In my favourite place in all of Japan -- Matsuzaki Starbucks, trying to slow down after having spent the morning finishing up the last of my marking and grading. Also proofread the first chapter of a thesis (I charge 10,000/hr for this service, btw) and am now sitting here with nothing to do but worry that I still have to clean the house and pack, although I will spend more time worrying about those things than actually doing them, as is my wont.
I am starting to have a better understanding of the girl. Her moods swing on a dime, but the bright side is that if you wait a few minutes, you'll get something else if you don't like what you're getting now. Going quiet is working very well for me (and that's a new thing for me for those of you who know me); I don't engage in weirdness, but thank her for small things like picking things up, clearing up her own messes, and putting her dishes in the sink. Last night, as I went out to the gym I realized that one of those rubber earbud headphone things had gone missing and was searching around the driveway by the wee light of my iPhone. The girl said, "You can borrow mine", ran inside, gave them to me and when I told her I'd also forgotten my house key, promptly gave me hers as well. When I got home, I noticed she was absorbed in a tracing activity, so quietly gave her back her things and thanked her without making a big deal, because I instinctively knew I'd get a face full of something unpleasant if I interrupted her labours.
I still can't initiate physical contact with her, but if I sit next to her while watching TV, I'll find her legs pressed up to mine or her feet on my legs or something. But if I touch her, she'll jerk away as if burned. So, I don't. Once in a while, when she's calm, I can give her a quick pat on the back or the shoulder, but that's it. When she first came, I was reading a book that said, "Hug those kids! Pick them up and hug them all the time!" Of course, that author was talking about kids under 3, not tall, strong 12-year-old adolescents with traumatic backgrounds. Something important I've learned is that although it's important to read a lot, it's as important to pick and choose from the advice you get. Not all of it fits.
I want to thank everyone who takes the time to respond to the blog or send me an email or a quick text. Your support really means a lot. This semester has been the most stressful of my life and I'm damn glad it's finally over. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be all that I can be (damn those US military commercials) every darn minute of every day (damn Zen consciousness), and it's exhausting. The thing is, it's totally not necessary! Why do I do it? OMG, I'm a drama queen. That must be it.
Lately, a few friends said that they were in awe of me. Please don't be. The only time my brain isn't clicking away at 100km/hr is when I'm asleep. If I try to self-medicate with booze, I'll feel sick before I'll feel happy, so that's no longer an option. Like my mother, I can't sit still for long, so always feel like I have to be up and doing something or I feel guilty, guilty, guilty. Survivor guilt for outliving my twin? I know there are other people out there doing a zillion things a day because they can't sit still either. Anyway, the only reason I take on so many projects is that I feel like I'm wasting my life if I'm not doing a zillion things a day. This is often why I list all the things I did in a day on FB -- to justify my existence. I don't admire people on welfare who sit on their butts and feel entitled, but it would be nice to feel allowed to be lazy once in a while.
Recently, the husband and I were talking about what it was like before my heart trouble started - like my mom, I would get up early and make breakfast for everyone, and then rush home after work and make dinner. Since the heart trouble, I do a little cooking during the week and some on the weekends, but have left it up to husband to do the lion's share. "I was lucky!" is what he said, because he knew he should have been doing a little more and fortunately he's happy to do more. He says he's lucky for other things, too. Because of my job, we have a beautiful house and enough money to go to Canada every year. Our children see more of their dad than most kids in this country and they also see an amazing relationship between their parents. We have so much to be thankful for. And yeah, I'm making it happen. Oh, what the fuck. Be in awe.
I love you all,