Double Digits

The evening of September 12th 2002 around 9:2o pm I met my daughter for the first time.  Since that time I’ve been a student of  joy, compassion, humor, honor, humility, patience, and above all love.   The past decade of my life has been filled with gods light, and her presence in our lives continues to make us better people for having known her.

Happy Tenth Birthday Manon.  You truly are a gift to the world and I am honored to be your mother.

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If There Be Dragons Part 2

Rumi said that the origin of the wound is where the light gets in…..

Yet before it does, the darkness will always have it’s way with you.  To really know the difference means that each must have a waltz on your dance card. To dance with the devil was an experience I will never forget.

Initially the darkness came for me in the form of all things dangerous and destructive. Life suddenly felt better with wild and reckless company.  I  felt the sweet surrender as I let it have its way with me on it’s canyons edge taking me further and further from the terrain of hyper vigilance and overly capable.   It made me feel powerful to rebel against life’s constricting rules and unpredictable atmosphere and finally I stood in the face of all that I could not fix and jumped from it’s spring board as I took a full beautiful arching swan dive over it’s deep dark end.

It felt good to stop caring who I was hurting and how often I was doing it- it was a relief to plunge into the body of  indifference and finally escape the cloying, choking , trapped feeling that held me suspended between two worlds in which my opposing parents each stood, heels firmly dug pulling me in opposite directions like an under-dried wish bone .  The love I had for each of them had turned to a black unrelenting fear in the impossibility of not hurting one or the other and rather than face that end I turned inward until I could stand the agony no more.  My own fury and fear unleashed a path of chaos and destruction that blazed toward epic proportions as my inner inferno combusted from my own sense of helplessness and self loathing.

As I look back now I realize that I’d checked out long before my teenage years but had never had any wisdom or perspective to be able to understand that this is what I had done.  Even in elementary school I was always “distracted” and “If Monica would only apply herself..” but the truth is evident now as mother to my own girl child who holds an eerie resemblance to my former self in looks and in spirit.

At her age, I was simply too busy trying to put the pieces of my home and family life together to have the stamina for anything that seemed less important. The history of my own legacy seemed far more urgent in nature than something that happened in world history.  Textbooks seemed so factual and precise… and offered less stimulation than my heightened senses allowed for.  “Is everything all right at home ?” I remembered Miss Crysta asking when I was in the second grade as I sat frozen in place absorbed in some far away land as my classmates filed out for recess.  I had no idea at that time what was even wrong with me except that I was kind of thick apparently – my grades said so anyway.

After I joined Al-Anon later in my late thirties I learned about those roles that adult children of alcoholics play inside the home.  I sat in shock as I listened to the participants describe my life.  I’d felt like an alien on a strange planet who’d finally been reunited with it’s species. Kids in these situations will become the caretakers, the pack mules and the sentry for the events and situations that take place in an effort to survive and make sense of the pain and confusion. They will assume the roles of little adults who work overtime to keep the peace, distract, entertain. Tap dancing through the wreckage as the the tension continued to grow –  it’s equilibrium so delicate it teetered dangerously in this fragile pressure vortex that felt a lot like a balloon at overcapacity for more air intake….

****POP!!!*****

As I danced cheek to cheek with the darkness we shagged and tangoed with abandoned over ballon covered ballroom floor empty of eager party goers popping everything in our devastating wake.  BLAM!! BLAM !!BLAM!!! – I crashed his porsche, I smashed her things, I cursed and hurled and defied and howled.  I beat my sister, I stole from stores. I lied, I drank and I snorted. Even as I sat at the police station (again) waiting for my Dad to come and pick me up I steeled myself for his look of disappointment knowing that this fate was far better than the one that would have rendered our relationship extinct. I would rather die.

At the height of my performance as the anti-christ he was diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer.  Our house seemed to heave a great sigh of relief as each side on enemy lines put down their weapons of mass destruction and began the peace treaty that all of us would sign.  There was still time to rebuild the city and restore the burnt out buildings and they did their best to mend the catastrophic woundings that took place there over the past five years in the name of progress.    There would finally be an end to the madness,  but it happen only after months of steady downward prognosis , grimaces of pain on progressively brittle bones as the cancer spread, and ineffective medical procedures to contain it.

The compromise was cuddled at home in a hospice bed centered in his favorite room, surrounded by his all of his leather bound books and his classical music collection. My mother was never far and most often curled by his side as she swept his hair over his still handsome irish brow with her soft forgiving hands, while murmuring nothings to his neck as we gathered on surrounding couches and armchairs shifting with the discomfort of their newborn intimacy.  Adagio for Strings would play along with classical pieces that met my fathers mood as his graceful surgeons fingers composed his opus on octaves outside our range. He died at age Seventy,  September 28th.  I would be turning twenty one.

Life is a paradox… filled with opposites and contrasts and events that must be gathered to each of us in our own time. As mortal humans we gather their confusing  straggling pieces to our chest  like a burdensome laundry pile one struggles to contain as it’s carried up the narrow dark cellar stairs only to realize that each sock that once had its match is now somehow,  mysteriously and maddeningly missing.  By the time the next pile is dirtied enough for that new lightening and brightening formula it’s formerly unavailable partner shows up out of nowhere like a long lost lover for game. set. match. to help make some sense of it all.

As his vitality lessoned over those last three years so did my bend toward destruction. On the day of his funeral I was utterly wracked with the grief of losing him, yet not a pew behind was the surprising rush of relief that comes when any horrible alternative end so narrowly missed releases you safely into the extended arms of mercy.  I had been rescued from the bitter taste of betrayal and the irrational fear of losing him in my life to losing him instead to a seemingly expertly choreographed death.  There these two impossibly incongruent emotions held each other in a tight embrace as my life seemed to know some strange yet certain alignment with fate.

I’d been allowed to love him without having had to call him out on the dapper coat tails of his hideous disease . It’s lack of decorum. spontaneous whims, and unpredictable mood swings  had held us hostage like a wedding party of wildly wilting buttonholed boutonnieres for so very long , yet we would miss it’s familiar hold on us like those who’ve known the blind bait and switch of Stockholm Syndrome.  Who were we now without him?

Al-Anon would also teach me that alcoholism is a “family disease” and once you know that the family unit is truly infected by it’s intoxicating fumes you won’t be surprised when I tell you that we all continued to flirt with it’s company as each of us set out for our own black tie event to live, love, and marry into the fun house mirrors of our fractured selves.

To be Continued…..

(ok- so it keeps comin… I thank you for reading and those of you who know me also know I struggle with writers block and have not been writing for some time.  Somehow last night as I was sitting with the keyboard this is the story that was coming up … and it just seemed to flow out but please know that it’s only my “story” and not my TRUTH if that makes sense?  This is all the past and I am happy and healthy and thriving and I’m telling it from a place of peace… so please know that I so appreciate you reading and commenting AND… I’m really good! -I love my mom and Dad and I love my family to pieces!  I think somethings just unplugging or something so I’m gonna keep it coming as long as it’s flowing and please feel free to read, ask questions, laugh, or none of the above. XO)

Orifices, Boys, and Family Values.

I’m taking an amazing class called “Simplicity Parenting” and I love it.

It’s really made me think about all aspects of my parenting and the message’s I want to send to my children by how I respond to situations and to them.

The most valuable so far has been around family values.  It’s interesting to actually sit down and write out the “values” that I am interested in fostering and protecting in our family and the actions I take or discussions that I have with the kids as it relates to the actions, behavior, or habits we develop in the home.  I’ve found it to be a starting point for collaboration with them and one that seems to be having an impact… at least on one of them.

Last night my son ( age 6) was enjoying a one way dialog on a subject I call “poopy” talk.  What is it with boys and poop, phart, pee-pee, burp, penis, booger, butt, smelly butt, “Ba”-gina and every other orifice and unpleasant word and function of the human body that requires constant hommage and reference?   My daughter has taken the high road in these situations and simply looks at him over her glasses in her oh so mature nine year old way and simply says:

“Really Shaw?”  in such a way that might create immediate shame and repentance in even the most criminal of behavior.

It simply makes him giggle with glee to have his discourse corrected by her and of course serves the purpose of having him ratchet it up a notch.  Giving him the attention he wants has a way of now making the one who is calling him out the subject the OBJECT of his affection making it a much more “personal” attack on the caller – outers orifice’s.  The talk turns to :

“YOU are a poopy head and YOUR butt smells….” ( for example)

I knew what was coming and planned on jumping in but I think she handled it beautifully:

“You know Shaw, since you are going into the first grade and still wet the bed it makes sense why you need to still act like a baby and use those words…. and, ….those words do not fit into our family value system at all… do they mom?”

Now… I find it fascinating that she used shame (which is not a family value) and blended it seamlessly with our family value system in order to pull rank in the situation.

But on the flip side?

It was effective – he stopped the potty talk in mid expletive, and she was able to divert his attention away from HER orifice’s and onto HIS.

Brilliant. That girl is going places.

Poor Little Bunny

I want my mommy.

I’m sick and I’m a mom, and I totally really want my mom. I want someone to “mother” me.

What is it to “mother?”

I think it’s to inherently know exactly what your child need’s at a given moment.

It’s a timing thing.

To know when to insert oneself into the flow of life and say “I know you better than you know yourself” and you need to REST.

Yeah. I think that’s it.

MAKE ME rest as only a mother can do.

I am Mother.  I can make me REST.

Right?

Hmm… deep thoughts on NyQuil.  Don’t try this at home.

 

Our Time

At dawn (6am) my son woke me up to  remind me that we would sit on the couch together.  He would do his thing, and I would do mine.

I get up each morning at this time to do some light meditation, journal, or respond to emails.  He’s been fascinated with the idea that I get up before everyone else and have “my time.”  Last night he told me he’d like to have it be “our time”  so I explained that if this were to be- we would need to both sit quietly doing “our own thing” so that my quiet time could be happy time spent in his presence but he had to remember that my “mom time” with him does not kick in until that time is over.

As I sit here typing, we are currently at the end of “our time” and his eyes have met mine at several points this last hour. He with his drawing supplies and pad and me with my journal or computer and we just smile quietly to each other and go back to what we were doing.

My last five minutes will be spent in a quiet meditation of gratitude with him.  How blessed I am to have “our time” as mother and son in this “life time”.

Thank you God.

STOP CULTURE is the new POP Culture

Ear Muff It.

My friend Jackie wrote about this experience while listening to the radio with her son on the way to school.

*Sigh* – Sometimes I feel so helpless as a mom to protect my kids from “Pop” culture.

I think we should call it “STOP” culture.

Our american culture is most decidedly de-culturing to our kids.

It’s sad. It makes me so upset.  I’m not perfect when it comes to media and my kids but I do control the dial at home in terms of what they watch and listen to.  Sometimes I think it’s really innocent and then i realize…

Not so much.

Can we please request some wholesomeness and REAL culture back into our lives and the lives of our children?

Are You There Vodka?

Today I lost my son, and his play date.

They were just going to the basement to play… one minute I saw their small forms heading that way and 15 minutes later when I went down the basement to see how they were faring … there was no them.  (Our spacious finished basement is around the side of the house and you have to go outside to get to it!)

It was dark.
My heart sank.
My son does not turn off the lights- he only turns them on, which means that for the 15 minutes I was inside thinking they were in the basement….they were… gone.

Don’t panic. Don’t panic.

I panicked.

I began to call for them as I looked in the yard, and around the perimeter of the house, inside, outside, in the garage? while yelling their names.  I got especially wound up when I got to the part where my son’s coat was in a heap at the end of the driveway and a scooter lay on it’s side. I looked down the street. Could they have walked down the street? no. would they do that?

I ran to the neighbors house.. maybe they went to see T.J.?

I could see her son sitting quietly doing his homework when I knocked on the door and my heart sank even lower.

She joined me in the hunt and I got into the car and started to drive the new neighborhood. It’s windy out and it’s getting to be 4:00 soon and I can barely hear my own voice as I call into the gusting sound of the tree’s.

It’s way too quiet otherwise-  Where IS Everybody?!!

I drive around the block several times and I see two teenagers-  “nope” they say in that slouchy uninterested way.

I am coming out of my skin.

“If you see two little boys I want you to tell them to stay with you! and… don’t just SLOUCH there! DOOO SOMETHING! Don’t you have a BMX bike or something????!!”

I began to hyperventilate. My head started to hallucinate

“Um, yeah… about that little boy of yours you left in my care … um, … he’s gone.”

Police cars, siren’s…  ok SNAP OUT OF IT MONICA!!!  FOCUS AND CALM THE HECK DOWN!

Prayer:  “God… don’t do this to me. Don’t you do this to me. Not this. Not Now, NO. NO. NO.
“ok, please God, please… just lead me to these little boys…please make them be ok. WHERE ARE THEY ???!!!!

I saw the postman in the distance and honked him down like a crazy maniac…

“I haven’t seen them Mame”

I’m crying now. Oh dear God where are they?

“Please! please if you see them….” I’m begging him.

Back to the house: My neighbor waits in case they came back. Her face is grim.

Time is ticking. I make the decision now to call for back up – I’m unable to think clearly. I am terrified.

I dial 911

Crying harder now as my panic continues to rise…

“He’s blonde, freckles. khaki pants, 4ft, has a blue shirt on, with a white wolf… it’s Tea Collection (???)
I don’t even know what I am saying anymore…. It’s getting dark. His little friend …  brown hair…smaller, I don’t recall what he was wearing.. OMG where are they????

The postman is coming toward my home.. driving… like a bat out of hell… waving!!! OMG! WHAT?
“You found them?”

“Just a few streets over…  ? That’s far.  A FEW STREETS OVER? ARE THEY OK?”

I get in my car and follow the postman desperately scanning the street for them.  As soon as I am done hugging him and kiss every single freckle on his sweet face I will murder him.
They are obediently sitting, holding hands.. waiting..just as the postman instructed. Safe. Beautiful. Unharmed. Boys.

“Sheesh mom!- we were just SSSPLORING!” My son say’s as I try to hastily wipe the tears from my face and stifle a sob of relief.

THANK YOU GOD. Thank you.

Are you there Vodka? It’s me again.

Children of America

I hate politics, and feel pretty much the same way as five year old Hudson Hinkley Does “YUCK!” But if you want to grab my attention as a mom and get me to listen in- start talking to me in terms even a five year old can understand and focus the conversation of the future of my children.  ALL our children.

I want to be more involved in “conversations that matter” not  “Politics”- PLEASE! Stop wasting my time!

I don’t want to watch a bunch of grown men sling mud and create media chaos that distracts from the real issues at hand, and for god’s sake I have better things to do than listen to the endless rhetoric and wah wah cry baby antics. I’ve got noses to wipe, meals to make, laundry to fold, bodies to cuddle and story’s to read.  I also have a full time job and I’m trying to make an income so that I can afford money to send my kids to camp this summer and to keep them out of the public school system because it’s a travesty. 

We are seriously messing up the future of our children.
They collectively SIT for 8-10 hours a DAY passively taking in volumes of information so that they can be tested.  They don’t move their bodies much , are not playing outside, are having their art and music classes cut, and eating a steady  diet of GMO’s, Sugars, and artificial ingredients.

They have parents who are overstressed, overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated in their jobs who come home and are so tired that they can’t even find the strength or time it takes to engage with their kids in meaningful ways.

Because we are so dis-connected, and numb- our kids are phasing into more connectedness with video games, television, food and poor behavior.  The results are tragic:  anti-depressants, adderall and any other drug we can get into them so that they will COMPLY and not be “difficult” – We’ve taken away their freedom, and rights, and their voices because guess what?  We don’t have any to give.   Our country is filled with the unconscious.

We have become slaves to the dollar, the deficit, and the detriment and we have sold our personal sense of integrity, and our morals and values for a chance to be on reality TV.  Double U TEE EFF?

Our children are angry, lonely, anxious, hostile,  violent, and SAD.  They need us.

This post isn’t about getting more votes for Barry Hinkley   It’s about the lengths we need to go to for us to wake up and come together as parents in order for change to happen.

I’m grateful for the video that stars Hudson Hinckley – because our children SHOULD be starring in this “movie” we’ve created out of our lives. If you look around though you’ll see a burnt down hollywood of thugs, thieves, liars, and zombies.

We’ve lost our real authentic selves, our sense of integrity, nobility and duty.

What are we teaching these kids anyway?  Kids model the behavior of adults, so if that does not scare you then nothing will.

HUDSON’s  got my attention:   You know why? Because he has no idea what he’s saying in this “campaign” video. He’s just a kid who loves his Dad and that’s about as simple and as complicated as it gets.   All of our children are all trying to tell us something…

are we listening?