Winter Cold

Declan is six.

Declan is six.

Party at Ninja Kids

Party at Ninja Kids

Honestly, I know it’s been cold in Florida before.  If fact, I think last January was cold.  I just don’t remember it.  This year seems exceptionally cold and every morning I bundle up and head for the beach for yoga.  Crazy me.

We’re in Texas right now where it’s warmer than Florida…up in the 60s today, I think.  Declan had his sixth birthday on Friday.  Calli’s eighth birthday is next Monday.  And it’s fun to be here and celebrate with them.  They grow up so fast.  I swear, if you blink you’ll miss their whole childhood.

I think I’m dealing with some kind of low level depression at the moment.  Maybe it’s the cold.   Maybe it’s just the idea of winter.  How can I be sad when I’m in the presence of such energy and light?  Those kids, those beautiful kids…

But all around me I’m seeing signs of fragility and aging.  Mary Anne fell and broke her hip.  Isn’t it enough to deal with lung cancer and chemo every three weeks for the rest of your life?  Do we have to have surgery and all that entails too?  Her strength and optimism leave me speechless.

And Dad and Annette aren’t coming down to Florida this year.  He’s doing okay (had a stroke in late October) but it just seemed like too much. He’s managing just fine in his house where things are now just right for someone who is a bit unsteady on his feet.   I think the trip was just a bit overwhelming for both of them.  And I do understand. But I’m sad.

And Kate IS planning to come to Florida if all goes well but there may be complications with that too.  Another one who’s fighting for her life (brain tumor) and who keeps having curve balls thrown at her. Ugh.

Silly to let these weigh me down.   All around me are people who are vibrant and full of life.  I met my dear friend, Sonia, in Tampa last week and  went to a workshop for the Hillsborough Public Schools on Multicultural Education and Culturally Responsive Teaching.  Sonia was presenting and it was absolutely wonderful to see her in action again after so many years.  And I loved talking with so many committed and excited educators.  Sonia is magical…in her seventies and still writing and traveling all over the world doing workshops and giving keynotes.  Incredible woman and I had such fun hanging out with her for a couple days.

And I’ve been to two gorgeous photography shows recently. It is very cool to have photographer friends, to stare in awe at magnificent pictures and know the artists.  I just love it and I love their work.  I keep thinking I would love to take up photography.  I’d also like to take up knitting.  I love seeing what my knitting friends accomplish.  One of these days…or maybe not.  Maybe I’ll just keep on keeping on and leave the great stuff to others.

And I’ve read a couple good books…My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout and Department of Speculation by Jenny Offill.  Now I’m reading The Light of the World…a beautiful memoir by Elizabeth Alexander (thanks, Joy. I’m loving it)   So many good books…so little time.

I had a phone call the other day from someone who wanted to know if I was the “Mary Ginley who went to MD Anderson”.  She read some of my blog posts on their website, noticed that I said I lived in Florida and tracked me down (white  Her brother had been just diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  She was frantic and couldn’t stop crying.  And he couldn’t get an appointment at Anderson for 2 1/2 weeks.  Why couldn’t they get him in faster?  What should he do?  I hope I helped.  I think the best thing I did was reassure her that there is life after esophageal cancer…that I’m alive and kicking and living happily (even on my dark days) ever after…that it’s going to be okay (really?  Well it was okay for me; here’s hoping it’s okay for him)  I know how scary this time is..the time between diagnosis and that first appointment when they tell you what they want to do and how long it will take.  For me, it was the most terrifying time…so I totally understood how frantic she was.

Time to stop.  The girls are heading out to swim team practice.  Declan is staying home with Nana and Pop, having an early dinner and shower and if he’s really, really good he can play video games for a little while before stories and bed.  He makes me laugh.  He thinks I’m dying to see his video games.  He thinks he’s actually going to teach me how to play them.  Of all the things I’d like to learn how to do I can tell you video games isn’t even on the list of the top 100!

At school on his birthday

At school on his birthday


10 thoughts on “Winter Cold

  1. You had me at video games. Jacob, now 12, had me watching him play every sort of game…painful, painful, painful with a big smile on my face and encouragement out of my mouth. Enjoy the joys of watching outlying Declan. (Put a smile on your face, enjoy Texas, elevate and celebrate life.)

  2. Deirdre Christman

    When you’re sad or depressed, you’re sad or depressed. There’s no rational way to explain it away. You just have to let yourself experience that – for a while. I just finished reading My Stroke of Insight, which I know you read for book club a while back, and the author talks about being in touch with what you feel, right brain, instead of letting your left brain analyze how you should feel.

    Lots of reasons to feel sad right now, and our own aging and mortality are among them. We can’t keep up with what we used to – and our bodies just hurt more. They don’t work the way we think they should. Hard to accept. Then we look at friends who are really suffering and we wonder why we feel lousy “when we have it so good.” You went through the absolute worst (except for the death of a child), and you came out the other side. Delayed reaction? Whatever it is, own it. You told me that when I was so anxious this fall. And guess what? I’m better now.

    I can see you’re enjoying the littles. Will had that Superman shirt for his 6th birthday too. He loved it so much he got another one when he outgrew it, and when we see the pictures from that time, it looks like he never wore anything else. Happy days!

  3. Between Mary Anne and Kate , it is hard to be optimistic

  4. Mary, what a gift you are to so many people in your life! You’re entitled to a little down time. I am getting my bubble wand out right now and I’ll be sending you good wishes. I also recommend a little Stephen Colbert. He is my laugh therapy. Love you. Mary

  5. Pat Knickerbocker Gray

    The names, faces, situations may be different, but the feelings are the same.

  6. Wendie Highsmith

    Mary-That Declan-what a cute kid. I think it would be fun to be his teacher.

    I hear you about the incongruities of life at this age. Ageing, declining parents, others we love with physical and mental challenges in contrast to the exhilaration of life around us. It’s too much sometimes. Sometimes, I feel guilt-why do I get to live this life? Balance and gratitude come to mind.

    When are you back in Florida? I will be there Feb . 16-26, mostly in the Tampa area. Looking into a trip to Venice or Sanibel. Too many people I want to see, too little time.


  7. You have and continue to achieve greatness by keeping on being you. You are one of the most admirable women I know for all your talents and gifts. I don’t think any of us transitions through life without feeling down or experiencing loss as time goes by. Perhaps it is a form of grieving that we must go through in order to prepare for what comes next. Your passion for life and love of family & friends will be the sunshine after a storm. peace & love to you…

  8. Maybe it’s just the winter blues! So hard tho when others are suffering around you. I’m sure the kids will lift your spirits! You’re not missing anything here…lots of rain…ugh! Have a fun time and enjoy!

  9. I can recommend some help for low level depression. I take a vitamin supplement called SAMe, that you can get at a health food store. Good for liver functioning and mood stabilizing. Saw it really help my mom as she aged, and started taking it this fall. I feel it helps. Takes the sad edge off things, and I can talk about issues without tears welling up eervytime. Might give it a try!

  10. Hang in there!! 🙂 keep looking for the light! You inspire me to keep writing all the time so think of your effect on those around you. xo

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