Archive | October, 2011

The Fine Line

26 Oct

Today, while I was using a public restroom, I found myself crying out to G-d, tormented by my own dysfunction.  The part about the restroom is important because it happened to be the only location where I had a moment to myself…it was a single stall!

My cry?

“Why is it so hard at this very moment to have a good attitude?!  Why am I so focused on the things I want to dismiss?! AAAaaahhhhHH”

In other words, why am I walking such a fine line today?  Why, oh why, oh why!

What a dumb question.  What a pointless attitude…and yet, it was mine today!

But here is some good news;

Cole has ditched his walker and is using a cane.  He made this decision on Saturday, October 8th.  I remember because that was the day of Brian’s family reunion here at our house…as if I wasn’t tired enough, Cole decided to teeter and totter on that particular day.  The first week of his cane use I felt like I had sandbags running through my veins, mucking up my circulatory system, and therefore rendering me prone most of the week.  I was just so nervous he would fall over; in fact, he told me to not react so quickly to catch him when his footing went awry.  He told me to let him try to catch himself, like his friends do if he is with them.  I told him, “yeah right! I am not your friend, I am your mother…letting you possibly fall goes against my nature!”

Yet here he is in his third week of cane use, and his balance (or his compensatory abilities) have improved greatly!  I am not such a nervous wreck as I walk next to him, and his confidence makes for a good teacher.

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This One’s for SuperEve

20 Oct

The promised story…

When Cole was a baby, Brian and I took him on a road trip to the Grand Canyon.  Brian had purchased a 1963 Ford Galaxy 500 (a purchase that bothered me from the onset), and that is the vehicle we used to take us on our adventure.  Brian had the good idea of traveling along old Route 66 for as much of the drive as possible.  And after I mapped it out with triple A (AAA), I knew our road trip was going to be a load of fun.  Along the way I had planned for us to visit the Grand Canyon Caverns, Lake Havasu and the London bridge, and a few old towns in-between.  The more I researched our route, the more excited about our trip I became.

The day finally came for our long anticipated vacation, and being that the Galaxy could only accommodate Cole’s car seat in the front seat, I sat in the back.  At the time that didn’t bother me so much, however writing it down now makes me quite ticked off…ok, just kidding!  Anyway, cutting right to the ‘heart o my story’…

We arrived at the Grand Canyon and though it was majestic and sunny and perfect, the Galaxy was not.  I can’t quite remember what went awry between Brian and his beloved muscle car, but something most definitely did.  Brian became irritated by something malfunctioning in the car and felt it required immediate attention.  Now you need to understand that I have married a most passionate man (if you didn’t know that already).  For the most part, I love his passion; it is constant and never ceasing, and in my opinion, beautiful.  However, in that moment, at the Grand Canyon–our anticipated destination–his passion for that Ford 500 was a violation to my soul.  A trespassing upon my idea for our family vacation.  Yet Brian decided we needed to leave the “world wonder” immediately, so we could get to our hotel with plenty of sunlight to spare.  In truth, he took on a sour attitude and had I pitched a fit to stay (my passion is no match for his, or wasn’t at the time), it would not have changed his mind.  So back in the car we went and out of the National Park his Galaxy took us.

Sitting in the back of the car I distinctly remember looking out the back window, teary eyed, reading and re-reading the sign, “Welcome to the Grand Canyon.”  In that moment I was excruciatingly hurt.  I was disappointed and miserable.  Then, as the sign became illegible, I was mad.  Mad at Brian, my “beloved” (thought with sarcasm).  And that is when the Lord spoke to my heart, mind, and soul.  He offered me a choice…

I could remain miserable, angry, and sad.  I could hold this transgression against Brian, justifiably.  I could continue to hurt and even make Brian pay by treating him poorly the rest of the trip and making sure he knew he “blew it”.

OR,

I could choose to forgive him.  I could choose to take on a good attitude even when I deserved the bad.  I could focus on our moments together (in that awful car), and make sure that our vacation was not a waste.  I could, in essence, put my relationship before my disappointment in that one moment.  I could choose to be happy.

Well it took me a little while of sitting silent in the back seat, but I did (key phrase here) “put the concept into action”.  I applied the second of the two choices.  It really did (and does) make a difference.  Though the Canyon was not mine that year, we did go back when Esther was 4 and Cole was almost 9.  Another road trip, different car–a rental I believe (I can choose to have a good attitude but that doesn’t make me stupid!).  And the rest of my time with Brian and Cole on that first trip was spent learning how to really enjoy life, even when it is somewhat disappointing.

It is not a new life lesson, it was just my first induction into it as an adult.

“The only thing you can control in this life is your attitude”; though even that can benefit from a jump start from time to time!

Bent but not Broken

19 Oct

OK, so when I go out on a limb, as in my last posting, I always get hit with a hard dose of reality in some form or another.  Today, on my drive back home from taking Esther to school, I listened to a talk radio show.  On it was a woman describing her battle with clinical depression.  The most compelling issue, for me, from her discussion with her host was how she has been condemned for taking medicine to help her with depression.  She even shared how her own pride had kept her from going to the doctor for help.  Her pride was manifest from her own prejudices regarding depression.  She, like some of her critics, had the notion that if she tried hard enough or had a strong enough faith, depression would not be hers.  The idea of needing medication to help her made her feel like a failure…until she was offered a new perspective.  The catalyst, her child.  She was able to actually see herself in the scared eyes of her child, thus propelling her to get help and get better.

Then this afternoon I volunteered at a fundraising luncheon for the organization, Human Options (humanoptions.org).  The mission of Human Options is to end the cycle of domestic violence.  As a ‘thank you’ for my time helping at the registration table I was invited to attend the luncheon.  The keynote speaker was a man, Victor Rivas, who survived not only his own thrashings from his father, but survived being witness to his mother’s excruciating physical and psychological beatings and those of his siblings.  He also survived a society, that when he cried out for help, told him to go home for his issue was a “private family matter”.  (He has written a book by the same name.)

Now in my last post when I talk of making a choice not to hurt, I hope everyone reading allows for the unspoken (or written rather) knowledge that I am not referencing situations such as the two mentioned above.  My perspective is more in the ‘nitty gritty’ of life’s situations.  You know, a missed birthday or a harsh comment received from a friend or foe.  Not the deep and difficult of life’s situations.

At the luncheon today I had a lady walk up to me and tell me she read my story in the newspaper (the Orange County Register ran our story last week–their version).  I responded with something like, “oh you saw it!”  She then said something very odd to me; she said, “Congratulations.”  “Congratulations?”, I questioned.  It was at that moment I remembered my hurt.  You see most of the time, in fact about 99% of the time, I am focusing on the positives of every day and ignoring the big picture quite well.  However, when I was offered a congratulatory comment I knew in that moment I did not, nor would not, choose a cancerous brain tumor for my son so a “congrats” didn’t feel right.  And that truth does remind me of my hurt.  Needless to say, I did not receive her sentiment well and the air was awkward between us.

BUT, tomorrow I will forget it again (the big picture),  so I can be by Cole’s side, his positive advocate, and enjoy the moments the day has ready for us.  Don’t be surprised, after all I am BENT, not broken…!

P.S.  The story I promised you will come at another time.

Cole with Piper at the Dana Point Harbor

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