Wednesday, August 28, 2013

It Can Make You Sick.

I have so many thoughts right now. Admittedly, I haven't read the news very thoroughly but I have been listening to NPR and visiting news sites which aren't American. So I'm going to word vomit for a bit and then we can all go back to our mornings.

I never get over having to meet other people who are just beginning a journey we have almost finished. I feel physically ill each time I have gone to meet a new wounded warrior and their shell-shocked family. In about a week, it will have been two years since Aaron and I lost everything we had built and dreamed about, and begun the long road to rebuilding our life together. I am still not over it; I am not sure I ever will be. So when I see a spouse or parent with that look on their face, the one that relays so many wordless emotions, I just want to cry with them. I just want to hug them and I always wish I could somehow give them my two years' worth of knowledge and experience on this journey. I want to them to believe me when I say that it will be okay again, but it's going to be awful getting there. Purgatory would be a paradise most days for some time, but it will change. There will eventually be more okay days than bad; then maybe at some point, more good days than bad or just okay.

So when the news blows up and the word is that our nation might try to solve another nation's problems the way we have been doing for some years now, I just want to scream. Or sob. Or just quit. I feel actual anxiety thinking about people going through what I've been through. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. At times, though, it feels as if those like us and the dead are just collateral damage. It's just a cost of what this nation does. NBD, right? We got $100,000 and a sweet retirement deal for my husband's troubles, and I'll even get paid, too. The families of the dead supposedly get four or five times that amount. So I guess because we're paid off, it's all okay, right? But it only really works out for the most physically injured and the families of the fallen. Ask a single leg amputee, someone with extensive nerve damage, or PTSD how well they made out after losing so much. Those are the ones who get screwed, and I promise there are more of them than there are of us.

So I'm going to have to say "no." I have to take a pass. I am just as horrified at what is happening to sweet little babies and other innocents. I have never felt threatened on my land, nor watched a war between two groups take out so many people who had no choices in the matter. Perhaps if more nations were willing to match American troop numbers, I'd feel better about it. But we know that isn't the case. It appears that our people are worth less than others. Is it because there is more of us? I don't know. I don't know what to say nor can I make a suggestion on how to fix anything. Should the world care to do something? Yes. But it's a little selective, don't you think? What about all the other nations who have gone through similar loss? Why this one? Why this time? There is nothing worth more planes full of maimed and the dead. Not one cause. It just needs to stop.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Just Be Happy, Asshats!

Election year can make anyone nuts and that includes me. End of the year, I was posting news articles all over the place. I don't know why, since I am well-aware that nothing I say can really ever change someone's mind, especially if their entire belief system is the polar opposite of mine. In the past several months, I've abstained from inflammatory over-sharing. What does that mean, though? I got really happy when DOMA was repealed (the same day I found out I was pregnant!), but I didn't share the voting records of Congress critters to prove that someone else's party member sucks or discuss how family planning clinics provide essential services besides terminations. It just isn't going to do any good. I can't change anyone, so why waste the energy? I posted some stuff about the George Zimmerman trial, the worst being that maybe people should stop celebrating a verdict and pray for the parents of a dead minor child. I mean, I guess that's inflammatory. But I am not sure it should be.

Okay, so I get a little preachy about love and acceptance, but that is a far cry from being preachy about actual political crap. It's not hard to figure out which way I swing, but that's not the point. If I want to talk about how maybe George Zimmerman could have given Trayvon Martin a ride that rainy night instead of following him (not my idea; stolen from Twitter), it's not to piss people off. It's to provide a different perspective on what this world is, and what it could be. That is all.

Overall, I've decided to be a damn hippie and just be effing happy as much as  I can. It's about love, right? I can get a little intense about it (angry optimist?), but it's definitely working for me. I also like to hide things on Facebook that I don't like, instead of trying to tell someone why the information posted sucks. I mean, why does it bother me? As long as no one is hurting me or my family, why should I care if someone is a bigot or racist? Or maybe it isn't all that bad, but I just don't agree with someone. It just doesn't affect me. At all. If I really don't like someone, I just won't hang out with that person. It's not that hard to keep my mouth shut and go play with my puppy to remind myself that I can choose to be really happy.

So for the most part, I just read cute and sappy stuff on the internet. And I share that. And I get really excited over cupcakes on my birthday at a Nationals game. It's working.

I just can't care about everything anymore. I can only hope that I teach my kid love and acceptance, you know? If we're going to talk religion, I'd rather teach my kid about Jesus and his actions than God and that vengeance. If I don't like someone's choices, I should teach my kid that some people make decisions in situations we can't imagine and shouldn't judge, even if we don't like it. I am sure many people feel the same way about me and my choices. In fact, I am certain there are a few people out there who are horrified I have a chance at being a mother. Good for them. They don't bother me any more than I actually bother them. I don't think I see any of those people, anyway.

Just be happy, you miserable wads of festering butt boils!  That is all! Happy 31st Birthday to me (yesterday)! I could not be a luckier woman!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Love and Sacrifice.

I am going to do my very best to say what I want to say without sounding judgmental, ungrateful, or like an ass. So here goes nothing.

For most people, especially women, the first time they really put themselves last is when a child is brought into the picture. I don't mean putting themselves second or third, but definitely last. Last to shower, last to eat, last to go to the doctor to get refills for the headache medicine. Last to obtain good sleep for months on end. And that's crazy love and sacrifice, but also a rude awakening to what sacrifice means. I imagine, anyway. And even more women say that the ultimate definition of love is what you go through when you become a new parent.

Some women do this and don't look back while others struggle. Some women think they can't do it another day and others have another kid less than 18 months later. Whatever, you know? Some women have that one thing they can't seem to get their kid to do- eat, sleep, poop with regularity. And it breaks my heart when a new mom posts a minor complaint on Facebook or Twitter only to met with, "That's just being a mommy! LOLZ. Get used to it!" I  mean, what the hell? So her kid was sleeping and now isn't- I think that warrants a complaint. But noooo, new parents can never complain about anything ever, cause you know- it's so funny to see someone else suffer. I probably won't share much about my struggles because people seem incapable of being helping but would rather remind you that you're going to be tired for the next 5 years. I'd rather just ask someone in private, which I will do.

Now back to love and sacrifice. I guess I'm privileged enough to already know what putting myself last feels like. I already understand what it's like to worry my head off about the very well-being of another human. I understand true, soul-sucking exhaustion that seemed to eat at me for weeks on end. I know what it's like not to know if the clothes I picked up off the floor are clean or dirty, but wearing them anyway. I know what it's like to shower at 4am because I was up anyway and also, it might be the only time I can enjoy it for a few days.

I have feared for my husband's life in a way most people are lucky they don't know exists. I have helped nurse him back from near death. I have cut rotting flesh from his wounds. I have watched him cry from frustration and pain. I have seen him struggle to feed himself. I saw him in an utterly helpless state, something most adults don't experience, even in their final days.

And in all of that, I was last. I wrecked my little body over and over again, to the point of being unable to walk for days. I have been in the ER more times for tension and migraine headaches since Aaron got hurt than in the past five years (or longer). I am pretty sure I lost my hairbrush at one point, and went around in public looking like a Minion. Good times.

And you know what? For some people, I still might not know what love and sacrifice is. Somehow, an infant is still going to be the hardest thing I will ever do. Love and sacrifice and exhaustion only applies to caring for a child, but never anything else. And while no one has been malicious or continued to argue the point after I made my feelings clear, it has still been on my mind enough that I wanted to write about it.

If someone is going to look me in the face and tell me that what I've done for my husband isn't the same as what I'll do for my child, or that it isn't as difficult, then I have nothing to say. Simply put, if having a baby is worse/harder than what I've already done, then I probably won't be too happy about it. Who in their right mind would sign up for that? What person would look at everything Aaron and I have been through and say, "Bring on something harder! I still don't know what being exhausted means! I don't know love because I haven't had a child!" Seriously. And I am not the only caregiver who feels this way. In fact, even my caregiver friends with kids have let me know that compared to what I've already done, what I'm about to do is totally manageable.

I understand that it won't be the same. I, of course, with my human brain am aware that I will encounter situations I can't fathom until I'm pulling the puke and shit from my hair (but to be fair, I know a lot of caregivers without children who've dealt with their fair share of puke and shit). I am not stupid. I know that this will be challenging in whole new ways. Some things might even feel impossible. I bet a lot of things will. In fact, I am sure I will wonder what the hell I think I am doing at least three times a day. I am not being flippant about my entry into parenthood. But I will say that I have certain skills and tools I've gained throughout my experience as a caregiver that have undoubtedly prepared me in a way that most people aren't privileged to understand.

The biggest damn difference in all of this is that I have a partner this time. When things get rough with the baby, I can look to Aaron for comfort and support. We can make tough decisions together. If there is something wrong, I won't have to be the only one to sign the paperwork that sends the baby to surgery. With Aaron, I had to make decisions I wouldn't even want to make for my puppy. Alone. And while I had the love and support of our families, the decisions were ultimately mine to make for him. I won't have to do that alone again. If the baby ends up in the hospital, needing care, Aaron and I can comfort each other. We can go through it together. And that, right there, is all I need to know to be absolutely positive that having this baby is going to be just a bit easier than helping save Aaron's life. And if helping save his life isn't also an "ultimate" definition of love, then I really don't know what is. Everything I need to know about love, I already do. Anything past this point is just icing on the cake.