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Pickle Me This

August 17, 2013

Flaws in the cloth, flies in the ointment.


Me breastfeeding on a ferry-boat. I am proud of this.

It occurs to me that as I enter my mid-thirties, only now am I really learning how to be alive, how to be strong, to be brave. Part of this is having children (two! can you believe it?) which changes the stakes, but a large part of it is also flaws in the cloth, flies in the ointment finally starting to turn up after three decades in which things like good health and general happiness could still be taken for granted. And I wasn’t even going to write about this, for two days imagined that I wouldn’t have to, but this space is such an outlet for me. It also seems very dishonest to document the truly lovely parts of my life but leave out the sordid bits. To let you know all my stunning achievements (yesterday I breastfed standing up on a ferry boat!) but neglect to inform you that I am once again waiting on biopsy results. “Biopsy”, which was once a terrifying prophecy but has actually become an idea as banal as is the actual experience.

I returned to my thyroid doctor on Thursday for what I hoped would be my final appointment, the one where he told me to return annually for lump-checks but all would be well, but discovered that my thyroid lump has grown again. They did a biopsy, and I tried not to cry, and in doing so, forgot to ask questions properly about the state of my lump and therefore now my imagination is taking me to terrible places again. Though not so terrible–my lump is mainly cystic, which makes the change not so surprising. As it was not cancer before, it is likely to not be cancer again (though I fear believing too strongly in this until I know for sure, for fear of being absolutely gutted by reality. Also, I was only reassured that it was probably nothing by the resident doctor, and I fear she was just trying to be nice. I liked better being reassured by the doctor himself as I was before, as he is devoid of social skills and therefore would never just try to be nice. See, all this worrying takes one down twisty, twisty roads). Even if it was cancer, it is a cancer that will not change my life significantly. Though not being cancer won’t mean I get off easy either–the fact that the lump is changing suggests that I may still require a thyroidectomy. (Initially I wrote “will probably require…” but changed it, as I don’t in fact know this, or anything, and wild speculations have taken us to stupid places before, so let’s not do that again.) And while I can console myself that life will go on after this, and I could have far, far worse problems, sometimes these consolations are not quite enough and I find myself feeling quite sad, hence the need to sit down and write this post here on my blog.

This may be the last post I ever write on this computer. I turned on my computer last night, and the system had gone haywire. It’s working properly today, but I think this machine is reaching the end of its life. (Harriet is confused by our insistence on talking about computers “dying” and “being brought back to life”. It is strange but not so surprising that we accord them such essential mortal characteristics.) 4 years ago, my computer “broke down in an altogether final sense” and I lost many precious things, learning a very important lesson about backing up my files and also that computers don’t last forever (a fact I still resent: they are so expensive!). Consequently, the loss of this machine is not a big deal and I have enough money to buy a new computer, which I think I am going to do today before driving this one completely into the ground.

However clunky and unpretty, these computers suit as a kind of metaphor. (Forgive me, but my computer really is an extension of myself.) The crash 4 years ago came on my 30th birthday, a few weeks after Harriet was born. I lost everything, which was sort of how I was feeling those days, the disclocation of self that came with new motherhood. I consoled myself with the opportunity of a blank slate, stories to be written in replacement of those I had lost. And I am proud of what I’ve made in the years since. This time, however, there has been no crash. This computer I’m losing not long after the birth of Iris has all its files back-upped elsewhere. Instead of being caught unaware, I’m averting disaster. And instead of being inspired by a blank slate, I’m just inspired in general, more ready than ever to build on what I’ve created in the last four years.

I was terrified at the prospect of another new baby, that after the progress we’d made in the parent-game of having to go all the way back to the beginning. But it hasn’t been like that at all. The biggest surprise of having Iris in our lives is how clear she’s made it that I’ve actually been in a stasis the last four years, a kind of limbo as we sorted out the question of a second child, whether or not to have one. And now she is here and it’s as though we’re moving forward, finally. I suspect that I am probably done having children, and now it’s time to look outward, to focus on other things. I am enormously excited to think of what lies before me,  of the things I’m going to write on the new computer that comes into my life today. (I am also returning to the Mac life, I think, which will automatically make me a more physcially attractive human being).

And so it goes, flaws in the cloth. I’m finally learning how normal life is supposed to go. Oh, but how I do love the cloth, this life, right here in what just might be the very best summer (and believe me, I’ve known some excellent summers in my time). And I love this blog as a proper reflection of it all, the good and the bad, and I am so grateful for this space where take note of all the things that are important to me. And to those people who are reading.

4 thoughts on “Flaws in the cloth, flies in the ointment.”

  1. Kristin says:

    Oh man, that is a lot for a new mom to deal with. A scary thing for anyone to process, but especially someone whose main job right now should be taking care of a baby (and reading books). I hope the biopsy results are benign and you can move on. Thanks for sharing the bad parts too…although we’ve never met, I feel like I know you a little bit through your lovely writing and I definitely care about your health! And thumbs up for nursing on the ferry!

  2. I am reading … your writing is, indeed, lovely.

  3. theresa says:

    Many good wishes…Such loving and lovely entries and how beautiful you look with your baby on the ferry!

  4. Joan says:

    Cheering you on Kerry with loads of love..

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