Monday, September 17, 2018

12 year anniversary

September 16, 2006, we used to to say it'd be easy to remember because our area code was "916" and so was our anniversary.  So far it's worked, neither he nor I have forgotten.  I've not really taken notice of it, however.  It's something I think about the day before and then suddenly realize it was yesterday.  It doesn't sit on my head until I get angry with it or sad with it.  Thankfully it keeps to itself.  This year I was up at my boyfriend's house sanding the school's wooden sign that I'd taken as a project.  I got covered in redwood dust, I sweat, I felt proud of what I'd accomplished.  The day prior I was debriefing with my sweetie about being thankful for all of it.  Then I called Ethan and told him too, albeit through some tears.

I'm happy just now.  There are many things I would change, these are mostly trappings and so not really important.  I'd not go back and change anything though.  I'd marry him, I'd make babies with him, I'd go bankrupt with him, I'd live in tiny weird houses and clean up dog diarrhea from the carpet with him.  And while I'd never ever want to go through it again, I'd even have him leave me.  I love the changes that I see in myself since this all began.  I clearly remember who I was when we were married, who I was when I held baby Rosanna in my arms who I was when I called him to find out where he was and learned that he was sitting next to her and they hadn't kissed yet.  And then, having had a major life-spolsion, going on so very many dates- a necessary experience that shifted my world view dramatically and permanently. 

I am so different than I used to be!  I love it.  I would absolutely change my children's confusion and hurt.  To take that away I'd do almost anything.  And yet I also am reminded often to trust.  So I do (it's more rewarding and less stressful than the alternative) and I imagine a way in which this betrayal will serve them in their lives, I imagine how it's all perfect.  This struggle was sent to me to give me an opportunity to "level up", to remember that I am a powerful woman who makes things happen and to practice being love even when it seems impossible.   I'm working, working, working on these things daily.  I'm communicating even when it feels dangerous and reaping the rewards, I'm loving through the seemingly unlovable moments and I'm noticing how much that changes things.

What an awesome practice field my life is. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Tucked Away

Away, tucked away in layers of cotton and breath.
I so hurriedly herded and encouraged and needed you there.
I held your half grown self firmly against me, absorbed your heat, your smell, your relentless adoration.

My heart pricked with the shame of my shortcomings.

Out from her mouth spilled the verbal commitment of her heart to me, her appreciation of her existence.  And I no longer wanted to give her to the night.
I needed her to know how sorry I am for showing up to this task with a nearly empty tank.
It's not ok.
I should be able to do it anyway.
I wanted to wail at her feet and beg for the day back- to not yell, to not speak harshly, to hold hands, to be still and listen, to be on the floor and catch all the moments that cannot be retrieved in these mourning hours of the night.

I wanted to promise that by tomorrow I will have it figured out.
I will be outfitted, somehow overnight, with the gear I need to be that mom. 
Maybe I just don't have the correct candle scent warming and filling my nostrils,
maybe the motivational quote on my computer screen isn't potent enough,
maybe the GMOs in my snacks are impacting my brain function.
Whatever it is, I wanted to promise her to have it solved and resolved by 8am tomorrow.

Of course I don't actually share any of this. 
Look at her.
She sees only perfection in me.
Why would I trouble her world when all of this only exists in mine.

She falls from my grip like a felled tree, vibrating the bed frame, sending the creatures surrounding her into the air, collapsing the pillow up around her face.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

A Gift

I'm pretty aware of the effect my mind's wanderings has on my overall feeling of wellness.  Letting my mind settle into all the ways I am pissed at my circumstance results in mindless eating, grumpier responses to my children, blah-ness.  The opposite tends to be true as well: tending to the awesomeness begets more awesomeness in all the ways.

I received a gift today.  I am certain I receive them every day, and this one was obvious.  This is my journey to reprogram my mind to pay attention to the gifts and therefore create a shift in my life toward the possibilities.  For the purposes of this journey I am choosing to assert that the gifts are not happenstance.  It's more fun and meaningful that way.

Today my girls and I arrived at the river a full ten minutes early.  This is significant because by all calculations, based on commitments from earlier in the day plus the added time it takes to accomplish most anything when you add children to the mix, we should have been late.  I actually had a conversation with myself a few hours prior just to acknowledge that today we weren't going to be on time and that, this time, that could be ok.  
So there we were, before all of our friends arrived, chairs set up, kayak in the water, sunscreen applied, be-hatted: ready.  It was quiet.  The sand was hot from being undisturbed all morning, soaking up the heat.  The three of us had ventured into the first few inches of sublimely cool water, and I was taking it all in.  When I looked downstream I saw I hawk meandering through the sky toward us.  Not even really in the sky, I'd say, but following along the canyon and river 100 feet or so above the water.  I pointed the raptor out to the girls, and took an other moment to observe it myself.  It wasn't a turkey vulture for sure, definitely a prey bird.  But something wasn't familiar about it.  By the time it was nearly overhead I lost it, "OMIGOODESS!!! A BALD EAGLE!!! GIRLS!! GIRLS!! LOOK!!!"  A freaking bald eagle!!!  I knew they existed in the canyon but I'd never seen one, and this dude was right overhead.  It was surreal.  I implored my children: this was something that most people never get to see, like ever.  Rosanna replied, "And WE got to see it!"

Today I am thankful for that gift. For the moments aligning to put us where we were, with our eyes looking, our little family together and peaceful all of us ready to receive it. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


I, like you no doubt, have heard the Adele song hundreds of times.  "Someone Like You" emerged when Rosanna was little and I was moved by it.  Her voice was powerful and thick with emotion, she took me along her journey of heartache and longing and I felt as though she were telling my story.  I get emotional like that.  In fact, just last weekend I fought back tears when I overheard a man reminding his wife of her ring size.  He knew it more readily than she did. This is the kind of love I want.  Anyhow- I was listening to that song again today, reminiscing how little RoRo would sing it with me in her lispy 2 year old voice, and it occurred to me that the song is even more sad than it seems.  

Think on it for a tick: she is still so stricken by this love lost that she seeks the man long after the romance has died.  So long, in fact, that he is completely over it and is taken aback that she has shown up again.  Despite this, she croons to us that it is no biggie, not to worry, she'll find another JUST LIKE HIM.  **Girlfriend**: unless we're looking to relive the situation that caused you to write an epic-ly moving and wildly popular love song- I suggest we shift our focus to someone NOT like him.   OR she is making deeper observations about the nature of human beings to choose the same situation over and over again through different people/scenarios while still incurring the same results- thus "finding someone like you" is inevitable.  

That's really not why I sat down to write this evening.  I sat down to give myself a genuine high five.  I heard a piece of the song differently tonight and it gave me a moment of reflection: I have chastised myself for the amount of pain I suffered while my world was disintegrating.  I had, pre-Ethan, built sturdy walls around my vulnerable parts and, as a result of work and love and trust, I had let the man in.  I hated myself a good deal for not being smart enough to stay walled up, while at the same time knowing that "walled up" isn't  a way I want to live.  Ethan, knowing me better than me, insisted that loving is my nature.  He told me I couldn't shut it down even if I wanted to.  He saw in me things that I refused to, he lifted me up (ironically, during the time when his actions were stomping me down) and promised that who I am is amazing.  I am acknowledging some of this now, and this little snippet of the song brought it into new light:

"Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead
Nothing compares, no worries or cares
Regrets and mistakes, they're memories made
Who would have known how bittersweet this would taste?"

I heard it like this: it's all perfect.  There is no choice but to live through all the moments, without endless second guessing and analyzation, the result isn't promised- so we just live it.  Then! this song comes on, and I was like, "HELL YEAH":

"I hope you fall in love and it hurts so bad- the only way you can know is give it all you have....."

SO -you guys- IT HURT SO BAD.  Just thinking about the hurt is making me cry again.  From this I can discern that I freaking gave my all.  I am so proud that I gave my all.  What a waste if I hadn't.  I am so proud that I hung on to my marriage and made gargantuan attempts to make it right.  I am so stinking proud of myself for the stubborn clinging and no-shit honoring of a commitment.  I'm also proud of the moment I decided that I was worth more than what I was fighting for, so I took out my scissors and, through mind-numbing sobbing, cut loose the life I was promised.  

For record, it still hurts...just not as bad. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017


You can all relax now, I've officially identified the most ridiculous part of being a parent: comforting your precious babies through the voluntary absence of the other parent.

I've probably said this in the past, and I used to see my Dad once per year, for a month in the summer.  I'd miss him fiercely all year, then feel trepidacious leaving the comfort zone of my mom.  I'd love being there, a state away, with my Dad.  I was so grown up.  I did things I'd never do in California, mostly that meant being by myself for stretches of time unheard of in my Mom's care.  I could go anywhere, do anything, plan my day and then do something else. No one was there to say no, or yes.  If I rode my bike allllll the way across town, then there I'd be, with the consequence of now needing to pedal all the way back.  When it was time to load me back onto a California bound plane I would be stressed outright.  We'd be late, my luggage barely being tossed into the plane's belly, the front desk person throwing annoyed looks.  I'd be stressed because if I was late my Mom might decide that this was the last unacceptable flaw to my summer visits and I'd not be allowed to see my Dad again.  I'd be stressed because my Dad's roommates and friends would be standing there in the airport in their river shorts and ripped/no shirts, scraggly and tanned, to say goodbye to me too and I didn't want them to see how sad I was.  How near I was to bawling.  I was so very sad to be leaving my Dad for nearly a year and I hated missing him.  That feeling, it's a very specific one, and it's impact hadn't punched me in the face in long while. 

A year and a half ago this very feeling showed up on my child's face when her Daddy told her he'd be no longer living here.  You should know that this feeling is the worst feeling I had as a kid- complete helplessness.  It is wanting something that is vital to your life force, something that you are incomplete without, and having people you love take it away.  It's incomprehensible.  There is a tight squeeze around my heart- it pumps harder, my throat closes up, painfully and I sweat.  My feet chatter on the ground and I can't stop chewing the insides of my cheeks.  I talk about random things.  Nothing makes me feel better.  Suddenly here it was again, this time on the face I love the most.  I was looking at myself, losing my dad and feeling like this couldn't be so.  Then all of the reasonings and thoughts to make the situation be less devastating pour out of her, because there must be a mistake.  We adults must have overlooked the obvious solution, if we could just let her fix/mend/behave these wrenching consequences away.  I'm not sure I've ever been so angry.  Besides knowing that divorce was not going to be a part of her life, I'd never imagined needing to defend my daughter from this old feeling.  I was in a panic, enraged, desperate to get her past the moment where the world changed.  I later wrapped my whole body around her, having coached her into some measured breathing, still feeling the tremors of a meltdown move through her, and I imagined all the yuck of the world trying to get past my cocoon, trying to stain her loving heart.  In my mind I succeeded in all the right ways, but the worst offender wasn't outside, he was in.  And I have no say in that.

She is having these attacks of reality more often lately.  She lays in bed, holding back scathing accusations at the world about not seeing her Daddy enough, and eventually they spit out of her bright red, crumpled face.  Two or three words at a time I get the story.  I agree with all of it: the unfairness, the un-understandables, the inquiry as to why.  She told me last night that she felt like she was going to explode.  She told me tonight that it felt like, "I cracked my head open again, only my heart feels cracked not my head".  I see it in her eyes and in her defensive body language.  She is in it.  She's there, where I was, and she is feeling so helpless and out of control and longing.  I squeeze her and she wraps her legs in knots around mine.  Maybe if I squeeze her just so, it will wring all of this ick out of her tender heart.  I keep her there until she is asleep.  Heavy.  Twitching.  At peace.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

New day, new male cow excrement

Remember those weeks where you just wanted to bury yourself in bed and let the throbbing tragedy be muffled by your heavy, depressed slumber?  Yeah, that.  I just watched my entire paycheck be gulped down by a bill that I spent the previous hour frantically making phone calls to avoid.  The ding of my phone notifying me that my account is now hundreds of dollars overdrawn brought me back into the comforting arms of my bed.  Children still needed through my tears.  So and so looked at me this way.  I can't find my fairy house.  Look at this octopus I made with bendy straws.  Why are you crying.
I lie to my children a lot.  I carefully picked over the real reasons I was crying, an exercise that dove me deeper into the sadness.  The final response- after it was weighed for the possible level of inquiry it would illicit and the amount of life altering thought processes it could set off, was that, "I'm sad about the way I wish things could be." My eldest accepted that answer, responded, "I love you Momma" and left the room.
A friend told me that these challenges are being given to me in this life because I am being called to "level up".  On the path to enlightenment there are obstacles and navigating them is the test.  I don't like it.  I am very, very attached to the way I want things to be. I've let go of the physical manifestations- the house, the yard, the marriage.  Now I just want the peace.  I want a break from defending my children's growing up against the chaos that disguises itself as faithful, truest love.
On that note, I also want to say: faithful truest love doesn't ask you to be someone you're not.  It doesn't fight for you to have angry relationships with other people.  It doesn't leave you in lurches of sadness while it goes off and shares it's body with another before coming back to you.  It doesn't require you to tippy toe about, just in case it is having an insecure moment.

I'm not delusional about what love looks like.  I think it allows for all parts of oneself to be perfectly present, even the yucky parts.  I think the results can't be that you are left questioning and stressed and turned upside down and wondering what essential parts of yourself need to be remedied.  No.  That is not it at all.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Imagined Life (written mid-May)

What makes a particular day hard?  I don't get it.  Why is it that tonight I am sitting here with the tightness in my throat and a burning ebbing in my eyeballs.  Nothing has changed.  And then why do I fire up the Adele Pandora station, letting the musical mood draw my tears to spilling over?

It's a weird thing to think about him as once my partner and lover.  I cannot imagine being naked with him.  Yet I did it all the time, for years.  Where did that feeling disappear to?  Was I really a part of that story?  Maybe it was just a novel that I read voraciously over and over.  I read it so that it became a part of who I was.  But since I wasn't really there, it makes sense that I don't have that specific experience to call on.

He is here sometimes and he hugs me like he is coming home from so far away.  His body feels like a place I want to stay forever.  I feel loved, held, cherished, appreciated.  He smells like home.  He feels like home.  He is still the man who left us.  How can I possibly feel so much peace in his arms.  It makes no logical sense.  And then he leaves again.