To protect the privacy of my family, I have to be vague, for which I hope you will forgive me. I’ve always been very open about the heartache of my daughter Sammi’s first eight years: the confusion and the instinct I had to push through it, the fear I had about her breathing and eating, the confidence I somehow found inside me to urge all of us forward to a real resolution to her challenges. As much as was age-appropriate, I have always asked Sammi what she felt comfortable sharing through this blog and through other writing. She wants the world to gain something from her journey, as do I.
But this last month, the heartache and the excruciating journey have belonged to my parents, and it has been dramatic, painful, and frightening on a physical level for them and on an emotional and spiritual level for all of us. It kept me away from home for most of the month, away from my husband and daughters and a million miles outside my comfort zone. It did not and cannot end well, but that is all I can say about it without betraying their privacy. Continue Reading…
I spent Valentine’s Day at O’Hare Airport, mostly.
That’s the punch line, but the lead-up is that my husband David — my organized, thoughtful, careful, good-planning husband — usually does everything logistical for our travel. He always has. There are these clear, colored plastic file folders into which he has, for at least the last couple of decades, placed copies of our boarding passes and hotel reservations, photocopies of our passports, printouts of hotel reservations, lists of things to do. They have neat notes in the margins, sometimes (“spoke with Marla at the front desk, they will have a Pack-n-Play ready, 7/16). I used to get frustrated that it seemed like this was the only thing he ever did when it came to our travel — I packed up the kids, canceled the mail, used up the milk in the fridge, made sure we had sunscreen, and on and on, a mountainous pile of tasks, while he sat in his office printing things — but the truth is that his jobs meant we would always get there and always had a place to stay and (usually) appropriate beds for everyone. Continue Reading…
There is so much waiting these days that I feel like I’m constantly trying to cross a street with unending traffic. There will be a break in it, eventually, but the cars are so close to each other that I can’t even see what’s on the other side.
During the month of November, my family waited for responses to my oldest daughter’s college applications (and we keep waiting as they trickle in). We waited for a family member to be well enough for surgery, then waited again while she recovered. We waited for news on new homes, on travel plans, on the progression of disease in someone we love. We waited for a flight, and another. We waited on work projects and proposals and to see if our oven was, indeed, broken. On so many of these things, there is still no resolution. So, we keep waiting.
Most of all, I’m waiting as my delightful, warm and excited new literary agent (Sharon Bowers, of Miller Bowers Griffin Literary Agency) holds onto a copy of my finally, finally finished book proposal and manuscript until the time is right to submit it to publishers. Before she agreed to represent me, I spent October waiting and waiting for a very talented but incredibly slow editor to send me her suggestions for changes to both those documents. As I waited for the editor and now wait for the agent, I am also waiting, staring at the sent mail in my inbox and the list of submitted essays on Submittable to get responses from the magazines in which I would love to publish. I’m just waiting waiting waiting, waiting waiting waiting, my muscles sore from waiting. Continue Reading…
She was sitting on the couch facing me when I opened the door to the apartment. In a deep-cut v-neck t-shirt, beaded necklaces dipping into her cleavage, my roommate asked me why I’d put the ironic knick-knack I loved back on top of the stereo speaker.
“Because I think it’s funny,” I said.
“But you know I hate it,” she answered, her fingernails pressing into her thighs.
“I know,” I answered her, clutching my backpack, “but you do a lot of things that I hate, too, and you don’t seem to care. Why should I?”
“So you put it up there for revenge?!” she asked, still sitting. I watched a patch of red begin to creep up from between her breasts into the v of her shirt.
“Basically, I guess?”
“You know,” she said, rubbing her hand along the knee of her jeans, “I sometimes come home at night when you’re sleeping, and I stand outside the door to your bedroom, and I have to force myself not to come in there and beat the shit out of you in your sleep.”
“You’re crazy,” I answered, staring at the french doors to my room, and then at her neck, which has grown crimson to match her chest. “That’s what a crazy person says.”