Sunday, October 9, 2011

Side Effects

I've been talking recently about how I/we are starting to feel sort of like the most acute mourning phase of Jackson having a CF diagnosis seems to be behind us. It's definitely refreshing to feel that way, but I'm also beginning to see how areas of our lives we never expected to be affected have kind of died of neglect while we were busy regrouping.

When you have a baby- any baby, your social life changes drastically. Having had a child already, we thought we were pretty prepared for that aspect of things. But the CF diagnosis came into play there in big ways, too. When we told our friends that our new baby had been diagnosed with a life threatening condition, we couldn't imagine the outpouring of love and emotion that would follow. And we also couldn't imagine that some of the people who ached with us so deeply on those dark days might fade so quickly from our lives. Maintaining friendships since then has been HARD. I don't want J's CF to be the only thing I ever talk about to my friends. I don't want to be the person nobody wants to hang out with because it's aways about me or my issues. I still get uncomfortable at parties when people ask how J is doing in an overly empathetic way. I also don't know whether that makes me a jerk for spurning the genuine good wishes of a friend or someone who just doesn't care for pity. Maybe I'm both.

I started seeing a therapist so that my interactions with friends wouldn't always end up with me gushing out all the things I never get to talk to other adults about because I'm always at home with the kids. I highly recommend anyone and everyone who can get some therapy to do it, for just that reason. When talking to friends and loved ones about our struggles, we tend to alter our feelings to avoid stressing them out or eliciting judgement. When you have a therapist, you can REALLY let go of some of the bottled up things & be more free to enjoy the life you have at the moment. That's my PSA for the day.

Back to my point. Maintaining friendships as adults with small children is hard enough. Throw in some acute grief , financial hardship, repeatedly cancelled plans and changed viewpoints, and voila! Alienation. I have to say, almost all of my friendships have changed drastically since March 2010. I also don't think it's ever a bad thing to really know who your friends are. But as with anything, it has never ceased to surprise me who comes through that I would never expect, and who's not there that I thought always would be. People we would have considered acquaintances have gone above & beyond. And of course, we have lost touch with people we really hoped to stay close with. The tough part is never knowing if the alienation was reciprocal, or just in my head. I feel like I've been under a rock for a long time and it has made me AWKWARD in so many new ways. I don't know how or why some part of me thought that we would come out of this (much as one can) the same people we went in. Life is strange, and never ceases to surprise me.

Having said that, I generally LIKE who I am these days. I can totally understand if some of the changes in me catch old friends off guard. I'm...softer, I guess. Not quite as determined to be tough all the time, hopefully kinder, and much less destructive. That's honesty for you, folks. But I'm not the same, my husband is not the same, Emily is not the same. Partially because we have simply grown and changed and partially because our growth and change has been deeply impacted by this aspect of our lives. Deep sigh. It is what it is, right? It's just a part of life, and learning about ourselves- which surprisingly- is an unending process.

As for the day to day...I won't say that things are getting crazier still, but I won't say that they're not! This time of year is wild. Jackson isn't improving quite as much as he should with his antibiotics, so tomorrow we'll most likely add some steroids to the mix and try to kick this junk out. As for now, it appears I have to go because the keyboard is no match for the cuddle war a small person is trying to wage with me.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October, What Can I Say?

Vest & Elmo
It's October. It's generally my favorite month of the year- a touch of crisp fall air finally infiltrates the stagnant Texas heat. Halloween... need I say more? The holiday season kicks off, promises of gathering family and friends, drinks and smiles, excitement, travel plans, twinkling lights, all of the things about the dark days of winter that I love start to roll themselves neatly into the shorter days and cold nights.

My last couple of Octobers have kind of sucked. Two years ago, Em came down with swine flu, and the virus sadly put the kibosh on a surprise birthday party my lovely husband and friends had planned for me. Last year, the same when Jackson had to be admitted to the hospital for IVs. We have a lot going for us right now, and I guess I'm feeling like the other shoe may drop at any time.

So on the bright side (my favorite side), we have a lot going for us! We are in the middle of buying a house (and what a process that is), Mike is working with a local Fire Department (yay!), and it has now officially been a year since Jackson was hospitalized! We have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for, and a whole lot to get done. I am trying to start the packing (and purging of crap I don't want to move with us) although we've yet to set a closing date.

In addition to trying to keep my head amidst the madness, I'm trying not to get superstitious. Jacks came down with what seemed to be some obvious allergies at the time, but they turned into respiratory CRAP, and he's now on day 3 of a course of Bactrim. And really folks, I know being in the hospital a year ago this month has no impact on what will become of this situation, I know that's ridiculous, but still, for the sake of honesty, I have to admit it has me a bit twitchy. I'm not even afraid of a hospital stay, per se. Granted they are inconvenient as all get out, they split up our family, are painful for Jackson, and burn our candles ...wherever they can burn when both ends are already lit- but they do what they need to do. They get Jackson back to his best state of health, and that's a good thing. And oh yeah- did I mention this is all pretty superfluous because he's only on day 3 of his antibiotics and will probably be fine?

Separately, does anyone else have a hard time being bubbly about their own good fortune when others around them are suffering hardships? I've had some friends get terrible news lately. I know they would want me to be happy for the things that are good for us, but I feel ...I don't know...guilty? In case I haven't mentioned it yet, feelings are frequently stupid. I have a hard time with gray area. I want everyone to be happy. I'm either happy or sad, I don't really have middle ground, or rather, this is how clumsily I navigate it.

This is probably one of my most poorly written blogs in terms of having any sort of cohesive statement or story, huh? I'm going to publish it anyway though, because that's kind of how my head feels. It's chaos in there, kids! I wanted to write to update on things- The House- our impossible dream, is materializing before our eyes- or at least in email and contract form at this point. My physical health is good & I'll be seeing less of my own doctors for a while, which is fine by me. The kids are doing great, save for J's current snot festival. But yes, things are also crazier than usual. How many more times can I say that line and not lose you? It's true, I swear it. And I don't really expect it to slow down before the end of the year, at least. It's going so fast. Jackson will be two in the blink of an eye. I'm getting ahead of myself.

Everything happens ONE MOMENT AT A TIME. Slow it down.