Saturday, February 9, 2008

Sick of Me

I hate being overemotional.

I used to think I was just a really passionate, caring person. But now, I wish I could be more analytical and robotic by nature.

Anyway, I really think that having this low-grade sickness, sinus infection, crud, or what-the-hell-ever it is for the last three weeks while taking care of two boys who've slept irregularly for the last three weeks (although it has improved dramatically this week! Yay for sleep!), has taken its toll and also contributed to my spaz-fest.

I mean, really? Who sits around thinking about being alone when they could take joy in their friendships, their partner, their beautiful children, their wonderful life.

And I have been thinking about all those things.

I have felt on top of the world the last week or so. I am working on writing some articles to submit to various publications. I'm making new friends and building relationships. I'm in touch with a ton of old friends from high school (thank you My Space!) and my darling cousin who was like a sister to me growing up.

I don't know why I would spin out like that.

I'm sorry God. I'm sorry Universe. I'm sorry Scott. I'm sorry all my dear friends that I take for granted. I'm sorry my darling sons.

I promise to do better. To focus on all the goodness and joy. To be the person I want to be. Happy and grateful.

What Goes Down, Must Go Up

The problem with antidepressants is that when you've been on them long enough and start to feel great over the course of enough months, you then forget you need them because you're not focused on making yourself feel better. You just do feel better. Well, then you forget to take them one day. And a second day. And maybe even a third day and you still feel great. But then, you remember you haven't taken them and so you take your medicine, but by the point it's too late and you're going down.

Maybe not for long. But you are.

My panic and easy trigger last night is evidence of my forgetting to take my medicine for a few days. Even though I took it Thursday and Friday after having forgotten to take it Monday through Wednesday, it was too late. Being aware of what's going on though is helpful. At least for me. And it allows me to exert a little bit of control over my emotions because I'm able to tell myself that I wouldn't feel this if I hadn't forgotten my medication.

In fact, I already feel like I'm back on track. Hopefully, I didn't go too far off the rails and make too many others around me unhappy.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Give a Little Bit

On February 15 of 2007, friends of ours named T. and S. brought their beautiful new baby girl into the world. They named her Claire and she joined their happy, energetic family of five, that included two big sisters and a big brother. Just two months younger than my Beckett, Claire was a sweet, angelic, beautiful and quiet baby girl. I only heard her cry one time and then all it took was me cooing and talking to her to settle her down until her mommy could pick her up.

On April 19, 2007, T. and S. awoke to find that their baby girl had died in her sleep of SIDS. And so began the most gut-wrenching journey of their lives.

T. told me once that the only thing that gave her any real sense of peace or comfort throughout the last year was when she had the opportunity to attend a memorial service for the families of organ donors that was attended by the recipients of donor organs and their families. I have a vague recollection that she might have met a family that received one of Claire's organs. The knowledge that somehow someone was helped from all of it dulled the pain for a moment at least.

This year our circle of friends has been very intent on helping T. and S. get through the day that would have seen their lovely girl turning one. None of us can imagine their pain, but we would do anything in our power to lessen it. For weeks, we wondered and worried over what an appropriate and joyful celebration of her brief life might be. Then T. came up with an idea of her own. She said that if she were not pregnant (she's due on Mar. 21), she would like to donate blood in Claire's honor that day.

We couldn't think of a more touching memorial, so another friend – Carrie – and I have organized a blood drive in Claire's honor on February 15.

Blood supplies fall to critical levels at this time of year and here in Atlanta supplies are extremely low right now.

If you live in the Atlanta area, I encourage you to take some time out of your day on Feb. 15 and come to the Red Cross Donation Center on Monroe Drive.

There are two ways you can go about this if you want to participate. You can give your information to me via the comment form below and we will schedule the appointment and get back to you. Or you can contact Beverly Vicks @ the Red Cross 1-800-448-3543 option 1. If you have given, we or Beverly will need your first and last name. If you have never donated, we need your first, last, DOB and phone # to get you processed before the 15th. The donation will be given at the Monroe facility right off of the I-85 exit. If and when you call Beverly, tell her specifically that you're calling for the Claire Austin donation on the 15th of Feb. Please let us know if you will need someone to sit with your children there while you donate. Schools are out on this day, but we still want you to come.

We are hoping this will become an annual event. And even if you live in another city and want to donate on that day or around this time, let me know.

If you plan to donate, also please leave a comment even if you don't need me to schedule you. We'd like to let the family know how their experience has impacted others and the positive light that radiates from their darling girl's brief life.


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Goodbye Super Tuesday

Tuesday – Super Tuesday as it were – was something of an anniversary for me.

The very first time I got to vote was 20 years ago on the very first Super Tuesday ever. It was one of the happiest and most exciting days I can ever remember.

I walked from my house to the elementary school a block away after I got home from high school that afternoon.

I remember that it was raining, but still very bright outside. And it was warm.

I had been in that same gym in Vena Stuart Elementary School maybe a hundred times...going to vote with my grandmother, a die-hard Republican, and as a student there in kindergarten and third grade. I remember all the times I would go into the voting booth with my grandmother and tucked safely behind the navy blue curtain, watch her push buttons and finally pull the lever to cast her ballot. I remember the time a voting official told me I couldn't go in with my grandmother and she waved her cane in the air and gave him what for, telling him that I wouldn't affect her vote and that she wanted me to learn something about electing the people who control our lives.

The day I voted for the first time I felt as if I were carrying something valuable: my right to have a say. Something my grandmother would have had the opportunity to do when she was just one year older than I was when I voted. Born in 1901, she would have turned 19 the year women first gained the right to vote. I cannot imagine how thrilling that must have been.

And yet, I am thrilled each and every time I have the opportunity to exercise my right to vote. I was thrilled this week to learn that our regular babysitter, MD, was going to vote for the first time on Tuesday. I'm sure my glee over this knowledge seemed odd to her, but really, I was just thrilled to know that she had any interest in the political process. I am confident this girl had very strong reasons for casting her vote for a particular candidate and I am curious as to whom she would have voted for. I'm certain that she would not be the kind of woman who would simply vote as her parents tell her to vote. Just as in 1988, on a balmy Tuesday, I voted for the first time and broke with family tradition to cast my vote for my Tennessee homeboy Al Gore.

The first person to vote for a Democrat in my family in decades. And I've never looked back. If he were a candidate, I'd vote for AG in every election. My love and admiration for him has endured and only gotten stronger these 20 years. And even though I had a devil of a time deciding for whom to vote on this Super Tuesday, my love affair with the democratic (or federal republic) process has only gotten more passionate with time, and I was as excited to vote this year as I was that day way back in 1988.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Heart of Mine

I am still having trouble with the fact that my baby is five. More than I am having with my own recent age upgrade.

He's still as sweet as ever though. On Saturday night, long after the party was over. After the Spider-Man cake and chocolate ice cream. After the laughing friends and perfect presents. After we'd gone out to celebrate his uncle's birthday at a big restaurant where the waitstaff sang Happy Birthday to both Brendan and Uncle Greg. Late in the night, in the quiet and dark, I held Brendan on my lap while giving him a breathing treatment after a coughing spasm. As he nestled his head against my neck, he said, Mommy, I will always let you hug and kiss me and I will love you forever.

Am I blessed or what?

Of course, I will remind him of this moment when he's an embarrassed 12-year old, pulling away from me as I try to hug him goodbye in front of his friends.

And I will carry that moment with me, in my heart, long after he's 10, 15, or 50. He will always be my first son, my darling boy.

If you want to see more pictures from the day, they're here.