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What I Learned This Week – 4/6/14

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WEEK-baby

This week I have been following a new drama.

It is a medical based drama. A baby was born at just 24 weeks (they are supposed to cook for a full 40, or as close to it as possible) and less than a pound. The doctors said the preemie wouldn’t last 48 hours. But the couple was still so positive and happy. Getting pregnant had been a struggle for them. They had tried for years to have a baby that they could take fishing and make root for the Green Bay Packers.

With the prayers of all their friends and family and Facebook friends, the baby boy made it past 48 hours. He then made it past 72 hours. They called him their little fighter, their little angel.

I couldn’t help but be envious of their positive attitude. I had to send my own son off into operating rooms three times in the past, every time I was almost hysterical and convinced I would never see him alive again. And he was six months old and a healthy weight the first time that happened.

The thing is, this wasn’t a new television show or a Hollywood movie. This was the child of my former neighbors.

Neighbors are a weird thing. We are in the city. We lived close enough that our driveways and back doors are only a few feet apart. We would help each other look for our lost dogs in the dark. We would hear each other arguing with our spouses, either outside or when the windows were open. We would reveal things to each other in passing. For example, they were the third people to find out when I was pregnant with my own son. Only because they happened to be outside that night.

Yet, when all this happened, we aren’t technically close enough to them to help in any meaningful way. All I could give them were thoughts and prayers.

That wasn’t enough. The baby passed on after 4 days.

I know from my own limited experience with a child in the hospital that their lives must have revolved around that baby and that hospital for that period of time.  A hospital is not a nice place to live.  Especially if you are not the one who is being treated.  I have never lost a baby myself. I can’t imagine how horrible it will be for them to return home after this ordeal, empty-handed.

What I learned this week is that I am not good with birth. Or death. And that we never appreciate what we have.

I didn’t get that shining moment when you hold your baby and smile at it. I was busy puking while someone else was trying to tape a bag to his tiny nutsack so they could get a urine sample.

I live in denial about death. I try not to think about my hamster who died over ten years ago. I compartmentalized my gramma’s death. Part of my brain just thinks she is still off in the nursing home.

I think we are just programmed as humans to not be able to realize how lucky we are. It is so easy to get in an argument with my 3 year old son over eating his breakfast or sitting on the potty. I should be so happy that he is here and healthy. But, I guess, if I remembered that, I would also never discipline him and buy him Thomas toys until we are broke, bankrupt, and foreclosed on.

Life balance is hard. Maybe we should just spend a few minutes every day realizing what we really have.

This is all painful. It is not my story. That is why I haven’t included any names or dates. But a lot of my past week was thinking about this little peanut, and I felt like I had to spill it out of me.

Finding Friends

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It is really hard to find friends. Maybe that is only my experience and no one else’s. I don’t know. Maybe I expect too much out of a friend. I am a Capricorn. I tend to expect perfection in everyone (including myself) and I am always disappointed. (Hmmm…I wonder why?)

My inspiration for this post is that two people who are really no more than acquaintances are moving away. But I was hoping, someday, my husband and I could consider them friends. It is actually the Pastor. Of my asbestos friend’s church. She often drags me to their events (see River Raisin Festival parade float for her church). We aren’t really members of that church. Although our names somehow ended up in the church directory (I think it has something to do with my asbestos friend being the church secretary). My asbestos friend and her family are very close friends with the Pastor and his family. But then again, they live on the same block. The only two houses on the block, to be more accurate.

OK. I’m babbling. But it seems like this always happens. Especially with a lot of my former co-workers. There are many I thought highly of and would have liked to hang out or go shopping with outside of work. But it never seems to happen. Then they move. Or get laid off. Or the whole company closes. And I will never get the chance to develop a real friendship with them. I will never see them again. Sure, Facebook will give the illusion that we have stayed in touch. But it is just an illusion.

In a few cases, I have actually gotten to hang out with co-workers more meaningfully. But as I had one of the longer commutes to work, distance makes things difficult.

As I said earlier, I expect too much out of my friends. I expect more than just a Christmas card once a year to consider someone a true friend. I expect a friend to be there for major life events. Maybe not all of them, but most of them, with a good excuse for the others. I don’t like to feel like I am the one making the effort all the time. I am a petty person who keeps mental notes in my head. I know life gets in the way. But if I made the effort to see you multiple times with no return, it wears on me. It darkens my friendship aura. And if I haven’t heard from you in five years (and I know you have my phone number and address), don’t expect one message announcing your marriage on Facebook to make me count you as a friend again. I don’t care if you were my maid of honor at my wedding. I hope the best for you out in the world, but we don’t know anything about each other’s lives.

So, Ya. I expect an occasional email or letter or phone call or lunch or visit or major life event participation. Call me a bitch. As I write this, I realize I am not always a very good friend according to my own standards. This goes back to what I said about being disappointed in everyone, including me.

Back to the Pastor. He and his wife always welcomed us to church functions, even though we were just tagging along with my asbestos friend. They welcomed us to their house for food and casual socialization, even though we were just tagging along with my asbestos friend. The Pastor came and visited us at the hospital on day four of our two day stay (of an eventual eleven day stay) at the hospital for my son’s first surgery. I coordinated Halloween costumes with the Pastor’s wife and my asbestos friend (we were girls from the 80’s. Because we are.) The Pastor stayed with us at the hospital for like five hours on the first day of my son’s two day stay (yes, it was only 2 days total) for his second surgery. He was a pleasant distraction. But there is no denying he has seen us at our worst. He saw me break down and cry as they wheeled my son into surgery, and he pretended not to notice. Although he was probably just grateful it wasn’t one of his kids. And I wouldn’t blame him. He is someone I thought if I was really freaking out about life I could go and talk to him. Now I guess I will never know.

So, two more people I will never get a chance to fully be friends with are leaving my life. It is so hard to find truly nice people who are funny and goofy. I need to find a way to hold on to them better.

I’m not stalking you. is NOW ON FACEBOOK! “Like” that I’m not stalking you and get an update when there is a new post to read. (It is sort of like YOU are stalking ME.)

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