Tiny Eden

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Milestones and Miracles

We are officially 33 days away from the wedding. Still so many things to do. I am trying to get as much done on my days off as possible and, as for right now, it is working. And that is good enough for right now. I feel like there are so many other things for us to be focusing on that the wedding is kind of taking the back-burner. As many of you know, Sam was in the hospital for almost 2 weeks again. It was kind of a wake up call for me. Many people would ask me how the wedding planning was going and that was the first time that I realized that I was not like the typical bride basking in all of the glory and the attention. Brides generally use this time to be selfish and rightfully so. They want to talk about the wedding and nothing else. They eat, sleep, work, and dream wedding. They watch endless hours of Bridezillas, Platinum Weddings, Say Yes to the Dress, and My Fair Wedding. Meanwhile, I was driving to the hospital every nite after working 13 or 14 hours in another hospital to sit with my groom to be. I knew Sam was going into the hospital, but I was not expecting it to happen on the day that it did. I did not get to give him a huge hug and make sure he had everything he needed to go in. I did not realize they would already have a bed waiting for him when he went to see his doctor. That nite, on my drive home from seeing Sam on that first nite, I did something that I had not done before. I took a moment after getting back into my car at almost 11 pm and just thought. And the wave hit me like it never had before. My eyes welled up with tears and I knew that my life would never be "normal" again. This was my new normal. I called my mom and started talking to her and before I knew it, I started to cry a little. I am not a very confident driver when I am not crying and at this point, I had been awake from 18 hours and worked for 13 of those, so imagine what it was like for me to be driving at this point. So I just sat there, driving and sobbing about how this should be the happiest time of my life and Sam was in the hospital, sick. I felt selfish for doing that because I was not the one in a hospital bed, but instead was feeling sorry for myself because I couldn't be a selfish bride. Once the reality hit that I was able to sleep in my own bed, I snapped out of my pity party.

The next day, I was walking the dog and stood and stared at our front lawn. The grass was embarrassingly tall next to my neighbors' lawns who cut them practically every day it seemed like. I whipped out my cell phone and called Sam. He sounded so happy to hear from me, but yet he was greeted by me yelling at him about what our lawn looked like. He felt terribly and tried to explain that he was planning on coming home from the doctor and mowing the lawn before going into the hospital but couldn't do that because they had a bed waiting for him. I yelled, "Whatever!" into the phone and hung up. Stomping along the street, I continued to walk the dog and admire all of the other beautiful lawns on my street. Cheyenne just bopped along and did her stuff. I was glad that she was done so quickly because that meant that I did not have to stare at all of the other houses. As I got back to our lawn again, I started to think about what all of the neighbors must be saying about us and how they were probably judging us. I started to get even more angry because they had no clue what was going on behind our beautifully wreathed front door and they would think that we were just lazy. They didn't know that the young man that lived there who gave a healthy appearance was anything but. So, I did what any scared, angry girl would do. I brought the dog inside, finished packing all of Sam's belongings that he would need for his stay, set the alarm, hopped in the car, and called my dad. I started to sob again as soon as I heard him say, "Hey! How's my little girl doing today?" I told him how angry I was about the lawn and that I wanted the back yard cleaned up and that I was going to have to mow the lawn tomorrow, blah, blah, blah. My dad did what every loving dad would do and said, "What time do you want me over there tomorrow morning?" We talked a little and my dad asked me if I wanted to stay at his house while Sam was in the hospital. I would have loved to, but I really just wanted to be alone. After I hung up with my dad, I realized that the lawn was just a way for me to take out my anger and sadness and that it was not the lawn that was bothering me, but it was simply the only thing that I could possibly control at the moment. The next day, I mowed the front lawn by myself. With each blade of grass that I cut, I felt like I was getting something done, but it also made me sad. I started to think if I would ever be the only person who could cut the lawn because Sam would not be able to do it any more or if his fight with CF would be a losing battle. My dad came over and we cleaned the front yard and the back yard. It felt very liberating to be able to get it done and I really wanted to surprise Sam when he got home. He was so grateful when he saw it.

I am wondering how I will do getting thru our wedding vows. When we get to the point where we need to say "In sickness and in health", I wonder if we will ever have the opportunity to actually have 100% health. I would think that this is not something that most brides need to think about so soon in life. Several years ago, I suffered from depression. Very severe depression. I was hospitalized 2 times in 18 months for it. Even though I got thru it, I worry about my coping skills and if it will ever creep back up on me again. The whole time Sam was in the hospital, I kept very busy - from the moment I woke up in the morning until the moment I fell asleep. People kept telling me that I needed to take time for myself and do something for myself, but I was afraid that if I did take time to stop, I would think too much and that would not be in my best interest. Just to give you an example of how desperate I was to keep busy, I actually took dish washing detergent and a scrubby sponge and scrubbed each individual tile on our kitchen floor. It took me about 4 hours to complete, but it kept me busy and it was a great way to get out my anger.

I also used this time to meet up with my friend, Stephanie, and grab a cup of coffee with her. She lent a great ear and listened to me. I feel badly because I made her cry when I was telling her about all of the mixed emotions I was having about this time in my life. After thinking about it, I realized that if I was not in the situation myself and heard about it, I would be sad for the person going thru this. I told Stephanie about how I was having trouble sympathizing with people who were complaining about trivial things when they had their health and their loved ones has their health. It saddened me to walk into Sam's hospital room and see him on oxygen and get out of breath just walking down the hallway. It scared me when Sam called me up one nite to tell me that he had coughed up a ridiculously stupid amount of blood and that he thought he was going to have to go into surgery and wanted to call me to tell me he loved me in case he died during the surgery.

Last nite, we went to a party and I was so sad before we left because Sam is now on home iv's and another dose of 3 different IV antibiotics were going to be due while we were out. He was nervous about having to do them while we were out and there would be some people there that did not know his situation and he might have to explain. He did handle it gracefully, though, when someone asked and he told them it was an IV of vodka going straight into his veins. I just feel like life can be so unfair because Sam is having to go thru this. How can I focus on flowers and favors and cakes?

Now that Sam is home, I am getting more excited about the wedding, but I am hoping that as the date draws even closer, I will be even more excited. When Sam was born, the life expectancy of someone with cystic fibrosis was less than 20 years old. Thanks to Sam's parents, doctors, advances in CF medications and treatments, and most importantly, Sam's dedication and will to live, he is a college graduate with a Master's degree in Accounting as well as a CPA. He will be getting married, which was unheard of for CF patients at the time of Sam's birth. This is a huge milestone for him and I am beyond thrilled that he chose me to share this with him. We are grateful for the people that will be taking time out of their busy schedules to join us on our special day. It means so much to us that those people will be celebrating this miracle with us.

Please remember to hug your spouses, family, and friends and tell them that you love them, but most importantly, make sure you mean it. Celebrate each day as though it is a gift because you never know what tomorrow will bring. Listen to your partner and share in their interests even if you don't think that you will like them. Take time out of your busy schedules to celebrate the miracles and milestones in life. You never know just how important they are to others and how they might be affected by it.

I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. ~Mother Teresa

Miracles occur naturally as expressions of love. The real miracle is the love that inspires them. In this sense everything that comes from love is a miracle. ~Marianne Williamson

Monday, July 26, 2010

Food, fun, family, friends, and.....A Raccoon????

It has been quite a while since I have written.....yet again! Things have been going relatively well. Work is getting better as I am learning new things and adjusting to different people's personalities. In the beginning, people would often say, "You don't know how to do that?!?!?!?!" While I wanted to answer, "No, I don't and neither did you when you started nursing, so stop making me feel dumb and help me!", I would just politely say no. I have gotten over the fact that I was afraid to ask questions. I have gotten over a parent saying that she did not like me. I have gotten over people thinking that I am not as skilled as I should be and accepted the fact that they will not be calling me to perform brain surgery any time soon.

This summer has been going by rather quickly. My mom, sister, niece, and brother-in-law came to visit. We had a great time. My sister and mom threw me a fabulous bridal shower. So many friends were there, the decorations were great, the favors were adorable, and the food - well, anyone who has ever been to one of Dana's Chrismas parties knows what the food is like. But this was like her Christmas party on steroids. It was insane!!!! My niece was the hit of the party, as well as Ryann. Ryann is the daughter of my friend, Shannan. Shannan came all the way from North Carolina for my shower and it was a huge suprise. I got to catch up with college friends, Zeta sisters, former co-workers, neighbors, and I also got to meet some of Mrs. Byram's friends. My dad played bar tender and he did a great job. Dana made a champagne punch that was incredible and I would be thrilled if I could have it permanently in my fridge!

We spent a day at the aquarium. I loved it!!! I would like to move in with the sea otters or the penguins, but I don't think I would be allowed to. Never in a million years would I ever think that I would fall in love with a sting ray, but I did. They are really cute. When you first walk into the aquarium, there is a touch tank of sting rays and mini sharks. I actually pet some sting rays and some sharks. My family had to drag me away from them because I kept going back to see them. And I also did something that I never thought I would do. Anyone that knows me well knows that I am petrified of shrimp. Yes, cooked shrimp. They really just scare me. Well, I pet a live shrimp. A real live shrimp!!!! After the aquarium, we went to the Varsity where we all proceeded to eat too many slaw dogs, chili dogs, french fries, onion rings, and coke. I am just hoping I will be able to fit in my wedding dress now. If not, it was well worth it!
And what summer would not be complete without a leak in the HVAC system that causes the ceiling to fall in? Yup! Our ceiling in the master bedroom fell in. It was just charming. Imagine getting home from a wedding, Sam going up to the attic to see what the issue was, hearing Sam say, "Uh-oh", and then going into the bedroom only to be able to see his face in the ceiling. It was quite the shocker. He thought for sure that I was going to scream, but I didn't. I actually laughed. Very hard. But Sam did a great job putting the pipes back together. My dad and I pulled down the old ceiling and put up the new one.
The wedding planning is coming along splendidly! We have a little more than 2 months to go. Very scary! We just recently started our marriage preparation classes with our sponsor couple. They are a really sweet couple and they seem to rather in tune to us. They are kind of like the older version of Sam and myself. They have helped us sort out some things that have been the topic of not so fab discussions. We have these workbooks that we have to do before we see them and it really helps to cover topics that we really never thought about. We have learned so much about each other.

There are still a few things that need to be done for the wedding day. I still have to figure out who will be doing my hair and make up and what I will even look like that day. The favors and programs still need to be done, as well as figure out which kind of cake we want. Then there is the whole shoes thing. My surrogate aunt gave me the shoes that I will be wearing for my reception. She knows me very well and she made the perfect pair for me! I don't want to ruin the suprise, but here is a hint - sequins!!!! I love them!!! But as for the shoes that I will be wearing for the ceremony, I still don't have those yet. Plus, there are several ideas that I have that I need to start working on or they will not be done in time for the wedding day. But some of it relies on how many people will be coming, so I guess I am not totally procrastinating. I don't really have a choice but to procrastinate. Or at least that is what I am going to keep telling myself. My mom and sister are coming back down here on August 9, so little do they know, they will be sucked into helping me with everything.

Sam and I picked out our wedding rings today. It was really weird to see a ring on Sam's finger. I told him to make sure he picked out one that he really liked because it would be on his finger for the rest of his life. We had a great time picking them out and we both got the rings that we wanted. Our jeweler is a great guy. His stuff is beautiful. I get tons of compliments on my engagement ring and I made sure to tell him that today. So if you are ever looking for a good jeweler, let me know!

Aside from the possum, or should I say possums as it seems to be there are more than one, we have a few more added friends to our nitely deck feeding sessions. There is also Tigger the cat and Rhoda the raccoon. I am sure it is just a matter of time before our neighbors call animal control, but we can't resist. They are all so cute!

Well, I think those are the latest updates on everything. If I left anything out, I am sure that I will be updating again in another 3 months. No, honestly, I am going to start to write a little more often. I hope everyone in blogger land is doing well. I know I have a ton of fans out there, so I just want to make sure you are all well :-)

"If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you."
Winnie the Pooh

Saturday, May 15, 2010

A little laundry can't ruin my excitement!

Boy, have I been a slacker! I have about 5 blog entries that I started and I have not finished. Most of my time recently has been dedicated to tanning and going to the gym. Sorry, I guess I just had to add some humor. While I was able to do those things while I was working day shift, I am not able to do those on nite shift. My time has been dedicated to wedding planning and working. Working nite shift has kind of cut back on my productivity. There is just no way that I can justify doing laundry at 3 a.m. I always say that I am going to do it, but it never pans out. I find most of my days, ahem, nites lounging on the couch attempting to cross things off my to-do list. But I find myself doing more internet surfing, mahjongg playing, and Penelope the Possum watching. Sam has been doing a good job of hiding his disappointment of the piles of dishes increasing in the sink, the towers of papers growing on the kitchen table and the mounds of clean clothes taking over the top of the refrigerator. No, no, you did not read that incorrectly. There is a mound of clean clothes on top of the fridge. Sam thought it would be a brilliant idea to put a mini-fridge in our bedroom. I tried to explain to him that it would be yet one more thing for crap to pile up on. I hate to say I told you so. But.....well, just read the previous sentence.

As for the new chapters in my life. I have my dream job. I work at a wonderful children's hospital in Atlanta. I work with predominantly cystic fibrosis, respiratory, GI, and diabetes patients. Thanks to Sam, I would like to think that I might know at least the basics of cystic fibrosis so that makes that aspect of my job a little easier. My school prepared me rather well for what I would face at my new job, but there are so many things that just kind of creep up on you. Changing a diaper for example. Changed plenty of pee pee diapers on my niece, but if there was anything else in it, she was handed off to Mimi or my sister. Perhaps it did not look very good when, on my first day at work, I had to change my first poopy diaper. Let's just say it kind of came back to bite me in the butt. Things also don't always go as planned in the nursing world. Normally, you put the blood pressure cuff on and you hit the little button and VOILA you have your bp. Yeah, not quite the case when you have a child squirming and screaming and kicking. You see, the machine does not actually pick up the reading. In nursing school, they teach you how to deal with children on their level. To get a child to let you do whatever it is that you need to do simply requires demonstrating on their teddy bear. According to my text books, they stop crying when you do this and they allow you to do whatever nursing task that needs to be completed. Yeah, so not the case. Sometimes, it makes them scream even louder. So much louder that one's nose starts to bleed! As time goes on, I know that all of this will get easier and it will become second nature to me. This is my dream - staying up all nite really is a small sacrifice in comparison to the fact that I have the initials RN after my name. I mean, you have to be getting accustomed to the nursing world when you are trying to fall asleep at 9:30 am after working the whole nite and all you hear are birds chirping and the repetitive sound of an IV pump beeping ingrained in your head, right?

On to the wedding planning! Thanks to the help of my mom, dad, and sister, as well as Sam for putting up with 50,000 phone calls, the major wedding planning was done in 3 days. The venue, florist, bridal party dresses, limos, photographer, my dress, mom's dress and shoes, and church were all booked. I guess working at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation paid off! I may be lacking talent in some areas, but apparently wedding planning comes rather naturally to me. The invitations were ordered from the printer last week and our en route to our house as of May 13th. The guest list is complete, the flower arrangements are designed, and we are meeting with the priest next weekend in NY. While most of the items we wanted to register for are just that - registered for - we still have a few more items to add. We have yet to pick out a wedding song, but there are 4 that we are trying to choose between. We still have not picked out favors yet - the last thing I want to do is get something that is going to be a dust collector is some one's house. Some ideas have been tossed around, but nothing even close to being final. It is rather funny because we have been engaged for almost 15 months now and I have repeatedly said - Oh, I don't need to rush, it is so far away. Not so much so! In 5 months, I will be taking that long stroll down the aisle arm in arm with my dad. In those 5 short months, we have quite a bit to learn about each other. For the past 4 years, we have gotten to know each other quite a bit, but there are still some things that we don't know about each other. For example - we were sitting on the couch after dinner and Sam and I were discussing our timeline. Needless to say, he ended up telling me that the alarm to by biological clock was ready to start blaring. Thankfully, we will be meeting with a sponsor couple and they will help us get to know each other a little better. Plus, upon completion of the meetings with the sponsor couple, we will be given a compatibility test. Hmmmmmm. Now wouldn't that stink if we failed!

In all seriousness, I am at a place in my life that I did not know if I would ever get to. I am currently in a career that I love and I am about to marry the man of my dreams. He has been so supportive of me both financially and emotionally during nursing school, while studying for the NCLEX, and while looking for a job. He was my shoulder to cry on when I was convinced that I failed every test including the NCLEX. He took joy in telling me "I told you so" when I ended up passing all those tests, including the NCLEX. He was my tissue dispenser when I cried because I thought I did not get my dream job. He treated me to dinner the day I found out that I actually did get my dream job. He makes sure the room is dark and the dog is walked when I get home from working the nite shift so that I can sleep soundly without disturbances. He has faith in me when others don't always have faith in me. He is my confidence booster on days when my hair is a little poofy and my under eye circles are a little too dark. But most importantly, he loves me for who I am. He is someone that I spent years of dreaming about, but didn't know existed. And how many people can say that they wear leopard print shoes and a shirt with jungle animals all over it and not be thrilled?

“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” - Judy Garland