Friday, April 18, 2014

“The Talk” No One Prepares You For

As a parent, you look forward to certain milestones in your child’s life.   There is joy in watching the first step or hearing the first word.   On the flip side, a parent has the responsibility of having “The Talks”.   We talk to our children about values, trust, safety, boundaries, puberty, alcohol/drugs, and sex.   Early on I established what I referred to as “The Mommy Rules”.    I sent my daughter out to face the world knowing the following simple rules.

I will always love you.

I am proud of you no matter what.

Be who you are.

A few weeks ago, I was faced with having a talk that I was not prepared to give.   I had to tell my teenage daughter that her father was in jail.  Even now as I write the words, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach.  I found out he was taken to jail when my brother called me and told me it was on the local news.  I knew I needed to tell her before she found out from someone else.   I left work early and picked her up from school.  I was waiting in the parking lot and it felt like she was the last person out of the building.  She knew there was something wrong when she saw me standing in front of the school.

Erin got in the car.
I told her.
She put in her favorite CD and
we drove….
and drove…
and drove.

We ended up at the Hershey Chocolate World that day.  We bought huge bags of chocolate chip cookies.  It was a sad day but the emotion which resonates most clearly is anger.  Tom was given so many opportunities to change his path but he didn’t.  It did not have to be this way.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How Did I Get Here?

“I am telling you this as a friend, as your sister, take care of yourself.”
The very sad truth is that I don’t remember how. 
But here is where I begin.

I guess I should start by explaining where I am.  It is difficult to talk about because I have grown accustomed to remaining silent.  I always felt it was not my tale to tell; not my place to discuss.   I was married to someone who was bipolar.  Mental illness does not usually come up in casual conversation.  Medical conditions are private.  I always thought that he would share his diagnosis with the people he chose. 

In October 2012, my daughter and I stood on my parent’s porch with the clothes on our backs and a handful of belongings packed in the car.  I can remember some of the items Erin packed:  her pillow, a favorite blanket, a stuffed elephant named Elly and a sentimental book The Land of Many Colors.   This was the direct result of a huge argument between my husband and me.  The discussion started in the bar area of the house.  I don’t remember specifics but it probably had to do with finances and his refusal to help me handle the problems.  The argument ended with me having a split lip that would not stop bleeding.

I would pinpoint this moment as the beginning of Tom’s latest downward spiral.  He was diagnosed as bipolar in 1994.  The self medication started in 1999 with prescription pain killers, Ambien and Xanax.  The medication reached its maximum with daily doses of Fentanyl,  Percocet, Ambien, Adderall and Xanax.   Eight to ten Ambien to sleep and four Adderall to wake up.  His parents and I were able to get him into a treatment program in December 2011.  Tom completed the 30 days but refused the recommended extended care.  Within a week, he was back at the doctor being prescribed the same medications.  His mental health continued to deteriorate.  He talked about suicide on a regular basis. 

Today, Erin and I are still living with my parents.  Tom is in jail pending further court action with $500,000.00 bail.  I have to deal with a house that has been left go beyond physical and financial repair.  Many of my important, sentimental possessions have been hidden somewhere within the confines of the property.  I am finding items hidden in attic crawl spaces and locked in a cold cellar.  I cannot find a large portion of my snowman collection.  He sold or pawned many items.   The paperwork piles are enormous.  There is trash everywhere.

I am exhausted but I need to tell my story.

It is time.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I Have A Blog?

Yes...yes I do.

Sometimes I forget.

Just a quick note to say "Hello!" to all the readers who still stumble upon this blog from time to time.  There is not much...ok I mean report on karate.  This is my first prolonged absence from the dojo and training.  I miss my instructors.  I miss my friends. I miss my fellow karate blog friends. I miss training.

During the summer, I was at the IKKF Annual Training event.  I was hoping the event would catapult me back in to training.  I spoke to Hanshi Hayes during a break in the sessions.  I mentioned my lapse in training and he told me not to worry because "it was about the long term commitment".

So here I am....focusing on the the long term commitment.

I will be back.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Teaching Your Own Child Karate

My daughter turns 14 years old next week.  In a few weeks, she will graduate 8th grade.  In a few months, she will start high school.  In a few short years, she will head off to college. 

 Time flies like an arrow…

A few weeks ago, she mentioned in passing about learning karate.  (We have been down this road before).  She wants me to teach her and she wants to learn via private lessons.  I did not give this much thought at the time because I was in the process of driving her from one play practice to another.   The truth is…she simply did not have the time. (Historical society play, School play, Living Stations, Mathletes, Declamation Contest, Softball, homework).

Yesterday, Erin expressed interest in learning the tunfa.  I handed her my favorite set of Shureido tunfa and we went outside dressed in sweatpants and t-shirts.  There were no gi, no belts, no mirrors and we were barefoot on the grass.

It was a good training session. 


Do you teach your own child karate?

Private lessons or class environment?

What are your biggest challenges?  

At what age did your child start learning?

I am inclined to have her learn privately and in a class setting.  My main concern is she is so busy with other activities that she will not have the time to study karate. 

PS. Hello Readers!  It has been a few months since I posted.  I hope everyone is doing well.    

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Listen.... your body.

In mid December, my sister Kim had surgery on her foot to correct a Haglund's Deformity and Plantar Fasciitis.  After the surgery, she had a list of instructions such as no weight bearing (crutches) and elevation for four weeks.  Kim wore a surgical boot for six weeks. 

My sister is not the type of person who is content being at home.  She is on the go....all the time.   Two weeks into her recovery, she asked me to take her to a jewelry making class a few towns away.   Kim assured me it was O.K. with her doctor because she was able to elevate her foot during the class.  On the ride to the bead shop, she told me her calf was sore for about two days and was not getting any better.

My sister was convinced she had a blood clot. 

The ultrasound test in the ER the next morning confirmed her suspicion.  The ER doctor kept her for observation because if the blood clot would shift it would travel to her lung.  The blood clot was in her ankle and was a result of the surgery.  The doctor said her blood clot was diagnosed early.  Kim returned home after an overnight stay in the hospital, blood tests, injections and a regime of cumadin

I am glad my sister was listening....

Monday, January 14, 2013

White Envelope

A few weeks ago, I was handed a white envelope by Fritz who is one of my training partners.   The content of the  I don't know about you but I don't like to get my picture taken.  I thanked Fritz and put the white envelope in my weapon bag.  It remained buried in the bag until I discovered the pictures last Wednesday during a black belt workout.  The pictures were taken in June 2012 during IKKF testing.  I paged through the photos critiquing my stances and weapon positions (bo, tekkos).  Did I mention that I hate getting my picture taken?

I guess I am feeling brave or perhaps crazy because I am sharing a few of the photos from the white envelope on the Photos page.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Might As Well Jump

An article from Science Daily

Go Ahead and Jump: Learning How to Properly Jump and Land Can Help Female Athletes Avoid Serious Knee Injuries

Female athletes tear their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) six to eight times more than male athletes who play the same sport. A leading sports medicine surgeon believes incorporating a jumping and landing program into a regular training regimen can help keep women on the field and out of the operating room.

"The jump program not only strengthens the knee, but it also help teach female athletes the motor control required to cut, jump and land properly," said Kelly Osburn, a Methodist Center for Sports Medicine physical therapist who helps female athletes recover from ACL injuries. "Most of my patients leave physical therapy stronger than they were before their injury."
Jumping is one area that I still feel insecure about during karate training...even after 5 years.   My ACL tear occurred while landing a jump on a matted surface.