The Samantha Years

Defenders of the Chair

Samantha has been sick all weekend. The last five days included suctioning, copious amounts of Vicks vapor rub, calls to TCH and finally…..antibiotics. This morning I found her awake, smiley and significantly less snotty. Therefore, Mean Mommy packed her up and headed off to preschool.

I always worry about taking Samantha on days like this; days when she is not 100%. I weigh the pros and cons of a school day and keep my cell phone close. If she only attended on 100% days, she would be missing quite a lot of school.

So we take our chances.

I carried Samantha into the classroom and was immediately greeted by one of her friends. “Samantha! Samantha’s here! Samantha!”

Wow, well that just made my day! The kiddos helped to get Samantha settled; helped with her coat….everything seemed just ducky and I got ready to go.

Samantha has a chair that we keep at school. She’s getting bigger so we need to have it refitted. On my way out, I casually grabbed her chair to take it home.

Oh no…..

Samantha’s friend stood in front of me, hands on his little hips, staring intently.

“That’s Samantha’s chair!”

“I know Sweetie. But I need to take it home to fix it. I’ll bring it back for her. Is that okay?”

He shook his head no.

“Hey!” Another little guy joined in, “That chair is for Samantha!”

I was suddenly surrounded by tiny tikes slightly taller than my knee and very unhappy that I was taking Samantha’s chair.

With a little coaxing and a lot of promising that I would bring it back, I was allowed to leave.

Whew! Adamant three-years can be a little overwhelming!

With the events of Deer Creek fresh in my mind, I worry about Samantha protecting herself. It is wonderful to know that she has friends who come to her defense…..three year olds who come to her defense…..her mother-can’t-even-get-her-chair-out-of-the-classroom defense.

I wouldn’t want it any other way.

The Samantha Years

JAWS! By Samantha

Now, you would think that raising me would be enough excitement for Mama….

But no, she needs a little something else, a little reminder that she is still young and daring.

So I give you Mama, and a tank full of sharks….

You can see Mama’s tanks up towards the left.

Here she is with the dive master

A little Chum for Chum…

Of course Mama needs to get the family involved….here’s Pops hangin’ with the sharks too….

Mama in her fishbowl….

BIG TEETH!!!!

Mama throwing me a kiss. I am not happy about any of this!!!! Grandma Judi trying to tell me that Mama probably doesn’t taste very good.

In the shark tank with a buddy checking us out.

Nonnie telling Pops how to get out of the tank….take your first left and turn right at the shark

Even the tiger thought she was a little crazy…

I am very concerned about this behavior!!!!

The Samantha Years

Pore

I have developed a pimple on my chin.

It has not gone away.

I play at it, pick at it, but it will not heal….it’s something beneath my skin that will not go away.

Kind of like this week…..This week is the Children’s Hospital Radiothon (if you can give, please do)….incredible, miraculous stories of healing and hope. Children who have entered the hospital with failing hearts, brain tumors, failing little bodies and have left that building….walking, talking, playing sports…perfectly normal.

Miraculous….truly, many of these kiddos would not be alive 20, 30 years ago. I listen to these stories, marvel at their fortune and pick at the annoying pimple on my chin.

This week an amazing video was released of a child who suffered a near-drowning accident. This child was in a coma, breathing tube, PICU and is now perfectly fine….like nothing happened. It’s an amazing story but it has rocked the world of my friends whose children are severely impacted due to an anoxic brain injury. Why weren’t these families the miraculous families?

I don’t know.

Is it okay to be envious that your family is not the miracle?

Yep.

Is it okay to be a little pissed?

I think so.

But sometimes, as a society, we are not so good with the envious and pissed. We don’t know quite what to do. It’s much easier to join ranks with the miraculous. It’s much more fun. And in the world of fund raising, big miracles raise much more money.

My conclusion? I have none. So I pick at the clogged pore on my chin. Is it envy? Is it anger? A lack of personal hygiene? A combination of all three? Perhaps it should be released….popped like a balloon….perhaps it would heal…..or maybe not.

The Samantha Years

Tonight

Tonight was a fabulous meeting of the Supermoms.

We discussed super topics…..

G-Tube vs. Oral Feeding

Generic Keppra vs. brand-name

Whose child had brain surgery…..whose seizures are under control

Just another day.

We wished a Supermom safe travels as she journeys to Europe and leaves her sweet boy for a week. We shared in her anxiety and her excitement…..because all Supers have to leave the headquarters every once in a while.

And we drank margaritas.

I listened to Pink on the way home. It’s just what the Supermoms do to me….give me a little attitude.

The Samantha Years

Love Letter to Holden Caulfield…..My tribute to J.D.Salinger

This post can also be found Under the Cuckoo Clock

It’s really too bad that so much crumby stuff is a lot of fun sometimes. ~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

Oh Holden!

We meet in Mr. Stough’s English class. You were so real, so jaded, so naughty. You smoked, you drank, you flunked out of school.

And yet we were told to get to know you. It was an assignment! Who was Holden Caulfield? What were his dreams? His failures?

It was the happiest day of my young, English Lit career.

So different from Huckleberry Finn, the sonnets of Shakespeare, you were tragic like Hamlet but so relatable! You Holden, would never wear tights and hold a conversation with a skull. You were way too cool.


Oh Holden! You were nestled in my book bag, with your dog-eared pages I circled quotes where your voice touched my inner teen-angst! I had found my soul mate. If only you had been here as a senior at Bear Creek High School! We would sneak cigarettes in the parking lot, we would wear black, listen to the Smiths and comment that everyone else was a phony and that goddamn money….makes you blue as hell.

It would be perfect.

And then we moved onto Beowulf. A knight, a slimy water monster, 1,000 years ago….nothing to do with teenage angst.

Nothing I tell you.

Sadly Holden, I am now older. Today if I sat with you out in the parking lot, I would tell you to stop smoking, call your parents, stop pissing away their money, buck up and go back to school.

Sadly.

The Samantha Years

A Good Day

Today was our first day of in-home music therapy. I was really hoping Samantha would like this therapy because she loves music.

But I also had my doubts….I have taken Samantha to music classes before.

And they are just okay.

Because kiddos are sitting.

And then they are marching to the music.

And then they are sitting.

And then they are pretending to be trees, swaying to the music.

And Samantha complains because she feels like she is being Mama-handled as I march her around, arrange her in a circle and then sway her like a tree. I can’t blame her because truly, she is being Mama-handled.

The Mama-handling tends to override the love for music.

Today a lovely woman came to our house with a guitar and a bag full of instruments. I held Samantha as we sang You are my Sunshine We put her in comfy, supported positions so she could bang on the drum and I marveled in her toothless grin as she helped strum the guitar.

It is a wonderful feeling when we find the things that Samantha truly enjoys.

She enjoyed her music therapy.

So I cried.

And the music therapist hugged me as she was leaving.

It was just that type of session.

The Samantha Years

Code Orange

Last week Samantha and I shuttled back and forth from Loveland to TCH, TCH to Loveland….back and forth….back and forth.

The hatchback of the Malibu contained 4 pairs of underwear, my comfy sweats, all of Samantha’s meds, 3 Dr. Seuss books, my favorite pair of pajamas and a bag of Milano cookies. I can pack these items in the ‘Bu’ in less than 5 minutes….time me.

It was Code Orange at the Schichtel Household.

This weekend I felt confident enough in Samantha’s health to remove the 4 pairs of underwear, Milano cookies, pjs and the rest of the contents.

I took a deeo breath and downgraded us to an optimistic Code Blue.

That’s right, TSA, Homeland Security and the Schichtels.

Homeland Security advises the following in case of an emergency:

Everyone should establish an emergency preparedness kit and emergency plan for themselves and their family, and stay informed about what to do during an emergency.

All Americans should continue to be vigilant, take notice of their surroundings, and report suspicious items or activities to local authorities immediately.

Emergency plan? We can make it out of the house in five minutes, with the bag of Milano cookies, a clean bra and enough Ativan to make a seasoned Resident at TCH cringe.

Vigilance.