16 November 2010

Pow! Bang! Kerblam!

I feel like everything is exploding these days.

Work is a total disaster zone. I don't like to blog about work, so I'll just say that I have too much to do, too little time to do it in, and too many personnel issues keeping me from the tasks at hand. Why can't we all get along? Sigh.

My immediate family is in good shape, thank goodness. Going home each night is a joy, even when the kids are not joyous. In truth, the kids are often defiant these days, testing limits and struggling with the transition to having another person live in our house. The Z situation is without a doubt to the good, but it's a change, and change is hard, and when you're four, when things are hard, you whine a lot and pitch fits about things that to an adult are totally inconsequential, and you save all of your crappy emotions for your safe person, which for M&R is, of course, me. Sigh. But still, being home is truly a refuge for me right now. Z is lovely and helpful and I'm beyond thrilled that this situation that I had so long desired is everything I had hoped it would be and then some. Maddie and Riley are completely hilarious, sometimes even when they are pitching fits. The home front is keeping me going right now.

Outside our little nuclear family, the broader but still pretty immediate family struggles. My stepbrother and his wife are on the skids, which has repercussions for my mom and stepdad. I feel for all of them. We're gearing up for our annual pilgrimage to see John's family in Michigan, which is searingly emotional every year, and although it's ultimately positive, it's certainly intense and draining.

An old friend of John's called me the other day out of the blue. He and his wife are people I have always admired and enjoyed, although we have not spent much time together. They are just good people, the kind of people who upon meeting, you know you can immediately trust and respect. His call was a ray of sunshine, but from behind a dark cloud: his brother has metastatic pancreatic cancer. It's like a knife to the heart. To make it all even that much more intense, his brother just got married a month ago.

My whole body aches with empathy. I gave John's friend—my friend, our friend—the URL to my blog to give to his sister in law, with the warning that it might be too much for her to deal with right away. John's friend is a doctor, so they don't need any medical advice, not that I'm qualified to give it, but John had access to some (at the time) pretty cutting edge chemo that not everyone could then get, so when I've heard from others facing a pancreatic cancer diagnosis, I've often shared that information. These friends don't need that. They need friends. I'm glad they felt they could reach out to me; I hope I can give them some of what they need.

These are not the only friends dealing with cancer. They are just the most recent. We're too young for this. Or are we? Is this just a part—the crappy part—of being in your late 30s? Is this when you suddenly wake up to find that your parents are not young, just young for their age, and that you and your friends are not immune to the scourge of disease and the tolls of time on the body? When does it stop being a fluke, a mistake, and when is it a horrible but unavoidable part of life? In the end, no matter. It's not fair, and it's devastating.

Maddie and Riley are reaching a point where it's a real challenge for me to pick them up and hold them for any length of time. I have not been sentimental in bidding farewell to babyhood, but this transition feels as huge as the weight of their cumbersome bodies. To pick them up and carry them, this is to be the mother of a small child. To no longer be able to do so is to be the parent of a big kid, official. Like so many other things in life, this is a painful if ultimately good transition.

I'm nostalgic these days, for my old body, for small children, for John, for the invincibility and endlessness of life in my 20s. I don't want to go back; what was difficult and painful on that journey to where I am now would be too much to bear again. I would make the same choices. I am without regret. But I am overwhelmed by the fullness of it all, and how that fullness it seems to be bursting out in uncontrolled and uncontainable negative ways. We were reminded in church on Sunday to slow down, and there is wisdom there, I think. I am walking rather than running these days, doing less in the evening, sleeping more, getting by on the minimum. I feel a need to hoard my reserves; each day draws on them in unexpected ways.


Christie said...

I'm reminded of how old I am every time I have to fill something out with those dang age group boxes. I used to be near the top in the younger groupings but lately I'm always in the second to last group. Second to last. Oy vey.

I thought I'd regret giving up law school but I don't. At all. The uncertainty of giving up a career to be a stay-at-home mom is unnerving, especially during the economic crisis we're going through now, but I trust that I'd land on me feet no matter what happens. And I know part of that would be a direct result of having such amazingly awesome and supportive friends, many of whom I've met fairly recently.

My apologies. I'm rambling. Sometimes your posts make me think of a million things all at once. I'm really glad you're posting more.

Anna said...

Oh my gosh, I hear you. I'm nostalgic too these days, a lot. A bunch of things with various people, medical and otherwise, reminding me that we're not at the youngest end of adulthood anymore. Not that I'm feeling old - just not young.

And I don't want to go back to my 20s either. I have loved being in my 30s and feeling so much more confident and at ease with forging my way in the world. And yet, it's exactly as you said - "the endlessness of life in my 20s". Life is different now. Not bad, necessarily, just different. And sometimes I miss the horizons being endless. Thanks for this thought-provoking post today.

Laura said...

Thank you for writing this ... it's exactly what was in my brain this morning as well.

My twins are the same age as yours, and I have the same feelings ... excited they are able to do for themselves, excited to watch them grow into real people, but so nostalgic for the young baby/child days, knowing that I won't have any more.

And as a friend in her late 30s was diagnosed with breast cancer yesterday, I got my instructions to go get my first mammogram, and I'm starting to feel unnaturally old.


PS> I'm a big fan of audiobooks as well, and my children enjoy them too. I just downloaded Ivy & Bean, and hope my kids enjoy it as much as yours. Thanks for the reccomendation.

~lifedramatic~ said...

Hugs to you and the babies Snick. I have no words to offer, just virtual hugs....



django's mommy said...

I can still pick up my 5 1/2 year old, but not for long, and it's quite awkward, as he is 46" tall and I am but 59". He is definitely a 'big kid' and I'm in awe every day of the person he's becoming.

And yes, I have found myself nostalgic of late, too. Probably much of that has emerged because we are moving (to WA!) next summer, and now I have to think about the 12 years I spent in NC, how different I was back then, how innocent, and how many moments of both inexplicable joy and pain I have experienced in this house. I can't say I have regrets, but boy, it's sure not how I expected things to go.

Wishing you strength and the ability to walk slowly through this next part of your journey...

Lyndsay said...

There was a 'trending topic' on Twitter a couple of weeks ago (like a blog meme)where everybody was Tweeting messages to their 16-year old self.
Life was pretty good for me at 16. What I would rather do is talk to my 23-year old self. She was so eager to be a grown up and do grown up things... I would just want to tell her to enjoy 23. Enjoy the health and freedom and opportunity and all the self-centered FUN that she should be having.
Because I think I've discovered that being a grown up is not always all it's cracked up to be.

Alayna said...

I'm so, so sorry that things at work are so nasty right now. Simultaneously glad for you that Z arrived just when she did! It sounds like it wasn't a minute too soon.

Great post, as always. I always appreciate what you have to say, and how you say it!

Anonymous said...

I just gave your blog link to someone as well. Hubby has a second cousin with cancer that will likely eventually kill him we just don't know when. He got married this past April to a wonderful girl who has stood by him through all of this. And now they are expecting a baby. I thought seeing your stiry would help her. You are truly an inspiration.

Gina said...

I have been incredibly lucky not to have had cancer touch my life, however, I know many people my age (30s) including several good friends and myself that have been diagnosed with serious auto-immune disorders. It really makes me wonder if these and cancer have become more prevalent in people our age and why. Disturbing.

On a lighter note, my older son turned four this past Wednesday and we celebrated with a special "Mama and Thomas day". At the aquarium. He was tired by the end of the day and asked me to carry him back to the car. I carried him for a bit and then had to put him down - he's just too heavy. We were both a bit sad about that.

And I second what Christie said above, I really enjoy your writing...it always makes me contemplative.