A Good Place

I dreamed the other night that I was in Martha Stewart’s house cleaning up piles of dog poop. It wasn’t even my dog’s poop. It wasn’t even Martha’s dog’s poop. The culprit was one of Martha’s friends’ dogs. The next thing I know I’m thoroughly scrubbing her bathroom because it’s dirty. Apparently Martha’s standards are slipping.

Mind you, this was before I saw the forthcoming issue of Sports Illustrated so I don’t know how Martha won a role in my dreams. Nevertheless, I would also like to mention that her estate also had a raised track (similar to a monorail track minus the monorail) for her many dozens of cats to travel between areas of the “backyard.” Yes, welcome to my dreams. Buckle up.

This week at work was marked by a long-awaited milestone – the end of mandatory masking in our healthcare environment. It was odd to sit at my desk without a mask on, and also a bit unnerving because I was worried that three years of hidden facial expressions and the odd movement of my mouth and jaw would manifest into clownlike smiles. Let us also not forget the additional renewed concern for food particles in your teeth, realized on my first day thanks to one of the nurses who clued me in because she’s nice.

The most remarkable thing about this new development was how many people came into our office celebrating seeing our faces. I also noticed that babies stared longer at me – something I’ve been long accustomed to but with the advent of masking had noticed a significant difference. I had so many interactions with babies this week! There was a palpable joy in the air every day that radiated through me and lingers on in this quiet morning at home.

I’ve a virtual pile of things to attend to on this beautiful sunny day and I’m in no hurry to get there. I’m practicing the in-the-moment stuff and it’s really cool if you’re trying to avoid feeling pressure to get things done. I’m in a good place.

I had a late lunch with mom on Mother’s Day and, except for wishing I’d driven the convertible, it was a wonderful afternoon. We had a table outside under an umbrella, enjoyed cocktails and arancini and spicy sausage and chicken and pasta and talked about friends and family and a little gossip too since that’s what we do. It was Mom’s first Mother’s Day off in – probably – 30 years. She decided it was worth it and I’m glad she did. Still working on her to retire, but … Rome wasn’t built in a day and apparently Mom’s retirement won’t be either.

I’m in a good place. I had an exchange with a friend who has also experienced (and continues to experience) NPD and it’s hard to describe the feelings it leaves. I hate that anyone has had to deal with it and yet it “settled” me in its solidarity, of its I-see-you-sister understanding that I cannot put into adequate words and so there’s my clumsy explanation. I have always seen her as strong and takes-no-bullshit, but here we were discussing what life was like inside the door we couldn’t see from our seats in our playgroups. Her words brought tears to my eyes. She said my words brought tears to hers.

I recently had an opportunity to test my theories on the situation and – while I guess it should pain me to be right – it brought me a sort of peaceful resignation. I’m okay. I’m in a good place. I cannot change the circumstances and while I’m sad for the victims, let me say that I have Faith and today I am at peace with how I must continue to live my life. It won’t kill me.

To that end, I’ve been doing the research and learning – so many “aha” moments and revelations and I KNOW it wasn’t me. It was never me. Am I without culpability? Absolutely not. But I will forgive myself for what I allowed and for taking so long to realize that there was only one way out. I continue to wish I’d known this sooner, wish I’d sought out therapy sooner, but I no longer dwell on that which I cannot change.

I am surrounded by people who love and support me. That is a huge thing. Huge. I am not alone. Todd and I – are not alone. All but 3, maybe 4, people know what we are to each other – know us, know me. There is enormous comfort in knowing the truth, and that everyone else sees it too. I don’t need validation – I just know.

I started this blog the year my daughter started kindergarten as a creative outlet for my frustrations with homeschooling her and life in general. My sense of humor drove my writing style and I have never lost that. Sure, there have been detours because I live authentically and wanted to share my experiences as a coping mechanism, but overall I prefer humor in my everyday. I have shared the darkness with the light, transparently as I am able.

Little Veruca will be 18 this weekend. The vexatious little girl I couldn’t wrangle for pump set changes, who would refuse to eat minutes after insulin doses, who would lay her head down on the table during lessons, who threw a remote control at her brother and chipped his front tooth. Her maddeningly loud protests over anything that didn’t suit her, her adolescent moods, and yet – her loving little arms around my waist and the long talks we would have, her inquisitiveness, her love of shopping, her knock-knock jokes, and her TikTok impressions. She’s a woman now, graduating from high school with a 4.0, and off to a prestigious college to study pre-med.

If she has an ounce of authentic empathy, I know she could only have gotten it from me. My son doesn’t speak to me, but I know exactly why he does not. I meant what I said – I have faith that carries me through my days and a constitution that cannot be broken. It’s been tried but, quote, “shoot me down, but I won’t fall. I am titanium.”

I have hope.

I am in a good place.

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