Saturday, May 28, 2011

Date Night

We have a respite care worker now, which means we have Gretchan, our friend's daughter, to come and watch the kids while we go on a date. Four hours to do what we want. Go out to eat. See a movie. Drink coffee. Heaven.

We head out to Heartland Cafe, a favorite haunt in our younger days, we haven't been there in years, we used to go there when we had no money and linger over two cups of community coffee for hours and watch the hippies come and go. Now we have a little more money, and we get dinner. which is too rich for my post surgical stomach, so I do the accidental bulimic thing in the ladies. I come out with red eyes and smile at Don, and he winks at me. Romantic, in a Hill family sort of way.

We get in the car and start driving, unsure of where to go or what to do. We drive out to Northerly Island, look at the water, turn around and drive back. We get cups of coffee and wander around in a Walgreens, looking at stuff, holding hands. We realize that we are, once again, being followed by the store security. Honestly, if we were planning a life of crime, would we look like this? Wouldn't we try to like, blend?

We get back in the car and Don drives through the foggy spring night, and I curl up in the seat and doze, in and out, feeling like I am driving at night with my parents, safe, knowing that it is all taken care of. A song that sounds like a lullaby plays on the radio. It is nice to let it go, the vigilance that rules me, keeps me on my toes and makes it impossible to relax and be with my husband, my lover, my friend, just be. I can feel it washing over me like the fog, and flying away.

When we get home the boys are sleeping, except for Sage, who is watching a movie about Zombies, and
 Gretchan wants to know what we did, and I hesitate, what do I say, I threw up at a vegetarian cafe and we went to Walgreens and drove around? I just tell her that we enjoyed being together, just the two of us, and this is true, and she says goodnight. I sit down on the couch and Jude comes in, sleepy, and lays his head in my lap, and I smile at my husband, my lover, my friend, and think that life is good, very good, and he smiles back, and I lean back and close my eyes and let it all wash over me, and it is perfect in a way that I forgot it could be. Just tonight, we can rest, and know that we are beautiful, and it is good.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I have been told that I need to find a way to be okay even if my children are not. I am too enmeshed, whatever that is. How separate should I be? Should I stand here? Move back this far? How about here?

Yeah, it's true. If Jude is having a good day, I am having a good day. If Jude is screaming, coming undone, shattered, so am I. If Eden has a bleed, if Sage is in pain, my thoughts and conversations revolve around ice packs and synovial damage. 

My kids are relatively healthy and happy today, so I am too. I have been told repeatedly that I need to find a way to be okay when they are not. I am sure I can shut down that part of me that grieves anew every time Eden is limping because his ankle is destroying itself a little at a time, but do I want to? Even if I could, I am not sure that should be a goal.

 I have a hard time believing that it is healthy for me to be cheerful and pleasant and talk about shopping or Oprah or whatever when my child is suffering. My gut tells me I need to feel it. Don't wanna pretend it's okay. Because, sorry, after all these years, it still. isn't. okay. that my child. hurts. I spent years is a drug/achohol/simple carbohydrate haze, not feeling anything if I could avoid it. I feel strong enough to take it, like a man. On the chin. I get knocked on my ass, but I get back up, lower my center of gravity, and take a deep breath. Ready. Go.

This life is short. Pain and anguish are a part of it. I will laugh my head off today, cry, yell at someone, shake my fist at the heavens and get down on my knees and pray. Sorry if my pain is hard for you to watch. Would it be easier if we were separated by a tv screen and there were commercial breaks? Then you could turn it off when it got too much. What sort of message do I send to my children when I insist that things are fine when they are not? It is a message of faith, really, that if I fall apart, come undone, someone waits with loving hands to hold me and put me back together.  

The reality is, life is painful. Life is also beautiful, and terrifying, ugly and sweet. I can beat my chest and scream at the heavens and know that God is listening and that He has blessed me beyond belief and I have no right to question Him. He gets me, and can stand to see me in pain. There is no shadow or shifting, no pretending, and He will not turn away. Ever.

So I am here, warts, angst, hairy legs and all. Hold the fabric softener, the ativan, the cosmetic surgery and the twinkies. I plan to stand firm, experience it all, and take it right on the chin. And when I fall over, and can't get up, well, that is okay, too. I have back up. I'm good.