Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Hope.

April 29, 2012

My whole trip down memory lane had me clicking around my old blog, reading random entries. And I found one where my pal David asked me ten questions. One blew me away. Look:


6) If you had to choose between a life without legs and a life without children, which would it be?

I’m answering these out of order, and this one keeps catching my eye. It seems an impossible choice, and I can’t believe that I find myself leaning towards having legs.

In truth, I can’t imagine myself without legs OR without children. Except that I do know what it’s like to not have children, and I don’t know what it’s like to not have legs. I really believe disability isn’t a huge problem; this is primarily because of my first degree.

I’m not saying it isn’t limiting in some way, if you choose to see it as that, but in other ways it allows people to experience similar things in different ways.

I wonder what the limitations of this question are. For instance, can I foster children or teenagers? Or is that merely getting out on a technicality?

Essentially, I believe it’s possible to have a fulfilling life either way.

But…I guess I would choose having children over having legs. Except I WOULD totally get some bionic ones.

Children offer family, continuity, laughter, love. Legs offer a lot, but I would hope I would be adaptable and resilient enough to face life without them.

I hope, though, I will have both.

Shit. ‘Children offer family, continuity, laughter, love. Legs offer a lot, but I would hope I would be adaptable and resilient enough to face life without them.’ Have I? Have I exibited the grace and hope these words imply?

After all, while it sometimes feels I actually made the choice of having children over being able to walk normally, it wasn’t really a choice. I didn’t know it was a choice I was making before it happened. Who thinks they are going to end up with a permanent disability because they chose to get pregnant? It never entered my mind, which is why this past entry seems spooky and prophetic and….well, hopeful.

It reminds me that even if I HAD had the choice – mobility or my children – I’d choose my children. Every time.

Thank you for that, David from 2004. One again you have brightened my life. I love you.

Who am I, who have I been, who do I wish to be? HOW do I wish to be?

April 25, 2012

I’ve been talking to David more in the past few weeks than we have in the past few years. I like talking to him. He’s intelligent, funny, and we share a way of thinking. We know each other in a way I don’t know other people, or allow myself to be known. Somehow it’s always just been this way. Easy, and challenging. Our conversations make me think….and feel.

Today I was left with the question: How would I experience the world if I was the adult I would be had I never experienced childhood trauma?

I spent a lot of time locked in my room, trying to not hear the sound of my mother being pushed down the stairs by my father. A lot of time locked in my head, trying to ignore the yelling – or the silences, as these polar opposites were the hallmarks of my childhood. I didn’t experience a lot of the middle ground when I was a kid.

But then the thought occured to me that I’ve had a thousand times, and I know you have too: if I’d never experienced what I have, I wouldn’t be me. And while I have my rusty parts, my terrified parts, my cranky parts – on the whole I like me. So how to move forward?

It’s a fool’s game to try to change the past, to wish things away or into existence. We just can’t do it.

But you know, I think maybe, just maybe, we have the best of both worlds. We get to have learned from our pasts, but we also have the chance to build on that. Everything seems to be a pretty delicate balance, and for me, learning to stay somewhere in the middle has been hard.

I try to be graceful – my experience with a disordered father has allowed me a sensitivity to other people’s pain I might not have known otherwise. I have strong intuition and instincts because I needed them when I was a kid. I am grateful for these gifts….though of course I’ve had some unwanted gifts. A fear of my own creativity, of taking risks. A fear of standing up to people, lest I get punished in some inexplicable way.

We all have our hurting places. We all think we are the only one to have these secret doubts and black places, but that’s bullshit. We all have them. But I think we all have the potential to try to learn new ways of being, to try to be our deepest, most authentic self – yes, the person we would be if we were not scarred by our pasts. It is hard work. It is grueling, painful, and sometimes joyful.

I have gone through cycles of extreme growth, and lately I’ve been stuck in period of grey sameness. It’s been cold, muddy, mostly lonely. Perhaps this conversation, my watching a friend as he tries to force his way out of a concrete cocoon, will be my inspiration to start over.

Again.

Being happy can be a choice.

March 7, 2011

There are two possible opening sentences:

We have never been big spenders.

Sometimes being positive is a choice.

A few years ago, before we bought our current flat, our bank called us in for some sort of financial review. I guess the money we’d saved for a deposit on a house made us suddenly important customers, because we’d been pretty solidly ignored prior to having this money.

The guy went through the usual: how much do you spend per month on clothes? Entertainment? Pubs? Going out?

As we basically said we spent no money (and it’s true, you’ve never known two women less likely to buy clothes! Or two twenty-somethings…now thirty-somethings… less likely to go out!), the look on his face clearly showed he thought we were full of shit. Like we were trying to impress him, trying to beg for a bigger mortgage if we applied with them. (We did not.)

It’s no secret I love Yankee Candles. LOVE them. It’s also no secret that I spend a lot of time oogling them, sniffing them, looking them up on ebay – and never buying them. Because even when TMD had a job, candles were a luxury.

But to spend the weekend talking about how we have to stop buying Diet Coke, or tortillas, or so many carrots because these things are too expensive? To not buy a secondhand pair of boots for my kid because we don’t have the money? To stop thinking of buying them building blocks because, well, we might need that 6.00 for a bill in the near future? Depressing shit.

So even as I can’t sleep at night, even as I have nightmares about her losing her job when I do manage to sleep, even when I wake up to diarrhea every. single. morning. because stress always goes to my stomach, I take a deep breath and believe myself when I say this might be a blessing.

I feel we have to conciously choose to make things a blessing. It won’t feel like one for months, maybe a couple of years, but we are the sort of people who will make things work. We are the sort of people who strive to be happy.

She is stronger than me. I don’t think ongoing panic has hit her, or if it has she’s not shitting herself like me (literally) or living in a hell of not sleeping. We’ve decided to nightwean (started last night, a post about that coming soon) because she has three weeks left at her job and now is the time to feel like shit from not sleeping because it just doesn’t matter.

Sometimes you have to choose to be happy. Even when you can’t unwind, even when your mind is not quiet or content.

And then sometimes it’s a sunny day. Your friend and her little child are over, and the sun is pouring down from a pure blue sky – a rarity in this country. So you go outside – no coats. No coats! – and sit on the grass which is dry for the first time in about five months.

Your children squeal and ride in the secondhand cars we were gifted, and they feel like a real gift because of the happiness. Because your son is actually staying in sight and not running for the wilds. Because vitamin D is melting into your skin from the heat of the sun, and your friend is laughing, and you decide to erect the pop-up playtent in the garden and three little children are laughing and peek-a-BOO-ing and happy.

Sometimes being happy isn’t a choice. It just happens.

Until things are more secure and sure for us, I choose to live in hope and happiness. And I am even more thankful for these brief moments when I’m not worrying and overthinking and stressing out. For the times when I am just able to sit in a tent with my children, for the cup of tea I am drinking, for the joy of just being.

That costs nothing, most of the time.

To Aussie, and Walnut.

February 3, 2011

Something switched this evening. It started innocently enough.

Earlier in the day, Aussie had said, ‘But they aren’t really babies anymore, are they?’ We looked in silence at our children.

As the afternoon sun began to turn golden and then pink, we continued to sit in the lounge, talking about our days at Day Job, the lazy afternoons in the pub, pregnancy, etc. We laughed about her first visit up to see Snort and Coconut, her belly so swollen with the baby that would turn into the little boy dancing around with my children.

My eyes filled with tears.

It had been an afternoon of poop, of bumped heads, of macaroni thrown across the room. We sat as afternoon changed to evening, both reluctant to stop talking.

She was right. They aren’t baby babies anymore, not any of them. Not the three children standing around the play kitchen, seriously stirring things and puttting lids on pots. Not the three children poking each others’ bellies.

The tears began to spill; I felt unaccountably sad.

And then it all switched.

Neither of us had noticed when all three kids, so close in age they may as well be triplets, wandered as a pack into Snort and Coconut’s bedroom. But we noticed what happened next.

Little baby (sigh, no, little children) squeals of delight, periods of booming belly laughs. We locked eyes. We stopped talking and started listening. Seconds of laughter stretched into minutes stretched into forever.

‘If we go try to watch them,’ I whispered, ‘it will stop their fun.’

So we did the hardest thing, we sat back and let our babies go. They turned into children who chased each other up and down the hall, into children who bounced on the beds, into children with breathless laughter and happy exhaustion.

We sat. We listened.

‘It’s the next generation of you and me,’ I said.

‘My god, you’re right.’ We both smiled.

Our friendship has blossomed in the unlikeliest of ways. Both of us lived as far apart on the globe as you can imagine, both of us came to inhibit this small country so very far from our family and friends. We have the accents of outsiders, yet are united in the many cultural commonalities our home countries share.

We have become family, and we have become mothers.

Mothers of small children who inexplicably seem to be passing an empty  milk container back and forth. Mothers of small children who spent 45 minutes playing Рwithout any toys. Mothers who are friends, friends who listen and long and yet somehow, somehow, the sheer beauty of the evening makes us feel that little bit more aged, more beautiful, more lucky. More at peace.

Friends who are mothers of small children who become babies again as they toddle into the room, just to check we’re still here, the world is still functioning properly. Mothers who smile at these babies who become small children as they say ‘bye bye’, waving to us as they back out of the room, shutting the baby gate behind them, running down the hall.

To my friends.

November 30, 2010

My ‘internet friends’ have sent us amazing homemade quilts for the babies to snuggle under. They’ve sent money for diapers, toy slings, books, changing mats, blank books.

My ‘internet friends’ have been there when I needed to ask someone about chicken pox, eczema, ‘feminine issues’, cancer. They’ve discussed, argued, and agreed with me on topics like mental health, twin parenting, writing, and poop.

My ‘internet friends’ have been there when I was alone in a little cabin with no phone reception. They texted my wife and tweeted to me, so that we could be in communication when she had taken one of our babies to hospital. They offered support while I quietly freaked out about not knowing which hospital it was.

My ‘internet friends’ have asked me interesting questions, made me laugh, offered me sound advice.¬† They have emailed, facebooked, commented here, tweeted, texted, and written me letters. I’ve met some in person and would like to meet more.

These people, the ones I know some people might refer to in quotations, are not just ‘internet friends.’ They are friends.

Ordinary, exemplary, smart men and women who make my life a little brighter because they are in it. I appreciate these people. I root for these people in times of hardship, I compete with these people for wordcounts of works in progress, I learn more about them than I know about many people who are not ‘internet friends.’

Thank you. You know who you are.

Goddamn, they’re cute. And so are YOU. *mwah*

October 3, 2009

My mom’s coming tomorrow for ten days. She is coming to meet the babies, and to wash the shelves of my fridge. (She doesn’t know that second part, but she will be happy. She likes cleaning. With a frenzied sort of passion.) Not sure much blogging will happen. It’s odd, but I’m coming to think of people from this world as friends.

When I was in university, I was hardcore into the online world, at a time when it was really only very, very new. (Jesus, that makes me sound old.) I spent a lot of time in talkers, which are, I suppose, a low tech, high intelligence version of chatrooms. People went into talkers to actually meet people and converse, as opposed to trying to score a free virtual blow job.

I became quite close with a number of the people I met. Some were ‘only’ online friends (but no less real in friendship terms), some I talked to on the phone, some I met in reality, some I dated. One I almost got engaged to, but then I smashed his heart and dumped him. That’s the summer I came out as bisexual. (Yes, don’t worry. I’m really a lesbian.)

My last blog also led me to some great people, exchanging Real Live Emails and, yes, meeting a few people. Wanting to have met a lot more.

This blog? I don’t know why it strikes me funny that I should feel close to people from the online world, when I’ve clearly got all the geek stamps of approval. Yet it’s even people who merely comment here. You know who you are – if you are a regular, or even semi-regular, commenter, I am coming to be more and more interested in your mind, your opinions, your friendship. No doubt this is partly due to the fact that my world is shrinking in many ways (yet deepening in those ways, too), but also that I am getting to know people.

I guess the oddness is that my old blog was very public. None of this hide-the-face and don’t-use-real-names bullshit. Yet I felt more cloaked and distanced from people there. Here in this anonymous world, I am somehow becoming facebook friends with people, sending them birth announcements, emailing with people. It’s odd how that happens, but I’m grateful it does.

Anyway. Love to you all. I’ll leave you with this:

IMG_2111

‘Pick me!’


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