Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I have a hand full of blog posts that I started and didn’t finish. Now they are outdated. Life has been very, very hectic but with mostly good stuff. So here are just some highlights to play catch up.

Beanie graduated High School on Saturday. It was a rather unemotional culmination to the whole school experience. She did not cry. I did not cry. Very unlike all the sports awards and banquets where we all sobbed. Sports she will miss. School work, not so much. Still a nice, dignified ending ceremony. And she did not trip up or down the stage. We all lost that bet.

On Sunday Martha and I drove our younger daughter across the state to attend a week long leadership conference. She was chosen from a regional selection process to participate. Another proud parent moment. We drove 4 hours there, dropped her off, and drove 4 hours home. The more active my kids are, the more I sit. Definitely not good for the butt.

I have not seen Beanie since the graduation. She has still not returned home from parties. Although she does text once in a while to let us know she is alive. And I am glad that the kids camp out at the house where they are partying. We have no tolerance for drinking and driving.

Today Martha (who does not work in the summer) and Beanie are going up to our lake house to spend a couple of days together. Or perhaps to just sleep off the partying. Yes, I am jealous.

All of a sudden I have heard from a number of people from my former church. Nice ‘how are you?’ emails and congratulations for Beanie. Not sure what happening there.

Finally, I had a very emotionally tough, but productive therapy session yesterday. And I am grateful to now have the house to myself. I am needing a little quiet, reflective time. Listen to whatever music I want. Eat junk food. Allow myself to feel sad for a while.

And sit down to write about it, which I know is an integral part of my therapy. I need to tap into some emotional and energy reserves and just do it. Unfortunately, the temptations of a nap are more likely to seduce me. . .

Friday, June 25, 2010

Parental Pride

Tomorrow my oldest daughter, Beanie, will officially graduate from High School. I am struggling with the thought of her leaving in August and also with the passage of time. It seems like just yesterday she was my little girl.

If you met her in person, you would think she was shy, although once you get to know her, you know why she has earned her nickname “the life of the party”. She cannot sit still. She cannot look an adult in the eye. She dances through the house. To talk to her you often wonder if she even has a brain. She has absolutely no common sense, which does worry me. Her world view does not extend much past her immediate circle of friends and facebook. When she interviewed with the Dean of the psychology program she hoped to enter at college he asked her why she wanted to study forensic psychology. And she answered “because I love crazy people. ” And she got in! Takes one to know one, I think.

Unless you have seen her on a basketball court or other field of play, you would never know she is athletic. If she is home (which isn’t very often these days), she is hunched in a ball over her computer or lying half naked, sunning herself by the pool. She is amazingly clumsy, drops everything, can trip walking across the living room, and can’t manage to get food all the way from the plate into her mouth without spilling something, sometimes everything.

Her personality is very similar to Sid, the sloth from the Ice Age movies, to whom we often compare her. Naive, talkative, positive, caring, loving and extremely loyal. She wakes up smiling and goes to bed smiling. Teachers, parents and especially little kids love her. Probably because she has never outgrown those child like qualities of wide eyed wonder and joy at everything she experiences. No matter what she does, she comes homes saying it was the best thing she’d ever done. She is always laughing.

But on paper she looks exceptional - she has been a high honors student every year, she has played three varsity sports every year in a large school where making a team is highly competitive. She has been elected the captain of every team she has played on. She has won regional scholar-athlete awards every season. She is on the teen Board of Directors for our local Ronald McDonald House, last year winning the Biggest Heart Award and this year winning the Exceptional Commitment Award. She is an assistant coach for a girls’ youth basketball program. She is a school mentor and is the first to sign up for any community or school organization in need of a volunteer. A few weeks ago she was honored at an athletic awards ceremony with some plaques and a generous scholarship for her commitment to athletic excellence. Tomorrow she will be wearing additional tassels and stoles for academic achievement and community service.

She has made us exceptionally proud.

The quote she chose to go under her yearbook picture was this:

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. - Anthony J. D'Angelo

Tomorrow I will be quite teary, and a little hesitant, yet very proud, to send that sunshine into the world.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Backtracking a little here, I had rambled in a previous post how one of the things that haunts me most is that I never knew if Daphne was aware her parents would not allow me to see her and if she died wondering if I had abandoned her. Then a friend told me that my minster at the time had gone to the hospital to talk to her parents on my behalf. My hopes soared beyond reason. Perhaps he had seen her, or gotten a message to her, or something, anything that would give me a shred of comfort from that nagging, haunting guilt.

I met with the minister a couple of weeks ago and the answer was a resounding ‘no’. He had gone to the hospital, had a brief conversation with her father and was rudely dismissed. *big sigh* I admit that I had allowed myself to hope too much. It was a deflating let down. I am resigned to carry that stone for the rest of my life.

But in these intervening weeks, I have thought a lot about her parents. I confess that I have harbored much anger toward them. Then. And still. Daphne was a brilliant person. A loving person. A religious person. Accomplished in everything she set her mind to. An only child of ‘pull themselves up by the boot straps’ parents. She was their pride and joy. It was so obvious from the photos she had of her youth. The one (and only) thing that destroyed that pride was the day she told them she was gay. And that ended their relationship. Forever. She left them on the brink of all her potential and the last they saw her she was broken beyond repair.

I now sit looking at my oldest daughter who will be leaving for college in August. I am in that same place in time that Daphne’s parents were. I am overflowing with pride for all that she has accomplished, but even more so for the person she has become. Yet, unlike them, I can’t imagine anything she could tell me that make me love her less or want to remove her from my life.

I think about all the things Daphne’s parents missed in her life. The academic honors and professional recognition and respect that would have mattered so much to them. They missed the beautiful woman be became and all the love and laughter she gave the world. I wonder how they live with that, what a huge stone they must carry.

So two things are shifting in me. One is that my anger at her parents is dissipating. I think it is being replaced by pity, realizing now, as a parent myself, how very much they missed.

And secondly, a much deeper appreciation of how precious my relationship with my daughters is. I now stand where her parents stood. My daughters are about to start off on their own independent paths, on the brink of all their potential.
And I don’t want to miss a thing.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

To weme

I have been trying to comment on your latest posts with no success. I have tried from different computers and from different networks, but nothing goes through. I could find no contact info on your site so I am hoping you will read this and know that I am thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Diet

Last week I started a diet.

That may not be big news to most people. But it is officially the very first diet of my life.

I was born skinny and stayed skinny throughout my adolescence. I could (and did) eat whatever I wanted and never gained an ounce.

In college, where I developed really poor eating habits, I also started smoking, which apparently kept the weight off.

When I lived with Daphne I gained weight for the first time in my life. Oh, she did love that fried food. I went from skinny to thin.

When my world fell apart and I lost weight dramatically. Not that I cared. My friends kept forcing enough food down me to keep me from starving. When I was finally able to move from that place and begin a new chapter of my life I was 5' 7" and 105 lbs.

And then I met Martha. She started wooing me with chocolate. Yeah, that worked. She complained about my hip bones digging into her and started to cook for me. A pint of Ben & Jerry’s was dessert almost every night. Hmmm. I began gaining some much needed weight.

When we decided to have children, I quit smoking and noticed the first serious weight gain of my life And, as I’ve aged, my weight has slowly but steadily climbed. I was still thin in the 120s. Felt healthy in the 130s. Started getting that muffin top in the 140s.

When Martha and I almost broke up a few years ago, I discovered that no sex was not good for the metabolism. I gained almost 20 pounds and found myself weighing 165. Whoa! I couldn’t even find my hip bones. But when Martha and I got back on track, most of that weight disappeared through no effort on my part. But I still found myself hovering in the low 150s.

Having always been a person who could eat anything I wanted and still be thin, dieting is a hard concept for me. I love sweets and ice cream and snacking at night. I eat all day at work. I have been doing it my whole life. My brain tells me I'm thin while my clothes are telling me otherwise.

Martha loves to eat too but she is also a life long dieter. She can easily gain 50 pounds and then diet it off. She is a professional dieter. She has boxes in the attic with clothes ranging from size 8 to 16. But she does these fad diets - eats soup for every meal for weeks, or cuts out all carbs, etc. - not suitable for an amateur like me.

I have opted for a 1200 calorie a day diet. 300 k breakfast, 300k lunch, 400k dinner and two 100k snacks. And I must say I am eating healthier and reading labels. Who knew a jar of macadamia nuts had over 2,000 calories? I could polish that off in one sitting. Pecan crusted chicken salad at Fridays - 1360 calories. For a salad!!! I bought these 100 calorie snack packs - sweet and salty chocolate covered pretzels - only to discover there were like 9 pretzels in the bag. Really? 9? And they are microscopic in size. Pretzel crumbs really.

The first few days I lost a couple of pounds. I’m not looking for anything radical - 10 pounds would put me in a healthy place. 14 pounds, or as my British friend Haizey would say - a stone, would be ideal. Yes, I need to lose a stone. But then I already began to cheat - lunch out with a friend going through a hard time required dessert and then Martha made an irresistible blueberry pie - and I gained some back

People have told me losing the last 10 pounds is the hardest. I am already fairly active, especially this time of year. And I drink a ton of water. I like healthy meals (if someone makes them for me) but easily rip open a bag of chips rather than cook for myself. But the hardest is the will power part. I work in an building where people bring in food all the time - coffee cake, brownies, cookies - and most people have a small dish of candy on their desks. Since my job requires me to coordinate with a lot of other departments, I spend my day grazing from office to office.

So, if you have any helpful tips on how to do this, I would be most appreciative. Especially how one can walk past a bowl of Hershey kisses and not rationalize that eating just one won’t matter . . .

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Wow, I didn’t realize it has been such a long time since I’ve been missing in action on this blog.

The long and the short of it is this - therapy has been moving ahead, perhaps too quickly. I have long known the one of my biggest coping mechanisms has been to tangentially acknowledge what happened to Daphne that day, and not what happened to me. In this way (my therapist tells me) I could cope with all those devastating emotional reactions as happening to someone else without them threatening my own core self. Or something like that.

And then, in the last few weeks, an avalanche of triggers occurred that brought too much of it home to me. The remembering of the broken foot, a retelling of the story as remembered by my former minister, uniquely disturbing dreams, and numerous flashbacks so deeply personal and traumatic to me I can’t yet acknowledge them, much less describe them.

This has left me rather depressed and unpredictable although I know this is the landscape I have long avoided, but desperately need to cross. Unfortunately I have arrived here at a particularly busy time of year with sports and awards banquets, getting ready for college, end of school year stuff, birthdays, etc. And Martha has let me know, in no uncertain terms, that I have also been missing in action as a parent. So I have been trying hard to rectify that. Having recently lost my church, an internet friend, and now a very close personal friend who is leaving the country, I am ill equipped for any further losses, and Martha will only tolerate so much.

And so I am trying to maintain a better balance.

And I will try to be back here more often too.