Fourier Analysis is a mathematical tool which can do a number of things: separate out signals from noise; help identify patterns or trends in data; filter out all unwanted data and focus on a single signal; use approximations to make generalizations; make approximations of real world signals (think electronic music); combine harmonics to get a stronger signal. That's what I'll be trying to do here!! Won't you join me with your comments?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

"...If you’re traveling with a child, place your mask on your face first, then assist your child.”

"...put on your own oxygen mask before attempting to help those around you." If you have ever travelled on an airplane, you have heard those words or other similar emergency instructions. And if you are like me, you have listened to them and known they made sense. And Oprah has had various shows counseling the wisdom of such advice in other situations, the message being "Look after yourself first so that you can be in better shape to take care of others."

But whoever wrote those words obviously was not a mother. Sorry Oprah, I know you mean well, but until you have been a parent, you don't know what you are talking about. Or maybe you do, as I don't know the sacrifices you would be willing to make for your 4-footed babies.

It isn't just the daily interruptions: answering questions while we are on a phone call, missing our favorite TV programs in order to calm last-minute homework meltdowns, interrupting our bath ritual to stop a squabble between siblings, letting our kids have the last cookie or finish the ice cream telling ourselves we don't really need the dessert, forgoing that pair of shoes for ourselves so that we can afford to give our offspring that wardrobe item that would break our budget.

But tell me what mother, what parent for that matter would deny their child blood, bone marrow, kidney, lung liver, skin.... anything that could be given that would help their child in need. The costs in money, health, emotional distress, job security or anything else be damned.

We all do it. We consider it part of the job as a parent. You give yourself to your children and pay no attention to the toll it takes. And even when you do know, when you realize that you are on your last nerve, you are draining your batteries, that what you are doing or what your child is putting you through is raising your blood pressure, aging your body, greying your hair, making you a nervous wreck, driving you you stop?

I don't know how you answer that question for yourself. I know that everyone has their own limits. But for me, as long as I hold out hope that whatever I am doing, all that I am going through, all the frustration and stress and worries and tantrums and breakdowns will eventually lead to a better life for my child and a light at the end of the tunnel (even if I can't see it), means that I will sacrifice myself, my health, my sanity, my self esteem, my happiness whatever it takes.

And make no mistake, dealing with a teenager means you sacrifice a lot. Dealing with a troubled teen means the cost can be very dear. Which is to say that my health is suffering. Weight problems, blood pressure issues, fatigue, listlessness, mood swings, low resistance to every germ and virus that comes around, etc. And while I know what causes it, and what I need to do about it, I have not yet gotten to the point where I can "put on my own mask first".

I know I need to. I plan to. One of these days I will. Soon. I promise. But right now I just don't come first. I blame Mother Nature.


Robin said...

Sometimes, the best you can do for yourself is just to keep breathing, and try to hold it all together and not collapse until you have the chance. And then, when the current crisis is over? To say the hell with it and go out for the evening to regroup.

Hang in there my friend.

Eowyn said...

What a powerful post, and so true on so many levels. Motherhood gets me out of the bed in mornings, and my desperate attempts to take care of myself have led me to sacrifice more hours of sleep and more me time than I'd like. But it is worth it. We are raising adults--hopefully adults that are contributing members of society.

Prayers your way.

Goofball said...

I think that is very very true

and yet I hope you won't suffer too much yourself by not putting your mask on just yet

Kateastrophe said...

Welcome back!!! So excited to "see" you again!!

Brillig said...

Oh, FA, I love this post! It's so, so true! Have you considered sending this post to I think it would resonate with a lot of people!

I, too, am THRILLED to see you back among the bloggers again!

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

All I can say is ... water and exercise. Those are the two things that if I do THOSE for myself, I'm winning some of the battle. Even if it's just 15 minutes a day.

And oh, can I relate to this post. I got behind because my stupid reader hadn't picked you up again. It has now.