Leather Or Crystal?

For the first time since learning our son has MD, I didn’t wake up on the unhappy anniversary date with “diagnosis day” screaming at me.  I walked the dog before dawn, brewed a cup in the Keurig, leafed through the Sunday coupons, when BOOM.  It hit me.

I feel some insane pull of duty to mark the occasion.  That’s ridiculous, I’ll grant, but I’m big on anniversary dates.  Until this year, I’d counted down the hours leading up to January 21, not because I enjoyed that, but because I was consumed with MD.  Maybe this is a sign of my growing acceptance, erosion of the initial shock has dulled the blade stabbing my heart.  January 21, 2015.  THE day.  The day that began the after.

I don’t know.  Maybe it’s the myriad other tasks and responsibilities served on my already heaping plate this week.  I’ve been cleaning up a mess–a hot mess, a ghost pepper/sriracha/cayenne/scotch bonnet kind of hot mess at work.  It’ll be but a distant memory in a month, but for now, my full time job is made to take a back seat to accommodate this other full time job.  Not that I get a pass on my actual responsibilities–it’s not that those tasks have disappeared, no, but this clean up occupies so much of my cortex that I can’t even.  Ah, I can’t even finish a sentence with a verb that fits adequately is how much I can’t even.

I’m starting another school therapy assignment tomorrow, and until a few minutes ago, didn’t even know my students’ names, grades, or disabilities.  I’m super good at winging it, but I want not to wing it.  The kids deserve better than that on their new “speech teacher’s” first day.  (It’s in quotes because I’m a speech-language pathologist, but no kid has ever referred to me as speech-language pathologist.  Hell, these days, if kids aren’t referring to me as that old lady white bitch, I’m calling it a success.)  Anyway, it’s unlike me to feel unprepared, and for the first time in five years, I admit to feeling a bit anxious about a new assignment.  It’s probably because I’ve not buttoned up my previous assignment.  See previous paragraph.

I told a colleague Friday that “being me is exercise.”  She laughed, because I’m usually rife with hyperbole, but the truth is that my workweek last week and all the stuff I have to do causes my heart to race.  My Fitbit read about 100 beats per minute just sitting at my desk, organizing, scheduling, calling, emailing, writing.  My resting heart beat when I’m not insane is about 60.  Our district is pushing a mindfulness agenda, and while I’m all for self-care and trying to focus on success and forward-thinking-ness, my workload at present gives not one tenth of one percent of a shit that I’m harried.  Mindfulness, you can suck it this week, thank you very much.  Check back with me around Valentine’s Day, m’kay?

I think I shall choose to look upon this work-induced “Welcome to MD” memory lapse as a gift.  The gift of forgetting, or at least not springing from my bed sheets laser-focused on the big anniversary, is something I should be pleased about, right?  Two of my friends and another family acquaintance lost one of their parents this week.  I feel like a schmuck for having missed one funerary visitation, but I was teaching a class scheduled months ago and I just couldn’t bow out. Within the last two hours, my younger son and I returned from a second visitation; I’m so relieved not to be planning the funeral of one of my own parents.

I just completed my reading of Evicted by Matthew Desmond, and I should be jubilant that I have stable housing in a reasonably low-crime neighborhood.  Evicted shall stand as a post on its own to be explored soon–it’s a horrifying ethnography of poverty and housing inequities in Milwaukee.  I am jubilant that we can provide a roof over our children’s heads, and that I can let them play outside and walk to school without constant supervision.  Or abject fear.

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There are wiser ways to be spending a dreary, dank Sunday than forcing myself to feel something specific because it happens to be 1,096 days since I crumbled for the first time.  HE is marking the occasion, as always (I think anyway), blissfully unaware.  I’m gonna follow his lead.  I’m going to lay my head down on this pillow Nikki sent me yesterday and read.  Gonna read something light and airy–you know, murder, mayhem, lawyers, and detective-y types–no more nonfiction for me for awhile.  My personal nonfiction is enough, you guys.  I’m always transported while reading, and whether I’m transported to the nineteenth century, World War II-era Europe, western Pennsylvania, or Stockholm, Sweden, I’m going to distract myself, because yeah, now that I’m thinking about it, it’s all I can think about.

The traditional gift for the three year anniversary is leather; the modern gift version is crystal.  Since it’s not the 80s, I don’t own much in the way of leather accoutrements, but I do have beautiful pair of crystal wineglasses.  Now the only real anniversary question is this:  red or white?

6 thoughts on “Leather Or Crystal?

  1. well I wouldn’t call you “that old lady white b***h” but I may refer to you as “who’s that knucklehead?” then I’d wonder if you had a single sister. but that’s just me of course. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well thank you much for refraining from giving me a nickname with serious profanity! Fortunately more kids like me than don’t, and most kids are moderately compliant. Knucklehead works though, and I’ll take that with the affection I’m sure is meant!! Thank you for taking the time to make me smile today.

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  2. I’m no psychiatrist, Wendy — though I would probably benefit from seeing one! — but I’ll go out on a limb and say that your forgetting the MS anniversary is indeed an emotionally healthy “slip.” It’s not so much that you’re “accepting reality” as it is a refusal to let that unfortunate turn of fate define every moment of your life moving forward.

    As humans, we put a premium on remembering things, and we use technology — journals, calendars, photos, videos, Instagram — to preserve memories and mark occasions, to never forget, be it a birthday, 9/11, the death of a loved one, what have you. And that technology — particular nowadays, where iPhone and omnipresent video cameras seem to catch every moment that happens as it happens — has been very effective at supplementing our faulty memories.

    Because humans, if you stop to think about it, are programmed to forget. Memories fade. Forgetting is what allows wounds to heal, so we can go about the business of living: doing our jobs; raising our kids; finding small, everyday moments of joy. You can’t do that when you’re stuck in the past. That’s why, on my own blog, I’ve been so critical of our culture of nostalgia: It isn’t healthy to live in a perpetual yesterday, to be frozen at a point in time like a mosquito in amber. No one I know who got stuck in a moment they couldn’t get out of had a happy ending.

    So here’s to moving on. Here’s to forgetting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You may not be a psychologist, but you’re close enough to being able to play one on TV. Thank you for the perspective and allowing me to be OK (well, better anyway) about forgetting for a brief little respite. Here’s to happy endings! I was going to go on about how MD doesn’t really allow for happy endings, but I edited myself (contrary to this last sentence). I always appreciate your feedback, Sean. Thank you!

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  3. Coming from the perspective here of MD’er, and somebody that was way too young to realise or remember a diagnosis date. I think an accidental memory slip is a good thing, a sign that other memories are being made. Life is being lived and this date is losing importance.
    From the other end of things, sometimes it dawns on me that I’ve had a feeding tube 14 years, or a breathing machine 3 years. But I prefer it when these thoughts don’t pop up.
    I guess what I’m saying is don’t stress it wasn’t your first thought. I’d say that’s good.

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