Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Little Self Disclosure

Evan is sick. We have a bug problem. And Joseph's love life is getting just a little too interesting.

Details coming soon...

In the meantime, how about a Meme (courtesy of Penny)?

1. Do you still have tonsils?

Indeed, yes.

Despite chronic tonsillitis as a child and having been told by a pediatrician (who didn't subscribe to the then popular "pull 'em" philosophy) that mine were "certainly on the large side."

2. Would you bungee jump?

Never-- can't stand being upside down.

Freaks. Me. Out.

3. If You Could Do Anything In The World For A Living What Would It Be?

An artist . . . who also writes . . . who happens to be a world class chef . . . with a thriving midwifery practice . . .

4. How many tattoos do you have?

None-- never liked needles.

Ironic, eh?

5. Your favorite fictional animal?

Three-way tie:

Bugs Bunny, Bullwinkle J. Moose and Ren.

6. One person that never fails to make you laugh?

My sister, Teresa.

The woman slays me every time I talk with her. Every. Time.

7. Do you consider yourself well organized?

Depends on the situation.

8. Any Addictions?

Love the sugar and "white" carbs-- am working to change that, though.

9. From what news source do you receive the bulk of your news?

Two weekly magazines-- The Nation (yup, I'm a lefty) and The Economist (love to get world news-- and from a perspective outside of this country). And of course, the internet-- mostly from Salon.

Newspapers annoy me. Too many ads.

10. Would you rather go to a carnival or circus?

A carnival-- you get to do something, not just watch.

11. When you were twelve years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An artist.

12. Best Movie You've Seen This Year?

The only one that comes to mind at the moment is Dr. Jack. Just watched it the other night with Ryan and the kids.

Harold Lloyd was a genius.

13.Favorite alcoholic drink

A glass of really good red wine.

14. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Pour a cup of coffee.

Yes, yes, I'm back on the coffee-- but only two cups a day.


15. Siblings?

Six -- three boys, three girls.

16. What is the best thing about your job?

Being a stay-at-home mom means I don't miss any of the milestones, and I have plenty of time to just play with my kids.

17. Have you ever gone to therapy?

Yup. One of the best things I ever did for myself.

18. If you could have one super power what would it be?

Fly. I'd really like to fly.

But being super strong would be cool, too.

But if I could heal, well then, that would trump both.

19. Do you own any furniture from Ikea?

Yes. A few small things, and a fabulous chest of drawers I found for Evan at a yard sale. It came from IKEA.

Man, I wish I didn't have to go to the next state to visit an IKEA store.

20. Have you ever gone camping?

Only twice-- just last spring to the School Forest with Evan, Joseph, and his classmates.

And eleven years ago, when I was pregnant with Joseph.

21. Gas prices! First thought?


And then-- hmmm... they're coming down . . . we must be coming up on an election.

22. Your favorite cartoon character?

The Tick.

23. What was your first car?

A used white '74 Dodge Dart Sport (said in your best New England accent).

It had a fabulous red stripe, and I loved that it looked so much like Starsky's striped tomato.

24. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?

Absolutely not.

25. The Cosby Show or the Simpsons?

The Simpsons. Though I do love Bill.

26. Do you go to church?


27. What famous person would you like to have dinner with?

George W. Bush. I would let him know exactly what I think of his presidency.

And it wouldn't be pretty.

28. What errand/chore do you despise?

Laundry. For the same reason Penny cites.

The act of doing it doesn't really bother me. It's the relentlessness of it. At times, I feel like Sisyphus as I haul that laundry basket upstairs yet again.

Knowing it's just gonna be refilled and is comin' back down the next day. Ugh.

29. First thought when the alarm went off this morning?

The "alarm" was Joseph waking me to help him gather supplies for an after-school outing.

First thought-- "What a beautiful kid."

30. Last time you puked from drinking?

Just once-- twenty-four years ago.

31. What is your heritage?

French, French-Canadian, Irish and English.

Mostly French/French Canadian, though.

32. Favorite flower?

Yet another tie-- Dahlias (in all of their brilliant colors) and Black-eyed Susans.

33. Disney or Warner Bros?

Warner Bros. Definitely Warner Bros.

34. What is your best childhood memory?

Probably walking around our block with my little sister, Teresa, telling her stories about what we were going to do when we grew up (we did this all the time) --while sharing a stick of Big Buddy Bubble Gum that I would fold neatly in half before breaking so that we'd have exactly the same amount.

35. Your favorite potato chip?

Zapp's Cajun Dill Potato Chips.

They come from Louisiana, and they're awesome!

36. What is your favorite candy?

Dark Chocolate.

Anything dark-- but especially from here.

37. Do you burn or tan?

Generally, tan.

Unless I do something stupid.

38. Astrological sign?


39. Do you own a gun?


40. What do you think of hot dogs?

I try not to. Especially if I'm eating one.

There you have it. Feel free to join in the self-disclosing fun.

Vivian did.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Quiet Talk

I didn't expect it to happen this soon-- I just thought that when the opportunity came along again, we'd have that talk.

So much has been written here and elsewhere -- so many sleepless nights spent thinking and worrying about it -- that I'd become more and more convinced that he needed to know.

To really understand.

I didn't want him hurt down the road.

But damn.

I didn't want to hurt him now.

On Sunday, Joseph planned to go to a neighborhood park to skateboard with his friend, Sam. Katherine (Sam's mom) visited for a few minutes, before leaving her son at our house. She sat on the couch next to Sam, and opposite Joseph.

"So I think we're all set," I said, walking into the room. "The boys'll head over to the park (4 blocks away) in about half an hour. Joseph will have his supplies and my cell phone."

"You know, Sandra, that Joseph is just soooo responsible-- he really knows how to take care of himself," Katherine says, all the time smiling and looking at Joseph.

He doesn't say anything-- just sits, head down. I know he wants to go skate, and really doesn't want to talk about this stuff now.

"I'm a nurse," Katherine continues, "and I see a lot of people with diabetes. And there are two kinds. Someday, Joseph," she says, with a knowing look, "I'll tell you about them."

"What do you mean?" Joseph asks, suddenly looking a bit interested.

"Well," she begins, "there are those like you-- who take care of themselves -- and then there are the other ones."

And now my stomach is beginning to feel a little sick, and before I can say anything, Katherine continues:

"The noncompliant ones -- ughhhh -- we don't ever want you to become one of those-- do we, Sam?"

"No, Mom," her son replies, shaking his head and looking slightly scared-- like maybe his mom had already given him the low-down on "the noncompliant ones."

Joseph looks down again.

"I think I'd better get these guys ready to go," I quickly say.

After Katherine leaves, Joseph asks me to walk to the park with him and Sam, saying:

"You can take Evan to the playground, while Sam and I skate."

"Sure, bud."

Then he goes out in the backyard and sits alone on our big, old wooden swing-- while Sam plays with Evan inside, and I run around gathering what I'll need for the outing.

When I'm finally ready to go, I look out the back window and see Joseph still out there, looking like he's deep in thought. I walk outside and take a seat next to him on the swing.

It's sunny and quiet-- with the exception of a lawn mower humming from a distant neighbor's yard.

"Are you okay, bud?"

"Yeah," he says, while looking down at the ground.

"Listen, I don't want you to get all worried about what Katherine said-- and look, I don't want you to think there's just two kinds of people with diabetes. It's a lot more complicated than that."

"Well, I won't have to worry about that when I'm cured," he says, half-heartedly.

I take a deep breath.

"Honey, I know we've talked about this. And yes, I do still believe that a cure for diabetes will happen-- it's just that . . . well, it may be a while."

I pause, to look at his face -- to see how he's doing -- then, go on:

"If we spend time assuming that you'll be cured soon -- always waiting for it to happen -- we might miss out on just living, ya' know what I mean?"

"Shut up, shut up, shut up," he says, laughing a little and plugging his ears.

I put my arm around him.

"Joseph, I'm serious."

He stops laughing.

"But Mom, I really want to be cured while I'm still a kid."

"I know-- I want that too. But we don't know when it's gonna happen . . . it might be a very long time.

And honey, I don't want to promise you it will happen soon, because" -- and this was really, really hard to tell my son -- "I can't control it."

"Yeah, I know that."

"You have diabetes, but you're also this incredible kid who can do so many things-- who is gonna do even more amazing things."

He's looking down, but still listening.

"Yes, diabetes is a part of you-- but a small part of who you are. I'm not giving up hope for a cure, but I don't want you to think: 'Once I'm cured, I can do this or that thing.' Let's just figure out how you can do "this or that thing" right now."

"Mom, I still want to eat all those glucose tabs-- even if I"m old," he says, sounding a little sad.

"Me, too."

For a moment I look away, trying to stop the tears-- to hold it together for just a few more minutes.

When I turn toward him again, Joseph's head snaps up, as if he just remembered something-- "Hey- can I go skate, now?"

Minutes later, we're walking to a park on a beautiful, sunny day-- talking the whole way about the park's "awesome ramps" and how Joseph is going to jump them.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Seems Like All of a Sudden

She's not a toddler anymore.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

And So It Begins

Joseph started school a week ago Monday.

By the time I picked him up last Friday, the verdict was in:

"Mom, fifth grade is awesome! I have the best teacher! We get to eat snacks when we want, and she jokes around a lot-- and the best part is I sit next to a really hot girl."

"A what?!" I ask, while trying to look at the road and my boy in the rearview, all at the same time.

"A hot girl," he says, with a grin so broad I thought his face might bust.

"She has dark brown hair and blue eyes, and I think she likes me because she's always talkin' to me, and I don't think a girl would talk to you unless she liked you."

"Yes, that's true," I tell him, not sure I know how I feel about all of this girl-liking.

I mean, the kid is only ten-- well, eleven in another month.

And sure, there was that girl who asked him to the dance at diabetes camp.

But still...

And then he went on.

"So Mom, I got invited to another girl's birthday party-- A's. It's tomorrow. . . can I go?"

I know this girl. She's a bit taller than Joseph, has flaming red hair, and lives just three blocks away with her dad.

"Sure, but I'll want to talk to her dad to give him the scoop on your diabetes."

"That's okay. But can you believe I got invited? Only two other boys got asked to go. And 'N' -- that's the girl who sits next to me-- she'll be there too," he says, beaming.

Fast forward to Saturday afternoon.

Joseph returns from two hours spent at a girl's birthday party and the first thing he tells me is:

"Mom, I'm going out with A."

"Excuse me?" I choke.

"The other girls at the party wanted me to ask her out, so I did."

"What does this mean, this 'going out'?"

"Well . . . actually . . . I'm not sure," he responds, looking a bit sheepish.

"Do you think A knows?" I ask, fighting hard to keep a straight face.

"Ah . . . maybe."

Then I suddenly remember something.

"Hey- what ever happened to N?"

"Well, it was A's birthday."

"I see."

So that was the end of week one.

After school on Monday, Joseph made yet another announcement:

"Mom, I dumped A."

"You did what?"

"She's never gonna talk to me again. The other girls, too."

"What happened?"

"Well, I told Soren that I really wanted to go out with N, and he told A, and now she's all mad at me."

"Hmmm. I don't like hearing you say that you've "dumped" someone. That's just not a cool thing to say -- or do -- you know, it just sounds mean."

"No, it's not like that Mom. I'm not a jerk. It's just that I asked A out because it was her birthday, and I didn't want to hurt her feelings . . . I don't want to talk about it anymore."

So that was that.

. . . or so I thought.

Yesterday, as we drove home from school, the story took another turn.

"So Mom, I'm goin' out with A again."

"What? Why?"

"Because N won't go out with me."

"Well, she is A's friend-- and it's not cool to go out with someone your friend likes. But honey, do you even like A?"

"Yeah, I've kind of had a crush on her for a while . . . oh Mom, when I told A I'd go out with her again, she was so happy she hugged me-- right in front of everyone. I hope she doesn't keep doing that."

Hmmm . . . I hope she doesn't, too.

"Bud, I just thought of something-- what about that girl from diabetes camp? Do you still like her, too?"

"Mom," he shrugs, "I guess I'm just like Bingo Little."

Heaven help us.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Down (But Not Out)


This is the first moment in a week that I've been able to sit down and try to write something.

I'd like to say it's because we've been so busy that I haven't been able to carve out the time.

And that would be partly true.

But mostly, it's because it was just too hard.

The thought that my son might have to live with this thing for the rest of his life is unbearable (and probably the reason the previous post didn't make it to the blog immediately after I wrote it).

The way I cope is by trying to stay hopeful that a cure will come, but mostly by working hard to tamp down that horrible, aching fear that he won't see a cure in his lifetime.

After writing that entry -- opening this dialogue -- the tamping down has not been going well.

I just so desperately want to sit down with Joseph and Nicole -- with every last one of you -- and eat those damn tabs.

And then never, ever open another jar.