Wednesday, October 21, 2015

It Wasn't Part Of The Deal

I had to shut out all the voices and all the noise tonight.

I had to... just so I could hear you.  It's been so loud, and tonight my shoulders are just too heavy.

So I sat down.  I quieted my mind... and there you were.  This memory hit me and I knew it was you.
I remembered the first time I hugged you.  It was awkward and hard, and strained and...careful.  I laughed and said "not a hugger, hey?" and I hugged you harder, because I dared too.  That was not even two years ago yet.  There wasn't enough time...

Then I remembered the last.  You hugged me so tight, and and told you loved me.  You thought I didn't hear you, so you said it again - and made sure I looked right at you.  I heard you. I felt you.  And I knew.

And it's only a few days later, and I am supposed to be the tough said so.  So I do, and I take care of, and I show up, and I do some more.  I swallow hard and keep going...

Tonight I just can't.  It's just so quiet.  So I will watch the sun burn out and cry.

This wasn't part of the deal, Herman.  It wasn't part of the deal.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Where No Place is Home

It's hard for me to be in this place... where no where is home anymore.

It's hard to not belong here nor there.  It's a limbo I can't get used to and I am wondering if I will ever feel like myself again.  My soul is struggling to feel comfort and to feel safe in all this newness and I don't know how to make it any better.  I am hiding parts of myself to accommodate, sure that wasn't part of the deal I made myself when I decided to move forward.

I am neither here nor there.  Not fully present in either place, watching from a sideline I can't seem to cross, keeping score instead of being in this game of movement.  My soul is screaming to go home, but I'm not really sure where that is or who this person is that doesn't know much about anything right now.

I chose the path less traveled... Maybe it's time I just laid down and watched the leaves fall instead.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I Cried Today

I cried today. 

I sat down and absorbed all the emotion I had forced outside myself that sat on the surface like mud, and I cried.  I cried for all the things that are new and frightening.  I cried for the relief of things I left behind.  I cried hurt and confusion, and cried exhaustion.  I cried for things I can not understand, and for the things I can do nothing about.  I cried knowing that's my way to heal, and I cried knowing it's perfectly fine for me to feel, and to cry and wash away the mud. 

Sometimes the weight of the world is just too heavy, and today, I had to put it down for a while. 

And in that moment where I just let it go, I found gratitude. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wishes Waiting In The Fall

I was outside today, trying to make sense of things falling down and turning new colors. I caught this out of the corner of my eye.  

...and I thought, well there's a hand full of wishes in the fall, just waiting to be on the wind. 


Monday, September 7, 2015

Worry About The Rest Later

Alright, I am sitting here, with a dog in my lap, sour soothers in my mouth, music being played below me. I am in my new space, in a recliner with my foot up. Truth is, I really can't do much more. I decided this is my "window".  If I want to start writing again, or considering working on books etc, this is the time...

...but it's been so long I feel like I can't decide where to pick up since I left off.

Perhaps a little gratitude...

This is my new space, and I am incredibly grateful for the love that was poured into this room.

Despite the pain in the ass that this brace is, and that I am VERY limited in what I can do physically for a few weeks, I am grateful my acl is fixed and the healing can now move forward. 

I am grateful for the desire to write, to create and to return to the things that settle my soul.  I am also grateful for taking some time to decide where to pick up this project.

So for now, I'll take that I sat down to write as a win, and worry about the rest tomorrow... or maybe the next day.  

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Tips From A Parent Of A Wildly Spirited Teen

Once upon a time, not so long ago (only a couple of weeks, actually) in a land that is exactly where I live, a teenage child got caught doing things thousands of other children have done, world -wide, a thousand times over. This child, though otherwise a good kid, made some poor choices, and had to suffer consequences… grounding, loss of privileges, loss devices and of course, loss of social media.

Because of said unruly behavior, this mom decided to see what else she didn’t know about her child’s life. You see, this mom was an involved mom. This mom thought she knew the friends, and the activities, and the places of usual presence. This mom pushed for good grades, hard work, kindness, good behavior, clean rooms, and high aspirations through hopes and dreams. This mom was a good mom. This mom was there for her kids and thought she paid enough attention. And still, this mom missed some things. And in this time, with this child, this parent learned. She learned, and she shared…

1. Be very aware of “the friends” and listen to what other people have to say about them. Know who your child is associated with, and know that any stories you hear, in whole truth or not, come from somewhere. Listen to the stories and make your own judgments. Use your parental gut, and know that’s it ok to restrict your child’s access to the time spent with certain people.

2. Know that kids are growing up at double the pace (if not faster) than we did as children. Barbies and toy cars disappear faster than they used to. Children are not aware, beyond their own narcissistic tendencies, that they have their whole lives to be an adult, and they are choosing to leave behind simple childhoods in exchange for adult behavior.

3. Children tell half truths and are experts at lip service to tell you what you want to hear in order to get what they want. I am sure my child is an expert negotiator and defense lawyer, and it began YEARS ago. Be a better arbitrator and prosecutor. Be okay with saying “no”. They won’t hate you forever despite their words.

4. Check your child’s social media and devices. This is a sticky one. It invades privacy and places a cautious dynamic of trust between parent and child. Care less about that, care more about knowing what activity your child participates in and keeping your child safe. Do research on current popular applications and know what is on your child’s phone. There are a thousand articles, sites, and links to every app, how to use them , including the dangers. Get educated and then decide the amount of information that is right for you to know. Children are being bullied, becoming bullies, sharing photos, and having conversations that may shock you. Learn what side of the fences your child stands on, and then for heaven’s sake… talk to them about it.

5. Spend some time at your local police department and ask questions. Know what today’s drug of choice is, know what it looks like. Listen to the knick names, know what’s out there. You will be shocked, I promise.

6. Know that no matter how involved you are, you may miss something your child is into. It happened with our parents and their parents, and probably the parents before them. We are parents, we are a community. Lean on each other. Instead of passing judgment on another’s parenting, share stories, experiences, and offer to help. Do not fall into “keeping up with the Jones’s”, “not my child” syndrome, or worry of judgment.; just be a good parent. It’s not simple, it’s not easy, but in the end, it is worth it. When your child is 35, and calls you to apologize for their childhood behavior as they deal with the same things with their own child, you will nod in satisfaction and gratitude.

7. Above all else, practice love – tough, unconditional love.

Eventually, with hard work, perseverance, patience and yes, love, we will all live happily ever after.

References for social media:

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Complacent Parenting

I don't really know where to begin... it's been a long thirteen days.  Lucky #13?

Many, many...many... (12000 - give or take a couple thousand)... know that I've had a bit of a snag in this gig I call "parenting".  My child thinks she's hit a bit of snag in this thing she calls "growing up".  It started out as something very simple, really, that thousands of kids do all the time.

They are somewhere they are not supposed to be, maybe with someone they aren't supposed to be with, despite being told over and over.  They just want to do what they want to do, and they want to be right, and they want to be free of us.  They are invincible, they are brave, they are naive. They are kids.

And here in the masses, we parents stand, teaching and preaching and talking and showing.  We are raising these brilliant human beings, hoping they use what we teach them to be good people, people we are overwhelmingly proud of when they go out into the world.  And because we taught them, we trust them.  We let them take on the world, and push them into battle.  We are their cheerleaders as they perform, we are their nurses when they hurt, we are their taxi drivers in their destinations, we are their safety nets when they trip and fall.

And so they do.  They fall.  They make mistakes.  They try their hand at lying, hiding, manipulating, twisting, turning.  They live through the fixing, the solving, the consequences and ultimately the growing.  That's how we all did it, that's how we all got to be who we are, like it or not.  We failed, we fixed, we tried again.  And so it goes on.

But all of it, the tripping, the falling, the twisting, the turning, the fixing, the solving... it set me spinning as a parent. Where did I fail?  How did my child come to make the mistakes I begged would evade us in our growth as a family?  Aren't I a good enough parent?

The cold, lonely answer I came up with, is simply, no.  Not good enough, and frankly, I am grateful for that.  I have thought long and hard about this.  I have had people applaud my bravado and my harsh words when I was incredibly hurt and upset.  I am not one to mix words, and I am very good at expressing my point and reaching people.  So if I am reaching you now, please know, I am over the moon thankful that today, I am not a good enough parent.  I don't ever want to be just - good enough.  I don't want to get to a place where I miss something, and I think, oh well, I am good enough as a parent.  No.  I don't want to be good enough.  I want to be better.  Every single day.

This spinning world we live in is fast, and it is busy.  It becomes very easy, as a parent who has taught, and talked, and talked and taught, to think I have done this right, she will make the right decision.  Or, he's 16, certainly that's  old enough to be left alone for a night, haven't I taught him well?  And didn't we, as children, survive it?  Didn't we make it through our childhood, for the most part unscathed?  A good portion of us did, but I am reminded all the time, that not all of us did.  And that was in the world we grew up in where our lives weren't digital.  Supper was ready when our dads whistled, and we ran up the block before the second whistle was necessary.  And after dinner, when we went back outside (what a novel idea), we were to be home when the street lights came on.  We talked to our friends by walking across the street.  We survived our mistakes without them becoming global knowledge.  We ate hot food at the dinner table with our families, and we talked about our days.  Where did the childhood go... Our kids barely comprehend the stories we tell them.  And if your kids, today, can relate - I applaud you.  If your fifteen year old can remember tag as a game outside and not digitally recognizing someone in a photo, congratulations.

Our children are living in a very different age, even if we don't like it.  Our world is just not the same only twenty five years since I was a teenager, and I find, we, as parents have accepted that.  We have become very complacent in raising our kids. It's easy to let our kids live their social lives on line.  It's easier sometimes, when we are busy, to just let them be on their phones, devices, computers, gaming, texting, sending pictures, posting their lives, and we, are the least likely to know - because we are busy.  I will admit of being guilty of texting my children that dinner was ready, and then we all ate in the living room, staring at Dr. Phil, shaking our heads at the people on the tv screen, wondering how their life problems could have possibly come to fruition.

I said in the little diddy that I sprawled up on facebook while I was angry and looking for an outlet, "Stop ignoring how they are growing up while you are living your life".  That was a message to myself more than any other parent that happened to read my rage that day, and it has stuck in my soul, resonating with every single step forward I have forced.  You see, I like to be a present parent. I like to take part in my kid's lives.  I make a point of being active in their school lives, knowing their classes and teachers and homework.  I push to know their friends.  I prefer they hang out at my house with their friends.  I try to culture my children in events and with travel.  I try - and I try really hard.  BUT... "I am busy".  I am a full time mom, with a full time job.  On top of that, I am a hobby photographer, an author and an adventurer.  I am a partner, a friend, a daughter.  And I forgot, just for a moment how my kids were growing up in their lives while I lived mine.

And so my kid screwed up while I screwed up as a parent.  She got caught, and I got angry.  Okay, became a raging basket case, not sure if I was angrier or her or at myself.  I lectured and I spied.  I researched and I delved into phones, media and personal space.  I handed out punishment sure to leave a lasting impression on that teenage memory that seems like an old school chalk board at 4:30 in the afternoon - too easily wiped clean.  I information shared with many other parents, and hoped for the best.

Then, not entirely proudly, I became a hypocrite as I shared my experience on social media, and watched it go viral.  Don't get me wrong, the unity of parenthood and the community that came forward in support and opinion, even a few in judgement, was welcome for me as parent after parent found someone to relate to, someone to hold up their own experience next to and say - dear God, I am not the only one that screwed up!  But, here is where I say, don't ignore how they are growing up.  The fact is, our children are watching and learning from us.  We too, are a network of parents weaved into social media.  It brings us together just as much as it tears us apart - and they are watching.  We are busy - on our devices and our laptops and with our jobs and with our significant others, and with our families and - our children are watching.  They are watching us - so be careful with what you are busy with.  Be careful with your complacency.

Complacency: a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like.  

Sounds like common parenting.  The truth is, this complacency leads to havoc.  It's one trip, it's another fall, and soon the cliff is so high you can't see the ground through the forest.  It's here that we need to stop being too busy; it's here where need to prevent the fall.  For when they trip and fall where we fall harder.  Sometimes I wish they could see inside our crushing souls when they fall.  We hurt twice as much, we cry twice as hard, we bleed not our only our own blood but theirs as well - so they don't have to bleed anymore.  We just do, and then we say "what happened?"

My days now consist of not being too busy.  I am not so busy being busy that I don't take time to take a look around.  I am not too occupied to adjust my parenting to meet the demands of my children today.  I am no longer complacent with simple answers, or with texts, or phones at the table. I am no longer okay with sleepovers where I don't know the parents, nor am I alright with not knowing "that friend".  I am not trusting that my child is where they said they will be, or doing everything as I have taught them, making the right decisions.  I am no longer complacent - I am no longer conceding to the busy life.  I want to know my child, and I want to know they are smart, and willful, and kind, and safe.

I am abandoning my busy life, and I am taking back my parenting.  I am giving my children back their childhood by limiting our online life.  Not everything needs a text response, not every plan needs to be scheduled on a digital calendar.  I am not unrealistic - lets be serious.  No one in my house will be donning an Amish bonnet and riding a horse to school, but we will all sit down to dinner and talk about our days.  My children will trust that I will always keep them safe and teach them, and they can always trust that I will no longer be too busy.

The fact is... I was lucky this time. My complacency wasn't fatal.

Grateful... not complacent. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

One Story At A Time

A couple of days ago, I read about this project.  It turned into a book that I can't wait to read.  The premise of the project was asking people what their story is.  The book is a compilation of people's stories, in their own words and writing.  It's infected me.  I think about it all the time now.  If someone, today, were to randomly ask me "what's your story?", what would I say?

I know what I usually say, and I don't like it.  One of the first things people learn about me is that I am a divorced single mom, followed shortly by my divorce story.  Yuck.  And why?  Has my divorce defined me?  Certainly not.  Has it shaped me?  Sure.  It's molded who I didn't want to be any longer, and who I have become, but I am not my divorce.  Honestly, this may be the single most important thing I have realized all year (good thing it's only May!).   I am not my divorce.

Two days ago, I made a conscious decision to stop talking about it.  Not pretend it didn't happen, but not offer it up as pertinent information, because really, who cares?  I certainly don't.

So now I am left with the same question, "what's your story?", and I think about it alllllll the time now.  What are the things that I am made up of?  What are the things that someone would read and think to themselves "huh... I had no idea",  or maybe even "I love that about her".  This whole project has twisted my mind into thoughts, one after another, perspective to opinion, truth to heart.  I have leaned upon so many answers...

I was born to amazing parents who taught me the value of unconditional love.  

I have a sibling to whom I am a polar, absolute opposite, and it fascinates me that we came from the same parents. 

I have made a lot of mistakes in my life - in relationships, in parenting, in friendship, in decisions, but I am grateful for every single lesson that formed me into who I am right now. I am grateful for learning the value of gratitude. 

I am a truly good person, and I am blessed to have arrived at this destination despite some of my journey. 

I could truly do this all day long.  I have spent two days thinking about what I would want my story to read with no definitive direction.  Then I thought, while I sat here writing (finally), why does it have to be just one story?  Every single time I sit down and write, and sometimes, even when I don't, there's a story.  And maybe yesterday's story isn't today's story.  And maybe all of the stories make up our grande story.  So I decided to go easy on this ever debating mind inside my walls, and take it one story at a time.

What's my story today?

Today I woke up writing a story about stories in my head, determined to write it down.  I examined who I am and where I came from and analyzed all the parts that I thought were important, and ignored all the insignificant things, pushing back all of the things that I didn't want to tell the truth of my part in.  

I struggled going to my job knowing I have very little purpose there, wasting time to ensure a specific monetary value to my paycheck, but knowing the Universe has put me here to push me to make bigger decisions and affording me an opportunity should I decide to see it.  It's truly what gets me through my work days. 

I will come home tonight, and my son will ask me how my day was, and I will appreciate that he truly cares how my day was, and he will never pacify me with sugar coated responses and meaningless head nods.  He will truly listen to whatever I say, and hug me with such a force I think he might be trying to force me together, knowing how much I long to be "whole". And then, I will reciprocate the gesture in undivided attention.  

Tonight is my daughter's send off from grade nine and middle school.  I know I will fend off tears at seeing how grown up she is before her time while she stands in front of me, but shed them instead in a silent room, alone tonight.  I will think about her in that dress, in those shoes, and that piece of hair that always falls in her face, and I will remember fuzzy sleepers and baby giggles.  I will burst with pride and crush in pain of her being so independent and strong.  

I will fall asleep alone tonight, counting days until I no longer have to fall asleep alone.  

The rest of my life is just days away.  That is today's story.  It's a story of waiting, and watching what happens while I count down the days, remembering not to miss what's in front me while I am looking ahead.

I think every day, I may very well have the same thought - What's your story?

I just hope I have some more really good ones before the end of the book.

And Still, Life Moves Forward.

Well, it's happened.  I have moved my blog.  It's something I should have done years ago, but it was easier to just keep on the way it was.  But the thing is, all three of my blogs were attached to something I want no part of (it's funny how a simple email address can hold so much power).  For anyone looking for an old post, or still find yourself attached to reading it (thank goodness for all of you that do), you can still find them in the same spot:

However, the time has come for things that are new.  And so, here we are, at the beginning of something new, yet still in the middle of what was,  So in the newness of the familiarness, here we are, still moving forward.  

And this morning, I woke up writing. 

Stay tuned.