murphyormel

wacky reflections from a nutcracker wannabe

Category: Psychotherapy

Most likely to be in the Journal of Mass Spectrometry.

Wait, that was my brilliant brother, not me. 

I’m more likely heading for a display ad in Working Mother that reads, “Advice appreciated. My teenager has entered the fifth dimension, and it isn’t a movie, it is being months from navigating the terrifying, wonderful, ‘friends over family’ landscape called being 15.”

I reference my sweet brother, as he is parenting a five-year old dollie who eats humus, broccoli, tofu and avocado for snacks. I’m the fast-moving, fast talking, single mama who begs my teenage girl to eat an apple with caramel, a carrot with Ranch – something in a food group that isn’t candy to compliment the microwaved corn dog.  And to make it more ridiculous, I can barely spell broccoli without spell check, yet speak proper context for esoteric, voracious and/or cathexis.

Where is the handbook? (A parenting handbook not one on mass spectrometry.)

How many times must I say “no, you can not drive my car?” And how long can they stay in their room without coming out for air? Will thumb dysfunction due to texting be covered by ACA? No wonder vision tests are required in high school these days, and the human attention span is shorter than a goldfish**

Psychology teaches us this is normalcy, functional, early beginnings of independence, and pushing us as parents (which btw- works to test the patience of both). And I do get it. I am certain I did the same thing, but that was a long, long time ago, and the phrase, “because I am the parent” sounded ludicrous in the 80s.  In 2015, I really like the phrase. This week, my smart girl even pulled the Socratic method on me. Seriously? Is this law school? Did I miss where Litigation 101 came after Physical Education in middle school?

It’s a little lonely to be on the inside back cover of Working Mother without answers.  And more bittersweet, without her presence in the way she was at five….half my height, pigtails, contagious belly laughter, a princess cape and holding my hand tucked into bed reading together or working a Mad Lib.

(Now, THERE is a marketing opportunity Mad Libs (appropriately named) that facilitate parent-teenager communication.)

This is teenage-hood. My role is to give her space, cheer on risk (within reason), allow her to choose and face her own consequences, lead by example, encourage newly developing talents and nurture the road less traveled.  My job is to love her and rally in her corner, no matter where and how she lands. (I find a closed-door and deep breathing techniques also help.)

Her job; however, is simply to be.

Someday they will all return to our dimension and with them, they will bring extra love, wisdom and learnings and the great power of finding adventure while seeking their truth.

We will no longer need Working Mother for advice or guilt over the occasional corn dog, rather we as parents of teens are also learning a new landscape – through adult reading glasses and wisely picked battles that truly matter.

Metta,

Mel

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** http://time.com/3858309/attention-spans-goldfish/

Just because:

http://www.workingmother.com/best-companies/2014-working-mother-100-best-companies

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_spectrometry / Mass spectrometry (MS) is an analytical chemistry technique that helps identify the amount and type of chemicals present in a sample by measuring the mass-to-charge ratio and abundance of gas-phase ions.

My mom. My superhero.

She always believes in me. The real me. The authentic me.

My mom, my superhero. She just knows.

She loves who I am. At two. At 10. During puberty. At 17 and taking me to Mizzou J-school for the first time. In my early 20s when I married my daughter’s dad not knowing what marriage and parenting truly entailed. As my career evolved, and I called home from all over the world.

She embraced every adventure as if she was next to me on the plane, and closed her eyes and sent me white lights when I made choices that a mom can endure but can’t stop……(parasailing in a foreign country, being the passenger on the back of a motorcycle in cities far away from home, working a trade show with a shooting, being ill in Tokyo, Vegas, Mexico and other distanced cities all alone, living away in Summers in college with strangers on Long Island and loving NYC on weekends with other adventurous and underage 19 year olds, enjoying my share of New Orleans and many a trip with the college girls- even when missing the state lines. Lol.)

She gave me the courage to be who I am, and the guts to rock some adventures most folks wouldn’t consider.

She has empowered me to speak my mind in light of conflict and challenge, and be the person I am meant to be. She taught me to be strong, speak up and laugh along the way.

It is because of her I am able to take on anything and know – with my whole heart- I will not just survive ….. but own.

It is because of her I am not afraid.

It is because of her that I want to be stronger, better as a friend and mom and a new me. A healthy me- both in body and mind, heart and soul.

When my daughter was born, mom held her for the first time and looked at her as if that single loving moment could never be enough or more powerful. When divorce followed, she held my hand and cried with and for me. When the wild side of being single and newly divorced hit, she laughed along with girlfriends at my misadventures. When dating the wrong boys went on and on, she kept laughing, only now, she was sharing with her own circle of women friends. They laughed too. When the cancer came, she held it together, but I know privately she grieved for me.

She always believes in me.

Most folks don’t know she has a bachelor’s in political science and a minor in Russian from the University of Illinois. She taught school in inner city Chicago during the riots while dad was in law school. And when her own world faced challenge, she followed her own life’s path change and worked full time concurrent to achieving a master’s in social work to start her own FT private practice in psychotherapy. She rode her bike across Ireland in her 40s, started a band (the aging hippie band) and climbed the Grand Canyon in her 50s.

She embraces friendship and love as most people never fully appreciate. And as her own wise circle of women friends would concur, she is lovable, artsy, quirky, incredibly bright, cultured, polished and an amazing feminist woman to adore and idolize.

She is my superhero.

I am grateful, blessed, honored and only hope, I too can give my own sweet girl the same gift some day.

Om shanti…..
M

In our house, going to the therapist was like an annual dental checkup.

And as I reread that title, you might read two different ways. LOL!  I meant it a positive.  No joke, in our house, we look at a visit to the therapist like a check up.  You break a leg, you visit the hospital.  You get a cold, you see the doc.  Why would your mind and soul not get the same important attention?

I’ve joked in previous posts about prepaying psychotherapy for my sweet daughter after all she has watched of my silliness and life changes, but it’s not a joke anymore.  She is fully aware of why therapy is important and how it can nurture, enhance and lead us to find our authentic self…..even as the journey is ever-changing.

High achievers don’t like to fail.  And for some, therapy feels like failure.  But why?  1.  It’s private and no one needs to know. 2.  It’s healthy.  Just imagine the peace in the world if we gave ourselves permission for daily reflection, quiet time or meditation and weekly therapy, like we do to watch Big Bang Theory (for goodness sakes, we enjoy reality tv, but we don’t look ourselves in the mirror?)?  3.  If you get an unbiased source to just listen to your “stuff”, where is there downside?, and 4.  You receive confirmation, kindness, call outs on your own behavior and likely learn to be a better friend, partner, and/or parent in the process.

But I was raised to know it’s healthy.  And as such have been very transparent and open to the need in my life to ask for help and take action to receive.  So cheers to a new account or spin-off angle on the 401K or CD option for psychotherapy use after 2025!

Don’t be afraid of looking in the mirror.  It’s ok to see the real you, embrace, understand and seek support.

Namaste’,

M

p.s.  And you must find the right fit for you, and all therapists know that and want the same, so, if #1 or #2 isn’t right, keep looking.  It’s a lot like a serious relationship, but it isn’t easy if you have to “break up”.  Pick someone you will share all and not sell them on being someone you are not just to hear, you are fine.  The good ones know better.

The only time being called a large Mack truck is a compliment…

In the last few days, I have been reminded of who I am to the outside.  That in itself is an immense gift.  Being called a “Warrior” and “Mack truck” are my personal favorites.  No other time except when facing cancer is being called a large Mack truck appropriate.  Never.  But today, I know my friend sees me as tenacious, driven, strong and capable of moving anything that gets in my way.  He is right.

ok, so I actually haven’t kicked thyroid cancer’s ass yet, but I will.  Just around the corner. Doc assures me that “if you are going to have cancer, this is the best kind to have.”  LOL!  Those are words I never expected to hear, much less typing them in a blog I didn’t plan to write until 20 minutes ago.  I also must acknowledge that once I kick this, cancer can always come back.  No worries. I’ve had my share of ups and downs and always land on my feet.

Know that song by Blue October, “Jump Rope”?  If not, get it.

That being said, if you read, “Get a goiter, grow a goiter”- this would be part 2.  You see, that goiter that Ms. Crazy Aunt Delilah designed for the work costume contest and actually became one two years ago, was checked and found benign.  But over time and with repeated ultrasounds that never showed cancer, it was time for surgery to remove.  Mostly it was cosmetic and sometimes I would feel pressure on my vocal cord (perhaps a gift to my friends, as I do possess the gift to gab).  Me?  I was just happy to get rid of that word in my vocabulary. Seriously, who named that thing a Goiter anyway…… “gooooooiter”?  It just says, “make fun of me”.  (And Seinfeld did nothing to help those of us with the curse of the “goooooiter”.)

Regardless, I conceded and took on the surgery when it fit my schedule.  When the doc came back in after discharge to tell me they found malignancies, even he didn’t expect to give me this news.  It wasn’t seen on the previous ultrasounds, and no one seems to know for how long I had been growing the cells. Again, no worries, I get some radioiodine and a total body scan and soon enough I’m back to being a bad ass marketing professional.

But here’s what I’ve learned along this ridiculously insane journey:

– Many folks have thyroid issues, but unless they “get the goiter”, they may not be aware of the cancerous cells.  Ask your doc how you can be sure you are safe.

– Laughter heals.  So too does investing in a good therapist.

–  My 11-year-old  daughter has a capacity for amazing resilience and understanding.  We haven’t yet used the “c” word (not that word, you goof), but I am transparent about needing much rest and meds that will make me radioactive and need to keep me alone for a few days while she stays with her dad.

– “Ask for the order”.  Social networking has a completely new meaning for me this week- beyond a buttload of professional experience.  (oh dear, I may have to rate this blog differently).  An insane amount of emails, notes, personal stories, public thoughts, encouragement and kindness continue to come my way from people I haven’t seen in years.  And it took me weeks to admit to folks even outside my closest six girlfriends what was happening in my life.  Suddenly, I am flooded with white lights, love and healing from around the globe.  Just with a touch of a button and a polite request to have my back.

– Never allow anyone-  a sibling, parent, spouse (!!!!), friend, family member, colleague to hear the diagnosis alone.  Partially, b/c they are likely loopy on  Vicadin or Morphine, as I was and only heard one word, and partially b/c we need to be holding a hand or taking notes or something….and for me, I was still in the hospital gown, arse hanging out, connected to tubes and hair looking rocking hot.  I was in shock and there was no one to hold my hand.

– Some folks you think will come to your side will not. And that is ok.  Not everyone is comfortable and knows what and how to be there for you.  Accept that this is not easy for anyone and move forward with folks who will not pull from the positive energies you need in reserve.

– Toxic people are bad news. Move on.

– I have always been good with “asking for the order”. (Daughter of a psychotherapist and attorney.)  But, I’m not great at asking for help.  Too damn type A and like to believe I can do it all.  This time, I couldn’t. And you know what, asking wasn’t hard and the return has been the best investment of all time. 🙂

– Next time you enter a hospital, consider that every patient – you, your friend, your parent, etc…this is their story.  It is not just a visit from you.  It has a beginning – when they first call the doctor knowing something is “amiss”- to the end diagnosis or worse.  Everything else in between is the plot.  You are part of that plot and can make it even the smallest bit easier- even offering an ice chip or calling the nurse or a trip to the bathroom with someone other than a stranger means something.  Be there and be present. And know it’s their story, not yours.  Even if dinner needs to be made, or the kids have homework, or the laundry isn’t done.  They are scared and need you to be with them.

–  Touch.  People need human contact.  We need to be loved.  Ask to hold a hand or give a hug, or frankly, just let me cry without solving my problems or telling the story of iodine radiation that your uncle bob had.  I am not Bob.

–  I don’t need you to tell me you are sorry.  Of course you are, you are my friend.  Instead, just be there and remind me of all the things you know me to be.  Because in that vulnerable moment, I don’t recall who I was before the diagnosis.

–  Nurses run a hospital.  I can be the lead for the marketing department, but I am nothing but support to the men/women who have  (as my smart, loving, nurse based CEO says) “the privilege to touch the patient”.  She is right.  It is a privilege, and nurses deserve incredible respect.

And finally, Crazy Aunt Delilah may not have been just karma, she may have just saved my life.

Just imagine this next Halloween when she reappears with a new look, a fancy scarf to cover what appears a neckline intruder incident and a rockin’ story about being a cancer survivor.  Probably wearing the survivor card on a tiara……(note to self).

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