calf deep in it

The Girl Child is 14 and a high school freshman. This is uncharted territory, people. Well, the last 14 years have been, really. Every day leads us somewhere new. I say we’re calf deep in it, because it won’t be knee deep until actual boyfriends and teenage driving are involved. *shudder*

It’s a different world than my teenage world. We communicated with friends by phone or in person, none of this 24/7 texting or Facebooking. She can chat with friends 15 different ways, none of which are easily monitored by me unless I want to constantly spy on her. Which I don’t – unless necessary and then all bets are off. That has happened twice, and may happen again.

High school is also much different – more demanding and thus more stressful. I am pretty sure my parents had no idea what homework I had or when I had tests I should be studying for. I got good grades for the most part, so I guess it didn’t come up. There was no Source where they could check in daily to see my grades or assignments. The last half of 8th grade was rocky for Emma academically – due mostly to more socializing/procrastination than schoolwork – and there was much headbutting over this. So when 9th grade started a few weeks ago, I was hyper-vigilant, probably causing her more stress when a couple grades were not A’s and B’s like I know she can get.

And there’s the mood swings. People, I was an angel sent from teenage heaven (correct me if you remember differently, Mom). I never drank or smoked, I got good grades, I hung with the smart crowd, never even had a boyfriend, and think I was generally pretty nice to my parents. THIS girl, however – well, sometimes we don’t even like her much. She can be downright mean. And not just once in a while – on a daily basis. Those hormones are all over the damn place and they are exhausting.

All this to say I really am winging it here. Trying to pay attention but not too much attention.  Spotting her like a gymnast coach as she navigates mean girls. Asking questions, but not too many questions. Giving opinions when asked even though I know she may not agree, because at least she ASKED. Forgiving the mean because she will later come and apologize, because she REALIZES it was wrong. Backing off the grade thing for a month to see where she takes it.

Because I know she IS trying. She’s trying to be a better student. She’s trying to be a good daughter and sister. Sometimes she is just more successful than others. Throw in learning her way in high school, learning who she is and where she wants to go and it’s no wonder things come out of her mouth she later regrets. The fact that she takes responsibility for those words gives me hope.

It’s a big ol’ steep, rocky mountain we’re climbing, and I have no idea where this trail will end. One thing is for sure.

I love these two like no tomorrow.

bad head

I know some people who have never had headaches or have them so rarely they are mystified when they occur.

I am not one of those people.

The first time I had a bad headache, which I now know was a migraine, was in my mid-twenties on my way to a 3 day knitting retreat. I spent maybe an hour knitting and the rest in bed.

I can recall headaches like a timeline. 4th of July in Chelan a few years ago. A bar Christmas party at the EMP. Lin’s wedding. Big chunks of time gone.

It feels like there is a burning icy hot poker in my left eye. My shoulders and neck are very tight and painful. My limbs seem to be in slow motion. I can do no work of any consequence. My eyeballs feel gritty. I feel like I could eat a cow and am bloated at the same time, yawning constantly. This would last two and a half days, like clockwork, and no amount of OTC drugs would make a dent. On the 3rd day, my head felt bruised.

Then a couple of years ago, my doctor gave me a miracle: Imitrex. I could take one pill and about half an hour later, the headache would be gone. Yes, it did make me feel a little wonky, but definitely an improvement over the bad head.

Now I take a generic form. Sometimes it takes a little longer, and sometimes there is a day or two of rebound headaches, but for the most part I can function. Some days, instead of an 8 on the headache scale, it’s mostly shoulders and neck and only a little in the head – I’ll call that a 5 – so I just suffer through it. If it’s mainly in the shoulders and neck, a little tiger balm lotion can help. Massages are good, but expensive even with insurance, so that’s not a regular thing.

Alcohol is a definite trigger, which means parties can be more trouble than they’re worth. Sometimes a big storm causes problems for a few days. Hormones can play a part, and stress.

Sadly, these things can be genetic. My son began getting up in the middle of the night and vomiting when he was about 5. He would throw up til there was literally nothing left for hours, and then fall asleep like the dead. He said his head hurt. Turns out he had what they call “chronic vomiting syndrome”, which is a form of stomach migraine that can occur in young boys – his seemed to be triggered by chocolate. He would have episodes every month or two at the beginning, but they have been more spread out – it’s been months now and he’s almost 12. It’s a good time when this happens while camping, let me tell you.

So if I look at you funny at a party or even go lay down in the middle of one, don’t take it personally. I’m just trying to keep my eyeball from popping out or catching on fire.