Category Archives: Mom

Day 5 – 40DOW – I don’t have Ebola

Restless nights provide for interesting lucid thinking. I’ll start from a doze-like-state with some thought usually a random one.

At this point, it’s 3:00 am and I am snuggled up in our Arizona pines under a heated blanket. I have arranged for a Skype call with my sister in England for later. But what woke me was the thought; “I don’t have Ebola”. Which isn’t that far off since we have a gentleman up here in a self imposed quarantine after his return from a mission trip to Liberia. News link
It’s also interesting that I’ve had to, on a couple of occasions, give friends permission to worry for me. When something scary happens to someone you care about it can be hard. But it’s tough to understand since I’ve always felt the right to deal with these things as my body dictated. I’m also surprised in the ever slight shift in my self. I’d consider myself to be nurturing in many ways, I tend to love people fiercely when something about them speaks to my soul, and as I manage the phone conversations and emails, I feel decidedly more nurturing to them. It’s very subtle, but it’s something I’ve noticed. I wonder if it’s the result of the emotional exhaustion or just an internal shift and I wonder how temporary it might be… this urge to tell the people I love that are family and friends to give in to how their body is telling them to react. Maybe it’s because I see love in their reactions and I’m honored and humbled by its reciprocity.
Maybe it’s because it’s now 3:30 am and I need to get more sleep.

Here is a picture of a bull with a B on his butt.

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Day 4 – 40DOW

Emotionally drained.

Moved through the last phone calls, began the personal emails and then prepared for and began to draft the mass email to friends whom I respect. 
At this point I became exhausted and took a several hour nap.
 
People, so far, are being gracious and supportive. Except for the one friend who heard the news and (not unexpectedly) proceeded to talk about themselves for 40 minutes. Thankfully, it caused me to laugh in some form of delight.
A last minute trip north, just to get out and get a break. 
Everyone on their respective devices, random conversation about physics, religion, books.
Two more personal contacts left… 
I feel better today.

Day 3 – 40DOW

My prima gave me this.

I made it through the first night with the “C” word.

I slept better than I thought, but I think I woke up more often, though my fitbit says otherwise.

There is a part of me that wishes I did not have to tell anyone. And I mean anyone. That I could forge through alone, because, frankly, it would be easier for me mentally… relationships take an awful amount of energy and I suppose I want to save it (energy) for what is important,

But, I can also admit that I just won’t be able to go through this alone. I need my team. I have the core. I am glad for that.

I hate very much, though, that I find that I break down in tears, and tend to do that when I am rummaging through closets and cupboards. My friend says that she did her crying when she was in the shower.

I hate that I keep telling my son that I keep getting dust in my eye. Because I just start crying randomly… even when thinking about red-lights and changing lanes.

But you want to know what scares me the most? Telling my friends. My close friends. The people whom I would want to know if something difficult/similar befell them. I am struggling on how to tell them. Family is easy, I know they will stick by me. Extended family is easy, I know they will manage in their own way. Strangers (like my son’s teachers or parents at Squink’s activities) are super easy, mainly because I frankly don’t give a fuck what they do.

But those who fall in between nothing and genetic filial obligation… they scare me. I have started the process. I have called most of the people that I truly value, the ones I hope I don’t lose. There are a few left, but they have birthdays and other events going on, and since I don’t really know what is going on with me (in terms of what is going to happen ) and won’t until I see the oncologist, it can wait.

I wrote a friend who is on this same track right now and asked what to say, what to do, did anything work better…? And she confirmed my fear (which I knew but I was hoping that my awkward introversion was at play) that there is no right way.

She also touched upon how there is this period of not knowing, and that you don’t want to fling the diagnosis out, but then secrecy happens and people get nervous. So I think I am going to ask if I am free to emulate in a grand unveiling, if you will indulge the flourish, of what is going on with me.

I am starting to feel like I am fitting pieces together, the pieces of what I need and want in order to move through this. I know I want to proceed with rose tinted optimism. I consider myself to have my feet firmly planted in the ground and am aware of all sides of things, I want to get through this without wallowing in dark and negativity that is generated by other people. Why, do I want this? Because I know I am going to go through all these different stages and I won’t allow negative Ned’s and Nelly’s” to bring me down… I want you to lift me up, to sing with me, to smile, and say “Blair, this will all end up OK”.

So, I suppose not only am I afraid of the friends I will lose because they are burdened by a fear too great to be with me through this, but I am afraid of the friends I will chose to lose because they are too negative or pessimistic people to be around. I am still trying to come to terms with this.

I still breathe.

facebook memes replicated

Somehow, I see Facebook as more fleeting than a blog, that the Gran Guru of all things Technical (Google) will not remove this though the popularity of Facebook may wane… and there is something in this gratitude meme that I don’t really want to lose~ so I post my responses here.



1) I am exceptionally grateful for a loving and supportive family. A mother that taught me about the importance of sacrifice through action, my aunt that taught me to see the world in so many colors, a grandmother that formed the basis for being curious about the world. A brother who has always rooted for the underdog. Nephews who delight me with the men they are becoming. A husband (Christoph) who’s skill at navigating my lesser qualities humbles and strengthens me. Squink needs no explanation as to how profoundly he has filled my heart and delights me every day.

2) I am grateful for a legacy of ancestors that include women getting a college education when that was not the norm with areas of interest that included education, the arts, science and philosophy. I am grateful to the men who brought their skills and stood up for the underserved. I am grateful for a grandfather who was an amazing engineer and be it for better or worse; his work on the dams, roads, bridges, developments and mines of Arizona helped to make it a place I am deeply connected to. My other grandfather who taught me how to fish and shoot a rifle, identifying my dominant eye at a young age to help ensure an accuracy that I am proud of. I am grateful for the pioneers, the cowboys, and the cowgirls that helped formed the state I call home.

3) I am grateful that I was raised with a distinct worldview. That I was raised in countries that encouraged me to see the world as a magical place with castles and high snow-caped mountains surrounded by patchwork fields that gifted us with delightful nutritious food. I am grateful that my father was able to hand me the lands we lived in, that he taught me how to ride horses on those mountains and showed me that life is as brutal as it is delightful.

4) “The Facebook”, as frustrating and annoying as it can be, I am eternally grateful that it brought back people into my life from far away lands that I did not think I could connect with; DoraliceAlexisJeffBethEricaIngrid (even if you were just a baby), Ladna, and Jonathon. I have so many great, wonderful memories of being a kid in Quito with all of you that there is a comfort in knowing that you are still out there and for that, I am grateful.

5) My dear wonderful cousin Aimee; it is a blend of things like her beauty, kindness and grace that gave me a gift that I didn’t even know I wanted. She brought me so much through just loving me unconditionally that I can’t even begin to thank her for the gift of her friendship that is bound within the blood ties we share. I am grateful for all the gifts she is to me.

6) I am grateful for friends that meet up and chat and support each other. Gentle moments after which I am always delighting in the glow of their kindness and generosity.

7) Extremely grateful that I have access to healthcare and that I am safe in the knowledge that when a day includes the word biopsy that I know that I can get the care that I want and need. I follow that with the gratitude that I have physicians and nurses that I deeply respect and can discuss all my options and possible scenarios. That this is something that many people do not have access to in the way that I do, is ever so humbling.
8) I am grateful that I know how to read and that I can read things both beautiful and moving, hard and direct, subtle and desperate. Through this ability I was able to read this article this morning (http://aeon.co/magazine/culture/olivia-laing-me-lonely-in-manhattan/ ) and I was struck by how that article wrote about loneliness; I can’t image what that was really like, something so dark that it removes you from a feeling of having a place wherever you are. and because reading that I was able to better understand how I am so very privileged to know that I am loved and not alone.
9) I am grateful that I can watch my son jump and play. There is a beauty in watching your children (and even pets) do those things that rings of a certain freedom that adulthood seems to reign in… though perhaps the thing gained through adulthood is that you get to watch it and be moved by it so deeply.

Help – I need somebody

A horrifying situation that I feel like I can’t even begin to talk about happened. 

As a child there is a tendency to think of ourselves as invincible. When you are a parent, or a nurturer, and you have to deal with life and death types of risks in regards to children, you find that your whole mind set changes.

deary me, that probably only makes sense to me
Squink had a situation that absolutely terrified me. Made my heart stop. Made me roil and boil with an unfathomable anger that is still present and is mixed with dread, fear, anxiety…
My take away, one of them anyway, from what happened is that we have failed most of our kids in that we have not taught them what “get help” means.
When I was 7, I found my 9 or 10 year old cousin and my grandfather together. My cousin was laughing hysterically and my grandfather was blue and sweaty and unable to speak. My cousin said that he was laughing because my grandfather was pretending he couldn’t move. 
I knew immediately that this was serious. I told my cousin to find my dad and get help while I went to find our grandmother. We were on a boat, they were easy to locate.
I was seven. He, my cousin, was at least two years older.
I don’t know if I was able to assess the situation because I had grown up with a great caution instilled in me (from the very real possibility of my being kidnapped and being told what to do should that ever happen – my brother and I shared a room for quite some time so that in the case someone came in to our room at night, at least one of us could scream for help).
I don’t know if I went to get help because I was taught by my mother what to do in cases of emergency.
I don’t know if I went to get help because I am a girl, and that is what girls do.
But, the fact is that I got help. 
Not that it helped, he died that night.  But how much more awful would it had been to not have gone for help when it was obvious there was a need for some further intervention that was out of our child hands.
So, yes…
Squink was in a life or death situation. He was with “friends”, all over the age of 7.
All were boys.
None got help. Actually, one did. He told his older brother who ran to help Squink immediately.
We found out by accident that he was in trouble, Overhearing the first two back washing their hands.
A couple that lived closer to the incident site decided to listen to their barking dog, look out the window to see what he was barking at, and they saw Squinks finger tips waving from a mud pile.
When they got there he was unable to scream. One of his rescuers told me that he was unable to scream for help any more and that as soon as they had removed him from the situation, that he seemed to be in shock.
My heart breaks at this situation.
So, if you are involved with children in any way… please talk to your children about what getting help means. That it means you get someone there right away. That it is serious and they should never worry about being in trouble. To scream when others can’t.
Still, I just can’t help but be bewildered that none of them got help.
I can’t even describe the lump in my throat.
He was stuck in a very muddy excavation trench for a high voltage underground wiring system for some homes nearby. It was at least 4 feet deep. There was at least one line that was live. The hole was not barricaded, filled in, or had any forms of warning that it was not to be messed with (such as caution tape or barricades). In such shoddy work, it would be entirely possible that the contractor used broken pipe.

You can see the holes where his legs were stuck.

I can’t even begin to describe the anger I feel at the contractor responsible for not doing any of those things and how he chose to follow up on the situation.
The fact is, Squink is my child and it is my god given, ancestral duty to protect him and so many people failed me on helping me do this. 
I assume a social contact with friends and family, with too few exceptions in this case, they and their children failed me.
I assume a social contract with professionals in whatever job that rules will be followed (in this case construction), they failed me.
I am angry.
I am heartbroken.
But for the sake of my child, you will hear me roar.

A slow and beautiful viewing of the world by car, plane and foot

I suppose it was a vacation, my last two weeks traipsing off to Austria to collect my Squink and bring him home and thus bringing back a sense of peace of having him in my close proximity.

It was an adventure, from my departure,  to my week with my in-laws (sans their son), the flight back to the EEUU (that is USA, for Spanish speakers) to a week with my mother in a state located in Americas heartland.

Living without your young child for more than one month is a strangely shocking thing, there is the idea that free time will occur, but the truth is, no such luck… if anything there were more demands for my time often coupled with phrases like “… since your son’ isn’t here…”

But, being busy was good, because the truth is that I missed my Squink sooooo much! And the freedom to trot off with friends who are not kid friendly or a wine with friends kind of thing was just not satisfying enough to make up for not having his insight into my daily life.



He came back speaking beautiful German, and considering that I last spoke the language at about his age, I feel like he has been able to bring back some of those skills for me… though I still have to make some pretty amazingly creative sentences to try to communicate with him… I am a bit pleased that speaking with him has brought back some of it, a good thing considering I have not spoken German in about 35 years.


I am also so very fortunate that I trust my mother-in-law enough to trust her with my son for such an extended period of time, though I try not to feel bad that she misses him so much not that he has returned home.

“In the first place, you can’t see anything from a car.” ~ ed abbey (my personal edit: you can, if you must)


As I was heading back, en route to visit my mother on a long trans-Atlantic flight I thought about my upcoming week with my mother… I glanced at the clouds outside and way below the window of the plane, smiling at Squink’s comment that we were flying way above the cloud line… I had noticed that as a very young girl, mentioning that we were visiting my grandparents in Heaven. My mother realized I had noticed this cloud thing and that I had made some connection… what is interesting, though, is that I actually thought Arizona was Heaven… and considering that I visited in Summer… I must have had a broad understanding that Heaven did not necessarily mean reasonable temperatures… and that the living were capable of visiting. I must have been a curiously interesting child.

Anyway, with inner peace restored by the mere physical presence of Squink back in my life, I smiled at that. Squink is rather religious so I wondered if he would have thought the same thing had we traveled as much as I did as a kid.

And there was something so perfect about going to see my mother on the trek back home, there was a ritual aspect to it on some levels; giving him the gift of time with both of his adoring grandmothers.

As such, I took pictures of the journey that Squink and I made, and will have to get those on here for the gentle tale of our pilgrimage home.


“As I make my slow pilgrimage through the world, a certain sense of beautiful mystery seems to gather and grow.” ~ A. C. Benson

Exploring vulnerability

Everyone, I think, would agree that there is something about being vulnerable that sucks.

I write about it here.

In terms of why I am cross referencing both blogs, the answer is that I am still looking at both platforms, not sure what to do. I think they both have advantages and disadvantages in a manner such that that I do not feel in-any-way-compelled to use one over the other… I sorta wish I could use both in one.

What are your thoughts?

Anyone?

Anyone?

Anyone?

Sylvia should have taken more baths. – 39/40

Last night I found myself with a disarming amount of time left to myself. It was a heady luxury I am not often given chance to enjoy. I had dishes in the sink, and laundry to be done, work to finish, some writing to do… but I happened across a tub of olive oil hair mud and I decided ti was time to treat myself. Mainly because I had also touched the skin on my face and noticed it felt like sandpaper (ugh).

So, I pulled out the olive oil hair mud, my super expensive shampoo and conditioner samples, my facial scrubs, my facial masks and proceeded to fill up my bath with hot, hot, hot water. 

I set my iPad off to the side and pulled up the Netflix app. 

Now, normally I would get myself a glass of red wine to accompany me through the luxurious journey on which I was about to embark. But, I gave up alcohol for lent, so I prepared a nice BIG cup of hot peppermint tea with cream and honey.

I lit candles, started my show, and got in the water.

Not my actual tub, but this is how I like to do this, April gets it


That moment when I was all in, when I leaned back against the back of the tub, when I just let go… was fabulous. I looked at the way the candlelight reflected of the water, and my skin and felt beautiful. I sat in the tub for 40 minutes just listening, being quiet, occasionally glimpsing the movie playing off to my side. I was as present for that bath as one can get. I was mindful of the luxury of something like this in my over-watered desert. I considered the molecules and how the fatty acids were reacting with alkali (way too simple of an explanation, but its base is there).

I reached a point when I was content, in the way that contentment can be brief but completely satisfactory.

I reached for the hair and skin accouterments and proceeded to make my skin and hair silky smooth.

I washed and rinsed my hair and put some more hot water in the tub, and sat for another forty-five minutes. 

It was the best two hours I have spent on myself in along time.

“I am sure there are things that can’t be cured by a good bath but I can’t think of one.”
~ Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Kitten, the diminutive and other nicknames – 36/40

As a child growing up, I had several extremely unusual nicknames.

As a young woman, I had friends that called me Blaise (modesty was not something one would have necessarily applied to me).

Later, I had a boyfriend that called me “darlin'”.  And another that called me “sweetpea”.

I love nicknames. I love giving them to people, I love the the way they make me feel when I am given one, I like invoking the diminutive in the names of folks who are dear to me as well.

Of course, the underlying assumption is that they are all nice and don’t include words that translate into words that look like: %$#$.

I make up nicknames for many folks, and many seems to be heartily bothered by them… I mean I call one nephew “Mo” and I don’t think he appreciates it. My son has told me that he is not overly fond of Squink, though we had a long talk about what the name means and where it came from and now I (AND ONLY I – emphasis his) am allowed to call him that… which is funny because most of my friends have forgotten or don’t know his real name. I am puzzled by this whole “don’t-call-me-that” thing,because nicknames are an indicator of love.

My mother is the one who comes up with the most awesome nicknames though and she is a tough act to follow. I try, and I think I am getting better.

I have a Goofus (or Gallant, depending on behavior), a Squink, a TanteTia, a Jojoberry, a Squid and an AnnieA.

Each one of those names comes from a place in my heart that melts, just like mine does when I hear myself being called a “nombre de cariño“. 

When I go out with the ladies (sic), I don’t force them to pronounce my name. I tell them I like to go by the nickname of Kitten.
~ Joaquin Phoenix*  

* Note to “Kitten” – Dude, what is up with using the term “the ladies” – how gruesome!

*