Friday, October 8, 2010
7 Quick Takes
Nothing gets one to praying and pondering like having a friend email you that their health has taken a turn for the worse. My college buddy Jen has always struggled with diabetes. She has lost both kidneys and the third she received in a transplant. She is a frequenter of the Mayo clinic and has struggled with countless ailments that to me seem like a constant scourge. She and I had fierce but friendly debates over lunch while at Saint Mary's about all things possible and we both volunteered at Logan Center with the multiply handicapped for the same reason; we loved it and we loved the kids and it was a form of service to the poor, a good break into reality from the unreal world of the life of students. Her most recent correspondence indicated that she is no longer a good candidate for another transfer, and that her heart and arteries had calcified significantly resulting in some problems that will require ongoing maintenance to ensure "quality of life." When the conversation turns to "quality of life," it isn't joyful news, it's hard. I'm putting what she said about "What she needs" here because I think it applies to any family that suffers a blow to some extent, that the greatest pain of suffering is not even the suffering itself, but the isolation from the rest of the seemingly non suffering world.
"So yes, I am scared but trying to do my day to day routines as normally as I can. Often I consciously push aside the tidal wave of fear that I feel just under the surface of my thoughts. Occasionally, I do just let the dam break and my tears and fears pour out. But I am determined not to let a state of fear or depression dominate my life. My goal is to live as long as I can with strength, grace and wisdom.
Many people are asking what they can do for me. Really, I don’t feel any worse right now than I did last month or last year. The only difference is I need to rest for longer periods in the day after a morning of Wonderlab, or an afternoon of errands. What I need most is to not feel alone as I face a more stressful period in my life. So don’t worry that you’ll bother me with a phone call. I can find plenty of time to sleep. I still love to hear about the lives of you and your children, your work, your vacations etc. I still have a good sense of humor and I want to be connected to lots of people. That is what most strengthens my mind and my spirit."
2. When a mother of 9 and a mother of 1 both find something nuts, it probably is.
Last night I went to college night at my son's high school. Listening to people ask if administrators could tell if a parent wrote the essay I almost did a spit take. Hearing all of it made me feel like 1)have I been slacking all this time? 2) had I fundamentally failed my child by not steering him into certain tracks in high school? 3) was I somehow negligent for not hunkering down and making him master a sport when he showed no interest. 4) Should I have made him take the SAT a second, third and fourth time when the first was good? My brain was swimming with recriminations until I heard an exasperated mom say, "This is his time and his job and his to succeed at or fail, not because I don't love him but because I do." and honestly, I wanted to lift that mother up over my shoulders and carry her around while whooping the crowd of nervous stressed out helicopter parents into a supportive cheering frenzy. Needless to say, we became friends.
When you meet a couple 28 years your seniors who met freshman year at Notre Dame and Saint Mary's just like you did, it's a neat coincidence. When you find out they were the same majors that you were and loved the same teachers, it feels like more than chance, and when you spend a whole evening comparing experiences and laughing as if you'ld known each other for years, it's more than luck; it is refreshing to the Spirit and heartening as well. Plus it made the dinner conversations sail and a lot of fun.
This week my son brought home a letter asking permission for him to serve at the 85th anniversary of our children's school. I pointed out that we needed to check the schedule as he had soccer. He answered, "Yeah I have soccer but serving God is more important." I checked the schedule anyway and he can do both.
5. Home Again
My oldest is back in the land of his birth, surveying two potential schools. It's a bit heady to be making a list for the day with reminders about college aps for one and potty training for another. Time blipped by in an instant. What I miss most when he isn't around is his sense of humor; he can get his sisters giggling when they're feeling less than pleasant in almost no time.
6. Half a long weekend
Half my kids have today off. Half have Monday off. So cumulatively, I have sort of a 4 day weekend but with errands.
7. Creativity continually Impresses
My daughter is in a mythology class where they were asked to render a myth using one of their talents. Well, the girls renderedd ancient tales in methods worthy of the muses; with an embroidered pillow, three paintings, a poem, a photo essay, a comic book and my daughter's personal favorite, a song sung to Taylor Swift's Love Story, about Pyramus and Thisbe. It made me want to be in the English class but then....I almost always want to be in the English class.
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