Home Again Home Again

My dad gave me a present yesterday; he started by asking me if I am going to write now that I am not going to be working (apparently my sister mentioned something about it), and when I replied that yes, I hope to, he said he had something that might help me along. When I followed him out to the car, he had a laptop for me. He bought it new for some program he needed for his milling machine, but for some reason it wasn’t compatible with the programs and he ended up getting a new one. Therefore, I am now the proud owner of a laptop, one he said that the kids are not allowed to touch. I am so excited I can hardly stand it, seriously.

My dad also gave Eli two of his remote control airplanes that he built some years ago, which is way cool and very unexpected. He has always liked Eli, and it was neat to see the two of them interact. Dad buys cars on eBay (he has two Jaguars and a Porsche, can you imagine?), and apparently he and Eli are going to “build” a car next summer. I have never had a close relationship with my dad for too many reasons to go into, but I do love him, and I love that he and Eli are close. He was telling us all a story about Eli when he was a toddler and it just made me really happy that he would have paid attention to something like that and then remembered it all these years.

It was good to see dad, and also good to see everyone else. Three of my four sisters were there with their families, and my mom and her boyfriend, dad, and grandma. It was remarkably relaxed, everyone seemed to have a good time, and we ate so much food that it was almost disturbing (though that goes without saying, right?). Steve and the kids and I stayed at my grandma’s house-it was nice, of course, because we all love her, but also sad in that she is just getting old. She has that closed captioning on her TV because she can’t hear very well (though will deny it despite all evidence to the contrary), and we were carrying on conversations around her and she would smile and nod but it was obvious she had no idea what was being  said. She was just glad we were there, I think, happy to still be important. It was a little weird this morning when she made breakfast for us; there were carrots involved, and that’s all I am going to say about that.

Now we are home, the older kids home long enough to get their things gathered up to go to friends’ houses for the night. It feels like Sunday, so it excites me that the weekend has just started. Steve is in the kitchen where he belongs making more basque bread, and the boys are sort of hanging around being glad to be home. Josie seems to be getting happier to be in the world, so she is propped up on her Boppy next to me, smiling. I feel very contented today, very much in the moment and grateful all the way around.

For some reason…

Aside

For some reason it suddenly occurred that Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I haven’t gotten a single thing with which to make our dishes for dinner. Steve was busily injecting the turkey he is smoking (and I have never seen anyone pull the skin away from a turkey and stuff fresh herbs in between the skin and the meat, but he did, and I think that is pretty cool. Also a little strange, in that he is a man, but ultimately a useful skill), he and Owen mixing up the flan, and even in the midst of all the chaos I didn’t think about the things I am making. So now, I have to brave the Thanksgiving shoppers with Owen, Sam and Josie in tow; it should be an adventure, to say the least.

I am excited this year. We are headed to Thanksgiving with my mom and all but one of my sisters and their families. My grandma will be there, as will my dad, neither of whom have met Josie. I don’t think my dad has even seen Aubry, come to think of it. I have to say this about my parents; they have been divorced for about 190 years or so, and have always done a pretty good job of doing things with all of us without it being a conflict. As far as I know, they don’t really care for each other and wouldn’t call one another friends, but they are both willing and capable of being in the same room together and even talking in order to support us girls. With as toxic as our home environment was (post divorce-from-dad), they did do this right. For the first time in a long time, I am actually looking forward to getting together with my family for a holiday, and think it is going to be a really good time.

Tomorrow also heralds my 12th birthday in sobriety, which is a miracle to me. Do you know, most days I still feel like one day sober is a miracle, so the fact that I have managed to cobble together a whole string of days to equal twelve years is a staggering concept. Back in the day I couldn’t go twelve hours. I have much to be grateful for this year, no doubt.

So best wishes to all of you this Thanksgiving: I hope you are all safe and have someone you love around you, and that you get to eat lots of good food and have good company. Life is sweet, and it will be a good day.

Just Write-Intention

I have a little statue of Buddha sitting on my desk, a shiny brown image of his smiling face and big, laughing belly. He sits on top of a business-sized card a friend sent me that says, simply, “Live with intention” in dark blue letters. I am looking at the both of them as I type this, while all of the things I have left to do at work in the few days I have left go racing through my head. I am panicked about the thought of not working, even though I want this. I don’t know who I am without having my job to help define me, even though I have always defined myself primarily as a mother. I can’t define myself as a writer, even though one of the things I plan on doing once I am not working outside the home is write, and hopefully get paid to do it (me and millions of others, I know, and if I think about that too much I feel hopeless and discouraged before I even start), I don’t yet define myself as a wife (it’s so hard to wrap my mind around that, even now it feels so new!)…I don’t know anything at all these days.

But I look at Buddha and that card, reminding me to live in the moment, to be present in the here and now and to live with intention, and I feel a little calmer. His smiling faces gives me peace, those dark blue words give me a reminder of how I want to live. I am not good at making leaps of faith, prefer instead to take small baby steps and tell myself it is enough that I believe, but this requires a much larger profession of my belief that The Big Guy is watching out for me and cares deeply about how I choose to live my life. He won’t steer me wrong if I listen, if I jump into the unknown and live with intention. Buddha surely wasn’t comfortable all of the time while he learned his lessons about being still and living in the moment, surely he didn’t, surely there were times he embraced the stillness only after sweating,cross-legged and sullen and questioning whether it would be worth it.

Fear is good. Faith is better. Living in the moment, living with intention, is the only way to do it.

Just Write-Waiting

We listen to the radio every morning, hoping the “Wheel of Fun” will land on trivia. We like to guess the answers and call in, Sam and I, laughing to hear our voices on the radio on occasion. Today I supplied the answer but Sam called in, laughing when he told them that waiting in line is more depressing than being home sick in bed. He doesn’t get that, not really, but was happy that the answer was right anyway, holding the line, waiting, to give them his info so he can get his Subway card in the mail.

Waiting in line doesn’t depress me, it makes me angry. I tap my foot and sigh loudly, showing my impatience in a thousand different ways all designed to let the people in front of me know how important I think I am. I hate this about myself, this feeling superior because I am so busy and have more important places to be than they do, hate how my ego constantly gets in the way of simply being. Can I just be present in the grocery store, in line at the bank, waiting for anything? Apparently not.

And I am really not all that important, nor am I that busy. Really, I am just an asshole, thinking that my time is more valuable than anyone else’s. God, what an enormously inflated sense of self-importance. I don’t want to do this today, to scurry around and feel more important than I am. I want to wait like everyone else in the world has to, want to be kind while I am waiting, want to live in the present moment no matter where I am. I want to be humble today, remembering that I wouldn’t be here were it not for having to wait, I want to remember that I love where I am.

 

Another Day

I made it to AA on Friday, which is only the second time I have been there since Josie was born. She cries, you know, which has made it a little difficult to leave the house after, say, 6:00. Last time I went, she did pretty ok until about 9:00 but then cried and cried and cried…this time we made it until not quite nine before having to leave. I think it bothers me more than it does other people, really. I mean, when others have their kids there, it doesn’t bother ME at all, so it stands to reason that other people feel the same way. For me, when I need a meeting, I need one-whether I have my kids with me or not. Still, once Josie gets on a roll, it’s pretty hard for me to concentrate and I am SURE hard for other people to even hear what someone is saying.

Which isn’t my point. My point was that I was able to go, and it is always so good to be there. I have a lot of support from a lot of people in my life, and most of them are members of my AA group. I had forgotten how much they love me and mine, though. One of the guys wanted to hold Josie right first thing, so he burped her and loved on he and really, she was the belle of the ball. This meeting in particular, these people in particular, have loved me through a lot of shit in my life, and it feels like home whether it’s been a week or 6 months since I have made it to a meeting. Sam took his first steps at an AA meeting, Owen went to every meeting with me until he got way too mobile and noisy, and I imagine it will be the same with Josie. I have no problem taking my kids to meetings with me; it never hurts to have a large group of people who know and love them, and I like that they know where to go if they get in trouble with drinking.

I try to live my AA program daily, do what I need to do to maintain my spiritual health on a daily basis, but my thoughts really turn to my history and the progress I have made at this time of year…I have a sober birthday coming up this month, and it always takes me back to where I was when I got here. The difference is nothing short of a miracle. I think that a lot, how amazing it is to be where I am, even if I am not where I should be a lot of the time. On Friday, I was looking around at the people there and I while I don’t like all of them, I have so much respect for everyone who can manage to put together a DAY sober. We are all pretty amazing people for that alone.

So this is where I am today, feeling really grateful and loved. I always need the reminder that there are people who love me AND people who call me on my shit, need to remember where I cam from, where I am, and how far I still have to go. I feel so humbled and glad to be here, in this life, because it so easily could have gone the other way for me. If I have gratitude and acceptance, I am pretty sure I can make it through one more day.

 

It’s not YOU, it’s ME!

I quit my job this morning. Even saying those words sends a little frisson of fear and excitement down my spine, in equal measure. I have been agonizing over this decision, trying to figure out whether or not we could afford it financially or if I could afford it emotionally. It has been so hard for me to leave Josie, as my last posts attest to, but it has been equally difficult to make the decision to quit, for a variety of reasons. The decision was made easier with the recent knowledge that we no longer qualify for any childcare assistance-at what point does it actually stop being worth working from a financial standpoint? Well, for us it was when we realized I would be bringing home, after all was said and done, about $200 a month.

Even knowing what I truly want and knowing the financial ramifications (both good and bad) did not make it any easier to go in and talk to my boss this morning, though. I have been here over seven years, having worked my way up from receptionist to agent, and I know that my boss took a chance on hiring me all those years ago. This job has meant a lot to me, on a lot of different levels. I have invested a lot of time and energy into it, and have done well. For the most part, I like my boss and the people with whom I work, I enjoy my customers (mostly), I enjoy what I do. It hasn’t been a passion, mind you, but I haven’t ever really dreaded going to work. Add to that my extreme loyalty, my inability to deal with confrontation (real OR imagined), and my perception of my boss as a father figure (if you had any doubts on that score, yes, I DO have some major issues) and I was a wreck even thinking about talking with him about this. I like to project, you see, and assume, and mentally plan for every possible contingency. I had myself so mindfucked that I was nearly paralyzed with fear.

But: it went, as it often does, far better than I expected it to. It was a little like breaking up with someone, using the “It’s not you, it’s me” line ( which come to think of it I have never USED that line. I mean, I was a practicing alkie for years and years, so I never actually broke up with someone, I just sort of…moved on or disappeared, and of course it was always them anyway, right?), but that is the truth of it all. None of the dire things I had imagined would happen, happen, and it was all very friendly and, well, nice.

There is much more to say on the subject, but for some reason right now I just feel sort of nauseated and relieved all at once, and am not sure what other feelings are lurking around to be processed. So for the moment I am simply going to feel what I feel, however that manifests itself, and be grateful.

Just Write 11/01/11

 

I am at work and Josie is sick, a litany that keeps going through my head over and over. We were up on the couch this morning from about two on, her hot little head pressed against my chest and my breasts leaking because she wasn’t eating and I needed her to, it felt like warm rain or tears. She is taken care of and loved, I don’t worry about that, but I should be with her, she should be with me. I feel torn, only not torn because I know what I need to do, know where I want to be. Misplaced loyalty, fear, guilt, and underneath it throbbing like my heart is that litany, Josie is sick and I am work. Work.

Control is hardly won when I remember I don’t have to control, don’t need to control, I need to accept. That’s it. When I do, as I have been trying to do since Josie was born, the answers come and I know that. I still try to regain control and think that I am not capable of doing what God wants me to do, which is to accept and allow him to open up doors. He has, He does, He will if I let go of control and trust. Walk through the fear instead of denying it, remembering what my friend J said yesterday when she said that it’s not courage unless there is also fear and she says I am one of the bravest people she knows.

It feels raw, all of this, too much love too close to the skin. My breasts are a metaphor, thinly veiled, for how powerful it all is, spilling out at the least provocation, filling me to overflowing, hurting.

**Thanks to Heather for this**