Monthly Archives: January 2012

Up Early and Easily


You ever have one of those days where you plan to sleep in, you have given yourself complete permission to sleep in, it would be advisable to sleep in because you stayed up kind of late the night before, your spouse thinks that you’re going to sleep in, you don’t even set your alarm – and yet, you wake up early?  When I say early, I mean like five to ten minutes before you’d normally begin to suggest to your consciousness that getting out of bed would be a good idea on a work day?

Well, you guessed it – today was that day.  I think it may have largely been spurred by the fact that my husband and I were planning to switch cars for a time today, and I wasn’t 100% certain that I’d gotten everything I needed out of my car.  (I hadn’t.)  But the plus side was that I got to make breakfast for my husband (he won’t usually eat unless food is presented to him – otherwise he grabs an unhealthy snack that gives him calories but no nutrition), I got to sit down and really read the newspaper, I got to relax and enjoy my morning coffee, and I got to get all caught up on Facebook (which I have purposefully put as a low priority in my life this year).

I just feel at peace right now in my skin.

I know I have things I need to do, but I think I’ve got plenty of time in which to accomplish them, as opposed to my ground state of being, which is thinking I’ve got a lot of things to do and not enough time in which to do them.  That’s usually when I realize I have to let go of wanting to either get some things done or get them done to my standard.  My standards are usually pretty high, which is probably why I’m generally unsatisfied with myself.  There’s a bit of a disconnect between what I want to get done and what I get done, and I typically feel the chaos of that in my soul.

Today though, I feel pretty peaceful.

So, the big thing in my life right now is planning for my daughter’s birthday party.  It’s going to be a Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone themed party, and I want it to be to my standard.  And last night, I got the biggest friend-gift I could imagine – a professional graphic designer took my idea to create chocolate frog trading cards and sat with me last night to create the most amazing cards you could possibly envision.  She had even done preliminary research, so it saved us search time.  She spent 3+ hours of her time to craft these little works of art, making sure that they would be quality, print them on both sides so that they aligned perfectly, and then used her own materials to print out these little chocolate frog cards for the party.

If it hadn’t been a labor of love, being that she adores Harry Potter and really likes my daughter and we’re friends, I would have felt there was a great disparity between the amount of time we spent creating these things and how much impact they’ll have on the party.  However, it was this really cool project that I, for one, will treasure forever – not just because it will make the party totally and completely awesome to have “real” chocolate frog cards, but because someone that talented and creative used her skills and showed me the process she would go through to create these masterpieces.

And if I ever thought I had a high standard?  Well, I was happy to just get them printed on both sides, but she re-did them until it was perfectly registered so that when you cut them out, there is no white around the edges.  And I was just thinking of making them like regular trading cards, but she made them pentagonal and added special effects to the edges and background so that these treasures look more like the ones from the movie than the ones you can buy at Universal Studios in Florida!  How do I know?  People who’ve bought the chocolate frogs (at $10 each!) have posted images online.

Part of me wants to find some way to reimburse her, to show my appreciation for her time and efforts, but I know that it was truly a gift, and that trying to compensate her would cheapen the impact of her gift of time and talent.  I know that, but I still feel indebted to her for her complete awesomeness.  I know that I will accept these graciously and just try to make sure that I am as good a friend to her as I can be.  I think that’s what I would like if I did something this awesome for someone else.

Well, so that’s the chocolate frogs.  We’re also going to have Diagon Alley, classes at Hogwarts, a feast in the Great Hall, and the movie.  That’s all probably grist for another post later.


Giving a Little


I’ve come to realize that giving a little isn’t enough.  It’s a constant in life, at least if I want to have any quality of life and any sense of self-worth.  When I stop and sit on my laurels, I don’t actually have a sense of pride and accomplishment.  Instead, I have a general feeling of guilt that I didn’t step up and volunteer for something. 

When people say, “But you already do so much,” that to me is a cop-out.  I always argue this, because I never feel that I’ve done enough.  Yes, I have done a lot, yes, I will continue to do a lot, and yes, I truly think that what I did could have been done better or more fully.

See, I seldom think I did the absolute best job volunteering for something.  Usually, I realize I didn’t put in top-notch effort, and I think of how much better something could have turned out if I had, in fact, put in the amount of effort and planning I should have.  And yet, I know that if *I* don’t volunteer, it might not get done at all.  So I have this bizarre sense that I need to help out, but I don’t put all the effort into it that I could, and so people feel good that it gets done, but it doesn’t get done the way it would if one of the uber-super-awesome people volunteered to do it.

I think the reason I don’t commit fully to these tasks is that I don’t genuinely have the passion for them, and I am just stepping up to do them because no one else will.  I know it’s different when I truly feel inspired to take on a project – that’s when I devote myself to it fully, and I really try my best to make it work, not just to make it through.

I think I need to come to a place where I can allow myself to let go of the resentment I feel about being “forced” to volunteer for things.  If I can let go of that underlying feeling of resentment, I think I will be able to live more fully in the task and do as good of a job as it requires, not just limping along with it. 

My fear of doing it poorly also plays into this.  I don’t want to do a bad job of things, but I often don’t feel particularly passionate about doing them, so I procrastinate until the final product is “the best I can do at the last minute.”  If I can just let go of the fear of doing it poorly, let go of the resentment about doing it at all, and embrace the task, I think I’ll be able to make volunteering, giving, a rewarding instead of taxing.

I actually tried not volunteering for something this year at my kids’ school.  No one else stepped up to the plate to make it happen.  My kids, who had enjoyed participating in it last year, did not get the opportunity to be a part of it this year.  In all honesty, I didn’t feel equal to the task, and I wasn’t keen on the time commitment, but the fact of the matter remains that my unwillingness to take it on meant that no one got to participate.  The task for which I did volunteer was not done really well, but at least it meant that everyone in the school could be part of it, and one student went on to the state level of competition (not that I had anything to do with that student’s individual accomplishment). 

So even on those days when I feel that I have given enough, it just means that I need to let go and ask what else I can give.  And maybe, just maybe, that will mean I might set a good example for my kids.

Isn’t it funny?


So when you’re pumping along, going through the day, you mentally compose all these great blog posts.  You have witty, funny, pithy things to say.  Then, out of the blue, you have time to actually sit down and write, and yet you have nothing of substance to say?  You stare blankly at the equally blank screen with a bank of blank thoughts blanking out the day.

And then you have another sip of wine, because, really, when doesn’t wine make everything better?

And the best part about me and wine is that it makes hitting the delete key that much easier.  I had started typing this run-down on the latest bit of family drama, but I realize I don’t care enough right now to actually remember all the juicy bits.  And that’s fine by me.  I mean, really, who wants to hear about something that pitiful in detail?  Suffice it to say, I had a “moment,” and my dear friend talked me out of the wallowing in guilt and self-flagellation that I’m so very good at.

The best part was that everything she said was accurate.  And she knew what she was talking about, because her family gives mine a run for its money in the crazy category.  Not to mention that she had been here when everything was happening, so she had been in on the ground floor of insanity and knew all the fire escapes.  She helped me acknowledge that my family have put themselves in an untenable position despite my best efforts, not because of them.  She reminded me that most of the reason that things didn’t work out was because my parents weren’t willing to do the basic maintenance on themselves to keep themselves able to live without constant nursing supervision.  If they had only done something, we would have still been able to care for them.  Tonight, I reflected on this as I drove home, and I realized that it was really a blessing that I was forced out of it all, because I had been putting myself in debt to care for them, both financially and emotionally.   I had nothing left to give, and I was trapped.

So, without going into detail about it, I managed to pretty much go into detail about it.  How’s that for a worthless post?

It seems as though it doesn’t matter how much progress I make in freeing myself from this ugly knot of guilt and negative thinking, I come straight back to it.  But it also feels easier to let it go each time.  Yes, it’s there.  Yes, I feel guilt.  Now, let’s think about something else.

And right now, that something else is reading Harry Potter to my girls.

Blah Day


I stumbled out of bed today with a serious case of the Blahs.  I simply didn’t sleep well, and I was not ready for today to begin quite so… soon.

And then I had the daggers to my heart experience when I dropped my kids off for daycare at a “new” location.  See, I get to work today, and my kids have the day off school because of a teacher inservice.  So, I signed them up for their normal daycare all day today, but it’s at a different campus in their district.  I actually got them there on time and without any hiccups, but when I went to take them inside, the little one said, “I’m scared.”  The older one gave me sad puppy-dog eyes when I went to kiss her goodbye, and said, “Why do I have to stay all day?” 

You know, simply explaining that both their father and I have to work and we need a safe place to put them didn’t do the trick of alleviating the pain of that look.  Intellectually, I knew that the girls would probably have a great day once they forgot about having a bad one, but it didn’t make me feel any better about them being sad in the first place.


And so I started off writing about how it was a blah day, and I wound up having a really rather great day.  I was more productive than I’ve been in many days, actually getting things done on my To-Do list, working to finalize orders and take care of a billing discrepancy and really be “present” for the day. 

And now it’s a blustery cold but sunny day, and I’m going to take off and pick up my kids.  Tonight I’m going to see if they want to play a game before I try the Tuesday night yoga for the first time.  And, by golly, I’m going to read them some Harry Potter.

Resolutions: Two Week Update


So, it’s two weeks into a new year, and I feel that’s a good time to re-evaluate my resolutions. 

I went back and looked at my overly optimistic post about all the things I want to change about myself, and I realized that I’ve kept 3 of the multitude of resolutions I claimed.

Writing – no.  But I am writing more, so at least making the resolution has pointed me in the “write” direction.

Sticking to the meal plan – no.  That’s shattered a couple of times.  Would have loved to say yes, but man, those Girl Scout cookies are a real draw.

Size 10 – not yet.  Some of the 12’s are loose on me, but I have serious trust issues with those pants.  I raided my spare closet last night for other size 12 pants, and after I try those older ones on, we’ll talk.

Yoga – yes!  I have gone Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  Tuesdays for some reason just have not worked for me yet.  Perhaps it’s because I’m so tired after Monday and I just want to hide.

Daily vitamin – yes!  I have had my One-a-Day most days.  I’m also taking calcium and drinking vitamin water.

80 ounces of water – yes!  With the exception of a day here or there, I’ve been drinking an enormous amount of water.  It’s been helping a lot, and I have also noticed fewer problems with dry skin this winter.

Meditation – no.  I crawl into bed and then think, “Oh, I should have been meditating.”  And I don’t crawl back out.  I sort of compromise and try reading some Buddhist writing before drifting off.  Then I sort of practice the breathing technique.  Then I realize I’m ready for sleep and I zonk out.  Does that count?  Probably not.

I don’t know what my blood pressure is or has been since before Christmas.  I haven’t had a reading taken in a while.  I feel good for the most part, so I’m not as worried about it as perhaps I should or could be.  I guess I need to take readings on that at home, but I haven’t yet stirred myself to do so.

Today we had all-you-can-eat Chick-Fil-A as a working lunch.  Wowzers!  I realize I can eat a lot of salad.  I’m stuffed, but happily so.  I was strong enough to walk right on past the brownies and cake, have a single serving of fruit, and pile up on salad and even extra nuggets (rationalizing that they’re protein – okay, yes, deep fried protein with breading, but don’t burst my happiness bubble here!).  I’ve decided that Chick-Fil-A is a happiness-maker for me right now.  And it’s even better when someone else has footed the tab.  And all-you-can-eat?  Okay, this really is heaven.

Speaking of today, I scrounged up the courage to ask for help at work doing something I desperately need an outside pair of expert eyes to do, plus a seasoned veteran’s opinion on.  And it worked!  Not only will I get the help I need, but the head of the department understands my conundrum and is excited to use my stuff as her guinea pig experimenting with a new vendor.  It’s a total win-win!  I am having such a great day that I feel both super blessed – and as though I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop and me to realize how I really fouled something up.

But I’ll look on the bright side right now and just enjoy my happy Chick-Fil-A filled belly.

Penguins, Dogs, and Mangoes


I don’t know.  I’m so scattered this morning.  Today is MLK day, and I don’t have kids.  I still have to (get to) go to work.  I still get to put in a full day, but my kids are across town for a sleepover.  That’s because the daycare where I typically send them is closed today in honor of the holiday.  That’s fantastic, but I feel adrift starting my day without my penguin and dog, aka my little one and older one.

I should be amazingly liberated and happy.  I have all this freedom to do whatever I want.  Instead, there’s just a general sense of greyness.  It’s like a fog over my morning.  Sure, I haven’t gotten worked up because no one is following my directions, but I also haven’t had the little chirpy conversations or morning hugs or anything like that to get me going.  And though I cannot to save my life do something which requires strict daily fidelity, when my patterns of action are broken, I feel a little lost.  I guess they’re just a happy (if often trying) part of my morning routine.  Without them, I probably will forget half of what I need to bring today, run late because I’m not chivvying them out the door, and be “off” most of the day.  I need them to be my full and complete “me.”  The best part of my day today will be getting to pick them up.

And that’s what kind of sucks.  When I’ve got them, I appreciate them, but sometimes I feel as though I might get more done, be more productive, have less to do, if I only had a few hours without them.  And then here I am, the day I don’t have them, getting approximately zilch accomplished because I’m lonely.  Grrr.

Well, actually, I do feel as though writing is accomplishing something, but you know what I mean.

Okay, enough about that.  I still have a fragment of time before I must depart.

We did go and check on our house last night.  The one that for the past few months we let out to my sister-in-law and brother-in-law (not married to each other – they’re siblings).  Yeah, that didn’t work out so well.  The best part was that it ended before the New Year.  That means that nearly all the horrible family drama (and I feel my blood pressure spiking just typing those words – lovely) was confined to 2011.  That must mean that 2012 will be better in that regard.  Well, we knew my husband’s brother and sister were moving back from the Grand Canyon.  So we had this house that was sitting empty,* and we thought it would be great if the house payment was covered, at least in part, by someone renting it from us.  We knew that they needed to find work and all, so we put the payment as really low – $100 per week, bills paid.  Seriously.  And they still didn’t make the rent more often than not.  And it was always excuses.  “We didn’t get enough hours.”  “We couldn’t get a job.”  “We had to pay the cell phone bill.”  But because it was his siblings, we couldn’t really come down hard on them, even though we had a renter’s agreement.  Even his ever-loving mom stepped in and pleaded with us to continue to let them stay.  Well, let me tell you – their excuses were bogus.  I don’t give a rat’s patootie.  They were full of it and milking their brother for all they were worth.  But did I have room to talk?  Not much.  Not after all the crap we went through with my family and that he put up with.  Then, without any real notice, we find out that they moved out.  Part of me wanted to be angry, “Hey, you still owe us money, you twerps!”  But the rest of me was just glad to get my house back.  See, I have this horrible feeling that everything here is going to go wahoonie-shaped, and I want to have a fall-back plan.  I want to have a house that’s mine through and through in case that happens.  No, I don’t want to uproot my family and move again, but I want security.

So here’s my initial game plan: we’re going to work on clearing out the rest of our stuff from the other house now that we’ve got places for it and now that we’re more comfortable with letting go of stuff (garage sale!).  I really want to get all the “stuff” handled before Spring Break.  That gives us roughly two months, so it should be feasible without becoming a major stress fixation.  We’re going to do that in bits and pieces.  It’ll be bite-size chunks, or like someone in a writing class once said, “Mangoes for the wolverine.”  Apparently, he and his roommate had a pet wolverine, and they would feed it bits of mango before it’s real meal, as sort of an appetizer.  That’s how I think we might be able to accomplish getting it all done.  Otherwise, I think I would be overwhelmed by trying to live my life, do things with the kids, go to work, keep house over here, and figure out the other house.  So, we’re planning to divide and conquer by taking turns over-nighting at the other house.  My husband’s got crazy days off right now, falling at all times during the week, so it makes sense for him to go out there Tuesday night and spend all day Wednesday working on the house, either fixing and cleaning or sorting and clearing things.  Then, Saturday, after we do our indenture selling Girl Scout cookies at table sales (seriously, like five hours – yay), we’ll be heading out there to spend the night so that I can go through a whole bunch of treasures and junk** that we accumulated in our bid to become hoarders ourselves.  Of course, part of my evil plan is that I will continue to sell Girl Scout cookies in that neighborhood, too, thus sealing my bid for world-wide dominance!  Bwahahahaha!

Really, I just know that I can do it if I don’t have the pressure of needing to get it all done in just a few hours.  If I know that it’s mangoes for the wolverine, I probably will be able to handle it – and having my penguin and dog along will help, too.


*Well, we still had stuff in it because we’re recovering hoarders and we had moved into a house that was full of my parents’ hoarded stuff, so we didn’t have room for a whole bunch of things we really cared about – so we just left it in our old house.

**Treasures include some things like our marriage license and favorite books that we like to re-read.  Junk includes some stuff that we picked up along the way, either thinking we might be able to use it later, or more often because someone wanted to get rid of their hoard dumped it on us, and we were too naive to say, “No, thanks.”

Remind me to bring: glue to fix books, Girl Scout cookies to push off, I mean sell, my badge, my phone, my wallet, my water… gosh, what am I still forgetting?  Oh – COFFEE!  Granted, I’ve already had two large cups, but more is happy-making.

Strength of Success


Last night, I enjoyed a personal triumph.  I was able to hold my body up off the ground for at least two seconds in a crow position hand stand.  Basically, it’s where you put your hands flat on the floor shoulder distance apart and rest your knees on your triceps, gradually shifting your weight off of your toes until you’re completely airborne with only your hands on the floor.  It’s called an inversion in yoga, because you’re inverting your body to be upside-down.  Before last night, I was not able to do it.  I didn’t understand the mechanics of it, I didn’t think I was strong enough, and I didn’t see how this much of me could possibly be up in the air.

Last night, it clicked. 

Something about the way the instructor told us to position our hands and feet helped me, but also a determination to keep trying.  I had gone back to reading my pocket Buddhist text, and it just does something to my mind that allows me to be more comfortable in who I am.  It really advocates embracing yourself and all your feelings and being fully present in the moment. 

That was my “intention” last night – to be fully present for the entire class.  I wasn’t 100% successful with that, my mind occasionally straying, but I was able to really listen to what the instructor said, getting into the flow of the vinyasa and anticipating the next move, which is key to moving as fast as this chick takes us.  I finally let go of “not being able” of “not knowing what I’m doing” and just paid attention to what was going on around me and with my body. 

Now, was I perfect?  Did I do every move?  Did I have perfect timing?  No, no, and no.  But I did feel more empowered.  And I think that really helped me get up in the air.

I felt so good about it, that I had to share with my husband when I got home.  His response was guardedly supportive.  In that, “That’s wonderful!  But what do you mean?” sort of way.  So I had to show him what I meant.  And then he *was* impressed. 

Today, I feel it in my muscles, the tinge of pain, the reminder that I pushed the envelope.  It hurts just a little, but more than anything, it makes me feel as though I have strength.  It has helped me feel capable and positive all day long, even with the levels of crazy that get thrown at me. 

In a way, I’m glad that I don’t have a yoga class tonight.  I know I need some time for my muscles to repair themselves and to rest, but I really want to do it again.  And again.

And part of the cool thing about my impression of the Buddhist stuff is that when you have a personal triumph, when you experience a success, you should share – you should breathe out that sense of accomplishment to make the world around you better.  It kind of makes sense, too.  When you’re around people who are happy for having done something good, your whole outlook is happier.  When you’re around pessimistic people, you feel like it’s a real downer. 

So there is strength in success.



psst… I have something to tell you.

I cheated.

I cheated on my diet. 

I cheated.

Saturday I had chocolate cake with frosting from Wal-Mart.  And homemade frenchbread pizzas with pepperoni.

Sunday I had Ben & Jerry’s Karamel Sutra ice cream.  And I ate myself nearly sick on pizza at DoubleDave’s.

Monday… Hmmm… I can’t recall what I did Monday.  Maybe I was good.

Tuesday, I had a sleeve of peanut butter sandwich cookies, a couple of other cookies, the rest of the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, kettle corn popcorn, a bazillion rice cakes, and chocolate.

Wednesday, I had a lemonade cookie and a bazillion rice cakes.

And dammit if every day this week I didn’t drop weight on the scale at work.  That thing must be broken, ’cause I cheated.

It couldn’t be that I drank lots of water or went to work out or ate really well with the exception of those lapses.  There must be some magical reason that scale is now showing me weighing what I did before Christmas break.  It sure as hell can’t be because I am following some diet religiously.  I’ve even had major guilt issues about how I am not doing what I need to do to lose weight.  And to have dropped 4 pounds this week?  This is so freaking unfair. 

Think of all those times when I do “everything right” and hover steadily at the same weight – or even gain.  What is wrong with this picture?  I thought cheaters weren’t supposed to prosper.  I don’t know.  I guess I’ll go drink another water.

Pants: the ultimate lie detectors


*written December 1*

Okay, so I am not a clothes person.  My idea of clothes are something you must wear because otherwise you’d be nekkid, and people just don’t need to see that.

If I were never going out or going to be seen, I would wear: sports shorts, a supportive bra, and a tank top.  If it’s cold, I’d up the ante and have on a hoodie and slipper socks*.  Maybe jeans.

If I’m going to be out but not to be seen (stealth shopping), I’d wear jeans and a favorite t-shirt.

But when I know I’m going to “be seen,” I actually have to think about clothes.  And that… that is not my enjoyment.

As a defense, I have developed some mad wardrobing skills.  I have brown.  Yup, brown.  And some black.  And a couple of jewel-tones for variety, but there is an awful lot of brown.  Brown is comfortable.  I like to think it goes with my coloring. 

So Monday, I whipped out my brown slacks for work (it was 36 degrees, so I tend to veer away from skirts in that weather), and made my happy way to work.  And then I realized I was stepping on something.  I looked, but there was nothing there.  Nothing stuck to my shoe, nothing on the ground, nothing.  That’s when it hit me: I was treading on my pants cuffs.  Seriously?  I had gotten to the point where my clothes were literally hanging off of me?  Okay, time to go down a size.

Tuesday, I really didn’t think about the sizes when I was getting dressed.  I was concentrating on the warmth factor.  I whipped out my black corduroy slacks (which I recognize to be an absurd sort of item to have in one’s repertoire of clothes), and headed out to work.  And I’m thinking that these are the same size, because I haven’t worn them in a year.  I mean, who would wear black corduroy in a Texas summer?  All day long, I’m thinking that these pants are strangely baggy.  When I get home, I go to take these pants off, and I realize that they ARE the next size smaller.  So, basically, I’m out of clothes that fit.  I have zero pants to wear that are not elephant skin on me. 


And I realize that these pants are telling me the truth – I really have lost weight and inches.  I really have gone down about 3 sizes.  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  The meal plan is WORKING!


*I have since discovered that this is the official uniform of really scary neighbors.  Maybe I should cease and desist with this outfit.

Value Added


So the other day, I threw a huge pity party.  I didn’t call it that myself, mind you.  It was aptly labeled by my best friend.  I was on a tear about how the world would be so much better simply without me in it.  I was too expensive, I didn’t accomplish anything meaningful, I’d yelled at my kids, I was running late, I was stuck behind a major accident in traffic, I had gotten scratched by my dog because I was yelling at him to get in the crate, my husband’s “car” broke down and it took me nearly an hour to get to help him, it was freezing cold and raining, I hadn’t had a home-cooked healthy breakfast, and I was drinking Whataburger coffee.

I was seriously questioning my whole value of existence, thinking that it would be much better if I somehow suddenly died and my husband and kids could benefit from the life insurance.

And then today happened.

Well, actually, last night happened first.  Last night, I had put the kids to bed, had cleaned up in the kitchen, had put the finishing touches on lunches for today, and had poured myself a glass of wine.  I’d just taken a sip of wine when my oldest comes in for a goodnight kiss.

I kiss her, she stops, looks at me, and asks, “Have you been drinking alcohol?”

I say, “Yes, I have a glass of wine.”

She asks why, so I tell her that it’s because I read that having a glass of wine every night is good for you if you are at high risk of heart attack or stroke, both of which run in my family, and because of the hypertension issues I’ve been experiencing.  She then traipsed off to bed, and I thought nothing more of it.

Come this morning, I drop her off at school, and she is bawling.  She is crying her eyes out.  At first, I think it’s because she thinks her coat got lost, but then she tells me that she cried herself to sleep last night thinking that I was going to have a heart attack or stroke!  I get her inside, cuddle her, and tell her that I am doing everything I can to prevent that happening.  That’s *why* I am working out and losing weight and watching my blood pressure and meditating and taking yoga and, yes, drinking a glass of wine.

So I came out of that experience realizing that, even if I think I’m doing an awful job at being a person and a mom and everything else, there’s one very important person in this world who would be devastated if I wasn’t here.  It’s humbling… and good.  It’s like an anchor to the present.  I’ve got to be here, regardless of how painful or crazy or frustrating it gets.  I’ve got to be here even if I feel as though I’m flubbing it entirely, and I’ve got a reason to hold it together.  I might not add much value to the world, but I am the world to one of the most important people in mine.