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Monday, September 19, 2016

The times they are a changing....

I spent the weekend at my dad's with my daughter and my dogs.  Part of the pull to Florida, for me, was to be able to check in on my dad...cook for him...just be close enough to be able to do exactly what I did this weekend.  Besides the incredible sadness I felt at missing my mother's presence in the home they used to share, I learned a lot this weekend about my daughter, my childhood, and my parenting style.

I grew up in the age where sensitivity was frowned upon and being told to "toughen up" was common place.  I was determined not to do that with my own children.  I wanted them to be allowed to be who they are.  My childhood was also full of...ummm how do I put this nicely....sterotypes about different cultures and people.  My dad is still the same, and I love and accept him that way.  However, I realize that I am not that person.  The things that were so common place growing up feel like a smack in the face now.  Especially when they're said in front of my children.  My boys have developed their own opinions about people and  cultures, but my daughter is still the open book I raised her to be.  She's loving and accepting of everyone and everything...unless they cross her or her family.  Then they are dead to her lol (like mother like daughter).  My daughter's first sleepover in Florida was surrounded by a blended family including transgender people.  She didn't blink.  I am proud of that, that I raised her to accept people even if she doesn't necessarily agree with their choices. And she has DEFINITE opinions on these matters. She's such a strong little ....sorry young woman.  She is what I wish I was at her age!  Hell, I'd like some of her qualities now!

Yesterday she woke up and was all groggy and disheveled...she's a cracker jack in the morning.  I hugged and kissed her and then she went to kiss her grandfather.  He laughed and said "you look like the wreck of the hesperus".  I froze....she didn't react.  She has no clue what he meant most likely and she probably didn't even hear him.  I felt like I was smacked.  I spoke to my sister later in the day and I told her about it.  I said "I remember that being said to me ALL the time ...if my outfit wasn't to my parent's liking....if my hair was a mess...the list goes on.  I don't remember it bothering me, but now?  OMG I would never say that to my kids.  Those tiny little negative criticisms were part of my every day life....is that why my self esteem is less than stellar? There were a lot of other ones that went on this weekend alone and I was transported back to being my daughter's age and remembering that I felt hurt by them.  Luckily she just let it roll off her back, but had I said it to her, or her brothers?  She would have been crushed! My boys are the same.  Their father is very much like my parents (and his parents and probably that entire generation) and I spent SO many moments shooting him a look of death when he would say something like that to the kids.  He would catch it and try to fix it, but a lot of the times it was too late.  My daughter hasn't spent enough time around him to be affected....again, maybe why she has the self esteem and confidence that she does.  I couldn't be happier about those qualities!

Eyebrows are all the rage these days....just like big butts...2 things I had when I was a teenager, unfortunately back then thin eyebrows and no butts were in....story of my life a day late and a dollar short ;)   Anyway, my daughter "did" my eyebrows yesterday.  She researched You tube and took her time tweezing them and shaping them....then penciling them in (getting older sucks, and all those years of waxing them didn't help lol) and she was SO proud of herself.  Her eyebrows apparently are a big hit at school (she thanked me for her genes ) and she took a picture of mine to send her friend.  She told her brothers and anyone who would listen that she did my brows.  I fought back the tears while she did them.  I remembered when I was my daughter's age and I had the eyebrows that she has now....only they weren't the rage.  I felt ugly.  I asked my mom to teach me how to tweeze them and she told me I was too young.  Sooooo....(oy vey) I decided to do it myself.  I plucked the top instead of the bottom and then (because it was so painful) I decided to take the shortcut and shave them!  DEAR LORD!  I wound up with groucho marx's mustache on top of my eye!  I was in 7th grade and the thought of going to school like that was just too much, but worse was having to face my mom and admit that I went behind her back and took matters into my own hands.  I remember when I wanted to shave my legs the same issue happened and I came home from school in tears quite a few times before my sister finally convinced my mom to let me shave them.  (My daughter was 5 when I started doing her legs for her.....she felt uncomfortable in her dance tights so...Nair to the rescue!).  The point of all this is that my mom never realized that she could have made my life so much easier by just understanding my feelings and embracing my sensitivity.  Instead she just did what she was raised with I suppose.  I don't know.  Maybe it was my dad in her ear, quite possibly.  But whatever the reason it deeply affected me.

The whole episode just made me realize how much the times have changed.  I often wonder what that generation would have done with the knowledge we have now?  All the feel good stuff, the let's do better than our parents did etc.  Back then nobody thought about the future, they just did as they were taught or what they thought was right in the moment.  And admitting they were wrong?  Heavens no!  Never!  Apologizing to a child?  Are you crazy?  Yet, my mom often watched me with my kids with tears in her eyes and told me what a phenomenal mom I was and that makes me think that she would have done things differently if she knew she could have.

With that being said, I've made my fair share of mistakes.  I've apologized for them and tried my best to make up for them, but someday I'm sure my kids will be telling a story similar to this one about some way I hurt them or affected them in a not so positive way....and they will do their best to do better with their own children.  Because after all....it's just a day in the life!~

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Wake me up when September ends.....

During this time of such huge change I've felt very alone.  Which is so bizarre because in the last month while Florida was being hit with such extreme weather my phone was blowing up with people checking up on me.  I think the alone feeling comes from me dealing with every emotional situation and daily activities on my own for so long.  And lets face it, at the end of the day I'm the one who has to lay my head on the pillow, alone, and the things that I think and feel are in my head and heart and only I truly understand those things.

I'm still confused when I think about what state I'm in....where I'm from....this adjustment is still happening.  It's frustrating to me.  I don't like limbo.  I don't like feeling uneasy or unsettled.  But there's a lesson in this I'm sure.  I'm tired of trying to figure it all out, to be quite honest.  I told my sister the other day that I feel like a worn out security blanket that they keep putting back into the washing machine to get another use out of.  You know what I'm talking about...the one that's in tattered shreds and is barely held together?  Yea, that one.  My kids have been really good about understanding that I'm hanging by a thread.  Their compassion for how much I've been through in the past year and a half is really a testament to the type of people I've raised.  It makes me so happy to see.  They love me, no matter what frazzled state I'm in.  I'm sure they are looking forward to the time when their mom is back in full force....and stays that way.  Guess what?  So am I!  I don't like feeling weak.  I don't like being unhappy and I hate complaining.  So I shut down.  It's the only way I know how to cope with all of this.  I trick my mind into believing things that my heart might not agree with.  This has helped me throughout my life to avoid feeling pain or sadness.  I think that mechanism is malfunctioning because at this point in my life it's making me feel weak.  Like I should just face it and move on.  But I just can't do it.  I tried.  I let that wall down for a while and allowed myself to try to work through pain and sadness and anxiety (yes, that's a new one for me) but I just can't do it anymore.  Not when I don't have an end in sight.  Whenever my kids and I would say good bye to our family we would always be fine when we knew when we would see them again---even if that time was almost a year away---we were ok, we knew there was an end to the time apart.  At this moment in time I have no end in sight to these feelings, so the only way to stop them is to shut them off.

I took my first road trip with my daughter yesterday to see my dad.  I would love to say it was the fun exciting trip I think she wanted but it wasn't.  We have the dogs with us and Roxie cried for the first hour of the trip, I slipped and fell at the rest stop, we hit a horrific rain storm.....you get the drift.  Then I walked into my dad's home and it hit me yet again.  She's not here.  He rearranged the furniture when my brother was here last week and I felt angry. NO! mommy put it that way it has to stay!  A far cry from where I was earlier this year thinking it was good that my dad was wanting to change things.  He has a shrine set up to her.....I lost it.  I had to go into the bathroom because I didn't want him or my daughter to see it.  That was a big mistake because all the memories of my the times I spend in front of that mirror with my mom.  I had to shut it down.  I put on the mask and joined them in the living room.  Then my daughter was talking to her brother at college and the tears came again.  I miss him.  I talk to him every day most of the time texting all day too but I miss him. Then I got a text from my oldest son checking on me.  He asked if there was anything I wanted him to do before I got home.  I told him one thing.  He sent me a picture showing me it was already done.  Tears.  Again.  I want so badly to be my usual happy self.  I miss crying happy tears.  I miss being able to deal with whatever life throws me without skipping a beat.  September sucks.  My spiritual friends keep telling me there's a weird energy, mercury retrograde blah blah blah. I'm sure they're right but I don't like to place blame on anything but me.  I'm in control of my actions and feelings.  People telling me that I've been through so much is getting old, I just want to feel better and be happy.

So, today I begin going to back to my meditation schedule, my morning and evening gratitude and living in the moment and enjoying it for what it is.  Tomorrow isn't promised, I know this, so every day I want to be able to say if it was my last one on earth that I would be satisfied with it.  And after all.....it's just a day in the life.