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The odd ones

I will remember

My baby son sleeps on the floor next to me. I should be asleep, too, but I’m too full of wonder to sleep.

What will my baby son remember about his short first trip to Oregon? Probably very little.

But I will remember.

I will remember standing in the airport security line with him strapped to my chest. Realizing he is the same age my older son was when we flew north to say goodbye to my dying mom 4.5 years ago, and saying thanks that this time I flew for celebration, not farewell.

I will remember sitting in a hotel bathroom and whispering–so as to not wake the baby–about my brother-in-law’s first days of med school.

I will remember trying to wrangle my just-younger sister’s two kids in a strange city.
Read more…

Escape from Terror Teacher

I knew something was wrong with my son’s new school the moment I absorbed the incident report.

My initial response was horror. “My sweet, sensitive son did that? What on earth is happening at the school for him to do such a thing?”

Exhausted from tending to his baby brother and in the throes of post partum depression, I focused my chagrin on him. “I am so disappointed in you!” I told him repeatedly as we drove home.

“But he told me I had to!” Read more…

Sorry, kiddo. Lesson learned.

Not that person anymore

When my just-younger sister considered where to pursue graduate studies, I advised her to go away. “It’s good to be around people who see who you for who you are, not who you were. It gives you a chance to grow into your real self.”

When my mom died, I wish she’d had a like chance to go away and find who she was apart from what others expected her to be. I wished this all the more reading one of the comments on her guest book from a former friend who suggested she was the only one who “got” my mom, when what she got was the tiny sampling her particular perspective allowed her to see. Read more…

Thank Goodness for Girlfriends

I used to believe girls not my sisters were untrustworthy.

This sentence appears in my May 2011 blog, “A Woman’s Strength.” The remainder of that post reflects how very, very wrong I was about women.

I thought a lot about my relationships with women in the days leading up to my October 2013 wedding. With a baby on the way, I knew there was no way I’d be able to drive over to the outdoor wedding site in my wedding dress. I wasn’t honestly sure I’d be able to keep the dress on for the ceremony itself.

It was okay, though. I figured it would all work out just fine with the best of accomplices. A few days before my wedding, I wrote:

While making oatmeal, I got to thinking about how my mom always said, “You can’t trust women.” I wish she’d had my experience with girlfriends. I can’t even type “You can’t trust women” with a straight face because it’s so unfathomably outside my experience!

I got to thinking about this because of my bridesmaids. Based on what details Anthony and I do or don’t wrap up, my changing room might be a wall of sheets held up by my bridesmaids . . . which, when I think about it, is pretty fantastically symbolic. That’s kinda what girlfriends do, in my experience: hold out their arms in love to shield their girlfriends from the unwelcome or hurtful as best as they can.

The day came, and I discovered my wedding site was a few dozen yards from a public bathroom. My girlfriends used the sheet meant as my improvised changing room to cover the bathroom floor instead. Read more…

(Marriage) Equality: the light in and from us all

I supported marriage equality since before I supported marriage.

“Sure, I feel like marriage is a terrible idea, but there’s no reason my thinking on this ought to control anyone else’s life! If anyone can ruin their life with marriage, everyone ought to have that freedom.”

I’ve changed a lot the last few years. Many of these ways are for the better, although some would probably characterize other changes as “not better for them.” Fair enough! I’m not living for them.

One of those changes, fortunately, was in my thinking about marriage. With only a month of marriage under my belt, I’m still captivated by the romance of having chosen to give someone my all–not 85% or 90% of my all, but 100% of it. That’s the good and the bad. There’s plenty of both.

I’ve had to consider a couple of small practicalities, but mostly I’ve been aglow with the sweetness of it. Was this what I’d been afraid of? Really?

Then I took a trip to the hospital. Everything is fine, and my health is not the subject of this post.

I was asked an innocuous enough question at the hospital. “Do you have an advanced directive?” I said I didn’t, leading the office clerk who’d asked the question to say, “That means your husband will make decisions on your behalf.”

Whoa.

I’d given someone else the power to make life or death choices about me if I ever become unable. I’d made the choice knowing I could trust those decisions–whatever their specifics–to reflect at least dozens of our conversations and to reflect my wishes and beliefs as well as my husband’s own understandings of who I am.

There was little romantic and plenty powerful in that moment. My mouth kept answering the clerk’s questions while my mind struggled with the enormity of that matter of fact statement about my husband.

I’d read articles about men and women unable to visit their partners in the hospital. Unable to make choices for their partners as folks others deemed to be their real family made choices as the partners watched on the sidelines. There are fewer stories of instances like this since the Obama administration implemented rules mandating partner rights and decision-making a couple of years ago, but I was physically swayed at the thought that anyone had ever been exiled to the waiting room who belong at a loved one’s bedside. Read more…

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