Fiction Friday #17: Mothers

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My Friday Fiction Friends and I write different stories based on the same prompt. This week, Kelly DeBie provided the prompt. This is episode seventeen in an ongoing series. If you missed the first sixteen episodes, here are links:

7. Love
__________

Your mother checked herself in last night after an attempted suicide. She is stable physically so far today, but she may need ongoing treatment at a behavioral health facility if she doesn’t show improvement.  She is clearly a threat to herself, so hospitalization is indicated.  And as you know, this isn’t her first hospitalization.  We are lucky she called for help.” Dr. Goldstein explained. “Her suicide note mentioned you by name so I wanted to inform you and see if we might be able to set up another therapy session online.  I know you are far away and can’t drop everything to come into town, although a personal visit is exactly what your mother probably wants.”

“Are you kidding me? What did it say? Why is this my fault? What did she do?” Amanda asked incredulously.  Her heart was beating fast imagining her mom lying in the hospital room alone.

“Amanda, she cut her wrists and then called 911 on herself before it was too late. She talked about the last time she saw you two years ago when she changed her flight and left early because she was so uncontrollably upset. That was  a few years ago as you remember.  She said you haven’t been calling her enough since then. How you don’t even care if she is alive and how she feels ignored and unloved. Your mom is hurting a great deal Amanda. I’ve tried over the years to help you two repair your relationship, since you were a child in fact.  It’s hard for you to understand her multiple conditions, but she feels very isolated and alone. She places an overwhelming amount of pressure on you to take care of her when really she is the mother and you are the child. It’s a classic behavior pattern for parents with Borderline Personality Disorder.  Add depression and anxiety to the mix and she needs a lot of help navigating through her life.  Although as you know she doesn’t like to have a label or a diagnosis or disorder.   I know this is hard for you. So please let’s sit down and talk about this.”

“Hard for me? Trust me I am dealing with a lot. The last thing I need right is for her to blame me for her problems. I don’t have much energy left to give. She is like a sinkhole of emotional energy. This is why I can’t stand to talk to her. Instead of being there for me when my life turns upside down, she makes everything about her….and even worse she blames her misery on me. I don’t know. I need to think about it.  She can’t manipulate me like that.  We haven’t patched things up since she left my house early during that one Christmas vacation years ago!  We’ve barely talked and have only had email communication for the most part.  Communicating with her is stressful for me and toxic to my life.  I’m a mother.  My kids need me healthy and happy.”

“This is a cry for help. She needs you.  She needs help, and I am working with her.  Think about it and let me know if you can make time.  Just call my office, and they will schedule a Skype conference.”

Amanda thanked her mom’s psychiatrist and hung up the phone. They knew each other for years, and she admired his calm demeanor, but knew inside she didn’t have the energy for a face to face meeting with them. Her mom was so frustrating because she was in denial about her mental conditions. She refused to take medication or accept diagnoses, but she claimed that she was overly sensitive and held on to baggage from her past as a defense strategy. On one hand she would say she lived a rough life,  and on the other hand she would say there was nothing wrong with her. She wanted people to feel sorry for her and to treat her differently because she was overly emotional and sensitive. Yet she refused to do anything about her problems herself. She blamed others for her unhappiness and raised Amanda with the constant threat that she might kill herself when they got in fights. Amanda grew up with the uncertainty of not knowing whether she would find her mom dead one day, and that it would be her fault because of something she did wrong. It was a cruel and unfair burden to place on a child.

     Now after all these years, she actually tried it. Unbelievable. I can’t believe this is happening. I need her to be there for me. I’ve lost so much. I’m hurting now. Other people can call their moms when they need support. Other people spend time with their moms, have fun and feel support.

She remembered that Christmas vacation that changed history with her mom.  It was the last time Amanda invited her.  She changed her flight to leave early on the day after Christmas because she was so upset she decided to take herself out of the equation.  She couldn’t control her emotions and felt agitated and upset, living in her own dramatic world.  Impulsively, she came downstairs that morning saying she was leaving a full week ahead of schedule.  Like she was doing us a favor because she caused such a scene in our family’s house the day before.  She unloaded emotional baggage to Richard explaining how her own parents never loved her on the main stairway in the house while the kids retreated to their bedrooms with doors shut to avoid their grandmother’s outburst.  At the time, Amanda did what she knew best.  She let her go.  Richard drove her mom to the airport.  A door inside Amanda’s heart closed when the front door closed behind them.  It was a final physical declaration of what Amanda grew up knowing all along, that her mom was unavailable to her.  Even if they both wanted a good relationship, it just wasn’t going to happen in this lifetime.

Her phone started ringing again.  The ringtone interrupted her train of thought with Jewel’s angelic voice saying “Follow your heart, your intuition. It will lead you in the right direction.”   It was Robert‘s school calling.

“Hello?”

“Mrs. Keilsth?”

“Yes?”

“Hi it’s Cindy in the nurse’s office at Canyon Creek East.  I’ve got Robert here with me. He is sick and needs you to pick him up.  He’s got a fever of 103 degrees.”

“Oh hi, sure, thank you so much for calling. Be there in a few minutes.”  Amanda pressed ‘end’ on her iPhone and shifted gears.

     I’m going to have to deal with my mom later.  Right now Robert needs his mom.

Mothers Love

Mothers Love (Photo credit: krandolph)

__________

Here is the prompt:

May is the month to celebrating motherhood. Start this week’s post with the following:

“Your mother….”:

Please visit my other Friday Fiction Friends to see what they wrote with the same prompt:

http://www.clearlykristal.com/
http://www.worldsworstmoms.com/
http://www.bulamamani.com/
http://www.debiehive.blogspot.com/
http://www.mollyfield.com/
http://neargenius1.blogspot.com/

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@BuLaMamaNi
@SusanneNelson1
@DeBieHive
@MollyFieldTweet
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Pearls on a String: One year later.

One year ago today, I quit my teaching job. Why? I wrote about in this entry: Pearls on a String. Since then, I’ve been adding pearls to my string of wisdom and experience. I’m a numbers person, and I can’t help but remember the day that my life changed unexpectedly, March 9, 2012, the Friday before Spring Break.

Today, my oldest daughter (19) is on spring break from college and enjoying her first vacation (Destin, FL) without her family and just with her friends. My two school aged kids (12 and 8) started their spring break yesterday too. My stepson (20) is an infantryman in the U.S. Army stationed in New York.

English: Beach in Destin, FL

English: Beach in Destin, FL (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last month, I renewed my Texas teaching license (Generalist 4-8), and last week, I passed the licensure test for Math 8-12. I tutor privately at home and on Skype and am a full-time mother.

Math Dances

Math Dances (Photo credit: Dylan231)

 

A year ago, my daughter (12) was coming home alone after school until about 6:30 when I picked up my son (8) from after-school care. There was no after-school care for her; sixth grade is the fist year of middle school here in Texas. Now, I am available for both of them after school, and I’m able to provide transportation for her to take dance classes sixteen hours a week. She’s grown tremendously in all aspects over the past year. She’s keeping up her grades at school, and she’s grown by leaps and bounds in her dance skills (pun intended). My son is also thriving at school and in his sports: taekwondo and baseball. My stepson (20) was able to visit us last March, and we saw him at Christmas. I was able to visit my oldest daughter (19) for ZTA mom’s weekend last month.

I’m able to set my tutoring schedule around our family schedule and am able to spend time pursuing other interests like guitar lessons and blogging. My husband made partner at his law firm in the past year. At first, I was devastated, but I can honestly say I am truly grateful for the opportunity that fell in my lap. I miss the kids, but I still get to work with wonderful students. And most importantly, I’m able to put my family first.

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Friday Fiction #2: Althea

I’m participating in a fiction challenge. Every Friday this month, I and several other bloggers are posting fiction based on the same prompt. Welcome to installment number two. Here is a link to last week’s post in case you missed it.

“There are things you can replace and others you can not. The time has come to weigh those things.”
There was a knock at the door. “Just a minute!” Althea said as she turned down the television. She was busy coloring with her daughter at the kitchen table and the Disney Channel was on in the background. They were having girl time. She had a lot of studying to do for finals next week, but it was important to her that she spend some quality time with her daughter. It’s hard to find moments like that when you are a teen mom working on your education.
She expected it a package delivery since it was almost Christmas. Almost every day that week, more and more packages arrived. When she opened up the door and saw the soldier in uniform holding a bouquet of stargazer lilies, her favorite, her jaw dropped. Her stomach sank like that feeling when you are on a roller coaster just going over the top of a hill and it starts to plunge downward. Their eyes met as she took it all in and didn’t know what to say.
“Steven. What are you doing here?” finally fell off her lips.
“Althea, I’m sorry. Please listen to me. I know you’re mad at me, and I deserve it. I just got back from Afghanistan, and I need to talk to you.” he explained as he offered her the bouquet. “I brought your favorite flowers. I’m so sorry about everything. Can we please talk?”
LILIACEAE 百合科 - Stargazer Lily 'Tiber' (Lilium...

LILIACEAE 百合科 – Stargazer Lily ‘Tiber’ (Lilium orientalis) 火百合 (Photo credit: kaiyanwong223)

“I’m so surprised to see you.” She replied, feeling a flurry of mixed emotions. He left her when she needed him most. He was her first love, and she got pregnant not long after the first time they decided to have sex. She was only sixteen, and he was seventeen at the time.
“I thought you didn’t want to have anything to do with me, with us. Last time we spoke you told me to get an abortion. You left me here alone. Now you just show up on my doorstep and expect me to listen to you?” she answered incredulously.
“Althea please. I’m feeling lost. I’ve been lacking direction. When I found out you were pregnant, that was right after my mom’s accident. I lost my little sister and brother and couldn’t deal with anything. My parents were fighting and talking about divorce. We were so young” his voice broke and his gaze fell into the bouquet “these are for you; please take them.” He handed her the flowers, and inside she felt her heart soften. He was surprised to see her as a mother. She looked as beautiful as ever but more mature and self-assured.
The fragrance brought back memories from when he used to bring her flowers when he picked her up for dates. “Mommy, are you coming back? I need help with my crayon.” a little voice called from the kitchen.
“Is that her?” he asked as his eyes opened hopefully. He never met her, but mutual high school friends wrote to him while he was away in the military and told him Althea had given birth to a healthy baby girl and was still living at home with her parents. They provided for her and supported her throughout the pregnancy and subsequent years after the birth.
“Yes honey, just a minute.” Althea felt flustered and didn’t know what to do. She stepped out on the front step and shut the door. “What do you want me to say?” she inquired. “I can’t believe you are here. I have a life you know. I’m going to school and taking care of this child. It’s been really hard.” She felt a lump in her throat and fought back the urge to cry.
“I want you to give me another chance. I’ve been thinking a lot, and I never forgot the love we had. I never forgot about you…or her…I just was self-centered to the extreme. I’m sorry, and I am here for you both now. I’ve been to hell and back. I’ve lost friends in combat. I’ve lost the only family I knew. Since the accident, nothing has been the same. My parents are still in therapy. I’ve realized that there are things that can be replaced and some things that can not. I love you Althea. I need you. I’m her father. Little girls need their fathers. I can’t change the past, and I know I’ve missed out on her life so far. Please can we try to start over?”
“Okay, yes.” She cried on his shoulder as he hugged her. “I’ve missed you so much.” She didn’t want to let go of him again.
“I’ve missed you too. Thank you for giving me another chance.” He kissed her and held her tight.
“Come inside and meet your daughter.” Those were words she never expected to say. She couldn’t help but feel sympathetic for him after everything he had been through, and she hoped all along he would change his mind. He needed time to reach that point on his own. She gave him space, and he came back to her on his own.
Thank you for reading this entry. Peace out.
Here is the prompt!
Years later, the character’s first love shows up on his or her doorstep again. Both your character and his/her first love are surprised at how the other person has changed (How?) This encounter causes a disruption in your character’s life (How? What does your character do about it?) Write the story.

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

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We rang in the new year at the Four Seasons.

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In February, I turned 44. My husband made this ‘cake’ for me out of fruit and dark chocolate (with beer sugar) since I have so many food allergies and don’t eat regular cake.

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Sunset on our street. It’s beautiful every day.

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Justin Bieber party for my daughter and my son’s birthday cake.

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Work event at the Dallas Arboretum with my husband’s law firm. Cool sculptures on display there.

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Doing handstands in the pool with one of my daughters. We love swimming!

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Beach week in Destin, FL with my husband and kids. It’s one of my favorite beaches!

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Cool clouds

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Looked up one day when it was about to storm and saw this little patch of blue sky. I thought it looked like a heart.

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We were Katniss and Batman for Halloween.

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Sunrises are beautiful here too.

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We went to Reno, NV for Christmas vacation. Just got home tonight.

Thanks for reading this entry. Happy new year and peace out.

Life as a Married Mom

Two movies in two days, both with the same lead actress and plots about being married parents. In This is 40, a couple faces middle age, parenthood, and marriage. In the Change Up, a single slacker and a married lawyer switch lives by accident after wishing for each other’s lives. In both movies, the characters learn to appreciate what they have and how to fix problems common in every family.

Let’s face it. Life is hard. Being single is hard. Being married is hard. Having children is hard. Being childless is hard. It’s hard to be a kid. It’s hard to be a student. It’s hard to have a job. It’s hard to be the parent of adult children.

It’s tough having quality time together as a couple and/or family, and its tough finding time to be alone. Meeting our own needs as individuals is difficult, much less meeting the needs of spouses, children, and parents.

Our jobs as parents require us to have all our shit together enough to provide for, care, guide, and nurture the little people we created. We shape and mold them emotionally, spiritually, physically, financially, and psychologically. If we are too busy or unhappy with own own lives, they pick up on it. It affects their sense of self. It affects family dynamics.

As with everything in life, it seems that the answer is always balance. As adults, we need to take care of ourselves first or we are no good to our children. Do we sacrifice for them? Of course we do. But if we don’t take the time to meet our needs first, we won’t be able to give to our children in a quality way. And we won’t be able to be happily married while we raise them.

Both moms and dads work hard to provide financially for families. We have different needs, but it’s important we allow ourselves some down time when we are not working to pursue our interests, socialize, and exercise. It’s important we care about what we eat and how much we sleep so we can feel our best day to day. We need quiet time to reflect and develop ourselves spiritually. We need friends and fun. We also need alone time, both as individuals and alone time as parents.

Holidays together exaggerate family dynamics and intensify expectations and tempers. A college aged kid wants to come home for the comforts but doesn’t want to be treated like a kid. Little kids misbehave when they eat too much sugar, stay up too late, and are bored because adults are talking. We try to give them what they want, yet we try to teach them that Christmas is for giving, not getting. We try to make things special for them, but we also need to be consistent with expectations and consequences.

We have to remember we made these little people and act accordingly. We need to remember that life is precious and we create our realities. A yoga teacher once told me,a “where the feet go, so do the hips.” It’s the same with the mind. The way we think is reflected in the world around all of us. It’s up to us to be strong, balanced, and loving. It’s up to us to communicate. It’s up to us whether our kids have happy memories from childhood. Nobody is perfect, but finding the fine line of balance can make life feel perfect.

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Aside

“What does Christmas mean to you?” A friend asked me recently during a religious debate on Facebook. She and I think very differently and frequently have discussions on the topic of religion.

I respect all religions, even if I don’t believe them. If something in your chosen faith works for you, great.  It just doesn’t work for me. We are all entitled to our opinions.  In explaining the meaning of Christmas, I also have to explain my history with religion and how I came to think the way I do today.

At first blush, Christmas is about Jesus’s birthday.  I can get on board with that.  But do I believe the story of a virgin mother etc? No, I don’t.English: Oberhausmuseum ( Passau ). Nativity (...

I was born into a fundamentalist Christian (Methodist) family. My mom chose Christianity  for me. My ancestors include a Bishop, preachers, and my mom was a missionary in Japan for three years.  My family expected me to get on board and give my life to Christ.

Jesus H. Christ

My mom is/was a church organist. I spent every Sunday morning at church (three services) and attended hundreds of weddings where she played.  I went to vacation bible school in the summers and attended Sunday School and services every single week.  My mom baptized me Christian, but sometime between then and confirmation (around twelve years of age), my critical thinking mechanism kicked in.  I remember sitting through sermons and doodling on my program, wondering to myself, “How does he know that?”  about whatever it was the minister was saying.  I endured countless Sunday afternoon discussions about the sermons.  Every Christmas, I sat through bible readings and church services reluctantly to show respect to my elders.  But I never bought the stories. Never.  I didn’t go through with confirmation. I didn’t accept Jesus Christ as my savior. Why? Because I didn’t believe all the stories.  Nobody could answer my questions about how they know all that is true.

While most people are accepting of whatever religion they are born into, I wanted to make my own choices and find answers to the mysterious questions of life and death on my own.  After all, human beings created religion to address and answer the big question and in an attempt to explain natural phenomena all around us.

I never understood the connection between Christmas being Jesus’s birthday and Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer etc.  Nobody could explain that to me either.  Now I get it that these are characters involved with winter, and that Christmas was actually a replacement holiday for the pagan ritual of celebrating Winter Solstice.  It’s kind of like how Easter means Jesus’s resurrection to Christians, but it’s also based on a celebration of the spring, and a time of new life in the natural world.  From my understanding of history, Christianity adopted these holidays to attract Pagans (who celebrated the Earth long before Christianity came about.)

English: Santa Claus with a little girl Espera...

English: Santa Claus with a little girl Esperanto: Patro Kristnasko kaj malgranda knabino Suomi: Joulupukki ja pieni tyttö (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My family treated me like ‘the black sheep’ because I didn’t accept Jesus as my savior. My grandmother told me I wouldn’t go to heaven and participate in the family reunion in the sky, and I wouldn’t go to hell (because I wasn’t a bad person), but that I would float endlessly in the void after death.

Yes, she really said that.  Fast forward to today, and it’s no wonder I have death anxiety.

In college, I studied eastern religions (Buddhism, Taoism, Japanese Shin Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, and Chinese Philosophy).  While they don’t believe in an outside God, they believe we all have a divine spark within us and that heaven and hell are right here on Earth. Our thoughts and actions (karma) decide what kind of rebirth we will have, and we continue on the wheel of life until we reach spiritual enlightenment.  Eastern teaching made more sense to me, although I would not call myself a Buddhist or the like.  I like the ideas of going with the flow of the universe and the focus on living life in a kind and compassionate way toward all living things.

Buddha

Buddha (Photo credit: eschipul)

As a new teacher, I taught a unit on world religions. It was eye-opening to learn so much about how the other cultures in the world think, their traditions, and the similarities and differences.

English: World Religions by percentage accordi...

English: World Religions by percentage according to CIA World Factbook 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The scientific revolution occurred long after the many authors wrote the books of the bible .  We now have evidence of early humans, dinosaurs, and billions of years of geologic time.  We venture into space and continue to explore the farthest reaches of the universe.  We understand a lot more about life on this planet than we did back in the days of Greek Mythology or early Christianity.

Like it or not, it's true.

Like it or not, it’s true.

I studied science in college.  I’m fascinated by the Earth and Space.  Science has shaped my world view.  Over time, I’ve started to feel very humble by my place in the universe, and I can honestly say that I don’t know all the answers. I don’t think anybody else really knows the answers either. Have you seen the movie, Religulous yet?

Again, if it works for you great, but Christianity takes faith to believe.  When I press any of my Christian friends or family members for answers, the answer is ‘faith.’  I can’t have faith in stories that read like tall tales and there is scientific evidence against. I just can’t.  Maybe that is a fault of my intellect, but I’m  comfortable calling myself an Agnostic.  I think there might be a greater power, but I don’t know.  I don’t know where I was before I was born. I don’t know where I will go after I die. But I do know in the meantime, I will be a kind and loving person and have respect for the diversity of life on the planet.  To me, we are all human beings – brothers and sisters sharing this amazing Earth.  Religion inspires some, but it also divides people and cultures. Killing in the name of God is something I don’t understand.  I wish everybody could just get along, but I realize that is idealistic.

Coexist

Coexist (Photo credit: pbyrne)

As a child, we celebrated Christmas and Easter every year, and I still do so with my husband and kids. However, I give them a wider perspective on the holidays and on religion in general.  I teach them that Christianity is one of the major world religions, and even though it is the predominant religion in the U.S.A. Christians make up only one-third of the world population.  I teach them to ask, “how can one religion be right and all the other ones be wrong?”

To get back to answering the question, Christmas means the following things to me:

1. Time together with family. Let’s face it, that’s the best part of Christmas. 

2. A celebration of the winter. The celebration of light returning after darkness, snow, evergreen trees, wintry wildlife etc.

3.  The practice of giving to others to bring them joy. My son asked me the other day if Christmas is about giving or getting. Of course I said giving. He said no, it’s about getting. And isn’t that exactly what we teach them as kids?  As a kid, it is about getting lots of presents, and as adults we grow into the role of giving.  Again, that is where the Santa/Jesus stories are not very consistent.

4.  The opportunity to help others who are less fortunate than I am. We always adopt ‘angels’ to provide for.

5.  A chance to recharge, reflect, and reconnect. Our lives are so hectic with work, school, and extra-curricular activities. It’s so nice to have time to get back to being a family and get in touch with our true selves.

6. Abundance of food and joyous spirit. Happy children, aging parents, surprises, wishing, hoping, delicious meals and desserts.

In case you are wondering why Christ isn’t on the list, it’s because the dogma turns me off.  Here are a few specific examples:

1. Non-believers will go to hell after death (or in my case float around endlessly in the void).  Who are you to judge me and damn me to hell?

2. People who are dead are in a better place.  I think that is impossible to know.  And from what we can see from our side, it sure doesn’t seem better.

3. There is only one God.  Not according to the other religions.

4.  Jesus died to absolve us of our sins. I really don’t understand how that works.

5.  All the tall tales that people take literally – like the creation story, the talking snake in the garden of Eden, God created woman from a man’s rib so she could be man’s happy helpmate, 900 year old Noah filling the ark with two of every animal, the destruction of the tower of Babel so humans couldn’t reach too close to God, that different languages developed so we couldn’t conspire against God, the virgin mother, etc. The list just goes on and on.

6. The idea women are inferior to men, that men make all the decisions in the house. I think not.

7. The idea that humans should have dominion over all of nature. That idea is to blame for much of the destruction of the natural world.

8. That Satan exists.  Why can’t we just leave it as human nature having good and bad sides? Why do we have to make up a red demon character with horns and a tail?

9.  That you must have faith to believe all these things even though they make no sense at all. It totally reminds me of the spiritual message in the movie, Life of Pi, where the story is so unbelievable and he draws a comparison to all of religion being that way in the end.

10. The Rapture.  We should all live our lives in fear of judgement day?  What kind of loving God would be exclusionary of good people even if they haven’t chosen Jesus as their savior? What about innocent children who haven’t had a chance to choose for themselves yet?   And on that note, why does an all-knowing, all-loving, and all-powerful God let bad things happen?  Why does he allow  people to murder innocent people?

I do like much of what I understand Jesus’s teachings. For example, loving one another, and helping the sick, elderly, and the poor.  But I think these are concepts that are present in all religions.  In fact, love is the one thing that all religions have in common.  If Jesus came back to life today, he would be seen as a peace-loving, long-haired, sandal wearing hippie. I think he would like me just fine.

“I heard Jesus, he drank wine, and I bet we’d get along just fine.  He can calm the storm and heal the blind, and I bet he’d understand a heart like mine.” ~Miranda Lambert

lifeofpi

Thank you for reading this entry. I would appreciate hearing your thoughts in the comments. Peace out!

What Does Christmas Mean to You?

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving 2012. It’s the time of year we pause to be thankful for what we have. And it’s the beginning of the Christmas season.

I am thankful for my husband, his job, our kids, friends, and families, our house, the earth and sun, and all of life’s experiences. I am thankful for every day.

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Daybook 10/10/12

For Today:  Wednesday October 10, 2012
Outside my window…it’s a cloudy day here in Texas.  Started off foggy too.  The neighborhood is quiet.  The sky is grey.  It’s a warm 70 something degrees outside.
I am thinking…about the quote of the day that appeared on my blog today.  It reminds me of the Buddhist idea that we are what we think.  I’m using this phrase and concept a lot these days.
I am thankful…for thirteen years of wedded bliss with my husband, Joe.  Today is our anniversary, and I’ve been spending time thinking back to that day.  Things are so different now, and I am so thankful for the road we’ve travelled together.  When we got married, he was an undergraduate student, and I was teaching full time.  In the past thirteen years together, he’s gone to law school and made partner at his law firm recently.  We’ve had two babies together, a boy and a girl, talk about a dream come true!  We found his son, Brent and established a relationship with him.  Sierra changed her name to become a Nelson last year.  We’ve built our life together step by step, and I am so thankful for everything he has brought to my life.

In the kitchen…I made some beef, veggie, rice noodle stir fry and there are chicken wings and sliced beets with olive oil and sea salt baking right now.  I cut some fresh romaine lettuce and some carrots for snacking today.

I am wearing…grey tank top and grey GAP sweatpants.

I am creating…an electric guitar solo in the key of E.

I am going…to Austin on Saturday, can’t wait!  Joe has a conference there every year at this time, and since I’m not working this year, I decided to go.  We are staying at a nice hotel and having date night on Saturday to celebrate our anniversary.  I hope to see some of my Austin friends while I’m down there!

I am wondering…whether we will get to see Brent for Christmas.  He is stationed in NY.

I am reading…so embarrased to say I’m still reading the Hunger Games. Or maybe I should say that’s what I ‘should’ be reading. I suck at pleasure reading other than news and non-fiction.

I am hoping…Sierra can come home for Thanksgiving.  She’s working this year, so I don’t know if she will get the time off.

I am looking forward to…some time alone with Joe on our long weekend.  Our lives are so busy. We hardly get to spend much time together.

I am learning…filling in the gaps on logarithms and matrices.

Around the house…there are chores to be done, but I’m facing them with a grateful attitude. I woke up this morning with that feeling of, ‘oh I get to stay home alone all day and do all the work by myself’ and then since then have been taking each task one at a time and looking for the positive in it.  I had a doctor’s appointment then got my allergy shot and a massage then went grocery shopping.  Dishes?  That means we eat enough food.  Laundry?  That means we have enough clothing to wear.  Bills?  We are lucky enough to have a home and a family to support.  Pain?  At least I am up and moving around.  Kids’ stuff everywhere? Thankfully I have kids to pick up after.   I’m so thankful I have the time to devote to myself, my kids, and my house.

I am pondering…kindness. Today there was a truck behind me that pulled right up along side of me and the driver gave me a hard stare. I thought it might be because of my Obama-Biden bumper sticker (not so popular around here).  He had a scowl on his face, so I smiled at him.  He smiled back like he didn’t know what to think.  Life is too short not to smile 🙂

A favorite quote for today…

Quote of the DayA man is what he thinks about all day long.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

One of my favorite things…being a stay home mom.  Having time to be available for my kids is priceless! There is so much to keep track of and so many little things that need doing. It’s awesome to have time to do everything.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  tutoring today, tomorrow, and Friday. Going to Austin on Saturday.

A peek into my day…

 

30 Days of Truth: Day 14-A Hero Who Let You Down

If your dad is supposed to be your first hero, he is the one who let me down. He was cheating on my mom while she was pregnant, and they separated when I was only six months old. We moved to my grandparents’ house in MD for a few years then to VA where I grew up. My dad stayed in Ithaca, NY working at Cornell University. He was hard working and accomplished, but he didn’t visit us often (maybe once a year?) and didn’t make much of an effort to call or be part of our daily lives.

I remember crying about missing him and wondering why he didn’t call for my birthday and why he paid my brother more than me to be his golf caddy. My mom explained to me that Koreans favor the first born son, and she tried to reassure me he loved me but wasn’t good at showing it. He took my brother to Korea and didn’t invite me. I never met my family there and probably never will.

The last time I saw him was at my brother’s wedding in 1997, and he left for the airport in the morning without saying goodbye. Six weeks later, I got a call from my brother telling me our dad died from surgery complications for liver cancer. We didn’t know he was going into surgery, and he never came out of it.

Heartbroken, I went to his funeral with my then four year old daughter. The service was all in Korean so I’m not sure exactly what they said, but we paid our respects and said goodbye to him. In the reception line, people kept asking his wife who I was. “Daughter” she said, pointing to me as I awkwardly shook hands and accepted condolences from people who never knew I existed.  He left nothing for me in his will. It’s like he never wanted me in the first place.

I have a hole in my heart from all the ways he let me down. I mourn the father daughter relationship that I never got to have.   But, I’m glad I’m here, and I honor his spirit alive in me.  It meant a lot to me that he asked me to edit his manuscript during my visit to Ithaca for Christmas 1997.  He finished it just a few weeks before he died, so I edited it and self-published it for him. It meant the world to me to help bring his project to fruition and to share his story with the world.

http://www.amazon.com/Into-The-Vortex-War-Interpreters/dp/1434322610
https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.w.chapman.5#!/susanne23nelson?fref=ts

30 Days of Truth: Day 6-Something You Hope You Will Never Have to Do

I hope I never have to bury one of my kids. That may be a morbid thought, but it’s real. It would be hard enough to lose a spouse. I can’t imagine losing a child. I hope I never have to find out what it’s like.

Saying a special prayer of loving, positive thoughts for all those parents out there who have lost a child ❤