Sunday, April 14, 2013

Happy 35th Birthday to my son!

Through the years; not a great picture since
it's a picture of a scrapbook page.
I remember the day you arrived into this world as clearly if it was yesterday, and not nearly 35 years ago. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long. You were late. As usual. LOL – you were late to a lot of things growing up so I guess you started the “tradition” early.

You’re lucky that you were born first. If I’d had Amy first, I might not have had any more children – or I’d have waited several years, like I did with Keith. She was such a handful since she got into everything so early. Walking, talking, having an opinion. But… this isn’t about her; it’s about you (her time will come).

I had such a hard time in labor and delivery that you had a lot of swelling on your head. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was quite serious and could have killed you. In fact, I found out a few weeks later that another baby with the same type of delivery problems had, indeed, died. Scary time that was!

Your difficulties didn’t stop at birth… You couldn’t tolerate any regular formula so we tried many different things before we settled on ProSobee for you. When you were five months old, you had to spend a week in the hospital. You’d lost two pounds in three days from diarrhea and the doctor did not know what was wrong. You’d only been on baby food for about a month – one new jar every day; you ate ½ at lunch and ½ at dinner and the rest was tossed. You ate vegetables and fruit – no meat. During the time you were sick (at least two weeks before you were finally admitted into the hospital), the doctor had me stop giving you anything except rice cereal, made fresh at each meal with formula. She thought the blandness of the rice would stop the diarrhea. It did not – it progressively got worse until you were having more “blow outs” than not and by the time I’d get you changed, you’d need to be cleaned up again. It was pitiful. You were in so much pain and I was helpless in how to make it better.

Once in the hospital, they discovered you had salmonella – a potentially deadly bacteria. Someone can get this disease from bad water, bad meat, or food that has gone bad in the jar. 1978 was before “use by” dates and there wasn’t really many ways to track what was eaten, but I knew that I’d only given you two types of food and a new jar every day. Beechnut baby food was the brand I used as it was a few pennies cheaper than Gerber. It’s thought that I had gotten some baby food that had gone bad on the shelf and no one knew it. By the time you got a diagnosis, I’d already thrown out anything that could be tested for bacteria.

Once you came home from the hospital, we started you on a new formula for “milk sensitive” babies… Neo Mull Soy was a brand of soy formula designed for children like you… those who couldn’t tolerate cow’s milk. Unfortunately, the formula had a key ingredient missing – sodium chloride. The formulation already called for a lower amount than recommended – it actually contained less than 2 measurements of chloride per liter, which is much less than the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendation of   11-29 measurements per liter. The company had stopped testing for sodium chloride several months before the change in formula so they were unaware of the sodium chloride level. Pediatricians were also unaware of the decreased amount. This resulted in life-long problems for babies and toddlers who relied on this for their nutrition.  These problems included crumbling teeth, stunted growth, higher-than-average incidence of convulsions, problems with speech, memory, and attention span, and learning disabilities. Some babies even died.  Some of those who were affected suffered brain damage so severe they were awarded millions of dollars in damages in lawsuits.  The formula was recalled in 1979 but not before it had already done damage to so many children. 

Imagine my horror to discover that I’d not only fed you tainted baby food, I’d also given you formula that would potentially affect your future. I felt like such a failure as a caretaker and a mom. I’d been given the best gift in the world, and I didn’t do the job that I should have. 

You were so hyperactive as a toddler and youth. It’s remarkable that you were able to function and learn at all. You are so remarkably smart, I wonder just how smart you’d be if you hadn’t experienced the things that probably set you back.  I wonder how much better you would have gotten along with your peers if you hadn’t taken that formula. I wonder how much higher in your career you’d be if you’d not had the earlier delays.

That is something I’ll wonder about for the rest of my life. I just hope that you can forgive me for my ignorance and the things that I did.

There are so many memories that I have of you as a baby, toddler, pre-teen, and teenager. You did everything “by the book” when you were a baby – crawled at approximately seven months, walked independently at approximately 12 months, etc. I could have written the developmental books myself just by watching you. I loved being a mom – your mom. 

I know that I didn’t always treat you fairly. I was not sure what to do a lot of times. You presented challenges that no one ever told me about. LOL – you didn’t come with an instruction book! I had my own issues that prevented me from being the mom that you deserved and, for that alone, I am sorrier than I can ever express. Dad has said so many times that if he could go back and be a better "dad" to you, he would do it in a heartbeat. We both did our best (at the time) but know that we failed a lot of the times.

What I can say on the positive side is that I was so proud of EVERY achievement you made. Walking, talking, projects in school (I still remember your “drawbridge” in you advanced class in grade school where the older kids copied your design), your drawings, and your remarkable memory and the ability to just “know” facts (like giraffes having seven cervical vertebrae, just like humans).  I was so proud of you for doing so well in Scholarsbowl and for receiving a “letter” for your work. I was extremely proud of you when you graduated.

When you joined the Navy, I know that I didn’t act like I thought you’d be successful. I have to admit, I was worried. You hadn’t been too successful at maintaining employment but I knew that if you set your mind to it, you’d be able to do it. I just wasn’t sure if your mind was really set on it or not.  I was so glad that I was proven wrong! I knew you had it in you – “if” you decided you wanted it. You had to prove yourself to a lot of people and you’ve done an OUTSTANDING job. Grandma and Grandpa were so very proud of you, too.

You scored so highly on the ASFAB that everyone was amazed, especially the recruiters. Going into Nuclear Power was a great career choice for you, and I think you've done a wonderful job. 

I am so proud to be your mom (and you know that Dad is EXTREMELY proud of you, too!)

So, on this celebration of your life, HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You've grown so much as a man, husband, and father!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Myer-Briggs Type Indicator

We took the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test at work last month. I’ve taken it before and was curious if my results would be the same. It’s been years and a lot of things have happened since I took it last. Surprisingly, I came out with the same results (the numbers might have been different, but the results are the same).

I focus my attention                (I) Introversion; People who prefer Introversion tend to focus their attention on the inner world of ideas and impressions.

I take in information:              (S) Sensing: People who prefer Sensing tend to take in information through the five senses and focus on the here and now.

I make decisions:                     (F) Feeling: People who prefer Feeling tend to make decisions based primarily on values and on subjective evaluation of person-centered concerns.

I deal with the outer world:     (J) Judging: People who prefer Judging tend to like a planned and organized approach to life and prefer to have things settled.

Characteristics frequently associated with this type include:

Quiet, friendly, responsible, and conscientious. Committed and steady in meeting their obligations. Thorough, painstaking, and accurate. Loyal, considerate, notice and remember specifics about people who are important to them, concerned with how others feel. Strive to create an orderly and harmonious environment at work and at home. (Data taken from MBIT Form M Report Form, copyright 1998 by Peter B. Myers and Katharine D. Myers.)

The following is taken from a Web site that defines “portraits” of the different personality types (

As an ISFJ, your primary mode of living is focused internally, where you takes things in via your five senses in a literal, concrete fashion. Your secondary mode is external, where you deal with things according to how you feel about them, or how they fit into your personal value system.

ISFJs live in a world that is concrete and kind. They are truly warm and kind-hearted, and want to believe the best of people. They value harmony and cooperation, and are likely to be very sensitive to other people's feelings. People value the ISFJ for their consideration and awareness, and their ability to bring out the best in others by their firm desire to believe the best.

ISFJs have a rich inner world that is not usually obvious to observers. They constantly take in information about people and situations that is personally important to them, and store it away. This tremendous store of information is usually startlingly accurate, because the ISFJ has an exceptional memory about things that are important to their value systems. (My kids would do well to remember this. Hahaha! I knew I was right!) It would not be uncommon for the ISFJ to remember a particular facial expression or conversation in precise detail years after the event occurred, if the situation made an impression on the ISFJ. (This is why I have trouble letting go of things.)

ISFJs have a very clear idea of the way things should be, which they strive to attain. They value security and kindness, and respect traditions and laws. They tend to believe that existing systems are there because they work. Therefore, they're not likely to buy into doing things in a new way, unless they're shown in a concrete way why its better than the established method.

ISFJs learn best by doing, rather than by reading about something in a book, or applying theory. For this reason, they are not likely to be found in fields which require a lot of conceptual analysis or theory. They value practical application. Traditional methods of higher education, which require a lot of theorizing and abstraction, are likely to be a chore for the ISFJ. The ISFJ learns a task best by being shown its practical application. Once the task is learned, and its practical importance is understood, the ISFJ will faithfully and tirelessly carry through the task to completion. The ISFJ is extremely dependable.

The ISFJ has an extremely well-developed sense of space, function, and aesthetic appeal. For that reason, they're likely to have beautifully furnished, functional homes. They make extremely good interior decorators. This special ability, combined with their sensitivity to other's feelings and desires, makes them very likely to be great gift-givers - finding the right gift which will be truly appreciated by the recipient. (I definitely see myself in this area. Except for the “beautifully furnished, functional home” part. LOL! Functional – yes… beautifully furnished – not hardly! I am a great gift-giver, though.)

More so than other types, ISFJs are extremely aware of their own internal feelings, as well as other people's feelings. They do not usually express their own feelings, keeping things inside. If there are negative feelings, they may build up inside the ISFJ until they turn into firm judgments against individuals which are difficult to unseat, once set. Many ISFJs learn to express themselves, and find outlets for their powerful emotions. (Amen!)

Just as the ISFJ is not likely to express their feelings, they are also not likely to let on that they know how others are feeling. However, they will speak up when they feel another individual really needs help, and in such cases they can truly help others become aware of their feelings.

The ISFJ feels a strong sense of responsibility and duty. They take their responsibilities very seriously, and can be counted on to follow through. For this reason, people naturally tend to rely on them. The ISFJ has a difficult time saying "no" when asked to do something, and may become over-burdened. In such cases, the ISFJ does not usually express their difficulties to others, because they intensely dislike conflict, and because they tend to place other people's needs over their own. The ISFJ needs to learn to identify, value, and express their own needs, if they wish to avoid becoming over-worked and taken for granted.

ISFJs need positive feedback from others. In the absence of positive feedback, or in the face of criticism, the ISFJ gets discouraged, and may even become depressed. When down on themselves or under great stress, the ISFJ begins to imagine all of the things that might go critically wrong in their life. They have strong feelings of inadequacy, and become convinced that "everything is all wrong," or "I can't do anything right." (Hey! Who has been peeking into my brain?)

The ISFJ is warm, generous, and dependable. They have many special gifts to offer, in their sensitivity to others, and their strong ability to keep things running smoothly. They need to remember to not be overly critical of themselves, and to give themselves some of the warmth and love which they freely dispense to others.

Jungian functional preference ordering:
  • Dominant: Introverted Sensing
  • Auxiliary: Extraverted Feeling
  • Tertiary: Introverted Thinking
  • Inferior: Extraverted Intuition

Anyone who knows me “might” find some of me in the portrait. Hmmm… Just maybe…  LOL!


Monday, April 8, 2013

Moving on...

I had a friend…

At least, I thought she was a friend. I’ve decided that after a year without any contact on her part that I was probably wrong.

I met this friend online and had many interesting conversations with her. I had (and still have) genuine affection for her and her family. I considered myself more than just an online acquaintance. I felt like we had a bond due to health issues on both sides of the fence. Hers and Ron’s… I never felt like one was in worse shape than the other; they both had their ups and downs and each illness is just as much of a concern as any other. I kept her and her family in my prayers and knew that she did the same for us.

When her mom passed away, I felt her pain and sympathized with her over the sudden loss. I remembered losing my dad just a few years earlier and knew that grief is a powerful feeling.

Anyone who has read very much of my blog knows that it’s been mostly about Ron’s health and my challenges in dealing with it. There have been several times that I wasn’t sure if he’d come home from the hospital or not. I tried to not dwell on these but – I am human – there were many times that what I wrote sounded like I was having a pity party for myself. Maybe I was… I can’t deny what was going on in my mind any more than I can deny what was going on in my life. This blog was created as an outlet for my frustrations and I never intended for it to reflect my “perfection” in any way. In fact, it shows more than not how imperfect I really am. I’m OK with that.

But, in all of that I wasn’t keeping score of who is or was in worse health – her or him. I just assumed that my comments on anything were interpreted as they were intended, not as a comparison. I got to where I was afraid to say anything about how she was feeling… if I said I was glad she was feeling better, or sorry that she was not feeling up to par, it was taken very differently than intended. Since I didn’t (and still don’t) know the details of her illness (except that it’s been up and down and she has a lot of issues, including hospitalizations), it was hard to phrase something that was on target so I kept dancing around the edges.

Unfortunately, my “dance” was met with snarky comments. Instead of understanding what I was trying to say, my comments were interpreted entirely differently. I didn’t know how to fix it so I got more cautious. Finally, last April – in the middle of an email conversation – I received a message that said she thought it best that we didn’t communicate for a while. Ron was “obviously” sicker than her and she just couldn’t provide the support that I needed. It was apparent that I had a good support system – plenty of friends reading my blog and on FB and that she just couldn’t give me what I needed and that there was no need to reply to her email (in fact, she would prefer that I didn’t).

{{{{{{{{{{{{{{screeching halt}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}} I had no idea that she thought I was demanding more of her than what she was capable of giving. In fact, I didn’t realize I was demanding anything of her. I thought we were two friends talking about how illnesses suck and, because of what is already going on in his body,  Ron has more problems to look forward to. Nothing more; nothing less.

So, I immediately read back over all of my email messages looking for where I went wrong, searching and analyzing each word to see if they could have been taken differently than what I intended. I could find nothing amiss. I apologized and said I was sorry that I’d offended her.  She replied back that she wasn’t offended but that she couldn’t talk to me for a while and to please respect her wishes to not contact her. (My apology was directly opposite of what she’d asked, but I did feel that if I’d offended her, an apology was in order.)

OK – I did that. For quite a while, even. One day, I decided that enough time had passed but it had not. She replied to the effect that she’d asked me to not contact her and there was no need for me to do so again. She was not mad, I didn’t offend her – she just didn’t want to communicate with me.

Still shaking my head, I complied. Oh, I still read her blog and still leave a comment here and there. We’re still “friends” on FB and I’d leave a comment every now and then – none of which have been acknowledged, even when I ask her a direct question. She took my blog off of her blog roll so she doesn’t know when I write an update (I supposed she might look occasionally or if someone tells her that I’ve written something).  

When my own mother passed away (almost exactly one year after hers), I received no message from her. (I did see she went and checked out my post on my mom’s death after I’d made a comment on one of her posts, but she didn’t leave a comment.) That in itself told me that I was the only one who (foolishly) thought we were still friends and that she just needed some time. It’s been a year now and I think that I’ll let go of this foolish notion.

I just don’t let go very easily. It doesn’t matter if you’re an “IRL” friend or an online friend – it’s hard to let go. I guess I need to put this poem into place, because it does perfectly explain it (not sure who actually wrote it so can’t give credit – sorry):

People come into your life for a REASON, a SEASON or a LIFE TIME.

When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON, It is usually to meet a need.
You have expressed.
They have come to assist you though a difficulty,
To provide you with guidance and support,
To aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend and they are....
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
This person will say or do something to bring the relationship to and end.

Sometimes they die.
Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes the act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realized is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled,
Their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON.
Because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it, it is real.
But only for a season.

LIFE TIME Relationships teach you life time lessons things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.

You job is to accept the lesson. Love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and are as of your life.
It is said that Love is blind but Friendship is Clairvoyant.

Thank you for being a part of my life. Whether you were, a REASON, a SEASON or a LIFE TIME.

So... I wish her well in her life, improved health, and much happiness.