If you follow me on social media, you know that this past fall and leading into the new year has been a struggle for me healthwise. I’ve had a series of unfortunate events that have snowballed into a multi-condition flare that is, at the moment, kicking my butt. Figuratively and literally. This pandemic period has tested the limits of my patience, resolve, and mental health coverage. Living with multiple chronic conditions during a global pandemic in a county where the healthcare system has been deeply impacted has been…interesting. So, needless to say, I have been struggling. However, I know I am not the only mom struggling with kids who are also struggling to get through this period. Knowing that I am not alone in this has really kept me going.
February has been a jam-packed month already, and it’s barely at the halfway mark. But so far, I’ve started my last semester at a community college, my college applications are all in, the IBDMoms gained a title sponsor, and IBDMoms hosted its first board meeting. But none of that compares to what happened this past Saturday. This past Saturday, Jax attended their first, middle school dance. That’s right, you Crazy Creole Mommy veteran readers, that little chunky ball of toddler hilarity is a middle schooler who attends middle school dances. So, while the city of Los Angeles spent the week partying and celebrating a potential Super Bowl victory with tourists, I was weaving through traffic hitting various malls and stores to piece together the tween vision for Valentine’s Day dance look.
While sitting on the 405 northbound in Friday evening traffic, I began to feel the pains of my flare. The burning sensation in my stomach, the ache in my back, and the overwhelming fatigue washed over but didn’t extinguish the silly grin on my face. A decade ago, I had similar and somewhat worse pains while also sitting on the 405, trying to get home to my little one. I wasn’t very hopeful about our future then. I was in a contentious custody fight, and my illness took center stage. I had to prove myself as a good and capable mom constantly. I was scared and overwrought with guilt. I didn’t see remission coming anytime soon, and I started to doubt if I was being fair. I was beginning to question if I would see my little one grow up to be a tween. I remember getting off the freeway to use the bathroom at a gas station and crying in the creepy bathroom. I felt hopeless, alone, and scared. When I got home, I went straight into the bathroom again.
Then I heard a knock at the door, followed by a loud squeaky voice. “Mom is that you?!” I answered, and then a piece of paper with colorful scribbles flew underneath the door. “Mom! Mom! dats a unicorn mom. Dats the mommy unicorn and da baby unicorn. Mom is a Jaxon and a mommy unicorn. okay?” Jax had drawn us as Unicorns. Jax believed Unicorns existed and we were those magical creatures. Strong, magical, beautiful, and only seen if you believed in them. I cried. Jax believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. Apparently, even Unicorns could have IBD.
Here I was on the 405 again 10 years later, flaring and feeling the weight of the past two years of single solo parenting in a pandemic weighing heavy on my shoulders. Jax was not entirely thrilled about going to the dance but had to commit to it because of his position on the Student Council. The past two years have just been so heavy, and it’s been hard for both of us to get excited about anything, really. Someone pulled up in front of me with a Twilight Sparkle sticker on their car. I started to think about Unicorns and those Unicorns who have IBD. The magical creatures somehow find a way to make it through. I began to think about how far Jax and I had come, mainly because Jax believed. Jaxon’s belief in my mommy magic pushed me through to the next moment. We made it to middle school. Through everything that has been thrown at us, we are here, and we are safe. We are unicorns who believe in each other. We exist, and we are thriving. I am so proud of us.
After all of that, you may be wondering how Jax made out at the dance. Well, Jax had a blast! The outfit was perfection. Jax was fashionably late and made an entrance in style and a stack of pizzas. He also won the Prince of Valentine’s Day dance along with his best friend. I am now to refer to them as Prince Jax of Burbank for the rest of the year. Unicorns can be royalty, too, I suppose.