Hallmark, Take Me Away.

We have been watching a lot of Hallmark Channel lately.  A lot. We have. That’s right Dave loves Hallmark Christmas Movies as much as I do. In fact, it was he who coined the phrase I used as the title for this post one special night at dinner when it felt anything but idyllic.

Hallmark has nailed the formula. Pretty people, festive scenery and one-of-three story lines that always end up with a happy ending. Even when someone is “struggling,” they manage to make the challenge, well, something right out of Hallmark. The foster child is running a coat drive for the less fortunate like him. The parentless adult child (every single movie, right?) has siblings who like to have snowball fights with cocoa afterwards instead of real life where resentment is harbored and eye-rolls are the norm. You know what I mean, right?

I’d imagine if Hallmark did a movie on my family, we’d show up on the drama-version on Movies and Mysteries channel instead of the happier Holiday Romances. More strife and more challenges but still beautiful. Stressful but Successful, as I always say, right?

Lately I do feel like the movie reel is rolling on our life. Kelsey is struggling. She’s been sick for a month, having trouble in school and going through changes with some of the main-stays in her life.  We changed churches and we changed physical therapists…twice!  She loves school but is finding the frustrations and challenges harder to deal with than in the past. She’s been refusing to work, hitting her teachers (and family!) and throwing things. From what we can tell, her inabilities are catching up with her heart. She wants to do what her peers do but she can’t. Her teachers seem to be having trouble finding what makes her tick more than in the past.

Her inability to focus on tasks, her incessant chatter and her impulsivity has led us to explore the world of ADHD. That’s right. Another diagnosis. Turns out ADHD and epilepsy are closely linked.  Oh yeah, and Cerebral Palsy and ADHD are also often seen in conjunction with one another. Throw in a stroke and you’ve got yourself an atypical brain for sure.

So, in addition to Topamax for her seizures and amoxicillin for her sinus infection, Kelsey started on a stimulant to manage the ADHD symptoms she’s exhibiting. Oh and those symptoms are what we’ve been experiencing for 6 years. The ones that make me pull my hair out over the summer and the ones that turned that same hair super-grey years prior. We have always seen these symptoms. It’s just that this school year is the first where other adults seemed to highlight her short-comings instead of chalking it up to her initial diagnoses.  And for that, I’m grateful. In fact for others to see what we’ve been trying to explain her whole life is validating. But it doesn’t make it easier.

We will see where all this goes with new medications and new experiences, but in the meantime we all really use a little Christmas right now.

Luckily Ben puts us back in the Hallmark category.  He’s happy as a clam in middle school, praise Jesus! He’s winning character awards for helping others and ending himself up on the honor roll for his hard work.  We also managed to fit in some pretty spectacular festive fun this week with wreath making, holiday concerts and small-town shopping and parades.


Our annual dinner of spaghetti and pizza in our town’s main street Italian restaurant before the annual Santa parade was last night. Kelsey was still fighting the cold, was overwhelmed by the crowds, by the chilly temps and by the noise. Dave didn’t even get to see the first group walk by because he was heading back to the car to calm Kelsey down. It was anything but what you’d see in the Hallmark version. Other kids (including my own) were jumping up and down, catching thrown candy canes and waving to their friends and neighbors in town. But Kelsey was crying and heading to the car in her most adorable festive frock. My instincts were to immediately feel sad. To look at everyone else with jealousy and resentment. To think “woe is me.” But, in true Hallmark form, I picked myself up and thought about ways to make it better next year. And then Dave and I came home, put the kids to bed and turned on Christmas in Evergreen on, you guessed it, the Hallmark Channel. We laughed at the blissful preposterousness of it all and toasted in front of the fire and Christmas tree.  Hallmark, take me away…

Merry Christmas, friends! May your season be full of health and happiness.



“He who has health has hope; he who has hope has everything.” -Thomas Carlyle