We started the month with a trip to Baltimore so Z could get his 40th birthday tattoo.
Z finished the boat treehouse. It’s pretty damn awesome.
T turned 4 on August 13th. He asked for a Transformers cake.
A dear friend visited. T couldn’t get enough of her.
She brought me the coolest shirt in the history of the universe.
Z decided we had to make Brunswick stew over a fire in the backyard.
The boys had a joint birthday party on a perfect late summer day.
The Transformer piñata was a hit.
So were the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and Harry Potter cupcakes.
We make it to the New York State Fair where the boys got to touch a beautiful cow.
T rode his first roller coaster.
C indulged in some ice cream.
And yesterday Z had his first day of school.
I meant to write about all this stuff. This month has been filled with crazy and fun events, and it isn’t over yet. I have my first day of school today and C turns two on the 31st.
It has also been incredibly overwhelming. So my anxiety has gotten worse.
I meant to write about Baltimore, but I had an ugly anxiety episode at the hotel. I wanted to write about T’s birthday, his well visit at the pediatrician’s where he was such a grown up kid, I was proud of him. But I tormented myself over the damn fondant transformers. They kept falling apart, the proportions were wrong. I had to swallow my pride at making edible decorations and use toothpicks and superglue to get them to work. I wanted to write about our friend’s visit, our adventure with outdoor cooking. I went to bed early every night she was here. After getting the stew going I took meds and slept for several hours in the afternoon to escape the anxiety attack that was happening. And the boys party! I wanted to write about that. Evidently C said a sentence while Z and I were inside trying to calm T who had been stung by a bee. He was hysterical for an hour. Finally, as he cuddled on the sofa with Z, he said, “I’m just so embarrassed.” That child breaks my heart and cracks me up at the same time. But I spent much of the party inside, sure people weren’t having a good time, feeling paralyzed and dumb. At the state fair we walked by an exhibition of high school wrestlers. T was transfixed. He turned to me and said, “That is going to be me someday.” Oh man, I wanted to write about that. Last year at the fair I had a severe anxiety attack in front of the butter sculpture. It was awful, also admittedly really funny. I wasn’t sure I was going go this year until the last second-returning to the scene of an anxiety attack basically guarantees I’ll have another. I medicated before and during. I had some uncomfortable moments, but made it through.
That’s the thing. I made it through this month. And had some pretty damn terrific times as well. It isn’t all good or all bad. Last week I told my therapist that my rather naive hope had been that as I engaged more in life the anxiety would start to recede. That isn’t the case, she sits right next to me all the time. I understand now that she is never going to go away. I have to live with her. My therapist agreed. She pointed out that all the stuff I’d talked about doing for several years-taking a class, traveling with Z, doing more with the boys- it was all finally happening. I can avoid life and have an anxiety disorder and it will be painful and difficult. Or I can live life and have an anxiety disorder and it will be painful and difficult. But it will also be wonderful and fulfilling. The best I can do is choose to live. To take pictures of the good moments that might also be filled with doubt and fear and self loathing. To accept that it is complicated, that I have a husband who understands and will support me, that I have two terrific kids, that the anxiety disorder is never going away. But that doesn’t mean she wins.