Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Sometimes, being a good person sucks. Sometimes you just want to do the wrong thing so bad you can taste it and it hurts to not do it. They try to tell you that being good feels good. That it's so rewarding to be kind and nice and help other people feel good that you'll forget your own troubles and bask in the glow of God's love and be perfectly content. Well, they lied. Sure it can be nice to help someone. But sometimes it just sucks beyond belief. There are the times when you bust ass to help someone and they don't even bother to thank you, or worse they just ask you what else you can do for them. Then there are the times when you've busted ass helping someone and never asked for anything in return but always kind of assumed that the people you helped would be there for you when you needed them. Only when you actually did need them they just disappeared on you and you realized that all they ever saw in you was a sucker. But the worst is when you do something for someone and they never even know it. When you put aside what you want because you know it's not yours to have and you just walk away from your dreams or desires or hopes. And no one knows or cares. They're off happy in their own little bubble of joy while you feel your insides dying and you KNOW that you could have had what you wanted. You know that it could have been you in that bubble of joy except for the fact that you're trying to do the right thing. And some days, I'm just not sure it's worth it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

a good kiss

As far back as I can remember, teenaged boys have confided in me. When I was very, very young my sister's and cousin's boyfriends told me things I wouldn't understand for years. When I was a teen, the boys I knew inschool all thought I was the one girl they could confide in. And now my kids' friends talk to me and tell me things that they don't feel they can tell anyone else. I don't exactly understand why I'm the one they talk to, but I do take the responsibility very seriously. They trust me and I try to never betray that trust.

One of the perks of having their trust is that I get to spend a lot of time thinking and talking about the important things in life like love and friendship and what makes you feel alive. And this week I got to talk about what makes a hug or a kiss good.

Let me say now that the teenaged boy I was talking about this with was actually talking about the hug or kiss of a friend, not a lover. I was trying to define why a certain friend's hugs were so much nicer than anyone else's hugs. And somehow kisses became included in the conversation. Specifically, we talked about what a good kiss says.

A good kiss says yes.

Not yes to sex or yes to romance or yes to the future. Not yes to a commitment or yes to a fling. Not yes in answer to any question. A good kiss says yes to you, the person being kissed. It says yes to who you are.

A good hug doesn't feel rushed. When someone who really knows how to hug hugs you, you feel as if they are perfectly content to hold you in their arms forever, as if they feels that that's where you belong. And when you're being hugged that way, you feel like you belong there too. You feel loved.

I have been fortunate enough to be hugged and kissed by the people who love me. And I've been fortunate enough to hug and kiss the people I love. I hope that I did a good job and that they know how much I love them.

Friday, September 24, 2010

why i can't sleep

Today was too good.

I should give details but I'm typing this in from the tiny keyboard on my phone. So let's just say it was a damn good day... the best in a long while.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The way of things

Well, it's been almost a month since I posted anything at all and I'm sorry about that. My computer has basically died and I'm doing much of my web activity from my phone. I can read blogs, but I don't have the patience to post from those tiny little keys. Hopefully, I'll have the funds to fix my computer soon (within the next week I'm thinking) and I'll be able to be a bit more active again.

Over the last month, a lot has happened. It's almost too much to fit into words, but I'll do my best.

First off, I suppose I should update you on my friend Rebecca, since the last two posts I made had to do with the death of her son Toby. I've been spending a lot of time with her lately, both because I want to be a good friend and because she's actually one of the people I most enjoy being with, even when things are bad. But yeah... things have been real bad. Within three weeks of Toby's death, Rebecca's father had a heart attack (he survived and is doing well), her mother-in-law in England died from cancer, and her father-in-law and some of her husband's friends and family began sending Rebecca and her husband nasty texts, e-mails, and facebook messages. Nasty is an understatement. Viscious is probably more accurate. I wish I could fathom why, but since I can imagine no circumstance in which I would send my children any of those messages I am at a loss to explain it. But more important than explaining the reason for those messages is explaining the results of them. My friend is falling apart. She is feeling suicidal. She has started hurting herself. Her husband is also on the verge of falling apart. He's lost a child, a mother, a father, and most of his childhood friends, all in the same month. I cannot imagine how I could deal with that.

I keep trying to think of ways to help. She is looking into counseling and I think that's a good step. Meanwhile, I try to go see her often and I sometimes spend the night at her house. I wish I could do more.

On other fronts, I seem to have adopted another son. His name is John and he's 17. My older kids have known John for a few years, though I only met him over the summer. But just before my computer died John started chatting with me regularly on Facebook and talking to me some about his life. He's had a rough start to life, although by all accounts things are far better than they used to be. I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but I decided to keep him. I know people get attached to their kid's friends and joke around that they've adopted them, but this is far more like an actual adoption than that. He spends most days here, most weekends here, takes his showers here, has chores here, and keeps clothes here. He's being introduced to extended family as the opportunity arises, and they're all treating him the same as they treat my other kids. My sister wants to know his clothing sizes so she can buy things for him. I've already gotten some of his Christmas presents.

John's mom seems to be okay with our taking over his life. I make sure to never bring him home late and to show her as much respect as possible. I think she's overwhelmed so maybe this is a bit of a relief. But I'm not sure how it'll play out in the long run.

As to the rest of my family, things seem to be going well. The kids are loving school and seem to be doing well for the most part. Well, Quinn is having trouble adjusting. His teacher is worried about him and I suspect she's going to want to have him tested for behavioral issues. But in my gut, I don't think that the problems she sees are the result of actual medical issues. He's never once in his life been in a daycare or had to follow a schedule or been told that now is when we eat and now is when we go to the bathroom and now is when we draw. He's always been able to decide all those things for himself and just do what he wants to do. Plus he's never been around other kids his age. So this is all new, and not in a good way. But in the course of the week and a half that he's actually been in classes, he's gone from screaming and crying and fighting against going to waking up and asking if he can go to school. And while I know he's still not following the rules, listening to the teachers, etc., I think he's gotten to the point where he wants to be a part of that. Maybe he does have behavioral issues. But I think the root of the current problem has more to do with the adjustment than his teacher understands. So we'll wait and see.

The other kids are doing fabulously well. Zoe had new friends, a new boyfriend, and seems to love school. Zaven and Caly have been spending all their time goofing off with friends, talking on the phone, and soaking up every last bit of fun that high school has to offer. I honestly don't think that either one of them could be happier. Well, maybe if they were to fall in love... but short of that, no.

Scott has been very, very busy. I don't talk about him much here, but that's mostly because he's kind of a private person and I don't want to take over and tell his stories for him. But this week has been a good week for him and that's making me happy. We're getting along really well. We always have, but I've learned not to take that for granted. One funny thing has been his relationship with John. I didn't really ask Scott if it was okay to adopt John. It just sort of happened. And when it did, I worried that Scott and John might have a rough time. John's late father was not a nice man and I figured that John might have a hard time having a dad around. Then the other day I saw John and another family friend arguing about who Scott liked more. Scott for his part seems to also like John. His only complaint is that he can't walk around the house in his underwear anymore. I think I can live with that.

Monday, August 23, 2010

the snarky post. please forgive

I am awake. I suppose that's pretty normal for me. I usually am awake at this time of night. But tonight I am awake because I can't turn my head off. I think I don't want to sleep because I don't want to dream. Kind of like Hamlet, but less dramatic. And I'm not wearing tights.

Tomorrow I have to buy nice clothes to wear to Toby's funeral. I don't usually wear dressy clothes. I wear t-shirts and jeans and things like that. I probably have a dress somewhere, but I don't have any idea where. I'll just buy something. I don't have the energy to look.

I talked to Rebecca for a few minutes today. She had gone with some friends and picked out a casket. Actually, I think the friends picked it out for her. That was probably for the best. No one should have to pick out their baby's casket.

The funeral and visitation will be in Rebecca's home town. It's a long way from here so the kids will be missing school. If the school gives me any shit about that I'm going to tell them they can go fuck themselves. I'm almost hoping they do give me shit so that I can tell someone to go fuck themselves. It feels like a good occasion to say that to someone, but I'd feel bad to just walk up to random strangers and say it. It would probably be better to wait until someone actually does something wrong.

Caly said she wished that there was something to fix. I feel the same way. There's nothing fixable about all this. So instead I'm awake at 3 a.m. trying to think of ways to get people to do something wrong so I can tell them to go fuck themselves. Maybe that's what people are supposed to do. Maybe this is a normal reaction. I don't know. I've never had to find out. I don't remember what the stages of grieving are and I'm in a bad mood so even if I did know them I'd probably be doing them wrong on purpose. You know, as a vain attempt at conveying that go fuck yourself sentiment to an idea from a book written decades ago. Futile is the catch-word of the day. Or the night. You get the idea.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


On Friday I went to see Rebecca and Toby. She looked better than I expected. I thought she'd be more stressed, but she was okay. Shaky, but okay. He was snuggled up on the couch next to her, just looking at her face that way that babies sometimes look at their moms. Every now and then he would smile at her. A big beautiful smile that was pure joy. And when she talked to me, she didn't look at me, she looked at him.

She told me about how she'd been having panic attacks, how sometimes she lost track of time and did the same things over and over. She had some medicine that helped, but she didn't want to take it when she was home alone with him because it knocked her out. I told her it would get better. I said that anyone who had been through what she'd been through would be having trouble.

She said the doctors didn't think she had postpartum depression. They thought she had post traumatic stress disorder. She'd had such a rough pregnancy and then when she started bleeding so heavily they thought that she was dying, that Toby was dying. If she'd been home alone she probably would have died. If she'd bled into her body cavity instead of outward, Toby would have died.

He got a little fussy and I asked if I could hold him. I burped him and fed him a bottle. Then I patted his back and sang him a lullaby. He fell asleep against my shoulder and I kept kissing the back of his head. His hair was so soft against my lips.

I held him for a long time while he slept. Rebecca and I talked, not about anything in particular but just talking and passing the time. Then I had to lay him down again so that I could leave to pick up Zoe from school. I laid him down next to Rebecca and kissed her head and covered her legs in a blanket. Then I left.

Saturday morning the phone rang. It was Rebecca's mom Brenda and as I walked to the phone I couldn't understand why she'd be calling. She told me they'd lost Toby. It didn't make any sense at first. It was like random words had been put together. Then all of the sudden I understood.

When I got to the hospital I saw Brenda and Sam. She told me that Pete and Rebecca were in with Toby and that if I was allowed to go back, she thought they'd want me there.

I wish I had words to tell you. I wish I didn't. I don't think anyone should ever have to know that story. It should be as nonsensical as it seemed when Brenda said they'd lost him.

I should have reached out to them first. I didn't. I went to Toby and smoothed his hair. Why would I go to comfort him when he couldn't feel it? Why didn't I go straight to them when they could? His hair felt exactly the same as it had the day before. But this time, his head was cold.

Pete was crying and rocking back and forth. I could hear him praying under his breath, "Please don't let it be real. Please don't let it be real. Please don't let it be real."

Rebecca looked like the walking dead. There was no recognition in her eyes. When I hugged her, she made a little low moan that reminded me of the sound puppies make when they are dying but are still trying to wag their tails. I told them both that Toby is okay. We are not. But he is.

We sat and looked at him for a while, all of us together, but each in our own heads. I find myself watching to see if he's breathing. He's not.

His face looks bruised on one side where the blood has pooled. The other side looks too pale. But his head is turned to the side so the color changes from pale to dark across his face. One eyelid looks exactly like it did the day before. He still had the breathing tube in his mouth and tape across his face to hold it in place. I want to take the tape off but I'm afraid of damaging his skin. I don't touch it.

A man came to talk to them about donating Toby's organs. Rebecca went with him to fill out the papers. I stayed with Pete and Toby. Maybe I should have been with Rebecca. Didn't she need a friend there? But that would have left Pete alone with Toby and I know that Pete can't be alone now. He's not okay. Rebecca has the organ donation man with her. She's not alone. Pete would be alone. I stayed with Pete.

Pete thinks this was his fault. Toby died when they were asleep together.

How can he think that? I've laid down with my children more times than I can count. I've fallen asleep cuddling a baby so often that in my mind it's all blurred into one memory of sleep and warmth. Bad parents hurt their children. Good parents cuddle them. How can cuddling them be bad?

Pete hovers between wanting to hold him and not wanting to disturb him. He uncovers Toby, then covers him back up. His hands go to him and pull back. He smooths his hair. He said that Sam wanted to play with him. Now Sam won't get to. He tells me he's a bad father. I try to tell him he's not but I don't think he believes me.

Pete says something about Toby's red hair. I think, 'He had beautiful hair.' Then I realized that I just thought of Toby in the past tense. He's right in front of me and his hair is still beautiful. But I know then that he's really gone. I can't make myself think 'He HAS beautiful hair.' It just won't work that way in my head.

When Rebecca comes back in the room, she tells us they think they can use Toby's heart. Pete starts crying again. He looks as if his own heart has been ripped out of his chest. For just a moment, Rebecca looks like herself again. She seems alive again. She says, "But this way they can save someone else's baby." Then before the last word is even fully out she's gone again, off into her mind. Pete can't speak. He knows. We all know. This can't happen again. This can't happen to someone else. But why couldn't it have not happened to us?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Button Gear

Caly and I have decided that we should start a company called Button Gear that has button-themed cleaning and organizing supplies. That way people could say, "I need to get my Button Gear and start cleaning the living room."