I am not pre-menstrual, but I’ve been crying at movie previews, on a stationary bike, and in the lobby of the J. The movie previews thing is normal, but I don’t ordinarily cry on bicycles, never mind mount them. Emotions have been creeping out of me when I least expect them. Because the truth is, I, Miss Thinks Too Much, didn’t know they were there.
I was afraid of being the little girl who cried wolf. People have been coming to me, offering their good thoughts, prayers, healing thoughts for Phil, for our whole family, and I thought, Well, that’s nice and all, but I don’t want to waste them. Because what if one day I really really need them? I’ll have used ’em all up already. You know, if you could do such a thing.
Last time Phil was cardioverted it worked, for all of 5 to 7 hours. So I doubted it would be any different this time. Okay, so it didn’t work, no big deal. Nothing we didn’t almost already know… except it has been different. In the past they were able to rig his pacemaker to trick his heart into submission, force the sucker to fall in line, at least some of the time. But now, we learn, that the gig is up. The pacemaker just isn’t a sneaky bastard anymore, and it can’t whip his rhythm into marching order. And unlike last time when the single cardioversion worked for at least a few hours, now they tried to shock him four times, and none of them worked. Which leaves me feeling like things are getting worse. And it’s scary.
Oh, stop your whining, I catch myself saying. This isn’t new news. Don’t get all dramatic about it. The boy is as much of a pain in the ass as he ever was; he’s fine. And then people reach out, people I hadn’t even known were there, with extraordinary kindness. New friends, internet friends, old friends offering meals, to babysit, to listen, to talk. Just wanting me to know they’re here.
For Passover, we were invited to the home of my shiksa friend’s scrapbooking, brisket, matzo-ball star, Jewish mother-in-law. "If you need a local Nana, we are here for you," she’d emailed. Complete with her best friend Bubbie Thea, it was something I’ll never forget. It’s a wonderful thing to do, to open your home to those around you, people you might not know well. Extraordinary, actually. It was as close to home, as close to the memories of my Dad’s side of the family, as I’ve been in a long time. And the food was outstanding. Miss Abigail ate her matzo ball, then sat on my lap and fought me for mine, drank from her bowl, and said to our host, "This is delicious; thank you for the nice meal." I loved every minute of it. What it did most is remind me how important it is to open your world up to those around you, to have dinners, to take risks with people, to make the effort.
Today, as I dropped Lucas and Abigail off at school, the director of the J came up to me asking what she could do. "If you ever need them to stay late, if you need meals, anything, people here really want to help you out." I thanked her, over and again, hugged her, and just started to cry. Overwhelmed by the kindness, the willingness to reach out and let someone know they’re not alone in all of it.
I so much want to do the same for the people around me, to give of myself, whatever I can. And to let those who’ve reached out to me, to us, know how much it really means. Because it does.