Category Archives: relationships

Letting Go of Old Resentments in Favor of Love:

God, it’s been so long since I have sat here and tried to write anything, that I almost don’t know where to start. I got stuck on the “Title” space for such a long time that I decided to just write first, and see if something came to me. In case you are curious, I will tell you that over the past two months, while I haven’t been writing, I have been doing a lot of work on myself. Trust me, there was plenty of stuff to work on, and plenty left to do…I’m not one to just leave myself be. Oh, if only I could. But that will never be me. Anyway, I thought about writing a lot, but I just didn’t have anything I wanted to say, here…then, the past few days, the urge started coming over me again. If you write, you know what I mean- little ideas start tickling the back of your mind. Nothing too pressing. Then, this morning came, and I knew it was time.

resentment

This morning, a friend of mine lost her father. He was in hospice, and so it wasn’t unexpected, but…she fell asleep beside him, holding his hand, and when she woke up, he was gone. She is devastated. Last week, a friend that I work with lost her mother. Like my other friend, she was there with her, right to the very end. We talked for a long time about it, and I told her that when I found out her mom had passed, I tried to imagine what it would be like to wake up in a world where my mother no longer resided- I really did this, at home, alone, trying to put myself in my friends place. Because, you know, I have never done that. No matter what kind of relationship I have with my mom- and it goes through phases- I have always had the assurance that she was there. I have taken that for granted every single day of my entire life. Imagine what it would feel like for that not to be true. Of course, if you have already lost one, or both, of your parents, you already know…but for the rest of us, it bears thinking about.

Now, think for a second about the resentments, big or small, that you carry around. Are they worth the price they will cost you if they are holding you back from fully loving someone that gave you life? This is a question I asked myself, and it may be worth asking yourself, as well. I am not saying that just because someone is your parent, anything they have done should be forgiven- I know there are horror stories of abandonment and abuse, and I am not talking about that. I am talking about things…well, I guess I am talking about the things that I have carried around, that hold ME back. I suppose what I am saying is that I have chosen not to love as fully as I could, maybe not consciously, because of my own resentments…things that belong in the past, to people who don’t really even exist anymore.

We grow up- children are not the only ones who grow up, who change. I certainly have, and I know my parents have, too. I want to love them with my WHOLE heart, and that is what I hope to do. Because they are still here, and I am a lucky daughter, indeed. I look at how strained my relationship is with my mom and dad at certain times (whether they know it or not) and I hope more than anything that my kids don’t ever have that kind of resentment or any of those kinds of feelings about me. But, boy, I have sure given them plenty of good material to use.

Here’s the thing- my parents are human beings, and human beings mess up. I know they had the best of intentions, like every one of us do, and they did stuff they regret anyway. I know this to be true, not just because I lived through it but because they’ve told me. With their own mouths, they have said to me:  “I wish I would have done things differently”. My mom has beat herself up for years over things she cannot change, decisions she made, that, at the time were the VERY BEST she could make from the options she had. And you know what? We are okay, anyway. My brother and I love her, we go to her with all of our stuff…but in my heart, I know I have held myself back. She can’t go back in time and change anything, anymore than I can go back and give my daughter a happy childhood with a mother who was not on drugs, not abrasive and full of rage. I can never, ever do that. But I hope she forgives me. I need forgiveness, too.

Today, I am letting go of that shit- those old resentments I have carried for far too long. I am going to love my parents fully, both of them, because they deserve it. They have loved and forgiven me for a lot of stuff- it’s time, for all of our sakes, that I leave the past in the past. I am so glad my mom and dad are still here, that I can pick up the phone and call them just to say “I love you.” And maybe this blog didn’t make a lot of sense to you, but my heart sure needed to puzzle this out. Thanks for reading- hope to see you again here, soon.

 

 

Chasing Waterfalls

waterfalls

 

My Beautiful Daughter-

Ever since we talked, yesterday, I have been walking around with this terrible ache in my heart. When you told me, weeks ago, that you were planning on moving hundreds of miles away from me…well, honestly? I dismissed it as a flighty, temporary, whim of yours. I didn’t worry, because I didn’t think it was real. But yesterday, when you told me it was happening, that you were leaving in a month, it really started to sink in.

I’m sorry if I seemed angry. I know I pointed out all the reasons it was a terrible idea, when all you wanted was my blessing. My support. I guess the truth is, I was never really angry…the truth is, I am sad. You are so much more than just my kid. You are also one of my favorite people on the planet, and, besides your sister, the only family I have here. The truth is, I will just miss you terribly.

That isn’t all of it, though. The bigger truth here is that it is selfish of me to withhold encouragement, to squelch your excitement, when you are doing exactly what a girl your age should do, in my opinion. You are spreading your wings, finally, being the brave girl I have always known you to be. I am so proud of you for that.

Here’s another thing- you don’t need my approval. You are an adult now, and you are free to do whatever it is that you want to do. I might not always like it, but I will always, always, always love you. So don’t worry about how I feel about things. Just know that I will come around, if I can, and even if I don’t, I am still your mom. I will love you fiercely.

I’m sorry for telling you that you were making a huge mistake. The fact of the matter is, I have no idea if that is true or not. That was just my own fear talking, and I hope you never avoid doing what you love out of fear. That is no way to live. You know what? A huge part of what makes life great is taking risks (you know, reasonable risks) (Okay, that was just scared mom again) and seeing what happens. Making mistakes is also a big part of living a wonderful life…it means you are trying things. I don’t want you to live a boring little cookie cutter life. I want you to do exactly what you are doing. I really do.

I was listening to the old TLC song “Don’t go Chasing Watefalls” on my way home this morning, and I realized something. I DO want you to chase waterfalls. You absolutely should NOT stick to the rivers and lakes you are used to. What fun would that be? Just, you know, wear good shoes, and maybe a life vest. That’s all I’m asking. See the world. Have fun. Dream big. LIVE big. You deserve the big WOW that life can be.

The most important thing of all for you to know is this: No matter what happens, I am here. And I love you. And you can always, always, always come home. That offer will never expire.  I will always pick up the phone when you call. I will be here when you need me. I will leave the light on for you.So go out into the world and do great things. I will be here, cheering you on.

Love, Mom

The Tangled Web We Weave…is Actually Pretty Rad.

tradition

So, the other day, I went on my first date in…I don’t know, like, forever. It was super casual, an afternoon, after the workday but before I pick up the kids kind of date. We took a walk together, got some ice cream, walked back, chatted. Oh yeah, and I met his ex-wife and all three of his kids. Yeah, that happened. It could have been awkward- I’m not going to lie, there was an element of awkwardness pervading the scene. Here we are, innocently chatting in line for ice cream, and first one, then two, then three of his kids barrel into him, followed by, in a much less (thankfully) exuberant manner, his wife. I mean, ex-wife. Thankfully. Anyway, as usual, my desire to end awkwardness at all costs won out, and I found myself chatting with his ex about places my older daughter could start modeling locally, and I was showing her pictures, and we were the next best thing to chummy by the end of it all. Okay, maybe not that, but it wasn’t awful, and it could have been. It’s not the best situation for starters, but we did great with it.

Then, last night, I went out for appetizers and drinks (my drinks were Shirley Temples, of course) with my sisters…except, they aren’t REALLY my sisters. They technically belong to my ex, many times removed, also referred to as my daughters father, or “baby daddy” number one. Yeah, they are the siblings of my first offspring’s spermatozoa contributor, and I just sort of barged in and snapped them up. He has seven brothers and sisters, and I couldn’t decide, so I hogged them all. I love these people as much as I love my own people, and there is no distinguishing that love from the love for my “own” family. We have so many memories, and so much history, I feel confident in claiming them as family.

I would like to think that this phenomena I am experiencing in my life is a wonderful side effect of the breakdown of the traditional family unit. Perhaps it took a while, I don’t know. I don’t see the same things playing out in the lives of my mom (who is not friendly with her husbands ex-wife, to say the least), who modeled her life very much after the traditional family that she had with her folks- I’m not saying it worked out very well, I’m saying that is what she was going for. However, I do see it playing out in a myriad of ways in the lives of those around me. The ability to let go of the ideals we may have concerning what makes family family, and choose to love one another, and accept one another, instead. I cannot see the down side of this. I don’t know where I would be without my stolen brothers and sisters, and I don’t even like to think about it.

Last night, at dinner, I listened to one of the girls talk about how she went bra shopping with the current girlfriend of her daughter’s father. “I just love her!” she said. How can this be bad for anyone? The other day, my daughter and I were talking about a man we know who is raising his girlfriend’s son as his own, which isn’t all that unusual, except that he was the product of what you might call…a pause in their relationship. Yeah. Say what you want about it, I think that is the most noble and loving act I have ever seen. How awesome that he could swallow his pride completely and raise this boy with all of his heart! That, to me, is what love is all about.

A couple of days ago, I had this bright idea to set my brother up with this girl I adore- she is smart and artistic, one of those bubbly people that you enjoy encountering. No big deal, except that she is also the girl that my ex had an affair with years ago. Oddly enough, we have this bond now, forged through confession and pain, and finding out that, whatever else may be wrong with that dude, he has EXCELLENT taste in women. It didn’t happen overnight, that is for sure…but here I sit, trying to finagle her a place in my family. Hahaha!

I am not saying that everything about having a traditional, well functioning family is bad- far from it! If you can achieve that, Jesus, good for you! I know how hard it is. What I am saying is, if things have to be the way they are, what a wonderful discovery we have made around that fact- that the truth is, love is more prevalent than ever, even in these fractured and confused roles we play. That we are not bound by some imaginary sense of honor, or by pride, to disdain those that we may very well come to love. And that family is, really, more than blood. They are the people that you choose along the way, or that choose you, and how you nurture one another. I don’t see anything wrong with that at all.

Have a lovely Sunday. 🙂

Dear Daughters:

two daughters

Hi! It’s me, your mom- you know, the weird lady who lives down the hall, who yells a lot (so that you can hear me, because apparently, our “inside voices” don’t work around here).  Anyway, I figured I would write to you this morning, since you girls are the center of my universe, basically blocking out everything else, and I have no other material. Not that I am complaining. I feel pretty lucky, I happen to have created not one, but TWO, offspring that I actually like.

I mean, yes, you have your less awesome moments. Like Camryn, when you want me to pretend to be a vampire or some other scary, imaginary creature, and I do, and then you get too scared, and punch me in the mouth with your tiny little fist. It’s hard to believe how much your bony little knuckles can smart, but you always seem to catch me in the exact wrong spot. I know you feel bad about it, and I am likewise ashamed of my (clearly too) believable portrayal of a blood sucking demon of the night. I don’t think I want to play that game anymore. And Aisley, thanks to our much lengthier history, I have a wide assortment of complaints I could lodge against you, anything from vomiting in my shoes, to taking my thong underwear to school for show and tell, all the way up to sneaking boys in the house (which I actually found more amusing than anything, because any guy who still likes you after being covered in your dirty laundry deserves whatever he gets). Despite all of that, however, you are both my favorite people in the whole entire world.

There is probably something wrong with me. But, I am not alone. Most moms feel pretty much the way that I do, just loving the shit out of our disgusting, embarrassing children- lucky for you. I am sure it is just some built in safety feature that keeps us from eating our young, or leaving them out on the side of the road when they become too screamy. Nope, most moms still don’t do that, even now, in these crazy times. Not that it doesn’t cross our minds occasionally. There was actually a full year, Aisley, when you were about thirteen or fourteen, when my dearest fantasy was to…well, it wasn’t kind, lets just say that. But in my defense, you were barely a human being at that age. I think it speaks volumes of both of us that no one was jailed. For long.

I can assure you, before you were born, I had never been peed on. Not even for fun. I had never been vomited on, at least not by the same person more than once, ever. I had certainly never been able to continue to tolerate anyone who wet MY bed on a regular basis. I am pretty sure that before you guys came along, no one had ever used me as a Kleenex, although that is one of those things you can never be totally sure of. I had never been expected to comfort and soothe someone who obviously hated me, I had never had so many doors slammed on me, so much change stolen from me, and so much of my stuff haphazardly destroyed. Before you were born, my main job was keeping myself alive, and I was not very good at it- mediocre, at best. After you were born, I was suddenly promoted to keeping alive small humans who couldn’t even hold their own heads up. Do you know how fucking terrifying this is? You both had mushy spots on your HEADS where the effing SKULL hadn’t finished growing. I just wanted to point that out, for the next time (or in Camryn’s case, the first time) you want to tell me what a terrible mother I have been. I managed to not let your giant heads snap off at the neck, and I kept things out of your soft spot. Cut me some slack.

In spite of all of that, I find that I can still look at both of you, at times, and feel the kind of love I have never felt for anyone else. The kind you read about in overly dramatic romance novels, only without the creepy parts. You both make me weak and stupid with love, like, my heart pounds and I get all choked up, and ALL of that. It’s embarrassing. But you are both SO lovely, and so funny, and so full of life and outrageous personality. In a MILLION years, if I had been able to hand pick every single aspect of you, to make a perfect child for me…I never, ever could have gotten it right. No one could ever be better, more perfect, in my eyes, than you are. You beautiful girls make me laugh every single day. I keep going because of you. I try harder because of you. I may not always get it right, but please believe, I never, ever stop thinking about you. And I love you both more than I could ever have imagined loving anyone, and that will never, ever change.

I just wanted to let you know.

Love,

Your mom ( the crazy lady down the hall)

The Family Dinner

family

Last weekend, I made dinner for my “little” family, (Vegetable Lasagna, in case you were curious, and YUM) which consists of my 17 year old daughter, Aisley (which we pronounce i-lee, because I wasn’t hip to Gaelic pronunciation way back when she was born, though we found out later that it is supposed to be pronounced Ashley- but at a certain point, it just isn’t realistic to change the spelling and/or pronunciation of a person’s name), my 3 year old daughter, Camryn (because it looks more feminine, that’s why) and basically, Dylan, who is Aisley’s boyfriend, but you rarely see one without the other. Thankfully, I like him, or this could potentially be a nightmare.

It was wonderful. While we ate, I thought about how nice it would be if there were people there (besides Dylan) that I didn’t actually give birth to, people that were, you know, around my age. Or at least were required to love me due to our long, complicated histories…you know- FAMILY. The main problem with this idea is that I don’t have any actual family here anymore, if you go strictly by the “Sharing DNA” rule. Thankfully, I do not subscribe to all that hooey, and have a vast number of slightly younger people to whom I have insinuated myself into their family via breeding. I know this sounds weird, but it’s basically the truth- I never married Aisley’s dad (My spell checker keeps telling me I have spelled my daughters name incorrectly, and last time I almost believed it. Damn it.), but I did marry (in my heart) his gigantic gaggle of brothers and sisters. I lived with them when I was pregnant with Aisley, and at that time, there were still six of them at home, not including the two parents. Yes, SIX. At HOME. There were actually two more that were old enough to leave, one of them being Aisley’s dad, the other being the aforementioned Andrea, with whom I am privately very competitive with.

In that crazy house lived Matthew, Meghan, Amanda, Hannah, Noah, and Zane. Their parents, who I grew to love like my own folks, were Jim and Valerie. I had spent the bulk of my growing up years in a tiny and tense family consisting of my mom, me, her insane ex husband, and my little brother. Then, when they split up, my brother was only three, and he lived with with his dad part time. Eventually, and much to my mother’s horror, he went to live with his dad full time, leaving just her and I. Of course, by the time I was 15, I was rarely home- and by rarely home, I mean, I would run away for weeks at a time, being as how I was the WORST teenager in the history of the world. Sorry mom. My point is, by the time the Davis family got me, I was totally unused to things like: Noise, chaos, yelling, massive food shortage’s, group sleeping arrangements, and families that throw up a lot. I also came to them fully able to go to the store on my own, and left there with a compulsive need to take someone with me everywhere I went. But they welcomed me into their family with open arms, and very few questions, and I was 21, scared to death, very pregnant, and alone. They were exactly what I so desperately needed. They accepted me as I was, they made me feel safe, and they came to love me. That’s not the kind of thing you just forget.

So, when I moved in, Matthew, the oldest, was a junior…maybe a sophomore in high school. Meghan was in middle school, and the rest were in elementary school, still. Zane, the baby, was only six. He towers over ALL of us now, but he is only a few years older than my oldest daughter ( how weird is that?). My point with all of this is- if that is not family, I guess I don’t know what is. These are the people who have shared years and years of my life. I have watched them grow up.

So, I invited all of them to come have dinner at my house last night. I was feeling isolated, lately, and I wanted that family connection. I posed the idea to them in our secret Facebook group, and everyone (well, lots of them) said yes. So, I went and bought a deep fryer and decided on fish tacos, and…Well. In my head, it looked slightly different. In my head, I warmly invite them into my spotless home, where dinner is totally prepped, and the taco garnishes are displayed artfully in bowls on the table, near the freshly cut flowers.

What actually happened, though, is that, for some reason (see yesterdays blog to help clear this up) I totally procrastinated until like one in the afternoon, which was four hours before dinner was set to start. I wanted to get started, I really did- mentally. Physically, I just wanted to watch TV. I think I need to get rid of my cable. But anyway, at one, I started cleaning my house in earnest, not realizing until then just exactly how filthy it really was. I managed to finish it with an hour to spare, which I spent frantically chopping up cabbage that no one really gives a shit about putting on their fish tacos anyway. Live and learn.

By the time Terry and Meghan got here, I was pretty much done. Except for the part where the fryer was still in the box. And I didn’t know how to use it. And I forgot to put on make up or comb my hair, and my clothes were covered in batter, sweat, and bits of cabbage. So Terry fried the fish for me, and I heated up tortillas old school (on the open flame of my gas stove), and pretty soon, my house was filled with Matt and Jenny, Kiera and Taj (their beautiful kids), with Meghan and Terry, and their lamp-eyed, gorgeous baby, Maverick, and then Noah came with his beautiful wife Ali (and I am not just saying that because she brought a huge platter of homemade peanut butter chocolate cookies and then LEFT THEM HERE, either.) And it was loud, and the kids were watching Frozen, and Taj, who is six, pretty much wanted to be anywhere else, but he was a good sport about it, and everyone laughed and told stories…and it was GOOD.

It was so good. And I am so grateful to be lucky enough to be part of it, to be part of their lives. I have watched them grow up, and they have loved me in spite of all of my shortcomings, and my feeble little human problems. Yep. If that is not family, I guess I don’t know what is. I LOVE you guys.

Fallout

Fallout: 2. A secondary and often lingering effect, result, or set of consequences.

THE-PAST (1)

 

I have been dealing, lately, with the next wave of fallout from my choice to end my relationship. It’s weird, because it’s been nearly a year now, and I often think that if I am not totally over it, I am pretty close. Then, something will happen- a song will come on the radio, my daughter will ask me an innocent question, and a wave of grief so startling will roll over me that it is nearly panic. It leaves me questioning my entire set of choices between now and then…which is, of course, ridiculous. Anyone with eyes can see I have been a million times happier since I finally put an end to all of the chaos and fighting, the drugs and the lies, the anger and upheaval.

I am proud of myself for trying so hard, out of real love, to make something difficult work. Sometimes I beat myself up for pouring so much into something that could never have worked, but I didn’t believe that while it was happening, and the truth is, I had to know that I did everything within my power before I walked away. I think before he and I were together, I really believed that if two people loved each other, that was all that really needed to be true for a relationship to work out. I had to learn that there is so much more to it than that- for two people to be happy and healthy together, they first need to be happy and healthy as individuals, and then they are charged with the very difficult task of somehow managing to maintain that, while figuring out how to build a life together. You can love the shit out of each other, and if one or both of you is a mess, or wanting a different version of the same thing, or can’t see eye to eye in certain critical ways, it just won’t work.

I am even more proud of myself for finally finding the strength to get out. It was one of the hardest things I ever did in my life, much harder than the familiar misery of staying together. I was used to hating who I was when I was with him. I was used to being angry, insecure, mean, erratic, volatile, and sad. But it was killing me. I don’t think that when he moved out the last time I really thought it would stick- how many times had we been down that road? But I kept holding out another day, then another and another, until finally I even started believing myself when I would say ” We are never getting back together.” (Credit: Taylor Swift, LOL)

I would not have it any other way, now. As I said in the beginning- I am so much happier now. I could not undo what has been done if I wanted to, anyway. What we were, for better or worse, is over. We couldn’t go back if we wanted to.

But Autumn is upon us- my first one alone in over seven years. I don’t know about you, but Autumn is the season for families, in my mind. Spring and Summer are fantastic times to be single, but the minute Autumn rolls around, I start looking around for my security blanket. In this case, I guess mine is a two hundred pound man. Who knew?

I woke up two days ago, thinking…maybe I am ready to start dating again. Maybe it is time. That night, I was at a meeting, watching the fire crackle in the hearth, and the candles flicker on the mantle, and I thought how nice it would be to go home and crawl in bed with someone…but not really someone. Him.  Yesterday, I was out with our daughter, and I picked up some food and headed to the beach. I pulled into the parking lot just as a song came on that reminded me of him, and some horrible times he put me through. I realized that the beach we were at just then was where he had been working a construction job when we first started dating, and I would bring him lunch, we would sit on the beach and flirt with each other.

We had no idea, then, that seven years down the road we would be this- more broken than we started out. A child between us that we both loved desperately. A mountain of bad choices  and broken promises trailing behind us. A bad taste in our mouths over each other, and two broken hearts. I sat in my car and cried facing forward so my daughter didn’t see me. And I realized that I wasn’t really ready to date, not yet. I am still in mourning for what I gave up, as hard as it was, and as sad as it was, it was still very significant to me, and it was a loss I felt, and still feel deeply.

I certainly will not go back. But I will honor my grief and myself until I am ready to move on.

The Start of Something Beautiful

peacekey

 

The week before last, I quietly celebrated five months clean. This isn’t one of the milestones celebrated in 12 step groups, or anything I necessarily was even that excited about- although, hopefully, it IS my last time celebrating this particular anniversary…But I am watching the time tick by, and I am feeling the changes here on a very deep level.
This is not like any other time for me, so far. The very landscape of my life is changing, and for once, it is me at the helm, directing this change, not just things that are happening to me. I am working hard to become something more, and someone different, than I have been.
This has been a very introspective time for me, as well. I have not been writing for my blog at all, or anything else much, either. I have not been doing a lot of social networking, or networking of any type at all. My phone has been relatively silent. My pace has slowed down. The initial need to go out and grab life by the elbow- to DO everything, to be a whirlwind…I suppose I satisfied that need, for now. I am relishing this quieter pace, and it goes hand in hand with the work I am doing on me.
I have stopped yelling as much, and started listening more. I have learned to see the signs that I am growing impatient, and then what to do to calm myself. The world, and most importantly, the people (and animals) in my home and directly involved in my life have responded to this like I can’t believe. I am so much better at being present for my kids, listening when they speak, and participating fully in my interactions with them. An unexpected side effect of this is that I am learning how to play with my little one again when and how SHE wants to- not just on my crazy, inappropriate (usually) whim.
There is a domino effect going on here- I made the initial decision to get clean, but what I was really saying to the Universe was “I am ready to be better”, and when I continued to stick to my guns, that was my commitment to myself. Since that day, things continue to improve, although there are days where I feel like my footing is not as firm, days when I am still afraid. For the most part though, it gets better and better.
I am getting rid of the clutter around me and the clutter within me. I am getting rid of the excess. There are less things I feel I need to give my time to, and I am concentrating on the things I value most- my home, my kids, myself. I pay attention to the way things make me feel, and I let that be the deciding factor in how much time I am willing to invest in it. If it makes me feel pinched, stressed, obsessive, weird or ashamed- it gets taken off the list. If it makes me feel accomplished, proud, happy, peaceful, calm or content- it goes to the top of the list. Of course, there are always going to be things I HAVE to do that might not feel good, but I am just doing them and leaving them alone, not wasting a bunch of time worrying about it.
I am meditating every day. I am praying every day, more than once. I am not even considering being in a romantic relationship that even approaches seriousness right now- I can’t imagine complicating my life that way at this time, and feel it would be a terrible disservice to me, and to anyone I was with. I want to be with my kids, I want to go to meetings, I want to do step work, I want to enjoy what I have right now.
What I have right now is peace, quiet, calm. I feel like this is the beginning of the whole rest of my life, a life that will be something far greater than I expected, and far different. I’m sorry if I am not describing it very well- I think I haven’t yet learned the language of this experience. It feels like the start of something beautiful.

Bad Dreams

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Occasionally, over the past few months, and every night, for the past few nights, I have been having terrible dreams. They are all slightly different versions of the same dream, actually…if you are a mother, I would be willing to bet you have had them yourself. In this dream, my youngest daughter has gone missing. She is gone without a trace. I am searching for her frantically, and no one seems to be nearly as concerned as they should be. I find myself unable to trust anyone because no one has any idea what has happened to her, so it could be anyone. Not last night, but the night before, the last part of the dream consisted of me sitting in a car with her father. I looked at him, in so much emotional pain that I could barely remain in my skin, and I asked him “do you think she is still alive?”. I woke up before he could answer me.

The weird thing about this dream is that, usually, we find her again. It is always three days that she is missing, and when she shows up, she can’t tell us anything about where she has been or who she has been with. Last night, when I tried to question her about who had taken her, she just fell apart crying, and I couldn’t bring myself to ask anything more. Also odd is that, despite my relief at having her back, those three days that I lose are maddening for me. I cannot bear not knowing what happened to my child. The dreams are very disturbing and awful. I have no idea why I am having them, or what I can do.

Camryn is a whirlwind of a child. She has more energy coursing through her than three average three year olds put together. Spending long periods of time with her can be…challenging, to say the least. She is never quiet. She is never still. She is ALWAYS getting into things she shouldn’t be,  “experimenting” with my favorite earrings, pouring milk in her kaleidoscope, decorating my books with her drawings. When I scold her, she asks me “Do you still love me, mommy?” and I tell her that there is NOTHING she could do that would ever make me stop loving her. There is nothing.

Her mind is as busy as her body. She has hundreds of questions, every hour of every day, ranging from “Do rhino’s get lonely?”  to “why do people speak Spanish?” to “Why does that lady have a little girl, too?”. I don’t always have answers for her. But sometimes, I don’t WANT to answer her. To be honest with you, sometimes, I just want her to stop bugging me. I have a lot going on in my head, too, and it’s hard when you can’t sort anything out because your kid NEVER STOPS TALKING. EVER.

I am impatient. I am snippy and short and sometimes meaner than I ought to be, especially when I have too much to deal with at once, or I have been too long between stretches of quiet. I forget to play, sometimes, and I definitely forget that, when it comes down to it, I am dealing with a beautiful, perfect, happy, wonder of a child. A child who says “This water feels WONDERFUL.” When she is in the bath, and asks me “Wanna snugga bugga?” (cuddle) when she crawls in bed with me. The same kid who painted all my spare change with nail polish is also the kid who won’t let me say a harsh word against her sister, thinks her dad and I are “so beautiful” and asks for a hug when she gets in trouble. 

Maybe these dreams are supposed to remind me to be infinitely grateful for my perfect, healthy, gorgeous children. Because I tell you what- when I wake up, night after night having these dreams, the first thing I do is reach for that little girl. I hug her and kiss her little arms, and I am still terrified, but I am so relieved. And every day, I try to remember to be better. I don’t always succeed, that’s for sure. But I do try. Today I am going to try even harder. Because I love that girl. Both of my girls. And also, I need to get some damn sleep.

The Dreaded “Good Morning” Text

 

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I would like to dedicate this post to my good friend from High School, who first brought this to my attention…you know who you are.

I have been single for a few months now, having just recently stopped licking the wounds from a very long, very turbulent, very damaging relationship- as many of you already know. Very early into my “singledom”, I was so terrified of backsliding (as I have countless times in the past) and running back to my ex, I decided it would be a good idea if I went out with someone new. You know, sort of as an insurance policy of sorts…yes, I see now that this is a bad idea on MANY levels. I have come to understand that I am in NO WAY ready to navigate the treacherous waters of dating, nor do I even want to. But for a minute there, I thought it was a good idea.

I had chatted with this dude on Facebook for quite some time before the actual, final demise of my relationship- going way back into December, I think. My ex and I were very off and on then, and I kept making tentative future plans to meet this guy for coffee, which kept never happening. As is often the case with Facebook, this guy knew a lot of people I knew, so I thought maybe I knew him, too, but even if I didn’t, he was clearly not an ax-murderer, right? RIGHT? Well, probably not, anyway. So, in March, when he asked me to have coffee with him again, I thought, why not?

Here’s the deal…it may have gone fine, if it weren’t for his total over zealousness. The minute I said yes, the barrage of Facebook messages and phone texts ratcheted up to intolerable levels. I got useless, boring conversations that distracted me from whatever I was doing. I got countless, irritating, winking emoticons. I got daily doses of the the dreaded “good morning” texts.

What is the problem?! You may be wondering. Clearly, this dude was interested in you, he just wanted to let you know. Isn’t that what girls want? Sigh…well, yes. And No. See, had we already met for coffee, and found that, indeed, there was a spark there, and we both felt it, those things may very well have been welcome.  But this guy didn’t even know me. At all. And something about those leering, winky emoticons made my skin crawl. I found a suggestiveness in those innocent yellow faced orbs that I never noticed before- I mean, what the hell was he getting at, anyway? Why all the winking?

Then came the morning, six thirty, tops, when I heard my phone buzz across the room, and noticed that my entire body tensed. “Gee, wonder who that could be?” I asked myself sarcastically. I grabbed my phone, and sure enough…”Good morning! wink, wink”. FUCK. I sent him a message back describing that I was in no way ready for any of this, that quite frankly, I was a little put off by all the attention, and I just didn’t know if meeting was a good idea. On the following Monday, he asked again, and I said NO. I told him “I am sure you are a really nice guy, but you seem to have a lot on your plate (he is going through a pretty nasty divorce, which he told me ALL about during our one phone conversation), and I am really not interested in complicating my life. I promised myself a long time ago that I would honor my instincts, and I am getting a big old NO in this case. I’m sorry.”

He said “I thought we could meet as friends and see where it goes.”

I said “I think I am being pretty clear that it can’t go ANYWHERE because I am not interested.”

He said “Okay. I’ll call you”

Sigh. Well, I don’t know if he’s called me or not, because the texts kept coming, so I just blocked him. Then I got rid of him on Facebook. Now, I keep getting hang-ups from a “no caller id” number. LOOKS LIKE I MADE THE RIGHT DECISION.

The moral here? Boys, dating a grown woman on the fast track to forty, especially one with kids, is not like dating a childless woman or a woman in her twenties or early thirties, even. We are infinitely more careful. We have usually learned hard lessons in love. To say we are cautious is optimistic of you- I’m more skittish than a mouse in a box with a boa constrictor. Of course, I am not dating, after all. But when I am…please don’t send me the dreaded “good morning” text. Not until you are pretty sure I am into you. 

Thanks.

And for my nominee for the Liebster award today, I have Three Months to Forty, a blog I just discovered about dating…at my age.

Vigil

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I am one of those people who is extremely uncomfortable when flying. There is something about being strapped into an extremely heavy object, in a relatively small space, thousands of feet above the planet where I belong, with NOTHING HOLDING ME UP. Something alarming. Thinking about this while in flight has resulted in some barely contained hysteria (not to mention several passengers around me drinking what seemed like an awful lot of wine), as I try to figure out how the mechanics of flight and the law of gravity could possibly come together peacefully! Luckily, I found a way to deal with it. By sheer force of my will alone, I have carried commercial flights half way across the United States. It is an awful lot of work, and I felt like I needed a serious massage by the time we touched down (Ah, sweet, sweet ground), AND, the armrests of my seat will forever bear the half moon scars of my finger nails…but I was able to pull it off.

I have employed this same fierce concentration while watching Ice skating in the winter olympics, but with much less success, and at traffic lights with hardly any success at all. And now, I have used it on my toddler. Not to break her will with my own, as you might assume. No, I don’t subscribe to that method of parenting (most of the time). This was far more serious…I stayed up the entire night listening to her breathe, cringing as she coughed and tried to clear her throat, using my amazing powers to keep her safe and alive, at least until morning.

I think I have had it with this illness. It was bad enough when I had it a few weeks ago, but it is far worse to watch your normally chipper, cheerful, happy, robust little girl reduced to a limp, hoarse, snorffling, feverish little waif, in a matter of mere days. Now my teenager seems to have yet another version of illness, previously unknown to this household. My resolve to be happy in spite of outside circumstances did not bargain for severely ill children. I’m sorry, my happy has fled the building. I mean, I’m happy that my babies are alive, happy that I can hear Cammy breathing relatively normally right this very second. I’m happy that all three times I lept out of bed and flipped the light on during the course of the night, Camryn wasn’t actually blue faced as I thought. That makes me happy, indeed.

I don’t like my inability to control my fear at all, though. I go from fine to the verge of a panic attack in nanoseconds, and most of the time, it’s in response to nothing more than my THOUGHTS. In other words, not an actual problem I am observing unfold, but an imaginary scenario that exists nowhere but between my ears.  I would like to learn to knock all that off, honestly. You know, I can, for a short period of time…until I forget, and Camryn coughs, or I begin to question my judgement about when, exactly, I should rush her to the hospital…and what if I’m too late?! What if I call 911 and they are all BUSY? What if I misunderstood the doctors directions, and my kid suffers permanent damage from my negligence?! Just writing it down, my heart begins to race. If only I could be calm, cool. collected instead of this hysteria prone, outburst having, raving harpy maniac I morph into. Even my best attempts to restrain or disguise my panic only result in that incredible tension that draws my shoulders up to my ears, cords to pop out in my neck, and anything I say shoot from my lips like poisonous darts or small but devastating bullets. Not to mention a definite forcefield of intensity three people deep all around me. The same forcefield,  I believe, that is strong enough to keep sky vehicles aloft. Or a very close relative.

It’s just that I love my kids SO much. I am so afraid of losing them that it actually nauseates me to consider. I remember when I held my oldest daughter for the first time, when I was just 22, and brimming with that special level of self absorbtion that only a very young, very ignorant girl can be full of. I was not prepared for the ramifications of actual, pure, REAL love in my life- I didn’t even know I didn’t know about it until I looked into that tiny face, and a pair of enormous, wise, brown eyes, fringed in long black lashes, looked back at me. I was like, “Uh-oh.”. I knew then, deep inside, that I was screwed. I now loved another human being enough to see myself and be displeased with things- things that had been totally no big deal a few months back. I now loved a person that wasn’t me, that I couldn’t control, that I didn’t even KNOW. And I was so right. I wasn’t her, I couldn’t control her (not in the ways that I wanted to), and I didn’t know her…not then. It only got worse when, 13 years later, I decided to try it all over again.

And so, I stayed up all night- all but maybe 45 minutes of fitful, jerky, dozing off, I prayed, I talked myself off of the ledge of panic a time or three. I felt my daughters feverish face, worried, watched cartoons that she likes, even though she was mostly asleep. I kept the age old vigil of mothers across time and the span of the world…all of us do it, at least once per child. I studied her face, I smoothed her curls back off her face. I lay my head gently on her chest, and listened to her breathe. I willed her to continue this habit for at least the next seventy years. There really is not sweeter sound, is there?