It Can’t Happen Here

I can’t BELIEVE I’ve never used this title in a post before?

I only know this because I was searching for a previous post with a similar theme that I wanted to copy rewrite for this post and I came up with nothing! So joyous joy – I can use it for REAL now. It’s the name of my favorite Sweet Valley Twins book. Not Sweet Valley High, mind you. Sweet Valley TWINS, when they’re 12-years-old and in 6th grade. It was about the Holocaust, and I swear the one before that was about what lip gloss Jessica should be wearing on her date with Aaron Dallas.

(Personally, I like this lip gloss)

Mind you again, Aaron Dallas’ grandfather was the one to come teach the kids about the Holocaust. Chew on that.

My kids don’t know about the Holocaust or Parkland shooters or climate change and polar bears clinging to glaciers. They only know what we knew, in an uncertain world that CERTAINLY terrified our parents and our parents’ parents, and so on. They know that they’re loved and that the world is full of mostly good and sometimes bad. If Des asks Scarlet what the scariest animal is – no doubt expecting her to talk about snakes and snails and puppy dog tails (hanging out of the mouths of rabid bears) – she replies simply, “It’s humans. Humans are the worst. The scariest. The most damaging.” So see – there are things she knows. Life lessons she’s completed. Yet she still thinks that fairies fly in and out of fairy doors and that people are mostly mostly mostly all good and strong and undamaged and unsurpassed. So that’s another life lesson she’s acing.

The kids are alright. And you know what? We’re alright too.

life's lessons

I’ve had some trouble lately with my anxiety. I don’t talk about it a lot, mainly because it doesn’t knock me off my feet a lot. It can’t happen here. It happened so badly three years ago, and I survived that, with a ton of life lessons learned. What I learned is that life goes on after moderate to severe anxiety. And that I go on too. So nothing has ever felt that bad, and if it ever gets that bad again, I don’t know that it really can, because all of the tools I picked up then are here with me now. I won’t drop them or swallow them or burn them or forget them. They’re imprinted on my brain. So my anxiety lately has been not that bad, but not that good. It’s nightmares here and there, and stomachaches here and there, and that trouble breathing feeling here and there. Ultimately, though, I still think that fairies fly in and out of fairy doors and that people are mostly mostly mostly all good and strong and undamaged and unsurpassed. The kids are alright. And I’m alright too.

life's lessons

I had a disheartening work experience that knocked me off my feet. It’s because it happened here, and I’ve come to a place in my life in which it can’t happen here. Not when I own two businesses, collect good paychecks, have relative job satisfaction, and a husband who picks up my slack with all of his domestic duties and steady paychecks and healthcare benefits. So the fact that I went back in time to have an unpleasant experience was the biggest gut punch. It was traumatic. It was unnecessary. And it only hurt SO MUCH because that part of my life is/was SO FAR in the past. In a world in which I pick and choose my clients and projects, who knew I’d pick a rough one. Probably everyone but me. And the problem IS me.

Mostly, I let it hurt and my heart wasn’t in the project. I should have known, I should have known, I should have known.

life's lessons

Life lesson unlocked. There are many of them these days. There’s dizzying joy, relaxation, dreams for the future, deep breathing techniques, peanut butter sundaes, and the knowledge – buried deep deep inside – that I’m not the ugly loser I think I am. I am loved and I am learning, and I am loved. I get rejected daily and it never gets easier. I burned a few bridges along the way, and that never does either. But there are lessons about putting your heart into everything, and keeping it there. Taking it out of things that aren’t meant to be. Communication in real time, or even first. Above all, kindness, eye contact, communication, patience, and an open heart. We can’t have all those things at once, but gosh, we can try.

life's lessons

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “When I think about life’s lessons…” And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin on the topic: HERE.

What would you say?

Somebody Leave the Light On

This is for you, Mom.

This song takes me back and forth – the way I cried out for you in a song I made up as I rocked my crib across the floor. (I still remember the rhythm and melody but thought Tori Amos was WAY better suited today) The way I still wake up out of dreams – heart pounding, stomach in my throat, words at the tip of my tongue. I’ll always rock or crawl across the floor to you (there’s a Clapton reference too!) and I’ll always seek those words. Maybe that’s the greatest gift you ever gave me.

The way we seek and find words, shaping them out of our stomachs into our throats – hearts pounding – forming the images of horror and unspeakable joy, pain and relief, ecstatic humor and rainbow sprinkles and road trips. And always, always, always finding and seeking out the best. You have been giving me words for so long. They’re so ancient – and so new – ripe and ready to pick at any moment. Yet so long and buried, they have grown mold and decay. Still, they need to rise.

We give them life. Old and new life. We have always lifted them up, and they lift us up in return.

And really, who knows what can happen? It’s all just so.. possible and ALIVE, isn’t it?

This is my Mother's Day tribute to you, thanking you for one of the greatest gifts you've given me other than life. And that's words. Magical. Simple. Words

When I was pregnant with Scarlet, my mom gave me the journal she had used to record my babyhood. It started with the day I was born, and continued until 1984 – when I was four. For two years, I kept it safely in a desk drawer, even though my mom kept hinting at me to read it. I dug it out by chance when Scarlet was 18-months-old because I wanted to see how I had been walking and talking at that same age. It was all there for me – in a book! Like how Scarlet and Des will one day see their entire babyhoods spread out on the pages of this blog. My mom waited two years for me to find what was in those pages.

This is my Mother's Day tribute to you, thanking you for one of the greatest gifts you've given me other than life. And that's words. Magical. Simple. Words

Here are the last two posts of my baby book. The first post was written almost three months after he died. The second post was written only about a few weeks after we found out we were expecting Scarlet. She was the first grandchild.

Sept. 26, ’84

“Dearest Tammy,

Three weeks before your fourth birthday, your daddy died. You had been at a birthday party at Shonghum Lake and Lindsay had been to our lake. I picked you both up and we went home. You saw Daddy’s car in the driveway and said, “Look, Mommy. Daddy’s home – the best daddy in the world.” Inside we found Daddy in bed. I bathed you two and you both wanted to kiss Daddy. You went into the bedroom and you both told him you loved him and he was the best daddy in the world.

He felt so uncomfortable and so I told you to kiss his arm so he wouldn’t have to turn over. After I fed you both, I was in the kitchen. I never heard your daddy get up. We all heard him crash in the hall. Lindsay ran to Eileen’s for help.

Carol De Meo and Richard Campbell began giving Daddy CPR. You and Lindsay were taken to Tony and Aggie’s house. Daddy was taken to the hospital. You and Lindsay saw him taken away. You then went to the Campbells’ house and they put your pajamas on you. Then you were carried home to me. I took you in my bedroom and put you on my bed. You both were asking about Daddy. I told you that Daddy had died. You said we needed a new Daddy. I told you his body had died but that the part of him that loved us, dreamed, and thought thoughts would always be with us and I felt he would watch over us.

You and Lindsay slept with me that night. You didn’t talk much over the next few days but on the day of Daddy’s funeral you told Judy Kaplan you’d never see him again. A few days later, you wouldn’t get out of bed. I said to you that maybe you wanted to talk. You said, “I’ll never see Daddy again, will I?”

We took you to a family counselor about 6 weeks later. When he would talk about Daddy, you would giggle and hide behind a chair. This last visit you told him he was scary but maybe you wouldn’t run behind the chair.

You talk about Daddy a lot – how you and he made funny faces together, how he found you the horsie swimming tube you wanted after your nap one day, how he took you to the mall and unlocked the car…

One morning you looked real sad. I tried to get you to talk. Finally you said, “I wish Daddy would come back.” The next day you added “right now.” Sometimes you tell me you want a new daddy but I remind you that our pain and sadness would remain and we would still miss Daddy. This is a time of sadness for us.

One day you said, “It isn’t nice that Daddy died.”

I am trying so hard to help us all through this, Tammy. Your daddy loved you like crazy and I hope you can keep a treasury of memories of him.”

November 24, 2008

“…and indeed you have kept your treasury of memories, Tamara. Once, in our Florida house, you told me that while you dreamed of playing in our front yard, Daddy sat on the porch and watched you, watched you dream.

I am hoping you will enjoy this journal from the past and perhaps continue writing, from your perspective, of all the adventures you are having; you will have.

I thought that I had written more in this book. I sort of remember writing in Lindsay’s journal on later birthdays. I know for years, you didn’t like your birthday. Well, I always had a difficult time too. Perhaps, that’s why I didn’t write more. But, do you know what? I love your birthday now and I think you, too, are having lovely celebrations. Why? Because for one thing, we have truly moved on. It’s not that we forget our other life, it’s that we have integrated it, woven it into the wool of who we are now, who we have become.

I began this journal so I would tell you what you were like as my baby girl. I hope you enjoy the story of “Little Nunu.” I remember wondering if I was doing “it right” as if every 6-month-old in the entire country napped from 2pm to 4pm every day, as if there was a universal “right” for everyone combined. What I learned as a mommy is that each child has her own “rights.” Every child needs her own special kind of parenting, a blend of his/her needs, what is workable, and lots of love mixed in.

I am so proud of who you have grown into. I am intoxicated by your story and know that destiny and magic have brought you and Cassidy together.

I know you will be sensitive, creative and compassionate parents.

How lucky for me to have this wonderful connection to and with you. How lucky I am to be a part of your adventure. How lucky I am to have given birth to you.

I love you forever,
Mom”

mom

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If you’re able to pick your jaw off from the ground, I’ll leave you here, only because as much as she has given me the gift of words, she also has given me the gift of wordlessness. And that’s where I am today. Be good to yourselves, everyone.

mother

I’m linking up with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is “Oh, Mother..” You can link up HERE.

Oh, mother..