Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricanes

When I dreamt about being a parent, each dream consisted of giving my children more than I was given growing up. It wasn't about me criticizing my parents or some type of self imposed pity session for myself but a stark realization of the needs that I had that couldn't be met. Physically those needs were always met, I had a roof over my head and a Mother who adored me. Two sisters to watch out for me and a Grandmother who would lay her own needs aside to assist us. But it didn't take a genius to realize that our home was not perfect Norman Rockwell painting.

I knew from a very early age that my parents were different from my classmates parents. If you could have put the right words in a 6 year old mouth it would be easily said that my parents didn't really like each other very much. I have one memory that stands alone in my files of childhood mental snapshots of my parents showing affection. So, it was no surprise when my Mom, while driving to school one morning announced that they were divorcing. I remember not feeling devastated or confused. I felt relieved. At age 6 I felt relieved that my parents were divorcing.

I didn't want my own children to ever feel that way about Me or the home I would build for them. I wanted to build a marriage so strong that not even a little hurricane could make it fall. I want them to always have security and be able to, later in their life, look back at their childhood and say the one constant were their parents strong relationship.

My in-laws are going on 39 years of marriage. I watch them closely and write mental notes on the beauty of this marriage. It is easy to see that the love they have for each other is still as strong, if not stronger, as it was that day in November all those years ago when they said "I do". One morning while they were visiting I overheard a conversation that took place between the two of them. So simple, yet still so poignant. As his beautiful bride of 39 years was cooking breakfast for the family, he gently came behind her and quietly whispered in her ear "You look ravishing today" to which she giggled and kissed him gently on his cheek and went back to cooking. I tear up as I recall that morning. The love they have for each other is so simple yet so concrete. Sure, they stumbled along the way while raising their little family. They accidentally left nicks on their kids as they strive to raise them the best they could. But the one thing, the one important thing they did right for their kids? Fell in love with each other anew each and every day.

I thank my in-laws for their marriage because it blessed me with their son. He is his father in every way. Quiet. Gentle. Highly intelligent. A man of integrity and fully devoted to his family. We've lived through worse hurricanes than the one blowing through New York this weekend. Our 9 year marriage has already had to grieve 2 miscarriages, one near death experience, uncertainty, extended family battles. Each time though, we asses the damage left. We pick up the pieces, rebuild and move on. We've learned through these times how to make the rebuilding happen sooner. Each time we become more in sync than the last. This last hurricane? Heh, it had nothing on us. We got through it together and if it thought it was going to ruin me? I had it fooled because now? Well, it proved to Derek and I just how strong we really are. Part of my cocooning did include the security I felt in the presence of my husband. He held me up and kept me strong so much so that I felt an ease by his side.

Our marriage alone is more than I had and I know, in the end, it's the most important thing my kids will ever need to help them get through their own hurricanes.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cocoons

It's not a secret to anyone close to me how awful these past winter months were. I think Derek & I were in such a survival mode. Licking the wounds of our pain while keeping on a brave face for the girls. Ahhh, these girls though, you just can't fool them, they knew. They felt our pain, regardless of how hard we tried to hide it. They knew we were hurting so in their own way, they clung closer and we just held on. At times, I don't know who was holding onto who, them to us, or was it really us to them? Rosemary began nursing more, at age 3, it was just what she needed to feel secure. Camille clung to a strict bedtime routine of reassurance of this chaos with sweet songs being sung in her ear while she drifted to sleep.

It wouldn't be until mid-June, during a night of yet another crisis to sort, that my dear child, groggy for sleep, with one question would let me know exactly HOW she was dealing:

"When will things go back to normal" she would ask and sadly, at that moment, I didn't have an answer but I new I better come up with a plan.

What was normal to my precious 5 year old? Mama making pancakes in the morning, and singing songs at night.

Nothing changes if nothing changes, so I had to make a change.

We have done nothing this summer. We made no commitments. Dabbled in absolutely no family drama. Just focused on each other, cocooned ourselves within our little family. The weeds grew in the front yard, but we didn't care because we have been to busy playing vicious jelly fish in the pool until dinner each night. No camps, no dance class just lazy mornings with coffee, PBS and wedding girls riding on their make believe horses until lunchtime. It's been bliss. It prepared me for the harsh slap of August. The month that was supposed to expand our family. I know if I let myself blink the hustle and bustle of September will creep upon us.

But I know this rest time has to end. I must face the world again, face people and relationships and commitments. I don't want to leave this place though, our time-out.

This week is VBS and I dreaded the facing of people. I even considered canceling, just not showing up. There hadn't been much talk about VBS starting so maybe Camille wouldn't notice if we skipped it this year. As tempting as canceling would be, come Monday morning, I dragged myself out of bed, welcomed by the rain on the first day and the sun the days that followed. Put actual thought into clothes, making up of myself and out I went. Day one was hard, I won't lie. The seeing of people, the talking, conversing. I must admit that I didn't come across as the flashy smile I normally do. But I got through it, and you know what? My kids did to. But better than me.

And how Camille showed me back in June it was time for some hiding? They both show me in August, the month that I really want to hide, that it's time to spread our wings again.

Amazing how much our kids can also be our teachers.

Painlessly

Rainy Mondays are my favorite.

Rainy Mornings, sipping coffee, listening to the pitter patter of it on my windows, it calls for me to have a relaxed day.


Rainy Afternoons, after we've finished the days activities, it calls for a cup of coffee next to my favorite window with my favorite cat.


Rainy evenings, to sit with the window open, sun down next to my favorite little people and favorite big person.


Stretching, growing, learning.


I thought I was done with all of that. It surely can't keep going into adulthood but I know that who I was 5 years ago isn't the same person I am today. And that journey of constant maturing hasn't come without it's pains. Stretching yourself is never quite the most comfortable experience. I keep maturing though, mid 30's and it feels strange to say that but it is strange how it happens.


Regardless, here I am. Pride aside admitting that I'm still growing & learning.


This month is hard. No physical limits of stretching & pain. How badly I want that right now, to rub my full belly with the anticipation of new life. It feels everywhere I look, others are where I should be. My stretching & pain comes from within, empty uterus instead. But, before I give into the self pity (see, I said maturing) I remember I do have a full heart. And rather than let this sad reminder of what isn't, I will focus on what it is. The two little lives sitting right beside me and that amazing man who had a part in creating them.


These past few months could have been enough to put me in, to have that padded cell freely handed to me. But I stretched & I grew & I chose to shift my focus that this loss wasn't just about me. It wasn't just my loss of my dream but best friends loss also. He too had a dream & he too was in pain. Instead of focusing on my pain, we joined forces & shared it & leaned into each other. Our good days & bad days, hey, isn't that what two becoming one is all about? We are still doing that & we are learning that we really are strong. Our relationship, that so many has cast a doubtful eye on these past 9 years of marriage is more than they ever imagined it was. We joined forces for each other, for our girls.


But today it hurts & it's not painless but I know I've grown. I've matured. It's where I need to be, not necessarily where I want to be but I am where I should be.


Is this me coming back? Rising from the ashes? Possibly. Maybe it'll take another year for another epiphany to hit. But still, this maturing, it isn't about you, or this writing. It's about me. Nothing changes if nothing changes they say. So, I'm changing.


Painlessly I hope.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

R.I.P.

June 10, 2008, around 7:30 p.m.

My sister called during the girls bath and told me to call her back. She knows not to call during that time so I refused to call back. She was going to tell me what was going on, now.

"Pam's dead"

And then the words that followed next:

"She killed herself"

My step mother committed suicide on June 7, 2008, my Dad discovered this on June 10, 2008.

Be careful, don't talk about. And when you do, just say "She passed away". It's easier because that word makes me squirm and no one knows how to handle it. You need people to allow you to talk about and they need YOU to not look like you'd rather be getting a un-medicated root canal. People get that look, like a fly stuck in sticky paper trying desperately to tear their wing off and escape than have to listen to you.

Death is a hard thing to deal with, suicide is a horrible thing to deal with.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Passive Aggressive

It's 9 a.m. on Monday morning and I'm sitting here, in my room, noise maker on, coffee on the nightstand, cat at my side. The girls are in the basement playing with their Beepa and Mimi is in the kitchen making everyone a big breakfast. Derek has left for a trip to Pittsburgh, a rarity here as his job doesn't typically take him away from us. For the next four days my life will be less hectic. I won't plan any meals, I'll shower in peace and quiet and get where I need to be on time. There might be a thrift store run, a stop at a coffee shop where I'll sit by myself, stress free, not worrying about the time because I know the girls will be taken care of. For these few days I'll know how it feels to have a nanny, cook, driver and maid. It's what my mother-in-law enjoys doing. She likes running the show and I love that she does it for me.

I'm the rare breed out there that can say I truly love my in-laws which I almost didn't happen thanks to me, but that's another post for another time. For now, I can say I find them a breathe of fresh air compared to the stifling that my family at times creates for me. Derek's family is the passiveness to my families aggressiveness. But I love my family, I love each every member and all the unique things that bring to my life. My family is hard. They take a lot of energy sometimes and force me to lower my expectations so I don't find myself constantly disappointed. Well, not sometimes, a majority of the time.

One of the numerous reasons I stopped blogging was my family. Things have been bad, very bad, for the last 3 years. As my father has pointed out, you need a scoreboard just to remember which family member is talking to you. It's hard to keep track with who's an enemy and who's an Allie and who's pretending to be both. My sister, Dad and I had a fall out a few years back and it practically consumed me. It was a fall out that left a 2 year shock wave of emotions that, regardless of how hard we tried, wouldn't allow us to get our balance back. The family has been so splintered, or was so splintered, that I oozed negativity. I had learned from a previous situation that I would cause more damage to future mending by venting in such an open forum. I wanted healing, I wanted reconciliation so knew I couldn't write because there were no words that would allow it. All I had to bring was hurt and anger and knives stuck backs so deep if removed they'd immediately be used for revenge. I wanted that then, but knew that it wasn't healthy for what I have now. So I stopped writing. I learned that ever important lesson of shutting up.

It's taken years to mend that riff. But still, I know it was God's plan. I know that the harvest sometimes is painful but the beauty that comes from clearing out the weeds is well worth it. We are better now. We are in a good place and God has brought about new circumstances that one could never had imagined but I know His hand is ever present.

"He gives and takes away......."

I've had friendships end that God deemed necessary, I've had friendships strengthened and begin anew to ease the blow. I've had people turn on me while others have lifted me up. I have so much to write now and I feel like that dam has been broken.

This site will change, but not now right now. Right now I just need to write.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Live, Learn, Change

"And you learn to accept defeat, with your eyes open and head held high.
With the grace of a woman not the grief of a child"


I remember reading this when I was 16 and such a young and tender age it spoke volumes to me. As I've grown, it has stuck with me and brought a lot of meaning throughout my life. The circumstance might have changed from year to year, but the meaning of it has always stayed the same.

When I started this site my life's direction was pretty self-centered, as it should have been for that time period. I was newly married, newly moved and learning how to be a wife and love my husband. It was all about me, my husband and the life we were forming together. My Johnsy and me, his princess. The title of this blog made a lot of sense.

But then the Camille was born and life was not all about me. Nor was it all about Derek. It was now about us being parents and the princess is this picture changed as did this blog.

I've grown so much since those early days of being a Mom. At times the growth was painful, and through this blog, I would vent about those moments which came at a high price. I hurt people, important people who I loved. Through God's grace, those relationships have been restored. I will never do anything to put them into jeopardy again.

"...with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child"

I've a lot throughout the years, but the most important thing I've learned is the art of shutting up. The art of knowing when to show grace and just say nothing, to walk away from situations in order to not bring more damage and allow for future restoration, which is at times not close to God's purpose, so in that it's learning to let go and move on. This has been an important lesson especially when it come to one of the most important relationships of all: Family. These years have been filled with strife and uncertainty but the one thing that has been constant is my determination to learn when to shut up and not give into that childlike grief.

In the end, as I have change, moved on, this site also needs to change. It is no longer about me and my Johnsy. It's about this peace I feel in this place in my life. The grace I've accepted and the grief of things not going my way that I've rejected. I've learned that people aren't necessarily who you thought they would be, no matter how much you love them or try to support them. Those people will most likely be the exact ones to reject you. It's not about them rejecting you in the end, but it is about you loving them during the process.

This blogs address will change. You will no longer be able to find this blog under the address you have used right now. I'm not going to post the new address but welcome you who would like to follow me in the journey to leave a comment and/or email me I'll forward you the new address.

Hope to see you continue this journey with me.

Monday, June 22, 2009

So she writes

I miss the days when it was so easy to remove someone from your life. Move to California, change your phone number, become non-existent to certain others. But now? You can do all these things. You can change who you are, you can change zip codes but now? Now it's like they're knocking on your door asking to come in. This damn Internet, these damn sites that promise connections with long lost friends but where's the disclaimer about long lost individuals you'd prefer to never find again. The ones you donated to some thrift store and now it's landed right back in your hands?

A name. Two simple names appear on a screen but it might as well had slapped you in the face. Days, months, years pretending like these people never existent. Like you and their past never crossed paths now here they are sitting with you in your living room while you sip your cup of tea. They here and quite uninvited like those damn carpenter ants you worked so hard rid your house of.

Go away you want to say. Go back to where I safely put you. I've moved on. I've grown beyond those years, you have no business here. But I can't do these things. All this girl can do is write, so she writes. And she sips her tea and listens to children play, her cat snore and looks forward to seeing her loving husband walk through that door. That loving husband who lives his life as if you have nothing to hide from.

Monday, February 23, 2009

For Consideration

I don't know how to start this thing back up but several of you have sent very sweet request for it to resume and I have taken your pleads into consideration.

It's not that I don't want to write anymore or didn't want to. I never lost the desire although I could very easily blame time as the main culprit. No, it is none of these reasons really. I stopped because I had to. I stopped because the things that were going on in my life needed to be kept private. The one thing I have learned in my almost 5 years of blogging is when to shut the hell up. What topics are privy for the reading public to know and what topics need to be swept under the rug. In the interest of healing relationships, I knew the healthiest thing to do was to close shop otherwise I would just write fluff, words with no meanings because the thoughts and concerns swirling around in my head needed to be kept between me and those people not me and all you lovely people. It was just time to stop.

I lay awake some nights, even in the past 8 months or so, with half written post swirling in my head, wishing I could muster up the energy to get out of bed and put them in writing but my long busy days win out and I fall asleep with all those well constructed sentence vanished in thin air by the time I wake up. I go about my day without a inkling of a thought about writing but yet return to the same spot each night, same thoughts, same post.

So, I don't know if this is me coming back or me granting all of you an explanation for my silence but I promise I'll think about.

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