31 December 2009

Authenticity

(I will be so very happy when I can put pictures up again. The New Year promises internet at home, huzzah!)

Celebrations have come and gone.

I was very fortunate this year to have Christmas Eve off in its entirety. We spent the day baking cookies and the evening traveling to friends' homes for food, fun and holiday cheer. It was wonderful, but I totally admit to being a morning person, so by 10 PM I was turning into a pumpkin.

Christmas morning was full of fun and change. This was my first Christmas in my own home. Each year before I would take the niblets to my parents' home, to spend the night and days afterward and basically have the same sort of holiday I grew up with. Even if it wasn't quite what I wanted to do, but it was family, and family is a big deal around the holidays here.

Friday was about family also. My family. I awoke in my own bed to hear the niblets downstairs enjoying a video and their stockings. A wonderful thing about blending families is blending traditions: for my husband, we hung the stockings on Christmas Eve and got to sleep in while the kids went through their stockings; for myself, we opened presents after I had my prerequisite cup of coffee (or three). We let the niblets hand out gifts, and enjoyed in turn what Santa and family brought us.

That afternoon we went to my parents home, where there was enough food for three times the amount of people, where my mom made sure everyone had a wonderful Christmas, almost at the expense of herself. She just had surgery last Wednesday, but seemed to forget that. (Heart surgery, mind you. How do you forget THAT?!?!) I sat amidst my family as presents were handed out, paper was flying, children were cheering - all in all, the same sort of Christmas I have had every year since I was a child. And felt very overwhelmed and lost in it.

Don't get me wrong, my family is wonderful and supportive and giving - it was just...too much, in many ways. I got to compare two very different family rituals, one created with my assistance, one with just my participation. It was quite a difference, but both full of love.

But, the niblets loved their time in both places, and new and old family traditions are being formed and melded. And I had a chance to begin my own family holiday - the ritual that has been needed for so long with those closest to me, my heart, my family. My own. I got to have it the way I wanted, pretty much. A piece of authenticity in my Life.

Realizing through the years that I haven't always put my best Self - my true Self - forward has now become the focus for this next one. Many times I see that when the niblets are away, I can let my hair down, kick my shoes off, and behave like "the person I want to be". So, what does that say to my children, to other parents I associate with, to my husband? That I can't be my true Self unless I feel unfettered? That I am always more stressed being a mother than being a woman? That I live separate lives, depending on the company I keep? How do I teach my children lessons on always being true to themselves and the world, if I cannot live those lessons myself?

The coming of the New Year brings many, including myself, to compile a list of resolutions, goals to focus on as the Wheel turns and the world celebrates ushering out the old. Many of these are picked up and dropped year after year: losing weight, being healthy, finding more joy, taking time for yourself, lessening stress, being better.

How can I better myself if I am not being My Self? I can strive to be my "best" Self, but had it pointed out that the real way to be my best is to be my most authentic Self. To live the Life I want as the person I truly am, at every moment.

So, my New Year's Resolution, is to rediscover (or discover for possibly the first time) my most authentic Self. And be Me.

Happy New Year.

23 December 2009

A Little Light

We have passed the Winter Solstice, when darkness begins to lose its grip and light begins to take over our days again.

We are approaching Christmas, with many changes in my household, and much to rejoice in.

The New Year is coming. The Wheel shall turn again, wishes and resolutions made (and probably unmade shortly after) and Time will once again show that some things never change, never stop.

I wish I had pictures for this post. Of the candles my children and I put in the window Monday night. Of the cookies that will be made tomorrow for Santa. Of my family, and friends, and everything that brings joy to my Life and my Path.

But, today (and until I have internet at home in a week) all I have are these words. They are enough for now.

Merry Christmas.

10 December 2009

Another Year


Yes, another case of pictures packed away. But at least I have THIS one!


Since I told my younger one's birth story - I guess it is only fair (to me and to you all, NOT the girl, as she would tell you if she reads this) to tell the one of my oldest.

Heeding the advice of my well-read pregnancy books, (being a bookstore employee at the time, and a librarian now, I could tell you how important I thought it was to garner all the knowledge I could from books...but I digress) I left work on my due date, December 4th.

I was already out of work for almost a week. It was worse than waiting for water to boil, or paint to dry. It is amazing how many times you can re-fold onesies, rewash blankets, and generally go even more stir-crazy when your body, and your baby, is paying no heed to what the books are telling you!

I had also been having contractions on and off for the last two days. Finally on the 9th they were regular and about 15 minutes apart so I called my mother to travel out the 2+ hours and she, my boyfriend and I traveled to the hospital. We checked in and I was evaluated, about 3 centimeters.

After another six hours, that was where I stayed. Contractions were stronger, but going no where. Frustrations were high - well, mine were. And the hospital sent me home that evening.

Really. They sent me HOME. What was I going to do if all of a sudden the baby just decided to fall out and I was at HOME, in a trailer nearing winter and I couldn't get to the car or the pipes suddenly froze because everyone KNOWS you need hot water when a baby is coming! But, I digress.

Three hours later the contractions were strong and five minutes apart. I really didn't care at that point, I would sit in the hospital waiting rooms (or even in the parking lot. That would show them.) til that child came out, but I was going TO. THE. HOSPITAL. This was around midnight.

Eleven hours later I had made a couple more centimeters progress, and discovered that there was no good television programs on between 2 and 6AM. (This was 1996, btw, WAS there any good television back then?) My midwife finally checked in and decided that she'd try breaking my water to see if that would speed things up some more.

That did it. (WHY this couldn't have been done, oh, a couple hours or days EARLIER?) My daughter was born at 1:19PM that December 10th.

She took her own sweet time about it - as she does most things these days. Thirteen years have come and gone. I have moved her from place to place, school to school. She was present when her father and I finally got married - and divorced. We have had some tough days (okay, months). I have watched her grow from the baby who would bounce up and down and "dance" to "Tubthumping" to the young lady leaping across stage in dance performances last year. Growing from the drama queen who earned the nickname "Hollywood" at her after school program in first grade to...well, okay, she's a girl. I guess that hasn't changed much.

Today, she is officially a teenager. I am awed watching this child grow, and do things SO differently (and some things SO similarly) than myself. Especially since the first words out of most mouths are "She looks JUST like you!"


Would you know they were related?

I see that, sometimes. But I see a lot of her father, and her paternal grandmother, in her too. Now, at this age, I am starting to see the loneliness of being a teen - and one that doesn't always march to the beat of the same drum as others - and remember MY years.


I'll find my way out. Eventually.

Not that anything I did would have anything to pertain to what my daughter is going through. Because I am a parent. And I don't understand. And I am just trying to make her miserable. By making her eat breakfast and do her homework and wear a coat when it is 25 degrees out and she walks five blocks to the bus stop.... Crap. I AM a mother, aren't I?

Today I look upon the face of my daughter and remember the little peanut I could almost balance in one hand on my shoulder thirteen years ago - and know that I am blessed.


Happy Birthday sweetheart. You know I love you.

And yes, I know I am embarrassing you. Don't roll your eyes at me.