pajama day of deliciousness

DSCN1180

My little friends celebrated a month of hard work studying families and food with “pajama day of deliciousness”.
We all came to school in our jammies, even the two teachers.
We read Cupcake before we iced and decorated (then ate) cupcakes. We read The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Freres before we made soupe au fromage. (That we will eat when it’s time for our snack this afternoon.) We popped corn and watched Ratatouille (a movie about both food and families) while lying around on the floor on pillows from our Tree House Library.

I’m sick…a cold that has taken up residence in my chest…and left the movie at home this morning when I came to school. (Many thanks to YBW who brought it to school on his way to work!)
Even though I’m feeling puny I’ve had such a wonderfully fun day and couldn’t wait to share!

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have I told you today?

How much I LOVE Christmas!
I love shopping!
I love the music!
I love going to dinner with YBW after buying loads of candy for stockings.
It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year!

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Has it really been 30 years?

I find it hard to believe ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’ is thirty!
How can this be?

I was thirteen years old in 1984. I was a total Brit Pop music kind of girl. Simon LeBon was my number one crush. Duran Duran my very favorite band. This song blew my little teenage mind! All these people I adored singing together to make a difference in the world.

I just watched the video.
My God! What were they thinking with those do(s)? The clothes?
I forgot how bad 80’s fashion really was.

I’m older and infinitely more jaded now but still moved enough to make my eyes water.
I felt the way I did when I was thirteen, joyous to see these people in one room.

Will we ever be able to feed the world?
I don’t know.
But I do know this: it’s Christmastime and I’m filled with joy and anticipation.

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a bibliophile’s bookgasm

The bibliophile in me is having a total bookgasm!
I discovered the coolest website called litographs.com.
This site has over 100 books printed on tees, posters, and tote bags. The actual text!
And for each tee, poster, or tote you buy, they donate a book through the International Book Bank!
I’m DYING to have this one.
Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden.
secret garden tee

“Promoting literacy never looked so good.”

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it’s the most wonderful time of the year

My three year olds tie-dyed socks to hang in our classroom as stockings.

P1010998

We found a huge branch on the playground brought it in and decorated it for our tree.
We are celebrating the holidays (Hanukkah and Christmas, but not Kwanzaa because we don’t have any students who celebrate it at home.) with food and families. We’re reading books about food and families. Books like Cupcake, and The Mice of Bistrot des Sept Freres. Both these books have recipes in the back to create the yummies we’re reading about in the pages so we’re going to prepare and enjoy them in class.
The kids have been taking about how they love to cook with their parents which lead to us asking for stories and recipes important to the families. These stories and recipes will become a classroom family cookbook.

My home has all the nativities set up and ready, the menorah waiting to be lit, one tree up and lighted (though not yet decorated) and the other to be put up this weekend when Things C and G come home.
YBW and I were standing in the kitchen early yesterday morning and I said: Have I told you today how much I love Christmas?
YBW said: Not today, no.
Me: I SUPER love Christmas!
YBW: I know you do, baby.
Me breaking into song: It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

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the little things mean the most

I went to Richmond yesterday to pick up my mother’s things from her husband. These include ‘family’ things from my mother’s maternal and paternal families, as well as things that belonged specifically my beloved Grandaddy, and all the photographic evidence of the first fifteen years of my life.
I peeked in some of the boxes as YBW and I brought them into the house and the item that brought me sobbing tears of joy was Grandaddy’s bible.

Grandaddy's bible

Grandaddy’s bible

Inside there are pictures of my grandmother and Mommie when she was a little girl, these photos have been in his bible ever since I can remember…of course they’ve most likely been there since they were developed in the 50’s.
I guess it doesn’t really matter how long they’ve actually been in there because they’re still there now and they are mine.
My delight is immeasurable!

Bettye and Mary E

Bettye and Mary E

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Just let it go – mental digs and their unnecessary poison

robynbird:

It’s an exhausting game.

Originally posted on evolution:

You’ve likely had moments when someone makes a subtle comment that you both know is a jab in your direction. It irritates you. You stew over it, thinking of the many ways you can defend yourself and point out their faults.

Sometimes, you should speak up and defend yourself. Sometimes it’s not good to stay quiet and let people walk all over you.

But often, it’s just the other person being small, and everyone in the room knows it. They don’t feel good about themselves, so they try to make others feel even lower. Insecure people are in a constant game of comparing themselves to others – sometimes they feel superior, but often they feel inferior. It’s an exhausting game of seeking equilibrium for their fragile ego.

I should know. I catch myself feeling inferior/superior on a regular basis. I would venture to say most of us do.

I will admit that I’ve written things as jabs that were…

View original 171 more words

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black (like my heart) Friday

It’s not even eight o’clock and I worry where the day will lead when a fight gets picked within six minutes of waking up. My instinct is to run. In my jammies and sock footed to get in my car and get away from here.
It seems as though I have a tone that sounds accusatory and inappropriate when speaking to YBW. I feel sure it wasn’t my tone, more the subject matter.
Or perhaps the fact that I had an opinion about the subject matter at all.
Or perhaps the fact that he’s felt belittled his entire life and I’ve spent mine struggling to be heard has the most to do with it. I tend to say things over and in different ways because I have a real and desperate need to feel heard. He tends to hear everything as some sort of condemnation, that he’s simply not right or good enough.
This can, on occasion, be a difficult way to communicate.
This morning was one of those times.

As I write this, I am actively fighting my instinct to run. That anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach, the fiery feeling in my brain stem screaming at me to get out and go someplace safe.
Before it’s all over, I suspect I’ll end up with a headache but I can handle that.

It’s not the first time this week there’s been a breakdown in communication that caused a fight. Lately I don’t feel like I can express myself unless I’m very careful to censor the subject matter. This of course triggers my deeply rooted and insecure hot buttons.
I believe it’s mostly about subject matter with YBW and I’ve considered just removing certain subjects from our conversations. Only that’s not a realistic way to live…or communicate. So I watch my tone and try to be honest. I try not to make him feel criticized or attacked in any way.
It’s still censorship.
Kindness is uniquely important…therefore not really censorship? I don’t actually know.

I don’t think YBW is an ass, or stupid, or any of the other things I occasionally get accused of. I think we hear what we’ve been conditioned to hear. We ALL hear what we’ve been conditioned to hear.
I have worked hard to show him I do not think those negative things about him with the sincere hope he will one day know that.

I’m struggling with this life.
I left my life to come be in his life with him with the plan it would become our life.
I have to “parent” two kids that are not mine. Who were raised completely differently than I know how to raise children. So I adapt to the way they do things in this family.
It’s hard. It makes me sad sometimes.
I feel like I’ve had to make all the sacrifices to be in this relationship. (He has made huge financial sacrifices, but the rest of his life pretty much got to stay the same.)
I always knew I would be the one who would assimilate into his life. There was never any question of that for simple logistics, his younger son, his home and employer.
I guess I didn’t realize it would be quite so hard.

It’s painful to feel I gave up everything to make a new life. I always felt it was going to be a better life, so that made the initial pain easier to stomach. I guess I just didn’t realize it would continue to feel that way.
Is it because I’m all settled and we’re comfortable? Is it because neither of us is on “our best behavior” anymore?
I feel like the life I chose, my life, the one I chose when I was twenty years old…however awful it became…was mine. By my own design.
This life is me trying to fit into the life someone else designed.
I deserve the chance to make it mine too.

Yesterday I watched the people in my life sit on the sofa while I made sure we had proper Thanksgiving dinner for their family.
I was asked if I need help, I was asked for specific directions.
I’m not a general. I don’t want to bark orders.
I want people to take initiative…or at the very least get up off their ass and stand in the kitchen with me so I don’t feel like everybody’s bitch.

I don’t think I’m unreasonable. And I can assure you I’ve examined that possibility.

I’m sitting on the sofa with tears on my face and Thing G is worried and comes to hug me.
That innocent kindness is unconditional love.
Unconditional love eludes some of us it’s something we never truly feel. That breaks my heart. I know I have it to give it’s not often that I receive it.
Love is a curious thing.
My heart still feels black but I see light nearer to me.

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kiss your brain

I don’t normally love Thanksgiving. I mean the actual ‘holiday’, not the concept. To me it’s just an inconvenient stop between Halloween and Christmas. I am thankful all my days…I don’t need a specific day to celebrate my gratitude. I have an issue with the conspicuous consumption of food on Thanksgiving Day. Now, I absolutely love food, but it seems to me that Thanksgiving is more about celebrating gluttony than giving thanks.

All of that said, I have to admit I’m actually feeling enthusiastic about Thanksgiving this year. There are two reasons for this. The first reason is even though my child won’t be living in it, the basement is finally finished and we are beginning to put our home and our lives back together.
The second is because I ordered all my food from Wegmans this year.
The entire meal, from turkey to cranberries, completely cooked, packaged up and ready for me to heat and serve. This feels equally wrong and right. I’m perfectly capable of making Thanksgiving dinner for eight, but I don’t really want to. Wegmans has everything I need for a price I couldn’t argue. I’d have spent just as much gathering all the ingredients.
I’m a teeny bit ashamed of myself…but I’m so relieved I’m not going to be stuck in the kitchen all damn day and missing the thing I love about Thanksgiving…the Macy’s Parade. Won’t be stuck in the kitchen all damn day while people lounge on the giant sofa in front of football games.
I’ll heat that food, serve it up pretty, have other people clear and clean up and enjoy my day.
There will be a teeny bit of me that is ashamed for not cooking…I’ll just pour her another glass of wine and she’ll shut up quickly enough.

I’m thankful for the people in my life, my family and friends and the love we share. For my home where I feel safe and loved.
I’m especially thankful for a man who loves me because I’m me and not for what he’d like me to be.
I’m thankful I am so close with my co-teacher, that she and I were meant to be in a classroom together, that we make each other better teachers.
I’m thankful for words. Word that have been written, words not yet written.
I’m thankful for art, all kinds of visual art, but mostly books and music.
I’m thankful for Macy’s and their parade because it really does bring me joy even though I cry every year when Santa arrives.
I’m thankful for Wegmans and their delicious food and reasonable pricing.
And wine! I’m SO thankful for wine!

There is a wonderful teacher in my school who has the most precious habit of encouraging her students to “kiss their brains”. They do this by kissing their hands and placing them on their heads. She encourages them to do this when the are attempting to learn, when they have learned or when they just need a bit of reassurance.
I love this practice!
I’m thankful for my brain, for everything it helps me do.
I kiss my brain.
And I encourage you to do the same.

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standing in the rain, and waiting for the stream to settle

Today would have been my dad’s sixty-ninth birthday and I stood in the rain scattering his ashes in a place he loved to be.
I did this because his oldest and dearest friend came from Colorado to perform this act and he is the one who chose the date. He felt it was a good way to honor my dad, the anniversary of his birth. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
I did it because it was what my dad wanted, and he wanted his friend involved. I’d known this for years so I had plenty of time to prepare for it. They were cops together, I’ve know him since I was a teeny little thing, but you know how that goes, he’s close with my dad and I grow up and move on.
My heart wasn’t in it really, I was just going through the motions. But I’m OK with that because it wasn’t about me it was about my dad’s friend…and my dad. I am a good daughter.
I’m tired now it’s all over. It was cold and rainy which wasn’t physically comfy and it was emotionally exhausting. I want to get in the bathtub with my ipad for a bit of soaking and Netflix.

On the Thing 2 front, I finally had a good long conversation with my friend and mentor last night. She asked what my heart was telling me to do. I told her my gut said, make her come back, my heart is tired of fighting and my head pretty much wants the other two to get it together. She laughed. She reminded me I’m a “gut truster”. I agreed.
We talked a bit more and she told me I had been tromping back and forth in the stream and it was muddy and unclear, that perhaps I should sit by the stream and let the sediment fall to the bottom and wait for the water to clear. (Oh how I love this analogy!)
We talked a bit longer and she just wondered aloud where I was. I took a deep breath and said: I’m going to let it go and leave her where she is.
I feel good about that decision because instead of focusing on her, I decided to focus on me. I’m going crazy trying to decide what to do what’s best for her life and completely ignoring what’s best for my own.

This morning I had the most freeing thought.
I’m so worried about Thing 2’s future but I didn’t take into consideration that teenagers live in the now. So if she’s sad, lonely and uncomfortable here in this home, how successful can her future be?
I know her dad won’t hold her accountable, but perhaps she really can live happily in the now and STILL have a relatively successful future.
And that might be as positive as I’ll ever feel about it.
I lived in that horrible situation for years, trapped, scared and feeling unsafe. It hurt me physically and emotionally. If she FEELS safe, etc. then isn’t that actually “what’s best” for her?
I believe she stands a better chance here but I’m only going to focus on me and my future.
She’ll sort it out eventually. I believe I’ve done a good enough job raising her to have that faith.

And that’s how this portion of the story ends.
She will be responsible for ‘cleaning up her own mess’ and building her future and I’ll focus on my own future and just love her.

Categories: death, loss, love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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