Wednesday, February 25, 2009

comfortable shoes

It is a cool day a little gray but it has the promise of spring in it. I can see pink blossoms on the tree's that line the street where I work, they smell like corn masa and apricots. I love spring...but it is also filled with memories of a girl I love that I can't bring home cherry blossom covered branches for. She would love this morning, a trip to the Asian bakery for a sweet bun sticky with custard and coconut, a morning swim in a warm pool, online shopping for cute and unusual things to fill the store with.

This is a good life. Noah is healthy and strong, Aly is happy with her job and hoping to buy a new car. Steve is less angry that his life isn't exactly how he thinks it should be. I am here, working, making art, writing and watching tree's blossom.

It is also a lonely life. I have new and wonderful friends but my best one, my favorite one isn't here. I meditated this morning asked the universe why this has to be so hard, so heart breaking and it replied softy "it just is" If I listened a little harder I might have heard it say that it was all going to be just as it should be and to stop living in the heart breaking moments.

Paris is four weeks away. I still do not know how to count in French which is what I thought should be the bare minimum. I bought some t-shirts, a new pair of jeans and some walking shoes for trip. I won't be fashionable but I will be comfortable. I also need to travel light, I hate being a slave to luggage.

This is a big adventure for me not unlike the blossoms on the tree's. It is the beginning of something...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Doors close
Windows Open

I feel surrounded by love today.
I am blessed to know incredible people who took time out of their day to send comments of love, support and comfort.

I am fine.

When I am confused and frustrate, angry or sad, I bake. I am not good at it, my cousin Kelly is the baker in our family but I get by. I made delicate sugar cookies this morning iced with pale pink frosting and tiny white sprinkles. The flower cookie cutter I used was Stevie's and I know she would have LOVED these sweeties.

Yesterday I made peanut butter cookies. I like mine a little bit crunchy and dry. I use whole roasted peanuts, brown sugar and really good vanilla.

Yes, I ate them all.

My Sarah will be running the Paris Marathon in April. She and her husband recently separated and will be divorcing. She asked if I would go with her to France and be there for her at the finish line and I said yes without even thinking. How can you say no to Paris in the spring. I have a little money saved and I got a very, very good deal on my ticket. We will be sharing expenses and traveling like bohemians. Our one luxury will be the tiny apartment we are renting for the days of the race. The elevator in the building is broken, and our room is on the fifth floor so we got it half price. It is still astronomical as far as I am concerned but it is going to be dreamy I just know it.

No, I will not be running.

I do not drink red wine, I hate goat cheese and I am a vegetarian. It will be a bit of a challenge to get the French to like a Canadian (tee-hee-hee) like me. I am sure there will be plenty of pastries to keep my belly full.

I need this trip. It will be my first time away from my little guy for such a long period of time. I am having anxiety just thinking of the distance but I know he will be Ok. I plan to bring him puppets, chocolate, and rocks from France.

I will bring something of Stevie's to bury. I plan to take her everywhere I go and leave little bits of her all over the world.

I asked her to send a meteor shaped like a heart to let me know she is still alive, somewhere I am not meant to travel yet. I am waiting to see what unravels. I don't want anyone to get hurt or anything to get damaged, a giant hole in the backyard will be fine.

The shop is doing well. I am not rolling in money but there is always enough to keep it going. I am very proud of what I have created...The art, my children, the book, the store. I am blessed.

I am holding my head high, standing close to that open window letting it all in.

(T-I am here for you, we still share the same life-boat)

Monday, February 16, 2009

It is over.

After a very long and stormy marriage my husband has asked for a divorce.
It isn't a surprise.
I find the timing disturbing but this is how my husband is. He likes to make things harder, maybe he thinks it builds character, maybe it does but I don't feel like thanking him for it.

I find it ugly that he has been so emotionally needy. In some ways he is very generous and in some ways he is very selfish.

I find it ugly that I have been so angry at him. Inside me I feel like there was good reason but from a few steps away I just look mean.

He was actually a very good friend a long, long time ago when I was very young and it was appropriate to be silly and irresponsible. I thought he understood me, I thought we had a whole lot in common. I changed, I grew up, I became this person lugging around a whole life. He is the same.

So much time has passed and he has risen to the occasion on occasion and he has failed miserably a time or two. I am sure the same can be said for me.

I feel let down by him. Maybe it was never his fault but it sure hurt like it.

Is this Karma?

The only unconditional love I have ever experienced in almost 44 years came from my children. Aly might roll her eyes at that statement because she sure isn't feeling love for me right now but I know that there 's a little storm inside of her that only time and perspective can calm.

I told my husband that I didn't want anything. Child support seems appropriate but everything else he can have. It will be very hard to leave a house that I created, the walls I painted over and over, the kitchen I helped build, the floors I laid plank by plank while I cried because I was missing Stevie. It will be hard to leave a garden I created, my great-grandmothers rosemary, the memories of Easter egg hunts and Christmas.

The hardest thing to leave behind is Stevie's room...the last place she was herself, the trees on the walls I put up while she still had one good eye and could see. The closet that is still bubble gum pink and has little mermaid stickers. There is a spot on the wallpaper where the contents of her feeding tube splattered after a pretty unfortunate plunger incident. It is still there, bits of her on the wall. I know it sounds gross but it is what I have.

I told him I wouldn't take a thing because he made it clear that he felt responsible for me and didn't want that responsibility. He told me it wasn't fair that he worked and paid the bills and got nothing back. When I told him I would give it all to him he told me it was self flagellation and I was doing it only to get sympathy.

It feels like my husband is more worried about people feeling sorry for me than he is about what is really happening. He needs to be the victim in all this...he needs someone to feel sorry for him, to make him feel better. Don't feel sorry for me, I have what I need; self respect, strength, determination, and the next half of my life waiting to be lived

I don't begrudge him a new beginning with someone who isn't dragging around the memories I am. I want him to be happy but I want to have a little peace myself. I am not sure he will allow it. Sometimes when you are hurting you think that hurting someone else will make it feel better.

I am all outside myself. I am a woman so I express myself with words and magnified emotion. I say what I feel, and I tell the truth. It makes seem hard because my internal filters are not what they should be. I can be loud and opinionated when it is something I believe in. I think decorating what you think and feel is confusing. I love with all that I am and I fight hard for what I believe in and who I love. I am not delicate and I have a terrible temper. If I were a dog, I think someone would have shot me by now.

Steve is inside. He doesn't always say what he means so it is hard to know what he is really feeling. He pontificates. He likes to believe he is rational and reasonable. What is inside of him is not what usually comes out of him. This makes him angry because he can't understand why I question his motives. Most of my arguments with him start with "But you said..." His replies are always "But I meant..."

I know he loves me but in my darkest hours he has not been able to reach me. I don't understand why. I also don't understand why he takes the most difficult moments in my life and makes them harder. Why he feels so abandoned when I am happy.

It isn't intentional, he isn't that way. Most of the things he does that hurt me he doesn't even realize until the damage has been done. He is not a person who will apologize and make it better. He knows how to say he is sorry but only after it has been dragged out of him and replayed over and over. It makes me tired, and I can never find closure.

It might be me, maybe I expect too much. I understand that feeling when you have done something that you know has hurt another person and that person confronts you. Your eyelids get heavy, your heart starts to pound and you want to run away from it, pretend it didn't happen, wish it gone. I also know you have to swallow your shame and embarrassment and apologize with that beating heart and try to make it right.

I am not sure what you are suppose to do when you know you hurt someone but you did what you did because that person was hurting you...

I did something really awful to my husband many, many years ago. It went against who I was and what I believed in. I felt at the time that he deserved it, that I was evening a score. The funny thing is that instead of the pain and anger getting smaller it actually expanded.

I apologized and did everything I could to make it right. I earned his trust back because I was sorry with all of me. The words were not as important as the actions. Actions are everything, we are beings who need our five senses engaged in order to understand and believe. It felt like he forgave me, and it felt like I earned that forgiveness.

He tells me that I am a mean person, Aly backs him up...They tell me the reason no one else finds me mean is because they do not know me. My eyelids are heavy, my heart is pounding, and I want it to go away but I know I have to make it right, this time I just don't know how.

When I let Stevie go, I let a part of myself go. I didn't want her to be alone so I sent the best parts of me with her. What is here has to be rebuilt and I am doing that. There isn't much to work with and I am keeping what there is for me.

My whole life has been spent giving to other people, taking care of the messy things. My jobs have always been to comfort the sick, clean up blood, vomit, shit. Children are kinda the same, skinned knees, runny noses, barf bowls, poopy diapers. I am not complaining I loved my job and I love, love, love my children. I have spent 25 years of my life cleaning up messes, taking care of people, and in the process I forgot to take care of me.

I suppose a perfect person could be a loving wife and make positive life changes at the same time but I can't. I suppose a perfect person could be a patient husband and give his wife room to heal and grow, this new person might be incredible, but he can't.

Steve deserves more. I think he deserves a wife that never needs this moment, who can give and give and give. A wife who doesn't complain, who is needy enough to make him feel strong but strong enough to put herself neatly away when he needs to do what ever it is he needs to do.
He needs a house without children, a house without the heavy memory of a dead child, the remote to himself, sex when ever he wants it. He needs to be able to live his life to the fullest and have a partner who will stand quietly next to him, who adores him.

Steve has never liked the messy parts and he doesn't know how to be in a painful moment with someone. This doesn't make him a bad person. He tries but it isn't his nature. I am the opposite I am drawn to it, it finds me. I may not be good at it but it is my nature.

I read that this is midlife. Even if Stevie was still here Steve and I would still be here in this moment. Me changing, him not understanding. Dr.Northrup says that woman change in midlife dramatically, what they need and what they are willing to give are not the same anymore. A long time ago a woman in midlife was considered half dead, dried up, going down hill. Now women in midlife are changing careers, finding new partners, adopting children, building dreams.

I am not doing anything that adventurous I am just trying to finally get right with myself. I have neglected me for a very long time. It felt selfish and what I had to give I gave to my family. I am still giving just not in the same ways.

The house isn't spotless, Noah has to grow noticeably out of his pants before I think to take him shopping. I don't spend time at his school, I don't cook as much as I use to. I don't spend days trying to figure out how to fix my marriage, I don't feel guilty because I am not the wife my husband wants me to be. I gave my a part of my house to myself, I started a business, I wrote a book, I made a list of things I want to accomplish before I leave this planet and I am finally going to Europe.

In the process I pushed my husband away. I pushed because I am afraid he will turn me back into that other person and I will slip out of this new life and back into the old one where there is too much missing and too much hurts.

I spent the last two days in that vortex, trying to keep my family together but trying to be heard. I did all the talking, yelling and crying but he still didn't hear me.

He wants me but he doesn't want to do the work to find me.

He tells me I give him nothing, I have given him my whole life.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Being a parent

I am not sure this is the right place for this but damn do I need to unload this frustration.
This is about being a parent.

I am not an expert. I have given birth to three children all under different circumstances. My first child was concieved when I was very young, I knew I wanted her, never a doubt. I was too young to have a child but I lived on my own, supported myself with a decent job. I was afraid, at the time that fear made me feel inadequate but now I realize that the fear I had was maturity, I didn't take my situation lightly. I understood what an awesome responsibility a child would be.

I didn't set out to get pregnant I was just young and experiencing sex for the first time. My boyfriend at the time was much older than me and assumed I had the birth control figured out. I married him and after 26 years I am still married to him.

When Aly was born I changed, I became a person outside of myself. I had never known such love, I felt like a super hero.

When we were ready to buy our first house I decided that it was time to give Aly a sibling. My husband disagreed. He didn't want more children. I on the other hand wanted a house full. I wanted six. I imagined a table full of kids eating spaghetti, laughing, sharing stories. I imagined pajamas, trips to the grocery with a line of kids holding hands. I dreamed of backpacks, and bath time. I fantasized that I would be Wendy and tell bedtime stories to a room full of pink cheeked children who adored me and whom I loved with all that I was.

I had a second child but only because my husband had decided two was it and I would have to get the above mentioned fantasy out of my head. I didn't get it out of my head, it is still there, always has been and it has been one of those things that hurts to think about.

Maybe it isn't practical, maybe it isn't fair to children to have to share so many siblings with so few parents. I know that financially it isn't easy and emotionally I would be drained, my whole life would be about raising kids, cooking, doing laundry and running around dropping off and picking up. It was anyway...

It took me twelve years, many fights, many tears, and my husband getting a job that he loved to convince him to let me have my third child. Six weeks later he got a vasectomy. Six years later my youngest daughter died.

My family is even smaller.

I enjoy being a mom. I also enjoy bitching about no sleep, a car that smells like pee, no time alone, days without showers, money woes and play-dough you can't get out of the carpet. For me it is a whole experience. I am not a great mom, I don't spend my days at the school, my kids spent the first year of their life in diapers and not much else, I let them sleep in my bed as long as they wanted, I told them fairies and ghosts were real, Santa was not, and let them eat chocolate cake for breakfast.

I took baths with them, made clothes for barbies, let them run in the sprinklers naked, danced with them in the living room, yelled at them way too much, never ever spanked them, didn't let them drink soda but let them stay home from school when they felt like they needed a break.

I could have been a better mom but I kinda like the mom that I am. I am the mom I wish I had.
I am unconditional and I love my children more than I love anyone or anything else. They come first in my heart and in my life.

There is a woman who has six children, and now has eight more. She is not married, does not have a job, lives with her parents, and a nanny to take care of her children while she goes to school. All of her children were born using in-vitro fertilization. She is all over the news being offered book deals, movie deals, free products and is even being viewed as a victim because her last eight children were the result of eight embryos implanted at the same time.

(Aly's remark as to this woman being a victim is "so she went to the fertility doctor because she had a headache?")
This is a train wreck. Her mother is quoted saying "She has always wanted children since she was a teenager"

I get wanting children, I get wanting a big family. What I don't get is breeding without the ability to care for all the children you bring into the world. We see this all over the world were birth control is not available, were there isn't enough education, were socio-economics effects judgement.

This woman is training to be a therapist?

I feel she has blurred the line between a love for children and neglect. I don't know her and what I know about her story is what the media has leaked and what her friends and family have revealed.

Who will take care of all these children? Who will pay for special services, food, clothing, dental and medical bills. How can a single woman who can not even support herself take care of all these babies?

I also want to know how she could afford all the fertility treatment. I have friends who both have good jobs and health insurance but could not afford in-vitro because of the cost. Their medical insurance wouldn't cover it and it was incredibly expensive. They have no children, instead they have become extra parents for all of our children sharing our experiences and holding our hands through the hard times.

A friend of mine told this woman is not so different than Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Part of me wanted to slap myself for forgiving the rich and beautiful but berating the poor. The difference is that The Pitt family does have the resources, they also adopt children who need homes and families. They can take care of these kids and they are not asking anyone else to do it for them. They also give so much to charities that help feed and house children and families.

I am not saying only the wealthy should be allowed large families. What I am saying is that you should be able to care for the children you bring into your life. I am all about hand-me-downs, and a grocery budget. There is nothing wrong with little kids sharing a bed and toys. But fourteen children, eight of the same age, no income, no home, no partner? I understand her support system is her parents. They have been helping her but her mother is quoted as saying that she feels obligated to the children to help, and not happy with her daughters choice to bring so many children into the world.

It seems irresponsible and unfair and Maybe I am bitter because she has that big family, maybe it hurts that I lose a child and she gives birth to eight... Maybe it sucks a little that a woman who lives in ghetto with all five of her children is called a "Welfare Queen" and this woman is being offered free diapers and a book deal.

Is it me?

A parent is not a person who gives birth to children. A parent is a person who chooses to be responsible for another human being. My friends who do not have children are the best parents I know. They love unconditionally, share what they have without any reservation, give because they love to, and have walked with all of us through our lives asking for nothing in return.

I am sad about this imbalance.

I still want my big family but I am going to have to make a big family out of the people who love me and who I love. I am going to fill my kitchen table and leave an empty chair and plate for the child who should be there but has to live in heaven instead.

Monday, February 2, 2009

I'll be the grapes fermented,
Bottled and served with the table set in my finest suit
Like a perfect gentlemen
I'll be the fire escape that's bolted to the ancient brick
Where you will sit and contemplate your day

I'll be the water wings that save you if you start drowning
In an open tab when your judgement's on the brink
I'll be the phonograph that plays your favorite
Albums back as your lying there drifting off to sleep...
I'll be the platform shoes and undo what heredity's done to you...
You won't have to strain to look into my eyes
I'll be your winter coat buttoned and zipped straight to the throat
With the collar up so you won't catch a cold

I want to take you far from the cynics int his town
And kiss you on the mouth
We'll cut out bodies free from the tethers of this scene,
Start a brand new colony
Where everything will change,
We'll give ourselves new names (identities erased)
The sun will hear the grounds
Under our bare feet in this brand new colony
Everything will change, oOo oOo...

These are the lyrics to Brand New Colony by The Postal Service.

It was a song off of an album that I bought Stevie while we were living in Atherton. It was an album I would have never listened to on my own but Gibbard was one of Stevie's crushes. I found the album by accident and bought it on a whim hoping she would like it and she did. We played it in the car almost everyday.

Every song on this album squeezes my heart and the songs find me where ever I go.

Last week I had part of this song stuck in my head and could not remember who sang it or what it was called and I finally found it.

How can one person love another person so completely...even when they don't have cheeks to kiss, hands to hold or eyes to look into anymore?

This is the kind of love that makes you never want to love again because the loss of it is...there are no words, if there was a word it wouldn't be used often, it would be sacred.

A brand new colony, I guess she started without me.

If you want to listen: