Friday, January 11, 2013

The Year of Learning

I've been meeting with a Therapist lately, to help me unravel the giant knot of thoughts this past year has created.

I wasn't sure how talking with a stranger would help me--but I needed a fresh view of the jumble inside of me to help me figure things out.

I made the appointment because the loss of my Mother twisted me up inside..and the looming loss of my little sister was overwhelming me.

I am glad I did.  I was better prepared when the final call did come and I flew to be at my sisters side before she left us. Better prepared...but still not fully prepared. I don't think anyone ever is.

One of the burning questions that seared itself into my brain, playing over and over again without answer was: How can I be grieving the loss of my Mother, when I don't want her back and in my life?

Here is the answer I have been given.

When I was 5, I made a pact with myself that I would never let my Mother's actions change me. That no matter what, I would remain true to myself. I would be kind, compassionate and strong. She would not break me and twist me into a version of her evil self.

I envisioned standing over her grave someday, dusting my hands and walking away knowing she had not broken me. Had not changed me into her.

When the time did come last year...when I sat beside her bed and held her hand for the last time, I realized I had accomplished this. I had remained true to me. I was kind, I was compassionate, I was strong. I was proud of how I was raising my son, proud of who I was as a friend and a life mate.

The Therapist told me this:  Your Mother was your teacher. She taught you what not to be. Everything you have done in your life has been checked against who she was. Your path was kept in line by testing it against what and who she was...and what and who you chose to be.  Now she is gone and you no longer have that check. You are on your own. Your decisions now are ones you make alone.  You've lost your teacher. That is the loss you feel.

A knot was unraveled inside me, light was let back in. I still have more knots to unravel, but now have one less inside of me.

Knowledge is good. Knowledge is light...and freedom.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Half-Man (MiniWarrior)

Last evening I took Half-Man over to his friends house so he could go trick or treating.

He invited his (half) brother to go with him, something he has never done before.  They went as Mario and Luigi.  It was sweet to watch how he fussed over his little brother, making sure his costume was perfect.  They are only a year apart but his little brother has a more severe form of autism then Half-Man does.


I walked with the group while they trick or treated, keeping an eye on them so they didn't get squished by a car as they dashed across neighborhood streets.  LuLu came along with us, dressed in her pink dragon costume :)


The group gathered a sufficient stash of candy and headed back to the house.  The boys went into the house while Half-Man's friends Dad (let's call him Ed) and I stood outside and chatted.  Ed told me how although he considered himself wealthy, he would give it all up if his son (who is also Autistic) would look him in the eye and totally "get" what he was saying to him without the constant cloud of Autism. He worried (as we all do) of what would become of his son should anything happen to him or his wife. Would he be cared for? Would he be able to make it alone in the world?

Now, I have to say. I adore this man's son. I see a pure heart and an intelligence that flashes through, and I do believe he will be OK in adulthood. He may need someone to help smooth out the rougher edges of life and its multitude of responsibilities but I do believe he will be successful.

It is hard when you are the parent to see past the Autism at times. To see how your child is growing and truly interacts with his or her world. I think because we are their safety nets and we see when they aren't on guard and at their most vulnerable. We see it because we are their safety nets. They can relax and let us shoulder the burden that they constantly have to fight and carry on their shoulders.

What Ed said next, shook me.

"Do you believe in God?" He asked.

"I'm Agnostic. I don't really know what there is out there." I replied.

"Yes, I get that. I was raised Catholic but I'm not sure what I believe anymore."

We stood quietly in the brisk Autumn evening, digesting the complication that is religion while the Halloween moon light flickered through the rain clouds.

"You know something, I think there is a God." Ed said. "I look at your son and have to believe there is a God.  I ask myself, whenever I'm around your son, how can someone be so nice, so genuinely sweet, and not have come from God?"

I have to admit I was a little taken aback at such a huge endorsement of another human being while feeling immersed in a warm swell of parental pride.

My Half-Man is kind. He is sweet. Most of all, he is genuine. And you know what? It is 100% him. I may have helped steer him along his childhood journey but that which people most embrace about him is his genuine character.

I thought about what Ed had said while I took Half-Man out alone while the rest of the Trick-or-Treat group had given up and gone home.

We walked the streets moving from house to house, my big guy in his Mario costume and our little pink dragon dog.  Everyone we passed, even people from passing cars yelled out, "Mario!" to him. Half-Man laughed and taking his Mario hat off with a swoosh he bowed to those who called to him.  People responded with delighted laughter.

At the houses after receiving his candy treat, he would do a little Mario dance and say, "Wahoo!" in a Mario voice. The adults faces would light up, a few reaching from the doorway to pat him on the shoulder. Half-Man would grin and walk away...while the adults remained at the door to watch him with a smile on their faces.

You would think he would be teased or frowned upon. This 5'11 Half-Man, dressed in costume, ringing doorbells, Trick-or-Treating alone...

But...

I watched a group of his peers call out his name. I watched him amble to them with a grin on his face. These "normal" kids greeted him sincere excitement to see him. Fist bumps from the guys and hugs from the girls. They were kids from his Middle School and some from his High School.

I watched him mesmerize person after person sprinkling happiness wherever he went. It is a sort of magic watching him. There is just...something...about him.

Is there a God? Still not sure...but I do think my Half-Man and I were supposed to be together, and I feel honored to have the title of his "Mom".








Monday, September 03, 2012

I Miss My Little Boy

Yesterday I zipped over to our grocery store to pick up some ingredients for our Frittata dinner. While there I did a slow walk through the school supply aisle to see if there was something obvious that I needed to get for MW's first day of school.

I walked through crayons and markers and glue sticks, action figure lunch boxes and brightly colored pencil holders...and realized I no longer had a little boy to shop for.

Sigh

I miss my little boy. My constant companion. The little guy who looked up at me with his heart in his big brown eyes and called me his princess.

He still tells me he loves me all the time...but now he has a mans voice and when he looks at me he has to look down to see my eyes. My big, muscled, towering half-man who looks past me to watch a cute girl walk by with stars in his eyes.

I have loved every age of my MW. I love watching him become a wonderful man...but my Momma heart mourns for the little boy who once was completely mine.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Someone's Watchin' Over Us

The time is almost here. My not-so-miniwarrior starts High School (Mom heart scream....eeeek!!!) next week.
His Freshman orientation is tomorrow...and I had yet to hear back from the Special Education department who was supposed to be in charge of setting him up at his new school.
Last night I felt a wave of stress slog over me. I felt the pressure of the upcoming school year pressing on me, knowing we were getting down to the wire and nothing was cemented yet.
I spent a fretful night sleeping, my brain wouldn't stop worrying about all the details.

I woke up this morning determined to go to his new high school and do battle to get his schedule down and get some answers. I called MW at his Dad's house and warned him that we were heading straight to his HS (high school) after I picked him up. Always a good thing to prepare him for any changes in his set routine.

Almost as soon as I hung up the phone with MW, my phone rang. It was the special ed secretary returning my call from a message I had left on her phone weeks ago. She was just returning to work and made a point to call me back as soon as she had received my message.

She was very sweet and helpful and did a lot to ease me from my late night stress fest. I gathered my paperwork, picked MW up from his Dad's and headed to the school.

Oh my goodness! The High school is HUGE. It's almost as large as a college campus! My high school experience was very small as I went to a private school. This was intimidating!

We made our way to the school office and they pointed our way to the registrar office. Once there the registrar was very nice and very helpful. MW's schedule had not been made out yet by some strange fluke...and she took the time to fix that immediately. MW was able to get the elective classes he had been eyeballing...Beginning weight lifting, art and a digital video class. But the big thing....the one thing that blew my mind? MW is going to be in general education classes for EVERY CLASS!!!

No more being stuck in a room with lower functioning Autistic kids. No more babysitting classes....MW is going to be able to have the FULL high school experience that we have dreamed for him.

His IEP is in place so he will have less of a work load as regular students...and he is going to be given a chance to go to an inclusive classroom to chill out once a day. A place to de-stress or to catch up on things that take him longer to do then the regular classroom expectations.

Every where we turned today there was someone who showed up at our side to help us. After we got his schedule and the class numbers listed...we stood out in the hallway to sort out the map we'd been given to see where MW's classes would be. We were, to say the least, a little bit lost in the maze of this large school.

A lady showed up asked if we needed help...it turned out it was the same lady who had called me at home earlier that morning! She walked us to the special ed office where there she turned us over to the head of the special ed department...who was a dynamo of action.

She looked at MW's schedule, determined that he was going to need a little more support then it offered, took it on herself personally to work a classroom break into his schedule without him having to lose the electives that he so dearly wanted to do...and told me to call her tomorrow and she'd have the revamped schedule for us. Not only that...but that she would then work out a time where she would personally take MW and I on a private tour of the campus so we could see where his classes would be without the chaos of the freshman orientation meeting set for tomorrow.

I took MW out to coffee afterwards and drew on a piece of paper an explanation of what this all meant. Then spent time talking to him about how he felt...and what changes were going to be happening..etc. He is a bit overwhelmed by it all but is excited :)

I...well I'm still in shock. Everything I've wanted for my MW is happening. It ran so smoothly...I couldn't help but think that someone out there was pulling for us and helping us by putting the right people in our path at the right time. It's mind boggling how well everything turned out.

We are on our way, Peeps! High school...

omg.

High school!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Not yet morning...

I awoke at 4am to the call of my middle aged bladder.

I should have turned around and gone back to sleep once the call was answered.

Yet, I am here. Reading old blog posts alternating between wiping tears and laughing as I read what was captured moments of my past.

I have been in some sort of holding pattern since the death of EWO. Time seems suspended. I am living in it and enjoying many things...but feel...like I'm waiting for something.

Perhaps it is a good sign that I feel myself slowly wake from this numbing living slumber.

Baby steps...back into life.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Lost in Facebook land

I have been spending most of my time in Facebook land and immersed in my photography...sadly neglecting my old Haphazard Blog. Is anyone here anymore or have we all migrated to Facebook?
Retirement is strange. I keep "waiting". My mind has not caught up to the fact that I am not going anywhere...or required to be anywhere other then temporary appointments I make along the way.
Other than my photography, I haven't really accomplished anything new.
I have been enjoying my time with my Not-so-Mini-Warrior, tremendously. He is such a great young man. Every day I seem to fall deeper and deeper in love with my son. How can this be when I already love him to the Universe and beyond?
Lord V and I are so comfortable together and our home life is so peaceful and wonderful, there are times I close my eyes and just soak it in. To have been raised in chaos...and then find peace when middle aged...is something I do not nor ever hope to take for granted.

I still have bad days...dealing with emotions from the loss of my Mother (EWO). It comes unexpectedly, blind siding me...and I am filled with tremendous grief and sadness. Time does soften the edges...but sometimes having the edges softened leaves you wide open for the unexpected raw sadness.

I have thought about going to see someone to talk it through...but I find I do not trust anyone to fix this anguish inside me...I fear it would only make me feel more despair if I open the vat all the way to let someone touch my secrets. I find I am not strong enough to risk the darkness.

But that is life, isn't it? The dark, the light, the grey, the bright yellows of living. Right now I am sitting writing this blog on my new Apple Air laptop, sitting in the darkness outside, typing by the light of the fire in our fire pit...listening to the waves of the Columbia River lap against the shore.

LuLu lays between my legs, her warmth adding a cozy feel of home. Lord V sits nestled in a blanket sitting on a lawn chair, reading a book on his iPad. Not-so-mini-Warrior is at his Dad's house, so the evening here is quiet. I find I miss his teenage ramblings...but right now? Right now this peace is nice.

Deliciously, lusciously...wonderful.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Studio!

We have an unused attic room that (after discussing it with LV) I have decided to make into a little photo studio!

 I went out to a thrift store today and bought some fabric for backdrops and some fun props...I placed the first pieces of it into the room this evening. I hold no wish to do studio photography work. I don't want to do wedding photography...or any form of business with my photos...I just...wanna create. Ya know?

This hobby of mine, brings me peace. It fills a void inside me. When I am capturing things through the eye of Chanda or working to fine tune a cluster of photos...I feel calm. Happy. Content. There are so many people who are much MUCH better photographers than me.

 Sometimes I get disheartened when I feel I've captured a particular photograph and then see someone Else's work and it makes mine look like child's work.

 *sigh*

 But I press on. Creating. Learning. Creating. Learning. It's some kind of weird compulsion of mine to capture that one photo that will step out from the photo paper and tell its story. Like those in Life Magazine.

Have you ever noticed that as far as quality work goes, the photo's that take our breath away are not the perfectly sculpted ones...but the ones that demand we pause and listen to its story?

That, my Peeps, is what I want to do. What I strive for. I'm not there.  

yet

But I will be.