… that person that shows up unfashionably late to a dinner party. You know, the one that appears after the dessert has been served and then rudely says something about being hungry even thought SHE missed dinner because SHE was late.
I suppose I should apologize for my absence as of late… In my flurry of juggling eleven-teen thousand balls at once, I have neglected my sweet little spot in the blogosphere. You! I’ve missed you!
Come! Let’s sit unreasonably close to one another on my couch and gab like teenage girls about what has been happening in my life lately! You’ve missed so much!
First things first, the boyfriend’s mother is doing remarkably well, considering she spent three weeks in the ICU and nearly died… Twice. I’ve learned a lot from this situation and I’m going to deliver it to you in bullet-fashion:
- I need get on top of my health. I’ve quit smoking (yay!) but I am so unfreakin’ healthy.
- I love my boyfriend so incredibly much. It really is true that trauma strengths true bonds.
- I really love his family, too. The only family I’ve seen that is better is my own.
- I have ABSOLUTELY no control over… really… anything. AT ALL.
- When faced with really traumatic situations, I can hold it together like a champ. *high five!*
She was moved today, finally, to a rehabilitation room in the hospital where she’ll likely spend at least a few weeks recovering and regaining strength. She’s a tough broad — and I mean that in the most respectful way. Seriously, the thing I admire most about women that I, um… admire… is their chutzpah.
I spent the better part of two and a half weeks trekking back and forth across my fair city, taking care of a bunch of men. It’s clear that this family I’m falling into is a Matriarch, something I am quite familiar with given that my mama run thangs ’round here, too. One Saturday, as Colin’s sister-in-law and I were patiently urging the boys (Colin’s brothers and his father) to leave the hospital, get some fresh air and some food in their bellies, we spent — no exaggeration — ten or fifteen minutes standing there watching these boys react a who’s-on-first-style tennis match of responsibility.
“I don’t know. Where do you want to eat?”
“I could go for Jimmy John’s…”
“I don’t really feel like subs, I think I need a real meal.”
“There’s a Mexican place down the street…”
“It doesn’t matter to me. Whatever you guys decide.”
“I could go either way.”
Then… They’d stand there for brief spells waiting for someone to take the lead. It wasn’t that these men couldn’t make a decision. These are all strong-willed, independent-thinking Southern men! They just honestly are all so amenable to whatever anybody else wanted to do that they just kept tossing the decision-making authority around like it was a game of Hot Potato.
I remember sitting in the waiting room at the hospital and updating my facebook status on my phone, “Cheryl, please get better! Your boys need you!”
The beautiful thing about the way the men operate in this family is that they are laid-back and amenable and easy-going but NOT push-overs. Not at all. A few times, I had to get all tough-love on Colin or his dad (example: “How are you doing on groceries?” “It’s fine, I’m fine. I don’t need anything. Maybe some Cokes. I can pick them up tonight on the way home.” “Well, I think I’ll go to the grocer–” “Oh, no no. You don’t need to do that, I’ve got it.” Then firmly, “Charlie (Colin’s dad), I’m not taking no for an answer. I’m dropping you off at the hospital and then I am going grocery shopping.” And a chuckle from Colin, “She’s a spitfire, huh?”).
And one time, I had to sort of shake Colin by his shoulders. Grief is a heavy burden to carry — prolonged exposure to the weight and pressure of a loved one in such critical condition can make even the simplest of things seem impossible. When faced with the responsibility of being the only son that was really local, Colin stepped up without question, missing two solid weeks of work. He was strong and an anchor for his father who was shaking and teetering under the building pressure and stress. Sure, he was tired. And yes, he was getting lots of unintended pressure from his kitchen — they depend on him so much.
But when push came to shove — he did for others. He didn’t always know what he was doing while he was doing stuff for others, but he gave. He sacrificed. He slept on an uncomfortable couch. He never made a peep about it. He followed his father around the house, offering comfort when, totally maxed out from the stress, his father was having an emotional breakdown.
He just … did.
That’s the kind of family this guy comes from… When in a position where it’s clear that WE should be giving to THEM, these guys are pushing it off, “No, no I’m fine.” And not because they’re too proud — no, not at all. But because they are thinking about you and how they can best serve you. Absolutely selfless. Effortlessly, so.
It was beautiful.
If I get to be a part of this family long-term, I will considering myself incredibly lucky. And I can’t WAIT until his mother gets better and I can see her again so that I can tell her just how great all of her boys really are.
Now, all of this wonderful, family-affirming stuff aside, I’ve also been busy with work! Got my new website up and running, www.JamiHoward.com and am all set to teach another class at Hollis’ Shocking Real Life Writing School. Really, this is where most of my free time as of late has been channeling.
Hm… What else? Oh, the boyfriend met the boy child and it was effortlessly easy. They got along great. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I guess I thought it would be harder? More awkward? I don’t know. It was just really, really good… I was worried a bit that the shift from “Dating Jami” to “Dating Jami who has a real live kid” would be harder for him because he’s never dated someone with a child before… But he took to it beautifully and, if it’s possible, seems to have fallen even harder for me (and me for him!). I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, really… And I’m sorry I have been so terribly undisciplined about writing. I pinky PROMISE to be better.
PS — I feel really weird putting this into the “Freaks In Pursuit” category. Time to think up some new category names, me finks.