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I don’t even know where to start

Actually, I do know where to start. With this: THANK YOU. Thank you for reading, thank you for caring, thank you for being generous beyond measure. You don’t need to care about my kid, or about a bunch of other kids you’ve never met, but you do, and you are AWESOME and PRETTY and I am inspired by you.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, go read about my possibly ill-named post on making tampon lemonade. In the face of learning that Chickadee’s hygiene items were constantly being stolen by other girls in the hospital, I’m not going to lie: I got angry. Anger is easy. So that happened first, and then I realized anger accomplished nothing, and instead maybe I—we—could do something, instead. I asked you to help me round up the supplies these girls need, and you responded beyond my wildest imaginings.

I rented my UPS mailbox on Monday, and put up that post, knowing that thanks to Amazon Prime, there would be packages arriving on Wednesday. I planned to go pick up at the end of the day, but around 2:00 I received a rather stern missive from the store. (more…)

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Endings, beginnings, elusive middles

It seems like I should have more to say about the end of middle school, but I’ve been a little too verklempt to manage it. [Talk amongst yourselves! Here, I’ll give you a topic: Attendance awards; universally annoying or only to bitter parents of chronically ill children who feel like other kids getting medals and certificates for having good immune systems is bullshit? Discuss.]

In the end, it was sort of anti-climactic. Chickadee hasn’t been feeling great, and in the post-moving-on-no-we-are-most-certainly-not-calling-it-a-graduation-ceremony hubbub as I tried to corral her and some friends for pictures, she finally stopped rolling her eyes long enough to walk up and stand nose to nose with me. “Time to go,” she said. “I need to go home.”

So I bought her a milkshake and took her home, whereupon she slurped down said milkshake and promptly fell asleep on the couch for several hours. Not really the celebration we’d maybe had in mind, but sometimes you’ve just gotta take a nap. (more…)

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Looks like we made it…

It turns out there’s nothing quite like living the one-day-at-a-time-at-the-hospital life to make you REALLY excited about middle school graduation. Part of me still can’t believe this almost didn’t happen, and the other part is afraid to breathe, just in case I’m asleep.

Today is a good day.

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Slow and steady

Otto never tires of telling people the joke about how it was an easy decision for us to have a small, family-only wedding ceremony without all of the traditional hoopla. “We’ve both already been to the wedding where she wore the big white dress,” he’ll deadpan, then sit back and wait for that to sink in.

In a few more months, Otto and will have known each other for 23 years.

Today, we’ve been married for 5 of them. [Aside: OH MY GOD look how tiny the children were!!] Just 5 years; our marriage is only embarking on kindergarten, and in some ways I’m still holding its hand to cross the street, tucking it in at night, and trying to convince it that there are no monsters hiding in the closet.

Make no mistake: for me, our marriage definitely fears there’s a big hairy beast either in the closet or under the bed, just waiting to pounce. Except in this case the hairy beast is “One day Otto wakes up and realizes it’s maybe not supposed to be this hard, this much of a slog, this kind of endless grind,” and then he tells me that he can’t do it anymore. (more…)

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Measured in metric awesome

Our long national nightmare known as the prolonged agony of Science Fair has come to a close for the year.

Not that I’m not a fan of Science Fair. I think it’s great. I just think it’s LONG. From the time the kids start their projects in… I think it’s October?… until the final fair at the end of March is just… a lot of time for a type-A nerdling to worry about her project. Not that I’m naming any names. Not that there was a child threatening to head to the exhibit hall WITH HER PUKE BUCKET if she was still sick, or anything. AHEM.

So you may remember that the Regional Fair was a real nail-biter this year, but ultimately Chickie took home the big prize, and all was well. I figured this would give her some confidence, heading into the State Fair, but that’s only because I forgot who I was dealing with. Because every new level of the Fair is an opportunity to FREAK OUT! (more…)

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It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Supernerd!

The last few days have kind of beaten me down, which you wouldn’t think would be possible, given that I keep (stupidly) thinking to myself, “Well, it’s not like things can get any WORSE.” HAHAHAHA. HA.

Chickadee just scored herself a sports medicine doc and some regular physical therapy, possibly because someone realized there was a doctor we hadn’t seen/needed yet. But I have to say I do like the concrete nature of this particular problem. (“You have iliotibial band syndrome and that is fixed via rest, ice, anti-inflammatories, and physical therapy.” It’s such a nice change from “We don’t really know what’s wrong with you exactly or if this will help.” Refreshing, really.)

And of course in the midst of this, she was gearing up for the final Reading Bowl competition today—State Championship, a.k.a. the end of the line in this particular event, or Bookworm Nirvana—and for some reason really not appreciating my jokes about how it was a good thing Reading Bowl doesn’t require a lot of running. (Whatever. I thought I was hilarious.) (more…)

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This weekend (not about feelings)

“Journaling is stupid,” Chickadee said to me last night, out of nowhere, as we were driving to pick up pizza for dinner.

I blinked at her. “Ummm,” I said, helpfully. “Don’t you have a diary you write in?”

“Yes, but that’s just it. It’s dumb. People keep telling me it’ll help to WRITE ABOUT MY FEELINGS and you know what? It doesn’t. It’s stupid. It just makes me dwell on the stuff I shouldn’t and I never feel better, after.”

“I feel better when I write about stuff,” I offered. Because it’s true. “But… maybe you’re just more of an action-item type. Maybe instead of writing about how you feel, you’d do better writing about what you want, or making a list of the very worst things that could happen, so you could see things are actually sort of okay.”

“No,” she said, resolute in her conviction, “I like to write. I love to write—stories and stuff. But when I try to write about me it either ends up being ‘Today I did this and this and this’ which is totally boring, or it’s ‘Today I hate everyone’ which is, you know, not really useful.” (more…)

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Worth it

I’ve been to hours of rehearsals and have missed hours of rehearsals. I’ve driven to rehearsal and wiped tears off my cheeks the whole way there because it was my only time alone to vent the frustration and sadness I was feeling over my oldest being sick and scared and beyond the fixing I used to be able to do with band-aids and boo-boo kisses.

I’ve laid awake at night while Otto gently snored next to me, my prayers for strength and patience and grace all tangled up with mental repetitions of my lines for the show—lines I could’ve easily learned in an afternoon back when I was in college, but which now eluded me or got twisted up on my tongue as my older, slower brain darted from one worry to the next. I stared at the ceiling in the dark and hoped I wouldn’t make a fool of myself; hoped I hadn’t made the wrong choice, staying with the show, even in the midst of everything else.

I apologized to my girl for leaving her so much, especially this last week. “I would’ve been mad at you if you dropped out,” she said, simply. “It’s okay. I’m glad you’re doing it.” (more…)

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Actually, right now it’s delighted

So remember how I was all “Grrrrr, people make me mad and we need more girl power in the world!” and so I was going to go audition for The Vagina Monologues basically because my daughter asked me to? And then I didn’t say anything else about it and several of you emailed me and were all “Oh hey, whatever happened with that?” And I sort of did the email equivalent of “Hmmm, yeah, I dunno, OH LOOK, SOMETHING SHINY!” and didn’t really tell you?

I was waiting, see.

The audition itself was quite brief—surprisingly so, I thought—and I was left wondering if I was so awful they cut me off to save themselves or if I was so awesome that they decided to cast me on the spot and no further reading was necessary. (I have NO IDEA where my son gets that whole black/white assessment of the world from. Curious.) I went away and agonized for a few days, then later got a general “welcome to the cast, more info to follow” email.

More info arrived this evening. I read for the Angry Vagina monologue and that’s what I got! Apparently I am totally believable as cranky genitalia. I choose to take this as a compliment.

[Related: HOLY SHIT I haven’t acted in two decades and I thought a good way to reacquaint myself with the stage would be to get up in front of a bunch of people and bitch about tampons and pap smears?! Of course I did.]

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Just a busy Sunday

So my to-do list for today is about six miles long; I got up early (which I almost never do on Sunday, because sleeping late is easily in my top 5 favorite activities) and did some work and picked up the house a little and went out for groceries and was back before I’m usually even awake on the weekend.

The plan was to have a couple of families from Monkey’s new school come over to swim, so everyone could meet everyone else and the boys could play and—hopefully—Monkey would not refuse to get in the car when carpool time came.

So I baked some muffins (when in doubt: bake) and made some iced tea and threw some lemonade pouches in the fridge for the kids. I put on my swimsuit and slathered Monkey in sunblock and truthfully, I was nervous, and also thinking about all of the other things I needed to be doing, or would have to rush to do after our guests left. (more…)

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