“What’s this pumpkin doing here?”

I missed a lot of Cinderella’s final rehearsals. Being backstage with the kids helping with hair and makeup, assisting with crew and costumes, and just *being there* ~ pretty much my favorite thing ever. But I’ve been really sick with a long migraine attack / flare for almost two weeks, making me feel unreliable and flaky, and even worse, like I’m being overly dramatic and self-centered.

Migraine disease doesn’t give me a choice. It seems to flare most during times of increased activity or stress. The more medication I take to try to keep going, the less well it works. Guilt and sadness on top of fatigue on top of pain. When I can’t be there during important times people stop relying on me, stop expecting me. Stop bothering to figure out how I’m doing because it’s always the same. Migraine again. “Wasn’t she doing that study?” “Won’t she ever get better?” “Why does she sign up for things in the first place?” 

Why did I have kids? Why even try?

Why live at all?

Update:

A pumpkin is still just a pumpkin. I was able to go tonight, but having missed almost all of Tech week, I didn’t have any jobs other than to be there for my kids.

Who didn’t want me.  Why should they?

X is 12 now. She thinks she may be asexual, and I love that she has a smorgasbord of labels from which to figure out how she fits into the world of relationships. Especially among theatre and arts kids, there are fewer strictly straight kids than otherwise.  But she is spending a lot of time with a couple boys this show, both of whom I like. Her current two  closest show friends are one boy and one girl both a year or so older than she. X used to need me at shows and all the older kids accepted me being there, and still accepted her. I would find ways to be needed besides just as support for my insecure kid.

Now she doesn’t need me and that’s fine and right and as it should be. Except that she totally freaked out over the makeup artists asking her to pull her bangs back. “I won’t be recognizable on stage,” she whined. “I won’t look like me.” I said, you aren’t supposed to look like you. You’re supposed to be Fairy #1. It ended up being okay. After the makeup was applied I pulled some wisps down over her forehead. Her male buddy distracted her by pointing out how the school’s signs were in all upper case. “Everyone is yelling all the time.” Her female buddy told her she looked beautiful. She did.

This female buddy, Fairy #2, drove X crazy at first. Doesn’t it always begin like that? The other night she threw her arms around me and exclaimed “I love you, Stage Mom!”

So why did X start acting the way she did? But she’s 12. She’s seeking independence. I’m okay with it.

Zo, I am not so okay with. She is playing a mouse puppeteer / horse and villager. She has plenty of kids her age there to hang out with. There have been some conflicts because all four mice are leader-types. She’s 8. X was never in a production that young. Zo is used to the stage, having been in three Nutcracker ballets and four big recitals for dance. And I am always there for those, I have to be. As for Cinderella, at home, she acts like she wants me at rehearsals / performances, but when we’re actually there she is rude and looks at me like she is disgusted. I don’t know if you’ve seen the photos, but I am not gross or embarrassing. Particularly among theatre kids I am even considered cool, heavily tattooed and pierced as I am. And I don’t really hover, I don’t treat Zo like a baby. So ripping away from me and shrugging me off when I’m trying to help her? I don’t get it. Competing with her sister, John thinks, or wanting to feel older. I don’t know.

But I managed to get there tonight after being in the ER yesterday and it was very hot in the green room. And I dealt with X’s tantrum about her bangs, helped her deal with a broken prop, found the Fairy Godmother’s missing staff, located Zo’s mouse puppet which she was told to find. And yet felt completely, sadly superfluous.

I asked both of them if they needed anything and was answered with shrugs.  So I left.

“Put it in the pantry,” the Queen instructs Lionel regarding the pumpkin that has suddenly appeared outside the palace. “We don’t want anyone falling over it.”

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In The Eye of a Hurricane

I dropped my dance mom basket this week.

The members of the youth theatre board on which I serve discuss wearing different “hats.” Because we are stage parents as well as administrative board members, we have to be careful to distinguish what role we are playing. If I am talking to another parent / board member and lamenting about something affecting one of my daughters I would be quick to clarify “mom hat” so that the person would know I’m not looking at it from a leadership perspective.

However, I have recently started thinking of my different roles in life as baskets I’m carrying instead of hats I’m wearing. The baskets have things in them. They are difficult to balance. I can carry more than one at a time, but the more items in the baskets, the harder it is to figure out how to manage.

I have a partner basket and a house basket. A home parenting basket. An Indy News basket for one job; and a migraine.com basket for the other, which has strings tying it to this blog and other advocacy work, and my illness. The migraine patient basket is a big one. A theatre parent / stage crew basket, tied to my advisory board basket.

John and I are working hard on our relationship, budgeting, the future, becoming independent financially, and our house. We started couples counseling, which is long overdue. But I think because I’ve been focusing more on my partner and house baskets, my others have gotten neglected. I admit to being a little overwhelmed, particularly this week because both girls are dancing in a big recital on Saturday, and we have long daily rehearsals for Cinderella, our summer musical. I have caught up with my jobs, but not the advisory board. I have been very attentive to the girls at home, and focusing on the musical, which is Zo’s first, and have totally neglected Star Style, the big recital. The dance mom basket was full to overflowing and it slipped from my fingers without me even realizing it.

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This is going to be X’s only year participating in Star Style, as she decided to take a dance class to sharpen her skills for musicals. And I forgot to order both girls a t-shirt, the only one that will have both their names on it. It’s too late. There MIGHT be extras in a few weeks but no one knows. X was so disappointed. I’m having a hard time getting over how upset I feel about it.

Another fail was also involving X, who dances very early in the first show. Because of some confusion she totally missed the start of her dance at the studio rehearsal last night, and when I encouraged her to just run on in and join she panicked and began to cry, and I was hard on her. She just turned 12, and I thought she was acting infantile, but later when we talked, she told me she definitely has a “thing” about being late and entering a room or a rehearsal after everyone else has begun. I think instead of being childish, what she was doing was having a legitimate panic attack, and I of all people should have recognized that and comforted her rather than being bitchy. I apologized quickly and profusely and we’re okay now, but again, that was a huge fail on my part.

Tonight we have a break from dance and I actually am not going to attend play practice either. Instead, I am going to get to go see Ron Chernow, the author of Alexander Hamilton, the biography which inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to create Hamilton: An American Musical. My friend is driving so I don’t even have that stress to worry about, and we are both bringing our books to have him sign and are going to totally geek out. I can’t wait.

I hope that hearing Chernow speak will motivate me to get through the rest of this week. And I know that getting some time without any baskets at all, just being ME, will be rejuvenating, and maybe will help me improve my balancing act.

Sometimes, we all need moments of having nothing to carry at all.

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[Update: extra recital shirts were available much sooner than expected, but the price had been increased so I bought one for the girls to share. My dance mom BFF surprised us by purchasing another for us because “they should each have one.” She even bought the right size. Star Style went great. I made it through the week. I get by with a little help from my friends.]

But You Won’t.

I’ve been absent. I don’t really know what to say about it. While my participation in the CGRP Study has been amazing, and I have longer pain-free periods, somehow I end up in the ER more often. Everything in my life is changing. J had to resign from his job over unfair labor practices and while I believe he has a good plan for finding something new, I’m terrified. I don’t want to rely on others anymore for the things we need. I want my daughters to feel safe and secure. My baby is about to start first grade, a milestone which was extremely hard for me when I went through it with her older sister. Soon, I turn 42. I seem to be losing friends, or at least losing the closeness I shared with those friends, faster than I can make new ones. Who am I kidding? There are no new friends on the horizon for me.

 I want to feel motivated. I am still volunteering at the museum, working on my Etsy shop (www.Etsy.com/shop/WindInTheDoor)  and a member of our Youth Theatre advisory board, all activities I find worthwhile and rewarding. I thought J and I were going to go back to school (together) but scrapped that idea when a week of playing various ghosts at Hogwarts Camp and then a theatre conference landed me in the ER, a migraine from which I still haven’t fully recovered. Attending classes and studying doesn’t seem to be in the best interest of mollyfing Medusa. So I am still collecting meager SSI and have no idea when I’ll be able to work again. The Etsy shop is doing okay, especially for having been open only 6 months, but I wish it would do better so I could feel I’m contributing something.  I am doing everything right with the shop, and am continuing to try to do it better, but right now everything feels hopeless. 

The kids are growing up. The kittens both died. The house looks like a bomb hit it. There’s no way I’m making it to the County Fair this year. I’m having a hard time getting X interested in practicing her monologue for the fall play which means she might not get a part and will be beyond devastated. Zo’s behavior is getting tougher to deal with as she can’t handle her own negative feelings without trying to hurt others emotionally and her extremely sensitive sister exacerbates that issue. J doesn’t have a job. I can’t have a job. I can’t even get out of bed right now.  

 
Welcome back, LadyMigraine. You suck.

Day 24: Mommy and Me, by X (age 9)

This is X’s first Migraine365 page, and she was very excited. We had a great day. I was feeling really well; we got our t-shirts going for the project; our new washing machine delivered; john got caught up on sleep; and we were able to unexpectedly buy food. X and I went grocery shopping together, which showed up on her page. Zo had a little bit of a hard day with still having a sore throat, but starting to get bored. It felt like the first real day of Fall. It was wonderful.

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Text on Page:
09.11.14 | Day 24: “Mommy and Me” by X, Age 9 | Migraine365 | Friends | Today, I was able to take “X” to school. | Webkins | And, I was able to pick her up from school. | At Kroger | Reading at Bedtime