Thursday, December 30, 2021

There and Back Again

Last Friday, Christmas Eve, I got on a plane and flew to Florida. Two new things; flying on Christmas Eve, and being away from home on Christmas.

Tensions were running high here at home before I left. I had gotten out of work early (10:30 am.) and there was a layer of wet sticky snow on the ground. Mid afternoon Sergio suggested we go for a walk. While I pushed the stroller carrying Killian in his snowsuit, Hannah, Sergio and Idris had a snowball fight. At 5:30 pm. Hannah dropped me and my suitcase off at the airport.

On Christmas morning I frightened one small boy who peeked in my bedroom door by saying "Good morning!" He hadn't expected a "strange" woman to be sleeping in Dad's office and burst into tears. Thankfully, I was able to calm his fears by picking him up and talking to him. It was a beautiful Christmas morning with matching pajamas, a fancy breakfast, and lots of presents followed by a trip to visit the other grandparents where there were more presents. Lots more presents.

On Sunday we went to look for the manatees, but the weather was warm and sunny and the manatees were not hanging out in their winter hot spot. Even so it was a wonderful outing. On Monday we walked about the city, stopped at the playground, looked at the lake, and ate lunch in a Mexican restaurant. Tuesday morning was spent at home and before I knew it the time had come for me to go home. I was feeling a little more emotional than expected.

I didn't get to the beach and I didn't find any long lost friends. I'm still hoping for that on my next Florida trip and reminding myself that this wasn't really a vacation. It was a trip to visit my son and his family for Christmas and it was beautiful. (I think I like Florida.)

PS. That's an alligator swimming in the lake.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Last Minute Posting

I fully intended to post something tonight, but I dropped the ball and now I desperately need to turn off the light and go to sleep because I have to get up at 5 am and go to work tomorrow. Yes, it is Christmas Eve, but a piddly, few children still show up at the daycare and so, much to our chagrin, it remains open. We are expecting two babies tomorrow and I am in charge of both. 

The daycare closes early tomorrow afternoon. At least there's that. I get out at 3 o'clock in the afternoon. In time to go home and be at the airport in Rochester by about 5:30 pm to catch a flight out around 7:45. On Christmas Eve. I'm leaving my computer home this trip, but still hoping to locate my misplaced favorite camera lens before my departure. (Thankfully, God knows where it is. I'm hoping he lets me in on the secret.)

The bag is packed, I'm ready to go.

Sunday, December 12, 2021

It's Almost Christmas

 I looked through my Facebook memories this evening. Photograph after photograph of days gone by... The Naughties batting at Christmas ornaments, snow-covered apple trees, grandchildren and gingerbread houses, and The Cabinetmaker. Everything I loved with all of my heart; my home and my family. The only thing I ever really wanted. My treasures...

The ache, softened only slightly by time, returned once again... I could delete the blog. I could erase the photographs. I could refuse to look. Instead I go back time and time again. Sometimes the memories bring a smile. Sometimes I laugh out loud. Other times a lump grows in my throat and tears spill down my cheeks.

Holidays are emotional. Rather than softening the blow of family secrets revealed, time has made impossible sitting in the same place and pretending everything is fine. Everything is not fine, no matter how much my heart and mind want it so. Everything is not okay.

In the past two months, two of my children have blamed me for not protecting them from the abuse they suffered as children, but the truth is that I did the very best I could with the tools and knowledge I had at the time. I read recently that "abuse doesn't necessarily start out in a very obvious way; it creeps in slowly like a poisonous gas. The more you breathe the gas, the less clear your thoughts become. By the time things start happening that a sane person would easily recognize as abuse, it's generally too late- you are no longer quite 'sane.' Your sense of what has happened has become completely distorted by exhausting mental games and emotional torment." Early on I knew a very real and present danger existed, but somewhere along the way, as I breathed in the "gas," I lost focus. Even now my mind wants to rationalize and deny.

I sent out the apology letter I'd been contemplating weeks before the first child approached me. Seven identical letters sent privately to each of my children. I heard back from six. The seventh has seen it but not responded and this was not one of the two who had voiced blame. Abuse is a complicated poison with the perpetrator often being forgiven for offenses committed while the "non-offending" parent is left holding the blame. I've been told kids are smart and they will figure it out eventually. Maybe. But they've been breathing the gas all their lives. If it's been so very hard for me, how much harder it must be for them...