Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Nobility of the Mundane

As I sit to write this, I've just received a series of messages from my soul mate. She resides in a castle in the Hills of Nichols, yet she intuitively knows when I need her.  She has produced the softest tears in me. They are flowing steadily but without the twisted, painful emotion that would usually accompany them. I've been beaten and broken and left for dead in so many ways; yet, this water running from my eyes, down my neck and into my clothing feels as if it could be cleansing me.

I wipe my neck and then notice I have soaked the keyboard with my fingers. The thought occurs to me, are  my tears being transmitting through this post?

When I awoke this morning, I wasn't sure where to begin. What do I do now? Should I be working on the large trees that fell into my house or should I be working on me.  Should I write, should I walk, what should I do to begin to feel human again?

Then her first message arrived, in a Jacob Marley-esque manner, forewarning me she would be sending three thoughts to me today. They began to arrive at slow, thoughtful intervals.

Message One:  Keep waking up.  Many would be in more pain than you feel now without you.

Message Two:  This time, suffering and pain brings a lesson.  Be with it, ask it questions. Listen. Learn. Pain is the crucible that brings peace.

Message Three:  While you are 'being' with the pain, remember the repetitive meditation of the ordinary. Start a load of laundry, clean the kitchen sink. Watch Nemo or Top Gun. Find the comfort and nobility of the mundane.

I sometimes wonder if it's easier to find nobility in the mundane when you live in a castle and not a house with trees in it but I must believe the universe has gone to great lengths to bring these lessons to me. The sharp popping, cracking sound at 2am that split one tree in half and hurled it into my house, and then the fifty foot tall, majestic hickory tree that was pulled from it's roots, leaving not so much as a stump of evidence that it once stood there came thundering across the fence line at 3am. I sat up in bed when I felt my house shake, looked up to the sky and said one word to God, "Seriously?".

You see, the trees were not the worst thing that happened to me this week. By contrast, it was minor.

She may reside in a castle but it's really just a fancy nest. She made it that way by always being able to find the nobility of the mundane. She found it while staring down the same demons that have possessed me. She found it while standing strong against the storms of family turmoil and gail force winds that try to take you down when you watched loved ones dying. She found it when trees were falling, not on her home but in her mind. And she brought these reminders to me today.

That was an hour ago, and the tears haven't stopped. It makes so much sense. All I have to do is start with a load of laundry, or perhaps take a shower to wash the smell of quiet yet anguished desperation off my body. Then I will simply accept and be with my lessons until the tall trees in my mind have been stripped of their leaves, branches and bark in order to make way for new growth, tiny buds of hope and the promise of a new life.

Strip me bare, cut me down to size and then let me grow into the direction of the sun this time, for I have grown weary of the dark.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

All We Need is Love

At some point, you simply have to give up or give in because you gave everything you had to give.  But then you regroup and wonder why there is nothing more to be drawn from this well?  That very same well you stood and witnessed bursting forth with the mother load now represents your failures instead of your future, your fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, instead of just your fuck, your undoing instead of your doing and your most overwhelming, seemingly unimaginable worst possible nightmare instead of your heart's most passionate desire has arrived.  Hello.  I am here to make you question everything you believe in, grapple with the lessons you have tucked away for 30 years and, in general, shake you to the core and foundation of the essence of who you are, or should I say, who you think you are, or should I say, who you were.  

Because guess what, you are not who they think you are and you are not who you think you are. You are just a girl who wanted to be loved by the man she loved.

After all, love is all we need but I am done, so very done.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Moon Over Scotland

I can't even begin to process the things that are happening to me at lightening speed so I'm going to slow it down and give you the highlights, but not the low lights because those are just fucking depressing as shit.

I took my children to the Milwaukee Highland Games/Scottish Festival for the first time over Labor Day weekend. I told them we were essentially Scottish royalty, hailing from not only the clan Donald, but the Lord of the Clans, Macdonald.  They ate fish and chips, they watched the burly men in kilts competing in the hammer and caber competitions and they indulged me as I cried when the entire delegation of drummers and pipers walked onto the field to dedicate Amazing Grace to the policemen, firemen and American soldiers who have served or continue to serve, as well as those that have given their lives in the line of duty. I cried behind my sunglasses.  They clapped and hooped and hollered.  That was my signal that even though they didn't cry, they got it.

I delighted in watching my 12 year old son, who is the only one of my children to receive the traditional pale skin and freckles of my clan. Just as I can walk around a Scottish festival and be recognized by my naturally curly, red hair and fair skin, my son is instantly accepted, wearing camouflage shorts or a kilt, though it may take him a few years to get comfortable with the idea of a skirt and knee socks.

While we were eating lunch at an outdoor picnic table, I watched as an extremely large version of a Scottish piper made his way past us.  Keep in mind, one of my most basic tenants is my sincerest desire to not make fun of, nor harass, nor belittle any of my fellow travelers in this live; however, I found myself looking up to quickly assess the inevitable. The very same principles of physics hold true to a middle aged man who wears his jeans below his belly as do they do a man in a kilt.  When you tuck a kilt below a large protruding object, the back of said kilt will hike up in a manner that would greatly agitate even the most innocent of spectators.  In other words, his ass was showing.

And to further exasperate the experience, as is often the case with me, I said, "Look kids, the moon is shining over Scotland." Now before you get all outraged with me, you have to know, I did have enough reason to point it out when said butt cheeks were well out of the visual purview of my kids. However, when they saw him from a distance, with his calves as big as my waste, they were duly impressed.  For them, a big piper was a BIG piper, nay - a monumental piper.

Thus, I suppose the old adage once again proves true.  The bigger the better.

Footnote to this post,which has nothing whatsoever to do with this post,thus making it not so much a footnote as just a lame attempt at tacking on something that is worth mentioning but not entirely enough to dedicate a singular post:

Kids got upset with me for deleting their online internet accounts. I gave them a warning, if you go in there and trash my office again, you will all be deleted.  Eventually, I restored their restricted access.  Middle child said to me, "What were you thinking mom, how could you do that? I don't have the picture of the black and white dog anymore and you took away everything I need, I mean I don't even have Mozzarella Firefox anymore."

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Can a Crouton Really Beat a Choco Taco?

School started this week for the kids. It's been a whirlwind of excitement for The Commando as he charges forth into the middle school years.  He has always been a few years ahead of his biological age, not with respect to maturity but more so in how he sees himself. Middle school brings with it a certain new level of freedom not afforded in the elementary years. He is sliding into it like a well worn pair of jeans. The locker, the class changes, gym, band, football, girls, meeting kids from other schools, and especially lunchtime.

When we are all together, this freshly minted 6th grade boy will flat out talk. I have to keep reminding myself to be happy about this because the sullen teenage years are lurking perilously around the bend. For now, he talks as if he's not going to see you for the next ten years and he wants to make sure he has emptied out his brain. There is no system to it really, it's just a steady stream of topics that roll out effortlessly. He happily and randomly opens up and lets it flow. Here's an example of our dinner dialog last night, he is telling his sisters and I about middle school lunch.

So girls, you would not believe the kind of food they have at middle school.  Yesterday I had a rib sandwich and curly fries. Can you believe they actually serve curly fries? At school? I'm tellin' ya, they have everything you could imagine. They have pizza but not just any pizza. Dude, it's Pizza Hut pizza! You can pretty much get whatever you want there, like spaghetti, chicken, pickles, even salad.  You know how you girls like salad, right? They have a real salad bar, not like that bowl of lettuce they gave us at Rose Glen. This has everything on it like croutons, cheese, all kinds of dressings, you just make your own salad with whatever you want on it. But the best thing is they have an ice cream machine. I'm not going to eat ice cream everyday, just two times per week. So on Thursday it was CHOCO-TACO baybeee. That's what I'm talkin' 'bout. I heard they have a taco bar sometimes, I can't wait to try that...... which point, patient yet hungry sister interrupts with the following......."You can stop. You had me at croutons."

Friday, September 3, 2010

Dear Linda

I'm writing this blog for you, to you.  I know you check this site everyday - sometimes two to three times. I think you may be unfairly altering my stats with your predictable daily checks of the happenings around here.  I remember when I was married to your son.  I called you and asked you to meet me for lunch to discuss how he was running up debt on credit cards you provided him.  I told you how hard it was for us to make ends meet; yet you allowed him to charge home improvement supplies we couldn't afford when Danny was in town.  This was after I told you of the dire circumstances. You have always done everything and anything he asks of you.

I know you carry your son's burdens - far beyond that which would be expected of a mom.  He's 34 and his cell phone is still in your name.  I mean come on.  He stole $1.1 million dollars from his employer, he's going to jail for two and a half years. I can't imagine what your pain must be. It must be somewhat analogous to mine as I endeavor to raise these children to be healthy and happy in spite of his actions.We are two moms in a sobering amount of turmoil right now. You, having the second of four children go to jail, and me, having the misfortune of having been married to the second of those children.  

In case you haven't already picked up on the subtle nuances, I am angry. This is what I do. I have to process the rage first.  Then, eventually the exasperation will inspire me to step up and take whatever actions are necessary to secure the well being of my family.  I left your son for that very reason.  He ushered me into bankruptcy, ruining my credit with the business venture in OKC, then brought me to Wisconsin with the promise of working "a real job" provided him by Vic, at your beckoning. He lost that job due to his political ambitions and nearly bankrupted us again in the effort.  The details of his numerous affairs with young political staffers is irrelevant to this plea.  I let him keep the house after our divorce, knowing he would default on the loan in my name and he did.

At some point, I realized I had to take my steady paycheck and run. Ironically, you did the same, leaving your first and second husbands to educate yourself and rise above the northern Wisconsin stereotype.  If I had stayed, he would have taken everything again.  And by golly what do you know, it actually happened with his choice to steal, start another company, then oops, get caught.  But hear me when I say, the time has come to realize you are not serving his needs.  Does he really need a cell phone, or would those dollars be better served paying for Lauren's hospital bills?

I'm certain he is feeding you yet another line, in a long, long line of bullshit.  Just as he did when he was out charging up debt we couldn't afford.  He owes me $10,915 in expenses I have covered over the last five years.  I have been able to cover them because we've shared joint custody.  Now that he is going to federal prison (summer camp), we cannot survive without being reimbursed.  The kids have an appointment next Tuesday to install their orthodontics.  His share is $3,650 (with reasonable financing options). He says he's not in a position to handle it right now.  I suppose that means straight teeth are a luxury, not a necessity. You've seen their teeth, right? Should a 6th grade boy really have to go through middle school with a pointy bird-like took stuck up above the rest of his teeth? I can't pay for this on my own.

We are going to court next Friday.  He sees this as me kicking him when he is down.  I see it as a woman fighting to survive and provide for her children, your grandchildren, for the next two and a half years.  I cannot continue to allow him to pretend to be a father without any financial responsibilities. 

I truly want to have a relationship with you and the rest of the family, especially while he is away. But, if you allow him to continue to deny his responsibilities for his children when you so willingly purchased new wood floors and pedestal sinks we didn't need, then I need to inform you of one thing.  I am in survival mode, and I will do whatever I need to do to protect and serve these children. I want you to step up, cut him off and channel those funds to us. I thought he had received his wake up call with his sentencing, but apparently he did not pick up the phone.

I hope you will. It is my sincerest desire and fondest wish to write a post about two strong women who came together in a time of adversity and made sense out of the senseless.