Monday, June 21, 2021

Bits and Pieces

* It's been a week since I posted anything. *horrors!*  

* The daycare (hopefully) is getting back into a normal routine, just in time for summer which will turn normal on its head all over again.

* I can't tell you often enough how much I love those snotty-nosed, sassy, naughty, wonderfully adorable little people who fill my work days. Last week I overheard my friend Sophia say, "Let's go in the kitchen (center) and pretend we're Miss Martha making lunch." How sweet is that? A little later I stepped into the classroom so their teacher could use the potty and a conversation ensued.

Sophia- "Miss Martha, what's for lunch?"
Me- "Ravioli."
She makes a face and says, "What else?"
Me- "Broccoli and cantaloupe."
Carissa, looking distressed replies- "I don't like any of those"
At this Sophia wrinkles up her nose, smiles a little, and says- "Yeah we don't like those roly polies."
They really are the best!

* I took my chiropractor's advice and ordered a pair of shoes. Oboz. I looked and looked for something I liked in my size, but couldn't locate them anywhere but Amazon. They finally arrived on Friday, a size and a half too big. I shipped them back via Kohl's and would have ordered another pair in the correct size, but they wouldn't have gotten here before I leave for my vacation. Instead I did another search online and found a nice pair of Merrells at Dick's Sporting Goods here in town.

* Saturday's weather was warm and humid. In the early afternoon I met my friend Adam at Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, NY and we went on a photo taking excursion. (You never know what you might find in a cemetery...) After we had traipsed about for a couple of hours, he left to take his mom out for dinner and I headed home where Hannah and I fixed up a dinner of our own.


* Nathan, my child Number 5 and fourth son, had his 31st birthday on Saturday. In years past, before he was stolen away by Sweet Sabrina, we always celebrated his mid June birthday with homemade strawberry shortcake. This year we decided to continue the tradition without him as Sabrina always has some kind of birthday plan for him and their little family. (It was delicious! Such a shame they missed out.)

* The 20th of June was Father's Day and also what would have been our 40th wedding anniversary... Sergio was working and I didn't have any plans, so Hannah, the boys, and I spent the day together. After lunch we met my friend Gail at Bruster's for a celebratory ice cream cone. It turned out to be a very pleasant weekend.

* After work today I took my car for an oil change in preparation for my up and coming drive to the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I'm just a tad nervous and a little more than a bit excited.

Monday, June 14, 2021

A Little Piece of Peace

This evening I took a ride down to the lake. I didn't expect the shoreline to be clean, and it wasn't. I only hoped the rain would hold off for a little while, and it did, but only for a very short while. In spite of the sprinkle of raindrops, the sky was magnificent! And I was blessed by a little band of ducklings swimming in the creek.

 

In my travels my phone let off a chime letting me know I had a message. I pulled into a parking lot to check my phone and found a text from my sister Rachel. It's been a very long time since we took a walk together. Tonight we walked and it was good.


Sunday, June 13, 2021

Truth is Hard To Swallow

Forgive me a heavy post while I sort my thoughts...

My biggest regret in life is inadvertently teaching my children to tolerate and accept abuse. My greatest heartache is seeing the effects of my failure to teach them otherwise. I thought I was teaching them love and forgiveness. I somehow thought they would automatically and instinctively know what abuse looked like. I didn't realize they would come to view it as "normal." Instead of teaching them to choose healthy relationships, I modeled enabling, and I failed to protect them when they were abused. How often did I bite my tongue in order to avoid escalating a situation? How many times did I cover for him because of my own fear or embarrassment? How regularly did I tell myself "It isn't that bad" or "It could be worse"? Why didn't I realize how deep and long-lasting are the wounds of spiritual, emotional and mental abuse? How did I come to believe the lack of physical evidence equated the lack of actual abuse? How did I slip into focusing only on what was good in our family when in actuality so much was out of line?  The price is astronomical.

Today I have a divorce, but it took extenuating circumstances to get us here. I didn't arrive in this place without an incredible amount of inner conflict. It has been incredibly painful on every side. I have felt the crippling inability to respond, the suffocating agony of straddling disbelief and acceptance, and the fear of losing everything I loved including my relationship with my children. I have both kept silent and shared secrets, attempted to gloss over pain as well as expose it, and to be honest about our issues while not tearing down the other. It's an impossible balance and I fall multiple times on a daily basis. Sometimes I have a painfully difficult time getting up to try again.

When I walked away from my marriage, it was my desperate hope to set an better example for my children, but they were already grown. I finally saw a boundary that had to be enforced, even though there had been boundary crossings trampled long before. (Sometimes it takes my breath away when I realize the extent of what I have tolerated.) I am finally beginning to understand why outsiders are so furious with the "non offending" parent, even though I understand her place because I am her.

Where do I go from here? What can I do? It is impossible to travel back in time and do life over again, to make better past choices myself and set better past examples. I'm struggling to not make excuses for the younger me, while at the same time realizing that the younger Martha did the best she knew how to do. This is a painful process full of icky feeling emotions. My hands feel dirty but no matter how many times I wash them, I can't seem to get them entirely clean... And just when I feel utterly hopeless, God steps in to remind me that there is always hope with Him. I don't have to be an enabler. I can make better choices for the future. I can heal from codependence. I can be a better mom, grandmother, and friend.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Hello?

 It's come to my attention that I haven't written a blog in close to two weeks! Things have been a little hectic at the "office" since my return to work after the long Memorial Day weekend. Our lead toddler teacher has been out due to circumstances beyond her control, and so I was relieved from Kitchen Duty to fill in with our "older toddler" class. (They're all 2.) Our site director not only did her own office job, but somehow managed to get lunch out too. She's absolutely amazing!

I spent many "fun-filled" days with some of my favorite little people. They are feisty, sassy, and downright defiant, and I love them with all my heart. We spent hours on the playground and I gave out tons of hugs and kisses. I reprimanded, consoled, and encouraged and when I happened upon the babies down the hall, they looked at me as if to say, "Where in the world have you been?"

A little more than a week ago I finished my last pottery class, and two weeks ago I spent an evening at my cousin's house decorating a ceramic fairy door with several other women. They turned out fantastic! The installation might take some time, but stay tuned. It could happen.

Let's see... What else is going on? 

I went for a walk at Mendon Ponds with my friend Adam on Memorial Day, and spent this past Sunday afternoon at my son Dave's house. I've not been to the lake much as the algae has washed in making the beach gross.  Last evening I took myself for a walk.

I've been having a few back issues lately... Not sure if it stems from walking the shifting sands and stones of New Hampshire beaches, hefting toddlers, or something else, but my left foot has decided to tingle. I put a text in to my favorite chiropractor who looked at my back and gave me some stretches to help get  me back on track again. Growing up sure is interesting!

Monday, May 31, 2021

Walking, Walking, and Walking

 It can be tough to get started, but once I do I rather enjoy the walking.

I took another walk at Whiting Rd Nature Preserve last night. I walked the Orange Trail and stuck to it. It was a beautiful evening and I thoroughly enjoyed the time. As usual, I took a plethora of pictures.




This morning I met an old friend for a hike at Mendon Ponds. We avoided my favorite Birdsong Trail as it was crowded and full of families out for some fun. Instead we walked the trail surrounding the Devil's Bathtub, and those in the woods nearby. We hiked up and down hills, took pictures and chatted. It was the perfect day to hike the trails. Conversation was easy and comfortable. I feel refreshed and relaxed, aside from my sunburned lips.






 Late in the afternoon Hannah and I took Idris to Wegmans, the one in Webster, and we bought a picnic dinner which we ate in our favorite summertime place. The garage. After dinner was over we went for another walk. (I'm a little tired this evening. ha ha! My phone says I taken over 14,000 steps today.)

Back to work and The Littles tomorrow.I have my alarm set AND turned on.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Another Woods Walk, Because

 I took myself for a walk yesterday afternoon. I didn't go far, just a few miles down the road to a local nature preserve. 




Not sure what this evening will hold. It's been a laid back and lazy kind of Sunday as I stayed home with my daughter and the little guys. Feels like Saturday, even though it's not.


Wednesday, May 26, 2021

A Little Bit of This Week

 I'm growing and learning every day. Growing can be painful. As much as I don't like pain, it is an incredible motivator.

I woke up 45 minutes late this morning and had no time for my daily shower. I washed as quickly as I could and ran out the door without shampooing my hair. I had two appointments after work with no time to come home in between, or so I thought. My duties were over 15 minutes early, giving me just enough time to run home and wash my hair before heading out.

Chiropractor. He gives me my weekly hug along with a spinal adjustment. Today I asked him if feet make the back hurt or the back makes the feet hurt. My ankles have been bothering me since I came home from the beach... He asked a few questions, scoffed at my flip flops, and gave me a card for a pedorthist. "You won't call. I can tell," he said. Pish! I don't like sore feet. Maybe I'll call them tomorrow.

Therapist. It was a good talk. He asks hard questions and makes me think. He suggests doing things that go against what I naturally tend to do. He helps me look inside to see where my thoughts need to change. He encourages me to let others own their own feelings, and not to take on what isn't mine to carry. This is hard because I naturally carry the hurts, emotions, and responses of others. It doesn't mean I should lose all empathy, but it does mean I need to let go of what isn't mine. Things I learned in CoDA.

On Monday evening I found myself home alone. The lake has been stinky with the yearly die-off of small fish, and so I decided to take my camera and go to another place I love. I headed for the woods. It was a lovely evening, the smell of honeysuckle heavy in the air. I walked a familiar trail and took pictures as I went. Along the way a few bikes passed, and a man and woman walked together. I was not completely alone. My prize photo opportunity was a Pileated Woodpecker finding dinner in a downed log. It was quite fabulous!


Sunday, May 23, 2021

The Barn Collective

Three barns, one farm. I don't pass this way often, so I stole a few photos on my way home from my cousin's house last week.




The Barn Collective

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Where Have I Been?

Regular blogging takes a kind of concentration that is almost absent most days, but I'm still here. By the time I come upstairs at night, my mind and body are tired and my thoughts jumbled, as they are tonight. I've been feeling a little "off" lately, but today was some better. I'm not entirely sure what threw me off kilter, but I think I'm gradually getting to centered again.

Speaking of being centered, my pottery class was this evening. Night 6 of 8. Two more and the class is over. I have no new photographs to share. I've felt a bit out of my element this time around but tonight was a tad better. I actually pulled a decent sized cylinder, even if it did eventually collapse. I'd been feeling pretty discouraged with pottery so this is a ray of hope.

Sunday afternoon found me taking a long drive to a picnic at the home of my cousin Deb. There was a little bit of a celebration in honor of Aunt Mary and Uncle Chuck's birthdays and wedding anniversary. Looking back in the "Blog Files" leads me to conclude this was number 62. Aunt Mary is struggling and I am sad to see her looking so different from how she will always be remembered, always smiling and full of life. These are my only remaining aunt and uncle. Everyone else if gone...

I took my camera along to the party, left it in my car, went back out to get it, and then put it back again. I just didn't feel at ease snapping pictures of family members who hardly know me and didn't want to make uncomfortable those who do. So much has changed since the old gatherings... (Perhaps this is part of why I am feeling off. My heart hurts just writing this.) Anyway, a pair of robins had built their nest under the eave of the house and on top of a downspout. The momma and poppa birds were tag-teaming the feeding of their little family. Needless to say I went back for my camera.


Thursday, May 13, 2021

Mother's Day and a Walk Down East Avenue

 It's days behind us now, but I do want to say that I has a very lovely Mother's Day this year. It started out a bit different from other years, but that was intentional on my part. This year I decided to be proactive. 

On Mother's Day I often find myself desperately afraid of my own expectations, and terribly afraid of transferring them onto my children. I didn't want to sit at home waiting for something to happen and then be overly emotional by the end of the day should things not turn out as expected, so I made some plans.

My friend Chris and I decided to meet for breakfast at a little bakery on Park Avenue in Rochester, NY. I've wanted to go for a long time, but didn't want to venture there alone. Chris suggested, since the weather was forecast to be nice, that we go for a walk afterward, so I sent each of my local kids a text letting them know I was going to be busy during the early part of the day, but would be home after 3 pm. I think they were perhaps a little surprised, but it was really an effort to eliminate the pressures we often feel on both sides.

Chris and I both ordered fancy waffles and enjoyed chatting while we waited for our breakfasts. When we were done eating, we walked a block over to East Avenue and took a self-guided tour of the gardens outside the George Eastman House before walking several block farther into the city. It was a lovely afternoon and I took pictures along the way.

My kids came over in time for pizza later in the day. I received hugs, cards, and a variety of gifts. Gifts and cards are fun, but the best part was the hugs from kids and grandchildren. I also got a phone call from my Minnesota son and that was pretty special too.

I think sometimes moms are more afraid of Mother's Day than anything. Afraid of disappointing, and afraid of being disappointed. There have been many years when I was more than a little relieved when it was over, but this year was just right.

Photographs from our walk.

Sunday, May 09, 2021

My Weekend Adventure

 Our trip to the New Hampshire coast was fabulous! Gail picked me up Friday morning and we stopped for doughnuts in Williamson along the way. In Massachusetts we veered slightly from the planned route and took a little detour to the West End Creamery where I got a big hug from one of my sweet childhood friends. (Check out the link!) She and her husband own this magnificent place that was once his father's dairy farm. Becky's dad was in from out of town so I got to see him too. Gail, Becky's dad, and I enjoyed a sweet treat from the creamery before Gail and I headed north to New Hampshire. Did I ever tell you how much I love finding friends along the way?

Our hotel was in what Gail called "the low rent district". The room was comfortable and well furnished, but the walls were paper thin and a few guests quite noisy. There was a fabulous fight in the parking lot below our third story window at 1 am the first night. I believe the police were called, though I didn't hear any sirens or see any flashing lights, and the outburst was quelled fairly quickly and there were no repeat episodes.

We ate breakfast at a cute little diner called Hoaty's of Hampton next door to the hotel before heading up the road to the North East Sea Glass Expo and then to the beaches where we scoured the shore for bits of sea glass for our own collections. I put my toes into the frigid Atlantic Ocean water. Saturday was brisk and windy, but Sunday was absolutely glorious! Seventy-seven degrees with a mix of sun and clouds. We made it to the beach while the tide was still out and traipsed beaches (and non-beaches) all day, finally getting a somewhat late dinner at Burrito Loco.

We stayed in a different hotel Sunday night as Gail had only booked two nights at the first. Built in 1740, Lamie's Inn is anything but paper. Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower once stayed there. (I saw their picture on the wall.) 

We started back toward home Monday morning, stopping at the mall in Albany, NY on the way. Gail wanted to stop at Boscov's to check out the sales and it sounded like a great idea to me. When we finally returned to our part of the world, she dropped me off to pick up my car which had been in the shop all weekend, and then I met her at her parent's house for a lasagna dinner before heading home myself.

 

It was an entirely fabulous weekend!

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Bits and Pieces

* Met my newest grandbaby and snuggled her brothers on Sunday afternoon. Oh, so wonderful, and a little like being at work. LOL! I have the best job ever!

* I went the the third of my current pottery classes on Tuesday evening. Not quite back in the groove, but maybe I'll get there by the time it ends. 

* I got my hair cut on Wednesday. It's not drastically different, just a little shorter and freshened up.

* I worked an hour late tonight, came home and ate, did my laundry and broke the washing machine. Ha ha! (It doesn't want to spin...) Dropped my car off at the shop for repairs, withdrew some cash from the credit union, popped into target with Hannah, and came home to wring out my clothes and bail out the washer. Then I packed a few clothes in a bag.

*If all goes according to plan, I will be gone away for the weekend. I've taken both Friday (tomorrow) and Monday off work. My friend Gail and I are going east, to the coast, and a Sea Glass Expo. North Hampton, New Hampshire. We're going on an adventure!

Friday, April 23, 2021

Happy Birthday, Sweet Sixteen!

 She's here! Sweet Sixteen has finally arrived and she is beautiful! I can't wait to meet her in person.

Lyla Danielle, born in the wee hours of the morning, like her daddy so many years ago. She's just a little thing, not quite six pounds but entirely gorgeous.

We're all pretty excited at getting a girl! Now we wait for her Minnesota cousin, Number Seventeen, also a girl. (So exciting!!!)

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Clay in His Hands

 Grief. It never ends. It just gets traded in for a newer model.

She tripped over my foot. I wasn't careful how far out into the aisle it was, and when she came running by, she caught my toe and down she went. If I'd had my feet directly in front of me, she wouldn't have fallen. It was an accident, but she's insistent that I intentionally hurt her, even said I pushed her as well... and that I laughed. I heard her tell someone that I'm always doing those things, that I do it to make her look stupid, and that I'm mean and only care about myself... But that isn't true. The only true part, is that she tripped over my foot and fell. I didn't mean for it to happen.

My new pottery class started last week. Last Tuesday I was a little overwhelmed and had trouble just throwing a simple cylinder. Tonight, emotionally overwhelmed with relational complications of the past week, the temptation was strong to skip the class, stay home, and isolate upstairs in my room. I didn't want to go out at all, but honestly, it had little to do with pottery...

Two weeks ago I was feeling confident and self assured, and the past few days I haven't been able to shake the heavy blanket of self doubt and depression. I know that dark clouds will pass in time, as they always do, but I find myself wondering how long it will take to make up the lost progress of the previous months. I've come so far in the journey to healing, and yet I still find each setback frightening, especially when the feeling of loss and dread are so profound. It's a though a pair of giant claws are sunk deep into my flesh and I'm bleeding...

I could have stayed home this evening, but then I remembered the previous times when the things I love so much (children, photography, pottery...) have felt overwhelming, and I knew to stay home would be to let the depression win. So I went. I went to my class even though my heart was heavy, and once again God came through. He took my heavy heart and held me close. It was a good evening, a silly evening of cup handles turned gargoyles and conversations that made us laugh. And I am grateful.

(The faces were a group effort, each one touched by multiple hands as they were transformed from normal handles stuck on the wall, to faces.)