April 24, 2009

Poor Me

I just want to express how unfair it all is. Really, time just doesn't seem to care about how much slower I need these things to go. I'm currently faced with the real disaster of my youngest and final child's - my baby - increasing age. In just a short seven days, my dear little Risa will turn a shocking three years old.

This development is shocking to me for many reasons. The first, and most obvious, is that these past few years have gone by so quickly that I barely even remember most of them. I feel like somewhere along the line I must have fallen asleep because suddenly we're at this new stage and I don't remember how we got here. It's so sad. I'm glad to see her growing up, of course, but these days of babyhood were the last for me. There will be no more children (unless God decides to play a decidedly cruel and humorless joke on me). Given that, I'm not ready for my youngest baby to stop being a baby.

Then there's the other reason for my shock and amazement at this interesting accomplishment that Marisa is about to attain. The fact is - I'm amazed the child is still alive. She's fearless. She's impulsive. She's the one who laughs at the thunder even when it's loud enough to shake the entire house. She's the one who takes herself to Grandma's or takes herself on walks outside without bothering to even tell anybody what she's up to. She's the one who jumps off the sofa and giggles when she lands on the hard floor. She's the one who climbs as high as she can just so she might be able - if she stretches just a little farther - to touch the ceiling (or the clouds).

She's also the one who runs into the water at the lake when everybody else is running out of the water because there's a - gasp - SNAKE IN THE WATER, and the snake decided to be curious about all the people so he came close enough to shore to be seen. Yes, this happened today. My darling little girl would have gladly chased after the poor, defenseless baby snake if she had been allowed to do so. Instead we let her stand and watch the snake from a distance that was sufficient enough to keep her from drowning. (I wasn't the least bit worried about that snake. It was the deeper water that bothered me.) Unfortunately all the grown men were so afraid of the baby snake that they felt the need to frighten it away before we were able to observe it to our own content. I was very disappointed about that.

At the lake today, Marisa was walking as deep as she could to see just how far we would let her go out. My niece, Anna, was right behind her at all times so safety was not an issue. However, my little baby would just keep walking even when the water was as high as her mouth. She would keep going and going and going if Anna did not stop her. She was determined to walk across the bottom of the lake, I believe, without regard to the fact that she couldn't possibly breath under all that water.

So next Friday I will celebrate Marisa's third birthday - and stand amazed at her ability to survive this long in spite of her overwhelming tendency to disregard any potential danger in favor of leaping out to grab the thrills of life. I sincerely hope that she holds on to that tendency as she grows. Fear is often the thing that prevents us from reaching our greatest possible achievements. If she never learns to fear, perhaps she will also never learn to give up.

April 21, 2009

What is it about visiting familiar places that brings out all the emotions in me? I took my girls to see my mother today. Well, no, that isn't exactly right. I took my niece to spend the night with my mom because my niece is with me for the week and my mom wanted to see her on her days off from work. As an afterthought my mother asked me to bring my girls along for a visit, too.

That place is so haunted with memories - some are good, but most are not. I sat there on the steps watching my mother play with my kids and couldn't help but cry a bit. I found myself seeing what my life might have been like if my mother had made better choices when I was a child. I wonder sometimes if she even realizes what she gave up by turning away from her children.

Now I'm feeling a deep sadness that I can't quite explain or alleviate. "Should've beens" don't really have a place in reality, though, do they?

April 7, 2009

April Snow Showers....

It snowed today. This is quite amusing. I live in Georgia where we rarely get snow in the winter. And yet here it is - April - and it was snowing.

Of course the snow didn't last very long. It was mostly just a steady spray of flurries throughout the day with nothing even pretending to stick to the cars or the ground.

But still.... Snow! In April.

April 6, 2009

Who Am I?

I don't think I really know who I am anymore. These past few days I've come to learn more about myself than perhaps even I ever wanted to know. I've learned that one should be careful of what they vow that they will never do, say, or think because those words often come back to haunt when you find that the person you thought you were is not exactly who you really are.

I'm sure you're wondering what I'm referring to, but some secrets a woman must keep - sometimes even from herself.

It can be surprising to realize just who you really are. This true nature doesn't always coincide with the person that you know you are supposed to be. I've recently come face to face with this other self - this true nature - that I was not aware existed. I'm not disappointed or unhappy with this other self, just surprised at her existence.

My realization of this other self comes partly in the form of an apparent family crisis. You see, my father has prostate cancer. He got the diagnosis last year, followed by a flurry of tests and surgeries and ending in the assurance that the offending cancer had been completely removed. There were peripheral complications, such as the burst hemorrhoid that caused him to nearly bleed to death and required further surgery to repair. Those complications were just part of the process of dealing with the cancer. The doctors were, however, fairly confident that the cancer had been thoroughly eradicated from his body.

As often happens in cases such as these, the doctors were wrong. Less than a full year after my father had his prostate removed, his PSA numbers are starting to rise again. That's a clear indication that the cancer is not gone. He starts radiation treatments within the next week to treat, and hopefully eliminate, the cancer.

"So what's the issue?" you may ask.

Well, frankly, I just can't seem to find the capacity to care. I should care. He's my father. I should have some concern for his well being. And yet I find myself to be oddly disconnected from the ordeal that he is facing in his life. The events that brought me to this place in our relationship are rather irrelevant, but the reasons are all sensible. It's hard to expend one's energy to care for someone who has been intentionally absent from one's life for the better part of 15 years.

Even though I know and understand my feelings of unconcern, I've struggled with myself because I know what is expected and considered to be "normal" in situations such as these. I feel that I should care about what is going on in his world. Frankly, I just don't.

Well, no, that isn't exactly correct, either. I do care, but not completely. It's like meeting somebody for the first time and feeling empathetic for their situation, or having a friend of a friend who is having a hard time. That's how I feel - like somebody that I barely know just happens to be sick, and because I know them and have knowledge of their sickness then I can be sympathetic to their plight while still being well removed from the effects of what is happening. It's distant and does not directly effect me.

It's difficult to reconcile this knowledge with myself - knowing what I should be and knowing what I really am; knowing what I should feel and knowing what I really feel. The two are so completely opposite.

This, and other occurrences in my life, have led me to believe that perhaps the person I've become is not quite the person I expected that I would be. Perhaps I still have a lot to learn about myself, who I am, and who I can be.