I want to relay a sequenced narrative–it’s a critical skill I teach my students in speech-language therapy, but I find my brain (mis)firing on all cylinders and in nonlinear fashion these days. In lieu of sequence and organization, this post is presented by scattershot bullet points. And if you think it’s hard to read, just imagine what it’s like being in my brain. Actually don’t. You’ll thank me.
Prom/Graduation/IB Testing/All The Lasts
Earlier this week, my first born’s percussion ensemble accompanied his high school choir in their performance of O Fortuna from Carmina Burana (it’s sooooo fun to say). That powerful melody first entered my consciousness in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, having been featured in the Michael Jackson exhibit during the time before we knew what we came to know what we know about the fallen pop star. Despite that weird connection, O Fortuna still sends me straight to full-body goosebumps and to know that my kid got to be part of it gave me goosebumps too. Obviously tangled up in emotions after the show, he told me he missed the concert already. You’d think it’d be hard to top O Fortuna, but the closing piece of the evening, an Irish goodbye titled Parting Glass, was dedicated to the seniors. Its performance did what it intended to, acknowledged an ending for many performers, creating strong emotions. He said lots of kids shed tears–some kids openly wept–and I held back a tear or two myself just talking with my kid.
We chatted about how, until now, we celebrated all these firsts–photos captured his first taste of rice cereal, his first tooth lost, first steps, first day of four-year-old kindergarten, first time he rode a bike. . . and now he’s at the point in his life where he’s experiencing all these lasts–last concerts, last classes, last pep rally. . . I’m the least stoic person alive, but I want him to enjoy the moments instead of worrying that he’ll never do XYZ again. *sigh* This parenting gig is not for the weak.
The next few weeks are peppered with exams unlike he’s ever experienced. There’s potential college credit through the International Baccalaureate Organization in his doing well on them, but honestly, that’s not my expectation. In my view, these tests are laying the foundation for college mid-terms and finals, setting up with that expectant set for his next big “first,” heading off to college. Sure, it’d be cool to save a few bucks on college courses, but realistically I don’t expect my kid to graduate from a Big Ten school in fewer than four years. For the next thirty-one days he’s still a high school kid, and that’s exactly as it should be.
And tonight’s his senior prom. **cue the awwwwww**
Our lifetimes are series of firsts and lasts though, I suppose. Each exciting in its way, each accompanied by a specific set of emotions–for the individual as well as that individual’s people. He’s ready for the next steps past high school and he isn’t. I can say the same, ready and not, here we come.
Mother Nature Hates Baseball
Spring baseball season in Wisconsin is the world’s biggest crapshoot. It’s been unseasonably cold and rainy here, and when gale force winds are factored in, it amounts to dangerous conditions for the kids and spectators, really. Still, if I can, I go to my little one’s games every chance I get. I’ve had a love-not love relationship with baseball since the time of my husband’s accident, but my kid’s quite in love with the game. Their first three games were rained out, one maybe even snowed out?? They’ve been able to get eight games in, five under the most inhospitable of conditions, so far this month. Temperatures tonight are in the 50s and it’s gonna feel like the dang tropics for a temperate change of pace. Go, Huskies! #winthecity
I’m Your Social Media Guardian Angel
If you’ve ever wondered how good a friend I am, I’m that good a friend. Someone I know recently publicly posted something on a social media account that was definitely meant to have been sent privately. As I scrolled through my accounts before bedtime, I happened upon a post that stopped me in my tracks, to a point that I wasn’t sure I believed what my eyes were telling me I was seeing. You have these moments where you mentally scroll through a million billion possible ways to convey gently, subtly, but HOLY SHIT TAKE THAT DOWN knowing you need to alert this person ASAP. . . A quick text to my friend led to a quick removal of the content. Yeah, I know I’m skirting around the use of actual nouns here, but see, I’m that good a friend! You can fill in the blanks with your own personal horror shows, but I’ll never spill. Just know that I’ve got your back.
Something Was Wrong
I’ve only recently jumped on the podcast bandwagon. I’d always been a sing at the top of my lungs in the car kind of driver, but this pandemic BS has stolen a bit of my automobile performance gusto. A coworker is super into true crime podcasts, and she’s way smarter than me, so I figured, why not? I’ve been listening to the story of a woman whose fiance revealed himself to be the psychopath/sociopath he is, and the deconstruction of her story feels much like I experienced during my first marriage. I’ve long recovered from mine, but continue to wonder how smart, confident young women couple with really bad men even with a million red flags waving furiously in their faces? It hasn’t been “triggering” for me, but listening has taken me back, wishing I’d known then what I know now. There’s a theme for the ages though, huh?
Amazon Wish List
Speaking of heading off to college, I joined a Facebook group titled something like “College Dorm Essentials,” and y’all, I didn’t even know half these things my son apparently CANNOT live in a dorm without even existed til now. I feel quite similarly to how I felt in developing a baby registry. I didn’t even know what plastic links or Triple Paste or an Eddie Bauer fleece car seat cover were, but was told I NEEDED them. Ohhhhhhkay?? Yeah, same cluelessness, only flashing forward eighteen years, just when I thought I was getting the hang of this being a mom thing! Mattress covers and sheet suspenders and rope lights and and shoe racks for snacks and two sets of sheets and something called a Woozoo fan, and, and, and. . . The only cost for membership in this group was a serious spike in my anxiety, so I muted notifications. I check in maybe once a week and add the gotta-haves to my Amazon Wish List. I’m grateful for what I’ve learned, and people are generous with their information. It’s good to know there are random good people out there willing to share their experiences. And I can tick my anxiety down a notch and a half that I’ve prepared that list of must-haves, ready for purchase in a couple weeks.
Speaking of anxiety, cause yeah, I need MORE OF THAT, I took on a summer job. It’s very intermittent, but with university tuition due and almost no financial aid, I thought I’d better take on some kind of side hustle. Plus I’m close to retirement and need to learn how to interview for a job for the first time in over thirty years. Anyway, I’m not going to say quite what it is yet, but don’t worry, I haven’t jumped on the pyramid scheme bandwagon–I won’t be hawking pricey health care products you don’t need here!
I’ll be working in the hospitality industry a few days per month, assisting travelers getting from Point A to Point B. I can’t even imagine a job I don’t take home with me, but I’m looking forward to a job that ends when I clock out. This is not to say that I’m not taking it seriously, but that I’m not in charge, and when the day is done, the work and the worry quite literally cannot be taken with me.
After my son got his summer job last year, I told him I totally wanted to work there too. The look of pain and immediate “NO” from him was enough to dissuade me–I would NOT do that to him! But this too looks like enjoyable work where most customers are in a pretty good, happy place. Who’s crabby on vacation? Who’s crabby at a beer garden?? Certainly not this guy, who waited in line with us over 30 minutes to get his first outdoor cocktail of the season! Well WE had our first outdoor cocktail of the season. HE had water. What kind of dog owner do you think I am?
The final item I wanted to share today is the unbelievable power of the internet, and not just for the dorm room hacks. As you know, I began writing this blog immediately after my son was diagnosed with neuromuscular disease. Utter devastation was the best I could muster in those early days. I couldn’t speak, but I could write, so I opened this platform, created my site, and began sorting out my broken heart and brain here at my keyboard.
Through this blog, I’ve come to know others from around the globe. Initially I sought only blogs whose writers focused on MD. Though my blog friends circle has expanded broadly from those early days, those early connections stuck. Chris Anselmo is the author of the sidewalksandstairwells.com blog. We read and commented on each other’s posts and later became Facebook friends. Chris now works for the MDA and after I posted about my son’s college commitment, emailed me to introduce me to his friend in the MINNEAPOLIS (small world and all that!!) MDA office, saying that if my son ever needed a contact, needed help with an accommodation or information or anything, to reach out to his colleague. The internet can be a cold, dark, black-hearted place, but every so often you land on a unicorn. Thank you, Chris, for being a beacon of kindness. You’re way better than an actual unicorn.