My Douglas was his middle child. Even though Doug I and I were only married for 5 minutes, I fell in love with his oldest child Jill. I moved on, I married again and my new husband adopted Doug and made him his own. Jill spent time with us through the years, so I didn’t lose her to distance or impossibility. When their father had a third child David, I thanked my lucky stars for the distance I had built against my former life. When we attended the funeral of Doug I, I stood by Jill and Doug II, and watched them through their own suffering. There was David, 2 years old in a soggy diaper and once again, I thanked God for the distance I had built. Fifteen years later, David knocked on my front door. He has been a part of this family ever since. Doug reached out to him and invited him in – and he has stayed.
My Doug wrestled h.a.r.d. with addiction and eventually he won. Then he did the smartest thing ever, he found a partner and started over. My Doug has three sons, the first born 18 years ago, and now, here and now, 2 more sons.
And thus I say, something important has changed in me. Out of the darkness of addiction, abandonment, fear and pain, can come light and love. It comes on its own time and under its own power.
This child of mine who hurt me brutally, brought magic with his recovery. His youngest, born on my birthday, at the hospital where he was born, with a charge nurse named Johanna, made my birthday the best I have ever had.
A Short Story
The two year old towheaded beauty gazed down from the stairwell, at her mother who was lying on the living room floor breast feeding her new baby sister. Mother and daughter were snuggled up with pillows and blankets, resting next to a sunbeam. It was morning and the hustle and bustle of school and work schedules had left the house unerringly quiet.
As mother looked up at her daughter, she hoped that her eldest daughter would care for this small and fragile looking, feathery haired girl. Mother invited her daughter downstairs to cuddle with them and to gain comfort after her whole world had been turned upside down by the tiny girl.
All of the things that they did were typical: mothers, daughters and sisters, until 1996. Divorce and death, followed by the loss of the family unit both in the family of origin and the nuclear family left these 3 bereft and alone. It wasn’t the worst that could happen, but it was cataclysmic for them. They formed a loyalty and love that brooked no competition.
The sisters became beautiful young women, yet still somewhat lost and astray. Each boyfriend each had clearly understood that the sisters were a package team, not to be complained about or maligned in any way. Mother, daughter and daughter affirmed their vows to each other to remain loyal and protective of each other. It was clear that they were joined in complex ways, with extra sensory perception, often becoming alarmed if the other was in trouble, even when the other was out of sight.
Twenty years has gone by and a life time of events has occurred. Daughters are now mothers as well. Mother is remarried, happily so, one daughter married and one not.
Mother and eldest daughter continue their love, loyalty and commitment to the feathery haired beauty who is the youngest of them. Youngest has made it all very difficult as she won’t/can’t move home. Six and a half years ago she moved 800 miles away and while they all made the move, she is the one who cannot come back.
For the last several years, mother and eldest have traveled there once per year, while youngest comes home more often.
Now here they are, mother and eldest, grasping each other’s hands tightly, on the airplane to see youngest, once again. They agreed they did not want unhealthy emergencies, youngest has had a very difficult few years, sometimes necessitating an emergency visit from one or the other. This was prevention: pure love, flying to her, to spend time with her.
Mother closed her eyes and thought how lucky she was to have such wonderful daughters who had kept vows across the years and across the miles. This was what she had hoped for all of those years ago when she was encouraging her eldest to love her feathery headed baby sister.
Inspired by these Two Sisters, who also practice the solemn vow: love and loyalty over the miles and through the years.
And new stories begin…
My Writing – I have never been able to not write. For as long as I could remember, and I remember being in the 4th grade and being sick, staying home from school and writing rhymes and love poems to my mother, I have always written. I have dairies dating back to 1977, writing was my soul energy, keeping me fueled for life’s challenges. A couple of years ago I decided to make my calendar electronic only – it wasn’t until this year that I realized I could not do it. I needed the paper to jot down the thoughts, the reminders and the ideas that keep me moving in the right direction. I don’t know where I got it from. My mother was a voracious reader and my father loved dictionaries and encyclopedias, perhaps their love of the written word is what motivates me. I remember Whoopi Goldberg in the “Sister Act” telling one of her students that being a true singer meant that you woke up every morning wanting to sing, that you could not stop singing and that is when you knew that you are a true singer. That is how I knew that I am a true writer, I just cannot not write.
Rhea & Jo 09
I thought it fair to mention my creds, since I have given so much information as to the why and the who else. First, I am a woman. That’s not doubtful or unclear in any way. I am the parent of many people. I use the term parent because I raised so many kids, only gave birth to four, have a stepdaughter, fostered one son and my youngest son is adopted (he looks just like me, except the eyebrow). I have a myriad of grandchildren, one who is laying across my chest fussing because he misses my daughter/his mother. I want you to know that it is a shocking realization when it occurs to you that your children multiply, it is difficult to realize the infinite number of possibilities of love that are present in the univserse until that phenonmena happens to you. Experiencing it is the best way to realize it, yet your experience can take many forms. It does not have to fit any form or criteria. How we love is a choice.
I am a professional as well. I started out with a bachelor’s degree in psychology/sociology, with a minor in business administration – I never could make up my mind. While I was in one of these endless ethics classes, I decided I could not be a therapist and so my graduate degree is in public health with an emphasis in health administation. While I’ve spent the last 15 years supevising and managing, I also followed up with my therapeutic training and became a Certified Addictions Professional. So here I am after 20 years of training and work, I continue to straddle both fences.
Things about me that have changed for the better:
I realize how fragile life is.
I realize how strong the human spirit is.
Men are to be respected and valued. Ironically my father did not teach me this; it was my sons who taught me this important lesson.
Everything about you matters.
Intuition is natural knowing and it is never to be ignored – no matter what it is called.
I can let go: memories are nice, but they are not now.
I have aged, and I like being a “woman of a certain age”.
It is okay for people to help me, I need help.
I accept what I do not like about me, I do not deny it; it is me.
Grief is okay (it moves through you), depression is awful (it stays with you)
Love is magnificent, worth all of the effort.
Humans should normalize sex and talk about it.
Realizations continued: 3/30/11:
It is not okay to be lazy and mean.
Be authentic, it is so much easier than trying to keep track of your contrivances.
Life is a process, so if things have not turned out yet, you are in the middle of it…
Why don’t people understand that frustration and angst is no way to live?
As powerful and inevitable as fate is, what you do matters, it matters very much.
Realizations continued: 3/12
What is good, honest and right, is not always what is popular.
Mediocrity is okay, extraordinary is but one of the possibilities of a moment in life.
Sometimes you have to fight for love. There are times when love needs diligence.
Realizations continued: 6/12
We are more the same than we are different, but we do not know this, or think this.
To inspire is an act of kindness and goodness, it is a giving, go ahead, do it.
Pictures are good, but I want touch (2011):
12/2/12 I miss my kids and I do not know why the majority of them are so far away. My mother said that “your daughter’s children will stay close, but don’t count on your son’s children, because women can take their children away.” My mother was wrong, at least in my life. My son’s children are here, and my daughters’ children are very far away. I do not know how to manage this and I cannot. So I am bereft. I am sure that people have been doing this for thousands of years. I do not understand. If you dedicate so many years of your life to raising kids and then they tell you, “good-bye, I am busy with my life.” Why didn’t anyone say something about that? Why didn’t anyone warn me “BTW, they leave and move on, you are yesterday’s leftovers.” Why didn’t anyone warn me? I didn’t do that to my mother, I had no idea.
Never under-estimate the power of love.
Nicholas Sparks said (2012) and I quote “Love, after all, always said more about those who felt it than it did about the ones they loved.”
My husband has that affect on me and everyone around him, you are loved, that is his presence.
It’s been 20 years since Momma passed away and she did it on Valentine’s Day, 1996.
I wanted to commemorate her passing. I do this by honoring her with my dedication to her life principles. I do this by dedicating myself to her energy, enthusiasm and life love. So here it is. my message to her life energy, I love you, my mother.
The story of sixteen: I quit keeping track of our grandchildren because they overwhelmed me. We had six grandsons in four years. I think I had the right to be overwhelmed…
Bruce started keeping track of the grandkids. At the end of each year, we keep track of our years with photo books. As I was making our 2015 photo book, Bruce said, I want a picture of each of the 16 grandkids. I struggled with how to complete a collage for him and finally landed on shutterfly to buy one of their collages: a 4 X 4. I placed a picture of each of the grandkids (from 2015) and … guess what? There are only 15 grandchildren. I told Bruce, someone is going to have a baby this year. Bruce laughed. And then on Friday, Doug texted “We’re having a baby 🙂 Again lol” “I’m so happy : )”
So, there it is, 16 for 16.
Bruce did it again. ❤️❤️❤️ Love you darling.