Sunday, November 05, 2006

Ivy's Wrinkles

For the first time in my adult life, I didn’t have a job in 2003 following a move to Tennessee. In the absence of a 9 to 5 existence, I volunteered at my daughter’s school and eventually became PTO president. As Mom-in-charge, the most striking thing I saw was there was little parent support, so my goal was to find ways to get parents more involved. My bait was committee sign up sheets at our first open house and lucky for me Ivy nibbled, was hooked, and I expertly reeled her in.

Ivy volunteered to serve on the Auction/Potluck committee. Although the concept was to have a potluck, Ivy was absolutely convinced that a spaghetti dinner would go over much better. She nagged and pushed for that spaghetti dinner. When she started annoying me, I thought WTF? Because a PTO should not be run like a dictatorship, I thought that if this Mom was that passionate about some dumb spaghetti dinner, then let her be in charge of it! It was a win for her, it was a win for me, it was a win for the school!

As it turned out, her idea was fantastic and we made a lot of money despite some big bumps along the way. For example, we didn’t realize that the spaghetti should have been cooked the night before or that we’d need about 5 more gallons of spaghetti sauce. At some point between our dashes to Food Lion to buy more supplies and the long line of people wanting their spaghetti, we inexplicably became friends.

As Ivy’s friend, it’s a privilege to be a part of her world to see first-hand how she earns her wrinkles. When I talked with her about this November project, she summed up her wrinkles: two husbands, three children, five years of college and about 23 jobs.

Ivy was a young 18-year old when she first married. The marriage only made it 11 months, but she got a lifetime of joy from it when she had her son, Aaron. She’s married again to Jim and together they have Meg and Nate. She adores all her children, but has been challenged as a parent because of Nate’s developmental disorders. She first noticed that there was something wrong with Nate when he was about 15 months old, according to her blog, Bad Bad Ivy. She said he was tested around 18 months old and they found the worst delays in speech and social development. She sent him to occupational therapy so he could learn to cope with the world and from the outside looking in, we have seen amazing changes in him. In fact I recall Ivy telling me several weeks ago that he is now testing normal!

Putting aside the challenges of raising children, Ivy said she’d love to be a surrogate mother because she enjoys being pregnant especially watching her stomach get bigger and feeling the kicks of a baby. She liked the birthing experiences with her boys, but not so much with Meg. They gave her pitocin which speeds the delivery process sometimes so fast that an epidural or other pain medicine becomes impossible.

More of Ivy’s wrinkles come from worrying about her Dad, St. Mark. At the ripe young age of 55, he has kidney disease and will need a new kidney within the next year or so. Either Ivy or her brother will donate the kidney, depending upon medical tests and other factors. Not many people would be willing to give up a body part for someone you love, so Ivy’s generous offer to her Dad gives a true picture of the kind, sensitive person she is.

Ivy told me she started freaking out about six months ago because she started noticing her wrinkles. She did some research on the best way to get rid of them, but discovered that nothing would really work in the long-term. Then it occurred to Ivy that she spent all her life trying to be older so it was kind of stupid of her to try to be younger now that she was older. The thing is, no matter how old and wrinkly Ivy becomes, she will always be young and she’ll keep her friends young. Her sharp sense of humor, her zeal for living, and the absolute joy she brings to people when she shares her thoughts and feelings will almost certainly guarantee it.


Blogger John H said...

it is a poorly kept secret that i am crazy about Ivy. She is comfortable in her own skin and confident enough to put herself 'out there' in ways most of us would be afraid.

I hope that Ivy doesn't ever really consider messing with those wrinkles..they go with that sparkle in her eyes.

Once again, Kathy, I want to commend you on your special project. Some of the folks who write their 'November' novel will probably learn something about writing and about themselves, and that is ok, but you are giving us a daily gift. For that, I thank you.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Ivy, the Great and Powerful said...

John- the feeling is 100% mutual. :D

Kathy- WOW. This is the nicest thing anyone has ever written about me, I just love this. :)

4:29 PM  
Anonymous Chip said...

Excellent Kathy! You are inspirational! The way it just flows. Thank you so much for your commitment and friendship.

8:56 PM  
Blogger Sonia said...

great story :) I think 31 must be the magical age for wrinkles...cause that's when I first started noticing them too.

7:47 AM  

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