I always thought of blogs as being narcissistic, business related, or as my sister's, a way of keeping in touch or memorializing.

But, by necessity, I am learning a lot about myself. I find I need to get my thoughts out, and it helps me to know that someone else will read them. So I have created this little space for myself, to express the things I have trouble saying (be it emotional or physical trouble), to share what I'm going through, and what I'm learning through it.

I absolutely welcome comments. It's nice to know how people relate to what I'm saying.
To send me a private message, please e-mail me: flylittlewordsfly@gmail.com
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Friday, 13 May 2011


My family is close. Crazy close. My sister and I live on the same block (she was here first). Our parents live only 5 minutes away. My extended family is flung far and wide, but we are still closely connected (yay Facebook!), and I feel their support regularly (Cuq and Sue who leaves those beautiful quotes in the comments is my mom's sister in Oregon) and it buoys me. But this post is all about my mother... (smile if you get the reference)... and my father and my sister.

The last couple of weeks have been hard. I'm coming out of a really rough patch. I'm overexerted and exhausted and moody. For a week and a half, my son and I moved back to my childhood home - childhood room, to be even more specific. My parents nurtured us, gave us shelter and entertained us. My mother fed us, drove us around, and cleaned up after us. My father read bedtime stories, ran interference when my patience was low, and generally kept us entertained (and shared some really super special wines). They both coddled me and gave my son the attention and play-time he deserves. It is so comforting to know that I have a soft place to land.

The time in their home and since coming home again, has been, as always, fraught with reflection.

I read stories every day - people like me, who are ill and need support, but aren't getting it for whatever reason. I read about families that are in denial. I read about families that are far away, or too busy dealing with their own issues, or just don't understand. The hardest ones for me to read about are those who honestly don't know how to deal with their loved one's illness. These stories make me sad, but they also make me thankful in a really humble kind of way.

Now I know, thanks to years of therapy and navel-gazing, that in great part, my relationship with my family has developed as it has in great part because of my attitude, my actions, and the way I relate to them. I have come to terms with their imperfections and mine, and have found better (read: not harmful) ways of expressing my rebellious nature (hello, ink!). But I also know, in a different sense, that I am incredibly fortunate - fortunate to have been born into a family that values and respects family as an entity. And the older I get and the more people I get to know the more I realize how unusual and amazing that is.

Yes, I have felt at times misunderstood, and yes, we do disagree, and yes, my values have evolved and shifted and changed. But the core remains as it has always been. Family is important. I have never felt unappreciated, or unimportant. Not really. My parents were never too busy for me. Not even when my Dad was having  a hard time finding work in a new country, or when my mother was juggling a professorship with becoming principal of our school.

Many years ago, when my sister was newly married and I was pregnant, my dad gave us each a quarter - a symbol for their continued support of their grown-up daughters. He said no matter what happens, that quarter means we are just a phone call away, always. I don't think he expected us to use them as often as we do - except now we use our cell phones. I know I did not expect a daily "checking in" call from my mom when I got sick, but she does call every single day. My father - such a rock - is helping me with all the benefits applications, and to keep my paper-life on track. Thanks to him, my power hasn't been shut off, and my car insurance is up to date.

This week, my Mom has been out of town. That means that this week my sister and I have had to actually fend for ourselves, driving our boys to school and back and *gasp* feeding them breakfast. My sister, with her husband, demanding career and three young children, has rearranged her days, and her husband's days, in order to do the driving on days that I am particularly immobile. She has fed me, checked in on me, and generally been there, even when her own life is so very very full.

My family can't possibly really understand what I'm going through, because they've never experienced anything like this - and I hope they never do. But they have taken the time and made the effort to learn about my illness, to listen to me, and to read these little words. They come to doctor's appointments, and they never fail to invite me to join them in a wide variety of activities, even when they know I will say no.

What I want, my dears, is for you to know that I do not take any of this for granted. I know the effort you make, and I know that my illness makes your lives harder, and that you would like as much as I would for there to be an easy cure. I know you will shake your heads at me and say "of course we do this for you - what else would we do?" but I need you to know that I appreciate it - every little bit of it. I also want you to know that your support helps me, it keeps me going, physically and emotionally. Right now, you really are, quite literally, my strength. I love you, and whether or not you know it, I know I'm lucky to have you.


  1. Tears welling up...

    Not sure if I can contain them...

    Such beautiful words about people who mean the most to you...

    Know that we will carry you with us this summer. You will make each of us stronger as we finish our training and return to our individual schools. Our one shoulder will have Maria perched whispering the great words in our ears and on the other shoulder will be Andy whispering what each of those words mean...

  2. Now I'm the one in tears. Thanks, boo. It means a lot to me that you think of me that way.