I am enjoying the tradition of visiting Florida each December. It's been cooler this year than the past two, and I forgot to bring my sweatshirt, so I bought myself a long sleeved cotton T-shirt from Blue Spring State Park. I splurged. For the manatees.
Saturday, December 09, 2023
Thursday, December 07, 2023
Barbara was the star manatee in a Veggie Tales song...
I have been to Florida's Blue Spring Park twice before today, but both times, although we had a lovely walk, there were no manatees. It was just too warm. The manatees come into the spring when the water temperature in the St John's River drops. Manatee need warm water to thrive and the spring stays a toasty 72 degrees Fahrenheit making it an idea spot for them to congregate. Getting a clear photo was next to impossible. Ha ha! But I did try.
I've been enjoying my grandchildren. The smallest is an adorable friendly little one who had me sitting on the floor singing songs and looking at a book as soon as I came in the door. Her brothers have followed suit in a slower, but similar manner. The house is full of laughter and tears, running, and squeals of both frustration and delight. I feel right at home. LOL!
Yesterday and today were tired days. I woke up at 3:30 am on Wednesday to catch my 5:45 am flight, and sometimes airplanes affect my ears for a day or so after. Throw in a change in the coffee consumption routine and it's a recipe for a dull headache and tired eyes. I took a good nap this afternoon and am feeling much better this evening.
Sunday, December 03, 2023
I've come to The Blog multiple times and stared at it, wanting to write but not knowing what to say... I visited my therapist the night before Thanksgiving. There were a few tears and some moments of laughter.
"Years ago you told me," I said to him, "that things like this take 3 to 5 years to work through..."
"We're pretty close to that," he answered.
And I laughed and said, "It's been 8 years."
There remains the question, "Have I worked through it?" and the answer comes in layers.
A few nights ago I had a conversation with a beloved family member who was trying to help me sort through some feelings. I don't think either of us was prepared for the feelings that welled up inside of me. "Anger" is a simple term that covers a broad spectrum of emotions from irritation to blind rage and everything in between. It's a safe word. A "weasel word," if you will.
For years I've known I should feel intense anger, but mostly felt only numbness. Rather than look my own indignation, outrage, or lividity in the face, I placed a cap on the bottle and screwed it down tight, It was too painful to let the emotions out, and besides I didn't even know how. All of my life I have been taught to put myself last, to think of others first, to keep secrets, cover sins, and think the best. I have taken on the emotions of others to the detriment of self, but this time it wasn't about just me. I dragged my feet, searched both scripture and soul, sought wise counsel, and eventually did the hardest thing I have ever done. I moved away from the home I loved, the church I attended, and the man I had married. It ripped my heart out, but in all honesty, it had already been torn to shreds.
Today I recognize the anger inside. I feel it tighten my back, neck and shoulder muscles, and creep down my arms and legs. It has shown up in blood pressure readings, fatigue and depression, as well as regret and feelings of hopelessness. It has brought isolation, loneliness, and insurmountable loss.
But for all the negative there are positives to anger as well. I learned to set boundaries and an example as well. In spite of the numbness inside, in spite of the swinging pendulum of emotions, I did what needed to be done in order to lance the abscess and bring much needed relief to not only myself but my children as well. Surgery is painful. Healing is agonizing. Physical therapy is hard and exhausting work. (I speak allegorically.) Today I need not only to loosen the bottle cap, but remove the bottle altogether. The problem is that I don't know how to process anger in a healthy manner. I only know how to shut it down.
Please don't tell me I need to "give it to Jesus" because, although I have heard that all my life, I don't have an inkling what that is supposed to mean. Is it possibly enough to admit to myself and others that I am deeply wounded and profoundly angry not only for my children, but myself as well? I am ready to move on and desperately need to let it all go, I'm just not sure where to set the bag.
With all of that said, I have undergone an incredible transformation the past eight and a half years. Life rarely feels hopeless, I seldom isolate, and my family is healing in ways I once deemed impossible. The mirror reflects more peace and happiness with each passing year and I am incredibly grateful for each and every bit of growth, even if I'm not entirely grateful for how it came about.
(I'm headed to Florida on Wednesday morning. Stay tuned for some great times and photos.)
Sunday, November 19, 2023
I don't feel like I have much to report, although I'm sure a myriad of happenings have transpired since my last post, one of them being my youngest son's 30th birthday last Saturday. We surprised him with a family bowling party. All the local kids and grandkids were there, except for Josh who was working. I missed the opportunity for a group photo. I just wasn't quick enough. They scattered when I wasn't looking and there was no rounding them up again.I like to wrap Thanksgiving in Christmas paper and tie it with a ribbon. I also like to be thankful for Christmas and all it entails, so I've decided to mix them altogether and enjoy an extended holiday season... I have a fabulous snowman collection along with a collection of fabric birds dressed in holiday garb.
Last Sunday I took myself out to breakfast and ate "alone" at the counter in a favorite local restaurant. I was alone when I ordered but a few others ended up sitting there too. We did not converse but none of us was completely alone at the same time. In the afternoon my friend Laura and I took a drive out to Hamlin Beach State Park and took a long walk. It was a beautiful day.
This morning I decided to do something different and visited a church by myself. It's here in town, maybe a mile away. It's been there my entire life but I had never been previous to this morning. I saw a few familiar faces, felt very comfortable, and will likely make another visit in the near future.
Friday, November 03, 2023
Tomorrow is a day with friends. We're going to a craft sale and then out to lunch. This is good. This is what I need.
Saturday, October 21, 2023
Tuesday, October 17, 2023
Writing is cathartic. I know this and yet still find it difficult to carve out the time. It's so much easier to listen to a podcast or do an online jigsaw puzzle. Or both. Usually at the same time.
Writing takes time and effort. When I have the time, I'm often too tired to put in the effort. Mostly I mull over what could be written when I have no access to the internet or my computer.
It feels like yesterday when I was able to sit down and write a blog post every day. Back then we walked the orchards, baked cakes and pies, and raked leaves into gigantic heaps. Toys were strewn across the living room, laughter filled the house, and the school bus stopped at the end of the driveway almost every day... It felt as though life would go on and on like that forever but slowly, little by little life began to change. Quite honestly, life was always changing. I simply wasn't noticing.
My son Dave turned 40 on Sunday. Where have the years gone? October 15, 2006 So much has happened since he was twenty-three... Three of my grandchildren have birthdays in October. In 2006 I didn't have any grandchildren, my parents were living here in this little house, and I was still in awe of the home God had given us, surrounded by apple orchards, blanketed in star studded skies, and filled with family...
There are still moments when it feels as though I'm living the wrong life, that mine was mistakenly derailed and I landed on one going an entirely different direction, one with a destination of which I am totally unsure.
Sunday, October 08, 2023
Oh! I just remembered! I was coming back into work from a lunch break last week when my boss said she had a weird question for me. She showed me a picture on her phone and asked, "Is one of these yours?" There was a photograph of three canvas pencil cases with names on them; Martha, Amber, and Megan. They were Christmas gifts from one of the Tot Spot moms three years ago when I was helping open the infant room and doing breaks.
"Yes," I told her, still wondering where this was going...
"Do you know who made them," she asked. It felt like a trick question and I was still caught a little off guard by the asking. I took a guess that it was the sister of one of the other moms because she has done gifts in more recent years. "You're looking at her," she said, "Jen P---- asked me to make them back when you were taking care of ----." Ha ha! I knew she and Jen were friends, I'd learned that during my interview, but how funny that I actually have something made by my current boss when I didn't even know. (Now if only I can find it... It's probably somewhere in the attic.)
Wednesday, October 04, 2023
I just do not have enough time in my life to work and do all the playing I would like. Ha ha! Who does?
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
* It's been busy and I have been tired.
* I had a doctor's appointment on Thursday. I got a tetanus booster.
* This past weekend my cousins and I had a booth at a local festival. So much fun! I sold a few pieces of pottery. Over all we had a successful weekend, and I bought a grape pie.
* I am going to New Jersey with my friend Gail this coming weekend. Maybe I'll stick my toes in the ocean one more time before winter.
* I bought an airline ticket for December. I miss my Florida family, the ones who used to be in Minnesota. I asked my boss first. LOL!
Monday, September 18, 2023
Thursday, September 14, 2023
* I have been cleared to be alone with children. All pieces of my background check have come through. Although it feels frustrating while waiting, I totally understand the process. I believe in it. Quite honestly, every childcare worker should probably undergo periodic background checks even if they are working during the process. It only makes sense.
* Allergy testing is set for Tuesday morning before work. I am three day into no antihistamine and feeling itchy. Not quite as itchy as I felt two years ago when I went off Zyrtec cold turkey, but itchy nonetheless. Back then I eventually gave in and went back to taking Claritin. This time I have reduced the dose incrementally but still too fast to eliminate the itching altogether. I'm very curious what this round of testing will reveal.
* I'm looking forward to some future walks in the woods when the leaves start turning colors.
Saturday, September 02, 2023
Monday, August 28, 2023
* I saw my friend Aria again this afternoon. She gave me another hug and introduced me to her sister. They are very close in age, they are not twins, and yes, they are sisters. I knew about the sister, but had never met her previous to today.
Saturday, August 26, 2023
I was surprised when I left the toddler room yesterday to see a small familiar face walking into a nearby classroom. It was Aria, one of my little friends from the other daycare. I was blessed to give her a hug and tell her I love her.
It's been a low key kind of Saturday. Beautiful, sunny skies and mild temperatures. Just the way I like it.
Tuesday, August 22, 2023
* My doctor answered the message I sent and agrees it sounds like I had an allergic reaction while on vacation in Cape Cod. He has referred me to an allergist.
* I am never quite ready to come home from vacations even if it rains, which it did. In spite of the rain, and sometimes ocean mist, we had some fabulous beach days.
Friday, August 18, 2023
(I started this while still at the Cape but never had a chance to finish.)
Friday, August 11, 2023
It's over and done. There was only one baby today, my newest. A sweet, little girl named Maddie. I could have gone home once the other baby teacher came in, but I decided to give others the option. I stayed for two and a half "lunch" breaks for others and left at noon. I sat on the floor with four year olds, stroked the head of a sleepy 18 month old, hugged the cook whose not-yet-born grandson will be at my new daycare and left. I almost went out the door without saying goodbye to the director. but was stopped by our assistant director who said, "Don't you leave without saying goodbye!" It was a bizarre day.
I came home to cry and pack my bags for vacation. I didn't plan for it to fall into my schedule between jobs, but it feels perfect.
Thursday, August 10, 2023
(Pictures sent from Florida by my daughter.)