It was a really hard day today.
But I have amazing friends and family.
Thank you, friends and family, for getting me through this.
It was a really hard day today.
But I have amazing friends and family.
Thank you, friends and family, for getting me through this.
Yesterday involved a lot of things. Too many things, which ended up overwhelming me.
These things included:
That was all capped off by a full blown anxiety attack. ‘Cause this was all too much for one person to handle on any day and there will just be more tomorrow.
If you haven’t done it yet, check out my story about putting myself on Match.com. This will make more sense if you do.
David was able to log into his old Match account today in order to find his dating profile. He emailed it to me this afternoon and I grinned like a damned fool while reading it. I have to say, he did a great job of describing what he is all about!
David gave me his permission to share it here (typos and all).
I’m rewriting this for what seems to be the one millionth time (if only there were balloons and confetti, i’d be sure it was one million). All my female friends loved the last one but it seemed painfully cheesey (match says cheesey is spelled wrong but it also says “i’d” is spelled wrong so i’m going with my gut on this one).
While trying to figure out how to describe myself in a way to attract the women of Match, I realized that isn’t the course I want to take. I want to find one woman who wants to be with me (and i want to be with) and not a hundred women who want to be with the sanitized version of me that I write in a profile.
That said, I’m going to start with my most obvious flaws and let anyone who continues to read on find out the rest. First off, I’m a slacker. My room and desk are covered in clutter. I watch too much TV (couch potato doesn’t really fit as i do exercise a lot and i’m in pretty darned good shape). I hate “I Love Lucy” (seriously. i don’t get why people love that show). I have too much of a tendency to rebel against authority. I love t-shirts, jeans, sneakers, PBJs and cold cereal a bit too much for a 35 year old. I use parenthesis way too much.
Alright. Are you still with me? I have some good points too. I love to laugh and make others laugh. I never take myself seriously. I try to always consider others before myself. I’m fit. I love to socialize and meet new people. I have a really cute dog. I’m open minded. I recycle. I’m self conscious enough to realize that the “good” paragraph is longer than the “bad” paragraph but I’m also confident enough to not care. My t-shirts, jeans and sneakers are clean and semi-stylish (my PBJs and cold cereal have very little style). I’m honest, loyal, patient and an all around good guy.
I have 2200 characters left to tell you what I’m looking for but I won’t need that many. I want a woman who is self-confident, funny, fit and has a positive outlook on life. . She wears a pretty dress to the symphony but doesn’t mind getting dirty on a camping trip. She made it through the “bad” paragraph, appreciated the honesty and maybe even giggled a bit. To paraphrase a cheesey but wonderful quote from a cheesey but wonderful movie, she makes me want to be a better man. That was only about 600 characters but I think it says an awful lot.
I have 1500 characters to waste on whatever I want now but I think I’ll save them for emails and conversations with anyone who made it this far. Thanks for reading.
That profile was up for a few months before I found it – the dog he mentions had passed away by the time I met him. David’s profile was buried under a sea of other men aged 29-40 who all claimed to love the outdoors. I found it after searching through hundreds of profiles and coming up with two potential interests.
Two. I’m nothing if not particular.
Testing the waters, I sent a “wink” to both guys. The one who wasn’t David responded fairly quickly and asked, “So where does separation leave you?” And then he didn’t reply to my response.
That lack of response, along with some other self-doubt that surfaced, led me to hide my profile before I had even heard from David. But a few days later I got a message from David asking where my profile had gone. I happened to be on my computer at the time (Jack was with his dad), so I jumped into the chat program and there he was. And we talked and talked and talked via instant message for hours.
Then we talked again the next day. And the next. We started IMing each other every day. And we added in phone calls (just a few, as we both dislike the phone).
Clearly, we clicked. At some point I found out David worked down the street from me and we decided to have lunch together across the street from my office. Jokingly, I told a co-worker about it “just in case I didn’t come back.” She ended up sneaking over to the restaurant to spy on us and make sure I was okay. (What an awesome lady!)
The connection we’d made online was even stronger in person. We couldn’t take our eyes off each other and, bizarrely, my whole body shook the entire time (it wasn’t exactly that I was nervous; I had a very physical reaction to him that I can’t even explain). I was embarrassed but he thought it was funny (and teased me accordingly). I barely ate but we did talk a bunch more and then I surprised us both by hugging him goodbye. I am most definitely NOT a hugger and I had warned him about that but, holy hell, I became a hugger with David.
I’m pretty sure I agreed to marry him because he was hugging me at the time.
Or, you know, it could have been because I was head over heels in love with him. And you know what? Five years later, I still am. (Awwwww.)
“Crystal, there’s a new girl with your name! You have to meet her!”
I was about 7 years old. Her name was spelled differently – with a K and an I, instead of a C and a Y – and she was so much my opposite. Kristal and I immediately became best friends. Like, within seconds. It seemed like the appropriate thing to do. We had the same name, after all.
She lived in a duplex down the street from me – which was as far away from my house that my mom would let me wander (for fear of kidnappers in windowless blue vans). I often padded over to Kristal’s house, barefoot and bedraggled. My feet were tough as nails and black from running around outside all the time.
“Where are your shoes? Does your mom know you’re running around outside like that?” her mom asked me on more than one occasion.
“My mom doesn’t care,” I’m sure I said.
Kristal’s parents dubbed us Pete & Repeat. I was Kristal’s shadow. So much so that she used to tell me to stop crawling up her butt. Sometimes she got irritated with me and we fought. We would take weekends off from being best friends and then make up on Monday, usually. Most of the time, though, I clung to her for dear life. She was my one real friend. To me, she was always so brave and beautiful and strong – all things I wished I was. I was a tiny slip of a thing, always getting stepped on or ignored. I wanted to be her instead.
I loved her family and spent as many days at her house as I could. When I was politely told that my mom probably wanted me home, I didn’t take the hint. “No, I could stay as long as I want!” I would exclaim. No, you need to go home now.
I didn’t want to go home. At home I had to take care of my brother and sister. I had to fight the never-ending battle with my mom’s live-in boyfriend. Home wasn’t home at all and it was the last place I wanted to be.
Kristal didn’t care to spend time at my house, either. My mom’s boyfriend creeped her out. She got frustrated with my mom’s lack of attention to my siblings and me, as well. We had long ago accepted that our mother would space out and didn’t hear us when we called her name over and over. Kristal couldn’t accept it, so she stayed away.
I was happy to spend any time I could at her house anyway.
Kristal spent summers at her grandparents’ house a few hours south, while I moped around and slept the boredom away. The first year that I went with her, I had to leave less than a week in. I said I was homesick but really, I’d had a nightmare about my sister being hurt. I couldn’t be away – I needed to protect her. I knew no one else would, that it was up to me.
A year later, I went again and I stayed the whole time! And it became the thing I did in the summer. And then holidays were added on. I no longer spent Christmas with my family, if I could help it. I even did chores at Kristal’s house – on Sunday mornings we would polish the furniture. I helped her fold clothes, too. After dinner, I dried the dishes while she washed. I wouldn’t know how to do any of those things if it wasn’t for Kristal’s family.
When Kristal moved away – I believe it was sometime around fifth grade – I was devastated. I had no other friends. She’d been popular and had many, so I sought out her friends. I found another pair of girls who were joined at the hip – Stacey and Melinda – and I hung out with them, the awkward third wheel. It wasn’t the same at all. I changed the spelling of my name. I decided I wanted to be Krystal. A hybrid, of sorts.
Kristal and I were still friends. I visited her at her new house in Utah and then, when her family moved back to California a couple hours south of me, I spent many weekends there. We sent letters back and forth and talked on the phone in between seeing eachother. I still held on for dear life.
During high school we drifted a bit but still kept in touch.
Later, Kristal was my maid of honor when I married Joe.
When Joe and I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, she lived with us briefly. She and Joe didn’t get along and I felt very stressed trying to keep the peace between my best friend and my husband. I admit it – I was a little relieved when she moved out. It meant I didn’t have to question my relationship with my husband as much.
I should have paid attention to that. But I’m stubborn, if nothing else.
We drifted from one another more and more after that. And then my childhood caught up with me and I disconnected from everyone who had been a part of it. I went into therapy and opened Pandora’s Box – I couldn’t discern between friends and enemies anymore so I swore everyone off.
Just about the time I split from Joe, though, I sought her out again. The two parts of my life that didn’t go together didn’t have to anymore and it was a huge relief. I wished I hadn’t lost years with my friend, though.
We’ve seen each other a couple times since then, but life has gotten in the way of much more. She met the man of her dreams and settled down, and so did I. In fact, when I met David, I immediately thought of something Kristal had said to me back when we were kids – that when I met my true love, I would have a quiet and gentle love. She was right, I marveled.
I can’t imagine my life without Kristal. It would be immeasurably different if Kristal and I hadn’t become fast friends on that long ago day in elementary school. I know I would have never found my own bravery, strength, and beauty if it wasn’t for her. She was my hero and she helped me hang onto myself through so much hardship.
Kristal, you have always been so much more than my first best friend, I hope you know that. You are my soul sister and I love you.
In less than three weeks, David and I are taking Jack to school, boarding our dog, and jumping onto a plane headed for Madrid, Spain.
No, we can’t afford it. It will increase the already sizable amount of credit card debt we carry. But we are going anyway.
Jack will spend Thanksgiving week with his dad (who gets holidays on odd years) and my employer has issued an office-wide mandatory vacation for that week. So I have a week where I can’t work if I wanted to and I won’t have my kid. A whole week!
And lord knows we need a vacation! David and I haven’t had a true vacation together since our honeymoon three years ago. We are lucky if we get to spend an hour together each night, and usually that time is spent talking about Jack’s health. We are tired and depressed and even though we see each other daily, we miss one another.
So yeah, we’re leaving the country and getting as far away from our day-to-day troubles as we can. We are going to dedicate that week to taking care of ourselves and renewing our relationship. It’s all about us! We can wake up when we want to and go wherever our mood dictates.
I am excited and so very hopeful. I hope that the radical change in location will help us set aside our daily stresses and replace it with awe over a different country and culture. I hope we can stop talking about Jack’s health for a while and instead talk more about how fortunate we are to have this wonderful family. I hope we can reconnect and enjoy our love. Maybe we can even plan for the future.
Mostly, I hope we will come back feeling refreshed and energized and better able to handle the challenges that come at us constantly.Jack has a year and a half of treatment left. Hopefully this break will fortify us enough to make it through.
Hey, look! I’m participating in NaBloPoMo! You can, too!
In summer of 2008, just before our son’s second birthday, my husband and I split up after nine years of marriage. Our marriage had been over for a long time and we’d come close to splitting a number of times over the years, but for some unknown reason we just kept beating that horse until it was dust on the floor.
Finally, with a few months of therapy under my belt and a therapeutic dose of antidepressants in my system, I found my strength and independence to utter the words.
“I think we should split up,” I told him one day before work.
“Yeah, me, too.”
The decision was made in a ten-minute conversation. We would separate and see how things went from there.
Only a couple of weeks after that, I was living in my own apartment – for the first time on my own – with Jack and my two cats. And I loved it! The moment I set foot in my apartment I knew I’d made the right decision (and soon after, I knew divorce was absolutely the right choice). Naturally, it took some adjusting. It takes a while to unravel yourself from an eleven-year relationship, but I’d been emotionally preparing for the separation for years. Even when the adjustments were difficult, I found them easier to cope with than fighting for a long-dead marriage.
I talked to my friends every day and wrote my heart out both online and on paper. I wrote pages and pages about what hadn’t worked in my marriage and then I wrote more about what I really needed in my life. I asked for advice and guidance from my closest friends and they were more than happy to give it – even when it wasn’t pretty and even if I didn’t always heed that advice.
And then, after a few friends suggested I try dating since I never had before, I put my profile up on match.com. Writing a profile for a dating site may seem like an easy task, but I was in a very strange place in my life. I had ideas about what I was looking for but I had trouble putting them into words. Describing myself as an individual – outside of my marriage and being a parent – was quite a challenge. I really had to look at myself in new ways and figure out what made me who I am.
I rewrote my profile a bunch of times before coming up with what turned out to be the perfect thing. Even after that, I took it down completely in a moment of self-doubt, but I did end up putting it back up. And thank goodness I did because I met David and he changed my life.
This is the profile that landed me my perfect match.
I am always seeking out new points of view on life from others to test my own opinions. I like to examine the differences and similarities in all people. I love to bounce ideas and theories around. I am playful and not afraid of embarrassment, although I dislike being the center of attention. I am a no-nonsense type of girl who goes for what she wants and I’m passionate about the things that are important to me. Yes, sometimes I argue my point even if I suspect I’m wrong. I don’t give up easily!
I often get so enraptured with a subject that I will read everything I can get my hands on about it until I’m an expert. It’s typical of me to read all of the album lyrics and notes prior to listening to a new CD. I am a master googler. I love imdb and wikipedia.
I’ll know I have reached the ultimate in life when I acquire a maid and a cook. I like it when I can pay someone else to do things I don’t like to do; I feel like I’m helping the economy.
I am somewhat impulsive but I usually spend a lot of time planning. I’m contrary sometimes.
I can be reserved at first but if you’re shyer than I am, I might do something outrageous to get you talking. I’m honest to a fault and will answer any question. My answers will probably surprise you.
I hate to wonder if I’m missing out on something that has the potential to be awesome. I am independent and enjoy time alone, but also love the energy of a group gathering. At a party I’m likely to be found in the corner of a room observing interactions or engrossed in a conversation about the merits of various toothpaste flavors and consistencies (cinnamon gel is my favorite).
I’m not much of a cook but I bake fairly well and often. I’ll make you some peanut butter brownies if you prepare the main course. Or you can give me cooking lessons… Dining out most nights a week is perfectly acceptable, as well (as long as it’s not fast food).
I have an amazing 2 year old son who fascinates me with his passion and his unbridled sense of discovery. He is inspirational and brings out the kid in me. He makes me a better person every day.
I’m looking for a creative, funny, yet intense man. Someone who feels equally comfortable discussing the state of the world as he does chasing me around the house or taking care of a pesky spider (they have it in for me!). I want someone I can rely on and who takes the time to get to know what makes me tick. I will offer the same in return.
I’d like to take any new relationship slowly, although I suppose I may budge on the relationship if I meet the right person. After all, they say you find the one when you least expect it. I’ve never actually been on a real date, so this should be interesting!
I love doing just about anything with another person – life is always more fun with friends. Board games, dining out, travel, BBQs, bocci ball… I like dancing around the house (but I’m a terrible dancer) and pondering the oddities in life.
I’m an executive assistant at a software company. I like the exposure I get to various types of work, the details about the inner workings of a company, and I learn new things all the time. The money isn’t bad, either.
I’m so pale I glow. I’m mostly German with a spattering of British and a little part of every other European country that ever existed, except Italian.
I’m highly skeptical of organized religion. I focus on being the best human being I can be and don’t feel that I require a set of instructions in order to do that. The Flying Spaghetti Monster is great, though.
I could never decide what to major in (Sociology, Psychology, Art, Finance, English…so many choices, so little time) and the classroom is set at too slow a pace for me. I prefer to read a book and learn while doing.
favorite hot spots:
It is my goal to eat out at every restaurant in the bay area. Okay, I can skip the seafood but I’ll take everything else! I enjoy museums, aquariums, botanical gardens, coffee shops…the Bay Area is a great place for all of those.
I’m an indoors girl generally, but will venture outside for walks or a hike with the right company. I like to bowl. I’m currently having a lot of fun decorating my apartment (retro yeah!). Wine is tasty. I miss the 90s music scene but am adjusting.
Lately I’ve been reading any vampire book I can get my hands on (anything from I Am Legend to Twilight). Patricia McKillip is my favorite (fantasy) author. I write and read blogs. I eat up Augusten Burroughs. Click Clack Moo gets a lot of play, too.
Hey, look! I’m participating in NaBloPoMo! You can, too!
It wasn’t until yesterday that I really started to comprehend just how differently this school year – and my LIFE – has gone compared to what I had thought it would be. My ideas on parenting have been challenged more than ever before but those challenges have led to a much better understanding of my role as a parent – an imperfectly perfect parent.
Jack attended school two days this week, and I felt proud of those two days. Two days at school is more than he’s done in weeks!
Since I’ve been home with him so much, catching up on work in between talking to doctors, running labs, or checking Jack’s temperature and assessing his symptoms, I’ve even cooked dinner a few times.
Me! Cooking! It’s unheard of! I’m proud of that, too.
I’ve essentially been a stay-at-home mom, a role that I never in a million years thought I could swing. I still don’t know that I could ever do it full-time (if, in fact, I could afford to, which I absolutely can’t), but since circumstances have deemed it appropriate for the time being, that is what I’m doing. And I’m doing a pretty good job. Not only that, but contrary to what I’d previously thought, the part where I’m home without much adult interaction isn’t the part that’s driving me crazy (the part where I don’t know what’s happening from one day to the next definitely is).
“You’re doing an amazing job homeschooling Jack,” his teacher told me last night at our parent-teacher conference.
Oh, is that what I’m doing? I hadn’t really thought of it that way. Is that what they call juggling five million things these days?
I honestly haven’t done much at all to “school” him (unless letting him watch Dr. Who counts). I hand him the schoolwork he needs to do (after rejecting half of the assignments as impossible or not important enough to complete given our situation), get him into it by asking weird questions about the content, and we discuss corrections when necessary. He almost never has to make corrections when it comes to language arts. Math takes more work thanks to chemotherapy, but David is great at working with him on that. I’m no teacher! I don’t even know how I know what I do know, so I pretty much fail at explaining the concepts to Jack. Thank goodness I am not parenting him alone and he makes it to school some of the time!
It’s probably clear I don’t have the most optimistic view of how I’m managing the schooling portion of our life (however! I think I’m doing a great job of keeping him alive!), so I was pleasantly surprised to hear at the conference that Jack is doing really well and is on track to meet (or succeed in some cases) all academic standards. At least, based on the thirteen days he’s made it to school this year (he’s been there 36% of the time!). His teacher had no concerns and really just wanted to share her observations and see if there was anything she could do to make things easier on us.
I love her.
We heard that Jack is a strong writer, as well as a fantastic artist. We knew the artistry part but I hadn’t really thought about him as a writer before, although I realized he’s been doing a lot more writing lately. It was nice to see some work that he’d done at school, which includes some pretty awesome story-telling that isn’t all about Dr. Who. (Maybe someday he’ll be a blogger like his mama!)
He is conscientious and well-behaved. He tries hard and when he’s at school, no one can tell anything is going on with him health-wise. He has plenty of friends in addition to the ONE he’s told us about. In fact, when he is late to class, if he can’t quickly figure out where he needs to be, his classmates are totally on top of getting him oriented.
Seriously, that was SUCH a relief to hear. I’ve been worried about school but have had so little capacity to do more than what I’ve been doing. It’s nice to have reinforcement that the parenting I’m doing is good enough, especially when I can’t manage anything else!
And, heck, we all might be better off for it.
Jack is back to school! It’s his second week, in fact. And it’s his fifth day making it to class. Yesterday was picture day and he was told by the photographer that he looked like Harry Potter, which made him very happy.
Antibiotics are done and chemo has restarted. As of Sunday Jack’s ANC was an outstanding 1296! All very good things. Whew, we can breathe again.
Life is back to what is ‘normal’ for us, which means it’s catch up time.
Now that things are moving again and we’ve returned to our regularly scheduled life, fatigue and stress are hitting me hard. I can function like nobody’s business when in the middle of a crisis but as soon as it’s contained, I need to sleep for a month! I wish it wasn’t this way – I wish I had been able to rest more while we sat in the hospital room doing a bunch of nothing. But when I napped, I had nightmares.
So ever since we came home from the hospital, I’ve been caught between needing very badly to get some rest and downtime, and stressing out about that rest getting in the way of catching up on all the things I couldn’t do during that week in the hospital. Mostly that’s a lot of paperwork, bill paying, laundry, and house cleaning. Oh and my job. But there is a big chunk of it that is taking care of myself and also getting time with my husband, things that always seem to get pushed behind everything else.
I’m tired, I’m overwhelmed, and I’m in desperate need of both time alone and time with my husband. And I’m depressed because I can’t see any way around this pile of ickiness. I just have to go through it.
Family leave should include two parts – the part where you take care of your family, and then the part where you recover from taking care of your family. Where’s the downtime for the caregiver?
I know it’s only a matter of time before I feel like things are okay again. I’ll be able to look on the bright side more readily and I will feel less irritated by things that aren’t going smoothly. Maybe I’ll even be able to blog properly.
Of course, if you hear I’ve run off without a word to anyone, it’s likely I’ve found a very deep hole to hibernate in until the storm in my head has passed. I’ll come out in my own time.
How is it that a household can be so busy and yet not really doing anything of substance? Summer is almost gone and I can’t really point to anything that has happened in the last couple of months that would have made it go by so quickly. It’s just POOF! Gone!
Maybe it’s a bunch of little things that when added up create a sense of time being compressed. David has been volunteering for a LOT of overtime so nearly every weekend has him working at least some of the time (helping us pay off debt!). Jack and I have been spending a lot of time together on the weekends building legos, watching Dr. Who, and crafting. Other than that, there hasn’t been a lot of entertaining and our house is only marginally cleaner than it was at the beginning of the summer. Although we did move a few pieces of furniture around and bought some house plants.
At least some of the time has gone to catching up on all the television shows people have been raving about for the last year. We got caught up on Homeland (so good!), watched House of Cards (WOW!), and we’re almost done with Orange is the New Black (addictive!). I’ve zipped through the UK’s version of Being Human (loved it), season 1 of Scandal (meh, but the people are pretty), and the latest season of True Blood (not my favorite season). I’m now onto Luther and worried about running out of streaming shows to watch for free (we have Amazon Prime, HBO & Showtime, and are borrowing a friend’s Netflix)!
Last week our dog had one of his canine teeth pulled and that was quite a production. I’ve never seen him as miserable as he was after that! He’s doing a lot better now but for the first day and a half after, he had no real interest in eating or drinking anything. He was put on three different pain killers and David and I have been taking turns working from home until he’s fit to go back to doggie daycare. He was dancing around like a goofball this morning when I was leaving the house, so I think he’s almost ready to go back.
Yesterday I submitted the five million forms it takes to get Jack registered for school. He starts next Tuesday and we won’t find out until Monday which teacher he will get. We don’t know any of the second grade teachers, so I’m not sure that it matters, but I think he would be more excited about starting back if he knew whether he’s in the same class as his best friend this year. So far he is not interested in going back to school. He has worried more than once that the next day might be a school day, so that has me nervous, as well. After such an easy-breezy summer, I worry we may have a tough transition on our hands. I’m trying not to focus on it too much until it happens, though. One more week to soak in the lack of schedule!
So that is my less-than-exciting update. I am looking forward to Type-A Parent Conference in a little over a month when I am rooming with my girl Jana again! Woohoo! Can’t wait to see my peeps!
Jack has been out of school for over two weeks now. I officially have a 2nd grader! (gulp)
Since school is out, our shared custody schedule has switched. Jack is at my house on most weekends and at his dad’s during the week. And with this change – for the first time since he was diagnosed with Leukemia in January 2012 – I’ve completed a full month of work with no sick days! And I’ve already managed to get the rest of the year plotted out for work – I’m ahead on everything there.
Not surprisingly, my stress level has gone down over the last couple of weeks. David and I are carpooling, which has cut my commute time in half! I’m not doing the whole rigamarole on Sundays of dosing out five billion pills for the week ahead. Instead of trying to wrangle Jack AND time in the mornings and at night five days a week, it’s down to two. And the time Jack and I spend together on weekends is all quality since we don’t have to worry about work or school the next day. It’s pretty goddamned glorious!
It’s all bittersweet, though. I’ve never spent such short jags of time with my kid before. It’s really hard to let him go back to his dad’s on Sundays. I cried last week for the first time in a while because two days with him wasn’t enough. I miss him and I don’t know what to do with myself.
I expected my house to get cleaner with all of this extra time but so far that hasn’t quite been the case. (Although, I have to say, my dining room table has stayed less cluttered and I’ve actually had time to put the laundry away!) Instead I’ve been spending more quality time with my husband, resting, getting caught up on my shows, experimenting with mandalas and zentangling, and hanging out with friends more.
I’m mostly loving it. It doesn’t feel complete without Jack but I will have him back with me 80% of the time by the end of August and then I’m sure I’ll be dreaming of next summer. ‘Cause the grass is always greener, right?