Happy

Mother and three children, oil on wood, 38.5 x...

Our family’s circumstances stay the same, unemployment, unwell but managing,regular stuff, nothing has changed. There’s been no formal job offer or no magnificent leap in good health.

My husband had skin cancer removed from his eye brow that required several layers scraped off until there no cancer cells were detected.Yes, it was another bump in the road. We both handled that in stride, well done!

 

I guess we are so used to the ups and downs of life that they don’t quite startle us as much as they used to, maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe that’s the lesson that we are supposed to be learning. If it is, it has taught us well. I know we can handle anything thrown our way, I’m not asking to be tested again and again but we have been tested and we haven’t fallen apart or broken down. We have stuck together, even stronger in our bond. It’s comforting to know.

 

Which means, parenthetically, that on the very (very) rare occasion we hear good, actually GREAT news, it feels FANTASTIC yet very, very new and foreign. A feeling that we both haven’t felt in such a long time that it feels brand new. And, yes, we certainly appreciate it more, now more than ever.

 

So, when our son called me, breathless, to tell me he got into medical school,

 

 

I was at first, speechless. “What?” I said because I wasn’t sure of what he said. He said it again, slowly, my voice rose two octaves ” WHAT?” I squealed and started shrieking, and felt for the first time that all was good with the world and that I now knew what happiness felt like.

 

 

It was brand new and intense and it was a feeling I was not used to. I remember in my mind thinking ‘  so this is happiness’ like bubbles floating inside my head.

But, it was a feeling that you can’t even imagine or dream about because you can’t wrap your head around that feeling and you certainly don’t remember when you felt like that before.

 

When you are a parent, the size of your joy or sorrow doubles when you have kids. If they hurt, you hurt twice as much. But, hearing the joy in their voice, that is better than anything in the world because you are so much happier for yourself because they are happy. I kept reminding myself of this feeling and still do to remember what happiness felt like. It’s so fleeting like a butterfly dancing by you, a wisp of a thing but if you concentrate, really concentrate you will remember, at least part of the feeling.  HIS joy and your own are inseparable. It’s the mommy quotient.

 

Nothing else has changed; it’s all perspective. I’m trying to remember that. Look at your situation in a different way. Express gratitude. Be happy for all the good things in your life, smile as much as you can even if you don’t feel like it. It makes a difference, I know.

 

 

 

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Take Me Home

Members of the United States Navy serve the ho...

Members of the United States Navy serve the homeless at Dorothy’s Soup Kitchen in Salinas, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We had run into each other before a couple of different times, I just didn’t who she was. I saw her at the food pantry waiting in line with her kid, one day we saw each other at the soup kitchen. We knew each other, all of us. We just didn’t acknowledge each other, we kept ourselves private, looking down at our kids or in our bags of free food or me, down at my worn pink sneakers. I heard her name once but nothing else. She was so tall and skinny why I could almost see through her, she looked so frail, like a bird thats broken. What I remembered of her were her frozen green eyes that seemed like they were stuck in her head with glue, like they never moved or blinked.

I guess the only thing we had in common was we were both moms on a mission to protect our children, to protect ourselves. Months later we met at the shelter, The Home For Abused Women And Children. I had been at The Home for a month now, she was just coming in. As soon as we saw each other we nodded, she took the bed next to mine. Her daughter and my daughter looked about the same age and they hit it off,  children were great like that, they were best friends in less than five minutes.

She and I probably took a good couple of hours to speak, none of us were good at trusting but we were  friends pretty soon. Once she made up her bed, with me helping her, we started talking. Not good stuff like you see on funny television, that’s for sure, but stuff we had in common. Both of us had been in abusive relationships; I felt guilty being here but she felt proud. That was what she was like, all the time.

She made me promise to talk to her first if I was ever tempted to run away from here and go back, and I was tempted often. So, when my kid said she “missed her daddy” I would want to leave straight away but Alison always knew before I even packed. She would come over, sit me down and she would not let me leave. We would go back in time, and tell her out loud when Brian hit me so hard my head cracked open and blood was everywhere, how I  saw it on the green tile linoleum, thinking it would be hard to get out. It was kind of out of my body, why would I be thinking that?  The pain so bad I wanted to die. She reminded me of what he said he wanted to do to my daughter and what he had done with my niece and that stopped me cold.

That changed my mind back to reality and she started reminding me of why I had left him and how he was still the same monster he was when I finally got out. Then she and I would hug and I would thank her until the next time it happened and I’d like to say it never happened again but it did. Lots of times.

We stood by each other, like real friends, and we joined a job training group together so we could get jobs somewhere. We all moved to another state, changed our names and started fresh. We shared a one bedroom apartment but we made do; the girls slept in the living room, we shared the bedroom working different shifts. We had “beat the odds” they said at the shelter, we were safe, we had our own home and we were proud.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND HELP:

The hotline number is (630) 469 – 5650.
Why should you call Family Shelter Service’s hotline?
  • You want to talk about your situation with someone who understands, or
  • You want to learn more about services and how to obtain information and help.

I like knowing there is somebody I can call at any time.”
– A Victim of Domestic Abuse

Kellie Elmore: Free Write Friday (Repost)

English: repost of original Young Campolina female

English: repost of original Young Campolina female (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A defining, life-changing moment at the age of six.

https://hibernationnow.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/plinky-prompt-…out-in-a-crowd/

Haiku Heights – Fortitude

FREE MYANMAR 2012 - I give you my smile - Ich ...

FREE MYANMAR 2012 – I give you my smile – Ich zaubere Dir ein Lächeln (Photo credit: alles-schlumpf)

How I feel, appear

strong, confident, sparkling-gold

Inside I crouch, wilt.

***

A lonely corner

a pink crumpled little girl

Will not show her tears.

***

Inside, she is steel

Stubborn, rigid, eyes black- gold

Blonde, sweet, smiling curls.

Haiku Heights – Silence

Cover art for Silence Screams (1988)

Cover art for Silence Screams (1988) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Screams roar from my mouth

words can’t escape the damage

I turn to the wall.

*****

No-one speaks or shouts

Try to talk in measured tones

Words that are silent.

*****

Old wounds, never die

ripped apart with trembling hands

Add blood and lemon.

*****

Deep within my grief

We know that life is cruel, sad

Always more to come.

Carry on Tuesday: It’s a kind of magic

By some quick trick of aging

English: "Fraternal Love"

English: “Fraternal Love” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

my children have grown from teeny tots to the young adults they are today.

I do not miss them as they were; I miss myself and how they made me feel.

It is my loss only, a selfish loss.

Cherished like a queen, I could do no wrong, I was the only one who could heal them,

emotionally, physically, with a kiss and a made up, whispered, chant that would allow them to fall asleep.

An extra special band-aid and healing cream that, as promised, would not sting.

I could make them giggle, tell them stories, surprise them with “I Love You” presents,

I appreciated every hand I held until they wanted to stop.

“Your children are not your children” I always read

I prepared myself in advance.

My goal as a parent was to make them strong, like trees, to bend their branches, to have solid roots,

to be good people, people who make a difference in the world.

We encouraged our children to play a sport or to play an instrument but we did not force them,

many people criticized us,

but we were happy with our choice.

Our goal in life was to have happy children, good, strong young men and women

who would give of themselves to others, to do the right things, to give back to the world.

My children are my gift to the world.

I share in their pleasure, I have raised two wonderful young people.

It is, indeed, a special kind of magic.

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Marianna, Kahlil's Sister
Marianna, Kahlil’s Sister. Painting by Kahlil Gibran

Mama Rose and Little Ted Mouse – A Children’s Story

Mouse

Mouse (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mama Rose cuddled her little boy mouse, Little Ted close to her and whispered to him, softly and gently. Little Ted was frightened, there had been mean mice at school and they were calling him bad names and teasing him. Ted declared to his mom, he never, ever, wanted to go back to school again! She told him that he had to go back to school and that he would be brave and strong, and that those other boy mice were being unkind. They had a problem not Little Ted and that he should keep his head held high and ignore those hurtful words.

Ted wasn’t so sure about all of this. He just wanted to stay home nestled in his mother’s lap, safe, warm, eating chocolate chip cookie crumbs and an occasional raisin or two. “No, dear boy, I’m afraid you can’t run away from hurtful things” his mother said. “In life, there will always be things that we may not like but that we have to do.”

Mama got up and went to their little desk. She looked inside it for a long time. Finally, she took out a small, brown, box which held a silver coin. Mama Rose  had used this when she was a baby girl mouse when she was frightened and she passed it on to Little Ted Mouse. “Keep this with you, son, and when you feel frightened, press it hard and know that I am right there beside you giving you courage.” Little Ted Mouse looked up at her and asked with his big, wide eyes “Really?”  “Of course, little one, this will remind you of how much I love you AND like you AND believe in you. Whatever you do will be the right thing. This problem will go away, if not today, than tomorrow but remember, it will be fine.” Love can fix everything and those other mean mice just might need a little more love in their lives. Could it be that they are lonely or insecure? Just keep an open mind.” If it doesn’t get better very soon, tell Mama Rose, right away and we will talk about it again. Now, come, it’s time for dinner and then I will read you some books and then it is bedtime.

Little Ted Mouse nibbled on some cheese for dinner, he wasn’t really hungry and then he went to bed, without a word. His Mama came with him and read him five different books which he loved. Mama Rose saw his eyes get sleepy and so she gave him a big hug and a kiss on both cheeks and told him that “everything will be alright” and she would see him in the “morning sun.” At breakfast, Little Ted was quiet but Mama Rose took Little Ted Mouse’s tiny hand and they walked to the bus stop together, his silver coin securely in his pocket.

Mama Rose waited at home all day, nervously, not that she would ever admit that to Little Ted. She was relieved when the little school bus came and she saw Little Ted’s smiling face. Like all mothers, she felt happy. “How was school today, son she asked? “Oh Mama, he said “it was better than yesterday, not at first because the kids were a tiny bit mean but when I told them I had something special that I wanted to show them they all became interested…” What did you show them, my dear? “Why Mama, I showed them my special coin for bravery and they really liked it a lot!” They asked me to bring in again tomorrow so I said I would, is that okay?  “Of course, Little Ted, of course!!”

They walked back to their teeny, tiny little house, they sat in a corner on their favorite step and drank milk and shared a chocolate chip and an oatmeal raisin cookie, together and chatted, happily, about their day.

THE END

Carry On Tuesday: “I Had A Dream”

Publicity photo of Ralph Waite (John Walton, S...

Publicity photo of Ralph Waite (John Walton, Sr.), Richard Thomas (John Boy), and Michael Learned (Olivia Walton) from the television program The Waltons. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had a dream, when I was younger, that all families were like the ones I  watched on television: Leave It To Beaver, Father Knows Best and most importantly, The Waltons. Everyone always got along, the siblings were close, sure they bantered back and forth but I could just feel the love between them and the mutual admiration they had for one another. I grew up thinking that life was fair; good people got good things and bad people got what they deserved: punishment. Life was about giving and taking, things always worked out in the end, or so I thought.

I certainly don’t believe in that as much as I used to, hell, I’m not sure I believe in it at all.  There are too many bad people getting away with too much horrible crap and too many good people are given way too much stuff to handle that they don’t deserve. Think about it for a minute, I bet you can think of a few, truly good and kind people who don’t deserve what they have and a few unkind, bad and selfish people you wish had more of the same, negative karma that they give out,  if only to teach them a lesson or two. Does it happen often? No, it rarely happens if at all.

I know I started  my youthful fantasies, back when there was a Santa Claus, and an Easter Bunny and if you had a bad day, the next day was a promise with a kiss to be better. It was a world when moms and dads could tell you things and you believed them in your child-like innocence. Parents weren’t flawed people, they were just, well…parents. Apparently, life is not based out of old episodes of a television series. Reality hit me when I was an adolescent and those innocent years of childhood ended abruptly.

Families, like The Waltons all lived together in one big house; sure they were poor but they all got along and loved and trusted one another, three generations living under one roof. We can’t even have a dinner with the “adults” in my family before someone’s childish drama and selfishness rears its dysfunctional head, loudly and inappropriately, within a matter of minutes. At my mother’s  birthday celebration, one member of my family made it all about her. I wasn’t shocked or surprised it happens that way all the time. I just shook my head, looked at my poor husband who had just been delivered a stern lecture and saw his flushed cheeks and his bewildered, hurt brown eyes; he was very upset. After that, just looking at his body language he had checked out. There’s always one victim, usually it’s me, now it was both of us, but I don’t feel defeated anymore, I just felt disgusted.

Here is what I have learned:  people do not change. The most “enlightened” sounding people can be the most disturbed and do not know themselves at all; they need professional help. As much as we are all in this together with our friends, family, neighbors,  ultimately, we are alone. We are born alone and we will die alone. The most important thing to have is strength in yourself. We all need that wisdom and courage it takes to go to bed and wake up the next day knowing that even though it is hard to put one foot in front of the other, we have no choice but to continue. That even in uncharted territory we must force ourselves to go on and that family is not necessarily defined by blood lines but by goodwill, caring, kind, well-intentioned, love. Pure and simple. Love should not be that complicated, and if it always is, there is something very, very wrong.

Being A Mom With A Chronic Illness (ChronicBabe carnival)

Mother and Baby

Image by Praziquantel via Flickr

My goal in life, since I was five years old, was to become a mom.  I thought getting pregnant would be natural and beautiful but it seemed we needed a little help. After two and a half years of painful shots, medication and an every day visit to the infertility clinic  for blood work and ultra-sounds I finally was pregnant. I collapsed to my knees behind the closed-door in my stuffy office and kissed the dirty gray carpet in gratitude. I cried with happiness, one hand already covering my tiny belly.

My son was born and we called him Buddha baby, he never cried, he was always happy, a smiling, compassionate and outgoing kid.  He was my miracle baby, my first born. I went to every baseball game for my son, sitting in the bleachers in the rain, and sneaking away to the car to warm myself up.

My daughter came, naturally, twenty-one months after her brother was born, screaming on top of her lungs as she entered the world. I remember going into her room and lifting this red-faced baby girl to my shoulders, she would take a deep breath and her whole body relaxed into my neck.  I was her only source of comfort when she was a baby. I was there for every ballet lesson and dance recital, holding a bouquet of daisies, her favorite flower, in my arms like I was nestling a newborn baby‘s head.

I did everything for my kids and I loved doing it. This was the career I decided on and I wanted nothing more. I stayed home with them even when they got older because I knew they needed me during the tough middle school years. They would never admit it but they were happy to see me when they got home. Working moms called me “old-fashioned” but I didn’t care.

When I was 50, I went through menopause and my body fell apart. I was diagnosed first with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an auto- immune disease. When Synthroid, did not help me at all, I warily shuffled from one doctor to another, every bone and muscle and joint in my body screaming with agony.  My internist had given up on me, she stormed out of the room while I was laying there on the exam table crying in pain.  After visits to many different doctors I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I felt like I had the flu, every single day and night, with no fever, my personal definition of Fibromyalgia.

My life changed after that. I became the mom “before” I was sick and the mom “after.” I felt that I was no longer the mom you could always count on. I prefaced everything by saying “If I feel okay that day,” and “I’ll call you the morning of…”  Luckily my children were fourteen and twelve but it was now Dad who got up, made breakfast and lunches and dinner. Me? I was asleep, always asleep and in pain.

I felt lost and sad for years, not being able, physically, to be the mom I once was. Now, I am dropped off at an entrance to anywhere we go  like the handicapped patient I am. I sit alone, on a chair, when all the other parents and children go on a campus tour to see the entire campus. I cannot walk that far. I don’t want to be an embarrassment to my children or a burden for my husband.  I want the kids to remember the mom I was before I was sick but I know they don’t. They probably just remember me as I am today. I am not the mom I was before my illness even though my heart remains unchanged. I am the mom that they have now and because of that I have tremendous guilt and a lot of residual, emotional pain.