Be Careful What You Wish For

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I had a birthday about a week ago.  I won’t mention numbers here, but it was a fairly significant (and painful!) birthday.  While having a birthday mixed up in the middle of the holiday season wasn’t so great when I was a kid, the older I get, the less I mind getting lost in the shuffle.

For many reasons, the holidays are not my favorite time of year.  However, the newness of a holiday in a different place was interesting.  We went all out on outdoor illumination.  Both of the boys were here for Thanksgiving, and we began the process that weekend.  Emily added more lights one day when she wasn’t working.  We added more lights the following weekend.  By the time it was all said and done, we had a pretty respectable outdoor display.  We especially enjoyed the uniqueness of our choice of pastel colors in our very white-bread, Stepford-esque neighborhood.  If prizes had been given, our house would have won the award for “Most Unique.”  I smiled every time I pulled into the driveway after work during December, and I already miss our happy display of lights.  I might have to dig out the pink lights for a Valentine’s display, although that might be a violation of our HOA regulations. 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 »

What Might Have Been

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For all sad words of tongue and pen, the are saddest are these, “It might have been.”

~ John Greenleaf Whittier

Most people in my daily life don’t even know that I once had a daughter named Grace.  It was a long time ago, and there isn’t really any reason to disclose information that will only serve to make someone uncomfortable.  Often, the “face” we present to the world is far different from the person who resides in our hearts.

Thanksgiving is November 24.  It’s a day of family celebration.  I will celebrate along with those around me.  I’ll be thrilled to have all of my kids home and under one roof for several days.  What most people won’t know or won’t remember is that November 24th is also Grace’s birthday.  It would have been her “golden birthday, 24 on the 24th.  I can’t help but think of how things might have been.  What an awesome day to have been able to celebrate her birthday.  Instead, I will remember alone, and I won’t say a word to anyone.  After all, who wants to remember something sad, something that happened so very long ago?

Lately, I have been spending too much time thinking about “what might have been.”  I am standing in the present, but too much of the time;  my head is turned around looking back at the past.  I miss my dad, and it isn’t the same to celebrate Thanksgiving without him.  I miss my grandparents during the holiday season, too.  And Grace.  Thanksgiving will mark the beginning of a time each year when too much of my time is spent remembering and thinking about “what might have been.”

Several years ago, a friend who had lost a child asked me to join her in forming a support group for those who had recently lost babies.  It was at a time in my life when I was very happy.  I had returned to work.  I was moving on and moving forward.  I felt sad for this woman.  I really did.  Her experience had been horrible, but a couple of years had passed since then, and she seemed to still be LIVING for her grief.  She wore her baby’s name and birthstone on a necklace around her neck.  She set a place at the dinner table for her missing child.  While I understood her pain, it made me sad to think of the pain she was causing her children that were THERE.  This woman had defined who she was by her grief, and it scared the hell out of me to see that.  I had to tell her that I could not help her out with the support group, but I also felt the need to gently explain to her that I while losing a child still hurt; it no longer defined who I was.  I offered to help anyone who needed someone to talk to one on one, including her, but I just couldn’t go backwards.  I knew that weekly grief meetings would not be something that would help me in healing and continuing to move forward.

What has happened since then?  SOMETHING has happened, because I am no longer that strong, positive woman who would not allow her life to be defined by grief.  I know from experience that sadness breeds sadness.  One sad thought leads to the next sad thought.  It becomes a vicious cycle.  When it rains, it pours.  I believe that!  Negativity will only lead to more negativity.

I suppose  that by recognizing that I have slipped back to a place that doesn’t feel very good is the first step in pulling myself back up out of the hole.  I’m not sure if happiness is necessarily a choice, but I do know that wallowing in self-pity and looking back at “what might have been” is not congruent with moving on and moving forward.  Negative thoughts, negative feelings, and negative people all need to be pushed out of my life.  While these next few days and weeks will be full of sad reminders, they will also be full of moments full of happiness and joy.  Those are the moments that I need to pull in close, and those are the moments that will help me to become someone who I can be proud of once again.

 

 

 

Back to the Grind

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A week of vacation.  For ten days, I didn’t walk through the door of my office.  It wasn’t difficult, and I was still connected.  Through the wonders of the Droid, I was able to keep my finger on the pulse of the most important issues.  Yes, I checked my emails and returned a few calls while I was on vacation.  It didn’t take that much time, and it certainly eased my mind not being in the dark about what is going on.  As in other areas of my life, the NOT knowing is much worse than actually dealing swiftly with issues as they arise.  Even though I had been in touch with work, I still felt uneasy all day yesterday as I imagined a “shit storm” upon my return.  My mind tossed and turned all sorts of scenarios over in preparation for the worst when I walked back through the doors this morning.  Thankfully, all of the worry was unfounded.  Everything was fine.  Yes, I am behind in my work, and it will take a few days to catch up, but all in all, it appears that the world can still continue to turn without me seated behind my desk.  Lesson learned.  I need MORE vacations!

One week was not enough.  It took most of that one week to simply begin to relax.  I had it down pat by the end of the week, though.  Ponytails and no makeup.  Wake up and throw on something loose and comfortable.  I loved that.  This morning, as I dressed for work, I longing eyed my gauzy beach dress hanging sadly in my closet.  I knew we would miss each other today.  That gauzy $12 dress and I had a good thing going.  Add a pair of squishy flip flops, and I would have been set for the day.

I’m also proud to say that I missed reading today!  I may bring a book to work tomorrow.  I can quickly wolf down my food and read during my lunch hour.  I’ll close my door and prop my feet up on my desk.  (Once again, I am wishing for a giant dog bed under my desk!  How perfect would that be???  Although, I might need to use a flashlight to read under there.)  Currently, I am reading Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer.  Those of you who read my OTHER blog may remember my fascination with Henry and Anais Nin.  The fascination has continued, but it is quickly going downhill the more I learn about these two characters.  I have begun a blog post about Henry and Anais, but it’s not ready yet.  It’s one of those subjects that I need to worry and ponder over a bit.  I’ll just say this.  Henry, while he may have been a passionate, talented man, was a DOG.  Anais, well, I do believe she loved him deeply, but that love destroyed her decency.  She lost herself in a love that was so very wrong for her.  She cared more for Henry than herself.  As I said, Henry was a DOG, so he took and took all that she offered.  If she destroyed her character in the process of loving him, well….not HIS fault.

Tropic of Cancer is purely ugly.  It’s a train wreck.  I wish I could stop reading it, but I can’t.  I will chug along through the ugliness until the bitter (most likely!) end.  I despise the word cunt.  HATE IT.  It is the worst word in the world, and I’m not sure that I have ever actually uttered it more than once or twice in  my life.  Henry uses the word liberally.  He would just as soon use that horrible word than the word woman.  He used it interchangeably.  Think of a sentence using the word woman.  Now, substitute the horrible “C” word, and you’re Henry Miller!  Ugh and YUCK.  Maybe I should think of such a horrible word and use it to describe men!  🙂  Anyway….I will finish the damn book and soon, because next in line is an Alice Hoffman book.

As if the first day back to work wasn’t enough of a shock to my system, it was also Lola’s birthday today.  She is EIGHT years old!  I had planned a quiet night of pizza and pie.  No cake for my Lola.  She doesn’t like sweets.  Instead of the quiet night I had envisioned, we ended up with a houseful for dinner and dessert.  Lola invited half of the family today while I was at work.  That’s OK.  I ordered a bunch of pizza, and stopped by the bakery for a cake for those of us who DO LIKE SWEETS.  Lola had a great night with all of her little girl cousins.  It was good to see her being the BIG GIRL for a change.  She may be the baby of our family, but she is the oldest of the second crop of cousins, as we call them.

Lola blowing out birthday pie candles!

 

 

So, yes, I am “Back in the Grind” today.  Nothing at work has changed, including the stress.  It was right there waiting for me.  Something did change, though.  Me.  I am changing.  Finally, I am changing.  Maybe I am…something felt different.  There has been some kind of internal shift inside of me.

Or, maybe I am not changing at all.  Maybe I am just learning to allow life to sweep me along in the daily tide of living.  Maybe I am learning to stop kicking and screaming about the things I can’t change.  It is what it is.