Monday, January 31, 2011

Winter Wonderland

The kids and I have been enjoying the holiday season and the snow, believe it or not. This has been the first year in the ten years I've lived here I've decided to embrace the snow. We've gone sledding and I learned it's great exercise, climbing back up those hills wearing 20 pounds of layers.  I may have embraced the snow but mama still doesn't do cold.

We've adopted a new family member, Sable the dog who heals hearts. We've done snowmen and rode around on an icy lake and we are going to ski as a family later in February. I should preface that. It's skiing but not on a real mountain - more like a very large hill here in Wisconsin. We capped it all off by celebrating my oldest son's 25th birthday!  Yikes, I must be getting old.

I am feeling so blessed by the daily presence of my children. Some days, I get run down, rather beat down by the grind but then I remember how lucky I am to have them full time now.  Here are some of my favorite shots from Christmas and January. (The dates are incorrect on the last six photos - leave it to me to still not be able to figure out how to work a digital camera, which is further proof of my age.)

We are supposed to get two feet of snow this week. Maybe we should have gotten a taller dog.

The Commando recruited some help.

The twins preparing for the Waukesha Christmas parade.

Gracious Tenacious with Sable.

Our beautiful tree.

The dog who will soon be buried in two feet of snow.

My favorite Christmas pic of The Commando.

Thanks to my cousin Debbie in Oklahoma!

One of the girls insisted on buying this for her "Bubba".

#1 Son and his beautiful girlfriend, Melissa.
The kids on Kelly Lake, just north of Green Bay.

Just completed a Sable rescue mission on Kelly Lake.

The beautiful Ms. V at her lake house. She and hubs are the perfect hosts!

Kids at the local supper club for dinner with their friend, the Elk.

Homemade hat with Christmas goodies.

No caption can do justice to this picture.

The Commando's band concert in December, September!

My beauties.

Mama bear and her cubs.

The Commando's signature look.

#1Son's friends came to his party. We went to an old bowling alley where we had to do manual scoring.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Appreciation Revelation

The Commando reduced me to a pile of tears and goose bumps earlier this evening. He sat me down and gave me a five minute speech on how much he appreciates all I do for him, how he thinks I am the best mom ever and how he just loves, loves, loves me.  He thanked me for getting him a dog, keeping the house tidy, paying the bills, the cooking, the laundry - pretty much everything I do day in and day out.  Then he insisted on carrying a load of laundry for me, up two flights of stairs to his sister's room.

Once there, he remained joyful, playing with his sisters (unprecedented), telling them they should appreciate me too.  "Girls, you need to tell mom how much you love her", as he came up behind me and wrapped me up in a big bear hug. 

I was suspicious at first.  Am I being prepped for some bad news or an expensive request?  Nope.  It was real. Complete and total appreciation of me.  After what we've been through, the contrast is stark.  He has not only dealt with his anger, he has surpassed all of my wildest dreams and begun to feel empathy, something I had never seen him do.  The inability to empathize is a trademark characteristic of the narcissistic personality of his father.  Yeah me!  I'm on my way to raising a boy who will be kind, caring and most of all, happy.  To say I feel like I have a new son doesn't even come close to describing the changes he has undergone.

It is remarkable, simply stunning.

Later, as the girls were getting ready for bed, I asked them to write a thank you note to their school counselor, who had bought them each a little bag of goodies for Christmas.  I know I can spin and embellish, edit and clean-up words but this is word for word what came out of their 8 year old souls:

Twin #1 - Dear Mrs. -----, Thank you so much! I loved the gingerbread pal. I wish I had one billion more left! One more thank you for always being there for me and my sister.  I use the crayons and activity book all the time. I hope u have a very fun 2011.  With love.  (Then she drew a picture of the counselor giving the gift bag to her).

Twin #2 - Dear Mrs.------, Thank you so, so, so much.  I love all the gifts. I think it was really nice of you to think of me when I was sick (she was out that day with a stomach flu). If there is anything I can do in return, just call.  Merry Christmas and happy new year!

And believe me when I say, if the school counselor ever needed something from either of these girls, all she would need to do is call.

My heart if filled with love and appreciation for these children and for the opportunity I have been given to change the course of their lives; to allow the true-self of an angry little boy to emerge and shine. Contrast the happy tears from earlier tonight with the tears from just over a month ago as I watched him cave into his rage and I worried I might have lost him forever. He once was lost, but now he is found.  I'm dying to get to know him as he excitedly prepares for his first band concert, slowly opens up to his sisters and becomes all that he was meant to be.

Those things, you know the ones, that just keep happening for a reason, which seem really, really bad, like you're not sure you're going to survive them but then you do and you realize they were sent to you as a gift are truly amazing, aren't they? I know I am appreciating the hell out of them right about now. I am visualizing a shower of appreciation blanketing our little yellow cape cod with a light dusting of snow falling ever so softly just outside my window.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

She Let Go

I have had two serious loves since my divorce from Mr. Sunshine in 2005.  Both lasted between a year and a half to two years if you count that last four to five months of trying to reconcile before you decide it is really over.  Both broke my heart but in vastly different ways.  The first a man with a well thought out, pragmatic past, present and future meticulously planned. Not the sort of thing that would mesh with my, let's just go ahead and say it, somewhat unconventional, colorful past, present and most likely future.  Ironically, said colorful past made me who I was/am, the woman he fell in love with, but when it came to the ultimate decision, or shortly after I had met his entire this day, not sure which one tipped the scales, I was told he couldn't do it anymore.  His anguish was apparent, his tears were real and just like that, the man I had imagined to be "the one", was gone. 

The second was the brilliant Mr. S. who seduced me with a foreign accent, hot body and intellectual stimulation beyond my wildest imagination. So what if English was his fourth language, I could always take him when it came to grammar, syntax and stupid English figures of speech.  But hyperbole and sarcasm were his aces in the hole.  I stood at his feet in constant admiration of his ability to battle it out with me in the language I had bathed in my entire life, like an alcoholic, not ever fully satisfied until I had acquired more vocabulary, more uses of an oxymoron, more synonyms, more guide to picturesque speech. While he had breezed through French, Armenian, Arabic and oh by the way, English.  Bully for me.

But in the end, the one who wanted me for all of my crazy ideas, accepted me for all past indiscretions and proposed to love me forever, Mr. S., was more fucked up than anyone of my past loves (and if you've read this entire blog, you know that carries some significant weight).  He imagined himself to be someone he wasn't. For example, he prided himself on having not one jealous bone in his body, absolutely no issues with trust; yet I later discovered my computer was being monitored 24/7.  It was insidious, stealth-like deceit but unintentional; as honest to daisies, he believes he is what he claims to be.  Nonetheless, second big love, second heart break.

Why the reflux of past love on this, the dawn of a new year?  Good question. I believe it has to do with letting go.

In a time of reflection and transition such as the new year, what does one do?  Do we wipe the slate clean, let go and chart a new course or do we give thanks that life is just as it is, know that what we have is ours, understand it, claim it and then let the universe show us our own personal end result, that we ourselves brought to fruition?

I believe it is a combination of letting go and believing in your choices.  This year for me was defined by the loss of Mr.S- good riddance - and the gain of my children as their full time provider.  They amaze me, defy me, teach me how to be a better mother, get me outside to play in the snow, make me do the most unimaginable things to fight for them and ultimately convince me that my purpose, i.e., to write, has now been given a meaning beyond what I could have ever begun to imagine.  This is not just about me anymore, this is not just my journey, it's our story.

And from this point forward in my blog, I share their lessons with you.

I let some meatballs stay in the fridge a bit too long and mold started to develop.  My warrior princess lives for meatballs so it was with trepidation I decided to show her the Rubbermaid container with the moldy meatballs.  Honey, this is what happens when meatballs outlive their useful life.  Look, this one has eyeballs, furry eyeballs.  She was incensed, disgusted and appalled - questioning her belief in meatballs for ever after.

A few days later, we all sat down to watch the movie, Babe.  I told the kids it would be sad at times but they would feel good at the end.  When it ended, they questioned me, how could you let us watch a movie with so much sadness?

But didn't it end okay?  Sometimes life gives you sadness but the point of the movie is to believe in yourself, even if everyone else thinks you're crazy. If a thought nags at you, and won't go away then you MUST pursue it. You will be given hardships and obstacles along the way but you cannot let go, do you know why that is?

Yes, the Warrior Princess replied with the tone of a balloon losing its air, we get it mom, life is like a meatball, sometimes it gets moldy.

There is nothing more I can add to that other than to give credit to Robin Thomas, a/k/a Bert, a/k/a, my soul mate who has known me since the time we sat on her bed as young girls and rolled our hair together.  She sent me the card you see at the top of this post.  It is me with red, curly hair, saggy breasts and legs that can still stop a man in his tracks.

Forging a hole through this universe.  I WILL scream past my limitations and defy each and every furry meatball that comes my way.

Happy New Year.


Love to all, Zen Mama