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November 23, 2007 | Category: In My Life

We got a preliminary diagnosis before Thanksgiving. I should have said something, but it sounded scary at first and there were certain people I thought I should call before, basically, publishing it.

It still sounds scary, but a few days with something leads me to a much more sane place. It's treatable, won't make be barking mad (or madder than I already am), and isn't going to cause any surgeons to tackle me in a hallway with a chainsaw.

So, you know, all good.

We went into our Thanksgiving holiday with CD's Icelandic care package (salted licorice, lamb + pork hot dogs, orange + malt soda, canned peas, and assorted candies), Christmas tunes blasting, and (for sentimentality's sake) a tiny turkey breast and some stuffing.

We argued talked about whether to cut down a tree this year or buy one from the 'good' lot. My inner child clapping with joy because the guys have agreed to a room re-arrange that will allow me to have the Biggest.Christmas.Tree... EVER.

Wait, what I said before. I lied.

It's not all good.

I suck at lying, so I'm surprised I lasted so long.

I have this rule, about doing no harm. But there is an even more important one: harm not thyself.

For the past couple of months, I've been in a fight with someone.

Like back in junior high, that kind of fight. Where you smile at each other in the hallway, but know for a fact they're talking trash about you behind your back because you had the temerity after some pep rally to tell them that they had bad breath.

You see, there's a pod of people in my life who are by nature very critical. The word 'fine' for them is ALWAYS a euphemism for 'There is something very wrong with it, but I believe you incapable of fixing it so I won't say anything.'

In a really providential light it can actually be seen as having high standards - which is a virtue, really. And in any event, this flaw doesn't define this group. As much as my passionate love of run-on sentences doesn't define me.

It's just that, since I quit my job and forever changed the course of my little family... there have been a lot of people - this group included - who have thought I was wrong.

No, don't argue. Deep down, it's what they think. Whatever politically correct thing each of them may say, it all has dripped of disapproval.

I have been frustrated, to the point of tears. I mean, literally (not figuratively) sitting in CD's arms at night and having him remind me of how we did the right thing. Listing the reasons like a catechism. Butterfly kisses against my cheeks, and faith against my hurt.

One after another, I have lost it with this attitude. I understand all the reasons that my quitting a successful career has been stupid, thoughtless, wrong, short-sighted, and somewhat treasonous.

I have tried to be patient with the criticality, I really have. The reactions and the advice and the anger.

But if I suck at lying than I suck even harder at being patient, so I've exploded a couple of times.

And about 2 months ago, I had another small explosion against yet another member of this group. This one quite close to home.

And since then, there's been a frost.

This morning, my son crawled into my lap and asked me why.

And I lied. I said it wasn't so.


I suck at lying.

So I had to find a way to explain. Tell a 7 year-old in a way that was both true but not apologetic. I didn't want him to think there was a war and he needed to side with me. I didn't want to him to think there was anything he could do to change things or that he was in any way responsible. I didn't want my own anger to poison his opinion or for him to feel like this was apocalyptic.

I was striving for a 'Grown ups have disagreed, will eventually make up, and I'm sorry it's affecting you in the meantime. You are a miracle and special and no one is mad at you.'

And fuck it, I think I failed.

I know I did.

He nodded sagely and parroted back the right things but in his eyes was a world of hurt.

That HE has been frosted out too isn't fair. He's felt it, and it has gripped his heart with confusion and pain.

And that has enraged me to the bad place beyond words.

I tried to hide it, as we laid in my bed, stupid dog between us, saying nothing. Wise and sad child, wiggly puppy, and furious mom.

And right this minute now, that has me feeling a hell of a lot more helpless than some infection. I have no clue what to do, or how to make this better.

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Posted by: sue on November 28, 2007 12:22 PM

I know it's easier said than done, but to HECK with those people! They don't live your life, YOU do! Time for you to dust your shoulders off and keep it moving. As long as this person sees/feels/thinks that you are lamenting over their viewpoints, they s/he will think that there is some merit to his/her viewpoint. If, instead, this person sees you shakin' your booty by sunset (or whatever you do when feeling carefree, LOL), then maybe s/he will finally go ahead and swallow the haterade that has been pooling in his/her mouth.

Posted by: Monica C. on November 27, 2007 02:20 PM

I'm so far behind here, but I'm sending you good thoughts.

Posted by: Philip on November 26, 2007 03:15 PM

Hi, I wanted to say Im glad you finally got a diagnosis. How frustrating that must have been. I just wanted to sayI think youmade the right decision when you chose to stay home with your child. I cant believe people would think that would be a bad decesion! They are only little for so long. For what its worth Im proud of you!

Posted by: angela on November 24, 2007 06:25 PM

You know I keep telling Helen this (and really, I am telling myself as well) but you do not have to explain your life and the choices you make - to anyone.

I'm so sorry that anything so trivial is causing you - and especially Bear - pain.

Sending you love from me and my Munchie.


Posted by: Margi on November 24, 2007 12:00 AM

Grace really hit it right, but I know that it's worthwhile (or at least soothing) to hear support from multiple sources, so I'll place my echo here. Showing him how the ugly side of life works is so, so important so that he'll know how to navigate it, and it's so, so awful to have to do.

Thinking good thoughts your way on all fronts, and happiness for the treatability of your ailment.

Posted by: alice on November 23, 2007 04:10 PM

So the stream that divided your friendship has become a small river? I'm sad that has happened to you and that is also has effected Bear. I'm sad that the group just doesn't accept YOUR decision. But it happens. It sucks but it happens. Just always know that there are people out here who just accept you for you.

Posted by: Grace on November 23, 2007 02:13 PM