2020, You Suck!

What a year this has been!

These days; the ones that seem to drag on and on and on and feel like they may never end have actually not been so bad. Looking back, I am grateful for the time it has given me with my family. The nights we sat playing board games because we couldn’t leave our house or sitting in my car having simple conversation and staring up at a moon that seemed so much more beautiful than usual as we ate a basket of rolls and waited for our turn in the restaurant wouldn’t have happened had it not been for this “new normal”.

Don’t get me wrong. I miss so much of our life. I miss hugs, and Tuesday nights, and being able to sneeze freely without everyone within a 6 foot radius staring at you like you just infected them with the plague.

I miss traveling. I actually miss crowded airports, and paying $18 for a terrible sandwich, and people watching.

I miss exploring new places.

In this time though, I have explored other places. Ones deep inside of me. Ones right outside my front door. Ones I wouldn’t have ever known existed had it not been for these last few months.

They say “hindsight is 20/20” and I cant think of a saying more appropriate for this year of 2020. I don’t usually believe in looking back – I mean, the past is the past and there isn’t anything you can do about it – but this time, I think it’s exactly what needs to be done. Now is the time to clear up any misconceptions, apologize for the mess ups, come clean about the things you’ve been holding on to, and then just let it all go…

Three Years _ 2016

It’s been three years….

Three years sounds like a long time, but it actually got here in the blink of an eye. And in that blink I have learned so much…

I learned that things don’t always turn out the way you had planned or the way you think they should, but life still goes on.
I learned that some broken things can easily be put back together and some require a lot more work and sometimes still don’t get fixed.
I learned that sometimes we have to experience things we don’t understand and that it’s ok to ask questions you may never get the answers to.

But most importantly, I learned that you can get through the really bad times, and even start enjoying some of the good times, as long as you have people in your life who love you.

I continue to be in awe of his spirit and sense of humor. He continues to be my hero and one of the loves of my life. And I will forever hold dear all of the lessons these three years have taught me and hope for nothing more than a life filled with gratitude and love.

On this day, two years ago… 2015

On this day, two years ago, our lives were forever changed. Although I was just an outsider looking in my heart was shattered into a million pieces and my faith in “Gods Plan” was doubted. But on this day, two years ago, I also saw a community come together, rivals stand together in prayer, and felt HIS presence like never before. Since that day I have learned to find peace and joy in the simple things, learned to appreciate the moments of calmness that have become so rare in my life, and take each day with grace and an understanding that things can change in a second. At the end of it all, your family and friends are what matter, love is what matters, and quality is way more meaningful than quantity.

Seven Years

If we had known that a few weeks after this picture was taken our lives would be changed forever… I don’t know that we would have done anything differently. If we had, would it have made a difference? 

I use the term “we” loosely. No, it did not happen to one of my own children nor am I the one who’s had to adjust to this new life but I’d like to think that WE have been just as much a part of this journey as Rick and Roxanne

There is no handbook that tells you what the “right” thing is to do when your sons best friend/best friends son/yes,he’s my kid too has something as significant as this happen. There were days we didnt know whether to keep calling or give them space, times we weren’t sure if a night out was what was needed or to simply leave them alone. We handled the days as they came, one by one, trying to do what we thought was best in the manner we thought was appropriate. Sometimes that meant showing up with pizza and wine, completely unannounced, and other times it meant just sitting home wondering if everything was ok. And each decision we made ALWAYS left us questioning if it was the right one. 

Over the years, seven now, things have settled into somewhat of a routine; the unexpected visits are a little more expected. We no longer get annoyed (as much) when Rox doesn’t answer the phone or respond to a text for several days, although she knows I will show up with the police and a bat if TOO many days go by. We no longer avoid talking about THIS DAY and what happened. Instead we talk about what we’ve learned and what we miss. We (try) and focus on the good, like that smile that continues to light up every room he rolls into. 

We’ve learned to adapt and adjust and not freak out (as much) when he says he doesn’t feel well. I, specifically, learned that a frozen margarita pouch is great for getting body heat down (not so good for the margarita). 

We’ve learned to appreciate the changes that we, as friends and individuals, have made and learned what true admiration and bravery look like.  Vangie and I sat there in awe as Roxy finally found her voice, even if I was the first one she chose to use it on 😜

We learned that some days are good, and others, not so much. 

We learned this by example – Isaiah’s example. As we sat there and talked about what the next best move was, he sat there and stared at us like we were crazy, taking each day in stride, laughing at the wild suggestions we sometimes had for making HIM feel better…. And all along, it was him making US feel better. 

Alot has changed in seven years, the boys aren’t as close as they used to be but, my guess is, it would have happened eventually anyway. The girls may communicate more than ever but it’s not to talk about anything other than the love they have for a certain little someone who has brought us all so much joy, but US – our little group of friends – we are the same.. Still don’t talk every single day, still show up completely unannounced, and still drop whatever we are doing if we even THINK Rox needs a night out.

We still enjoy the not-so-funny jokes Isaiah tells- but we did stop pretending to laugh. And I still, to this day, feel nothing but enormous love for the kid who used to hide from me in my closet when he knew I was mad and pride for the young man I see before me.

Vaccine #1 – √

I arrived at the testing center thirty minutes before my scheduled appointment; exactly as instructed. I was signed in and given the consent forms to read and sign – again.

After a few minutes I was taken to an exam room where I was greeted by a lovely young lady who asked me the most personal of questions. How many pregnancies? 3 How many kids? 3 Last period: 2006. Surgeries: 3 Allergies: none – you get the idea.

Shortly there after, a PA came in and did a complete physical exam. Lungs: clear, Heart: pumping, Ears and throat: all good… feet: slightly swollen but that always happens when I wear my Tieks.

Cleared to continue to the next round.

Since I no longer have to worry about a pregnancy test I can finally go to the bathroom. They decide to check my weight while en route, something I should have probably done AFTER I went, but ok. Still in the parameters… on to the next round.

Within a few minutes, two children, I mean, people (students, im guessing) walk in. One sticks a swab so far up my nose I swear he touched my eye ball. I had never felt such… discomfort. But he’s not done. He moves on to the next one. This one had to have touched my brain. He’s certainly been to places otherwise unknown – you can at least buy me dinner first- geez! Luckily, I am happily informed that this is, by far, the worst of it. (THANK GOD). And I guess it was… I did, however, have an ENORMOUS amount of blood drawn, 8 vials to be exact.

I had never been so happy to see two people leave. And I am a quarantined sales person – I NEED TO TALK TO PEOPLE – ANY PEOPLE – but these two were probably the last on that list. I, as cheerfully as I could muster, thanked them and sent them on their merry way. The door closed behind them and I was left to sit and wonder if I had any blood left. I tried to focus on the mission at hand and resist the the urge to get up and run. Thankfully, I didn’t have the energy to do that.

I sat there a few minutes more and another sweet, but obviously exhausted, person comes in and gives me a present. A gift card and a cookie! I wasn’t sure which one made me more excited. The cookie, definitely the cookie..As I am, once again, left to sit and ponder how in the world I had gotten myself into this, no longer feeling violated by the child with the swab and feeling the blood slowly start to replenish in my body, I grabbed a COSMO I had in my bag, sat back, enjoyed my cookie and waited. Again.

Few more minutes later and I get to go to “the back”. The back is where the vaccines are actually administered. The time had finally come.. As I am seated in one of the six massaging recliners, I realize that it reminds me of the place my mom would get her chemo administered. All that was missing were the IV poles and bags.. You know how all these chemo places always have that one nurse that is just a tad bit to chipper to be there? Well, yup, we had one of those, too. Jerry. Jerry would come in every few minutes with a new vaccine and holler, “we’re saving the world today, folks!” The first few times it happened, I giggled with delight. After a few minutes I just wanted Jerry to come in and do what he had to do…. no shouting necessary. We get it, Jerry.. 🙂

At exactly 6:35 pm, my vaccine was given. I had to turn away because I was not allowed to see the injection. Not any part of it. I guess this is what they mean when they say “blind study”. The most important part of the day was, in a nutshell, pretty routine. I didn’t feel much of anything.

So now I wait – for exactly 30 minutes. In those 30 minutes I see people being excused without much fanfare. The most complicated part was downloading the app, and that was mainly for the older generation. But after a few minutes, even they got it and were merrily sent on their way with instructions on what to look for, when to call, what to report, etc. It was all pretty cut and dry. Until they got to me….

Being the impatient person that I am, I had already set my timer – 7:05 was when I could leave. By 7 I had the app loaded, the activation key inputed, I had selected my security questions, and I was ready to go. 7:03 – it’s all ready to go but no vitals can be taken till EXACTLY 7:05, so we both wait.. staring at the clock, watching the minutes turn.

7:05, let’s do this. Temperature √ added to the app. Injection site clear: √ added to the app. Headaches, pain, blurry vision – nope – √ added to the app. I was already grabbing my bags and texting my mom that I was done when she tells me that the last thing to do was check my blood pressure. No problem, check away… hold up, 140something… hmmmm, let’s try this again with a different, smaller cuff… now its a higher 140something. I’m instructed to uncross my legs – yeah, that’s gotta be it- an even higher 140something. OK, time to go to a private room, doctors coming in from every direction. In the 45 seconds it took me to get from one room to the other, it had gone from the high 140’s to the 160’s..

More doctors called. I felt nothing. No headache, no ringing in my ears, no flushed face – I FELT PERFECTLY FINE.

They decide to let me sit in silence for a few minutes – I put my head back and try and think good thoughts. Within a few minutes, they come back in and try again. Still nope.

There is talk of me going to the hospital; I say no. More talk of me sitting there a few more HOURS; also no – IM VERY HUNGRY. I decide that that is what had to have done it and they agree to let me go with a follow up call in an hour and another in the morning. Agreed.

As I’m driving home I realize that today was possibly a little history in the making. I also decide I DESERVE, not only my mothers cooking but some Delia’s Tamales, as well.. and I smile a little. With a little bit of luck and a whole lot of expertise I know nothing about it’s very possible I did just help save the world. (ok, maybe a bit much, but I’m feeling all sorts of things, mainly hunger, so just go with it).

River Time

Had such a great weekend doing nothing but enjoying what the good Lord gave us….

Yes, I know it sounds like a bad country song and I would normally NEVER post anything so cheesy (yeah, right) here but I start my vaccine trial TOMORROW and I’m feeling a little bit of everything so I allowed myself a pass just this one time.. 

It seems as though I’ve heard of more deaths this past week alone and it seems to be hitting closer and closer to home making me, both, more terrified and even more inclined to do it.. 

So, yeah, that’s it. 🤷🏼‍♀️ #grateful

Moderna COVID-19 Clinical Trial, Phase 3

It appears I am one of the 30,000 people taking part in phase 3 of this trial. My first injection will be administered on Monday, August 3rd @ 7am. Part of this trial involves keeping a log of the experience so consider this your warning.
If, for some reason, you don’t hear from me again after 7am on Aug 3rd- IT DID NOT GO WELL- and it was really nice knowing all of you! 🤷🏼‍♀️🙏🏻❤️

Much love, …

M

You can find more info about the trial in the link below.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/07/27/moderna-nih-launch-30000-person-trial-coronavirus-vaccine/?fbclid=IwAR3aYV_CMx6t9BI1cHnJaPxpO9sm7znU3BuXFaPWPwmbsfvGcbX1R0jJ-8E

All Endings Are Also Beginnings

Today marks the ending of one chapter and the beginning of a new one. It’s not going to be easy; it already hurts like hell and I feel like I’m going to break in half any second but it’s happening. The thought that this is just the beginning sends shots of pain right through me.

I wish I could blame it all on someone else but I can’t. This was MY choice, MY doing. Whatever follows will be because of my actions (or lack of) so there is no one to blame, no excuses to give to myself or anyone else, no reason to even attempt to pretend it happened TO ME. Because it didn’t. On the contrary, everything that is about to follow in the coming days, weeks months; will be happening BECAUSE of me.

I’m hoping that in time I will find the peace I have so desperately been looking for and it will, even slightly, make up for everything that I am about to lose. I am hoping that within all the madness that’s about to ensue, I’ll find myself again.

I continue to remind myself that I NEED to be real. I, and all the people involved, the ones that make up every sliver of this shattered heart of mine, DESERVE for me to be real. This is not the time for messing around or beating around the bush in order to spare other people’s feelings. It’s the time to be completely honest. The band aid has been ripped off, the blood is oozing out, and I have no other choice but to follow through until all of the wounds have been healed.

Meredith Grey

Since my daughter has been home we’ve all been watching Grey’s Anatomy. Every. Single. Day. I stopped watching it years ago because Meredith got on my nerves and I swear I wanted to punch her in the face by the end of every episode – so I just stopped watching – cold turkey. But, when my kid takes over the tv; you’re kinda stuck watching what she wants. And this is what she wanted. She actually started it from Season One, Episode One. By Season 16 I was pretty confident I could be a surgeon myself.

Turns out there was alot I missed. I swear that show drained me. I would, literally, be exhausted after watching it. A part of me wanted to be friends with all of them and another part was scared to actually have them as real doctors because they did not know how to follow ANY rules. And they weren’t even good at trying to get away with it…

But then one day, Meredith said something that really resonated with me.. she said:

“Maybe being grateful means recognizing what you have for what it is, appreciating small victories and Admiring the struggle it takes simply to be human” ~ Meredith Grey

With everything going on right now, I thought, holy crap, she’s right! Let’s stop focusing on every bad thing that’s been happening, Lord knows, there has been a-lot, and let’s start focusing on the good; no matter how insignificant it may be. So that’s what Im doing; remembering to be thankful.

Im thankful for the familiar things I know and I’m thankful for the things I may never know. I’m thankful for the people in my life, the memories we’ve made and the ones we have yet to make. 

At the end of the day, the fact that we have the ability and the courage to still be standing is reason enough to celebrate.

Is this our new “normal”?

I read an article on the lasting impact this virus is going to have on us and how we do business. For the most part, I agreed with everything the author said; expect for one thing… 

She stated that “the comfort of being in the presence of others will be replaced by a greater comfort with absence….” Instead of asking, “Is there a reason to do this online?” we’ll be asking, “Is there any good reason to do this in person?”

While, at this particular moment, distance is, unfortunately, necessary, I PRAY that it is not a replacement for actual human interaction. I still believe that putting a face to the name of someone I have been interacting with for months is important. I still believe that a hug from a colleague you’ve worked with for decades means something. I still WANT to be able to sit down at a table with that team you’ve come to think of as family and talk about our (crazy)lives.. I still want to drive Marcus Ramirez crazy with the things I agree to because I, honestly, believe he CAN do anything and everything “ASAP”. 

All I am saying is that, when all of this over, I hope we go back to the way things were because the way they were wasn’t bad. It was REAL. It was US. And I happen to like us… a lot.