I’m Not Like Other Moms; I’m a Cool Mom
I started preparing for this blog post seven weeks ago. I was taking notes and making drafts and planning what I wanted to write about. This post was going to be all about how I feel as a mom and how my kids may be impacted by my decision. However, I got a bit derailed by real life this week, so now I have some other things on my mind.
7 Weeks Ago: I like to think I’m cool, that my kids aren’t embarrassed of me. However, anyone with kids knows this is total bullshit. My kids think I’m a dork and I embarrass them on the regular.
This Week: That’s how this post was originally going to start. But as of Sunday we are 60 days away from Operation: Footstep, and things have started feeling a bit real.
At any given time, I’m feeling one of two ways: either “ugh, I can’t wait to get this over with, why can’t I have the operation now!?” or “aaaaaaaah I need more time to prepaaaaare!” Two completely opposite feelings; there is no in-between. And yesterday? Yesterday I had a full-blown panic attack.
7 Weeks Ago: In a perfect world, I would enjoy embarrassing my kids immensely, and maybe even amp up the dork factor to make it even more painful for them (taking a cue from my mother’s playbook—she is the queen embarrassing her children).
Unfortunately, our world hasn’t been perfect for a while now. I have been walking with a crutch for two and a half years. My kids regularly have to help me get out of a chair, or help me up and down stairs. And while I know on some level they get that I didn’t choose this, I’m sure most of the time they are just mortified their mom gets around like an 85 year old woman.
This Week: I have had years to prepare for having my leg amputated. There’s still so much I don’t know. In an ideal world, I’ll have the majority of my leg above the knee left behind, so I can get a kickass prosthetic (literally kick ass, I expect to be able to swing a foot right up a backside), but the fact of the matter is I don’t know for sure if that’s possible. And we won’t know until I’m on the operating table. They might have to take more. They might have to take my whole leg which changes things quite a bit. It’s a scary unknown and it’s getting to me this week. It’s getting to me so much I’ve had to start listening to power songs to the keep the ugly cries at bay.
7 Weeks Ago: As a rational adult, I realize that me worrying about how my kids see me is more my own insecurity then it is theirs. My own mind races every time I go out in public: Where is the bathroom? Are there any stairs? Is it raining? I need to pre-plan everything and I will abort any outing if I don’t think conditions are optimal. My fear of people staring and my fear of falling usually keeps me from going out on a regular basis. And while I try to never let me kids see me sweat, they know I have a heightened fear of falling. It’s just part of everyday life, so they just go into help mode whenever we are out. To me this absolutely sucks. I’m meant to be the caregiver, I am the one who is supposed to hold hands and help, not them.
As you can imagine, this wreaked havoc on my psyche during the decision making process to remove my leg. Would my children recoil in horror when they were near my stump? Even the word stump is awful. Would their friends not want to be around us? Would kids at school make fun of them because their mom lost her leg?
This Week: Another huge part of the preparation for leg amputation was psyching myself up for the reality that people might be alarmed by the sight of me. But yesterday another thought hit me, and hit me hard: am I prepared? Will I recoil? I’m going to have a stump. Am I ready for that? This is such a difficult question to have to ask yourself, let alone the people around you. I have lived with burn scars for years covering most of my leg so you think this would be a somewhat easy transition. I found out this week that I’m terrified, and I’m having a hard time saying stump, we currently refer to what may be left as McNubbin (thanks Nancy). It currently eases the discomfort and alternate name suggestions are welcome. As of right now I’m in fake-it-til-I-make-it mode!
7 Weeks Ago: After weeks of making this out to be a thing I’m really excited about, I asked my kids point blank, “are you guys going to be ok with this? Are you worried about what other kids will think?”, my daughter responded very matter of factly “honestly mom, most of the kids will probably think it’s cool.” YES…DEAR GOD…YES! If I can’t be cool just being a normal mom then, SHIT YEAH, make me a Cool Bionic Mom™.
This Week: I suspect that the ups and downs will continue even after the surgery is complete. Seven weeks ago I was flying high that I may actually be the COOL MOM. This week I was feeling scared—no, terrified—and definitely not cool. After my emotional rollercoaster of a week I realized that no matter what, I have amazing people around me, I am humbled daily by the kind words from everyone, my kids will love me even if I am short a leg and more importantly…I CAN DO THIS!
7 Weeks Ago: I now plan on embarrassing them on the regular by changing my ring tone to the CH CH CH CHHHH sound effect from the Six Million Dollar Man every chance I get. I’ll adopt an Arnold Schwarzenegger accent and talk like the Terminator. I’m gonna call myself a Fembot.
I guess even though things will be dramatically different, this will actually be the closest we’ve come to normal in over 6 years.
This Week: Normal AND Cool, that’s a nice thought to hold on to, and I’m holding on tight this week.