last minute cancellation
3 October 2002
I need to get this out of my brain so I’m writing it down. Don’t expect great wisdom here.

I was going to go to Journalcon this weekend. I was looking forward to meeting so many people whose lives and thoughts I’ve read. Looking forward (I hoped) to having some of them even say "Hey, I like your journal!" But I cancelled my hotel reservation yesterday and instead I’m staying home, taking care of Damian while Dan works one or both days this weekend. Am I nuts? I think maybe I am. I keep wondering if I’m missing out on this great party, this rare chance to have fun and be silly without my family in tow. To just be myself in a like minded group.

But I don’t know. See, part of me was terrified of going. Scared nobody would know me, that if they did, they wouldn’t care, that I didn’t fit the profile of the Most Popular Kid in the Class and therefore would blend into the peach paisley hotel wallpaper. I don’t know that I believe this; when I’m in the mood, I can be social with the best of them and in the end that probably matters more than how many people are fans of my writing. A weekend long party, a chance to wander around San Francisco, a city I once thought I’d want to make my home, what can be wrong with that? Why did I cancel? Am I really that much of a family-comes-first responsible grownup? How deadly boring of me.

It’s never that simple, though. Dan went out of town this week. He left Monday night on a redeye, came back last night just before Damian’s bedtime (Damian got to bed late, needless to say). Damian was sanguine, didn’t seem to miss Daddy that much – but when something frustrated him or upset him, he hit the roof. Lots of heartrending sobs over the tiniest setback. Self regulation out the window. Kid was stressed. If I went out of town tomorrow? Mmm. I started to feel like a bad mommy even contemplating it. And Dan didn’t just go out of town on a frolic. He went on An Adventure. He’s still mulling over how it felt and how it went and what it meant. He’s writing a guest entry about it, so I don’t want to spill the beans, but suffice to say, I’m not sure I want to go away while he’s still processing that. We’re so entwined in each other’s lives and each other’s psyches, it would feel strange.

Though actually that part is all fine, I can see doing just that and coming back with my own stories to tell. But this trip of mine wasn’t going to be cheap. Or simple. I had to take a full fare flight so I’d have maximum flexibility working around scant babysitter hours and trying to stretch our old Honda past the speed of sound to get to Burbank Airport so I’d make it for part of the Friday night banquet. And then scoot out of there after lunch Sunday so I could be home for dinner. And stay in a hotel because my friend in SF will be gone for the week. Money money money, is it worth the money? How can you know something like that ahead of time? And once you start weighing and measuring, can anything really add up? Especially something as ephemeral as a weekend with people you don’t really know yet?

I think it would be easier if I felt more a part of the journal community, or rather, the portion of the community that will be attending. But I don’t. I don’t exchange tons of emails with anyone, I don’t link and get linked on a more than occasional basis. These days I don’t even write a traditional journal. My words are more for the parents of other special needs children than they are for the people who write their own and read each other voraciously. All that is normally fine with me. I’ve gotten to know a number of people I like and respect through this journal, don’t get me wrong. But I stand at a slight distance. My needs and my expression thereof are a little different from the majority. What does this mean for a gathering of like minded folk? Am I like-minded enough? Do I belong there? It’s a question I can only answer by attending, and I’d take the risk except for the money and the Dan-and-Damian issues and one other thing.

You have to be in the mood for a party to have a good time. I think I might be, actually. But I could also be deceiving myself. Because I’ve been extremely emotional lately myself. Much like Damian, overreacting to things I would normally take in stride. You see, I had a blowout with my father a few weeks ago. Found out that he’d begun the process of demonizing me just as he’d done with my brother and my mother before me, and that as a result, he’d kept a secret from me that still feels like a betrayal. That, and the conclusions I’ve come to about our relationship, have felt like an odd combination of furious mourning. A weekend long party might be exactly what the doctor ordered. Then again, it might be an unmitigated disaster.

Cancelling is the safe choice. So I cancelled. I still feel ambivalent about the decision. Part of me wants to just go ahead and board the flight anyway, but I don’t think I will (for one thing, I now have nowhere to sleep).

Have fun without me. Miss me.

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