Thursday, July 3, 2014


I love the summer.  It is, by far, my favorite time of year.  Everything around me screams "All is right with the world", my yard is overflowing with blooms in shades of purple, orange and red and green, green, green everywhere.  In July, I'll put my yard up against any other in looks.  It's not a well tamed and weed free yard, it is ALIVE and wild and gorgeous and it fills me with joy just being in it.

The feral-ish outdoor cats we care for are fat, lazy and happy.  They lounge on the furniture and luxuriate in the sun.  They have forgotten all about the harsh, prolonged winter we just experienced that really only left for good in the middle of May.  It's easy to forget how cold and bleak the winter can be when you feel the warm sun on your skin.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, however, there is that nagging, niggling little thought about how fleeting this all is.  Summer, as majestic and rich as it is, is only here for a few short months...thirteen weeks...twenty six weekend days...ninety some-odd total days.  

And then, the dying begins.  The petals drop and the days get shorter.  The leaves start falling and everywhere has the smell of rotting, dying vegetation that only weeks earlier was a delight to the eyes and nose.  

And I feel myself dying with it.  My life becomes smaller in the dark, cold time of the year.  I retreat within myself, like a caterpillar making a cocoon.  I want to sleep a lot.  I want to eat and sleep and watch bad television and pretend that it isn't happening...but it is and it does every year...  if I am lucky, I guess.  If I am lucky, I will get to experience this for many, many years to come.

I find that the older I get, the harder this change is for me.  If find myself waking up in July dreading the end of what has really only just started.  I get myself worked up about sleeping too late or missing any, tiny part of it.  I mourn every lily at the end of every day.  I wonder if I am missing it in my mourning.  Am I missing the beauty because I mourn it's passing?  Or, is there beauty in both?  The beauty in a lily is in the fact that it is impermanent.  It awakens on the day it is ready and for that day, it is full of life.  When the sun sets, it is all over.  This doesn't make the lily less beautiful, but more. 

It is July.  I live in the Midwest, outside of Chicago and the joke here is that we only have two seasons:  Winter and 4th of July.  Sometimes, it's "Winter and Road Construction".  Maybe that is part of my problem.  Once the 4th is past, I start thinking about that other season.  I am an optimist who is constantly warring with the pessimist inside.  My optimist is a bookish wimp and my pessimist takes steroids and works out...a lot.  My optimist tries to use logic:  "It's only early July!" and my pessimist sends her a mighty backhand.  My pessimist would always rather fight than reason.

July fourth is tomorrow.  It is high summer; hot, fun, full of life and food and festivals and carnivals and music and fireworks.  It is a cause for celebration and something to think about when we are knee deep in dirty snow on a dark and miserable January afternoon.

Summer is a limited edition and each one, though similar, is unique.  Grab on to it, bury your nose in it and breathe deep.  Make a memory and hold it close to your heart.  

We are alive in this glorious, fleeting moment.  Let's make the most of it.  And tell your inner pessimist to shut it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

An ode to my BFFFF

Oh, yes.  All the F's have meaning.  :)

We met about eleven years ago.

Our kids were attending the same preschool and after a few months of fawning over the adorable, blue eyed and blond haired kid with Down syndrome in my son, Evan's class, I decided that I would seek out his mom when I got the chance.

The chance came when Evan was turning four and we decided to have a party for him.  Since Nick was in his class (and I was in love with him), he got an invitation.

And his mom called me up, clearly emotional at the invite.  It turned out that it was his first invitation to a party and it was a pretty big deal.  Most parents of kids with obvious differences would probably agree.  We are all pretty sensitive when it comes to our kids being included and when it happens, we bawl.

One of the things I have come to realize about being a parent of a kid with Down syndrome is that when Charles was born, I was immediately given membership to a very cool and exclusive club.  I'm not saying all the members are awesome.  All Ds parents are not created equally.  We are not all "special" or "patient" or even "nice"; but, I have met some very, very cool people because of it.

Christy is one of these cool people.

So, we had our first phone conversation and by the time it was over, I knew that we would be at least BFF's if not BFFFF's.

I knew this because in the first five minutes I had already told her about my love affair with Dave Matthews and how I didn't want to actually, physically stalk him because I loved him so much that I didn't want to mess up his life.

Yes, I realize that this confession makes me sound like a lunatic.  (and just as a side note, I have calmed down over Dave Matthews, though I would never kick him out of bed turn down an invitation from him to play Canasta.  Jon Seda, on the other hand)...ahem...anyway...

I think the fact that she did not scream "WRONG NUMBER" and hang up on me, but patiently listened and then confessed her own super weird celebrity love affair fantasy cemented our friendship like crazy glue sticks to fingertips.

We were bonded for life.

I am grateful to her for so many reasons.  Here are a few:

  1. I am kind of a shitty friend.  I am super demanding and I have very, very thin skin.  She lets me rant like a two year old who dropped her ice cream and patiently waits for me to stop my temper tantrum so I can apologize and we can move on.
  2. Because of number 1, I have very few, real friends.  She is the kind of person that has people lining up to be her BFFFF and the fact that she gets me makes me feel pretty good.  
  3. Even if I am not her number one BFFFF, she never lets on.  I am sure she reassures those other friends that they are number one with her AND THAT IS OKAY WITH ME.  But, I know the truth <<< wink >>>
  4. She has my back, always.
  5. She is incredibly funny and she has started her own blog.  I promised I would try not to be jealous even though she out-funny-ed me in the first day.  Remember number 1?  Yeah...
Here is the link to her super funny, new blog.  Please check it out, but don't leave me, okay?  I am ridiculously competitive and I have huge abandonment issues...