Posts Tagged With: blessings

all in my feels

I’ve been living in the teeniest of bubbles for the past three weeks.
The bubble that exists around a brand new baby.
Being with my daughter for the birth of her daughter is a blessing. So much so that words actually fail to express my joy and gratitude.

When it comes to being helpful, I made sure not to overstep when it comes to Baby K. I’m making sure I’m not doing too much around the house.
We started out with me making sure she ate and was hydrated, I prepared her breakfast and lunch, provided her with healthy, lactation promoting snacks, and make sure she had enough water. I took a bigger responsibility in keeping the house in order. Cleaning and tidying, making sure she had access to what she needed.
In these three weeks, she has taken on more household responsibilities in addition to Baby K responsibilities. She’s finding her way in balancing running her home and menagerie, and being a mom.
I have not yet stopped doing the laundry, but we’re making plans on how to make that transition simplest for her.

I am acutely aware of how fortunate I am to spend this time with my granddaughter.
From diapers, burping, and baths, to books, songs, and snuggles, I am making the most of my time with her.
This sacred time will be lost on her, but I am making memories and storing them up.
As many times a day as I can manage, I say, “Birdie loves you, girl.”
My hope is that when Baby K hears those words over the rest of our lives, that it triggers something down deep in her, and she remembers this time in some sort of way.

I am actively in my feels.
I am beginning to prepare myself emotionally for my departure.
I consider sleeping through the night in my own bed, and the simple pleasure of being in the same physical space as YBW. Seeing my friends, and farmer’s market mornings. Really just living my regular life.
In returning to my regular life, I won’t spend every day with Thing 1 and Baby K. I won’t be comfortably enclosed in that precious little bubble. I won’t get to clean up mad blow-out diapies, or sing the lollipop guild song while I ‘dance’ Baby K’s legs around. I won’t be seeing her eyes roll back in her head when she gets sleepy, but won’t give in. I won’t get to hold her close and smell her sweet baby smell.
I won’t be able to spend time with my daughter, listening to her thoughts. We won’t laugh together, or finish each other’s sentences. I won’t get to watch her basking in the joy of her daughter, or experience that moment of joy when she shares her with me.

These thoughts weigh heavy on me. I need to acknowledge and attempt to accept them to ease the reality of parting, but not so much I’m missing out on the joy of being here.
I mean, how could I feel anything but joy looking at this darling little face!?!

I absolutely understand how blessed I am to be here with my daughter and granddaughter. To spend this sacred time with them. I’m grateful for the support of my precious husband in making this possible.
I am chock full of love.
I am chock full of joy.
I am chock full of gratitude.
My cup truly runneth over.

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Birdie’s on it!

My friend Holly gave me a funny little book. It’s very tongue in cheek, written by a grandmother and filled with some silliness, some heartfelt things, and a fair amount of honesty.

In this book, she talks about how the mother of the mother always ‘wins’. How because it’s her baby having a baby, it’s different than her son having a baby.
And I get that. To a point.
However, I don’t feel any more or less ‘winning’ than Husband N’s mother. I mean, apart from the fact that I’ve been told I’m the one they’re going to rely on. To be perfectly honest, in my gut, it does feel that mother-mother connection has a strength the mother-father connection may not have.
But what do I know? I have two daughters, I truly cannot imagine what being the mother of a son would even feel like.
All that said, I feel like there doesn’t have to be a difference.

Only it turns out there is a difference. At least in the case of Baby K’s grandparents.
Thing 1 and Husband N took Baby K over her Nana’s house late Saturday morning.
(just to clarify, Nana is Husband N’s mom)
Nana came home from Savannah and got sick. And I mean sick, like, with sinusitis and a fever, and all that jazz.
(I’m over here like, thank fuck we didn’t all catch it when we were at the hospital together!)
So Nana hasn’t seen Baby K since the day after she was born.

Thing 1 and Husband N knew I needed to write an essay, and I’d been working on it but could use some uninterrupted time to finish it. They also knew if they took Baby K to her Nana, they could control how long the visit would last.
So off they went late Saturday morning so Nana could snuggle Baby K.
In the time they were gone I:
quickly bathed
let the dogs out
started laundry
finished my essay
switched and folded laundry
and
washed a handful of dishes
I was just about to reach out to Thing 1 to see if she would want a bit of late-ish lunch, but got distracted by the dogs needing some water. As I was carrying the water dish out, Thing 1 and Baby K rolled up the driveway. (Husband N stayed at his mother’s to get some stuff done.)
Thing 1 got the baby settled and I made lunch and we talked about their visit.

I asked if she slept or was awake. Thing 1 said she was awake most of the time and Nana snuggled Baby K the whole time. (Of course she did! I mean that’s all any of us want to do!)
And here’s where things get wonky for me…
She shared that Nana made some remark about how your mom probably never puts her down.
That got my girls hackles up a bit. But she remained calm and was polite when she explained how I was here making sure they all had food to eat, and doing the laundry, and making sure the floor was swept (y’all there are three dogs and four cats in this house, the sweeping never ends) and changing dirty diapers, and staying up in the night with them so she didn’t feel completely alone, and generally taking care of everyone until they can figure out how to do it all.
And here’s how I feel about that.
Appreciated.

And you know what, I am absolutely savoring every single moment I get to spend with Baby K. I’m living in this sacred moment and also storing up that feeling for when I go back home and don’t get to see her.
But, I am truly, madly, deeply loving that I’m here with my girl. Stuffing her with calories so she can make milk to feed her daughter. Making sure she has help maintaining her household while she figures out how to be a mommy. Helping teach Husband N to trust his instincts, and how cloth diapers work. Getting up early with the baby so Thing 1 can rest as much as possible.
I’m here to actively love and care for my daughter, and by proxy, her daughter.
I am here to be of service.
Because that’s what the mother of the mother does.
Well, at least that’s what this mother of the mother does.

That’s not what Husband N’s mother would do. Not because she’s mean spirited, but because that’s not how she functions. She’s the hold the baby, talk ridiculous baby talk, give her too much candy and send her home with a sick belly kind of grandmother. Thing 1 and Husband N already know that. They’re prepped for it.
But here’s what I believe is important to remember. She has love to give. It may be selfishly motivated, but love is love is love is love is love, right? Nana is going to love Baby K the way she knows, the way she can. How can that be wrong?

I am so blessed to experience this love.
I have so much love to give, it bubbles up in my heart and overflows out into the world. I’m hopeful that my daughter and her husband are content having it poured over them at the moment.
But that’s not why I’m doing it.


This teeny girl next to me is waking up for a second time this morning. She’s ready for a clean diaper, some warm milk in her belly, and a big ol’ burp.
Birdie’s on it!

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Husband N

I’ve mentioned before my daughter Thing 1 is married to Husband N. Now, Husband N is a patient human being, God love him, he has to be to be married to my daughter. He’s rather adept at accepting her for who she is without ever really “letting her off the hook”. I like that about him. They’re giving each other a run for their money, that’s for sure. But they’re doing it with so much love!

I received this text from him this morning.

When Mo died, I was choked by my own grief. I was in mommy mode about my girls and their grief. I was grateful that Husband N was there with Thing 1, but I never stopped to consider his grief. That man welcomed into their home, with open arms, the dogs of his wife’s childhood (well, teen age anyway). He was working with Mo to develop a healthy relationship, switching over from the Things father being Mo’s “father” to Husband N being Mo’s “father”.
He cared for Mo. He moved his lifeless body to the grave he and my daughter created. He did this out of love for their dog.
Their dog.
Even though Mo started out being all of ours, in the last five or six months he truly became theirs. Husband N loves Thing 1. He loves Thing 2. He loves me. But he also loves Mo. His grief was just as real as ours.
He was strong and brave for us.
I don’t have the words to express how strongly I felt the love for him this morning when that text came. I just hope he can feel it.

Now, it took me longer than it should have to decide to like, and then love Husband N. That had almost nothing to do with him and mostly everything to do with me (and Thing 1).
Thing 1 met Husband N when she went away to school. They met in a math class, bonding over their sarcastic senses of humor.
Now this is a meet-cute I can get behind.
What I struggled to get behind was her dropping out of school and shacking up with this guy.
That was not my plan for her! That wasn’t the life she was meant to have.
All I could see what that he’s older than she is, by more than a decade. That she left school because of him. That we didn’t know him from Adam.
I was frightened she was making all the same mistakes I made… a guy so much older than she is…no education…no way to support herself. I wanted more for her than the life I’d lived. I wanted her to be healthy and content and able to take care of herself. I didn’t want her to suffer and struggle.

Of course, what the hell did I know?
A whole lotta nothing, I’ll tell you that.

Turns out, Husband N is a kind and loving man. An intelligent man. A helpful and sincere man. A man who loves my daughter and would do (and has done) whatever it takes to make sure she’s safe and sound.

Y’all know that when YBW and I got married, his Things and my Things were our best men and maids of honor. The girls even “gave me away” that day. Thing 1 remarked to my friend and mentor, Jessica, that she had no idea how (emotionally) hard it would be to give her mom away.
Well, (not yet) Husband N and Thing 2’s then boyfriend were here too. And even though it was busy and a bit chaotic, I got to spend some good time with Husband N. And when YBW were driving to the airport to go to Barbados for our honeymoon, I turned to him, and said, “I like Husband N!” YBW was so relieved! He was waiting for me to decide to like Husband N because he very much liked him.

Then they came back for Christmas that year. And I got to spend even more time with him. I love his childlike enthusiasm! I listened to him and my daughter talk about what kind of life they wanted. And I realized it wasn’t the life Husband N wanted that Thing 1 just accepted, neither was it the life Thing 1 wanted that Husband N accepted. They had really thought about this. They had talked about it. They were planning this life that they wanted together!

They are truly each other’s best friend. They are both great big nerds about books and movies and comics and D & D and video games. They’re learning from each other how to appreciate these things the other brings to the table. They are so loving. They are also quick to get after each other. Each one feisty in their own way. They fight. They laugh. They play. They love. They do these things with the entirety of themselves. They give everything to each other and their relationship.
How could I possibly want more for my daughter? Or her sweet husband?

When they married, I was joyous for them! It wasn’t a big white wedding, but it was them. There was love and laughter and genuine joy surrounding them. This man is the husband of my very first girl. That was hard yet simple all in the same moment. I knew they could marry and build a life together and I wouldn’t have to worry about their ability to work together. I wouldn’t have to worry about their ability to love each other and embrace each other’s families.

Husband N just might love Thing 2 as much as her big sister does.
I know Thing 2 adores him.
They have such a special friendship.
I believe he’s been instrumental in helping my girls rebuild their relationship.
One more thing to love about him.

When his grandmother died and there was talk of them moving to her farm. Thing 1 was all for it. Husband N was a bit more hesitant. He called me and we talked for a long time. He shared his concerns. He asked my opinion. We talked about how he didn’t want to disappoint Thing 1, but felt so strongly that he didn’t want to raise (future) children where he grew up. He wanted more and better for them. (I can SO relate to that.)
I made some suggestions. I offered to speak with his wife. I promised to have their backs no matter what choices they made for their future.
I was touched he wanted to have that conversation with me. I was honored that he valued my opinion. I was pleased to be his (mostly) impartial sounding board for that important process.

I talk with my girls frequently. A phone call at least once a week, but there are texts and snapchats, emails and social media posts mixed in there too.
Husband N and I also text, snap and share things with each other’s social media. We sometimes even talk on the phone. It’s fun. He makes me laugh. He shares information he thinks I’ll be interested in. He expresses his concern for my health.
He expresses his love for my daughters and acknowledges how hard I worked to help them become the women they are.


Dude loves my girls.
Respects my hard work to help them become those ‘epic legends’.

I’m so grateful.
My girl chose well.
For herself.
For her sister.
For her Momma.
Husband N has his hands full with we three girls, but he takes it in stride.
Y’all we are so damn blessed!

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

love and light at the Cathedral

The day after Christmas we went downtown to the creche exhibit at the National Cathedral.
For the first time in many years, the sun was out on that cold, cold day. (sorta kinda)

We walked the long way around the Cathedral College on our way up the hill to the Cathedral.
Thing 2 especially loves this building, the tower with the ivy vines. I think it has something to do with her love of the Disney movie Tangled…though she might not agree. It was important to her to bring boyfriend J to this place.

I loved this glimpse of colored glass! It wasn’t until I viewed the window through my lens that I realized there was a pane missing.

The Cathedral is my absolute favorite building the the whole of DC. I mean to the point that I began to breathe differently when we drove up Wisconsin Ave and I could see it. The building is truly awe inspiring, but more than that, it’s just a lovely, peaceful place. God’s house for everyone.
I was pleased to see the Advent wreath in the Bethlehem Chapel!

Though they were beginning to look a little worse for wear, the Christmas trees were dressed with a garland of hydrangeas. A few jingle bells and, boom! You’ve got yourself a gorgeous tree.

The sun was shining brightly as we made our way through the chapel and the stained glass positively sparked!

The “Space Window”.
Inside that little white circle is a piece of moon rock given to the Cathedral in 1974.

This view stopped me in my tracks. I honestly cannot describe the beauty my eyes saw, and this photo is a sad representation.
But not so sad that I wasn’t asked by a local online culture and lifestyle magazine if they could feature it in a current coolest pics article.
Go me!

This little beauty was waiting in the observation tower.

Here’s a view of the Bishop’s Garden from the observation tower.

Down on the crypt level is the chapel of St Joseph of Arimathea. This is my absolute favorite space in the entire building. I always stop for a moment (or longer) in this chapel to talk with God.

The teeny chapel where we normally light our candles in prayer.

Much to our dismay this little chapel was otherwise occupied. Who dropped off an organ in there? It actually brought Thing 2 to tears.

So we went back up the the Bethlehem chapel to light a candle in prayer. I finished my conversation with God before Thing 2 finished hers and I shot this pic without her knowledge. Seeing her like this moved me so.

I saw many lovely nativities at the creche exhibit, including one from Norway in which both Mary and the baby had red hair! Like, what’s that!?!
But this one is my favorite from this year.
From the collection of Mr and Mrs Harold R Amos, Jr, painted on wood by Miami folk artist, Flor Larios.

We left our coats, hats, and gloves in the car to avoid having to carry them around the Cathedral. Not the smartest choice when we decided to visit the Bishop’s Garden. Though the beauty of the dappled sunlight nearly made the freezing air bearable.

My Cathedral experience (as always) ended with the Cathedral Library.

I love this building. I long to get in there and oodgey-goodgey, only it’s never open when I’m there.

This Christmas is over and I find myself feeling that natural sadness. But in a positive ‘comfort and joy’ way. That beautiful sense of anticipation during Advent and the childlike joy of Christmas morning has moved through me and now I find myself ready to say a hearty “Bye Felica” to 2017 and see what kind of shenanigans 2018 will bring.
YBW and I are already talking about going on a mini-break for Christmas next year. Neither of us are sure how we feel about that…leaving home for Christmas, but we’re considering the idea, and it feels kind of fun.
I think I’m in a place within myself, he’s in a place in him, and we’re in a place together that we’re ready to make some changes to better suit the ideas we have for each other as we move through our life. And that’s very exciting! Perhaps ‘just we two’ will be even more fun that we can imagine!
Blessings of love and light continue to wash over me.

Categories: me, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

twenty years of muchness

Thing 2 is twenty today!
Twenty years of the muchiest muchness you ever saw!
That girl.
Sometimes she’s the most precious angel. Sometimes she’s the devil incarnate. I suspect that could be said about many girls on the planet, only this one is my girl.

At the Udvar-Hazy there, is a missile with Thing 2’s name on it. Whenever I see it, this is what I think, ‘Thing 2 missile, blowing shit up with sass!’
Because that’s kind of what she does. She just goes around blowing ship up with her sass. I actually love that about her.
She wears a bit of an armor, going around like a bad ass, but she’s got a kindness to her that she keeps close to the chest.
Like Veronica Mars, Thing 2 has a marshmallow center.

We’ve had a tricky time of late. She’s trying to figure out how to be a more grown version of herself. I’m trying to feel connected to her as she develops this new version of herself.
It’s easy to let miles and time create a hole in our relationship. We both do it.
The hole in our relationship doesn’t mean we don’t love each other, but it sure feels icky to have to traverse that hole to connect with each other.

Five years ago, she wrote this:

Truth is: You are the best mom I could ever ask for, even when I’m all messed up-you fix everything! Love you.

I want to be this mom still. Only that ship has sailed. I can’t fix everything for her anymore. I know that. Knowing it and accepting how that feels are two different things. I will always be her Momma. Only in an entirely new and less active way.

Last month she wrote this:

Oftentimes it feels like you’re reaching out to and calling for a Thing 2 that I’m just not anymore. Be it that you want different things for me, or just different things in general. I can’t be “your Thing 2” anymore. I have to be the person that I am, even if that’s still flaky right now.

You will always be my mom and I will always be your daughter. I need you to respect that your role in that isn’t going to be as active as it used to be. That doesn’t mean that I don’t need you, and it’s ridiculous that I don’t want you in my life–I just want you to let me go a little.

In my response I wrote the following:

As for being “my Thing 2”, well, you will always be “my Thing 2”, that’s just because I’m your Momma. The Thing 2 you are is a constantly growing and developing Thing 2, that’s natural. That’s how it’s supposed to be.

What you don’t know is that I don’t judge you. I believe you think I do. But in all honesty, I don’t. All I want is for you to get your muchness fired up and be the Thing 2 you want to be. That might look like something I never even expected. And that is OK! I know the Thing 2 you’ve been isn’t the Thing 2 you want to be, I know you want more for yourself. Only you can decide what that looks like.

We will always be connected because you are my daughter and I am your mother. I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world. I long to be connected to you as a human being. I want to know the Thing 2 you are now, the Thing 2 you are becoming. Not only because I’m your mom, but because I have a burning desire to know you as a human being.

Today, as we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of her birth. I’m reminded of the sick baby she was. I’m reminded of the precocious preschooler she was. I’m reminded of the sweet girl she was. I’m reminded of the sassy teenager filled with “wizard angst” she was. I’m reminded that through every illness, joy, sadness, laugh, tear, hair color, and fight, she is my baby.
She is the love I never even knew I needed.
She is my heart outside my body.
I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Woo Hoo! Birthday Birthday! Happiest day to you, Moo! I love you more than the moon and the stars.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

paying attention to my gratitude

I’ve been thinking about what it means to feel gratitude.
What it means to appreciate what’s important in your world.

These thoughts have been bouncing around for a few days, inspired by my therapy appointment, another with the acupuncturist, and a long-overdo conversation with my beloved sister in law. And though these thoughts are not as fully formed as they might become, it feels to me that they’re ready to hatch.

In living my intention, I’m inclined to believe that in love, all things are possible. But somehow I think it’s more than that. Well, perhaps not ‘more’, as much as ‘in addition to’. (Remember up there where I said these thoughts might not be fully formed?)
Nothing will ever convince me that the word with which I intend to live my life is not love. But…I’m always open to adding new meanings to my personal definition of love. And that’s the pinball of thought that’s been bouncing around in my brain.


A woman I love so dearly commented, “I just love this pic and your life.” in response to this photo.
And you know, for the first time in a while, I stopped and actively thought about it. I love my life too!
I mean I really love my life!
I’m grateful, thankful, and joyful for who and what I have in my life!

I get stuck in my head so frequently. So damn frequently that I don’t actually stop to look around me. And I miss it. I miss all the little things. Sometimes the big things too. And in those moments of recognition, gratitude bursts forth from my heart like a dam breaking.

I don’t think the people in my life experience my gratitude. How could they really, if I don’t?
I told YBW how much I appreciate him. How grateful I am for him. Not only as my husband, but as a human being. His kindness, his patience, his ridiculous sense of humor. My life would be lacking without him.
I’m not sure he feels it. So I’ve charged myself with being more mindful about showing my gratitude, especially to him.

I’m grateful for new and different healthcare providers that have helped me feel well for the first time in years. Thank you for helping me move from a place of being actively sick, to being actively getting healthy!

I’m grateful for my nieces and nephews, none of which are my blood kin. The love we share is sacred. Each one of them is so precious to me. And when I get a random voicemail from one announcing he’ll be in the area with his boyfriend and best friend looking for a place to stay, there is no hesitation. I simply open our home to them. Wherever I am will always be home to my giant brood of children, grown as they are.

I feel gratitude for the relationships I have with my stepsons. My love for them is much bigger than I think any of them understands. Thing C and and Thing G are a blessing in my world. They’re teaching me how to understand boys in a way I have never experienced. And though I’m quick to say I need more estrogen in my world, I’m grateful for the life lessons these guys share with me.

I’m grateful for the women I love. The ones that call me when they need to be talked off the ledge, or that I call for the same reasons. Though we may not see each other or talk as often as we’d like, not a moment has passed in the in between.
That by my precious Sally saying she loves my life, I remember to stop and love it too.
That when Nicole calls me from across the country because she can’t break the cycle of chaos in her brain, I can tell her that she can’t fix it. And it settles her because she knew it, but needed to hear me say it to get there. That Jessica and I can speak of all our joys or troubles with love and understanding.
That Sundance and I are able to communicate oftentimes without even using words.

I’m filled with gratitude when I see my grown girls living their lives. That Thing 1 has become a woman I am constantly awed by, yet retain the feeling of knowing what it’s like to hold her in my arms and keep her safe.
That even though my relationship with Thing 2 feels more like navigating a minefield at the moment, my heart fills with gratitude for all the years of loving each other.

I’m so much more grateful to YBW than he can even imagine. I took a leap of faith all those years ago, and trusted him when he told me he thought he was falling in love with me. That leap of faith has brought me great joy and some pain. But mostly it’s brought me love. A new and different way of loving. When I think “hashtag love my life” so much of that is because of him. I’m the me I am now because of my relationship with him.
Now, I’m the first to admit this me is still me in progress…but I’m a pretty damn good me.

Huh! Looks like Destination Girl is learning to be grateful for the Journey after all.

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blessings of love and light

We made our annual pilgrimage to the National Cathedral Monday to see the crèche exhibit.
I made a quick stop in Bishop’s garden on my way around the cathedral.
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It always seems to be cloudy when we go. I’ve looked back at four years of photos and the sky is gray in every single one.
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Doesn’t make it any less beautiful, but it sure would be nice if the sun would make an appearance once in a while.

I turned my attention to the cathedral. Much less scaffolding than in previous years. The repairs from the 2011 earthquake are coming to an end.
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Something stopped me in my tracks on the sidewalk towards the front of the cathedral.
What could it be?
Why robin birds, of course!
There were five of them flitting about the grass and sidewalk as we made our way around the building.
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I was so excited I could hardly stand myself! I spent quite a bit of time watching and photographing these little birds before I could tear myself away to go inside to see all the baby Jesuses.

Downstairs, I peeked in on my most beloved space, the chapel of Joseph of Arimathea.
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Then onto the nativities.
This one was made in Zimbabwe of jacaranda wood.
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I like that the figures are tall and lanky. I like that the shepard cradles the lamb in a way that mimics the way Mary holds her baby. I do so love nativities in which the momma holds her son.

Of course, there is something to be said of the baby bundled up in a basket.
This one was specifically made for the collection in Jamaica at the request of a Cathedral docent.
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I love that he sleeps with a little smile on his face. How many parents have watched our own babies sleep the same way?

This one is hand painted pottery from Turkey.
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I like that it’s just the Holy Family. I also love the traditional Ottoman style of the flowers and designs, not to mention the little rugs especially made for this nativity.

I remarked to YBW that I would only purchase a nativity if it was somehow unique or particularly beautiful. Well, this one sort of met both criteria.
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This gourd was specifically chosen then hand carved in Peru. I particularly love the stars on the back of the lid. (not pictured)

After going through the crèche exhibit, I found my way to the teeny chapel to say my prayers.
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I kneeled on the prayer bench and gathered myself before I began. After my conversation with God, I lit my candle in benediction. As the light grew brighter, my blessings reached far and wide to touch those for whom it was intended. My love and hope are overflowing.
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We left the cathedral and headed to the Ellipse to check out our National Christmas tree. I mentioned before that I love when Hanukkah and Christmas coincide. And I honestly can’t remember a time in my life that both the menorah and the tree were lighted at the same time.
Monday was the third night of Hanukkah.
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(Of course I was on the back side of the menorah.)

YBW wanted to look at all the state and territory trees, but I decided to stay in the inside circle around the big tree. All the trains were set up and running…so many little villages and trains…
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If you look closely, you can see the train circling the base of the tree.

My grinchy heart not only grew three sizes that day, it was filled with the love of ‘ten Grinches plus two’!
I’m waiting patiently for twelfth night. In the meantime, I’m still lighting menorah candles and saying my prayers each night between now and New Year’s Eve.
May the light of my candles bless and keep each and every one of all y’all.

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happy Hanukkah

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I’m only a smitch Jewish, but it’s an important part of my heritage so I like to celebrate when I can.
I especially love when Hanukkah and Christmas coincide.

The prayer for the first night is my very favorite.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, shehechiyanu ve-kimanu vehigianu lazhaman hazeh.
Thanks be to you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, for keeping us alive and in good health and for bringing us together.
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Happy Hanukkah, y’all.

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

back to school rant

I find myself wondering why certain people simply cannot be positive.
I mean, sure we all have those moments when we feel negative. When we’re at the end of our ability to give one more teeny tiny damn about whatever it is.
But I’m talking about people who are actively negative. Do they lack hope? Are they not skilled in observing the positive in any thing?
Imagine what their inner speech sounds like! Imagine what they heard as children…what they continue to tell themselves as adults. Why, it breaks my heart! What is it like to be inside that head with no idea of how to hope?
Honestly, it breaks my heart.
But it also makes me angry.
It makes angry because these negative people inflict the same things on their own children. The first thing that comes to mind is negative. Hope is a foreign concept.
I’m talking big broad concepts this morning, I know…but I’m angry.

I checked social media this morning to see all the “back to school” posts and photos. Kids I taught when they toddlers are in high school now. Kids I taught when they were toddlers are in kindergarten now. Kids I’ve known since they were toddlers starting college now!
I have so much joy seeing these photos! I have so much hope for these children!

And then I come across a post that made me want to kick someone in the face.
A post of our own Thing G starting his junior year posted by his mother. Who couldn’t put a positive spin on anything if a gun was held to her head. She has a knack for posting things to get positive feedback. When I read her posts,I’m often thankful that I know I’m enough. That I know my own worth even on days when I don’t feel it. I don’t need people to boost my self confidence.
This morning, I saw a photo of YBW’s baby captioned with the saddest bunch of drama you’ve ever seen. Words written with designs on having comments to boost the mother’s confidence and nothing about the child. The words she wrote focused on his diagnosis. Focused on the most negative aspects of his personality. Under the guise of her “being hopeful” his teachers would see his good traits as apposed to these negative ones.

I was so angry. How dare she use him like that to get attention?
I just want to shake her and say:
How about YOU see your child for his good traits!?!
How about YOU focus on what he is capable of doing!?!
How about YOU have a little faith and trust!?!
How about YOU stop putting YOUR stuff on a child that has enough on him already!?!

I’ve posted stuff about my children on social media for years. First day of school pics included. I’m sure that I’ve posted things that may be questionable. But I guarantee I’ve not done it with negativity. I guarantee I’ve not done it to get more attention.
Parents are proud. We live in an age where it’s no longer photos in your wallet that you bring out and pass around. We’re posting on social media, we’re sharing photos online. I mean come on! We’re even creating hashtags for events! Parents are proud to share their accomplishments, and the accomplishments of their children. I love sharing things about my girls.
I worry about motivation. I worry about how what you say and post online will be forever out there. I worry that one day a child will read what a parent writes and hear nothing but negativity. I worry the child will further internalize that.

I’m angry because it’s so not fair!
Children deserve better.
Parents deserve better.
And people who are exposed to you on social media deserve better.
It’s the first day of school, for the love of all things holy! How about a little hope!?! I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

Rant over. Please continue with your regularly scheduled reading.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

my defining moment as a frog in cold water

Acute stress feels like it will crush you where you stand.
I promise you it won’t. Your fight or flight instinct will kick in and save you. Acute stress feels overwhelming and most of us would do anything to get away from it. But, acute stress won’t kill, no matter how much you believe it might.
Chronic stress is what will kill you.
Chronic stress is like putting a frog in a pot of cold water and then slowly turning up the heat. The frog doesn’t realize what’s happening until it’s already boiling! That’s when one of two things happens. Fight or flight kicks in to save you, or you just die.

I’m an expert in chronic stress. I’m that frog in the pot of water. I was lucky enough that my instinct for flight is so strong. It saved my life.
I spent seventeen years with a man who emotionally abused me.
His sabotage so subtle, his manipulation so nuanced, it was poetry of pure unadulterated evil. He brought passive aggression to new and frightening depths. For the most part I was unaware on a conscious level. I went about my daily life feeling anxious without actually realizing it.
Sometimes I would wonder…Why did I require so much sleep? Why did I turn so much of my focus to my children? Why did I feel nauseous when he would come home? But never for long because there would be some sudden kindness and I would smile and believe him when he told me everything was lovely.

But on some level, I did know what was going on. I did know that something was amiss. I focused on my children to be a buffer between him and them so he couldn’t treat them the way he treated me. I presented the picture of the perfect little family to the rest of the world so no one would realize that he was not what he seemed.
I was scared of him. And scared isn’t a big enough word, but I’m honestly too lazy to thesaurus right now. He frightened every fiber of my being. Somehow I knew he’d never lay hands on me. I wasn’t worried about that. I didn’t realize the internal wounds could occasionally be worse.

He used to tell me that I was crazy. That I was certifiable. That they would put me in a straight jacket in the padded cell and that was where I belonged. He told me no judge in his right mind would give the girls to me. I had nothing and I was crazy. He told me that he would take the girls and I would never see them again.
I would have done and would still do anything for my girls. So I stayed with this man.
He read my journals. He read my email.
He even tried to sabotage my friendships…he had to do that carefully because he didn’t want to show his true colors. I was lucky that most of my friendships were strong enough to withstand his tricks.

I was trapped in a hell I helped create.
Every single day of my life I was scared.
Every single day of my life I was anxious.
Every single day of my life I was angry.
I was miserable. My girls were miserable. I was failing at being a mother. I was failing at being a person.
I was the frog in the pot of water suddenly aware that I was boiling!

This was the defining moment.
Would I die in that pot of boiling water?
No! I would save my own life!

The chronic stress was literally killing me. I was dying. I had to do something to preserve my own life.
I told him that I was done. I told him that I was empty and dead inside. I told him that I had nothing left to give. I told him I was leaving because I knew he would never leave.
When I finally left, he acted as though he was surprised. As though I’d never expressed any of my concerns. I didn’t even argue. I just walked away.
That’s when he turned on my girls. He manipulated them. He used them as weapons to hurt me.
That’s the only thing I regret about leaving him…what he did to my babies. You want to hurt me? Come at me directly.
My poor babies had to suffer for me to live.
That doesn’t seem right. But it was how it was.
A dying person is a desperate person.
I had to save my own life.
They’ve moved through that part of their lives. Will they ever heal? I honestly don’t know.
I know the only one who came out unscathed was their father. He has no clue what he’s done…or he doesn’t care. How’s that for crazy?

I was told by friends and family that I was strong. That I was brave. I felt neither. I felt as frightened as I’d ever been. I did what I had to do to stay alive.
It was the hardest thing I ever did, saving my own life. I only wish I’d been strong enough to do it sooner. Of course, the frog doesn’t realize what’s happening until the water comes to a boil…

I’m writing about this because of a conversation I had with my friend Nora last night, and a conversation I had with my sister in law today. Nora and I talked of relationships and life and celebs and sports stars we’d like to have our way with. We talked of previous lives and choices we make. We discussed “winning” at divorce. (When your life is better than it was before AND better than your ex’s current life.) We talked about being mothers. We ate pasta and drank a goodly bit of wine. We were “just girls” together, but we talked of important topics.
She’s actually the one who verbalized the frog in water analogy.

This afternoon I had a distressing conversation with my sister in law about her relationship with her children’s father. Apparently their state of chronic stress has escalated to acute and he’s announced he’s leaving. Knowing him as long as I have, I think he’s having a bit of a temper tantrum and it will blow over and they’ll go back to their life of chronic stress.
It is killing my sister in law. Now, there is a fairly decent amount of her stress that has little or nothing to do with him. She has some of her own shit to sort.
I told I knew what she was capable of. I suggested she tap into that deeply rooted power and make a better life for herself.
She expressed her fear.
Fear can ride shotgun, get it out of the driver’s seat. Fear will never drive me again. But it sure as hell likes to go along for the ride. I was scared half to death to make that huge change. Especially considering what impact it had on my children.
She’s not ready to do that hard work. She will eventually have to decide to save her own life or she will die.

I can’t run other people’s lives.
Some days I can barely run my own life. Seems that way lately.
I have stress in my life. But it’s acute stress. It causes an immediate reaction. And though my flight instinct is the strongest, I’m learning to fight. Fight the good fight. Fight for what’s right.

I fought the good fight by flying all those years ago. The fight to save my life. Because I tell you, I was dying. Not metaphorically dying. Actually. Physically. Emotionally. I was actively dying.
I learned the most important lesson about myself by saving my own life.
I learned that I can do anything.

Categories: divorce, loss, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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