The Cost of Rising

IMG_9200He’s happily oblivious to the angst I am feeling right now, and that is how it should be.

This was a week that required more than the usual dose of advocacy he needs, deserves.

And it was a week of unexpected challenges.

Challenges that necessarily resulted in changes.

Changes that made him cry. Sit in the back seat of my car and weep.

Tears that pulled me apart, left me wondering what would have been the effect had I stayed silent.

Questioning how I show my love, my support, my devotion.

Wondering if I should just slip into a mass of acceptance and apathy.

Just let things go.

Let things go so my child doesn’t cry.

Don’t stand up because it could knock my child down.

Fall down seven times, get up eight.”

And I realize without the tears, there can be no growth.

Without the fall, none of us ever gets the chance to rise.

This Ordinary

“Just write about your writer’s block.  Everyone will understand.”

Advice from my ten-year-old.

And though he is arguably one of the wisest people I know, I had to tell him that most people don’t really find a writer’s process all that interesting let alone being regaled with the stories of the occasional bout of writer’s block.

He countered, “Well, then, tell them why you have it.”

Why I have it . . .

Well, it’s simple really—and anything but.

I have writer’s block because something so unexpected and profound yet so remarkably perfect and easy has occurred.  It’s all I want to write about but yet I can’t.

Countless hours spent thinking; a web of memories untangled, tens of thousands of words contemplated . . . and nothing.

Which brings me back to why . . .

Why–when this is such a good story, such an unbelievably happy turn of events–am I so uncharacteristically hesitant to do what I do best and shout it from the rooftops?

Is it because it’s not just my story?

That’s what I have consoled myself with over the last several weeks as I looked day after day at a blank monitor, stared at the fingertips that have always been so accustomed to moving across the keyboard with far less thought than I generally like to admit, why when the few words did come to me, I wrote them, saved them, and promptly put them away:  It’s not just my story.  I have to be judicious, show good judgment.

But tonight as I walked through my neighborhood, dark and quiet, the salty air washing over me, I realized any block I was experiencing had nothing to do with my being smart or overtly sensitive to the feelings of others.  I mean, I try to do, to be both of those things in every facet of my life.  But as a writer, it has always been my contention—if not my compulsion—to write what I know, what I need to write, let the chips fall where they may.

I wanted to believe my writer’s block was because I was, am a nice person.

So noble.  So magnanimous.

But that isn’t it at all.

IMG_8734It’s because even though this story is so remarkable, it’s not; because even though things like this don’t happen every day, or ever, this story had to continue.

It is the period at the end of a sentence that’s been unfinished for the last thirteen years.

A logical conclusion and a custom fit.

A fairy tale ending, but still beautifully, blissfully ordinary.

And no one wants to read about ordinary.

And I don’t want to write it.

But live it?

I’ve been waiting thirteen years to live this ordinary.

Three Days

A picture is worth the proverbial thousand words—and that’s a good thing.

Because though I have written thousands since 23 July 2014, I am not quite ready to share them all.

So, in the interim, these will suffice.

A reunion for some, the start of something for others.

Delirious, joyful, and entrancing.

Thirteen years in the making.

And hearts fuller and more grateful than could ever have been imagined.

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On ADDitude Today

It was an innocent enough question from my oldest son: “Mom, why do you have to take pills for your high blood pressure every day?”

I wasn’t caught off-guard, and I didn’t feel defensive. Instead, I explained the genetic hand I had been dealt and how, despite my best efforts, managing it myself had proved ineffectual.

However, I wasn’t prepared for his response: “That means if you had lived, say, a hundred years ago, before high blood pressure pills had been invented, you might have already had a heart attack and died?”

Please read the rest here on ADDitude . . . Thank you!

Miles Still to Go

It happened again today.  And perhaps it wouldn’t have been so bad if this had been the first, second, even third instance.  But it’s not.  We’re well into double-digits now.  And each time my disgust is amplified and the sting worsens.

Our family had experienced poor customer service at a nearby business recently . . . actually, a series of episodes of poor customer service.  To tell the entire tale required a lengthy email; and on behalf of my husband and me, since he was at work and I was at home, I wrote it.  It took me slightly more than an hour to compose the correspondence—a letter that was well-worded, compelling, and still courteous despite our frustration.  I sent it last Monday to the General Manager of the corporation.

male femaleThere was no response or even an acknowledgment on Tuesday or Wednesday; so on Wednesday afternoon I followed up with a polite request, inquiring as to when we might expect a reply.  I addressed the General Manager by his title (“Mr.”) followed by his last name.  He addressed me as “Samantha.”

I let that go and read his message . . . that he was meeting with his team to review the situation and would be back in touch.  I thanked him and heard nothing more on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or Monday.

Last night my husband wrote an email.

My husband is a male—lest that detail slip by.

Within hours of his email we had a lengthy reply, a concrete solution . . . and the email to my husband was addressed to “Mr. Farias.” I was not included in the salutation.  I was not copied in on the email.

Apparently, the men were taking care of this, and I no longer existed.

And before I launch into a diatribe about men and women and lingering, pathetic gender roles that persist in 2014, let me reiterate this is not the first time this has happened to me.  Countless times I have made calls or written emails—to have work done on our home, to get estimates, to compare quotes—and no reply is forthcoming until my husband picks up the phone and leaves a message an octave lower than mine or taps the keyboard and signs the missive with a masculine name.

Every time it happens it is as obvious as it is egregious, and to say it inspires rage is an understatement.

I can recite my accomplishments, academic and otherwise; sing my praises as a communicator and generally reasonable human being; share my bank balance and the number of dollars I have to spend. But none of that matters.  In some instances, with some businesses, with some people, all that matters is that I am female—or, more aptly, that I am not male.

IMG_2817I thought it would be better for them, but it’s not.

In 2014 this is still our reality.

My children’s reality.

My sons’ and your sons’ and daughters’ very sad, very real reality.