Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Life Condensed

If you met up with someone you hadn't seen in XX years, more than 10, and they wanted you to tell them about your life, what would you say? I've had the opportunity to do this more than a few times in the last few weeks, getting caught up with the folks from my old group at home. Everyone says pretty much the same thing -- I got married in (year) to (so-and-so) and we have (more than 1) kids named (thankfully nothing too silly so far). Without exception, everyone I have reconnected with who is married or has been married has kids. It isn't even a question of whether you have them or not, just how many. Their kids range in age from 2 to 18. Remember I haven't seen some of these people in 30 years, so that shouldn't be that difficult to wrap my brain around, but it is. I'm sure its weird for them when they find out I don't have any kids, and so far nobody has been too much of an asshat. Many of them live without spitting distance of where they lived as kids, so again, I am the odd one who lives not only far away, but in another country. Especially now, Canadians are nationalistic and protective of their non-war status, which I totally respect.

But, knowing when and who you married, how many kids you have and maybe even what you do for a living doesn't tell much about who we are, does it? Perhaps I'm in a space right now where I am craving a deeper connection. I'm sure they would all think I was nuts if I started telling them how the smell of the ocean makes me cry, or the touch of a dog's paw in the middle of the night reassures me, or how my husband's voice can still make me giggle like a schoolgirl.

In other news, my usually mostly-well-behaved lesson horse Angel bit me on Saturday. HARD. I tacked her up and got on her, then decided I needed to tighten the girth one more notch, so I jumped off next to the mounting block. She didn't think the girth needed tightening, thank you, and reached around and sunk her teeth into my left outer thigh. The bruise is the size and shape of a decent sized egg, and at first you could see two half moons with a white line down the middle, the demarkation of her upper and lower teeth. Now that it's a few days' old the line is muddled and its starting to get that sickly green color under the purple. I hope it fades before we leave for the Caribbean in a month.

Finally, I called my sister the other day to wish her daughter and her husband happy birthdays and she told me she is having a partial hysterectomy next month. Needless to say this was a surprise, given that she's only 15 months older than me and I had no idea she was having any gynecological problems. Apparently she's been bleeding since January and her GP just last month finally decided to send her to see a "specialist". She lives in a very small, rural town in the interior of BC, but still -- holy shit -- this really pissed me off. She also told me that when she saw the gynecologist he didn't even do an ultrasound, just a pelvic exam and told her she has massive fibroids and recommended they take them out along with her uterus. Is it even possible to detect fibroids from a pelvic exam? There's nothing I can do about this but for once I was happy to have my US health insurance.


  1. I hope you have a chance to visit in person with these old friends. It's pretty hard to put into typed words what kind of a person you are and how your life has proceeded.
    Next time with Angel get your left elbow ready and look for that evil look in her eye. You can tell her NO if she thinks about it.

  2. I guess Angel thinks she knows you now, eh. Heh heh. And people think horses are stupid.

    I know what you mean about meeting old friends. I met someone from college a couple of weeks ago, she was bringing her 17 year old daughter up for an interview - 17 years!! It was...odd. What's even more bizarre is that most of the people I knew in college, most of them have children under the age of 10...how strange is that?

    As for your sister, um, does she have a chance at a second opinion before her op? It seems to me that there could be other reasons for her bleeding, and what's with not getting an ultrasound? Is this a case where she should go to the ER just to make sure?

  3. What is it with mares and tightening the girth? I can never remember to keep my left elbow ready. Remember where you got the bite in case it turns into a hard lump and does weird things. My doctor got so worked up over the scar tissue from a bite (no bleeding -- just like yours) that she had it biopsied.

    About kids: My childless cousin died a few months ago -- he was 84. No one had more friends and wannabee relatives than he did. They had to bring extra chairs into his hospital room because he always had so many visitors. He believed in everyones' dreams, he loved freely and fully. It was a great tragedy early in his marriage for him and his wife that they coudln't conceive. Life gave them more children and loved ones than they could ever have raised on their own. I am so humbled and inspired.

    Then you have my MIL, who has three kids, none of whom want to invite her to any holiday because she causes so much pain.

    At a shallow gathering such as the one you describe, the number of kids might seem a good way to quantify life. But it is so off-target.

    You are filling your life until it is spilling over, and it will come back to you in great abundance.

    On another subject, I hope your sister can get a second opinion.

  4. Yes, Ouch on the bite! I stay in touch mostly with one best friend from school age. She's never been able to have children herself and had an ectopic pregnancy when my one child was born. I was lucky to have that one 18yr old now, because my stuff don't work either. We've decided that my Zoe is way more like her in personality than me(and Jess & I are like chalk & cheese), so that her child must have reincarnated to mine. And we giggle about it often. I hope your sister can get a second opinion or with some advice insist on more conclusive tests.

  5. I find it is hard for me to reconnect with friends from the past because of the very reasons you stated. Catching up, is hard to do in a 30 minute visit, or online. How can they truly know the person you have become? Although my children and my husband are a large part of my life, so are my horses, and I have never really found a way to explain that to non-horsey people.

    I'm sorry you got bit. Hopefully the bruise will fade fast.

  6. My best friend and her husband have been married for five years and they have been having terrible problems having a child. (She's only 31) I am the same age and just got married in February. I've never really thought about the kids thing. Now there's this time limit of "gotta have kids before you hit 35." People keep asking me about it, like it's their business, and I always respond that I'm happy with my dogs.
    Even if I do end up having kids, I still think my dogs will be on the same level with them. That's just how I am. Like your horses. Some people just don't understand or have the capacity to connect with anything other than a human. My biggest achievements have been working with rescued dogs and seeing them make an emotional breakthrough. Seeing my shelter Akita as a happy, healthy, social girl is the biggest reward I could ask for. And having a beagle to snuggle is the best feeling in the world!