using the semicolon


When one becomes a person of a certain age, one sees their doctor more regularly…unless one is my darling husband who would rather hide from what the good doctor is recommending for him these days. He’ll wait until he’s bothered by his daily hacking-up-a-lung cough that becomes even worse than it already is or until his wife’s nagging becomes unbearable. Me, on the other hand, I do try to see my doctor annually and not just when I am sick. Just trying to walk the nurse talk of the importance of maintaining one’s good health, building trust with a good doctor-patient relationship and stuff like that there. So today was the day. The good doctor sits down with me going over the results of the physical exam and ordered tests. The physical exam…perfect. Cardiac function…perfect. Lab work…in his words his 30-something patients should have labs like these.

“You’re a perfect patient!”, he concludes.

“Yes, except for the depression, anxiety and panic attacks.”, I answer back.

“Yes, there’s that.”

And that is why I use a semicolon all the time.

A semicolon represents a sentence the author could have ended, but chose not to. Every single day of my life I choose to use a semicolon.

No, not usually with my writing. I know my use of punctuation could easily be criticized…and sometimes is. Have you seen how often I over-use an ellipsis?

No, the semicolon here represents the fact that my story isn’t over yet. Far from it. I am my author and the sentence is my life and as long as I choose to live this life I will choose to use the semicolon…every day.

Every.

Single.

Day.

Some days it is a struggle. Some days it can be almost a knock down, drag out fight. The fight to choose the semicolon, to keep myself grounded in the love others have for me instead of the hate I feel for myself, remains a struggle…and one I don’t always share for so many reasons. I hate being viewed as weak or less than or even just as someone who struggles. I hate being compared to the parent who far too many times in my lifetime tried to put a period at the end of her sentence. I can imagine her pain and her struggle. I lived survived a lot of it with her. It was so hard for her. So very hard. Still, no child should ever be the one to call for help because mommy won’t wake up…again. No child should ever have to try and get her younger siblings out of the house before the ambulance comes to protect them from seeing mommy this way. No child should have to run down the hill that was Davis Lane to flag down the ambulance because you can’t see that gravel road very well in the dark of night. Add that to the many reasons why I, every day, consciously choose to use a semicolon.

I should be stronger than this.

I should be braver than this.

I will always have anxiety. I will struggle from time to time with debilitating depression. I will sometimes become frozen in panic for no rational reason whatsoever. I will, at times, choose poor coping mechanisms. But I will always choose the semicolon.

My story isn’t over yet.

The Semicolon Project 416

with love to the people we practice on


So apparently today is Siblings Day.

Yes, I know some of you are rolling your eyes, shaking your head and muttering under your breath…as you some of you sometimes do over things like this that you might find silly.

Whatever.

The day was created by Claudia Evart, who lost both of her siblings earlier on in life. She chose the date to honor her late sister, Lisette. After losing her two siblings to separate accidents early in life, Claudia realized the importance of remembering our siblings, both living and no longer with us. She has dedicated herself to ensuring the bond of brother and sister is forever recognized as the special gift it is.

Like many, I have these pictures of my brother and sister, who are both gone, but remain with me daily, not just in these pictures, but in my daily thoughts and in my heart. I lost both of them in tragic accidents, making me understand the everlasting bond we have with our siblings.

Yes, I am sentimental, and sometimes very emotional when I remember my late brother, Randy and think of where the consequences of life, our choices and others’ choices brought Randy, Billy, Valerie and me.

Sigh!

So many memories…good, bad, ugly and even WTF parents?! But they are/were ours and as Randy once told me, they are the one thing that we share and share only with each other. No one will ever get any of it and that is okay. Memories like that romper Billy is wearing…that haircut of mine which would be in the WTF parents? column. But ultimately the good is what I think of looking at this picture and other pictures of the four of us. Anything else would likely have destroyed me as it crushed my younger brothers and sister. And so I focus on the magic we created together, the four of us and I give thanks.

Then I celebrate some more because, yes, I have more siblngs!

Sisters…so awesome are they! So much younger than me, so much more smarter than me, more amazing than me and even taller than me now. Our memories are different, still they are good and always make me smile. I’m pretty lucky to have you, Angela and Elana both, as sisters.

But not to be left out, my own clowns began to share today celebrating their siblings.

Nobody tell those kids of mine that this is a dream come true especially when I recall the knock-down-drag-out fights that always ended up in tears, blood drawn and a broken nose or two in the past and maybe even last month.

Honestly, kids!

Zoë shared

And because only siblings are great in that way, Hollie declared this to be probably the worst picture to share.

Oh kids!

So I offer perhaps a better picture.

I have more…lots more…Hollie found some.

Oh the secrets, promises, laughter and tears these four have shared…and the fighting…with blood and a broken nose too that these sisters have shared!

Hollie shared: “Hey Daniel, thanks for being our brother. You kind of didn’t have choice in the matter (does any sibling ever have a choice, I wonder?). But you are literally the best thing to happen to this family. You’re crazy, and awesome, and weird in the best way. You’re brilliant and inquisitive, and so much like the four of us. You’re going to drive mom and dad crazy when you’re a teen (next year, OMG!). You were meant for us. And I love you so much. Happy Sibling Day!”

My heart just exploded with glitter and rainbows and unicorns.

Siblings are the people we practice on, the people who teach us about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring, quite often the hard way. – Pamela Dugdale

 

 

 

#thickhairproblems


I have thick hair. No, I have REALLY thick hair. I have the kind of thick hair where perimenopausal hair loss is no big deal; once you adjust to the fact that, no, you are not dying because although it is a lot of hair there is so much more on your head. I have the kind of thick hair that most hairstylists hate. At least I have been told that…by a few stylists through the years…except for the one who does my hair now…whom I gave birth to. Perhaps she doesn’t complain because of the fact that I am her mother.

Nah!

Come on! This is Hollie we are talking about! No, Hollie insists that although there is a lot of hair to work with there could be worse problems that a stylist can have…

Like maybe a toddler with super thick hair sitting in your chair?

Perhaps so.

Little Miss Fallon decided that she wanted short hair. Yes, little Miss Fallon Elizabeth with that epic, thick, gorgeous, strawberry-blonde hair. Where in the world would this girl with the gorgeous hair get an idea like that? Damned if I would know! Lucky for her she has a mama who is quite skilled at cutting and styling epic, thick, hair with a stubborn life of its own.

Unlike some of those less fortunate ones whose mommy dearests would literally scalp them because they had no clue how to cut and style epic, thick hair with double barrel cowlicks. The photographic proof through the years would make you weep. I know it did for me.

Oh why?!

As for this little pixie, she is lucky and very adorable.

And clearly she approves.

You’ll excuse me now while I go and make a little pillow stuffed with baby angel hair.

When your brother hands you f-bombs


On the day where you find yourself feeling a lot sad and melancholy missing your younger brother gone for the last nine years your youngest brother will call you. You let the call go to voice mail because at the time that he is calling you you are driving up 99 heading home from a very long day at Children’s Hospital Central California with your son. You’re full of Christmas goodwill and love and kindness because singing along to great Christmas music while driving for a few hours fills you up with so much goodwill, love and kindness so you tell yourself you will call him back as soon as you get home. Sure, the last time he spoke to you on the phone it was horrible but it’s Christmas. He’s probably full of the same goodwill, love and kindness you tell yourself.

Um, no.

He might have been as he did say that he was just trying to call me to offer his wishes for a Merry Fucking Christmas, Asshole! I guess my not answering the phone immediately killed it for him.

I am a horrible, horrible person…because I didn’t answer the phone which means I think I’m better than him and I’m a cunt and the worst Christian woman on the planet ever. Even worse I was apparently in tahn, er town, Pittsburgh that is and NOT at Children’s Hospital with my son. I was so says Billy and of course he is right he tells me. I was in Pittsburgh talking shit about him to some skycap…at least that is what my brother tells me. Honestly, how could I not know that I was in Pittsburgh when I thought that I was in Madera. No, he’s not drunk and he is not crazy…he is adrenalyzed. Oh and he is 46-fucking years old and I guess that is my fault too. But he still loves me…he told me so after each time he told me how worthless and useless and disgusting I really am.

Gawd he is practically a clone of Mommy Dearest and the way she has talked to me for the last 50 years or so. Someone has to fill those god forsaken shoes I guess because as long as I have breath in my body and am taking up space on the planet I need to always know what a wasted piece of disappointing crap I am to each and every single member of my family.

Whatever.

My dear, darling, angry, clearly ill brother I refuse to let you hurt me. Well, okay, you have hurt me as you and the rest of the crazy toxic family does in a way that no one else ever could. Still I refuse to let you destroy me or poison my holidays. It’s hard work this year to have Christmas peace, goodwill, love and cheer but I still refuse to let you steal the joy that is mine. You have no right to do so.

  • I have great kids and a pretty fine husband. Billy-boy, you can’t even begin to imagine the amount of toxicity they can wash away…yours…Mom’s.
  • The Steelers won yesterday and the ‘Niners killed it tonight at their last regular season game at the ‘stick.
  • I am blessed with some pretty amazing, dear friends who although are miles and miles and miles away are always there for me when I am at my lowest of low.
  • Today one such friend blessed me with totally unexpected, generous kindness.
  •  As long and as stressful as our visit to Valley Children’s was for Daniel and me it was good…even if it was the day before Christmas Eve.
  • I am running again. Sure I’m running very slow…VERY slow and not very far but after MONTHS of chronic pain and painfully slow recovery I am running again. This morning’s 2½ mile run was perfect.
  • The glass of Merlot I am about to pour promises to be delicious.

You can not steal my joy, little brother. Not at all.

Merry Christmas to you too, Billy!

not okay, never okay


When I was a skinny, knobby knees and elbows, little girl in elementary school, I learned a song in music class that I thought was the best song ever. I think it was called “The Working Song”, actually I can not remember for sure; but I still know the words and the tune:

Zumgali, gali, gali, Zumgali, gali, gali

Zumgali, gali, gali, Zumgali, gali, gali

Zumgali, gali, gali, Zumgali, gali, gali

Zumgali, gali, gali, Zumgali, gali, gali

As we work we sing this song, we sing it all day long

When we reach the end of the day we will laugh and sing and be gay.

Zumgali, gali, gali, Zumgali, gali, gali…

Kind of catchy. Isn’t it?

Kind of annoying.

To an adult, definitely. Especially when some knobby kneed, little girl is loudly singing it over and over again while she is standing on a step stool at a sink full of suds washing dishes.

It was a song about working. Why not sing a happy working song when you are a small child washing the day’s dirty dishes piled into the sink?

But as a grownup now I get that this can get old and annoying very fast. Most adults might yell, “knock it off, Laura.“. Most adults likely would not react by storming into the kitchen and begin to literally beat the shit (and the song) out of a little kid with your open hand, your fists and then your thick, leather belt leaving swelling, bleeding welts on the screaming, crying child now curled up onto the kitchen floor in a protective fetal position.

At least I imagine most would not react that way.

I could tell you more…like the time my brother and I were outside bouncing a tennis ball against the house and from the view inside it seemed that I was the only one bouncing the ball. “Stop throwing that mother-fucking ball or I will beat the living shit out of you!“, he bellowed from the house. Fair enough. I stopped because what little girl wants to get the living shit beat out of her. Right? But my little brother had to throw the ball one more time. Because, little kids sometimes do things like that. And…well, I got beat up pretty bad. Because. Even after my brother tearfully told him that he did it hoping that my step-dad would stop slapping, punching, kicking me it still went on until again I was whimpering curled up into a protective fetal position.

I had handfuls of my hair pulled out. Got punched in the head a few times. There was always that damn belt after the open hand and fists failed to hit their mark I was sometimes naughty, sometimes not. But I was always the victim of someone’s anger, frustration, stress, boredom, fear or their alcohol or drug induced state of mind. I never understood why me, even if I was being naughty. I knew enough to understand that a grown man hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, beating a small child, a preteen and even a teenager was not okay…never okay…not ever.

As a parent I will not stand before you on a soapbox acting like I am perfect in the discipline of my own children. Far from it. Most children who were physically, emotionally and sexually abused, if they become parents, repeat that which they knew, in spite of knowing just how wrong it is. Knowing that truth for a long time I did not want to become a mommy. I was afraid to repeat such a violent cycle. I have spanked a few of my children with my bare hand a few times until that one day when I saw the red, swelling handprint shaped mark I left behind on the bottom of one of my girls.

That was not okay. Not okay at all.

Just as it is not okay, never okay for any grown up to hit any child…ever.

Nothing brings back the ghosts of my childhood back faster than hearing that a child has been harmed this way by a grownup. Nothing stirs up my righteous indignation faster than this. Nothing makes me angrier. Nothing any grownup can say or do will convince me that hitting a small child, a lot smaller than you is okay. It’s not. It’s never okay. Ever.

You should know that.

You should also know that I am a mandated reporter.

NaPhoPoMo day 23