Tuesday, May 20, 2008

This and That

Today is one of my days off. I always spend those days running errands in the morning and trying to get things done that I cannot during my four long work days. This third day off each week is like a gift. One day I hope to actually sleep in but that hasn't happened yet...this is only my third Tuesday off thus far.

I am preparing for a wedding I will be attending late June. This is the child of my childhood best friend who graduated from college last weekend. Actually, she received her master's last weekend in Washington, D.C.. The wedding will be a large affair in Philadelphia. I had to book a room, find a dress and am still working on preparations for my dog's care in my absence. I feel old that I could have a friend with a child this old. That friend is my age and her child is younger than mine.

I have been very concerned about one of my neighbors. She went through a divorce about seven years ago when her husband told her he wanted her to leave the home on his family's property. He gave her a nice settlement but her earning capacity was a fraction of his. She bought a small home and her salary would have been enough had she lived modestly. After nearly twenty years of living on his and her salary she didn't change her lifestyle. Now she has refinanced her home several times and will probably lose it. Her friends begged her to stop living so far above her means but I realized this was some type of emotional issue she had. She has been extremely generous to all who know her. She lent so much money to people she called friends who have no intention of paying her back. How sad. I have tried to caution her that in life we want to call so many acquaintances friends when they have not earned that priviledge. I have offered to help her try to regroup her finances but she doesn't want that. She wants some benefactor to bail her out. That will not happen. This past weekend with this present situation she chose to once again go to Atlantic City. That really made me sad but I had to accept that it is her life and she is in control. No one but she can turn it around and I doubt that she will. I don't know what will happen to her. While I want to help people I have made the choice that I must help those who are helping themselves. I don't have the emotional or financial means to throw around casually. What I find the saddest is that she takes no responsibility for this. It's her ex's fault and the friends who didn't pay her back. I think that if you haven't matured by forty it's probably not going to happen anytime soon. Sometimes people are their own worst enemies and there is just nothing you can do to help them.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

My son's birthday and other weekend stuff

Picture my 95 yr old grandmother, my son Tom and myself
Today is my son's birthday. Actually I was in labor for 36 hours with him expecting him to be born on May 3rd my grandmother's anniversary. Instead he took his time and arrived at 3:47 p.m. on May 4th. He has my face but his coloring is not mine....while I have black hair and hazel eyes, he had strawberry blonde hair and the most beautiful blue eyes imaginable. He was long 22 inches and weighed 8 lbs. 3 1/2 ozs. His feet never fit into newborn size shoes. My son had a life of financial comfort but he was always self conscious. I fear being an only child failed to give him socialization skills that others had. He lived next door to a family of six who constantly told him that only children were selfish and spoiled. Ironically there were three only children (boys) on our street that were highly intelligent and better behaved than the six but I digress.......

when my son turned 16 he developed a bad case of chicken pox. Shortly afterward he was fatigued and running high fevers. He developed leukemia. Prognosis was poor, he was double risk and expectation for a high year survival was only 30%. For the next three and a half years I eat. slept and drank leukemia treatments. I took a chance and had him in a clinical trial for an agressive protocol which gave him a chance to survive. The complications were more severe but I knew that we had no match for a bone marrow transplant. His only real chance was a cure at that point. Although fear surrounded me I had to be brave and it paid off. He has now been cancer free for over ten years. His body is not what it once was. He struggles with anger at times and also depression. I feel they are finally lessening. He feels that people can sense that he is different. As a cancer survivor myself I know it takes a very long time to let go of the emotions that gave you strength when you needed it. I pray there will be a day where he can put his experience on the back burner and give that energy to things that will enhance his life.

My father is battling his emotions as well as his physical limitations. For someone who was as strong as a bull to have to sit on a shelf while trying to select a television, is difficult to watch.

We took him for a new tv yesterday and Rob was kind enough to put it together and get it all set for him. He is shrinking and smaller each time I see him. He always had a huge stomach and it's nearly gone. He has lost over fifty pounds at this point. He is so fragile. It's indescribable to watch. My mother has no empathy for him and is drowning in her own self pity. It's hard to be patient with her right now. I work long hours and sometimes have to take dinner there or there is none. They both need help and I am trying to work at getting a counsellor to go to their home and give them both support. I was the mediator yesterday and I spent hours and it was so draining for me. I have my own problems to deal with.

My husband's job site will be closing in December. He will stay on until then. This week they are sending him to Boston and he will be gone four days or so. During that time I will be working ten hour days and have to arrange for help with my dog being let out. I have an out of state wedding in Philadelphia to attend in June and need to be making plans for that as well. Somedays there are not enough hours in the day.

Today I am going to take a long, hot bubble bath before my baby boy arrives. We have a parve cake for him. Parve is a Jewish term for non dairy. Locally there is a good bakery here that offers parve cakes. Most Jewish people do not mix meat with dairy so this cake can be eaten with meat since it has no dairy. We are Catholic so why a Jewish cake you may wonder. My son has been a vegetarian for years and years. Now he has stoppped eating eggs as well. This cake has no eggs so he will be happy. Kids are so hard to please!

Today is a wonderful day. I celebrate not just the birth but the survival of my child. Life is good.

Praise be.

Peace and love and wishes for all that is good to you all.

"You have no birthday because you have always lived.; you were never born, and never will you die. You are not the child of the people you call mother and father, but their fellow adventurer on a bright journey to understand the things that are."

Richard Bach: There's No Such Place as Far Away

On my son's 21st birthday he found this book and bought it home from the library for me to read. He said that it always seemed like he and I were fellow travellers through life, learning many lessons together. So true. At some point your child becomes your friend (or not.)

Thank you to him for all the many things he taught me, mainly about forgiveness.