January 24, 2009

A Sad Post for a Sad Friend

Like so many other times in my life, I have received some terrible news and have turned to my oldest friend--the written word. Writing is the first thing I want to do when my mind swims with the confusing and unsettling thoughts of the world. This time a friend of mine is going through an extremely terrible situation and it reminds me of a similiar time in my life. It is not a chapter of my life that I want to revisit and I'm frustrated that I can relate to such devestation.

Suddenly anything that I might have thought was dragging me down or turning my blue skies to gray lately is put harshly in perspective. I realize that things are good with me. Very good. I feel a little too fortunate and I feel like an ass for wanting what seemed to be someone else's good thing.

My friend is dealing with a birth defect that will result in the loss of her baby. I know that feeling, but I won't pretend to know what she's going through. Everything that has happened to someone else could happen to you or to me. It's all been done before. But when something happens to us that is traumatic and terrifying, it is only happening to us. There's no words that can comfort. There's no comfort in knowing that someone else went through it. And there's certainly no way to convince yourself that someone else knows the pain you feel. Therin lies the horrible pit in my stomach because I know that the pain my friend is feeling will not be easily remedied. She feels alone and unique in this world. It's as if all the earth's population has disappeared and you stand on life's stage with a bright spotlight hiding any clear view. I know how she feels and I hurt because of it.

I recently found out that I was pregnant. On a Friday, I was pregnant. A week later, no longer. Such is life. Somehow the pain isn't as great when you have experienced it before or when you could put it in perspective. I can easily feel like a spontaneous abortion like that is a true gift when I hear of my friend's hardship. I remember sitting alone in the middle of the night, rocking myself back and forth and crying silently as to not wake my husband, damning my own body. In the bright moonlight I wished I could just run away and leave my whole self behind. And because of my own past, I realize that my body is on my side now. My body has given me a beautiful daughter once before and may again, but I hope that she helps me so that I don't have to feel the pain I've felt in the past...the same kind of pain my friend feels.

So tonight my thoughts are with my friend, yet I wish my mind would wander.

January 13, 2009

My Cat Kneads Me

Today I ventured to Target to get a folding potty seat. I have started potty-training my two-year-old daughter and I have already come to realize that I'm actually training myself. Despite what you'll hear from parents from previous generations who did not deal with the space-age absorption materials used in today's disposable diapers, changing diapers is easier. Besides, it's always difficult to change any routine you've gotten used to doing.

So off I headed to get my supplies. Now in a funny Pavlovian way, Kate knows that the Pizza Hut Express at Target is a regular part of the trip and heads there automatically. She's the walking incarnation of my taste buds.

I grab a personal pan pizza and head to the cashier, a middle-aged man I've seen there before.

"Just the pizza, a kid's Icee, and a small drink," I say, still proud of my New Year's willpower enabling me to resist grabbing some breadsticks for myself.

He tells me the total, I hand him the money, and I smile. I don't exactly know why and it's more of a reaction than anything. I don't realize I'm smiling until he smiles back.

"Wow, you're always smiling!" he says. I could feel myself thinking and blushing at the same time.

"Why not?" I say, a phrase giddy enough to start a big song-and-dance number in any musical I've seen. But it's true.

"You're totally right," he says as he smiles and giggles a little bit. Now I know why I'm smiling: I'm happy that I was able to make him smile.

So Kate and I sit down. Across from us sits an older woman reading a romance novel. She's noshing away on her pizza while wearing a sweatshirt that reads:

I smile at the thought and wonder what kind of steamy words she's devouring along with her lunch. Loins has to be one of them. I also wonder how many people are kneaded by their cats that there would be a market for those shirts, but I let the thought float away like most of my other useless thoughts.

So there I sit underneath the bright florescent lights sipping my Diet Coke, observing others. Then my eyes fix on my daughter sitting across from me. She's happily squirming in her seat and her face is covered with sauce. She lifts her eyes from the pizza and looks at me. Then she smiles and giggles a little bit. I'm happy that I was able to make her smile. And I realize that at that moment, a small table with swiveling chairs at the entrance to Target is the best place in the world to be.