mom mom momomomomom

They say that hearing your name from the mouth of someone else, personalization, has a soothing influence, ego-boosting, but I can assure you the name “Mom” said by my children every tenth of a second is bat-shit-fcuk annoying.

I also despise what most of us mothers do following any complaint about our children. We feel the need to add, “of course, I love them.” As if it’s not a given. It’s proactive defense, a wall to protect us against gossip and judgment. “The way she complains about her kids, you’d think she shouldn’t have had them.” It’s what our reptilian brains tell us as we lodge the complaint, for social survival. “You should just be grateful you have children, miss pre-teen menopause.” My inner reptilian brain needs a lobotomy.

Speaking of brain surgery… when Lucas was 6 months old, he had emergency brain surgery, where Dr. George in Austin, TX implanted a shunt. “I put enough tubing in, that it should last until he’s 7 years old.” Lucas is now 8, a tall 8. And we’re getting nervous. His neurosurgeon here in NY says that if the shunt isn’t needed anymore (what caused the shunt was a benign cyst, which thankfully hasn’t been seen since), he wants to REMOVE IT. Go in digging, even though Lucas has no symptoms of anything, because it may cause problems in his teens, headaches. I remember Dr. George saying that even if Lucas never needs it again, he’d just keep it in there. This doctor believes differently. Ah, the second and third opinion. You had better believe that my ass is getting on a plane to Austin for that second opinion. Next Thursday Lucas goes in for a brain and spine scan, as well as x-rays of his shunt, to see if it’s working. Then I’ll cross that bridge.

As for Phil, since you’ve all been truly kind and concerned–and may I just say THANK YOU SO SO MUCH, YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW MUCH IT HELPS–I wanted to post an update there, too. Phil suffered a severe stroke, and now, it’s remarkable that he can walk and talk. He’s back at work and doing well.

The other night, friends of ours threw a pool party at their home, in celebration of Phil’s miracle. Normally, Phil would have been in the pool. This time, he was more reserved. He decided to have sangria. And more sangria. Okay, twist his arm, more. “If anything, it thins my blood, so it’s good for me.” Phil doesn’t slur his words or get tripped up, fumbling through a word. But now, if he drinks, and sometimes when he doesn’t, he mispronounces a word. Also, he’s told me that it’s much harder for him to write now.

I asked him to write, “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.” And he said, “I don’t need a tongue twister.”

“It’s not a tongue twister! It’s a sentence using every letter of the alphabet.” Imagine that? Something I knew that Phil didn’t? What is going on with the world?

The other thing we notice is that he’s always tired. He walks in after work and climbs right into bed. So, that habit concerns me.

I’m trying to enjoy what remains of our summer, baking up some summer memories to freeze and enjoy in the fall. Getting to the ocean, making homemade lemonade, serving bowls of cherries. Forget that business about life giving you lemons and a bowl full of pits. Our lives are juicy and bright, despite it all. Or at least, that’s the mantra I choose to repeat. It’s better than the word, “mom.”



  1. Sleep is really, really good for recovering brains. Cells are regrowing, and rest helps with that (like how much babies sleep, when they are growing their little brains?)

    Full disclaimer: While I’ve worked with TBI/stroke survivors, I am not a neurologist, and if you are concerned, of course your doctor’s (first, second, or third) opinion trumps mine… but if you want to read an incredible book about recovering from a stroke, check out “My Stroke of Insight” — it’s a fascinating, easy read… and her first-person perspective puts in a lot of things doctors can tend to leave out when working with patients.

  2. So glad for you that Phil is almost back to 100%. I kept checking back concerned for you since you posted that Masters of Sex piece. I watched that episode in a bit of horror too. My husband had a minor stroke, he is pretty much fine now, but I worry. Good luck with Lucas too. I hope no further intervention is needed! Thank you for updating on Phil’s progress. Continued good health to all.

  3. So happy and relieved to read that things are progressing nicely. Will continue to send healing vibes your family’s way. May your trip with sweet Lucas to Austin be full of good news and visits with old friends/places.

  4. Fatigue is really common after strokes. Good luck to you and Phil. I know I shouldn’t probe but I hope there has been talk about an alternative to coumadin for Phil and also about a potential heart transplant to avoid all this A. fib.


    p.s. I’m a Neurologist and Long time reader (new commenter)

  5. Homemade lemonade and bowls of cherries – yummmmy!

    I have to agree with your ‘mom’ commentary. This summer, I had one darling home before her last year of college. Good god. Mom…where’s my brush? Mom…where are the keys? Mom…where are you? Mom…I need some money. Mom…mom…endless circles of mom. ACK.

    I don’t watch Family Guy as a rule, but there is one very, very funny sketch. Google Family Guy – Stewie Mom Mum Mommy

    Best to you, Phil and the darlings. We’re all pulling for you!

  6. It is good to see you post. I was worried. I hope everything is smooth sailing for your family from today into many tomorrows.

  7. I have read your blog off and on for years and read your first book when I was going through my divorce; it resonated deeply with me-I only wished that I’d acted faster as you did, not waited so long to end it. I probably haven’t looked at your blog in almost a year and this is the first time I’ve ever left a comment. Your recent experience with Phil and his stroke took my breath away. Last year, on the morning of July 4th, my 36 year old fiancee (now husband) suffered a severe stroke. He was an otherwise healthy person with absolutely no risk factors; he simply woke up at 2 a.m. and the left side of his body didn’t work. He has made the same remarkable, whole recovery as Phil. I do remember, though, sitting up at night, watching to make sure he was still breathing, over compensating for any slurred word or facial tic. I was just existing in this kind of suspended state and waiting for the other shoe to drop. Just know, it DOES get better, does feel almost “normal” again. In the meantime, please know my thoughts are with you.

  8. Checking in to see what’s new because I’ve been worried about you and hadn’t seen the updates in my reader (I don’t get to check every day and must have missed this one). I’m so glad he’s doing better, have been thinking of you. I didn’t realize you had to go through brain surgery with one of your kids when he was only an infant. I really love how you ended this, on a bright juicy note. Very inspiring. Hang in there. Love to all. xoxoxo

  9. I’m so relieved to hear of Phil’s recovery. Sending your family big hugs and only pleasant surprises from here on out!

  10. Pingback: 3 Things You Should Be Writing About On Your Author Blog | Who Murdered Book Series

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