Lightly tapping

This afternoon, I thought that I would be able to take a nap with the queen. After having her bottle, she put both hands on my face and placed her forehead on my forehead. I thought, how sweet, she’s never done that.

Just as I started to doze off to sleep she began lightly tapping her head against mine. I tried to move away, but she just snuggled closer. The head tapping continued for 1.5 hours. When the queen awoke she slapped me hard on the cheek and told me to get up.

An open letter to the evangelical minister

You are receiving a response from me instead of my husband because his response to your letter was that it was abdicating of duty, lacking integrity, and not worth our time. I disagree with him about not being worth our time but agree with his assessment of your neglect of duty to your congregation and lack of integrity in trying to shift the blame. More than anything, I would like for you to understand how you are failing your congregation. It’s not because you are a large church. There are many larger churches that are doing a much better job. I’ve attended a couple and had friends at others. I have friends who are ministers across the Christian spectrum, and when I’ve spoken to them about this situation all have been shocked. When I called a close friend tonight, an assistant minister at large Charlotte Baptist church, to get council on this issue he was appalled by the entire paragraph after your bullet points. Like me, he was flummoxed by the meaning of your second sentence.

 

After my consultations, discussions with <husband> I feel you must read and consider as the minister of your congregation. As you know, the verb form of minister means to attend to the needs of others. It is the most basic calling of a minister. In your letter to <husband>, you wrote that you were sorry if we “feel that you failed in ministering to our family.” Wait… remove your pride from this, as a minister you had five members of your congregation that were directly impacted (family) and a spouse (me) and future child that needed to ministering. YOU FAILED TO MINISTER TO OUR FAMILY, there is no interpretation of that or blame shifting. You were their minister and you did not minister to them. You sent no one else to minister to them. Even if you did not know about the situation before <baby>’s birth, the fact that she and I both almost died, she was at the hospital for nine weeks. <husband>’s small groups teacher and others in the church knew this information. You, your teachers, your staff, and elders of the church failed in ministering because relevant information about the needs of the congregation were not passed along in a way that they could be addressed.

 

Ultimately, what is done or not done falls squarely on your shoulders. If your teachers, assistants, assistant ministers are not giving you information about families in need, then it is your responsibility to find that out and fix the problem. You should not require a family in the midst of a crisis to contact you for comfort or solace. If their need is know by a single person of authority in the church, then it should be passed up the chain. My husband and stepchildren would have found great comfort in having someone from their church come to them. As they watched as my priest from <local church> and my priest from my home church (2 hours away) came to be by my side, they began to question the church experience that they had at <minister’s church>. They did not feel like they are an important part of the church.

 

Please don’t think that I don’t understand because I am an Episcopalian, or I have always attended small churches. <Our local church> has several hundred members. However, the churches that I attended in both Atlanta and Austin, TX had 5,000 and 2,000 members respectively. I did not know all of the priests at either church, but I knew a few well at both. I knew them because they put themselves out to know their congregates, the called, emailed, and even visited my home. When I did not attend for several weeks, someone would call and check on me.

 

Sir, I hope that you can understand that while your church may be a perfect fit for many people it is not for our family. I hope that you will take my critique into consideration. It is not in my nature to write this type of email, but I think that your church can do better. I think that your congregation deserves more. Personally, I hate that this happened in a way that we are unable to return.

The 7th Strand

Since having a baby, I am no longer a vain woman. My body doesn’t seem to want to look like my body again. Despite a great increase in one area that most people would think would be advantageous I find myself constantly uncomfortable. Also, finding pretty undergarments and attractive clothing that fits properly is almost impossible. The struggle is real. Other parts of my body, I just look and remind myself that the c-section saved both Ciaran and my life. I don’t think my stomach is ever going to look the same again.

The one thing that I have always loved my hair color. It is very, very dark brown with a sprinkling of auburn and blonde when you look close. At 39, gasp… that happened today, it is natural and I wouldn’t dream of coloring it. This is why I don’t understand why it is betraying me. For the last 5 years, I have had exactly 6 gray hairs. We have a plucking relationship and I know where each is located. But, tonight, TONIGHT, as I was washing my face a rouge gray hair had sprung up out of nowhere. I swear that it was not there this morning. It felt like my body was giving me the middle finger and saying, “Happy birthday. We just wanted to remind you that you are getting OLD!!!!”

Now I recognize that many people by the age of 39 are mostly gray or completely gray. Some are mostly bald or completely. My 7th gray hair seems like a trivial matter and I acknowledge and accept that. I even agree to some extent. However, when you are 39, spend most of you day every day chasing a 14.5 month-old baby, and I do mean chasing she is fast, nothing else about the way you look makes you very happy then I think that bit of pouting about the sprouting of unwanted grays is acceptable.

The psychopath in my life

Yes, yes, I know… with the advent of the DSM V both sociopaths and psychopaths have been rolled into Antisocial Personality Disorder. Though for general discussion, sociopaths and psychopaths are distinct

Sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily agitated. They are volatile and prone to emotional outbursts, including fits of rage. They are likely to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society, unable to hold down a steady job or stay in one place for very long. It is difficult but not impossible for sociopaths to form attachments with others. Many sociopaths are able to form an attachment to a particular individual or group, although they have no regard for society in general or its rules. In the eyes of others, sociopaths will appear to be very disturbed. Any crimes committed by a sociopath, including murder, will tend to be haphazard, disorganized and spontaneous rather than planned.

Psychopaths, on the other hand, are unable to form emotional attachments or feel real empathy with others, although they often have disarming or even charming personalities. Psychopaths are very manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust. They learn to mimic emotions, despite their inability to actually feel them, and will appear normal to unsuspecting people. Psychopaths are often well educated and hold steady jobs. Some are so good at manipulation and mimicry that they have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature.

How to Tell a Sociopath from a Psychopath

So, what do you do when you know that something must be done? Wait, watch, and plan. The thing that those with Antisocial Personality Disorder never count on is that there is someone who is immune to their manipulation, see through their lies, and is smarter than they are.

Wide awake beside the infant queen

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When it is my turn to sleep with our daughter, I simply do not sleep. In the good old days when cribs were involved and I slept on an inflatable mattress on the floor, I did have some sleep. However, since my parents and husband decided that she was big enough for bed sharing, our time together is fraught. In good news, since she is a relatively good sleeper my husband and parents tend to let her sleep with them. This leaves me to sleep alone on the couch (at home) or bed (at parents). Nights like tonight leave me nervously counting down the hours and praying for the possibility of dosing.

You may wonder why I have such difficulty. It is a combination of long-standing insomnia and abject fear. You see, the queen was born at 29 weeks after a pregnancy that was difficult and almost resulted in both of our deaths. For 9 long weeks, we watched as she fought to gain weight, to tolerate food, to learn to take a bottle. We experienced the terror of random and unexplained apnea and bradycardia episodes. When she finally came home it was on an apnea monitor.

It was never easy. She had reflux from the beginning. I don’t mean that she had a little spitting up. She had reflux while taking a bottle that would stop her breathing and slow her heart to a near stop. She had reflux that 1.5 hours after eating she would vomit so much that it would cover EVERYTHING. At 3 months old, she began medication that if not covered by our insurance would have cost several hundred dollars a month. Her formula, which in 2014 was no longer considered a “medication” and was not covered by our insurance, was close to $500/month.

The cost doesn’t really matter. The main thing is that I sat for hours every night and watched her breath. I would watch her monitor as I tried to fall asleep. I looked for each and every breath. Over time, she got better. The monitor was no longer necessary, the medication, and the special formula.

The thing is that I still watch for her to breath. Without fail, just as I am about to doze off, she will be too still for too long, and I will need to reach out and feel her chest just to make sure. Then we start over again. She will never know the hours that watched her sleep and worried. I hope that she will always recognize that I loved her each and every day of her life.

Republicans, please explain to me why refugees are scary and militias are not?

Militia Members Take Over Federal Government Building In Oregon

I’m puzzled by this, and I will admit that in the last 16 years I have become increasing perplexed by the American political system. In 2003, I graduated from Georgia Tech with MS in Public Policy. I understood the system then, really. There was at least a degree of sanity in both political parties at that time but now, now I look at these parties and cringe.  The Republicans have moved so far to the right that they would be unrecognizable to their most lauded heroes, including Ronald Reagan. The Democrats are no longer a polar opposite but occupy the place that moderates held two decades ago. Except Bernie Sanders, who I like, but after the come from behind story of Barack Obama is unlikely to get the Democratic nod. I digress.

We come to this weekend when a large group of heavily armed militia members invaded the headquarters of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Over 150 heavily armed militia members have taken control of FEDERAL property and have said that they are willing to kill and/or be killed. By federal law, this is definitionally domestic terrorism. What are we as a country doing about these people?  Multiple agencies are currently working together to come up with a solution. What? Yes, terrorists who have invaded and are occupying federal land are being handled with kid gloves. Actual heavily armed terrorists are being treated with courtesy and care.

So, tell me Republicans why are these people not as scary as a bunch of Syrian women and children?

 

What if I told you?

Do you remember those terrible posts that people would tag you in on FaceBook and you were supposed to fill in the information and repost tagging other unwitting participants? They were never very interesting, but consuming somehow. It was if we couldn’t wait to tell some banally intimate part of our lives to people we hardly knew. Did we hope to shock them? Perhaps. I’m sure that my middle school teacher did not expect that I had two tattoos. I had seen her only the week before wearing a sundress. Maybe she wondered where they are located. More than anything, I think most of us want the people that we had left behind years before to see that we had become people that they did not know. We were not our high school selves. We have lived interesting lives.

 

 

The Most Eeyore Bear in the World

 

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I saw this bear the other day while walking in an animal park with my husband, stepdaughter, and 14-month old. The stream that normally placidly flowed below overflowed its banks, and into his enclosure. He seemed to be mournfully watching the water as it crept ever closer to him. I reached out to the fence and wanted to soothe his melancholy soul. I felt this kinship with him. My own sadness reached out to him.

For most of my adult life, I have struggled with Bipolar Disorder. My manic episodes are few and far between, but depression has been my frequent companion over the years. Over the last month and a half, it has reared its very ugly head. Drug changes, schedule changes, positive attitudes, and all of that… none of it matters. It hasn’t made a bit of difference. I feel like that bear.

The day you went away

I will never forget that July 5th. I woke with a hollow feeling in my stomach, but I tried to ignore it. I ate breakfast, went to get a haircut, and received that call. My sister telling me that she needed to meet me at home. She met me outside, beside the swimming pool. Sat me down and told me that you had died. I had been waiting for that news for years at that point, but it still broke my heart. I had divorced you because I loved you and I love me. I needed you to get the help that you so desperately needed. I waited, and I loved you. I dated another person, but I didn’t really love them. You were the only person who I had ever loved. I believed that we would find our way back to each other because that much love couldn’t be for nothing. That day broke my heart in a way that I didn’t know was possible. It ripped a hole into the very core of me that in some ways has still not healed.

Though, I am happy now. Married again, to a man that I love every bit as much as I love you. Something that I didn’t think was possible because I had never loved anyone before I loved you. We have a beautiful daughter. I am pursuing my dreams. Yet, despite all of this, sometimes I worry that I have changed my telephone number too frequently and you won’t be able to reach me. I wake up at night, and am shocked that the person curled next to me is not you. I miss you more than I can bear at times, because ours was a story with no ending. We loved each other and one day you died. You died because you were an alcoholic trying to get clean on his own. You died because your heart just gave out. You died because no one could ever tell you how to do something. You died, and no matter what happens in my life you will be the person that I loved first. I pray that someday it stops hurting so much during this time of year. I pray that at some point, your loss won’t drag me down.
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