Monday, April 21, 2014


I will start out by acknowledging the obvious.  I know that my son is not dying.  I know that there are many children and parents that suffer way more than we do.  We are not a tragic tale.  Disclaimer inserted so that anyone reading this doesn't feel the need to tell me that we could have it way worse.  I am well aware.  But, I am also aware that just because others have it way worse, doesn't mean that we have it easy.  Disclaimer over.

I never had asthma.  When I was growing up, I knew kids with asthma.  The ones with the inhalers out at recess and they'd puff a few times and go on.  I even remember being jealous of it.  The same way kids want glasses and braces until they get them and realize that its not nearly as fun as you thought it was going to be.  Until Will, I didn't know asthma.  Now, I do... and I hate it.

Will has struggled with asthma since his second year of preschool.  He gets flare ups that are all but debilitating.  He talks, he coughs.  He moves, he coughs.  He lays down, he coughs.  And, in case you've never experienced an asthmatic cough, let me inform you.  The word cough isn't big enough to impart the appropriate image.  He coughs so hard and so long that he can't inhale again.  Imagine violently pushing all your breath out without a pause to get more air in.  It sometimes leads to vomiting.  It often leads to panic.  It always takes the energy level of his which usually hovers around 100 to a level 0.  His body hurts.  His throat hurts.  His head hurts.  He's exhausted.  That's asthma.  And I hate it.

Doctors are hopeful he'll grow out of it, and the improvements he's had are amazing.  He is starting a flare up now, but he hasn't had one since September.  That's huge.  But, in September it took a month to get under control.  So, the start of this one is not met with relief that its been so long without, but with the dread of how long its here to stay.  Its not just his physical self that suffers.  There is nothing worse than attempting to go to school and knowing you're distracting the entire class repeatedly, but there is nothing you can do to stop.  Do we keep him home for a month?  I know his teachers get frustrated. I do, too.  I get the distraction, the desire for quiet, and they don't have the sleepless nights and don't even have to deal with the huge amount of money we've spent monthly on his medications.  I get being frustrated.  But, think of the frustration, and worse the embarrassment, he has.  Everyone is silently watching as he is running to the trashcan because this time he coughed up phlegm.  He wants to run and play at recess, but the staff won't let him because it may cause an attack.  He suffers socially, academically, emotionally, and of course physically.  All because of asthma, and I hate it.

I know that mothers all over the world have worse to deal with, but I'm talking about me now and the worse thing in my world is when my son can't breathe.  He is looking to me, gasping for breath and all I can say is "it will be ok."  It is not ok.  He ought to be able to breathe.  I'm not asking for a 5 minute mile, a 100mph fastball or a MENSA acceptance letter.  I just want my boy to breathe.  But, today he can't.  Thanks to asthma.  And, I hate it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Work Ethic

Will has taekwondo every Tuesday and Thursday.  He's been doing it for months, achieved his yellow belt and loves it.  However, every Tuesday and Thursday without fail he will complain about going.  He's good when he gets there, but he doesn't want to go.  The same was the case during football, swimming, even scouts on some nights.  The gist of it is that he wants to do the fun stuff, but not the work.

Tabbi was the same way.  She purported to love volleyball, and we even agreed to pay the $1,000 minimum fee to get her into club volleyball.  However, she went so far as to quit before her first practice.  She quit violin, too.  She was so afraid of doing the work, she just wouldn't.

I'm sitting here after giving Will five more minutes to play with his friends before getting ready to go and I'm at a loss.  How do I instill a work ethic in my sons?  Mark sort of has it.  He goes to work ill, or on no sleep.  Even the kind of yucky sick when your coworkers are pissed that you came in because they're going to catch it.  When we were dating, he went to work so sick with the flu that was killing people, he semi-passed out driving and totaled his car.  However, at home... he doesn't have it.  He won't mow today, when he could mow tomorrow (or never).  He won't stake our newly planted weeping willow up without me nagging at him to death  to the extent that he'd rather walk away from Mine Craft than have me utter another word about the tree.  And, I fear that I don't have it either.

I was kicked out of band in middle school essentially because I refused to practice.  In college, looking back, I'm pretty sure I graduated with an English Lit degree just because it was easy for me.  Was it a lot of work?  Yes.  I giggle when I hear people complain about 10 page papers and reading a novel a month.  (Hee hee, amateurs).  But, it wasn't HARD work.  That's the difference.  When I was a working professional, I worked hard.  I succeeded.  But, I can honestly say that now as a semi-professional part timer, there are days when I phone it in.  At home, I am a get the job doner, but I am not sure the kids even see it that way.  I do laundry and cook dinner because I have to.  Not because I'm getting my work done.

So, I am left with the question of how to make the practice that is required for my children's success seem like a good idea?  How do I get Will to see that he'll never reach a black belt without the work?  I have no answers, so I am truly writing this, not to give my point of view, but in search of others.  Because right now, I can't find the answer.  Or maybe I'm just too lazy to try.