Wander

Every so often something happens. The wind changes, the earth shifts, and I get restless. The kind of restlessness that has formed my reputation as being a gypsy. I have a need to pick up and move…change everything. Change towns, change jobs, change majors, change something, anything. Nothing can stay the same for too long or I’ll stagnate.

It’s hard for me to explain, and harder for me to predict. I never know when it’s about to happen, but when it does, it’s overwhelming. Like my head can’t sit still, and there’s this feeling in my chest like I can’t breathe all the way in or out. I start feeling constrained, start questioning everything. I feel that I need to pack me and Eden up and move far away. Change it all. The only thing stopping me is money. I don’t have the finances to transplant us, and while pre-baby me wouldn’t have gave a crap, current me wants to make sure my girl has all the stuff she need while she and her mommy play vagabond.

Sometimes the wind changes, the earth shifts.

Right now, the earth’s shifted and I need a change. Hopefully a box of hair color will fix it, or we’ll be renting a u haul.

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You’d think it’s obvious

Yesterday at 7:00 am, there was a knock at my door. Who was it? Daddy McTrouble, of course, living up to his moniker. There was no phone call, no text message, no unread facebook message, just him bursting into my home. He says he wants to help me get ready for school. Fine. He reads a few stories to Eden, stared at me awkwardly and slept on my couch.

Helpful.

You see, Trouble is incapable of actual helpfulness or really anything other than shooting zombies. I’ve tried to explain to him how his flakeyness hurts Eden, but he never listens. He doesn’t see her when he abruptly comes over and then abruptly leaves again, and she’s confused and upset. He doesn’t understand that, while most kids thrive on structure, Eden breathes it. She doesn’t take kindly to schedule changes or impromptu anything, let alone an impromptu father. I’ve told him 1,000,000,000,000 times that if he wants to be in her life, it needs to be consistent. Does he listen? No.

Maybe I should just look the door from now on. I mean, seriously, what do I have to say to get through to him? All in or all out, baby. Either be reliable, present and a co-parent or get away from us. It is not fair or reasonable for him to expect me to allow him to treat us this way. He wants to act like he’s such a great dad, but occasional lunch dates and a facebook photo album do not make someone a father.

What was her first word?
What is her preschool teacher’s name?
Which is her favorite toy? Her favorite story to read?
When is her bedtime?
If you can’t answer those, then you’re hardly a father. If you can’t respect Eden’s quirks and put yourself on her schedule, then you’re hardly even a friend.

Waiting

The prospect of having cervical cancer wears on me — like I’m losing something before I ever got it. The idea that I’m diseased and the only way to cure me is to freeze my cervix off or remove my uterus is frightening and immobilizing and my upcoming appointment has been a source of fear for the last six months.

Six months ago, my colposcopy showed precancerous changes of my cervix and now I’m going back to get it rechecked. Has anything changed in the last 180 odd days? Is it worse? Could it be better? What if it is worse and I need surgery…chemo? Will I ever have another child? Will Eden ever be a big sister or will my uterus have to close up shop?

It’s depressing. I’m afraid. I’m 22 years old and I could be facing infertility, menopause. Why? What have I done? I understand the prevalence of HPV and the symptomlessness of most strains, but I don’t understand why it had to happen to…me. Little Amber with her eating disorder, her brain tumor and her biliary disease — let’s give her some cancer too. We’ll just add another specialist to her phone book, no problem.

And my miracle baby…who’s very existence was a medical improbability. A major symptom of my brain tumor is decreased estrogen levels and infertility. My little angel Eden, who seemingly knew that I would lose my fertility at 22 and decided to come early. What does this mean for her? How do you explain it to a 2 year old, why her mom is so sick? I know I should wait until I know what’s going on, but I’m a planner…I must plan. I must have a game plan for when I find out I have cancer, so that I may be pleasantly surprised for when I find out I don’t. I try to stay positive, but it’s hard sometimes. But who knows…right? Eden could be a big sister after all.

Eden Neutron?

So, Eden had her 2 year checkup the other day and it went just as I’d expected it to.

Awesome.

She’s still small, but not worryingly so. Her height was in the 45th percentile, her weight was 50th. Her head circumference….OVER 100th percentile.
Full of brains, clearly.
Her big head is becoming a sort of running joke…every time a hat doesn’t fit, or I can’t get a shirt over her ears. Or when I bought her new bike helmet for this summer and had to get her the size meant for kids ages 5 and up. Like me, she’s doomed to never be able to wear hats that say “one size fits all” or find sunglasses that don’t cause headaches. In fact, MY giant head has also become a running joke…my mom telling the oh-so-hilarious story of my head always measuring a few weeks larger than the rest of me while I was still gestating and how the doctors thought I’d be born with a mental handicap. =/ OBVIOUSLY I wasn’t…..(or that’s what I’ll keep telling myself). On paper, I’m a smart girl. I eat standardized tests for breakfast. In real life, I’m sort of an idiot. I’m one of those people who’s “book smart” but not “street smart”. And it seems Eden may grow to be the same way. She’s already head-and-shoulders above kids her own age, especially when it comes to her vocabulary and memory. She’s AMAZING at remembering names…it’s almost suspicious. She knows several spanish words, and has figured out how the DVD player and the vacuum work. Teaching her is one of the most amazing parts of being a mother. I LOVE watching her figure things out, I can practically see the little gears in her head turning. Ever since she was born, I’ve been teaching her how things work, what things are. When she was a newborn, and I carried her around in the sling, I narrated my life to her. Told her about everything I was doing, how it worked, why I did it, and I think it actually stuck with her. I’m not a mom that forces flash cards on her kids, or never lets them watch TV or play games…I just let Eden learn about her world in her own way.
She explores, I explain. That’s how it’s always been.

Street smarts are overrated anyway…

Unspoken

Body image is hard for me. I look in the mirror and I hate what I see, I hate the bloated, distorted version of myself I see cackling back at me. She’s practically mocking me. Not practically…she IS mocking me. She tempts me back to bulimia, hoping my shear disgust will translate into 500 sit-ups or a 6 day fast. Maybe a binge, maybe some laxatives. She hates me.
And I hate her.

In defiance, I’ve hung at least one picture of my daughter in every room of our home. Seeing her reminds me of the purpose of my fight. Seeing her smile makes me do everything I can to keep that grin in place. My eating disorder will only steal her smiles and I know this.

I can’t kill Eden’s mommy. I cannot. Eden would much rather have a slightly overweight, but happy mother than a thin, frail, depressed one. I know this, but my reflection still yells at me and I still struggle to ignore her pleas. Some days are worse than others, but no day is without it. Maybe, someday it’ll happen– my mind will leave me alone. Maybe.
Hopefully.

Until then, I’ll continue the fight, and keep my face from showing it. My 2 year old has no business seeing my pain, lest she become embattled with her reflection as well.

2 Years and Counting

In two years, we’ve seen so much. I remember the tears I shed the night you were born, the torrent of emotion I felt when I heard your cries. I remember how my joy turned to fear when they told me you needed a chest xray and didn’t tell me why. The radiologist came in and kicked me out of your room and the tears came back again. I paced the hall at midnight, crying and fearful. Eventually morning came and with it came good news.
You were perfect.

Soon enough we went home. The setting changed a few times, along with the cast of characters. Through the swirling scenery, it’s always just you and me. I’ve cherished these last two years, and watching you learn about your world. I cherish the simple moments, the playdoh and the picnics. Everyday, I’m proud to be your mom; you’ve changed me. I’m a better person now, and that’s thanks to you.

So thank you, punkers. I’ll be there for you until I’m old and bedridden, and then for a little longer. It’s me and you ’til the wheels fall off.

Written long ago, but still painfully relevant

I wrote this poem nearly 3 years ago, but I’ve been thinking of it lately. I still don’t have my candles.

Autoclave

Fighting for fire, I’m lost in the headphone exile of abandoned communication.
(AIM vocal cords.)
The world has gone digital and I’m stuck on analog.
Lost in translation?
I’m lost in binary and flash drives and I doubt that I’ll find a dictionary or a map or a UN interpreter before the next update comes!
Frantic (and probably delirious) I threw up an SOS in a chat room or two but all who responded were equally scared (and running on XP.)
Even worse yet was my idea to ask facebook.
Pretentious college students have no time for this!
Myspace…! Myspace…! Call out to the whores!
A haven for high schoolers but what about me?
(No room at the Inn for those with no widget.)

Lost and still scared, I look over to you.
(My wings in an html sky.)
You notice my glance and suddenly (PING) you’re on my screen.
“i ❤ u"
(Is this some kind of compromise?)
Your screen is cluttered with mythical warriors and winged creatures, your key commands control all.
(What controls you?)
I'm reminded of flourescent lights and sanitized surfaces, a daily dose of sterility.
I'm reminded of pill-a-day happiness
and a technicolor demigod.
Have we all forgotten candles?
We all used to love them.
(I still do. I still long for them.)

Year-round it's ice-cold and bright. The white walls are blinding.
But a text message tells me you heart me.
(Maybe there's hope after all…)
Can't take this autoclave universe much longer, I long for candles, I long for wax.
I want to hear your voice.
I want to see the flame.