Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The climb matters not the mountain

I am proud of me today. Often as you read about my life you see this array of emotions but never once have I reflected on my greater good, so today I shall. I have always been the person I am today but in my younger days I was very selective about who I opened myself up to. Now I have this since of nothing ventured nothing gained. No, I am not ever going to sky dive, bungee jump or swim with sharks, but more of a, this is who I am and you will either care deeply for me or its your loss. I allow many to see and know the real me and I don't worry so much about standing guard for that hurtful person who will prey on my feelings and vulnerabilities.

After my mother died I thought of this saying that I have posted on my facebook, myspace and on my blog profile. It reads "Life is not measured by the shell others see but by the mold we leave when the shell is gone." Now I am pretty sure I made that up but it describes what I feel is really important in the end. Life isn't measured or successful based on how many cars I have, if my house is the biggest on the block, or how many children I adopt from other countries, its measured by the things I leave behind when my body is gone from sight.

Do my kids remember things I said, annoying as they may have been? Things I loved liked butterflies, Michael Jackson, yellow, my dream vacation of someday seeing Egypt or the morals and beliefs I have tried to teach them? Do they find they try to instill the same morals, and beliefs on their own kids? Does my wonderful husband remember my smell, my laugh and miss how much I truly loved him for just being him? Will my friends and family sit around looking at my scrapbooks and not only see the pictures but the time, energy and sweat I used while creating each page. The love I felt with each individual picture? Will they tell stories of greater times and remember me with a smile?

Of course I remember my mom's less than finer moments but they don't outweigh the wonder she brought into my life. Love is undeniable, its pure in every sense and man do I love. I love my husband, I adore my kids, my family and the friends who stand by me. I often think about the woes of me and the trials and tribulations of my life, but on the drive in to work today I was reflecting on my life and realized that all these trials and tribulations or shall I say mountains I've climbed and will continue to climb, are what have made me who I am. My life experiences, these mountains weren't what created me it was the climb.

The mountains I have climbed in my life have created the make-up in which ultimately is the mold I will leave behind. I am a sister, auntie, mom, wife, volunteer, employee, daughter, and a friend and I am thankful that I believe I am fairly successful at these identities. I can smile today because I believe the mold I will leave behind is far greater than the shell I see now. I will not be easily forgotten.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I can't win....

You know coming from a large family is wonderful but at times it's also terrible. I have 7 siblings, 15 nephews and nieces, and even they have kids now. I have aunt's and uncle's and one Gramma remaining. The list for a group email is, well a short novel alone.

The thing for me I find most challenging is living 1/2 my life and really my entire adult life away from them. I have a brother now 6 hours from me and that is the closest sibling I have ever had. They remember me as a kid, and I remember them as anything but. Over the years we have become closer, it's been like old hat for some and for others it's a working progress. Regardless the ultimate goal is for all of them to know how much I love them, their kids, step kids and their husbands and wives.

Until my mother's tragic death in January '09 I had never spent much time with my nephews and nieces since they too have grown up. I find it almost impossible sometimes to establish rapport with some of them. Finding middle ground, not picking sides, staying neutral, not judging, and just getting to know them for the adults they are and will become. When I was home (Oregon) I was really the mediator between them and my siblings. It made since I didn't have kids there so I could listen to their thoughts, problems, whatever and bring it to the table openly. I enjoyed getting to know them and earning their trust and I have to admit being the cool aunt doesn't suck either.

With all that said, I find that although I try to understand their dilemmas and problems, sometimes I don't understand why do they understand mine. I try to remember that they are young and naive and haven't lived (so to speak). For me I find that I don't understand big things when I haven't experienced them. Life is like that, hard to understand things you haven't experienced. The key I think is, trying to understand, never judge and remember that we all do the best we can with what we know, what we feel and use our best judgement to make good solid decisions.

However the age gap is always going to be an issue. I think differently than a 20 year old, who doesn't. It's normal and expected. Problem? Problem is I don't understand how someone can offer up advice on subjects in which they have no experience, knowledge, or know how. When I react they get mad and then all heck breaks loose. There are days I wonder is it better to have lots of family and friends and with that issues, problems, drama or stick to yourself and have none?

Also if you piss off one of them it's like a chain reaction. The ones they are exceptionally close to, hear the other side and before you know it 1/2 the family is pissed. If I was the person some of them still believe I am then I wouldn't care what any of them thought or said, but since I am not that person I do care.
I wish they knew this about me. Once I say what is on my mind, I'm done with it. There are no decade long grudges, hatred, nothing. I'm done with it, its water under the bridge. So how long will you continue to pout? If you're going to offer up advise on touchy issues, try to remember that touchy subjects mean sensitive issues so wearing kid gloves is almost always a good approach.
Ultimately you know how I feel about you (you know who you are) I love you, you're family and I hope you realize that part of being friends/family is accepting differences and acknowledge disagreements, and move on. Let it go and continue to grow as friends. I had a weak moment and should have handled it better. Forgive me.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Are you kidding?

Adult acne affects 25% of adult men and 50% of adult woman. Come on man are you kidding me? Never more than a pimple here or there until about 2 years ago and now all of a sudden my face turned into the solar system.

It's so not fair, I have never been high in the esteem department so you've got to know having pimples at my age is definitely not helping. What the heck, this is such crap. I have used Clinque all my life, but seems that even that isn't getting the grime out.

There is also a small thing called pickitis. No lie, it's a real disorder (just add it to the long list of all my other disorders). I start by noticing a small bump or red dot, then I get it and no matter what costs. That small bump has to be gone, gone, gone I say. Pick, poke, pry, and if all else fails it's time for the tweezers. Yep us real pickers know that a set of tweezers can be very useful. If you aim them at the perfect angel and right spot you can get that little Burger to buckle. If that fails or isn't an option for those hard to reach ones you have to find a close loved one to work on them.

You can imagine by the end of this that small dot or bump has now become a huge cyclopes that not even bangs can hide (yes I did consider cutting bangs in to try to hide them). My hair will literally buckle around that darn thing. Today I literally tried to do a sort of comb over, swoosh type thing across the middle of my forehead to hide the hugely inflamed sore I had actually removed a chunk of skin from this one. So now I have about 8 Cyclops's on my face and neck. Cover up you say? Well when you pick them like I do and then try to cover with cover up it turns into this dried out mole looking burn spot that seems to draw even more attention than the red, raw, skinless, sap oozing cut.
Like my sister said, now is not a good time for any type of photo ops, so for all you modeling agencies that have been beating on my door please come back in a week.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

What's the right thing to do??????

Has anyone out there ever dealt with a person who was attempting to recover from an addiction? I have once but not like the situation I find myself in now. My ex husband is an alcoholic. If you have read my blog I have already explained all this before.

I find myself confused (I know shocker right). I want to be strong and I want to be there for him but at the same time I don't. I have to be honest I really don't. I gave him every moment he wanted prior to rehab and it literally sucked the life out of me. I did everything I could from finding the facility, to talking to him on the phone for countless hours.

Now as I said before just not being specific about it, he fell off the wagon the first day he was home alone from rehab and called me at 4 am. I was very angry, hurt, and disappointed. I felt betrayed almost. Like I had given him everything I had to give and he couldn't give back by remaining sober or at least fighting it with every ounce of his being.

My first thought was my two boys. Those innocent children that are victims of this. The pain and agony they will feel all over again. How is that fair to them? Aren't they enough to make him fight this? I don't understand, how can they? One of them is so lax about the entire thing. He basically just talks to his father as if it doesn't matter whether he is sober or not. The other not so forgiving, and in my mind just fully so.

Regardless how they feel, as a mother I am wondering how to protect them from this. He texts me last night telling me he isn't being successful about the whole sober thing. Of course I asked him if he had contacted his sponsor and of course he said no. He feels ashamed because he "can't do this". Not understanding this situation at all, I find myself wondering does he really even want to be sober? Does he really even care if he is alive to see my children graduate, get married and have children of their own? Does he want pity?

My God help me, I don't understand. All I know is I am not willing to have one single conversation with him while I know he is off the wagon. I don't want my kids to talk to him either, is that wrong? I don't know what he says to them, I don't know how he acts towards them, and I don't want him to hurt them again. Why can't he stop hurting the people who have loved him? As adults we can turn our back (even though we don't want to) but my kids can't. How do I stop the madness without them hating me for it?

As a parent I owe it to them to protect them from harm, why didn't I know that harm includes their father? How unfair of a position we are all in.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Another one bites the dust - at least today.

Maybe because I don't have any daughters, maybe because I don't really hang with anyone ever, I don't know but I do know I will never learn not to get attached to the girls my sons bring into this house.

Just as I do, out the door they go never to return. Of course there are those I am glad I never have to hear another word about, but a couple of times I have really grown to appreciate and enjoy being around.

There will be many in and out my door before any of my sons find true happiness/soul mates, but between now and then I have to find that happy medium and enjoy them but know more than likely they will be replaced. The only question is when?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Does the worrying ever stop?

I thought when my kids were babies, I couldn't wait till they walk, talk, fix their own dinner, drive, etc. During this time, I would worry when they started to walk that they will fall and have to get stitches (Of course Trae and Coty both did that). When they were in elementary school and middle school that they would get teased or whatever it just seemed as though I was always worrying about something.
Well no one ever told me that I would pray those days would come back. Now at 18 and 15 I worry about so much bigger things, I almost want them to be small again. (I did say ALMOST) I worry about drugs, alcohol, GIRLS, driving, peer pressure. Good grief these issues seem so big in comparison to a stitch or two from a fall.

Today Trae and Coty got up at 6:00 a.m. to attend the warpedtour in Columbia MD. A big concert that has many smaller stages with different bands playing at each area. Earlier they were going to a Mosh pitt. Yeah I'm with you. What the crap is that? Apparently it's where you (or us older folks) think they are fighting but really they are bumping into each other and jumping around. In big piles of people. Doesn't sound like fun to me, but whatever floats your boat I suppose.

The thing is I was sick to my stomach worrying about Trae driving outside our town (for the 1st time) and having to drive on the beltway. I mean he is my kid and all, which considering I get lost driving to the grocery store I was a tad bit worried he would end up in Michigan. Trust me it's possible.

Then we have the whole concert issue. Drugs and alcohol are always involved and tack on peer pressure. Hang on a second I need to go throw up. So now we have to remember that we as parent's do the best we can and hope for the best. Really that's all we can do but worrying is also apart of it. Lets remember we always second guess ourselves as parents. Did we do enough, teach them enough, allow them to be strong and independent but still hang onto them with a death grip. We want to protect them from bad decisions, pain and suffering.

All I can say is I wonder what state I will be in when they actually move out on their own, get married, have kids. Oh crap here we go again, time to throw up. Life as a parent and the worry that comes with it, will never cease.........

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Gone far to soon.

Michael Jackson, King of Pop, the greatest entertainer who ever lived......

Many people don't approve of Michael Jackson. Some feel as if he is a child molester and got off because he was rich. Some think he was a freak or strange to say the least. I think Michael Jackson was just like me, you and everyone we know. He was a man criticized by everyone and he himself was uncomfortable in his own skin. How tragic that this man who tried to make the last days of so many dying children was just a kid searching to make himself happy through the smiles of others.

Michael Jackson had it all, fame, richest he had everything money could buy, but if you look at the man in the mirror I think there was a world of pain, a man so unhappy and struggling to know who he really was. I'm no expert but ultimately why does it matter if he had plastic surgery, if he did or didn't have his children the "natural" way? Would it matter if it was me? You? Would you feel inclined to tell the world how your children were or were not conceived? Being famous gave the press the ability to write what they saw or thought they saw, to write what sales, but as a person maybe you should remember he was a father, a son, a brother, a friend, he was a person with feelings and maybe you should at least respect the dead.

I remember so fondly my friend Julie and I creating dance moves to his songs. We would make up routines so to speak and play his music and dance for Julie's mom on her living room stage. I remember watching countless hours of MTV just waiting for one of his videos.

I can say now without hesitation that although I am grown up I have cried watching the memorial services for him shown on TV today. I hate that I don't have the any hope of any more Michael Jackson albums to surface. I've lived a life without regrets but today my one regret is that I was never able to see him perform. I always wanted to and I always thought next time, I will go next time. He was my favorite of all time.

I heard someone say today at the memorial service that we so needed Michael but God needed him more. For me there is some peace in that.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Most Important Journey I've ever taken......

The following is a copy of the exact words I spoke at a Sunday Mass to my new family. I was asked to tell my story (journey) to the parishioners as a new baptised Catholic. This is very personal to me and I hope that you take the time to read it.
My journey here began believe it or not at a baseball game. For years I knew this family through baseball and for some reason wondered why they seemed so different than everyone else. A year ago I got my answer.

My sponsor's son plays baseball with my son and one day at a home game I saw her. I thought WOW she never comes I should go talk to her. As I began to walk towards her she was leaving, but later I found out something told her to turn around and come talk to me. We met up and started talking about random things. Towards the end of the conversation she explained to me that the following day was Holy Thursday and I should come with her. I agreed to go, I didn't know what told me to talk to her or why I agreed to go to Church with her, but I did.

Growing up as a Jehovah's Witness it was very different from anything I had ever experienced. She told me that Sunday she was going to Easter Mass and I should come to this wonderful little Church she attends in Upper Marlboro. I had recently been through the most traumatic time in my life and it was literally killing me. I was angry, sad, hurt and would ask God daily why I had been chosen to carry the black cloud of darkness for what seemed to be my entire life. Nothing had ever been simple.

Sunday came and I was not having a good day. Literally the world had crashed around me. I was standing on our front porch crying and I saw her car pull up. She began talking to me while I steady cried. She didn't ask any questions, she just kept talking. I asked her how you forgive someone when they have hurt you so bad it has consumed your entire life. She said Jesus forgives everyone regardless of their sin if you ask him so who are we not to forgive?

Then she had an enthronement in her home and Father White and Bishop Olivea were there. I had many questions. I made an appointment with Father White for the following Sunday and began meeting with him regularly. He gave me a Catechism book and told me he hoped I wouldn't be insulted because it was written at a 7th grade level. We made another appointment and I went on my way. At the following appointment I had so many sticky notes on my book that I think even Father White was afraid he hadn't scheduled enough time for me. This went on for awhile and then my husband began coming to my regular meetings with Father White.

I told him I wanted to get baptized, so he helped me start the process. My first task was to go before the Tribunal. After I did that my husband and I needed to re new our vows in the Church, so Father White agreed to perform the ceremony. Then I began weekly RCIA classes.

What started as a room full of strangers ended in a room full of 6 friends I now call family. We would talk, share stories, laugh and unfortunately for Vernon and Charlie they were often in a room with three women that either one or all of us was crying about something, which I can say was usually me.

It seemed as though as soon as I made the commitment to become baptized, when I didn't think my life could possibly get any worse, everything around me began to crumble. I didn't understand it. I asked my sponsor why if I was trying to become closer to God why would my life get harder. She explained to me that before Satan had my soul and since I had decided to make a change he now had to worry about pulling me back with him. The harder I fought the harder he pulled.

I got to the point where I began to question what I was doing. My life was already horrible did I really need the extra stress of it all. My mother a Jehovah's Witness would disown me if she knew; but I pushed myself using anything I could think of to get me to class so I could live a better life, but most of all a life with salvation. I fought harder and harder and I prayed so much I just knew Jesus was praying I would stop.

I prayed that Jesus would talk to me and tell me what I was doing was the right thing to do. One night at RCIA Father Foley was teaching us about confession and I was nominated to be the Father and he was the confessor. He began a fake confession about how he was asking for forgiveness because he hadn't spoken to his brother in seven years. I almost lost it. I couldn't believe of all the random examples he could have used he used that one. Although until this very moment I'm sure Father Foley had no idea what was racing through my head but I am the last of 8 children and one of my sisters and I had not spoken in 15 years. Although I for once showed no emotion to his words, my mind immediately went back to the words of my sponsor that Easter day. "Who are we not to forgive?"

A few days later I wrote my sister a long email explaining to her that Jesus forgave everyone regardless of their sin and who was I not to forgive her. I explained to her over email that I felt that turning my back on her was the same as turning my back on Christ and that this hate would be a barrier between Christ and I.

As the road to Easter Vigil drew close my desire to become baptized grew stronger and stronger. Many more tribulations happened but the less and less they pulled me down. I knew that what made this family seem so different was their love of God and desire to change the lives of everyone around them.

On the day of baptism I was uneasy. I wondered if I was really worthy of taking communion and really understanding that it was so much more than just bread and wine but truly was the body and blood of the one who gave his life for me. Was I the one who had walked in the shadow of this black cloud my entire life going to bring rain or sunshine to the ones among me today?

The thought of being washed clean and renew my soul from all prior sin was unfathomable to me. After the baptism we were all celebrating and I began to talk to this young man who I had noticed through many Mass attendance seemed to know every word being said. Week after week I would watch him recite quietly the words being said. I spoke to him and asked him if he planned on becoming a Priest, he said to me "Please pray for me".

People say Please pray for me or my prayers are with you, but most of the time they are only words that are said. At that moment I realized I was part of your family and my prayers matter.

As I stand here today I will tell you this journey was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but definitely the most rewarding. I now have a family in you. People whom I can ask to pray for me and my family and believe that you will, people who want me to pray for them and I will.

I hope that one day I can be somewhere as simple as a baseball game and change someones life as mine was.