Saturday, February 17, 2007

Genesis

How did I come up with the name of this blog?

Well, honestly, it just popped into my head. Sort of a bolt from the blue or something like that. I wouldn't say that I took it as a divine sign, but when I have an idea that comes to me so suddenly and effortlessly AND I actually like it, then I have to assume it was meant to be.

So, what does Jen on the Edge mean? Well, I first conceived of this blog last summer, at a time when there was a lot of stress in my life and it was about to get worse.

To recap:

I started my new job in early July. I love, love, love what I do, but adding a job -- and particularly during the summer when I didn't have consistent childcare -- was stressful, complicated, and difficult. But I knew the job was meant for me and I for the job, so I just plunged right ahead and figured things out as I went along. I'm so glad I did because my job is great -- did I mention how much I love it?-- and it keeps me busy and out of trouble. At the very least, working keeps me out of craft stores and Rack Room Shoes.

A week later, a friend's son was killed in Iraq. Adam was a shining star and clearly had a bright future ahead of him. For his life to be cut short was tragic; for it to be shortened because of an idiot warmonger president is beyond the pale.

And then a week later, my father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He had been feeling poorly for many months, but the doctors kept pursuing gastrointestinal ailments and wouldn't even discuss the possibility of cancer whenever Daddy brought it up. Finally, Daddy insisted on some testing and a week later we were gathered in the hospital for a biopsy and some very bad news. His cancer is terminal no matter what stage it is caught in but because of two different doctors' complete incompetence, my father's life expectancy has been drastically shortened and he won't survive the year. Watching him inch closer to death every week is terrible and his suffering is just horrible. Helping my children cope with their grief and stress is not much fun either.

In the meantime, last summer we were having a lot of problems with Elegant, whom we had long suspected had ADHD. The summer of 2006 will go down in our parenting memory as the toughest two months ever. Elegant's impulsivity got her into trouble numerous times and nearly had fatal consequences twice. She also lashed out at Graceful every day, often several times: I can't even remember how many times Elegant kicked, hit, bit, pinched, or in some way hurt her sister. The ADHD diagnosis in September was no surprise to us but was a relief to finally have affirmation that our parenting was not to blame.

On a related note, during this time we finally put the puzzle pieces together and realized that Graceful's various quirky behaviors were the result of Tourette Syndrome and possibly also obsessive compulsive disorder. It's not normally a big deal, but there are times when ignoring her tics takes every bit of willpower we have and sometimes even that is not enough.

Factor in all the back-to-school stuff and how chaotic September is for us and you can imagine what kind of shape I was in by Labor Day. Later on in the fall, Pete's mother had two strokes that have left her unable to live on her own.

Ergo -- Jen on the Edge.

Life has gotten even more stressful in the past six months but we are managing reasonably well. Some days are harder than others. Watching my father suffer sucks. Hearing about my mother-in-law's continued decline is no fun at all. Getting regular phone calls and emails from Elegant's teacher is not fun either. There are some days when all I want to do is lie on the sofa under a warm quilt. Luckily, I have to stick to my daily schedule -- get the girls off to school and then turn on my work computer -- so I simply cannot wallow, but there are times I teeter on the edge between okay and not okay.

I realize that life is about ups and downs and everyone has problems they have to face. I also know how many good things I have in my life. Yes, my father is very ill, but it wasn't sudden and we've had time to prepare and to come together as a family. Yes, I have two daughters with neurological conditions that can be difficult to deal with, but they're very smart, funny, and (the most important part) healthy girls.

I've got a great husband who's lived up to his name and been a rock. Very stable, very supportive. I've also got some pretty terrific relatives and friends who I know are there for me, even when I'm too stressed to recognize that I need help.

I thought about blogging for months before I actually took the plunge. I was intrigued by the possibilities. I still am, for that matter. I enjoy writing and thinking about how I can improve. It's a harmless hobby, as long as I don't write something that could hurt someone I care for. And it costs me a lot less than my eBay addiction. I enjoy amusing myself and, occasionally, others. I find I now spend a lot of time thinking about what I'm writing, which is much better than wallowing in grief. I plan to post just about every day and possibly even multiple times each day. Sometimes I'll rant about something, sometimes I'll be funny, and sometimes I'll just post random things that pop into my mind. Believe me, there's plenty of random stuff rattling around in my skull. Ask Pete -- he deals with me on a daily basis.

So that's how I came up with my blog name.

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