At Least He Had Fun

At Least He Had Fun

I ran to the Post Office, drove across town, and picked up the boys from school. I picked them up early, thus ruining the last nine weeks chance of perfect attendance, but I picked them up exactly on schedule to make it to the dentist.

We sang a few songs on the interstate. BigBrother told me he did well on his spelling test. (Spoiler: He admitted at bedtime that he did not, in fact, do well. That bedtime confessional still runs true.) I somehow managed to avoid traffic, and we pulled up to the dentist’s office at exactly two o’clock.

I’ve never been on time for the boys’ dental appointments which is exceptionally embarrassing as my mother-in-law works there. I usually call from the interstate.

“We’re coming. I promise.”

Which is better than the time I called and said, “We’re supposed to be there now but I completely forgot and we’re at home.”

I have a paper planner. I utilize the calendar on my phone. But sometimes, and especially during baseball season, I get a little lost in the details. Or completely go off the rails. Either or.

So I smugly walked into the dentist’s office and sat down in the swanky waiting room. The receptionist said hello, and we sat for approximately ten minutes.

And then my mother-in-law appeared.

“Your appointment is tomorrow.”

“I know. The boys’ is today.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Yes, it is. I have a text from…” Scroll, scroll scroll. “The pediatrician.”

I didn’t say “shit” out loud but it was definitely implied.

I rushed the boys out the door, hustled them in the car, and voice dialed the pediatrician.

“Hi. Yes. We have an appointment at two, and now it’s two-ten. I accidentally went to the dentist instead of the pediatrician. We’re about five minutes away.”

The woman on the other end of the phone laughed but said she had to check with the doctor. Which, I understand. I kept driving. And hitting ALL THE RED LIGHTS. She came back on the phone and said they’d hold my appointment. So I kept driving and HITTING MORE RED LIGHTS.

I squealed into a parking space and rushed my not-so-little-kids into the building, waited for the elevator, waited as it stopped on another floor to pick someone up EVEN THOUGH THAT NEVER HAPPENS IN THIS BUILDING, and nearly ran into the office. I told the woman sitting at the desk our name.

“Your appointment was 20 minutes ago.”

“I called. I went to the dentist instead of here. The woman who answered asked our doctor and she said it was okay.”

“She did?”

No. I’m lying. Who makes up a story that makes them look like a total moron?

“Yes, she did.”

“Okay, you have to fill out eleventy billion new papers for this year.”

“Thank you.”

Or something like that.

We didn’t wait long at all before a nurse ushered us back to room eight. She asked about their eating habits and school and baseball. She took them off for weight checks, measurements, and ear and eye test while I wrote the same information on approximately 72 pieces of paper. (It was just two, but why does it always feel like so many?)

The boys returned, donned their gowns, and in just a few minutes our doctor walked in.

Can I tell you how much I love our doctor? We inherited her five years ago when our previous doctor, whom we also loved as he was so patient with my First Parented Child Overreating, retired. We love her. Her smile is contagious. She’s very encouraging. She backs me up with the boys when she asks about technology time and even reinforced with LittleBrother that, yeah, he’s supposed to be in the booster seat for another four and a half inches and, sorry buddy, but just because your friends don’t ride in one doesn’t mean you get to skip it.

Sometimes I want to hug her.

I don’t think that’s appropriate.

Anyway, she found it HILARIOUS that we went to the dentist first. She literally laughed out loud.

“That sounds like something I would do!”

Then I loved her more.

The older of the boys got three shots, which none of us expected, but the nurse who administered them gets a big gold star for knowing what questions to ask and when as she gave him all three shots. Like seriously. Major kudos.

It’s not all great news.

One kid needs glasses. This was not a surprise as I got glasses in fourth grade and my husband thinks he was in fifth grade when he got his. LittleBrother will be near the end of third grade when he gets his. This also possibly explains the headaches he’s been experiencing. To which he said, “Yeah, I sometimes get a really bad headache in class and get aggravated with everyone.” Really, kid. Tell me these things before appointments with the nice doctor, okay?

The other kid’s hearing has worsened in his bad ear. We knew this. He failed the school test. Again/always. His volume when he speaks has increased, and not just because he’s genetically a Swearingen. We have another referral to the audiologist to figure out what’s going on.

Did you know that hearing aids are 100% NOT covered, even with ACA? Did you know that even with vision insurance, we’ll fork over hundreds of bucks for LittleBrother to see clearly and not experience headaches that make him vomit? And some of you want to reduce our health care that we, as a family of four, already pay mightily for? Uh. Okay. Here’s my middle finger.

We got home in time to sign agendas (…) and relax for a bit before the rain started. I thought, “Ooh! They’ll cancel the baseball scrimmage and we can spend time at home.”

It’s like I’m new at this baseball mom thing.

The scrimmage was canceled but our practice was moved to an indoor gym. I got 1.25 miles from home (I know because running) when BigBrother asked, “Did you bring his baseball stuff?”

No, I didn’t. Thanks for asking. So we turned around, grabbed the gear, and then drove a little more quickly to the gym.

After I got LittleBrother pushed into he gym, I read the novel I’m working on for a half hour and then worked for an hour. BigBrother watched practice, but I wouldn’t let him go get his glove to participate because his younger brother needs to be able to experience things on his own from time to time. When he came out of the gym, he was all smiles.

“I had fun.”

Crazy day in which my husband worked and I did all of the things wrong and it rained and I felt alone and like a failure as a mother? Worth it with those three little words.

At Least He Had Fun

 

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I Am Alive

You know when it’s 12:40 in the morning and you’ve just finished working on a project you started nearly two hours ago because it’s normal to start working at 10:46 PM. And you’re listening to an audiobook of some sub-genre of a self-help book because God knows you can’t help yourself these days but you get bored or really triggered by the book—but you can’t decide which—so you turn it off and try to listen to whatever music is trending on Spotify.

And you realize you don’t get today’s music. So you switch to 90s alt-rock or something called “Dreamy Vibes.”

Well, you might be turning 36 this month. Or, at least, I am.

If you know me, you know how deeply I love my birthday.

Here’s a truth: Those who deal, daily, with depression and anxiety feel really fucking lucky to make it to their next birthday. It’s just a fact. My new diagnosis of Treatment Resistant Depression and the subsequent med change has me feeling like April 25th is a day to shout from the rooftops that, “I AM ALIVE!”

I feel fine. Most days. I’m still very, very tired. I am fighting very hard to beat this particular side effect of my treatment. It might help if I went to bed at a normal time as my husband suggests. Repeatedly. But my body is still in some weird transition period. It will work itself out in time. It always does. The fact that I’m just exhausted and not actively thinking of ways to harm myself is a huge step forward.

But some days are hard. Some days are hard even when you’re not fighting the demons inside your own head. Life can be hard. Period. Raising two sons under my roof? Hard. Being a present and supportive birth mom even when it would be easier to hide away from the truth of what your choice meant to a large number of people? Really hard. Getting out of bed when you feel worthless? Well, that’s so hard I don’t have a word for it. But I’m doing it.

I’m doing it.

Or I’m trying to do it. Something in between the two.

Someone called me Super Woman today. I laughed because, boy, do I have the whole world fooled. Today I put on a base layer of makeup, some mascara, some clothes that hid the parts of me that I literally, viscerally hate, and I did the things that needed to be done. I carried on conversations with people who aren’t part of my inner circle. I worked really hard to get my business jobs done and my home-life jobs done. I made a healthy meal for my sons despite being on a crazy, wonky baseball season schedule. I took dogs on walks. I didn’t drive across a wide ass state and give a teenager a talking to about what is and is not appropriate to text my daughter; this was the hardest of things to do today, if you’re wondering. I learned new software. I wrote a poem because it’s both National Journaling Month and National Poetry Month and, goodness, sometimes my words make more sense when they’re written in five lines of jagged Jenna-cursive-slash-whatever-it-is-I-write in a notebook, black ink on white paper. I don’t show you those. I don’t show anyone those. Maybe someday.

I do so much.
Yet I feel like I’m worth so little.

And this is the truth of my everyday.

In three weeks, or, looking at the time again, two weeks and six days, I’ll celebrate another birthday. Despite being miles ahead of where I was two years ago at this time, I’m still struggling to just be okay. Maybe not struggling. Fighting. Fighting each step of the way because I know there’s hope on the other side of this; I know I’m going to make it through this dark night.

There’s a new tattoo in my future. And a mole removal. And some meme I saw said that if you wore those black, slip on, platform Steve Madden sandals in the 90s, it’s time for Botox. I’ve seen my wrinkles appear this year. And I literally don’t give a fuck.

Aging means I’m alive. I’m still going to dye my hair for the time being; my grandmother was completely gray at an age younger than I am now. I’m not ready, but I’m aware. I’m still getting zits, so I can’t be that old. But I refuse to subscribe to a belief that my late 30’s mean anything more than the world.

I. Am. Alive.
I am thankful.

Thank you, Amy, for all you did. May your legacy live on through those of us whose lives you touched. Our stories aren’t over yet;