Off the Charts but Full of Love / by Leslie

This past week was off the charts, emotionally and mentally. My head is spinning so fast that I almost can’t get a grip on what day it is and there is no sign that it’s going to let up. What the heck June? Is this why I had a quiet, lazy winter? Because spring was going to test me in all kinds of crazy ways?

Right now my life looks exactly like this tree in Baltimore. Crazy, dense and wild.

Last week I attended the funeral of a dear friend’s husband and it was tragic and overwhelming. I watched Milo graduate from preschool and I was full of pride and anxiety. I attended his kindergarten orientation at the BIG elementary school including a ride on a real school bus and I was excited for him and a little sad about loosing my baby. Finally I partied in Brooklyn like I was 25 years old at our friend’s 11th Anniversary and I was so happy to be among adults until the wee hours of the morning but so darn tired the next day, I had to nap on the couch.

This week I have to do projects and shopping for Father’s Day and my father-in-law is coming home from his bone marrow transplant. Next week we are going to Canada and I will be meeting my half sister for the first time and revisiting my Great-Grandparent's abandoned 100-year-old farm.

Any ONE of those events are enough for a decent amount of tears and plenty of psychoanalytical moments of grief and joy. Yet somehow, I have EIGHT heavy-duty emotional events crammed into one month. It’s not leaving me very much time to reflect and process things mentally or with my pictures and words on this blog. I hope to go into a few of these things in more depth in the next week, but for now here's a quick run down of last week's major events and the wildness to come in the next couple of weeks.

My heart aches for my friend Cheryl. Her partner Rich died suddenly a week ago of a heart attack at the age of 53. She is left with two young children and an uncertain future. I am committed to doing everything that I can to help her stay on her feet in this community and I have been setting up meal support, a Facebook page and a private group to try to harness and organize the out-pouring of community support. It’s been amazing what people have been offering and willing to do and I am well suited to this role, but let me tell you how tested I feel. It is like 100 people channeling their energy towards me and I have to capture it and send it back out into the world. Besides that, I am just so sad and worried for her. It’s beyond devastating and I can’t dwell for too long on what-if-that-happened-to-me or I will crumble into a heap and never let Chris leave the house.

The day after Rich's funeral was Milo's preschool graduation. I am so proud of him and it was amazing to see how proud he was of himself. I was totally keeping it together until they turned on the music and I saw him leading the group of children into the pavilion. With his little handmade bowl-hat and real diploma, it just hit home how much he has grown and changed in the last two years.  

Two days after that was Milo's kindergarten orientation at the elementary school. It was wonderful but I know that this school will be his own private place that I won’t really be a part of. I’m not going to be driving and picking him up because he’ll be taking the school bus, and even if I volunteer and get involved it will still be his own world. He looked so little on the bus and I just can’t believe that he’s old enough to just go off on his own already. He’s totally ready and excited though and of course I’m cheering him on, but that first day that he gets on that bus and it drives away? I'm going to be a mess.

The day after I cried about my children leaving me, we left them with Chris's sister and escaped to Brooklyn where we partied the night away with friends old and new. We haven’t done that in so long. The contrast and irony from the day before is not lost on me. This parent-child thing is a constant push and pull of togetherness and separation on both parts. It was a wonderful party though, straight out of my 20's, and the hosts Fred and Zoe were celebrating 11 years of marriage with the gusto of a just-married couple. They are so totally and perfectly in love. It was a little bit like re-living those heady child free days of falling in love but we also met a bunch of fantastic people, mostly parents, and also had some wonderful grown up conversations about parenting and work and bears. The city folks were fascinated by us country people with wild animals right outside our door.

This week, Chris's parents Maddy and Jerry are returning home from Baltimore where they have been for 75 days, in exile, trying to cure Jerry of leukemia and lymphoma. That bone marrow transplant that my husband so selflessly did two months ago? It may have worked you guys. It just may have worked. It's very awe inspiring and amazing. We were hoping to see them on Father's Day, but I messed everything up by getting Milo's vaccinations for school today. I feel terrible, but I thought the rule about Jerry not being around newly vaccinated children only applied to the time they were in Baltimore and I didn't realise that it was still a risk. Besides that, I had to get these shots for him this month, so that we can get the other two next month, and then have the paperwork into the school on time. Anyway - they are coming home, but we may not be able to see them until we get back from our trip to Canada.

Next week, we are off to Canada to visit with my family and meet my half sister for the first time. I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Honestly. It’s amazing. I’ve been talking with her over email since January but she hasn’t wanted to talk on the phone or video chat, so even though we feel like we have gotten to know each other a little, there will be mind altering moments of hearing her voice for the first time and seeing her in the flesh and hugging her and holding her hand. People are supposed to know their siblings, and I don’t, so that’s weird. But we are beginning to fix that and starting this process of forging a sister relationship. She’s also going to meet the family too, including my Dad, which is her Dad. It’ll be one hell of a day, that’s for sure.

Then, back to the Farm! I have so many people tell me that they loved my post about my Great Grandparent's Farm, it has to be one of my most popular. It touched all kinds of different people in all kinds of different ways. Now we are going back and I want to go into even more depth there, I want to take more pictures and find more cool things and I just hope that my return visit lives up to my own expectations. I feel so strongly that I need to turn this experience into something greater than just a blog post, but with only one visit and limited time, the pressure is on!

So, you see, things are a bit wild around here lately. Everything is undone and off the charts and strange and new and weird. It's good. Amazing things will be growing out of all of this, you'll see. For now, I hope to write about a few of these events in more detail, or at least process some photos and post them by the weekend. I'm trying my best to stay on top of these waves and make the most of each of them. Life is so full of so much love right now.