Monday, March 2, 2009

Driving downhill

I am in the car with my son. We are chatting and our conversation went from making me laugh to making me cry in about 6 blocks.

Son: Is that bird poop? (pointing at the window)

Me: Yes it is.

S: Can I touch it?

M: No.

S: Why not?

M: It has germs baby.

S: (As we drive past a dog out on a walk) Dogs can't poopy on the car.

M: No they can't.

S: No. It would make a big mess and they could fall off and get hurt.

M: They could fall off.

S: Then they'd have to go to the doggie hospital. I don't know where it is but Daddy does.

M: Really?

S: (After a pause) Is Papa still sick?

M: No, Papa isn't sick anymore.

S: Is he at Grandma's house?

M: No baby, he's in heaven.

S: Aww, but I miss him.

M: I miss him too baby.

Breaking my heart.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

One word

I attended my first book club meeting tonight. One of my friends here invited me to join and told me the first book was Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I had read the book about a year ago and enjoyed it but decided to reread it so it would be fresh in my head. Now, I liked Elizabeth well enough and I think her writing is well thought out and occasionally absolutely hilarious, but I don't think I'd want to be on her speed dial. I think I'd find her a little overwhelming in real life (Now, Richard from Texas could come hang out at my house any time).

There were many things I loved in the book and there were some things that really made me stop and think. I got different things out of it this reading after this last year that I have had. As I read it, I thought, "Wouldn't I love to go, by myself, and do these things?" Ground myself again. I feel like I could use some time where no one else needed anything from me, for just a little while. The idea of going to the Ashram seemed infinitely more appealing this time around. And who doesn't want to go to Rome and eat? One of my favorite things about the Italy section is when she and her friend talk about how every person and place has word. Rome was Sex, the Vatican is Power (much like DC), New York is Achieve, her friend Sofie says Stockholm is Conform (much like Japan). It takes her a while to figure out her own word (something in Sanskrit).

It was odd when I got to this part because I had been thinking along these lines myself recently. My sister had put something up on Facebook recently saying she thought everyone should write a 12 word or less description of themselves. It brought to mind those games or "group process exercises" where they have you describe yourself, or someone else, or how other would describe you in five words. And I thought, "What word describes me now?" When I think about how others view me, I always assume they think of words like "responsible" "organized" "reliable" "reasonable". Nothing sexy, nothing surprising. We all always knew I'd grow up to be responsible and sensible. But this thinking combined with the book made me think about what my word is. What is the one word that describes me, right now?

And, oddly enough, that was the last question the host asked at the book club tonight. "What is your word?" She asked if anyone knew and I volunteered that I did.


(And part of me loves that it is hyphenated, because I am too.)

They all asked me if I could explain why. I told them I didn't think that it was necessarily a good thing, or a bad thing either, but the truth. I am capable, organized, self-sustaining. My husband deploys, he returns-I keep the home fires burning. We move-I pick up, get us settled, make new friends, establish a new routine. When crisis hits, I keep everything organized and make sure everyone has what they need. But. I also just keep all of my stuff to myself and sort it out in the free moments I have late at night. Unlike Elizabeth, I don't think the world will stop spinning if I take my hand off the top. And I have stopped taking on more people who need things from me. But it's all I can do to keep up with what is on my plate now.

All through the crisis with my Dad, I felt like many people were relying on me. My Dad, my Mom, sisters, extended family, friends. My folks needed my help in day to day surviving and buffering. The extended network needed information and comforting. My husband needed me not to loose it while he was gone on his worst deployment ever with no way to get home. My son needed me to be a constant and stabilizing force for him. And I couldn't let any of them down. I never felt like it was my turn. I still don't. I'm afraid to say anything to anyone else who was close to my Dad because if they get upset, I can't. And I don't want to upset anyone. I was never alone, but I was also somehow always alone. After the funeral, my Mother-in-Law (who came for the entire week, may God bless her and keep her) said to me, "You looked so alone and strong and fragile." which may be the most accurate assessment.

It sucks being strong all the time. But the rational part of my brain wants to know what would be achieved by falling to pieces. Nothing. But I would really like to go away somewhere, alone, just for a little while, to sort out my head. Even if I just sleep and cry. In an awful sort of way, that seems marvelous to me.


What's your word?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I have been moving and unpacking for, seemingly, weeks now. The hustle and bustle of the upcoming move over the holidays kept me somewhat distracted and gave me something to focus on. Driving across the country with my husband and three year old without killing either one of them or running for the hills took just about all of my concentration. Plus I got sick. But I found that, once the house was mostly settled and my mind was, once again, free to drift, all of that grief resurfaced.

It waxes and wanes. I find some days it depends upon how tired I am. How well I'm feeling. What I have been unpacking. My son is testing his limtis, and thus, testing me. I have les patience than usual with him. I'm finding it difficult. My husband took extra time off to help get settled but I felt more like he was in my way and that I was constantly refereeing between him and the boy. I played buffer and referee all the way across the country. It's exhausting.

I joined the YMCA here. I've already been working out. That helps somewhat. Not running for three weeks was awful. No stress relief. But since it was cold out, I had an awful cold and couldn't breathe, there weren't really any options.

I'm hoping that I can begin to establish a routine now. We all know how I love a routine. And then maybe I'll be able to get my head together or at least find someone to help me do it. It's time. Living like this is exhausting and I'm burning out. It's time to put this load down.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


We were at our farewell party and I was catching up with friends after the holidays. One of my friends is engaged and as she talked about her wedding I said, "Oh, have you set a date?" and she replied, "Yeah, June 27." I managed not to blurt out, "That's the day my father died." I smiled and nodded and continued our conversation, but it was rattling around in my head.

My husband and I are are talking about his new assignment. He talked to someone in his new office and they were discussing how soon he'd start actual "work" after checking in and what the process entails. My husband asked if February looks like a busy month and he was told no, but that he'd have his first business trip in March. And he tells me, "I'll probably be gone for my birthday. We'll leave on the 17th." I don't think he realizes that the 17th is the day they found Dad's tumor. The day the whole nightmare start for me. I suspect if he stopped to think about it, he'd realize the association since it was locked into the flurry of his deployment departure last year.

I am dreading the period from March 17 to June 27 this year. I also don't delude myself that the whole thing will magically feel better to me after the first anniversary. I feel like that three month time period is looming on my horizon like a nasty storm front. It was waiting for me last year but I didn't see it coming. But forwarned is not necessarily forearmed. I have no idea how to prerpare, what supplies and reserves I will need. Although I'll emerge on the other side, battered but moving forward, I am not looking forward to the journey.