Friday, May 17, 2013

Happy Birthday

Today is your 65th birthday. Wow! How did that happen? We met when you were 27. I felt so grown-up dating a guy who was 27.

I have know you through most of the decades of your life. We have been married for 36 years, together for 37.

I still love your voice. Everytime I hear it on the phone, I melt. Really, I do.

You can still make me laugh, tears rolling down my face laugh, like no-one else has ever been able to do.

You and I have figured out the division of labour thing. You shop and cook. I do the clean-up and make the bed. We both ignore housework until the last possible minute and then we pitch in together. You do the kitchen and bathroom floors. I dust and clean the sinks and toilets. It has simply evolved that way. Easy peasy.

We enjoy each others company after these many years. We don't talk alot, but it is comfortable to sit in silence with you. And it is funny how often after miles of silence (when we are travelling) we will simultaneously start the same conversation.

You are an intuitive. You often know something about one of our children, or about an acquaintance before I do. You have a spidey sense about an up-coming phone call or situation. You have a spidey sense about me too. Sometimes it creeps me out, but I am glad I am on your radar.

When I met you you were a dark, curly-haired guy with a guitar. Now you are a silver, curly-haired guy with a guitar. You were a jeans and t-shirt guy then, and still are today. They only time I have seen you in a suit was the day we were married and our first anniversary. You are the most conservative, traditional, non-conformist I have ever met.

We still walk holding hands. I love the feel of my hand in yours. Sometimes when we are sitting at the table, at home or at a restaurant, you will reach out and rub my neck and shoulder. It is an intimate gesture of someone who has known you a long, long time.

We camp. Alot. My brother asked once what we do, or talk about, spending that much time, alone, together. It is simple. It is comfortable. It is companionship born of a deep love. And I love sitting around camp-fires with you. With the guitar, sometimes. Singing our old standbys. I wonder how many campfires we have sat beside. And how many more we have together.

We have both started to enjoy bird-watching. And wild-life watching on our trips to the Rockies, or Yellowstone. I hear you in my head " Oh hey!" when you have seen something. And then the look of delight on your face and the sound of delight in your voice. I love that about you too.

Your sister asked me once what I saw in you. It was an odd question from a sister. What I see in you is your love for me. I see myself in your eyes and I don't think there is anyone that is loved as well as I am.

You are the father of our children and although we don't always agree on the tack to take with our grown children, fundamentally we have always held the same values and imparted them to our children. The adult-grown child relationship is not always an easy one, but I see you trying so hard. And helping me try too.

You rub my feet when they are sore, bring me tylenol when my head hurts, and tea to soothe a stomach ache. You try to smooth the road ahead of me.

You give me space, but also a hug when it is needed. You have tried to understand my bouts of depression and I know that is hard for you at times.

You have been my love since I was just a young 20 year old. You are still my love as I head toward 58.

I know you worry. About your kids, about the economy, about our future.

But don't worry about this one thing. Your future includes me. And together we will figure it out. Probably beside a campfire.

Happy Birthday, my love. Happy Birthday.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Defining moments

I still remember the first time I noticed that I didn't enjoy eating anymore. It was 2001, after an open house at my school, at a mexican restaurant with my sister. I had always loved eating, especially in restaurants, but that night the food arrived and it wasn't exciting for me anymore. I remember knowing at the time that this wasn't just a one time thing. This was it. Something else I had lost enjoyment in. Thirteen years later nothing has changed. It is not that I don't get hungry. I do. And the low blood sugar that ensues is not pretty for those who live close to me. But, nothing appeals to me. When asked what I want to eat, or what restaurant I want to go to it is difficult to come up with an answer. Nothing appeals to me anymore. It is not that food doesn't taste good. Those first few bites when I am really hungry are wonderful. My husband often jokes that the secret to getting me to say something tastes really good is just to serve dinner late so I am really hungry. But, still, the pleasure is gone.

It may well be linked to the anti-depressants I have been taking for the past 15 years. My husband says he notices that my moods are flatter. I suppose it is no stretch to think it flattens out my appetite too. Still, I used to really enjoy food.

Recently I commented to him that I wished I could get all my nutrients from a pill - like in those sci-fi movies. Shopping/Cooking/Eating seems like so much trouble for so little reward.

This is what depression is like. Going to bed, getting up, calling a friend, picking up the phone just seems like too much trouble. It is a hopelessness. It is a what-is-the-pointedness. It is a sadness that leaks from your eyes. It is not really crying when the tears just flow on their own. I just notice them, and wipe them away, and sometimes they continue, and sometimes they don't. And when I am asked why I am crying there is no reason. There is just tears.

Even knitting (gasp) is not so much fun anymore as it is just something I do.

I have been reading alot these days. Mostly fiction, but not all. Stories by Ivan E. Coyote. They seem to help.

I am worried about the future and how my vote won't matter because I don't want any of the parties running our government. And I am tired and sad of the behaviour and actions of politicians that speak as though they have my best interests at heart. They don't. Their only interest is their own wish for power and the selling out of their ideals, to make deals, with other people they don't respect.

It is overwhelming that in every area of my life there are too many possibilities, too many choices, too many minute decisions, so that I know whatever one I make I will have regrets and feel like I have made the wrong choice.

It is like Hyperbole and a half wrote in her latest blog. She wrote that it is like your fish are dead, and every one is trying to save you from this reality.

"We will go find your fish."
"Maybe your fish aren't dead, maybe you just lost them."
"Maybe if you just eat right, exercise and meditate your fish will come back to life."

I need everyone to know that just because you can't see my dead fish, it doesn't mean they aren't there. And dead.

If you want to understand how I feel, please read Hyperbole and a Half's latest post. Maybe then you will understand.

It helped me understand my depression better. It made me feel less alone. That is a good thing.

I have been writing this post over the past few days.

Since Thursday I have listened to sixteen grade 12 students present their year long research projects on a myriad of topics: literature and education, biotechnology, computers and creativity, intelligence, emotions, consciousness, commitment, art and society, copyright laws, nature and humanity, the birth of planet earth, mathematics and nature, plant-based whole foods, animal ethics, birth order, and sports psychology. I learned so much from these 18 year olds, and their presentations gave me much to think about.

This generation gives me hope. My children's generation gives me hope.

It is not a corn kernal under the refrigerator, but it is a start.