Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9th, 2004, One of the Best Days of My Life

June 8th, 2004, approximately 9 pm:

The phone rings that evening at my mom and dad's house, it's my sister, and my mom is wondering why she is calling so late from her home in Lake County, Indiana in the Chicago suburbs. The answer came rather quickly, "Mom, my water broke!".

My sister was 7 months pregnant, and had already had complications with this pregnancy, and had a miscarriage about 2 years before. It so happened that we were already planning to see her, in fact, the old Ford Econoline van that was my grandfather's had already been packed with most everything in it, including baby supplies and baby furniture my mom had been collecting for her.

My mom frantically had us pack what remaining items we needed, and shortly after 10pm, we were on the road. My mom was determined, come hell or high water, that she was going to be there for the birth of her first grand child.

She was so determined, in fact, that she literally floored the gas pedal, and the needle on the speedometer on the old van went up to it's maximum of 85 mph, as the speedometers of many vans and trucks of it's era did, and yet we still kept going faster. What was normally a 6 hour drive from our town in the St. Louis suburbs took only 4 hours.

Early that next morning, as the hours dragged on the hospital waiting room, as TV's were droning on with coverage of President Reagan's death and details of his funeral plans, my oldest niece, "Lilly" was born. She was only 3 pounds, 11 ounces, and short of needing oxygen for only a few hours, and having slight jaundice (which often happens with preemies), she was fine, actually more than fine. At only 5 days old, nurses were baffled at how she kept ending up on the opposite side of her hospital bed in the NICU unit. She was dragging herself by her knees and elbows.

Today, at 10 years old, she is the natural born leader of her two younger siblings, is over half as tall as my sister (which my sister is only 5'2, but still....), and loves animals, including the family's obnoxious Chihuahua, which strangely enough actually listens to her.

Her birth was one of the few bright spots in my troubled teen years, and I look back at how far I have come since then, back then, I would have never imagined who I am today, even 2 years ago.

It wouldn't have seemed possible that today, I would be sitting here, a free person, finally realizing who I am and being able to live that out. I have realized lately that I am everything I was raised to hate, someone who doesn't fit any gender roles emotionally, and is also a bisexual atheist with Metallica shirts and a tattoo of the logo of the band Bad Religion.

 I wouldn't have though that I would own my own house, and that I would have two adopted bouncing Lab mixes in that house that mob me as soon as I walk in the door, or that I would have a different legal name than when I was born.

I have never been happier at any point in my life either, I have my problems that I'm getting under control, like my sleep apnea, my depression, and my weight. I'm making great progress with all three, I have a CPAP machine, my medication for depression is working, and I have started working out in recent weeks, and I'm already seeing a difference.

I try to remind myself of how far I have come, and the progress that is still ongoing, because sometimes I still feel down. In the past 2 weeks, my memory has been completely shot.

 I lost my wallet for three days, and now I have lost my keys somewhere, and have had  multiple spares made today from a car key I had in my wallet, and a spare key my neighbor had. I had a phone that shorted out, and I panicked after losing the phone that I bought to replace it (around $200 to buy and activate it).

It may sound like a bad case of First World Problems, but it really heightens my existing anxiety problems when I lose things so important, I can't stand unplanned chaos like that, and it makes me feel like I'm going insane, what it wrong with me? Why can't I remember all this?

I have to keep reminding myself of how far I have come, and just to take one day at a time, solve one problem at a time. Figure out what needs to be done first, and most urgently, and the rest will be done in due time. I have been through a lot I never thought I could survive, both in the past and in these last turbulent 6 months, and it was all far worse than this. I can do it.

If you aren't familiar with my past, check out this page of my blog, it should give you an idea.

Here's my two dogs, I adopted "Lightening" over the Memorial Day weekend:

"Happy Horse", 6 years old, Lab/hound mix, 105 pounds

"Lightning", 2 years old, Lab/Golden Retriever, 77 pounds


  1. Way to stay positive, Sheldon! Keep up with the self talk. Things are improving. You've come a long way. You've taken responsibility for your life and you aren't going to let people hurt you anymore. Things are looking up. That's the mental soundtrack you want to listen to each and every day. Btw, have you read Mindset by Carol Dweck? Your library probably has it.

  2. I lose EVERYTHNG. It's okay to be frustrated.


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