Over the past few months I have been stunned by the amount of generosity, compassion and yes, love that people have shown to, in many instances, complete strangers.
That in a matter of a few days, the blogging community rallied around the parents of a beautiful angel, comforting them, supporting them, and raising tens of thousands of dollars in her name ~ it astounded me.
Or that these three women would make a six hour road trip to deliver a freezer full of food to this family, backed by the efforts of a Twittered filled community.
Every day I am witness to amazing things. Sometimes it’s a wave of get well wishes for someone who is sick. Sometimes is righteous indignation and support for a friend who has been wronged. Other times it may be hugs and love sent to someone who is feeling vulnerable. Whatever it is, there are sometimes hundreds of people reaching out to another in need.
I’ve been the recipient of this support when I was the victim of a plagiarist, when faced with serious medical issues of my own, and when overwhelmed with a child who is struggling.
I cannot express adequately how much their support has lifted me out of some of my darkest times.
These are real people, offering real friendship, and real emotional attachments. I count myself blessed by so many of my blogging friends. It is difficult to explain how important these connections become to people who have never experienced Internet friendships. But, they are real, and they are enduring.
I am thankful for these friends and am thrilled that I will have the chance to put faces to names in only a few short weeks.
I have friends who send me chain letters. Those insidious e-mails featuring dire warnings about spiders lurking in air plane toilets, or patriotic tales of spontaneous displays of gratitude toward servicemen in airports, or multi-colored roses depicting all levels of friendship, or teary-eyed little furries offering platitudes dear enough to bring a lump to your throat.
In turn, I’m expected to cancel all air travel and have my anti-toxins in the ready, or be prepared to break into a rousing rendition of ‘God Bless America’ whenever I see people in camouflage regardless of their military status.
Or better yet, I’m instructed to pass along these missives to five friends, or seven, or 12 depending on the intensity of my feelings of love toward these friends, or my desire for financial good luck.
My usual response is to either reply with links to Snopes with evidence refuting the claim of murderous arachnids and other threats to my life, or automatically delete them, throwing caution to the wind in regards to my questionable patriotism or devotion.
These friends, these same people who take the time to present such heartfelt love notes (albeit presented as a form letter) seem to not know how to respond to a real e-mail.
If I actually answer these chain letters, respond to what I thought was a legitimate question that was included, that’s typically the end of the exchange.
I resent feeling that I am simply an address on a mass mailing list.
I have never been much of a golf fan.
I can remember as a child my dad watching PGA matches on Sunday afternoons… bored out of my mind… the slow pace, the whispering commenters and the gadawful clothes.
To this day, if I’m not aiming at a clown’s mouth on astroturf, you won’t find me on a golf course.
My daughter though is dating a guy who loves to golf. She even gave him pro lessons for Christmas. His parents live next to a golf course in North Carolina and she has embraced the game to the point she is buying shoes. Shoes! That’s serious.
If someone could guarantee that I would ever be a skilled enough player to do this… I would sign up in a heartbeat.
I’m tired of being sick and tired, but it’s so hard trying to live just for today and not worry about the future.
I can only do what I can to make a difference and have got to learn how to let go of what I can’t. Worry will suck the life out of you, then you’re left with nothing, and that’s no good.
By wallowing in self-pity and misery, I’ve neglected the positives in my life and perhaps focusing on those will makes these hard times easier.
I am thankful that:
1. I have a strong marriage and a wonderful husband
2. We have two great kids
3. We have a strong support net of friends and extended family
4. We live in a beautiful part of the country
5. Hubs and I still have jobs
6. We have a home and cars
7. I have some of the best Internet pals
8. My family and I are physically healthy (for the most part.)
9. We have the best, and most loving furry pals
10. My parents and Hubs parents are still with us and healthy
11. I KNOW the answers are ‘out there,’ we’ve just not found them yet
12. Even if my worst fears materialize, we will survive it
I need to stop worrying about what is going to happen next week, next month or even next year. I have to focus on today and what is possible today.
It’s hard. It’s really hard to not worry, to not envision all the ‘what ifs.’ I can’t do anything about those, and it’s killing me. But the constant state of panic that I seem to be in isn’t working for me either.
I’m afraid that my trepidation, and my worry is making matters worse all around too. If I can project a sense of acceptance, a feeling that we can weather this storm whole, some of the anxiety spillage can be mopped up.
Deep breath. It WILL all work out.
There are so many things I wish I could say, but I don’t have the words. Or rather, I can’t force them out of my mouth.
WK turns 16 today.
Since he was about three, Hubs and I knew we had a handful with him. In the last year, that realization has taken on a whole new meaning. I’m struggling, and struggling HARD to admit that he may never have a normal life ~ live as a regular person, free from anxiety, free from frustration and despair.
I had to have a talk with JM the other day, and had to admit it to her. She’s been away at college these last two years. More absent this last year when WK’s anxiety and OCD has progressively gone from bad to worse. She doesn’t know how to deal with it. Before it was just a little brother being bratty.
She had asked him what he wanted for his birthday. When he gave her a detailed description of what he wanted, she balked. She had wanted to get him something useful, maybe take him shopping for clothes or help him pick out some shoes.
He wanted a model airplane. I can only guess she felt that wasn’t age appropriate. He got upset, very upset. And it only went down hill from there.
The two of them have always had a sort of love/hate relationship. He wanted to be independent, she wanted to be the ‘mommy.’ He didn’t like her telling him what to do, she wanted to help him stay out of trouble. (They are four years apart in age.)
Physically he is 16, intellectually he could be closer to 20. Socially and emotionally he may be more like 12. He has a highly developed sense of Fair and Unfair. WK thinks practically everything about his sister is Unfair.
One of the difficulties we have with WK is that he doesn’t talk to us or his doctors about what’s going on in his head. What he thinks, what he feels, what’s his take on what’s happening to him.
He finally broke down recently and told me that the main reason he doesn’t get along with his sister is that he resents JM because she doesn’t have to live like he does. School, friends, life is so much easier for her. He feels like Hubs and I never tell her ‘no,’ that she gets anything she wants, that she has no disappointments, no failures.
It’s not true, but his ability to correctly analyze events doesn’t always work properly either.
This experiment in homeschooling, online courses, isn’t going well. He can do the work, he’s smart enough to do the work, but the anxiety, the panic attached ~ and here is where I just don’t understand why ~ is enough to completely shut him down.
I don’t know if he’ll be able to get caught up in time to start back to public school with his peers in the fall. It may not happen. I don’t know if I can continue working like I have been, or if Hubs can for that matter. I have a couple months to figure something out.
In 1987, Emily Kingsley wrote an essay describing what it was like having a child with a disability. She talks about the anticipation parents have preparing for the birth of their child, only to discover that what they thought was going to happen, doesn’t.
Like thinking you are going on a trip to Italy, only to land in Holland. The difference wasn’t terrible, only different. Sometimes I feel like I’ve landed on the moon.
I don’t have the words to say how much I love this boy, how much I wish his life were different. That he was different, that I knew what to do to help him. But then I have to wonder how else he would be if he hadn’t had to fight these demons.
Would he be as funny, as loving, as amazingly smart. Would he be as compassionate, as caring. Would he be the kind of kid who rescues kittens, enjoys cooking, and tells me all the time that he loves me.
What do I wish for? What do you give up to have what you think you really want? Should I pray for change or acceptance?
For today, he is just going to be 16. I won’t nag him about his homework, we’ll go out to eat and I’ll bake him a cake. He’ll get some presents and hopefully have a fun day.
Tomorrow… I don’t know what will happen tomorrow.
I can still remember it, even after so MANY, many, many years.
He was on the football team, played baseball and drove a silver Camero with bright orange flames painted on the front quarter panels. I was the weird kid, the smart girl and friend to the freaks. We were an unlikely couple.
I think we were maybe sophomores, juniors at most.
He was still at school because of some sports practice or something. I was still there waiting for a ride home after band. (No, I didn’t play an instrument, I was in the Rifle Corps. I liked wearing the white go-go boots and navy blue hot pants.)
There was a short set of stairs leading from the main bus ramp of our high school down into the cafeteria. I was sitting on the top step. He was standing up, leaning over the hand rail.
We were talking, laughing. flirting. I was shy, he was popular. I could not believe that he wanted to date me. ME!
At some point I knew that if I looked up at him one more time he would try to kiss me. I looked up.
He kissed me… the first time, the first real kiss from a boyfriend.
After, I wasn’t quite sure what the etiquette was. Do I wipe off the spit ring he had left or just let it dry naturally?
My kid is relatively new to this skateboarding thing. He will never be a Daewong Song or a Rodney Mullin, but he tries hard. He and his friends skate whenever they can get together. They go to the park or set up a course in the street in front of our house.
They will, with no hesitation, pull junk out of neighbors’ trash to build more obstacles. An old toy table, scrap wood, pieces of angle-iron… anything they think they can jump, slide or ramp off. They take pure joy in turning rubbish into a makeshift skateboard park, skating for hours, attempting the same trick over and over again until they master it.
They don’t ask for expensive decks, or custom prefab components, they are happy making their own fun. The Boy is more proud of these trash skate boxes and triangle rails, and kicker ramps than any thing we could buy for him.
I remember as a kid spending all day at a construction site, newly dug, and a magical mud paradise after a heavy rain. We made castles, forts, and slides. By the end of the day we were caked, head to toe, in red clay. It was glorious.
To be young again. To be content with the simple things in life. To find happiness in the sheer delight of being a kid. To have more fun playing in the cardboard boxes than with the toys that came in them.
Throughout my childhood, I always thought of my grandfather as a farmer. Wherever the grans lived, grandpa had a garden. A big garden. Corn, peas, okra, tomatoes ~ oh, the tomatoes~ green beans, butter beans, zucchini, yellow squash, onions, cucumbers… every thing good from the earth, he raised it.
What I didn’t realize, at least not until I was nearly an adult, was that my grandfather had been a key player in the Manhattan Project back in the 40’s. When he retired, I think all he wanted to do was plant a small plot of land and fish… which he did happily almost to the end of his days.
I can’t pretend to be the master gardener that grandpa was, having more of a brown thumb than a green one. But, I have always enjoyed growing things. Hubs and I have tried to have something planted that would provide at least some fresh produce. He even built me two above ground planters for my Florida garden.
This weekend I laid in a new attempt at a mini garden. I am planting my own salsa ~ tomatoes, peppers, onion, and cilantro. Hubs and WK are building a greenhouse-type cover for the planters to keep the squirrels out of my veggies.
With a nod to grandpa, I’m even using a old-fashioned varmint repellent. Grandpa would fill large Mason jars with blue tinted water and set them along the border of his garden. He never lost a single veggie to squirrel, rabbits or crows.
I hope I can do grandpa proud.
I would have been happier had I been less fluffy, though I did have on a new pair of jeans that I could actually button. The hair was looking good, my make up went on fine, minty fresh breath ~ check, and I didn’t have a huge zit in the middle of my forehead. I was ready for my big date.
It had finally happened. I finally had the opportunity to meet not one, but TWO of my favorite blog pals. Today I got to have lunch with Angie and Hockeyman! Be jealous, be very jealous.
If you have been following my Weekly Winners, you may have noticed Angie’s threats against my shins. She’s from around here, attended the same high school my kiddos do (did), and was a little upset with me for posting pix of HER beach.
We’ve made up. I got to squeeze on both of them… be more jealous.
I met the whole fam for lunch at a cool restaurant right on THE beach, then we watched their awesome kids, Anna and Claire, play in the ocean. These two are even more adorable in person. The kids are way cute too.
Angie got a pic with the two of us… you’ll just have to wait to find out if she admits to meeting me.
I had a very nice afternoon and loved meeting Angie and Patrick, two of the nicest people you’ll ever want to meet. I get to see her again in July when she comes to Chicago, can’t wait.
Just in case you didn’t know… I live in a gorgeous part of Florida… right on the Gulf Coast…. prime Spring Break destination, summer tourist mecca… I’m free for lunch most days. Come on down, I’d love to meet all of you!
When I got together with my high school pals over Christmas Break I found out that one of my girls’ husband and I attended the same elementary school and most likely went to second grade together. He remembered my name, my first name, because he said it was so unusual.
Last week I discovered that a co-worker and hubs were in England, attending the same school at the same time. She is a little older than he is, so she could have been a classmate of my SIL.
I learned early on that a fellow blogger vacationed in my current hometown when she was a little girl. She still has t-shirt from our one and only Rocky Bayou Mullet Festival. I could have seen her here when she was a child.
Another innernetz friend attended the same high school as my kids. We could have all cheered on the home team at the same football games. (Hopefully, if all goes as planned I actually get to meet her and her peeps this weekend. You will be so jealous when you find out who that is.)
I was able to reconnect through Facebook with several cousins I had lost contact with over the years, and one other high school BFF. (I have a corporate FB account and am still having an internal debate about setting up a personal one.) Another cousin ‘found’ me through IMSO last year and we have been corresponding again ever since.
It seems that my world is getting smaller and smaller.
There have been so many connections, so much interweaving of one portion of my past with my current life in the last few years. The circles of time are crossing, recrossing, closing down upon themselves. Is my world really getting smaller or do I just notice these connections because I’m paying attention more?