I’d like to share him with you today.
I talked to him a couple of days ago, and asked him if it would be ok if I wrote a little something about him. He knows that I talk smack about him quite often in my posts, and usually it’s about him talking smack about me! I told him that sometimes I worry that the people who really don’t know me, or know what’s going on with him, might not understand the relationship that we truly do have, and think that I’m a disrespectful mother…or worse…that he’s a disrespectful son (which couldn’t be further from the truth)….
“Absolutely not” he answered in response to my asking to write about him.
“Ok, I respect that…” I replied.
Then he stood there for a minute thinking about it…and finally said:
“You know what? That’s fine…go ahead. I’m ok with it.”
First, I want to start out by saying that I had my two girls first. Mike is the baby of the family. When I had Katie and Jessica, I never dreamed in a million years that I’d have a boy. Or that I’d even want a boy. I mean…you can’t dress them up in cute little dresses, and buy them Barbies and fun stuff like that.
And then Mike came along.
And I fell instantly….head over heels….madly in love with that baby boy.
And I instantly knew what every other mother of a son feels….
It was around March last year, a couple of months before his 18th birthday. I was working in the kitchen, and he came walking in…
“Mom, I need to show you something…” he said, and began to pull up his sleeves. He held out his arms, and they were filled with bruises. Not just any bruises. But giant, deep dark, black and blue bruises. Massive bruises.
My heart sank, and I felt instantly sick, and very, very scared.
“Mike, what the hell? Are you fighting?” I asked. (please God, let him be fighting)
“No, I go to bed, and they’re there when I wake up” he answered.
“Have you been working out, using your punching bag or something?” I asked. (please God, let him be working out).
“A little, but not too much, but that’s not all…” he replied, as he started to pull up his pant legs to reveal more massive bruising on both of his legs.
And then he pulled up his shirt to show me the same bruises all over his torso. It makes me sick just to type these words. I made the mistake of Googling his symptoms. I won’t tell you what all of his symptoms pointed to, but it was bad.
We went to the doctor first thing on Monday morning. The doctor went through all of the same questions that I did… Fighting? No. Working out? No. Did you fall? No.
Then the doctor looked at me and asked “Well mom, what do you think?”….. “You know where my brain is Dr. Szymanski…” I answered. He nodded his head and said: “Yeah… we need to get some tests done. “ He went on to explain that the test results would take a full week to get back to him, so not to worry. Mike could go to school as he normally does, and he would call me the following Monday. One week.
Tuesday morning…the very next day, I’m sitting at my desk at work. The doctor calls… “Where is Michael?” he asks, a bit frantic.
“In school” I answered him.
“Get him out and take him immediately to the emergency room, he needs a blood transfusion! His platelet levels should be at 140, and they’re down to 6!!!” He kind of said kind of panicky..
I don’t remember much of what happened. I don’t remember if I even hung up the phone…. I remember one of my co-workers holding on to me really tight, and a voice somewhere in the background saying: “Somebody needs to drive her to get her son…”
One of the girls that I work with took me to pick Mike up, and I had time to wipe my face, and compose myself the best I could. I can remember him standing outside of school waiting for me, and on the outside, he was cool as a cucumber…but his eyes told me that he was really scared.
The fear of the unknown.
He’s such a big guy, but all of a sudden, he was little again… and I wanted to grab him under my wing, and protect him, and fight anything that might try to hurt my boy.
But at the same time, I felt so small… like a tiny little insignificant speck in this whole universe. Helpless. Scared.
He was filled with questions, he was annoyed, and he was scared. And all I could tell him was that we had to get to the hospital…something was going on with his platelets, and we had to get it fixed.
And then the tests on him began.
He never once saw me cry. I’d excuse myself as if I had to run to the ladies room, and then I would go and sit with Katie in Jess in the waiting room. My girls are my spine. They are my life. I would sit in the waiting room, and get the sobbing out of my system….beg God to take whatever it was, out of Mike…and put it into me. And then I’d go back to his hospital room, and would have some smartass comment for him….just to keep the banter between the two of us going. It kind of calmed him…and it kind of calmed me.
The test results came back.
It’s called ITP. Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura. An auto immune disease. Which in layman’s terms, means that his body for some crazy fluke of a thing, decided to kill of its own platelets, making it difficult for his body to heal in a proper manner…his blood won’t clot when his levels are low. So if he cut himself, the bleeding wouldn’t stop. A simple bump to his head could do some major damage to his brain, or worse.
We are blessed.
I don’t want him to be sick, but if my son has to be sick, it’s an illness that I’m grateful for him to have, because it can be managed. He can lead a somewhat normal life. Ok, I say that…but that’s the selfish mother in me….What I hear is that I get to keep my boy. I get to take him home.
What he hears is that he will never be able to play football again. He will never be able to do the things that normal 19 year old boys can do.
He graduated from high school last year… and at that point, the doctors were still trying to regulate his meds. He was bruising about every two weeks. You’d never know it, but underneath that graduation gown, his body was riddled with bruises. The next day, he spent 12 hours hooked up to an IV that would boost his platelet level, to get him through another two weeks.
It’s a pain in the neck for him, and he has to be very cautious with everything he does from now on. When he starts to bruise really bad, we know he is due for a treatment, which takes 12 hours, and which totally knocks him down for a couple of days afterwards. He has to wear a med-alert necklace in case of an accident, so that the medics know that he has low platelets. Everyone around him must be aware of his condition, in case of an accident…even if it’s something as simple as a small cut. His friends are awesome. I love those boys. They take such good care of him for me.
We are blessed. I get to keep my boy.
There is an unspoken bond between my son and me.
One that says we made it through this war together.
So, when I talk smack about him….or talk about him talking smack about me…. Now you’ll know. It’s all with love.
I love my kids more than life itself.
So…when Mike agreed to let me write this about him, I asked him what recipe he’d like me to post on his behalf.
“Stuffed shells” he immediately replied (which came as no surprise, because they are his all time favorite).
“No, better yet.. how about those s’mores cups?” he said, changing his mind…. “You made them for me all the time last year”
That was a great idea. Even though I know that these little cups have run their course on the Internet…S’Mores Cups are fitting for this post, because that’s what he craved all last year, and that’s what I made for him. So, so many times last year. I would have made him whatever his little heart desired.
They’re quick and easy to make. You can have the ingredients on hand at all times (unless you’re like me, and you get into the chocolate a little more than you should)…. And he loves them.
They’re perfect to take to any party, to eat around a bonfire, or for a “just because” kind of day… Everyone will love them, both young and old.
Makes 24 cups
Just a quick note…I don’t know where the original recipe came from. If you Google S’mores cups, or look them up on Pinterest, you’ll find a gazillion recipes for them, all using basically the same amount of ingredients. I did a little digging, and this was the oldest post that I could find for the recipe. I actually tried them for the first time last year. Katie’s boyfriend Ryan’s mom made them, and I knew immediately that Mike would love them. I changed the ingredient amounts just a little bit.
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
12 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup powdered sugar
4 bars (1.55 oz each) milk chocolate candy, divided
12 large marshmallows
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place graham crackers into a large resealable plastic bag. Finely crush into crumbs. Combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, and butter in a small bowl.
Place 1 tablespoon of crumb mixture in each cup of a mini muffin pan. Firmly press crumbs to form shallow cups. Bake 4-5 minutes or until edges are bubbling. Meanwhile, break two of the candy bars into rectangles. Remove pan from oven; place one rectangle into each cup.
Cut marshmallows in half crosswise using shears dipped in cold water. Place one marshmallow half, cut-side down, into each cup. Return to oven 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows are slightly softened. Remove pans from oven to cooling rack; cool 15 minutes. Carefully remove cups from pan. Cool completely.
Break remaining candy bars and place in small microwavable bowl. Microwave on high 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 20 seconds. Dip the top of each marshmallow in melted chocolate. Turn top-side up and let stand 40 to 60 minutes or until set. Makes 24 cups.