Posts Tagged With: love

I don’t give a f**k who judges me

The post I wrote the other day about managing my expectations seemed to elicit a great deal of response.
And what I love most about that is each one of those thoughts or opinions had kindness at the root.

Most of you were sympathetic but not judgey. I thank you for that.
This blog is filled with my thoughts. My perceptions of my life. I’m never ever going to point a finger and decree that I’m a billion percent right and the other person is a billion percent wrong. That’s not how life works.
I know I’m difficult.
I can be a real dick when I get frustrated.
I have been known to make bad choices in how I behave or react, however the underlying stuff is real.

I want to thank you for your kindness in choosing your words when you shared your thoughts with me. Your words were sympathetic, they came from a place of knowledge of circumstance. For the most part they were not blaming, and some even shared great ideas about how to circumvent the food drama!
I appreciate the positive feedback.

That morning, I got a message from Thing 1 in our group chat saying she’d read the post and wanted to know how I was. It was right as I was getting to work. I thanked her and promised to talk later.
She texted me in the afternoon that the post concerned her and asking how I was.
I assured her I was fine then explained that I was frustrated and being a dick but didn’t feel like I was terribly wrong.
Her response:
“I’m sure you are. And I’m sure you were a dick, but I still feel like Thing G shouldn’t be running the freaking show.”

We talked a great deal about how much growth there’s been.

About how most of the way he behaves isn’t really his fault. He’s adapted to it. I don’t believe there is purpose or malice in his actions. I believe he’s been insulated from being engaged in his life since his diagnosis, and simply doesn’t have the tools.

This is not to say I blame his parents. They did what they had to do to function as a family. They did what they had to do to make sure he was safe to himself and other children. Every family functions differently. And they did what worked for them.
Only now it doesn’t work.
The kid flat refuses to engage in his own life. He simply puts forth the least amount of effort to get by. Sure, that’s teenage behavior, but this is different. Most teens desire to GTFO of their parent’s house. They desire to be in control of their own choices, etc. (As adults we see the ironic hilarity, but we’ve all been there.)
This kid literally wants to eat crackers or ramen, drink soda, and play video games all day every day. My interpretation of that behavior is this is someone who is not engaged in his own life.
That’s cool if that’s your choice. And if you can find a way to eat and drink trash and play video games all day and remain solvent I say, bravo!
But I refuse to sacrifice my own comfort so that he can continue to live the life of Riley.

This kid isn’t actually the problem. The kid is simply the lightning rod of focus for the problem.
As I see it, the problem is that his family sacrificed their own personal comfort for his.
And y’all I get that! What parent or older sibling hasn’t done it!?!?
Though in most families as children age and develop that behavior changes. We expect kids to learn that we all have feelings. Needs. Things that make us comfortable or uncomfortable.
We expect them to respect these things in others.
I know I’m guilty of behaving as though the world revolves around my girls, especially Thing 2.
I own it. I know I do it. I admit I do it.
There are two huge differences.
The first is I don’t expect anyone else to do it.
The second is they’re engaged, and however they struggle, they’re actively participating in their own lives.

Every parent makes sacrifices for their children. That’s part of being a parent.
Older siblings sometimes make sacrifices for their younger siblings, that makes sense, but still doesn’t seem all that acceptable. But I’m the big sister, so I know it just sometimes is.
This becomes a problem when everyone else is expected to behave in the same manner. It’s not other people’s job to put the comfort of someone else’s child, sibling, etc. above their own. And in all honesty, I don’t believe YBW and his family ever consciously expected that behavior from others, and they certainly never verbalized it. I feel like it was and remains very obvious by the way everyone functions.

I don’t think YBW is wrong for wanting to sacrifice for his kid.
I don’t think he’s an an idiot or stupid.
And I will own the fact that I’m judgey as fuck.
Judgey. As. Fuck.
But I don’t judge him for doing what he believes is best for his son. I’ve done what I believed best for my girls, sometimes it worked perfectly, sometimes I cocked it right up.
No one else has been in our hearts, in our families, it isn’t for another to tell anyone how to raise their children.
I’m guilty of pointing out what his kids don’t know. That doesn’t mean I think he failed. It means I don’t understand why they don’t know how to do X. And instead of examining that, YBW thinks I’m saying he failed as a parent.
Dude. We all fail as parents. I just want people to bring in the mail and trash can when they walk right past it every damn day.

What bothers me so much is that he continues to put the desires of that particular kid above everyone else’s. He doesn’t even know he’s doing it. And he sacrifices so much of himself for that kid.
The difference between YBW and me is that I refuse to do it. I will not choose Thing G’s comfort or happiness over my own.
Because I don’t want to. And because it’s not what’s best for any one.
I’m choosing to do what’s best for me.
Just because I don’t like it, or I won’t do it, doesn’t mean I’m judging him for doing it. It just means I won’t make the same behavior choices he makes. My emotional and physical comfort are important in their own right. No more no less than anyone else’s.
And when I see him sacrifice his, I don’t like it because I believe he deserves more. But I can’t make that decision for him. I can only make that decision for myself.

I spent a long time talking with a friend who also has a child diagnosed with autism. Here’s what I see, in their family, it’s just a thing. It means some tweaking here and there. It means she’s (the mom) working hard to meet everyone’s individual needs. But she’s not letting that diagnosis run their lives.
In this family it is everything. And because it is everything all the tweaking must be done around the diagnosed. It means everyone should work hard to meet the diagnosed’s needs. The diagnosis runs all our lives.
This is not the fault of the kid with the diagnosis. It’s not even the fault of his parents. It is simply the way it is.
I don’t choose to function that way.
I don’t choose for my children to be expected to function that way.
I don’t choose people who enter this house to be expected to function that way.

I don’t believe the desires of one should rule the many.
I mean come on! There were revolutions about shit like that.

I love my husband.
Like, in ways that sometimes have no words! I want to be with him in the life we build. And I want to get old with him.
I want him to feel loved. To feel understood. To feel like I’m in it with all I’ve got, not that he’s something I have to endure.
Right now, I think the best way to do that is to be quiet. Just be quiet and do my thing. Just be quiet and let him do his thing. Because clearly talking about it makes me a dick and him a failure.
I want to stop putting each of us through that.

Only this is a conversation worth having, and because we’re in it for the long haul, we have to figure it out how to have it successfully. Last night we talked a little and seemed to get to a place that’s better. So good for us!

I will be the first to admit I want what I want.
But not at the expense of others.
And that is the little nugget of truth I cling to.
Therefore, it seems just that I expect the same from others.

I choose not to live my life for anyone but me.
I believe YBW judges me for it.
I accept that.
I am not ashamed.
I feel no guilt.

I did the hard work of raising my children. I do the hard work of being the mother of adult women.
I did and continue to do the hard work of keeping myself safe and sane.
I do the hard work of marriage to a man I love all the way to Pluto and back.

I’m doing the best I can to live my intention.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians: Do everything in love.
I’m over here working to do everything in love and still have a sense of self.
I own my truth.
I don’t give a fuck who judges me.

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Categories: love, me, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

I’m gonna to miss you, Mr Spinney

Yesterday I read an article in the New York Times that simultaneously broke and brought joy to my heart.

Caroll Spinney is retiring.
I feel like another little bit of my childhood died.

For those of you that don’t know, Mr Spinney is on Sesame Street.
We never actually see him because he’s

and

Oscar is my spirit muppet. He taught me it was OK to be grumpy sometimes.
Big Bird is every six year old we’ve known. Full of love and wonder.
I know that whoever takes up the mantle will be wonderful. But he won’t be Mr Spinney.

I’m reminded of when Mr Hooper died. Big Bird was sad, he didn’t like it. The Sesame Street grown ups reminded him that he had his memories of Mr Hooper.
(start watching at 4:10)

Well, I’m sad, and I don’t like it. But I have my Carol Spinney Big Bird and Oscar memories. And what a treasure trove they are! It’s been fifty years since he first donned that giant bird suit. Fifty years since he first maneuvered that grouch in the trash can. We’re so lucky we had him on our televisions and in our lives.
Whoever’s up next has some great big feet and a trash can to fill.

Thanks, Mr Spinney for teaching and learning with us for all these years!

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

managing expectations

Y’all ever get pissy about something and know you’re in the wrong but for whatever reason you can’t let it go and get more and more pissy?

No?
So it’s just me then?
Yeah, that’s what I figured.

I got all bent out of shape because YBW told Thing G he’d make him a different dinner than the one we were having. (same food, just prepared differently)
This did not sit well with me.
Maybe it’s because I grew up poor, or didn’t have much when my girls were kids, but the idea of making more than one meal makes no sense to me.
It turns out that loads of people do it.
And though that’s the thing that set me off, it’s not actually the point.

The point is that if I had known Thing G wouldn’t eat what I suggested, I would have made something else. The kid is only home for dinner two nights a week, I want to feed him what he likes.

So I just got more and more frustrated.
YBW kept saying I thought he was an idiot.
Which infuriated me.
And there we are in the kitchen shouting at each other because I’m mad and he feels stupid.

He said something that truly shocked me.
He suggested that we go through life and I simply tolerate him. That he’s something I have to endure.

I don’t know if it was just that something was triggered in him or he really believes that.
I don’t believe that.

We function differently. That’s cool.
I need more information before executing plans.
He doesn’t want feel like I think he’s an idiot.

I absolutely overreacted.
I can be irritated by something and not become a screaming shrew. I’m not exactly sure how, but I’m all for figuring it out.

But when I’m frustrated or angry about something it makes me even more frustrated or angry when he starts telling me I think he’s stupid. That I think he’s a failure.
That was honestly the last thing in my mind.

The first thing was I’m so sick of our lives revolving around a young man who refuses to take responsibility for his own life.
The second thing was that I would never offer to make a second meal for literally anyone. That level of accommodation exceeds my level of tolerance.
The third and most important thought was if I had known he didn’t like this food prepared this way, I would have made something else. Why serve someone something they don’t like?

The food situation had been solved previously by having the boys decide the menus when they were here. That way they ate what they wanted. I was happy to prepare the meals as long as I didn’t have to plan them.
That went out the window when Thing C moved out.
Thing G can’t be bothered.
YBW expressed that he doesn’t think it matters all that much.

Y’all, it’s not about food.
It’s about family members functioning together to run a household.
It’s about people who can’t care enough to engage in their own lives creating a black hole in a household.
It’s about blending two families that function in completely different ways.

It isn’t YBW that I can’t endure.
It’s his kid.

And the worst part is that I actually love that kid!
I love the stuffing out of him and want every wonderful thing for him and his life.

I know I’m ridiculous for being angry about what I can’t do anything about. But I am.
I know I should apologize for being ridiculous. But I didn’t.

I made a commitment to YBW and his kid. To get him through college.
I will honor that commitment.
I will do my best not to become angry or irrational.

I shouldn’t make YBW miserable just because I’m frustrated.
I shouldn’t be miserable just because I’m frustrated.

The reality is it’s a no win situation.
Because Thing G frustrates me I’ll be miserable.
Because I’m miserable I’ll be angry.
Because I’m angry, YBW will be miserable.

I need to get over myself.
Truly, it is the simplest solution.

I’m not really sure what set me off.
I just know I’m so sick of it.
The feeling this way, I mean. It’s exhausting. But more than that, it’s not good for me to be so frustrated what the kid does and does not do. The kid doesn’t give any f**ks, why do I?
Um…because someone has to?
(le sigh, le really big sigh)

As long as Thing G is comfortable, YBW is willing to sacrifice his own comfort.
I’m not willing to sacrifice comfort. Mine or YBW’s.
So I act like a dick and cause more discomfort…?

It’s my life too!
I have to live in this house too!
Why does the comfort of the kid matter more than anyone else’s?
What does that teach the kid?
What does that teach other family members?

Why does what I expect or want or need get trumped by those of the kid?

What I really want is a little peace.
When the kid is in the house there isn’t any. It’s not because he actively breaks the peace. It’s that everything about him matters more than everything about everyone else. I have a hard time finding the peace in that. And not because I think I should matter more. But because as a family unit or humans in a shared household, there should be more balance in who and what matters.

What I really want is a little peace. (I know I already said it)
I want to be myself.
That is not to say I want to always get what I want. Just to be me. Without fear of upsetting the kid. Without fear of upsetting my husband.
I’m equal parts lovely and wretched.
I’m opinionated.
I’m impatient.
I’m quick tempered.
But I’m also kind.
I’m loyal.
And I’m the most fiercely loving person you’re likely to come across.
I understand that being in a relationship with me isn’t always sunshine and lollipops.
I am actively working on being a better me.
I have a willingness to become more.
I have a willingness to embrace change. What I do not have a willingness to do is change who I am to fit into a life someone else built. Neither do I expect that of the people I love.

Square peg – round hole is a realistic situation.
Neither the peg nor the hole should be expected to make all the changes. This is a delicate situation in which it takes time, and patience, and practice working together to change the environment so it’s a better fit for everyone equally.

Expectations.
Am I expected to do all the compromise? All the changing?
Do I expect YBW to do all the compromise? All the changing?
Do I expect Thing G to do all the compromise? All the changing?
Any one of those expectations is unrealistic. The expectation that every person can compromise a little, can change a little will create an environment in which each member is more comfortable.
I’d like to better manage my expectations.

I just want to be comfortable in my environment.
I want the others to also be comfortable in the environment.

Thing is, I believe I’m the only one that’s uncomfortable.
So is it a me problem as opposed to a we problem?

I honestly don’t know.
What I do know is that I need to stop being a dick.
I need to pay attention to how what I say and do impacts the people around me.
I need to have courage and be kind.
I need to do everything in love.

I’m tired of this same old song.
I think I’m the only one singing it.
I must stop singing it.
It’s the only way I’ll find peace.

Categories: me, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Girlie Hotel Weekend

Columbus Day.
Seems such a sham now we have a much more detailed history of his actions.
But I got a day off school, so I’m not complaining.

Three day weekends are a blessing no matter what your day job.
I took mine and went to see Thing 2.

I left school at 2:oo Friday afternoon and pulled into the driveway here just before 5:00 Monday afternoon.
It was fast and furious, but it was worth it!

We tried to plan one of these weekends last year, but could never quite make it work. And in 2017-2018 I actually saw Thing 2 more times in one ‘year’ than I have the entire five years we’ve lived apart.
Thanksgiving 2017 we were all at Thing 1 and Husband N’s.
Christmas 2017 Thing 2 and Boyfriend J were here.
In March when Thing 1 lost her baby, both Thing 2 and I were there to help pick up the pieces.
Both Thing 1 and Thing 2 were here in June for Thing G’s graduation. (and mother-daughter tattooing)

Anyway, we planned this visit so we could see each other more frequently without her always having to come here.
She called it “Girlie Hotel Weekend” and she was right!

Because it took me four hours to get out of Virginia instead of the normal 2 hours and 20 – 30 minutes, I was much later arriving in Columbia than either of us expected. She got dropped off by friends about ten minutes after I checked us in.
So! Much! Giggling!

We started our Saturday with pedicures and mimosas.
Did a little Devine Street shopping before moving on to Target where my daughter said, “Nobody likes to Target the way I do but you.” (It’s genetic)
Roads were closed all over downtown because it was Parents Weekend at USC. What a pain in the ass. But, because we had to take Blossom, I remembered a place I loved to eat when I lived down there.
We had a great lunch, and a pitcher of mimosas, and some of the most delicious cheesecake at Di Prato’s.
We shopped and piddled around Columbia all day Saturday.
Then popped some bubbly and snuggled up in the hotel beds and watched Hocus Pocus. We love us some Sanderson Sisters!

Sunday saw us at our beloved Waffle House. I know. It’s just awful, but we love it. Nowhere else makes egg sandwiches like that. Not to mention, the guy who checked us out used to be the theater teacher at the high school.
Thing 2 was like, Was that Mr W? It sounded like him.
I actually had one of those lightbulb over the head moments! It was!
She wondered if he freaked out when he saw me after I ripped him a new one Thing 1’s senior year.
We laughed and laughed. We’re mean like that.

After breakfast, we made a return to Target and went shoe shopping.
Because I wanted to see the restaurant where she works, we went over and sat in the bar for a few hours. She drank sake and I let her bartending co-worker surprise me. We ate dumplings and noodles and drank and talked and laughed and hung out. I even got to meet one of the “regulars” a Rod Stewart-esque hair dresser that reminded me so much of my dad I could hardly believe it. Thing 2 had her own lightbulb over the head moment when she realized I was right that he seemed so like her beloved Pap.

Monday morning we shared breakfast, grabbed coffee and said goodbye.
She drove to work and I got on the interstate to come home.
I was sad, and even though it was a good kind of sadness, I didn’t want to feel it all the way home so I gave myself until I got out of South Carolina to be sad.
And you know what? It worked. I was only a bit sad, but I sat with it and honored it while we were still in the same state.
Then the Hamilton Soundtrack got me through North Carolina and when I arrived safely in Virginia I called YBW to report the news. It took me just less than seven hours to reach my exit on 95. Another twenty or so minutes to the house and the return trip was over. As I was unloading the car, YBW pulled into the driveway home from work.
Now that’s great timing!

I’m grateful for the time off from school, the financial ability to do a weekend trip, and a new car that made the trip a breeze. I’m grateful for that sacred time with my Thing 2. I’m grateful for our open and honest communication, our ability to laugh at similar things. I’m grateful I’m her Momma and she’s my baby.
We needed that time together, and it was good for us!
My heart is overflowing with love.

Categories: love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

September gratitude

September was a difficult month.
That wretched therapy appointment started it off.
YBW and I spent a great deal of time focused on the lack of effort Thing G spends on being responsible for his own life.
I didn’t realize how disappointed I would be when the time came for us to be holding a new baby and there was not one to hold.

That said, there’s much to be grateful for!

Boyfriend J’s birthday.
My therapist.
Our therapist.
Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company’s production of Gloria.

All three of my alternative healthcare providers.
Fall decorations!
Amber. (She does my hair, and it looks GOOD!)
Meaningful conversations with Sally.
The sun finally showed up!
Ridiculously fun meme sharing with Sundance.
The easiest blood draw I’ve ever experienced! (my veins roll and that makes for bad times)
Double date at the art festival with M and J.
Phone calls with Jessica.
Being in the park for the last home game of the season. (Nats won 9-3!!)
Sirius XM Broadway.
Cocktails with YBW.
Sitting in the sun at the Naval Academy watching our nephew play Rugby.
Spending time with great friends-as-family in Annapolis!
Talking with my girls.
Cooler temperatures. (Only by a smitch, but I’ll take it!)
Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Comedy of Errors.

Finishing a successful school term.
Did I mention the sun finally showed up?

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

even though I’m a whiny crybaby, I know how far I’ve come

Y’all, I needed this reminder!
I’ve been feeling puny of late.
Digestive issues of more ridiculousness than usual. Emotional struggles. Figuring out life plans. Actively concerned for my family in South Carolina. And to top it all off, I blew a blood vessel in my left eye to such proportions that I look like some sort of cosplay ghoul!
I’m having one of those “I’m kind of over life” situations.
Of course, I know it’s temporary. But I’ve hit the wall and haven’t anywhere else to go at the moment.

Life can kick the shit out of you. But the way you handle it is what makes you who you are.
I have had my share of tough times. But, I’m stronger for them. What’s going on with me currently is really nothing on the scale of what I’ve lived through.
It’s just that I’m weary. Physically and emotionally, and that’s when it begins to feel overwhelming.
I think the trick is admitting it. Saying it out loud, however insignificant it may sound. Once you admit where you are, how you’re feeling, you suddenly regain control.
So instead of me fretting, or being pathetic, or having to explain to one more elementary school kid why my eye looks like this, I can express it directly and hit it head on.
I feel like ass. I don’t want to adult today(s). I’m so f**king sick of being sick to my stomach. My eye really hurts and is scary to look at. I’m mad I can’t wear mascara because of it! I’m so stressed about finishing this term. I want the people I love to be safe in this storm. I worry about them on the coast, staying put or evac-ing. I worry about the rain Thing 2 will get further inland, home alone, will she have power? I cannot believe how much time and energy on YBW and I spend figuring out how to help Thing G learn how to be a college student, learn how to take responsibility for himself. Can I get everything finished this school term? Am I just being a whiny crybaby?
Of course, directly expressing it really does feel whiny. But I’ll handle that too. I’m so past the point of judging myself right now. I’m just going to lie my head in my own lap and pet my hair. (What? *shrugs* Makes a kind of sense in my head.)

Here’s what I know.
This will pass.
I’ll soon feel better physically.
My family will weather this hurricane and remain safe and sound.
No more gut wrenching therapy visits for a bit.
Thing G will get his shit straight and YBW will let out his breath and the new normal will be more bearable.
I’ll survive this school term.

I can handle it.
Because I’ve handled so much worse. And on the scale of what I’ve handled, this is nothing. A minor irritation, a fly buzzing round my head.
It’s all very ‘so the drama’, but it’s where I am in my world.
However insignificant it may sound, it is very real to me.
Even if I’m a whiny crybaby, at least I’m honest.

I am a Warrior Goddess.
My strength is deep in me.
I know how far I’ve come.

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

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?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

be aware

I haven’t been writing much.
I could explain why, (school, feeling puny, environmental changes, emotional stuff) but that’s just kind of making excuses that simply boil down to: I haven’t had it in me.
I spend more time attempting to write than actually writing. I spend time considering what I’d like to write and paying attention to why I’m not writing.
It’s an interesting place to be. It’s also troubling. I truly enjoy writing. But can’t seem to make it happen. Not even in my journal. I’m adrift in a sea of paper, pencils, pens, and this laptop. (It makes for a crap visual when I try to write it out, but it was working in my head.)
Anyway, that’s were I am at the moment.

This morning I received this:

I read them several times before I responded. I needed to swim around in her words before I did anything else. For a solid half hour this is what I did.
She had it in her heart, she wanted me to know.
She said she felt compelled to tell me. That’s the word she used, compelled.
She did not know that I needed to read those words today. She just knew she needed to tell me.

How many of us each day think, Oh, I should tell so-and-so something-or-other and it’s only a passing thought? How many of us actually tell so-and-so the something-or-other?
Simply living life gets in the way. That happens to every one of us.
But when we stop for a moment, we can pay attention those little things that are so important in life.
One simple act of kindness can start the most complex change.
Now, this particular act of kindness may not change the world, but it created ripples in me. And that’s all it takes.

Sally shared with me that she was aware. That act of love is a precious and powerful gift. I am at once comforted and inspired by her love.

Being aware.
What a beautiful act of love.
Sharing your awareness.
What a beautiful act of kindness.

And, check it out!
I’m writing.

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

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!

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

tenacity in her DNA

Been thinking about Thing 2.
Concerned she’s not really getting her life together. She’s employed, sometimes happily, sometimes miserably. (But, aren’t we all?) I’ve been concerned about her emotional well being. And the well being of Boyfriend J. I worry for them. I know what it’s like to feel trapped. To feel defeated and how easy it is to let that consume you.

And then the other day, she shared that her dear friend Jimmy is going through so much with his mom and her health, and then suddenly she suffered a stroke and is in a vegetative state with no real hope of improvement.
Thing 2 expressed how hard it is to feel helpless when all she wants to do in the world is help her friend and his sweet mom through this moment in their lives.

I began to consider everything my baby daughter has been through in the last year or so.
I’ve seen her hold the hand of her dearest friend after the sudden and surprising suicide of his father.
I’ve seen her rush to the home of her sister and brother in law because the latter specifically requested her presence after the loss of their baby.
I’ve seen her be there for Jimmy even though she’s not sure how to be other than to “throw hugs and beer at him”.

This young woman has demonstrated a level of strength and support that most seasoned adults don’t always successfully handle. She is handling her own complicated emotional feelings, as well as for the people she loves. She’s been tremendously responsible for the people she loves.
So I feel like I need to stop and breathe a little bit. I need to realize she’s doing things with her time and life that are important, even if they’re not actively furthering her “getting it together”.
The thought she’s using these things as avoidance for dealing with getting her life together crossed my mind, and it’s a very Thing 2 sort of way to function, but after talking with her today I feel like she’s working hard to get herself together as well as supporting and loving her people.

She’s learning how to ‘adult’ and I think she’s kind of digging it!

I told her not giving up is hard af but it’s more worth it than she even understood. And this superhero feeling is why!

Of course there will be days when she’s not feeling especially superheroish, but now that she has, she’ll remember it and be more inclined to keep going when the going gets tough. Not quitting when life gets hard is part of growing up. Feeling accomplished and empowered when you persevere is the reward. She’ll remember that now that she’s experienced it.
She doesn’t remember fighting for her life as a new baby. She doesn’t remember how hard she worked to stay healthy. My girl is a fighter! She’s got a strength and tenacity down deep in her. She’s seeing evidence of that now. This time, she’ll remember.
Everyone needs their ‘I did it!’ moments.

I told her I knew she had it in her, that she knew she had it in her and just needed to be reminded.
She wrote: “Really I didn’t want to “brag” to you about how everything is working out (albeit in its own silly Thing 2 way) and make you feel, well, I don’t know what I was afraid of, but it’s nice to hear that you’re rooting for me (and us)” (Us being her and Boyfriend J)
“And I know you always are and will be, but I feel like recognizing it.
You gave me my tenacity.
And I am eternally grateful (heart emoji)

I told her that her tenacity is in her very DNA and I’m just here to remind her.

She replied: “I love you. Thank you for being the best momma, and for being an incredible human aside from your fierce momma-ness”

I shared with her that YBW and I had been talking about how she’s doing, and I shared with him about where and how she is and what she’s doing for her friends. That he’s been loving and supportive in our conversations about her. That even though they’re relationship is a bit tricky, he’s on her side.

She replied:

(This is one of my new favorite Robynbird/YBW analogies. I’m totally the cereal and he’s absolutely the fruit and nut mix.)

That’s the second time this week one of those girls told me they appreciated me.
Thing 1 did it on Thursday in a text message that read: “You’re a great mom. So you know”
And that creates nice warm fuzzy feelings in me.
My own ‘I did it!’ moment!

I built the foundation.
They’re in charge of construction now.
I’m going to worry…I don’t know how to not…but I see what’s being built, and I’m feeling comfortable and confident for them.

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

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