Sorry I haven’t been around much. Life has been crazy and although we’re in a slow-spot at the moment, I know it’s not over yet.
Mini-Me moving down here has changed life for all of us. Now that Draco and I have someone else to care for, and to consider, a lot has changed (or changed back, anyway). It’s mostly been good and, aside from the occasional bad day here and there, everyone seems happy.
The business isn’t really moving yet, but some of that has been a hold-up on my part. If someone were to place an order, I’d fill it, but I haven’t really gotten up new pictures on the FB page yet, or started advertising some new ideas I’ve had thanks to a few dear friends. Most of that is waiting until we move and I have room to work.
Mini-Me is still job hunting and although Draco still has his job, he’s still searching for something local. Eventually, this job will run out and his company will move on to other places. We’re here for keeps, so a local job must be found.
The move thing is still up in the air. We all finally agreed to look for something else, somewhere else, but when Draco gave our notice to the landlady, she said she wants us to talk to her when we get our taxes. There’s a possibility we could get the house we’ve been secretly wanting for months. That would keep me in this neighborhood for sure. It has (almost) everything I was looking for!
So, in a few more weeks, we should know something there. I’ll be so happy to have that question finally answered!
I’ve been cooking more, and breaking out new — and old — receipes, but I forget to take pictures when I cook. So no new receipes for the blog yet. 😦
Last night, Draco and Mini-Me cooked spaghetti together while I watched Monk and tonight, Draco has been cooking pulled BBQ chicken for sandwhiches all day, so I’ve gotten a couple days off dinner-duty. In return, I got up and made homemade biscuits and sausage gravy with sliced canteloupe this morning. It was awesome and they ate it all.
We’ve been spending time together as a family, and it feels good, so even though I have missed my blog in a lot of ways, I’ve been taking my own advice and taking life by the horns.
Life hasn’t been all good, or all bad. It’s been a steady combination of the two, kind of like that place where two rivers meet. In some places, the blending is seamless, in others, the water can be down-right turbulent, but we’re all learning to navigate the rapids much better than we ever have. We’ve come close a time or two, but so far, we haven’t flipped the boat yet!
In spiritual news, I’ve had some things happen recently and my previous path is being mostly left behind. I’ve been eclectic Pagan for years and now I’m looking for ways to blend my heritage. I’m Cherokee-Welsh, (Welsh has Celtic roots), so I’m searching for where those meet and forging a new path for myself.
If 2013 has had a theme so far, I think that’s what it is — blending and combining — searching for that place where more than one way meets and can travel together for a while. It’s strengthening my bonds with those I love most and creating an over-all peace in my life that I’m not certain I’ve ever known before, and that, dear friends, is fabulous!
I’ve made progress in my Shadow Work with Hecate and I’ve made peace with a lot. I know I still have work to do, but for now, the lightening of the load feels good.
It feels good to just be myself. No regrets, no excuses.
Well, I suppose that about wraps the news from my side of the forest. What’s going on in your neck of the woods?
Draco, Mini-Me and I were determined that we were only giving a nod to traditional Christmas this year, and we accomplished it. Here is a little share of how our day went down.
I forgot to turn off my weekday morning alarm all week, so even though there’s been no point, an alarm has woke me up at 6 am, including today.
Around 7 am, we woke Mini-Me so that she could open her new (and approved of) boyfriend’s gifts via Skype. We all sat around the table and watched (she got gifts from us on Yule last Friday).
After that was over, we went in search of an open store, but came up empty handed. Mini-Me spotted an IHop though, and offered to buy breakfast, so we stopped, beginning our first new Christmas day tradition.
We laughed, we ate too much, we had wonderful iced mocha coffees, passed food around the table and made too much noise. It was great!
By then, Draco and I were running on too little sleep and full bellies, so we headed home to nap and figure out what to do with the rest of the day.
When we got up, Draco was out of Mt. Dew, so he suggested trying to find something open again. Corner stores are open on Christmas, so armed with his 2-liter and a few 20 oz drinks, we hit the road with no destination in mind.
We ended up in Georgia (we live in southern SC) in some quaint little towns where we saw stuff like this
A windmill decked out in lights.
We stopped at a lake and took a walk around, allowing me my first boost from moving water away from the house
We crossed the Savannah River twice
And Mini-Me chilled in the back on her phone
Even Dutchess was relaxed
After three hours, we finally made it home. I think Mini-Me enjoyed the change from the normal hustle and bustle (and stress – the cops got called at my ex’s family’s Thanksgiving, and that kind of crap is common over there), and I know Draco and I did.
On our way in, we did a round through the cemetary at the end of our street where many Union and Confederate soldiers are buried, along with many much older graves no one tends anymore. We gave holiday greetings to “the forgotten” and felt a wave of embracing energy as we left.
It was dark, foggy, and raining, so I can’t be certain, but I’m sure I caught a glimpse of outlines in the rear-view mirror when I tapped my brakes. A longer press revealed nothing but lonely markers in the mist.
The food portion hasn’t happened yet, but will soon (it was supposed to be a Yule dinner, but we were on the road bringing Mini-Me home that day, so it was put off).
Mini-Me starts volunteering at the Equine Rescue tomorrow, and I need to go grocery shopping, so tomorrow will be another busy day.
Hope everyone in Blogland enjoyed their holiday and is ready to make the New Year incredible, magickal and unforgetable!
Friday, we made the almost 3 hour drive to pick up Mini-Me from where we all lived up until 2 months ago. She decided when we moved here that she wanted to stay behind and try to make it there.
Mini-Me is 19, chronologically, but mentally and emotionally, she is not.
She is capable of holding a conversation with people she knows, but people that don’t know her can tell she struggles with basic social skills.
She is capable of working a job, but learning new skills, especially complicated ones, takes her longer. She is easily distracted.
She has a big heart, but it’s easy to take advantage of her. Easy to convince her you have her best interests at heart, even if you don’t.
At 13 she could not read, and even after working with her for years, she struggles, although she can read well enough now to sit down with a book — providing she can sit still long enough.
As she was growing up, we were aware of the challenges she faced, but it never felt like raising a Special Needs child, even though it was.
In so many ways, she was a normal kid. When she sat at the table coloring with Draco and jabbering on about the kinds of things little girls gabber about, she seemed normal.
When she stood at my elbow in the kitchen learning the art of cooking, she seemed normal.
When she came home from school, the victim of ridicule and bullying, she seemed anything but. When people talked her into things they knew she would get in trouble for, just so they could make fun of her, I wanted to go on a “Mama Rampage” and kick the asses of all the parents that raised bullies.
Leaving Mini-Me behind broke my heart and shattered my nerves in ways I wasn’t prepared for. I had to let her try though.
Bringing her home brought me comfort. To my nerves, to my heart and to my soul.
As I sit and look across the room to where she is sleeping, curled tightly in a ball with her kitty, Miracle, I am comforted.
Saturday, in spite of being completely exhausted still from Friday, we all climbed in the car and I took her out to see that there really was more to the world than the little country town we live in.
Our most important stop of the day was at the local Equine Rescuse that is run by our local branch of the SPCA. She got to see a few of the horses and applied for a volunteer position (that could possibly lead to a job some day).
Last night, they called her and she starts on Wednesday. She was beyond excited. They volunteer from 8am – 2pm during the week, so she plans to look for a regular job for nights and weekends so that she can do both.
I overheard part of a conversation she had with a friend last night and she was gushing about how “awesome” it is here and how happy she is. Again, her words were like a balm on my heart.
Having her home is healing something I didn’t know was broken. Yes, there has been some stress involved, adjusting to the added demands on my time and on our very limited resources, but it has been a happy adjustment.
I’ve come clean with her about the memory problems I’ve been experiencing and she’s seen how easily I can get overwhelmed at times, but she seems to be trying to make this work as much as we are, which is good.
Yes, I’m finding comfort in having her home with us, especially at the holidays. Life is damn-near perfect!
As I passed a doorway, I glanced inside. I caught a reflection in a mirror framed by the door and saw my mother’s face. I saw her eyes, the arch of her brow, the slope of her nose, the strong and determined chin.
I saw a strength radiating from the reflection that I had never noticed before. A set to the shoulders, a sense of self-pride that comes only from embracing hard truths.
On closer inspection, I realized that the woman staring back from the mirror was me.
The resemblance of the women in my family is striking. I can’t look in the mirror without seeing my mother, my grandmother, my daughter. As I grow older, it seems the comparison is only growing stronger.
Since the death of my mother last summer, I’ve learned, and come to accept some very hard truths, about our relationship, about her as a mother, and her as a person. Seeing her face every time I look in the mirror hasn’t been easy. It’s led to a lot of me trying not to look.
Finding out that someone you loved and respected wasn’t who you tried to believe they were is hard. Finding out after they are gone and unable to explain or defend themselves is even harder.
My relationship with my mother was troubled, but in spite of that, I loved her and craved her approval and love more than my next breath. I believed her to be perfection personified. Not that I believed she’d never made a mistake, but the grace and ease she seemed to move through life with left me in awe and with a desire to be like her.
In truth, my similarities to my mother end with what I see in the mirror. This used to upset me, but with the lessons I learned right after she passed, I’ve found that she wasn’t quite the role-model I believed her to be.
Learning that a parent is, indeed, nothing more than human, can be devestating, and it was for me. I spent the first few months grieving more for my lost image of her than for her as my mother. Reality can be a relentless companion.
As I look into the mirror now, I no longer see the woman that failed at everything, that was weak and never did anything right. I no longer see shame in my eyes for the times I disappointed her.
Now, I can stand tall when I catch my reflection. Shoulders back and head held high, knowing that I have not lived a perfect life, but I have lived. I have made mistakes, but I have learned. I’ve had my heart broken, but I have known love.
For all my imperfections and short-comings, I have a beautiful daughter that I love with all my heart, the love and devotion of a good man and a handful of wonderful friends that I can always count on when I need someone.
I no longer live my life by the measure of a woman that hid her impefections while expecting those in her life to live up to unrealistic standards. I have begun to set my own standards for my life. I have learned that expecting the people in my life to perform to my expectations will leave me sad and alone, a fate I am determined not to share with my mother.
I have come to realize that her expectations of me were unrealistic and that if she could have seen past them, she could have really known me as a person and been able to see that I am a good person, with a kind heart. She could have seen how much her love and acceptance would have meant to me.
I will not continue to make these same mistakes with Mini-Me. In my eyes, as well as my heart, she will find the acceptance she seeks. I will know the person she is and not be blinded by my own wishes for her. I will accept her for the beautiful individual that she is and support her in her decisions in life, even the ones I don’t agree with. I will give her what my own mother never gave me, a place of love in my life where she never feels inadequate or unworthy of my love.
I don’t want it to take her loosing me for her to find her self-worth. I want to be part of watching her blossom into the outstanding woman I know she can be.
When I am gone, I want her to see my face in her own and for it to bring her pride and joy. I don’t want her to search eyes so like my own for an acceptance she should have found in mine.
As I finally begin to heal and move past the loss of my mother, I can’t help but wonder if she left this world with peace in her heart. Did she realize, too late, the things she missed out on? Was she satisfied, in her own heart, with the life she lived?
I will never have the answers to those questions. I will always wonder, and I can’t change that. What I can change is leaving those questions in my own child’s heart when I’m gone. I can live my life in such a way that she will always know where my heart is and that I have found peace in my life. I can teach her by example, to live a life filled with the joy of living and the love of those that matter.
“I can’t just run away from my problems, Mom”, spoken in the closest imitation of an “adult voice” 19 year old Mini-Me can muster.
While I agree with the sentiment, I can’t seem to get her to understand the difference between “running away” and moving on.
Running away is being in the middle of problems you can’t or don’t want to deal with and removing yourself instead of dealing with your problems. Moving on is walking away when you’ve done all you can to resolve those problems and you refuse to stick around letting the people in your life run over or mistreat you.
In truth, she’s not doing either. What’s really happening is that the situation has reached the point where it should end, but she’s unwilling to let go. She would rather suffer than write the end of the chapter.
It’s hard being the parent of a young adult that is so head-strong and so confused at the same time.
Draco shakes his head in frustration, as uncertain as I am as to what we should, or even can, do. I remind him that Mini-Me, right now, is only one year younger than I was when we met. He looks at me in disbelief, and I can understand how he feels.
As much as Mini-Me has been through that is so similar to my own experiences, when I was 19, I was the mother of a toddler, I had been in an abusive marriage for a year with the man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. At 20, I was legally separated, in the process of a divorce, had had my child taken from me by my abuser and was in the middle of a nervous breakdown. I suppose I seemed so much older to us both because those experiences matured me. Life has a way of doing that.
I know that 75% of her situation is a matter of the heart. She loves him, right or wrong, and is still trying to hold on to the illusion that one day, he’ll change and be the man she needs him to be. I went through that with her father, I guess her existance is where the path split for me.
Would my choices have been the same had it not been for her? Would I have held on longer had I not had a child to think about? Would he have ever changed had I stayed?
I like to think that I would have made the same choices out of respect for myself, but is that what 19 year old me would have done if Mini-Me hadn’t been a factor or is that nearly 38 year old me speaking with the hindsight I now have to see how my ex-husband’s life has continued a downward spiral to where he is now?
I won’t lie, nearly 18 years removed from the situation, and I still ask myself in the lonely hours of the night if I could have saved him from himself. That’s what love gives you sometimes, unanswerable questions.
I still don’t know what choices Mini-Me will make, or if she’ll live with a lifetime of regrets and questions she will never have answers to like I have, but I do know that she’s not the only one learning as we continue to try to move from a parent/child relationship to one of mother/daughter.
As we progress down our own path, I’m constantly reminded that while I continue to try to teach and guide her into full adulthood, that I continue to learn from our experiences as well.
She is teaching me, just as I am teaching her. She reminds me to be open, to question, to look at my own life and choices with new eyes. To ask myself what I might have done differently and wonder if those options would have been right or wrong. She reminds me what it’s like to see life, and love, through the eyes of a soul not worn down by time and bad decisions. She reminds me of what it felt like to love blindly, without hesitation or reservation.
Watching her love is like riding a bicycle downhill with no hands and sometimes, I think we could all use a reminder of what that feels like.