06
Sep
11

the tears of a mom

Yes, it’s been a while. It’s been one hell of a summer. Little and Middle have been locked in daily battle. Middle uses physical tactics; a punch in the gut, a slap to the bare back, a face shove, a kick in the nuts. Little goes with the mental sort of torture, the constant annoyances that build up over time and make it necessary for Middle to use the above methods to get his revenge. Big has just been screaming at them like a teenage girl and hiding in his room reading Garfield comics. I don’t think I ever thought I’d ever say he’d be glad that summer was over, but that kid is glad that summer is over.

There was some fun to be had this summer, like in the water...

and in the mud on West Lawn during construction...

Then there’s me; the chronic daily migraines persist, while the side effects from the medications we’re trying to use to treat the daily migraines cause a myriad of side effects that put me in a bad mood. Ahhhh, summer. Let’s add to this the fact that for all the requests to read my novel I’ve gotten and all the “I love it! It’s witty/clever/well-written” they all end with something about “not in this cautious competitive market blah blah blah.” So, the novel I’ve spent 4 years writing is on its last legs. I’ve got about 15 more possibilities out there and then we put it to sleep. Cryonically of course, like Ted Williams, just in case there’s ever a change in the “market”. I’ve started a shitty rough draft of a new book and it’s coming along so that’s all well and good.

[side note: If you’re interested, I’ll share with you the nastiest rejection I’ve ever gotten from some crazy old coot of a lady from Atlanta who took issue with my usage of the work F*ck in narrative and also the way I decided where to separate paragraphs. She said it wasn’t literature and she ONLY represented literature, which apparently includes cozy mysteries called “Kissing Cousins” but I’m not bitter]

and by burying children in the sand.

yes sir that's my baby. yes sir, her name is "Maybea". So I make up songs about my dog. what's it to you?

The big news this summer was that my best canine companion blew out her rear ACL and had to have it repaired. It happened right at the beginning of summer and for several months it was kind of a watch and see kind of thing. It was almost better and then some damn chipmunk encouraged her to chase it and she completely tore it and flipped her meniscus over. So on August 2 she had to have surgery. The vet called in the middle of the surgery to say they found a growth on the underside of her tongue. We had him cut it out, stitch her up and send the growth away “just in case”. A few days later, he calls. It’s a very aggressive form of skin cancer that rarely shows up in the mouth. It’s not good news. We get an appointment with the vet school at the university. Our vet sounds like the Mary Poppins for sick animals; she’s not. She gives us our options and tells us in pretty plain terms that she’s got about 6-12 months left, no matter what we do; treat her or not. She’s genuinely surprised when I cry.

What does this have to do with the science and psychology of boys? A lot it turns out. Silly me; I was worried about crying in front of them. I was worried about protecting them from my sadness.

Here’s where Dr. Luann Brizendine comes in again, only this time, shame on me, I don’t have the book, I had to return it to the person I borrowed it from. Now, you know I’m normally good about referencing pages and authors, etc. but I don’t have the damn book, so I”ll have to do big ideas this time. We all remember how boys emotional centers are not as well-connected as girls and develop later and all that jazz from previous posts. (if this is news to you, go back a few posts and read in detail, with references). I guess while I knew this was true I hadn’t actually considered what it looked like in action.

I was doing a lot of crying when this news came; I love this dog like crazy. We got her at the Humane Society when she was a puppy and we’ve had her ten years. Since I stay home and work from home, we spend a lot of time together. Sometimes (who am I kidding, often) she’s the only easy thing in my day. Like I said above, I was trying to sob subtly. The thing was though, they didn’t seem to notice. Not at all. None of them. Not even Big (who’s 9 now). Not until Daddy talked to him on the phone and told him that I was sad and he should be extra nice to me. Then he came and hugged me and said he loved me and he was sorry that I was sad and it was very lovely and wonderful and then he asked me if he could use the computer now. Little and Middle showed no recognition of sadness, only recognition that I was still the Mommy that got the chocolate milk and fielded the complaints about the jelly with seeds situation.

So I happened to be reading The Female Brain by Luann Brizendine around this same time and in learning about how girls brains develop I learned a little bit how boys’ don’t. I learned that a girl at 18 months can read the emotion of an adult and know what they need and “caretake”. I learned that it takes boys a LOT longer to be able to read emotions on a person’s face. So couple that with the fact that their emotional centers are less connected and slower to develop, they really just didn’t notice that I was sad.

You know who did? The dog.

Afterword: We went to another veterinary Oncologist and although he agreed with the diagnosis from the non-Mary Poppins vet at the vet school he had a much more positive prognosis. We’ve now been through staging and a second growth, but at the current time, she’s got no decetable cancer in her body. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t microscopic cancer hiding out, but she’ll start chemotherapy on Wednesday and hopefully we’ll blast the hell out of it. Dr. Kai has a positive outlook and for the first time this summer it feels good to have the same.

You can't tell from the picture but I swear to you it was a double.

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3 Responses to “the tears of a mom”


  1. September 6, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    A positive outlook? The past ten days have been more positive than the whole summer. Maybea’s going to be fine, our boys are out of each other’s hair for most of the time, now that school’s in session, and you’re on to a new story that is going to be awesome!

    Love you!

  2. 2 Linda Brown
    September 19, 2011 at 12:10 am

    You are such an engaging writer. I love reading your blog. The boys were great on Saturday and seemed to get along well. The structure of school is good for them plus with it getting dark earlier, they will go to bed earlier and give you some time for yourself. Love, Mom

  3. May 6, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    You are a gift. I hope you know this. Your mom’s right. You ARE a very engaging writer. You actually help me since I now have grandsons and absolutely no clue on boys at all. Listen to your heart and keep going. Thank you for sharing. (-:


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now what’s that now?

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