Archive for ◊ June, 2007 ◊

25 Jun 2007 Advice
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We are at a time in our lives when our peers are marrying and having babies and we’re attending showers and the like and there always comes a time when some well meaning shower organizer asks for “advice” for the new couple or the parents-to-be and you rack your brain to come up with some gem or tidbit that you wish you�d have known OR that will make you seem exceptionally wise when the intended comes across it.

And, you know, even though I’ve been married for nearly eight years and am the mother of two fabulous kids, I often cannot come up with one darn thing to write down on those cards. My tidbits are either boring (don’t go to sleep mad, skip the diaper pails) or too long to ever actually translate into an index card.

Sometimes, as I walk through daily life I come across something that I would impart to someone if asked, but by the time the situation arises, I forget about it. So, if you’re due to get married or have a baby and you are going to ask me to write down advice on a 3×5 card, use this post instead.

1) Don’t talk about the heavy stuff right before you intend to fall asleep. This is especially true if you’re like me and 1) have an insomniac nine month old and 2) take an hour to fall asleep under good circumstances and literal hours to fall asleep if you have “loud brain” (a phenomena that occurs to me where thoughts race around in my head making me unable to fall asleep from the sheer volume of them).

This is double true if the topic at hand is going to cause a lot of self-doubt and if you are the sort of person who believes “Any Situation Can be Righted by a Larger Personal Effort From Me” it means you’ll be watching QVC at 1 a.m., desperate for sleep but unable as you ponder where, exactly to put that personal effort.

If you’re also lucky enough to neurotic like me, you’ll spend the following morning clutching coffee and hunched over a to-do list .

2) There are some things in life that no amount of personal effort will fix. Learning how to differentiate between what you can fix and what you cannot fix is critical for happiness and sanity.

3) As a spouse and parent you will struggle with balance. There is no way you cannot. It is inherent in the process. No matter how many people in your family, there are still only twenty four hours in the day. That never changes.

Chances are very good that you will often feel as though someone or something isn’t getting enough. Trying to find ways to make sure everyone gets enough when you’re just one person with one set of arms and the same twenty four hours as everyone else can be difficult and frustrating at times. Particularly when it becomes obvious that people (or animals) are feeling neglected and you feel hog tied as to how you can increase what you’re doing in the same, short twenty four hours .

And, at this point in the game, I don�t have any solutions on how to fix issues of time and balance. I wish I did. But I wish someone would have told me how difficult they can be.

10 Jun 2007 Relay for Life
 |  Category: Heavy Stuff  | Comments off

Eye opening.
Doesn’t begin to cut it, but it’s a start.
Being faced with a purple sea of survivors, from children in strollers to old people with walkers and being reminded that even though we feel so isolated and different, that we’re not alone. Feeling a kindred spirit there, with so many people who understand on some level exactly what you’re going through, either through your loss or the fear that you share.

Walking through nearly a half a mile of luminarias naming those still fighting and those lost and realizing, more than you ever knew, just how BIG cancer is.

It’s another times when words just fail, but this morning I realized the experience, really, was amazing. I think people hesitate to use the word amazing in situations that aren’t wholly positive, but it still seems the best word for this. Even though cancer has consumed a large part of our life for the past three years and, in a way, continues to play a large roll through my Mom’s absence, I suppose I never stopped to give thought to just HOW BIG cancer really IS. Obviously, I know how large it is in MY life. How my great-grandfather died from lung cancer and 1990 and how my grandma followed in 1993, to my Mom’s death this year, but it always seems to me to be a polarizing sort of event. Something that sort of made you stand apart in your own spotlight, but while the true scope of cancer was disheartening, I did realize that it’s certainly NOT an experience we share alone.

In 2003 about half a million people died from Cancer. Considering America’s current population, that means 1 in 600 people will die from Cancer THIS YEAR. I’m sure within our extended network of family and friends all of us know at least one person who won’t win this battle this year and next year and the year after that. The American Cancer Society estimates that 1.4 MILLION Americans will be diagnosed with Cancer THIS YEAR. Considering America’s current population, that means 1 in every 200 people (give or take). That certainly means, for many of us, that someone we know is going to learn they have Cancer THIS YEAR. This is just NEW cases. The American Cancer Society also estimates that as of 2003 there were 10.5 MILLION Americans living with cancer in some way, shape or form. Taking current population into consideration, 1 in 30 people are living with this disease.

And those figures, frankly, are amazing. With numbers like that, what are the odds that you won’t know someone fighting, survived or has died from cancer. Really.

So, remember that when I start hitting you up for donations for NEXT year’s Relay for Life. ;o)

08 Jun 2007 Homecoming
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We’re back in MI today, after about a month’s absence. Honestly, coming back has been much harder than I anticipated, and I’m not sure why as I felt so at ease when we returned home after Mom’s funeral in May.

But when I walked into the house this afternoon, it felt empty to me; sad somehow. In a way I just can’t verbalize. A few things had changed. The love seat was gone (and had been gone since Mom came home for the last time) and Dad had bought a new recliner to put in it’s place. The little dolls Mom put up on her mirror shelf (I have the same one) for Valentine’s Day were still there and are likely to remain as I find it unlikely that my Dad will change the things on that shelf for the seasons like my Mom did and like so many things, it seems to mark the time when normal stopped and reminds me of how very quickly things changed.

On Valentine’s Day, things were sort of normal.
By Mother’s Day everything had changed.

Just three months time. From okay to not.

I’ve said all along, that I get off easy. It’s easy to be at home and involved. My Mom isn’t absent from my house and while I miss our phone calls and have often felt lonely at their loss, I can get by. But walking into the house where Mom should be and wasn’t was just difficult. And Emily, in her sweet way said “Remember when I would spend the night and I would sleep with Gran in her bed. And she would sleep on her side and I would sleep on my side” and I felt this immediate, deep feeling of loss. I realized it won’t be very long before it’s me, not Emily, who says “Remember when you….”

When I was girl, I was into dream analysis. I think a lot of teenage girls are. I would check out books from the library and pour over them to figure out y vivid, long, detailed dreams. Since Mom died, I’ve dreamt about her often. Just this past week, I dreamed she was in my bed (which I thought was funny, in it’s own way). I’ve often dreamed of her eating. She’s always happy. Smiling and content and I’ve taken that as a sign, but last night I dreamed she had come with my Dad to a gathering at my house and she brought me a huge arrangment of lilies and a plant for me to plant outside and those images were SO VIVID that I got up this morning and looking up dream analysis online.

Lilies mean tranquility and peacefulness.
Plants mean spiritual development and growth.

I don’t know to whom those plants refer. My Mom? Me? Overall, the message seems to be good. I don’t know why I woke up pondering the meaning behind those symbols. I gave up on dream analysis a long time ago. A friend of ours described dreaming as the brain’s disc defrag. and I agree with him, but something led me to look at those things as symbols and the message was good. Maybe it’s something my Mom remembered, me and those books and maybe that was a little nudge from her. I like to think it was.

I’m hoping she has the peace and I’m facing down the growth, but even so, watching The Price is Right alone just isn’t the same…