Moment of Truth

Sometimes I wish I could label myself with whatever mood I happen to be in on any given day or in any given moment, so that everyone can see. That way, I don’t have to pretend to be what I’m not. If I’m feeling crummy and I don’t want to deal with people, I don’t want to feign enthusiasm or be fake happy. Because sometimes, well, I’m not. Sometimes I’m irritated with life and exhausted from life and feeling scared and anxious and confused about life. Sometimes I’m angry. Sometimes I’m really, really angry. And I just want to give up because I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of explaining why sometimes I go off the deep end; why there are moments when I just totally shut down.

And I’m alone. I’m always alone, inside. I mean, obviously, but it’s the kind of alone that you feel when you’re with someone and without them; it just doesn’t go away. And I don’t know how to fix that.

I love with my whole heart, I know that. I strive to be genuine in all that I say and do. I’m loyal and dependable. And sometimes, I’m a bitch. Anyone who tries living with me could tell you that. My kids could certainly tell you that. Because, hands down, parenting is the hardest thing I’ve ever done and doing it alone just makes it all the more difficult. It tends to, you know, bring out the bitch in me. Lack of sleep, lack of sex, I don’t know. But at times, yeah, it gets me down. Too much to do for so many people. It probably doesn’t help that I manage people’s lives for a living. I am constantly juggling the needs and interests of others. Sometimes I want to put the balls down, but then I remember…

My children are the greatest thing I’ve ever done. I couldn’t be more proud to be their mother. They’ve been there for me as much as I’ve been there for them, always pulling me through the toughest of times; always forgiving me for all the ways that I fail them. Every day I wake up I get the chance to start anew. I get another chance to choose love over fear and anger. *breathe* I get the chance to tell them nicely for the 10th time to please do this or please do that…

…Not likely!! I am giving myself a break on that one!

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All The Love In My Life

This morning shortly after arriving to work I became fixated on something my 8-year old made for me when he was in preschool. To think that that was just over 3 years ago is bizarre. On the one hand it feels like just yesterday. But on the other it’s as though it were so long ago. Who I was then, where I was, what I was doing was completely different. And in that time my son has grown in so many of his own brilliant ways most assuredly.

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What the message reminds me of is a lesson I have found myself sharing with my son over and over and over again. Because yes, there are times when I’ll catch him feeling sorry for himself; he feels he’s been cheated out of something that someone else got and he didn’t. And what I’ll tell him is how important it is to focus on what he has instead of what he hasn’t got. It’s amazing to watch those little wheels turning inside his head as a shift in perspective begins to take place on his face and in the way he proceeds with his life. He moves on. He gets over it. He learns to appreciate what he already has instead of clinging to feelings of jealousy and insecurity. He remembers the love in his life.  (And the ice cream I just treated him to perhaps!)

There is something for me to take away from this, too. How often have I pined away for a love that couldn’t be reciprocated? How often have I wallowed in sorrow, loneliness, and discontent?  Or wondered why other people get to fall in love and live happily ever after and I don’t?  All the while forgetting–even deliberately–that I am already surrounded by so much love in my life.  And who am I to expect more than what is already given me?

Rules For Entering: A Mother’s Reflection On Matters Of The Heart

This morning before leaving for work I was struck by the sign on my 8-year old son’s bedroom door.  It was a list of “rules” for entering which you can see here:

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I thought it was a fine list of rules; he doesn’t seem to request anything of his bedroom guests that is too unreasonable.  Asking permission to enter, being kind, respecting his personal space, as well as his feelings and the times when he just needs to be alone… all good things.  What I was most intrigued by was the warning he attached below them: if you break the rules, you’re out.  No wavering, no mending, no talking about the problem. It’s a very move-along-and-don’t-let-the-door-hit-ya-on-the-way-out sort of mentality; Nihilist, even, black-and-white.  Fear ridden.  Destructive rather than constructive.

So while I was standing there reading the sign and having these thoughts I wondered, is that what my son has learned?  He’s seen me go through three relationships with men I invited into our home and our family yet who are no longer around, outside of his own father.  The other two just… disappeared.  Why?  Because they broke the rules, I guess.  And what were my rules?  Well, very similar to junior’s, actually:

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Seriously.  I asked for a donut.  Where the fuck is it?!  Right???  I think we all feel that way sometimes, or at least I have.  I just find it very interesting to see that feeling reflected here in my son’s rules for entering his room, his world, his life.  Poignant, symbolic, yes?  What I don’t know is how much of that is learned and how much of it is a natural part of being human and wanting to feel safe and cared for.  I guess if anyone regardless of their current situation or circumstances growing up can say that they would ask the same of anyone entering their haven, then we can all agree that these rules belong on every door to every heart.

Unfortunately, written within those rules there is nothing to be said of loving for the sake of loving; giving when you don’t want to give; learning what that feels like in the end.  Even though it’s challenging, there is no implication in such demands that believing the pain of loving without guarantee or restitution is worth it; there is no resolve to lead with love despite the fear of getting burned.

What do we do not only for the other person, but for ourselves when we allow someone in even when they’ve hurt us… upset us… didn’t deliver what we asked for?  I’m 34-years old and I’m still figuring this out; I suppose I can’t expect my 2nd grader to really grasp it yet.  But as his mother, his teacher, his guide, I see it as my job and my privilege to show him the power of love, forgiveness, and working through differences, even when someone we trusted enough to welcome into our lives has hurt us, gone against the rules.  We would all want someone to show up at our door bearing donuts, chocolate, and ice cream.  It’s just that, not all days are like that.  Some days it’s a pile of smelly trash, baggage you don’t care to deal with, and horse shit.

Busy Bodies

I hang up the phone after being told that she left this world peacefully about an hour ago.  Meanwhile, in my hands, are the gifts I meant to bring her, the cards I meant to send her.  She called a few weeks ago to tell me: no gifts, no cards this year.  I never returned her phone call.  In her message, she said a phone call would be better than a card.  I thought about calling her on Christmas.  I thought of her several times throughout the day.  But I knew I would have a hard time admitting to her (to anyone) that I was spending Christmas day alone.  And then I just got too busy… as usual.

It wasn’t until I got the message that it was time to say our last good-byes that I was willing to drop everything to go and be with her.  What if I had done that sooner?  She talked so often of having me and my kids over.  But either she would fall ill or I would forget because I was too damn… busy.

It isn’t right.  No one should keep themselves so busy that they can’t make time for friends and loved ones.  Time is precious and how much of it we have is completely unknown.  It’s like having a bank account that you continue to withdraw funds from, yet you have no idea when the money is going to run out.  In that situation, it seems obvious that we would spend it slowly, carefully, and with a conscious effort.  But we all rush around so fast, pretending our lives are going to last forever and that those we love and cherish will always be with us.  We waste so much time on things that simply do. not. matter.  Because nothing matters more than the people who give us a reason to live.

Pick up the phone.  Tell someone you love them.  When you see them, be sure to squeeze them tight.

Our bodies are but vessels for the pure being inside.  Without it, those now surrounding us feel far removed from us.  They are no longer confined to this world; they can travel the depths of space and time.

My intentions were good and my love for her runs deep.  I hope she feels that because these gifts in my hand are of no use to her now.

mother

everything you’re not
and that makes you bitter
but I will never blind my eyes
the way you do,
bind my heart the way you do;
I am not a quitter.
And those things that you say,
it’s a shame to let
such a beautiful heart go to waste.
It’s as if all your strength
has gone to me,
as you grow weary,
admit defeat;
a troubled mind seeking release
from the betrayal of our senses.
Seems all of this is relentless
and senseless.
When will you open your eyes?
When will you move beyond?
I know all you want
is a world in which you belong.
But that will never be the way to go about it.

Blow Your House Down

Some days are just more of the same. A repeat of yesterday’s troubles. The same challenges. The same let downs. The same uncertainty you can’t seem to sequester. Some days are so damn hard you can’t muster the strength to face the next one without a trace of apathy and misanthropy. Some days, most days lately, I wonder at the tragedy of it all. I wonder how it is that anyone could ever feel hopeful about the world. Not when life for so many is at the expense of someone else’s happiness. Not when the choices some people make are motivated by fear and hatred. And not when all that fear and all that anger hits so close to home. Right in your home. It is then when you can feel the walls splintering all that surrounds you, the air twisting and twirling every last bit of innocence into oblivion. It is then when you just wish the world would stop. Disappear. Fade away to nothing, along with everything but what you know of love. Not what has merely disguised itself as love. But, rather, pure love.

And this I have known only with my kids. They are everything to me and I will stop at nothing to protect them. I recognize a wolf when I see one and I’ve even been forced to share a roof with some. No huffing and puffing required. These wolves have just walked right in, done as they pleased, and stolen what wasn’t theirs for the taking. Those evil, self-serving bastards. What right do they have to lure away someone else’s innocence? What right have they to convince a child to do grown up things while cloaked in sheepskin? If, by some miracle, there is a firey pit called hell where transgressors go to be punished once they leave this world, it would please me to know that these miscreants, members of my own family, will be getting what they deserve. And if, more than likely in my opinion, such a place does not exist, then I do like to think that the Universe has a way of evening the score while teaching us all the lessons we’ve yet to master. Sometimes I think sudden death would be the best anecdote yet for such troubled individuals. What purpose have they in this world anyway? Could any of the good they do possibly outweigh all of the harmful, despicable things they do too? Furthermore, how is it possible that I could be related to such scum of the Earth? People who could even think about taking advantage of a child and using them to fulfill some perverse fantasy. What the fuck is wrong with the world that this could even be a reality? And why must I be a part of it?

I guess I’m just feeling a little unsettled about things today.

Not by Chance, but by Love

This evening I was sitting and chatting with my son, who is 6-years old. He was counting all of my moles and decided that I must have over a hundred. Then he told me about all six of his, the “cutest” one being on his pinky finger. I insisted that the one on his face right below his left eye is my personal favorite. Then I asked him how he got to be so cute. He pointed at me, explaining that I’m the reason he’s so adorable. That makes sense, I agreed, “I did, after all, make you.” Holy shit! I then reflected. I made him!! That shit is crazy! (Not that I wasn’t already aware of this.) He’s so big and so smart and so delightful and fun. And I’m responsible for bringing all of that into the world. I’ve always wanted to make the world a better place. And through my children, I already have. They certainly make my world much more fulfilling and enjoyable. I can’t imagine life without them. So here’s a little story of how their journey into this chaotic world began.

Their dad and I met when we were in the 8th grade. I was 13-years old. I can remember the first day I ever laid eyes on him. We were in the same science class together with Mr. E. It sounds unbelievable, I’m sure, to anyone who’s never experienced anything like this, but it was in that moment that I heard a calm, low voice say, “That’s the man you’re going to marry”. I wasn’t entirely convinced at the time. I mean, what the hell did I know?!  We were YEARS away from being at that point in our lives and plus I didn’t even know the kid!  But as time went on and I did begin to get acquainted with him, I fell pretty hard for the jock who managed to go for a nerd like me.

Throughout high school and then college we went on to have our share of ups and downs. I can’t tell you how many times I broke up with him.  I would often fall for other guys because I didn’t feel like he understood me. But then, we were so young, I think I was also still trying to understand myself.  He was jealous and insecure, which I thought was just an implication of how much he really loved me (wrong). And so I’d go back to him, assured that no one else could love me the way he did (again, wrong). Because here’s what I learned 16 years later: we were both perhaps too young and dumb to know what true love is all about.

When it comes to true love, the kind that is deep and eternal, you have to be willing and able to see your partner for all that they are and embrace them, flaws and all.  You also have to be willing to be honest and able to grow together.  While I did go on to marry the boy I met that day in the 8th grade, after all our years together, he never really seemed to take the time to get to know me fully.  He wasn’t interested in the totality of me, just the parts of me he approved of, denying that there was so much more below the surface incomprehensible to his depthless mind.  But I could not be who he wanted me to be and he couldn’t be anything more than who he was.

So alas, after 7 years, our marriage met its end. But not before creating two beautiful children who have convinced me that destiny is, in fact, what brought their father and I together. Because were it not for him and all of the choices and strong emotional ties that kept bringing us back together, our children wouldn’t be here. We made them, but it feels more like they were made for me. I don’t know if the voice I heard was “real”, meaning that it came from an alternate source. But I do know how real it felt. I’m not sure whether our love was ever real, meaning void of ego, but surely we had our moments. One thing I do know is how real my love is for my kids and how incredibly lucky I am to be able to say that I’m their mom and yes, I made them.