Now a Man, But Always My Boy

“Now a man, but always my boy.” It’s the line in the song where I get a lump in my throat every time I hear it. Written by my dear friend and me last year for our boys, it seems like every time I turn around I have another occasion to play this song with tears running down my face whether it be a graduation, or another milestone.

It just goes way too fast. They are women and men before you can blink twice. I mean the children in our lives. Whether you are a parent, an aunt, an uncle, a grandparent, a teacher, a coach, etc., the time just slips through your fingers. Today I will go home from a three day trip to Wisconsin where I helped my middle son set up his first apartment. We helped him set up his furniture. I made his bed like I did when he was little. I lovingly hung up all of his clothes, lined his shelves with shelf paper, and stocked his refrigerator with food. I will leave him today with the prayer that is the bridge (in the middle) of this song.

“Listen to the music playing deep down inside. It was placed there by the Father before there was time.”

Middle Child, I give you my blessing to live your life. Set your goals, make mistakes, find someone to love, be loved, discover new friendships. This is your time to live your song.

And to those of you who are reading this blog, ” just be you. You can’t get wrong. Just be sure to live your song!”

Song by Kristy Ward and Lisa Cox. Sung in video by Kristy Ward.

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Alan Roy Scott

Alan

His name is Alan Roy Scott. He has irritated me. He has made me cry. He has made me laugh. He has encouraged me. He has challenged me. Except through Skype, I have never been in his presence, but he is my friend. You may not know his name, but if you have listened to songs sung by Celine Dion, Luther Vandross, Cyndi Lauper, Gloria Estefan, Roberta Flack, The Allman Brothers, Sheena Easton, The Neville Brothers, Pat Benatar, Patti LaBelle, The Pointer Sisters, Rick Springfield and Johnny Mathis, then you have been touched by his creativity. If you have seen the First Wives Club, Top Gun, Coming To America, Karate Kid II, Fame (TV show), Rags To Riches, Santa Barbara, As The World Turns and Beverly Hills 90210 then you have heard his music as you watched. Alan Roy Scott is an acclaimed songwriter.

I started this crazy lyric writing about a year into my Parkinson’s diagnosis. I discovered I have what I call a rhyming disorder. (Don’t look it up. I made up the term.) It just means I like to rhyme. Why did I start doing this? That is another story for later. What I like about the challenge of writing songs is that for me it is like a timed sudoku puzzle with words. You have about 3.5 minutes to tell a complete story with part of the story repeating 3 times, and it has to rhyme, make sense, and be catchy enough to move the audience emotionally in some way. Whew! Alan Roy Scott has drilled me on this over the past few months through an online song evaluation service called Song U. When I get an A+ from Alan on a song critique, it is not like getting a participation trophy. He is a straight shooter and he means what he says. I work for those A pluses from Alan. Lol. Alan and I wrote a song together for an organization I belong to called Rock Steady Boxing. I did pay to write with him. Well, he is Alan Roy Scott, and I’m no Celine Dion. It was worth every penny to work and learn from this tell-it-like-it-is, compassionate man.

Parkinson’s, I hate you, but you have brought such music to my life in so many ways. You have brought people into my life who I would never have met without you. Parkinson’s, I want you to go away, but you have taught me to listen deep inside. There is beautiful music playing in my life all around me that I would not have noticed without you. Parkinson’s, I have a hard time saying this because I hate you, but thank you. Alan Roy Scott, let’s write another one in 2017!We’re Fighting Back

The Quest of the Plastic Trophy and the Game Babe Ruth Calls “The Greatest Game in the World”

I’m the mom of three grown boys. With the experience of growing up with just one sister, I was unprepared for the active, boisterous life of 3 boys. The running, wrestling, the laughter, tears and relentless teasing until the youngest cried uncle all were like a tornado all under one roof in the confines of our home. But as I stand in the stillness of this home now that my boys are grown, I stare at the finger prints left behind on the wall above me that I could somehow not bare to scrub clean. Those finger prints high above at the bottom of the stairs up to their bedrooms bring back memories of the slam of the door, a sports bag thrown on the floor filled with a dirty uniform just for me, and the leap in the air to touch as high a point as one could reach before bounding up the stairs for a quick shower after a game. Oh, and the beloved shout, of ” hey, Mom, I’m home. What’s for dinner?”

As young parents, we were a bit over zealous when my first son, Jacob, showed the first hint of athletic ability. Like the drove of families around us, we joined them in the wave of activities that caused some psychologist to write a book titled “The Over Committed Child. “. Swimming lessons at 6 months, karate at age 4, soccer, basketball, football, baseball and rounded out with piano lessons and violin lessons, my oldest child survived our enthusiasm and settled into a reasonable routine of football and choir by high school. He tried the world of baseball at age 7, but when we would stand on the sidelines with camera ready for his big moment and that moment ended up being the coach yelling from the dugout to the outfield, “take the glove off your head,” we soon discovered that the “greatest game in the world” was not for him.

When my middle child, Tyler, came of age to begin the quest of the plastic trophy, he had inside of him the same fierce enthusiasm as we did as parents of our first born. He was ready to try anything and everything that his brother did before him. However, by that time his dad and I had read The Overcommitted Child and were quickly realizing that these activities cost money of which we were running out. When he asked to take karate lessons at age 6 thinking it was his rite of passage after being dragged for years to all of his older brother’s weekly lessons, I quickly brainstormed and in a flash of brilliance slowly asked him. “Well, show me your moves?” After a few kicks, swiping arm movements in the air, and shouts of “hyayh”. I sat back as if analyzing and out of my mouth came the words that saved me from another year of sitting in that small gym watching little ninja warriors. “Honey, you do not need lessons. Those Power Ranger episodes you’ve been watching must be working cause you look like an expert.” And off he went happily slashing the air at imaginary opponents until years later he realized he’d been duped!
The first time this little one put on a baseball uniform, from the beginning he showed such commitment, he would have made Babe Ruth proud. With quick hands and reflexes, he quickly showed an aptitude for the sport. After many years represented by numerous oversized plastic trophies that adorned his room, Tyler turned his attention to other achievements some of which were an active social life and girls. He too, finally settled into a reasonable routine of football and choir by high school.

With two beautiful healthy active boys and into my late thirties, everyone thought our family was complete. So when I announced my pregnancy at age 37 at a family gathering, my sweet father reacted impulsively not with “congratulations, but the words that now make me smile “you’re shi–ing me?” For years after this third boy was born, he was secretly, lovingly, jokingly behind his back referred to as “you’re shi–ing me.”

By the time “you’re shi–ing me” was old enough to enter the sports arena as his brothers before him, we were in our 40s and had sat on the bleachers of every sport offered in our community. We were tired, so when fellow parents would walk up to me and ask innocently “are you signing Jordan up for T-ball.” I would block the intruder from our youngest and shush them with a finger over my mouth and whisper ” shhh, we don’t want him to know it exists yet.” So desperate to be like his older brothers, this youngest wanted to sing. But try as he might to be like his 5′ 8″ song bird, strong football playing brothers. He grew to be a lanky 6′ 3″ with an instinctive ability to catch, throw, and hit a baseball with no musical ability, except he could dance. All three of my boys could have given Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5 a run for their money, except of the Cox 3 the third one could not sing, However, your shi–ing me” could throw a baseball.

Jordan’s first experience with baseball was coaches’ pitch. His coach was Terry Bohl. Terry saw something in Jordan that he thought was very special and so my husband and I were already counting the money in our heads and picturing ourselves in front row seats at professional baseball games when Jordan was just 7. But Jordan, as good of an athlete as he was, had a few quirky characteristics that were drastically going to affect his professional baseball career and our front row seats in our delusional eyes. Whether it was due to lack of good parenting being older tired parents with a third born or just part of his personality, Jordan was a fit thrower. We finally warned him after too many chances that if he threw one more fit at baseball practice or a game that we would pick him up and take him home. “And, that’s a promise, my husband declared one day after a foot stomping pouting fit.
So what were we thinking.
Well, we weren’t. We had no intentions of following through with that threat and ignorantly thought that the power of our words and threat would be enough to end the fits for good because by that time we had also read the book, The Strong Willed Child. We were experts.

But the day came when the Cox family became infamous at our small local
Baseball park. Coach Terry had an assigned field for practice that day at the farthest point from our parked car. Practice was going well until Jordan, who at that time had a tendency to throw his bat accidentally when he hit was up to bat. He swung and hit a ball so far it made his coach chuckle and shake his head, but he also threw the bat. Misreading what his coach meant by that gesture, our little hurricane picked up his bat bag, wailed and through the bag down in one dramatic motion. My husband and I instantly locked eyes and mouthed across the field “oh, crap, now we have to follow through. So Kyle scooped Jordan up and carried him like a 2×4 plank across his chest with his arms wrapped around him and marched through what seemed like a sea of perfectly behaved children and model parents. I walked with my head down behind them as people would touch my arm and ask” is everything ok? All the while, Jordan was bellowing at the top of his lungs ” you’re choking me.” We waited anxiously all evening, but a call from child protective services never came.

That same year it was determined that Jordan’s future baseball career would not be as a catcher. We marked that position off our dream list the day Coach Terry told him that he had to wear a cup if he wanted to be catcher. I could see the storm brewing and his body tense so I quickly stepped in and told Jordan. Let’s be catcher next time and we will practice wearing a cup at home. Amazingly, my suggestion worked. So the next day, Jordan put on his baseball uniform and placed the dreaded cup in its rightful spot to shield and protect and we went outside to practice walking in our cul de sac. It was pathetic as we walked together with him walking slowly moaning and wailing “Its touching my legs. It’s touching my legs.” I said back to him. “That’s not all its touching. You are wearing it. “. After a few nights of this agony, Jordan gave up his dream of being the catcher. As the years past, our little fit thrower mellowed out so much that his senior year he received a sports mental attitude award. It might be due to his developing personality, but I like to think it was Kyle’s and my expert parenting.

Oh, the quest of the plastic trophy, we have many stored in our attic, but what I value most is these memories of young parents who didn’t know what they were doing and three boys who brought us joy! I love all three just the way they are. They don’t need to be major league ball players. I just enjoy having front row seats to their day to day lives. Your sh–ting Me is still pursuing a baseball career at the University of Dayton, not as a catcher, but a pitcher! Lol

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Let Me Introduce Myself, I am Titanium, I am Kinky, I am Magnetic

On the bell curve my life would be about average. My math ability would be slightly below, verbal ability slightly above, but most everything else about me and all of my experiences would be considered right at average on a bell curve. That is until I faced my 49th year of life. Then the world I knew shifted on me, and I found myself having experiences that were considered statistically rare. Oh, how I longed for the top of that bell curve again.
In 2010 after an MRI that both my doctor and I thought was going to show a simple pinched nerve, I got a call from my doctor saying, “well, this might not be life-threatening, but it will be life altering.” She was right. From February 2010 I have been on a medical roller coaster ride.
Between 2010 – 2012. I have had one surgery to partially remove a benign tumor on my cervical spine. Thirty percent of it was too dangerous to remove. This left me with 14 titanium screws. Another surgery to implant a shunt in an arachnoid cyst that pushes on my cervical spine. A third surgery to fix the tubing on that shunt when it kinked, like a hose kinks, and a fourth surgery to put a magnetic valve on the shunt to stop it from over draining spinal fluid into my pleural cavity, the lining of your lungs. So in two years time, we could say that I am titanium, I am kinky, I am magnetic. I am basically bionic. And now that I box well ,you might not want to mess with me! Lol. For the rest my life I will have a tumor on my spine that threatens to again grow and a cyst that will always need to be controlled by a shunt.

I kept looking for the light at the end of this medical nightmare. I wanted it to be over. I am so grateful for all of the people who stood beside me and helped me through those years. It is humbling to lose your independence.

With the next few years my health continued on that roller coaster ride. A little better at times it seemed, but mainly a series of bad news. Eight times I had to have my lung drained due too shunt malfunctioning. This caused my brain to sag. Yes, at an age when so many other things were sagging, my brain was sagging too. Lol Most troubling was that I was experiencing new symptoms that my doctors could not explain, and they didn’t seem concerned. I went to Dr. Google. I am notorious for getting myself in a frenzy and diagnosing myself with all kinds of conditions I don’t have going to Dr. Google. Unfortunately, this time Dr. Google was right on. The first time I verbalized my suspicion was to my mother, and I expected her to say that is ridiculous. Instead she held me and said if you have this, then it will be all right. My symptoms fit Parkinson’s disease perfectly. Ok, God, really?
A tumor, a cyst, and now Parkinson’s disease? What about the lottery or Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes, winning at slots in Vegas? I promise could’ve handled that. That is why I call my three diagnoses “the trifecta.” What are the odds?

I found refuge in my closet. My favorite place to cry. Often I would hear the words, “mom is crying in the closet again.” I watched my body succumb to to the attacks of Parkinson’s. I started to walk with a cane, I was losing my balance, and I had constant fatigue. My gross motor movements were slow and difficult, and my lack of hand function made me believe that I would soon have to quit my profession of being a school guidance counselor. A part of my life that I love. The medications prescribed to me were not working and my doctors were unsure which of my three diagnoses were causing my symptoms. But with the encouragement of friends and family I got out of that closet and fought physically with exercise and battled my way to Cleveland Clinic. On July 28th, 2015, I went to Cleveland clinic to see a movement disorder specialist.

In the beginning I did not respond to Levodopa, the standard Parkinson’s med, and so when I left that day with a levodopa prescription, I was not too hopeful, especially knowing that In five days I had to go back to work.
The next day I filled that prescription and took the first pill and in two hours after taking that pill, my body was back to almost full functioning. I was better than before my first surgery in 2010. With that appointment only being five days before my first day at work and thinking I was possibly going to have to quit my job, this was nothing short of a miracle to me. I can move, dance,shout, sing sorta, swing my arms when I walk, gesture. All of those things that I took for granted before. I still have Parkinson’s disease and it is a regressive disorder, but for an undetermined amount of time, i am better, but I will regress again at some point. As much as I fight, and oh I will, There is not a cure YET. One of my fears I had to over come Is …..Some Day when I can no longer button my shirt, walk unassisted, speak up so people can hear me, when my body fails what worth will I have to others except to be a burden.
I have changed that perspective after carefully watching the world around me. I am reassured that each of us has a purpose and gifts in this life and we each have a lasting legacy of the good works until our last breath. Yes, if you have a loved one lying in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, Cancer, I could go on and on, they are teaching us something. Listen and learn. A big lesson: SLOW DOWN
Take time, be still, , reach out, don’t sweat small stuff, appreciate, And LOVE.
Well, that’s me. Hello, my name is Lisa Cox. That’s my story. That’s my fight. That’s why I write this blog. And your name is? What’s your story? I welcome you to share it. There is healing in our stories. It’s nice to meet you!

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Bon Voyage

Bon Voyage, Everyone! I know the typical greeting for this night is Happy New Year, but bringing in the new feels like going on a new journey for me, so I say Bon Voyage!

I’m not particularly fond of This holiday, New Year’s Eve. I was just getting comfortable with 2016 and now we have to move on? I’m not ready. My bags are not packed. 2016 was starting to feel like a comfortable pair of shoes and now I have to break in a new pair? Usually, I like new shoes, but not these new shoes. See, I’m not the optimistic ” glass half- full” kind-of girl that you all might be imaging from these posts. Underneath the humor and the zest for life is a girl who really likes old comfortable shoes and the familiar path she’s on.

2017 for me feels like getting off the boat I was on to which I am clinging and being thrown on to a new boat and forced to go on a new unknown journey.

I know that this new journey will have sunny days of warm beautiful weather when I will soak in the view from the deck and nights where I will hang over the edge of the railing to see what’s coming next ( sort of like in the Titanic with Leo DiCaprio, I mean my husband, behind me). 😀
However, there will also be storms, squalls, and wait, remember the Titanic? There could be a possible giant ice burg hidden beneath the surface on this new journey. Wait, I hear the captain calling out. Oh yeah, it’s the same captain I let steer my boat of 2016, although this captain would probably say that I tried to grab the wheel from Him many times last year. The same captain who planned my journey before I was born, knows the course I am on, and has prepared a great celebration for whenever it is time for the journeys to end is steering this boat of 2017. So don’t hide below the deck in your cabins everyone, hang over the railing to see what’s ahead. The Captain has an amazing journey planned. So I release my grip on 2016. Step on to 2017. And Captain, ” I’ll trust you with what’s ahead and try to keep my hands off the wheel!” Bring it on 2017 blisters and all. I think I’ll go shop for new shoes on Monday. There have to be good “break in the new” sales, right?

Bon Voyage, Everyone and Happy New Year!

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To My Favorite

I have raised three boys. I am officially now an empty nester. This letter is to my favorite boy.

Dear Son,
This letter may come as a shock to you at first but I am going to admit to you that I have a favorite. I have three boys who I love fiercely, and yes I have a favorite. At times I think of you all equally, and other times clearly one stands out among the others. What you don’t understand is that favorite fluctuates with the circumstances that each of you are in, and it also fluctuates in the moments that each of you need me the most. Times that I can remember that you may have felt my favoritism towards the other two are times that they have had great success that needs to be celebrated by this family and times they have had great pain and emotional hurt that they need my support. I won’t speak of the others without them being present. For you, the times that you have been my favorite are oh so many. You captured my heart so many ways through your growing years.
Sometimes I feel that you needed me to speak truth to you, which is not always easy, fun, or comfortable. I have three boys, and God has given me an abundant love for all three at the same time. Yes, at times it may have seemed like one was getting more attention than the other, and that is true. When it’s not your turn, I expect for you to wait patiently until you have my full attention out of love for your brothers. My sweet boy, I cannot always be there for you in your times of need, but I know who is always there for you. Turn to God in prayer and break out that Bible on your phone and let him speak to you through his Word. If you do that, I know you will always be ok. I know God has a plan for your life and it’s time for you to live it!

Now for me, I have to adjust to life with only your dad and me rattling around this quiet home. Lord help me he’s looking at RV’s.
Love you,
Mom

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A Trbute to My Mother

I know. I know. I should’ve taken her class in high school. As you read my posts and cringe at the occasional run on sentence, misplacement of commas and semi colons, the confusion with lie, lay, who and whom, know that my mother was a High School Business English teacher, and I chose not to take her class. If my grammar makes you cringe and you want to correct me through comments, have at it. My mother will get a good laugh and an “I told you so” out of it.

Before I learned song format, I wrote a song about my mom and her love for grammar. It really is more of a poem than a song. So as a tribute to my mother and all the years she has tried to correct my grammar, I give you…….

Mama, I Love You Real Good

My mama was a grammar teacher when I was in school.
I didn’t take her class because I was too cool. She said that I would some day regret it.
Mama I love you,
but your grammar,
forget it

Me and my man is doing just alright. Me and him go dancing every Saturday night
Ain’t got no reason for fancy words.
Learnin that grammar is just for nerds

Mama I seen you just the other day.
Didn’t understand why you shook your head and prayed.
I done good when I was in school.
Mama remember how I was so cool.
learnin that grammar I know I should.
Mama stop your cringing you know I love you real good.

Maybe I should have went and taken your class. But this country girl got too much sass

Don’t, doesn’t Saw, seen, went, and, gone
All of these words I know I’m getting wrong.
If I’d gone listened to my mama’s teachin
I wouldn’t have to listen now to all of her preachin

Where do I put that apostrophe?
Mama, I don’t care it don’t bother me.

Maybe I should have learned it when I was in school
But remember mom, I was so cool.

learnin that grammar I know I should
Mama stop your cringing you know I love you real good.

Picture: My Mom, Me, and Creepy Photo Bomb Santa

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