Monday, October 1, 2018

An admission

How do I convey to anyone how at sea I feel? That I understand the patterns of life, the hour to lay under the covers, the hour to rise, the excitement of coffee in the morning. The requirement to file tax returns and pay bills on time. The necessity of check ups, and oil changes, and furnace tune ups and gutter cleanings. That weeds should not be allowed to choke the things you planted with care, That you go to the nursery, you pick out plants, you sow seeds. You water them. You notice your children whenever they want or require it, you try to be self reliant at all times. You pay the conscientious tradespeople who come and do all the servicing that you so very require to keep your home safe and sound.
But now with a divorce and children grown, what next?
You work your job- you apply your self the best you can. You think about the enterprise that is the business you work for and strive to help it succeed.
You think about all that was and will no longer be and then your heart chokes with memory and then you get back to whatever task is at hand, grateful that those small beings you once tended have successfully flown the nest.
So what next? What if work isn't the end all be all? What if daydreaming doesn't pay the bills or fill your arms with a loved one to share your life with- preferably male, age appropriate and caring? What then?
No, this last third as it's called. This life post motherhood, post the urgent hunger for success, what next? I am confounded and disoriented as ever. Truly living life one day at a time.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Tears

I am not going to deny that there haven't been a lot of tough days- which is not to diminish the awareness of my privilege that has run through my consciousness ever since I was a small child, when at the age of 5 I told my dad that I was having problems (more on that later)  to which he crisply replied, "What kind of problems could you have at such a young age? You don't know hunger, you have a home and a family...." The rest is a blur of inner anguish. Here was the person I relied on the most to protect me who told me I was wrong to have any psychological difficulties. I don't think I ever directly came to my father on my own behalf for anything other than practical considerations (of which there were many growing up- rides, permission, money for something I needed) for the rest of my life. So while there was a surplus of culture, intellectual discourse and financial stability my parents were both emotionally elusive and absorbed with non family matters. To a certain extent, I was raised with the expectation of worldly engagement and success so my mother could mold her sole female offspring to engage with the world in a way she lacked the confidence and grit to try.

Call me crazy (well my kids do) but I found parenting the most amazing balm for the pain of my childhood. The many daily interactions between myself and my children brewed a kind of intoxicating peace inside me, Despite the nutty petty conflicts, minor disasters and concerns, the ongoing worries over their character, health, basic ability, physical prowess, emotional intelligence, I felt a kind of abiding love for them which is hard to put in to words.

It's been one roller coaster of a week. Glued to the screen during Dr. Ford's testimony and weeping constantly. I too was pinned down, I too cried for help, I too felt threatened with bodily harm. Heard that laughter of derision. The prickly part of my situation was that I was around my tormentors, my older brothers, constantly growing up, they were my family members. Then I wonder where my father and mother, who should have protected me but were occupied elsewhere, and how, at this time in my life, I have to accept that they loved me but not in the way I needed. That I was put upon in measures large and small for all my formative years- and then I understand the tears, And why they fall. And why it's hard to heal, despite your greatest desires to.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Summing Up as of Now



All I can say is that I am lumbering through. When I look at my immediate surroundings, I am more or less holding my own. The flower beds leap with color, hemlock trees sprayed to curb the onslaught of woolly adelgid, the grass cut and if there are more weeds- well- my motivation and desire to use chemicals is non-existent. A third of an acre with over 30 trees, mature shrubs, mini vegetable garden, numerous flower beds- the maintenance piece only goes so deep.

In August, it will be a year since my divorce was final and I am slowly decompressing from the stress. In my mind, there are three distinct eras to this spell of anxiety- Part A was the long period of realization that the marriage was failing and I needed to be thinking about life on my own, Part B was the legal piece, the physical separation piece, the accounting piece and the negotiating piece where lawyers and the court were the agents of change, and Part C is the part that comes after where you realize those years are in the past. (Hopefully a new relationship hovers in the future. I miss sharing meals and confidences, pillow talk and working as a team. The affection piece is sorely desired as well!)

Now I am an unattached independent woman trying to keep everything going for myself and my kids. As young adults, I am needed more on occasion and not frequently- they are seeking their way as I must seek mine. It's a scary time and thought heavy. Many nights I ponder events which provides very little relief- I'm retraining my brain to look forward and accept things that I was unable to improve, influence or understand.

Summer has always been a special season, the leafy trees and voluminous flowers, the swimming, long days, fresh produce, bird song and whirring of insects which are my lullaby at night. I sleep in no one's arms dreaming of someone currently unknown. I didn't imagine this all those years ago when I said "I do" but I accept what had to happen and am hopeful that the best is yet to come.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Roma



I have left Sleepy Hollow and made my way to Rome in quest of the age old desire to see new things and be some place different- a much needed change from the turmoil of recent events and while we carry our problems wherever we go, it's easy to be delighted by the sights, tastes and smells of this lively urban center. I am visiting a good friend who has been gracious to organize outings and itineraries prompting us to head out each day and explore. We have been fortified by many thirst quenching aperitivo while consuming small tasty plates-I feeling myself slowly unfurling from the dense pain of the last two years.

Rome abounds in antiquities as its citizens hurry past mindful of their modern lives among the splendor of the ruins. I still have a lot of healing to do as I examine the stones and columns that predate Christianity and I imagine these earlier city dwellers must have worried (just like me) about their fate, the fate of their offspring and the well being of their ancestors. As a wise person, much wiser than me I imagine once said, "Perspective is everything."

So here is to la dolce vita and to our ability to enjoy it.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Nostaglia and me

Back then, taking care of three kids kept me plenty busy so at times, the thought of not chasing a toddler, of not supervising their screen time, of not holding myself accountable for their behavior, nutrition and academic success was a prospect that loomed pleasantly in the future. The mind wandered to an unknown chapter where the need to manage them would be relegated to their own arsenal of self preservation.

I'm not looking back as much as looking at what is now, what is required of me, and do have a nostalgia for a simpler time where making sure the kids were still alive at the end of the day was my main responsibility. Now I'm often scattered with goals, obligations, concerns and desires- all the while worried constantly about the fate of our world.

In retrospect, making sure a two year old steered clear of potential dangers was a lot easier than worrying about the two year old masquerading as an adult in the White House.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Thinking like an Olympian



Like our Olympic hopefuls, I am putting my best foot forward when performance is most critical (or in my case, the waking hours) in order to be my best self, keep the wheels of life turning (earn money, pay bills, taxes, have insurance, a roof over our heads, a car in the driveway, food on the table and recycle). Add in my job, family matters, community service, exercising (something I like to avoid unless it involves walking or swimming) and having any kind of social life- well, I am in awe of these talented individuals who have committed themselves tirelessly to training, regimens, goals, personal sacrifices and likely getting up early most days, concerned with their bodies, their talent and their nutrition, addressing their psychological ability to compete effectively by hiring the right coach, nutritionist, massage therapist, and agent to help them on their journey all the while traveling to compete in countless events to attain the status that has led them to be at the Olympics as a participant.

I'm not trying to get to the Olympics. For years I was happy to see my kids grow and mature to young adults capable of navigating the world on their own most of the time.  And like many empty nesters, my role has morphed to helpful bystander from full time caregiver.  So what is thinking like an Olympian for me now? Maybe it's doing what I dread at times, being responsible at all times and the grace to accept my self despite my shortcomings and pressing on no matter how nutty the going gets. 
Maybe an Olympic medal in civility, perseverance and clarity. That's a medal I would chase for sure.

with credit to the amazing Chang Lee of the NYTimes for the photo








Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Looking back

Hardest year ever. After putting things in perspective, I must re-frame. Compared to the awful events that transpired in 2017, my problems are snafus of personal difficulty I will ultimately resolve or not. My three offspring are all able bodied, with some means (if only part time) of employment, can prepare food, use a car legally, understand the limits of a credit card and how to behave when a true authority figure crosses their path. One could say that while I am still their financial rock, they are on their way to adulthood and my job is winding down. Yet with two kids currently at home and only one vehicle, we are bound by necessity to coordinate our daily activities.  Our biggest source of mutual concern- other than food and when are you shopping next- is the car's availability.

During the throes of marital demise, you imagine the day when you feel less pain. Seated across a table in the county courthouse aside our respective attorneys was a surreal send up of whatever forces drew us together all those years ago. The person with whom you once shared your life is now your greatest adversary. 

There are lots of residual hurts. Emotional hurts, financial woes, and house problems that all need attention. After my ex's departure, I spent the year taming the chaos and shaping the landscape anew. Now the next set of tasks jump out at me. Fix me. Paint me. Restore me. Listen to me.

I'm allowed right? To be dismayed as I remind myself to feel lucky because we were both in agreement that we go our separate ways. If lucky is the word for it.

Well suited we were not as neglect became our management style. Not a happy state of affairs no matter how you spin it. Back to my studies then as I have a lot to learn.
Wish me luck.