December 6, 2013
I’ve survived another week, which means it’s time for another round of What’s Making Me Happy This Week:
- Peter Pan at the Civic. Yes, it made me cry. But it was a lot of fun to watch my nieces the first time Peter flew onto the stage. And my friends who directed and choreographed did an excellent job putting together a great show. (I don’t know the music director, so I can’t lump him in that same category. He did a good job, too.)
- Whiskey Before Breakfast did a lunchtime concert at one of the churches downtown. Nicki and I met up at her office and walked the block-and-a-half to the concert. It was fun, but I have to say that they are better suited to pubs than churches.
- My official Nancy Rose Stefanik May Not Want To Read This At Work Alerts. A while ago, my friend Nancy posted that she was sobbing at work as she read one of my posts. I apologized and told her that I should have warned her not to read it until she got home. And thus was born the Nancy Rose Stefanik May Not Want To Read This At Work Alert. When I share one of my sadder posts on Facebook, I put one of these alerts before the link. And then I chuckle. (And Nancy tells me that she does, too.)
- My brother. And not because he’s my big brother and wishes he could do something to fix everything and make it all better because that’s what big brothers are supposed to do. I’m laughing with/at him this week because he has flown to England to participate in the annual Reindeer Ride that he and a friend started about six years ago. He dresses as Santa, and eight other people (including his co-conspirator) dress as reindeer. He and his friend ride on a tandem. The other seven reindeer ride single bicycles. And they ride to the tree farm. And buy the tree. And strap it onto the tandem. And then ride home. With a couple of laps around the town square. My brother hasn’t been able to play Santa since he moved back to the States. He flew to England last night (arriving today) so that he can play Santa in the Reindeer Ride tomorrow. He flies back on Sunday. How can that not make you happy?
- And on a slightly different note, Nelson Mandela passed away yesterday. And while people can argue about his early life and whether or not the ANC was a terrorist organization, the man that he was upon emerging from Robbin Island was a man filled with grace who taught all of us about the power of forgiveness. The world is a better place for having had him in it. Of course his death does not make me happy. But the fact that he lived absolutely does.
December 5, 2013
At the time of Sofia’s memorial service, I requested that donations in her memory be sent to two different groups: Doctors without Borders and Lalmba. Despite the fact that I am not a practicing Catholic and it’s theologically unnecessary, some friends and relatives felt the need to pay for masses to be said for Sofia. If they find consolation in that, fine. Don’t expect me to show up. A mass in my daughter’s name is not going to get me to go to church.
But a colleague made a different donation. You’ll note that both of the organizations I listed are in the field of medicine. And this colleague made a donation to an organization similar to the two I requested. It just happens to be local. (I should add that my dad’s best man is related to the people who founded and run Lalmba. They may be based out of Colorado and work in East Africa, but they feel almost like family. My parents got a personal condolence letter from them. They know my family, and not just from seeing our names on donations. So to me, they’re kind of local, too. But I digress.) Her memorial donation went to the Borgess Tree of Love. I have nothing against this charity. They work to provide mammograms to poor, uninsured, and/or underinsured women. My grandmother had breast cancer. I think that what they do is great. Not who I asked to receive donations, but it is in keeping with the two I selected.
However, one of the fundraising events is the tree-lighting ceremony. And because this colleague made a donation in Sofia’s name, there is a light on the tree in her memory. The ceremony is tonight. And I’d initially planned to go. After all, it’s what I’m supposed to do, right? I’m supposed to show up for this because I’m her mother.
But you know what? I don’t want to go. It’s more fundraiser than memorial. I’ll have to schmooze with people, which I hated doing even before I got pregnant for as long as I can remember. There will be speeches to suffer through listen to. So I’m not going. It wasn’t something I asked to be a part of. Yes, they do help people. I support what they do. And there may be people for whom this is therapeutic. Seeing the lights in memory of their loved ones. Being around people. But I’m not one of those people. Was there a large crowd of people at Sofia’s memorial service? Yes, there was. But that was different because I actually knew most of the people there. I’m okay with a big group of people I know. It’s groups full of people I don’t know that stress me out.
So I’m opting out. The colleague who made the donation can go if she wishes to. Me? I’m staying home. I’ll light my solstice and Advent candles. I’ll have dinner with my parents. My mom and I will go for a walk. We’ll keep moving forward. I think I’m doing okay. I don’t need forced grieving to halt my progress. I appreciate the gesture, but at least this year, I’m choosing not to participate.
December 4, 2013
I confess that I do kind of enjoy scrolling through the list of possible Facebook feelings to select the one that best goes with a status update. But the possible feelings are severely lacking. One can’t be melancholy. More importantly, one can’t feel bittersweet. And that’s really how I feel most of the time.
Watching Peter Pan on Sunday was fun. It was enjoyable. And it was sad. It made me happy, and it made me need to run away. All at the same time.
I’m decorating for the holidays. Usually I put on Christmas music to do this. I love Christmas music. But thinking about it right now also makes me cry. I never got to sing Christmas carols with Sofia.
Everything is bittersweet. The things that make me happy also make me sad. I keep running the depression checklist through my head. But I think I really am okay. I’m not just sad. I’m happy, too. I’m both. All at once. I’m happy-sad and sad-happy. Life is joyous and sorrowful. It’s bittersweet.
December 3, 2013
So you remember how I moved? More than a year ago? Oh, good. Because there are people at work who I have told this to repeatedly, and each time I tell them, it’s news. Case in point, a conversation this morning:
D (surprised): Did you walk?
Me (confused): No… I moved.
D (even more surprised): Oh!
I swear that I have had this same conversation with this person multiple times over the past 15 months.
I do miss that aspect of my old apartment, though. Especially on days like today. Traffic on my drive home was nuts. It would have been so nice to be able to walk home. And I totally still live within walking-home distance. I just don’t so much live in walking-to-work distance. I’d have to leave far too early to walk the 2.5 miles to work. I wish I had a robot car that could drive itself home. That way I could drive to work, walk home, and my car would be here when I was ready to go to work the next morning. Clearly, that’s not going to happen anytime soon. For multiple reasons. Both technological and fiscal. But a girl can dream, can’t she?
At least when she’s not trying to explain to her colleagues that she moved and therefore hasn’t walked to work in more than a year.
December 2, 2013
I really didn’t want to go to work today. And I really didn’t want to be at work once I got there. It was one of those days that I felt more like I was paying lip-service to my job than actually working at it. I did a little. I didn’t do nothing. But I can’t say that I accomplished much.
And I know why. It’s the first day back after a holiday weekend. And I really didn’t want to talk about it. At all. I wanted to be invisible so that people couldn’t see me to ask how my Thanksgiving was. ‘Cause you know how it was. It sucked. It really sucked. And I love Thanksgiving. And I didn’t want to talk about how much it sucked.
So I closed my door and stared at my computer. I sorted through the emails that arrived since Tuesday. I responded to one. I checked my voice mail. And that’s pretty much it.
The bathroom is still too far away. And my office would be greatly improved if I had a Keurig or other single-serve coffee/tea/hot beverage maker (one of the ones with a large water reservoir). Then I wouldn’t have to walk down to the kitchen each time my mug ran dry. The kitchen isn’t as far away as the bathroom, but it still increases the risk that I will see people when I’m trying to be invisible.
So to the person who asked how I am today, the one to whom I didn’t respond: I’m sad today. I feel crummy. Please just pretend that I’m not here. Can’t you see that I’m trying to be invisible?
December 1, 2013
We took my nieces to see Peter Pan today. And while I was looking forward to all of the pirate scenes (my favorite song is Captain Hook’s Waltz), I was not looking forward to the nursery scenes. Which is kind of sad because my friend Kelly was playing Mrs Darling. But just thinking about Tender Shepherd makes me tear up, let alone watching it be performed.
But that wasn’t what got me. When the Lost Boys gathered around Peter, and s/he began to sing the Lullaby… Well, at that moment, I really wished I had an aisle seat so that I didn’t have to climb past the family of three sitting next to me. Don’t get me wrong. Climb over them I did. I was kind of grateful that I needed to go to the bathroom. This was at the Civic, my theatre, so I knew which door I could slip out through without letting too much light into the auditorium. And I just about ran downstairs to the bathroom. Fortunately, there are no monitors over which you can still hear the show in there, so I was able to cry just a little and then pull myself back together. I slipped back into the auditorium and stood at the back, right by the door, in case I needed to escape again. And I really should have waited until the act was over. Because it’s at the end of Act I that Peter asks the audience to clap if they believe in fairies so that Tinker Bell won’t die. And I lost it. Never thought that scene would make me cry. I was prepared to cry at the end. (Which I did.) But I didn’t think I would have as hard of a time holding it together.
For the record: Excellent production. The natives were wonderfully weird without a hint of Native American to them. The pirates were hilarious. The Lost Boys were fun. I really enjoyed it. When it wasn’t making me cry.
P.S. I saw Nicki at intermission, and we hugged it out. And I got a hug from her two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, too.
P.P.S. A big thank you to Nicki (the director) and Mike (the Civic’s staff stage manager) for giving me their comp tickets so that my whole family could see the show for free. That was far above and beyond my simple request to make sure I knew when tickets went on sale! I love you guys! (But not because you gave me your tickets. I loved you before that!)
November 30, 2013
I saw Paula today. And she saw me. And we hugged and cried and cried and hugged. And then we talked. For over an hour. And it only felt like 15 minutes.
Yes, we planned to meet. This was not a random-running-into-each-other moment. We planned to meet at the museum because then all of the kids could go and play while we sat and talked. And it really did work out well. Our moms got to talk. Paula’s sister and my brother got to catch up. Our dads… Not sure what exactly our dads did.
And I’d love to tell you about everything we discussed. But some of it is Paula’s story to tell, not mine. And most of the rest of it you’ve already heard before. How it feels to go back to work. The idiotic things people have said. Sharing pictures of our babies. Do you need a tissue?
And it was good. Sure, it would have been better if we could have had more than pictures for show-and-tell, but we’re both so grateful to have each other, to know that in our most inarticulate speech, the other still understands what we’re trying to say. We had a good cry.
And Paula summed this whole experience up well. Death sucks.