Amazingly I’ve made it through year two. I’m too lazy to do a year(s) in review post ~ more to the point, I’d rather forget some of my earlier offerings ~ they were a little too random and not very interesting.
Last year I did a Q&A post where I had people send in questions for me to answer about myself. I envisioned getting 100’s of questions, enough to last me through a week’s worth of posts. I did get great questions ~ thanks again to eveyone who sent them in ~ but didn’t get the staggering response I had hoped for. That’s okay… it was a shameless ploy to entice new readers.
During these past two years, I’ve welcomed a great, loyal group of friends. I found some new friends in the last few months, and lost a very special one. Next week, I hope to see most of these friends for some serious rubbing up on, and meet many more new ones. (We can maybe hold off on squeezing them until we know each other better.)
Over the past 731 days, this blog has changed a lot. Not just the look, which I rearrange and redecorate often, but also the focus.
When I first started, my posts were mainly reactions to local events, news stories, informational, not very personal. That primarily was because I began this endeavor as an offshoot of my job. The company high-mucky mucks thought it would be a great way to drive traffic to our own Web sites.
Not so much…
When I was given the option to take my blog private, I jumped at it. One of the first posts I did after that was my own list of seven dirty words because I had been very limited in my verbiage and censor-allowed rants. Since then I have used every word multiple times ~ sometimes in a single post ~ and have even dropped the f-bomb, spelled out, in caps, a lot … and I liked it.
Now, I open up a little more about my life, my family, things that are personally important to me. Oh, yeah, I’ve been sharing some of my photos too.
I think this blog will contiue to evolved… at least I hope it does. I’m still searching, still trying to find my true voice. Wondering if I’m making a difference or taking up space.
Just for giggles… and this is genuinely not a pimping maneuver, it’s more for all those new friends I’ll be seeing in Chicago next week… if there are any questions you’re dying to ask me before our big feel meet up, just drop your inquiries in my comment box.
Where else can you go completely ape-shit over something and not have people back away from you slowly, knocking over chairs to get out of your path of destruction?
Instead of fear-filled pleas for you to calm down, your postal outrage is embraced. You get not just ‘Yeah!,’ but ‘HELL, FUCKING YEAH!’ Instead of a few brave souls trying to talk you down, you get legions of equally pissed off friends spurring you on, throwing in their own tales of abuse, misuse and ignorance.
I can say things on my blog that I wouldn’t say to outside friends and family. Here I can get as emotional as I want. I can cry and no one sees the ugly faces I make or the snot dripping out of my nose. I can spew an excess of foul words that would otherwise never leave my mouth. It is extraordinarily cathartic.
These emotions scare me sometimes, I know those close to me would think I was losing my mind, or having a complete breakdown if I were to do the same in public. But it feels so good to release them, even if it is on paper, or a computer screen.
Because of poor foresight, I let certain friends and family know about this blog. I still don’t rant about everything I’d like to. It’s not that they shouldn’t know about events or situations, it’s that I can’t be as honest as I want to be, can’t let out the full strength emotions I’m feeling about certain issues.
It’s like having someone I know watching me have a full-blown toddler temper tantrum. It’s a smidge embarrassing to have to relive it again the next day over morning coffee or have some one close to me chuckle over my outburst.
I don’t know how to block these people, or even the right words to delicately revoke their reading privileges. If I could I would. I have a few things I like to get off my chest.
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.