- Glitter. At least right now. And I’ve got more glitter than Martha Stewart.
- Glade Soy Candle in Fresh Pine and Cedar. Takes me back to my childhood.
- The Body Shop Pink Grapefruit scented soap. I wish I had a vat of it.
- The chore-chart I made for the kids, and that they are living up to it!
- Ementhaler on Rye crackers. No wheat in RyeKrisp!
- Hand crocheted or knit dishcloths. Superior in every way.
- The fact that my kids have really nice school friends.
- Jeffrey’s first male teacher. Mature, experienced, solid, kind- best thing ever.
- That the Mo family is having Thanksgiving with me.
- That my RS president told me she’s been divorced. I would never have known…
- Cornmeal pizza crust from Vicolo Pizza.
- My retro Swingline stapler and the boxes of staples I got at a yard sale this summer.
- Clean bedsheets on all the beds in the house. Seems like I always sleep better then…
- Cold water from my reusable water bottle carried with me constantly now.
- Nice people at the grocery store who smile and talk to me or my kids
- A friend of Jeffrey’s who was thoughtful enough to include Bean in their plans.
- Scotch tape in a weighted dispenser.
- Remembering all the Thursday morning breakfasts with my grandma I got to have.
- The dryer humming softly to itself as it tumbles all my laundry clean.
- Snow forecast for tonight.
- Sheet music on my piano that I kind of understand.
- Finding packages in the front porch every now and then.
- European stamps and the cool, recycled thin envelopes they use.
- When Bean cuddles in my lap and lets me hug him.
- Butterfly Kisses from Abby.
- Jeffrey telling me over dinner that he thinks I’m a great mom.
My kids are at my mother-in-law’s house, visiting with their dad for the second time since October 1st. They were overflowing with excitement, and burst from the car before I had even turned off the engine, throwing themselves into his waiting arms on the porch. I watched, my throat tightening as Abby nestled herself in the hollow under his chin, wrapping her small arms around his neck. Those arms once meant safety to me, too. And now I stand back and watch, mindful of my heart and the minefield of broken dreams between myself in the driveway and him, standing on his mother’s porch.
This wasn’t supposed to happen to us. We were different. He spent ten years convincing me to trust him before I finally married him, and in him I placed my heart, hopes, children and dreams. When I finally gave myself to him, I gave my all. This wasn’t supposed to be us.
Some days I’m like a second-day party balloon- without enough oomph to reach the ceiling, but with just enough air to linger in the middle, neither here nor there. I am not really married anymore- and yet I’ll never really be single again, either. I am a wheel out of true, softly gimping along. I cannot see what is next, and I cannot makes sense of what’s behind me yet.
I have three hours while the kids get their time with their dad. He is across town, and driving home seems a waste, so I head to the craft store. I am purposeless, just spinning my wheels and killing time. With a giant hollow ache where my heart should be, the tinsel and Christmas glitter just seem sad rather than festive, and the canned carols in the store only make me feel more alone. I leave my cart unobtrusively by the register, one skein of yarn half-heartedly left on the seat, and walked out the doors into the cold clear night.
The quiet echoes in my head. It’s a lonely quiet, not a solitude.
I’ve always loved the holidays. I love decorating, and would be chomping at the bit to put the tree up before even Thanksgiving, some years. This year, I can barely even think about it- although I know it will happen. I will get the decorations out, I will celebrate with the kids, and when the lights are all out, and I think no one is looking, I will be utterly swallowed up by aching loneliness and the chasm of loss that hides behind my heart.
I know I can do this. I know the “firsts” are going to be the hardest of everything. I know we are all going to be okay- I just have to battle back the desire to see the end from the beginning. It doesn’t work that way. Each day, I must pick myself up, dust myself off, and take another step. Eventually, I will have walked a mile. Just for today, for today only, all I can do is that one little step.
It is done. Never let it be said that I did not sacrifice for my children. I sat through all 2+ hours of it, when both Beanie and I were ready to leave at intermission. It would have been better if we had, actually- not only would we have missed the traffic and mess getting out of downtown, but we would have missed the painful lengths Disney has gone to to give Tinkerbell a back story and a family. And that stretched-thin storyline took up the ENTIRE second half of the show was a travesty we actually sat through. It almost hurt worse than the $20 spinning flashy-things they con you into buying after offering to let your child “just hold one to try it out” as you are captive in your seat, gritting your teeth as the lemonade guy walks by ($10 a cup) and the snowcone guy ($12, plus another $2 if you WANT A SPOON). You think I’m kidding?? I wish. I settled on us all sharing a bottle of $3.75 water. It was a bargain- or at least it felt that way. Thanks to Nana, the kids did get a flashy light thingy, but since mom was paying for refreshments, its water, babies.
Honestly, does anyone over maybe 10 enjoy these ON ICE productions? And I becoming a cynic? Because what I saw was a lot of second tier ice-skaters, badly lip-synching their lines to a too-loud voice-over track, and missing their cues too often. And it was opening night. Maybe the Princess Show would have been a better bet- but it would have been a harder sell for the boys. As it was, by intermission, like I said, Bean was done. Abby went dressed in her Snow White costume, and the boys went as doting older brothers. I went as a mom determined to make it through the night with grace and patience, and miraculously, I too succeeded.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad family adventure. I do hate how they scam you on the outrageous price of rudimentary things- I mean, the program was $15. For a flimsy little pamphlet? Oh man, no way. The venue was clean and nice, parking was close and easy and inexpensive ($5) compared to everything else. Even our cheap seats ($12 each) were only 8 rows back from the ice. We were so close we could see… well, more than I wanted to see. I’ll just leave it at that. I know my kids enjoyed themselves, and will certainly have collected far less cynical memories from the night.
That’s good enough for me.
Today marks the 1000 Post mark for this little joke of a project I started more than four years ago. Never intending to start a blog, actually unsure of what a blog even was, I wanted to reply to something someone said somewhere on the internet (imagine disagreeing with someone, somewhere, on the internet! My naivety was so cute!). Anyway, I didn’t like what she said. So I wrote her a letter. And then I couldn’t post it on her website, because she wouldn’t allow me to. So I had to start my own.
Even the name was picked spur-of-the-moment. I clicked on Blogger, and you had to put in a name, so since my hair was wild and curly that day and I felt like a weed, I picked a dandelion. That’s it. That’s all there was to it. And I posted my letter. It’s still there, and the woman it was meant for eventually did read it and comment. A very satisfying experience. But the Genie was out of the bottle.
Once I had an outlet to write, I found immense satisfaction putting my thoughts into cogent form. For most of my life, I had felt bombarded by ideas and images and words, and they whirled around in my disquieted mind like a maelstrom- I couldn’t talk about my point-of-view to someone, because my windy mind was so influenced by others that I couldn’t sort out me from them. But when I wrote… Oh, when I wrote… the storm quieted. The waters stilled. The skies cleared, and I could figure out who I was again. It was 10,000 years of solitude. It was peace in my soul. It was a room of my own. It was a clean well-lighted place. It was an unforeseen gift- one I had no idea I was missing.
And now because of this gift, I have a chronicle of my children’s lives that I hope someday they will cherish. This blog pre-dates even finding out I was pregnant with Abby, and it chronicles much of my sons’ lives as well. I would treasure a diary of my mother or grandmother when they had young children. Maybe my kids will too. Probably not, because I get the feeling that’s just not how it works. But still, a mama can hope.
Along the way I have celebrated great happiness, and shared personal sorrows, too. I try always to be honest and candid, while still walking the line balancing the private lives of my family and loved ones with what I chose to publicly share. It’s a line I’ve messed with a few times, but I think I finally have a good sense of where it is and how to toe-up.
The last couple years, the sorrows have tipped the scales too much, at least if anyone is asking me. It’s not done yet- but I know the wheel never stops spinning, and that the depth of my sorrow is also the wellspring of my understanding and happiness. I borrowed that from Kahlil Gibran. I’m nowhere near as cool as he is.
Now I find myself on a new path- one I was never anticipating walking. And yet, here I am. People keep telling me they think I am so strong. It makes me laugh. Well, what else am I going to do? I briefly considered hiding in the closet with a year’s supply of chocolate chips and a jug of egg-nog, but that wouldn’t solve anything, and would cause some bloating problems I’m better off without.
So instead, I get up. And I get up again. And again if I have to. And then I write about it.
I don’t know what the future holds- and isn’t that marvelous? What a great adventure. I do know writing is now woven into the tapestry that is me. It’s in the fold of my arm, the set of my hip, the curve of my neck, the glint in my eye- and with apologies to Maya Angelou, the joy in my feet and the palm of my hand.
Thank you for being a part of my life.
(If I were cool enough, and my computer wasn’t utterly trashed and gimpy, I totally would have this song playing for this post.)
Dang, finding my Single-Parent sea-legs is rough. For instance, what on earth do you do when you are super-sick? I’ve come down with something, and it’s nasty. I don’t think it’s the dreaded flu, and I had a friend who is a nurse practitioner check me out (no insurance and all, oh yeah). It’s just a nasty chest cold.
But being asthmatic always compounds my colds. And this is proving to be a doozy. I almost fainted in the bathroom tonight from coughing so hard. So what does a mama do when there are three little kids in the house, and something happens to her? Jeffrey knows how to dial 911, but seriously, I have to think about all these things that never occurred to me before.
For now, everyone is in bed, and with any luck, it will stay that way all night long. I really don’t need an abalone sucking to me all night. Here’s hoping it’s better in the morning.
- We spent all morning at the hospital, and after 4 X-rays, Abby’s arm and shoulder look fine. The radiologist said the doctor would have to verify, but that it’s looked good. *Whew*
- Someone from church has offered me a two-year old computer they have because they had to upgrade their business. I’m hating having to rely on others, but right now, I don’t have a lot of choices. I’m grateful.
- I made enough money this month to actually pay some of my own bills, on my own, with my own money. First time in ten years. It feels kind of good.
- Forecast is for snow here tonight, our first of the year. I’m so not ready for snow yet. It’s all me shoveling the drive and walks. Yippee. I guess that’s not a good thing, but the kids are excited.
- My soon-to-be ex-M-i-L send money for the kids to go see Disney on Ice next week. They are thrilled. If taking a Valium was funny and not heart-wrenching, I would make a joke about it.
- It’s almost knitting season! Hooray! For reals.
- I don’t want to push my luck, so I’ll stop now. Baby steps.
Abby keeps complaining that her arm hurts, and is insisting it is broken and I need to take her to the “hosible”. I’m watching her closely, and she did favor it the rest of the evening after the Shove the Mattress incident. She is also quite the drama queen, and heard me tell Jeffrey that he could have broken her arm with their horseplay. She glommed right onto that. So… In the morning if she’s still gimpy I’m off to the Hosible. Poor girl.
(Edit: It’s morning. She’s still gimpy. She’s definitely favoring it. Crap. I’ve got a call in to the doctor and am waiting for them to get her in. Crap. Crap. Crap.)