Good Bye, Old Man

imageOld man, it’s been one week and I haven’t managed to write this yet. Last Wednesday night, I realized that if you made it through the night, we were going to have to make the decision to let you go. Only 24 hours before, you were still getting up, trotting to the back door, and begging for treats. And then, in a short 24 hours, that bitch cancer took your vibrancy from you. We always promised you we wouldn’t keep you here just for us. We promised you that when you began to suffer, we would let you go. But dammit, it was so fucking hard to do.

That last night was hard. Every time I  thought I might go to bed, you started whining and it broke my heart a little more. Riggs and Ruby would get up and check on you each and every time. Since you were having so much trouble getting comfortable, I would pick you up and reposition you on your pillows. I held you in my arms, told you how much we all loved you, and told you it was ok. I told you that when you went to sleep, Jolie would be waiting and you wouldn’t hurt any more. I wish I could have done more to make things easier that last night. You finally seemed to settle and I decided to go to bed. Only a few hours later, daddy got home and told me you were gone.

Jack Jack, we all miss you. You came into our home the same week I found out I had lost the little girl whose heartbeat we had seen only a few weeks earlier. You brought such joy to Marty and Joey that I couldn’t help but smile and even laugh through my pain. And, then you got sick. You were a tiny little puppy, barely old enough to be away from your mother, and your little 5+ pound body was barely enough to sustain you through your illness. But, you fought and you survived. You grew into the almost 90 pound goomba dog we all loved dearly. Your survival gave me hope during our battle to have our third child.

imageThen, that third child came along and we saw who you really belonged to. From the first day Gabe came into our home, you loved him and protected him. You let him climb all over you and followed him everywhere. You had unending patience with him and even let him point out all the parts of the face (teeth and tongue included) on you when he was learning to talk. Oh Jack Jack, you were the very best of dogs.

We love you. We miss you. We will see you again someday. Until then, run, play, and enjoy being healthy again…and, try not to let Jolie talk you into anything.

RIP Jack aka Jackass aka Jackleg
5/5/2004 – 8/25/2016

*Houston, we have lift off!

I didn’t want to say anything too soon but “Houston, we have lift off!”

DinnerWithMyBoysYesterday, 8/19, was move in day at Lenoir-Rhyne University for Marty. Vic, Marty and I drove up to Hickory on Thursday. Move in started at 8am on Friday and we didn’t want to have to make the 3 hour drive immediately prior to that. We settled into a hotel room and then had dinner at the Kobe Japanese Steak House. The hotel was nice, but none of us slept well that night. For Marty, I am sure it was just normal pre-college jitters. Hell, I remember the night before I started college and I barely slept at all either. Vic’s allergies have been destroying his sleep. And me, well I was having the most bizarre dreams. I kept dreaming that a **91 yr old lady was a member of Marty’s freshmen class and that a non-existent storage company lost all of Marty’s stuff.

IsenhourDespite all that, we manage to get up Friday morning and made it over to Lenoir-Rhyne around 9:30. I think the delay paid off. There were a ton of upperclassmen outside of Isenhour Hall waiting to help everyone move in. They were all thrilled that Marty’s room was on the first floor…guess they were tired of  going up stairs. While we were setting up Marty’s room Dean of Students, Katie Fisher, stopped by to welcome him back. Dean Fisher was one of the wonderful staff members that helped Marty out last year and she commented on how much better and more relaxed he looked this year. I was so glad that someone else was seeing the improvement Vic and I saw. MartysRoom MartysRoom2 MartysRoom3 R2D2PikachuOnce we had Marty’s room set up, we had just enough time to get lunch and stock his dorm fridge before it was time to part ways. We got juice and yogurt and crackers and soup to go along with the roughly 6 dozen cookies I had baked him.

Unlike last year, there was no growing tension as we got closer to the time for Marty to go his way and us to go ours. We headed our from his dorm towards the meeting locations and I asked Marty if he wanted us to wait while he checked if he had the right location. Marty said “Only if you want.” Honestly, I was and am so proud. He truly has managed to make anxiety his bitch. He stomped it down, got it under control, and, now he’s living his life. I am so thrilled for him. I am very hopeful that the only things that will cause a “Houston, we’ve got a problem call” will be normal everyday things, not anxiety driven ones.

We have a college student now!



*My thanks to Dean Fisher and the people of NASA for the use of this line.

**It wasn’t until we were on the way home that we figured out where the 91 yr old woman in my dreams came from. As I was falling asleep on Thursday, Vic was watching the end of Deadpool. There is a line that Deadpool says about living with a blind 91 yr old woman. I guess my brain registered that and inserted her into my dreams.


image It has been almost a year since I last posted and I am a little ashamed. There have been so many things I should have bragged about but I kept getting bogged down in the details of every day life.

When I last wrote, Vic and I had dropped Marty off at Lenoir-Rhyne for his first year of college. If you read back then, you might remember that it was a rough moment (or two or three rough moments). Unfortunately, that first attempt at college was short circuited by a crippling anxiety attack. As bad as the situation was, I was so proud of how Marty handled it. He advocated for himself. He arranged for a medical deferral. And, he came home prepared to make the OCD/anxiety his bitch instead of letting it continue to ride roughshod over him.

Over the last year, Marty truly has taken charge of the OCD/anxiety. He has developed tons of coping mechanisms and he no longer lets it rule his life. Sure, we might need to buy stock in a medical glove company and a spare vat of rubbing alcohol might be a welcome addition to our arsenal but, those are just tools he uses to manage stuff. My boy went from being so overwhelmed at the thought of managing day to day events on his own to being excited about college. Marty has conquered his germaphobia and is able to do his own laundry, clean his own bathroom, and even plunge a toilet. I wasn’t too popular when I insisted he learn that last one but he did it. Marty also volunteered at Dorcas Shop, a local thrift store. Through this, he was able to realize that it was ok to get dirty and he could just clean himself when he got home.

For those of you who have never dealt with OCD or anxiety disorders, these may not seem like big things but they are. They are HUGE accomplishments.  See, there was never any question that Marty was and is smart enough to kick ass at college. The only question was what he needed to do to overcome the anxiety and the OCD induced germaphobia and how long it would take. Marty was determined to beat this and get back up to school. Through the wonders of modern pharmaceuticals and a lot of hard work on his part, he has done it.

So, tomorrow we head back up to Hickory and Friday is move in day for the Class of 2020. My boy will be there and I couldn’t be more proud!image


When a Good Parent has to be a Bad Guy

MartyTheThinkerI have never been more proud of my oldest son, Marty, than I am right now…but, to reach this point, I had to do the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.  This is not me speaking metaphorically.  This is the literal truth.  Today, I had to turn my back on my son when he was saying he needed me.

As many of you know, my oldest, Marty was diagnosed with OCD last year.  What many people don’t realize is that OCD is an anxiety disorder.  What is a simple bump in the road for you or me might seem like an insurmountable challenge to someone with OCD.  To put it simply, when anxiety takes hold, a sufferer can lose all belief in their ability to overcome the latest challenge.  It is not rational.  It is not fair.  And, it sucks to see your kid go through it.

Today, we helped Marty move into his room at Lenoir-Rhyne to start his freshmen year of college.  We did everything right helping Marty to prepare for this change.  He worked with a counselor. He has all the supplies he needs. He can have a successful year at college.  But there is no denying that a life change of this magnitude is stressful for anyone…let alone someone with OCD.  The closer it got to time for us to go, the tighter wound he became.  We ended up heading over to the counseling center so he could get some help getting through the panic he was feeling.  Marty begged us to come home.

I knew it was the anxiety and panic talking.  I also knew that Marty has the skills to have a successful year at school.  To enable him to do that, Vic and I had to look him in the eye, tell him that we love him but we weren’t bringing him home, and we had to turn our backs and walk away.  I knew I was leaving him in good hands.  The counselor was sharp and she was committed to getting him through this.  Despite all that, I have never felt more horrible and have never felt more like I was deserting my child.  To put it bluntly, it SUCKED.

I stressed the whole way home…and it turned out to all be for nothing.  By the time we got home to Cary, we had a phone call from Marty.  If you didn’t know what he had been through, you would have thought he hadn’t a care in the world.  I know he is still stressed and anxious but he said that if he can make it to this time next week without a major meltdown then he thinks he can do it.

I have never been more proud of him and the resilience he is showing.  I love you Marty and I can see great things happening for you.


The Start of a New Adventure

MartyYesterday was a busy day.  We packed up all Marty’s stuff…his clothes, his books, even his few stuffed animals.  Today, we left Cary with Marty and a van full of stuff to get him started on his new adventure.  Tomorrow, Marty moves into his dorm room at Lenoir-Rhyne.

I am so thrilled and excited for him. L-R is going to hold so many fabulous adventures for him and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for him.  I am so very proud of the strength and determination he has shown this past year.  He told me “I’ve missed out on so many things.  I refuse to miss out on college.”  And, he did it.  He not only made it through high school but he did well enough with grades and test scores that he has an academic scholarship.  I know I’m repeating myself but I am incredibly proud of him.  That said, I am going to miss the hell out of him.

As an 18th birthday/leaving for college present, I made him a t-shirt quilt.  The center of the quilt is a nice cream colored cotton and it has messages from every friend and family member that was at his birthday party back in February.  It is surrounded by the backs and fronts of t-shirt from the important events through high school. I hope whenever he sees his quilt, he knows how much we all love him.

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