Stumbling through blogland, I came across THIS I copied and clicked and pasted and added a personal touch, though the letter is beautifully written and as far as I'm concerned, needs no editing at all. For the record, I don't think I've EVER contacted a congressperson. Not even to ask that raw milk or marijuana be legalized. Also for the record, I don't think ALL guns should be illegal. I wish I had someone to shoot me a deer every fall and fill my freezer with venison for the winter. But automatic weapons designed specifically to kill a lot of people in just a few seconds? That shit is totally unnecessary. And yes, guns don't kill people well they kinda do, people kill people. But still... Please, if you are so moved, write to your congresspeople. And pass the letter on. Please. Thank you.
I heard about The Tragedy while at work yesterday. I received a text from Sister Halona, concerned about a childhood friend and blogger whom she thought had kids in the Newtown elementary school. And yes, it was true. Our friend has children who attend that school. And who are thankfully "ok". Whatever that means. Aaack. This woman, who we grew up with, whose children attend that elementary school, is the SOLE reason I blog. Seriously. It's all her fault. And I am forever grateful for my introduction to blogland. I am grateful for her. Today, I have read all the blogs, all the comments, all the news feeds, and Obama's statement. And still I have no answers. My shoulders have been hunched up around my ears all day. Yes, I think automatic weapons should be theoretically unattainable illegal. Unless you're hunting deer or rabbit, I don't really think you need a gun. I know in other parts of the country, folks pack a handgun the way we here in the Northeast pack an iPhone. Whatever. It's a big country. And I don't claim to understand even a fraction of it. And yes, I think there should be more supportive care, safety nets, safeguards and treatment for those afflicted by mental illness. It all hits so close to home... It's so easy to lay blame. What was really going on in that home??? Why did the kindergarten teacher have automatic weapons??? blah blah blah The truth is i hate to say it perhaps any of it all of it could happen to us. We are not immune. We try to lay blame because we are human and have a need to understand and explain. But maybe we are looking to justify and distance ourselves it could never happen here NEVER to us never to OURS. Even in death my heart hurts for that boy and his mother, his father and brother. And of course all the others in Newtown. And the country. And yes, today I was extra patient, extra sweet, extra thankful. There but for the grace of god go I...
I was invited by Dana, The Kitchen Witch, to guest post at her place. How exciting is that?!? And since she is the author of the funniest holiday post ever, I take her invitation as a ginormous compliment. She's also a gracious hostess, allowing me to pull an old favorite from my bloggy archives. So come visit me at Kitch's. I think you'll like it there. The food is yummy.
My birthday was a few weeks ago. I'm not a fan of birthday celebrations cause I'm a buzz kill. OK, that's not entirely accurate. I like other people's birthdays. I don't need like to have my birthday acknowledged in any significant way, and I don't need more stuff. I don't like that much direct attention. When I was 6 and my 1st grade class sang Happy Birthday to me I cried from embarrassment. I guess the fact that I had to plan my Sweet Sixteen entirely on my own because those were my mom's Obsessed with The Church and Holy Spirit Years kinda sealed the deal on not expecting too much from anyone on my birthday. Until the Bruce Years. When the kids were younger, they would TORTURE me in the days approaching my birthday. But that's mostly because their dad would get them all excited and plan shit and it would be a secret and a big surprise. It was exhausting. Almost as bad as Mother's Day. I am an ungrateful bitch. This year my birthday fell during my New and Improved Boobs recuperation time off. I had been home for a week and there had been no mention of my advancing age, or excited questions about what I wanted to do on the big day. That morning I woke up in a quandary. Do I tell them? Do I not tell them? What if I tell them and they forgot and then they feel badly? What if I don't tell them and at some point like Thanksgiving or Christmas they realize my birthday had come and gone? Would they feel awful? I decided it was best to tell them. So I did. There was so much preamble I scared the hell out of them. Ummm... you guys???....ummm... I have to tell you something.... I don't want you to feel bad... it's ok... I just thought I should tell you... cause dad might text you...I just don't want you to be upset... The color drained out of their faces. it's my birthday today Their faces light up with big smiles happy birthday mommy! Mia gives me a hug and Jack smiles some more. Ty was still asleep. Later, when he came downstairs dressed for school, I give him the same blah blah blah it's my birthday. He just looked at me and walked into the kitchen. ???? WTF??? then he left with his usual Bye Mom whatever
I spent a lot of the day thinking about my mom, thinking about being her firstborn and thinking about how I felt the day Jack was born and wondering how she felt when I was born.
I thought about being the last one to see her body after she died. I thought about being outside the hospital room, watching the nurse prepare her body for the morgue. I thought about how I insisted to the resident that ALL her tissues be sampled for autopsy, not just the ones Dr NewGuy had requested because I didn't think he'd find the answers he was expecting.
I thought about how I had looked at her body, departed of life and breath and soul, appearing so empty and I remembered thinking I grew in that body I came out of that body that body gave me life. And now that body is dead.
In that moment it was so clear. So real. I came out of her body.
So my birthday night I made dinner which the kids must have actually liked because we all sat down and ate together. After dinner we hung out and talked and laughed which was unusual, not because we don't have a good time together we have a raucous time together but because we are usually going in 4 different directions.
I started cleaning up and something about the way the kids were darting in and out of the room made me think are they planning something? Which I quickly dismissed because, I dunno, why would they do that for me? They're kids wrapped up in their own dramas and they know I don't really care about my birthday anyway.
Mia asks me to brush out her hair. But she wants me to come upstairs with her to get the brush cause she's spooked to go up there alone. Ty says there's a brush in the downstairs bathroom. I tell Mia to get the brush. Both Jack and Mia look at him like he had 2 heads. She says it's not the right one it hurts too much my hair's too knotty i need the one upstairs.
I remember I need to advance the laundry so I agree to go up with Mia to get the brush. I decide to throw another load in. I pick up a pair of Ty's jeans and pull his cell phone out of his pocket.
The brand new cell phone I had bought 2 weeks before.
The brand new cell phone I had bought 2 weeks before that he kept forgetting to charge.
The brand new cell phone I had bought 2 weeks before that he kept forgetting to charge that I ended up charging because Goddammit Ty the ONLY reason you have a cell phone is so that I can reach you.
The brand new cell phone that somehow disappeared one week after I bought it and one day after I plugged it in to charge it. The phone that he swore he hadn't moved off the table i didn't touch it mom it was charging and now it's gone i have no idea someone took it
Seriously Ty??? You think someone took it???
So there is the cell phone that's been missing for a week in the pocket of his jeans that are in the hamper that by some miracle I noticed before I threw it in the washer.
The Universe is Abundant but boy was I pissed.
Goddammit Ty...Ty???... Ty...??? ANSWER ME!!! why the fuck isn't he ANSWERING me???
My kids always answer me.
I tear out of the bathroom, cell phone in hand, bellowing his name. I must have looked like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Mia cuts me off at the top of the stairs and blocks my way i'll get him mommy
Dammit Mia mind your business!!!... TY!!!
I get halfway down the stairs and Mia body checks me.
Mia are you kidding me??? Mind your own business and get out of my way!!!
I make it into the living room and Ty comes running at me looking like a Dear caught in the headlights of a Mother's Wrath. Musta been all my yelling. Goddamitt Ty I found your cell phone it was in your pants pocket in the laundry basket this whole time.
The look of relief that crossed his face was priceless. He teared up a little and threw his arms around me thank you mommy i love you mommy. Then with his arm still around me he led me back to the dining room.
And yes the lights were off and the candles were lit and the kids were beaming Happy Birthday Mom!
look I made you this, and I made you this, open this first, I asked Jessica to bake a special cake for you this one is your real present you can go with mia or jordana or shannon or whoever you want. its a gift certificate for 2 pedicures
I burst into tears. Like sobbing tears. Like I'm gonna fall down tears. Like I need to loose my shit tears.
It was just SO fucking sweet and SO unexpected. It was the most amazing and awesome birthday ever. The kids were so proud they had pulled it off and smiled at me and let me cry and I looked each of them and cried harder oh my god you guys are so awesome i love you SO MUCH you guys are the best! And then they laughed at me. Mia facebooked from her phone omg we just surprised my mom for her birthday and she's crying like a baby! and within a few minutes I'm getting texts from friends and family hosing me for being such a weenie. I warned Jack and Mia that they feigned surprise lied straight to my face just a little too well that morning. And that I was like what??? when Ty didn't say happy birthday even after I reminded him. mom...oh my god mom... for 4 days jack was up in my face saying if you say ANYTHING AT ALL about mom's birthday I'm gonna kick your ass. Which is why he didn't say happy birthday. It really was the best birthday ever.
This week I was a psychiatrist. It was a hard week. The 20 year old I've seen since she was 8 who has anxiety and body pains and always thinks she has cancer. And I'm the only person she'll see or talk to. Her mom says she's gonna keep coming to you until she's 26 because you're the only one she trusts and you always make her feel better. sigh The 10 year old who is really funny looking and has hearing loss and is legally blind and was tested for Downs Syndrome at birth because he was a funny looking newborn. This 10 yr old is one of 6 kids whose mom is funny looking too. They moved early this year to a new school district and now mom is being told he's way below grade level and they suspect he has learning disabilities and is socially atypical and all sorts of other stuff. Mom's mom is schizophrenic and her father is a drug addict and probably bipolar so she was raised by her grandmother who did not "believe" in psychiatric illness and certainly not psychiatric drugs. This badass survivor mom who is herself on multiple meds broke down and cried i think its my fault he's just like i was when i was a kid he's just like me i don't want him to be like me i did this to him i gave it to him aack The 18 year old who's family I've known for 5 years and looks like they should be featured in Martha Stewart. She battles depression and anxiety which was a very hard pill for her tightly-wound-perfect-looking-truly-doing-her-best mom to swallow. She got drunk for the first time Thanksgiving night and was raped by a "friend". And I was the first person she told. She had no one else to talk to. She's afraid her father will ship her off somewhere because she got drunk. She says her mom just can't handle it. She says her sister was raped by her boyfriend's stepfather, but if she talks to her sister her mom is sure to find out. She feels so alone. I tested her and treated her and gave her some phone numbers. I told her to come back to see me next week. my stomach hurts sigh On our lunch break, Dr. C. who's retiring and has only 14 more days of seeing patients she's counting down, is trying to track down a premie who has a lot of issues and has fallen off our radar. After many phone calls and many voice mails and disconnected numbers she turns and looks at me and says it's really serious what we do... i mean it's important... it's serious... She says it like it's a revelation. Like it's just now hitting her after 26 years of practice. Yeah. It is really serious. You can't think too much about it. Otherwise you can't do it. She looked at me as though she'd been sucker-punched. Yeah. You can't think about it. Last night I worked with Dr. O, a pediatrician from Nigeria who teaches public health at Columbia and works with us on weekends to keep up his clinical skills. I was about to debrief to him cause that's what we do when patient shit is just too much to bear. We share the stories and it makes it easier to deal. Then I remembered the stories he's told about living and working in places where his wife and mother-in-law couldn't leave the house because outside their front door rape was used as a weapon of war. As much as I've seen over 15 years, he's probably seen worse. I decided not to share. There but for the grace of god go I All I could think was thank god for my kids. Thank god for my life. Not that we don't have our issues and not that we are immune to the super shitty shit life has to offer, but I think hope that when life hands them their shit serving they can come talk to me about it. And for now we are safe and warm and have food to eat. We are privileged. And hopefully it will stay that way.
As I write this I'm rubbing my eyes with both fists.
Ty gets worried mom what's wrong?
nothing honey my eyes have been itchy i saw a lot of kids with pinkeye this week i hope i didnt catch it.
mom, do you get pinkeye from farts?
no mom really it's a thing you get pinkeye if someone farts on your pillow and then you sleep on it.
well ty maybe if you pooped and wiped your butt with your hand instead of toilet paper then stuck your finger in your eye you might get pinkeye but no, pinkeye is not from farts. and why would someone fart on your pillow???
seriously mom it's true you can google it.
And he did
Thank God and The Universe for levity. Thank God for Ty.
"it occurred to me that the only real sin you can commit as a mother is to deny your children's right to be who they are and what they want to be and that the only real sin you can commit against yourself is to deny who you truly are and prevent yourself from being who that is"