Posts Tagged With: hope

what kind of mother does that? or love and hope make me whole

It’s no secret I have mother issues. Normally they’re on the DL, you know, just kind of there minding their own business. But Tuesday? Well, Tuesday they threw a f**king parade.
YBW and I were with our therapist Tuesday. And while discussing something (that at the time seemed) completely unrelated the teenage girl in me was triggered.

*****
The summer after my freshman year of high school, my mother literally removed all trace of me from my home. She packed up all my belongings in black trash bags and left them on the porch. When my father took me to pick up my things, my mother would not allow me in the house. She actually stood behind the storm door long enough to deny me entrance before closing the big door in my face. I wasn’t allowed to say goodbye to my brother. I never got to hug my Grandaddy. I didn’t even get to say goodbye to my cat.
When I was fifteen years old, my mother sent me to live with the father who abandoned me when I was five.

I know you want to ask why.
Believe me, I asked it enough. In fact, the last time I made the attempt to speak with my mother about it, she politely told me she was not going to discuss it. That it was over and there was no reason to go back to it.
UM…NO REASON TO DISCUSS THE SEMINAL MOMENT IN MY LIFE!?!?
So, to answer your question, I don’t know why.

I do know that she didn’t like the fact that I was beginning to become my own person. I no longer wanted to be a girl scout. I no longer wanted to be a memember of the CAR. I didn’t want to do the things she forced me to do. I wanted to do things I was curious about, interested in, not just what she decided I would do.
I wanted to play softball. I wanted to take theater, and dance classes.
I played briefly at not turning in homework and skipping classes. That didn’t last long, I love(d) learning and understood it was ridiculous to miss out on something I loved to spite my mother.
I started dating a very sweet guy that was instantly hated simply because of the timing. He was kind and caring and was actually good for me, encouraging me to be more focused in school, etc.
I wanted to choose more for myself. I was weary of living the life she designed, I wanted to be my own person.
Of course, this is actually developmentally appropriate behavior for teenagers.
And I was not drinking. I was not doing drugs. I was just trying to figure out what I wanted my life to look like.
That was not what my mother wanted. She expected me to do all the things she wanted me to do. She expected me to live my life for her. She didn’t want any part of a daughter that didn’t keep her head down and do what she was told.

According to my father, my mother called him one day at work and when he answered she said, “If you don’t take her, I’m putting her in a home.” His reply…? “Who is this?”
(I learned this as a 40-something year old woman)
Yeah, these two f**kwits were my parents. Yay. (sarcasm, just so we’re clear)

I didn’t do what she wanted me to so she got rid of me.
Let that sink in. I didn’t do what she wanted me to do so she got rid of me.
No conversation, no talk with me about ‘getting it together’, no warning. Just me calling her from my dad’s one afternoon in the summer asking her to pick me up so I could come home and her telling me, “You’re not coming home.”
Let that sink in. “You’re not coming home.”
That was her solution to her problem of me. Her first born child, her only daughter. Her solution to the problem of me not doing what she wanted was to get rid of me.
What kind of mother does that?
*****

And even after my deep-heel-digging-in resistance, this all (and more) came out in our therapy session.
So. Many. Tears.
I didn’t want YBW there. I didn’t want the therapist there. I’d rather never have to be there, but of course, ‘there’ is always down deep in me.
Here’s why I don’t want anyone there.
First of all, it was the most damaging moment of my life. In that moment I was taught that if I didn’t do what someone else wanted/expected/told me to do, I was so unlovable that I needed to be disposed of. In that moment I learned that without knowing all the rules all the time I was never going to be safe. In that moment I learned that home is nothing but a noun.
Secondly, I have so much shame regarding every single bit of that.
I am so ashamed it happened to me. Ashamed because I feel like I’m betraying my mother if I tell this story.
No one should experience what I did. Even secondhand.

Of course, that’s not how therapy works. And I’m a weeping, gasping, snotty mess talking about how my mother didn’t love me. Talking about how I was sent away from my little brother. How I was sent away from my own precious Grandaddy.
I wanted to run as far away from that room as my feet could carry me. I hated every single moment of sharing that story. To be perfectly honest, I would rather have removed my own tongue than share that experience.

After the worst of it, I talked about Grandaddy. How he was the first man I ever loved. How he taught me how to give and receive love. How he taught me to express myself and not be passive aggressive like my mother. How he once told me that if anything every happened to my mother, I never had to worry, I didn’t have to leave him, he would keep me with him always. How until the day I left Thing 2 in the NICU, the day he died was the worst day of my life. How even though he could sometimes be a grouchy old man, he was chock full of love.
Our therapist suggested that I’m kind of a grouch in love because that’s how I learned to love.
I actually laughed out loud! She’s right.
I’m gruff but loving.
Velvet hammer, much?
I love the way I was loved by the only adult who loved me consistently and unconditionally.
(I suspect the girls will experience a great “Ah ha” moment at reading this.)

What kind of mother throws away her child because she can no longer control her?
My kind of mother.
All my issues with trust, with always having to know and understand what the rules are. All my issues of never feeling good enough, or truly lovable. All my issues regarding feeling safe. And my issues regarding house vs home, wondering if I’ll ever feel at home anywhere again?
These are directly related to that trauma.
That trauma she caused.
The one she flat refused to discuss later on in our lives.
And still I have the guilt. Still I have the shame.
It feels like, I shouldn’t talk mad shit about my mother. I should protect her. She loved me. She did the best she could.
How every single bit of it still feels like my fault.

Our therapist asked YBW to be my fifteen year old self’s ‘champion’ as a way of having an adult speak to my mother.
First he told her that I am an amazing, beautiful, loving, woman and mother no thanks to her.
He told her I was fractured, but she did not break me.
He told her that I learned love from her father and that he is a part of me every single day and she is not.
He told her that I am a really wonderful mother, and she should never have told me otherwise.
He told her that because I’m so lovely he was blessed and honored to be my husband.
He told her a great big f**k you!
And finally, he told her that all I wanted to do was go home, why wouldn’t she let me go home?

Years ago, I used to say, “Home is where the Roby is.”
I didn’t realize it was because I felt so f**king homeless. But I was determined to create a home where I felt safe, so wherever I was, that was home. Only I couldn’t love myself unconditionally enough, so that didn’t quite work out.
That’s why I’m so hell-bent to build a home with YBW that’s just ours, not one he already had, not one with any of our kids in it. Just him and me, in the home we create. Where we’ll both feel safe and sound and loved and wanted.
One day…

This story has been in me for thirty two years.
This experience of sharing it has been upsetting me for the last couple days.
I’m feeling pathetic and needy. I’m wanting to be snuggly. I want to, as Grandaddy used to say, “crawl into a hole and pull the hole in after you”. Mostly I want reassurance that I’m lovable and not disposable. YBW’s on it.
I laid my head on him this morning, and he asked if I was OK.
No, I’m not remotely OK, I told him, but I feel better now.

Here’s what I know now.
If I hadn’t been sent to my father’s I wouldn’t have met my ex-husband, and while that may have been a bonus, I would not have my girls. And my girls are everything!
I wouldn’t have been in British Lit senior year of high school with a boy I took no notice of, but twenty years later took great notice of. So much so that six years later, we got hitched.
I wouldn’t have Sundance, or Sally. Don’t want to live with out them!
I might not have Jessica, or Nicole, or Becca in my world.

I know that I’m not the perfect mother, I know I’ve f**ked shit right up for my girls. But, I do know that I did everything in my power to make sure they felt loved. To make sure they felt safe. To make sure they could make their own choices.
It is my ultimate hope that they know I love them more than anything else. Ever. In the history of the world!
For me, however bad things were, I wanted them fiercely and I wanted them to know that.

I know that I’m flawed.
Jesus, by this time in my life, it’s simply part of my charm!
I know why I’m flawed. I know my responsibilities in my flaws. I know that these flaws make me the woman I am. And steaming hot mess or not, I’m full of love. I’m full of hope. It slips in and fills in the cracks from those long ago fractures. Love and hope make me a whole woman.
For how much more could I ask?

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peace out, August

As I say goodbye to a summer I’m more than happy to have in my rear view mirror, I want to take a moment to share my gratitude for what I experienced in August.

Unexpected trip to New Orleans.
Mental health care providers.
Farmers market Thursdays with Meredith, Beau, and their Mommy.
Time with Nora and Dale’s kids.
SiriusXM Broadway.
Libran Provence Rose.
Back to school with people I enjoy.
Massage therapist.
Surprise packages from a friend that knew I needed a bit of love.
Celebrating the full and loving life of Sundance’s Grandpa.
YBW’s love and companionship.
Long phone conversations with the girls.
Independent book shops.
Bloom gin.
The Town of Vienna.
Old Town Manassas.
Crossroads Tabletop Tavern
Diet Dr Pepper.
Essie nail polish.
Analog clocks.
Gel pens.
Sleeping in my own bed.
Old Bust Head Brewery.

Tomorrow is the start of ‘Meteorological Fall’. I can hardly wait! I’ve got loads of Autumnal items in bins in the closet under the stairs waiting to be set free!
Autumn is my absolute favorite time of year. I’m not a PSL kind of girl, though I do love pumpkiny things.
My point is, I’m not “basic” in my love of Fall. Sure I love sweater, jeans, and boots weather, but it’s so much more than that! The change of seasons brings all things new. And even though some consider this the ‘dying time’ I look at it as a time for rest, for recharging, for beginning all new things, and continuing older things with hope.
Hope is truly the greatest ability we possess.
As we move from Summer into Autumn I wish all y’all as much gratitude and hope as your hearts can possibly hold!

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mizpah

There is a Hebrew word I absolutely adore.
Mizpah.
It means watchtower.
The biblical example comes from the story of Jacob and Laban, after a bit of drama, the men come to an agreement with God as their only witness. They create a tower of stones to symbolize it.
It was also called Mizpah, because he said, May the LORD keep watch between you and me when we are away from each other.
Genesis 31:49 NIV

Of course, mizpah has a more commonly understood meaning.

The Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent one from another.
Think about that for a moment.
Let it fill you completely.

Mizpah.
A magnificent and sacred blessing. An ancient word of inspiration and protection. A word that goes beyond the boundaries of social and cultural norms, and of faith. A spiritual symbol of hope and love and peace.

Many of the people I love most live far away from me.
Two of them are my babies. Grown ass women, but always my babies.
Time and distance are irrelevant because of mizpah. We are blessed with the knowledge that we are safe and connected when we are apart because of the strength of our love.
Mizpah gives us the opportunity to actively love without constraints of time and distance, and keeps us all anchored in that love until we are fortunate enough to be in the same physical space.

Those of you whom I love so dearly and deeply, this word is my gift to you. The promise that our love will be safe when we’re apart, and the light to guide us back to one another.
Mizpah.

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I look forward

It has been a long time since I wrote anything.
I’m finally ready to write, only I’m not writing what I intended when I sat down at my computer.
This morning I received an email that sits ill with me, and that’s what I’m going to write about today.

This email is from JM, the former husband.
We met on April 1, 1988 when my (then) boyfriend began renting a room at the house owned by JM.

My initial reaction was a combination of irritation and sadness. Irritation that thirty years is not a flash, but an entire lifetime. My entire (adult) lifetime. My sadness is because it’s still so important to him and not at all important to me.
I honestly hadn’t considered that today was anything other than a curiosity that Easter fell on April Fool’s. Yet here he is the moment he wakes, (check the timestamp) considering this thirtieth anniversary of the day we met.

That speaks volumes.
And what I hear fills me with pity.
He continues to live in the past and refuses to move forward and that makes me feel sorry for him.
Yet I know he is choosing to live this way.
I can’t imagine why he would choose to remain so focused on a woman that is no longer in his life.
How sad for him.

It’s curious though, I thought recently that while I’m well shot of him, I’m grateful that we were together.
I benefited from knowing him.
I learned a great deal about myself and my place in the world during my time with him. That knowledge is invaluable. I am stronger and more capable than I ever believed. I wouldn’t trade knowing for anything.
I have three incredible human beings in my world because of him.
My Sally.
She is his cousin, though they behave like brother and sister. I always say, “I got to keep her in the divorce.” Though she is his blood kin, she and I are sisters of the heart. I cannot imagine my life without her. Our love is deep and wide and transcends the lines of family.
Thing 1 and Thing 2.
Without their father, they would not be. It’s as simple as that.
He gave to me the most precious gifts I’ve ever received.
They are worth every single moment of time I spent with him.
I’m lucky enough to be free from him and still have the best parts of him.
I regret nothing.

Thing 2 recently told me something her father said to her. He said something to the effect of: she does pretty well for a ‘lunch lady’.
What an awfully unkind thing to say about anyone.
What an awfully unkind thing to say to a child about her mother.
How miserable must he be to feel the need to say such an unkind thing? Is that how he makes himself feel better?
And you know, I’m not even mad. All I feel for him is pity.
I feel sad for him.
I feel sorry for him.
I feel pity for him.

But here’s the ultimate truth.
I only feel those things when I think about him.
And I honestly don’t think about him all that much.
Only when the girls talk with me about him, or Sally says she’s seen or spoken with him.
He is not a part of my daily life.
I have so many other, more relevant, things to think about.
I am looking forward.
I look forward with hope, and courage and kindness, and love.

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apparently, I need to “calm my stress”

At the holistic doctor on Tuesday, “Your adrenals are pissed. You need to calm your stress.”
Um…Ya think?

I’m staying off social media.
I’m not watching the news.
I’m trying not to listen when I overhear folks talking.
This is what I’m doing to calm my stress over the school shooting in Parkland Florida.

It is not lost on me that I spend my days in a public school. In a huge, open room with no safe place to corral children to hide. With doors that do not lock.
Would I do whatever it took to keep these children safe?
Yes.
Would I die for them?
Possibly.
Do I feel like that’s my job?
Hell no.

Do I want to keep the children in my school safe?
Absolutely!
Do I need to give my life to do so?
I’d rather not, thanks.

I’m a mom. I’m a wife. In the Autumn, I’ll be a grandmother. However grown, is it acceptable for my girls to be motherless because I died protecting other peoples children? And YBW? Is it acceptable for him to be a widower before we even gain traction on our greatest life adventure together? And little Shrimpy, the bebe I long to know and love. To teach and learn with. To watch irritate his or her mother and Auntie. Is it acceptable for that child to miss out on what might possibly be the coolest grandmother-grandchild relationship ever?

I carry this in me each day I arrive at my sweet little suburban elementary school. (Which, BTW shares physical campus space with an equally sweet suburban high school.)

Now this concept is always and has always been in the back of my mind. And to be quite honest, I lived through something similar during the sniper attacks in October 2002. Keeping children safe through that was a bit more simple, we just never let them go out of doors. At school, or at home.

Do I honestly believe someone will come into our school and start shooting it up?
No.
Is my concern understandable?
Yes.

And then we had a two day heat wave. And I mean record breaking warm temperatures.
I opened the windows wide!
I let the cruddy stale winter air be replaced by delightful breezy spring air.
We needed the sunlight. (My vitamin D is so low.) We needed the beauty of the past two days.

Of course, we’re not the only house in the neighborhood with windows open. And so it came to pass yesterday from the hours of 3:00 to nearly 8:00 the horrible shouty man screamed obscenities and threats at his wife.
This is not new in our neighborhood. There is long standing knowledge of the chaos that is their relationship. Apparently it isn’t physical, just verbal. She drinks too much and he shouts horrific things at her. He shouts horrific things at her and she drinks too much.
Which came first?
We may never know.

I’ve been anxious and bordering on depressed for a few weeks now, to such degree I’ve begun conversations with YBW about me talking with my doctor regarding mood meds.
I’m dull. I’ve lost my sparkle. I’m sleeping too much. I’m suffering insomnia. I eat nothing. I’m bingeing.
I can’t seem to shake myself loose from it.

It’s partly because of this that what happened to those kids in Parkland feels…more.
It’s partly because of this that the horrible shouty man screaming at his wife on and off for five hours did me in yesterday.

Early on in the afternoon, his shouting made me anxious. I knew it then, but I was busy with laundry, and had the TV on for sound it was easy to not hear his actual words. And somehow that kept me feeling safe in my own house while I could hear him in his. But as it wore on and on I could feel myself flooding with stress hormones.
But then as suddenly as it began, it stopped.

Just as I began to feel comfortable again, YBW came home. Even though I’m struggling, I had momentary joy.

Before long, the shouting started again. Only this time, it was closer.
From what I can deduce, the wife went over to one of the neighbors to get away from him. So when his shouting began again, they were at the house directly behind ours.
I was sitting in my comfy chair right next to the window. I could hear every word.
I was on the computer in the middle of something that I needed to finish immediately. I turned on music to drown out his shouting. I wanted to close the window but I was hot and the breeze felt nice.
As I sat here, I became more stressed and more anxious. Realizing I was feeling fearful in my own house!
My face was hot and my head began to hurt and I forced myself out of the shallow breathing pattern.

When I finally finished my task, I went downstairs. YBW was watching the Olympics. I came into the room and said, “I’m so anxious from listening to him shout for so long.” YBW immediately wrapped his body around mine and held me close and quietly. I actually felt as though I melted into him for a moment. That embrace was powerful enough to calm my body and my spirit. YBW’s love grounded me, and I’m so grateful.

Just writing about this now I’m feeling nearly as anxious as I did yesterday.

The actions of others are impacting me with a greater force than I would like.
Normally I have the skills to fend off these outside influences. I normally repel them with the strength of my character. My strong will, and sense of humor.
Seems I’m tapped out of late.
I seem unable to calm my stress.
I hear Hagrid’s frantic voice in my head, “It was dark times, Harry. Dark times.”

I have an appointment with my therapist.
I have herbs and supplements from the holistic doctor that are meant to aid in improving my sense of emotional well being.
If I can’t seem to shake myself from the place I am, I’ll go my general practitioner and have a conversation to see if spending a bit of time with Wellbutrin might make a difference.

In the meantime, I’m only watching HGTV, Food Network, and the Olympics, and I’ve closed the windows on my computer and my house to help block things that only make me more anxious.
But I left the curtains open to let in the ever helpful and hopeful sunlight.

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Paul knew what was up


1 Corinthians 16:14
The general consensus is Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians between 54-58 in the common era. This verse is from the conclusion of the letter.
I feel like Paul knew what was up when it comes to this particular verse. He’s ending his letter with, well, some good advice really.

Be alert. Stand firm in the faith. Be strong. And do everything in love.

Almost as though he’s presenting ideas for possible rules to live by.

Do everything in love.

Love is my intention.
I live my life by love.
I mean even when I’m crabby and kind of evil…I actually live each day of my life by do(ing) everything in love. (Is it weird that I wonder if Paul would dig it?)

Lately I’ve wondered if I’m not being mindful about doing things in love for myself. That is, living in love for me, treating myself with the same love I share with others.
Only, after considering this for a while, I’ve come to understand that by doing everything in love, I am treating myself with the same love, grace, and gratitude I do for everyone else.
I think I just haven’t been paying enough attention. And while that’s OK on occasion, I must remember to be present and recognize living my intention begins with me.
Love is in the simple every day things.
It’s with the children at school. With my family. With my friends. It’s even in the way I drive my buggy around the grocery store.
Love actually is all around me.
Every day. In every thing I do. And that love gives me hope. As far as I can tell, hope and love go hand in hand.
(Seriously, though, Paul wrote about that in the same damn letter, right!?)

I’m grateful for Paul’s advice. I truly take it to heart. I live my life by it.
I do everything in love.
Y’all, isn’t that the most beautifully hopeful way to be?

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hopeful and organized beginnings

This papercrumbs post spoke to me this morning.
On this the tenth day of the new year I’m still feeling a bit off kilter. Of course the holidays were hectic and with the mad weather, getting into the back to school routine was shot all to hell. So it makes a kind of sense to me that I’m still in that ‘waiting for the new to begin’ feeling to kick in.

I’ve completely reorganized the kitchen cabinets, drawers, pantry, and laundry closet. I reorganized the linen closet. I feel so peaceful now that these things are finished. I’m serious y’all. I feel peacefully content down deep in my soul.
This organization is one small part in the beauty of beginning again. Perhaps it makes it simpler for me to begin again when I have the comfort of everything being orderly? Perhaps I just can’t handle perceived chaos?
Whatever the case may be, I do know this. I feel more ready to begin again since accomplishing those tasks. Even with the chaos of snow days, early dismissals, and delayed openings, I feel more able to get back into the swing of things at school too.

It occurs to me as I write this what’s beautiful about beginning again and again is that it feels hopeful. Hope that however tiny, each new beginning can bring adventure, or comfort, or a new way of learning, or something I may not have even though of yet!
When I feel hopeful, I’m inclined to begin again.
Sometimes a beginning blows up in your face. But with hope, you take what you needed from that beginning and decide to begin again a different way. Sometimes a beginning is more than you could have hoped for, and you have exactly what you want or need. You needn’t begin again, but you want to, to see what’s next.

To begin again and again, as many times as you want is really a gift. To begin after disaster is scary. To begin after perfection is also scary. Being scared is OK. Being scared is natural. But, it’s important to remember you always have hope in your pocket. To me the saddest thing is choosing not to begin because you’re scared. You don’t have to be brave to begin.
Just begin.
Bravery will come to you.
Hope will remind you that it’s in your pocket.
Begin.
You might fail. That’s OK too. Keep the important bits you needed and begin again.

In my life, I had many beginnings. I had some pretty epic failures. I have learned so much. I have been scared. I forgot hope was in my pocket. Or I found hope in the pocket of something when I wasn’t even looking.
I began again, and began again, and began again as many times as I wanted or needed. But mostly with prep work. Mostly organized. I do not function well in perceived chaos. I need to feel like I have a handle on the beginning.
Of course this isn’t always a perfect scenario, sometimes I must begin without being organized. That oftentimes leads to some sort of new mini beginning.
But that’s OK too.
I believe in the importance of beginnings.
I believe in hope.

In an excellent book about beginnings, Dr Seuss wrote:

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

and

“Out there things can happen, and frequently do, to people as brainy and footsy as you. And when things start to happen, don’t worry, don’t stew. Just go right along, you’ll start happening too!”

Each night promises a new morning. An opportunity to begin again. And again. And again. As many or as few times as you like.
Organize yourself.
Hold on to your hope.
You’ve got this!

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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

the spirit of Christmas

I got an email this morning about listening to Christmas music, and geographical facts about the North Pole, and finally, how “Santa’s house at the North Pole is allegedly in Alaska just off Route 2″…
(In the immortal words of Deadpool, “What in the ass?”)
deadpool

So this got me thinking about Santa and his reindeer and the elves…
Which in turn got me thinking about the Christmas spirit…
And here’s what I wrote in response…

Santa doesn’t live in Alaska! He’s not American! He’s of no nationality! He’s just Santa. (Yes I know the origins of his story, but we’re discounting those for the sake of this conversation!)
I know you’re getting all technical about the North Pole…but I believe Santa’s home and workshop are…well…a load of crap if you want the truth.
(It actually surprised me when I wrote those words!!)
santa-north-pole

I truly love the idea of Santa.
Santa is the spirit of Christmas! The spirit of giving and love and well, even hope. Because some folks who don’t really dig the baby Jesus do dig Santa. Anyway…it’s fun to think of workshops and elves and the like. But I sort of feel like we all carry the spirit of Christmas in us…that we each have a little bit of Santa in us.
I don’t know…

I remember when Thing 1 asked me about Santa, she was eleven and in 6th grade.
She asked if I was Santa.
I asked her what she thought.
She said, “I think you’re Santa.”
I told her about Santa being the spirit of Christmas and giving, and love. I explained that I believed so strongly in Santa, the spirit of Santa…but that a fat man in a red suit didn’t bring the presents into this house.
She paused for a moment, and she said, “I’m going to believe in the spirit of Santa too, Mommy. But I know who brings the presents into this house.”
And then we hugged for a long time.
I made her promise not to tell Thing 2 and we went along our way.

The spirit of Christmas is what I love above all else.
I do believe that the world waited for a light to enter? Absolutely!
light
Was that light really a little Jewish baby called Joshua (later mistranslated to Jesus)? I honestly don’t know. But I love the idea that a baby could create that much hope. That much love. That much light.

So, maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with the baby Jesus at all…(though how could it not?)
Maybe the spirit of Christmas really is just love and hope and light.
Maybe the spirit of Christmas is simply the idea of Santa Claus bringing these gifts.
Gifts chosen by someone who loves you so much that they work hard to make sure you have the right thing, beautifully wrapped so you know how much you are loved. So you know how much love and light and hope is in the world because someone loves you.
Anyway…that’s what Christmas is to me…for the most part.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

“You were always a pretty badass mom.”

Sometimes when things are absolute shit, something lovely occurs to spark a little hope in your heart. This happened to me in the form of a text conversation with my own Thing 1.
We were talking about the little boy she nannys for after she sent me a snapchat of him dressed as Batman and generally being kind of adorable. He’ll be two in November.

Thing 1:
He has started holding actual conversations. It’s so cute.
Me:
Oh that’s the BEST!!
Thing 1:
It makes me want five kids.
(then we talked about education for a bit)
Thing 1: That’s cool. I’ll probably look into good schools before I make a final decision. I mean I have all the time in the world.
Me:
Either you’ll be a mom or you won’t. Either way as long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters. And if you are a mom, you’ll be that much better at it than I was!!
Thing 1:
I doubt that. You were always a pretty badass mom.
(After everything we’ve been through, that made my heart take flight!)
Me:
Aww! Thanks, bear!! But I’m a better mom than Grandmommy was. You’ll be a better mom than I was. Your (maybe?) girl(s) will be better mom(s) than you…does that make sense kinda?
Thing 1:
Hahaha I don’t know how you think I could be better than you. That’s just crazy talk.
Me:
Thank you for saying I was a badass mom. I often times feel like I failed you. All I ever wanted to do was be your mom. I’m glad the bigger percentage was good for you.
Thing 1:
Hey, if anybody got failed parenting, it’s Thing 2, but I’ve kinda said that from the beginning. Ever since she almost died, I think you were afraid of her mortality and it made you really really soft on her. And of course, Dad was no help to either of us.
Me:
I’m sorry your dad isn’t a better parent. I do believe he loves you.
Thing 2 was an eyeopener for me. She deserves better, but I can’t fix what’s past and I can’t help her now. She’ll have to come out of it on her own with just our love to help her.
Thing 1:
I know he does in his own weird little way. I just have to make a serious effort to keep from getting irritated with him most of the time.
Yeah, pretty much. She’ll figure it out. Eventually.
Me:
I don’t know if you truly know how much it pleases my heart that you and I found our way back to each other. You, my very first girl. My own sweet love. You were always your daddy’s…but I got to love you too.
Thing 1:
I’m very glad we did too. It makes me so happy that I can talk to my mom without fighting with her.
Me:
Oh, me too Bea!! Me too!!
I know it was crap! In my defense, I was scared and miserable most of my adult life. I was raised by a woman who loved me but wasn’t real. I didn’t know how to do it…I just learned as I went. I wanted you to be strong and independent. And guess what!?! You ARE!! I’m proud of who you are.
screenshot_2016-09-28-11-56-12-2
Me:
Shit, some days I’m like, am I even a real grown up? Seriously! Even after all this time and practice.
Thing 1:
I know. I just have to find that perfect balance between adult and kid at heart.
Me:
You will…you’ve only been an adult for a hot second.
(We talked a few more moments and then ended our conversation.)

That girl is the human embodiment of every hope and dream I’d had since I was a little girl.
We lost our way. Turned our backs on each other in the most cruel and horrific ways. But time heals all wounds. Time and distance. And perspective.
I think she understands that all I ever wanted for her was to have the best foundation upon which to build her life. Sure, I went about it poorly on occasion…but I didn’t know how to be a mom. Do any of us know how to be parents? We know we must keep our children healthy and safe from harm…that’s instinctual. And it’s the easy part! The tricky part is navigating everything else! Parents are bound to bugger it up…we have no choice. We’re flying by the seat of our pants trying to hold onto this kid while we’re doing it. It doesn’t matter how many parenting books you read, you’re never truly prepared. So you cross your fingers and follow your instincts and if you’re very lucky, you parent with another human being that thinks the way you do.
My girls didn’t always have the best grades.
Thing 1 dropped out of college.
Thing 2 left high school to get her GED and hasn’t yet gone to college.
But you know what? My girls are strong and capable young women who stand a real chance in this world. They’re not waiting around for some man to come take care of them. They’re going to make it their own way. The best they can.
That’s more than some parents can say about their kids.
Both my girls have discussed going back to school. This pleases me simply because they’ll have a better chance of being properly employed with degrees. They’ll make more money with degrees. Money isn’t everything…but it keeps you from being hungry, and homeless. And having a bit of extra money keeps books on your shelves and shoes on your feet. My girls need that.

My life has been a mess of hotness lately. Between my own personal struggles and the struggles in my relationship with YBW, I’ve been feeling awful about my life. About my ability to ‘adult’. About my ability to parent. About my ability to be in a relationship. About my ability to be a “stepmother” to two partially grown young men.
Thing 1 gave me hope this morning.
I am a badass mom! And, perhaps that means I’m kind of a badass woman. And if I’m a badass mom and a badass woman, perhaps I’ll be able to sort my struggles and come out the other side with my badassness intact and been able to learn another important lesson.
I’m crossing my fingers as I fly by the seat of my pants.

Categories: love, me, on being a mom, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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