This may be the longest I’ve gone between blog posts. Time slides sideways; old challenges simmer; new ones poke their heads out of cold dirt like cheeky snow drops. February was either 8 or 46 days long. Julia’s behavior dominate this winter time. My excuse for not posting here is the detailed daily log of Julia that I have been keeping. Illuminating but time consuming and emotionally draining. I will write about her soon. For now, just to note that last Tuesday, she hit a new low. Julia had a screaming, crying melt down in front of school and when she was coaxed into the building, she banged her head against a wall hard enough to cause alarm about a concussion. Although I’d like to believe that it was an incident not to be repeated, self-harm could be the natural progression of the dis-regulation that has been part of everyday life.
This frightens me beyond measure. My niece committed suicide when she was Julia’s age. Completely different circumstances and diagnoses, but . . .
What can I write to come after that?
Just for now, I need a minute, a reflection for myself. It feels selfish to even think that, but if not, I will burn out and up completely and be of no good to anyone.
So, just me. Mostly.
I would like to write that I am plugging along with the novel. Truth be told work has stopped. After the jump start of NaNoWriMo, I am discontent with stolen moments. I have set aside time only to have it eaten up by the emergency flavor of the day. The movie montage in my mind’s eye: multiple shots of almost sitting down in my leather chair with tea in one hand, computer cradled in the crook of my elbow and the phone ringing or being dialed for just one more call—the counselor, the therapist, the emergency room for the cat. Oh yes, Muta was in the hospital last week overnight. He hadn’t eaten in days, was vomiting constantly and was lying in the hall closet looking absolutely awful. After multiple tests, no major illness or condition showed itself. They hydrated him—he was severely dehydrated—and sent him home.
I’ve lost my thread and if I go back to repair the last paragraph, it will be a week before this makes it to the blog.
My new idea is to schedule intensive writing time during July when Julia is at her summer program. She qualifies for a summer program at the high school, most of July during regular school hours. Right now, there are portions of hours here and there, mostly when I am waiting for Julia. My attempts to work at night have not been successful. I am tired. I can read a page, watch 20 minutes, no, probably 10 or 8 minutes of Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist before falling asleep. The only upside is that it a single episode takes most of the week to get through.
I am three weeks into the HILR semester. I have two classes. One a history of residential landscaping 1945-present is intriguing. Small class, the instructor’s first teaching experience for HILR. We began by looking at the why’s of design with sociology and politics taking a front seat. Then, we switched to looking at the major projects of two or three landscape architects a week. The post-war sensibility is sometimes hard for me to swallow, but letting go of judgment, the designs are elegant, spare, surprising at times. Influences from Asia, Italy and France peep through and are translated into “American.” I am having fun!
The other class is about two Colette’s books—Cheri, and the Return of Cheri— and the Belle Epoque in which she lived. It is a big class and somewhat intimidating. Lots of opinions voiced during our first class—I sensed a defining of turf. I am doing more listening than speaking and I do not mind. I love Colette’s writing, I love any talk of Paris. On one of our visits there, we stood beneath the window of what was Colette’s last apartment. When I am reading, I fall into her narrative, inhabit her world is a very sensual way.
HILR is fiercely social. Everyone wears name tags. New students have red dots on their tags and people are gracious and friendly. The lunchroom at HILR is like coffee hour after church service and any new member needs an introductory elevator speech to be ready. Not to complain in the least—this is futile ground for finding friends. Admittedly it is exhausting. After a hard day with Julia yesterday, I was quiet today.
HILR women who live in Newton have a bit of a dinner club. Last week, I went to a pot luck at a lovely, bigger than big house decorated with impeccable taste, for a pot luck. Admittedly it took a glass of wine to kick me into uber socializing.
I have had to step back from singing in choir every Sunday at church. Julia has been sitting alone during service and I have spent a lot of time worrying about her attention and behavior. I was determined to work out what Julia could do during services (most youth help or teach in the RE program) and fully participate in choir myself. But I was expecting too much, too quickly. Slowly, I am working with the RE director on some options for Julia. For the hour before services when the choir practices, Julia is helping out in the kitchen getting ready for coffee hour. Hopefully, she will also help out somewhere in the RE program during services. The hope here is that she begins to get involved in the community and with some of her peers. Last weekend, the youth group (which is not too active this year) sponsored and worked a coffee house. Julia helped with set up and clean up and then sat with some kids to listen to the music. She had a very good time and I socialized with some parents as we prepared and sold the refreshment for the evening.
A few weekends ago, Julia stayed overnight at Cheshire’s house and I got together with some church friends for dinner and watch a movie. It was wonderful to have a free evening, adult conversation, and few worries about Julia. It was my first respite evening since last June and I was deeply grateful to Cheshire and Justin.
I am seeing a therapist weekly for myself. Without a natural support community like I had in Madison, a professional friend is golden. And I like her. She understands disability and adoption issues which means I do not have to explain everything. I do tend to spend most of my time talking about Julia—the challenges, the worries, the future—but that’s what I need at present.
And so, time, expectations and goals slide sideways. I’m not sure what definite forward movement would feel like. Or whether I have set my expectations impossibly high. I wallow sometimes, I get lost, but if I have a superpower or a quirk (as Julia likes to talk about. Reference: My Hero Academia), it is persistence. That, I can say with confidence, grows.