I’m a fucking monster. Is that okay?

CW: death, parental loss, coldheartedness

My 85 year old father went to the ER last week with chest pains. He has an artery that’s narrowed, but not enough for a new stent. He might get another bovine valve replacement, but not sure yet. They sent him home with new meds. Sunday night he felt off again, after 30+ hours in the ER, they just now gave him a room. I’ve only been getting text updates from my step-mom and only when there’s something to tell us.

I’m…shit. I think I need to dump this all out. My family is dysfunctional (whose isn’t!?). He was a fairly absent father and our relationship isn’t strained, it’s pointless (small talk, 3 minute phone calls, etc.). My sister is a basket case who doesn’t communicate with the family, but will be furious with me if I don’t keep her informed of dad’s health. I just…I’m not that bothered by all of this and she is a fucking mess and I do not have the bandwidth to be her support and because I’m generally not that person it feels phony when I do.

Dad was given 48 hours to live on my 30th birthday (there’s a longer story here, but obviously they were wrong). When he was at my wedding 2 years later, my brother and sister were sobbing while we danced. I felt…obligated? He’s 85. He convinced himself he wouldn’t make it to 50 so the last 35 years have been a bonus. I feel both rational and cold (and am I fucking broken!?) when I realize that I’m not scared of my parents dying. They’re both in their 80s. They did well with the lives they had. Ageing sucks (my mom is miserable as she loses some abilities every day). Losing abilities sucks. Death is the logical thing that happens after so many years of decent health. It just is. I’ve always said anything after 80 is bonus time. Does being logical to the point of little emotion make me an uncaring person? Is it maybe just a symptom of my Depression? Do I need to work on my mental health to allow me to be SADDER? That…doesn’t seem like a valuable use of my time.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m SAD. I don’t WANT my father to die. But people look at me like I’m a monster if I’m not running off to the hospital* or sobbing every time I’m not distracted.

*Look, I may be rationalizing my own behavior, but I am my father’s daughter. I do not want visitors. I do not want streams of people popping into my room or ringing my phone all day. I know he appreciates that people care, but I also know he’s saying ‘leave me the fuck alone’ on the inside. He was in hospice care that first time he was supposed to die and he hated every second of the constant stream of visitors. It’s miserable.

There is no conclusion to this. Just needed to get it all. Guess I’ll hit publish and hope strangers don’t shit on me…

Patience

We had a pretty big snow Friday into Saturday and a late afternoon storm coming Sunday. Sunday afternoon the supermarket parking lot was, as expected, a shitshow. Several spots were taken up by piles of snow in addition to the normal Sunday crowds and those trying to beat the coming storm. I had to drive around several times then wait for someone to load up and leave. I had to park at the way back of the parking lot.
 
The shelves are sparse; everyone is in a hurry to get it done and get home; the shopping experience is far from relaxing. Finally finished, I head out with my loaded cart of groceries in my rainbow of assorted shopping bags (bring your own or we’ll charge you a dime for this shitty bag that doesn’t hold much and can’t be put down!). As I start loading the trunk, someone stops to wait for my spot. I finish loading, remind my daughter to put her seat belt on, get in, start the engine, hook up my phone…Avery is still unbuckled.

I’ve probably been in the driver’s seat for 90 seconds when the driver of the waiting car gets out of her vehicle to nastily ask me if I’m leaving “because there are 15 other cars waiting.” I did not yell, I said “yes” (I think her level of impatience startled my normal bitch mode out of me) and soon after pulled out only to hear A say “mommy, I’m not buckled yet!” Now I’m pulled over in a crowded parking lot blocking other cars when I should have told that lady to hold her horses (or fuck the hell off because honestly lady!).

I’m mad at myself for not saying some shit to that impatient lady. I could have and should have calmly told her that I would leave when I was ready and that everyone was waiting and we’re all going to deal with the same snowstorm and her needs were no higher than anyone else’s at the store yesterday. I had, one hour prior, been through the exact same wait with no side-eye, no comments, no requests for someone else to hurry.

What is it going to take for folks to take their entitled attitudes down a notch? Yes, your feelings and needs are valid, but NO they are not more valid than mine or his or hers or that neighbor you barely know or the mom who had to put something back because she didn’t have enough money (making you wait for the key person to void an item) or or or.

Dreams Are Weird, Yo!

Where do i start? Things have been changing at work and I’ve had a feeling for a while now that my boss would not survive the changes. A couple of days ago he confirmed he was leaving and the official announcement was made yesterday. He will be leaving at the end of the month. Because he is a wonderful man (the best boss I’ve ever had), he told them they have to take care of me. I never thought I would get fired in all the shuffling going on here (because they aren’t so dumb that they would let a good assistant go), but I am sure the coming changes will not be the best for me.

So I spoke with HR and while they don’t know where I’m going to land, there are many options and they will make a decision soon. Note “they will make a decision” not “I” not “we.” So I really have very little say in where I end up here and I, unfortunately, am not expecting the best. Limbo sucks.

Last night I woke up around midnight. I was having a terrible nightmare and had to force myself to wake up. I wear earplugs to bed because Hubz snores really loudly and the sensory deprivation tends to cause extremely vivid dreams. They are so vivid that I usually fall right back into them after waking. So vivid that I remember much more detail than one normally remembers hours after waking. This was one of those dreams and it was so bad that I had to make myself stay awake for a bit so as not to go back to that place.

It started innocently enough: Me and my boss went out for drinks. As we parted ways I guess I took a wrong turn and ended up in a dark, wet, cobblestone alley (think Jack the Ripper). As I’m trying to walk faster to get out of the alley suddenly the ground turns into a very steep incline. So steep that I have to use my hands and start climbing out. Next thing I know, I’m jumping off the top of a wall into one of those gated circular driveways in front of a huge, white stone house. The type of house in Scarface or another gangster/drug dealer movie.

I am spotted and the guards are told to get me. I don’t know why, but I get the feeling the big boss wants me. So I try to run. I’m back on a dark, wet confusing street/alley being chased by men with guns. Things get confusing here, but I remember several attempts to inject me with some sort of drug. It’s around this time that I force myself awake.

I’m not sure if he woke up to pee or if I woke him, but my husband is now awake and worried about me. His attempts to comfort me aren’t working and may be making me feel worse. He let me turn on the TV  but I went into the living room and cried for about 5 minutes before getting back into bed to watch a rerun of Friends. The crying wasn’t about the dream, but about the real life circumstances that brought about this bizarre and scary dream.

The human mind really is an amazing thing. I could (can) clearly relate the fears from the dream to the fears I’m having about work and my life. Being chased by a group I don’t want to be a part of. Being forced to take drugs that I don’t want to take (not literally, but in a “drinking the Kool-Aid” sense). No knowing where I am or where I’m going. Fear.

I’m sure everything will eventually work out on the work front, but I had to write this down before I lost it. I’m hoping by giving it away (posting it for others – strangers & friends – to read) some of these bad feelings will leave me and bring back the confidence and strength I need to get through this difficult transition.

OK, making myself sad again so I’ll sign off.

Thanks for reading,

-s

Sadness & Remembering

I was on the 23rd floor of a midtown office building on 9/11. After the first plane hit the towers we all ran over to the south facing windows to see what was going on. At that time reports were that it was a small plane. Probably just an unfortunate accident. From our vantage point we could see everything south of 32nd street. Standing with my co-workers, staring at the burning tower in disbelief. Holding on to each other as we never had before. Minutes later I noticed a commercial airliner heading down the Hudson River. It was flying way too low and way too fast. Suddenly it made a sharp turn disappearing behind the other tower of the World Trade Center. Then a huge explosion. Then we knew. This was no accident. I never will, never can, forget that day. That terrible moment has been seared into my memory for ever and ever.

I was born and raised in New York City. Now matter how much I want to leave now, this is and always will be my home. I felt invaded. I felt violated. I know exactly how the people of Boston felt yesterday. I know how they feel today. And I know how they’ll feel 10+ years from now. It’s always with me and it always will be. I don’t dwell on it. I don’t relive it every minute of every day, but it’s there. Always. Things like the Boston Marathon bombing bring it back.

I don’t understand what people expect to accomplish with violent acts. No good can ever come from hurting others. None. I won’t get into the politics of this. I wish I could un-see some of the photos that have been posted and re-posted. I wish the news networks didn’t keep looping the same horrific videos and bloody still images. I wish there weren’t TV screens all over my office. I don’t want to relive yesterday just like I don’t want to relive 9/11. I’m sorry friends in Boston.

I hurt for our country. I hurt for our planet. Today, I hurt for the people of Boston.

 

Sending LOVE & LIGHT
-s

 

One and Done

Over the weekend the subject of having a second child came up again. We had one of the most open discussions we’d had on the subject (on any subject, really) and finally decided that A will be an only child. It’s weird because as much as I had already made the decision, actually having and finalizing the discussion made me sad. It was a long conversation that started in the bedroom and continued through A waking from her nap. When we were all settled in the living room I actually had to make my husband give me a hug. (Hello? Major life decision here and you’re futzing with your phone!?) That’s when I started crying. Not because it was the wrong decision, just that it was so huge. And, yes, I am a little sad.

I’m 41. I guess I always thought I wanted two kids, but why? I think a lot of my reasons were flawed. Because we are older parents I thought it was important that A have a sibling. Someone to lean on after we are gone. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got many many MANY years left, but I was 39 and J almost 45 when she was born; she will be relatively young when we pass on. I took a good hard look at mine and J’s relationships with our siblings. We get along, but I wouldn’t list either of mine as best friends. One of J’s sisters lives less than a mile away and until A was born we rarely saw each other. His other sister has yet to acknowledge Avery’s existence. She is 21 months old. (!!!) So, yeah, siblings are not even a little bit of a guarantee of lifelong friendship. Then there’s the question – does having a sibling help when dealing with aging parents? Who knows. My mom isn’t in need of help yet, but I have no idea of how me and my siblings will band together (or not) when the time comes. We can’t even throw the woman a proper birthday party. Sibling as instant shoulder to lean on? Not a guarantee.

Avery is the result of IVF. That’s a whole other post, but the short version is we got REALLY lucky. We tried for a year with no luck. After minor surgery to remove some Endometriomas we started IVF right away. We got pregnant on our first try. I know so many families are not so lucky. And I know that if we had to do it again, we probably wouldn’t be either. I honestly don’t know if I have it in me. The shots, the office visits, the potential for loss.  I’m not sure I can do it and I decided a while back that I wasn’t going to. If we got pregnant the old fashioned way, great. If not, no interventions, no doctors (no second baby).

Aside from being automatically stamped with “advanced maternal age,” there are all of the potential health risks that go along with advanced parental age. At 42 would I really be capable of raising a special needs child? My friend’s younger son was 10 weeks premature and has cerebral palsy. They are wonderful parents (almost 10 years younger than me) and he is getting 110% of what he needs, but will he ever be independent? Is it fair to bring a person who can’t live independently into the world and then leave them when they’re still young? Yes, I’m making assumptions and odds are if we had a second child everything would be perfectly fine. But it would be ignorant to not take these things into consideration. Accidents happen, but after Endometriosis and IVF i’m not really afraid of accidents. If it happens it was meant to be.

Now I just have to stop looking at pregnant women wistfully and get on with raising the amazing little girl we do have. She has a playdate with her cousin today and I’m really looking forward to pictures and hearing all about it. Going forward we and my sister-in-law & brother-in-law (hubz sis and her husband) are going to make sure that they spend more time together. They’re pretty much each other’s only local family and it’s important that they have each other in the future. Because who knows what the future holds?

Shit! Now I’m crying again.

love,

S

Word

i want to write down all of the words that Avery is saying these days. i guess they’re half-words. most are not so clear that anyone would understand them, but these are the words that we can clearly decipher:

“mo” – more (usually with sign)

“ma” & “da” – sometimes we’ll get mama or dada or even something that sounds like daddy.

“hi” & “bye”  – frequently used correctly though i can’t tell you how many times she’s walked over to the front door waving and saying “bye” because she’s going to the park all by her self!

“yah” or “yeah” – yes

“caaaaah” – in a happy squeal of excitement because there goes kitty! she also tries to say “kitty,” but it comes out too garbled to spell.

“daaah” – same happy squeal sometimes along with the sign for dog (leg pat)

“ba” – usually bottle, sometimes binky (she usually signs “milk” when she means bottle)

“dis” – this (will point to what she wants)

“up” – up (occasionally she means put me down, but we’re learning)

“peese?” – i don’t think she knows what please means yet, but we try to encourage her to at least sign “please” and “thank you” and sometimes she’ll say “peese”

Up peese?

Up peese?

“bas” – bath (usually with the sign)

“bos” – box (yes, there is a clear distinction from bath)

“wa” – almost always means water, but sometimes milk

“bise” – bite because she always wants what mommy is eating

“uh-oh” – sometimes totally random, but usually after dropping something (intentionally). the other day she popped up during her nap and said “uh-oh!”

and of course, while i was letting this post sit over the weekend, she started with the crown jewel of all toddler words “no.” seems to have a bit of an accent to it. frequently accompanied with a powerful head shake and often tripled “no no no.”

No no no

“do you wanna get up and get dressed?”
“No no no”

i guess we’ve got  a language explosion on our hands. we’ve been so anxious for her to be better able to communicate with us and we’re really getting somewhere now. i know once she starts talking it will be nonstop. i just love her so much and i can’t wait for more more “mo.”

love,

-s

 

update February 2013 (for me):
NULK – milk
MAHNEE – mommy
WAH-YEE – water
and she’ll repeat most words fairly clearly

And she’s corrected some pronunciation:
Bite
Mine
Mo is now MOWA (sort of More with a Jersey accent)

Why Not Start With a Wordless Wednesday Post?

even though I feel like these pics might require some words. but i’ll let her cuteness speak for itself.

Previous Older Entries