Wednesday, December 26, 2012
In movies the death of a parent is a turning point for the characters. Past conflicts are resolved on the deathbed and the surviving child walks away and moves forward. Sad, but stronger.
It wasn't quite like that with my Dad. He refused to admit he was dying for as long as he could speak. All efforts to get him to even see a doctor in his last few weeks were met with curses and meanness. Thinking back, I suppose he wanted to lay in his own bed, in his own house and slowly die without anyone making a fuss. To this day I don't know if I did the right thing to deny him that.
I called my mother a few weeks before my Dad died - a routine call just to check in - and she let it slip that "Your father sure sleeps alot these days". I asked her what she meant by that, and she replied "Well he is probably awake about an hour a day".
We knew he had end stage liver failure from a lifetime of Budweiser and vodka tonics...but he had been playing golf and working his job as a taxi driver the week before. I packed my bags that minute and drove to Central Florida immediately.
I found my father in a dark room, with a space heater running, hiding underneath twelve blankets. He wouldn't talk to me about how he felt, knocking aside my questions with comments about just "needing to sleep". I don't know if he actually believed he had the flu or if that is what he was telling us to send us away. My mother, with fifty years of submitting to him under her belt, was too terrified to challenge the flu notion, but I knew better. But getting him in the car was nearly impossible. I literally had to threaten to call 911 if he refused - and it took us about 3 hours to force him out the door.
Of course he expected to drive.
I absolutely refused. He wasn't in any shape to even sit upright....weakened by his dissolving liver and weeks of not eating or drinking. That was the first day since him teaching me to first drive that my father sat in the passenger set next to me. An ominous feeling overcame me, I was certain this was worse than I had initially thought.
My father had the same doc he had used for years. I had never met the man but was about to show up at his office without an appointment - so I hoped he was decent. He was not. The doctor told me that my Dad most likely had "the flu" and should go home and rest. I stood blocking the door and asked the doctor when the last time he saw him was. It had been a month. Apparently my Dad had been feeling queasy for that long. I asked the doc how much weight my Dad had lost in the month. Nearly thirty pounds was the answer. I then began asking about lab work, the condition of his liver, etc etc until the doctor relented. Maybe just because he realized I wasn't moving away from the door until I had an answer....so he agreed to admit my Dad to the local hospital.
My Dad would be dead within 10 days. Up until the last 8 hours of his life his doctor was constantly telling us we were worrying about nothing and he expected my father would be good as new as soon _______. The blank consisted of that doctor milking medicaid for every test, procedure and medicine he could throw our way....up to and including physical therapy.
It broke my heart to watch my father try to perform on a recumbent bike when he didn't even have the strength to lift his own arms in the air. But my Dad was in agreement with the doctor...he felt like he wasn't as sick as I was saying...and the last coherent thing he ever said to me was "How the hell do you expect me to get any better when you are putting nails in my coffin!!!!!!"
But I knew better. He was throwing up blood (and had been for weeks - hiding it from my mother somehow), couldn't eat because of varices in his throat, and his liver enzymes were higher than I had ever seen.
By the time I had beaten the doctors into getting hospice involved my Dad wasn't even able to talk. Hospice was wonderful. They stopped all the unnecessary meds, controlled his pain, and stopped the physical torture of the exercises.
He died less than 10 hours after hospice came on board. The nurse woke me up at 2 in the morning to tell me. I had to wake my mother and tell her the news. My son was a toddler. The entire evening was surreal. Painful. The one member of my family who had loved me for who I was....gone.
It was Christmas Eve.
My son asked us how Santa would find us. How could Santa know we were in a hospital far far away from home?
Later, back at my mother's house, trying my best to control my grief enough to be of some comfort to my mom....my sweet little toddler came into the room, and announced that he liked things better when his grandpa was alive.
"Me too baby bear"
Each Christmas Even I hope that I don't have to relive that story in my mind....but so far I haven't been able to. But it does get a teeny teeny bit easier.
I know my Dad would hate that I still grieve. And I know if his brain hadn't been poisoned by the chemicals produced as his body was shutting down he would have done a better job leaving this world...
Miss you Dad....and thinking of you this season.
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Transitioning into a new job...
Which means, at the very least, a new routine, new faces, new skills, and feeling totally helpless...
And after struggling with finding my bearings yet again in a long-distance relationship...
My Friday evening ended with the conclusion of an overly violent, unintentionally psychologically intrusive movie.
So I was trying my best to dust off my negative feelings and get my little man to bed.
After 12 years of tucking my son in, I can be honest here and tell you that some nights I just don't feel like I have it in me to do take 10 minutes out of my night and stroke his hair, rub his back, and give him kisses as he drifts to sleep.
So I did the 3 minute version. My mind was elsewhere as I fluffed his pillows and told him goodnight. But as I was leaving his room a wave came over me...I imagine my angel 10 years in the future and living far away. So I paused in his doorway and saw him curled under the blankets...looking as sweet as the first moment I saw him...and I turned around. I laid down next to him on the bed and wrapped my arms around him...
His entire body relaxed and he sighed as he whispered "yay" :)
I stayed with him for a few precious moments...and drank in that connection - of being totally present, totally loved, totally loving...
Who cared that the dishes were piled high in the sink, and the laundry was spilling out of the basket onto the floor, and I hadn't been on Facebook to see exactly what my childless friends were up to on this Friday night!? I was able to let go of my funk and everything else hard about my day and just BE with my little guy. And it was a fantastic moment....one of thousands we have had together. And I plan on having many thousand more! Provided I can keeping remembering (each time I forget) that the absolute best way to connect with someone is just to put down your own piles of debris and connect.
Sleep well baby boo...thank you for reminding me (all the many times I forget) what my best self can be.
Friday, October 26, 2012
I am NOT one of those people that thinks video games rot your brain (obviously). In fact, I think video games can sharpen your reflexes, distract you from a hard day in the salt mines and exercise your brain. Sometimes they can even be social... if you have a group of like minded friends or don't mind hopping online and playing with foul-mouthed 13 year old boys.
I found a home for this hobby as a software tester for one of my careers. I can honestly say that I loved my work. But being a nurse is has truly turned out to be the job of my dreams!
People frequently asked me how I was able to transition from a bug tester to being a registered nurse... but actually the fields are very similar. In both vocations I spend my days looking for deviations from the way the system normally operates. Whether it is a body system or computer system my job I can find the problems.
As it turns out I excel at finding problems.
Maybe this predilection for uncovering pathology is a natural born talent... or maybe something that sprung from the way my my mind puts the world together. If I were your nurse, though, you would love that I was always sifting through the data analyzing your body's systems and looking for clues as to why things weren't behaving as they should. Part intuition... part luck... part research...part experience.
This skill set has served me well in my chosen professions. But I am not so sure it is an asset when it comes to love.
Nobody appreciates the partner who is constantly searching for the imperfections in the relationship. If my girlfriend calls me every day on her way home from work....and then suddenly stops...I notice. I subconsciously catalog any deviations from the norm and wonder about the meaning. Without even trying, I am stringing together pieces of sub-clinical data and looking for patterns. Or, as my GF would say, looking for trouble :(
It wouldn't be fair of me to blame this on my career choices. It is probably more likely my personality type that makes me simultaneously a wonderful nurse, the best software tester you can find, and yet a troubling and worrisome life partner.
I would like to practice taking things at face value. I would like to practice trusting that all is well. I would love to not notice inconsistencies...
You can go to the gym when you need to get your body in shape. You can go to school when you need to get your analytical mind honed. You can go to church when you need to get your spiritual life strengthened.
But where can you go when your perception has somehow become overly in tune with finding problems?
Maybe I could invent a video game that would work out your attitude! An elliptical trainer for your heart! Some free weights for your SOUL!
I would make $1,000,000...
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
But on the upside my poison ivy doesn't itch anymore :)
Do you want to know why it is so easy to be a great parent? Cause I know the complete and simple truth. With your child you know that their heart is pure. Their motivations may be dangerous, ill-conceived or self-centered...but never injurious and never malicious. So when our little angels step outside the boundaries of how you wish they would behave, you can still see that they meant no harm.
I remember early one Sunday morning when my little man was only about 2 and a half years old. I awakened at around 7 AM to a silent house. If you are a mom, and the sun is up, and your kid is ABSOLUTELY quiet....you know something is wrong. I jumped out of bed, ready to find my son stolen, or dismembered, or maybe having moved to Reno to run a brothel and found his bed EMPTY. I flew to the kitchen and there he sat. On the floor. Immersed in his own world. A few weeks prior I had purchased a wonderful (yet over riced) jute rug, which was now covered by a giant mixture of flour, rice milk and butter. And elbow deep in that mixture was my boy...smiling like a mad scientist.
Of course my first reaction was relief that he was alive, but 0.002 milliseconds later came the abject horror of the mess. Flour and butter were EVERYWHERE! The rug, the tiles, the refrigerator, even the WALLS....The anger started rolling through me as I approached him...but my footsteps broke his concentration...and when he saw me his face erupted in a giant grin and he shouted "MOMMA!!!!!!!BISCUITS!!!!!!"
And just like that monster mom had vanished...I was immediately filled with the same excitement he offered me that morning.
He and I had made biscuits together countless times....and he wanted to surprise me that morning and make his mommy a damn good breakfast. So I grabbed the over sized cutting board, joined him on that now ruined $300 rug, and we made biscuits together. Don't get me wrong, the clean up was miserable...but the breakfast was perfect :)
If you take that story, and replace my 2 year old son, with, say, a 30 year old house guest visiting from out-of-town....well...the ending would have been much different. Most likely I would have had them put in psyche ward at best...sprinkled in with gunfire and prison time. Maybe not prison time though, since clearly it would have been understandable.
My son couldn't have known how to bake on his own at that age, and he sure as hell didn't care about the value of the kitchen rug. His intention was to make his mom breakfast.
As a grown up dealing with other grown ups...it is trickier to trust the motivations and intentions behind the actions of others. I guess that is just another way of saying "unconditional love" - why is it so hard to love other adults unconditionally? Why can't we see the intentions and motivations behind their actions more clearly than the messes and mistakes? It would be so amazing if our friends and loved ones would see that we are only trying to make them biscuits...
Because some nights, it feels like all they see is the ruined kitchen rug.
Saturday, October 20, 2012
And I don't know what it is exactly about Fall... The sun has a particular look as it moves across the sky...the air suggests the colder days ahead. But I am very sensitive to even subtle hints...so for me even this mild Florida Fall screams as loudly as if I lived in Maine.
Summer always leaves too soon.
And I sit in my room, windows open, pulling my jackets and flannel PJs out of the cedar chest - wishing I had spent more time tasting every minute of the warm days of Summer. I wish I had gone to the beach more often, walked to park after work, and floated in a pool until I turned into a raisin.
Inevitably I spend too much of Fall dreading winter and aching for the end of Summer...wanting one more week of 100 degree weather...crazy, right?
Is it ennui? Wistful wanting? Nostalgia? What exactly is it about a ten degree temperature change and an hour less of daylight that knocks me around? And if you say SADD I will harpoon you with my rake.
And somehow I have only recently discovered Regina Spektor...today's early morning internet rabbit hole led me to this video...which perfectly sums up my mood at the moment. The video feels just like Fall. Enjoy a good listen, and if you run into me out and about these days - please do give me a giant hug and help me find a way to move through my autumn days like I dance through the springtime!
Happy Saturday ya'll :)
Saturday, October 06, 2012
Want to hear an amazing story about the type of excitement in my life?! Do you? REALLY?
Recently I washed my car!!! Whhhhoooooooo boy do I PARTY!
But wait. It gets MORE EXCITING! Then I waxed my car! WOW!
So I realize it doesn't seem like an interesting story...but it is ;) You guys know I can make anything all dramatic and meaningful by now...don't you?
You see, I am somewhat gimpy of late...herniated L5-S1 lumbar disc is the specific type of gimp. And I got some bad news from my doc a few weeks ago telling me to "take it easy". Which is like telling a two year old to quietly sit in the corner. He assigned some stretches and wanted to see me in a month.
But the doctor I went to before this one....well HE said I could do whatever I wanted. So as a sort of empirical trial I decided to wash/wax my car. I selected that particular activity because it always always makes me feel like my Dad is with me...my sweet Daddy would keep my car looking so great. Him cleaning my car would be his way of helping me get ready for an upcoming trip or soothing over heated exchanges we may have had. I would sit out there with him as he worked...sometimes not talking to him at all...but in our silence any tension I felt facing a long drive or the remorse in my heart after a hormone induce teenage rant would melt away.
Since he died I will wash my car and think about him...sometimes I even ask his advice. I miss him so much :(
The car I had before this one was a 1995 Volvo sedan. Boxy and golden, no keyless entry, no frills. I loved the hell out of that car!
After I lost my job of 17 years...disheveled and desperate, I was looking for a path, a sign of what to do, just some help.
I prayed, cried, starved myself, over indulged...begged the dark nights to transform into days where I would know what the hell I was supposed to do to support my kid.
After 3 weeks of that nonsense I decided that tactic wasn't doing any good and I gathered up my brush, bucket and turtle wax to clean my car. I must have spent 5 hours outside that day. Cleaning the inside, outside, tires, wheel wells...I even waxed under the hood. Waxing under the hood was part of my dad's mantra that "we clean where people can't see - because the car just drives better when it's spiffed up".
The whole while I was scrubbing, I was talking to my dad. Should I take some soulless desk job making good money? Should I sue the company that had laid me off? Should I reverse direction and find another career? Should I move out of state to find a higher paying job?
I had absolutely no fucking idea what to do....and my dad was a superstar when it came to working middle class anxiety.
As I polished the car dry...I literally told my dad that I was putting my future in his hands...and begged him to move mountains to show me my next step.
The next morning I dropped my son off at school and went to the gym for the first time since losing my job. The gym was less than a mile from my house, but on that drive home a 70 year old man barreled out of a parking lot and T boned my precious car. The car was totaled. I got out of the car and just started keening. I screamed at the heavens, full of rage and high on the stress hormones of the collision's impact.
The next morning I woke up unable to move. My body was wrecked, my car a crumpled mess, and I didn't even have one teaspoon of energy to navigate the insurance company's claim process. Of course the insurance company was refusing to pay for a rental car, refusing to give the green light for medical treatments and sending me down a rabbit hole of "press 1 to speak to claim rep" and "mail three copies of the original declaration of independence to Iceland".
Bitter, hopeless and hurting, I called an attorney. "Can you get the insurance company to just honor the terms of my contract?" I asked him. "I can make it so you never even have to speak with them again" he replied. I retained his services that day.
I felt like the universe was truly kicking me around. I had prayed to my dad for help....washing and waxing my car...and 12 hours later that car was crushed and my spirit broken. I never would have acquired an attorney if I hadn't been in the state of mind. But by hiring him, the world of reimbursement opened up to me. All my medical expenses were immediately OKed. The rental car was approved. I had access to massages that were so wonderful I felt just a teeny bit of hope emerge.
I started nursing school...and my world started changing in amazing ways. My body healed, and I totally forgot I had even hired the attorney. And then one day he called me and told me the insurance company wanted to settle my case - and I would be receiving a check for 15 thousand dollars!
My mind instantly went back to the day I had been washing my car.
And I remembered my dad.
My dad didn't always fix things the best way. Usually his "fixes" consisted of duct tape, soldering wire and a cut up beer can. Once I asked him to install my car stereo speakers and the end result were plywood boxes, untethered, banging around in my back seat every time I took a turn. The boxes were nearly as big as my back seat and covered with splinters...but they worked ;)
And who knows...maybe it is tricky to send help from beyond this world. Apparently there aren't western unions.
Today I am a very proud nurse...and that check arriving when it did was a turning point in my schooling.
I feel like I am in just the right place these days. And when I washed and waxed my car last week it was my way on thanking my dad for his help along the way :)
Friday, September 07, 2012
I had a doctor's appointment in the morning twelve years ago today...just a regularly scheduled midwife exam. My nasty gross mucus plug had expelled itself a few days before..."a good sign" my midwife would tell me. She would perform an ultrasound and tell me it could be "any time" in the next two weeks. From the looks of him on that fuzzy gray screen, Jackson was about 6 pounds and was doing well.
Adrien took me to the appointment, and to breakfast afterward. Everything revolved around FOOD for me. I had eggs and chile rellenos.....yum! Every day little J was in my belly I craved spicy foods. I remember putting my fork down during the meal - a very rare thing for a pregnant lady - because I was feeling pangs and bumps and wiggles from the little man...but I was so used to being miserable that I didn't think a thing of it. And I wasn't about to waste one bite.
Adrien took me back home even though I told her I was fine and wanted to go back to work. I wandered around my big old lonely house trying to find something to take my mind off feel crummy. I was restless, uncomfortable and the house felt enormous. I threw up my breakfast (but that wasn't unusual) and pooped for over an hour (also not too unusual for pregnant me). I tried to nap, watch tv, take a walk....but I was starting to get scared and finally called Adrien. She wasn't at work (now that was unusual). She said she was packing an overnight bag. "Why?" I asked her...and she laughed and said "BECAUSE YOU ARE IN LABOR!"
So we timed the contractions over the phone and sure enough they weren't just plain old being pregnant and miserable pains...they were regular, and consistent and laboring kind of pains.
I called the midwives and they said no need to rush...we still mostly likely had a day to go...so Adrien finished packing up and headed over to my place.
Then the memory gets hazy.
I remember her driving me to the hospital...each bump in the road made me feel like I was passing out. I remember walking in to the triage area and stopping every 5 feet to brace myself against the wall, or ground, or random post. Then suddenly I was laying in the comfy room waiting to be seen by a midwife and kept thinking there was no way in hell I could do this. It felt like every cell in my body was trying to escape through my skin. These weren't cramps or contractions...these were electrical shocks from my soul. I knew that statistically speaking labor lasted 14 hours. It was around 2 o'clock at this point and I had only been hurting for maybe an hour...so I was still in early labor!!!!! I turned to Adrien and said oh hell no makeitstoprightnow... I screamed at her to get out and come back with an epidural. Adrien tried to reason with me, reminding me that non-insane Karen had wanted a natural experience. But all the soothing and coaxing just made me more ferocious and pretty soon Adrien left the room and returned with a midwife.
I have a friend with four kids and she jokes that there should be a person called an "epidoula". And their job would be to accompany a laboring woman to the hospital and yell "EPIDURAL RIGHT NOW" until the anesthesiologist comes running.
So the midwife arrived and promptly stuck her hand up in me for about a millisecond before pulling it out....shocked to discover I was already 10 cm and ready to push!
Well then everything happened really fast.
They moved me into a birthing room immediately.
That's when I realized that blood was just oozing from my most precious bits and I was shocked that no one seemed to mind. I was leaving a trail as I walked!! YUCK! The nurses and midwives just laughed when I kept trying to clean the mess as I hobbled along the hall to the birthing room.
Four hours later I was holding the most precious thing this world has to offer. Where there was one...there was now two.
And even though his feet stink and he drains every penny I make and is a horrible dishwasher...I have never in my life done anything more rewarding than be his mom. It is absolutely the reason I was on this planet.
Thank you, my little man, for 12 great years....may the best of last year be the worst of the next.
Saturday, August 25, 2012
I would imagine that I personally fed about 542 of the little fuckers...and when I returned inside I was itching like a 3 dollar frog hanging wallpaper.
So I finished my evening chores, reconnected with a sweet dear friend and gave myself a nice long soak in the tub. Candles were lit, oils and salts were added to the perfect temperature water and I let myself drift into pure relaxation. Feeling the urge to exfoliate the mosquito whelps from my skin interrupted my respite...and I used my handy dandy, all natural loofah type bath brush all over. The heat of the water and the salt and oils mingled wonderfully and I finally felt relief from the lunacy mosquito bites can bring.
Upon exiting the bath, wrapped in my comfy robe, I slathered myself with lotion and suddenly felt a stinging sensation ALL OVER! I had been over-zealous in my exfoliating! I think maybe the first 3 layers of skin had been removed!
So I sit here and patiently wait for my skin to settle down....
Part of the problem is that I don't drink. Going out is not as much fun when you are the designated driver. Add in my laziness and general ennui and you have a hermit in the making.
Tomorrow? The 26th of August? I shall GO OUT! And not just to the grocery store or to visit my aged mother unit! I will go out and find some FUN!
If my skin has healed ;)
Sunday, August 19, 2012
for some reason (these days) I just don't like to sleep.
Maybe it is hormones? Most of my semi-adult life I have felt like a passenger riding the river of hormones. Sometimes enjoying the rapids, other times colliding against the rocks...begging for shade on a sunny day or straining for starlight at dusk.
I miss having my sweet baby laying next to me....dreaming of lizards and dragons
but I miss the gentle breathing of my girlfriend even more.
So I sit awake and play games, tidy the house, enjoy being quiet. Nighttime me is a big planner too! Making lists and organizing my calendar...not realizing that daytime me doesn't really pay attention to those things!
In the night I am a perfect mom, wonderful friend and on time for all my appointments. My girlfriend is never disappointed in me and I contently browse for delicious recipes that may or may not find their way into my oven.
I think I love the night because there are no expectations, no pressures, no phone calls and nothing I "should be doing".
Tomorrow I will figure out how to pull this evening optimism out of the dark.....if I don't sleep half the day away that is ;)
Friday, May 11, 2012
Well it has happened. I mean, I knew it was already happening...but today it was official.
I am no longer "with it".
While checking out the woot t shirt of the day recently, I saw the one below and loved it. After all it was organic cotton and depicted a ultra awesome hippie-type design of the four elements! Earth, air, fire amd wind!! Just up my alley! It arrived in the mail a few days ago and I wore it today for the first time. My morning started with the "Mother's Day Brunch" at my son's school. I walked in his classroom door and instantly felt like a celebrity! All the kids LOVED MY SHIRT! Then they explained it actually isn't a hippie shirt at all, but rather some reference to this anime cartoon called The Last Airbender. Of course I have never seen the show and looked like some out of touch OLD PERSON surrounded by preteens giggling at my obliviousness to all that is cool.
This is probably the first of countless times my son and his peers make fun of me...
Here's hoping I still find it funny in the years to come ;)
|My jeans are so dark that my arm appears to be floating!|
Tuesday, May 01, 2012
The screeching noise you will hear at about 11:30 AM EST will be the sound of muscle fibers, long frozen in place, ripping and shredding and exploding from within their sheaths.
But I have a theory that if I were sculpted and deliciously fit, then I would attract better energy into my life. Maybe it's true that my diet of oreos and painful reminiscing does lead to weight loss (as my jealous friends hypothesize) but it isn't improving my mood.
So the gym it is...I will take some pictures for ya'll to prove it. And if I end up going more than once every 6 months, it will be a miracle of spring :)
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
If you have lost someone special in your life dates take on different significance.
Your wedding date becomes a joy-filled celebration that you share with your partner...or a day you take off work and drink yourself silly telling yourself you are totally over them anyways and hardly even care they took off three years ago.
And today would have been my parents 61st wedding anniversary.
So all day I thought about my sweet Dad. He really would have been so damn proud of nurse Karen :) He would NOT have wanted a big party for today...in fact, I am pretty sure he didn't really like being around my mother all that much. But I adored that man and miss him still. When I dropped out of college, or got my heart destroyed, or was negotiating a new salary, he was always there. There wasn't a problem too big for him to listen, put his arm around me, and offer advice.
Four years ago, in preparation for April 25th, I learned how to play Tony Lane's "Learned that from you". The very first time I heard this song I wondered if that had been how my mother had felt about my dad. Because for all his greatness he also was a horrible alcoholic who drank himself into a stupor nearly every evening. I am sure it is one the reasons I hate being drunk. Nighttime Dad was a totally different man than Daytime Daddy.
Unlike the woman in the song, my mother stayed in her marriage. She wasn't strong enough to face life without him...and though I don't fault her for her choices, I have spent a few nights thinking about how her life would have been had she stood up to him.
Today I called my mother...like I always do on these special days so full of memories for me...but I didn't bring up the date or the significance. As each year passes, she talks of him less and less, and I didn't want to make her sad if she hadn't thought of her wedding day all those years ago. The conversation ended with no mention of it, and maybe that is better for her.
But tonight I am filling my head with memories of all the best of my dad...he was the greatest cheer leading section I have ever had and I'll light a candle and try my best to go to sleep with a smile.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Maybe we all do that....
Dreaming for years about the perfect baby, and the perfect family surrounding that baby...
the perfect house and enough money to pay for the best opportunities for that baby and laughter and songs and kisses goodnight.
We imagine catching our partner's eyes smiling as our child takes his first step, learns throw a ball, and borrows the car keys for the first time.
But then life has other plans. Far from perfect. We spend lonely nights in hospital rooms wondering if that baby sleeping in the bed will survive. Looking around for that perfect partner that is long since gone. We feel the sting of shame as we sign up for food stamps and wonder how to pay for the field trips, soccer dues, and tattered shoes. There are so many storms you feel that you just can't weather them all....
But somehow it still feels perfect most days. Even though it couldn't be more different than you imagined. It can even feel perfect in the hardest moments.
So what if perfection is just plain messy? What if it hurts and heals and destroys and builds and terrifies and soothes?
If you knew that when you were building your dreams of the future, would it help?
Do we keep ourselves from finding perfection because it looks so different than we imagined?
What if you could you forgive the girl who tore your heart into a million unrecognizable pieces? Would you if she sang this to you? What would happen next?
Maybe the space between fear and peace is faith...and that is where the perfection is.
Saturday, April 14, 2012
and hope is a dangerous emotion.
Sure hope can fuel dreams, help you overcome obstacles and all - but it is just a few clicks away from expectations - which go unrealized quite often.
So one is free to create a profile in the online dating world...but then one must be prepared to get emails from one-legged, 300-pound toads who can hardly string together a group of words into coherence.
For example...an except from a recent email:
I notice you have rode on kayaks on that picture. Love it ride on kayaks too:) I sometime go out on weekend to ride on kayaks when nice weather.
I can promise you, that the excerpt is a direct cut and paste. Not embellished to get a chuckle.
Now of course I could laugh it off and be grateful for the blog material...
Or I could review my profile to see exactly what compels these type of women to reach out to me...
Or I could, as a person struggling to stitch together at least one week of happiness, choose to see these romantic advances as proof that my sense of self worth has been greatly exaggerated.
Here is another:
HEY THERE I LIKE KIDS HOW ARE YOU WANT TO HAVE SOME COFFEE
OK people. Don't type in all caps. It looks like you are an idiot who yells. And the world hates loud idiots even more than they hate quiet idiots. Another tip is to not freak out a mom by telling her you like kids. Like kids how exactly? As playmates? Served over rice with some orange duck sauce? And how about considering some punctuation? Maybe that is asking too much...
Perhaps I should give up nursing and be an online dating consultant.
Saturday, April 07, 2012
Saturday, March 31, 2012
While walking around downtown for a sunset stroll...my son and I found this advertisement. My son was SO EXCITED to see a family friend being used as a model for TCC that he demanded we take a picture!
We thought about climbing up the pole to take the banner so we could mail it to our friend (after all, she deserves to have one of her very own, don't you think?!) but I voted against that plan since I don't want to set a bad example for my son.
As we drove away he said "well at least I know where I get my rebellious spirit from!"
Friday, March 30, 2012
So I was enjoying being alone...even though I would hardly call a trip to Publix "quality grown up time".
But I do try to find joy in the mundane...and was taking my time sweet walking up and down each aisle...fantasizing about delicious dinners I would make if only my little man wasn't Mr. Nauseous.
I found a cute water bottle with a cartoon platypus that I thought my son might like. It was made in the USA, BPA free, brightly colored, and featured the face of one Perry the Platypus - the funny super hero of a TV show my son watches from time to time.
I decided to splurge and get it as a treat for my son, hoping it would brighten his spirits.
Walking in the door, hands full of groceries, I announced that I had gotten my kiddo a treat from the grocery store. Immediately he burst out, "Is it a brightly colored platypus?!?!"
OK folks. There is no way he could have known what I had in the bag, nor would any 11 year old guess such a thing when it was about a million times more likely that I had bought him a pack of gum or a infrequently purchased but often coveted "lunchable". But my little man, too intuitive for his own good, blurted out exactly what was hidden in the canvas bag.
He giggled when he saw he had been spot on. And his grandmother (who had been watching him in my absence) stood there with her mouth hanging open at the ESP prowess or dumb luck that she had just witnessed.
And I wonder what he will make of his life...my little man with such a big heart. I can hardly comprehend what he capable of - and I am, for all practical purposes, an adult...so I can't imagine how he takes it all in stride.
I am grateful to have him...each and every day of my life. So maybe I should just buy him a lunchable once in awhile and enjoy the journey :)
Thursday, March 01, 2012
It is a video game played mostly by teenage boys and older computer geeks. Of which I am neither. But I do love the game and it manages to keep my mind busy for 30 minute chunks of time.
I play against the computer - in what really is a game of automated chess. Tiny, seemingly insignificant moves culminating in an inescapable checkmate that you swear you never saw coming.
Most often I lose. Probably 90% of the time, in fact.
Interesting...isn't it? That I would be so involved in a game I so rarely win. Ahhh but metaphors abound (as always).
Television isn't entertaining enough to keep my mind focused. Housecleaning, grocery shopping, dinner out with friends, I am still going through the motions...but playing Starcraft actually suspends the endless loop in my brain of love so close and so far. Kelly Clarkson and Starcraft.
Saturday, February 25, 2012
I gave up malaise for Lent.
That means no more sitting around in my pajamas feeding my loneliness with oreo cookies. No more ignoring my friends, turning down invitations for human contact.
Putting down the rumination and regrets. It is going to take some practice.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
Thursday, February 09, 2012
I have been reading her blog since I lived out west...and she would make me howl with laughter on a boring work day. She is a teeny bit bipolar...but crazy girls are fun, aren't they?
Winter is winding down and I am so so so so relieved to wake up to a warmer day now and then. My winters have typically sucked butt and this one has been no different. But my grass is reminding me to give the mower an oil change and the sunshine lasts just a touch longer...
At work the other day one of the patients rooms had 15 or 20 ladybugs crawling all around the ceiling. At first I thought they had wandered in on a bouquet of flowers but after talking with the other nurses I discovered that for some strange reason it is a regular occurrence. Once or twice a year this particular room has a wave of ladybugs. No one knows where they come from or where they go...but my oh my they are crafty little things to find their way to the third floor of a hospital with no windows that open. Certainly this had to be a lucky room! Sadly the patients were less than impressed and asked to be moved because they were convinced the lady bugs would bit them. Is that even possible?! I should google that.
I spent some time gathering up the ones I could reach and released them into a nice little wildflower patch on the hospital grounds. Because being a nurse means saving all kinds of lives: human and insect alike ;)
Friday, February 03, 2012
Wednesday, February 01, 2012
Sunday, January 22, 2012
I adopted Mr. Waffle from the local animal shelter. My little man named him, saying he looks just like a waffle. Personally I don't see the similarity but his first choice was to call him Honeybear and that wouldn't work for me. So Waffle it is. He is a wonderful kitty and I am absolutely IN LOVE with him. He pounces, cuddles, purrs, stretches and has the cutest mew in the world...
He and I both have some serious abandonment issues though ;)
He doesn't talk much about how he ended up in the shelter...he had been there so long his time was nearly up and I just couldn't let that happen. And even though he hasn't shared his life story with me yet he is a great listener and seems to be just what our little family needed
Monday, January 16, 2012
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Cherry lozenge, sunshine, deep cleaning and a a few more letters after my name.
R.N. = "real nurse" y'all.
Hopefully this is the beginning of something great...
I am aware that I haven't made much ado about the completion of nursing school. The thrill of closing this chapter in my life was vastly overshadowed by my heart physiologically becoming dysrythmic and spiritually being shut out and left behind.
At dinner this evening, a friend I haven't seen in nearly a year asked me why I wasn't celebrating my incredible achievement (a valid question to someone not reading my blog). I didn't want to go into my dramatic details - trying instead to glide past the question and turn the topic to (of all things) Tim Tebow. A timely conversational diversion, is it not? ;)
Thursday, January 12, 2012
It started when I was just 17. Moving farther south with my family from our home in South Carolina we passed through Macon, GA - where we decided to stop and revisit a former home. Seeing Macon again was not something I cared about, but my parents wanted to stop. They thought it would be "fun" to see where my sister and I had grown up...but I was surprised at how little I actually remembered from that time. My childhood home brought back few memories, a small brick house that looked just like the other boring houses on the block.
A neighbor walked across the street to say hello, and when I saw him I was instantly sick to my stomach. This young man (now 24 or so) had been the neighborhood bully, and had inflicted years of abuse on me. He had hit me, taunted me, and heartlessly explored my body while his fellow thugs held me down. I had completely blocked him and his cohorts from my mind for years and years, until seeing his cold, dark eyes brought it all crashing back. I ran across the yard, much like I was still 9 years old, and locked myself in the car while my parents made harmless small-talk.
I didn't tell my family why I ran to the car, and they had long grown tired of my moodiness and were happy not to ask what was the matter. Weeks later, when we arrived at our new home and were settled, I asked to see a therapist.
Of course my parent refused. Duh. But I persisted and finally they demanded to know what could be so wrong that required they "waste money for me to talk to someone". I told them I had been sexually abused by that neighborhood monster back in Macon...I had come to the conclusion that maybe that was the root of why I could never bring myself date. To a 17-year-old high school girl, not being interested in dating was a HUGE deal. I figured that bully had broken a part of me and I wanted it FIXED. But they still refused. They told me to just "get over it".
I ignored them and found a therapist on my own. She agreed to reduce her rate and I worked my butt off to scrape together my pennies to pay for it. She was an amazing help to me, and I am smiling just thinking of my time with her. It was hard work, and I left most sessions feeling exhausted and nearly hopeless. Nearly hopeless, but determined to get better.
I have always turned to a good therapist since then.
My therapist these days has her work cut out for her. Some days I feel just that same kind of hopelessness. Bless her heart though, my therapist is trying her best to get me through this heartbreak. This week, though, I cancelled my appointment after having a bit of an epiphany. A few days prior to cancelling I was putting on one of my cute new outfits and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror...I realized that maybe it's time to shift gears. Maybe rather than sitting on a couch crying about something I can't change, I should try to focus on what I could change. Putting on my awesome jeans made me feel special just for a moment...and maybe there is a time for talking and a time for shopping ;) No one ever says you have a cute ass after weeks of therapy. But they say it for the right pair of jeans!
So I made a list of what I would do if I weren't worried about money...and the top of the list was (wait for it, cause it seems nutty...) LASER HAIR REMOVAL!
I hate hate hate shaving, you see.
So I traded my therapy appointment for some very painful but much needed grooming. Let me tell ya, for that hour I certainly forgot all about my broken heart and focused instead on my tortured skin.
Next week I may get a pedicure. Or a massage.
Because getting OUT of my head might be a better plan than going deeper inside.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
So we laid there in the dark, listening to the rain and talking. He told me we needed to celebrate the end of my nursing school and he had the perfect idea...a trip to Disney world. He has never asked for a disney trip...and for that I am grateful. See, I am not really the disney type of soccer mom, though I get the appeal. So we have never been. We have been to Orlando a few times though and done other tourist type things: Sea World, Gator Land, Ripley's...but suddenly his heart is set on the mouse. Hopefully by the time I pick him up from school he will have forgotten this early morning desire and instead crave something more aligned with my taste like a zip-lining adventure or kayaking with manatees...we shall see.
Honestly, the way my luck has been going I would be scared to try a trip at the moment. I have a dark cloud around my head and can't shake it. Two days ago while on a grocery run I returned to my car to find a young FSU student leaving a note on my windshield. He had dinged the front of the volvo just "a touch". There wasn't any visible damage and he was thoughtful to think about leaving a note...but, the interesting thing about the incident was that he drove a Jeep Cherokee. Which just so happens to be the same model of car my last GF drives. Funny. Super funny. I think the poor guy was scared I was about to yell at him because of my intense look of shock...but of course it had nothing to do with him at all.
Today I pulled my laundry out of the dryer and realized I had left some VIP (very important paperwork) in the back pocket of my sexy new jeans. Paperwork that had taken me 3 days to acquire. Gone. Dissolved. Shredded little bits of signatures and stamps and such...my fault though. My brain isn't working right.
So is my son is right? Is a trip to disney what I need? Half his class is out with the chickenpox anyway...so it wouldn't hurt to skip school for a day or two. Can mickey banish these blues?
Happy 11th of the month y'all...just another day.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Sunday, January 08, 2012
I dropped off my son for some friend time and tried to accomplish as many errands as possible. It feels like I have basically ignored my real life for the last six months and I hardly even recognize my own house. My basic, essential supplies are gone....candles, printer paper, caffeine free diet coke and such. I made a list of what I needed to do, rolled down the car windows and turned the radio up as loud as the soccer mom transport vehicle could handle.
Basically looking totally rad blasting my pop music in the volvo wagon...
Song number one began not 45 seconds into my journey...if you look closely you can see me running a yellow light. Cause I am wild like that.
and the very next song? Was this...
So I switched to talk radio.
I have a good friend visiting from far away...and one of my new year's resolutions is to be more open with my friends. "No more secrets!" is the mantra for 2012. I kept alot of information from my closest friends about my most recent relationship. I knew what they would say if I shared how I felt...they would have warned me, told me to slow-down, tried to "reason" with me. In hindsight they would have been right...so moving forward I will talk more candidly about the careless choices I have made and the very excellent ideas I currently have (like singing loud enough for Europe to hear or driving to Tampa). It is incredibly awkward to share this information. After all, I am normally a very logical and thoughtful person.
The consequences of having no more secrets is getting asked questions like "um, so, you are in therapy, right?". And feeling like a high school kid in the principal's office.
But back to the sunny day...I accomplished a few missions, caught up on the national news and now have all the windows of the house open. Today I am grateful for warm weather, good friends and a healthy son.
Happy Sunday y'all...
Thursday, January 05, 2012
When my mother tells stories about raising her children (five of us in all) it brings a chill to the room. They always start with how "things were different back then..." As if back in the "old days" it was perfectly acceptable to let your 4 year old eat the entire bottle of baby aspirin (after all my mother had just stepped outside for ONE SECOND to talk with a neighbor and had NO idea little T could even OPEN that damn bottle so fast). And the tales always end the same also, with a "...I guess I should have called the doctor."
But we all survived to adulthood. None of us really like her all that much, but she did keep us alive so I guess she deserves some credit.
It's even more strange to look back on my childhood years through the lens of being a mom myself. Because I seem to have a naturally-given maternal instinct that was lacking in my own mother. I guess it skips a generation once in a while.
This morning was back to school for my little man. And silly, stressed-out, insomniac me set the alarm wrong.
So we awoke with about 4 minutes until the late bell.
My son took it in stride - got dressed in record time - and we zoomed off.
He was nervous about walking through those glass doors with a late pass (which he hasn't had to ever do) and having everyone stare at him. So we stopped for a moment before he went inside and talked it out...why he was nervous, what he could do to cope, that type of thing. He took a good long breath and walked in. Waving goodbye and ready to face the day.
I drove away thinking that maybe we learn how to survive in moments like this. We forge our coping skills from our parents mistakes, the hard times, moving through fears. Maybe I am such a good survivor because I was raised by the wolves. Because it is eat or be eaten in the pack.
So today, nervous as hell at the idea of walking through some of my own glass doors, I will breathe breathe breathe.
Wish me luck blogosphere - and at least I will be looking cute as I face some big-ass fear today ;)
Oh and look I found an acoustic version of the song describing the best day I can remember ever having...turning down tharpe and singing at full volume. That's my memory I am carrying through those doors today.
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
It is strange on about 100 levels that it would be such a comfort to me.
Tonight I have listened to it nearly that many times.
Forgive the silly link since I couldn't find a better quality video to share...
Yesterday my village sent me my own little angel dove (though I am pretty sure she would NOT approve of that sobriquet). A friend I hadn't seen in way, way, way too long swooped over here to my little house of grief unexpectedly. She took me out and reminded me that I was alive and cute and loved :)
And I am pretty damn sure I was wishing for just such a thing.
So today I put on a super cute pair of jeans that actually fit, AND a shirt made this year (free of stains and rips). I ran my errands kind of feeling like a runway model. Well maybe a tomboy runway model. No...more like a model for a lesbian cruise vacation - but whatever, you get the idea. I felt special. So special that I changed clothes before I started cleaning. Cause I think that is what people who have nice shit do. They don't spill comet on it.
And tomorrow? Well I have a new outfit for tomorrow too folks - and a really special fuzzy zip-up hoodie to keep out the chill.
And though I may still be faking it til it's real...after yesterday that idea actually seems a little more possible.
so thank you...I needed a little bit of hope right about now.