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Thursday, October 28, 2010

We've got some bad news for you....

How would you feel if you were told that your loved one had a brain tumor? Nothing about that is good. What would you do? What would you say? What would you think?

My husband has had to deal with this. Twice. Really, it's something I wouldn't wish on anyone. But to have it twice is insane. This doesn't happen to people. Apparently it does.

The first time I was the patient. I went to the hospital with a bug bite and came home with a brain tumor. People hugged me - people I didn't know! Everyone said "Oh....I'm so sorry......how old are your kids?"

What do you think of? You think of all the things you haven't told anyone. For me that meant telling my husband where to find information. Where are the 401k accounts? Where is the safe deposit box key? I made lists. Here's everything you need to know in case I'm not around.

What do I tell my kids? Now and in the future? Now was easy - mommy has a "little something extra upstairs". We joke about it. We look at the MRI pictures. It's just there.

But how do I tell my kids about things like getting their periods, what to do (and not do!) with boyfriends, how much I love them? How will I make sure they never forget me?

Lucky for me, the diagnosis wasn't a sure thing. A new doctor came in the picture and had doubts. Doubts are good. Doubts saved my life.

We thought that would never happen to us again - at least not that way. We were wrong.

Mike's mom is sick. After several trips in and out of hospitals, a problem is discovered: there's a spot on her brain. Really, who has to hear that twice in their life? Several days and many tests and tears later, we get good news that sounds like anything but good news. The doctor called to explain it's not brain cancer. It's breast cancer in her skull. I'm supposed to be happy about that? Yes, said the doctor. Breast cancer - in many locations - can be treated with greater success than brain cancer. Um, okay. I'll trust that.

I will say Mike has been the pillar of strength once again. He shines in the face of sadness and emergency. Radiation and other drugs that I don't understand have saved my mother in law. Luck and prayers saved me. I hope Mike makes it through the remainder of his life never having to hear those words again. I hope no one I know ever has to hear it. Those words suck.

Monday, October 11, 2010

How much it too much?

Yowzah. Every time things go haywire and then settle, there's that false sense of security that comes after dealing with a big blow. Whew, we got over that hurdle. Glad that's done. Wake up, silly - there's another one just waiting for you.

That's the story of my life. One thing happens and I get through it and then another thing happens. Why is that? Is it karma coming back to bite me in the ass? Serioulsy, Universe, I'm doing the best I can. Stop testing me. Just for a few weeks. I need breathing space.

I know I'm not alone in this thinking. One friend recently commented that too many people in her life are dealing with cancer - all at the same time. She's a good person, doesn't do bad things (generally, wink). How is it decided what is too much for one person?

Clearly, I am writing this in crisis mode. The morning started out good enough - especially after an awesome night last night. A breakfast date at Starbucks started it out well. Going to see my kids at school continued the good mood. Business stuff going well. Then the phone call comes. Things are not good. Your good day just went to hell in a second.

When people find out that a family member is sick, a marriage is ending, whatever drama is happening in your life, they say very well meaning things. "Life will get better". What qualifies you to say that? How on earth could you know that? My favorite one is "You are never given what you can't handle." Um.....how could you possibly know what someone can and can't handle? That's your belief. It's not necessarily mine.

Actually it is my belief. I do believe that I am not given more than I can handle. But I really wish the universe, God, who or whatever would stop testing us. I think we've proven ourselves worthy time and again.

I also get annoyed at the comments regarding resiliency in children. Oh, don't worry, they say. Children are resilient. They will get through this. Do you not read the papers or see the news? These people who shoot people for no apparent reason, who hurt women, who do bad things are just grown up children.

Stop messing with me, Universe.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Perkiness

I was just reading over some of my previous entries. I suck. I have failed on my posting once a week goal (thanks for pointing that one out, Ms. S). I have failed to remain perky, though even I need to say I've done better with it than expected. It's now October and I find I'm happier more often than not. I have giggled a lot this year (my unofficial measuring stick). Sure, I get down. I'd be a moron if I never let any of the things happening in my life affect me. But at the end of the day, I'm usually still smiling.

I practice this with my girls every day. Even on the days I'm not with them we do this on the phone.

Every morning the conversation on the way to school or the bus is the same: "Tell me something good that will happen today."

Every afternoon or evening, the conversation is the same: "Tell me something good that happened to you today." Their morning answer and their afternoon answer are rarely the same.

And I found the one thing that both diffuses anger and makes my kids nuts all at the same time! When they are fighting or being mean, the one that was wrong has to 1) apologize and 2) tell the other something good about her.
I'm sorry I called you stupid. You aren't stupid. You read good books.

I'm sorry I smacked you upside the head. You dress very well and have pretty hair.

It's hard to stay annoyed when someone just complimented your hair. I try to practice this in my life as well. I apologize when I'm wrong (most of the time) and try to say something nice. Though, I think people would look at me weird if I told them they had pretty hair.

I think all said, I'm doing better with the perky thing than I thought. Now if I could just bust my own ass and post on a regular basis.


BFFs

Mommy, who's your BFF?

Well, let me think about that. I don't think I have one.

Why not?

I don't know. Maybe I'm not a BFF kind of girl.

Yes, you are. You need more friends. You need a BFF.

Maybe you're right.

1friend noun \╦łfrend\
Definition of FRIEND

1
a : one attached to another by affection or esteem
b : acquaintance
2
a : one that is not hostile
b : one that is of the same nation, party, or group
3
: one that favors or promotes something (as a charity)
4
: a favored companion
5
capitalized : a member of a Christian sect that stresses Inner Light, rejects sacraments and an ordained ministry, and opposes war —called also Quaker
— friend·less adjective
— friend·less·ness noun
— be friends with
: to have a friendship or friendly relationship with

I have friends on my mind. I like definitions 1 and 2. 3 and 4 are okay. 5 is weird.

I don't have a best friend. I have friends. I have people I like a little, like to hang out with or even like a lot. But I don't have a best friend. I think there's something wrong with that. Even, as stated above, my kid noticed it. Isn't that breaking all the girl rules?

I always had a best friend growing up. Sometimes they would change but mostly it was the same group of girls. When we get together now it's like I never moved away. We chatter and laugh like always. But I don't call them when things happen. I might send a facebook message but that's about it. And they don't call me.

Maybe it's because we all got married, had families and our responsibilities and priorities changed. Maybe it's because I spent many years with someone who didn't think I should talk on the phone with my friends in the evening during what was supposed to be "our time". For many years my husband was my best friend. As we've grown apart that's changed. I still want to call him with things but it's not the same any more. My current closest friends are male (except two) and much younger than me (except one). I call one once in a while but really, having a single male as a friend is a little, um, off balance when I'm married (okay, only sort of), have kids and am over 10 years older.

I had a BFF for a couple of years. Our kids were friends and we just clicked. I could tell her pretty much anything. Then she moved across the ocean and this American life was all but forgotten. I had good friends, other moms, when I was hanging out at the playground every day. But now I work. There's not much time for playgrounds. Besides, I got along with the dads better. They aren't gossipy (okay, that's not entirely true). They aren't mean the way the mean girl moms are.

So I'm looking for a BFF. Where do I find one? I thought about posting on craigslist but with my luck I'll get a serial killer. Then I thought about joining a parents group but the fact is, most moms are not like me. Or at least I don't feel like them. I could take a class but I've done that before and not made friends there. One of my close friends called me socially awkward. That's better than socially retarded, as I've been called before. I'm neither. I'm socially uncomfortable. I have social skills and do use them when required. I'm a pretty direct person, which doesn't work in my favor. So I'm becoming more vague. Maybe that will help?

There is eHarmony, Match - a ton of lovey-dovey match making sites. But where are the friend matching sites? I could join a support group for women going experiencing what I'm going through now. But I don't want a bitch fest. I want happy. And sometimes sad. But definitely more happy than sad. I want someone to tell me when I'm totally off base and tell me the truth. Maybe I want what I already have. Maybe in this time of technical choices I'm just being old fashioned. I can text any of my friends any time I want. Maybe I'm just old in wanting to hear their voices. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Maybe I'll just be happy with what I have.