A Gift to Myself-a time for sadness.

*I wrote this post on Wednesday and held it to post on Sunday, my birthday.*

Yesterday, I was home with Hannah and she turned to me, looked into my eyes and asked, "What's wrong, Mama?"

The question surprised me a little. Why was she asking me this? We had been through a rough morning. She has fluid in her ear and has not been able to focus or listen for a few days. That morning, our plans to go to the library were thrown aside. My effort to get us out of the house had fizzled sadly. It took me an hour to get Hannah in the car and as I was driving down the street, listening to her cries, and finally realized the poor girl didn't want to go. She was sick, she wanted to be home. So I asked her if she wanted to go home, she said yes, sniffling and we turned around. I let her play with the water table while I sat and watched quietly, until she asked me, "What's wrong?"

How do they know, before we do, these children, that something's not quite right. Yes, Hannah's a little sick, but I realized after her question that our rough morning in the end had more to do with me than her. Under normal circumstances, it wouldn't have fazed me as much to have her off balance.

This morning again, I felt sad. Hannah was right. Something is wrong, but there is nothing to point to, really. I checked my hormonal cycle..no not time for the monthly tears. My birthday...it's on Sunday. You know what? I always get sad around birthday time. Strange, isn't it? I'm not afraid of growing old. I don't really understand it. The worst part of feeling sad on your birthday is feeling like you should be happy.

So, I made a decision this morning when I was driving home with a few tears making their way down my cheeks. My gift to myself for my birthday is sadness. I'm going to let myself be sad and enjoy it.

I don't often write about sad things here beause I really don't want sympathy. I'll call my mother or a sister if I need to, but putting it all out here just makes me feel exposed and vulnerable. Does that sound uptight? The thing is, by the time I'm done writing about sadness, it's on it's way out. I'm over it. Does anyone know what I am talking about. Sadness doesn't always mean unhappiness. I am happy, and just feeling a bit sad. So, instead of offering sympathy, just be here with me while I indulge with sadness. If you want you can cry with me and we'll wipe each other's tears.

Here we go. The following sadness free-write is my birthday present to myself:

Why am I sad? I am sad that I am finding spiders everywhere this week. I am sad that they are big. I am sad that everytime Hannah yells that she has spotted a spider I have to worry that it is a black widow. And I am sad that I poisoned a few big ones yesterday, spraying them with Raid and watching them die slow, tortuous deaths. That got under my skin and made me sad.

I am sad that Hannah has fluid behind her ears. I am sad that she seems to be developing a case of excema that she'll have to struggle with her whole life. I am sad that I wasn't more patient with her yesterday, when she couldn't pull it together.

I am sad that even though I was greeted with "Hi beautiful!" in turn by my three family members when I came down to breakfast, I still wasn't feeling beautiful. I am sad that when my daughter said, "I just can't stop saying 'I love you''" to me in the car, I was too overwhelmed with my own sadness to enjoy it.

I am sad that this is my last morning to myself until the Fall and I didn't manage to clean our garage. I am sad that I can never keep my office clean for more than a week. I am sad that I had to take two showers last night before bed because I was itchng after the first one and have developed this absurd addiction to feeling absolutely clean before bed.

I am sad because the summer change in schedule has me connecting with old mom friends again and I am remembering the carefree one child days when we saw each other three times a week, and often visited ocean, farm and museums in the same week. I am sad that so many good friends live far away. I am sad that I haven't seen my new nephew yet.

I am sad about the war in Iraq. I am sad about lost lives and the irreparable damage that is being done. I am sad, sad, sad, sad, sad. I am so sad.

I am sad that when a person voices opposition in this country, their character rather than their ideas are attacked.

I am sad that Holly and Deni and Vicki lost their mothers.

And I am sad about the number 38, because something tells me that my father was 38 when I was born. One of the last times I talked to my father he was at my sister's house, helping watch his first grandchild. This was 11 years ago. I was talking to him on the phone and he told me when he was up walking this baby at night it reminded him of when he did the same to me as a newborn.

And yesterday when I was making grilled cheese for Hannah, she playfully pounded her fists on the table and said "Grandpa Jerry is dead" a few times.

So, you see, I am sad.

But don't feel sorry for me.

Because I am happy, too.

And in this last hour and a half of time to myself I am going to turn the Dixie Chicks up louder, dance a good while, and make an appointment for a spa with the gift certificate that I got for my birthday.....LAST YEAR.

And that is exactly what I did. Can you hear me? I'm the one dancing and laughing with tears running down my cheeks.

This one's for my husband:

Easy Silence, Lyrics
(Dixie Chicks, The Long Way Home, 2006)

When the calls and conversations
Accidents and accusations
Messages and misperceptions
Paralyze my mind
Busses, cars, and airplanes leavin'
Burnin' fumes of gasoline and
And everyone is running and I
Come to find a refuge in the

Easy silence that you make for me
It's okay when there's nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me
The way you keep the world at bay

Monkeys on the barricades
Are warning us to back away
They form commissions trying to find
The next one they can crucify
And anger plays on every station
Answers only make more questions
I need something to believe in
Breathe in sanctuary in the

Easy silence that you make for me
It's okay when there's nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me
The way you keep the world at bay

Children lose their youth too soon
Watching war made us immune
And I've got all the world to lose
But I just want to hold on to the

Easy silence that you make for me
It's okay when there's nothing more to say to me
And the peaceful quiet you create for me
And the way you keep the world at bay for me


And now a little party favor for you, if you're interested: A conversation I had with Hannah and Rachel about desired pets. They were both sick and I was trying to keep them happy. If you're interested I can make and post a transcript. I'm not sure how clear it will be to you.