Hey state of South Carolina, GIVE LANDON HER FUCKING SPEECH THERAPY ALREADY!
Because I cannot sleep until she gets it. And that’s not becoming of me…
(sorry for cursing mom)
Hey state of South Carolina, GIVE LANDON HER FUCKING SPEECH THERAPY ALREADY!
Because I cannot sleep until she gets it. And that’s not becoming of me…
(sorry for cursing mom)
You don’t know me. We have never met. I’m a former General, former lacrosse player, former Kappa. Although you don’t know me, I’ve always felt that the W&L community really belongs to one another. We’re connected to each other through a deep love for our school, our traditions, our community. That’s why I’m writing to you. I know your hearts are breaking today. I know there’s nothing your family or friends can say, let alone a stranger, to make you feel better. You will just need to grieve for a while.
Whether Kelsey was one of your best friends, a classmate, a sorority sister or you just knew her name…I know it hurts. I know your sadness and the vigils you’re holding for the other students still in the hospital. I know the anger, frustration and shell shocked grief that is gripping you. Sadly… almost every W&L student knows these emotions as well… all too well.
Every single alumni that I know knows what it’s like to lose someone we care about or to come close to losing someone or both. We remember their faces, we remember their names, we remember the funerals and memorials, we remember the visits to the ICU and the flowers we brought to their bedsides. It still hurts to remember those days after the accidents… when we didn’t know what to do with ourselves. We didn’t know where to turn or what to say. I remember the wave of relief upon moving out of Lexington because the statistics of being in a drunk driving accident would go down. And yet…. year after year, the emails come. The alumni network emails of accident after accident. My kappa girls all shouting over email “again!!” and “why?!”
Drinking and driving happens at all schools, I know that. But…it truly feels like it happens MORE often at our school. It’s probably the size of the school. The student body is one of the smallest out there. It’s probably due to the fact that by our sophomore years, we know almost every student’s name on campus. Yet even with Traveler (the sober ride system) being founded by two of my dear friends, it still happens. We still relive this pain annually.
We can blame the school for not sanctioning Traveler to all parties (which is seemingly impossible), we can blame the houses for being too far out of town, we can blame the party throwers for not offering sober rides home. We can blame lots of people and some of them do require blame. But… it’s time for you students to act. It’s time for each incoming class to sign a sober driving pledge. It’s time for all of you to realize you are not invincible. That if you drive or allow your friend to drive drunk… someone WILL get hurt. They do every damn year.
Promise each other that this will stop. Promise your parents that you’ll think twice, call a friend who is in the library, call your sorority or fraternity brother, call a classmate, call anyone… that was not drinking to come get you. They will. That’s the thing about W&L… more than any other school I’ve witnessed… we Generals belong to each other. We serve one another in the community and we show up for one another when someone is in need. If we belong to one another like we say we do, let’s make each class take this pledge and hold each other to it.
Our school is notorious for scaring freshman with the EC lecture in Lee Chapel, and therefore cheating rarely happens. Students are more than honest with what they perceive to be cheating. Honesty and forthrightness are two of the most common traits. So PLEASE fold into that same lecture in Lee Chapel one about drunk driving. Talk about it. Make it known that this happens almost every single year and we are all sick and tired of being heartbroken. Show the students’ faces who have passed away. Show photos of the accidents. Show students that they DO have a choice. They do not have to get behind the wheel or in the car when someone does.
So… I’m asking you today, do something with your grief. Do something for Kelsey. Take a stand. Say a pledge. Stop drinking and driving… PLEASE.
I’m thinking of and praying for you now and always.
Days strung together with so many questions. Around town, the interesting (that’s a word for it) evaluation, a specialist.
What are those things on her head? What syndrome does she have? What is Treacher Collins? Why emergency c section? Did you know when you were pregnant? Is she talking? How many words? No words? How many sounds? Is she walking? No? Are you worried? What muscles on the eye did they move? Did anyone tell you to patch the eye? Did anyone tell you she may need glasses? Can you wait another hour? Are you free for another evaluation in 2 weeks?
She’s actually doing so well, are you okay with only a few therapy sessions a month?
Ummmm… No… I am NOT.
If you couldn’t tell… tonight I snapped. And cried in bed to Bo, wearing old leggings, two different socks and with dirty hair. I might have unraveled a bit this week and it’s only Tuesday.
I moved, I know. I signed up to start the process over. BUT… It still hurts… the revisiting. It stings. I can’t articulate clearly to husband why. It just all sucks some days. Why her?!?! I mean… That question still pops in my head. Is that normal? I am guessing yes, actually.
Some nights I need to wallow. I think that’s okay. We have these rotten feelings some nights so in the morning when our littles hug our necks and give us slobbery kisses- we can start over. Fresh day, more love. Leaving the emotional freak out behind… new strength to soldier on.
"To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven
A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together”
- the Byrds
I used to listen to this song on repeat on the Forest Gump soundtrack for a full year after this movie came out. I remember my mom coming up to my attic room and laughing at how funny it was that I loved the songs of her past so much. I felt so cool singing the lyrics from the late 60’s and early 70’s. I was 14 and thought I could identify with how teenagers and young adults felt during this momentous time in history. I was a bit of a dramatic teenager.
Now, however, these lyrics and this sentiment are more accurate in describing my life than any song currently being written. The song is actually a passage from the Bible - a place I don’t usually quote from- but Ecclesiastes expresses the same thing… there truly is a time for every season of your life. And none of them are at the same time.
There is a season for raising a happy, well adjusted, emotionally secure, child with whom I do therapy twice a day every day amidst a tantrum. There is a season for a fabulous, romantic, peaceful marriage. There is a season for intense focus on a job or a lifelong dream project. These are not, however, the same season. You and I both want these to be the same seasons. We really do. So we try and fight and claw our way forward trying to keep all of these proverbial balls in the air. When one or all of them drop, so do our spirits. Our hope and belief in ourselves that we can do it all dwindles. We lose faith in whatever Spirit we pray to. We forget that it’s just not in the power of heaven and Earth for all of these seasons to coexist.
I know this. But I forget it pretty much every day. If I’m focused on Landon, getting her care set up, troubleshooting hearing aids, calling appointments, driving to evaluations, googling the latest in baha technologies, talking to Cochear, reading about how to get your toddlers to finally walk, what foods should she eat to gain weight (ETC!!), I simply cannot expect myself to also be able to be the most amazingly focused wife.
Once she is adjusted, her care is in place, and life stabilizes, then and only then will it be the time for my marriage come back into season. This sounds harsh for the husbands or partners. But if you are the primary caregiver and you give and give and give to your little or littles all day…. it’s almost impossible to give that same amount to your spouse that same season. You can absolutely give something. Give love, give respect, give patience.
When it’s the season for your marriage… revel in it. Focus on it. You’ll be loving your children and focused on them enough. But focus more on your spouse. Each morning, determine what you can do that day to make your spouse’s life easier or better. Smile at them and hug them more often. Go out alone without the child, or in our case, also without your parents. Be alone and remember what it was like when you were dating. Talk about the future together. Make plans.
Seasons can be in days, weeks, months. Maybe one day you need it to be the season for you. Not be mom for a day. Go get your hair done or go to the spa. Be alone for a while. That is OKAY, mommas. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad mother. You’re not a bad wife. It doesn’t mean the time for career success won’t also happen.
The season for success will happen, even if it’s currently the season for therapy and doctors for your wee one. That success might happen next month or a little while down the line. Don’t despair. We can have it all. Just not all at the same time. And that, my friends, is okay.
Currently, this is my season for adjusting. My Landon season of augmenting our life. It’s been wonderful and taxing, comforting and challenging. I love the peace of this place we now live, my extra hours with her. I am doing all of her therapy though myself and it’s pretty hard. She won’t pay attention; she’s all over the place. I pray daily her language and speech isn’t suffering at my hands. Therapy will start…maybe in a month. Who knows. Things move at a slower pace here and I have to fight for patience every hour. The season for my marriage is knocking at the door though. It needs attention, badly probably. I don’t know how to balance it all. And it’s been unraveling me a bit. Keeping me up late, on my mind during my long runs.
So this post is to remind myself of the seasons. Remind myself and anyone else going through this season balancing act that it’s alright to let each thing in your life have it’s turn in the spotlight. I want desperately to start a nonprofit. It’s all mapped out in my head. But this isn’t it’s season yet. Maybe next week, or next month. This month is adjusting for Landon. Settling her into her new life. Getting her therapy going and doctors identified in Charleston. And I need to be okay with that. Accept the season.
The season for my marriage is coming. I’m preparing myself for the work we need, and saying my blessings daily for my husband and all that he gives me. Once there is peace in the land of Landon…. it’s time to focus on the husband. On his needs and our needs. After that, the season for helping others and working on my non profit will emerge. These three things will take their turns, living each season in it’s own time.
Ironic that it’s almost time for seasons greetings, isn’t it?!
Sending you love, patience, and faith in yourselves.
Given the fact that bug had a 102 degree fever, the world’s most disgusting virus aptly named foot and mouth disease, we got here safely on Tuesday night. So we were off to a bang arriving in SC this week. The poor girl had blisters on her face, knees, butt and feet. People literally moved away from us in the airport. I don’t exactly blame them. The girl kept her face glued to mine so if I get this thing…..
Alas, we’ve mostly healed and bug is back to acting like herself. So far she’s let me know that she hates riding in the car by screaming at an unnatural decibel, prefers to walk by standing on my foot and digging her nails into my thigh and going for a ride. She enjoys plunging her face in the dog’s water bowl and then racing to the back screen door to push herself out onto the wooden stairs. Basically she’s tried to kill herself any way possible since we arrived. So I’m…. tired.
So on one of the rougher days I hauled bug over to Walgreens to pick up even more medicine. As I propped her up on the counter to pay, the four people behind me came up closer and leaned in. I steeled myself for hearing aid comments, what’s wrong with her comments, or pity stares. What happened though… caught me off guard. One after the other people ooo’d and ahhh’d over her.. “She is soooooo precious!” “My word, is that little one cute!” “How old is she, honey?” And I remembered why I moved here. I took the deepest breath and realized for the most part we’ve left so much behind us. We live in the south now where kindness really does prevail.
On top of this neighborly love, yesterday I unpacked one of my miscellaneous boxes that had a wine opener, dog treats, medical records and Landon’s baby book. I never got around to filling out the book yet but it holds every card bug received in her first year of life. Every note y’all sent us, I kept. So as she napped, I read. And cried. I had not read your words, sweet friends, since I received them when she was born. I had not reflected on her surgery since you sent her cards covered in bedazzled band aids. I was filled with so much positive energy that it gave me the extra strength I needed to finish the week. I’ve given thanks for y’all over the last year but felt like doing it again today. My mother’s friends, coworkers turned confidants, best friends, godparents, strangers, and friends with whom I’ve not spoken in a decade… so many of you have sent love our way. I re-read your words and my heart was so full I thought I would explode. I fully intend to pay it forward the rest of my life. I only hope to be the kind of friend to y’all when you need it.
As we adjust down here and begin this new life, I’ll do so knowing that so many wonderful people have our backs. I know y’all will be here or there when we need you. I’m SO grateful for that fact.
I’ll now go back to trying to get used to the quiet life….
“A poem compresses much in a small space and adds music, thus heightening its meaning. The city is like poetry: it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal engines. The island of Manhattan is without any doubt the greatest human concentrate on earth, the poem whose magic is comprehensible to millions of permanent residents but whose full meaning will always remain elusive.”
-E.B White, Here is New York
Well… it’s time. Time to say goodbye to my home for the past 10.5 years. My home where I became the person I am today. The home where I found my family of friends, found my husband, had my baby girl. This home that has been brutal and beautiful, thrilling and challenging… truly life altering.
Living in New York gives you a sense of accomplishment. I proudly say I’m from New York City and because of that fact I walk differently. Hold my head higher, a swing in my step. I just achieved my New Yorker status and with that… I’m gone.
Things come full circle in a New York life. It’s the beauty and brutal part about living here. One day I’m getting laid off, the next week I’m starting a job that’ll change my life- set it in motion towards what my life is now. One night my heart is broken over a boy, the next I’m falling in love. One best friend leaves, and the next week I start a job where I’ll meet two new best friends to add to my family. It’s the New York circus- it’s an amazing ride.
This city contains so much beauty - gritty beauty but beauty nonetheless. My fondest memories are not that of my family here, although I’m beyond grateful to have created one within these city walls. The memories I cherish are those from my first two years here. With no responsibility except to myself, I would wander the city. Wander in and out of bookstores, record stores, crossing famous bridges, drinking at the oldest of bars. The girls and I created quite a life back in our early twenties. Anything seemed possible because we had each other. We focused more on survival than wild and lofty dreams most days, but all were spent genuinely content in each other’s company and knowing that we believed all that we wished for would come true. We sought love, career excellence and above all fun. And man… does this city deliver fun. Fun in the image of girls dancing all night, watching the sunrise on a rooftop amidst the water towers, and more wandering of unexplored neighborhoods.
Bo and I both feel like we’ve reached the proverbial light at the other side of the tunnel. I feel like we actually closed the loop on every detail. Said our farewells over a good period of time. It feels like it’s actually time to leave… time to move on. As bittersweet as it feels to leave my family of friends, the city I love… it’s time to offer Landon an easier and better life that I can’t give her here. Less struggle, more family, less stress, more peace. Crying as I might be over writing this farewell, I know that I want to give her this southern life. Raise her closely to the way Bo and I were raised.
With new dreams and new hope in my heart, I say farewell. New York, I love you. Thanks for the memories.
“Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these three trembling cities the greatest is the last—the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is this third city that accounts for New York’s high-strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements. Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.”
- E.B. White, Here is New York