Tag Archives: love

Baby’s not in a corner

My little girl had her first real dance a couple weeks ago. She’s been to a couple school dances but they were just casual after school things. This was a fancy dinner dance. She had been looking forward to it for weeks. We spend two days shopping for the perfect dress, shoes and accessories. She took all her stuff to school that day and the little girls in her after school program helped her do her hair and makeup.

All the little girls were very excited for her. They’re all a lot younger than her (K-5th grade) and they’re at the age where they dream of going to school dances. Jessica loved being put together. By the time I got there she was absolutely glowing.

I drove her to the school and walked her to the door. The girls were all squealing with delight over glittering dresses and sky high heels. The boys were all awkwardly pulling at collars and ties. Parents were fluttering about like paparazzi.

In the middle of it all there was Jess. Twirling and smiling, she was absolutely caught up in the magic of the evening. We were entering a world neither one of us had ever been before. She was heading into a dance that had nothing to do with special education or her ALE class. This was all regular students and regular teachers. I was entering a world where parents drop their children off at 6pm and then pick them up at 9pm. This seems normal for parents with regular kids. But when your kid has Down’s this is completely out of the question. Jessica has never been with strangers. She’s always been with me or family or her class or daycare. This was my first time letting her go. My first time letting her be a regular teenage girl.

She walked into the glittering decorations and I stood in front of the door not really knowing what to do. One of the teachers invited me in to take pictures. Jess was already at a table chatting with a group of girls. I called her over and she says “MOM! You’re EMBARRASSING me!!!!” She reluctantly let me take a picture then told me to go home.

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I sat outside for a minute. I worried about her being included. I was scared she would be sitting alone in a dark corner trying to break into the “normal” world. I forced myself to get in the car and go home.

And I waited.

I’m not sure time has ever passed so slowly.

When I got back to the school, the dance was still in full swing. One Direction blasted on the speakers as a hoard of teenage girls screamed “THAT’S MY SONG!!!!”

As I stood in the shadows hoping for a glimpse of my baby a girl came and asked if I was looking for Jess. She said that Jessica was having a great time. She told me Jess had been dancing nonstop all night. I fought back tears and told her that I had been worried Jess wouldn’t be included. She smiled and told me that everyone loved Jess. She said Jess had initially been worried that she wasn’t beautiful. All the other girls were in really formal gowns and Jess was in a simple dress. After the girl assured Jess that she was beautiful, it was all forgotten and Jess decided to jump in and enjoy herself.

Around that time the shimmer of a white skirt caught my eye and I saw Jessica dancing with a group of kids. I managed to sneak a picture of her. It’s not a clear picture but it’s probably my favourite picture. I look at this picture and it’s hard not to feel so overwhelmed. There was my little girl just being herself. Her happy go lucky in love with the world self.

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I walked out of the dance and let her have the rest of her evening. This wasn’t the place for parents. This was for 8th graders enjoying their last dance as kings and queens of their school. Next year they will be freshmen in high school and back to the bottom of the pecking order.

I sat outside and marveled at the young lady my daughter is becoming. She is bold and fearless. She’s 14 years old and she has Down Syndrome but she’s doing something I never could at her age. She went to a social function and didn’t care that she didn’t have a date or a group of friends to go with. She wasn’t shy or over self conscious and she didn’t give much of a toss what anyone thought of her. She was just a girl that wanted to go dance and have fun. This is one of those things the Down’s couldn’t take away. There are a lot of things the Down’s robbed from us, but this wasn’t one of them.

This was a night where a young girl taught her mom that it’s okay to let go and that she’s going to be just fine in this big world.

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Meshed

I miss

…conversation that’s effortless and silence that isn’t awkward

…hands that feel familiar and kisses that feel brand new

…middle of the night philosophy turning into sunrise jokes

…playlists, inside jokes and daydreams

…fingers running through my hair & fingernails running down my back

…being completely spent

…feeling connected.

It’s been years. I should have been able to find this again. It still feels like I’ve lost part of myself. The part that was able to be happy. I keep thinking I’ll be able to start over.  Shouldn’t I be able to find these things again in someone new? Yet every time I try to start over conversations are hollow, hands feel foreign and kisses are stale. It’s been years and nothing has ever meshed the way it did with him. Nights like these I wonder if it ever will.


A five minute pet

There is a running joke in my family that I am the underground railroad for stray animals. From dogs and cats to baby squirrels, they just seem to find me. It’s as if some signal goes out that I’m a sucker. I have rescued, fostered, adopted and loved more pets than most people I know.

Every day on my way to school I’m bombarded with the visual reality of San Antonio’s animal crisis. I count no less than 6 dogs roaming the streets from the minute I exit the highway to the time I walk through the campus gates.

There are just so many dogs.

Yesterday started like every other day. I exit the highway and make my way towards campus. I spot the first dog of my morning; a cute little black and tan weenie dog. He was walking behind a man and I was concerned that he was too close to heavy traffic to be walking without a leash. Silly me figured the dog had a person. Suddenly the man turned and kicked the dog so hard I gasped. Instantly my heart was racing and I was enraged. Everything inside me was screaming to go back. But I had a midterm and had to keep going. By the time I got to school I was a consumed with guilt. I should have gone back. I choked it down, went on with my day, failed my midterm and went home resigned to being just a little more disappointed in myself and humanity as a whole.

This morning started the same. I exited the highway and started mentally preparing for all the dogs I was about to see. Traffic hit a sudden slow spot and I figured it was a car stalled in the turning lane. When I got closer I saw that it was a dog. He had been hit by a car in the turning lane and all the other cars were trying to get around him.

My heart stopped.

I was trapped in my lane watching as he would lift his head and one paw when another car came close to hitting him again. It was almost human. As if it was a reflex to avoid being hit, or some attempt to beg for help. And no one was stopping. They all just drove around him like he wasn’t even there.

As I fought my way through traffic to get back to him, it felt almost like redemption for not going back for the dog that got kicked yesterday. When I finally got to him I saw his back was broken. He was a big white and tan pit bull mix. He was wearing a red collar with faded grey paw prints. He was too big for me to pick up and I couldn’t bring myself to drag him across three lanes of traffic. I went inside a staffing office and asked them to call someone. I asked if someone could help me and no one would. I asked a man walking buy if he could help me and he refused. Why were they all looking at me like I was crazy? How could all these people see this suffering dog and not do anything?

Finally a lady pulled up behind my car and came towards me. She said she had seen it happen and that she had to come back. She helped me pick him up and carry him across the street to the sidewalk. She talked about how she saw him trying to cross and saw the truck in front of her hit him and take off. I suppressed  the urge to verbally flog her for not stopping immediately. I was too focused on the dog to pay much attention to her.

I sat on the sidewalk with him. His breathing was becoming more laboured. I put his head on my lap and stroked his big boxy head and held his paw. I kept talking to him; telling him how pretty he was, how he was such a good boy, but mostly apologizing for his circumstances. I was apologizing for the over-breeding of pit bulls, for the red collar that had wanted him when he was a puppy and lost interest when he grew up, for the person that hit him, for all the people that drove past him and refused to help.  I begged him to let go. I told him everything was going to be ok. I called him Buddy. He looked like a Buddy. He looked like a dog that loved to chase balls, and wanted nothing more than a boy to faithfully follow around. He looked like the kind of giant dog that would forever be in puppy mode. He may have lived like a stray, but for five long minutes he was able to die like a pet.

He died with his head in my lap and his paw in my hand. I just sat there. I hadn’t even noticed that the lady that had helped me had already left. As I was sitting there I felt something on my other hand. I looked down and a little chiuaua mix was sitting next to me licking my hand.

They just seem to find me.

 


Lather Rinse Repeat

Lather

Once again I am standing on the threshold of a new semester full of this crazy optimistic anxiety.  Every semester I go through the same resolutions: I will use my planner, I will do all my reading assignments, I won’t leave my papers till the last minute, I won’t be dependent on medication, I won’t let my bi-polar crap consume me, I’ll keep my environment organised, and I’ll strive to reclaim my identity as an honour student.  At the dawn of every semester I run through this list of goals with as much dedication as a junkie fresh out of rehab.

Rinse

I’ve decided to go off my meds again. I can just imagine the eye rolls and exasperated sighs of some people that will read that statement. I’m sure that’s a common occurrence for people dealing with bi-polar people. We’re notorious for going on and off meds. I’m no exception. After a lot of thought I’ve decided that medication and therapy were useful in getting me through the crisis. But I don’t think I’m in crisis anymore. I think that’s why they became less effective. I think I just didn’t need them anymore. I think I’m ready to do this on my own. I made it through the whole summer break without them. That’s a huge accomplishment for me. Summer break is a dangerous minefield of downtime. Downtime is a poison dart to me. I beat summer break. Now I’m going to try to beat Fall 2011.

Repeat

It’s the first night after my first day of class. I’ve diligently used my planner. I’ve colour coded and tabbed my economics books. I’ve finished one assignment. I’ve checked off the misc. stuff on my to-do list. So far I’m doing well. But now the fatigue is setting in. It’s already 11pm and instead of doing my  reading and my other economics assignment I’m blogging and considering going to sleep and doing it in the morning. Just like a junkie falling back on a needle, it’s effortless to fall back into my natural groove. After all it’s a groove that has 20 years of wear.

Lather

Boethius said “The worst misery is to have once been happy.”

I think that’s why I haven’t been able to get back to the academic standing I used to hold.  Back when I was an honour student, I was totally alone. I didn’t have friends, or love interests, or a social life.  I hadn’t tasted happiness yet.  Now that I have, the absence of it has been crushing.  I didn’t know how much the loneliness hurt back then so it was easy to just focus on school and make good grades. Now I’m so painfully aware of my loneliness, it makes focusing on school work difficult.

Rinse

So here I am again. On the threshold of a new semester. But not just another new semester. This is the first semester of my senior year.  And with more dedication than a junkie fresh out of rehab, I think I’m finally ready to let go. I’m not just letting go of those months of happiness that were followed by those years of heartache. No, I think I’m finally ready to let go of all the pain, resentment, animosity, guilt, bitterness, and fear that’s been holding me hostage for most of my life.

Repeat

No.

No, I don’t think I will.


The Strays

I like the stray cats on campus. Just watching them roaming around, hanging out, observing…waiting.

Waiting on what?

A scrap of food, a scratch on the head, a kind word?

Waiting to be noticed?
Waiting to be wanted?
Waiting to be loved?

I relate to them. I always have. Ever since I was a little girl I’ve always been drawn to strays. They used to call me the underground railroad for strays. I was always coming home with some poor furry soul that needed a home.

I think I’m a stray. Can there be stray people? I feel like I’m just like these stray cats on campus.

Alone and for the most part invisible. Just silently observing the world pass me by. Waiting for someone to notice me, want me, take me home and love me.

Perhaps I’m waiting for my turn to wear the shiny collar that says I belong somewhere, I’m a real person, I’m special to someone and I’m loved.

When you think about it an engagement/wedding ring is like a collar. A symbol that tells the world you have a place, you have a home in someone’s heart and there is someone that loves you enough to look for you and find  you if you happen to lose your way.

I’m just like a stray with no collar. The men in my life are like these people on campus.

They notice me for a minute, a temporary display of affection and wanting.

But in the end they all leave, they all go back to their lives.

“What a beautiful and awesome cat.” he will say. “I love spending time petting her, but I can’t take her home. I can’t keep her cause there’s just no room in my life for the commitment of having a pet. So I’ll pet her when I see her and tell her she’s great and that I’m sorry I can’t be more than a tourist in her life. And I’ll walk away hoping she’s not too sad – believing she’s so great someone will surely take her home someday, cause she deserves better than this.”

And he’ll leave. It’s no loss to him, his life will go on undisturbed. But oh how the heart of that cat will ache. For that cat, every scratch on the head heralds in the question…”Is he just going to pet me and leave or is this the one that’s going to love me enough to take me with him?”

Ever noticed a stray that wants to come and take what you’re offering, but they stand back and hesitate, not sure what they should do? Wanting so much for this to be it, but remembering all the times that it’s gone wrong.

It takes a lot of risk for a stray to go out on the limb and let someone get close. I’m sure it takes all she has to cast away the fear of rejection, and open up.

So when he leaves, another little piece of her will wither and wilt. Eventually she’ll become one of those cats that’s content to observe but will run and hide the minute someone new reaches down to touch her.

I’m a stray in life wondering around just trying to find a place in someone’s heart to belong.


This kiss….

I will be the first to admit that I’m quite a foolish girl. I can have all the logic, all the over analysing self awareness and all the intuition in the world, but I will still lose myself entirely in a kiss.

Not just one of those “I want to get your pants off” kisses. Those are a dime a dozen.  No, I’m talking about those epic kisses that take your breath away, makes your heart skip a beat and your legs quiver.  The ones that leave you standing there with your eyes still closed while your brain and body attempts some composure.  Yes those kisses. They are my kryptonite.

Those kisses are so few and far between.  It seems like once I’ve finally gained some footing from the last one, a new one comes to knock me down again.  It’s one of those kisses that makes you forget your name for the moment.  Hell, it makes you forget the world in which things like names even matter. It’s just a blinding bliss, that takes hold and leaves you completely at its mercy, or as is usually my case, lack thereof.

These kisses are my downfall.  They ride in on men that wear my broken heart on their sleeves.  Like mainlining that first hit, they are euphoric and consuming.  Afterwards they are all I can think about. I will lose focus, and disregard the details.  Suddenly it won’t matter that this man isn’t my match.  This kiss is like a drug and it leaves me wanting it all, all at once, all the time.

These kisses are so rare that I’ve only had a few of them.  Which is probably fortunate since I don’t know how someone could experience this on a routine basis.  This last one left me reeling.  In fact, this last one was so great that the withdrawal from it made me ache.  So much so that I hope the next kiss takes its sweet time getting here.

But in the meantime, I’ll close my eyes and remember.


Daydreams of Boston…

It is interesting to me that some experiences in life are so incredibly perfect that they border on religious.  In my mind there are alters of devotions to these memories.  No matter what any one may say about particular elements of these memories they are always pristine and perfect in my mind. 

Old State House: Boston

March 2009
Boston happens to be one of these memories.
I spent what could possibly be considered the greatest week of my life in this amazing city.  I was young and in love without a care in the world and the beautiful town of Boston was my backdrop.  Over time the young and in love part faded and my world filled with cares, but Boston was forever a snow globe holding the precious memory of a time when I was genuinely happy.
When things start getting to be too much, I pull my Boston box down from the closet and transport myself back to a time of sublime bliss.  There are pictures and souvenirs of course, but there are also small trinkets that are like secrets with memories that only I have access to.
Boston Harbor near the Aquarium
March 2009 

 

I find myself saying that I miss Boston and that I’m dying to return.  In reality what I miss is the way I felt in Boston, and what I am dying for is to have those feelings back.  I daydream about graduating and moving up to this city that I fell in love with, much like a girl daydreams of running off to elope with the lover from her spring break fling.
My mind filters out the logistics of the scenario as inconvenient details.  People mention the Massachusetts wrecked economy, insanely high taxes, and lack of jobs and I just tune it all out. “Details! I will deal with those another time!”.  I respond with memories of beautiful parks, exciting museums, the amazing food and rich historic culture.  My family, being from South Texas, naturally assumes I won’t be able to survive a New England winter, to which I say “Watch me!”
Union Oyster House: Boston
March 2009 

 

In reality, people move all the time.  People pick up and relocate for any number of reasons.  When people move for a job or school, people praise them on seizing an opportunity.  When I consider moving for something as monumental as happiness, people scold me for chasing pipe dreams.  Then I think about all those things that were once considered pipe dreams, and what if the creators had not brought those things to fruition.  How drab the world seems in which one never chases dreams.
Who knows if it will ever happen.  While I know that I will certainly see Boston again in my life, the jury is still out on if I will actually reside there someday.
But I think that jury is leaning towards a yes!