Friday, May 30, 2008

Mama's Boy

A song by N, age 7, strummed on his toy guitar:
I love my mommy

So much

and I like my mommy's eyes and her smile and her ears and her mouth

and I like her teeth

She is the perfect mom in the whole wide world and if she gets mad at me I still like her

and I love her still, I still love her, I still love my mommy

I love my mommy, every time she says no, every time she says no when I want to borrow her camera, she says no and no and I don't care if she says no and then I don't care

I love my mommy so much and her eyes are beautiful and her smile is so beautiful and her teeth are so clean

I love my mommy so much, I love her mouth and her nose, I love her ears and I love to kiss her, I love to give her the biggest kisses

She always says 'that's my favorite kiss'

and I love my mommy soooooo muuuuuuuuuch!
I may just have to cut him up into bite-sized pieces so that I can eat him up properly.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Teach Your Children Well

I was pulling weeds, and Em was sitting on the garden wall, watching, when she asked, "Mom, do you remember if you liked boys when you were my age?"

I stopped and thought about it. "I don't think so," I said. "I know I started liking boys by sixth grade, which is next year for you, but I was older than you...I was 12 within the first few months of sixth grade, and you will only have just turned 11 when you start sixth."

She digested, then said, "Sometimes my friends ask me which boy I like, but I really don't like any of them."

"That's FINE," I replied.

"Oh, I know," she said. "But C says I'm weird because I don't have a crush on anyone."

I start to do my usual "Well, C is talking out of her ass" speech (which doesn't actually include the word ass, but you get my drift), when she stops me. "She's just kidding, Mom."

"I know. But I'll tell you something, Em. Sometimes, when someone tells you something over and over, even if they're just kidding, you start to believe it. And I just want you to follow your own heart; I don't want you believing that there's anything wrong with you at all, even if your friends are telling you there is."

"Oh, trust me Mom," she said, waving dismissively. "I won't. I've been taught better than to ever believe anything like that."

Yes, I'm still grinning from that one this morning.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More Stairs

The stairs. They're baaaaaack.

They did an OPINION POLL of the parents about which entrance they prefer to drop their kids off at: the stairs or the ramp. According to the cheery-voiced principal, who left a school-wide phone-tree message last night, the "overwhelming majority" preferred the stairs. (Of course they did. It's about 100 feet closer to about 85% of the homes that feed into this school. Comfort first!) So the ramp gate is once again being locked...and the kids are once again being herded up the concrete staircase.

But hey. The "overwhelming majority" prefers it that way. Which is definitely going to make me feel a lot better when some kid splits their head open falling down those stairs on one of our notoriously windy-and-rainy foothill mornings where it's hard enough keeping your footing on the sidewalk, never mind hold onto an umbrella/backpack/lunchbox/diorama/band instrument as you walk up an exposed set of stairs. Never mind the blood! The parents don't want to walk around the corner, so that's the chance we'll take!

Since when do we make SAFETY DECISIONS regarding our children--or even ourselves--based on a popularity contest?

I am so pissed, I don't even know which angry letter to shoot off first. School superintendent? Local papers? Child advocacy groups?


Friday, May 23, 2008

Mother of the Year

It's pouring today, here in It-Never-Rains-in-Southern-California-land. (Insert rant here about how it was over 100 degrees five days ago, and is today not going to get out of the mid 60s. Insert sarcastic comment here about how I'm coming down with a cold and feel like crap and gee, I wonder where THAT came from?)

This morning, Em's grade left for a much-anticipated field trip to see a Civil War re-enactment. And, much more importantly, to buy pies, if the information that Emily gave me about the trip is an indication. "We'll be leaving at 7:30 and we'll be back around 4. They supposedly have great pies there. They're $15 a pie. I think he said they have cherry, and apple, and blueberry, and Boston creme, and..."

As she left this morning, I wondered idly, "Gee. Rain and threatened thundershowers, and 60-some fifth-graders in an open field. Is that a good idea? And shouldn't she be wearing something more than just a hooded sweatshirt?" And then I waved as she and Baroy got into the car to drive to school, went to make a cup of tea, and promptly forgot all about the fact that I was sending my child off to be electrocuted. (In my defense...I did send her with an umbrella. It's broken, and she's likely to spear some poor kid in the eye with one of the errant spikes, but it's an umbrella.)

It wasn't until about 15 minutes ago, when one of her friends' moms emailed me to say, "So WHERE did they go again?" that I realized that not only did I send my underdressed, poorly equipped kid off to be electrocuted in a field somewhere...I don't even know WHERE that field is.

I sat there, still fairly unconcerned, for about five minutes. And then the niggling started. I could have just called the school and asked for the name of the place, but that would be admitting to people who recognize my voice (yes, I call and/or am in the faces of people in the school often enough that all I have to do is say hi and they say, "Oh, hi TC! What can we do for you TODAY?") that I am exactly the kind of mother I apparently am. So that wasn't happening.

Thank god for Google, is all I can say. "Civil War reenactment California" got me a list of places that have these things. (Who knew California had any kind of stake at all in the Civil War?) But then I started thinking...WAS it a Civil War reenactment? Or was it a Revolutionary War reenactment? And will that make a difference in the chances of my child getting struck by lightning?

In any case, I did eventually figure out which place it was, or at least I think I did. (Something in the deep recesses of my brain went 'ping' when I was looking at the list, and I recalled Em saying something about 'wonder whether it's raining in Oak Glen, too?") And I'd feel good about that, if it weren't for the weather alert on the home page.

But, hey. I can't be the WORST mother ever. Because the other parent? Had to wait to get the possibly-incorrect information from me. So, at worst, I'm the SECOND worst mother ever.

Go me.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


N's been taking golf lessons for a little over a year now. About a month ago, he graduated from the beginner's group--which had kids 5, 6, and 7 years of age--to the 'juniors' group, which has kids between the ages of 7 and 14.

Today, when he came home from his hour-and-a-half lesson, he came running in to me, waving a dollar bill. "Look what I won!" And behind him came Baroy, simply grinning.

"Tell Mommy how you got that," Baroy said.

At which point N starting saying something about chipping and "that girl" and "and I won!"

Apparently, at the end of class today, the teacher told each kid to grab one ball. He put them behind a line and told them to chip onto the green, and the kid who got closest to the hole would win a dollar.

That kid? That would be N.

I know that pretty much every parent of every kid who ever picks up a golf club and enjoys it thinks that kid is going to be the next Tiger Woods. I'm no exception. N's innate talent at this game is scary. It's scarier still when you think about the fact that he has fine-motor deficits, and that the sorts of other issues he has are often paired with gross motor delays as well. And, in fact, he actually has some gross motor delays. They just don't visibly affect his golf game.

Look. I know there's no crystal ball here. I know he may turn out to be nothing more than a kid who enjoys playing this particular game. But, today, my child--the one whose teacher thinks needs more help than he's getting, the one whose occupational therapist is concerned about, the one who doesn't go through his days racking up successes on a regular basis--chipped his ball closer to the hole than seven other kids, all bigger and older and more experienced than he is. And he got a dollar for doing so.

My 7-year-old earned a dollar playing golf today. Even if it turns out to be his last, I think that's awfully cool.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I'll Let Baroy Explain It Himself

The email Baroy sent to his brothers, with this picture attached, was simply titled, "Me."
This was N's picture of me. I think he captured my eyes, not to mention the blood (blud) around my mouth since, as he explained it, I'm a vampire.

Friday, May 16, 2008


I realized this morning that I've reached one of those shifting points with of those changes in your relationship you don't even think about until after the shift has happened.

We went to Michael's yesterday to pick up a bunch of different needed craft supplies: some clay for a model she has to make for her state report, some colonial figurines for a model she has to make for her group colonial report, and some hot-glue sticks to replace the ones she and her friends used up when I loaned them my glue gun to put together said model.

We grabbed the clay, we grabbed the figurines, and then I picked up a bag of glue sticks. Talking to myself, I said, "I'm pretty sure these are the ones. I think our glue gun takes the larger ones. Mumblemumblemumble."

"Mom?" Em interrupted my mumbling. "Actually, I think it takes these smaller ones." And she picked up another bag of sticks.

"Really?" I was about to dismiss her out of hand--it's my glue gun after all--but then something stopped me. "Are you sure?"

"Pretty sure."

"Well, worst that can happen is I'll have to return them," I said. And bought the smaller glue sticks. Which totally fit the glue gun.

Could there be anything duller than that exchange? I wouldn't have thought so, until I put the glue sticks away this morning, and heard it in my mind again, and suddenly realized that even six months earlier, I would have simply assumed I was right and she was wrong, and gone with my own instincts. And had to return to the store today to exchange the sticks for the right ones.

I am absolutely not saying that, at the age of 10, she's smarter than me. That's not the shift; not yet, at least. But she is definitely at a point now where, when she tells me something or gives her opinion, I take it seriously. Because it's no longer a given that I know better simply by virtue of being The Mom or The Adult. She's smart, and she's perceptive, and she hasn't had two children suck the very marrow out of her brain. (Yes, I know brains don't have marrow. Haven't you people ever heard of a metaphor before? Sheesh.)

They're just glue sticks. But they somehow taught me a lesson.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Solutions and Tidbits

Thirty-eight cents' worth of PVC tubing later, and my worries about N's pencil-chewing are potentially over. Who'd'a thunk? (Aside from all you guys who wrote in suggesting essentially--or specifically--that in the comments, I mean.)

During Em's Fifth-Grade Colonial Day last Friday, she became sad when an error was made that bumped her from the wax-candle-making rotation. (There was also butter-making and toy-making and corn-husk-doll-making and soap whittling and chapbook-writing and a few other things, not to mention the DANCING. With BOYS. Holding HANDS. It was hilarious.)

And although there's nothing I despise more than helicopter parenting...well, I helicoptered in, whispered into the ear of the candle-making leader (a friend of mine from the PTA), and somehow, suddenly, there was room for her at the table. This is a kid who almost never throws a tantrum or demands what she can't have, and she'd been looking forward to this particular event for months. So sue me. The smile on her face was totally worth it.

Speaking of helicopter parenting and 'totally worth it': We got one of those auto-calls from the school on Friday, announcing that--in the interest of keeping our kids as safe as possible--the school would be trying a new traffic pattern starting Monday, with the stair gate being locked and the big wide gate by the ramp being opened instead.

Wonder where they got that idea?

Meet the Robinsons was one of the very few kid's movies these past few years that I actually enjoyed. (I won't say it was my favorite of the past few years, because I loved Ratatouille--though that one almost doesn't count because the adults enjoyed it so much more than any kid did that they really should have just called it an animated movie for grown-ups and left it at that.)

My favorite part of Meet the Robinsons was the part where the antagonist (Bowler Hat Guy) is trying to hatch a plot against the protagonist and is mumbling to himself. "Oh, I know!" he says. "I'll turn him into a duck! Yes, it's so evil! But...I don't know how to do that..." long pause "and I don't really need a duck..."

Ever since then, "But I don't know how to do that...and I don't really need a duck" has become one of those family jokes that makes all of us burst into giggles every time someone works it into a conversation. Which happens more often than you'd think.

All of this explains why I laughed so very hard when, on Sunday morning, after opening the handprint card from N and the coupons from Em (one free foot massage, one free walk, one free reading-to-N-when-I-can't), I opened one last card which read, in part, "In trying to think of a Mother's Day gift I said to myself, 'I'll get her a duck!' Then I thought, 'But I can't do that. And she doesn't need a duck.' Still..."

Meet Ana. My unneeded, and yet much beloved, duck, who is now going to spend her days watching over my garden.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


ParentsConnect put together a Mother's Day montage of photos, which I'm linking to here not only because I'm on staff there, but also because there's a shot of me and N from a couple years back just a bit shy of halfway through. It's one of my favorite photos ever.

I have nothing to say about motherhood today that hasn't been said many times before, and many times better. It all comes down to this: It's worth it. Every single moment of every single day is worth it. Every single moment of sadness and every single moment of worry and every single moment of resentment and every single moment of fear is worth it. Every single moment of joy and every single moment of pride and every single moment of laughter and every single moment of contentment is worth it. All of it. My two children make it all worth while.

Thank you, Em and N, for making me a mother.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I Need

I need to find a chew toy for my 7-year-old. A chew toy that fits on top of a pencil. Because without one, well...I fear that shards of wood are going to wind up lodged in his digestive tract. I wish I were kidding. That pencil over there? He got that pencil from his teacher at 8:15 in the morning, after he'd so totally shredded his previous pencil that it was in approximately six pieces. By 11:00, this is what it looked like.

When his teacher pulled me aside after dismissal to show me the pencil and ask what I thought we could do, I told her that asking him not to chew was simply not an option. We've asked him not to suck his thumb. We've asked him not to chew his shirts. And he's doing the best he can. But he has to chew SOMEthing. And it's going to be the thing in his hand or close to his mouth, more often than not. So, pencils it will be. (As someone who has always chewed on pencils and pens--hell, as someone who spent much of junior high school running to the bathroom after yet another Bic pen exploded blue ink all over my tongue and lips--I understand. What I don't understand is why I didn't get teased to within an inch of my life for crap like that. I think I lived in some kind of little charmed pocket of niceness.)

Instead of not asking him to chew, then, what I did was head to Office Depot, to look for a less-easily-destroyed pencil. I found what I thought might be the solution: rubber coated pencils. I handed a dozen of them to his teacher on Monday.

This is what she sent home with him yesterday. So I'm thinkin' that maybe the rubber-coated thing isn't going to be my answer.

Which is why I need a chew toy pencil topper. And quick.

Of course, such a thing doesn't exist. Or if it does, it's not easily available, and certainly not carried at Office Depot. In fact, it's this sort of need--a small, concrete, seemingly minor need--that is at the bottom of half my angst these days. Because this one small, concrete, seemingly minor need is nothing of the sort. It's a need that leads to other needs. There is need upon need upon need here. It's a never-ending circle of need.

Here's how it goes:

I need to find a pencil he can chew on, but not destroy. But I don't know where to find it. So what I really need is someone who can point me in the right direction, tell me what store or online venue will have this sort of equipment for me. Except I don't know who to ask around here. So what I really need is a list or bulletin board or something for kids like N; somewhere I can send queries like this and get btdt responses in minutes. Except N's problems aren't pigeon-hole-able, which means it's almost impossible to find the right kind of online group. So what I really need is a better diagnosis. Except I can't afford to take him to yet another slew of doctors in search of I-don't-know-what. So what I really need is a better job, one that pays more. Except if I had a better job, I'd undoubtedly have to be in an office, and that would cut into the time I can spend with N in the afternoons, trying to keep him regulated. So what I really need is to find a school situation that fits him better, where they would know better how to help me regulate him, and where he wouldn't be so nervous that he'd chew through two pencils a day. Except that would require my having all of the above: online or personal resources to help me find the right place, a better diagnosis, a better job to afford the diagnosis...

You know those books, those "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" books? That's what it's like in my brain these days. Except without the cute illustrations.

All of which is to say...Does anyone out there know where I can find a less-destructible pencil?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Did He Learn Nothing from the Brown Incident?

Each year, the school sends home a sort of "letter of intent" form for parents to fill out, indicating whether they are planning on having their kids return the next year. This allows them to begin working on class assignments and to know how many teachers they are likely to need at each grade level.

Apparently, the principal (or someone above her) puts a lot of pressure on the teachers, because even though the form itself was sent home last Thursday and had a due date on it of May 15, I started getting notes home the very next day from both kids' teachers, asking for me to return the form.

And not just notes. On Friday, as we were leaving school (and while I was still reeling from the whole blister-on-Em's-hand thing), N suddenly announced, "You need to fill out the pink paper, Mama."

"What pink paper?"

"The one that says whether I'm going to school next year. Mrs. N says you have to do it." Pause. "Can you write down 'no'? I don't want to go back to school next year."

"Oh?" I asked, startled. "Well, what DO you want to do?"

"I want to have school at home, like T and N [the next door neighbors]. I want YOU to teach me and do my school at home."

"You want to be homeschooled? Really?" I couldn't help myself. "Seriously? After what it's been like when we do homework lately?"

"I don't care," he said. "You're not mean all the time."

He repeated this request on Monday, since I passive-aggressively still hadn't returned the forms. (For crying out loud! They still weren't due for another TEN DAYS. I guess they need to have this paperwork out of the way so that they can have more time to figure out new and even more creative ways to endanger my children's safety on a regular basis. But still.)

"Mama, I have to return that paper soon," N announced. "I still don't want to come back to school next year, though. I still want to have school at home."

"Yeah, I know you do, kiddo," I said. "But that's not going to happen."

And so I signed the frickin' forms and returned them the next day...not because I was bowing to the ridiculous teacher-pressure, but because the more days N had to think I might change my mind, the more conflicted I'd end up being. Which is not to say that I would ever actually homeschool him, because that's A Bad Idea for a whole host of reasons. But because it would torment me to keep on thinking of the possibility of it, of how it would probably be the best thing for him academically (in a perfect world in which I had time and something even vaguely resembling patience) and probably even emotionally (in a perfect world in which I had time and something even vaguely resembling mental health). Because the kid is a stress case these days, and that IS something I've worried about quite a bit, and something I think might very well be improved by less throwing-into-the-lion's-den and more letting-him-go-at-his-own-speed.

But that's a post for another day.

Still, aside from the guilt about not really thinking about homeschooling and the worry about how to get him the kind of schooling that will actually work for him rather than against him and all the rest of that sturm und drang, the whole thing really did make me shake my head and laugh. Because despite the yelling and the tears and the crayon-breaking, he actually wants to learn at home with me. Thinks that staying home with me would be fun, way better than going to school, with its computer lab and library and playground and friends and art projects and parties and assemblies. Thinks that I would be a good teacher for him. Me. ME. It almost defies understanding. It certainly defies logic.

And it pretty much defines love.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Maybe next time she'll be more confrontational

Even before Green suggested it (I swear), I had given up the emailing idea and planned on meeting directly with the principal. Which I did, this morning.

I said things like, "So, there was this issue that came up on Friday."

And I said things like, "I realize that the gym teacher deals with kids trying to get out of doing things like pushups on a daily basis."

And I said things like, "I think the only way to deal with this is to make it so that every kid has a towel, period. That way he won't have to try to decide if they're just complaining for the sake of complaining, and I won't have to treat my child for third-degree burns over the weekend."

And I said things like, "I'd be happy to send out a flyer asking parents to donate old towels so that there's never a problem like this again."

And, because I couldn't be ONLY reasonable and fair, I said things like, "Because, really. If she was in reform school it'd be one thing. But if her worst crime was not really wanting to have to do pushups...I think burning her is a bit harsh, don't you?"

She said things like, "Oh my goodness."

And she said things like, "No, of course that's not OK."

And she said things like, "He's on campus today, and I'll talk to him about coming up with some kind of workable solution."

And she said things like, "I'll let you know what happens. And thanks for letting me know about this so I can do something about it."

All of which was good. Except that as I thanked her and left her office all I could think was, "Damn. That's not going to make a very good blog entry AT ALL."

Saturday, May 3, 2008


When I picked up the kids at school on Friday afternoon, Em came out looking...slightly pained.

"What's the matter?" I asked, concerned. This is one of the World's Cheeriest Kids, after all. If she's not looking happy, there's a reason.

"Oh, nothing," she said. "It's just that my hand hurts where I burned it in PE."

"What?" I turned over her hand. On the pad beneath her thumb, there was a red area, and a blister. "How did THAT happen?"

"Well, we were testing on pushups, and the ground was really, really hot, and..."

"Didn't you SAY anything to Mr. S [the PE teacher]? And where was your towel?"

"I forgot my towel, and when I told Mr. S the ground was too hot--a lot of us complained--he said he'd felt it and it was fine and to get down and do my pushups. But it really hurt. And then a little while later, I saw this blister."

Sixty-some kids with their hands spread on a blacktop after noon on a day where the temperature was upwards of 85 degrees. And at least one of them--MY one of them--sustains a burn bad enough to blister.

Are they fucking KIDDING ME?

I'm the first one to admit that maybe, just maybe, I'm (what was that word again, Jane?) somewhat hypervigilant. It's even possible that I DEFINE the word hypervigilant (and hypochondriac and hypersensitive and pretty much every other high-strung-sounding word that starts with hyp). But my kid got a third-degree burn in PE. Come ON.

And here I was worrying about STAIRS.

The funny thing is, it took a while to really sink in. After I saw the burn, we walked home and I put a little aloe on it, and let her go play at her friend C's house. She called a while later to ask if she could sleep at C's, and when she and C and C's mom came to get her stuff, she mentioned that her hand was still hurting, and C's mom said she'd put more aloe on it if she needed, and I told C's mom it was OK to give her some Tylenol if necessary, and that seemed to be it.

Until I went to sleep last night, and had a dream in which some vague authority figure took N from me for some kind of "therapy," and I suddenly realized that he meant that N was going to be, um, sexually abused, and I was running down hallways slamming my body into walls, screaming for N, and hearing him scream back, "Help me, Mommy. Make it stop, Mommy." And I couldn't find him, and the doors wouldn't open. And even just typing this is making me feel the panic and the sick rising in my throat again.

I knew the second I woke, absolutely drenched in sweat, that this was not just a dream about failing N, because the very first thing in my conscious mind was Em, with my very first waking thought being, "I should have taken her straight into the principal's office then and there. It's not going to have the same impact via email."

And then I spent the next half-hour staring at the ceiling, waiting for my heart to stop racing, composing angry emails, and trying to decide just whom to cc:.

We've been at that school for six years now, and the worst I've done until the last month or so was to kvetch about Santa Claus. I guess I can just think of this as making up for lost being-a-pain-in-the-ass time.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Hard Times

You'd think, this being a personal blog and all, that when things are hard in my life, I'd want to write more, to get them out, to process them, to think them through. You'd think that...if you'd never been through even a mild clinical depression in your life.

This is what depression does to me: It makes me tired. It makes me care with blazing intensity about some things, and thus not have the energy to lift my chin to even nod in the direction of other things. Writing about it all means thinking about it all, and thinking takes energy, too. I don't have it to spare.

Which is a pity, because I could use the free therapy. It would be good to 'talk out' some of the things that are behind this feeling right now. It would be good to be able to explore why it is I'm so disappointed with where my life is and what it means. It would be good to be able to consider the idea of regret, of how all those years of someday-I'll-do-its can't be brought back so that IT can actually be DONE. It would be stupendous, considering the week I've been having, to be able to find the energy to articulate how hard it is, sometimes, to be Mom, and do it even moderately well.

But, oh, just thinking about it all makes my fingers numb with not-wanting to type it out or work it out.

Not that I necessarily would, or perhaps should, even if I could. Because on top of all this depression silliness--even on days when The Tired isn't so prevalent--is the reality of blogging. Those of you who do it know what I mean. This is a public forum; what I say can and will get back to the people I'm saying it about...if not now, maybe later. And, despite the much-hated color scheme on this blog, it all comes out (figuratively speaking) in black and white. Everything I write gets infused with so much gravitas; writing about something makes it seem like that something is the only thing. So I write this post about depression, and you all picture me hunched in a ball or something, endlessly rocking back and forth. Because that's the picture I'm giving you of this moment.

Meanwhile, as you read this, I'm walking down the hill to Vons, to pick up stuff for dinner; while I'm there, I'll run into one or another neighbor or friend and we'll gossip for 10 minutes. Then I'll go pick up the kids from school, where I'll let Em's friend C's grandma buy them "Friday Treats." If it's popsicles, I'll buy one for myself, too. And I'll hold N's hand as we walk home, and he'll pick me a flower from the side of the road as we go, because he does so every day, and Em and C will tell me all the latest school gossip. And I'll smile and I'll laugh and I'll have a genuinely nice time. Nothing to worry about there.

Or maybe, as you read this, I'm making dinner, and the kids are bugging me about something, and I'm snapping at them to get the heck out of the kitchen and let me finish what I'm doing for once in my life for crying out loud. That's not depression; that's life with kids. Nothing to worry about there, either.

Where I know it's depression and not just life is in how hard it is for me to deal with the not-everyday. I know it by how, when N's teacher pulls me aside in the morning to tell me about the ways in which she's worried about him at this point in the year (which are different but no less real than the ways in which she worried about him earlier in the year), it doesn't just eat away at me all day, but it translates into me absolutely LOSING it while doing homework with him later that afternoon, me actually bursting into tears and thinking, "That's it. He really is just stupid." (And then thinking, "I can't say that on my blog...What if he reads it some day? It will destroy him." So, Future N, I need to say this: You're not stupid, and I don't think you're stupid. I think you're brilliant. I did once let in a little bit of despair about your intellect, for about an hour, when I was in a bad place. That's it. But because it's written here doesn't make it so.)

What I mean to say is that I know it's depression because of how easily and quickly the usual coping mechanisms fail me in ways both major and mundane. I know it's depression because writing this has taken two hours, most of which was spent jumping up from my chair to go outside and pull a few weeds and work off the nervous energy talking about this sort of stuff brings up in me when I'm living it. I know it's depression because I don't feel a whole lot better now, for getting some of this off my chest.

And yet, it actually has helped some. Like I said, it's not just black and white.

Because so many of you are family or close friends--people for whom reading the words, "I'm depressed," prompts you to worry about me in a deeper way--let me say this: I am depressed, but it's nothing big or wild or unusual or out of control. It's just another in a series of hard times, and it's not even an especially hard one. I've been there and back enough times to know what bad looks like, and it doesn't look like this. If I didn't have a blog, you wouldn't even know to worry. So don't worry. I've been through it before; I'll get through it this time; I'll go through it again.