On apologizing…

I have a friend who used to punctuate all of our outings by sending a post-mortem apology email. Most of the time there would be anywhere from two to six stay-at-home moms who had gotten together and talked non-stop to the first adults we’d seen in days. We had a lot to say, and this one friend always worried (after the fact) that she’d been offensive in some way. She hadn’t, but she always issued a preemptive apology anyway. We still laugh at her about this…and then say we hope we haven’t offended anyone by laughing…. She actually starts most conversations by issuing a blanket disclaimer, so we’re good now! And that is how I wanted to start this post – by apologizing for not being more diligent in updating my blog. I don’t actually expect anyone who reads it to be angry about my lack of writing. In fact, the argument can certainly be made that I hurt no one but myself in my procrastination. But then I thought of the apology issued by the meteorologist in the Birmingham, Alabama area who issued a mea culpa yesterday regarding the failure of the weather center to correctly predict where the snow would fall. Contrast that with all the officials in Atlanta who have been blame-shifting. The weather people said nothing, so the news people blamed the city, who blamed…the people of Atlanta for going to work and school and for not knowing how to drive in the snow. One early apology in Alabama let everyone focus on those who still needed help, while most Atlantans are just pissed off. They are helping too…because that is what is needed. We southerners may not be experienced at driving in the snow, but we do take community emergencies just as seriously as do our neighbors to the north. It was the same weather, y’all! It was exactly the same storm at about the same time and meteorologists from both states missed the forecast. Two different cities made similar mistakes and had similar traffic problems. (Because, not for nothing, weather is hard to forecast correctly!) The difference is the reaction of the people in charge in the aftermath. Claiming fault and apologizing is hard, but we teach our kids to do it for a reason: it’s the right thing to do and it often really helps.

So, am I apologizing for not writing more? Sure. Because I’m sorry that I’ve been doing other things when this is what I actually love, and my laziness is no good to anyone. And the part I didn’t mention about my uber-apologizing friend? She infected the rest of us. We all do it. We all love to talk and we love our adult time, even though several of us are no longer at home with kiddos all the time, but we also want to be careful that we are understood and not offensive. We want to communicate well, and even when we are snarky, we don’t want to hurt each other. It’s not a bad thing to be careful of. And it’s fun to laugh at all the apologizing too….


Caught in a Whirlwind

Don’t get me wrong: we are doing really well. Every time someone asks that throwaway greeting question, “How are you?” I am astonished to find that the answer is legitimately, “Good!” (How on earth do I punctuate that correctly…aaaagh! My peace is destroyed again…but hooray for the bane of peace to again be grammar instead of cancer!) I still live in a place of caution, but it is cautious optimism instead of a sense of tiptoeing through life fearing another proverbial blow to the head.

I actually feel a bit apologetic. My new normal is starting to look a lot like my old normal – dealing with household stuff, recalcitrant children, my own inertia – but Adam’s new normal still holds challenges that the rest of us only deal with in the most peripheral way. And that is to his credit. He could make family life all about his pain, numbness, frustrations, and the general irritations brought on by neuropathy, but he hasn’t done that. He is happy to get back to work, back to life, and hopefully back to full health. He can actually work a full day – he can even work several of them in a row! Who knew how exciting that would be?

So where is this whirlwind, you ask? It is all the stuff that we just aren’t keeping up with as well as we did this time last year – all the details of life that we ignored for ten months while we dealt with cancer that are now hovering over us like an imminent tornado. There are receipts to be recorded, categorized, and filed for taxes; there are computer files that were never backed-up and were almost lost (though recovered, thank you God!) when Adam’s computer crashed; there is a pesky budget that needs to be planned and implemented; there are chores to be assigned and overseen and other chores that I can’t pawn off on the kids and actually have to do; and the list goes on. Many of the things that need to be done aren’t difficult or time consuming by themselves – we just aren’t accustomed to functioning anymore. We have to get back to that. We have started cooking and eating at home as a family again. It is actually nice. Most nights. Except when certain small-ish (almost as tall as I am, but whatever) people pitch fits about broccoli, seating arrangements, and other terribly important matters…but I digress. Real life is making an appearance at our house and we are enjoying it for the most part, though I do have moments where I think fondly and uncomprehendingly of how much more together I was last year…when I could only think of roughly 7,284 things that I wanted to be doing well and wasn’t.

That is our new year so far. How is yours?