The Secret

I was having the BEST week, at least partially motivated by a very special secret I was keeping.  (In case you don't know me, I am the absolute worst at keeping secrets.  I can't even keep a secret about myself.  I will do something terribly stupid - it happens quite frequently - and the first thing I will shout is, "Don't tell Matt!"  And, then, the first thing I do when I see him is blurt it all out.  I am so George Washington, only extra.  I can't tell a lie, and I can't not tell things I'd do best to just keep to myself.  However, this secret was precious to me.  This secret...I was definitely keeping...between me and a very few close friends.  And I was oh, so, happy.

 But...THEN...I went to the dentist.  Who the (bad word) goes to the dentist and ends up coming home with a stinking home sleep study kit?!!  Ya girl, that's who.  (HUGE eye roll.  Unfathomably long eye lids.  Long, LOUD sigh.)

I retrospect, I probably should NOT have yelled in a laugh at my dentist (I really like him, to be honest), "I DO NOT HAVE SLEEP APNEA.  My husband is an RT.  He would know if I had sleep apnea."  I asked you to check my teeth, not my blood pressure!

It should, naturally, have been the first thought in my head, as a fellow competitive person, that a doctor would also likely be naturally competitive, and that issuing that disagreement from a (his perspective) less educated position would definitely be seen as a challenge.  But I was borderline PO'd by this point, and I was doing everything in my power to not release my hostility until I left the place and could deal with it in my own, private, irrational way.

I mean, COME ON!  Of course, my blood pressure is a little high.  Have I told you my schedule?  (Not to mention my two new bedtime roommates of late, who, being 9 and 5, do not exactly provide for me an atmosphere conducive to sleep.) The only reason I even managed a dentist appointment, was that I happened to be passing through after one school was done with me and the next one wasn't quite ready.  (In fact, the dentist's little shenanigans extended the length of my visit, making me skip lunch to rush straight to my second school for the day.  So, yeah...I'm a little stressed.  And I can't imagine this did anything to help my blood pressure.)  By the time I got to Synergy in late afternoon, I was fuming.  Seriously hot!!  I was genuinely talking to myself ( was directed at the dentist) as I got out of the car, "YOU have sleep apnea!  I need YOU to take home this stupid sleep study."  (My initial, angry comebacks are not always my most clever.)

Fortunately for me, I LOVE getting to see my youth, and I was looking forward to distracting myself with serving them.  Even more fortunate, one of my work besties happened to walk by.  He made very brief eye-contact and continued his nonchalant stroll past my door, leaving me behind to ponder, "What's up...LOSER?!"

Game on!  I shouted his name.  I could hear in his response he was already around the corner, but I popped my head out of my office and waited until he peaked back around.  "Thanks, man.  I really needed that today!"  I don't think he knew whether to take it as serious or sarcasm, but I meant gratitude with all sincerity.  There are some things about myself I will never understand.  Like the way trash talk with just the right person...brings me SOOOO MUCCCCHHHH JOY!  That a playful, little slam like that can light my fire and fuel me through the rest of the day???!!  Who knows?  It's 🤷

Of course, my quiet drive home gave me ample time to work myself back up into a frenzy.  In fact, traffic was a standstill back up, and I couldn't help thinking, "I am soooo trapped in this rat race!  And there is no escape!"  In fact, I later wanted to kiss George Orwell (Babe...he's dead.  I wouldn't REALLY have kissed him, sheesh.😉) , when I read his words this week,

"...even when you are not paralyzed by fright or screaming with pain, life is a moment-to-moment struggle against hunger or cold or sleeplessness, against a sour stomach or an aching tooth."

Forgive my Ecclesiastes state of mind.  It was temporary, I promise.  (But I REALLY am loving 1984!)

By the time I got home to find out Xander had eaten from the pumpkin pie that was designated for Thanksgiving, I let ALL my frustration out on her.  (To be clear, this is exactly the opposite of what I continually advise for self-care and conflict resolution...we all have weak moments, right?)  As soon as I started my tirade, though, Xander reached out her arms to pull me into a great big bear hug, "What happened?!!"  (I take that as evidence that I don't lose it on my children unless it is totally unrelated to them.  That's a good thing, right?!)  I immediately sobbed out a less private than I'd hoped, irrational tirade about how I hated pretty much every doctor I'd ever met and how sleep studies were the stupidest thing ever invented, and they should just mind their own business and let me die peacefully in my sleep, 'cause maybe that's what I would prefer.  (Calm down, everyone!  Don't get all political and judgmental on me.  I have since recanted.  I told you, I was in an irrational state at this point.  I happen to rather genuinely appreciate my dentist...and several other doctor's in my life.)

It's just the way life goes.  Up and down.  Down and up.  Function.  Maintain.  Lose it.  Regroup.

I decided something, though.  As a patient, it is my right to decide I will NOT end up in a sleep lab right now. 'Cause here's the thing...even if I do have mild apnea, I am currently compensating.  Yeah...I got a phone call the next day.  "Well, you passed, but he wants you to do it again...on your back."  Of course he does.  Of course, I failed the on-my-back portion, because I CANNOT sleep on my back.  That's why I don't sleep on my back.  Apnea or not.  I naturally compensate by NOT sleeping on my back.  And I can guarantee you it is a much better strategy than forking out all kinds of time and money on some prescribed equipment I would never use. (Listen, I realize the CPAP is extremely important technology.  I'm just very certain I'm not there...yet.)

And besides, just...feel free to keep your diagnoses to yourself...unless I ask for one.  Ok?  Current rant over.  Big girl tantrum done.  I promise-ish.

But THEN!!!!  The day AFTER I got the irritating news, I found out that God had been working in miraculous ways behind my back.  I just might be reunited with someone I have been worried about for a good minute now.  And a not-so-hopeful situation is starting to look really, really hopeful.  So...if it takes me going through a million sleep study frustrations or whatever to get to this one victory, then...well, okay.  It is worth it.

Not to mention I TOTALLY kept my secret.  Because during my frustration, it became even more important to me.

Do you want to know?  Are you dying to know? 😂

I had two whole days at home, over Thanksgiving, with my entire family present, and absolutely, positively NO OUTSIDE OBLIGATIONS!  Why a secret, you might ask?  Because I did not, for the love of everything good, want anything (or anyone) to ruin this opportunity for quiet, private, solace.  Me...oh SO NOT private...reveling in the potential of one quiet, private holiday.  Any other year, no plans might have been depressing.  But, this year...oh, this year...I was oh, so grateful.

We spent Thanksgiving Day in our pajamas.  I practiced my age-old stay-home-mom skills.  I made a feast: Turkey, Ham, corn casserole, scalloped potatoes, home-made egg noodles, sweet potato fries, easy heat up rolls, apple tarts, and the most honored off all our Thanksgiving preparations...a pumpkin cheesecake.

Now, that part made me cry.  Because, it was only a few years ago that my sister completely failed me on Thanksgiving and landed herself in the hospital on the day we were supposed to be celebrating at her house.  And she was supposed to have made a wonderful meal.  I have always enjoyed her cooking.  I remember going to her house as a teenager (there was a seven-year-gap), right after I had graduated early to nanny her first daughter, my niece.  And when she had leftovers (I remember burritos), my heart was happy!  I ALWAYS loved her cooking.  But her cheesecakes.  That was a whole new level of delight.

And that illness that ruined my Thanksgiving, a few years back, took my sister, and now I will never see her again, as long as I live.  She will, eternally, be 45 in my memory.  She will never age beyond that. I, however, will continue to to age...and aging is, well...just...DELIGHTFUL.    But, here's the thing about someone you love.  You never, really, stop missing them.  Every day of your miss them.  I will never stop missing.  And, like the arthritis in my toe that will never go away ('re welcome!), I just learn to live with the pain.  Some days, I cope better than others.  This is our earthly life.  Thank God I have hope beyond this one.

Anyway, I got my quiet Thanksgiving, and I have learned through pain and struggle to sincerely appreciate the joys and the gratitude.  I didn't have a set time for dinner.  I cooked until I was done, and then I called everyone to come eat.  That is my way, and this year, I got to have things my way.  All four of my little people (actually a couple of them are getting quite big!) came to the table.  There was something for each of them (because, good grief they are a picky little lot!).  We ate.  They bickered.  We enjoyed our time together.  Then, they all went their separate ways while Matt and I were left to clean.  (Typical!)  I was in the kitchen all day, and it was a beautiful thing.  AND we will have leftovers into the next century.  Thank God for freezers!

It really was a beautiful day.  We put up Christmas lights in 60 degree weather.  We put out our decorations the next day.  We are so stinking festive!

And, now, two days later, because Missouri weather changes quicker than my moods, we have been blessed with Snowmaggedon and are cancelled for tomorrow (well...the kids and I).  Which means...we get to stay home for a bonus holiday day.  I am getting so much free time, I'm not going to know what to do with myself.  (Actually, I do.  I have been working my way into fiber heaven!  😉)  So, what more could I ask?

Life isn't perfect for anyone, but I happen to think I am one pretty blessed gal.  💕

Happy Thanksgiving, Homies!  🦃