How do we live like this?

There’s no doubt about it.  Our home is in a state of chaos right now.  Over the past 2 1/2 months we have combined households.  One already cramped little house is now stuffed even more with the contents of one cramped apartment and a few extra items from a previous home and despite our best efforts of purging before merging, we still have an overflowing closet and a garage packed with items we will no longer be able to use.  In the near future, we will undoubtably become familiar with Craigslist and garage sales, something neither of us is looking forward to.

To add a little excitement to our adventure, we decided to tackle a bit of home remodeling as we merge our lives together.  For the past 2 months we have lived in a construction zone of dry wall dust and work boot tracks through our bedroom.  Every item of clothing we own has to be dusted off before we can wear it and the number of things we have lost in the confusion is slowly growing into the double digits.  I can’t begin to express my gratitude for the patience and humor my partner through all of this brings to the situation.  He noted quite accurately one morning, “Ya know babe, we’re gonna have to re-learn where everything is when this is all finished.  Like right now, I know the Q-tips are under the trey in the box at the foot of the bed and the extra toilet paper rolls are under the towels in the chair in the corner.”

He’s right.  And somehow I know, it’s all gonna be just fine.  For a brief moment yesterday, I wavered on that idea.  A close friend innocently asked as we were showing him the most recent progress, “How do you folks live like this?”  Immediately, I started to defend our situation by stating the obvious facts about remodeling and moving, etc etc…  I was thrown for a while, feeling judged and inadequate.  The question of how “we” live in this registered for me as “how does HE live in this?” which quickly morphed into thoughts of my own inadequacy.  My  home is a mess EQUALS I am a mess – not a good place to be for me.

I woke this morning with these thoughts running through my head.  I started a load of laundry, cleaned the kitchen, organized a countertop, and shuffled through a few boxes.  I looked around to see our shoes lined up on the floor and suddenly the answer to my friends question hit me.  How do we live like this?  HAPPILY!  You see, we’ve finally figured out that it really doesn’t matter so much what our home looks like.  It really only matters how we both feel when we are in it and we feel very, very happy.FL2014

Today I am so grateful for the chaos that illustrates the merging of our lives.

Gratitude for the Sadness

I thought I was gonna make it through March.  I made it past the 18th, took a sigh of relief on the 19th, and then woke on the 20th with a heavy heart.  I feel sad.  I’ve learned over the past 19 years to identify the feeling, to acknowledge it, to voice it, to let it wash over me, pass through me, and then to let it go.  Feelings are temporary.

A part of me is relieved to feel the sadness this morning.  I’d like to sit with it today.  To be alone and reflect on all of it.  I’d write a lot.  I’d read a lot.  I’d look over old photographs and remember a lot.  I’d think about his life and how it impacted mine.   I’d appreciate my children and find ways to share with them the memories.  I’d cry and I’d laugh.  I would let the tears flow with no fear that they wouldn’t stop.  I use to hold tears back for that reason.  I couldn’t let myself feel the full scope of the emotion for fear of not being able to get a grip on my self and being swept away without an anchor to hold me in this place.

I’m more grounded now.  More certain of my self and more faithful in the process.  Today I would relish in that.  I’d taste the tears as they flowed freely down my face, no need to wipe them away.  I would breathe into each one with no fear of drowning.  And with each tear that fell, I would feel his tender kiss on my cheek.  I would feel his smile on my face and his arms around my shoulders.  I would sit with that all day, wrapped in the energy of a love I am so grateful to have known.

He’s here with me now, closer than he’s ever been.  Each March I feel the strength of that love.

I’m learning to welcome this feeling, to feel gratitude that I am blessed to have known a love that 19 years later still calls to my heart with a breath of sadness.  Today I will breathe that in.  I will breathe in that love and I will breathe out gratitude.

Donald Ray Watson, aka Dad, aka Pop-pop –  6/29/1926 – 3/18/1994

My child, no matter the age.

My child, no matter the age.

BabiesWhen he was little it was easier.  Even the nights when his little body was limp, his skin red and burning with fever and I was running on little to no sleep as I kept vigil by his bed, those nights were easier than this.   I felt helpless then but at least I was able to hold him, catching what rest I could as I monitored his sleep, counting each breath through the night.  Helpless because I couldn’t control the virus that had found it’s way into my little boy’s system.  Helpless, because I could sometimes ease his discomfort, but I couldn’t cure him.  Wanting desperately to take his place, I was helpless but I was in charge.

As his momma, I decided if he went to the doctor, if he took his medicine, if he stayed in bed, or if he went outside.  I could take his temperature, apply cool cloths to his forehead, fix ginger ale with crushed ice, make chicken soup with noodles, and make certain his favorite movies were available on the VCR.  Back then when he was sick, I would put him in his bed and he stayed there until I felt he was well enough to move around in the world again.

It gave me some sort of peace to know that I was responsible for seeing that his meals were balanced and his vitamins were consumed.  If he did fall to the random virus or stomach bug, most times I could pinpoint where and when he was exposed.  I could call another mom and ask details like how many days the virus lasted for their child and what medications worked best.  There was an odd comfort in believing that I knew the source of his illnesses, as if that information alone helped to lessen the severity and shorten the time he was sick.

But now it’s different.  Now I don’t know where the viruses come from and there are no other moms to consult.  He lives six hours away with a life I know only through phone calls and text messages.  He’s a young man in charge of himself and I feel helpless, helpless and not in control.   I can suggest but I can’t decide.  I see dark circles around his huckleberry blue eyes, and motherly instinct screams, “Your baby is sick.  Take care of him.”   I suggest a visit to the doctor but he doesn’t have time so I give him more ibuprophen to mask the pain in his throat and make him promise to go to Health Services if he doesn’t feel better tomorrow.  I suggest he take a nutritional supplement back to school with him but he doesn’t have a refrigerator or time to buy one so I offer to pay but he refuses.   I can only do as much as he will allow and then I have to step back and let him go.

It’s harder now.  When he was little, I could comfort him and that in turn comforted me.  Now I can only sit and wait, sending healing energy across the miles and surrounding him with light.