I have a friend, a single mother, who experienced a journey through breast cancer a few years ago. She's actually still dealing with reconstructive surgeries. During this time, the father of her very young (then) son came back into her life to 'help' with their son. Daddy was an abuser. She's also still dealing with the fall-out of him breaking into their home and physically attacking my friend. In front of their boy. Dickweed.
Anyhoo... as I go through this treatment with interferon for the Hepatitis, I find myself thinking about her quite frequently. I am having a pretty hard time with this. I feel like crap. I am tired tired tired. Some days I am sitting on the couch, and I hit the wall and literally fall over, unable to stay awake, getting Connor to come climb up on the couch with me, sitting behind my folded knees to watch some Nick Jr. or a movie. If he's behind my knees, I'll wake up if he goes wandering about. At least to a point of consciousness that I'm aware of noises he's making, and his general whereabouts in the house. This is absolutely nothing in comparison. She was single, with a really small kid, not a big ol' boy who's going to kindergarten next fall. She was on chemo, recovering from a double mastectomy. With an abusive asshole to boot. I really have a deep admiration for her fortitude. I'm struggling, and I haven't needed surgery, and the hair I lost recently I paid someone to cut off.
I miss my friends. I know it's been years and years, but I miss my friends. I miss my shared life with Alana, and Lisa and Andy, and Bonnie, and Zanana, and Becky, and the passel of kids that were in that life... My own darlings, Jesse and Willow and Rhia and Tehya and Tatiana and Amber and Justin and Mariah and Jarrod and Olin...
I have some good friends here. They have assured me that I can call if I need anything. But I'm not likely to call. Truly. I have a super hard time with that. And the one thing I really really really need help with? The one thing my friends don't do: little kids. Connor is totally alone. We have no friends from the preschool after 2 plus years. All of my friends are my age, with grown kids. Barb has the youngest kid, at 13, almost 14. I miss the house full of kids, I miss the watching of each other's kids while various permutations of us did stuff, whether it was homework or cleaning the house before the parents came to visit. Or just going to the grocery store without kids. I still remember after one of my kids' birthday parties, Lisa said to Andy, I'm going to run to the co-op. I'm leaving the girls with you. Alana and I looked at each other, and both of us looked at Jim, a gleam of hope in our collective eye. "Go chicks. We've got it. The dads are on." Alana and I were absolutely giddy! Which sort of scared us, but we had a good laugh over how excited we got at the prospect of a grocery shopping trip sans littles. And the big big big upside? We had loved and trusted friends when we needed 'couple time'. Now, with our lack of social support, we have to find a sitter who will stay with Connor out of their love of us, and the goodness of their hearts. Mostly, our wonderful youngest kid. Primarily, though, we switch off, and do nothing together. One of the things we were most looking forward to when the kids got grown. Didn't expect do-overs.
And support in illness. Whether mine, or that of the kid, or Jim's, or worst, when both Jim and I are sick, and Connor isn't, we have no-one who has our backs. Connor has an immune system of steel. Jim and I can be totally out of it, and Connor is in the fullness of health and 4 year old energy. Holy crap. Seriously?! If there were justice in the world, adults would have the energy of 4 year olds! How the hell is a 40 or 50 year old supposed to even begin to keep up with that?
I miss my friends. I miss my community. I am hopeful I will be able to build community again in my life. I am super duper hoping that I manage to make it through the next 3 months of this treatment without losing my mind, without succumbing to the irritability or the depression. Without losing my patience too often with my sweetness and light.