Posts Tagged With: support

chaos and big love

Oh God! Will it ever stop raining? ~ The Saw Doctors

Chaos rained down in big fat drops!

My birthday was actually quite lovely. YBW surprised me by staying home and greeting me with kisses and pressies as I woke up. Then took me to my favorite “dump” for breakfast! Heading into work late, he dropped me off with Sundance. She and I went to see her folks and had a little lunch with her mom.

Graduation was long, but not at all boring. And though he’s not “really” my kid, I was filled with love and pride as Thing C crossed the stage in his green cap and gown.
The added surprise of seeing a girl who was absolute best friends with my own Thing 1 from the time they were four cross the stage brought me so much joy!

I woke Friday morning (Friday the 13th even…my favorite!!!) to the news that my darling friend and mentor’s beloved died the night before.
Yes, he had been ill. But after the news of “four to six months” his illness took his life in one short week.
I started my drive to Charleston at four o’clock Sunday morning and spent the next three days loving my friend through her initial grief. There was much wine and laughter and some sadness as we celebrated the life of this man we all loved.
She kept thanking me for being there. Truthfully, there was nowhere else I would have been. My place in the world in those days was with her. There was no question. I was where I belonged.

I was able to squeeze in time with my sister-in-law. (I got to keep her in the divorce, the love we share made us sisters in our own right, it just so happens she was the former husbands sister first.) Got to spend time with my nephew and niece. That little girl is a bundle of kookiness if I ever saw one! She so reminds me of Thing 2 when she was that age. All “chatty Cathy” and bouncy arms and legs, trying so hard to be grown and still so little. She’ll be ten next week. I can’t believe how quickly the time passed!

I came home in time to celebrate Thing G’s birthday on Wednesday. Celebrating sixteen is so different for boys than for girls. It isn’t quite as big of a deal. Thing 1 had a huge “Punked Out Wonderland” party for her “sweet sixteen”. Thing 2 and I spent the day at the spa…facials, manis and pedis and lunch. She didn’t want a big party. That’s her personality though…

Last night my Arizona friend and her two daughters arrived! So much Robynbird joy!! They’re here for the weekend and then just as they leave, her eldest son rolls into town. Getting to love two thirds of their family is nothing to sneeze at!
She and I will go to the ballet this evening while the girls go visit old friends.
The oldest sister, my Goddaughter, just woke up and now we’re going to have tea and visit before everyone else gets out of bed.

Yesterday afternoon, YBW and I were up the street at our neighbors for cocktails. I remarked that I felt like I hadn’t seen him in a month!
It feels like I got on a hamster wheel on my birthday and just yesterday finally got off. The last ten days were fast, furious, and chaotic, but filled with great big love.
It’s time for me to keep the love but say “Bye Felicia” to the chaos…I need the rest.

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

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

we cannot function from a place of fear

I have to admit I’m uncomfortable with what I’m seeing on social media after the events in Paris Friday night. I know that people honestly believe they’re being helpful and supportive, but I can’t see how painting over your facebook photo with the French flag makes a real difference. The desire to rally around the people of France is real and natural, but does it need a hashtag?
People lost their lives. Their families are grieving. A nation, the entire world grieves with them.
I absolutely want the ability to wrap my arms around all the people of the world to help them feel safe. I can’t do that.
Perhaps that’s what the flag overlay is about, feeling like you’re helping when you can’t actually help.
I suspect a percentage of those people have done it just because it’s in vogue. The French people can’t see their flag superimposed over all these photos. Only the friends and followers can see. This is why I question it.
It feels so politicized to me.
I see people talking about hanging a “closed” sign on the doors of the US. They want the people of Europe to do the same. Lock out anyone who might bring terror.
Are not the people fleeing their homes and country running from the threat of terror?

I sound like I’m judging. I’m not.
I’m uncomfortable because it almost feels more like an agenda than solidarité.

I have not changed my facebook profile photo and I won’t. I have not gotten on a soapbox. But that doesn’t mean I’m not frightened and horrified by what’s happening in the world. It doesn’t mean that I’m not supportive of the people of France, or the people of Lebanon. It doesn’t mean that I’m not supportive of the Kenyan students.
It means I don’t know how my support can and will manifest itself.
I choose not to speak about what I don’t know, what I struggle to understand.

I don’t understand this desire to kill innocent people to create chaos and fear. How does belief in God warrant that kind of action? What kind of God wants that?

I am blessed to know that the people I love are safe. My heart aches for those who cannot say the same.
I’m staying quiet because I don’t understand.
My quiet does not reflect my lack of concern, love, or desire for peace.
I send love and light into the world trusting that it will grow.
I don’t need a flag for that.

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

standing at the crossroads

I’m conflicted about how to move forward with this Thing 2 situation. YBW and I have been talking and we’ve come up with two scenarios. The first is we can make her come back here, force the legality of the custody agreement that says she lives here full time. The second is we tell her to come get her belongings.
I’m getting feedback from people who love me who are just trying to be supportive. These are some of the points of view I’m receiving:
“If it were me and this was (child’s name) I would hold her accountable for the decision she made.”
“I quite quickly come to the point that she is the child and you are the adult. Make her do what you and (her father) agreed to.”

Interestingly enough, I agree with these points of view. I believe she should be held accountable. It’s the actuality of executing them where I get lost. I can easily force her to be here, but I she is the variable. Or rather how she chooses to behave is the variable. I have no idea what she will be like upon a forced return. Will she make everyone’s life miserable? Will she choose to take out her dissatisfaction on the people who live in this house?
See, if she makes me miserable, I can handle that. If she makes the boys miserable it’s something completely different.

If we just have her come get her things, she goes back to the stagnant life she left. The life that made her feel she lost a year. The life in which everyone around her, her beloved friends, are moving forward and she is standing still. The fact that she’s gotten her GED only means she’s no longer truant. Her friends are in school all day, she’ll be at home waiting. This is exactly the same situation she lived the last year. How long before she’s back against the wall, desperate and miserable and in need of change?

I can’t answer any of these questions. I still don’t even know how to feel about the situation.
I am, however, in a place where I no longer have the desire to worry neither do I have a willingness to “fix” the situation for her.
I’m certainly all about “the principle” which means holding her accountable for her decision to make a home and life here.
But I’m unwilling to squander any more energy or tears for someone who isn’t ready to look or move forward.

Being a teenager is hard. There is no denying that. I was a teenager…actually I was a teenager who was moved against her will during her high school life. It was hard, my God was it hard. I was sad and angry but I persevered, I got to start again. I have realized it may have actually been what was best for me. So I think Thing 2 should find her gumption. She should rediscover her survival instinct, the one that saved her life twice before she was two months old. She should straighten her spine and march headlong into her fear.
She didn’t really try.

I was finally able to talk to my friends and mentor, she liked what I said about respect, that Thing 2 asked to be respected, but was not respectful. She told me the angst was all in the wrong place. That it needed to be placed on Thing 2 where it belonged. She should be sitting with it. Whether it changed her point of view or not…well it didn’t really matter. She asked if I told Thing 2 I thought she was a coward and a quitter. I don’t think I did.

I called to talk with Thing 2 yesterday, she was “busy” could she please call me back later? Has she? No. I will call her again today. I will say what I have to say about respect, I will tell her I think she’s a coward and a quitter. I will wish her well in her endeavors. With a heavy heart.
My heart is heavy because she’s cutting herself off at the knees. She’s pushing opportunity away with both hands.
My heart is heavy because she betrayed YBW, who has been kind to her from the moment she showed up.
My heart is heavy not because she hurt me, but because she hurts people I love, most specifically herself. I can’t protect her from herself.

I’m still standing at the crossroads. Arguing each side against the other and still not sure which way to turn. But I’m going to start moving one way or another, simply to be rid of the angst. Without a doubt it is in the wrong place. It’s not mine to carry. So I’ll drop it at the crossroads and walk away slowly.
Wish me Godspeed.

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

I’m going to need for you to get it together!

The month of May was absolute crap. My favorite of all the months…my birthday birthday month…absolute crap. Not that I want a “do-over” or anything…more along the lines of telling May 2014 to F.R.O.

That said, there was a good part of May…Things 1 and 2 were with me at the same time for the first time in well over a year. I was so glad to have them with me. Thing 2 for such a long time and Thing 1 when we needed to be with the other most.

Now my two Things have gone on…Thing 1 back on the road with N a week ago Wednesday. Thing 2 left on Friday home to her dad’s to celebrate all the summer birthdays of her friends.
Thing C and Thing G left Friday for their week at home with mom and it’s just YBW and me.

Know what we did?
No! Naughties!

We slept. We slept a LOT! I knew how exhausted I was, but the amount of time I spent sleeping this weekend really put it into perspective.

I could not have survived the last month without the love and support of my family and friends, especially Sundance and YBW.
Sundance supplied the xanax and sass I desperately needed. My love for her knows no bounds and my life would be less if she were not a part of it.
I think YBW was just as exhausted as I was, but never wavered, he was so strong for me. Bless him, that precious man I love.

It’s June now. Time to get it together. I’m chock full of things to accomplish this month, for “the estate”, for my classroom school, for my own school, for my family, and for me.
I am filled with willingness…desire, not so much. But I learned a long time ago, “feelings follow actions” so I’m going to act as though I’m getting it together and soon after I’ll feel like I actually am.
As I say to my little students, “I’m going to need for you to get it together.”
Getting it together is going to feel good.

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

saying goodbye

I survived the twenty two days between the death of my dad and his memorial service.
I celebrated YBW’s birthday two days after he died, the arrival of Thing 2 on Mother’s Day, my own birthday the following day, Thing G’s confirmation the end of the same week, his birthday the very next day, the arrival of my estranged brother from the west coast, the arrival of Thing 1 and her fiancé two days later, and finally the memorial service yesterday.

Sundance says I’m a big brave girl and need new shoes…I got new shoes for the service, but I don’t think that’s what she had in mind…shoe shopping is on the agenda.

Yesterday was a very difficult day and the love I received truly held me up when I needed it most. Friends and family who came to grieve the absence of my dad from their lives were there because of the love they had for him. Friends and family came to support me in my grief because they love me. Family I have because of YBW, his brother, sister-in-law, and nephew, who are mine now too, Things C and G’s mom and her husband, they all came because we are family now. Out of the corner of my eye I saw one of my dearest friends from my ‘old’ preschool teaching days sneak into the back of the church, she came because she loves me…that’s the moment my tears began to flow.

The service was actually quite lovely, when I spoke of my dad, there was laughter and tears and love in that room. I hope I made him proud.
The pastor mentioned Daddie told him he was going to be disco dancing up the aisle after his hip healed…that will never happen, but I feel sure he’s dancing his ass off wherever he is.

I am exhausted but peaceful.
I am lifted up by love.
I am glad it’s over.

5.24.14

Categories: death, loss, love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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