Posts Tagged With: sharing

pretending the bed is a raft

I once had this book called Pretending the Bed is a Raft. It’s a collection of short stories written by Nanci Kincaid. I remember the stories were beautifully written but devastatingly sad. I’m not sure what happened to that book. A quick scan of my shelves and I don’t see it. It may have gone to the used bookstore during one of my annual book purges.
What I have to say isn’t really about the book anyway. It’s about the title.

Pretending the bed is a raft.
I love this concept! Let’s pretend the bed is a raft.
I feel like it’s a game of make believe we might have played when Thing 1 and Thing 2 were little. They would have wanted to be pirates on that bed raft. They would have had us all dressed up with scarves and eye patches and Thing 1 would have wanted to be the captain, but Thing 2 probably would have been calling the shots. I would have been the dutiful first mate, responsible for the safety of the crew while the captain(s) lead us into death or glory. I can hear Thing 2 in her ‘little old man’ voice saying, “Storms a-brewin!”

Pretending the bed is a raft.
I feel like I’ve done this my entire life, only I never used that phrase until I’d seen this book. It stated simply the concept I’ve always understood.
With absolute certainty, my most fundamental belief is: When the going gets tough, get in your bed.

I’m a big fan of getting in my bed when I’m feeling…well, anything actually. I mean, obviously when I’m tired. But, I’m thinking about all the other things I feel. Emotional exhaustion, frustration, or illness. These could all be considered fancy words for depression. Some people use ice cream. I use my pillows. Because nothing comforts me like my bed.
Loneliness and heartache send me straight to my bed.
When I’m craving peace and quiet. If I’m overwhelmed or overjoyed, I take to the comfort of my bed.
That bed is my raft in the seas of all feeling.

My perfect bed is a dark wood farmhouse canopy, made with the most crisp white cotton known to man. This bed is my cocoon. I bought it to keep me safe the first time I ever lived alone. Newly separated, children part time at my home, part time at their father’s, I knew I would need a haven that made me feel safe and sound.
This bed carried me safely through the feeling seas for many years.
Sweet Izzie kitty, so grouchy with everyone but me. She would curl up next to me in that bed and her soft purring would match my breathing and we’d sleep happily together.
My girls snuggling in that cocoon with me. Thing 2 coming in every night for months with her pillow and sleeping with me. Thing 1 didn’t sleep with me that often, she’s an active sleeper, making full use of her bed. But when she came for a snuggle it would be an event.

YBW was invited into my cocoon.
He invited me into his bed, he named it serenity.
The first time I came here, we went to bed and he told me to close my eyes…when I opened them there were stars all over the ceiling. He told me on the phone that when I came to his home, I would sleep in serenity in a sea of stars. He made that happen for me. We could be together in the cocoon or in serenity and it was lovely.

When I moved here, the cocoon moved to the guest room.
We bought new mattress and foundation and I began to sleep full time in his bed. I’d lived here for almost a year when we had a little mishap and broke the bed. I fell in love with a bed and took him to see it. He agreed and the new bed came home to our room. The bed we share is a beautiful dark wood, with a very high headboard and drawers in the footboard. It is made with crisp white bedding.

When I’m in need of pretending the bed is a raft, I don’t often take to the bed I share with YBW. I’ll go to the cocoon. It’s not that that I don’t feel comfortable or safe in serenity. It’s just different. I think it’s tricky when you share a bed with someone. That bed is our shared space. Where we have conversations. Where we make love. Where we occasionally keep the other awake. The bed is lovely, especially when properly made, but it’s not a bed I’m inclined to pretend is a raft. I think it’s because it doesn’t fully belong to me.

In the old days, my bed was a place where everyone just kind of piled in and we hung out. Small children all in it together with story books or soft toys. Grown up girls doing each other’s make up. Sometimes, if they were very lucky, little girls having their make up done. It was a place for snuggles and giggles and opening birthday gifts first thing in the morning. It was a place to simply be. And to feel loved.

My sister in law’s bed is like that too. We all just go in there and pile up on the bed. Sometimes the TV is on. Sometimes there are books or computers or tablets or smartphones. Sometimes we just all get in and talk and talk. Kids, grown ups, boys, girls. It doesn’t matter. We get in her bed and without even knowing it, pretend it’s a raft. It is one of those rare places I feel nurtured without having to do the nurturing.

When my heart was freshly broken, I came to be with Sundance. Her sweet husband went to sleep elsewhere in the house so I could sleep in bed with Sundance. She helped me heal as we talked quietly in her bed. We poured each other into that bed after we’d had way too much to drink. Her bed was a raft that I didn’t have to be in alone at the lowest point in my life.

I have a friend who has the unbreakable rule that no one is allowed in his home. He never shares his bed. I sometimes wonder if he feels like his bed is a raft in a safe way, of if it’s a raft in which he drifts, lost at sea. I respect the desire for privacy. For boundaries. No one in your sacred space ensures safety, but it seems to me a lonely life.

Pretending the bed is a raft means something different to each of us. Our bed means something different to each of us.
Your bed can be a haven. Or your bed can be the place where you live your life. Your bed can be a playground for children. Or a sexual playground for adults. Your bed is a place to rest your weary head.
You can share your bed or choose not to share it.
The bed I share with YBW is the place for us to be together.
But, my bed is a sacred place. The place I feel safe and sound. It is the raft on the feeling sea.
And even though it’s now the beautiful and comfortable place for our guests to lay their heads, it will always be my cocoon. My space.
If you’ve been invited into that bed, know how much you are loved.

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Categories: around the house, love, me, on being a mom, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

mother’s day

I struggle with Mother’s Day.
My birthday is always the week of Mother’s Day. Sometimes even falls on that particular Sunday. I don’t remember it bothering me until I became a mom. First one precious little girl and later, two precious little girls called me their mommy. They were SO focused and excited about Mother’s Day that my birthday often fell by the wayside.
When they got old enough to understand, I explained how much I loved their beautiful appreciation of me. I explained that I was their mommy every day. That it was the most special thing EVERY DAY. But that my birthday was only one day and it was special. It took a bit for them to get it, but they knew how important I made their birthdays and they began to come around. So while Mother’s Day remained special, “birthday birthday” became the focus that second week of May.

Mother’s Day is painful for me because I don’t have my mom anymore. However complicated our relationship was, she was my mother and I loved her.
I took Thing C and Thing G to get cards for their mom. I went with YBW to get a card for his mom. I spent the day with YBW and his mom.
It was agony.
I no longer have a mom. It hurts more than I can even communicate.
Thing 1 called to tell me Happy Mother’s Day. She thanked me for being her mom. She talked about the life she’s building. She talked about going back to school. She told me she sent a little gift, but it was going to be late. She told me how much she loved me.
My heart sang with joy!
Thing 2 did nothing. (I don’t know if she was being purposefully hurtful or not…I honestly don’t think it matters. It was hurtful enough.) People that I did not actually give birth to called and texted to wish me Happy Mother’s Day. I’m just sayin’.

When my girls were little and I was teaching preschool, I was blessed to be surrounded by some of the most truly awe inspiring women I’ve ever known.
We were a family. If something happened to one of us, joy or sorrow, it happened to all of us. These women helped me realize who I could be. They let me help them see things from my unique and sometimes brash perspective. (I may or may not have publicly accused the director of being on crack at a faculty meeting…in my defense, it opened a new way of talking about a serious topic.)

When I started this blog I promised my family and friends anonymity. That’s why I never use anyone’s real name…apart from my own. My girls and Sundance have expressed their ambivalence regarding this promise. I keep it because YBW is especially protective of his identity, and the identity of his sons. I respect that. Nobody “signed up” to be part of my public words regarding my private life. I want to keep those who need to feel safe feeling safe.
That said, I’m going to use the names of the women from that perfect moment in time when we lived and loved and worked in the safest and most creative environment.

It kind of started this way:
On Sunday, Nicole posted in our private group chat:
HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!!! I would not have survived young motherhood without you all!!

I was thinking something along those lines when I was washing my hair that morning. I was thinking about some of the women that influenced my life. What I learned from each of them and how I incorporated that into my parenting style, and into my own personal development.

I learned from my mom that always having to be in control will wear you the eff out. That it breaks you and makes you miserable. My mom taught me the value of creativity and expressing opinions because she squashed those out of us as children. She taught me that love is conditional, you must be exactly what someone wants or they can’t love you.
She taught me that you just have to keep fighting for what you believe in. She taught me what true sacrifice looks like. She taught me that a color book and box of crayons eases heartache. She taught me that birthdays are the most important celebration, because the day you came into the world is sacred. She taught me to love books. She taught me Elvis is the King. She taught me that being redhaird is the most precious gift, and that only a few of us ever have the luxury to receive it.
Some of the things she taught me made me a better mom because I did the exact opposite of what she did. Love is unconditional. Creativity and expressing yourself are the most important life stills to possess.
Some of what she taught me formed my most basic ideology. Birthdays are sacred. New crayons are priceless. Books are uniquely portable magic.

Nicole taught me that organized chaos is a great way to raise children. She taught me that love is fierce. She showed me how to see things through the eyes of a child. She taught me the value of true and long lasting friendship.

Jessica taught me that I was more capable than I ever realized. She taught me to listen differently so I could truly hear. She taught me to ask the most important question: What’s best for children? She taught me the value of my own mothering. She taught me when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. She helped me believe in myself at the lowest point in my life. She showed me the fire in my belly still had embers to nurture. She loved me when I couldn’t love myself.

Becca encouraged me to trust my gut, because she never seemed to be able to do that for herself. She taught me to appreciate every contribution. She brought out even more nurturing in me, she needed and still occasionally needs to be taught self-love. She taught me how innocent kindness can change lives. She taught me that my tough as nails hide could benefit from softening up a bit.

Terri taught me to see my firstborn in a new and different light. She provided much comfort and support when I was struggling with learning how to mom a three year old and a new and extremely sick baby. She was an example of love and tenacity through her own terrible illness. She taught me how to approach the enigma that is the three year old with the perfect mix of fear and appreciation.

Nancy taught me that I must embrace and celebrate my gifts. She is the first person who said out loud that I am a writer. That moment caused a change in my life that I will be forever grateful for. She supported me with love and hope when I didn’t know who or what I really was. She taught me that life is so much more than simply putting one foot in front of the other.

Marianne taught me that letting go is so much better than holding on too tightly. She taught me the importance of repetition. She helped me realize that a classroom was one of the most loving environments in the world.

Cory taught me that I matter. She helped me understand how to be a mom and a real person too. She accepted me for who I am. She guided my learning of that most important skill. I’m not great at it, but I am working at it every single day…even all these years later.

Julia encouraged me to take risks. She helped me realize that fear is a part of life, but if I didn’t try new things I might miss out on something extraordinary. She taught me a new kind of patience.

Sara gave me the courage to breathe when I needed to take a step back. She showed me the importance of kindness when Thing 2 and I experienced serious separation anxiety.

Like Nicole, I would never have gotten through young motherhood without these women. The gifts they gave me have gotten me through the last twenty two years.
It takes a village to raise children.
It takes a village to raise parents too.

I’m so blessed to know and love these women. I would not be the woman I am without experiencing their love and support.
I saw Becca this weekend, we talked about how those years were a sacred moment in time. We will never be able to recreate that, but we’re lucky enough to forever be better mothers and better women because of it.

Categories: education, love, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

and there was much rejoicing…yaaaaaaaaay

All the Whos down in Whoville, the tall and the small, are really irritated the rain falling from the sky isn’t snow!

The forecast for Washington DC today: 72° with scattered showers and thunderstorms. A few storms may be severe. Winds SW 10 to 20 MPH. (Thanks, weather.com,  for your bleak Christmas Eve forecast.)
The rain has plagued us for days on end and will continue straight on through the weekend. Damn this warm weather! If it was cold outside, we could have a white Christmas!

I’ve already checked my camera battery (new SD card fully functioning) and will head out in a couple of hours to Cathedral Crèche Exhibition!
It’ll be a lovely day to be inside the Cathedral to see all the baby Jesuses! It’ll be a shit day to drive around the Metro area.

Thing 1 and fiance N arrived safe and sound yesterday evening! YBW picked them up at the airport on his way home from work.
Thing 2 and I danced around the kitchen to the Nutcracker while we waited for them to get home.
Finally they got here!
and there was much rejoicing

Boyfriend D was scheduled to get on the train at 4:00 this morning, only the train is running five hours behind and is stuck in Savannah. Thing 2 wonders if he’ll get here by Christmas. I’m with her, but I worry about the poor sod who has to go get him as the train arrival time pushes back later and later.
Our plan was to grab him from the King Street train station at his 2:00 pm arrival time on our way out of DC. New plans are in the works.

Thing C and Thing G come home from their mom’s this evening!
Our own Whos, the tall and the small, will be under one roof tonight snuggled in their beds with dreams of sugar plums and Santa in their heads!

My beloved sister-in-law celebrates her birthday today! In the old days when we lived near each other, the anniversary of her birth would be celebrated with a delicious white cake with white icing and a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. Now that we live far apart, I post on fb, I text and call. We say: I lovey you! and promise to see each other soon. I miss her so. I long to wrap my arms around her, especially today, on her birthday.

My heart grew three sizes writing this post! I am filled to overflowing with love!
I wish you all the happiest Christmas!

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food for the soul

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis once said: There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.

I believe this with an unparalleled fierceness.
I tell all parents of young children this is my philosophy of child rearing: First you feed a child with food, then with books, then you worry about whether or not their shoes fit.
If you could see the looks on their faces. They have that initial moment of WTF? but then I see their eyes widen as they begin to understand how this makes some kind of sense.

I believe this principle applies to grownups too.
You ever been to someone’s home and find no books and feel like there is something so completely wrong with that? I don’t trust a person who doesn’t read.
I love to explore what other people have on their shelves.
We all know that someone who has books on the shelf for show, you know damn well that person doesn’t read them, they’re there lined up like little soldiers just to impress.
If you looked at my bookshelves, the majority of the books are either children’s books or biographies. Of course there are other things mixed in, adult fiction and textbooks, even some pretty amazing nonfiction too.

We must eat food to sustain our physical lives.
But books are food too. Soul food.
They feed our imagination. They feed us inspiration. They feed us information. They feed us laughter and love and tears. They feed us fear and loathing. They feed us when food isn’t what we need to ingest.

When Thing 2 was a small girl, we were waiting at the doctors office. I was reading and she was reading. She had just begun to read “proper” books, and was reading her first chapter book. It was the first time I didn’t read to her as we waited somewhere. It was the first time I read my book and she read hers. When the realization washed over me I began to cry.
After a big breath, I said to her: You’ve given yourself the best gift you’ll ever receive.
She looked at me from behind her coke-bottle glasses with confusion. I indicated the book.
She said: You gave me this book.
I said: Yes I did, but you learned to read it. And from now on you’ll be able to read anything you want. What a wonderful gift you gave to yourself!
She thought about this for a moment and then gave that jack-o-lantern smile (She was missing three teeth at the time.) and said: You’re right!

Both Thing 1 and Thing 2 love books. And shoes. They’ve been influenced by my parenting philosophy quite literally. (There’s a trees and two apples and never are they terribly far apart.)
I know that they will pass on their love of books to their children, and their nieces and nephews, and one day, their children’s children.

This quote has been attributed to Stephen King: Books are uniquely portable magic.
And they feed the soul.

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the magical gift of words

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February 11. 2011 6:11 pm EST
~The fire went on leaping and taunting and sucking up great turbulent currents of air that set the flames snapping like brilliant red sails in a violent wind~
John Berendt – the city of falling angels pg 11 & 12
WOW! To write like this!!

I was at the airport waiting for a flight to board. I always travel with a journal and a book. This particular trip, I was traveling with a Tiffany blue journal (natch) and a book I’d read once before. I have a very vivid memory of writing this…where I was sitting at the gate, what I was wearing, the diet Dr Pepper sweating as it sat on the arm of my seat, and the small dark-skinned woman speaking hushed profanities into her phone.
Inspiration comes from all manner of places. This night as I waited for a plane to bring me here to YBW I was inspired by this compilation of words.

Whether or not you like his writing is of no consequence to me. I adored Midnight in the Garden but I absolutely loved The City of Falling Angels. I like the way he novelizes the factual events. I liked the story of Venice from the master glass blower, Archimede Seguso, to “The Rat Man of Treviso”, Massimo Donadon. The political corruption is fascinating, of course we have our own American brand of that here at home.
Anyway, I dig the book.

I was getting a book for Thing C to borrow and passed this book on my shelf. Just seeing the spine reminded me of this moment.
It’s so random how and when something moves you. I do still love this sentence. But would it have made me write it down if I read it tonight? I don’t honestly know.
What I do know is inspiration is all around us every single moment. The more we read, the more music lyrics we hear and sing, the more we talk with people, the more chances we have to be inspired.
Words are a constant inspiration to me…to be a better writer, or at least to write more.
That’s a promise I’ve made to myself while I’m not working: healing my brain, finishing up wedding plans and writing more.

After all, as Albus Dumbledore said: Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.

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for this is the recipe of love

I found this when I was going through my mother’s things.
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It’s my Grandaddy’s handwriting. I’d recognize it anywhere.
I suspect it’s the toast he made at my parents wedding.
Now, my parents were an ill suited match, but they made me so I’m not going to complain. They were terribly unhappy together, and after my father left us, Mommie remained unhappy deep in her soul. Perhaps that unhappiness came to her when her mother died. I don’t know. I just know that it seemed to me that even though she would express real joy, she was always miserable down in her soul.

Grandaddy didn’t especially like my dad…but that could have been for any number of reasons.
My dad was only likable when he chose to be. Most times he was a right bastard. Of course, a childhood of abuse and a lifetime of hiding his sexual orientation contributed to that.

Grandaddy was a grumpy old thing. But he was helping to raise kids in his sixties and seventies. Oh! How I adored him. He was the first man I ever fell in love with. And quite possibly he was in love with me more than he had ever been with my mom. I think she knew it. I think she was jealous of that love. But, I don’t really care. That love was sacred and nothing will ever change that.

I’m being tangential as all get out…this post started out differently in my head…I’m going to try and make my way back to the reason I’m sharing this photo.

YBW and I have asked my niece, Girlie Thing, to read this at our wedding. Sundance was with me when I found the tiny envelope with Grandaddy’s writing. I knew then I wanted it to be a part of our wedding day.

As I go through the invitation and response lists, I realize my only blood family is Thing 1 and Thing 2. The family I made: Sundance and her babies, my darling friend in Arizona and her family, my friend and mentor, and my former husband’s little sister and her family, will be with me the day I wed the man I waited forty-four years to marry.
I have great sadness that Mommie never even met YBW. That my dad didn’t live long enough to be a part of this day, he adored YBW and our relationship.
My sadness about Grandaddy isn’t so much that he won’t know YBW or be at our wedding, it’s more that everyday missing him that resides deep in my heart.

All this said, I have wonderful people that I love who will celebrate with us on October 24. But with this tiny envelope, a bit of my parents and Grandaddy will be with me too. And that makes my heart happy.

Perhaps that’s the recipe of love…
The family from which you come mixed with the friends who become your family and a dollop of your own babies on top. I’ll mix these with YBW’s family. The one from which he came and his fraternity brothers who became his family and a dollop of his babies.

Whatever the recipe, I am chock-full of love. I’m grateful for those who taught me to love when I was a little girl. For those whom I befriended and taught me how to expand my love. For the man who showed me that love was something I never even imagined. And for the gifts of daughters who taught me new and awe-inspiring ways to love.

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honoring your commitment (to yourself)

Talked with Thing 2 for a long time yesterday. And while we talked of many things, one part of the conversation struck me and stuck with me. She mentioned she’d been thinking about writing again. I shared with her that I loved her writing and thought even though she wasn’t always comfortable with it, I think it’s very good. She said she was flattered.
I didn’t say it to flatter her. I said it because I believe it. She’s actually quite good.

I told her what I know about writing and about writers. They write every day. They make a commitment to write for a certain amount of time each day. Then they honor their commitment.

I told her I thought it would be so good for her. She’s living in the moment only. With no real vision of her future and not much reflection on her past. I think that’s got to be a hard way to live. I suggested committing herself to a writing schedule might help her break out of that moment to moment living.
The more we talked about it, the more I could hear her begin to really like the idea. She was hopeful that it would ignite some passion within her. (I call it the fire in her belly.) She was expressing her feelings of confusion about what path to take, how to move forward in her life. She is concerned that she has no passion. Like Alice, she used to be much more…muchier. She’s lost her muchness. She knows this and isn’t quite sure how to get back her muchness.

I wondered aloud if writing would stoke the fire in her belly, help her find her passion and remind her of her indefinable muchness…I could hear in her voice that she was really inspired by this.
I expressed that I would in no way “hold her accountable” but I would ask occasionally if she’d written simply out of excitement and curiosity. She liked the idea of that too.

I also shared with her that I was in the process of making such a commitment to myself. That I needed to write more…that I let too much time go between times I write.
I haven’t written since I was in Arizona! Partly because I came home and promptly got sick (So sick I didn’t do anything but lie on the couch and drink apple juice for four days straight.) but a visit to my doctor and a prescription for antibiotics and an inhaler finally sorted me. I’m feeling better enough physically that I’m ready to engage my mind.
So while I’ve suggested to my daughter that she make a commitment to herself, I too will commit to a set bit of time to write each day. It may or may not be in this blog, but I will honor myself and write. I too, am occasionally concerned about my muchness. That I’m so busy living the day to day moments that I’m missing something in me.
I remember something my friend and mentor once said about your first year of teaching, she said it’s “survival year”. I believe that’s true of your first year of anything. The first year of me being here not only held normal adjustments to the spectacular life changes. It was a year in which my beloved child told me she didn’t want me to be her mommy anymore. It was a year in which my dad unexpectedly died. It was a year in which my child and I found our way back to each other. She came to live with us here and left again in a six week period. It was a year in which I changed classrooms in a school where I’ve never felt I completely belong. And (This is the bestest bit!) this was a year in which the man I’ve loved for the last five years put a ring on my finger and asked to call me his wife.
My muchness is all over the freaking place!

Thing 2 and I have traded some snapchats this afternoon. I send her a questioning face asking if she had decided to write today.
She did!
And now I am.
We’re each honoring our commitment to ourselves. I feel a bit as though we’re honoring a commitment to each other too. But that’s honestly not what it’s about, it’s about respecting the decision to do something for ourselves.

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

#itsallminenowbitches!

I finally started going through the boxes from my mom’s. I’ve found photos from when my mom was a little girl, when Grandaddy was still in the Navy looking so handsome in his whites. I especially love a photo of the two of them in the side yard of the house where we (she and then years later, I) grew up.
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I opened a box that turned out to be filled with framed photographs. The very top one I opened was this one of my mom. It hung above Grandaddy’s chair ever since I can remember. I wore this dress to homecoming one year. I asked her husband about this photo specifically and he was unsure about it’s whereabouts. I opened the box and unwrapped the very first photo and said: SCORE! (I said this out loud even though I was alone in the room.)
I immediately texted this pic to Sundace with the following: #itsminenowbitches!
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I never use hashtags, but this seemed the perfect way to express my satisfaction.

I’ve mostly smiled and laughed at the items I’ve unpacked but there was one thing that brought me tears. It may seem silly, but it was Grandaddy’s wallet. Exactly the same as it was when he died in 1992. Filled with pics of my little brother and me.
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His “Washington Shopping Plate”, a sky blue credit card that was accepted by:
Hecht’s
Jelleff’s
Kann’s
Labsburgh’s
Raleigh’s
Woodie’s
Garfinkel’s
His Bloomingdale’s card.
(Can you tell he and I liked to go shopping together?)

His driver’s license was still in his wallet, expiring in 1993 at the mark of his eightieth year of life. Unfortunately he didn’t make it to his birthday that year.

Until Thing 2 was moved into the NICU before she was even eight hours old, the worst day of my life was the day we buried my beloved Grandaddy. I miss him every single day. He was the first man I ever loved. I was mad about him and from the stories, he was just as mad about me. Not a day goes by that I don’t treasure what he taught me, the love he gave me, I’ve carried with me my whole life.

I sat on a little wicker and wooden stool all day yesterday and for a few hours this morning going through boxes, setting aside items for Thing 1 and Thing 2. I called Thing 1 when I discovered the long lost recipe for apple butter and she laughed and cried at the same time.
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I saved all the old recipe boxes for her. Her love of cooking will be furthered by the recipes of her grandmother and great grandmother.

I’m dead tired but I’m excited to see what’s next. Perhaps a box or two each day until they’re all unpacked.
I’m waiting for the thing I want most…the flag from Grandaddy’s coffin. It’s in there somewhere…and it’s mine.
It’s ALL mine now!

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standing in the rain, and waiting for the stream to settle

Today would have been my dad’s sixty-ninth birthday and I stood in the rain scattering his ashes in a place he loved to be.
I did this because his oldest and dearest friend came from Colorado to perform this act and he is the one who chose the date. He felt it was a good way to honor my dad, the anniversary of his birth. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
I did it because it was what my dad wanted, and he wanted his friend involved. I’d known this for years so I had plenty of time to prepare for it. They were cops together, I’ve know him since I was a teeny little thing, but you know how that goes, he’s close with my dad and I grow up and move on.
My heart wasn’t in it really, I was just going through the motions. But I’m OK with that because it wasn’t about me it was about my dad’s friend…and my dad. I am a good daughter.
I’m tired now it’s all over. It was cold and rainy which wasn’t physically comfy and it was emotionally exhausting. I want to get in the bathtub with my ipad for a bit of soaking and Netflix.

On the Thing 2 front, I finally had a good long conversation with my friend and mentor last night. She asked what my heart was telling me to do. I told her my gut said, make her come back, my heart is tired of fighting and my head pretty much wants the other two to get it together. She laughed. She reminded me I’m a “gut truster”. I agreed.
We talked a bit more and she told me I had been tromping back and forth in the stream and it was muddy and unclear, that perhaps I should sit by the stream and let the sediment fall to the bottom and wait for the water to clear. (Oh how I love this analogy!)
We talked a bit longer and she just wondered aloud where I was. I took a deep breath and said: I’m going to let it go and leave her where she is.
I feel good about that decision because instead of focusing on her, I decided to focus on me. I’m going crazy trying to decide what to do what’s best for her life and completely ignoring what’s best for my own.

This morning I had the most freeing thought.
I’m so worried about Thing 2’s future but I didn’t take into consideration that teenagers live in the now. So if she’s sad, lonely and uncomfortable here in this home, how successful can her future be?
I know her dad won’t hold her accountable, but perhaps she really can live happily in the now and STILL have a relatively successful future.
And that might be as positive as I’ll ever feel about it.
I lived in that horrible situation for years, trapped, scared and feeling unsafe. It hurt me physically and emotionally. If she FEELS safe, etc. then isn’t that actually “what’s best” for her?
I believe she stands a better chance here but I’m only going to focus on me and my future.
She’ll sort it out eventually. I believe I’ve done a good enough job raising her to have that faith.

And that’s how this portion of the story ends.
She will be responsible for ‘cleaning up her own mess’ and building her future and I’ll focus on my own future and just love her.

Categories: death, loss, love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

it can’t be a contest if I choose not to particpate

Thing 2 told her father she’s coming to live here in the fall…this was her decision and hers alone. I offered to help her tell him, she told me she wanted to do it herself, partly because it was her plan and she wanted to advocate for it and partly because she knew if I was involved he’d think I was coercing her. Thing 2 is very bright.

She told him on Tuesday, and this is the email he sent to me Wednesday. Following that is my response this morning.

I am thrilled FOR my daughter, not because she’ll be with me, but because she is ready to climb out of the hole he helped her dig. She’s climbing out all by herself. I couldn’t be more proud.

I don’t understand this “you win” nonsense…but then I have never played the game.

(email he sent early Wednesday morning)
I don’t know where to start and wish I didn’t have to. The idea of letting Thing 2 go to Va. just hurts me so, but it is probably the best thing for her. I just want her to be in the best place for her to grow. Living here has been a slow learning process for her and I feel to blame for that just because she has been home alone far more than she should have been. I have to work and keep the bills paid, food on the table and have entertainment expenses. If she had gone to CHS this past year it may have been a different result and I believe better.
You have gone to Va. and tried to make a new life for yourself but I have been left to try to make a life here where my life of taking care of my family has been twisted to become something different. I am not sure what I can do to help Thing 2 here now that I have committed to the expenses of this house but it would have been the best thing for Thing 2 if she had stayed in school at CHS. I could give up and make my expenses less but now she wants to create a new life in Virginia and that may be the best thing for her.
So now I have to go to work like always and soon I must find a way to make a new life for me.
You Win……..JM

(my resonse)
JM,
The fact that you said, “you win” makes me feel sad and kind of sick.
Nobody wins here. Thing 2 failed her junior year and wants to drop out of high school.
Everybody fails.

I agree she would have been better off at CHS…and that might have been able to happen second semester had she been able to get it together enough to pass first semester and transfer back. But she was not supported by the people who are supposed to support her. We are her parents. We must behave like parents and support our children.
We failed her.

You work the way you work, the way you’ve always worked. It’s not an excuse, it just is.
I understand you’re having to reconfigure the plan of your life. I understand that it’s hard. You’ve stood on your own two feet financially since you bought your first house…now you have to figure out how to stand on your own two feet emotionally, and it’s hard, and you don’t have much practice…so it’s going to feel icky, and I’m sad that it’s icky for you.

I had nothing to do with Thing 2’s decision. She called me and asked if she could come here, asked if she could be in my home. My babies will always have a home wherever I am, I can not, did not tell her no.
I did not feel that I’ve “won” anything. I don’t view those girls as a contest with you. I don’t consider them items with which to hurt and humiliate you. They are my babies. I will always work tirelessly to do what I believe is best for them.
Thing 2 believes she will find success by relocating her life, I support that, not because she’s coming here to where I am, but because I heard her voice, heard the long dormant fire in her belly crackling as she spoke to me. Heard her planning, and being excited to plan, her future.

The fact that you say I’ve won makes me think you’ve got it all wrong…I don’t believe it’s a contest.
I chose to do what I believed was best for me when you decided what was best for you was for me to be away from you. I saw your seriousness and chose to make arrangements to leave when you expressed your desire for change.
I never saw any of our life as a contest, that feels hurtful, as though knowing you and loving you is somehow negated. If it’s a contest then we’ve both lost.

I don’t like that you’re hurting. I have not liked hurting. I don’t understand what happened to the kindness between us, I guess it went away when it turned into some kind of contest.
I choose not to participate in any contest with you. I choose to just be. I choose to just care.

Thing 2 needs something, she’s looking for something, perhaps she’ll find it here, perhaps not. But she’s looking. I don’t want to discourage that.
R

So the high road pays off…my friend and mentor will love that!

Categories: divorce, me, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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