Counting the hours

Back in the day, I would reflect upon time in year-long increments and, with the benefit of hindsight, decide if it had been a good year or a bad year.  As I got a little older (read: got married and had kids) my determinations came by the month.  And, as the kids started to grow up and their problems got (increasingly) bigger, my measurement was by the week and, during particularly obnoxious stretches, sometimes even the day.  It is not until recently that I have been forced into an hourly assessment.  I would say that the last 123 hours (that’s better than five days for the mathematically challenged) have sucked.

It all began with the wild unpleasantries of Saturday when, in an effort to function calmly as a family, things didn’t go so well.  It was just one of those days when everyone (present company included) was cranky and I was prepared to grab my mascara, take a cab to the airport and get on the first plane to anyplace that wasn’t here.  Kansas sounded good.  And then things got bad.

As I have already shared, Saturday’s shenanigans paled in comparison to Sunday when Rich wound up in-patient at the hospital in agony.  The next several days included lots of pain (Rich) lots of anxiety (me) lots of effort to gain attention (Jessie), lots of flying under the radar (Harrison) and very little sleep (me, again).  Throw in a few unpleasant interpersonal interactions and then put a fork in me…I’m done.

Now it is Friday.  Rich is still not feeling well (and, to add insult to injury, is on medication which disallows him to have even a sip of alcohol unless he is interested in becoming violently ill) my back is flippin’ the bird to Motrin, and no one is any less cranky.  But, it is not just the big scary things that are making it feel like my family is standing in quick-sand, it is the little stuff, too.  Like my down comforter that I felt compelled to wash and is now on its fourth dryer cycle and still not dry.  Or the fact that Harrison sent me a link to register and pay for ($180 a couple!?!??)  the Junior Semi-formal only to be then congratulated on signing him up for summer school. (In fairness, it was a school screw up and not Harrison’s, but for a split second I was awash with fear that he was trying to tell me something…)  It is Jessie and those damned sparkly shoes which were a source of great negotiation for many hours and, of course, freaking killed her feet…after she wore them all day at school.  It is the middle of the night musings over how Jessie’s transition is going to proceed or not proceed or trip us all up or not trip us all up.  It is the thirty degree temperature swings which are messing not only with my clothing choices, but my hair, as well.  It is, well, never mind.  Even I am getting bored with this.

As I have said repeatedly, it is difficult (and by difficult I mean virtually impossible) to differentiate between that which is crap related to the fact that we are doing all that we can to support our child who has identified as transgender and that which is just crap.  So many people have such bigger, scarier and more dire situations than ours, yet there are hours that I simply don’t believe that.  Am I selfish?  Self absorbed?  Self preserving?  I don’t know, but I do know that I will be really happy when this long stretch of shitty hours is over.

A crazy aside: when I spell check my blog posts the one word that is never recognized is “mascara”…I take that personally.

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20 thoughts on “Counting the hours

  1. I just found your blog a few weeks ago (I was one of those in your big rush of publicity). I love your writing and your story.

    Differentiating the crap in one’s life is complicated for all of us. What other’s have — less or more dire life situations — whatever. In my experience, crap, esp. people who are full of crap, are everywhere. This is an insane time to be living in. No better, no worse than other times. The Greeks complained about how awful raising children were — how insolent and demanding. I’ve gotten to the point where when confronted with crap, I use my strong intuitive force that is also 30 degrees hotter at certain times of day and night and stand in who I am. And I — like you — are not full of crap.

    You have a load on your plate. None of it you chose. It is karma, fate — again, whatever.

    You clearly value: love, kindness, honesty, humor, AUTHENTICITY, sharing, caring and letting your kids be who they are among many other things you value.

    You are not being selfish when you are doing all of the above. Do you lose it? Yes. Me, too. But the longer you stay focussed on your values, the shitty hours won’t be so shitty and you’ll really appreciate the roller coaster that is your life. Crap and all.

    • “Crap – especially people who are full of it.” I. Love. That.

      Thanks for the support, kind words and for keepin’ it real!

  2. I am sorry that the last 123 hours have been so crappy! You are not alone, we all go through it, just different types of crap. I hope that the next 123 hours are better! The good news is, is that weather is supposed to be nice starting tomorrow which makes for good hair!

    • Oh I know I am not alone, but I was the one who was at the keyboard so I got to bitch and moan. Good hair goes a long way in one’s happiness…xo

  3. First of all, if spell check doesn’t recognize mascara it is definitely male (and not transgender). You are living your own reality and it has sucked for the past 123 hours so don’t worry about all the people who have it worse than you. Yes, they are out there, but when you “stub your toe” it is still your toe that hurts! As for the hair, I would trade with you any day, and in any weather- so forget that complaint. As for Rich, isn’t there a good narcotic in lieu of alcohol that won’t make him sick? Please send my best-I hope he feels better soon! Just hang in there Julie. Some days (or weeks) just stink. Breathe deep and carry on…it will pass. XO
    (Oh, and I too get to foot the prom bill since Lucy’s date is not from her school…damn)

  4. Julie,

    I truly hope that y’all can crank down the pain soon. Still, there is that selfish part of me that enjoys knowing I’m not the only one with a pile of problems. We each have the capacity to take on only so much of what life is throwing at us at any one time. When we finally break from the pressure, we realize that what we had been giving high priority was really not that big of a whoop after all. Most problems just work themselves out, and probably even sooner if we’d simply left them alone in the first place. Jessie learned a valuable lesson toward womanhood by wearing shoes that ended up killing her feet. The lesson is not that we, as women, shouldn’t do that, but that we should expect that the more sparkly the shoes, the more they are going to hurt (and it’s always a good idea to keep a spare pair of comfy shoes with you when you do choose the sparkly ones to go out in). If she wants to wear the same shoes all day again, then I would say that her transition is proceeding!

    Even if your mind did take you to Kansas, you’re not in Kansas anymore (what’s keeping this Oz analogy going, anyway?). You’re all in transition; not just Jessie. Just wait until she wants to borrow your mascara, and to wear it all day.

    Connie

    • Funny you should mention her desire to borrow my mascara…it has been an ongoing discussion (and by discussion I mean battle) where I keep reminding her that is ten and she keeps telling me that I am being ridiculous. And there you have it. Always love hearing from you, Connie. (Not to be confused with Conor!)

      • Julie,

        That sounds like a pretty normal battle between mother and daughter.
        When I was finally caught getting into my mother’s makeup, it was not normal (to her, anyway). I started doing it at age 10, but wasn’t “caught” until I was 12. She questioned my mental health at the time, and just told me to stop wearing anything of hers. “You are a young man,” she ‘reminded’ me. Talk about a battle! Well, more like a cold war, really. I began to be even more covert, and eventually built up my own full arsenal of makeup, wardrobe, and even wigs. These acquisitions were not all by legal means, either. Had my mother approached our battle (or, more accurately, been able to) as you are dealing with Jessie, the stress level for both of us would have been much lower, I believe. Dealing with things in an open manner, as stressful as it may seem to be at the time, beats separate personal, internal battles.

        If I could tell Jessie anything, I would say that she needs to be appreciative of the fact that she has such a supportive mother and family. I may sound like the old, grandmotherly type here, but the girl doesn’t know how lucky she is. She may, as a transgender girl, feel more of a need to prove to all, if not to herself, her true gender. Sparkly shoes and mascara can wait. She should just enjoy being the little girl she’s being allowed to be. Many of us couldn’t. And, I would tell her that she is, indeed, a girl, but don’t be THAT KIND OF GIRL (wearing mascara at ten)! Funny, my mother didn’t tell me that, but she did tell me to watch out for THAT KIND OF GIRL.

        Connie

      • One thing I can assure you and everyone else of…I will do everything in my power to ensure that I do not create THAT KIND OF GIRL.

        And, as always, thank you for your support and perspective, Connie. I am quite sure you are not THAT KIND OF GIRL!

      • Julie,

        As I ready myself to attend a St. Patrick’s Day party tonight, I guarantee that I will be:

        A bonnie of a Connie,
        Both sassy and classy,
        With made-up eyes, both green and tawny,
        But NEVER, EVER, THAT KIND OF LASSIE!

        I wanted to put that into a limerick, and to include “mascara”, but nothing rhymes with “mascara”……..No rhyme for it, but there certainly is reason for it!

        Connie

  5. Julie,

    I was going to mention this the other day, but I was overwhelmed by all your other problems (not as much as you were, of course). I was reminded of your comforter problem while washing some pillows today. I always put a soft ball or a tennis shoe in the dryer to help break up the down in pillows and comforters. They dry much more quickly, and come out a lot more fluffy. Try it; although I’m sure it’s dry by now.

    That’s Connie’s household tip of the day. 🙂

    Connie

    • I do know that trick, but the thought of going out to buy tennis balls would have been the nail in the coffin for me. Rest assured, it finally dried.

  6. As far as the dryer/comforter issue, have you tried throwing in a couple tennis balls? You can also buy “dryer balls,” which are basically just … expensive tennis balls.
    That’s all the advice I have, seeing as that’s the only part of this entry I have any experience with!

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