Love at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving morning, 2008.  It’s a foggy, misty morning.  I’m writing early because I might not have time later today, and I might not be inspired. I was planning to write some creative thing about being thankful in reverse…or “Things I’m Thankful I Don’t Have”, but being one of those undiagnosed ADD types, I went wandering around Wordpress instead. In my wanderings, I bumped into a couple of blog posts this morning that I thought were very good.  I thought I’d share them.  I always like it when people tell others about something that I’ve written that they found value in, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to return the favor.

The first is a new blog to me.  She writes about love, a huge, unfathomable topic and she barely scratches the surface as you can expect.  She does make some great thought-provoking points and I like the way she writes.  She also gave me much to think about and possibly blog for myself on the topic.  Her post’s title was fairly creative and I love creative.  You can read this blog post, “Love Shouldn’t Feel Like Getting Run Over By a Train” here. Now that I go back and reread the post, I notice that this particular article was written way back in 2006.  I need to get better at noticing things like that.  Even so, I liked it.  Maybe her comments will spark your thinking about the topic of love and family and your kids, if you have them.  I wonder if she’s still writing or if she’s abandoned her blog?  Hmmmm.  Whatever the case may be with her, I do agree with her title.  Been there. Done that. Bought the t-shirt.  Wore it out.  That’s why I clicked on her link.

The next post is more recently written by someone who is still writing.  His post’s topic is about doing the things you love and making money (or not) at them.  I’m pointing you to Jim’s blog, because he really is a fabulous writer.  Check out his complete post titled, The Money Will Follow (or Not), here. He also made me think…especially about this writing thing and making money at it.  His points reminded me of one of the reasons, beyond complete fear of rejection, that I haven’t yet published:  if I do what I love for a living, which in this case is writing, am I a.) good enough to make money at it? b.) is there a market for my kind of writing (and I don’t even really know for sure what that is yet, thus this blog) and c.) will it become a duty under deadlines instead of a creative outlet and intellectual passion?  (Jim didn’t so much mention that last point in his blog but the first two points were his.  They made me think of the last one.)

Anyway.  With all the talk about love this almost sounds like it could pass for a Valentine’s Day post.

I hope whatever you are doing today, that it is filled with peace, gratitude, good food, good company and some relaxation.  Anyone out there playing mud football today?

Halloween-Kicking Off The Holiday Season

I hate the expensive pre-fab costumes that you spend a million dollars on at Wal-Mart and they disintegrate the minute you pay for them.  So, this year I decided to do something a bit different.  I went to the Goodwill store.  I have not dressed up for Halloween in forever…well since college days…yeah, that was forever.  This year, my school is doing a “Harvest Carnival” the night before Halloween and they want us teachers to dress up.  Great. 

Well, I’m going incognito.  I have this full head mask of an old professor type man.  The hair is scruffy black. The eyes are cutout but the bags under the cutout eyes make me think this mask was an alcoholic in another life.  I went down to the Goodwill to see if I could get a man’s suit that was about 4 sizes too large for me.  Well, I found suit coats but not with matching pants.  I had to go over to the pants section for that.  Found those easily. Picking out the shirt was pretty fun.  There were so many to choose from and many which could have doubled as my own sleep shirts after Halloween.  I chose a light brown one.  The suit by the way is navy blue. 

As I was in the store, I noticed that I was not the only one picking out items for the upcoming weekend events.  One youth, couldn’t have been more than 22, picked out a hot pink ski suit with matching ski boots and a red, white and blue ski hat.  I’m guessing he was going as a ski bunny?  Then there was the girl who picked out a straw farmer’s hat, a green bomber jacket and a flannel checked shirt.  Maybe she was going as a scarecrow? 

Anyway, I was there just having a blast as my wild little mind considered all the possibilities.  I mean, the used bridal gowns, the black lace things, the props!!!!  I also thought how much more fun it would be if there was a special someone in my life and he could have been their with me.  The fun we would have had creating and considering the endless possibilities for the bizarre, silly and weird.  It would have been a wonderful kick-off to the 2008 Holiday Season.  Instead, I contented myself with grabbing up the items my children (who were not with me at the time) told me they wanted for their costumes and enjoyed their squeals of delight when I arrived home with the treasure.  Judging from their responses, I apparently scored.  Now, that doesn’t happen every day.  Pleased and excited children…well, that’s a pretty decent start to the holiday season too.

It Was The Best of Times, It Was The Worst of Times

Music can take me places.  I’m sure you know how that is.  You’re minding your own business and suddenly a song comes on that you haven’t heard in ages and then suddenly you are transported.  You’re completely removed from the present to a different time and place, a world ago, a lifetime ago.  You can smell the smells, feel the feelings and suddenly you are awash in memories like you never left that time or place.  Music transports you.  It transport me.  I was just transported.

I have music all over my house.  I have a small house and don’t have a surround sound, piped in, fancy system like some have.  I do like to “feel” my music. Even as I write this, I have my little 5 CD changer in the kitchen (I have one in nearly every room)  turned up to some ghastly number on the volume dial.  I can feel the reverberations.  But, today, a particular song transported me, and it just came on again and it’s transporting me…again. 

The time was not so long ago.  About this time last year, if my memory serves me well.  The song is K.T. Tunstall’s “Heal Over”.  The events in my life at that time were best described by Charles Dickens in his famous book, “A Tale of Two Cities”.  For me…that time of my life was truly, “the best of times, it was the worst of times”.  I’d left my second husband for the final time.  Divorce proceedings were in process.  It was going to happen.  As a person who walked into marriage the first time with the high fairy tale hopes of “till death do us part”, having to end a second marriage was a devastating blow.  I was in the midst of dealing with that reality and moving back into a house that my ex and his 7 children had just vacated.  And when I mean vacated, I mean vacated.  They took with them things I will be paying for, for many years to come. Things that were purchased at Christmases and birthdays for my children, not his.  And I was left with a house that was little more than a wreck. (No, I’m not bitter or anything.  LOL!) I was embroiled in a battle that had every potential to get very ugly and I was very scared.  It was very possible that I could end up homeless and in debt and, because I had no way to provide for my children, I was afraid I might lose them.  It was the worst of times.

But…it was also the very best of times.  While I was out of my house because I had to leave under police escort to protect myself against a volatile spouse and get what I could in the 20 minutes they allow, I was able to see and experience the goodness and love of friends that I might never have otherwise experienced or known.  I had friends offer me their travel trailer so my youngest and I would have a place to stay for a month while we finished out the school year.  I had other friends offer me a housesitting job while they went vacationing.  That got me through the month, and to the court hearing where I was awarded the house and full custody of my youngest daughter.  And in the background of all of this, K.T. Tunstall’s song, “Heal Over” was playing.  Playing. Playing.  Reminding me of what my mother always used to tell me, “This, too, shall pass.”  And…it did.

I ended up being awarded my house, my ex disappeared rather than creating a crazy scene, I did get all the marital debt but I have my home and don’t have to move four kids out to a rental and worry when I will get 30 days notice so they can put the house up on the market.  I’m safe.  My children are safe and all the fears I had at this time last year have dissipated into nothingness.  But that song, that particular song, takes me back.  It takes me back to a time of uncertainty and transition.  It takes me back to a painfully difficult time of learning to parent on my own, and of learning what it means to be a homeowner.  It takes me back to hot, sweaty days of having to repaint, repair, clean out, fumigate, and scrub, scrub, scrub every surface and cabinet to make my home clean and liveable for my kids and I. I takes me back to spending a month trying to figure out how to clean out a pool, finally having to drain it completely and start over.  It takes me back to days, when filled with fear and uncertainty myself, I had to be strong and hopeful and positive for my children.  It takes me back to days, where we pulled together, attempted things we didn’t possibly think we could handle in a million years, and we did more than just handle them and we did them well! 

That song takes me back.  Heal over?  You bet I’ll heal over.  Make no mistake about it.  

It was the best of times and the worst of times but, funny thing, all I have are good memories.

Life is Grand….Life Sucks!

Life is good…life sucks.  I live with these two conflicting realities daily.  I suspect I am not alone.  Today alone life sucked and life was grand all in the same 24-hour period.

To start with, the weather continues to be record-breakingly hot.  And, now, we are having fires in the area which creates smoke and haze.  For me, since I’m not asthmatic, this is not a problem, but the haze has been so heavy that even I am struggling to enjoy breathing when outside.  In addition, I am having to run my air conditioner, which translates into higher electric bills for me.  That part of life sucks.

But, I was awakened this morning by the sound, of all sounds, thunder!  The crisp, loud boom and crackle of thunder followed by the loud pelting of summer rain on my back deck covering was a welcome sound.  It was a warm summer morning rain that brought momentary refreshment to what has been an exceptionally stifling hot summer. That was grand!

Then, somehow, the son, decided he wanted to be argumentative.  You see, today is the day my three older children left to go for two weeks with their dad. He, of course, had not cleaned up his room and therefore I woke him up earlier than the other children so he could get that taken care of before he left.  Yes, I’m a mean mom.  I do expect that my children participate in chores and duties around the house…and a fairly orderly bedroom (not perfect, but orderly) is part of the deal for me.  So, of course, I awakened him far too early and he grumbled and complained.  I had to really hold my ground with him, and since he was really working hard to tick me off (and nearly succeeding) I had to continue to remind myself, this too shall pass.  Life at that moment sucked.

Then, suddenly, the dad arrives, all the kids are tumbling out the door with their possessions and stuff and the house is, at once, wonderfully silent and dreadfully vacant.  Life sucked but it was also grand all in the same moment.

Later today, I was tasked with helping my second oldest find a swimsuit for vacation.  Not an easy task at this time of the year since there is little to choose from in our neck of the woods and also since her dad places such strict requirements on her for her attire.  Searching every store in town sucked. 

But then, finding the right swimsuit, which we finally did, at 70% off, was grand!

Spending the evening completely alone, doing whatever I want, whenever I wanted, was absolutely grand.

Listening to the thunder and anticipating another summer storm (which has not yet materialized) was also grand.

Missing my kids is not so grand. In fact, it sucks.  I walk past their empty (clean, but empty) rooms and I miss them so deeply it physically hurts.  Definitely, a not-so-grand experience.

Life is grand…and yet it sucks…all at the same time.  This is what makes up our human experience. 

And, fortunately for me, today, I did not experience any of those really devastaing blows such as the announcement that a loved one has a terminal disease or that I do.  I didn’t learn that my spouse was no longer in love with me and I did not walk into a number of other very real tragedies that other people in this world are currently experiencing.  I’m thinking of my friend across the country who mourns the loss of his mother who recently passed.  In light of this, I am grateful that my kids love me, they are healthy, I am in good health and of sound mind…well, okay…at least mostly sound mind. I am employed and able to provide for those I am responsible for.  I must conclude that though I am uncomfortable with or don’t like parts of my life, for the most part I really have it pretty good. 

Life today, for me, is more on the grand than the not-so-grand side.  I’m grateful for that.

What side of life are you on and why?

Cat  (a.k.a. The Wild Mind)