Yesterday

Yesterday, my Mother and I spent the day driving north and west here in Virginia, to capture some of the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains before winter comes.

This was a favorite pastime of my father’s and mine, as we would spend hours driving the dirt roads of Vermont, stopping here and there to snap a photo or two. Loving what the land offered our souls but loving more, our time together. He’s been gone 8 months now…but it still feels like…Yesterday.

I’m glad my Mother appreciates and allows me to side track us any time we are out, and yesterday was no exception.  But it’s impossible to do without thinking about Dad and remembering all of our…Yesterdays.

Yesterday.  Just the word brings to mind the song, doesn’t it?
The problem is, the original lyrics don’t fit my yesterday, so maybe I can come up with some that will, could, maybe, fit into my…Yesterday

Yesterday
All the clouds just seemed to melt away
So the sun could shine and birds could play
Oh how I loved my yesterday

Suddenly, I’m not standing where I used to be
I’m outside so I can truly see
What yesterday did share with me

Why tears start to flow?
I don’t know, it’s just that way
Dad flashed through my mind
How I long for yesterday

Yesterday
He’d have loved this simple day away
It was how we used to spend these days
Oh, just to have one yesterday

Why he had to go?
I don’t know, he couldn’t stay
But I knew he was there
He’s in all my yesterdays

Yesterday
Love came through in such a special way
As I stood before what he would say
Was prove he’s never gone away

Yesterday…for my father
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See you tomorrow Dad

See you tomorrow Dad

yabba-D.A.B.D.A.-doo the numbers

The five stages of grief

1.  Denial

2.  Anger

3.  Bargaining

4.  Depression

5.  Acceptance


1

There has been no denial…

…there was no doubt death was coming

2

There has been anger…

…but it’s an exhausting emotion

3

There was a little bargaining…

…too close to self-blaming to be tolerated for long

4

There is depression…

…that ‘happy memory’ thief that sneaks into your heart in the dark

5

There will be acceptance…

…a state of being both wanted and feared at the same time


Remembering the good times, the happy times, is not hard
there are so very many of them

Remembering I am not alone is not easy
until I hear the sadness in the voice on the other end of the phone

Remembering he is gone takes the joy out of the day
until I remember too, how much of him is left within me

Forgetting that he lived and loved and was loved in return is not an option
especially when remembering his legacy to all of us was 

Live like it’s your last day
Love like it’s your last chance
Regret Nothing

Roy E George


The Eye of the Human Storm – Repost

As you know, Superman passed away Sunday, February 15.  I am re-posting what I wrote for him back in July because, though I thought I understood the emotions of what was looming…I couldn’t have known how I’d feel at this moment.

But, this comes as close to my feelings now as anything I’ve ever written about my father.  About how it was more about how we live than how, or when, we die.

I love this man even more for leaving me with a deeper appreciation of the life he lived, than fear for the sorrow at the loss of his life.

I love you Superman and I thank you with all my heart.

You truly were…

My First Love ♥ My Only Hero


Today’s forecast
Pain with a chance of happiness
Life – It hurts
Our first breath
Born in and out of Pain
Our last breath
Born in and out of the fear of Death
Beginning to end
The human struggle to keep moving
Beyond the current pain so we may endure the next
To begin again
The circle, the cycle of life, of pain
To reach our destination – Death
So what is the point?
When one ends where one begins?
What is the point?
The middle is the point
To feel the heart beat
Of a lover
To hear the laughter
Of a child
To know the touch of another
The touch that completes our circle
Ones who will rejoice with us
And for us
And those who will mourn us
But more – Remember
That we were here
That we mattered
That we made the difference
That we closed a part of their circle
As they too, closed a part of ours
To gather at the end of the day
To hear the sounds of silence
The human sounds we make without knowing
The sounds of love
And life
The middle
Those sounds our ears miss
But that our hearts hear
These are the sounds of silence
So loud we are compelled – T0 listen
Struggle to keep moving
From one pain to another
For in the end It is not the pain
We Remember – It is
Love
Our circles have no true beginning
They meld with our ending
We only have what is in
The middle
Today’s forecast
Pain with a chance of happiness
Take an umbrella if you must
Wear your raincoat and galoshes if you have to
But
Prepare more for getting swept into the middle
‘Cause that’s where life happens
In the middle
Never be afraid to get wet
Put the fear aside
Go beyond the tropical storm of prologue
Fear not the hurricane of the epilogue
Walk into the wind
Get pummeled by the rain
Get to the eye
The middle
Where the calm allows us to hear
The human sounds of silence

The sounds of Love

For My Father

My First Love ~ My Only Hero

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One Day

By dinner time tomorrow, our soggy, box-full, furniture-empty, house will feel like home despite it all.

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He leaves the deep freeze on the shores of the Arctic Ocean tonight and will arrive on the unusually frozen southern shores of the Atlantic tomorrow.  Knowing he had not planned on bringing his arctic gear, an emergency phone call took care of that.  True winter in the lower 48 awaits his arrival.  He doesn’t mind though, winter is kind of his thing…

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We’ve not seen him for over a year, Christmas 2012 to be exact. So much has happened in his life and ours since then, I’m not sure his two weeks will be enough time to sort it all out.  And sort it out we must, for as much excitement as there is in his return, it wears the shroud of sadness that only a broken heart wears.

You see, he fell in love with a dog, who owned the girl, that stole our son’s heart…

tandum

He chose the ring for the knot that means a great deal to her and announced to the world “SHE SAID YES!” on July 20th…

the ring

She chose the dress in the color that says “I am not afraid as I face the world with the man I love

the dress

They chose the date, Friday, February 13, 2015, to tell the world “We have no fear of your superstitions, we’ll face it together

They spent every spare moment they had together, traveling the land they both love so much…

matts land

One of the hardest things to witness is the breaking of your child’s heart.  Whether 2 or 25, the heart cares not the why or the how, only that it’s a pain unlike any other.

The life plan has changed. The love won, now lost. “She said yes!” echoes hollowly in the darkness following “I’ve changed my mind, I don’t want to be with anyone”

As his mother, I grieve for his tender heart and shattered dreams.

As his mother I silently thank the girl for knowing this truth now and being brave enough to say so.

As his mother, I weep for and with him, longing to make it better, but knowing I can offer nothing but a safe place for him to cry.

So, it’s time for this boy, this man, our Matthew, to come home to slide into the open arms of his Dad and me; the only place he can let it all go.

The place where the man can again be the boy who needs what only his family can give him…a safe place to grieve, a hearth to warm the bone deep chill of lost love, and the touch of those that know the truest nature of him…love.  He shines with it and has since he was born.

He will find The One.

Someday.

One who will see him for who he is, and love him completely for it.

We know this.

He will too.

One Day.

Until then, we’ll do what we have always done…love him, guide him beyond his feeling foolish for having loved “too much”.  With the gentlest of reminders that no love is ever foolish or ever wasted or ever “too much”. That to deny the best part of himself for fear of being hurt this way again, would be to deny the very air he breathes.

He won’t.  He can’t.  It’s not in him.

As his mother, this I know.

Welcome Home Matthew…where the heart is

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How To Dismantle a Life

Leave a 3 decades long marriage to the only person who ever knew everything about you, but forgot you were there while he got on with his life

Meet and fall in love with another, heart first, sight unseen, and for whom there was no question that he was my future and I his

Make plans together for that future

Share every detail of yourselves and your lives with each other

Become THAT vulnerable

Learn too late that you love too much, yet are not enough at the same time, and figuratively get left at the altar

Wonder why you are not worth loving, while you fall apart, feeling in your heart, it must be true…for the old one forgot you and the new one didn’t want you

However, be asked to return to that 3 decades long marriage to that one person who knew all along you didn’t belong anywhere but with him, no questions asked

Spend months trying to come to terms with being tossed out of one heart and not understanding why

And allowed back into another and not quite trusting why, but feeling grateful and wondering if that feeling is justified

Working to keep a friendship alive while the question still burns “where did the future go when I wasn’t looking?”

Working to keep a marriage honest and true, yet at the same time, struggle with the two questions “how can he still and how come he can’t” love me?

Helping a husband find a new path in life

And willingly so

While feeling the ghost of pain as the other follows another without you

Unwillingly so

Clearing your life of all material possessions because it’s all become too much

Watching your life put into boxes and carted off like box lots to auction

Standing in an empty shell that once held a family’s heart

Heading into the unknown in the second half century of your life with nothing more than you started with

Wondering if you’re strong enough to handle starting over

With the old love

Without the new one

And not sure you deserve either

And through it all, come to grips with your own past and its demons

Shedding light on a life spent in the dark in the most public way possible

Light that will hurt and help you…as it hurts and, you pray and hope, will help others more

Light that allows you to be okay with the similarities/contradictions of love and hate

But still leaves questions, burning questions, about whether you are doing the right thing

And needing

Always needing

That and whom, which does not want to be needed

No one wants the burden of constant reassurance

No one has the responsibility of convincing me I’m worthy

No one deserves the mantle of “someone to watch over me”

I’m a lot of work

And the only one up to the job

Equipped for the job

The job of re-assembling my life

Is ME

I’m sorry if these words or these thoughts spoken out loud hurt anyone

That is not the intent

As it is when assembling anything

We must first lay all the pieces out on the table

Take inventory

And (if female) read the instructions

I’ve found the instructions of my life are complicated, often in a foreign language, and perhaps even missing a step or two

But I’ll stick with it

Trial and error

Use my Yankee Ingenuity if I have to

So that in the end, I’ll be reconstructed, reassembled, or re-purposed…

Whichever it is…it’ll be me.

And it’ll be great

We must first break it down to build it up

Let the rebuilding begin

NO

Let the rebuilding continue…for this journey didn’t start today or yesterday

It started November 3rd Nineteen Hundred and Sixty

A long project…a lifelong project…with a punch-list of changes ten miles long

A worthy one?

You bet!

Did I ever mention “I had a hammer?”

who what where when why & how

who am i that i’m not enough or is it that i’m too much trouble?

who are you that you are there yet are not there at the same time?

what is a morning without the light that makes the day shine?

what good is the cup half full without flavor happiness adds to it?

where is my mind when i reach for something, anything, to pull me from this quicksand and what i grab is a ghost?

where do i go when the only place i want to be is safe?

when will you stop being on the tip of my tongue and heavy on my heart?

when will the idea of you stop being the first thought each day and the last prayer at night?

why do i love and need you?

why do you not?

&

how silent are the days without the music a happy heart makes?

how long are the nights knowing there will be nothing but dreams that lead to empty places?

a dozen questions

one answer

a dozen answers

one meaning

nothing

god

how i miss you

Wait Just One Bone-Pickin’ Minute…

I’ve got a bone to pick and I’m gonna pick it clean.

Then I’m gonna give it to my DOG to finish off.

Yes.

My DOG.

The same one that shared this day with me eating mini ice cream sandwiches and snuggling together in the rear-end of a Jeep

In the Vet’s parking lot…

Staring death in the face with a face full of vanilla and teeth full of chocolate cookie crust (his too.)…

Yeah, that one…Ripken, my beloved 10 year old B’Lab

The subject of my last post celebrating his life and mourning his demise.

Why?

Because my Vet is a douche…that’s why.

Okay, maybe not a douche.

How about insensitive, callous, money-grubbing, gotta pull in the bucks to justify my position as the newest Vet in this practice, A’hole?

Yeah, that’s better.

  • Here’s how it went down almost a month ago (I feel like I should put this to music like Harper Valley PTA or something):

Yearly check-up; three-year rabies shot; lyme vaccine; snap test

Vet says he looks good except…

I’m concerned about this growth, this tumor, in his right armpit

I’ve looked at his records, and I see he was here 6 months ago (for an intestinal problem) and this mass was not there

The fact that it grew so large, so fast, and seems tender to the touch tells me it’s something we need to be concerned with.

Normally, I’d say it’s just a fatty deposit, but not in this case. I believe we are looking at a malignancy here

ME:  Can you give me an idea of how much I’m looking at to find out?  Financially speaking, I need to know

I can certainly give you an estimate for how much it would be to do the pathology and remove the tumor, but subsequent treatment would be expensive

ME:  OK, I’ll need that estimate before I make a decision

Of course

Estimate:  $970 – (nothing specified about what the cost would be to treat the ‘cancer’)

ME:   I hate that it comes down to money, but I can’t afford this

Oh I completely understand.  Take some time to think about it and let me know

ME:  Okay, but I know what my finances are…I can’t afford this

I completely understand, but just think about it and let me know. Take the time you need, but I don’t think you should wait too long

ME:  Okay, I’ll think about what I can do, and I’ll talk to my family, but I can’t afford this only to find out it’s a cancer I can’t afford to have treated

Stopped eating

Stopped drinking

Lethargic

Acute diarrhea (sorry, but it does sound better than the runs)

I was out of town, get a call from my parents that the dog is sick

  • Here’s where we were one week ago:

Not eating still so I boil hamburger and rice – nothing

Not eating so I notch it up to chicken and rice – not much improvement

Only think I can get him to eat are his biscuits…the dog effin’ loves those biscuits

Still not drinking

Still with the D-word adding in that straining would be an understatement

  • Here’s where I was Sunday:

This can’t go on, he’s suffering, I can’t afford to see this through, I need to call the Vet tomorrow

Appointment made for Wednesday for euthanasia based on information known at the time

  • Here’s where I was today – Wednesday – E Day

Get to Vet’s office – packed beyond belief – had to park in another county practically – no sweat, more time to sit and snuggle and eat ice cream sandwiches with the Dude

Go into office at scheduled time, 5:30 pm, alone, to complete all paperwork and pay fee without Rip having to be in there

Told they are waaaay backed up, would I mind waiting?

Ummmm, yes, in fact I WOULD mind waiting.  This is not the kind of appointment one wants to sit and ponder amonst the other four-legged beasts running around.

Told it would only be a moment then…they’d get a room ready right away.  She returns within seconds telling me to go ahead and bring him in.

I do that.  We go to the room.  The Vet comes in…

Aw, and how’s old Ripken?

{I explained the last two weeks in detail)

Oh, so he’s not eating or drinking.  Well, let’s have a look see what a treat does for him

{I watch as Ripken about tears the guy’s fingers off taking the treat.  Maybe I should have warned him about Ripken and those biscuits}

Wow…I have to tell you, this dog is not telling me he’s ready to die.  His breathing is a bit loud and labored, but that’s his age.  But he’s active and took that treat well enough

{I look at him like he’s gone mental.  Was he suggesting I was there to kill my dog for no reason?}

ME:  No…YOU told me that and based on the last two weeks, I believed it.  This is NOT the same behavior of the last two weeks {except the biscuits}

Now, really, I’m not concerned with that growth.  I feel it’s just a fatty deposit and as your dog’s advocate, I must tell you that based on what I’m seeing here today, this is a healthy dog, and in good conscience, I can’t do what you are asking me to do

What I”M ASKING? Do you realize what your comments to me during our last visit did to me? And how those comments lead to my sitting here today, in this office, having spent the last 4 days beating myself up and grieving for him?  Do you think I’m here to rid myself of a loved family member for financial reasons?

I’m only telling you that I can’t do what you came here to do in all good conscience because I feel he’s healthy and just showing his age

{By now, I’m about hysterical, but from anger…}

I am not leaving this office until you do whatever you have to do to prove this is NOT a cancerous tumor; tell me the cause of the last two weeks; and I AM NOT PAYING FOR IT.  YOU ARE.

Of course. I will aspirate the mass and I’ll take a stool sample.  If, you’ll hold him

{Just give me a biscuit dumbass}

Aspiration done, sample taken, Vet disappears, returns 15 minutes later…

I was correct.  That mass is nothing to worry about, for now, it’s just fat

And the stool sample shows he’s loaded with bacteria, which I can treat, with medication. And this bacteria is absolutely the cause of his lack of appetite and lethargy.  It’s common and treatable.

All I ask is that you give him a fair chance.  Let him take the medication for a couple days.  If there’s no improvement, we can revisit it.

What?  A fair chance? You tell me my dog has a malignant tumor, tell me to make up my mind quickly, it’s only $970 to be on the safe side, and you tell ME to give him a fair chance?  Give him pills for a couple days and then you’ll revisit killing him?

That’s all I’m asking.  I can’t stop you from going through with this, but I can’t do it.  I’ll not charge you for anything but the pills and I’ll only charge you what they cost me.

{Lord, get me away from this man before I BITE HIM}

Get me the pills, refund my prepaid murder for hire fee, and we’ll be gone.

He did and we were.

FOR FUCKING EVER!

My Dude…alive and well…despite modern medicine!  When did Vets become like all the rest?

really mom

See Ma..all I needed was some ice cream and chocolate cookie stuff. Oh, and the biscuits…don’t forget the biscuits.
🙂

And they call it puppy love…

Intelligent

Loyal

Intuitive

Friend

Curious

Playful

Stubborn

Protective

Surprising

As easy as eager, to please

Enthusiastic

Unconditionally loving

…and the list goes on and on and on

Our dogs; our friends; our playmates; our soulmates; our living examples of all God got right.

There have been dogs in my life as far back as I can remember. Dogs like Amos Manley Calhoon, (Manley for short) our 3 1/2 foot long, 1 1/2 foot high Basset Hound who had to have his ears pinned with a clothe’s pin lest he eat them with dinner or drown in his water bowl.  And during times of winter snow, we’d only know where he was by the sound of his bowel-deep rooolf, rooolf.  Or as the tip of his tail rose above the snow as he ran (waddled).

Then there was Bileau’s Cadeau Migneaux, (Min for short) our Miniature Poodle, who I’d swear could not have been more in love with another four-legged creature than she was with a two-legged one; my father, whom she’d marked as her own when just a puppy, by peeing on his chest while he lay on the couch watching TV.  And as witnessed by anyone within view, when he’d pick her up at the end of the day so she could lay her head on his shoulder, roll her eyes lovingly up at him, and slowly and deliberately, slide her tongue up his cheek in long, slow kisses.  These are two of many, but two especially loved for what they brought into our family and into our lives.

But this is for Ripken…our Black Labrador mix, who has been with us since his eighth week of life, more than 10 years ago, and who will see the end of his days on earth Wednesday.  It’s never easy to witness the suffering of those we love, nor is it made easier by the fact that they have four legs instead of two. And the decision to end the suffering is always tempered with the notion that perhaps it is our own suffering we are hoping to ease by intervening and changing their natural path to the end.  It isn’t, after all, for us to say “Now is your time”…yet we do.  For them…and…for us.

So, to Ripken, I say thank you.  For the years of unconditional love, the multitude of spontaneous moments of joy and laughter, and for feet that were warmed by you as you lay upon them in winter.

But mostly, for the lessons in loyalty, tolerance, and forgiveness, as only one with no guile could teach.  For giving so freely, without question or condition, so much more than you ever asked for.

You are and always will be, greatly loved.

Goodbye dearest friend.

Rest In Peace

Rippy

The year that broke the dam

Today’s post is the anniversary post I had planned for yesterday. As is often the case, life intervened. And in retrospect, I’m glad it did. Terrified, but glad.

You see, I was prepared to reflect on this last year alone. Lord knows it’s been a year like no other for me. But over the course of the last couple of days, I’ve realized that’s not enough. Not even close. It must go beyond that.  It must be shared how a photograph of an eagle…

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To have missed this would have changed it all.
To have been witness to this, did change it all.
Change is life.

a beam of light

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Light through the dark.
All you need do is look.
And believe…it’s for you.

…a kind word of encouragement from a friend, and a blog can change the world.  My world. And I hope, in some way, someone else’s.

I must talk of how my past blew a hole in my present and almost destroyed my future, yet didn’t. And I hope, somewhere in here, before I’m done, I will show too, just how much I’ve gained this last year; in love, friendship, self-esteem, self-reliance, …hell, let’s just say self.  That’s the biggie.

The mirror I’m looking in today is one that goes beyond my image.  Beyond the face that shows subtle signs of age in the soft wrinkles in the corners of my eyes and mouth, and the 50 shades of gray. This mirror mirror on the wall…tells the secrets, tells them all.

Yes, and it’s been a long time coming. And I’m not alone in my many dimensional mirror. I see image, beyond image, beyond image times a thousand, of half woman/half girl, half man/half boy faces that all have the same haunted eyes, looking back at me, silently screaming.

The screams have been heard.  The faces have been seen and are known.  The old, the young, the gone, the living…mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews, friends and strangers; all once children, young adults, adults, of abuse.  They are with me, in front, behind, and beside me.  They are me. They are you. But since I’m the one on this side of the mirror, I’ll speak; for them; for me.

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All things in their time
The time is now
Open the flood gates

Why a dam? It’s built to withstand years of stress and pressure. To give that which is needed when it’s needed, and not before. It’s there to hold back that which is as deadly as it is life-giving. It has a built-in relief system…its flood gates.

We are very like this dam, we human beings.  Our bodies and our minds are built to withstand years of stress and pressure. We can take a life as quickly as we can give it. We cater to those with needs, giving what is needed, when it’s needed, and not before. And we too have built-in relief systems. Plural. For we have many. Not all good, not all healthy, and certainly not all lasting. But we each do what we have to do to survive. It’s in our nature. To survive. Or try to. Some do. Sadly, a great many don’t. Some do their best to just survive. Some go beyond, make a difference, help others with faulty or stuck relief systems.

This last year of blogging; specifically, the meeting of a surprising number of kindred souls in this community, has shown me that whatever forces are at work, led me here for a reason. This is no accident.  Not even a happy one. It is just as it has to be.

Things happen for a reason? All things in their own time? I’m no expert on the human condition, nor am I a philosopher.  But yes, these things I believe. At least, I believe them now. There was a time not so long ago, my belief system was quite different. Why? Because there is no reason in this world or any other I could ever imagine a right reason or right time for abuse. Of any kind. Of any one. Most especially though, child abuse, and God forbid, sexual abuse.

It is of that I speak. Here. Today. Openly and for the first time, terrifyingly public; beyond the false walls I built around myself at a very young age. In this last year, the walls have begun to crumble, and I’ve found that the hands I reached out to others in empathy and compassion, have been taken and touched in kind, and placed safely into a human chain of compassion and support I’d not known until now. Not because it wasn’t there; because I’d never reached before. I was busy keeping my fortress secure. To say blogging helped change my life would be an understatement…it, an eagle, and a beam of light, saved it.

This is the sledgehammer that’s going to take down what’s left. Not just to set myself free, but to reach the one, or the ten, or the hundred, who need to know they are not alone and they are not broken.  Bruised, battered, scarred, hurting beyond hurt, and isolated, yes.  But not broken, and not alone, and not AT FAULT.

I used to think remembering and reminding myself of the details were important. It’s not.  It’s toxic. The devil’s in the details? You’re damn right he is. I kept each detail locked in my fortress, either framed and hanging on the wall like a treasured photograph, hanging on a hook in my closet ready to be taken out and worn like a cloak, or hiding under the bed enmeshed in those evil wind dancing, webs that have been catching and holding years and years worth of dirt; years of details wrapped in a cocoon and saved for later…

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Oh the tangled webs we weave
In our minds
Just to survive

…Enough!  Walls down. Light in. Broom in hand.

Time.

Now.

There’s no more room.

I have always wondered, and I know other survivors do also, who I would have been had things been different. Who I was supposed to be. I shall answer the first here…the second, at the end.

  • Would I still feel the need for approval or validation for everything I do?

This is a hard one. And at this moment, all I can say is definitely/maybe not. I’m not there yet, but the more I learn of myself, the more I know that I am quite capable of deciding if what I’m doing is right, or good, and the only one I need approval from, or validation for my deeds or actions, is me. Same goes for consequences. Mine. As with the devil’s details…blaming the past or hanging onto past hurts only keeps me in the dark and they too need to see the fat end of the broom.

  • Would I still agree to do things I don’t want to do to make someone else’s life easier or happier at the expense of my own?

I’m hoping I would have been able to find a balance here. I don’t want to cause hurt or pain to others, but over the years this trait has been detrimental to my own sense of self-worth.  I do believe this trait will be going out the door with the webs, with a more healthy one in its stead.  Not born of conceit or over indulged self importance…one born of kindness and compassion yet with the awareness that I am worthy of the same consideration.  This is a big one.

  • Would I still be empathetic to the point of physical discomfort?

Yes, unequivocally, yes. This will not change. And I don’t want it to. Or it won’t change because I don’t want it to. Either way, it stays.

  •  Would I still be 100% confrontational within my own family circle, yet 100% against/afraid of confrontation outside of it?

I think I already proven to myself that this is history. (right service manager Denise?)

As for the family confrontational dynamic…well part of that is genetic (yes it is..we French love to argue).

Kidding aside, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel here.  A big part of this trait that can appear akin to someone with a chip on their shoulder; a (disguised) resentment born out of my sense of not being protected. But maybe even more, not being recognized.

For me of course, it was obvious.  I knew the taint was visible, I saw it every day.  But I know that’s not the way of it.  And I will say something about that in a moment…but I do know, without question, it was not from lack of love. Still, I did harbor that resentment and anger for a very long time. Its departure is another recent event, and frankly, one I’m glad to see out the door.

What I wanted…needed…to say about the ‘not being recognized’ is this, and I’m coming at this from both perspectives, my own perspectives; as an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse, date rape, and as a parent.

Parents work. Yes

Now more than ever. Yes

One, both, inside the home, outside the home…work. Yes

We have no choice if we are to provide what we need to care for, and make better lives for, our families, if we chose to have children. Yes

Children require work. Yes

Now more than ever. Yes

Day care, pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, primary school, elementary school, middle school, high school…sports, jobs, cars, dating, college.  It’s never-ending. Yes

What do we need more of?  Time? Patience? Energy? Help? Yes to all the above.

What do we do if we are out of/never had any/can’t get any of the all the aboves?

we see a child crying or having a tantrum and tell her to please, please stop or go to her room – we see a shy little boy and make him go outside and play with the kids next door – we see a shy, chubby adolescent and enroll him/her into an activity or put them a diet because no one wants to have their child picked on for being fat – we are at our wits end with the surly teenager who never smiles and can’t wait for him/her to outgrow this phase – we see a young man or young woman making self-destructive life decisions and lecture them about the dangers of sex, drugs, and rock -n- roll (or rap, or heavy metal, or country…makes no difference).

These are all normal, everyday scenarios in the lives of most families.  And will continue as long as we have children.  So what’s the problem.  This…

what if hers is a cry for help without the words to express it – what if his shyness is fear of being away from home or out of your sight because he’s been molested and told he will be punished if he tells – what if the chubby little darling is substituting food for the right kind of attention and hiding their perfect little selves in fat from the wrong kind of attention – what if that surly teenager has a dark secret and thinks no one will understand but knows if you really, really looked, you’d see it without them saying a word, please don’t make me say it – and what if those self-destructive decisions are just that…an attempt at self-destruction for fear of someone knowing, the pain of someone not knowing, and the shame with having said nothing.

We need to stop looking through our children. Stop making assumptions based on our own lack of time, energy, patience, or help.  Things are not always what they seem.  Sometimes they are just what they appear to be…but the time it takes to really look at your children, talk to them, is worth more than any paycheck.

We talk a lot about bullying.  It is rampant these days.  But is it really ‘these days’?  Or have we just been too busy to notice it before.  Bullies are not born.  They are made.  It’s not a stretch to imagine an abused child becoming a bully is it?  Can one who is bullied, beaten, molested by an adult not just as likely to turn his/her anger toward someone weaker or smaller?  We don’t always turn inwards.  Some cope another way.  There is never an excuse for bullying.  But I’d be more inclined to ask my son or daughter the hard questions if I ever saw or heard of them bullying others.

And finally, to answer the second of the questions…Who was I supposed to be?

Well, that one is becoming more clear.  Me. Right here, right now. Me.  And that’s just fine.