Friday, June 18, 2010

It Never Gets Easier

Today should be my son's 9th birthday.

Instead of a party with cake, candles and joyous children, I have a trip to the cemetery to plan.

I should be used to it by now, after all, I know the drill, but it really never gets any easier. I am stuck living my life counting the days all through the year as each year passes; still, there is this hole inside me which has not healed, which almost seems to refuse to heal. I worry that if I let go of his memory, then it will be as if he was never important, that he did not matter. As it is, he is merely a shadow of a thought to most people who have heard of him, and as each year passes, that shadow fades.

To me, he was more than a nebulous idea. He was my son, and he did matter. This family mattered to me; in fact, I still cling to that idealized image of that family, which now drifts about me in shreds and tatters.

I can not let go of any of it, the pain of his death, the anger over my husband leaving me, the unjustness of it all. Because I can not let go, I have not been able to move on.

Today, I don't give a shit whether I am moving on or not. Today, I simply replay the events of Monday, June 18, 2001 in my head again and again. I have as much chance of stopping that as I would have of halting an aneurysm mid-burst.

Today I remember, and regret.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Doctor's Note Required

So, last Friday I took my daughter to the orthopedic surgeon for her follow-up appointment. To my surprise, what had been on her leg was a splint. A heavy, 5-pound splint made of layers of cotton batting and plaster, snugged up tightly with a compression bandage, but still, a splint. The nurse took it off, wheeled my daughter in for some new x-rays and removed the stitches.

Then we waited.

The surgeon came in with the good news: her leg is healing beautifully, and had the nurse come in and apply a bright-green (Natalie's favorite color) cast. The instructions were explicit: for the next two weeks, keep her weight off that leg, stay on crutches, and under no circumstances was she to get it wet. They were so adamant about this point that I was concerned more about how to keep her leg dry for the next four weeks than ask about a written note.

She'd been out of school for 2 and a half weeks, with the school's full knowledge of the circumstances - broken leg, cast, crutches, it just never occurred to me to ask for a note.

Then Monday morning arrived. Natalie was excited about getting back to school and seeing her friends. She had hobbled successfully up the stairs to the main office where the principal told my dumbfounded ex and daughter that she can not come to school on crutches without a doctor's note saying that she needs them.

What the hell? I'd have thought that the cast would have made the idea of crutches a foregone conclusion. How aggravating. Also, they knew I'd need a note for the past 2 1/2 weeks, but no one ever thought to tell me that we would need a note for this? For.... permission to use crutches?!

For God's sake, the kid broke her leg, which is in a freaking CAST. Did they expect the broken leg fairies to bear her aloft and float her through the school?

Also, to add insult to injury (so to speak), the school is in no way easily handicap-accessible. In order to avoid the flights of stairs to get in and out of the school, she will have to go all the way around to the back of the school to go in through another door.

How convenient.

I am seriously aggravated today.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I can blame my recent lapse in blogging on one word: Broken.

Yes. That is what it appears to be - a broken leg set with a shiny-new pin.

My older daughter snapped her ankle a few weeks ago during a soccer scrimmage while performing a slide-tackle. Unfortunately, her heel caught on the uneven ground of the playing field and she snapped the long bones of her leg right at the growth plate.

Ouch, I mean really... OUCH!

My poor baby. She saw an orthopedic surgeon the next day who took one look at the x-rays and then came in to the exam room and said, "I am going to operate on her tomorrow at noon." So there you have it, my baby's first surgery at age 11.

She's a real trooper and instead of taking it easy and keeping her foot elevated most of the time, per the doctor's orders, she tends to cruise around on her crutches, trying to do things for herself. She is out for 2 weeks of school - again, doctor's orders - and boredom has been the real obstacle, not pain.

We did have a moment of real despair when she realized that this will affect her summertime fun plans a bit, but after some finagling of the schedule, she is still set to go to 2 sleep-away camps and get in plenty of time in the pool at her swimming lessons.


And there was much rejoicing.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mantra for a Half-day of School

"I will not kill and eat my young, I will not kill and eat my young..."

Listening to the dulcet tones of my two daughters bickering, nay, screaming at one another, I screwed my eyes tightly shut and silently intoned this mantra, desperately praying for a sense of zen-like calm to settle over me on this half-day in early June.

Yes. School. In June. I know that many kids across the nation have already been loosed from the prison of the public education system, bursting through the double doors, unleashed onto their parents, but we here in central New York still have 2 weeks to go until that happy day arrives.

Yesterday, our elementary schools let the kids go early so that the teaching teams could meet and work on grade assignments for next year, but what that meant for me was my two girls in close proximity, poking each other and pestering me. When we're all seated on the couch, I usually have to shift over to the middle, because it is a tragedy if one of the girls has to... *gasp* sit next to her sister instead of me! Then once we've moved around and divided the cushions and pillows into equal shares, why then, it's time for the physical stake-claiming of Mommy.

They will hug me, squeeze me, climb on me, play with my hair, tickle my feet, and all I am trying to do is read my book, do a crossword puzzle or finish a blog entry. Don't get me wrong, I am still thrilled that they are willing to engage in such overt displays of affection with their mom, but oh my GOD, I am not thrilled at being basically an amusement park ride.

Have you ever seen those nature shows of mommy lions with their cubs? I can really relate to that mommy lion somewhere on the African savannah, TRYING to snooze in the shade of a majestic acacia tree; TRYING to snooze, but she can not, because her numerous cubs are jumping all over her tail, biting her ears, or pouncing on her head in typical cub-like fashion. But them at last, she reaches out and, with a gigantic paw, cuffs them upside the head with a warning growl that signals, "Lion cubs: The other white meat."


See what I mean? I am her.

We made it through the day yesterday... just barely. Their dad swooped in just in time to take them to soccer practice. Lucky for them.

It seems that the only time my girls can agree with one another is when they gang up on me. That is likely to become less endearing once they become teenagers.