I probably get more worked up than necessary…

I may have mentioned once or twice that I don’t “super love” Thanksgiving.
Alas, that day is upon us again so here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to lay it all down and walk away.

I don’t want to do what’s “required” of me today.
That would be riding in the car with YBW to get his mom and go over his brother’s house to eat the Thanksgiving meal.
Perhaps it’s because I don’t have any family. Perhaps it’s because I’ve already lived through the “this could be my mother’s last (insert holiday/milestone here) with the former husband.
I very much understand combining families means the combining of rituals. But my hope was that in creating a new family, there would be room for new rituals. This would mean a mixture of the two.
Of course I understand wanting to celebrate with your family. YBW’s mother is eighty-five years old, how many more holidays/milestones could she possibly have?
The other side of that coin is that he’s had forty-four years of celebrating with her.

He reads my words, so there will totally be a conversation about this later…but that’s not the point.

Yesterday we were invited to a holiday party at friend’s of his. This is an annual event that’s been going on for more years than I actually know. He loves this particular party and looks forward to it every year. When we were apart, he would see if I could be here the weekend of the party, which never worked most often because one of the Things would have a school commitment the same weekend. So when I finally moved here he was so excited to take me to this party! It has a gift exchange, but the thing about it is that it’s horrible gifts nobody wants. I’m not sure I understand the wasting of money like that. On something that is either going to be trashed or rewrapped for return to the exchange the following year. (Of course, I’ve never had disposable income. Everything purchased at the holidays is always well thought out and specifically for someone who needs or wants it.)
Anyway, I agreed to go even though I was so anxious about being in a room full of people when I only knew four of them. What he doesn’t understand is that anxiety I have. Being social with people I don’t know is physically painful for me. So off we go, with the caveat that I won’t participate in the gift exchange, I chose to observe, it being my first year and all.
Well, when it comes time to draw numbers, I politely decline and then YBW’s sister in law pipes up with something about how they brought an extra gift and I can use it. I thank her and decline once more. Then YBW turns and tries to convince me that it’s fun and I should participate.
That was the moment I was officially done.
When I said that yesterday, I had barely taken a breath to continue talking when he apologized.
That wasn’t the point. I don’t want you apology a year later. I want you to listen to how I feel.
He reasoned that if I had done something that hurt him I would apologize.
Of course I would. But this wasn’t the time! I was trying to express myself.
I believe he apologizes to make himself feel better. I believe this is unintentional. I don’t think he is even aware…

I swear to you there is not only a point, but also a connection…

YBW asks me if I want to go to this party. I say no, but I’ll go if you want to.
Well this turns into a very uncomfortable conversation in the car.

What we have here, y’all, is a failure to communicate.

So I reply that he loves this party, he’s excited to go and because I love him and know how excited he is I’m ready to go.
But then he says he thinks he’s “dragging me against my will” because I said I didn’t want to go.
(Ah, the dreaded catch 22.)
He doesn’t like it when I defer to him when he asks a question. e.g.: If I had said: I’ll go if you want to go. when he asked me if I wanted to go to the party then I’m not telling him what I really think/want. But when I answer truthfully to the question: Do you want to go? and the answer is: No I don’t. He struggles with that.
Which has to do with him knowing I’ve spent my whole life doing what everyone else wanted so I shouldn’t have to do this if I don’t want to.
And that is kind.

But what really happened when he heard me say no was he thought it would be a case of he could go and I would respectfully decline and not go.
(This is where my actual point happens. And hopefully you’ll see the connection.)
He didn’t want any part of that because “he went to too many parties without his wife” and that’s not something he’s willing to do.
You see, the mad alcoholic second wife, never did anything with him as a couple.

Ah ha! Now we’re getting somewhere!
He is unwilling to go without me because he doesn’t want to feel like that anymore.
OK. So why when I say: I’m happy to go with you. does he not hear that? Well that’s because I told him I didn’t want to go.

I probably got way more worked up about this than was necessary…

He takes the “I can’t say anything right” stance. And I counter with “No, I can’t say anything right.”
But neither is true.
I explained to him that he doesn’t like if I defer when he asks a question so I answered it truthfully. He didn’t like the answer. So then it occurs to him that he should ask a different question. Instead of do you want to go? he asks: Are you willing to go.
Of course I’m willing to go. I love you and you want to do this therefore I’m going to do it with you.

Nothing and I mean nothing gets resolved in the car ride. How very us.

Anyway…I said there was a point and a connection…I just had to go all the way round Robin Hood’s barn to get there.

I said: I’ve already lived through the whole “this could be my mother’s last…”
This isn’t his fault but he must pay the price.
He said: I went to too many parties without my wife…
This isn’t my fault but I must pay the price.

We carry our baggage with us no matter how hard we try.
So I’ll go to Thanksgiving with his family. Perhaps there will come a time when we create our own rituals…

He switches holidays with his Things mother. So every other year it’s Thanksgiving or Christmas. Even twenty-two year old Thing C.
I don’t have that luxury.
Thing 1 is about to move into her own home with her fiance N. I would like to consider celebrating holidays with her at some point. Especially because within the next few years, I’ll have a grandbaby.
This will force new rituals. And they will either mean us celebrating holidays separately with our own children or we will have to figure out how to do it together.

All this drama simply to overeat?…why don’t I like Thanksgiving again?

Two days ago was the one month anniversary of us being married. I glanced as I walked past him and was filled with so much love. I stopped and told him I was so happy I was married to him.
Yesterday not so much. My instinct to run nearly overpowered me. I seriously considered getting out of the car at a traffic light. But I didn’t. I tried to be a grown up and discuss the madness.

Here’s what sucks.
He’s going to read this and this is what I fear he’ll take from it.
1. I don’t like his family.
2. I don’t like his friends.
He hears what has been conditioned to hear, not what I say.
I can’t fix that.

I also do what I’ve been conditioned to do.
I defer. Because when I say or do what I really want, it bites me in the ass. I don’t blame him for that. It simply is. It was always thus.

What I struggle with is where to go from here.
I don’t feel like things get resolved. I don’t know how to make that happen, so I beat things into the ground. That ain’t fun for anyone.

Perhaps I should learn to like Thanksgiving. Maybe there would be less drama if I wasn’t such a bitch about it.
Poor YBW, he didn’t believe that I was such a raging bitch. That I’m a hot hot mess. I guess I didn’t believe he was a hot hot mess either…
Love is blind right?
I’m thankful that YBW is part of my world. However jacked up that world is, we’re in it together.

The parade is on and I’m tired of being a whiny crybaby so I’m going to watch and wait for Santa to show up.
Then Thanksgiving is over and we’re on to Christmas.
I’m holding out for new rituals…

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wishful dreaming

I had a curious dream last night. Curious because I suspect it was a waking dream. Meaning that it may (or may not) have taken place in that ephemeral place between asleep and awake.
I don’t suppose that actually matters…but I have that nagging feeling that it just might.

I don’t remember how or when it began, or even what actually “happened”. But I do know I was given the opportunity to make three wishes.
Did I rub a lamp?
Was there a genie in a bottle?
Was I listening to Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge for too long?
Was it just wishful…dreaming?
I have no earthly idea.
But I remember what I wished for.

My first wish: the ability to facilitate healing with the touch of my hand.
I wish this because I’d love to be able to help people who are truly struggling. With physical illness. With emotional illness. Wouldn’t that be an amazing gift to give? AND, I’d like the ability to heal my own brain, please and thank you.

My second wish: to always have the exact purchase price of anything I wanted to buy.
This could mean anything from sending my kids to college to new appliances, from new shoes to a pack of Trident. (spearmint, natch) To always have enough “change in my pocket”.
I would absolutely use this to my advantage, first and foremost to eradicate my dreaded student loan debt. But I would also use it to help and gift the people I love. And most likely, people I hardly even know.

My third wish: for every question I have to be answered with the absolute truth.
I’m talking about the whys and wherefores of things, not questions like, “Does this make my butt look big?” (I’m not sure anyone really wants the truth to that kind of question.)
If I could get answers to my age old questions, perhaps it would help me grow.
What if I could get answers that would help someone find their truest self or potential?
I can see where this wish could be more than I bargained for, I will undoubtedly get answers that would be hurtful. But I could learn from every single answer I get…the good, the bad, the indifferent.

I’m not sure about the first wish, but the second and third wishes are absolutely selfish. To be able to purchase what I need or want as I need or want it would be spectacular, though I suspect the novelty would wear off sooner rather than later. But to help the kids get set up in their lives would be the greatest gift! There are weddings coming, and they’ll need places to live. If I could start them out with what they need for the first year and then let them sort it from there on out. And shoes for me! Think of the shoes!
The third wish is selfish too. I’ve spent my life asking questions with precious few answers. But would answers to my old questions make any difference now?
But what if I could use this ability to help others? I could ask seemingly simple questions and help someone figure out what’s in their truest heart.
That feels more like a ‘using your powers for good and not evil’ kind of situation.

I don’t guess it really matters. There was no lamp. No genie came to me. And I’ve listened to that Pierces album more times than I can count.
Perhaps it was really wishful dreaming.
But isn’t that the best kind?

I’m curious about you and your three wishes. Would you be willing to share them with me?

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I love that he makes me laugh

YBW and I went over to Barnes and Noble this morning because I had a 20% off coupon that expired today. Sundance’s birthday is in two weeks and I was hoping to find a cookbook for her. She loves to cuddle up and read them as though they were novels. I kinda love that about her.
I didn’t find anything that I thought she needed. But I did find the third volume of Mark Twain’s autobiography.
Happy Christmas to me! (please read that in a jazzy little sing-song way)

We were walking by the info desk and I said: Do you need that new Twilight book from Edward’s point of view?
Without missing a beat he said: Who’s Edward?
The lady at the info desk looked up incredulously like, WTF dude? Where have you been for the last ten years.
I just cackled.

I suspect some people would consider it one of those “I can’t take you anywhere” moments. Not me! I thought it was the funniest damn thing and I’ll keep taking him places because he makes me laugh.

I love that he makes me laugh.
I love that he doesn’t care that I sometimes pick out my own gifts.

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the gift of memories

Saturday marks the fourth anniversary of my mom’s death and it’s got me thinking about a lifetime of memories. I’ve written about my complicated relationship with my mother in missing Mommie, but today I’m not thinking about the unanswered questions.
Today I am simply remembering her. Remembering specific moments with her. Sometimes I feel like I’ve done her a disservice by talking about my conflicts with her, with my feelings about her, and not talking about the memories. Because even though the conflicts were many, the memories are too.

Fox in Socks is my all time favorite Dr Seuss book because of her. I was either in kindergarten or first grade, my brother was three or four. She sat with us to read this book, got tongue twisted beyond our imaginations and we laughed until we were collapsed in a heap in the floor.
She never read it again, but laughed about that moment for the rest of her life.

I learned to love Elvis because of her. She would play records and we would dance and sing until we were worn slap out. These moments were rare, seeing her be joyful simply for the fun of it. She never let herself go, always kept a tight reign on her emotions. Even then these little moments were sacred to me, I understood without really knowing how precious they were.

She never read us bedtime stories, she didn’t like to read aloud. Instead she would often use dolls or action figures to tell us stories at bedtime. My brother would scoot into my bed ready for the story. Sometimes she used my brother’s Weebles, or our Fischer Price people to tell the stories. But my favorite stories always starred I our bendy Evel Knievel and Derry Daring figures.
evel knievelderry daring
(Is it just me or were toys cooler in the 1970s than they are today?)

I would become distraught (I am in no way exaggerating.) when Grandaddy would get on an airplane to go on a trip. I would stand at the gate waving at him through the window until the plane took off and then I would completely loose my mind. I was all tears and hyperventilation and the way she had decided to console me was to take me to Toys R Us for a color book and new box of crayons. And even as an adult, I would receive a new box of crayons and a color book any time there was something serious going on. When I went to have my hysterectomy I got the big box of 64 and five brand new color books. She wanted to make sure I enough to keep me occupied.

After I was already married but before Thing 1 came along, she and I went on a road trip and documented it with video. I laughed more with her in the car those four days than I can even believe! We were positively punchy but it all made sense. I don’t know what ever happened to that old vhs tape, I wish I had it though. It would be fun to laugh with her again.

My memories of my mom are a gift. All the memories, the good ones and the complicated ones. I’m lucky to have them. I was lucky to have her. I’m not sure if I told her that. I know she knew because moms just know those things, but it might have been nice to say it out loud.

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we cannot function from a place of fear

I have to admit I’m uncomfortable with what I’m seeing on social media after the events in Paris Friday night. I know that people honestly believe they’re being helpful and supportive, but I can’t see how painting over your facebook photo with the French flag makes a real difference. The desire to rally around the people of France is real and natural, but does it need a hashtag?
People lost their lives. Their families are grieving. A nation, the entire world grieves with them.
I absolutely want the ability to wrap my arms around all the people of the world to help them feel safe. I can’t do that.
Perhaps that’s what the flag overlay is about, feeling like you’re helping when you can’t actually help.
I suspect a percentage of those people have done it just because it’s in vogue. The French people can’t see their flag superimposed over all these photos. Only the friends and followers can see. This is why I question it.
It feels so politicized to me.
I see people talking about hanging a “closed” sign on the doors of the US. They want the people of Europe to do the same. Lock out anyone who might bring terror.
Are not the people fleeing their homes and country running from the threat of terror?

I sound like I’m judging. I’m not.
I’m uncomfortable because it almost feels more like an agenda than solidarité.

I have not changed my facebook profile photo and I won’t. I have not gotten on a soapbox. But that doesn’t mean I’m not frightened and horrified by what’s happening in the world. It doesn’t mean that I’m not supportive of the people of France, or the people of Lebanon. It doesn’t mean that I’m not supportive of the Kenyan students.
It means I don’t know how my support can and will manifest itself.
I choose not to speak about what I don’t know, what I struggle to understand.

I don’t understand this desire to kill innocent people to create chaos and fear. How does belief in God warrant that kind of action? What kind of God wants that?

I am blessed to know that the people I love are safe. My heart aches for those who cannot say the same.
I’m staying quiet because I don’t understand.
My quiet does not reflect my lack of concern, love, or desire for peace.
I send love and light into the world trusting that it will grow.
I don’t need a flag for that.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

It’s a stupid thing to do. SO DON’T DO IT!

The Saw Doctors was Thing 2 and Girlie Thing’s first concert, front row seats at a teeny little club in Greenville, SC. Leo and Davy invited the eight year old cousins on stage to dance Tommy K with them. Thing 2 was game, Girlie Thing was leery so they danced on the floor in front of the stage. They flirted and danced and sang all night long. The band signed their Clare Island shirts before we left. Thing 2 still uses hers as a sleep shirt.
It felt like a Saw Doctors kind of day this morning when I woke up.
I’ve been playing them all day and decided to share one of our silly favorites.

(click the playlist icon on the upper left and go to the last song: Hay Wrap)

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two weeks notice

Two weeks from tomorrow is the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
You know what that means?

Time to get CHRISTMASY up in here!
Trees and ornaments.
All the baby Jesuses.
Wreaths and stars.
Jingle bells. Santa Claus and Ho Ho Ho.
And mistletoe and presents to pretty girls.

I’m SO ready!!
Since I missed Halloween this year, I’ve decide to “emotionally/mentally” skip the giving of thanks and move straight into Christmas.

The boys will be with their mom for Thanksgiving and YBW and I will pick up his mom and go to his brothers. I feel ambivalent about it, but I don’t have to do any prep work so I’m good. I just hope I’ll get the watch the whole parade before we leave home.

YBW won’t put up trees without the boys being here. Luckily they’ll come back here Friday. That means Saturday can be: All Christmas All the Time!
I’m ready to set up nativities.
I’m ready to wrap pressies.
I’m ready to hang stockings.

Two weeks from tomorrow…
Must. Be. Patient.

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Is it weird to be sad about not getting what I didn’t really want?

Is it weird to be sad about not getting something I didn’t really want in the first place?

I received a voicemail from the woman I interviewed with Monday before the wedding. She regretfully informed me that though I was more than qualified, they went with someone who could start sooner than I could.
It turns out that they wanted someone to start before I even left the country for my honeymoon.

I was completely upfront about my availability when she called to schedule the meeting. If they knew they needed someone to start when I couldn’t, why did they waste their time? Why did they waste my time? Why did my kid sit in a cold car for an hour instead of being warm and shopping with her mom?

I had actually gotten to the place where I didn’t think I was going to take the job, but that’s not the point. I wouldn’t even have had to consider it if they had been upfront with their needs.
I’m not sure why I’m irritated. I’m not sure why I’m a bit hurt. But I do know that my gut was right. This was not the position for me.
And a complete waste of my time!

So I continue to be a hausfrau for a while. I’ve cleaned like a mad woman today and it feels so good! Every bit of the laundry is clean and mostly put away. I’m finally getting the house back to normal after the chaos of all the kids here and leaving it a hot hot mess to go to Barbados. I’m getting back to normal in my sleep patterns and my writing. I (mostly) know who I am and what I want.
I’m going to the neurologist Thursday to have my brain checked.
I’m listening to Edith Piaf and drinking gatorade while I take a break to write this.
It’s a good day to be me.

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love was made for me and you

This is one of my favorite images from our wedding.
maids of honor
Every single photo taken during the ceremony shows my daughters like this.
Thing 2 holding Thing 1’s hand in both of hers. Thing 1 says it’s because she was crying so much and Thing 2 was comforting her.
That sounds about right.

Here’s another one that pleases me. Our first dance.

It was the very best day I’ve experienced in many years. The absolute joy in the church that day. The love of our closest friends and family surrounding us.
It was the most fun wedding I’ve ever been to. Not because it was ours, but because it was interactive. The congregants participated in our ceremony. We laughed, we cried.
YBW’s nephew read from Song of Solomon. His oldest friend read from 1 John. Girlie Thing read the Recipe of Love. We made each other cry. My beloved friend and mentor prayed beautifully for us. And that fabulous ‘girl in a collar’ blessed us in the most special way.
In the middle of our beautiful Episcopal ceremony there was a moment for YBW and me to share our own vows. I had practiced so much that I’d committed mine to memory.
When I began to speak, YBW said: You’re not going to read them?
I said: I memorized them.
His eyes got very big and there was laughter in the church.
Thing 2 said: She worked so hard, just let her go!
More laughter.
Mine was a short paragraph about trust and experiencing a different love with him.
YBW borrowed heavily from Joss Whedon and did manage to include “corpsified and gross” much to my joy!

At the reception, our Things made speeches, Thing C and Thing G telling funny and inappropriate YBW stories. Thing C said something about how it’s not YBW and Robynbird anymore, it’s YBW and Robynbird together. (this made more sense in the inflection)
Thing 2 wandered off for a moment but came back to where she started and as hard is her precious little heart is she told us we “made a believer” out of her.
Thing 1 broke my heart talking about happiness and love. She acknowledged how happy YBW helps me be. She expressed her love for him, not simply because of that, but because she loves him.
My precious and darling nephew, Boy Thing spoke of how I wasn’t just his aunt, I was his second mom and he is who he is today because I was in his life. (We cried in each other’s arms for a moment after he finished.)

YBW and I kissed each time the flatware hit the glasses. We laughed as we explained why there was a little black dolly on our wedding cake.

We danced the night away.
It was the most wonderful day in the history of YBW and Robynbird…so far…

I hadn’t anticipated this post going the way it did when I started. I thought it was going to be about the girls holding hands…turns out I needed to talk about the entire day.
It was a mighty fine shindig.

Categories: love, on being a mom, Uncategorized, wedding | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

adventures in our governmental system

I went to the local Social Security Administration office this afternoon to have my name change processed.
I went to the office because it’s only about ten minutes from home and I could use the necessary documents without having to give them up for any length of time.
I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I got there…but what I found made the “great unwashed” who frequent the local DMV office seem as pristine as angels.
I was hit with the stench of rank body odor and urine as I walked through the door. Babies were screaming (and I mean SCREAMING!), people were near-shouting in at least four different languages. And the security guard asked the same six people to “keep this area clear” five different times before they chose to move.
After checking in at the computer to get my service number, I sat between a woman and her mother, by best guess is they were Indian (from India, not American Indians) and two little Spanish speaking girls who played a quiet “chopsticks” like hand game to entertain themselves. They smelled of pee pants, but were quiet. (One out of two ain’t bad.) The Indian ladies were each reading a book. The babies never stopped screaming.

There I sat with my little folder containing my passport, current SS card, birth certificate, and the shiny new marriage certificate feeling increasingly anti”great American melting pot”. (Thank you Schoolhouse Rock.)
I’m not a racist. I’m not anti-immigration. I mean, we all have ancestors from somewhere outside the borders of the US…but as I listened to the questions about medicare and medicaid benefits from individuals who, at that very moment, were applying for social security cards…my hackles went up a little.

I’m not going to soapbox about this.
We all know it’s not my hot-button issue.
Immigration is what it is.
I’m lucky enough to be born American for all the good it does.

When the man finally called D494 I leapt from the seat and followed him through the door as quickly as I could without trampling any of the screaming babies.
I presented him with all my documents and he stapled my old card to my application handed me a receipt and thanked me for having everything I needed before sending me on my way.
A Social Security card with my new name should arrive in my mailbox in seven to ten days and I only sacrificed two and a half hours of my life in that waiting room.
I’ll consider it an adventure!
I did come home and take a shower though…I felt like the smell clung to me and I just couldn’t abide that.

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