Seasons of Life: September 2021

A brief look at what's going on in my life in September 2021: I write about migraines, my daughter, and cats.

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Here in the Pacific Northwest the weather has taken a definite turn away from summer and into fall this week. We’ve swapped our warm mild afternoons for wet chilly mornings and hot pavement is turning into a slog of fallen leaves.

This change from summer to fall has gotten me to thinking about the seasons of life, how things come and go in waves. Sometimes very suddenly like this weather change, and sometimes so gradually you hardly notice.

Migraines

The season of life I’m in right now is perhaps most defined by my chronic migraines

Though I’ve suffered migraines since childhood, they’ve always come and gone. Sometimes I’d go through periods of time where I’d have 2 per week, sometimes nearly every day, sometimes 1 per month, sometimes even less than that.

Right now I’m in a pretty static state of having migraines between 10 and 20 days of the month.

This is far more than I’d like.

When I get a migraine, I can’t do as much as I want to. I often nearly collapse with the pain being so bad I can’t even talk.

The physical pain is of course pretty terrible, but after enduring week after week after week of shattered plans and lowered expectations, the emotional toll is high as well. I hate feeling like a prisoner of my chronic condition. I hate feeling an emotional tug of war with my body. I hate feeling like I’m not accomplishing as much as I “should” or even just as much as I want to, consistently feeling disappointed and even bitter.

Though I’m in active medical treatment for my condition, not much has helped. I’m grateful to have a small array of “rescue medicines” (medicines to take at the start of a migraine, as opposed to preventative medicines), but their effect isn’t foolproof and the side effects can have me too fatigued to function.

Four-and-a-half Years Old

My daughter is 4-and-a-half (the half is very important) years old.

This season is one of stickers. Stickers EVERYWHERE. On my socks, on the furniture, on the cats, stuck to the floor.

This season sounds like a lot of screaming and crying. Tantrums the likes of which I never saw even during the so-called “terrible twos.” We have problems going to bed, problems getting ready to leave the house, problems with demanding and mean words. But we stick to the routines and just take it one day at a time.

There’s also really creative projects. Scotch taped cardboard creations and elaborate treasure maps. A drawer pulled out of her dresser and meticulously lined with rubber ducks. Plastic bowls and cups with pinches of spices – alternately “potions to make things smell good” or “science experiments.”

She’s still a girl who loves girly dresses and hates having to wear pants. She has a butterfly raincoat that she loves to flap her arms in and flick the antennae on the hood. She always has to ask if what she’s wearing to bed is “cotton” or not – in her mind it’s the best material, never too hot and never too cold.

We have a very elaborate bedtime routine. One step that mustn’t be forgotten is replacing a cold ice pack, like the kind you put in a lunch box, into a pillowcase that she likes to sleep with – a lot of kids run hot but she runs really hot. I guess it’s genetic because I still run hot at night, too. We sing “All is Found” from Frozen 2 every single naptime and bedtime.

We watch one or two episodes of Daniel Tiger every day. Those little jingles are lifesaving. Need some cooperation? Sing “You can be a big helper in your family – big helper in your family!” Mad? Sing, “When you feel so mad that you wanna roar, take a deep breath, and count to four!” Do they always work? No, but nothing ALWAYS works.

Her favorite franchise right now is Spiderman, particularly the show Spidey and His Amazing Friends – where Peter Parker, Miles, and Gwen are three Spiderman hero kids. But she also is redescovering Pixar movies she used to like when she was younger but forgot about. This month we watched Coco, which also inspired her continually to ask me what things called are in Spanish.

She narrates everything she does and needs me to “look” every single minute of the day.

She makes up silly dances and funny faces and hilariously nonsensical jokes.

She asks me how to spell things many times per day, but has very little interest in trying to read.

When we go on our morning walks, she wants to know what kind of car every car she sees is. And now also she wants to talk about the license plates. We have to keep our eyes peeled for slug bugs – there are two on our normal route. Funnily enough she insists that “Honda trucks” are the rarest car and if we see one of those we have to inform her right away.

Instead of saying spider “wub” she’s starting to say spider “web” and I feel pretty sad about it. It reminds me that all of these things, even the things I hate, I’ll miss eventually.

Fat Cat / Thin Cat

Our black and white cat just keeps gaining weight no matter what we try while our tabby keeps losing it.

We’ve switched foods so many times.

We feed them separately.

We try to get the big one to exercise.

It all feels like it’s all in vain.

The tabby cat is not satisfied with any food we try to feed her. Sometimes she eats but often she won’t and will cry and whine instead.

The big cat thinks all the food is great!

They make such a mess. The wet food is like flecks of quick drying cement that flick everywhere around the feeding area. The big cat picks up his dry food and drops it into his water dish, then has a game of playing with it with his paws. He tracks wet paw prints all over the floor.

So the drama of feeding these cats crops up at least 5 times a day in this season. Not to mention the constant cleaning up after them…

I can’t help but wonder if the thin cat’s troubles are a sign that it’s coming upon her last season, given that she’s pretty old. But then out of no where she’ll claw something up maniacally and race around the house like a kitten again, and it strikes that thought from my mind.

Looking Forward

In the next month I hope to be able to work on the art challenge Inktober (see my post about what Inktober is and my efforts to get ready here), but I’m cautiously pessimistic (is that a thing?) because of my migraines.

My birthday is coming up, too (another prime time to become reflective if not downright maudlin). I think all I want is cozy clothes. Pretty sure that reveals my age even better than a dated cultural reference!

National Novel Writing Month is on the horizon and though I spent all year planning to take part, I’ve recently decided I probably don’t actually want to this year. Sometimes it’s nice just to give myself permission not to “have to” do something, you know?

I wonder what surprises this next season will bring.

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