family

Slow down

Yesterday I started to write a piece talking about what we take for granted as children. How I remember stomping my feet and begging to learn things on my own and ignoring the amazing advice my parents tried to impart on me. It wasn’t until my early to mid 20’s that I realized that I had chosen the harder path and if I would have been more open to advice at a younger age I may have had a little easier time.

Having spent the last 4 years dealing with a lot of unexpected deaths in my family, major drama and over course my own mental health issues it wasn’t a surprise to me that I wanted to reach out and shout from the roof tops to those generations behind me. SLOW DOWN, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE IN FOR.

I have regrets, things I could have easily fixed if I had slowed down and remembered to call my Grandparents, gone to visit my Uncle in his decline, called my Dad or Mom or Sisters to see if I could offer a shoulder, a hand or a laugh. I can’t get those times back, and I have a small group of family members who seem to think we are replaceable. You can’t replace us. We are your roots, we have held you up and helped you up. This message isn’t just for the young I suppose, its for anyone who feels alone. You didn’t start out alone, you have had someone along the way support you. Maybe no financially, or physically, but maybe emotionally?

Anyways, today as I retype this post (as I impatiently deleted it yesterday) I just want to remind you all that you aren’t alone, there is a community out there that would help you. You just have to be brave enough to ask for it, or maybe you are in that community and someone needs your help, all you have to do is offer it. You will be amazed at where you end up.

The last month or so….

I haven’t been able to write about this, but for some reason today seems like a good day. A little over a month ago my Grandmother passed after four years living with dementia. Truly her battle was between her will and her the strength of her body. I hadn’t seen her in 3 years, mainly because I couldn’t handle her not recognizing me. My beautiful Aunt went regularly, and made sure that Grandma was well taken care of in the home she was in. She fought for her fair treatment and brought her treats and reminders of things she loved in her life. Thankfully the passing was painless, physically, but mentally for our family it was a toss up between relief and sorrow.

I would have sworn up until I touched her lapel in her casket that she wouldn’t die, she simply couldn’t because she was the strongest most stubborn women I have ever known. We butt heads constantly but mainly because I too am stubborn and strong headed. As we walked into the viewing room, I turned into my husband chest and wailed that it wasn’t her, couldn’t be her, she was too strong for this. And I was scared, that she wouldn’t look like her.But she did, and she was beautiful and serene.

In an effort to give myself peace I spoke at the funeral, I sang too. Not looking at my Dad because I couldn’t get through the song and speech if I focused on his tears. It was gut wrenching, and beautiful and hard to do. But I am glad I did it. I am glad that I put pen to paper and expressed myself. As I get to do here whenever I see fit.

The weekend after the funeral, my sister, her husband and my niece, and my hubby all went up north to Grandma and Puppa’s cottage, and I swear I was enveloped in memories. I spent much of our time up there thinking about what they had given us, the legacy that they had handed down that we would in turn pass to the next generation. There is no price, weight or measure that could explain it. They gave us this gift of peace, love, fun, wind, trees, and walks down memory lanes that I can never thank them for.

But I can write it here, ink it, and know that I have put it out into the universe.

The eternal question

I am happy to report that both my therapist and his office are still in one piece.  I spent my entire session yesterday dealing with some deep issues I didn’t even know I had. It was pretty liberating and sad in the same breath to realize that everything I am dealing with is not only normal but expected when you’ve pushed emotions and issues down for so long. I was given permission yesterday to do what is necessary to survive. My therapist said to me, just hunker down, get through, don’t try to tackle too much right now, just ride what you have just learned and survive.

For the longest time I have fancied myself an Agnostic, believing there is a God but not subscribing to any one denomination or train of thought as it pertains to religion. Your relationship with God is very personal and should be, but I have been struggling lately with that relationship. It is hard for me to blame God or hold him accountable when I don’t always acknowledge his existence. My Christian friends would tell me that it doesn’t matter if I acknowledge him, he acknowledges me. Which actually kind of makes me mad, because if that is the case I would say I am being ignored. They would say I need patience, but I have prayed for that. I think I need to find that from within.

I think something that I have wanted for a long time is a true relationship with God. Something I see my Catholic and Christian friends have. There is peace in their souls and the faith they have leads them through dark times. I don’t have such faith so I rely on myself, my husband, my family and friends to hold me up and hold my hand. If I wanted to be fanciful you could say that my reliance on my support system is me relying on God since he is responsible for their place in my life.

I guess we could have that debate all day, it’s the never-ending question and answer. The ever-present train of thought. If God exists and is everywhere then he is in every one of us. But if you don’t believe then what is that voice in your head, that feeling in your stomach when something is wrong or right, that leap in your heart when you feel joy.  I can’t put it up to God, but I can’t say it’s not him either.

The reason I am even following this thought path right now boils down to me. I have been told in the adult life to “turn it over to god”. I have tried, I have asked for help, but I don’t know if my prayers were in desperation or in true faith that he is listening. Not that I will stop talking, I never will. Hell I talk  in my head as I write these posts. I guess my point is, I would love to be able to blame God for my lot in life, but I need to take some responsibility. Putting everything in his hands would be a waste of my time, since he only shows you the paths, he doesn’t make you walk them. The greatest gift we have is our ability to make our own choices. Mine has lead me to the place I am, and as much as I struggle in the moments, I know that I am working toward something.

Hopefully when I reach the next cross-road I can see clearly enough to take the correct fork, if not we may be having this conversation again.

Mind the gap

So another weekend has ended and we are all back to the grind. I worked every day this weekend, which was fine, and don’t feel bad it wasn’t full shifts. Just a random stop in hour or two twice on Saturday and once on Sunday. It added a bit to my paycheck so that was nice.  We also went out with my niece for her birthday. We have a deal with all the kids, they can have cash or a night/afternoon out with us. Usually included dinner and a movie and snacks of their choice at our house, plus breakfast the following morning. We went and saw an entertaining movie, had a good dinner and watched “The Exorcist”. The girls laughed, what is wrong with this generation. They didn’t find it disturbing or scary, even though I am still creeped out every time I watch it. I should have made them watch a musical, maybe then they would have been frightened. Oh well, can’t account for taste in movies, music, or anything that these kids like that I don’t understand.

I always thought I would be the coolest Aunt because I was so close to them in age, but I think there comes a point in time where it doesn’t matter how hip you are, or how much you still listen to pop music or happen to know these fake reality stars on site, you are still old, as in over 30 and you don’t really get it.  Case in point, when I was a kid if an adult had taken me to an R rated movie, that would have been way cool. These kids are not shocked by anything. Also given the chance to pick any restaurant for dinner I would have had a list, these kids are so non-committal, they really don’t care that much about food or dessert or any of it. We got the grocery store to pick snacks and they didn’t want anything except a fancy dessert from the bakery. No chips, or candy or anything. Either they are growing up and super laid back or there is a gap in our generation that cannot be undone.  I don’t really care either way, I was just surprised and told both girls of my surprise. 

Looking forward to another busy week, my calendar is a little disturbing to look at. I am hoping to spend some time in my bedroom this weekend finally painting the walls. I don’t have solid plans and hope to keep it that way. But you know, it just never seems to work out as we plan.

This is a public service announcement, to myself

I have spent a lot of time on here in the last few months talking about the struggles of my life, my wonderfully supportive husband, family and friends. I think I talked about my dogs once or twice. I know I have talked about some of my crazy “talents” and desires. And also about how therapeutic blogging is for me.

It’s been a really bad week for me, and today all I wanted to do was get on here and blast everyone that made me feel terrible. All the folks that I have cried about, and been sick over and who I now want to strangle because it just might make me feel better for a moment. But after seriously considering the damage it could do to my relationships I realized that I was the one in control of this. I am allowing these people, entities, tasks to do damage to me and that is the opposite of what I am reaching for. I admit that this is not a new revelation, but something that has been spoken in my ear for years by my Mom, Sister and Husband. Today I am speaking it to you dear readers and to my self. My sad little self that is sitting in the corner of my brain crying softly today because she has no control. Stand up, wipe the mud off your butt and know Mrs. Mere that you are better than this. You have done nothing to deserve the heartache you are heaping upon your shaggy little head. You are trying the best with what you have been given and working toward a noble goal. Do not be derailed by petty misplaced thoughts and deeds. Be strong and steadfast on your path and know that behind you stands the people who support you and in front is that world of possibility you strive for.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

To any of you out there who eat blame for breakfast, snack on doubt and don’t know that you are in control of your life and your emotions, NO ONE can make you feel badly about yourself, you give them that power. Take it back.

My Parents = Awesome

I have been truly lucky to have wonderful parents. My parents divorced when I was 7. Both have since remarried and I love my Step-parents as well. I have always been surrounded by support, from my parents to my extensive grandparents, aunts & uncles and family friends. My parents shared joint custody so I saw my both of my parents pretty much daily, the exception being the weekends. I don’t think I ever felt that I didn’t have a Mom and a Dad.

I was recently reminding by watching a tough family situation how truly wonderful my Mom, Dad, Stepdad and Stepmom really are. It was with much effort and sacrifice that I became the person I am today. While I do have some flaws, I am working on them, not only did I survive adolescence in tact, but I have a good relationship with all of my parents. I rely on them still, to help me stay the course, but the best thing is at this age I get to have fun with them.  I get to have long conversations, debate with them, challenge them and they get to do the same with me. I am at peace when I am with them.

I was protected and taught, loved and disciplined; I was given choices, options and support. I can’t say that word enough. I was a challenge growing up, my little sister was the studious one, and I just wanted to be social. I didn’t walk the path they wanted for me, but they supported me when I made that choice too.

I am really very blessed, lucky and overwhelmed by my wonderfully, amazing and awesome parental units. Thanks for always being there for me, and thank you for continuing to be my beacons of light when I am lost in the dark.

Unexpected but very welcomed

I have a teenager living with me right now. A senior in high school reminding me what it was like to sit in the car with your parent and be grilled about your day at school, what your friends were doing this weekend and whether or not you were going to the upcoming dance. She is so fun to be with, and it’s novel for me since there are only 14 years between us. Wow, that is the first time I did the math, 14 years is a lot more than I feel. I can’t help myself from thinking forward to prom, and graduation and an open house to celebrate this milestone. But alas, she is not my daughter so my “rights” to those events is not exclusive, nor is my relationship with her. She is with me temporarily, how temporary is yet to be determined but I am enjoying the sense of motherhood, even if it’s way removed and 17 years advanced since she is not a baby or toddler or even an adolescent. It’s nice because I am not her mother she feels pretty comfortable talking to me openly about some of the challenges she has faced in the last year, and some of the things she is afraid of for her future. There is little fear of repercussions for her honesty with me.

I hope to keep her safe and happy until next May, but we will have to see if it’s going to happen. For right now I am enjoying having a teenage girl in my house, hogging the bathroom, sleeping on the couch and bumming around. It’s nice, and not something I thought I would have for a long time if ever.