Me: “Tomorrow is Daylight Savings and it’s going to be 67 degrees on Monday!!!”
My Seasonal Affective Disorder:
Me: “Tomorrow is Daylight Savings and it’s going to be 67 degrees on Monday!!!”
My Seasonal Affective Disorder:
Therapist: “We’ve been talking about the importance of taking some time to meditate in order to relieve anxiety and practice mindfulness. How has that been going for you?”
Me: “Well, I do it every single day. No excuses.”
Therapist: “Really! That’s great! A lot of people find it very difficult to make time for it every day, so good for you.”
Me: “Yeah but I can’t say I’ve really noticed any benefits…”
Therapist: “That’s surprising. Tell me about the conditions while you’re meditating.”
Me: “So, ok, I know you’re really supposed to sit up, but honestly I prefer to lay. It’s much more comfortable for me.”
Therapist: “That’s fine. There’s no wrong way to do it. ”
Me: “That’s what I figured. Also, I prefer to do it at night because my days are a little too busy.”
Therapist: “Ok, that’s fine.”
Me: “Ok, so I lay down every night, I close my eyes, slow my breath and try to clear my head and all that, but I just end up falling asleep every time.”
Therapist: “Ok, so. That’s not meditating.”
Me: “It’s not?”
Therapist: “No. That’s just you getting into bed and going to sleep at night.”
(Continuation of Accurate, But Still )
“It’s Dada! It’s DADA!!!!!!! I see Dada!”
— Nora, every time she sees Charlie Brown.
“It’s Mama! It’s MAMA!!!!!!! I see Mama!”
— Nora, every time she sees Eeyore.
Therapist: “Feelings are like the weather, in that they–.”
Me: “–can kill you.”
Therapist: “And how did that make you feel?”
Therapist: “Elaborate on that. Be more descriptive of the feeling.”
Me: “Shitty…like, the way a piece of shit on the ground probably feels.”
So the other day I was telling my single-and-fed-up-with-dating friend the story below, and she responded, “You should write about this, because based on your blog, I never would have guessed that you and Eric experienced anything but the smoothest sailing from first date to marriage.”
I was horrified by the fact that I was inadvertently giving public credence to the bullshit notion that good, solid relationships are and should be easy, so I think it only fair to my
plethora of readers two readers mom that I set the record straight.
Eric and I have had our fair share of little roadblocks along the way, but my favorite roadblock, if we’re ranking roadblocks (and who doesn’t?), is when
we I first said “I love you.”
It went a little something like this:
Me: “I love you.”
Me: “I said I LOVE YOU. Say something!”
Me: “Ummm….DO YOU LOVE ME TOO?”
(Side note: this was not the first time I had told a guy I loved him and didn’t hear it back, but it WAS the first time I told a guy I loved him and MEANT IT and didn’t hear it back– so needless to say, this hurt more.)
So after Eric pulled the real-life equivalent of a Homer Simpson bush-melt, I realized I was not getting an “I love you” back– which, quite frankly, surprised me because according to Eric this is the celeb version of us as a couple:
Which is Eric’s hilarious, self-deprecating way of saying “I married up” (people DO tell me I look like that actress, btw, but only when I brush my hair. So never.)
And while I don’t disagree that he married up (I’m great), he needs to give himself more credit with his celeb doppelgänger, which is only Danny Devito in height, but clearly Daniel Berger in all other features (minus being good at golf):
But I digress.
The point of this is to say that I was kind of like, “Wait– YOU don’t love ME?!” First of all, I was
desperate openminded enough to look past the fact that your dating app photo was taken 200 feet away, head to the side, wearing sunglasses and a hat, forcing me to be like trying to figure out whether or not you were a mutant (you weren’t ).
And THEN I even looked past the fact that you lied about your height by an ENTIRE inch, which is such a trite internet-dating-jew-move. Lucky for you, on our first date, I was
too drunk to notice once again openminded.
All this, and YOU don’t love ME?!
But yeah. He couldn’t say the words.
So I did what any rational, mature, 33-year-old woman would do and kicked him the fuck out of my apartment. I told him that if he didn’t love me, I didn’t want to look at his ass face, which I think we can all agree is a good way of persuading someone on the do-I-love-you fence to hop on over with enthusiastic ardor.
Ok, no, jk, I wasn’t that harsh about it (out loud), but I did think he needed to take some space to sort out his feelings, since he claimed he was “confused” and “scared” (I think those were his words. I don’t know guys I’ve spent the past year wiping drool and cleaning poop. Nora’s, not mine. Nora’s and mine? Point is, my brain has atrophied.).
In Eric’s defense, he had only recently gotten out of a years-long relationship, and it had left him with some emotional baggage– the kind of baggage you think is totally compact and manageable but then you reach your gate and the attendant scoffs because there’s no way in hell that tattered, 400-pound Samsonite is fitting in the overhead compartment.
So I asked him to go home and take some time to think through his feelings and “unconfuse” himself, an idea he decided he hated the second he left my apartment.
He texted me from my lobby saying something along the lines of “This sucks. I don’t want to go home. I want to be with you,” and I replied with something along the lines of “Tough shit, dickwad.”
Or maybe I just said, “I know, I’m sorry, but I think you need some space to think about what you want from this relationship.” Like I said, details are hazy these days (grand…pa….SHARK do do do do do do….).
Bottom line is that clearly I was hurt and embarrassed, although embarrassment was really secondary to the hurt, because I think when you truly love someone, you’re able to put your ego aside. Plus, like any woman who has spent more than 5 years online dating in NYC, I had lost every last modicum of shame.
So Eric went home and called one of his guy friends for advice. Now this could have gone very poorly. Don’t get me wrong, Eric’s guy friends are some of the greatest people I’ve ever met, but I would only take advice from a select zero of them. Thankfully, Eric chose the arguably most normal of the bunch, who immediately told him, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Stop being such a pussy.”
The next morning, I went for an 18-mile run at 4:00am on a workday, because I was training for a marathon and also because I am insane.
I blasted Adele’s “Hello” on repeat, screaming the lyrics as loudly as possible in order to prevent myself from crying over the fact that this dude clearly didn’t love me. What I quickly learned is that you don’t play Adele when you’re trying to NOT cry. You’d think after 18 years battling clinical depression I would have curated the optimal soundtrack for emotional soothing, but no, I still play Dave Matthew’s “Grey Street” when I’m feeling hopeless as fuck, which (spoiler alert!) doesn’t help.
I arrived back at my apartment around 6:45am, snot-nosed, bleary-eyed, nauseous, and sweating profusely. I smelled like a prepubescent boy’s gym sock. So it was the perfect time to encounter Eric, the man I was hoping would fall in love with me, standing right there at my front door. He was holding a bouquet of
bodega flowers fresh, long-stemmed roses and waiting to deliver a 10 minute speech about his feelings for me.
I tried to pay attention to all the reasons he loved me (something about how I’m a good listener?) but could only really focus on the fact that I was sweating from all holes and going to be late for work.
Regardless, I was elated. I finished half-listening and gave him a kiss that surely tasted like regurgitated PowerGel, hopped in the shower, and arrived at work 5 minutes late, still sweating.
But giddy as fuck.
My co-teacher took one look at me and asked what was happening with my face, and I had to explain that this is what it looks like when I’m experiencing a happiness that isn’t induced by four coffees or a bottle of Wellbutrin. She was thrilled for me, and we spent the morning re-hashing the details of the story while our 4th graders
ran amok? fell asleep? stole supplies? full blown Lord of the Flies murdered each other? There’s really no way to know worked independently.
So I just realized this story is less of an “All relationships have roadblocks and that’s ok and normal so just work through them and have faith” story and more of a “Nice job bullying your boyfriend into professing his love for you!” story but either way ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL GUYS.
Because two years later we made this:
So hang in there, single ladies.
I go to pick up a couple medications at CVS, and a male pharmacist is ringing me up…
Pharmacist (to Nora): “Hi cutie!” (then, to me) “Are you breastfeeding?”
Me (taken aback): “Excuse me? Um, NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS?!?”
Pharmacist: “Oh, I….”
Me: “JESUS. Why do men– or anyone for that matter– think it’s ok to ask a woman that? I really don’t understand. It’s completely inappropriate. Honestly, shame on you. And I say that on behalf of all women.”
Pharmacist: “I’m required by law to ask you that before handing you this medication.”
(10 second awkward silence)
Me: “Please still give me the drugs.”
So last I left you, Nora was doing great but sporting a somewhat funky-looking cyst on the corner of her left eyebrow, at one of the sling surgery incision sites (there are four such sites, two on each eyebrow. The other three sites are completely fine and healed, barely visible). Here’s a diagram of the situation on her left eye, for visual learners:
As mentioned previously, the cyst does not seem to bother her at all (except when we have to clean/medicate it), but the problem with leaving it be is that it is constantly opening and reforming, and every time that happens, it runs the risk of becoming infected. That would be crappy for many reasons. I don’t think I need to explain them.
Plus no one needs a cyst permanently sitting on their face. Life is hard enough.
In a last-ditch effort to get rid of the cyst (we’d already tried various topical steroids and antibiotics, to no avail), the surgeon prescribed an oral antibiotic. He hoped that this would do the trick– if not, it would mean that it’s the silicone sling itself causing the chronic irritation, and so it (the sling) would have to be removed.
So Nora took the oral antibiotic and the cyst went away and we all lived happily ever after because LIFE IS RAINBOWS AND BUTTERFLIES AND UNICORNS THE END!!!!!
Bwahahahahahahahahh jk guys. But you knew that.
You’re on MY blog, not [insert name of someone I’d hate]’s blog.
Life never gets tied up in a neat little bow, so here we are at the next boulder in the road. Get out your chisel. (Is that what one uses to break through a boulder? Listen I’m not outdoorsy nor have I ever used a tool).
The cyst remains. And while we’ve grown so used to it that we’ve considered giving it a name, starting a college fund and raising it as our own, the doctor feels it needs to go. And the only way to do that is to remove the sling (you know, the one holding her eyelid up).
So we have another surgery scheduled for Monday. Yes, this Monday. July 22nd. Because some people go to The Hamptons in the summer, but honestly we prefer the bright florescent lights of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Day Surgery Division.
Same doctor. Same hospital. Same general anesthesia. Same
crippling anxiety thought spirals of hell positive attitude leading up to it.
The doctor seems hopeful that because there are two slings in the eyelid (refer to professional diagram above), the inner sling will be sufficient in keeping the lid up. If the lid DOES droop, to the point where it could affect vision, he will be able to discern that mid-surgery, and we will then have the option of putting in a replacement sling in a slightly different location (all this can be done in that same surgery). The downside to this is that Nora will then have three incision sites in that one brow. And, of course, the chance of another cyst-like reaction at the new incision site.
The good news, again, is that the surgeon seems confident that the one remaining sling will suffice (especially since this was the better, less droopy eye to begin with), and that removing the troublesome sling is not going to affect the cosmetics, or her vision, at all (then why did he put it there in the first place? Standard procedure? Slightly better chance of symmetry with the other eye? IDK guys I guess I missed the day they taught that in the medical school that I didn’t go to). Furthermore, he feels that if he DID have to put in a replacement sling, the likelihood of a cyst forming again is small, especially since the other three incisions healed so nicely.
His confidence seems promising, and the odds do seem to be in our favor– however, this is only the THIRD time in his TWENTY YEAR career that he has had to remove a sling, so I’d say my faith in odds right now is akin to my faith in Eric’s hair-regrowth shampoo.
Thankfully, Eric remains positive and hopeful (regarding both the surgery and his hair), so I don’t have to. This is a marriage strategy and not an accident. It’s written in our ketubah: “In sickness, and in health, Emily will constantly assume the worst and Eric will keep the entire ship afloat by himself, so help him God. He’ll also get Emily iced coffee and egg salad and never comment on how much she’s sweating.” It’s all there in Hebrew.
So that’s where we are. One of the four silicone slings will be removed on Monday. The surgery is slated to take 120 minutes, from prep to finish. I will eat my feelings next to the hospital’s frozen yogurt machine, which likely still has my chicken-nugget-greased fingerprints on it from February. Eric will wander around introducing himself to various dogs.
Nora, I assume, will handle it better than both of us, because she’s still zero years old and life is just a series of eating, pooping, and maniacally swaying to Queen:
And I’m sure all this hardship will make Nora stronger, and it will all work out in the end, just like it did for Freddie Mercury.
No, I’m kidding. Obviously. I DO believe this will all be fine, I’m just sorry my sweet little tater tot has to go through this. AGAIN. I’m not necessarily confident that this is the last time we will deal with this issue, but I AM confident we’ll be able to look back one day and this will all seem like a distant memory and a minor roadblock. I know that day will come, because, no matter how hard life has been at any point, and no matter how hopeless things have seemed at any given moment, a good dose of distance and perspective has always made the value of the struggle seem crystal clear.
But right now it’s surgery-anticipation mode, so I’m sorry, I’m just not there yet. But I will be.
And until then, I’ll cope in same way any other loving, caring, fiercely devoted mother would.
That she is not in fact a robot will never cease to take me by surprise:
Me: “So yeah, sometimes all the ‘what ifs’ really paralyze me, in terms of all the bad things that could possibly happen to Nora.”
Therapist: “Of course. As parents, we will always feel that to a degree.”
Me: “Wait– YOU’RE a PARENT?”
Therapist: “Yes, to a 13-year-old daughter….”
Me: “You have a DAUGHTER?!”
Therapist: “…and a 9 year old daughter.”
Me: “You have TWO daughters??!!”
Therapist: “Yes, so I know that feeling….”
Me: “You have FEELINGS?”
Therapist: “…. of being so scared for your child, you forget how to breathe air.”
Me: “You BREATHE AIR?!”