I have to admit, it's been kind of a stressful summer. While many things have been nice (traveling, swimming, plus the garden is still alive), there has also been Much Drama with the neighbor and considerable anxiety on my part related to health issues in my extended family. Also, Anya starts kindergarten this year, and I'm rather apprehensive about that. I know she'll be fine, but I'm anticipating quite an adjustment period as she gets accustomed to a crowded lunchroom, a big school full of big kids, and any number of social situations that could wound her tender heart.
The issues with the neighbor have simmered down for the most part, for now, but not without considerable effort on my part to remain composed and civil and keep my anger in check. She is hostile, passive-aggressive, inexcusably rude and downright mean; she once yelled and cursed at me for 10 solid minutes in front of my daughter, who later sobbed from seeing me treated that way. Never before has anyone acted with such hostility to me personally - (well, there was that one time when I was a graduate student, a professor yelled at me with red-faced fury in the library because I had the audacity to schedule a recital on a Monday night, but he was being a total prick and everyone knew it and came to my defense).
I have had to remind myself every day, sometimes even out loud, that anyone who works that hard to be so difficult must be profoundly unhappy. And though I can only assume the source of that unhappiness has nothing to do with me, she has still decided to focus all of her negativism on us and the property line that juts awkwardly through the middle of the shared driveway between our house and hers. Still, I can't feel sorry for her. I just can't. I am incapable of feeling one shred of sympathy for her. It is all I can do to remain neutral. I just want her to move out or leave us alone, preferably both, though she doesn't appear to be inclined to do either one any time soon. Don't look for our story in the next Chicken Soup book, is all I'm saying.
Then last week, while I was in Kentucky with the kids to visit my parents, my mom told me she was having back pain and didn't know why, but that she was going to have a Ct scan so she and her doctor could figure out what was going on. Her brother was diagnosed with lymphoma in March and has been through chemotherapy, which was successful in treating the cancer, but the recovery is slow and frustrating, and some of the side effects may be permanent. After that, we were naturally skittish about her back pain, and though I didn't say so at first, I was worried, really worried, about what would show up on that Ct scan.
I googled it. Big mistake. Never google medical issues if you're worried something might be serious because all that does is feed your fear. I knew this, but I did it anyway. By the time my mom emailed on Tuesday morning with the results of her scan, I had convinced myself that the only possible explanation for her back pain was something horrible that begins with a C. For two days I couldn't eat or sleep properly and had an ache the size of a grapefruit over my heart, feeling a rush of cold dread every time I thought about her. I braced myself for the worst, and when I opened my email and saw that she simply has a kidney stone, I was flooded with relief, forgetting for a few minutes how much it must suck to have one. Never have I been so grateful for a kidney stone.
By the way, of all the gazillion things that can cause back pain, kidney stone was not among the results of my google searches. Stupid fucking google. Lesson learned, Suze. Lesson learned.