The First Day of Autumn Brings an Injured But Still Beautiful Monarch Butterfly to Our Garden

Perhaps it’s because this is the first day of autumn that coincides with my Angel Boy’s half birthday (we always celebrate) or because he really has left the nest for real this time with his first tenure track professorship (at least on the west coast so we’re closer) but I’m feeling a sense of change along with the the season.

Even in SoCal the weather will eventually morph into a winter of sorts and maybe that’s why this butterfly was in a weakened condition, because there’s no way to tell how the injury occurred,  but she was flying around me and then came to rest on the lawn right next to my new raised bed where I was playing around with the sand dolllars from yesterday’s post.2015-09-20 22.03.25

How do you help an injured butterfly? Can I pick her up and take her to the vet? Can you superglue the torn wing? (I don’t think so) but her ability to still lift off and float on the breeze made me think of her metaphorically.

In fact, it’s a day full of metaphors with my son flying off and away (literally on an airplane as I’m typing this) to become a fully fledged adult with a grown up job and a boatload of responsibility.

SIGH.

But then this butterfly visited me and I’m trying to decipher her deeper message, although maybe a butterfly is just a butterfly.

I do know that even though her wing was damaged, she didn’t give up; she was resilient.2015-09-20 22.03.12

Maybe she just needed a safe place to rest and heal.

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And just like that, she flew away, carried off by the balmy breezes of another SoCal heat wave.
2015-09-20 22.02.56And thanks to a smarter blogger than me who writes over at https://pacificparatrooper.wordpress.com/ (you need to follow him!)  his brilliant comment referenced the “butterfly effect. According to Wiki, it’s a popular hypothetical example of chaos theory which illustrates how small initial differences may lead to large unforeseen consequences over time.

And he doesn’t know it, but this is SO TRUE. As I keep saying, all will be revealed…

Stay safe, my friends, and Happy Autumnal Equinox to everyone!

Princess Rosebud’s EMPOWERING Solo Adventure

(Blogging from the train, which is OK except for spotty wifi and my paragraph edits aren’t working, so this post won’t look exactly right.)


“It’s never too late to become empowered” she said.

Well, thank you very much for that unwanted opinion.
At 6:15 a.m., I was the first one in line when the Amtrak Station opened up.
I’m on my way to Santa Barbara to meet my son/DIL and have a little camping and hiking vacation. This is something that tugboat man and I had been looking forward to, but alas, he was called back to work immediately upon arriving home, so I decided to be a BRAVE princess and venture forth into the big scary world all by myself.
What was I thinking??
Confession: I’m not much of a traveler. Although I do travel alone from time to time, mostly tugboat man and I are together and he takes care of everything and all I do is stand here or sit there and do as I’m instructed, moving from point A to point B.  It works out better that way for both of us if he takes the lead. I mean, he’s so GOOD at it, and it reduces my stress level (and his) if he does all the thinking.
But this adventure is all my own.
My son’s dad picked me up a little before 5:45 a.m. to give me a ride to the train station, which is why I was there bright and early at 6:15.
I had many questions for the Amtrak employee:
1. Where do I go?
2. Where will the train be?
3. How will I know it’s the right one?
4. Where will I sit?
5. Where will my son pick me up?
6. Where will I find my suitcase?
7. Will you lose my luggage?
I explained to her that I never travel alone and I’ve only taken the train one time twenty years ago, and that’s when she proceeded to give me a life lesson that I didn’t expect, didn’t ask for, and didn’t really need.
“I never travel alone.”
“Well, you DO travel, don’t you?”
“Yes, but when my husband and I travel, he takes care of everything”
That’s when she said, “It’s never too late to become empowered”
I have to admit her tone was ever-so-slightly snarky, and this was corroborated by the nice young man from the United States Marine Corps (whom I have attached myself to for dear life).
He was standing next to me listening to all of my questions and I believe that he felt sorry for me (reminded him of his mom) and felt like he was performing in the intereste of our national security to guide me on the train when it arrived, and now we’re sitting next to each other.
He’s on leave for Memorial Day to his family ranch in Los Osos.
Of course, I thanked him for his service and I must say that I feel very safe and in good hands until my son collects me from Baggage lol.
Stress level is high, but if I could make my way SOLO to Goettingen, Germany to stalk visit my son while he was there for his junior year abroad, I can certainly sit on a train for four hours with my own personal USMC escort, dontcha think?
After all, like I keep telling my Angel Boy, that umbilical cord will stretch, but will never evereverever BREAK.
There isn’t a place on earth he can go that I won’t follow.
I know that sounds like a threat, but it’s really not. It’s just a mother’s LOVE.
I stand corrected…an EMPOWERED mother’s love.
Here’s a few pics from the train…
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What Does a Cosmo, the Trauma Unit, and Mother’s Day Have In Common?

For this #MothersDay, I’m honored to welcome a special guest poster on Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife…my very own daughter-in-law, or as we fondly refer to her, DIL. I know you’ll love this post as much as I do. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!
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What Does a Cosmo, the Trauma Unit, and Mother’s Day Have In Common?

As we sit 20,000 feet up in seats 1C, 1D, & 1E, our little team can almost exhale as we head home from Boston to San Diego.

Rewind ten days.

What would you do at 4:00 a.m. when you’re terrified in the Emergency Room. Your husband is in agony. The surgeons’ don’t know what’s up and the pain meds aren’t working?

You call family.

Nobody wants to make that call. I knew that waking up MIL in the middle of the night to tell her that her Angel Boy was in the Emergency Room hooked up to morphine 3000 miles away would put the ice-cold, fear-of-God in her.

I took a deep breath and dialed. When she did not pick up I knew the panic she would feel when I called again right after.

No one wants to see their DIL’s number twice in a row in the middle of the night.

When I got through I told her calmly what was happening. I could hear the panic in her voice but she responded exactly as a mother should. She said that she was on her way. Not just hopping in the car or on the bus. She was booking tickets to fly across the country without a moment’s thought. I knew that I had opened them to that sick pain and fear I was feeling – but it had made me feel better. I knew whatever was coming I did not have to face it alone. And that’s what good mothers do. They take on your pain, so you can feel better.

From then on, I counted the hours until they arrived. Literally. I did not leave AB’s side until they got there and I knew another loved one could watch over him.

It had been fifteen hours in the hospital without even a cuppa. I had screamed, cried, fought, and begged every RN, CRN, resident, consultant, physician, surgeon, radiologist, you name it. But now I knew I had some people on my team.

Team AB.

The next ten days after the surgery went by on auto-pilot. I’m convinced Team AB drove the whole floor nuts. We were on their ass 24/7 – from wash clothes, to walks, to IV, to test, results, more CTs — we did not stop for a moment to breathe.

But me and MIL were on the same team, working together, side by side, to make sure our AB got better.

It’s true when they say you have to laugh or you’ll cry. Too true! In amongst all of the drama and fear we belly laughed. I mean really laughed. Even when Jason’s roommate “One Tooth Tommy’s” girlfriend overdosed him on her street Xanex. Or or when I got some sympathy gas in the canteen in front of a table of young cute residents.

The day AB was getting discharged, I woke up and I looked over in our hotel room to see MIL sleeping and next to her an empty glass of wine, vodka tonic, and the remains of my Cosmo. What can I say? It had been one of those weeks.

And now as we head home to San Diego, it could not be more perfect that tomorrow is Mother’s Day.

Because it’s definitely time to celebrate MIL.

When an emergency hits – it comes out of nowhere and the whole world stops.

Everything is stripped back and you see people for who they really are.

Raw.

What we saw this week was the purest and selfless love of a mother.

AB, you are lucky to have such a mom.

And I am lucky to have a friend, a partner in crime, and the best MIL you could wish for!

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

 

 

 

A mom is a mom forever

I’m an A to B kind of Princess, black and white like the colors of a Chanel Boutique.  Ziggy zaggy paths or gray areas…not so much. I had a clear-cut idea about how I was going to approach my topic du jour but like an annoying kid pulling at my shirt while I’m on the telephone, other ideas were poking at my consciously unconscious subconscious and I had to put aside my wonderfully witty post about vacuuming (!) and take a detour.

Listen up, moms!

Our children are ours to love and protect no matter how old they are — newborn, two years, sixteen, twenty-one, or even in their thirties, like my own Angel Boy.

The fragility of life smacked me in the head a few days ago. You just NEVER know when that call will come that stops you in your tracks.

I wrote a post last week about getting Botox and Juvederm with a couple of my girlfriends.
On Friday, my friend C and I stopped by the Chanel boutique inside Macy’s so she could get her makeup done. She’s doesn’t wear a lot of makeup but she’s going to the Dominican Republic with her boyfriend  for a couple weeks and would be attending a formal event and wanted to be glammed up.

While she’s being pampered and beautified, her iPhone rings. It’s her son, thirty years old, a really sweet boy, her only child. He was sick and didn’t know what was wrong with him. He sent her some pictures. His left eye was completely swollen shut and it looked very puffy and angry. He was in a lot of pain and had a headache. He told his mom (I’m having her repeat everything to me) that he woke up that way a few days before, had gone to an urgent care facility, and they sent him away with some antibiotics (I don’t know what kind) thinking perhaps it was a spider bite. The alternative diagnosis was herpes zoster (more commonly known as “shingles”). The headache was becoming unbearable.

My mom was a Registererd Nurse, and I have a pretty fair medical background because I listened to her a lot and I worked for my doctor cousin back when I thought I wanted to be a doctor myself, but I was no brainiac in math and science. I’m the one people call when they have a medical issue and want advice, and I always tell them to go to a doctor, but try to help them become educated patients or caregivers or parents.

I asked her to ask her son if he had a fever. Of course, he didn’t have a thermometer, (come one, everyone needs a digital thermometer!!) but he was having chills and his girlfriend said he felt warm.

I told my friend to tell her son to go back to the doctor immediately. If it was a spider bite, I was concerned that the location of the bite was near his eye and brain and needed more aggressive treatment. If it was shingles, he needed a more educated diagnosis and a different approach.

At this point, my friend was becoming really freaked out. We’re sitting in two makeup chairs and she’s worrying about her only child, her baby boy. She asked me what I would do if it were my son. I didn’t hesitate. I told her I would be on a flight to him right that instant. Sometimes the most random medical things can deteriorate at an alarming rate and she needed to be with him in a worst case scenario. I would. In a heartbeat.

We left the store and she promised to keep in touch.  He went back to the doctor, had a temp of 101 and a persistent headache. They told him it looked like he had shingles, gave him a steroid injection, and sent him home.

He had a bad night with a severe heachache that kept him awake.

My friend drove to the next state where he lives, a six-hour drive.

She emailed me that he had suffered a seizure and was in intensive care. They were doing tests to try and figure out what was wrong. Along with his other symptoms, a grand mal seizure in an otherwise completely healthy young man is very troublesome.

My last email from her was that the doctors had no clear answers, but he seemed to be feeling better and might be released in a couple days.

Did you think this was going to end with a story about every parent’s nightmare? I really thought it was going in that direction. I’m hopeful he will have a diagnosis and he doesn’t have any more seizures and this was simply a random, aberrant episode in his otherwise happy life. I haven’t heard from her today. Fingers crossed.

But it made me sit back and think. Being a mom is immutable, enduring, never-ending — and that’s the way it should be. The days of changing diapers and nursing them to sleep might be over, but they will always need us to be the one constant in their lives–the one person they can turn to who will run like the wind to wherever they are.

That’s what a good mom should do. That’s a mom’s job.

You never know when it’s going to be the last time you see them. The last I love you. This is a reminder for us all to treasure all of their precious moments, no matter how old they are.

(Before I hear from any dads out there, this is MY perspective and MY opinion as a mom.)

Being a mom is forever

The horrific tragedy in Colorado got me thinking about being a mother.

Before I even had my son, which was more than thirty years ago, a friend told me that after having children, “your life is not your own”. Ever again. And that is so true.

You are forever changed. Your job isn’t completed at the arbitrary age of eighteen or twenty-one, or even thirty-one.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about my baby boy, what he’s doing at that exact moment, if he’s OK, and I wonder if there’s anything I should be worrying about.

Right now he’s in Berlin, teaching a summer immersion course in German. (Have I mentioned that he has a Ph.D. from Yale? Yeah, I’m an obnoxiously proud mom.)

I wonder about the young man’s mother, did they think that as long as he was in a Ph.D. program that they could now be finished with parental duties, breathe a sigh of relief, feel their work was done?

Having a child is a never-ending process.

Maybe this is a call to action for more attachment parenting, more involvement–not less. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I was probably a helicopter mom, probably still am, and now I feel even more certain about the rightness of my own parenting theories. Validated. My reward is hoping that if my son ever did have a psychotic break like this poor boy so obviously is suffering from, that I would have been aware of it, I would have felt it—somehow.

That’s not too far off.

I remember a few years ago I awoke from a bad dream where my son had broken his glasses and was wandering around, scared because he couldn’t see where he was. (He’s got pretty bad vision, thanks to me as it’s a cross-genetic recessive gene). He was on vacation in the UK at the time, and I emailed him as soon as I woke up, “…are you OK, had a bad dream, etc.”

When he called, he told me that same day he had fallen and broken his glasses and they were taped up, and he wished he had listened to me and brought an extra pair of glasses in case something like this happened.

The rest of the scenario is that his girlfriend’s (now wife’s) sister had taken him pub crawling and he was not a very experienced drinker and had more than he should have (I’m still upset about that!!)

Regardless, I knew he was in trouble and if I had not spoken with him, I would not have let it go, I would have made calls, not given up, and there is a real possibility that I would have even gotten on a plane.

I’m not kidding. I think my motto as a mom is to be “ever vigilant”.

This was not a one–time telepathic experience. I have these “feelings” every so often, and I’ve learned to not ignore them.

I don’t think I’m all that special, I think I just pay attention to things that a lot of people dismiss.

Anyway, I’m not diminishing the ghastly violent crime and the pain he caused so many families, not to mention the whole gun ownership debate, but I think there is a very sad explanation, and the young man who did it needs help.

He was once his mommy’s little boy and something went horribly, terribly wrong.