Hand foot and mouth is the devil. Bax gets such atrocious sores in his mouth and throat. Everything hurts. You name it and I've tried it. Everything from pudding to ice cream to popsicles to applesauce... By now, if I so much as look at him he gets mad because he thinks I'm going to try to put more "owies" in his mouth in the form of some new food concoction.
Today he appears to be a bit more congenial. At least he started off that way. He drank some diluted juice, ate like a giant giant bowl of ice cream and I brought him to the therapist with me. That was .... interesting. When I put him in the carseat to come home, he flipped out. Totally lost his shit. The past two days he's had the most insane tantrums - like running around like a wild animal, throwing himself down and against the walls.... It's crazy shit. The entire way home he was freaking out, trying to get out of the carseat. When I carried him inside the house, he flipped even more. I laid him down on the ground and he got up and hit me... hard. I tried to put him in timeout, but I feared he was about to throw himself over the stair banister. He was freaking crazy. Finally he screamed for his "taggie" and "butternut bear" from the playroom floor. I tossed him both of them and he snuggled up and... fell asleep. I shit you not. He NEVER does that. So right now, my son is sound asleep on the floor of the family room... coat still on, shoes on... hugging his bear and taggie. Saddest thing I've ever seen. But thank freaking god he's sleeping.
As I was discussing with my sister last night, I can do this whole single mom thing. I have it down to a science. I even got my head around how I could publish academic articles, teach, be a mom, and even exercise a couple of times a week. I had a little glimmer of my ability to actually DO all this. Then bax gets sick. If he or I get sick, the whole system is freaking shot to hell. But, I'm hoping the worst of it is over. Miss Elizabeth is sending help for me for a couple of hours tomorrow afternoon - to cover until Susan can get here at 5. So, at least I'll be able to get to campus to teach Wed night.
I'm supposed to be on Radio Times with Marty Mosse-Cowane on WHYY on friday with Jen Childs and Tony Braithwaite, plugging 1812's political satire holiday show "This is the Week that is" (1812productions.org) which I am dramaturg (sort of quasi-researcher ) for.... If I miss Marty's show, I will cry. hard.
Wish me luck, people. And mike - Given the November 7th victories, I have to assume you've got pull up there --- any chance you can get Baxter better?
Looks like no daycare tomorrow for him, which means the dissertation gets put off another day ... again. What's another day? It's just a day. right? oy. The joys of single parenting.
The past week or so has been tricky. I did my first out-of-town academic conference last week. Went to San Antonio while Mimi and Poppy (my mom and dad) took care of Baxter. They had a wonderful time with him and he sure loved being with them. The thing that was difficult was the same thing that’s hard every time I do something for the first time since mike’s death. I was constantly thinking that I could just call him or email him while I was away. I have been to a lot of conferences over the years, and Mike was such a wonderful cheerleader on the phone, reminding me not to be nervous before my presentation, getting excited about my little victories. And it was the first time I had to come home to an empty house - not counting bax of course.
One of the things that was so wonderful about being married to Mike was knowing that no matter how much fun I had on vacation or away in some beautiful city at a conference, I always knew that coming home to our house together was the best of all.
I hate that he’s gone. That’s it, really.
And I do feel like I want to share myself with someone new, but I wonder if I’m ready. And is someone going to love Baxter and be willing to share me with him? Baxter is my life. He’s it. It was Kirk who reminded me that one of the tricky things being a mom to a lil’ boy is that Baxter will be my #1. Whoever I may end up with will have to be ok being #2 in many ways. He’s right.
On another note, yesterday I did yoga for the first time since Mike got really sick. It was wonderful. Emotional and vulnerable, but wonderful. It anchored me in my own body once again and I’m determined to rediscover my practice. It was also the first day in months that I was emotional and sad and in my grief, yet did not feel the need to smoke a cigarette. Seriously. That’s a freaking big deal. I feel the desire to smoke a cigareete when I’m “in it” almost as a way of breaking up the negative energy. To not feel that need was empowering.
Oh - Kirk, my comrade in Chaos, got on me about recording a new outgoing message on my landline machine. I hadn’t been able to erase Mike’s voice for months, “You’ve reached Mike, Danna, and Baxter Young. Please leave a message after the tone.” When kirk was over the other day, I screened my calls – as I always do – and Mike’s outgoing message came on. Kirk just looked at me then waited a few minutes to give me shit about it. Talk about the only person in the world who could give me shit for that. Anyway, he suggested I enlist Bax’s help in creating a new outgoing message. So I did, and it’s hysterical. I feel better having changed it.
I love it. love it. love it.
It makes me feel the same way I do after getting my teeth cleaned... or my car tuned up... or after I go to the gym... (or least from what i remember that that used to feel like).
Or back like 20 years ago when I was Catholic and I confessed those two times ("I'm called my sister a bad name. I'm sorry I was mean to my mom. I'm sorry I stuck the toothpicks in the plumbs on the kitchen counter and ripped the leaves off of Jae's jade plant while I was talking on the phone.") I left feeling wholesome, good, and full of self-efficacy.
It makes me feel good. For now.
Mike, if you have any say in this matter... See what you can do, ok? Talk to the people who have connections and see what you can do? Remember when you were in the hospital and you thought we were political insiders? Remember you thought we could pull some strings to change things in Washington? Well, I choose to believe that that was a premonition of sorts. And that now you have some pull.
So, Mike - don't spend your day tap dancing, eating pecan pie, playing video games and watching West Side Story (cause, if there is a heaven, and you're in it, I'm pretty positive that's how you spend your days). Instead, take a few minutes out of your day to make this Election Day a good one.
i love you, smoosher. love, smoosher
People have been emailing and calling seeing how I’m doing, so I thought I’d give a bit of an update. In short, I’m doing really well. I feel like I’m moving forward and it’s getting easier day-to-day.
It is unfortunate that some of my new growth has occurred through a tragedy close to home. Yesterday, one of our friends (who Mike worked with for years) lost his wife from complications from pneumonia. He sat by her side in the hospital for three weeks. She was in her early-thirties. While we weren’t super-close to them, I feel like we got closer through Mike’s illness and death. They visited him in the hospital several times and were great at chatting with Mike and making him laugh. Starting in September, inspired by the eclectic mix of people who gathered at Mike’s “shiva” they began to host biweekly dinner parties to bring together various people in their lives who otherwise wouldn’t get together.
I hate that this has happened. I know I can’t help him. He has to walk this walk just as I have. As the gentleman on the radio show I called into said, “This grief is yours and yours alone to bear.” True.
But, seeing this has shown me how far I have come in 3 and a half months. I’m in a different place. And, it does get easier in the day to day. Now I feel like I owe it to my friend to keep moving ahead. It’s his turn to start down this path. He’s just entering the tunnel. I’m in it and need to keep walking forward to come out the other end.
After I dropped groceries off at his house yesterday, I stopped at Disc Makers. I brought the art department some cookies and brownies and picked up Mike’s things. I hadn’t found a time when it felt right to pick up the 3 big boxes of stuff. But yesterday was right. I brought the boxes home and unpacked them. I also took some of the pieces of artwork that Mike had hanging in his office and hung them in our house – in place of some of the many photos of Mike and me that were e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e. No, I didn’t take down all of them – just a few. And it wasn’t like an event or something. It just felt right to sort of take some of them down and hang new prints in their place.
Anyway, my friend will be fine. He’s strong and positive and irreverent. The key qualities to any successful career in grief.