Posted by: Kate | April 29, 2011

My Superpower is Invisibility

…which you can tell because I’m here, around, somewhere, almost all the time… and yet, you never see me.  Magical, isn’t it?

Yeah, no, I know, I say “magical,” you say “lazy.”  A little of both, maybe?

Because, yes, absolutely, I’m here and I’m fine and there’s not a reason in the world for my blog to sit here all silent and fallow.  Every day I remind myself to post, and every evening it’s suddenly bedtime and, right, yeah, about that…

It’s not like I’m crazy-busy, either.  I mean, Isaac is fully mobile now – he can scoot along at about 800 mph on all fours, and is up to 10-12 steps at a time, when he wants to – which means that his awake-times render me busier than before.  Plus he’s in that fabulous combination of separation anxiety and Mama-preference that always takes my sanity and stretches it ever so thin; you know, the thing that toddlers do that makes their mothers insane until they stop doing it, at which moment the mother instantly misses it terribly?  (OK, it’s one of the things on that list, anyway.)  So I’m busier than before.

And I’m increasingly involved with the bigger kids’ stuff, too.  Not just the obvious: between softball and baseball we’ve had multiple hours of practices four nights a week, and then there was their April vacation week, and the ongoing loads of homework that flows in and out of their ears nightly.  But also the subtle: the healthier I get, the stronger, the more able I am to get more involved, more engaged, in their lives.  I know who Emily’s crush is – by name, even, though that took quite a bit of effort on my part and she’s still kind of unhappy with me for having ears – and I know that Jacob is capable of doing college-level algebra (no, seriously: my husband teaches said course, six-year-old Jacob can do many of those skills in his head).  I’ve been working with each kid on those sort of subtle, nagging, psychosocial things that psychologists insist we cannot treat our own families for and them promptly begin treating our own families for: Emily’s seriously atrophied empathy muscles, Jacob’s quiet but pervasive need for extra affection, even Isaac’s burgeoning efforts at communication.  I just lost a year – we all did – to my physical recovery, and I still can’t guess how long my emotional recovery process will be, and so I struggle mightily, with varying degrees of success, against the crushing sense of guilt and loss I have over that missing time.  (You think you have Mommy-guilt?  Try spending over a month in the hospital and then the following mumblemumblemumble months barely able to see around your own scars, all while seeing your children’s needs and hoping that they’re getting met… somehow.)

So, busier still.  And there’s Willem, who continues to be my knight in shining… whatever they make no-iron shirts out of.  He gets up and goes to work, five days a week, and stays gone twelve hours a day.  He comes home tired, but still carrying the take-home work that any given teacher always has, and manages not to throw textbooks at me on the evenings when I’m just too tired or apathetic or sad or whatever to manage to get dinner on the table.  That’s an improvement over the fall semester, I suppose, because even if I haven’t made dinner I’m still able to stay awake at least as late as Isaac (not as simple as it sounds, since his preferred bedtime is after 10:00p), so I’m no longer disappearing into the bedroom as soon as Willem walks in the door.  But there’s still an incredible amount of room for improvement, and some days I’m even able to surmount the guilt about that to do a little something about it.

Yeah: busier still.

Was it Ben Franklin who said, “If you want something done, ask a busy man”? I’ve always believed wholeheartedly in that quote,  if for no other reason than the simple awareness of how much easier it was for me to add a task onto my list if I was already doing 54 things that day.  But now, when my list is often two or three items long, the slightest addition can be horrendous and hard and overwhelming – even if it’s nothing more than a quick phone call.  I want to do more, and I know very well exactly what needs to be done – my memory issues since the coma have led me to become a list-writer, and I have literally filled up notebooks with lists.  Multiple notebooks, multiple lists.  I know what has to be done… I just can’t quite do it yet.

Is it time?  Is it time for me to kick myself in the ass and say, Enough! You got a year, now you’ve been home long enough to be facing things for the second time – suck it up and get stuff done! or do I get a little longer, a little more grieving time – now compounded by the grief at the things I was not able to handle last year even after coming home from the hospital, things like fundraisers and volunteering at the kids’ school or, barring that, reading to them a few times a week? And if I get more time, how much more?

There’s no answer, I know.  No handy calendar I can flip open to say, “OK, I see.  By May 2011 I should be at… 78% capacity, as compared to pre-coma, with an ultimate expectancy of 93% of original capacity.”  And I can’t find a single person in the world who can look at me and say, without sarcasm or irony, “No, seriously, get up off your ass and deal with life again.  You’ve had your healing time, now move on.”  Instead, the people around me are sweet and kind and encouraging and insisting that I’m doing so much better than I can even see.

So I’m trying, and I’m being my own biggest critic, both because that’s how I roll and because I keep hoping that maybe I’ll be able to kick-start myself into some action, if I can only find the right words.  Little things – and oh, I can’t even begin to list them, but just details and details and details of a fuller, better life – keep falling by the wayside, things I wasn’t even aware of during March and April and even May of last year, and things I could guiltlessly ignore in favor of my medical stuff from June or so on through the fall, and things I could shamelessly abuse myself over during the darker, emotionally harder fall and winter.  I’m far less self-critical now than I was in, oh, say, November and December, so there is an improvement there.

And for today,  I posted something on the blog.  Nothing much, really: certainly nothing especially interesting or funny or really worth 1200 words.  But it’s a detail.

I’ll give what I can take, you know?


  1. And I will take what you can give, you know? Nice to see you back. Looking forward to our dinner in May….and then some playtime in the summer when my to-do list is down from 54 to 20 items!

  2. You know what they say about pregnancy weight? 9 months on, 9 months off. Well, you’ve been out of commission for a year, give yourself another year (or more, if needed) to get back on track. Keep making those lists (I love my lists!) and just do the best you can without pushing yourself too far. Baby steps! {{{Hugs}}}

  3. I’ve been thinking about you, glad to hear there haven’t been any recent disasters. Have some (((((hugs))))) and kitty snuggles from Mr. Fluffypants here and keep being awesome 🙂

    Courtney R

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