Saturday, May 28, 2011

Joplin: my aftermath

I'm a thrower away-er. I know that about myself. If I find a box of things in the closet from years ago, chances are that at least 98% of it will be thrown away minutes later. I don't know why. I guess for the same reason that some people are keepers.

God bless my sister. She's a keeper. If she finds a box of old things in the closet 98% of it is staying in the house. It almost doesn't matter what it is.

I guess its just something inside of you. Its not just stuff in a closet that makes me that way. I'm that way in life too. Experiences, relationships, memories. If I don't need it to carry on, its almost like it didn't even happen. I know its not really functional, but it had been working ok for me for the last twenty-seven years.

Why is this coming up now? Well, I said I would process the Joplin tornado emotionally in time. The problem is,  I couldn't, because a lot of Joplin, for me, was already thrown away. I had given it only the status of "the place where my family still lived." I had forgotten, or chosen to "throw away" the fact that I was born there, learned to ride a bike there, learned to play sports there, learned to kiss boys there, learned to drive there and graduated there. Learned to be a friend and a sister and daughter and a student and a competitor there. And a million other things that have made me who I am. I didn't give it any credit. I've been gone for ten years now and I had chosen to throw it away for Fayetteville, and eventually Kansas City. I have just recently learned that Kansas City is my home, but Joplin is still my hometown.

I'm sorry, Joplin. I'm sorry I left you in the dust a long time ago and now I am regretting it. Your people and your memories and even your buildings (now many are lots with piles of debris) are being newly kept by me. Not because you need me, but because I need you. Joplin is not where I live now, but its part of who I am and I have to be willing to embrace that. I'm going to be learning what that looks like over the next days and months and years as I learn what my role is in the restoration of my home town: Joplin, MO.

Monday, May 23, 2011

We were in Joplin... know, for the tornado. Driving back from visiting my in-laws in TX we had decided to drive all the way to Joplin to stay with my folks Sunday night. Driving up I-44 we heard the weather would be bad. We saw it looked bad. At about 5:10pm we got off I-44 onto Range Line (Joplin's main drag) and drove to my parents house. Its funny, because I told Brian if something happened then I wanted to be around shelter. At 5:15 we got to my parents house. Just after 5:30 a horrific EF4 tornado ripped down the path that we had just driven.

My family lives on the other side of town from the destruction. Our house is untouched and we are all fine. Only the cable is out, which means we didn't see any of the coverage until getting here to KC (just hours ago). Well, maybe we didn't see coverage, but my family and Brian saw it first hand. Once we started getting phone calls Sunday night we realized it was pretty bad. Brian and my dad left the house to check on some friends and their house. What they saw was unpredictable and horrific. Brian gave his shirt to a man bleeding from the head, but not hurt badly enough to get triaged by the ambulances driving around--helped people get things out of houses, look for loved ones, tried to locate neighbors. Many of our friends are not badly hurt, but their houses are not only destroyed, but mostly gone. The town is devastated...

I know everyone has seen many more pictures on the tv coverage, but this is what Brian took with his iPhone walking down the street an hour after the tornado. We came home tonight because there is only so much you can do since its storming there all week. Mostly, I think, they need blood and supplies, including water since we are on a boil alert.

When I have more fully processed that a third of my home town is gone I will probably blog something more emotional, but for now this is all we can manage.

Of course they covet your prayers, especially considering the weather the next few days is looking very unstable. Thanks guys.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


...we see you!

OK, so we are 9 weeks again today. We saw a strong heartbeat yesterday, but we know that doesn't mean we're in the clear. Technically I guess we're never in the clear totally. We're trying to hold this pregnancy with an open hand. Do you know how hard that is? For me anyway.

The first several weeks were particularly bad fatigue-wise this time, but seems to be letting up a bit already. The nausea, however, is taking a front seat. Whatever, we can deal with that. They did put me on progesterone because my levels were just a bit low, but our OB feels good about how we're doing.

So...yay! Due date: December 18. Merry Christmas to us!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Its a marathon

Thats the only thing I can really compare motherhood to. My vantage point may be a little different, but I'll bet almost all mothers feel the same way. I am a mother to a beautiful young 2 yr. old who needs my help like a 5 month old. I don't know how long it will be like that. Maybe forever. But you know what? My mother would tell you she is just as much a mother today as she was twenty years ago. I think that is the scariest and most beautiful thing about motherhood. It just keeps going and going and going. The difference in our house is that mostly the going is in slow motion.

Olivia has accomplished, then lost, then accomplished again a lot of things. She is determined like no one I know. I would have well given up by now if I was her. Thats what I mean by slow motion. I know some day Olivia will move around on her own, whether assisted by some device or not, but that day is not right around the corner. Olivia has to fight so much harder and so much longer. Slow motion. No one is rolling over or sitting up or crawling at any moment. There are weeks and months of work that go in to all of these things. And not just her time and work--mine too. Thats what it is to be her mother. To get up every morning knowing that you'll have to get up a hundred more mornings before you might see a difference in her independence. At first this made me sad. Sad that everything has to always be so hard for both her and me. Now, I have come to appreciate and love our life and the truth that it brings. The small things get celebrated with so much more awe and fanaticism when you've been focusing and trying to accomplish them for such a long time. The smallest changes are the biggest victories.

Being a mother--Olivia's mother--has taught me more about life and God and myself than anything else in the world ever would. There are innumerable things I've learned in the past two years that being someone elses' mother would never have taught me. Small things. Little things. Slow motion things. In a world of convenience and and instant gratification in our family we have to take the long view--because at our house its marathon. Thats what it means to me to be a mother.

By the way, I realize that there are no early pictures of Olivia on the blog. So after I dusted off the stacks and piles (well, they were on the computer) this is what I came up with. I like the oldies. So sue me.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


We have been crisis and pertinent information free for the last week---thats why you haven't heard from us. We're enjoying the quiet. Literally nothing is going on. Last Friday we did have an awesome family day on one of the most beautiful days of the year. Unfortunately for Livi, it did not really include anything really fun for her. Unless she thinks Lowe's is fun. We do! Especially when we are picking out new bushes for the front yard after someone (thats me) got a little hasty and dug the really ugly dead ones that were in front of the yard out. And no, we have not actually planted any new ones. That might be a while considering the weather forecast for this weekend. Here are Livi and Brian in the Lowe's parking lot. Can't you tell she's loving it?

I also just got off the phone with her neurologist to talk about the tests they ran in St. Louis. We've already talked about the EEG, but her Dr. says its like her brain is in a fog all the time and we're just trying to clear it up. I didn't get the impression that we should hang on too closely to the infantile spasms diagnosis. She is really more growing out of that than anything and of course, as usual, Livi doesn't exactly fit into any category really well.

Livi's MRI did show some "pretty mild" atrophy--or loss of brain tissue. It could have been there could be due to her heart could be causing the could be effects of the seizures. It just shows that her brain is under stress and the information it gives us does not help with with a diagnosis except that it rules a lot of very bad diagnosis by the lack of severe atrophy. Its "not severe and non-specific".  So, we are just plugging away with the new medicine and trying to keep track of how exactly she is doing on it.

Reflecting on being a mother this week. Might let you know how thats going later on...