Wednesday, October 28, 2009

It's never too late to go back home.

After much debate, discussion, and tough decision making... Bruce and I have decided that I need to move back home with my mom for the winter. We came to this conclusion about a week ago and it wasn't the easiest thing to consider. I was crushed, at first, at the thought of living apart from my husband whom I have lived intimately and co dependently with for several years now.

However, as he put it to me, the world is an imperfect place and sometimes things happen that weren't a part of any one's plan. Married couples live apart for all sorts of reasons, all the time. Hard words for me to accept at first but the fact that this is only for a few months and that we can see each other whenever we want to, helps tremendously.

My mother spent her whole life doing her best, sacrificing for her kids, and putting our needs before hers. Now, it's my opportunity to show her some selfless support and get her through her first winter without my dad.

Once, when I was very little, I told my mom that I was going to stay and live with her to take care of her when she was old. So she wouldn't have to live in an 'old folk's home'. Last night when I broke the news to her that I was coming to stay with her for a little while, as she protested profusely for want of not being a "burden" to anyone, I reminded her of that story. "I told you when I was little that I was going to take care of you when you were old. Guess what... You're old and that time is now."

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Missing my Dad

My Dad and I didn't exactly get along when I was younger. Well, let me back up, he was a lot of fun when I was really little. I remember when he used to come home after work and sit in his swivel chair. He used to smoke back then and Khara and I would have to duck underneath the cloud of cigarette smoke streaming out towards the television from where he was sitting. We used to fight over who would get to snuggle into the chair with him once we became big enough that only one of us could fit into it with him. He would trap us between his knees and tickle us until we yelled "TIMBER COOTIES!" We loved those days.

At some point, he lost interest, or at least it seemed he did. He didn't speak to us much, unless it was to complain about the music we listened to or the shows we watched. For a long time, his only interaction with us was when he voiced his disapproval of our entire existences. At one point during my teenage years, he just stopped talking to me entirely. What killed me the most was that he would talk to everyone around me, even my friends. We lived our lives with the general belief that Dad didn't care for us. We knew for sure he didn't like us much.

Mom kept telling us that his way of showing us he loved us, was by the way he worked so hard. Trudging through mud, rain, and snow. Sweating through summer heat and mosquitoes. Outdoors, slinging a chainsaw year round in all kinds of miserable conditions. Never taking a sick day, never stayed home for a personal day.

Some days he came home from work and we could see the intensity in his walk and the scowl on his face from all the way down the driveway. We knew to keep quiet while he came into the house to put away his lunch pail, until he left to head out to his shop for the rest of the afternoon. Once in a while we would hear the loud clang of metal being dropped or maybe even thrown to the ground, but we left him alone out there. We never felt very welcome out in his shop and we were happy to have that remain his territory.

It wasn't until my late twenties that my Dad started coming back around. I remember Mom telling me how disappointed he was that all his grown children were moving away. I was surprised he felt that way. We had all been living far from home for over ten years. At the time, I was resentful of his missing us. He had our whole adolescent lives to have taken an interest in us and he was wanting us around now? I remember thinking it was a little too late for him to start playing the role of father... and that he would have to earn that designation.

It was the wine tasting that really starting bringing us together. It was the first activity that my dad wanted to share with us. Our whole lives every vacation, get together, or family outing never included Dad unless it was a major holiday and the even took place at his house. For some reason though, not only did he want to come along with us when we made plans to go wine tasting with Mom, he requested to make plans. It was through those experiences that I first got to see my Dad for who he was.

He had quit logging and started a road building company with a friend and his disposition had changed almost entirely. For the first time, my dad seemed happy. He joked and laughed with us. He was affectionate to me and to my husband; giving me hugs and telling me he loved me. He had running jokes with Bruce and affectionately called him "That Damned Horn Blower". He loved my dog and fed him people-food regularly, despite my protests. He even dog-sat for me once when I called him up out of the blue and asked if I could drop Artie off for the night.

It was around that time that I asked my dad to teach me how to weld the beautiful metal sculptures he made. I could see by the look on his face how much it meant to him and he remarked, "you're the first one that's ever asked me to teach 'em anything." Before I knew it, he had me out in his shop with him bright and early the next day and was teaching me how to trace the patterns he had made, cut the metal, shape it, and weld it all together.

He sat on a stool next to me while I worked. He would show me once how he did something and then let me have at it, all the while watching me with the utmost patience. He would give me pointers here and there, like how to avoid making 'fish hooks' in the metal and what nasty things they could be once embedded into your fingers. He showed me his fingers and told stories of the various ways he accrued scars, cuts, and smashed fingers while working on his sculptures. Gentle warnings to protect me from making the same mistakes.

He gave me advice on other little things like how to care for my wedding ring, to accommodate some of the vibrations caused while working the metal. Most importantly, he discussed life with me. We talked about how great my husband is and how hard he works for our family. Dad told me not to let anyone pressure us into having kids and assured me that was our decision alone.

The last few years with my Dad were the best. I am thankful for the time I got to spend with him. I always say I believe everything happens for a reason and I have to say that our paths were totally aligned up until he passed away. In the year and a half since I moved back from South Carolina, I had an unexplainable urge to connect with him and I took a job that allowed me the flexibility to travel down to see my parents often. His job wasn't getting contracts much for the past year and so he was lead to an inadvertently, only slightly early, retirement that he had been longing for. This allowed us the time to find each other.

I miss him. It's been just over a month since he passed and I see him everywhere. Some days are up and some are down. I've got a long way to go. I'll always wonder if this recent bonding time we had makes it harder for me to deal with his death or if things would have been easier for me, would I have kept myself distanced from him. I'll never know, but what I do know is that I love my Dad more than ever because of the special time we got to spend together... and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Will you adopt me?

So, as my recent posts are indicating, I'm getting more and more involved in my new(ish) job working with foster kids. I met a girl that responds to my approach very well and who's energy is a lot of fun to try and keep up with. She is easy to get along with, cooperative, accepts limits, and loves fun activities. As I was driving to drop her off, when she turned to me from out of nowhere and without hesitation asked, "Will you adopt me?"

It was touching. Sweet. Something I had previously not run into in my seven years of working with underpriveleged populations. I mean, holy crap, 'will you adopt me'?!

I very calmly and kindly replied with a big smile, that 'no, but I would be happy to continue to be her Case Aide twice a week'. She didn't really respond, but didn't seem crushed either. My guess is I'm not the first person she's asked that question to. She went back to focusing on finding a good song on the radio. I thought about explaining for a moment, the reasons our relationship works as it is because of my current role in her life and the boundaries that pertain to it, but I decided not to and I directed the conversation to things more immediate and in the moment like the traffic, the music, the rain. I reviewed some of the things I had praised her for earlier during our session. We ended on a good note.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A day in the life: Remember me?

It was a beautiful March morning. The sun was shining and most of the frost had melted off of the grass and trees by the time I pulled into the driveway of the house. A small girl stood off to the side, waiting for my arrival. I was to pick her up and drive her over an hour, to hand her off to another staff who would spend the day with her before returning her to me this evening to take her on the long drive back home.

Her outfit was made of fuzzy material and pink from head to toe. Her hair was tussled and the brown locks hung slightly over her eyes. She smiled as I approached and leaned closely to the woman standing behind her. I noticed she was clutching an enormous stuffed animal, and it appeared to have been decked out in a lot of pink clothes also.

I checked in with the woman, her foster mom, as the girl climbed into the back seat and buckled herself in, making sure to safely buckle the furry, pink wearing doll into the seat next to her. I turned to look at her and her companion, and praised them both for remembering to be so safe and responsible by fastening their seatbelts without having been reminded to.

We had met once before and spent an entire afternoon together, but I still knew relatively nothing about this quiet, little person in the back of my car. I began engaging her in the typical, kid relevant small-talk. "How are you this morning?" "I see you've brought a friend with you, tell me about him." "What have you been up to this week?"

She answered each of my inquiries softly and directly. She was fine, the stuffed animal's name was Ravvy and was a 'she', she had ridden a ferry three times that week. As she answered, I pulled out my GPS and began programing it with the destination to where we were headed.

"Hey, you have one of those?" She asked. "Yep. Sure do.", I answered, not mentioning that she had seen me use it not more than a week ago. "Once", she continued, "A lady had one of those and she let me help her with it.", her voice seemed pleased as though she was remembering something that made her happy. "It was me!", I happily replied.

She stopped talking and appeared to be thinking for a moment. "Oh yeah", she said, "You took me swimming and you dipped your feet in the water and I rescued you from the bubbles." A big smile crossed her face, "I remember."

"Yep, that was me.", I confirmed. I was satisfied that her memory of our time together was all positive and that she seemed happy to recall it. I thought to myself how different these kid's experiences can be from 'average' kids. Where as most kids have the advantage of steady influences in their lives and rarely find themselves handed off to strangers, these kids seem accept it as just a part of life. They move from place to place, sometimes within weeks. They are helped by an agency where the people are nice enough, but they never know which one of us is going to come get them and they meet so many different people, it's hard to keep them straight after a while. Meeting a new person is common and undifferentiated, could be the first and only time they meet us, could be the first of many.

She wasn't the first of these kids to not remember me. I suspect that some of them do remember and it's a protection mechanism to act like they don't, but with some, I wouldn't be surprised if it's true.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The proof is in the garbage.

I came home the other day, Artie greeted me at the door as usual, nothing was out of the ordinary. Upon setting my things down, I spotted a note with Bruce's handwriting scratched across the front that read: The evidence is on the camera. This is what I saw.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sex in Space

So, the Discovery channel has just turned me on to the fact that all the space nerds are talking about now (aside from you know, life on Mars and all that junk) is how to do it in outerspace. Yes folks, NASA wants our money to fund "research" on making whoopee in zero gravity.

In fact, some people have already made a "lovesuit" that nymphomaniacle space sluts can wear to make sweet, sweet love. Sound sexy? Well, it isn't. There are giant flaps on each suit that velcro open so boobies can be fondled and what not, and I don't even want to speculate on the other flaps that are, well, kinda necessary.

These lovesuit creators put on their suits and performed a mock demonstration during a parabolic flight. It was disgusting. Awkward. Two adults in suits that look like onesies with two huge flaps velcroing them together. Ick, disturbing.

If there is one thing scientists are good at, it's taking the fun out of everything. You can tell by taking a look at this handy diagram I found online.

Note the woman's weightless, flyaway hair, and the dude's five-o'clock-shadow. Also note the bulky, opposite of sexy, space suits and BLACK SOCKS! The only thing it's missing is written directions: 'Insert here'.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Walk around Elk Cove

I'm lucky to live somewhere so georgous!!!!

Just some pictures of my slushy, sloshy hike with Artie. It was a beautiful day and I regretted not having brought my camera along!