Thursday, November 15, 2012

And then I was 35.

I spent most of this year thinking I was 33.  I was wrong.  Usually birthdays aren't a big deal for me.  Age isn't something I focus on but I remember that I was driving home from something and I know the exact spot on Babcock road where I realized, mid-September, that I would be turning 35 and I've been in a funk since then.  And then came Tuesday, I turned 35 and the world kept turning.

I'm out now, I think, or at least climbing up the side.  I also knew that the day would be hard because of the marked absence of a single friend.  It was.  But I lived through that too and the olive branch I hoped for didn't come.  But I lived through that too. 

My husband found just the right gift, replacing an earring from the set he gave me during our first Christmas.  Erin suggested 007 as a good movie so I got an afternoon date in a not-crowded movie theater and then we shared dinner with my in-laws and some family.

I know the narrative of the day is disjointed but it felt that way.  It feels like I'm middle aged.  I can see my blessings.  I logically understand how lucky I am.  I feel it in my heart.  And in my heart is also sadness for the things I haven't accomplished yet--that I haven't finished a degree, that I don't yet have a child, that I should have a thriving career--all these shoulds.  And I've just had to realize that my life is a work in progress.  I'm still here.  I still have time.  And the progress I make is going to be toward goals that interest me.  I'm still smart, vibrant, loved and lucky.  Even if I am 35.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dear Paris Hilton,

I think I understand you better now.  You used to be a total mystery to me and I could not figure out your flitting and seemingly pointless life but now I've stopped working because I have the option to do so and you're starting to make more sense.  I wonder how I'll combat that.



Thursday, October 11, 2012


Now that I'm at home full time again I find my anxiety about doing all the housework returning.  Right now there is a stack of dishes in the sink, fruit in the fridge that didn't get a lid and is drying out at we speak, a vacuum poised half way through the job in the formal living room and a desk full of correspondence that needs attention.

When I start to get totally overwhelmed I try to remind myself that this afternoon there are also foster families that are calmer, kids that are safer and one pair of pedicured toes to show for my day.  It may not be 'perfect' but it's what I've gotten done and now I'm going to start working on getting the little rocks to fit into my day.

Monday, October 8, 2012

It's all changing.

It's different now. 

We're thinking about children. Biological, maybe or adopted.  I don't mind either way.  We'll see.

There has been an exit from my life that has left a massive, gaping hole that makes me sad lots of the time.  I won't discuss it in more detail, but it's there.  Every day.

I went back to work.  I loved it.  We decided I'd stop in honor of the child plan and the amount of time we were missing together.  I love that too but I think I'll deeply miss working since there isn't a plan for me to go back to that any time soon.

I'm spending time thinking about the stories that have formed me.  I'm talking about them to a therapist and getting it all sorted out.  I  think it's helping me.

Next month I'll turn 35.  I'm middle aged.  I don't usually care about birthdays but this, to me, seems terribly significant. 

It just seems like everything is different now.  It's not bad.  It's just different.  I'm adapting. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

It is not so much that I miss you

By Dorothea Grossman
It is not so much that I miss you
as the remembering
which I suppose is a form of missing
except more positive,
like the time of the blackout
when fear was my first response
followed by love of the dark.
I found this today at exactly the perfect time.  Things are in transition here.  I have the strong possibility of working again.  The yard is coming along.  We're settling into the new congregation and carving out rhythms. 
Unrelated to the poem, last week I was able to spend time with my wonderful girlfriends in Utah and it highlighted how much I miss the chance to be with them on a whim.  The days were filled with plenty of laughter, teasing and the usual stresses of being with people you don't see often.  It was in the handling of those stresses that I find the strengths of our friendships.  We had some snarking but not too much and never without love, we were able to give each other space and time when needed and we all had the history to understand what was happening.  
This week is less busy than my weeks have been recently and I'm reveling in the quiet. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I suppose I feel like writing.

I just looked up an old friend on Facebook. We used to be connected as friend on that platform and I found myself wondering today how he and his family are doing. I took a gander to find that we're no longer considered friends.

I hurt my feelings for a moment but I stopped to consider if that was the true emotion and discovered it was more like melancholy for life moving along, something sweeter than hurt.

Often I find myself wanting to hoard my friendships. I don't like it when anyone leaves the pack, it make me nervous and upset. I had a friend a couple of years ago that I enjoyed very much and suddenly he stopped talking to me. It was perplexing and it caused some reflection about how I treat friendships which was when I discovered my hoarding tendencies. Seriously, given an option I'd have 10,000 neglected friends so long as none were no longer my friend.

Having discovered that I've decided that when these feelings pop up I'm going to take a moment to remember the nice things about my previous friendship, the influences and the education gained from each individual, send them some love and light and then move forward. I'm taking more time to understand that not everything has to be current to be valid and important.

So today, to you Travis H., thank you for introducing me to Van Halen, Hilary, the glory of sleeping on trampolines and Magic the Gathering. You are beloved in my memory and I wish you all the best as we move along through life now memories to each other. Farewell, my friend. It really was a blast.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

One Quarter Later

I haven't blogged much since arriving in San Antonio. Getting the house in order and our routines established was chaotic as ever after a move and then, in addition to the usual, I decided to start volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate. This means that I volunteer my time to kids in the foster care system on a case by case basis and track their needs as their parents navigate the consequences of their actions.

Some of the stories you find in CASA are happy, motivating stories that light up a city but as often the stories are sad. I wasn't unaccustomed to brushing the extremes in human emotions--as a dispatcher you deal with that regularly--so I knew that I could handle the weight of being around kids that I couldn't help by focusing on the kids I am helping. And that often works, often I feel satisfied that my time is making a difference and things are getting better for my investment. On days like to day, however, I'm gobsmacked by the amount of work going undone.

I was visiting some of my children at an emergency shelter outside our city. They are there with several other young souls. One small person there was missing their mother very badly. Allow me a moment to share with you, reader, that when you go to these types of shelters the children you see remember you, even the ones you don't advocate for, and they need attention and love. I try to do that while also giving my kiddos special attention. Today this small person just kept wandering up, weeping and needing to be cuddled for a moment. Then I'd say, "Ok. That was a good time out to be sad. Are you ready to play again?" The small human would nod, give me five and try again to play and be happy. A few minutes later they were back and the cycle would repeat.

I was there just over an hour today, not long at all, but when I started to leave this small, wonderful, beautiful soul started screaming--I mean, folks, screaming and not the yelling some children do for attention or out of frustration and anger--the word 'no' over and over again. I kissed the beautiful head, touched their cheek and then walked away using all of my strength to put one foot in front of the other instead of falling at their feet and staying forever.

Tonight I'm a mix of emotion so heady that I'm physically ill in waves thinking about this small human, thinking of all the children there who don't have advocates--parental, familial or assigned--and how terrible I think it is that people have made these small ones and because of 'aren't' or 'can't' neglect or harm them and, in honesty, I'm punishing myself a little for walking away.

I understand there wasn't much of a choice to be made. I could not take that child and run away, keeping them safe forever. I couldn't just stay until the fear passed because there is nothing but transitions and good-byes in the next few months for that beautiful one either from parents, caseworkers or caregivers. I can't do justice to every child in CPS care city, county, state or nation wide though I'd honestly give a limb or two in order to have that ability. My only choice was to show all the love I could in the time I was present and then do what had to be done.

When I rounded the corner from the playground I had to stop, let the screams slash through me and brace myself against a wall for a moment, letting the cool sharp stucco ground me in reality, in something solid. I reminded myself about my kiddos, about doing all I can for the responsibilities I have and then I walked away.

And now I'm not sure when I'll sleep again because all I can picture is that little face in a bed at a place that is not home, confused because people keep saying goodbye.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Not as we.

I think that when tragedy strikes there is a very clear dividing line about those to whom the tragedy directly involves and the rest of us.

A few days ago several officers served by my old dispatch center were shot, one fatally. I'm devastated. I'm feeling even worse that I wasn't there to help. I wish daily that there is something I could do to really give aid to those unsung heroes.

In all of this I'm feeling distinctly 'former'. Even if I'd stayed with the dispatch center up until the day we moved, I'd have missed this moment. I wasn't meant to be there. That doesn't change my sorrow at both being outside that community and helpless to alleviate their pain.

I think one of the most difficult things about moving is reestablishing the network of friends and like-minded locals. It's something I put great effort into every new place we go. Often I find that one of two of the people I meet in a particular location are life-long friends to me.

In the weeks before I find that community, that anchoring friend, I'm quite lonely and sometimes a bit depressed about the new location.

Michael has yet to experience this with me and he's quite concerned despite my protestations that this is simply my process. Every single move is nearly identical but similarity doesn't make them easier.

I'm sure I'll come out the other side. I'm sure I'll find friends and community here. I have some already and a great in-law family that are softening the blow. But for these few moments, watching the images of an officer laid to rest with his young family left behind, of a community I miss coming together to honor their police force, I'm feeling a particularly stinging sadness and loneliness. Instead of berating myself for this or feeling like I "shouldn't" be sad, I'm going to be sad, live with it, and make sure that I continue living and unpacking boxes, loving my husband in the meantime and soon I'll look around and wonder where the sadness has gone.