my family, Uncategorized

When they were little

Thankfully when my children were barely ending their toddler stage and starting elementary I got a divorce. It was the best thing to happen to me, to us and I am grateful every day that he threw us away.  An odd sentence I know.

 

As I struggled to build a life for the kids and I life became busy. Work, daycare, school, soccer, gymnastics, work some more,  night school. The list was never-ending. I thrived from the hectic schedule. I persevered and pushed through it fighting to build a life where I was independent and able to provide for our basic needs on my own. During that time I faced many choices. One choice I had to make was working multiple jobs and jobs that might pay more but would keep me away from the kids most hours of the evening and weekends.  Or I could work for much less but be able to get the kids from school, take them to soccer and cheer them on, tuck them in at night. I had spent a couple years clawing and scratching my way to get to that choice. Working up to 5 jobs day and night while attending night school. I had cleared us from the mess that the ending of my marriage left. Now I could almost breathe.

So what to do? One day I asked the kids as we drove to school. What do you want? Mommy home with you but we have less stuff, fewer toys and shopping, can’t go on big trips but I’ll be able to be home more. My son’s answer still melts my heart. It wasn’t a short answer. His answer lasted almost until we pulled into the school parking lot. He wanted me home. Who would give him kisses when he needed them. Who would make cookies with them, help them read their books, answer their questions, show them how to do their homework, play in the park with them, kiss they’re boo-boos, teach him to tie his shoes, the list went on and on the entire drive. His adorable chubby body I loved to squish and hug settled in the back seat. His blue eyes so clear and trusting. He just wanted me there. My daughter ever the serious and silent one just nodded and agreed with all that he said.

So it was decided.  I took the low paying going nowhere job that let me drive them to school and pick them up. We camped, hiked, flew kites, played games, rolled in the leaves, played in the rain, tried fishing, went canoeing, went sledding in the dark, built fires, set off fireworks, saved unwanted dogs and found them homes, went exploring thrift shopping, made crafts, cooked together, slept in the back of the car when I forgot the tent poles camping, we did it all together. Priceless memories that hopefully gave them the courage to be themselves. The confidence to stand on their own. The unquestionable knowledge that they are amazing and can do anything they choose to. That was and is my main goal as their mother.

 

I will probably always look back and wish I had done more. I think that about the teens I raised when I was too young to know what they needed. I now wish I had done more with them. They are happy and have good lives not wishing I had done more. So I must learn to be as well. Hopefully, when my children are grown they feel the same way. I think it is the way of growing older. Looking back with the earned knowledge only time gives. Seeing what more could have been done. I am ever so grateful to have had the ability to make the memories I have. I sure miss those little snuggly children I had. I adore them no matter the age, size, or stage: but I sure miss the snuggles from when they needed me so.

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childhood, Uncategorized

Traditional holidays – what traditions?

Thanksgiving means something different to us all. One thing that remains the same is the circle of love. The knowledge it’s a time to be grateful for all that we have. Whether from family or more often than not friendship. You can pick your friends but not your family. The friends are the family you get to choose.

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As the years past my parents fell further and further from the celebration of mainstream holidays. Generations of passed down recipes and traditions disappeared. I have no idea if my grandmother had an amazing recipe for stuffing that was passed down through the generations. I have no idea if traditions were even a thing in our family. One day is no different than the rest. Christmas is not really Christmas for Jesus was born in the spring with the sheep. Not in the dead of winter. Easter is a pagan ritual accepted by the church when joining the satanic world with the Christian. Thanksgiving is for giving thanks or for taking the world from the Aboriginals. Really everything depends on how you look at it.

I was taught that the mainstream holidays are not celebrated on the original dates. That when Christianity overtook the mainstream, the leaders from the pagan realm and the Cristian met and compromised on the dates to celebrate different holidays.  That is what I was taught. Don’t get me wrong we did celebrate holidays and birthdays to some degree. Our haphazard way of celebrating will be in the book.

 

I recall being about sixteen renting my own little hole in the wall place. The first place of my own that I paid for with money I earned. Before that… well, let’s say I got around! Made amazing friends and memories and traveled from one end to almost the other of our country. So by sixteen, I was “ready and able” to earn money and pay bills so to speak.

I had previously spent a stint living with an uncle and aunties in the town I come back to.  The town I was now living in and renting my own place. The auntie has such a hard-on for me it was unreal. Stemmed from her dislike of her husband’s inlaws – my parents. My standing up to their son and moving out solidified her dislike to the point of locking her husband out of the house when he met me for a walk.

My point… My first Thanksgiving living on my own I spent walking to the local pool to go for a swim to try and take my mind off how alone I really was. I knew very few people in the town and the ones that I knew were with their families. My mother wasn’t keen on being around me. Work was closed for the holidays, as was the pool I found out when I got there.

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I had spent the pleasure of being a part of a Jewish family celebration that spring with a wonderful lifelong friend. I had never seen or been a part of anything like it and loved it. Her family was kind and welcoming. They didn’t pepper me with questions or sympathy of my upbringing. I had never met people like them before and was eyes wide open to take it all in. I never saw a celebration quite as warm and traditional after that for years. I now knew what it could be like, and  I yearned for it. That knowledge accentuated my loneliness knowing what holidays can be.

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Many many years later after becoming a mother, a divorcee, I still struggle with holidays. It is too easy to not decorate. To not make a big deal.  I have no traditions to pass down to my children. We are finding our own way of celebrating. We spent holidays at a rustic off-grid cabin in the bush, we shot off fireworks for Christmas eve, we tossed chocolate from one end to another as a scavenger hunt, we always tried to have our small close family together when work allowed.  We were invited to friends for a few Thanksgiving and Christmas. Those holidays were the beginning of not minding holidays. Of not having the empty feeling I felt in the pit of my stomach pushing my smile wider to hide the emptiness.  We celebrated in Kenya with my dear lifelong friend. That same dear friend that I spend my very first traditional holiday with. To me now, a holiday is what you choose to make of it.

 

questions, Uncategorized

 Do you have siblings

Such a common question. An easy way to keep a conversation going as you get to know someone. My answer has always been yes. However today I am realizing that even though I am the oldest I feel more like an only child. And am probably not far off really.

Being the eldest and old enough to feed them, change diapers, and babysit; it was more like being a little mother.  In a way, it was like having the best doll in the world. My dolly actually cried, peed, waved their arms, and had drawers full of outfits to be put into. Much better than any replica doll I ever found for my children. My ‘dolly’ had soft soft skin and smelt delicious like only babies do. My dolly would hug me and follow me around where ever I went. Forever a faithful shadow even when I no longer wanted one.

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Taken on one of my bi-annual visits a few years before mom passed

When I was dating a test question was always, ‘are you prepared to help me raise my siblings?’ It wasn’t exactly a first date question. Definitely came up if things ever looked mildly serious. My ex-husband used to wonder how the heck I knew I would be raising my siblings as my own. He must have thought I had some sort of psychic power. In hindsight, the man had no clue the kind of woman I was and certainly didn’t know how to walk the path I found the strength to walk. With a smile, I might add.

I had no idea my mother would pass much too young. Never once did I dream we would be orphans with me barely legally old enough to claim them as my own.

I did, however, believe for years that my siblings would question the lifestyle that they were born into and leave. Go in search of more. More knowledge, more answers, more choices. The same things I had searched for but didn’t know how. The same questions I asked and didn’t find the answer for until long past searching for them. Maybe my questions were unusual for no one seemed to have the answers. Or maybe in my shame and low self-esteem I was surrounding myself with those that wouldn’t know. People that had those same questions but didn’t speak them aloud as I did.

What I know now I didn’t even know to think of. The options I see now I was unaware of. Unable to find the way there. Blinded by fear and self-consciousness I hid in a haze. Playing like a grasshopper instead of being a worker ant. In case your unfamiliar with that analogy let me tell you the story I heard.

There was a grasshopper who played all summer long. Teasing the ant for working so hard when he could be playing as the grasshopper was. Come winter the grasshopper was cold and hungry and came to the ant begging for food. Now, who was laughing…?

So back to the sibling question I started with. I answer but never truly never from the heart for the answer is complicated. Yes is a simple answer. I lie, deflect, or discuss my baby brother who I adore as my own. Tears of love stinging my eyes when I mention him.