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Exercise, The Magic Kingdom and Richard Simmons

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I took a break from blogging, T.S. and all things work related yesterday to spend the day at Disneyland with my daughter. Thanks to Tuskany, whose hubby works at the studio, we not only got free parking and a free park entrance, but there was a substantial discount on merchandise and food as well. Plus she has an electric car, so no gas was required. (Well, I can’t say there was no gas. I had two cups of coffee. But that doesn’t count.)

To say it was a magical day is an understatement. It was exactly the medicine the doctor ordered. I am so grateful.

While I absolutely refused to post Facebook photos of myself and my kid in front of Cinderella’s Castle per my latest anti-boasting Facebook Embargo, I feel okay bragging about it here. It’s a reminder for me, when I look back at posts, that sometimes when the world feels like a big giant “no” there arealways people ready to throw me a “yes.” That was Tuskany, and I am so very grateful.

Side note: For those of you with friends two decades long, call them up and say hi. Whether they can offer you free theme park passes or not, there’s nothing like a live chat with someone who has loved you through the good, the bad and the ugly.

Throughout the day, I made a conscious effort to not look at my phone. I didn’t need to text my friend about my job interview. (Yes, it went very well, thank you!) I didn’t need to call my spouse about picking up my son. (Rex is more reliable than the inevitable waxing and waning of tics.) And I certainly didn’t need to check my email to see updates on my Ebay shipment, who needs help with their kids, or what some random website was emailing me about gluten free corn dogs that I can’t afford to buy now anyway. Yesterday was just about the people directly in front of me.

Staying focused on the present is no easy task for an over-thinker like me. Pinocchio’s nose made me think about lying, which made me think about the Monsanto cheating us out of healthy food.

As quickly as I’d bring myself back to the present, Cinderella’s lost slipper would make me think about my shoes. “Is that why my back is hurting? I don’t have proper footwear?” which inevitably lead to my son’s feet. “I need to get Stink new shoes. And really, if I think about it, he needs to do more exercise, that would help with the tics!” And just like that, I’d be down Alice’s rabbit hole quicker than you can say Giles de la Tourette.

But here’s the deal. At the Happiest Place on Earth, it’s impossible not to think about the magic of life. I might not be able to make all my problems go away like Bibbity Bobbity Boo. I might find myself fighting tic crocodiles for a while or being rudely awakened by the fact that my Prince sometimes has more frog in him than Royal blood. (Like last week… not our greatest week ever. But hey, I didn’t make a horny toad joke. Until now. Oh, well.)

james and andrea

But life is not a fairy tale. There are good chapters and bad chapters, villains and heroes. But in the end, with the right perspective, I can have Happily Ever After in accepting what it is I can’t change, changing the things I can, and having the wisdom to know the difference.

Yesterday, I accepted what I couldn’t change: The tics were still very  high.

I accepted what I could change: “Yes, Tuskany, I would LOVE to take my daughter out of school and surprise her with a Disney day. Thank you!”

And I had the wisdom to know the difference: I reminded myself that I had a plan to slowly incorporate some of Doctor Carroll’s suggestions when I get my full-time job. Until then, I would journal and write lists. Then, with the knowledge that nothing would be forgotten,  I had no choice but to focus full attention on a lovely little girl who is growing up before my very eyes.

I also would like to add that I had a another genius stroke of wisdom. My son needs more exercise, and so do I. With all the gray hairs I’ve gotten in the past two weeks worrying about what I can’t change, and his spike in symptoms, perhaps we can both start exercising to Richard Simmons. He makes me laugh like crazy, plus he has a video called Richard Simmons and the Silver Foxes. It stars his mom, Farrah Fawcett’s mom, Al Pachino’s mom and Sylvester Stallone’s mom doing leg kicks, twists, stretches and other good-for-you cardiovascular moves, all set to tacky 80’s music. When Simmons does a re-do with Stink’s mom, I’m in.

 

I’d love to know how you all are managing your lives. What exciting things are you saying yes to?

Bonus points for anyone who wants to do a Richard Simmons video. Who is in? Leave a comment. I’ll be giving you a quiz next week, so no cheating. Get on your tennis shoes, strap on your fanny pack, and get ready to disco like a silver fox!

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Mindful Monday – I’m Important, Too!

Since Friday’s post, when I didn’t think things could be worse, they got worse… to the point where Saturday made Friday’s post look like a minor throat clear.

The bad news: That sucked.

The good news: I got through it!

How? I focused on Stink’s appointment with the naturopath on Tuesday.

I also gave myself permission to feel annoyed by the sounds. In the past, I’d spend a lot of time thinking, “A good mom would not be so frustrated. It’s not like he can help it.”

This go-around, I am realizing that there is only one way to be at truly good mom. This kind of mother is the kind who realizes that she is not superwoman. She can do many things, but not all. For some people, constant sounds aren’t a big deal. For me, they are like kryptonite.

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For those of you new at this Tourettes thing, here is something I wish someone had told me in the beginning of this journey 8 years ago.

Hi scared mama –

I’m sorry that you’re going through all this. I really am. But I can promise you, tics are like house guests. Just when you can’t take them anymore, they disappear. But don’t get too comfortable. Christmas is just around the corner, and this time, they’re bringing friends.

You can try a whole bunch of stuff to mitigate the sounds and twitches – Lord knows I did – but don’t fall for every scam out there. Talk to people. Join a group. Check out ACN. Find a great homeopathic doctor. Find a good psychiatrist for your child (or you if you need one!) 

But most of all, remember to love your kid for who he or she is in their soul. Don’t get so caught up in the latest movement or sound that you forget the best movement and sounds of all – dancing and hugs, kisses and singing.

Your kid will likely outgrow this syndrome, but he will never outgrow needing to feel like he is the most important thing in the world to you, tics or not.

I know you’re scared. It’s normal. But I’m here, and I encourage you to leave a comment to let others know that you need help.

Also, don’t forget to do something nice for yourself every day to get a break from worrying. You don’t need to feel bad about it. Your child deserves a mom who is present. One who listens. And one who is totally accepting. If this means you need to take some time off for a walk to calm down, do it.

If it means you need to put in some ear plugs, do it. (Tell your kid you have a headache from traffic or work and it calms you down. They don’t need to know that one more beep-beep might send you over the edge.)

If it means you need to take three baths a day so that the only sound is the water slipping over your toes while you day-dream about hot Scottish Highlanders, do it! The people at DWP warning you about the drought? They can suck it. (And if your spouse is like mine and he doesn’t worry about the tics as much as you do, you can justify the extra water by taking his shower ration from him! Let him stink for a day. Your sanity is worth it.)

You can do this mama. Yes, you can! And your kid, tics or not, can be the most incredible kid on the planet, because he will be brave, strong, courageous and completely confident in who he is as a human being, not a ticker. Why? Because you raised him to believe that. DUH.

Hang in there. It gets better.

Love, Andrea

In closing, I’d like to say that a good friend of mine, Tuskany, inspired this post. Tuskany is snarky and opinionated at times with her comments which makes me laugh. She also knows when I need to hear truth.

Over dinner on Saturday – which consisted of just the two of us because YES I NEEDED A BREAK – she reminded me that I do a lot for my kids. She pointed out that I took a full-time job last year so my spouse could start his own I.T. biz. She listed the many times I step it up for Pip and for Stink, but what do I do for me? Last she checked, I was part of this family, too.

And you know what? She’s right. I don’t often think of that. But it’s true. While being there for others is not only part of my general make-up and faith walk, too much of it is not healthy.

“God doesn’t just care about works,” she reminded me. “He wants you to rest in Him.”

Is it really that easy? The more I thought of it, the more I decided that it is. “Do you love your kids more when they clean up their room, or when they wrap their arms around you and tell you how much you love them?” She asked me. “Of course, the second,” I told her. “Right,” she said, looking me straight in the eye. “As your parent, God wants the same from you.”

Huh.

Wow.

That, my friends, is liberating.

It got me really thinking about how “un-peaceful” I have felt the past year. I’ve been running and working and trying to be everything for everyone… so much so that I’ve forgotten who I am. The song American Honey states it best, “I got so caught up… in this crazy life… trying to be everything’ll make you lose your mind. I just want to go back in time… to American Honey.”

Honey is sweet and so is feeling grounded. I want that – whether the tics clear up for good after tomorrow or my kid’s syndrome gets so bad I need to drive him to a surgeon for deep brain stimulation. (Dramatic much? Me? Never.) Tuskany’s pep talk got me thinking: Where do I want to be this time next year in my career? Who do I want in my inner circle of friends? Who needs to get the boot? How do I want to raise my kids?

While I am not 100% sure what direction I will go, one thing is for sure: It’s time for less virtual life and more real life.

Blogs and articles are fine. Like books, they speak to me in a variety of ways. Hopefully I can speak into someone else’s life with my own blogs and articles. But Facebook? It’s gonna have to go. It brings me no peace. I compare and despair. It sucks the life out of me. For some, it’s a fun way to connect to family and friends. For me, it’s one sound byte away from me going into an anxiety attack.

I’m giving myself permission to check out Facebook one day/week only. But, based on the peace I feel right now, it might just go away altogether. I might not be able to fix the tics, but I can fix who I connect with.

Cool update: Since limiting my virtual addiction, I’ve seen three people in person for lunch, interviewed for a job today, and had more meaningful conversations with my mom than I’ve had in a year. With this in mind, I give Facebook:

facebook-sucksAnyone with me?

What are you doing these days to be mindful? Share in the comment section below!

Until then, May God grant you the serenity to accept the tics you can’t change, change the tics you can, and have the wisdom to know the difference.

Andrea