Plinky: What was the best thing of your day, yesterday?

  • Yesterday…all my troubles seemed so far away.
  • It’s The Little Things In Life
    lavender I bought a small lavender plant at the giant grocery store. It was sitting outside with its brothers and sisters. Some were larger with strands lifting straight to the sky. The one I bought was not the tiniest, but it was a small plant that seemed to look at me with a wink and smile. I bought THAT lavender plant and yesterday, all by myself, dug a small hole and planted it in my front yard. It seemed so appreciative to have been selected and after it was replanted I took the special pink watering can and sprayed the roots, to make the ground wet and mushy and muddy-fresh. I had dirt under my fingernails, the sunshine on my back and it felt wonderful.
    Gardening is not a great big deal for most people, but for people with Fibromyalgia and chronic pain, it felt like I had just won the Olympics. I didn’t ask my husband or son for help, I tried to do it on my own. And indeed, in my very own small world, I got the gold medal.
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The Beautiful Daughter

A man and a woman performing a modern dance.

She lies on her bed, my seventeen year old daughter with her long curly blonde hair swept up into a messy top bun that looks exquisite. She has headphones plugged into her computer listening to music, she instant messages friends on her red phone and does her homework simultaneously.  She doesn’t know I am looking at her and I hide the tears that start rolling down my face. She is a senior in high school; her criteria for looking for a college is for it to be “far and pretty” emphasis on far.

I’ve been through the college admissions process last year with her older brother. But, this child, this girl, is my baby, the one that clung to me like a little a warm nesting animal burrowed in my neck. This was the child who only wanted me and I was always there for her, picking her up when she screamed, soothing her at night. She called me “Mama.” Her first memory is being “sprung” from her crib by me and I remember that day as well.  A small, eighteen month old child engaging me with her big blue eyes and devilish smile, she melted my heart instantly.

I miss the little girl she was. I wish I could scoop her into my arms like I used to when she was a child. Even a hug is asking too much, I know. I still remember how it felt though. I can’t remember what I did last night for dinner but the softness of her skin and her wet sloppy kisses on my cheek are unforgettable, as well as the sound of her infectious, devilish laugh.

My daughter knows what she wants at all times. When she was a mere child she planned her birthday parties three years in advance and never changed her mind. When she was younger she did ballet, wearing a pink leotard, a pink tutu, tights, and tiny beige ballet shoes. Her hair was in a bun covered by a pink, lacy barrette.  If I had to recreate her in dance she would now be a modern dancer, leaping through the air like a gazelle, wearing scarves in vibrant colors, her hair loose and wild, moving with the music.

She is a vegetarian and always has been since she was a baby. When I tried to feed her meat baby food she spit it out immediately and laughed when it hit me on my face. To this day, she does not eat meat, she loves all animals, especially our dog. She shows the most affection to our dog whom she hugs and kisses and confides in. I love watching her long arms around our dog’s neck, whispering her confidences to her.

She is incredibly smart, private and can buy five outfits on the clearance rack that look gorgeous on her within three minutes. She takes after her grandmother when it comes to style, it definitely missed my generation. We do, on occasion, have our mother-daughter feuds. She will stare me down with those hardened blue eyes and say as condescendingly as possible: “you’re not wearing THAT are you?” or  “what exactly are those pants you’re wearing, tell me they are not sweat pants!!” Sigh, and I thought I looked fashionable, I refused to change.

I will always be here for you, beautiful girl.  I’m holding on to these last months when you still live at home. I can’t wait to see what second semester will bring: the prom, the senior musical, the college of your choice. I know you will have a lot of fun; be happy and know that I am happy for you.

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“(S)He’s Leaving Home, Bye, Bye”*

Kleinkind beim Laufen

Image via Wikipedia

(April, 2011)

My son, my first-born made his final decision for college in September. He’s excited, thrilled and after celebrating with him, I slipped away and am now holed up in my bedroom, sobbing. It’s not like I haven’t been prepared for this, it’s not like he’s still six it just feels like he was six a moment ago. He’s my boy and as much as I know how happy he is with his choice, the deposit put me over the edge. I fell apart; it was now official.

I know I am being ridiculous, this is not sudden bad news but it feels like a total shock to me. I am weeping and I can’t explain it except to say that while I am so happy for him, I feel vastly sorry for myself. This is my son, my first child, the kid I called “buddy” so many times my husband was worried people would think that was his name. This boy is a delight, a warm, compassionate, smart young man. At the age of 2 1/2 he stunned a grown-up friend when he used the word “compromise.” When the friend doubted him and asked him if he knew what that meant, he explained it beautifully: “If I want to go to bed at 9 and my daddy says 7 then we compromise in the middle.” You can’t argue with facts.

(June, 2011)

I lost it today, in the supermarket between the pizza rolls and the pizza bagels, two past favorite foods of my son. The tears welled up in my eyes and I started crying, quietly, discreetly but that was just strength of will on my part. I could have sobbed but I held myself together. My son is graduating High School in a week and a half. The day after, he leaves to go to his old camp to be a counselor. I never liked being left, that’s for sure. My parents left me alone a lot when I was younger so they could travel together in Europe. I would cry hysterically but once the yellow taxi disappeared from the view from my sixth floor kitchen window, I was alright.

I feel, like many other mothers and fathers feel that he is leaving me and us, the family. I know I am overreacting but this is how I feel. It’s a great thing, a joyful thing but the good feeling hasn’t caught up to my heart yet. In time, I’m sure it will. I just have to get used to it but it is a drawn out process.  I like to think that when he actually leaves FOR college I will be better, but who am I trying to kid?  I’ve never been great at change and this is a big one.

It doesn’t help that my daughter, only one grade year apart from her brother, will be a Senior in High School come September. This little girl of mine is smart, independent and always knew what she wanted from the minute she was born. She planned her birthday party themes four years in advance and stuck to each one of them. She is a fierce animal lover, and vegetarian, she is very smart, extraordinarily beautiful and has an incredible quick wit. This girl, wrapped her arms around my neck for years and wouldn’t let go. No one else could soothe her except me. Soon, she too, will be running out the door, this independent free spirit that I fervently admire.

In our hearts, our secret fear is that our sons and daughters will forget us. So, I am saying this now. Please remember we love you so much. Please don’t forget us or stop loving us. Keep in touch and the hug you give when you visit, try to make it last a second or two longer so that we can remember just how good it feels.

*Courtesy of The Beatles song

I Can Barely Find My Shoes

NYC - Metropolitan Museum of Art - Abduction o...

Image by wallyg via Flickr

The darkening skies have lifted to show off a mild blue sky and yellow buds on naked trees. I was up all night suffering from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) which seems to have some connection to my Fibromyalgia though I don’t really understand it. At 4am, being a mother of two teenagers I became a child myself. I was alone in the house except for my dog and the children fast asleep downstairs. I was in a lot of pain and sometimes pain takes away my judgment. I go online to see if any of my friends are there because I need to talk to someone calm, motherly.

Luckily my friend, Michal, who lives in a different country, is awake and I ask her the same things I know deep inside. It is the same advice I would tell my children or friends or my spouse to do. The fact that she is awake and talking to me calms me immediately. She tells me to drink Coke and to stir the bubbles out with a fork or Alka-Seltzer, baking soda and water…..I tiptoe down the stairs and I am overjoyed that I have found a dusty yet unopened bottle of ginger ale to drink. In my race with pain I had totally forgotten the right things to do. It was her being there that made me feel better, more than the few sips of soda that I swallowed in the dark.

We all need people sometimes, whether we have a chronic disease or if we are perfectly happy and healthy. I have Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Narrow Angled Glaucoma but it took these diseases to learn to ask for favors. A few weeks ago I asked my friend Sarah to go with me to the city because I would not, without someone’s help, be able to make it home if  my eye doctor needed to do surgery at the Eye Hospital. It was hard for me to ask her, but I did, and I needed her help desperately. It taught me the balance between being independent and dependent and the fuzzy middle line we all try to achieve. I don’t think twice about offering help to a friend or an acquaintance but feel awkward asking. I have relied on my husband for the last two years, when he was home, unemployed,  to such an extent that I needed to relearn my own skills and find my independent self again. I had lost her, she was hidden in piles of soft, flowered comforters, next to pre-made cups of coffee and the security of my husband’s endless amount of hugs.

I am glad I have found my old self again because I  need to make decisions and be responsible for myself. At the same time I am glad I can finally ask for favors when I really need them. I don’t like having all these illnesses and I don’t like that my husband is working five days a week far away from me. I do like knowing I can handle things myself, even if I do need help once in a while from a friend. There are so many decisions to make in a single day, so many minute details that I actually trip over them every so often. I get out of bed in the morning, slowly, with aches and pains and I do everything I need to do when in fact I can barely find my shoes. Sometimes there is a strength that we all have inside that enables us to pull ourselves together and go through the day and the long nights. I am not always able to do everything on my own and I do need help at times but I am happy that I have rediscovered me, balanced albeit sometimes unsure.