Laughter

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I’ve recently started doing something that I haven’t done in years.  I’ve been laughing.  The sound often startles me, and the feeling in my belly is a delicious shock.  I lay in bed last night listening to an episode of Frasier playing on Netflix as I fell asleep, and I started laughing.  I jiggled the bed with my laughter.  I couldn’t seem to stop or catch my breath. Continue Reading »

Tomorrow Began Yesterday

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Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end

It’s all now you see: tomorrow began yesterday and yesterday won’t be over until tomorrow. – William Faulkner

It’s a quiet morning, and I’m in the house alone sitting in my room, sipping on a steaming cup of coffee, and cuddled under the covers in my robe.  Mornings like this are a rarity, and I am fully enjoying the moment.  Out there beyond my bedroom door are lists of things I need to buy and things I need to do.  Kids and family will begin descending on our house either tonight or tomorrow.  I haven’t really been able to clarify exactly who is being brought along to our house…or when.  For now though, until my feet hit the floor with some kind of purpose, these morning moments belong to me.   Continue Reading »

Optimism

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I’ve spent the past few years plodding along, but not really going anywhere.  Certainly, the past few years have been filled with loss and change.  Life changes our plans, and sometimes our plans change our lives.  Sometimes we can control the changes in our lives.  Other times, the changes take control and pull us along with or without our consent.  I have learned something important, though.  Most days are there for the taking.  Most days at least have the potential to be a GOOD DAY.   What happens, though? Well, I certainly can’t speak for anyone else, but I know what my problem has been.  Instead of treating each day as a gift full of potential, I have continued pedaling along on a course that goes nowhere.  Too often, I have looked back at days that are in the past, agonized over things beyond my control,  and wasted the potential of each fresh, new day.  It’s time to get off of the hamster wheel. Continue Reading »

Isn’t Life Strange…

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I had such a bad, bad day.  It sucked.  After one particularly God-awful, horrible phone call, I decided to stop at 7-11 for a Big Gulp.   On my way into the store for a much-needed Pepsi, I decided to throw away some trash from my car.  I was so stressed out, and flustered, and upset that I accidentally threw away my car keys along with the trash.  From what I understand, the cost to replace one of these keys is several hundred dollars.  That wasn’t the biggest problem, though.  My car was locked.  Unless I found that key, I was stranded.  So there I was, as if I my day wasn’t already bad enough, I had to dig through a damn trash can like a bag lady to retrieve my keys, the keys I had absently mindedly, idiotically thrown away.  Yeah, my day wasn’t so great. Continue Reading »

Kindle Me Happy

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I question everything.  I seek understanding.  Until I have answers to my questions, my mind won’t shut up.  If I don’t understand something, especially the behavior of others, I mull it over and over until I am satisfied with their motives, reasons, or what is causing their behavior.  If someone snaps at me without cause, I try not to take it personally.  Instead, I want to help.  What has them upset?  What’s wrong?  What can I do to help?  Most times in my life, this has served me well.  My attempts to empathize and understand the behavior of those around me (and not take it personally) has given me a better understanding of myself and has kept conflict to a minimum. Continue Reading »

Letting Go of Attachments

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I have discovered lately (as if I didn’t know this already !) that I get deeply, and I mean DEEPLY, attached to things, places, and people.  I get so attached that when the time comes to let go, I resist it with all of my might.  The past few weeks have made me even more aware that the time has come for me to address this attachment issue with myself.  I need to teach myself HOW to LET GO when it is necessary. Continue Reading »

Upon Her Return…

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Imagine what it would be like to be plucked from your life for a year, two years, maybe even longer.  Then quite suddenly, you were back!  Well, you were back to the same place, but of course, things had changed during your absence.  That’s how my life feels now, but I’m sure no one around me notices a thing.  They hadn’t even noticed that I had been gone.

Before I go any further with these thoughts, let me say that my intent is not to criticize my family or friends.  I have been blessed with a supportive family and truly wonderful friends.  Unfortunately, some of the burden of these past few years has been mine alone to carry.  It was my dad who died.  It was my mother who was sick.  I was the one the hospital, nurses, and doctors called when there was an emergency.  I was the one who made the phone calls to check in on my mom.  T made many trips to visit my mom.  The girls went along many times, too.  When the boys were home, they made their obligatory visits.  They helped haul and carry things during her three moves these past couple of years.  The one constant in my mom’s life was ME.  If T was there, so was I.  If the girls were there, or the boys paid a visit, I was there, too.  I was there, there, there.  And now I am not.

It has been two weeks now.  Two weekends in a row I have gotten up on a Saturday AND a Sunday morning with the entire day in front of me.  It has been a strange experience.  Oh, I have plenty to do, plenty I should do, plenty I can do, just nothing that I HAVE to do.  The obligation is over, and it’s sad in a way.  I feel sad to feel so lightened.

I feel like a stranger in my own life.  I look around, and so much has changed.  My parents are gone.  Just gone.  Poof!  It suddenly feels sudden!  Two hellish years, and it feels so sudden!  What in the hell happened?

The past two weeks have been so strange.  I miss the boys.  Did you know they are gone?  Of course, they’re gone, but suddenly the house feels very empty without their messes, their loud voices, and their laughter.  They are both so happy and so involved in their own lives.  What is/has been going on here at home has been secondary at best to them.  That is as it should be, and I’m proud that they are happy and haven’t felt that I am their responsibility.  I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

Em is almost out of high school.  We will be celebrating her 18th birthday in a matter of days.  She is “in love” for the first time.  Yes, they use those words right in front of us!  Her boyfriend is sweet, protective of her, and has the most beautiful smile.  The funny thing is, he bears an almost eerie resemblance to T at that same age.

Lola is a big girl now.  She’s selling Girl Scout cookies, volunteering at an animal shelter, and has perfect grades.  They have all grown and changed so much.   When did that happen?  I have been so busy dealing, just dealing, with all of my responsibilities that I haven’t really seen a darn thing that has been going on around me.

What about T?  What has happened during the past few years with T?  Like always, T is there, has been there, will be there if I need him.  He is the foundation.  He has made sure that the necessary things have gotten done.  He has cooked many (most?) of the meals.  He does the laundry.  He drives Lola to Girl Scout meetings.  He helps with the homework, gives advice, and listens.  Of course, he doesn’t even know that he’s doing these things or that it is anything unique.  He just does them.  He doesn’t think things to death.  He just picks up the slack when it has been necessary.

I am trying to remember who I was before these past two hellish years, and where I fit in now.  The problem is, two years ago, I was a different person.  I had different dreams and vastly different ideas of where I thought my life was headed.  My view of my family and my marriage were different, too.  Remembering, or trying to once again become, who I was two years ago is irrelevant.  I don’t even want to be that woman again.  Anyway, it would not even be possible.

I had an extra-long weekend.  Lola stayed home sick from school today, and I took the day off to be home with her.  As we took an afternoon snooze, I laid there thinking about this strange, disoriented feeling I have had since my mother’s death.  I thought about how it feels like I have been plucked from some strange place and plopped down right back where I was two years ago.

As I laid there, I thought about Doris Day in the movie “Move Over, Darling.”  She had been rescued from a deserted island and returned home expecting to find her family as she had left them.  There aren’t any further similarities, thankfully, but that’s how I feel right now.  I feel like I have been on a deserted island and have returned back home expecting to find things unchanged, but that isn’t possible.  Life goes on and on.  Even if it seems at times that we, as individuals, have been stuck on a hamster wheel, those around us keep moving on and on.  I’m just going to have to work hard to catch up with everyone else.

Advance, and never halt, for advancing is perfection.  Advance and do not fear the thorns in the path, for they draw only corrupt blood. ~ Khalil Gibran

 

 

The Wisdom To Know

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It seems like a lot has happened since my last blog post.  A lot, yet nothing much at all.  There were no significant, life-changing events, but yet I feel a certain sense of change.  Christmas has passed.  It is a new year.  I am another year older, having celebrated a birthday during my blogging absence.

I apologize for temporarily shutting down both blogs for a period of time.  It was not my intention to cause alarm or concern.  I simply needed a time to hibernate.  I needed a time of quiet reflection.  I suppose I needed solitude.

The holidays were filled at times with deep sadness while other moments were shining with a kind of joy that I have not allowed myself to experience fully in a very long time.

I had ten days of no work, time with all four kids home, happy and getting along well.  I ate too much.  At times, I drank too much.

T and I  rang in the New Year with old friends.  For the first time in years, I was not on stage playing music, but I was one of the crowd enjoying the entertainment.  That made me sad, and it felt odd at first.  Eventually, though, I was out on the floor dancing up a storm.  That night, I belly laughed for the first time in over two years.  The sensation caught me by surprise.  At first, I didn’t recognize what was happening, and it made me laugh even harder in wonder at the privilege of having the experience of happiness and joy flash into my life for a brief moment once again.

Acceptance.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Those were words I heard my dad repeat hundreds of times.  My dad lived those words.  They were written and framed in a variety of places in his home so he would never forget.  He was reminded over and over to accept with courage whatever life sent his way.

I have never had a problem with courage.  Many times, I have faced down my fears.  The word CAN’T, the word NO, those were words that offered a challenge to me.  Being told that something was not possible only spurred me to try harder to prove the possibility.  Fighting for what I wanted or what I believed in was never the problem.  It has taken me two years to learn an important lesson.  There are some things in life that I cannot change.  Can’t.  No.  Some things are beyond my power to control.  I know that concept may seem like a no-brainer to some, but not to me.  I thought if I fought hard enough, tried hard enough, I could make practically anything go MY WAY.  Of course, I have always understood that there were things, like death, that were beyond my control, but beyond that, I stubbornly, bull-headedly believed that there was very little else that I could not sway, or fix, or influence.  I was wrong.

While I may have not lacked courage and conviction, something else has been lacking.  A great, gaping hole stood in the middle between me and acceptance.  That gaping hole was wisdom.  “…the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”  Two years of struggle, and an unwillingness to admit acceptance into my life, has taught me that WISDOM does not come easily.

Along with wisdom comes acceptance, and acceptance brings with it a sense of calm.  For the first time in so very long, I have had moments of calm and peace.  I have had moments that have allowed me once again to recognize myself, the woman I once was, the woman I hope to be again someday.  Acceptance does not take away sadness or loss, but it has allowed me to occasionally step off of the hamster wheel.  This wisdom has allowed me to stop punishing myself.  Yes, some things are beyond my control.

I now understand why my dad found it necessary to keep the words of the Serenity Prayer near to him.  Like me, he needed to be reminded.  It was a lesson that had not come easily to him, but once learned, he never forgot the value of that lesson.