Saturday, April 23, 2011

Parental Failings of the Ironical Sort

"Yep, I see it."

The doctor points to the exam room and I scoop C up mid-run for the next part of the appointment.

She clambers up onto the exam table and he starts checking her hips for alignment--or rather, checks them for a lack of alignment to explain the hitch in her gait.

"We could do some x-rays but it probably wouldn't help at this point," he says, frowning at her apparently symmetrical pelvis, "Could be neurological."


I had a housemate in college who was a stone, cold fox.

I maybe had a few weeks in 1995 when I was a solid 7. I may even still be a 6 for those who are attracted to sturdiness and sarcasm. But, truly, I'm a 5* most best.

My friend, J, is a solid 10--perhaps an 11. Back then she looked like a veela as interpreted by one of those pervy animators responsible for the Disney princesses.

Living with her was just how I imagine it would be to run a base camp at Everest. Hordes of men show up all aflutter with adventure and conquest on their minds. Even those who are vanquished can't talk about anything else but the next try. The ones with any sense stay far away.

I won't lie, my ego was definitely bruised up by the end of it but I came away with a solid understanding some basic truths.

Comparing yourself to other people is a short road to disappointment.

*In case it's not obvious, I'm including this as a bit of a sly wink--I am, however, serious about the sarcasm part.


It was probably intended in the spirit of upward mobility that marks members of the middle class but, it still seems like a bad idea to me, especially now that I'm a mother myself.

On my second birthday my mom went to the trouble to get out my baby book and a pen and note that I "still had a miserable personality" but "had shown some improvement lately."

Guess who doesn't have a baby book of her own? What would I have written in there during her first year?

C still defies expectations by continuing to be alive. She's alive!!!! She's alive!!!

It's still the predominant thought in my head when I look at her--holy shit! She's still here! Please, please let her continue to exist.

Right after we were pounded by the fickle sledgehammer of fate, I gathered up my tiny daughter and ran as fast as I could away from the trouble. Along the way I've done my best to shed her lingering association with loss and grief.

I've ditched any hard-wired expectations.

I don't compare her to other children as a matter of principle.

Those things just slow you down.

And now I've charged face-first into the enormous, spiky outstretched fist of the universe.

I can't escape the notion that I've been making this all about me this whole time.

It could be neurological.

Is that better or worse than a deformed pelvis?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Once More...without Feeling

You know when you throw something together using whatever you have in the cupboard and it doesn't turn out so great but you choke it down anyway so that you don't waste food.

Maybe not.

Just imagine something unpleasant that's lurking around making you uneasy.

I don't think I made the point I was trying to make with that last post. Or maybe I'm not sure what the point was.

I'd like to just wipe it away...except for the part about the three A's (angst, accents, acoustic instruments). I won't apologize for my little fetish. I could pour that whole situation into a glass and drink it.

Ok, so maybe I'd just sip at it...demurely.

And then, about halfway through, I'd start wondering how I could dare enjoy any aspect of my continued existence. But I'd be proud of myself for making it halfway.

The 2007 version of myself who paces around in my head finds none of this amusing or encouraging but she seems to be taking a lot of naps lately.

Happy is easier than sad--maybe it always has been for me. Or maybe I've just covered my sad with a scab so thick that I can hardly feel anything anymore.

Grief hasn't changed me as profoundly as I thought it might. I've not been engulfed in a swell of magnanimity. I haven't been compelled to help others or to do something meaningful in R's memory. I've made friends here in the land of babyloss grief but lately I keep forgetting how I met them.

Acceptance has invaded every corner of my heart. The muck has settled to the bottom of the glass of water. I can take the stone from the master's hand. Etc...

Scope, immediacy, violence--these things don't register on my scale of reaction anymore. Death is death is death. Doesn't really matter how it happened. Respect the pain and then file it away for later. Misery keeps.

Good and bad are a package deal. It's possible to fit them both into your head. Trust me on this one. Look up from the 24-hour news cycle. Have you noticed that the daffodils are blooming?

Let the neighbors and co-workers think that this is easy or that I'm cold and unfeeling.

For so long after R died I had to fake happy. I don't have any energy left over to fake sad.

But I'll spare you the banjos this time.