Monday, April 11, 2011

Ticking Clocks, Pesky ANTS, and a Beautiful Girl

Time has a way of simultaneously creeping along and sweeping us along.

It hasn’t even been two weeks since Drew’s appointment with the spinal specialist confirmed my fears of scoliosis. In four days, we will have a more definitive treatment plan after visiting the specialist at UNC-Chapel Hill. Only four days. Four, L-O-N-G days.

In the two week span, I have melted down, scooped myself into a semi-functioning blob, and been held up by the love of others.

In the two week span, we have dealt with two babies with ear infections. The treatment included painful antibiotic shots for Drew, and just when it looked like we were in the clear, Drew started wheezing last Wednesday afternoon. An emergency trip to the doctor resulted in nebulizer treatments—every four hours around the clock. A follow-up breathing scare the next day added a chest x-ray and a five-day course of prednisone. By Saturday, the wheezing had stopped.

Two weeks. So much. So little.

I have an ANT problem--“Automatic Negative Thoughts.”

ANTS are just that—automatic. Like the persistent insect variety, they swoop in, and instead of letting the ANTS come and go, I try to hold them and eradicate them—one-by-one. It’s a tedious, exhausting process. I take each ANT, and I research, diagnose, rationalize, and obsess. As one ANT falls, there’s always another one ready to take its place.

In the case of mind ANTS, it’s about trying to remind myself that my thoughts do not control me. I am telling myself not to go there. I tell myself these thoughts are not loving, not kind, not true, and not helpful.

So when I think, “Drew’s curve is too bad to correct itself,” I have to stop.

I say, “That’s not a helpful thought.”

I remind myself, “You have no reason to believe at this point that the curve can’t be fixed.”

I tell myself, “You are doing all you can. He will have the best care possible.”

I look at the ANT and calmly explain,“You are not being helpful."

I let the ANT go on because, without the ANT, I know, “You are so blessed to have such a wonderful, happy little boy, who straight spine or not, is going to have a childhood filled with the love and attention he deserves. You have today.”

Ignoring ANTS is about reminding myself that I don’t know what the future holds. No one does. My worry will not change the outcome, and if anything, it leaves me with less energy to deal with the real demands of being a working mom to two ten-month old babies.

In two weeks, I have had moments of acceptance, moments where the anxiety loosens it grip. Moments where I know, regardless of the treatment plan, things will be as they will be, moments where my mind stops racing and the ANTS go away.

Acceptance, I am learning, is not a fixed state.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Friday night Kelly invited us to a Mudcats’ baseball game, but given the rough week with Drew, we just didn’t think the pollen-filled air was the best thing for him.

After talking things over, we decided to take my mom up on her offer to keep Drew so we could take Emily to the game with us. Emily was due some much-needed snuggle time. Drew would get one-on-one grandparent loving. Win-Win.

It was a cool night. We watched very little of the game. We took turns holding and hugging on Emily. She loved it. We loved it.

She’s getting so big. Each day she looks more like a little girl and less like a little baby. Bittersweet, for sure. Here she is getting love from Aunt Kelly:


Holly Ann said...

What a poignant post. I'm generally not so prone to "ANTS," but I've really had to push them back lately with all of my school district's budget cuts. It's hard to remain calm when you don't know if you'll have a job in a couple of months. Thanks for reminding me to focus on the positives. :)

Jenner said...

Staying positive is going to go a long way towards helping you cope. Get some ANT spray and start warding them off!

Dolli-Mama said...

I'm sorry the last two weeks have been so tough. I know what you mean about time that crawls and speeds past at the same time.
I hope it gets better soon.

Megan said...

Oh, I'm so sorry for everything that you've been going through!! I'm sending positive thoughts your way for a good appt on Friday. I'll be thinking of you and praying that the rest of the week goes by fast. Waiting is just excruciating.

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