh once the adrenaline died down.

I did not have my perfect night. But I did have a healthy child. And it turns out, that was all I really needed.