Sunday, February 16, 2014

Letting Go

I've been purging the home space.  Closets, drawers, pantry, office and walls.  Nothing is safe.  Nothing comes in unless something is going out.  We have too much stuff.  Too much material items, too much emotional baggage attached.  It's time to let go.
When hubby and I married all of my clothes no longer fit in my closet.  I became one of those people who store clothes by season in totes.  It is a tad annoying to try and determine the right time to make the change but the upside is I am forced to go through my closet twice a year.  Does it fit?  Will it fit in the near future?  Do I like it?  Do I wear it?  If no, out it goes.  And I'm at the point where a lot more is going than coming in. And I have fewer totes.
Books have been purged.  I am a bookaholic.  I love books.  I save books.  Many are reference books.  I tend to read more informational books than novels.  And unlike my hubby I rarely reread novels so, I do not hang on to those.  But, I see it is time to let an entire section go.  It is no longer me.  And cookbooks - I have a huge collection.  I read them like novels.  I have gathered a large stack to be donated.  Have I ever made a recipe from this book?  Will I ever make a recipe from this book?  No and no - gone.
Then, there are knickknacks. I made the mistake years ago by saying that I liked snowman because you could decorate with them for the winter - this as opposed to santas which are strictly a Christmas decoration.  I was soon flooded.  I don't think there was a room in my house that didn't have a snowman.  I had to beg people to stop.  I had to learn to tell people if we were out and about that just because I say I like something or that it is pretty does not mean I need to own it.  Two huge boxes went a year or so ago to the tag sale room at our dump.  They were thrilled.  Snowmen are a big seller.  Another huge box went a month ago.  All but a few are now gone. Many I had hung on to because they were gifts.  Would the giver be upset?  Does the giver even remember gifting it to me?  Do they care?  Do I care?
Next up the birdhouses.  I'm pulling items off the wall and shelves in the kitchen to paint.  Hubby thinks I'm kidding about painting.   Any way, I have everything stacked neatly in a box.  I already know some if not all of it is going.  Do I love it?  Why do I have it?  Some of the items are birdhouses and prints of birdhouses.  They're pretty but are they me?  My first husband was/is a huge birder.  We were not married long.  We divorced soon after building the house.  And even though I quickly cut down the woodpecker "tree" - the one he topped and limbed and drilled holes in to stuff with suet -  I soon started decorating with bird items.  Hmmm?
And then there are the Noah's Arc items.  I started collecting while at seminary.  It was going to be how I decorated the nursery.  First I was divorced and then I became a step mom of four.  There would be no nursery in my home.  Maybe, my office?  But, in reality they took up a corner of my craft table.  And now that I'm using my craft table a lot for my art journal they are in the way.  Out they go.
Dishes, platters, kitchen tools I don't use - out they go.
Everything in my house needs a function - be it practical or that it speaks to my heart.  Everything else I'm letting go.
The failed marriage, the empty womb, the skinny jeans, the need to please, the need to be anything less than myself - Gone!
I'm letting go.  I'm letting it all go.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Anniversary Week

It's been five years.

Five years ago this past Sunday bio had her last court mandated visit with the three youngest children in state.  The restraining order to not be able to see them out of state is still intact.  My oldest son had already moved and started his life.  It was at this point bio thought she could whisk oldest daughter off with her.  The court stepped in and delayed that process by two years.  The first year was heavenly.  You could see the stress pour out of oldest and a sense of calm set in.  Then as her eighteenth birthday approached you could tell bio was in contact.  She seemed all smiles and pleasantries on the outside.  She strives to tell people what she thinks they want to hear.  But, living with her was like a hurricane, tsunami and a tornado brewing at the same time beneath the surface. A week after she left youngest sighed with relief and stated, "at least I don't have to lie any more."

She was planning to run away -  after all wicked step mom was unreasonable and hubby didn't really want her.Those things had to be true - bio told her they were.  She thought we would fight her.  Legally we couldn't; she was of age ( I don't think she realized that).  And on many levels we knew we had to let her go.  She would not believe us until she lived it first hand. We couldn't change her decision.  We could choose how to handle it.  I threw her a giant going away party.  My MIL thought I was crazy at first.  Then thanked me afterwards.  We needed to show her we loved her, supported her no matter what and make her feel comfortable to stay in contact.  She still lives with bio (sort of).  In three years she has moved out of bio's house at least twice plus did a 5 month stint at boot camp for the National Guard.

When she came for a visit a year ago she was a different kid.  I think her eyes have been opened a great deal.  She in no way tried to convince her siblings that Arizona was paradise.  She refriended me on facebook and has been in contact.  I even received a mother's day card. She is still figuring out her stuff and I hope someday she discovers who she is and lives accordingly instead of living to please others.

Son and youngest have not seen her since.  Youngest has hardly any contact with her at all.  Two five minute phone conversations in the past year.  And a few unanswered facebook messages.  Son talks to her via phone now and then.  We held a letter writing campaign while he was at boot camp.  Bio wrote only once so he stopped sending her letters.  She promised she would be at his graduation.  She never showed up. I was so glad we were all able to be there (hubby, youngest and myself along with MIL and FIL).  Son has seen the light.  

When bio first left with no forwarding address she told the kids she would see them soon.  She told them they would come to her for the entire summer, thanksgiving and Christmas.  She never contacted the school to have information forwarded to her.  She has had no contact with hubby at all.  I take that back - the first year she asked him for a copy of their school pictures.  Year two she was still promising summers in Arizona.  Then oldest joined her and contact came to a screeching halt.  She had no one relaying messages any more.  Son and youngest thrived - no one to report back to bio.  Other than a box with cheap bizarre Christmas gifts they receive nothing from bio.

I don't get it.  Don't need to get it.  All I know is that her leaving was the best gift she could have gave them.  The only thing nicer would have been to do it much sooner.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Happy Birthday, Mom

My mom and me in front of Granny's house

Today is the anniversary of my mom's 39th birthday.  I won't say which one as that will give away her poorly kept secret.  I'm not sure her 39th year was a stellar one or that it was just cliche to stop counting after that.  My brother chose to stop counting the year he met his wife.  That is until his kids decided he had to gain a year each new birthday.  I'm an eternal optimist and even if I have a stellar year I believe the present one can be just as good or better.  I am no seven years older than my mom.  And my Dad is now married to a much younger woman; one he has apparently married to longer than she has had birthdays.  And this is the family I hail from.  A tad but crazy, but loving and supportive.
I see many people with broken relationships with their mother or so dysfunctional that it takes years to heal if ever.  My mom had such a relationship.  My Granny was a piece of work.  My mom was 39 for a few years before she made peace with this.  She was nothing compared to bio but that is another story for another day.  I learned many things from my mom.  Some directly and others from observation.  I don't knit or crochet like she does.  She's amazing and I cherish many items she has made for me over the years.  Over the years she worked with cement, basket weaving, decoupage and so many other crafts.  I channeled my creativity into cooking, cross stitch and soap making.
I often wondered if she had a good paying job, a career, if she would still be married to my dad.  They went through some really challenging times and I think what kept her there was her fear to be on her own.  She was also more content with the devil she knew rather than the devil she didn't.  She always compared dad to their friends and said she would take him over all of them.  But, their friends were dad's friends and their wives so what did that really say?  Her dating advice to me was that, "all men are assholes, get used to it."  I took this as a challenge.  I'm happy to report that I found a man I don't consider an ass.  We have our moments but..... I vowed I would never be in a position I could not walk out the door.  I succeeded.  Maybe I'm wrong but knowing that gives me the freedom to choose.
What I learned from my mom is that you are never too old to like rock n' roll, play your music loud, dance, laugh or want sex.  She was embarrassed to talk to me about the mechanics of sex but, what she did say indirectly was that sex was good, lots of sex was even better.
She never told me I could be anything I wanted.  She let me be anything I wanted.  She always has my back whether she understands or likes what I'm doing or not. She taught me to speak my mind.
So, to my mom who was celebrating the day having breakfast at a biker bar with my dad - happy birthday!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Vacation is over

     But a wonderful vacation it was.  I had two weeks off over the holidays.  I didn't accomplish anything and everything all at the same time.  It started with six batches of cookies and gathering with my family.  My parents flew up from Florida the week before Christmas.  They left early Christmas morning.  That Sunday was a gathering with them and my brother's family.  My niece and nephew were in a play at church and the afternoon was spent eating lasagna, laughing and playing.  Christmas Eve morning I had my parents for our traditional breakfast.
     That night we broke tradition and stayed home.  A bacon wrapped pork loin for three.  Then youngest headed to her room to dance and hubby and I went to deliver cookies to the emergency dispatchers.  On our way home we rendezvoused with mother and father-in-love who had picked son up at the airport.  He was on leave from the military and flying in to surprise his sister.  We managed to get him in the house and tucked in his room without her knowing.  The look on her face as he came down the stairs Christmas morning was priceless.We headed to the in-laws for a quiet dinner that day.
     Another day was spent shopping in Northampton with the cousins.  An evening fire department party.  An afternoon of Bliss Yoga.  An amazing afternoon with my wise and foolish friends. A morning spent making soap and lip balm.  Books read.  Needle pointing worked on. Pages filled in my art journal.  A day spent with my niece; bonding over lunch, frozen yogurt, books and shopping.  A celebration of son's nineteenth birthday.
     New Year's Eve we had a thanksgiving feast.  It was son's last night home and we had tur-duck-en , mashed potatoes, roasted butternut squash, cookies and birthday cake.  New Year's Eve or the calender flip as my girlfriend calls it doesn't hold much importance in my life.  No need to wait until midnight for some magic to occur.  Magic happens all the time and for me the evening was about family and love.  Son was whisked to the airport in the wee hours of the morning (he had to be there at 0430 hours).
     It was a great vacation of family, friends, relaxing, puttering, dreaming and planning.