To My Son on His 11th Birthday

Dear Tyler,

This birthday post comes a couple of days late because you have been sick all week. We took you to the doctor yesterday and you were diagnosed with Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. You’ve been out of school all week and we are trying to make up all your schoolwork. You felt particularly miserable on your birthday, as the rash on your feet is causing you burning and itching. You’ve been soaking your feet all day in water with baking soda and we are hoping to have you back in school tomorrow.

For your birthday we took in your favorites, Skyline Chili and Dairy Queen for dessert. We had 36 cupcakes but gave them to your class. Your birthday party is next weekend and you are having three special friends at the park and we will serve pizza and cake and you will have the playground. It’s more simple than we’ve had in the past but I think that’s how birthdays go once you get older.

You got back into your Spider-Man phase, the Spectacular Spider-Man animated series, and all your presents were Spidey and his villains, plus two DVDs that we had lost. Thank God Spider-Man kept you busy during this week home!

You still love watching youtube and you love Minecraft there and on your playstation. You also love watching gaming.

You completed your black belt this year and we were so proud. Now you have decided you want to do acting and want to be an actor. You like being the voices in your books. I couldn’t be more pleased. I starting acting classes when I was about your age!

This year we’ve all had to contend with my bad back that no one has been able to diagnose. I’ve been limited with what I could do with you this summer, but you have taken it well. Sometimes a look of disappointment flashes on your face and it kills me. I feel I am  missing special times with you but we try to make up for it by reading together, playing games and watching videos.

I’m so proud of everything you’ve accomplished this year and I am proud to have a son as amazing, funny, kind and compassionate as you are!

Happy birthday, Tyler!



For My Son on His 9th Birthday

If you would like to look back on some other birthday messages here is Tyler’s 8th birthday.

Where did the year go? You’ve waited months, weeks and days and now your birthday is finally here! You got up early to open up your presents as if it were Christmas! You got the Spider-Man villains Carnage and Anti-Venom and the “anti-superhero” Dead Pool. I’ve never heard of these guys but I like learning about them with you. You are going to be Dead Pool for Halloween and I am afraid no one is going to know who you are!

You celebrated your birthday in school yesterday with candy and cupcakes. Your birthday party is tomorrow. Just you and three boys for laser tag and cupcakes. I am nervous because I want everything to be perfect.

Your anxiety and OCD have gotten worse and your father and I are trying to make the decision whether or not to medicate you, which is probably the most difficult decision we’ve ever had to make for you. I hate to see you suffer and feel guilty that your dad and I have passed our mental illnesses to you.

You are in the third grade and hate school which scares me a little because I want you to go to college and your dad and I probably aren’t going to be able to help, although we do have a college fund for you.

I have a lot of long range worries for you besides college. The dentist says you will need braces in a few years and I don’t know how much insurance pays for that. I worry that you won’t have a car to drive when you are ready to drive, I worry that I won’t have a car at all.

You know we are not rich, but don’t know how bad our financial situation is and I dread me having to tell you someday. Our house is a mess and I worry it will bother you when you get older, but for now it’s the home you love.

This year I told you about my depression and you took it very well, but I worry about having to explain to you my bipolar disorder and I hope I don’t have to for a while.

You’ve been in Tae Kwan Do for over a year and are doing well in it. Your dad and I are so proud of you!

Your father and I have not discussed sex with you yet even though we plan to soon. I wonder how that will go over!

You are my favorite person in the world and I try to tell you that often.

It’s 11:40 a.m. and nine years ago I was in heavy labor. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me and I try so hard to be the mother that you deserve.

So happy birthday my beautiful boy. You are smart, funny and courageous and the perfect son for me!

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For My Son On His 6th Birthday

Dear Tyler,

I am already tearing up as I write this because of how drastically our lives have changed.  You have been through so much this year.  My hospitalization for two weeks when you told daddy you forgot what I looked like, our move from New Jersey to Massachusetts, and now being apart from daddy for a very long time, with no set date for when we will be together again.

I am so sorry that this has happened, but it had to be, at the time we just didn’t see any other way.  You tell me that it is okay, you still call me the best Mommy in the world, but what you will think of me five years or ten years from now?

After six months you are still so unhappy here.  Any good thing I have tried to give you; a vacation to Cape Cod, camp, the pool and the lake, and soccer, still can’t make up for the fact that you miss your daddy and your old home.  I know that, Tyler, I feel it too, but I am trying to make life as good as I can for you with what life has dealt us.

Still, you are excited about your birthday.  The celebration at school, your party at night and your party on the weekend.  Making friends is hard when you’re new, but you have three boys coming and you will have a lot of fun!  As we get into the school year, I know you will make more friends, and hopefully the routine will make it easier for you to adjust.

Your favorite shows are Adventure Time, The Regular Show, Scooby-Doo and Ninjago.  You love the Captain Underpants series and the Frances the Badger books. You are collecting the Lego Monster Fighter series and the Trash Pack.  You love monsters and gross things in general. You have an Angry Birds backpack and a Spider-Man lunch box.  You have really branched out this year from all things Spider-Man although he is still your favorite superhero.  This year you discovered that my phone and computer have some really cool games on them.

You still love your Eeyore and you carry him in your backpack to school.  You don’t take him out, it’s just nice to know he’s there.

You have gotten so tall this year.  My little boy is turning into a young man.

You are so loving, compassionate and understanding.  Our situation has made us closer, and we are partners in crime in our new adventures; getting used to walking after living in suburbia, getting lost almost every time we drive somewhere, and checking out the new parks.

But most of all, you are the bravest boy I know.

On your sixth birthday, know how much daddy and I love you, and know that we are doing everything we can to bring us all back together as soon as we are able.






My Birthday: Good times!

Thanks to God and my friends’ and familys’ wishes for me to have a good day, I managed to have a nice, low pain birthday!

October 29th will go down in history as a record snowstorm.  Neither my mother nor I could ever remember it snowing on my birthday.  States of emergency have been declared in New Jersey (my neck of the woods), Connecticut and Massachusetts.

I am not one for taking pictures of the snow but on my birthday I had to!

Trees with leaves still on them collapsing under the weight of the snow.


Downed tree right next to my house, blocking traffic. I'll miss that tree!


Plans for the day changed drastically as soon as we went outside and were faced with ice and snow pelting us. The lovely lunch we had planned for my birthday was scrapped and we were lucky enough to make it to IHOP (International House of Pancakes for all of you non-Americans).  IHOP is not the worst place to have your birthday!  I had maple coffee and pumpkin pancakes with pecans and caramel sauce.  Hey, it’s my birthday and if not your birthday, when else can you go nuts?

After that we made our scary snow covered way to the grocery store and pharmacy to pick up medicine and groceries to hunker down for the rest of the storm.  When we got out of the store, the power had gone out and most of the lights on the road were out of power, forcing us to keep driving until we could make a turn to get back on the highway the other way towards home.  I was praying we were going to have power; 600,000 homes were without power.

I got my birthday wish, we had power and it was nice and warm!  Then we opened presents.

Tyler and I with our matching Perry the Platypus(es, i?). There was no way I was going to get one without Tyler getting one!


I finally got a piece of Melody Ross's art of The Brave Girls Club Blog! Love her and the blog!


We celebrated getting Perry the Platypus by watching an episode of Phineas and Ferb and then it was time for my birthday nap, one of the best gifts I got!

Even though I was really down in my last post, I feel like the universe came together and managed to give me a fun, as low pain as possible, unique birthday! Thank you again for all your good wishes and hopes that my birthday would be a good day!



Another Birthday…At Least I’m Still Here??

Today is my birthday and it just happens that it looks like we are going to set a record in NJ for we are expecting up to three inches of snow, which never happens here and is never happened on my birthday, and I should know.

Today I am 42, and it’s not the age I turned, and I don’t hate or dread that number, it’s just that once again, I am so sick and in so much pain on this day.  I have the unfortunate luck of having been born in the season of Autumn.  For me and so many others like me, Fall is always my worst season and I dread it even more than Winter.  My body doesn’t like the sweeping temperatures, going from 35 degrees to 65 degrees, the really hot days with the sudden cool days.  If I am not flaring already, I start to, if I am in a flare it only gets worse.

Through the past years I could look back on Halloween or my birthday and remember that I would be having such a good time…if I wasn’t in for the pain.  For several years my township would have this Haunted Forest, before they became afraid of lawsuits, I guess, and shut it down.  It was one of the coolest Halloween things I had ever seen, it was put on by the local high school kids and was different every time.  I have an image of going to it on my birthday with Grant despite having a Costochondritis flare, before Tyler was born.  I wanted to go anyway despite being sick, I loved it so much.  But now when I remember it, I remember standing in line in the cold and it hurting so much to breathe.  That is my main memory of the event.

Last week, due to gaining so much weight because of the as yet undiagnosed hormonal issue, I had to go shopping for pants and shoes because nothing fits any more.  I went to DSW Shoes and I told one of the associates about how swollen my feet were and how I needed a sneaker with ankle support because sometimes I cannot walk, and she was very helpful in giving me advice about the type of shoe I needed.  To my surprise and dismay I fit into a size 11!  Last year I was a size 9.5 and before all of this started I was a size 9. I had known my feet were swollen, I had worn flip flops all summer, but not to this extent.  I was kind of shocked as I had first tried on a size 10 and moved my way up.  I was walking around with my size 11 sneakers and the woman came over to me.  “Are they comfortable?”  I told her yes but what I really wanted to say is, “You know what, my feet are NEVER comfortable, even when they are bare, they hurt every single second of my life!”  The size 11 was as good as it would ever get.  I also picked up a shoe which I was a size 10 in.  Other than these two pairs of shoes, I don’t have another shoe in my closet that fits.

On Thursday I went to the Rheumatologist because the drug that I have been taking for three years to keep the Lupus/Rheumatoid Arthritis in check is making me sick.  So now I am flaring and have no medication to take for it.  The doctor wanted to run all the blood tests for Lupus to see where I was in order to figure out the possibilities to treat me.  He examined my very swollen fingers and wrists and we talked about my visits to the endocrinologist’s and how frustrated I was at being undiagnosed.

“With everything you have, the longer you live, unfortunately it is common that you will receive more and more diagnoses.”  That it was just the way it is.

“I don’t mean to minimize what you have but at least you are still here, you know?”

That’s it?  All you have to tell me is that at least I’m still HERE?

I told him, “I know I am still here, but I am miserable every day of my LIFE.”  “I know you are”, he said, sympathetically.

I know people have it worse, that right now people with Lupus are in the hospital fighting for their lives.  I know people have died from some of the diseases I have, someone I know just died this month.  But is that the best I can say about my life, that at least I am still here??

I don’t want to be grateful that I am still here, I am tired of being grateful that I am still here. Being here is not what it is cracked up to be.  As I go into my 43rd year I am facing another year of constant pain, and another long journey to find out what is wrong with me now.  

Is it too much to ask and hope for that there should be more to my life than that I am just here?  For once, I would like to have something that resembles a normal life.  A day without pain, may I dare say a week?

On my birthday, is it wrong to not be grateful that I have made it to the ripe old age of 42?  

On my birthday, is it wrong to wish for life to be more than just existing?  

On my birthday, today I am so goddamned tired of being grateful that I am just still here.


Photo courtesy of 5 Minutes For Mom