Learning life lessons

It has been an interesting few days.  I’ve had 4 days off from work, and I won’t lie, they were most welcome.  Stress has been building up for me lately, and the few days off to sleep in, play games, eat good food, and hibernate were much appreciated.

Thursday, the plan was to do nothing.  Boring, I know.  But I have been boycotting Thanksgiving for 6 years now.  Ben died 2 days after thanksgiving and it just left a bad taste in my mouth. So I plan nothing.  Sometimes, I’ll get a hotel room, other times I’ll just binge watch movies.  The kids go to enjoy thanksgiving with the ex in-laws.  So it’s usually just me.  Around 10 am, my phone rang.  It was my brother and my father asking if maybe I’d like to come join them for turkey.

And this year – oddly enough – I said thank you and that yes – I’d love to.  You see, I’ve never had a thanksgiving with my real father.  They were always spent with my mom and step dad.  And they were lovely growing up.  But I always had wondered what it would be like to spend that day with my dad.  I got ready, grabbed a bottle of wine from my collection as an offering for the table and drove up to his house.  I was nervous.  I don’t know my father very well, he is still someone I am getting to know.

today-i-am-thankful-for-girl-loves-life2bcopy

It was lovely.  Relaxed and casual, lots of chatter and play, dad would sing whatever song was in his head… I have always loved my dad’s voice.  Smooth, deep, country… I swear – he could have made a career with that voice.  He laughs when I say that.  To him, he’s just playing around with it.

It dawned on me while I was heading over there.  I’m not angry any more.  The past 6 years.  I’ve been so angry and didn’t even know it.  I was angry with thanksgiving.  Angry at my family.  Angry at my ex.  Angry with the doctors.  Angry with fate.  Angry with God.  I was just… Angry.  And yet – no one knew.  Not even myself.   This year was different.  I didn’t want to boycott.  Suddenly, more than ever before, I just wanted my family.  I wanted to surround myself with the people I feel comfortable with.  The people who I know have my back – always.  Dad wanted me to spend the night… oh how I wanted to.  He and I chatted about all sorts of things.  Life, love, politics, human nature, psychology … some of our topics were light, while others were deep and full of emotions.

Friday, I decided I wanted to cook.  So I cooked a full feast, from scratch.  No canned goods, no canned soups, no pre-packaged stuff.  It was incredible.  T, R and I cooked and feasted and made merry.

Yesterday, I had a song stuck in my head.  It was still early and I found myself humming outside.  I’m not typically much of a hummer.  This song was playing insistently in my head to the point where I had to go look it up and just play it.  I found it on youTube.  A song I hadn’t heard in at least 8 years.  The lyrics had me instantly in tears.

I ugly cried.  I bawled and bawled and bawled.  Apparently, once the flood gates opened, there was no stopping it, because I literally spent the entire day in bed.  I still can’t get over what that felt like yesterday.  I’m sure to others I must sound strange.  It was just overwhelming sadness.  And to anyone else, they’d probably say “So?  Haven’t you been sad this whole time?”  My answer to that would be both – yes and no.

635806850819312545-761853015_tumblr_m7j05ywdu81rbl0boo1_400

I’ve appeared sad.  I’ve acted sad.  And on some levels, I’ve felt sad.  But really – I don’t think I understood what the sad part of grief looked like until now.

I wish there was an answer book for life.  Is this normal?  No way is it normal.  I realize grief is different for everyone, but shit.  To spend 6 years and not really get to this part of the cycle seems a bit – drawn out.

I don’t want to be angry any more.  And I have been – for a very long time.  Stubborn, Angry, Strong… and maybe I was scared to allow myself to feel sadness to it’s full extent because I was scared that it would somehow make me weak.  And if I was weak – that perhaps it would break me.  So I shoved it aside.  I forced myself to keep my head held high and square my shoulders and just keep moving.  Never allowing myself to really feel.  This weekend – I felt.  I allowed myself to swim in it.  Every time someone would try and cheer me up – I’d go with whatever my heart wanted.  If that meant I’d giggle or laugh for an hour – cool – and if it meant that suddenly a wave of sadness would take over and I’d snuggle under the comforters and just cry and cry – that was ok too.

Oddly – allowing myself to do that has been the most freeing thing I think I’ve ever done.  I don’t think that even I fully realize how often I don’t allow myself to really feel an emotion in the moment.  Perhaps, it is time to allow myself the freedom to practice that.

freedom

I went and visited my Mom today.  We haven’t been as close lately and I’ll fully admit to and take the blame on that one.  I’ve needed some space.  But I was feeling a bit guilty over my silence and decided to drop in.  I’m glad I did.  My mom and I may butt heads, but really, it’s only because we are so alike.  She knows that I will always love her and be there for her anytime she needs it.  And I know I have the same from her.  We’re a family.  Perhaps a bit dysfunctional at times – but we love each other all the same.

Tomorrow, I will return to work.  I’m not ready – my game face isn’t on yet and my energy levels aren’t quite where I’d hoped they would be by now – but oh well.  It is what it is.  I’m about to go into “hell month”.  A month long crazy ride of long hours, short deadlines and lots of work.  🙂  But then January will come, and things will settle down a bit.  I may even get to take a vacation.  Lord knows, I’ll need it.

Much love to you all tonight.  Goodnight.

lipstick kiss

Stronger than hope.

Poland

How to put into words what I feel.  How do you explain when sometimes it’s hard to even see them yourself, let alone to describe it.  It’s been an awesome weekend.  A little stressful here and there, but overall, an awesome weekend.  The bro and I were listening to music this morning and singing our hearts out to songs on random when a song came up.  One I hadn’t heard in a very long time.  And it hit me in a different way than it ever had before.  There I was, singing away and suddenly I choked up and my voice cracked and I had to run off to the bathroom to cry my eyes out in private and quickly wash away any evidence. 🙂

It was a song I’d listen to as a teenager, it was how I would define love.  It was a song that for a very long time, meant a lot to me.  Not for the music, but the lyrics.  But then life happened.  Divorce, heart break, betrayal, depression, pain, grief … these things change a person.  Whether you mean them to or not.  Hearing this song this morning made me mourn a little for the girl I was.  The one who was so naive in thinking that love was a fairy tale with a happy ending.  I love who I am today, please do not misunderstand.  I wouldn’t change it, me, or the direction I am heading, for anything.  And in some ways, I do believe I’m still that little girl who believes in magic and dreams, but now that little girl has grown up and has a foot firmly planted in the real world.   What struck me this morning though, was the change in how I took the lyrics of that song.  It used to be that those lyrics stood for how I felt about someone else.  How I’d want to treat someone else.  How they were to be treated as the most amazingly special person because they had my love.  But this time, I took the lyrics to represent me as well.  That maybe I too am the special one.  That maybe I’m worthy of love, not just giving it, but receiving it too.  That maybe love has to be nurtured and earned and tended to over the course of time by both parties, not just myself.

It’s funny how sometimes, life will come and smack you over the head when you least expect it.  It has been a day of introspection.  I’ve had this post saved as a draft and have been adding to it throughout the day.

After talking with a friend, I’ve been left thinking about the course life so often takes.  I have seen some of the greatest and deepest depths of depression.  I have ridden on the wings of the greatest joy and some of the most exhilarating inspiration.  Have journeyed across both rough waters and serenely calm ones. Over the course of time, there has been a balance … of both the high’s and lows of life.  Of pain and joy.  When you’re in it, it’s hard to see the bigger picture.  But when you can take a moment and center yourself, find a bit of clarity to see beyond the storm that rages around you for the moment, you see that it can’t storm forever.  And sunlight will break through eventually.  I’m enjoying the calm waters right now.  The clouds are starting to clear a bit, and beautiful rays of sunshine burst through the clouds.

And suddenly I know what it is.  It is hope.  Actually, it is stronger than hope.  It is the knowledge that there will be more.  Happiness and calm waters and joy are just around the bend.  I may get bogged down, or tossed about a bit by a passing storm or two, but I know I’ll get there.  I know I’ll see it, because I can.  Hope.

Of course, one can also hope that when I do find that bit of calm beach – there will be some umbrella laden drinks 😛

umbrelladrink

Quiet moments

ImageI had a lovely night last night.  Got home a bit later than normal and spent time with the family.  My son was extra affectionate, giving everyone kisses and hugs every five minutes.  When it was time for him to go to bed, we all went upstairs and gave more hugs.  Every stuffed animal must be given a hug and a kiss, and he has to have 3 hugs and 3 kisses from everyone in the house in order to go to sleep without a fuss.  It’s lovely.  🙂

Once the kids go to bed, my time begins.  It’s the time of day when I can do pretty much whatever I want for 2-3 hours.  Catch up on some house cleaning, read a book, watch a good flick or play a video game.  I’m fiercely protective over this daily unwind time, and when I don’t get it, I find that I get a little on the grumpy side.  So I do what I can to ensure that I have this time.

In the morning, my alarm goes off.  I wake up my daughter by flicking the lights of her room and then am off to go get myself ready to start the day.  My son typically wakes up shortly after, and we all spend the morning getting ready, stopping for hugs often.  There’s happiness and laughter here.  This morning, we went on a monster hunt.  It started as a hunt for my son’s favorite toy, but quickly turned into a game of stomp through the house growling at pretend monsters in the corners of each room. 

It is these moments, these quiet, unassuming moments in my world that I cherish.  That I crave.  I love how affectionate my kids are.  I love watching them learn and grow and explore their world with all the curiosity and enthusiasm they possess.  They are really good kids.  We don’t have a lot of fights or arguments.  Not a lot of talking back – sure, the two year old can rear his impatient side at time, but even he is typically good over the alternative.

When I was 4, my mom met my step dad.  Apparently, on their first date, he came to pick her up and ended up playing barbies jumping off the couch with me all night instead of going out.  My mom has always said that this was how she knew he was a keeper.  He had no qualms with spending time with her and I, rather than just her alone.  My step dad has always been one of my best buddies.  He is the epitome of what I see as behaving like a real man.  He’s a goofball, and has no problem with letting loose and playing, but also has this quiet strong sensibility about him.  Growing up, when my mom and I would argue, he would stay out of it for the most part, only jumping in when he was really needed.  He was always the one who’d talk to me.  My mom would run off crying (she’s VERY good at giving guilt trips) and my step dad would come out and sit and actually talk it through with me.  Hear my side, share mom’s if I wasn’t hearing it, and help the house find it’s calm again.  He’s the man I go to for advice about a whole hell of a lot of things even to this day; and is someone who I respect to the fullest degree. 

While I can truly say I’m not looking to fill the fatherly role for my children (that’s just not something I feel like I can ask for… seems wrong to me) … I can hope that maybe someday, they’ll have a male presence in their life that is like my step dad.  Someone who can be their friend, someone to look up to, someone to quietly guide them by example and show them what a man really looks and acts like.  Someone who’ll love them like my step dad loved me.  Like his own. 

Today was an amazingly awesome day

“Mommmmy??  It’s 6:30.  Why are you still in bed?”

Oh my god, I’d overslept.  I usually am up at 6.  Why my daughter was up was beyond me. But I was grateful.  My alarm, for some reason, didn’t go off.  We were fine.  We have a routine.  A little dance we do through the bathroom with brushing our teeth and getting ready in the morning.  She eats breakfast while I get my son up and then the bro takes over and away we go.  We stop for coffee and a hot chocolate and we gab about whatever it is she wants to gab about; Music, celebrities, boys at school, teachers, the popular girls (always said with a dramatic sigh).   It makes me smile.  Growing up… it’s a joyously painful experience.  And only when you grow up, can you look back through your children’s eyes and feel fondly about it.

I had a good day at work.  Busy.  Meetings and consults, a flurry of emails, a mad dash to get a last minute lunch before the cafe closed followed by a series of more consults and meetings.  In between all of it I even managed to line up everything I’d need to complete the buying of my car.  I’d spent 4 hours at the dealership sighing over a car last night.  I’ve been researching for weeks.  It wasn’t everything I’d wanted… but it was perfect for what I need.  And it’s adorable.  It makes me smile.  Today the bank agreed to the loan and tonight I went and picked it up.  Spent another 5 hours.  Can I just say that the whole process of buying a car takes FAR too long.  However, the boys at the dealership really took care of me.  They really seemed to be a tight knit group.  It was kind of fun to watch them all interact with each other and customers who were buying.  The jokes they told, each man with a different quirk.  The older man who did the finances was my favorite.  I called him the principal.  I felt like I was being led to the principal’s office. He laughed and laughed when I said that.  I challenged the sales teams to randomly do the Monty Python Silly Walk.  Made me feel old when the young sales guys hadn’t heard of it, but thanks to YouTube, they quickly learned and were cracking up in the fun. They all wanted hugs when I left. At least it wasn’t boring. 🙂

So … yea.  I bought a car tonight.

car

I can’t BELIEVE it!!!  It’s … a big deal.  I suppose you could say I feel like I am once again late to the party.  But here it is… this is the first car (that’s newer and not a beater) that I’ve ever bought.  I’ve owned a LOT of cars.  Thirteen to be exact.  Many were given to me from family as hand me downs or help when the ex totaled mine.  This is the first time I did it on my own.  My step dad came down last night and drove it.  I trust his judgement.  And tonight, by myself, I did something very grown up.  Bought my first car.  Yea I know I’m 31.  But I finally caught up.  Guess I’m a grown up now.  🙂