Wednesday, June 26, 2013


There have been a lot of things I've "missed" that I never intend to, and I am absolutely blessed that I have chosen some amazing friends who both understand this, wouldn't try to change it, and who love me and are there for me without fail.

We're about to host a friend of mine that I haven't spent any real time with in almost a decade.  We live thousands of miles apart, but I've thought about her just about every single day in that decade, and when we do chat, it's like picking up right where we left off.  The last time we spent more than an hour or two together, she came to visit me in the winter.  I had not met my husband yet, and she was a single mom to a very dependent 6 year old.  The separation between her and her husband had made him withdrawn and meek, and highly sensitive.  I was barely 30 and thought she was coddling him.  I owe her the deepest apology for my thinking this, and the deepest gratitude for not just lopping me off like a numb and bothersome appendage.

The woman makes me laugh til I cry and I won't be doing anything more than recalling her talk about her hippie days on a commune or visits to her redneck family in Mississippi.  I am so damned excited to see her, I'm about to jump out of my own skin - I don't even care if the house gets cleaned I just want her here like yesterday.

And when I think about it, I feel this way about every single one of my friends.  There's not one in the bunch that I haven't called a friend going on 15 years or more.  I recall a time when I thought that was just plain unheard of.  And when I look at the examples I had - my parents only long time friends really kinda stopped talking to my mom after my dad died because it hurt too much and then got awkward.  She would call them acquaintances now, despite the fact that I know through extended networks of people, they keep a watchful eye on all three of us.

So when you grow up and you place an extra concentrated effort on maintaining those relationships with friends who have children in roughly the same age group, you are naturally "picking their friends for them".  It's a part of growing up.  I have recently been able to connect with the daughters of the very friends my parents had growing up and in this way, we're really keeping the families together, or bringing them back together as it may be, through Facebook.

And I know in my heart that the friends I have who are engaged with my daughter, are being raised in a way that's closest to my own heart.  They're good kids.  Kind kids.  Because they're being raised by good, kind parents.

But then they stop being babies, these children of ours and start branching out.  Choosing friends for our children isn't easy...and helping them develop the skills they need to choose wisely and in some cases choose for fun, is insurmountably difficult.  Nevertheless, they start choosing their own friends.  I'm finding it absolutely curious to watch who she seems magnetically attracted to, and who she plays shy with or avoids.

Letting go of the control isn't easy ever.  Never ever ever.  But we can hope, through demonstrating the power of a chosen family being stronger than most would expect it to be, we can help show them the skills it takes.  A whole lot of trial and error unfortunately, and a lasting commitment to be as true to others as we are to ourselves.  That's what builds lifelong relationships.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


The absolute worst thing in the world for me about panic attacks, is not the attack itself, but the 3-4 days of pain and suffering that inevitably follow.

With the blessed help of the coping skills I learned in therapy, changing my lifestyle and from my thorough absorption of meditation techniques I learned from reading Eckhart Tolle's book The Power of Now: A New Earth, I've been able to reduce the number of panic attacks I typically get from several a month to now having them once or twice per year.  BUT, that almost means that when they come on, they're real doozies, and the affect they have on me is magnified exponentially.

This one happened on Sunday.  As you've possibly even noticed, I haven't been very good at posting here lately.  I've not just been busy, but I'm fighting off a new bout of depression.  My monster is rearing it's ugly head, and there's no good rhyme or reason for it, he's just uneasy.

And while for the most part, I've been successful at keeping him at bay, it's taking every ounce of spare energy I've had to battle him.

Sunday, I got overwhelmed with the tidying and the cleaning.  Seems to me that whenever I have a breakdown it's related in some way to cleaning.  Every corner I went to was piled with stuff.  And let me be clear that compared to some houses I've seen, even on our worst day, it's not "that" bad. But it got to me - I was overwhelmed, and I snapped.  The panic attack took over and I struggled to breath, felt dizzy.  Couldn't control it with my normal coping mechanisms, so I took my ativan and sat the hell down for a few minutes.  I still managed to get toys sorted and put away, and played with my daughter, entertained friends for a quick short fathers day visit and put dinner on the table.  AND THAT'S WHEN I GOT HIT WITH THE CRAPPY PART.

Aftershocks suck.  They're not really panic attacks.  They're just the residual suffering your body undergoes to heal itself from the damage done by the attack itself.  I've been foggy for 2 days.  My jaw hurts so bad, it feels like I've been hit upside the face with a 2x4 by Iron Man.  My face is actually bruised along the jaw line and my teeth feel like they're about to fall out.  My left shoulder joint is achier.  My back and shoulders are as tight as boards.

All this, from a silly panic attack.  The only saving grace is that they happen once or twice a year.  And despite how awful I feel, I actually feel grateful that I'm aware of how my body is lying to me as it heals itself.  Otherwise I would think I was having an actual heart attack.

This is how you get paid for life in the fast lane.  Assuming you're not dealing with an addiction too, the truth is even average jane doe's with busy lives and no time to love themselves pay a price.  This is the price - I'm not convinced it's worth it.

Friday, June 7, 2013

For My Daughter on Her 3rd Birthday

My daughter turns 3 this week.  And I find myself, as I often do, reflecting on the person you are becoming.  Today I was agape at thinking about this.  You really are becoming a person, as opposed to that malleable piece of clay that I gave birth to such a short time ago.

You always had personality.  But you're becoming a real person now.  With independent thoughts, and you're fighting it every step of the way.  You hear the opposite of what I say, every. single. time. I. open. my. mouth.  You resist doing things independently because you're forlorn at the thought of not doing them with my help.  It's getting harder and harder to remember the philosophy "In your time, not mine".  When I see you, I see how much you are capable of, and how much you can already do, but when I press you to do anything without me, you reject the idea so violently that you worry me sometimes.  Your tears and your passion are equal to mine and your father's combined, and I worry how one day that may feel crippling for you.  It's a feeling I know too well.  It's impossible for me to figure out how to show you that you can be that passionate and independent at the same time...or better yet, be that passionate about doing things for yourself.

You make me laugh hysterically every single day, without fail.  From sighing and rolling your eyes as you tell me "Apparently, I need my Daddy" when I've asked you for the millionth time to please just pick up your damn spoon and eat your yogurt already.  To looking at me with a shine in your eye after you've finally gotten past the turmoil of getting up on a stool and sitting down on the toilet in time to pee on your own to say "You're happy now."  As if you telling me, makes it so.  And it sort of does.

Indeed while you suffer from single child syndrome (my name for what is otherwise known as the starved for attention spoiled brat with no siblings), you are in fact not overly spoiled by "things".  You are most definitely spoiled with love and attention.  Almost to your own detriment as you really have little desire to do anything ALONE.  You enjoy a cheering squad and a good fight...and absolutely every waking moment we're together, we are literally glued to each other with at least 3 parts of our body touching.  I do not have a child.  I have a spider monkey baby clinging to my body as I try in a futile way to swing from tree to tree, just to get a single damn chore done around this house.

You help me make dinner every night.  You sit on the counter, and help me put salad together.  We've made your birthday cake together.  You love to mix things and make the salad dressing.  You eat more than you make which is glorious while we're cooking.  I wish that translated to the table.  You want so much to start working over the stove or start using the knife during meal prep...again, these are a little beyond what is safe for you to do just yet, but when you prove to me you can do it all at the table, I'll be more open to letting you do more during meal preparation.

To celebrate you turning 3 and becoming a big girl, you're getting a party.  One that is in line with all the others.  One that shows just how precious and perfect and happy we are to have you in our world.  By most standards, it's large, by some, it won't be big at all.  But it is a celebration, and one that represents something bigger than just you, but actually celebrates our family as a whole.  Our family is made up of people who are born to us, and those parts of our family that we have chosen and inherited because in many ways they are as important in our lives as the others.  You will be surrounded by all the people we love the most and who love us dearest of all.  That can never be wrong.  And moreover, the thing I learned most clearly this year is that our birthdays should never really be about ourselves.  They should always and forever be a celebration of family and life and the immense change that comes from bringing a child into the world.  There is no greater and more beautiful change in the universe than this.

I know one day you'll be all grown up and reading these.  You'll think maybe I was a bit cookoo.  But I worry that I'll either be gone from this world when you're raising my grandchildren, or that I'll be in a home and not coherent enough to help you through what is hands down the most difficult thing in the world to navigate.  My hope is that in reading these, you'll be reassured you're not going through anything abnormal.  That you'll find some camaraderie with me as your parent.  That you'll be struck by a random piece of my thought and find a new way to deal with your own situation.  And that you'll forever have a part of me that belongs to no one else but you.

Being a parent is unlike absolutely every other identity known to humankind.  It's both a choice and a part of the human condition that affects your very genetic code.  I hope you take from these letters how life changes as a parent year to year, and how it stays remarkably the same.  The moment you become a parent, you can visibly, physically feel time in an ethereal flicker of blinding light that comes with absolutely no other experience you could ever have.  I imagine that the only other time in life you would have this type of out of body experience is when dying.  And so to be able to experience it, and live it and see it every day in the thing that brought it to you is beyond comprehension, even for the person who has had it.

I love you so much I could literally eat you and be ravenous for more.

Please keep hugging me so tight we could meld into a single being.
Please keep loving me the way you love me now so that when you tell me you hate my guts and want nothing more than to be alone, I'll have this to cling to.
Please keep smiling at me so brightly the world fades into nothing around me.
And Please show your daddy just even a fraction of the love you show me.  He doesn't understand why how you love him is equal but different for him, and he loves you just as much as I do.

My spider monkey baby.  My cup overflows knowing how unstoppable you will be, when you finally grasp a little of that independence I so desire for you.  And I am already in awe with the footprint you are leaving on this universe.  Not a single person meets you without being surprised and delighted by you.  If your Grandma were reading this she'd curse me for the pressure I appear to be placing on your tiny little shoulders, but what she wouldn't hear in this is how much liberation I am in fact wishing for you with these words instead.  The universe still makes me wonder at it.  I wish every day that I could do a million wildly different things, each one feeding a part of myself that starves for nurturing endlessly.  And that in itself is so wonderful, it's virtually impossible to describe.  EVERYTHING in this world is possible.  IT is ALWAYS POSSIBLE.  And that to me is food.  It's life.  It supplies everything my body and soul requires to thrive...and IT, my darling, is YOU.

And now I'm sobbing and it's time to sign off my letter.  I'm forever grateful to the universe for bringing me you.

With every ounce of my love and nothing spared,
Happy Birthday my darling Margaret.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Everyone needs a reminder now and then

I've had a wild and frenzied couple of weeks, and I'm ultimately glad to be busy.  But that means I've neglected this space and that makes me feel bad.  I had occasion to read through some old blog posts wherein I took an opportunity to figure out what I'd say to a much younger me.  It struck me again, and it still rings truth with every single word.  It made me feel infinitely better about neglecting my blog and thereby in every sense of the word, neglecting myself the past few weeks.  And it reminded me to enjoy my weight loss success and my current state of mental health.  I can be frantic, but it's not over-stressing me at the moment.  I can be losing weight extremely slowly, but  it's heading in the right direction, no matter it's pace, and once again, I got here for absolutely incredible reasons.  I can live with that.  And moreover, if it was required, I could die knowing it went on for good reasons, and it's coming off with good decisions.  What about it could be seen as bad then?

So, what would I tell my younger self, in the hopes that I'd worry less, feel better and know more, preventing potentially years of unnecessary heartache?  Well...simply this.

        1. You are beautiful  You are perfect and thin and don't change a hair on your head.
        2. You don't need a man in your life to be rich and settled and happy.
        3. Keep your eye on the prize of motherhood, but relax about it.  It's going to take time to happen, and it will be awesome,     
           and you will never know another love like it.  It will be so worth the wait.
        4. Sacrifice isn't really sacrifice at all.  When you give one thing up to accomplish something else, it's just about evolution and
          moving on.  You've learned the lesson you needed to learn on the last thing, don't beat yourself up for putting it back down. 
        5. You will have the opportunity to be supermom.  It feels great, but it is also overwhelming.  
        6. A broken heart never heals completely, but it's always worth venturing out and taking the chance that it might get hurt.