Not the actual parenting of my children (although that sometimes makes me cry, too, and folks, it doesn't get easier, just higher stakes with better sleep). The TV show.
My husband hates the show. We watched the first season together, and he can't handle the talking over each other dialogue thing they have going on. It didn't catch me at first, either, but I am a die hard Gilmore Girls fan, and I kept watching it partly (mostly) out of loyalty to Lauren Graham.
(Exactly why I feel loyal to a woman I have never met, I'll never know. Plus, if I'm being honest, I really just feel loyal to Loreli, the woman she played on Gilmore Girls, not the actress who played Loreli, which means I'm loyal to a woman who doesn't actually exist.)
(TV is weird.)
Anyway, I've halfheartedly stuck it out, but got hooked again on the adoption story. (This post is going to be full of spoilers, so if you care at all about this show, go find it on hulu, watch it, and come back.) I had recently engaged in an ongoing conversation with a friend who, come to find out, relinquished her daughter to adoption 20 years ago. I had never heard an adoption story from the side of the birth mother--she's a voice that all too often gets lost. My friend still aches for the child she lost 20 years ago, and is finally finding her voice to condemn some of the more yucky parts of adoption, so watching an adoption story unfold on television while my friend was in the middle of her own adoption crusade was interesting. I kept watching, wondering what my friend would think of the whole plotline. And of course, like any series that wants to survive, they ended the season on a cliffhanger, which made me eagerly anticipate this season, again, to see how the adoption line played out.
And then came the cancer.
One of the main characters, a mother with 3 kids, gets cancer. It's devastating, naturally, and the way they played it could not have been more maudlin or sappy or trite or predictable.
It made me bawl my eyes out.
Then the next episode was all about how she and her husband start the road of treatment, how they have to make hard and fast decisions, how they deal with each other and I cried through the whole thing.
(plus, that lady in the blue turban scarf thingie is from Gilmore Girls, too, so maybe there is some kind of tv loyalty karma goin' on)
When I got diagnosed with PKD, I thought I was okay. I was sort of initially prepared for something scarier---cancer, even, and when the tech who did my initial back MRI told me her thoughts (against all rules, and against her better judgement, but I was hounding her for why she kept me in the machine 15 minutes longer than she told me she was going to), I immediately thought, "I don't have that. I've never heard of that. You must be wrong." I talked to my family, and everybody said you can't trust what a tech says, because they don't know what they are talking about. But when my doctor called at 7:30 the next morning, that tech's guess was confirmed.
I spent the morning googling PKD. I'm here to tell you, Google is an awesome tool, but this is what happens when you use it for medical advice:
When you google PKD, the first words that pop up are words like "life-threatening" and "genetic disease". I'll admit it, I was rattled. Shaken to the core.
My son was 3 years old, and I was his full time care-giver. At that moment, I became completely dysfunctional, and knew I didn't have the emotional strength to deal with mothering duties. So I called my husband in the afternoon and told him I needed help. He came home immediately, a feat that still amazes me, as he was working at a high power law firm at the time. I told him I needed some space, and I handed over our son, retreated to our room, turned off all the lights and curled up in a ball on my bed.
I cried, a lot. Not the sobbing, wailing kind of crying, just silent tears of fear. When I had cried myself out, I just lay there, staring at the ceiling for hours, wondering and worrying. Then I pulled myself together, and went downstairs to rejoin my family. I found my house spotlessly clean, with dinner on the stove, and my son happily playing chess with his father.
I burst into tears again, this time a crazy combo of relief and love for my husband. I don't know why his simple domestic acts made me weep, but they did. I don't know if it was relief that I didn't have to manage one more thing on my emotionally full plate, or knowing that I had somebody who was going to be there with me on this insane journey, or both.
(If I haven't mentioned it before, my husband is awesome. Seriously, he's my rock.)
(We are way cuter than the Bravermans)
That was almost 7 years ago. PKD doesn't render me dysfunctional at all anymore. I still hate it, hate what it does to the shape of me, hate that I have to take meds every day, hate that I can't reliably predict the future, but I'm living, quite well in fact, with it. The sands shifted beneath my feet, I've found my new normal, and it really is okay.
But man, watching somebody wrestle with a new diagnosis on television brought it all back, and I've spent the last 3 episodes in tears. Ugly, snot filled tears.
Those writers, they nailed it. Emotional manipulation of audience, CHECK.
(TV is SO weird.)