UPDATE RE HARRISON: This is my blog, so I get to share whatever I choose. Harrison, his best friend Alex (of an earlier post) and Alex’s gf Alize just came back from a trip to Best Buy. They entered the house telling me that a little old lady had fallen breaking her hip while walking into the store and Harrison, using his life saving training, was the first responder while others stood around watching. He comforted and stabilized her until the arrival of the EMTs. Alex and Alize told me they were kind of amazed at how professional and helpful Harrison was. That might just make me cry tears of happiness…
Upon reading this, I see that it might appear to be a plea for sympathy. Not really…just keeping it real. xo
I have been on the verge of tears for days now. (If we are being honest, it is more like weeks, but it seems more profound over the past few days.) I cannot quite discern why I feel this way, although I can think of a lot of things that are going on which would make many people shed a tear. None seems to come to the surface as the reason, though, which is actually irritating me to no end. More irritating is that the tears seem to be unable to break through and let loose…they are stuck.
It has certainly been a tumultuous year. This whole parenting a child who has identified as transgender can wear on anyone, but add it to all the regular stuff that life throws (hurls is a more appropriate word) at you and it can make you just want to sit down and weep (rocking and thumb-sucking are optional).
I am not much of a crier. As a kid I cried all the time and had a penchant for slamming doors in the middle of said break down just for good measure. (My biggest disappointment when we moved to our new house when I was eleven was that my room had a sliding door which was nearly impossible to slam without taking a few fingers out in the process which served as a real impediment to my drama queendom). As an adult, I tend not to resort to tears in part because when I do, I am loath to make them stop since I know that they have arrived out of pure frustration after having been unconsciously held in for long stretches. All fits of crying are invariably followed by red, puffy, swollen and painful eyes which endures for a good twenty-four hours. (I have been known to use Preparation H on them to reduce the swelling. And, yes, it works) No matter what I do, I am assured that the entire day following a crying jag is going to be unpleasant, uncomfortable and undesirable. (Someone once told me that it is because my eyes are blue that they react that way…I think it is just a little “fuck you” thrown in for good measure; as if it wasn’t bad enough to live through heaving, shaking crying, I had to be served with a reminder of it for hours to come. Whatever.)
I never cry when I am scared or sad. I know that to be true because I did not cry when I was told that I had breast cancer or when I held my father’s hand as they disconnected the life support which was keeping him alive. I didn’t cry when George became Jessie overnight…not right away, anyway. And I didn’t cry when Harrison had to have a middle of the night emergency appendectomy. No, those are normal times to cry. Those are also the times that I am the person you want in the room, the person who will manage the situation and find something funny about it. Instead, I wait to cry when I feel as though my innards are going to literally splatter all over the wall if I don’t somehow, someway, let them adjust to the latest issue, no matter how major or minor it might be.
Admittedly, there is a lot going on for me and my family right now. The summer has been speckled with traumas; some minor (like seeing, due to an ill-fitting bathing suit, an old man’s junk at the pool…only to later learn that it was a friend’s father) to more significant (like Harrison’s unfortunate incident involving a sharp stick and his bare heel or Jessie’s greatly abbreviated camp experience or my run-in with first an x-ray machine on my face and then a heavy toy on the top of my foot) but all, in their own special ways, traumatic. And I haven’t really cried yet.
We are all healthy. We are all safe, well fed (I am a bit too well fed, actually) and have a comfortable (read: air-conditioned) home. But, the truth is, the summer has sucked. I’ve not seen the ocean once which, for a New Englander is akin to death. I had one lobster but it was at a friend’s house and there was no accompanying smell of salt water and sand. (There were, however, good adult beverages.) The daily threats of afternoon thunderstorms have weighed me down with laziness against going to the pool only to have to pack up and run out through the clouds at the first clap of thunder. Lethargy has set in and tears have eluded me. And, frankly, that worries me.
The start of school is just around the corner and never an easy time for Jessie (or her mother). Harrison is starting his senior year of high school and will be even more bogged down with essays and studying than he has been this summer.* And here I am , trying to find a good time and place to bawl my eyes out so that I am in the best shape possible to get them through. I can do this. I can do this. I can do this…I might have to go chop an onion to get the ball rolling, though…dammit!
Oh, and a word of caution; if you are with me and I do start to cry you may want to beat a hasty retreat to somewhere other than with me since when it happens, it is ugly. I won’t be offended.
*Please indulge me and allow me to give a shout out to Harrison for how incredibly hard he has been working all summer: saving lives by day (theoretically, anyway) and banging out his college essays and studying for another round of ACTs by night. It is not the way any almost 18-year-old wants to spend the summer, but he has and I am crazy proud of him….really.