The Joy of Mania

 

 

 

Last Sunday, we had a houseful. My sons, Ethan, Jesse and Eric came. Ethan brought Otis, his 16 month-old son. Otis is learning to talk but more adorably, he communicates in gestures, pointing to emphasize, and shrugging to say, “where did it go?”

Jesse brought his three girls, Marissa, Claire, and Ally. They are six, five and four. Otis is going to think that all the girls love him, because his cousins dote on him.

Also, we had a treat. Frank’s nephew’s girls, Hannah, 9, and Sophia, 7, came with their mother Heather. So we had five girls and Otis here all at once. I was overjoyed.

Frank has a special relationship with Marissa. She runs right to him when they get here, because he’s her buddy. She makes up games for him, draws pictures for him, and is totally engrossed in her play with him. She needs the attention, having to compete for attention at home with her sisters.

The three girls were adopted when they were 2, 3, and 4. They’re tiny, measuring up to only the fifth percentile for weight and height of their peers. Sophia is small, but Marissa looked tiny next to her.

I was really looking forward to their visit. Usually, because I’m in my wheelchair, I have a hard time trying to figure out how to interact with the little ones. I long to get on the floor with them and play like Frank does. And usually with that many people here, I withdraw, and have difficulty speaking or talking. But this time was different.

Ally asked her father to read a book, and when he said no, I volunteered. It was such a joy to read to her. It was one of my favorite children’s books, “Are You My Mother?” When I got to the part where the baby bird meets the noisy snort, Frank chimed in with a bit “Snort!”

The girls love coming here. I have arts and crafts supplies. Heather did a craft kit with all of the girls, helping them make decorated hair clips. She was wonderful. She left a rock painting kit with me so I can play with the girls the next time they come.

I got manic that night and for the next week, I was manic and had a very hard time sleeping. I was so excited that I had not become withdrawn this time, and had enjoyed socializing with everyone. Jesse and I talked about Trump and he showed me a selfie he had taken in front of the White House, flipping it the bird. Haha.

I spent my nights on the computer, shopping for crafts kits for the girls to play with when they come. I bought them smocks for the rock painting. I bought Otis a toy airplane because he didn’t have any toys here. I was so excited, it was like a curtain had been drawn and I was connecting with my grandchildren in a different and authentic way. All this time, since December, I had struggled to communicate and play.

Usually, mania isn’t my friend. I lose sleep, I cause more weakness, I run down my body. But this time I thoroughly enjoyed the elevated mood and the urge toward creativity.

During this time, I made the slideshow I posted here on my blog. I mailed it to my family members. At last, after months of stagnation, I feel alive and purposeful.

Finally, I can play.

Love,

Gail

It’s Been a Long Time Coming Home

Koi Necklace, by Gail
Koi Necklace, by Gail

Dear Friends,

This has been a long year, and I have missed writing. Some of you may forget that you subscribed to my blog at all. I haven’t forgotten you. I’ve been on a journey. Most of it has to do with physical health, but I’ve had spiritual growth, too. All in all, I’m in a better place than I was the last time I posted.

December arrived with a diagnosis of breast cancer, again. I had a mastectomy in February and am gladly on the other side of the surgery and cancer-free once again. The general malaise I had can be chocked up to my body fighting the invader. For those of you who have had cancer, you understand the assault on security it causes and the face of your own mortality.

This Summer I was battling another of my physical conditions, post-polio syndrome. I haven’t written about my disability because who wants to read about a disability? I like to write about the love and beauty in the world. Anyway, I had an overall general decline in my abilities and it prevented me from writing and doing the things I love: writing and making jewelry.

I sell my jewelry in a shop on Etsy, and I have met some other wonderful artists and jewelry makers. It has opened up new friendships and bonds that will last for years to come. There is a link to my shop on this blog, if you’re curious. I’m not trying to sell you anything, I just love to share my design and artwork.

The Summer passed with daily observations and joy in the hummingbirds at my feeder. I can’t even express my love for the beautiful creatures. I tended to them lovingly, making their nectar every week and replenishing it before it got stale. In turn, I was delighted with their antics and sheer beauty, the wonder of the small glimpse they gave to me of their lives.

I was gifted with three granddaughters at once, when my son Jesse and his wife Ines adopted sisters. They are three, four, and five, and gorgeous, adorable, precious little people. They have been through so much in their young lives, I am overwhelmed for them. I have not met them yet, as they live far away, but they’ll visit in the Spring when another son, Ethan, and his girlfriend Andrea have their baby boy. Eric is my third child, and is single at the moment.

This post is entirely unlike my other offerings. I usually rise above the everyday to meet you in the stratosphere of poetry or daily missives on the beauty and the love that surrounds me. Sometimes I write memoir and prose. But I wanted to catch you up on my life, and in a way, give you the reasons for my absence from my blog.

I need to connect on a deep level with you.

With that, I’ll say:

Love,

Gail

Prose – On this Day

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My Original Family

This is, as the caption says, my original family at some date in some other time. My folks have died since, and the rest of us have aged and grown a little thicker. The siblings from left to right are oldest to youngest. I am second from the right. I miss my original family more than I admit even to myself. With all of their quirks, flaws, and uniqueness we have a bond of a world view which was created within our little sphere of suburban hood. We didn’t belong. None of us belonged to the culture of our peers, and as we each attempted to navigate the hoops and obstacle course and ordinary rituals of childhood, we knew we different.

Like our Dad, we read. Philosophy, poetry, comic books, forbidden texts, erotica, and pulp fiction. Like our Mom, we painted, sewed, used ceramics, loved nature, and created new things out of everyday objects we admired. We were gifted with a sardonic wit that my parents didn’t have and were often the object of such twisted thoughts and looks between us. We wrote and hid our thoughts between the pages of journals and and our rooms were banned to anyone else. In retrospect the house was small, but we each carved out a space which was most precious to us. Our privacy.

I miss them. They are far away in distance or in mind. I am on this day visited with a sadness so great I need them more than usual. I need to be in this picture with them, hoping they’ll hold me up for the next six months; as they once did in our little warped and twisted universe. It felt comfortable. It was home.

My fiancĂ© Frank is going through medical treatment for a rare and frightening disease. I have had more than my share of medical scares, but to see my love go through it is heart-breaking. I want to take his burden upon myself because I have beat the odds so many times before. It’s not that I doubt his strength, fortitude, or optimism to overcome it. He will. I just do not want him to be alone with it. He is going inpatient on Monday and we will be apart for the first time in three years. I can’t be there every day. He’ll tell me it’s not that hard on him, but I’ll know the truth.

He’s being strong for me, and I want him to be strong for himself.