Something like a Duck

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's not a cat

Accidentally On Purpose.

This whole life has caught me off guard. The wife thing, the mom thing, the diabetes and disease thing… One day, looooooong ago (emphASSis on the long), I was a fair maiden in a far away land. I was young and inspired and oblivious to reality. I had aspirations and motivation.

But marriage and children cleared those symptoms right up.

I want to remember myself as anything but innately maternal. I want to sell this story like any other’s…I was a young chirpy cheerleader with late nights around bonfires and football games and prom.  I graduated high school to claim my “Pass Go – Collect Cancun Summer Cruise and Proceed to College” ticket.  That I was never in want of responsibility; and that I never proved to be…

Alas, I cannot. I was, in fact, the town babysitter. I taught Sunday school classes with my mother. I was in charge of the little ones when I was but a little one. Control has been the birthmark on my lily white butt cheek since birth.  It’s not to imply that I was not young and capricious with many an error made. I have no halo, but I have no horns either.

When I was very young and still living in Miami, my mother ran a daycare out of our home. I was 8 years old and could change a baby, entertain a gaggle of toddlers, and help make ‘psssgetti.’ My high school sweetheart had a niece and nephew that I fancied as the first of my ‘children.’ I was always taking care of someone somehow.

But must I? Really?

Yes. It is the only answer that will suffice. I long for all the luxuries of Sanity, but I need  this Chaos of Caring .

Ugh. Being nice is hard.

It’s mostly only on days that end in ‘y’ that I am so conflicted…normally right after I see my young, single, childless neighbor jogging with far too much enthusiasm and far too little cellulite. I wonder how pretty her face is in the morning without the furrowed brow a scary midnight low brings? Would she run as easily if her head ached with the worry of her over-worked husband and fragile marriage? Could she smile just as nicely when a small human cannon-balled onto her pert chest? How energetic would a day’s worth of specialists and medicines and machinery leave her?

It’s not that I don’t think she exists without challenges. I know that she must have a hiccup in her day that ripples the water. It is impossible to live both a FULL life and an EASY life. But I just wonder how probable it is that they are colored my same shade of crazy.

Does it matter? No. It really should not. I should be humane enough to understand that comparing an apple to an orange is futile work for the ungrateful. I should be happy I’m a fruit (don’t agree too fervently there), that I have such a bundle of it, and that even if mine is a little bruised or beaten or a different shade (Hell, with three boys you know one of them has worms!)

I am still the bearer of a beautiful harvest.

I worry about the days I miss out on finding who I am. What will come of my life if I cannot know to whom it belongs?

But, then I realize that who I am is about who and how I have loved. My life belongs to those I nurture and grow along my branches. A pity for those who I’ve had to shake the sh*t out of and drop, but HIP HIP HOORAY! for those I keep. I nurture their existence because I understand that it is their being that allows for mine.

We often hope for lives that entertain our vanity and wants, needing for both the tree and fruit to bear itself to feed our self.

Hard times often are the most convincing to believe we give without having received. How silly to believe the fruit did not fall a terrible height so that it could become the tree! How silly to think the tree did not fight the force of the wind to stand tall enough to bloom the hopeful seed!

It happens to us so suddenly. A fear. An angst. A doubt. We accidentally fall over ourselves so that we can be reminded of our purpose. Someone somewhere loved you and gave you a want or a dream or a goal. They gave you a gift. Your purpose? Return the favor.

Someday, my neighbor’s boobs will droop and I will gladly suggest which brand of duct tape won’t rip a nipple off post-workout.

And to show that I am such a good listener, I will heed my own words and chase that woman down, but only because I let myself receive her gift of motivation to get off my arse. Yay me!!

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It Takes a Village

…to raise an Idiot.

Once upon an African proverb, we learned that it takes so much more than immediate family to nurture our young. A child has to have the influence of friends and teachers and boogeymen to shape their character. We protect them, loving them most when they deserve it least. We guide them, offering direction when they are aimless. We teach them perseverance and sustainability, promising a chance for survival.  Cue “We are the World” because this is about to happen: Our children are our efforts because they are inevitably our future.

Let that sink in for a second…it’s going to make you sigh and then probably shudder.

Although the children are just so super great, this post needs to be about me…hence the whole ‘idiot’ thing.

My village is a little village of great heart.

There are those who have always been here. My parents, my siblings, my first stalker (it was a playground romance gone bad)…They have been my support through so much pain (that they, of course, inflicted. They are a duplicitous sort of people). I grew up knowing that they loved me, even when it was hard to like me. Mostly because they had to (na-na-nah-boo-boo) or else Abuela would pinch them. With time, the people in my home became more than just family. There was a father that traded his sweat and tears to love me when the other of blood could not. He became a secret hero. There was my sister who grew up too fast and still smiled even covered in dust. She became my absolute best friend. The other one who fluttered by in the breeze for too long, then settled at last like a feather on water. She taught me to exist beyond the whisper’s of others. There was a mother who gave more than she had, and took less than her worth, for the sake of others. She is an inspiration. My little Big brother wandered into a war, returned broken yet brave, and spawned a whirlwind of success amidst chaos. He has become a standard of strength- both physically and spiritually. And my Abuela (my grandmother) *sigh*  she is the heart that toils constantly to give life to us all. This is my immediate bundle of abodes.

But then there are the others. Not the Nicole Kidman kind of ‘Others’, but the ones that I have gathered along the way. My family of friends that have set up shop in my village. There is the neighbor who opened her door when I knocked, loaded with crazies and cupcakes and danced too late into the night with. There is the crazy roommate who lingers as a lasting loiterer. There is the most familiar stranger who is the best dancing muse; her every word of wisdom sprinkled in my dialogue. And then there is that family who adopted my family to make a better family of weirdos. They run the funnest of B&B’s.

My village is home to happiness. When everything inside of me cracks like cheap wood, they are strong. They make a place in their busy lives to learn our ‘ways’ so that abnormal and normal can blur together in a haze. I knew they belonged inside the walls of my world long before catastrophe struck, but I did not realize how.

I never shy away from learning…something new must saturate my brain daily. Within the last year, I have made complete leaps in regards to proprietary intellect . Any and every medical term, research trial, and/or treatment theorem has not escaped me. But my emotional precedence can be questioned far too often. My feelings become flatulent… unmistakably necessary for relief, but painfully ‘brown’ in passing.  *This will be the quote most referenced in my future success. Marks my words…*

Good sense evades me in manic moments and I am, at once, all the fool. My village, this family I have, comes to my rescue. They raise me up to be strong. They raise me to be light-hearted, hopeful, and motivated. Sometimes they raise me to be a wino, but that’s okay because they also raise me to be a super great porcelain potty inspector …’cuz that’s what my head was doing in there. Really. Really really.

The point is this…I don’t have it all together. I cannot do it on my own. I am not always the best informed even if my intentions are the best. No one does. No one ever should. The moment you are completely self-sufficient and self-involved, that moment where you put on your inflatable muscles and lie to yourself that you are strong enough on your own, by yourself, without a family of supporters, WITHOUT YOUR VILLAGE that is the moment you are the hopeless Idiot.


A Hand-Held Garden

I cannot remember how it came to be: Did I last into the night hours lost of wisdom and in want of knowledge? or had I come to need knowledge to purge my wisdom’s woes?

Those who love me can forgive me for being so thoughtful and silent these days. I promise my mental quota will be met with one last postulating post. And my silence will last as long as the harlot’s virtue. Besides, puffy eyes do not go well with this outfit so I simply must move past this.

I am a true lover of all things Wordsworth. He has often been my mind’s mirror, capturing my nuance in perfect prose. He never denies the lament of love or hardship of loss, but he never capitalizes blame in all his grief either. He believes where there is wrong there is reason. William Wordsworth often utilizes the imagery of gardens and seasons to convey where his feelings are buried and the purpose of his chaos.

My nights have been  blurred with exhaustion and thought. But the visual of a garden has been constant. I flipped through my books finding there in Wordsworth’s writings my current aching:

“I began
My story early, feeling as I fear,
The weakness of a human love, for days
Disown’d by memory, ere the birth of spring
Planting my snowdrops among winter snows.”

The galanthus, also known as the ‘snowdrop’, is a bulbous plant that flowers in winter. A beautiful white and hopeful flower (according to Victorian floriography), the snowdrop exists when nothing else can. Before the warmth of Spring can nurture Nature, and long after Autumn has laid the Earth to rest, this flower sustains beauty in bleakness.  I think this is where my heart is…roaming the grounds in search of the Garden of Galanthus.

My memories of normalcy, the days when we played and slept and ate without worry or consequence, are no longer mine to live. I have to leave them as they are where they belong…there in the dead winter’s past as the blossoms of Hope. Before spring comes to flower my new garden, I have to let these snowdrops bloom.

A tussie-mussie (or nosegay) is the small decorative bouquet Victorian women would use to convey feelings via coded messages. It was a means of communication dubbed ‘The Language of the Flowers.”  Each flower in the bouquet represented a specific sentiment: The acacia meant a secret love, heliotrope showed devotion, and so forth. This made me wonder, what message do I carry? What language does my garden speak ? And, by God, does it match my shoes!?

I know my snowdrops are bound in the company of chamomile (energy under adversity), yarrow (health), bee balm (compassion), and pink verbena (family union). I decorate my gathered garden with blue violets of Faith and strong sprigs of thyme for courage. My maternal love captured in the cinquefoil’s growth.

The most notable (and necessary) component to progress is that of movement. I would, that I could,  lie in hiding somewhere in a garden of perpetual bliss. Since there is little advancement in stationary steps, I will pluck the flowers meant to speak my intent and continue on. As my needs change in life, so too may my hand-held garden (and subsequently my shoes and handbag to match).

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Substantial Sustainability

The history of the World is recorded relativistically:  sometimes all of this took 7 days, sometimes a few millennium for evolution, and in one case, a spaceship designed us according to blue prints. I cannot tell you who is right, because being right is a matter of perspective. But I can tell you that on the 8th day, diabetes crept in and held my son’s pancreas hostage. This weekend held two topic assignments concluding the 2012 Diabetes Blog Week : Saturday’s Snapshots (share what our life with diabetes looks like), and Diabetes Hero (a person you admire who deals with diabetes (or a Type 3’er)). I gonna’ kill two birds with one stone ’cause “Oprah calls it multitasking!”

My days with diabetes are as variable as a hormonal teenagers attitude: I want to smile. I want to cry. Sometimes I end up crying because I smiled. There are days where the sugar readings are baby-bear perfect…not too high, not to low. The sun shines, the birds chirp, and my children are so spectacularly normal I want to do a happy- dance. Every quibble and complaint is magical because they are not the result of a venom inducing high or a whining low. They are the simple squabbles of siblings.

**** EDITORS NOTEI drafted this early in the morning sitting in Clinic (of all places) while I waited for our check-ups. Then I left to see the pediatrician. Who gave me the referral to the podiatrist. With whom I scheduled an appointment while on route to the GI specialist.  Whose appointment for biopsy and endoscopy results proved conclusively difficult. This is not a good day.*****

I do not know where to go from here. This cursor has blinked at me for an eternity. I wanted to post my pictures. There were photos from Florida and the skate park. Our taekwondo testing and birthday parties with friends. There were smiles.There were eyes that sat above the sadness and spilled the happiness of our hearts unto the world.

I wanted to post them so that I could profess with great certainty how ‘normal’ I had managed to make of this life; how unaffected I am by the disease(s). It was for me. I wanted to be the second bird, too. I hoped to fight hard enough to prove my own hero.

I have nowhere to go but into my words. These, all of these, are for you, my Zach.

~ I pray that you know that I love you. I love you more today than ever. It is not because you are broken that I cry. I cry because I know that I will have to break to see you healed and put back together. But that is okay, I do not mind. Do not think I am afraid. I am not. Never fall prey to believing that I am angry with you. I am not. I am simply tired because the very thought of all of the efforts your beautiful smile merits leaves me weak. I will never ask of you what I cannot give first and most. We will need to sustain our faith, our patience, our kind words. This is more than a vocabulary word, Zachary. “Sustainability” is the capacity to endure. I need you to know that. This will have to be our life.

These diseases are forever, my child. The treatments will be constant.  But your ability to endure MUST prove one day longer, one move stronger. Understand now that you will be angry and frustrated. That is fine. It is never a weakness to expose your hurt. And you will never have to do so alone. Your fight is my fight.

You love hearing the story of how you snuck into my belly. You crept in without my knowing, hiding while we vacationed at Sea World and making me so very dizzy. I made an appointment and your tiny heartbeat fluttered across the screen. I loved you so entirely in an instant.

For all the love that I have for you, I could not save you from this. It takes my breath away just seeing the words. I break to even think the thoughts…My sweet son, I could not stop this. I cannot undo it. I am so sorry.

Daddy says  you are destined for greatness. There must be something so powerful and consequential to your existence that the forces that be fight to hinder your strength. Your obstacles are so many because what you are, the true potential that lies within you, is what will shape the Universe someday. I can see that. I can see your future filled with success.

I just want you to believe. Believe me when I say however constant the ailment it will never exceed my commitment. And when my last day on earth sees me three healthy young men, happy of heart and well in life, I will know that I loved beyond words and we sought to endure…~