Where I Wake Up Next to Another Man

Probably not the best followup to my last post but, as they say, what happens tonight goes on Facebook tomorrow.

We planned a small gathering of friends and our parents, and Mother Nature planned a winter wonderland to otherwise shut down what would have been a house-quaking party. Okay, not really a house-quaking. But nearly everyone north of the Mason-Dixon bagged out due to the icy road conditions and the danger of driving home later.

On the menu: lasagna with hot Italian sausage, white vegetarian lasagna, pulled pork, Cuban sandwiches, white bean and spinach soup, mixed greens salad, buffalo chicken dip, chips and salsa, and the standard crudité. The in-laws, who were bringing the cheesecake, opted out of the drive too – so Todd pulled a homemade apple pie out of the freezer, and thank God someone brought brownies and a wicked cheeseball that would put any fancy wedge of cheese to shame.

For such a small crowd, we ATE. Even the crudité, which is always at a party and really – who wants to eat raw vegetables at a party? Would you like some chocolate cake layered with chocolate mousse? Oh no thank you, I’ll just chew on this chunk of raw cauliflower.

And, like anything we do in this house which ends up with all the appearance of half-assed – even spending all of Friday night prepping food and 4 hours Saturday prepping the house – the guest room was still unmade and the vacuum lying on the floor next the bed, which to you sounds like no big deal but the room was doubling as a play area for the Oculus.* The artificial tree we put up in the rec room was assembled by Opac and my brother in the final hour, with only lights and no ornaments. (There are still no ornaments on it.)

One of my Christmas boxes with decorations in and on top of it, remained in the living room next to the couch the entire evening. In fact, it’s still there. The wreath I made last year with Christmas balls was lying on an accent chair behind the couch, apparently awaiting hell to freeze over until I could repair it and hang it on the front door.

We have four bathrooms in this house: the master bath, the hall bathroom (aka the kids’ bathroom), the powder room off the living room, and the bathroom downstairs in the rec room. The latter is desperately in need of a massive renovation. As for the hall bathroom, anyone with kids they don’t share a bathroom with can attest to the horrors within the confines of this room. It wouldn’t be a normal day if that toilet was working, and this evening was no different. Thankfully, no one attempted it. Well, except for V who will continue to use a clogged toilet until it rivals the look and feel of a port-a-potty.

Todd found some time to throw some lights on the two trees against the house, which at the time I thought was great until the next day when I saw that a tree and a half were lit. I said, Todd – what happened to the lights? He said he ran out of lights and forgot to look for another strand. And guess what? There’s still a tree and half a tree with lights on them.

I’d work on that today, but it’s freakin’ 19 degrees outside and I just spent 10 minutes righting the recycling can in gale force winds, collecting all the cans and cardboard that blew into my neighbor’s yard. And, if she’s reading this – Kay, I’m very sorry if I missed anything and also I apologize for any strange noises you may have heard in the backyard on Saturday night.

And, while we’re on the subject – I put the brakes on two drunks and one twelve-year-old with a recorder who wanted to go caroling, so neighbors – you’re welcome.

Anyway, the guests. We had a low turnout which was actually nice because of who showed up. The staggering of the arrivals made for pleasant and equal conversation. We got some chat time with one of the couples from our San Francisco trip, and later with a couple Todd used to bowl with whom we shared our Pittsburgh experience, and the last couple were new to me so I had some time to chat with them towards the end before Todd sat down next to me and I promptly passed out fell asleep.

Yes, I had wine. I had wine, because hello! It’s a party. I wasn’t drunk, not even once, but I was definitely pacing myself through food and wine and water until sleep overtook me in the presence of two people I’d only just met. I’m so good with first impressions.

And the next thing I know – I woke up at 3 a.m. on the sectional by the twinkling lights of the Christmas tree and the hearth, the lamp next to the couch still lit and the television still on at a volume reserved for rowdy football games… and the room empty but for Robbie, who was asleep completely upright, snoring like a bear at the other end of the couch.



There Was This Boy

So there was this boy, I saw him walk by me once and he took my breath away. I couldn’t avoid his eyes or the chemistry between us. He asked me out once and I said yes, and we went out again, and again, until he owned me. I never knew love like that, and it was precious and intense, and I never forgot it or how it made me feel. Life took us away from each other, but the years went by and I never forgot December 11. Never. My soul remembered the sound of his voice, and the smell of his skin. I thought about him, wondering where he was, what he was doing, and got lost in fantasies about reuniting with him. And then just seven short years ago, I found the answers to the unending questions I had, and the true meaning of “soul mate.”

There was this boy – he imprinted on me, so that I would never forget him. So that I would spend years blindly reaching for that bond with others. I never forgot December 11. That was the day God gave him to the world, to not only one day love me, but to do great things and to selflessly give of himself to others.

There was this boy – now a man – who never forgot me. I am so blessed to know and be loved by him again – in this, our second chance to get it right. There was this boy – who completes me in a way I could only have dreamed. He’s not perfect, but he is perfect for me… and he is mine.

There was this boy- who stole my 15-year-old heart, and reclaimed it more than 25 years later. He took my breath away. I never forgot his eyes, the sound of his voice, or the smell of his skin. He never knew that I thought of him every December 11. When he took my hand in his again – it was like coming home.

There was this boy – I loved him then, and I love him more than ever today.

Happy Birthday to my first, my last, my one true love!! I love you!!

AND, in case you missed it… there was this Birthday Poem from a few years back.



How Did You Know?…. As Asked By V

Riding in the car with kids always produces some interesting conversations. This wasn’t one I was expecting, though V is full of questions about everything these days. I also didn’t expect the raw emotions to bleed through me as I remembered it like it was yesterday.

How did you know when I got diabetes?

Well, for about a week you were drinking a lot, and soaking through your diapers – which isn’t really normal for babies to do. They’d get so wet that they leaked in the bed and I had to change the sheets. You couldn’t get enough to drink. You’d fall asleep with your sippy cup in your hand at night. And I wondered, “what causes thirst like this? Something causes this. What is it?” (Lots of guilt here, I left unsaid. Including the retrospect that I’d also noticed she looked thin in the bathtub one night, and wondered if she always looked that thin? Was it just my imagination? Again, lots of guilt here.)

And then we went to a birthday party O was invited to, and you wouldn’t eat anything there. You were always a clinger, but I thought you’d at least have cake. Nope. Wouldn’t eat. Just drank from your cup.

The next day was Father’s Day and we went out for ice cream. You didn’t finish yours. You didn’t want it.

The next morning, a Monday, you were very, very sleepy and wouldn’t eat and slept on my lap all morning, almost until 11. And then when you woke up, you were breathing fast and shallow like, [I demonstrated this to her]. That part was scary. I called the doctor, and they asked me to bring you in right away.

So the doctor told you I had diabetes?

The nurse tested your blood sugar, and Dr. Watson came back in and told me you had diabetes, and that you had to go to the hospital right away. They were going to send us to Hershey, but first we had to go to the local ER. I told Dr. Watson I wanted you to go to CHOP. You had to go to the ER first because your blood sugar was so high and you were dehydrated and in DKA, and CHOP’s team wanted you to be stable before they could pick you up.

Were you scared?

I hesitated a moment, collecting my thoughts, feeling almost ancient tears welling up behind my eyes.

Yes. We drove over to the ER and they were waiting for you. They tried placing you in a bed, but you were hysterical and reaching out for me to hold you. But you were also dehydrated and exhausted, so you didn’t fight too much. They started IVs in both your arms, so that you could have fluids to help you feel better; they attached little sensors to your chest and body to monitor your heart rate. I sat on the bed with you and touched you. I kept my hand on you. You’d fade into sleep, which was a relief at the time.

Was dad scared?

Yes, he was.

He thought I was going to die. Did you think I was going to die?

No, I never thought that for a second. I knew when CHOP’s team came to pick you up that they were going to make you better. I had no idea how, but I knew they would.

But dad said he thought I might.

Well, he may have heard some things the doctors were concerned about, that I didn’t hear. I was in shock – I don’t think I heard much of anything. All I thought about was you and holding you and how we were going to get through this.

The concern was the DKA. You know that’s very serious, and can cause coma or even death. The nurses came in every hour and checked your pupils in your eyes to be sure you were okay, and you were.

Did they do lots of tests on me?

I think so. You had IVs in both your arms and both your legs, and they did come in periodically to check on things and run tests. I don’t know what they were for anymore. You were getting insulin in one of the IV’s, so I know they were checking your blood sugars to see if they were coming down. The heart rate monitor was still attached to you, which is normal, and they checked your blood pressure too. (I didn’t mention the mind-numbing screaming she did for hours, the next day, when her fatigue began to wear off and the insulin was making her better.)

Was O there?

He was with us in the ER until Nannie took him home. She brought him down to CHOP the next day to see us. (I know she can hear my voice, somewhat weakened by the memories. I didn’t tell her that her then 6-year-old brother asked me if she was going to die.)

And dad took him home?

Yes, dad took him home and took care of him while you and I stayed in the hospital. I know that was really hard for him, that he couldn’t stay with you. It was very hard for me, to be separated from O for 5 days. I worried about him too, because he was so small and he didn’t understand what was happening.

So then I got a pump?

No, not then. We had to start with shots, which you hated. It was really hard, V. You  were so little and you hated it all, and there’s really no reasoning with a 2-year-old. When I’d prepare the shot you’d run away from us. You’d refuse to eat, and spend half of mealtimes crawling around on the floor under the table. I’d follow you with the spoon too, begging you to eat. (She doesn’t remember any of this.)

You finally got your pump a year later. That was hard too – a new change to get used to. But it was the best thing, because we had so much more freedom and you didn’t have to eat on a schedule as much and your numbers were so much better controlled.

(I didn’t tell her that I hated how she would be tethered to a machine for her insulin. There would always be a site, and tubing hanging off of her, attached to a small box she’d wear in a pouch around her waist. How I hated that I couldn’t hold my baby girl without that “thing” being there, between us.)

Why do I have to have diabetes? Why doesn’t O have it?

I don’t know. There are many theories on why more and more kids are being diagnosed, but none are absolute. Many believe our environment is a huge contributor to this, and I think they’re right. But it’s also about some people having some sort of predisposition toward developing it. Some people have it, and some don’t. And I don’t even think the “experts” can explain that one. I wish I knew. I’m glad O doesn’t have it. But I also wish like crazy that you didn’t.

You would take it from me and have it yourself.

In a heartbeat.

There’s never going to be a cure.

I believe there will be. You know all those things they’re working on to make life better for type ones? There are also a lot of researchers working hard on that cure too. I believe we’ll get there. After all, someone discovered insulin, right? That means someone will find the cure, too. No matter how long it takes.