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Jordan’s happy birthday comes courtesy of life overflowing

Posted on 11 Jan 13 by in family fringes | 8 comments


I don’t write much about Jordan online anymore except as a passing reference to something we may all be doing as a family. It’s not so much that I am tired of writing about the event that so dramatically altered my life, my personality, my trajectory of thought, although that exhaustion could play a small part—it’s simply time to move on.

Before I lost blogs to hacks or ennui, I would celebrate her birthday in grand fashion. You know, the “my, how she’s grown” photo collages and allowing her to read all the comments left by well-wishers, sometimes letting her respond in comments. As a humorous aside, I once let her guest post on my blog when she turned 12 and, to my horror, she replied personally to every comment through email. I had no idea until one of my readers sent me a note saying: “Hey, just wanted you to know I got an email from Jordan today, and I know how you feel about her using the Internet unsupervised. It was, however, a very nice thank you note.” So, thank you, potentially crazy well-wishers for not continuing any private communication with my developmentally delayed minor, finding our address and kidnapping her.

Today, Jordan is 18. She’s lived about 18 years longer than some expected, two years longer than I expected. I used to be paralyzed by the conviction she was going to die somewhere in her 15th or 16th year. Once she hit 17, I relaxed. Mainly after discovering Xanax. But please put my anxiety into perspective: when I am forced by circumstance to pay my car note a few days late, every unfamiliar motorized sound outside my window is the repo guy’s tow truck. Brain-injured or not, Jordan will very likely outlive her mother.

Her happy birthday comes courtesy of life overflowing: she has an extraordinarily supportive family, she’s headed to the mall tonight to celebrate with friends. Most, if not all, of her friends are delayed in some way, but one of them has a driver’s license and a car. Weird. But whatever means I don’t have to drop her off and pick her up, I’m okay with.

Her happy birthday comes courtesy of my life overflowing as well. Not to be all mushy, but my PTSD is mitigated by my husband Q who accepts my crazy as part of his own. Sadly, I am not as accepting of his crazy, but he’s a better person than I am. When Flood, who does not drive, makes her way to the post office regularly to mail me goodies, does she curse my phobia of the post office as she wonders why my mailouts aren’t quite as routine as hers? Is she keeping count?

Once, one of my blog readers sent me $60 cash, specifically because she thought a mani/pedi would make me feel better after a particularly hard emotional week. You know what was even better? Paying the utilities before the delinquency date with that $60 I’d been missing.

Sometimes, okay, all the time, it’s nice to hear someone say, “I know it must be exhausting caring for three kids without your husband living in the house.” People rarely say that to me because, of course, they have their own problems and, in the grand scheme of things, no one can ever insert a chapter from my life into The Grapes of Wrath. But when my friend Louise said those words to me as I sat in her house feeling useless and intrusive and lazy, she washed away about 18 years’ of guilt and doubt and worthlessness. Just acknowledging the struggle of others without window dressing and problem-solving can be freeing to them, and we should all try to do that more often.

Then Alisa of IceScream Mama sought me out on Twitter on one of my particularly cranky days and promised to send me some pieces of happiness. Her care package arrived yesterday and as I was going through its contents, it was obvious to me how much thought she put into each item. Here was life overflowing again. What she sent:

alisa pkg

so good

  1. homemade fudge—cannot wait to try!
  2. vodka—when I wrote the line at yeah write about sending me vodka and dark chocolate, who knew anyone was paying attention?
  3. a note Alisa wrote thanking me for yeah write. Wow.
  4. dark chocolate-covered almonds—the main reason I’ve yet to try the fudge. I had some for breakfast this morning. I read somewhere a handful of almonds starts your day off right.
  5. a Bill Cosby stand-up comedy routine DVD—Alisa says it’s hilarious. I can’t wait to watch it. Especially since this was recorded before Bill Cosby’s descent into his humorless lecturing me about my kids’ TV and gaming habits.
  6. a Boss Lady money bag—on the back it says “show ‘em the bacon you’re out there makin’.” Ha.
  7. an ice cream keychain because Alisa is IceScream Mama and loves ice cream. Cute!
  8. a note explaining the contents and apologizing for the anti-craftiness of the presentation. Apparently, Alisa and I are twins.
  9. a Batman t-shirt for Ehren!
  10. Spider Man stickers
  11. the thank you note I’m sending to Alisa.

Life overflowing in comments…




  1. Happy Birthday Buttercup!

  2. Happy Birthday, Buttercup! (Q sure is fast on the draw.)

    Whatta great care package, wow. So nice.

    I am not counting post office trips. I once tried to mail you a jar of homemade jam, but postage was, seriously, $20 and a vein started to pulse out of my husband’s temple. Rather than seeing him go postal, I tucked the box back into my purse and told the employee, “Not today, thanks.”

    The box remains sealed and addressed, even though we are out of jam at our house, because it’s yours and I’m saving up to send it. I love you.

    • I was wondering what happened to that jam! Hah. I don’t blame your husband. You guys can eat my jam if you need it in the apocalypse.

  3. Happy Birthday Jordan! Glad you got some presents too :)

    • What? No. She got nothing. All gifts for Mommy.

      (Or, better known as Mommy combining Jordan’s birthday post with a few thanks for helping me through my recurring PTSD—was that tacky?)

  4. and now I am thinking…did I really ever not thank you for Yeah Write? I mean, good lord, that community helped me survive my first year of living in HotLand, introduced me to lots of great writers, and is just a wonderful spot. So. Belatedly. Thank you.
    And congrats on making 18 to Jordan, although of course birthdays are also about parents who themselves have to make it, too. It’s a group effort, all the way around.
    Fudge? you got FUDGE? wow. Fudge is really just squishy nodules of love.

  5. Big hug to Jordan and mama! You can come sit on my couch and compare exhaustion with me any old time, Erica. Just bring a few of those almonds. I think they’re a good source of calcium, or something.

  6. you get to know people on line and you kind of feel like you really know them, and you do, at least parts of them. but i learned so much here, i’m almost overwhelmed. i had no idea about jordan and both of your struggles. i’m so so happy to hear that jordan is doing well and has just celebrated her 18th birthday. she’s beautiful!! and i’m thrilled that my care package made a cranky day a little happier. totally my pleasure. :)

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