Thursday, January 20, 2011


I have a Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. If I felt obnoxious, I could write my name as
Mrs. Jillian T. Bennett, MSMFT on everything...
So how is it that I can graduate with honors and still screw this whole marriage and family thing up?
Marriage is complicated. I don't think it is tougher than I expected, but it is sure difficult to navigate through. Not only is being married tough, but then throw in co-parenting and it gets much trickier.
I think that trying to find a middle ground as parents can be tough. We need to identify what is natural for each of us and what seems to work for our personalities. We also need to take into account the personality of each child... And then agree on a parenting technique that works. But then when it doesn't work we get really pissed... often at eachother.
I have decided that you can read and study and learn all you want about marriage, but it really just comes down to finding a rhythm that works. Learning to communicate and adjust.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bought A Little More Time...

Well, I have bought a little more time before a diagnosis. My MRI results came in and they "showed no significant changes" which means "treatment will remain the same" for now. This is wonderful news (mostly).
It is promising because if this were MS or something similar then the doctors would expect to see changes on the MRI tests. I have had about seven MRI tests over the last 13 months and none have shown scary changes. However, they are all showing the same "significant damage" that was seen in the first CT Scan and MRI tests. It is encouraging that the damage is not spreading and causing more problems.
There is a teeny tiny part of me that is ready for a true diagnosis though. I am taking a lot of pills every day and we are just hoping that they are working... hoping that they are preventing something worse.  And so we continue to pray... and hope.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Chicken scratch.

                                                         Today my calendar looks like this:

But very soon it will look like this:

My grandmother used to use the phrase "chicken scratch" a lot.
That is what I think of when I look at my calendar.
My goal this year is to fill it with intentional things.
Play dates, Bible studies, coffee with friends,
volunteering, meeting new people, taking walks, cooking,
going to the zoo, playing at the park,
time for myself, dates with my husband, time with family.
Not just a bunch of "chicken scratch".

Thursday, January 6, 2011


My baby just turned 21 months last week. She is growing so well and developing right on track which is a true miracle.
However, the 21 month mark has been hard for me. My first 2 girls are 21 months apart. My middle and baby are 21 months apart. And here I am, 21 months later not having another baby. It makes me sad... actually really sad. Strangely sad.
We made a thoughtful decision after our baby was born to be finished. The pregnancy was almost unbearable. The emotional rollercoaster was intense. Our family was split up. There are really no words to explain the impact the situation had on us all. The logical decision was made. And it made sense. In my head.
And here I am, feeling in my heart. Missing the baby at the 21 month mark.
My husband decided this was a really good week to rid the house of all things "baby". Baby clothes, baby shoes, baby toys, baby swings, baby bathtubs... He has no understanding of the significance of this week. Or how hard it is for a mother to part with all of these things. So, I have sat up at night, alone, going through bins of clothes. Touching them and smelling them and preparing myself to miss them. I remember who gave them to us. Before I even take them out of the bin, I remember what stain is on the elbow and where it was from. Paint stains from art projects and grass stains from the park.
And then during the day I love and hug and squeeze and enjoy my three miracles.

Don't Fail Me Now...

My body and I have a bit of a love/hate relationship.
I haven't always treated it well. I certainly have not treated it as a temple of God. I have worn it down and abused it. I have made it sick and made it skinny. I have made it very mad. I have made it very happy.
It put up a fight when I wanted it to carry babies. Apparently it disagreed with my plan. I loved my body when it agreed with the babies growing inside. I hated my body when it was trying to evict the babies growing inside. We fought back and forth. Some days I won and other days I didn't.
After babies the push and pull, love and hate started again. My body started doing weird things. Abnormal things. Headaches, fatigue, nausea, shakes, confusion, most likely at least one stroke. Test after test. Procedure after procedure. Lab after lab. Dollar after dollar.
And now I wait... again. I had a follow up MRI done last week. This test will be compared with my last 5 MRI tests. It will show if there have been any significant changes.
And so I wait. I cringe when the telephone rings. I suppose I want answers, but maybe I don't. I haven't been feeling too awful lately. So, what good is bad news? Maybe no news is good news. Maybe not.
Please body, don't fail me now. I am being better to you. I am taking care of you. I am giving you what you want and need. I have beautiful children and a wonderful family. Lets work together... how about it?

Old Yeller...

In talking with many of my friends this year I am noticing a theme. Many people have chosen "to yell less" as a New Years Resolution. "Yell at my children less" or "Yell at my husband less".
This got me thinking...
I'm not really much of a yeller, and certainly not a screamer. I think that I yell after I find myself repeating the same thing over and over and over and over again.
My husband is a yeller. I hate it. It is not effective. It makes me crazy.
My oldest child is a yeller. I hate that too. It is annoying.
They yell at eachother. It is irritating. She is only five. I get sick to my stomach thinking about the future. A fifteen year old girl and her father. Yelling. Yelling about clothes and shoes and make-up and boys.
Hopefully we can tone this down a little bit.
Is it fair for me to make "to yell less" someone else's resolution?

Monday, January 3, 2011

"Maid Mode"

When we were growing up we had a "maid" come every once in a while. It may have been once a month, or maybe it was just when my mom decided we really needed it... I'm not sure. However, I do remember her announcing it was time for "Maid Mode". That meant we had about 24 hours before the "maid" would show up and start cleaning. We all had to get ready by picking up the house. Every "Maid Mode" came with a lot of yelling and complaining... why in the world would we need to clean the house before someone showed up to get paid to clean the house? What a waste of time.
Well, apparently Santa was tired of me complaining about how jealous I was of the neighbor's "maid".  I would see her car across the street and jealousy would take over! I would count the hours she was there and think about how clean my house could be if I had that many uninterrupted hours of time.
Santa had heard enough and delivered a kind letter with a lot of money attached... for a "maid".
Here is the problem:
There is no 24 hour "Maid Mode" here. I am about 6 months away from letting a "maid" into my house. My closets are disorganized. My drawers are a mess. I am half way through switching out the girls' clothes... I will probably finish about the time the seasons change and then will have to start all over again.
This stuff stresses me out. Out of control children don't. Scenes in the grocery store don't. Whining doesn't. Fighting doesn't. Messy closets and half completed projects do.
And now I see that "Maid Mode" is not a waste of time. My mother was right. You can't let someone come into your home to clean when it looks like this. Maybe I will be ready in 6 months...

Something Like That

We have visited Silver Dollar City a number of times. There is a house there called Granfather's Mansion or something like that. I avoided it for years. I am not a fan of anything scary... movies, shows, haunted houses, books, people. I intentionally avoid them. I make sure that I don't fall asleep with the tv on on a channel that may possibly have something scary hours later. So, Granfather's Mansion was avoided. It looked scary from the outside. The sign was written in old time writing and hanging kind of crooked. These things gave me the impression that it was something I needed to avoid. Trip after trip to Silver Dollar City, I intentionally avoided this exhibit. However, two years ago I decided to give it a try. I took my oldest in with me. She was about three at the time. Isn't that pathetic that I felt safer with a three year old by my side?!?!
So, I walked into the Mansion not knowing what to expect. I held her hand and in we went. It wasn't a haunted house. It was one of those places that try to confuse you. The walls are weird shapes and the floors don't always match up. The beds are on the ceiling and the rocking chair hangs above your head.
There was a particular part of the Mansion that really threw me off. The tilting ground. I held my daughter's hand and did my best to walk on the uneven floors. I tried to not get confused or anxious. I just put one foot in front of the other and led her through.
There are many days I feel like I am walking through that Mansion. My footing is a bit off. My mothering skills are a bit off. My marriage is a bit off. My body is a bit off.  My relationships are a bit off.
But, I try to put one foot in front of the other and keep walking. I experience the journey. I look around and let it sink in. I appreciate the bed on the ceiling and the rocking chair hovering over my head. I hold my girls' hands and press on. I hug my husband and take another step. I pray a lot.
I do my best to find my footing on this tilting ground.