Three days can feel like a month. From December 5-7, a tornado of emotion spun my head so fast, I didn't know what to feel at any given second. Between work and events and news and chauffering the kids to various activities, I could barely keep my head on straight.
Normally, I'm laid back about birthdays. I've never been one to obsesses over my age. The life I lead is the one I want to lead. But introspection hit me harder than usual this year. For the first time, I wondered if some of my life goals would become harder with age. For the first time, I found myself comparing my accomplishments to others. I even looked in the mirror more. I like to think my appearance is younger than average, but I can see the changes.
My daughter's birthday
Yep, one day after mine. How can she be eight already? Her birth was like three years ago. She's an amazing, athletic, smart, funny, generous little girl. I spent the day in a tizzy, preparing for her pirate-themed party on the weekend. Her birthday made me wonder what will come. She's already a mini-adolescent. Most famous quote: "You don't know how I feel. Don't tell me how I feel!" She was five then. What a handful. I pray I'll always have big enough hands.
Birth of my nephew
It happened on the threshold from my birthday to my daughter's, but I didn't hear about it until the next day. He joined the ranks of the six other December-born in the family. We apparently don't realize there are other months to be born. The joy of his arrival inflated my heart to bursting until the tears made the skin on my face burn. This little man was so wanted and such a long time in coming. He's a real blessing. I'm so happy for my sister. But it's more than that – I'm in awe of the feeling of starting out again, of knowing nothing, of figuring it out as you go along.
I know a person who talks about dying sometimes. Now, it happened again. I'm being deliberately vague here, but it is someone close to me. She can go for months without a word about it, then BAM, she'd rather be dead, wished she'd never been born, wants to pound her head against a wall until she's...just gone. Yes, she's in counseling. Do I think it's working? I don't know. Yes, I talk to her about it. Do I think it helps? I don't know. It's so scary. I hate the helplessness. Hate it. Hate it. Hate it.
Request for Partial
At the end of November, I submitted five pages of my writing to a contest. For the first time ever, I received a request to send 50 more pages. What a rush! What a boost for my self-esteem! I hopped around the living room, trying to be quiet while my husband spoke to someone on the phone. I flopped onto the couch, kicking at the ceiling. It's a wonder my face didn't split in two from my huge grin. Someone out there thinks my writing is good enough to want to read more! I'm a careful person, so I told myself, it's possible nothing comes of this particular case. But, if nothing else, it's proof that there's hope!
The next day, I found out a friend of a friend hanged himself. This was a man who chatted with me at a wedding, had a deep discussion with my husband, and showed my kids his little farm. He helped the kids feed goats. He nursed some preemie animals until they were big enough to survive. He took long walks every day. He loved being outside. So that's where he did it: outside. I know where it happened. I can even imagine which tree he chose. He didn't leave a note. He did leave a wife...and friends and neighbors full of questions. My friend asked me, why didn't she notice? Why didn't she or his wife or anyone else see it coming? As for me, it made me think of the loved one I mentioned above.... And the helplessness.
Three days. Up. Down. Back and forth and sideways.
You know the saying "stop the world, I want to get off"? I don't want to get off. I'm glad I'm here. But if someone out there could reduce the spin-speed, I'd be more than grateful.