Sunday, May 31, 2009

The good stuff

Somebody is two.

So, he's not my own. But as his aunt, who sees him almost daily, it sometimes feels like it - and no one would have it any other way. His home life is good, but sometimes chaotic, and when things get too noisy or there are too many people in a crowd, I love that he will come over to me and hold my hand. He will lay against me and hold my hand, and we can (and have) sat like this for a very long time just being still. For any of the little ones in my life (not to mention, the big ones too) I want to be a refuge to them - a stable force in sometimes an un-stable life. It's all we can hope for.

So today, the day before his birthday, I pay tribute to him. To this vibrant, active boy who has light in his eyes and life in his laugh. He is voraciously loved and has a community of people ready to catch him if he ever falls. But I hope he won't. No, I hope he finds smooth paths under his feet and hands to hold along the way. Mine will always be one of them.

And...the blog post below? Two days after everything went down...she found out she's pregnant.

My cup runneth over.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

And it all just hits the fan....

My best friend from college, my roommate for two years and friend for many years after, got some of the worst news that can be gotten today. After having two months to come to terms that she would be receiving a new adopted son, she had met the birth mother, had chosen out the furniture. Had begun the process of emotionally recognizing herself as a mother, after years of infertility.

The baby was born premature on Saturday morning. I had a call, in a daze, the next day and I spent the day at Babies r' Us, finding some preemie stuff and loading it up to get to her today. But today, the baby is back with his birth mother...the mother had changed her mind. If I know my friend, and I feel sure I do, she's on the bathroom floor right now, unable to move.

It's breaking my heart to know she's going through this. Breaking my heart, and makes me worried for her. How do you come back from something like this? How do you keep on looking for the silver lining, always trusting that things will "work out" when life keeps handing you hard times after bad luck on a rusted silver platter?

He's a preacher. She runs an after-school program for needy kids. They've been dating since they were 14, married since 21, and they are the exception to my every rule on the whole...find yourself stuff that "must" occur beofre marriage. If they fall apart, I will fall apart and convince myself that nothing can ever stand a chance if those two don't make it.

I'm angry. And confused, and I just dont understand how....well, how bad things happen to good people. Isn't that a book title?

It's the eternal struggle, I know. They're not the first or the last to experience heartache, but I want to protect them from it. I want to have them have the good things, and I can take the bad things, because they deserve it.

They're such religious people, that I wonder how all this is affecting them. Is it making their faith stronger or weaker, is it bringing them comfort or anger? I don't know. Not yet. I'm giving her lots of space at this point, knowing that people need that time on the bathroom floor sometimes and knowing also that I have no words that will bring any resemblance of comfort.

Maybe I'll have something more coherent in the morning - tonight I'll sleep. And wonder what on earth to pray for.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Facebook imitates life, imitating Facebook...

Like every great story, this one begins: “So, I took this Facebook quiz, right?”

But well, I did. Just now, I took a quiz entitled “How Well Do You Know Me?” I completed various tidbits about my favorite foods, movies and what my middle name is…and then I was asked to “tag” various people in my life who just might know the answers. And I went through, clicking on name after name, and I realized…I bet not one of these people are going to know anything 100 percent. Not one of them have that unique combination of being in my life day-to-day enough to know whether or not I like curly fries or regular fries, and yet still hang on to that innermost self of mine. Well, maybe a precious few. But it struck me how I have deliberately placed people into boxes and slapped labels onto them…and have a very difficult time allowing them into other places.

I have a friend once who proclaimed that I had too many friends named Sarah. Now, I have to admit, I really do have a lot of Sarah’s in my life, but I guess one can’t have too many people to grab onto throughout their life, right? Anyway, I find myself describing each of these Sarah’s as, respectively: Home Sarah, College Sarah, Home and College Sarah, and DC Sarah. God forbid Home and College Sarah ever moves to DC, because then, she might become the Triple Crown of Sarah’s, forcing all the others out of the picture altogether.

Anyway, each of these Sarah’s knows a part of me, and each one wouldn’t have a clue on how to discern the other sides of me. They know the pieces…they know me in first grade, in the youth group, in the sorority, in my first job in the big city, in my first experience with alcohol, in my first experience with…well, an illegal substance. And the list can go on, and on and on.

But yet…I think all 4 would give a different descriptor of what, say, my job is. (Although, in their defense, I have a very out-of-the-ordinary job so I can’t expect everyone to know everything about it)…but still, each would struggle with the answer. They might not be able to tell you my favorite movie if asked. Is it my fault? Theirs? No one’s really, I suppose, but the fact remains that we pigeon-hole people to certain corridors of our hearts and frankly, it can be difficult sometimes.

The other day, I told another single friend of mine from college that I was envious, in a way, of the folks we knew who had married their college or high school sweethearts. For the shared memories, the shared friendships, the shared do-you-remember-when-we-drank-that-whole-bottle moments…it’s funny to me to think that, most likely, I’ll end up marrying someone who won’t know any of these pieces of my past self. And I won’t know his, and it’s at this point in my thought-process that I begin to frantically wish to turn back the clock.

I am walking through my days right now with the sole purpose of reaching the next one in the most sane and healthy way I know how. I woke up this morning, pulled on comfy clothes and headed to the arboretum and walked for four miles in the early morning sun. And then I went to my sister’s to hug my nephew close…my parents were there so I got to see my Dad too. I am going to see my nieces tomorrow to hug them close too, while I can easily reach out and grab them in a 45 minute car ride.

I hug all my little people close, and my big people too, with a full awareness that clocks cannot be turned back. And that I too, have turned a corner that I can’t walk back around.

No matter how hard we all push.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

If only I always felt this serene... =) I must be sleep-deprived this week...check out those bags under the eyes!

This is one strange week, but I feel calmer tonight. I am putting energy in other projects since work is so slow, and I'm finding it's refreshing to focus on a few things I've put off for so long...and trying to keep looking forward. Always looking forward.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Crash and Overload

(Written at my desk, on a Thursday morning)

I am having a bit of an out-of-the-ordinary morning. I spent the night with friends in another town last night, old roommates of mine actually, and we got together to celebrate the season finale of our mutual favorite show, LOST. I had a great time, reuniting over Chinese food and beer, watching something we’ve watched together for years, catching up, marveling inward at how we’re growing up, and basically just relished a few hours of NOT thinking about anything other than a silly TV show about time-traveling islands and smoke monster inhabitants. I had to get up really early to make the drive back home and run into work late.

So here I sit, late but not nearly behind. We are at an unusually quiet period at work where I am NOT running around like a chicken with no head, and am taking the time to “catch up” which for me, means finally delving into everything I normally can’t do. Like read articles (the whole thing!), blogs, talk with friends, all that good stuff.

But is it all good stuff? It occurred to me this morning that even though my life is relatively calm at this very moment, I am still tense and overwhelmed. So I started reflecting why...and began to realize and respect the sheer volume of information that I shove into my brain constantly during the day. It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand why I always seem to get sad at night (have I mentioned that I sometimes get sad at night?).

I think it's because my brain doesn’t know how to relax anymore. I am no longer at ease with my quiet thoughts (for a variety of other reasons), and when I don’t have things being flung at me in the evening -- after friends have tucked away at home, work is finished (when I’m lucky!), dinner is fixed, eaten and cleaned up, I find myself unable to unwind. Instead, I unravel.

It’s 11:00am and I’ve read all the headline stories for the Washington Post, the New York Times, MSNBC, Business Week and CNN. I’ve read my obscure government mags, my IT pubs, and had a long conversation with my boss about ACH vendor payment fraud. I've read blogs on topics ranging from the death of a child, to debating the merits of natural childbirth to dissecting the potential Congressional elections next year. I've had conversations with two friends about the calorie levels in hot dogs versus ham sandwiches, heating pads or ice for migraines, the merits and non-merits of exercise early in the morning and why I don’t like TV shows about cops.

It’s madness, really, when you stop to think about it. I can’t stop doing these things; I can’t tell my boss – sorry, I need to calm my mind before I can have this meeting with you. But it’s all just so damn stressful sometimes, especially when you carry the weight of each thing I’m reading and how it stresses me—--oh god, I’m going to have my identity stolen, pirates may or may not hijack a cruise I may or may not take in the future, Obama’s too liberal or he’s not quite liberal enough, states are laying people off, our dues might not get paid, I might not have a job soon, everyone everywhere is laying people off, my children may be hyper or have autism if I vaccinate them—-should I vaccinate them? Will I ever even have babies to vaccinate? What am I doing with my life?

You see the insanity.

And I know I’m not alone—-we’re ALL suffering from this overload and it’s why we, as a society, are ready to collectively jump off the ledge if just one more bad thing happens. The stress and worry and constant chatter is something we both need and loathe. At least, that’s how it is for me.

I need, need, need the interaction, the stimulation, the activity because when I don’t have it, I crash.

But what if the overload creates the crash? What then?

Deep thoughts.

And all before noon.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Well, it's raining in Kentucky. But everything else is the same.

I got back after spending a week in Baltimore (and a day in DC) at midnight on Friday, on Saturday I went to fetch my cat from my parents house, and today, I'm tucked into my little apartment and had a day to beat all days--I stayed in pajamas all day & did nothing. It was a much-welcome repreive.

I did attempt to go for my walk, but the rain never really let up and I was afraid to go out in the drizzle in case it turned into a downpour. I got a few phone calls, but I wasn't in the mood to talk. I just wanted to sit with my book on the porch, and listen to the rain. So I did. I also spent a good deal of time watching a Golden Girls marathon ;)

What a week. We hold two major conferences per year, and they completely wipe me out by the time they're done. This is probably my seventh conference and this one seemed to be one of the most stressful I've experienced--just total lack of preparedness and scrambling to pick up pieces, and then we had a water main break in the city of Baltimore which cut off water (and well, bathroom use) for a day which was NOT good. And it also delayed travel and basically threw the city (and by extension, us) into uproar.

But we survived. By Friday, we were spent. On the bus ride to the airport, there were 6 of us crammed into a taxi/minivan and we had about a half hour ride. They were all talking a mile a minute, comparing notes on the week, and completely falling into the usual complain/bitch/whine mode that we seem to have mastered. I put my headphones on and watched as the rain came down and heard snippets of thier conversation while trying desperately to tune them out. As usual.

It was raining in Baltimore, and everything in the van was certainly the same.

And now it's Sunday night...the only time I seem to be writing these days =) I was approached with a few career opportunities while there (this seems to be happening more and more these days) and the time has come to consider them. I have run out of excuses, run out of reasons why not, and am mentally preparing myself for the next phase of my life. I feel like something big must be happening, to require this much quiet reflection and rumination. I can't even see my life past August at this point. I just have no idea where this is all going to take me.

I do know this -- I am going to be gentle with myself through whatever changes life is handing me. I'm in the process of trying my hardest to clear my negative thoughts that plauge me all too often, and remind myself to savor the moments I have instead of wishing them away. To love, without condition, the imperfect people in my life because I'm not perfect either. To keep making good choices because I stepped on the scale today and realized I've lost ten pounds that needed to be gone.

And to remember to make time for days like this, to allow for the quiet and to prepare for everything else. That won't be the same.