Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

And by “start your engines” what I mean in fact, is “open your wallets.”

This is my first in-your-face plug for financial support for any endeavor ever.  We have joined the MDA Muscle Walk and set a family fundraising goal of $400.  If you know me, you know that I would do anything–ANYTHING–to avoid asking people for money.  I have purchased thousands of dollars of school and Scout fundraising items for home consumption and use because I would about rather die than ask people for money, and anyway those frozen butter braids are delicious!  I guess that was before me; after me says, “Let’s go, friends, loved ones, countrymen, other countrymen, start your engines.”

Below is the link to our page.  I’m certain it’s fraught with technical glitches, and I shall work to repair those if you’d kindly leave me feedback in the comments below.  Thanks for even considering my request, and I beg of you that we never speak of this.  I’m not quite in possession of the nerve to speak with you face-to-face about my extortion request.

http://www2.mda.org/goto/greaterthangravity

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Eyes Wide Shut

I never fully understood this phrase, “eyes wide shut.”  As I sat down to type just now, the phrase burst into my consciousness, and yeah, at last, I get it.  NOT the movie Eyes Wide Shut.  The movie sucked–it sucked a lot and it sucked hard.  I suffered through that piece of crap on a VHS tape from Blockbuster in my 20s probably, and sure didn’t get it then.  I remember people saying it was so intellectual, almost an art film, but clearly my film intellect was lacking.  And because I rarely react appropriately to anything (under- or over-react every time), I’m still mad that I sat through that whole stupid movie.  The phrase though?  Again with the light bulb.

Last night was the kids’ Pinewood Derby.  I don’t do Scouting.  It’s the one family activity against which I assert a firm “no, thank you.”  It’s the one thing I don’t have to manage and only marginally attend to; scouting is the one kid thing for which my husband is wholly responsible (I tried to say that with a straight face here).  I participated as a spectator in the annual race event last night, and oh, the things I spectated.  I saw my boy as he is, as he faces the real world, and as the world sees him.  It hurt.  Bad.  The real world isn’t all that forgiving when you crash into it or trip over it.  The real world’s filled with math and science whizzes in compact, athletic bodies who can maneuver hand and power tools and iPods and social situations.  I observed my son with a spectator’s pair of eyes, and I couldn’t leave that auditorium fast enough last night.  For the first time since the first week (you know, the first week since we got the MD Dx), I cried myself to sleep. And then I woke up at 2:30 and 3:00 and 4:45 and cried.  I cried at work today–completely not awesome–and I cried when I got home but NOT while watching Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with the kids tonight–not even when Cameron goes off the rails.  By the way, there are a lot more ‘shits’ and ‘dammits’ than I remembered, and my little kid cracked up each and every time a character swore.  I am so not getting that mother of the year nomination!

I have colleagues I respect and admire and genuinely like a great deal.  One of the girls is much younger than me, and wise beyond her years. She is wickedly funny, has command of vocabulary I sometimes I have to consult a dictionary for after we speak, and has a sense of righteousness and justice.  She is a much finer human being than I–they all are, each of my co-workers, who am I kidding?  I said to her today that acceptance of our children’s realities comes in stages, and that may be true, but it’s not what I meant.  What I meant was that awareness comes in stages.  I am so far from acceptance that we’re not even in the same zip code.  I’m not sure we’re even in the same area code, truth be told.  But I am aware, I mean I knew.  But now I KNOW.  It’s waaaaaay easier on my head and heart to avoid situations that I know might be tough to mom-watch than to be head-butted like I was last night.  Maybe that’s another reason I’ve avoided Scouts.  Eyes wide shut was a pretty cool place by way of comparison.

IQ84

Sometimes I’m just crabby and down and it has nothing to do with my child’s medical status.  I began writing this post about seven times, and every time I got the first few lines hammered out, I erased them.  Before we knew about my son’s new club, I would periodically feel crabby because I’m a PERSON and PEOPLE GET CRABBY!  With the advent of our after, I feel like plain ol’ crabby isn’t good enough.  Now to be fair, I wasn’t writing a diary like this before.  Before when I felt creepy or behaved irrationally for a moment day, acting like a total bitch was something chalked up to nothing more than having a bad day.  Only my family or co-workers suffered through it.  So why now do I not feel like I should be granting myself permission to be ornery for no real good reason?  Oh I know. . .  my reasons for being moody today are so ridiculous that I’m embarrassed to share them here.  Because in the grand scheme of things, really?  THIS is why I’m down?  Yes.  It is.  And before that would have been enough.

I just finished the 1150+ page novel, IQ84, whose characters exist in an alternate universe.  They’re cognizant enough of their situations to acknowledge there’s something not right in their worlds (besides the two moons), and the two protagonists name their alternate worlds IQ84 (it’s set in 1984, but not quite) and Cat Town. To borrow a bit from Murakami and Lewis Carroll, I too feel like I’m dangling a toe down the rabbit hole.  I too am hoping to catch the train back from Cat Town before it’s too late, and I sure as hell hope I find that freeway escape ladder by the right-facing Esso tiger.  I KNOW I’m not living in a parallel world; I do.  My tale isn’t set in an alternative world, it’s more like an afterworld but less ghost-y.  It’s minimally not the same as it was before and everyone but me knows how to behave here.  Time marches on, and seasons mercifully change, but my world is just a touch IQ84 these days.

In order to avoid missing the train back from Cat Town, I’m forcing myself to celebrate three good things today:

  1. I didn’t run out of gas on my way home.  My commute takes me though some of our city’s most impoverished and dangerous neighborhoods.  I rolled the dice on purpose and won this round with 2 whole miles worth of gas to go.  I’ve never run out of gas in my life, but my mood today carried with it a “bring it on” tone.
  2. The kids’ Pinewood Derby cars are almost done.  I had absolutely nothing to do with this.
  3. I made a delicious freaking dinner for us.  To all the guys in my life who passed on their chance with me before I was fully fabulous:  Suck it! 🙂  I am a very good cook, and you have missed the gravy train.  Despite today’s evidence to the contrary, I’m funny, I’m pretty smart, and I love sports.  I’m a total package!

Yep, feeling better already.

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

This morning my favorite band announced a summer tour.  THIS IS A BIG DAMN DEAL, PEOPLE!  I LIVE FOR BARENAKED LADIES!  I’ve waited almost a year for an announcement signaling a date I could make.  I’ve waited many months for the opportunity to meet up with some or all of my tribe.  I am out of my mind.   Out.  Of.  My.  Mind.  I have not one, but three concerts on my agenda!  Holy crap, holy crap, holy, holy, holy crap!

A month ago you wouldn’t be able to get near me on tour announcement day.  I’d be visibly fluttering, in constant movement and talking 193 miles a minute as I scour the internet for any Barenaked tidbit I could find.  So why was I not feeling the happy I’ve felt before?  It hit me at work as I was leaving for my school:  I felt bad feeling good.  For a brief moment, I was giddy me, screeching on the inside with the nervous tummy–when are the presales?  Can I access the server from my desk at work and order?  Should I download the Ticketmaster app?  Is my credit card updated?  My phone was off the hook.  Seriously blowing up off the hook.  There must have been over 300 messages between my tribe mates today–I love these girls, my Ladies ladies–and I think I posted one message.  (And not just because my employer blocks Facebook.)  Honestly, I haven’t even been able to read most of them yet.

I felt bad feeling so good.  In the grand scheme of my life, is this the most important thing right now?  Before me shouts OMG Yes! Yes!! Yes!!!  After me quietly wonders.  I felt bad feeling so good that I stopped my own happy for a while.  It’s a good thing I have the love and enthusiasm of my tribe to kick my ass into gear and remind me to take care of ME too in this.  My kid needs me to be happy now.  OK, I guess I’ll see Barenaked Ladies. . .  Three times. . .  In one week.  I’ll do it for my kid!

Wrestlemania

There’s nothing so joyous as the sound of kids’ laughter.  My little kid has the naughtiest, dirtiest laugh, and I suspect it will get him in trouble.  Some good trouble, because girls are gonna looooove it, and probably some trouble for reals because his teachers are not gonna looooove it.  He’s 9, so I’m pretty sure I’ve got some time before this becomes a real concern.  Like a week or so probably.

This morning I was sitting at our computer paying the bills.  Behind me were the happy noises that come from boys beating the living crap out of one another.  The laughter was making me giggle, which was much-needed; I hate paying the bills.  Their laughter was making me giggle until it wasn’t.  Little kid is a wall of muscle.  Seriously.  The kid is built like the proverbial brick house.  He’s inherited his mother’s legs (which I hated until recently when my legs took me on a couple 5K runs–another post. . .).  He’s nimble, he’s wily, he’s strong, he’s quick.  He’s all the physical things the big kid isn’t.

Just because we know now doesn’t mean anything has changed between them.  They’ve been brothers for nine years and have been pounding the snot out of one another for probably five or six years now.  I don’t want that to stop (the normal brotherly camaraderie, that is).  But here’s what happens after:  your kid shrieks, “STOP IT!” while trying to keep laughing, and you hear a different tone in his voice.  The “STOP IT” is in all capital letters, and the request sounds and feels more like a plea than it did before.  The laughter isn’t genuine, it sounds and feels desperate.  You resist every urge in your body to turn around and ask them to stop.  You resist every urge to ask if he’s OK.  Big kid goes down like a stone.  He gets up, and he comes back for more a couple more times.  Eventually the siren song of Super Mario Bros calls one of them away from this day’s wrestling match, and today’s main event stops as quickly as it began.

He gets up, and he comes back for more.  I’m pretty sure there’s a metaphor in there.