Posts Tagged With: love

the worst truth

Thing 1 and I were in the car Wednesday morning. I’m not exactly sure how it started, but we were talking about how to manage anxiety and it turned into how Mommas always prioritize your best interests even if (or especially when) it’s hard to understand.
Thing 1 said something to the effect of: Even years fourteen through eighteen when I thought I hated you, I always knew you’d do whatever it took to help me, to take care of me and keep me safe.
Then she said, “That’s why I came to you when I was cutting myself and wanted to die.”

I had an immediate rush of relief. I always worried that when she came to me for help and ended up in the hospital for two weeks she felt like I betrayed her instead of helped her.
She told me while being in the psyc hospital was in itself traumatizing, she never equated the two. Her asking for my help was one thing. Being in the hospital was another thing entirely. They’re separate in her thinking.

I didn’t know this at the time, but three or four months prior to her coming to me, she talked with her dad. When she shared with him how she was feeling and that she was hurting herself, he “looked away from me, stood up, walked out of my room and shut the door behind him.”
He left her sitting there after she told him she wanted to die. (Everything I think and feel about this is a different topic for a different day, but let me assure you, ain’t none of it good.)

In the car that morning, she talked about how it only made it worse for her. She felt like if her own dad didn’t love her enough to help her it only reinforced all her negative feelings about herself. She began cutting herself more and actively planning how to end her own life.
Then she said something that literally took my breath away.
She wondered aloud if her father would have let her die in order to hold it over my head for the rest of our lives. She imagined him saying to me, “She killed herself because she hated you and it’s all your fault.”

I opened my mouth to deny her wondering.
I opened and closed my mouth five times before I finally said, “I want to believe he loves you more than that, that he’d rather you be alive than hold it over me forever.”
But I knew in my heart of hearts that she was right. And sadly, she knew it too.

Then she said, “Would he really want me dead to punish you? Don’t you think he loves me more than that?”
To which I replied that I do think your father loves you in the way he can love. However, his grief would fade. The pain of losing you would ease. But he could get pleasure from blaming me that you were so unhappy and hated me so much that you took your own life. All the pleasure, absolutely none of the effort.

Here’s the worst truth.
I didn’t know she talked to him before she came to me.
He never told me she came to him. Not when I told him I was taking her to the ER. Not the two weeks she was in hospital. Not when we had family sessions with the therapist when they released her from the hospital.
I only found that out because she told me in the last couple of years.

Had she taken her life I would never know that he could have done something to prevent that. I would have lived the rest of my life thinking that when we struggled the most I couldn’t keep my baby safe.

In Conscious Discipline there is a ‘safe keeper’ ritual in which the adult in the home or classroom (or wherever) tells the kids, “My job is to keep you safe.” to which the kids reply, “Our job is to help you keep us safe.”
My daughters knew I was their safe keeper.
They still know this.
But this ritual is different now.
They are their own safe keepers and I am the one helping them.

I want so desperately to reassure her that her life is worth more than her father’s desire to “win” against me. I all honestly can’t do that. As soon as she spoke I knew she was right.
She called this ‘a startling revelation’ then told me, “As soon as I said the words I wanted to suck them back in because I knew they were true.”

I’m not really sure why I’m writing this for y’all to read.
Partly because it was simply too big for me to keep inside. Partly because I thought writing it would help me understand it better.
I feel confident in saying I don’t understand it any better.

I hate that my girl experienced this time in her life.
I hate that I experienced it.
But I am awed and humbled by the healing we’ve experienced in the years since.
I am awed and humbled by the words we share.
By the love we share.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

energy alignment and evolving spaces


I came across this on instagram the other night. It struck a chord in me as I immerse myself in packing.

I like how it says not ‘aligned with who you are anymore’.
I like the idea of your space evolving as you do.

I’ve been thinking about this concept as YBW and I leave this house to live in the new house.
The new house will begin with who we are together, where and how we are aligned now.

A new alignment will not change who we were individually, and who we were together. It doesn’t change how we lived in previous dwellings individually and together. It simply shifts the focus to who we are in this moment in time.
This is who we are now.

I believe creating new alignments does not dishonor who we used to be. I believe it is a reflection of who we are now.
I believe we can support and keep each other safe through this process.
I believe we can encourage each other’s alignment with love and respect.

Each of us choosing what we bring to our new home. How we choose to live together in this new environment.
What we bring with us has it’s own energy. We owe it to ourselves and each other to choose that energy carefully.

I’m hopeful as we continue to pack our things we choose mindfully.
I’m hopeful that the energy we bring into our new environment is positive and promotes growth.

Eight months ago, I wrote about being mindful how I curate my environment.

Things are just things.
At this stage of my life, my main focus is to curate my surroundings in a way that helps me thrive. Living my intention, learning and creating, and growing into the next version of me gives me all the feels.

That’s the kind of energy I’m all about creating an alignment with.

Categories: around the house | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

time to begin again

In a post on this same day last year, I wrote:

As I shift my focus to what’s ahead in 2020, I’m excited to see what the year brings. Interestingly enough, I find myself open to whatever comes with a surprising lack of expectations. (That’s today, be sure to check back to see how that changes.)
To be perfectly honest, I find it absolutely freeing!
No real expectations. What might that look like?

When I expressed my lack of expectations in regards to the coming year I could never have known what 2020 would bring.
And what it brought was a combination of horror and blessing.

The biggest part of me feels comfortable knowing I went into this ineffable year open to whatever would come. Especially when I consider what came.
From the first news of covid to the executive order from our governor designed to keep us all safe.
From the joy of teaching in the winter to the longest school break in my lifetime.
From the grief of all we lost to the opportunities being at home presented us.
From feeling lost and wandering the desert to that sparkle of hope the new year brings.

Disappointments loomed large.
I didn’t get into the grad school program.
Welcome to Night Vale Live postponed twice before finally canceled.
Not going to school.
Not seeing friends and family.
Not leaving the house.

Opportunities presented themselves.
I was able to begin and finish the Great and Arduous Process and share the photos and stories of our life with family and friends.
I purged and organized my closet and dresser.
I cleaned and sorted and organized anything that sat still long enough for me to touch it.
I went to Thing 1’s to ease my soul but the bonus was I helped her pack her house.
I met Thing 2’s precious new young man, Boyfriend M.
YBW and I went to Georgia and helped bring our daughter and her family home to our house.
YBW and I started the process of building our new home.

Change is tricky.
Sometimes good, sometimes simply inevitable.
Thing G left our home for the home of his mother.
Thing 1, Husband N, Baby K, and three dogs in our otherwise quiet home.
Living through the bathroom construction.
The concept of leaving this house for a new one.
The planning and packing and prepping for a move.

Joy is here. Sometimes shining brightly, sometimes partially hidden.
I am filled with gratitude.

I’m grateful the people I love are safe and healthy.
I’m grateful we’re financially stable, that we have a roof over our heads and food in the larder.
I’m grateful for what I learned about myself this year. And for what I learned about the people around me.
I’m grateful that I was a mood.
I’m grateful that I had opportunities.
I’m grateful for my growth. For learning more about myself. For realizing how strong and resilient I actually am.
I’m grateful that Baby K is in my house every single day. (Even Especially when she’s feisty AF.)
I’m grateful for this time with my daughter. I never expected either of us would choose to celebrate cohabitating, yet here we are. And sure, there are good and bad days, but we’re truly enjoying each other.
I’m grateful for YBW. For his love. For his sense of humor. For his kindness. For his ability to get under my skin. For his dream of a new home that sparked such lovely anticipation.
I’m grateful I chose to greet 2020 in this way:

I’m smart enough to know better than to ask 2020 to ‘bring it!”.
But feel completely comfortable saying, “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.”
Because I have hope.
Because I am of open of mind and heart.
And let’s be real, that’s the best way to walk into anything.

I find myself feeling hopeful about walking into 2021.
It’s so much more than that feeling of living though the nightmare of 2020 and imagining the coming year to be easier. It’s more a feeling of curiosity. A feeling of anticipation.
*Something’s Coming plays quietly in the background*

Am I tempting the Fates?
I think not.
Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos have their hands full, they haven’t the time to consider me and my point of view.

My wish for all y’all as you move into the new year is you have love and hope in your pocket, you feel curious and of open mind and heart, you realize your own power and find good use for it.
It’s time to begin again.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

this is the Christmas of my childhood

In the process of preparing to move, I went through my little two drawer file cabinet. Wedged into the very back of a file folder was a small stack of recipes.
These recipes are older than I am.
I set these particular recipes aside, put them in a safe place.
You know how that goes…
Meanwhile, Thing 1 has patiently waited for nearly five years for me to present her with the apple butter recipe. This recipe came from the next door neighbor, and is in her handwriting.
My mom made this apple butter as long as I can remember. Thing 1 loved when her Grandmommy would make it for her when she was a little girl. I think this might be her ‘golden ticket’ recipe.

It feels serendipitous that I came across these as we were coming into this time of year.
Advent is sacred to me. This most anticipatory time of year. When we’re enveloped in the spirit of Christmas, filled with love and hope and light.
Having these recipes in my hand at this time of year is perfect because they are absolutely the Christmas of my childhood.

My grandmother added her thoughts to the recipes she wrote out, and in the upper left corner you can see the words: Good Toots Recipe!
‘Toots’ is the pet name my grandparents had for their beloved and longtime friend. Grandaddy always called her Toots, but to me, she was ‘Little Grandma’ because she was small of build.

Little Grandma made these gingerbread men every single year. They were, and remain my very favorite cookie. They always had red hots as eyes, and hard silver dragées as buttons. They snapped in the most perfect way, and had the spiciest ginger flavor.
She only made them at Christmastime.
In the years since Little Grandma’s been gone, I’ve eaten many gingerbread men. Some disappointing ones. Some damn fine ones. But none as delicious as the ones she made.

I’ve been saying to my own baking guru Thing 1, I want to make Little Grandma’s gingerbread men. This is my childhood, I say.

Then I stop for a moment and I think, this is my childhood, and realize I’m actually hesitant to bake from this recipe.
How much of my love for these cookies is directly linked to loving Little Grandma? How much of my love for these cookies is about being excited to spend time with her in her little craftsman house in Clarendon? How much of my love for these cookies is about nostalgia?
Are they actually as delicious as I remember?
Can I just go to World Market and buy some Nyakers Swedish gingerbread men and be content?
Will Thing 1 and I bake these cookies and break my heart?
Will one of the last precious things from my childhood be broken?

That’s my fear talking. My anxiety. My sadness.
I’m sad that I’m the only one who knows what I’m talking about when I remember. I’m sad my sacred and precious Christmas tradition memories are foreign to my daughters, to my husband.
I’m fearful that I’ll ruin those memories by trying to recreate them.

I have to stop and breathe.
I have to be more mindful.
Perhaps it isn’t about recreating as much as it is creating something new from something sacred.
After all, Christmas is about hope.

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

merry and bright

Thing 1 and I had such fun wrapping Christmas gifts together this year!
We sat across from each other at that big desk and consulted on paper and ribbon choices. I shared some of my tricks. We enjoyed each other’s company. We sang along to holiday music.
We even let Baby K help decorate gifts!

Thing 1 isn’t super confident about her wrapping skills, but I have to tell you, that girl created some absolutely gorgeous packages.

Some of the ones I wrapped and decorated turned out beautifully too.

I hope your wrapping was lovely and your packages are gorgeous.
May your (holi)days be merry and bright!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Eeyore

The beanie crisis is over.
Here it is ready to be wrapped and sent to Thing 2.

I’m still pretty fucking salty with Love Your Melon.
I was able to get a kids beanie, but it feels more like a draw than a win.
I’m joyful my daughter will get what she asked for.
This silver paper and snowy ribbon are helping tip the joy scales.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

wrap it up

Thing 1 and I set up a wrapping station in Thing G’s old room.
We moved the desk to the middle of the room and sorted gifts into bags so we’d know what’s up.

All the wrapping paper, ribbons and bows on the bed ready to make things merry and bright.

Wayne and I are kindred spirits.

And one of my most favorite things about Christmas is wrapping gifts!
I love to create beautiful packages for the people I love.

Husband N asked me if there is one, what is the word that means to create something just to then destroy it.
I actually don’t know if there is or what it might be.
He then told me my Christmas gifts are the perfect example.
You know, he’s kind of right.
I make them because it pleases me to give gorgeous gifts to my family. I don’t care if they get ripped up and destroyed in the opening. Because they’re beautiful in the meantime and that’s what matters to me.
You’ll see…

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

grateful for joy and sadness

Thing 2 and Boyfriend M were here last weekend.

Thing 1 was thrilled to see her sister!
Baby K was excited to spend time with her Auntie!
Loads of peek-a-boo, story reading, block building, and media table play. (dried beans are excellent for sensory play)

Friday saw us at 2 Silos.
Even though it was chilly, the sun came out and we enjoyed our beers.

Saturday Thing C and Thing G came over.
We played Bye Felica, Uno, and Phase 10, and had burgers and dogs for dinner.
YBW and I had all the joy at all of our kids in the same place at once.

Thing 2 went through my shoes and took home four pair. (less things for me to move)

Thing 1 drove her sister and Boyfriend M to the airport Sunday afternoon.
Baby K cried when they drove out of the driveway.
So did her Birdie.
A LOT!

I was making leftovers for my lunch Monday and asked Thing 1 when we made that particular meal.
She told me it was Wednesday, because “they came on Thursday. As short as they were here, it felt like an eternity.”
She’s right. They weren’t here all that long, but it felt good and long.

I’m sad they’re gone, but chock a block full of joy and gratitude they were here.
My cup runneth over!

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

feeling hopeful with Plato

Last week I read about someone’s journey as they do the work of self. I read about how they faltered, how the work is so much harder when the pain becomes so great they need to escape it. Oftentimes that involves crawling to the bottom of a bottle.
This got me thinking…
The pain is so great that stopping seems the only answer. The problem there is the constant stopping and starting again only serves the cycle of pain, and actually makes it worse.
By stopping the hard work of self when it becomes difficult or painful, it becomes even harder to begin again each time.
I believe working through the pain when it seems most difficult and unbearable is better for you. The only way out is through. And when you come out the other side, the pain is less acute, and you find it easier to breathe for a while.

I think it can be something as simple as learning yourself. Knowing your triggers. Knowing that at some point you’re going to feel so much pain you simply cannot go on. What you do then is how successful you’ll be on that journey.

Knowing oneself can be the most powerful tool in one’s bag
I do believe it’s as simple as that.
To know who you are.
To know why you are.
To be able to look at your choices and realize why you made them.
So many people can’t actually do that!
You’re where you are because of every single choice you’ve ever made. Sometimes choices are unconsciously made. We often ‘autopilot’ through our days.

What seems normal to you isn’t to someone who didn’t live your experiences. Those normal-seeming things create the way you view life, the way you move through life. How you treat others, how you permit others to treat you.
If your upbringing is skewed, your idea of normal is equally skewed.
Therefore, you behave, and accept others behavior based upon these norms.
Sometimes it isn’t until you have some life under your belt that you learn to see things from all perspectives…and then you realize your sense of normal is not, in fact, normal.

For some that happens sooner in life, for some later.
Working out those kinks is a tricky situation. And you’re bound to falter occasionally.
Figuring out who you actually are, who you want to be, and how to do that without taking into account all that seemingly normal…
You’re on a dark and difficult path. You’re going to fall. You’re going to get the shit kicked out of you, even if you’re actually kicking the shit out of yourself.
But, there is precious learning in this journey. And when you decide who you are based upon your own truth, and work to become that with every fiber of your being, it will be so worth it.

At least that’s my experience.
I’m on that journey, perhaps I’m further along than some, less than others. Perhaps I realized sooner, or later, or through different pain, that the seemingly normal was not at all right.
I’ve fought tooth and nail to get where I am in my own personal development. I’ve faltered. I’ve fallen. I’ve temporarily given up. But I get back up dust myself off and keep working.

The me I am now is nothing like the me they taught me to be.
I am the gift I gave myself.
The most sacred and precious gift of my life.

It’s the hardest work I’ve ever done.
And I cried.
And I bled.
And I completely shut down.
I had moments when it didn’t feel worth it, or I didn’t have any fight left in me.
But each time I got back up.

That spark of truth in me was too strong to extinguish with my ennui, or defeatist attitude, or simple exhaustion.
I’m not finished with that work, it just comes a little bit easier now than when I first started.
I may never be finished. I may do this work the rest of my days.
I owe that to myself.
I want to be the truest me. I want to share that me with the world.
I will work to be the truest me until the last breath leaves this body.
That sounds exhausting, but it also sounds hopeful.

Categories: mental health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

September gratitude

Today is October first.
The official start of Halloween month!
But before I get all SQUEE about that, I’m going to express my gratitude.

September was straight chaos. But it was also quite lovely.
As I look back on this month I find myself grateful for both.

I’m also grateful for:

a porchlife lunch with Mike and Josie
Husband N’s willingness to transport a 16 foot ladder
a successful and fun flea market day with YBW, his brother and sister-in-law
meeting with the builder about electricals in the new house
stackable jewelry organizers
a tearful conversation with YBW

Target run with Thing 1 and Baby K (sassy thing chose her own new shades and bag)

finally getting to talk with Jessica
Husband N’s mad landscaping skills
cool Autumn mornings
Thing G seems content at his mom’s
winery day with Nora and Dale’s family
joyfully ‘hate watching’ the Twilight saga with Thing 1

bathroom construction progress

windows open for several days in a row
playing a game called Bye Felicia
making good use of my instant pot
two of my alternative healthcare providers
Saturday morning snuggles with YBW and Baby K
exercising my 19th amendment right and responsibility by voting early
TJXrewards points

inventing this ridiculously delicious cocktail with Thing 1

having airline miles to purchase tickets for Thing 2 and Boyfriend M to visit in November
the post office in Old Town Manassas
taking a chance on the curated bundles at Bards Alley and getting some great reads
red toenail polish
CBD oil capsules
being in the car by myself

My heart is full of gratitude as I look back at this lovely and chaotic month.

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

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