Year of the Horse

Yesterday I got to go to Costco for the first time in 2014, and I was ecstatic: six heads of romaine (we all love salad), gallon-sized container of mango smoothie (used as delivery for one of Little Angel’s meds), huge container of yellow cherry tomatoes, you were mine! It was a cold, snowy day (although today is subzero so yesterday, in the low teens [Fahrenheit], was balmy by comparison), and Costco was deserted. My favorite checkout person, Lorri, was there, and when she saw me she yelled “GIRL! Where have you been?” as she crossed over to hug me. Love her. And I told her.

Late-November we received notice from the state that, according to their Pediatric Acuity Tool (PAT), the Little Angel requires licensed, skilled care ’round the clock. They prefer if a parent / primary caregiver provides it, and if the parent is able and wants to, the state will pay for the schooling. If the parent can or will not, then the state will instead send nurses in every day to tend to Little Angel. (not while he’s at school / therapies / camps) So I said “sure, I’ll do it.”

Then in late-December I received notice that my schooling would have to be completed by February 1st. What?!? So I purchased my scrubs and attended an accelerated course. I was supremely lucky because I had a dynamic instructor and my (small) class was a very diverse group of interesting women. I grew up in a medical family, concomitant to being Little Angel’s mother, means that I have a wealth of medical knowledge, so that undoubtedly helped, but it was still s-t-r-e-s-s-f-u-l. But now it’s done! I just have my state licensure exam later this month. I mentioned this to someone and they asked “you’re a nurse?” and I didn’t even blink when I replied “nope, a surgeon.” I’m going whole-hog. Why not? I’m 45 and didn’t even get fuchsia scrubs (blue is the color of student nurses) out of the deal so dammit, here I go! I had my final day of Clinicals (practicum) on Saturday, February 1st; the H.J. and the Big Angel had gone skiing (H.J.) / snowboarding (Big Angel), so I asked our fantastic sitter (who was graduated from undergrad in December — so proud of her) to be here with Little Angel. My shift had been 5:30am – 2pm, so I came home and immediately disrobed (didn’t want anything on my scrubs anywhere near Little Angel) and spent a fortune paying the sitter, though she is worth it and I am so insanely grateful to have someone as mature, responsible, loving as she. When the big boys came home from their day in the snow they kindly and **wisely** (ahem) had a beautiful bouquet of flowers for me, to celebrate the end of my nursing education. I love lime green chrysanthemums, the imperial flower of Japan.

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Even with the additional stress of still parenting with going to school full-time, 2014 is off to a stellar start, probably because it is the Year of the Horse. While I am not all about horses, Little Angel certainly is and Big Angel fancies himself a horseman.

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a picture of the Big Angel atop his horse, Jed, in 2011

Last November I chose to give myself a break and not send out holiday cards — it was fantastic! But then when I found out that 2014 would be the year of the horse I thought “well now I have to.” So I did, and we sent out Lunar New Year cards.

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While trying to decide what to do for our cards I found this image online and felt it was meant to be in Little Angel’s room as I’d painted it in multi-colored polka dots (inspired by Damien Hirst’s Pharmacy series), so it is now off at the framer.

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The red + yellow striped hanging “thing” on the right is the hammock swing. It hangs from the ceiling and when Little Angel consented to doing sound therapy (now he doesn’t like the headphones, or anything, on his head) we’d place him in the swing with his earphones on, and gently push him for at least a half-hour daily. I laid on his bean bag (not in photo) and read. Little Angel cannot tolerate a closed-top hammock swing, so this one works great for his Needs, but many children with Special Needs prefer a more enveloping swing.

And our card’s face is instead a picture of the Little Angel atop his trotting former horse, with Little Angel’s chewy tube flying. (The H.J. makes Little Angel’s chewy tubes — I’ll post about this another time.)

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Happy New Year! I can tell already it’s going to be a wonderful year. I can feel it.

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