Thursday, December 26, 2013

merry christmas!

happy Christmas everyone! what a roller coaster ride!!!

we slaved over the cookie baking on Christmas eve, gave a bunch to all of our neighbors and big sister's two besties who helped make them... later i took them to the candlelight Christmas eve service, so we didn't get to bed until 10pm--and then santa waited to deliver after they went to bed.

Christmas day, before the sun came up, someone tiptoed in and stood next to my face in the darkness.

big sister: 'is it time to open presents yet?"

me: 'no!"

her: 'when is it time?"

me: "not for al ong time! when the sun comes up! get into bed and let your sister sleep in!" <pat bed, she crawls in>

five minutes later, i crack my eye open, and see her sitting up, leaning against the pillows, eyes wide open, waiting. heart melts.

me: 'why don't you run downstairs and see if santa came, honey, and come back up and tell me."

her: <air zipping by as she disappears in a flash><thudding on the stairs downstairs and then up the stairs>

her: he came! mommy, he came! i saw two horseys!!!!! one for me and one for <lil sis>!

me: okay! i'm up! get your sister up and we can go downstairs.

lots of laughing and "thank you santa!"s ensuing.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

the search for a better life (job)

About two months ago I put something in motion.  Having the gnawing instinctual whispering that this new job that I’ve been blessed with was not the best decision for me, I decided to reapply for my former position.
I had the interview yesterday and all signs look like they are very interested in re-hiring me.  Which is amazing!  Good!  Lovely!  Truly!

And i’m suddenly racked with guilt and anxiety.  Because...the past month or so I’ve been making headway with some of the more challenging parts of this job—feeling isolated, concerned about a staff member’s behavior, feeling less than confident in my abilities.  I’ve been able to forge relationships with key players in our organization, I had a meeting with the staff member regarding the behavior and addressed it, honed some of the skills where I I thought I was lacking, and even attended a few holiday parties, rubbing elbows with more key players, which felt genuine, pleasant and nice. 

I went to see my shrink about it and she told me—if you were a man, you wouldn’t even think twice.  Is that true?  Do we women take more responsibility than needed?  I know that’s a broad statement.  I think it’s anxiety that I’m letting people down if I leave.  I am second guessing myself that maybe I didn’t give it enough time here.  (My shrink says 6-8 months is enough time).  I think it’s also fear that I won’t succeed if accepted back into my new job.  I need to get out of my over-anxious head and just deal with it.  Deal with it!  I put these steps into motion and if they hire me back, I will accept.  I will put in my two weeks notice and take some time off to rest and do nothing and recuperate.  I’ve never really had a chance to recuperate from the craziness of this terrible divorce.

And if they don’t hire me, then I will know that it’s not meant to be.  And addressing some of the things here that I did address—it will always be part of my experience—I can always know I did my best and can make the best of it.

I remember when I interviewed for my current position, I was in the blessed and thankful place of not needing a job, of having nothing to lose.  And when I was offered the job—my very first gut instinct was to NOT accept it.  It took a week end of convincing myself it was the right thing to do—a door opened, I should walk through it, it means better security for my children, it’s a sign, after all the terrible things I had gone through, a better financial opportunity was the way to go.

And now it’s turning out that maybe it wasn’t.  Or...maybe I had to go away to understand the impact of my former job and truly value the environment that I had before. 

My good friend asked me—what does your heart say?  I didn’t have an answer, but when I went to my interview yesterday, it felt like going home.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

crocodile clouds and memory musing

Baby sister told me that the clouds look like a crocodile on the way to work today.  I looked up into the sky and saw that indeed, a giant crocodile mouth was etched in the sky, jaws ready for a giant <snap>.  I hope I remember how serious she looked at me when she said this, almost clinical—like what she was saying was a material fact in a legal proceeding.  I can see her face in my mind’s eye as I write this—and realized that I had almost forgotten all about it, until I set my thoughts to the keyboard just now.

Prior to the crocodile sighting, the sky was dark, we leave in darkness these days, and dropping off big sister first at school before climbing the mountain into town--big sister gave her baby sister a kiss before heading into school.  Then baby sister cried because she told me she didn’t "feel" sister's kiss—and she wanted another one.  Big sis then blew a kiss and off she went to go inside the school (which ended up not being good enough, little sis crying for a good five minutes as we drove off into the darkness). 

Will the girls remember these moments?  Of bonding and yearning for closeness? Will these moments knit their hearts and lives together?  I hope that adolescence doesn’t rob them of their closeness, their depending on each other, their simple assumption that sisters mean they are always orbiting in the same solar system.  Long after I have left this planet, I hope that I can smile down on them from heaven and see them loving each other still.

I know sometimes i get frustrated by the day-to-day pressures of parenting, that after the hurried pick up and clean up and homework and dinner ready, clean up again, bath time, story time, bed time, prayer time, that i’m ready to fall into my bed exhausted.  Yet, there are moments in the chaos, moments of calm, even delight, the simple pleasure they take in turning on the christmas tree lights, of slowly choosing a cd with christmas songs and picking their favorite one.  Of singing along to Rudolph the Red-Nosed reindeer, which little sis can do all on her own now...of accompanying me outside so I can dump our garbage in the bin, but on the way, oohing and aahing at all the new christmas lights our neighbors have put up, twinkling brightly against the darkness, because now that the sun sets so early.  Fighting over whose turn it is to check the mail and who gets to hold the letters.  Such small gestures and tiny actions in a world so much larger than our humble story...i just hope they remember them—or at least retain flashes of what we do together.  Helping me make the pumpkin pie—big sister carefully cracking the eggs, little sister asking to stir it all up.  Proudly giving one of our pumpkin pies to our neighbor whose husband has been in the hospital for the last six months.  Learning a Christmas craft with our neighbor across the street, Aunty P., who they adore.  Will these moments reside in their hearts and their minds, a memory planted so that one day, years from now, when they think about the holidays, they will remember feeling happy and laughing and being silly and wistful and excited? 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

writing as healing

In my former life, I was a writer.  I suppose I should say that I am a writer, but the words have been buried for a while.  When I would write a character or a story, it sometimes felt like an invisible shield separated me from the words I was writing.  This shield prohibited me from hearing what they heard, from seeing what they saw, from sensing their touch, from being scared with their fears, holding their hopes, fighting their fights, it was like a thick pane of glass would forever separate me from the feelings I wanted to feel.

So I returned to the world of blogging.  I had one that showed my real life, included pictures of what I was doing, transparent, except for hiding some of the awfulness of what was happening to us.  Because it was for ‘the world,’ so I wanted to show ‘the world’ that my life was fine.  That my kids and I—we were okay.  But that was another shield, because it shielded me from accepting some hard truths about our lives.  There would be posts about family day at the beach or going to the zoo.  But there were never posts about choking the dog and throwing him up against the wall.

Someone once said truth is stranger than fiction, and I believe it.  So writing here, even though I don’t have pictures or reveal my name out of cautiousness—it still frees me to write freely about everything.  It helps me feel the feelings, keeps them close, the happiness or sadness or fear or comfort.  Writing it down keeps them at my fingertips.

I once was so afraid I couldn’t sleep.  Every night I would wake up at 2:00am, my mind racing with the things I had to do, take care of, shield myself from.  It was like that for a year, I know it was from stress, residual stress from the divorce.

I tried western medicine, the usual suspects, trazadone, ambien, lunesta.  The trazodone didn’t work, the ambien did, but I didn’t dream, which was really weird, the lunesta made me feel hung over and left a terrible taste in my mouth.  I then went to a naturopath and after three months, I think the herbal medicines might finally be working.  So these days, I have started to sleep again.  I still have wakings, but they are brief, my eyelids heavy, my thoughts like warm molasses ready to slip back into dream world.  I hope this lasts. 

Another aspect to this is—my stress level has decreased rapidly.  The trial is over.  Yes there are residual messages and nastiness to attend to when he emails me long diatribe letters, but they are much better than what they used to be.  And there’s no more court.  And my girls—they are doing so good in our new life, loving their friends, playing at school, active in their extracurricular activities.  We have decorated our tree—well, they did, i only did the lights, we are planning to bake cookies for santa and cakes for our neighbors.  So thankful to be in this good place of late.

And so it’s true I’ve felt a lot more peaceful lately.  I have embraced a new love in my life, treading carefully where my children are concerned, treading carefully to be sure that the kindness and love offered so generously to me is real, evidenced by actions and behavior, and not just words.  There is no ‘some day’ there is just today.  He shows me kindness and generosity and love today and yesterday and so the promise of tomorrow is based on real life data.  Not to sound clinical, but I think it’s okay to be a little clinical given all that we’ve been through.  My heart has awakened and it does feel whole and full.

I hope that somehow, someway, I might find my way back to writing fiction again, to feel immersed in a story like I used to.  To feel that their words are mine and theirs at the same time.  I know the words I’ve just written are mine, and I know what it feels to feel them. 

Happy Holidays and I’m hopeful, more hopeful than I’ve been in a long time. <3 <3 <3