A Dose of Happy

Battle Of Wills

She had done it a thousand times before.

When Emma was younger, she would carefully and slowly roll her body down the two steps of our sunken living room, from the foyer of our apartment. But as she got older, she evolved into scooting down on her bottom, with some semblance of graded control. It was a sight to see. Her four foot, seventy-five pound, lanky frame, propelled itself by pushing off the floor with the back of her hands while simultaneously pumping her legs, in what appeared to me as a painfully uncomfortable movement, much like a caterpillar.

She never did take to the hand splints that were custom-made for her when she was a little girl, to keep her wrists straight, and to prevent the contractures, that partly defined her life. Even as a small child, she was not going to be restrained and somehow always managed to remove the limiting splints--using her teeth to pull apart the velcro. A veritable Houdini.

I marveled at her determination to get to where she wanted to go, with all of her physical limitations, as she would lower her diapered tush, first one step and then the other, bouncing and closing her eyes in anticipation of the not so soft landing.

I would spot her from the corner of my eye, as she would rhythmically make her way to the couch where I would be sitting, attempting to go unnoticed as I would to try to sneak in yet another episode of the Housewives of NY, or Orange County, or Beverly Hills or Atlanta—my one guilty pleasure. Caught in the act, Emma would determinedly pause at my feet, reach for the remote control sitting next to me on the couch, place it, matter of factly, into my hand, and, without skipping a beat, turn her head to look at the television. And even though I always knew how this story ended, I would make an unenthusiastic effort at redirecting her from her goal, by placing the remote control behind my back.

There was no dissuading this persistent, then teenager. Survival was the name of the game for Emma—from the day she was born. With every obstacle that presented itself to her, she would somehow, with ingenuity, find a way of overcoming it, by resorting to the limited skills she had learned over the years.

Precisely the reason she learned to pull herself up on the couch by planting her forearms and elbows into the cushion of the couch and with nothing less than sheer superhuman strength, throw her body up, while pivoting it 180 degrees, so that she could land with aplomb, on her padded behind next to me. The next movement involved her reaching for the remote control behind my back, retrieving it, and triumphantly, and with a deliberate gesture, placing it in my hand once again, so that I could comply with her wordless command, to change the channel to Sesame Street.

It was an impressive battle of wills, and one that I invariably lost—secretly happy that I did.  

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Thanks to my Dad

Most people I know don't have a relationship with their father. It sucks because I could have never imagine it for myself.

My dad is everything to me. He is the rock of our family. Without him I know we'd crumble.

When mom became diagnosed with MS when I was about 6 dad basically took over. He juggled three kids two of which had disabilities, worked two jobs at the time, and had to deal with his wife becoming disabled herself. Probably not what he signed up for but like their wedding vows he was their for sickness and health.

Dad had worked a full time job then a part time job on weekends to make ends meet, since mom gave up working to take care of us kids. But he end up giving that job up because of mom's on going condition.

Mom was able to still help out for quite a few years she got us ready for school but then MS completely took over.

It was hard to be a little girl growing up without a mother to do girly things. Dad bravely stepped in. I remember the first time was at Girl Scout Day camp and my Brownie troop got to sleep over during the weekend. Mom's were invited but they made the exception at the time to let dad come help and stay over (he stayed on the other side of the camp). I really never thought twice about it.

Mom used to brush my hair but because of MS she no longer could do it, meaning she also couldn't curl or crimp my hair either. Once again dad stepped in. Lots of patience, practice, and a cinged head sometimes but dad did a pretty bang up job. However I remembered being slightly embarrassed when kids at school would ask who did my hair. I always kind of mumbled my answer. I was already picked on a lot of the times anyways. Why add fuel to the fire?

My teen years were just as hard as I mentioned before. But how embarrassing is it to ask your dad to take you bra shopping? Or worse yet telling your dad that you've started your monthly bill?

I did sort of rebel not nearly as bad as some but I ignored curfew (be home when the street light comes on) played hooky from school, not clean my room or do chores and from what I've been told I had a bad attitude (funny I don't remember that ha ha).

Mom was in the hospital when I was around 10 years old for a operation which resulting her living in a nursing home for a couple years. My brother and I were shipped to school, we come home or stay at my grandparents house, deliver the newspapers (we shared a paper route), dad would come home we'd have supper then visit my mom at the hospital (I usually ran off to watch cartoons), followed by visiting my sister at her group home, It was like that pretty much every single day talk about difficult.

None the less when I got my license, I became a bit more responsible I always called dad to tell him I was going to be late. I got a lot of shit for it but hey it was the least I could do.

Dad was there for everything all my programs, band concerts, he came to the games to watch me play, you name it he was there. Again I was very lucky.

I did rebel a little more in 20's running around with my friends, and boyfriend. I did stuff that I know pissed dad off but he was always there to bail me out of any situation and I got myself in a lot of them. I know most parents wouldn't do that. I was often given shit for being a "daddy's girl". So what? I'm 30 years old and still am one. No matter how old I get.

They say when you're older your relationship with your parents improves. I would definately say dad's and my relationship has gotten better. We can talk to each other about everything and I always come to him if I need anything. When my sister died it took a toll on the both of us, but brought us closer than ever.

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Look How Far We've Come

At the beginning of this year, I was lost.

Lost like I've been lost so many times over the last few years. I was coming to the end of my degree, still uncertain if I'd ever make it to graduation. I didn't know what I wanted to do after I left university, and to be honest, I didn't care.

Depression had me in it's grip once more and it was all I could do just to stay afloat.

Fast-forward 12 months and things have changed beyond recognition.

I got through those awful few months with a little help from my friends (and The Band of course). I believed those important people when they told that I had come too far to give up now, and I kept fighting to get the degree I deserved.

I made some important decisions about my life, not just about my plans for the future but about how I treat myself.

I took responsibility for my physical health for the first time in a long time, and I'm learning to cut myself some slack when it comes to my mental health.

It's a long journey but I'm getting there. I've made the effort to grow closer to my family, and to keep in contact with my amazing friends despite differences in lifestyle and geography.

How are things different now?

After I graduated, I moved to a different city where I'm training to be a children's nurse, and I'm honestly happier than I've been in a very long time.

That doesn't mean I don't have bad days, and days where I don't believe in myself, but for the first time I have found a vocation and something I am willing to pour my heart and soul into.

And I've been surprised to find that I'm actually quite good at it. I'm absolutely stressed and exhausted, and I'm loving it.

2015 has been a year of change for me and mostly that change has been for the better.

Bring on 2016, I'm ready for it!

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DOH Monday: Shoe Fix
Why make Monday harder than it already is? We at The Band are always welcoming posts for our Dose of the Happy Monday!
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So, I got these shoes for Christmas from Sunshine Santa Claus. And it is finally thinking about being warm enough to wear them once in a while.

They are designed and made by a couple of Israeli women who have the most vivid imaginations, and this particular shoe is named the helicopter. I wish I could find the page that showed the collection alongside the objects that inspired each shoe, but alas, I cannot. So, you'll just have to take my word for it that these shoes are truly a nod to a helicopter.

These shoes are also unbelievably comfortable, with some of the softest leather imaginable. These shoes? Are why Santa Claus Sunshine is the best!

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Dose Of Happy Monday: Zebra Donuts

Several years ago, when I lived in a city, I used to buy donuts from a grocery store not far from my home. My very favorite was the Zebra Donut. For those not familiar, this type of donut is bar-shaped, frosted with white frosting, and drizzled with chocolate. 

Sadly, after a few years, that store closed, and I could no longer get my beloved donuts.

Four and a half years ago, we moved our little family to a small town of 1800 people. Almost everyone we met told us we HAD TO try the donuts at the little bakery here. Finally one day, I went inside. 

To my delight, the first thing I saw was Zebra Donuts!

I bought one, wondering if it could possibly be as good as the ones I used to get. Would the frosting be just right, or would it be too sweet - like a lot of other bakeries I had tried? Could I really have found what I had been missing for all those years?

My first bite was heaven. It was perfect. Just as good as the ones I used to buy.

So now, when I get a chance to go to town in the mornings, I stop by our cute little bakery and pick up one of those little bundles of happiness.

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