Posted on August 17th, 2014
That I have a pretty normal kid is a minor miracle. Oh, she’s quirky as hell. She would be anyway (when the family TV show is the Wild Wild West, among other examples) but she has two neurotic parents, and yet there she is–not depressed. Sometimes anxious and often sensitive, but confident and happy with strangers and friends. She plays well with other kids and I get compliments. Again: amazement. How did I get a kid like this?
One benefit to having us as parents is that she is very facile with discussing emotions (if I am sad, I say, “I feel sad” and why, if I know and if it’s appropriate; she can name her emotions and often why she feels as she does). If she is angry at me for something, she’ll tell me. I tell her that’s fine and she can feel whatever she needs to feel–she just can’t act on it in a way that is hurtful.
Overall, though, she’s pretty happy. She’s a worrier (she is at least a fifth generation anxious-worrier), and anything sad to do with animals will make her break down, but, um, me, too.
She’s transparent: I know she didn’t ask to celebrate Hanukkah instead of Christmas because the last day of Hanukkah falls on Christmas Eve (although that is an interesting coincidence, it’s better than last year, when it landed on Thanksgiving). Even though I have no idea how to celebrate Hanukkah (my knowledge amounts to: menorah, dreidel, and food, so I have some research ahead of me), the idea of being liberated from Christmas is, well, very liberating.
Gotta love that, irony and all.
You’d never know it from RBF* but as long as the depression is under control, I’m pretty happy. (Bear in mind I consider “productive” an emotion in the happy family, though.) I still have a shit ton of anxiety, including panic attacks (which feel like heart attacks), triggered by either nothing at all…or having to drive on the lower deck of the Marquam Bridge. (For that I blame the Loma Prieta earthquake, the worst earthquake I’ve ever been in, and 25 year old Nimitz Freeway PTSD; I used to freak out whenever I had to be stopped beneath any sort of concrete overpass, but I’d thought I’d gotten past it).
I have to drive on the bottom deck of the Marquam several times a week, and I make myself do it because my motto is “Suck it up, Buttercup.” **
So my kid is growing up with neurotic parents and most of the time I do a pretty good job passing for normal. As things improve, I’m able to focus on what I need to focus on.
My writing mojo returned. I never stopped writing, but I did stop writing well (emotional exhaustion does not a good writer make, at least not in my world).
We have a car that is as close to new as we can get and it is either unbearably ugly or incredibly cute, depending on your point of view (Nissan Cube). I loved it from the first time I saw one, so I’m thrilled. kH declared it to be the ugliest thing he’d ever seen, but he found it comfortable to drive and is now defensive of it.
I did not stick a white Apple sticker on it, BUT to torment my husband, whose hatred of Steve Jobs the person manifests as hatred of Apple the company, I put a tiny rainbow “Apple Computer” sticker from the 1990s on the driver’s side window. I just did the math and people who were born the year I bought the computer (Centris something or other) that came with the stickers, or the stickers that came with the computer, again depending on your point of view, but we’re talking the computer I played Myst on when it first came out–those people can buy cigarettes legally. But that’s okay, kids. We’ve had Macs since 1991. (We had four megs of RAM!) Kids born in 1991 can legally drink and that makes my head blow up, so we will not discuss that again.
The rainbow Apple Computer stickers in the 1990s, when AppleCare meant a dude came to my apartment to fix my motherboard within 24 hours. First run X-Files. Babylon 5. Batman: The Animated Series. Cell phones the size of a brick. I administered a Windows 95/Mac/OS-2 computer network (now you know why I went to law school) and designed webpages. Ah, the good old days, when the music I liked wasn’t played in elevators or oldies stations.
Related to being old, I’m in PT, which, by the way, is painful. The problem with PT, kH told me, is that it’s boring and it takes a long time, but it works. He is correct. It is all of those things. But most days I do my exercises twice like I am supposed to and you know? I think in the last three months my jaw has only popped out of alignment once and that is world changing. My sprained ankle is still somewhat sprained, but this is to be expected of someone of my advanced years. (Apparently ankles sprained in 1994 do not heal like ankles sprained in 2014, at least not on the same person.) Last week I went to the zoo (with hiking boots) and OMSI (ballet flats) and let’s just say hiking boots helped a lot more than the ballet flats.
Now that the car situation is resolved (hooray), I can go back to having middle class worries, like waking up tomorrow before 0530 so I can get pH registered for fall swimming classes. I explained this to kH who looked at me as if I were crazier than normal, and then tried to explain it is competitive like getting concert tickets (this also did not work) and resorted to “Remember when we had to register for college classes by phone and we’d call as soon as our year/last initial was eligible?” Ah, yes. We do remember that. He’s older than I am, and pointed out he remembers standing in lines to register for classes. Also, programming computers with tape. Any way you slice it, in college you’ll learn how to stand in lines, virtual or real, and if you marry someone older than you are, they can always out-hipster you.
I thought that was a good time to remind him he bought the Mac SE, not me.
So things are better, mostly, they are probably going to be changing, mostly, and that is okay, mostly. School starts here in a couple of weeks, and I have an official card that has pH registered as a homeschool kid. This doesn’t make me panic, mostly. The reality is pH has been working all summer–she just didn’t know it. She had time off for camps and I took it easy on her, but as our days shorten, there’s more curriculum being added to the weekdays. And that is okay, too. (Mostly.) I’m not looking forward to random strangers’ questions about her schooling (and am resolved to either stare or ask, “How is this your business?”) but I am looking forward to our usual destinations not being crowded.
*”Resting Bitch Face,” you know, the thing that makes annoying people tell you, “Smile!” Research has demonstrated, and I shit you not, that the act of frowning makes you concentrate more and do better work. (Also, working with a mirror nearby will improve productivity.) Just like sticking a pencil in your teeth horizontally to force yourself to smile will make you feel a little better. Science is amazing.
**Well, not really. If amalgamated, family mottos would be: “Suffer a lot and achieve glory,” but my family seems to have trouble getting past that first part.