In the Wrong Line

We should have suspected something.  It was the only short line at the Duomo.

I should have wondered why I had to check my small bag before entering.

Everything was crowded and strange, so we just went with the flow.

We entered the door and immediately started climbing up steep stairs in a narrow passageway.

I do not do well in confined spaces, especially in crowds. Heights make my feet itch.

We continued to climb, and climb. The walls got closer together.  My tall son actually scraped his face on the rough plaster because the walls tilted inward.

I did not want to continue, but there was no way to turn around and go down.

Finally, there was an open landing for me to pull over and let others pass. It was then we discovered that we were in the line for the dome/cupola of the Duomo.

There were four hundred and sixty three steps(scalini).

Aside from my own fears of small spaces and heights, was my fear that Rose would have a seizure.  Her triggers were excitement, exercise, exertion, exhaustion…everything.

Here we were going up, up, up.

After my panic attack, we continued upward.  Finally, there was a place to exit out of the line to enter the inner base of the dome.  NO.  I had come this far.  I was not leaving my family.  I was not leaving Rose.

The last steps were actually rungs of a ladder.  When we finally popped out to see the city of Florence, it felt like I had entered heaven.

Our journey was over. We were safe.  I could breathe.

I will remember this for the rest of my life. That awful journey to the top. The relief and joy when we finally arrived.

This could be the end of a lovely story of bravery and perseverance. But there is more.

Relax it turned out fine.

We marveled at the sights and felt the wind in our faces. We hated to start down, but we knew the journey would not be as stressful and confining.

When we finally got out and sat down to rest, Rose looked a little flushed in the face. I told her she should take one of her emergency pills. She admitted that she had left them in the apartment.

Mama had another panic attack while the boys sprinted across Florence to get the bottle of medication.

All’s well that ends well.




The Fear is Still Here

Rose is away at college, but the fear is still here.

I foolishly thought that it would leave when she left.

That she would take it with her, but I was wrong.

I was unaware of this until a friend pointed it out…

that I gasped “Oh, no.” every time the phone rang during our visit.

My phone rang while I was shopping yesterday.

“Oh, no.”

This fear did not leave because she did.

It is still here.

It does not belong to her.

It is my own.

Seizure Mama


Ugly Doll Rescue

The first time this happened was in a giant toy store.

We looked down into a tub full of stuffed animals

to spy a small doll in a red checkered dress with messy blonde hair.

Maybe it was that messy blonde mop that made Rose relate to this doll.

She picked it up and turned it over.

The mouth was twisted and the eyebrows raised.

It was an alarming face. I remember thinking that it looked like it had had a stroke.

Maybe I said this. I do not remember.

The doll never went back in the tub. She went home with us.

Her name is Crystal.

The next one was not as alarming.

She had a cute little head band and outfit.  I think the facial expression was the manufacturer’s attempt at a yawn.

Her name is Dorothy Gale.

Then came the pouty-faced brunette with tear streaks down her face.

She was unhappy in the store. We must take her home, so she will quit crying.

Chevrolet is still crying.

The fourth was the tiniest one. She is was wearing a bonnet.

Her smile is just a little crooked.

She has eyes that look as though she just finished crying, but stopped because she spotted someone she loves. It melts your heart.

I do not remember her name. I am sure Rose could tell you.

There was one last attempt at a rescue.

It was in a toy store in a mall.

Rose picked up the doll off the shelf.  It was supposed to talk, but when Rose pushed on her tummy, a horrible, board-scratching shriek came out.

Rose dropped the demonic doll and ran out of the store.

That ended the mission of rescuing ugly dolls.

This post is in honor of Rose who just spent her first night in a college dorm.






Walking Back Through the Fire

I may have to stop the book for a while.

Writing it is hurting me.

I am trying to make it real for my readers,

but that means re-living all the pain myself.

It takes courage to walk back through the fire.  It’s like burning again on the inside.

I will continue when I feel strong enough.

I plan small doses, even though the flow may be off.


Pay attention to every side effect.

Write everything down.

Keep track of all drug changes.

Get help when you need it.

Take care of yourself.

Mama trumps doctor everyday.

Seizure Mama

No Words better than Wrong Words

Rose had seizures everywhere.  There was no secret to be kept.

The stares did not bother me, most of the time.

I knew that the observers were puzzled and concerned.

What I dreaded were the comments.

Have you tried…?  My uncle had seizures and he…  You should take her to…

These strangers did not know how long we had been struggling for a solution.

They were just trying to help, but…

When Rose was home-bound from school, we took her to a little restaurant with a train running around near the ceiling.

We knew she would like to watch it.

She sat wrapped in a towel to keep her from getting chilled.

She had bruises on her face from a previous seizure.

We sat down in a booth (always a booth) near a big table full of policemen eating lunch.

My child, bruised and pale, wrapped in a towel, not in school.

Were we going to be questioned?  Child abuse?  Neglect?

No need to worry.  Rose had a seizure.

I lay her down in the booth with my purse under her head.

We sat and waited for her to come to.

As a lady was leaving, she walked over to us.

I was prepared for a comment or question.

Instead, she just patted my shoulder and silently walked away.

Thank you wise woman.  All I needed was a love pat.

No words.

Seizure Mama


Generous versus Selfless

Take a hard look at how much you are doing for your child.

Are you modeling or enabling?

Doing too much for your child is a double-edged sword.

Either way, you are the one who will bleed.

If you are doing things for him/her that he/she should be doing for themselves, you are sending two messages. Both are bad.

First, you are telling your child, by your actions, that you do not believe that he/she is capable of doing this for themselves.

Do you really want to send this message? Do not hand them a handicap.

Second, you are showing the child that he/she is entitled to preferential treatment.  Maybe you are okay with this, but the rest of the world will not be catering to your needy, greedy baby.

Do not create a monster.

I am a former public school teacher. I have known many a little monster.

If you are doing too much. STOP.

It’s harder to stop a truck once it gets started rolling down the hill.

You will be run over.

Do not do this to you, your family and most of all, your child.

When you keep giving in, nobody wins.

Seizure Mama


Handle the Holiday Stress

Take breaks in a quiet place.

Go outside in the cool.  Do NOT stay in a hot kitchen.

Help your child avoid unfamiliar foods, especially if they are RED.

If you have trouble getting your baby to take breaks during the excitement,

go lie down with him/her in a quiet room.

Better yet, ask a favorite cousin to do that. This may be the start of a yearly bonding time.

Pack security items such as blanket and buddy toy.  Favorite books for a break in a corner.

DO NOT forget a dose of medicine in all the chaos.

Everyone drink plenty of water.

Stay safe in the fray.

Keep the main thing the main thing….That’s time with family, not the food.