I Never Regret Mother’s Day

From time to time, I read posts on social media or hear people say in public they regret having had children. That someone would feel that way about their children — adopted, fostered, or biologically created — is shocking.  While I am among the first to say that parenting isn’t something to be taken on lightly or without complete dedication, I am also among the first to say that no one should ever regret having had children.

Back in 1995, I was weeks away from becoming a mom.  My feet were round (based on other people’s observations as I could no longer see my feet), it was gearing up to be the hottest summer on record where I lived (and the weather was making good on that promise already), my then-husband (being a long-haul trucker) was oftentimes hundreds of miles away from home, and I could no longer drive a car.  Why couldn’t I drive a car?  For me to be able to reach the gas and brake pedals, I had to be closer to the steering wheel than my pregnancy would actually allow.

When I went into labor early a few days later, it was a rush to the hospital where things didn’t look very good.  A few hours later, the staff at the hospital had managed to stop labor and I was sent back home.  As scary as that episode was, I didn’t regret being pregnant.  This was part of the journey.

When my son was born in July , the staff at the hospital told me there were problems.  He wasn’t going to make it through the first 24 hours.  I disagreed with that assessment. That night as I visited my son in NICU, I whispered to him, “Thank you for spending your first day with mommy.  I hope you’ll come back again tomorrow.”  Guess what happened?  The following morning, I held him in my arms, gazed into his eyes, and smiled.

A week later, my son was still in NICU and despite all sorts of tests, the staff at the hospital had no idea what was going on with my son.  Two weeks in, and still in NICU, they were none the wiser.  It was a harrowing time, especially for a new mom. but I had no regrets about being my son’s mother.

Over the years, my son’s health was unpredictable and difficult.  My then-husband decided early on to throw in the towel, and walk away from parenthood.  He oftentimes told me he regretted having our son.  Leaving our family created a hardship for me, but that’s how things go in life sometimes.  Despite all the troubles of trying to juggle hardly any money and the demands of ensuring a child with health issues has what he or she needs, I didn’t regret being a mom.  Every night, I would put my son to bed and whisper to him, “Thank you for spending another day with mommy.  I’ll see you tomorrow.”

As a toddler, my son was diagnosed with autism.  There were no services or supports available to help me help him:  Not even when the Children’s Advocate Office in Saskatchewan stepped in and tried to secure some kind of services or supports from the provincial government.  I still didn’t regret being a mom because my focus was on helping my son be the best version of himself possible.


School wasn’t easy for him either as two different school boards in which he was enrolled, struggled to understand how to encourage my son to work through social issues, deal with new experiences, and overcome challenges.  Despite the fact I kept telling them the world wasn’t a Special Needs World, most teachers, school staff, autism experts, and administrators from various levels within both school boards felt that catering to his comforts was the better way to deal with him.  I didn’t agree with them (just as I hadn’t agreed with the hospital staff when he was born) but sometimes you have to live with the fact that the many oftentimes drown out the voices of the few.  I still didn’t regret being my son’s mom.  It just meant I had to work harder with him to nudge him along his journey to become the best version of himself possible.

When he turned 12, he was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis which is a rare, incurable, life-threatening neuromuscular autoimmune disease that strikes 2 in 1 million children, and is 5 times more rare in children than in adults.  Over the years, he had suffered many “mystery” health issues that landed him in hospital, and it was one bad episode in particular that made me ask his pediatrician if he could test my son for Myasthenia Gravis.

“Myasthenia Gravis doesn’t happen in children,” he pronounced sternly with that look I had come to know all too well.  It was the look many closed-minded professionals reserved for parents they dismissed out of hand without considering the validity or the questions asked by those parents they dismissed out of hand.  “It only happens in old men over 60 and women over 40.”

“My brother was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis,” I replied respectfully.  “He wasn’t 60.  He was my son’s age.”

“No,” he insisted.  “This is definitely a tumor behind his eye.”

We discussed the matter for a few more minutes, and he decided to send my son to the Hospital for Sick Children to be tested for a tumor.  Because I insisted, he jotted down a note in the file for the doctors at the Hospital for Sick Children that indicated he felt I was being unreasonable, but to ‘manage’ me by doing a Tensilon test if nothing else showed up on the other tests.  Even with the pediatrician’s dismissive attitude, I didn’t regret being my son’s mother.

The Hospital for Sick Children, taking the pediatrician at his word, very nearly forgot the Tensilon test until I inquired about it.  They were so convinced I was a University of Google parent, they didn’t even have their camera set up to record the results of the Tensilon test.  It’s unfortunate these medical professionals were so convinced the pediatrician was right in his conclusions because that Tensilon test proved my son had Myasthenia Gravis.  Even with that news, I still didn’t regret being my son’s mother.

The next few months were some of the most trying for both of us, and after 14 months of battling Myasthenia Gravis, it was decided that a thymectomy was the only way to go as his health plummeted.   I knew how unpredictable Myasthenia Gravis could be (my late brother was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis back in the 1970s).  I knew how dangerous surgery could be.  I knew how dangerous the after-effects of surgery could be if he made it through the surgery itself.  These were dark times but I focused on the fact my son was alive and every night, I would say to him what I had said to him every night at bedtime since July 1995:  “Thank you for spending another day with me.  I’ll see you tomorrow.”

He entered high school and even though the school board seemed to overlook the fact that my son wanted to be in a regular class, by the second semester, he was auditing regular classes.  The following year, he began taking regular classes for credit, and by the time he was in Grade 11 he had a 79% average for all the classes he had taken.  He was a geek in that he loved computers, but he also excelled in History and in Religious Studies.

He left high school when his peers left high school, and he continued to make his way in life.  Even when Myasthenia Gravis made it so he could barely do anything (as sometimes happens), he had an interesting life that didn’t always take him where he was originally headed.  For his 20th birthday, I put together and shared this montage celebrating 20 years of him being him.  No regrets.

For his 21st birthday, I made sure I didn’t embarrass him with a mushy mom-style card.  He got this card instead along with a small collection of gifts of things he wanted or things he needed.  Just because he was an independent adult didn’t meant I wasn’t still his mom.  No regrets.

I have a nice collection of scrapbooks I’ve made over the years with pictures of my son:  Places we’ve visited together, difficult times we’ve been through together, and the successes he has had over the years.  So whether it’s this version of him I’m thinking about ….

… or this version of him I’m thinking about …

…. being my son’s mom is something I will never regret.

Happy Mother’s Day, Lewis.  I will always love you wherever life takes you because I have faith in the person you are, and I know you have it in you to be anything you decide to be.

 

 

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Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot …

To everyone who follows and visits the Elyse Bruce blog, thank you for making 2014 the great year it’s been.  I look forward to keeping in touch with all of you in years to come, and wish all of you health, wealth, and success in 2015!

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What Happened On This Blog in 2014

The end of the year on WordPress is always an interesting and exciting time.   The WordPress computer collate all the statistics from each and every blog site, and starts sending them out as the year comes to an end.  Yesterday, I received notification that the 2014 stats were available for this site even though there were still a few days left in the year.

You’re probably asking why statistics are so important in light of the fact that anyone can skew statistics to mean whatever they want them to mean.  The reason statistics are so important is because it provides insight into what does and doesn’t work with regards to specific situations — in this case, the Elyse Bruce blog.

This year, I increased the number of posts I wrote to this blog (as well as to my other blogs) with specific topics assigned to specific days.  As readers and fans know, Tuesdays became known as Business Tuesdays with a primary focus on topics of interest to small businesses, not-for-profit associations, and entrepreneurs.  Sundays were dubbed Arts Sundays where the arts, regardless of domain, were showcased.  Fridays were known as Idle No More Fridays (to be renamed Social Justice Fridays in 2015), and Mondays and Thursdays saw the introduction of the twice-weekly game, “Who Said That?”

This left Wednesdays and Saturdays for articles that may or may not fit one of the formats mentioned.

So how well did the Elyse Bruce blog do in 2014?  I’m pleased to say that this blog did very well, and I’m pleased with the progress I was able to make on a number of fronts.

For example, it was great to see that the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) was one of the top five referring sites to this blog — both an unexpected and a welcome surprise!

Top 5 Referring Sites for Elyse Bruce blog in 2014

For another thing, it was awesome to learn that people in 150 countries come to the Elyse Bruce blog to read the articles posted to this blog.

Fans in 150 Countries for Elyse Bruce blog in 2014
I was both surprised and not surprised to learn that the top articles were, for the most part, related to the Idle No More movement.

Top 5 Posts on Elyse Bruce blog in 2014
However, I was duly impressed to see how well this blog is doing overall when I read this about the busiest day on the Elyse Bruce blog in 2014.

Busiest Day on Elyse Bruce blog in 2014
Rest assured that in 2015, I will continue to provide quality articles interspersed with educational and fun commentary.

And thank you to every one of you who visit this blog, whether on a regular basis or intermittently. Because of you and your comments — both private and public — this blog has become the success it is, and I look forward to continuing the standards I have set for this blog over the years.

Watch for news in 2015 with regards to a new book I’m writing titled, “Business By The Numbers.”  What’s more, if the twice weekly game “Who Said That” continues to grow in popularity, there might just be a “Who Said That” book on the horizon late in 2015.

Again, thanks to all of you for your support and comments, and let’s make 2015 the best year yet!

Elyse Bruce

Starting The Year With Gratitude

Today, being New Year’s Day, I put some time aside to review the blog stats for the Elyse Bruce blog.  I write because I am compelled to write — about the arts, about marketing and about social issues, not the least of which is the Idle No More movement.  What I learned in reviewing the blog stats for 2013 was humbling, and it’s with gratitude that I begin 2014 with this blog post.

The Top 5 articles on this blog had to do with social issues:  four from the Idle No More series, and one that dealt with cyberbullying and the potential for cyberbullying.

Top 5 Articles_IMAGE

In fact, the busiest day on this blog culminated in 4,619 unique views … most of which were for the second most popular article on my blog, “Idle No More: About Those Indians.”

Busiest Day_IMAGE

And not only did people read the articles I researched and published, they shared them with the two most shared articles being “Idle No More: About That FN Trust” …

About That FN Trust_FB and Twitter Shares_IMAGE

… and “Idle No More: About Those Indians.”

About Those Indians_FB and Twitter Shares_IMAGE

So not only were my articles well read, they were generously shared on Facebook and on Twitter as well as via email and other social media.  In fact, a great number of the articles I researched and wrote were republished by mainstream and online media as well as quoted by mainstream and online media.

The Top 5 referring sites were also a surprise.

Top 5 Referring Sites_IMAGE

It was no surprise that Facebook and Twitter took the top 2 spots, but mail came in as a close third.  People shared what I wrote with their friends, their family, their colleagues, their co-workers, and with strangers because what I wrote made an impact on their lives.

Most humbling was learning that my writing influenced people in 134 countries around the world.

Where did they come from_IMAGE

That’s pretty amazing in light of the fact that the U.S. Department of State claims that there are 195 countries in the world.   Speaking percentages, that means in 2013, the articles on this blog reached nearly 70% of the world’s countries!

I want to thank each and every person who visited this blog in 2013 for making time to read what I wrote.  While I am compelled to research and write, if you did not find value in what I researched and wrote, you would not have shared these articles with others and you would not have returned to continue reading what I researched and wrote.

This is why I am starting 2014 off with gratitude … because all of you have given me so much to be thankful for already.  I look forward to your visits to this blog in 2014, and encourage you to visit my other blogs:  the Idiomation blog, and the Missy Barrett blog, as well as the Midnight In Chicago website.  Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@ElyseBruce or @glassonastick) and to join  the Elyse Bruce Fan Page on Facebook.

Thank you for giving me the gift of your readership in 2013, and I look forward to continuing this tradition throughout 2014 and beyond.

Elyse Bruce

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