Friday, November 12, 2010

We Share a Brain

In 1995 I left home to go to school at the University of Florida. Within weeks of being there I pretty much found a new circle of friends and only held on to a few friendships from High School. For the most part, the friendships I formed, or held on to, that first year of college are the friends I still call on today too.

One of the friends I kept from High School was Andrew. We were both in most of the same business classes and before pagers, cell phones and Facebook, we managed to keep in touch. It was during one of our study sessions at the library (the one by the French Fries fellow Gators!) when he first mentioned Meredith. They hadn't been dating very long, he was worried about it being long distance, and he REALLY liked this girl. I heard a lot about Meredith over the next year and when we graduated he moved back to Jacksonville, home, where she was too.

I still kept up with Andrew over the course of the next seven years. I knew he married Meredith. I knew they had a baby boy. Our families exchanged Christmas cards every year and that was pretty much it except for the big "global" emails announcing births and big news to our closest friends and family.

But then we moved to Jacksonville too. And I connected with both Andrew and Meredith, who I had yet to officially meet, on Facebook. It was three years later though when Andrew gets the idea to invite my family and another friend and her family over for dinner. I finally got to meet Meredith and the kids.

Something clicked with us that night. As Andrew will later tell you he knew we'd either love each other or hate each other. I can't even begin to tell you how glad I am that it turned out to be the former. A few weeks, maybe a month (?), later we started running together because I conned her in to running the River Run with me. (Yay me!)

And so began a friendship that was (is) dirty, sweaty, gritty, painful and raw. While we ran we talked about a lot of shit. She could finish my sentences, and I often knew what she would say before she said it. It was like we shared a brain. And that soon became our mantra. We share a brain. Sometimes it's creepy.

I can't tell you though how much I needed her to appear in my life when she did. Sure, I'd "known" her for years, over a decade in fact. I wrote out Christmas cards to her. But the timing of our face-to-face introduction and the need I think we both had in our lives for the type of friend we could truly relate to and depend on was pretty much perfect. Yes, we share a brain, but to me, well, it's more than that. Starting a friendship with her helped towards healing a lot of hurt and pain I have had. I felt... likable again, worthy of a new person meeting the me I am today and wanting to be my friend. And I think that even with the greatest of friends (and mine are wonderful) who stick by you through the thick and thin, who get that you aren't the sum total of a few encounters, that still... everyone needs to know that you can make friends as a new you. And I needed that.

At some point many of our running conversations centered around blogging, what I use it for, and how I thought she should start one too. Eventually she came up with a name, bought a domain, came up with a theme, and opened up shop. I know most of you know how scary and crazy that can be. But I think that if you read her, if you know her, you'll love her as much as I do. So go check her out.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Every night I tuck my boys in to bed with numerous snuggles and kisses. And I say the same thing to them, a little ritual of words that started with just a few lines and was appended and adjusted as I felt I needed to throw in a life lesson or confidence booster... like "I love you every day, all the time, no matter what," or "You make me so happy and I'm so proud of you."

When I was done the other night my little Bug hugged me extra hard and said he was now ok to go to sleep because I had said it all and it helps him relax. Given that most nights he interrupts me to tell me about a random part of a game he played, or a thought he had, or an item he'd like to ask Santa for, I was beyond thrilled that perhaps my words are reaching and sticking to the deep recesses of his crazy amazing brain.

I know Bear loves what I say. If I sit for too long enjoying a quiet snuggle with him he will grab my hand and say "Say Daddy loves me. You love me..." and wait for me to start. And he nods at the right times. And when it's over I usually get the world's greatest hug and "I YUV YOU TOO!"

It's... my favorite time of day. And not because the kids are in bed and I might have a moment or two to myself. But because in those moments of quiet snuggles and daily reflections on all that we have to be thankful for, I feel like I'm (we're) doing an ok job and they're growing up loved, and safe, healthy, and happy.

Last night though I had a little meltdown while rocking Bear. I allowed myself to drift down the dark roads of "What if something happened to you (me, Bug, Hubs, etc), a road made quite real when you read blogs or know family and friends with real life heart aching losses) and I cried and cried. So I'm going to ask you, please, today, to go over to Friends of Maddie and make a donation for what would have been Maddie's 3rd birthday. Despite our grief, and fears, and losses, we have so many reasons to be thankful and hopeful. And I believe we should share that love with others who need it too.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Gas Station

Dear Idiot Woman driving the huge white Cadillac SUV at the gas station just now,

You're really not smart. I know you were shocked when I asked you to turn your car off while you pumped gas, and you were in complete disbelief that pumping gas while your car was running was a fire hazard. I know you think the gigantic sign above the gas pump that says "Turn your car engine OFF while pumping gas" does not apply to you. It obviously applies to other people. You think you're very important.

But let me tell you this dear Idiot Woman. My children are more important than you. And they were at that gas station in the car I was putting gas in to. And if you were to blow yourself up with your stupidity, you could have blown them up too. So that means I get to say something to you about the lack of connections between your brain cells. I'm sorry, but that's just the truth. And I was really nice about it. Honestly. I know when I'm being bitchy. And this time? Totally wasn't!

I also know you thought you were being super cute when you told me "I guess it wasn't my day" as you drove away. But that also showed your lack of brain power honey. You do know the day's not over yet, right?


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Space Between

It starts as a tiny blur in my vision. And I blink, rub my eyes, hold my breath and look again.

Then there is dread, panic, nausea. It is fear, and loathing. I am powerless to stop it completely.

I rush to ingest the meds. The cocktail of drugs, prescription and over the counter pain relievers, that eventually bring relief.

And I wait. I wait with my eyes closed for the aura to pass and the world to focus.

I wait for the rolling waves of nausea to stop as I will the dry heaves to remain dry heaves because I hate to vomit.

Then the pain starts, throbbing inside head, crashing in to my skull as I try counter-pressure techniques to hold my head in place.

I am lost somewhere in the space between consciousness and sleep, in a time warp of deep meditative breathing and controlled visualizations. I float on the surface of water, above, and somehow outside, the weighted pain that threatens to pull me under and consume me.

Eventually I am functional. Just functional though, until the migraine hangover releases its grip and I am back in control again.