The Newest Little Monkey

Ok, so I’m a little behind with this post, but it’s not my fault.

Honest.

I have a new grandson.

Everybody say hi to Maxwell!

His Mama (EldestDaughter) calls him “Monkey”, because she says he gets this little wrinkle in his forehead when he’s thinking really hard, or confused, or working on his next magnum opus, that makes him look like a baby monkey.

He was born 2/12/2017 in Washington state, where ED is now living with her SO & Schnicklefritz.

And I didn’t get to be there.

*sniffle*

But, he’s healthy, happy, & adjusting to life on the outside, according to all accounts, which is all I can ask for.

I DO get to see them all when they’ll come home for OnlySon’s graduation in May.

*BIG YAY & high five!*

So, for now, I have to survive without baby snuggles & will live vicariously through texted pictures & a recently set up weekly Skype date.

And, I’ll have to revamp my ABCs I wrote when Schnicklefritz was born, & tailor some much-needed “Gramma wisdom” for this newest addition to the zoo.

*I feel a challenge coming on*

For now, here’s some pictures I’ve wheedled out of my daughter!

Who is this person holding me? A brother, you say? Ok, I’ll start working on my “little brother pestering” skill set now.

Here’s this “big brother” person again… Are you sure he needed to follow us home, Mom?  Well, at least he seems to like me somewhat, so maybe this could work.

You know, I’m not too sure about this whole “being outside” thing, Mom & Dad…couldn’t I have just stayed where I was? I was kinda comfy there.

No snark…just awwwwwwwwwe…

*sniffle* 

I wanna snuggle him!

Reliving 2016

I am so very tired today, as though the whole weight of the year has descended upon my body in this one day.  I’ve slept so long today, only waking at 3pm, & I can still feel the heaviness dragging at me…

But, I feel the need to write, to tally the happenings of this year, and so, I come here to lay down all I can remember. This will be a fragmented account, not linear, but more likely, a simple recounting of the things I recall best.

* I bought a different vehicle. My Mitsubishi gave up on me, with too many problems I couldn’t get fixed without spending way too much money, I simply couldn’t justify keeping it any longer. I sold it to someone who was able to do much of the work himself, thereby saving himself from having to spend all that money I would’ve had to on labor.  Instead, I bought a little pickup from my dad. It is a good vehicle, if smaller & lower clearance than I’m used to, but it does the job admirably. 

* I took some horse back riding “lessons”. More just “sessions”, really, as I grew up with horses & rode most of my young life. They were fun until it got really cold, & as much as I miss riding, I’m pretty much done with the sessions, even though we’re supposed to have a couple makeups, due to bad weather, I don’t think I want to do them anymore.  I got what I wanted from it.

* My EldestDaughter is pregnant with my second grandchild, and is due in Feb. She & the grandson moved out of my home in April, moving to Washington state with her boyfriend. They are good for each other, & I hope they continue to build their family in the new year with all the humor, love, & compassion possible. Even though I miss them horribly, this is a good move for her, & I send them all good things for this upcoming year.

*OnlySon turned 18 this year, & is set to graduate in May. He’s started really enjoying his autonomy, making choices for himself & deciding on what his next steps will be toward independence. I worry for him, as independence is not something he likes, relying on his father, who was always a helicopter parent, to pick up where he leaves off & make decisions. My hope for him this year is that he truly learns the value of being his own man, working hard for what he wants, & goes after it.

* Youngerdaughter is the opposite – she is completely independent, living on her own, & working a job she really enjoys. She is straightforward, goal-oriented, & determined to do her best in every situation. I am so proud to be her mom, & I marvel at her all the time. I truly enjoy our talks on the phone ( “Oh, one more thing I have to tell you”, after we’ve been talking for an hour), and the few times we’re able to get together to visit. 

*I’m thinking of shutting down my Etsy shop. I’ve had a handful of sales since I opened, & it is just a hobby shop for me, but the legalities & business side of things are beginning to wear on me. I don’t know if I really want it anymore. We’ll see what 2017 presents. 

*My love life continues to elude. I’ve heard from many that if I stop looking, it’ll find me, but I don’t think so. In order for love to find you, you have to be visible, & I am not. I don’t “go out”, I don’t mingle, I hate crowds & shopping in public. How is love going to find me at home, curled up in my chair with a book?

Ludicrous.

And, anyway, the men I’ve met always have some reason they’re unattainable, anyway. 

1. Geographic issues. We’ve talked for 3 1/2 years, & he still hasn’t come to see me as he’s promised, & the country he’s in is impossible for me to visit, due to many reasons. He proclaims love loudly & often, but has broken every promise he’s made. Anyone who knows me, knows that if you don’t keep your word with me, I will stop trusting anything you say…and then it’s pretty much over. I don’t want to give up on this possibility, but there doesn’t seem to be any reason to continue. I’ve given 3 1/2 years of my life…how much more time does he think he has to prove himself? 

Maybe this is my fault…I should’ve stopped it all years ago & not taken him back after the first argument. Why didn’t I? Because the heart is blind, deaf & stubborn. And, maybe, because having him in the background keeps me from getting hurt by anyone else. There’s always the excuse of “Oh, sorry, I can’t get to know you or date you because I’m seeing someone who’s out of the country”. *sigh* 

Me and my love of impossible relationships… 

2. Vulnerability issues. I understand not wanting to be hurt again after bad experiences…I do. Been there, done that, still wearing the tread marks. BUT, if you never trust, you never get the benefits of real love. If growing older alone holds no problem for you, *shrug* I guess I can’t say anything to change that, but I don’t want that life for myself. I still wonder, sometimes, if he ever thinks about me & regrets his decision. I dreamt about him not long ago, & have had a terrible urge to email him. I haven’t done so, but the feeling is still there. 

3. Commitment issues.  Twice burned, forever shy, I guess. Been there, too, with 2 failed marriages under my belt, I know what it’s like. But, I don’t want to give up on the possibility of love.  I won’t let myself love someone who isn’t willing to commit. We can be friends, but that’s all I’ll ever give. He’ll never know what could’ve been, after throwing it away. And someday, even the friendship will fade until it is gone altogether. That’s just how it works. 

*I want to travel. I want to see my nephew in Georgia. He is my best friend, and I miss him something chronic. He wants me to move down South after my son graduates, & I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t thought about it. 

* My job is going well. After one of the other ladies moved away, I was tasked with assuming many of her duties, & it keeps me busier than ever. I had a good evaluation this year, & I’m proud of the work I’ve done. I still like what I do, but I could do without the bullying that happens occasionally. No job is perfect, however, so I just take the lumps with the sweet, & keep going.

*I’ve been working on improving my house, when I can, and as I can afford it. It’s slow, as money isn’t overly abundant, but progress is being made, & that’s the important part. One day, I will sell it and move on to elsewhere. Where to and when this will happen? I don’t know yet…but, my feet itch, & I am tired of snow.

*I’ve been spending a lot more time learning about Introversion and how it relates to me. After taking that personality test a few months ago, & learning I fit the INFJ type, I’ve discovered so many true statements about who I am & where I want to go next. This journey doesn’t stop here, it simply opens different doors.

*Oh, yeah…almost forgot. I’ve been published in someone else’s book again.

In 2011, I wrote a post about Dr. Bohdan Hordinsky, a man I knew when I was younger. A couple of years ago, someone who used to live in my hometown contacted me, asking if he could use some of it in a book he was writing about his own life. I said “Sure, just give me credit for whatever you use”, & mostly forgot about it.

This year, he contacted me again, to tell me the book had been published, & is now available in places like Barnes & Noble, on Amazon, & like places. He also sent me a copy of the book, with a handwritten note.

He used the whole post, copying it word for word, & gave me total credit for it, even including me in the acknowledgments. It’s pretty cool, having been published 3 times now, twice for writing, once for photography, but always in others’ books. My nephew insists that I should write my own book, but I don’t know if I have the patience or the business acumen for it. It’s a lot of work, & I write for pleasure. Would it still be pleasurable if I took that route? I’m not so sure.

Well, there you have it…a little time encapsulated. I wonder…if I plant these seeds, what kind of garden would come up next spring? Would I get lovely flowers, or thorny & noxious weeds?

Maybe I should just put them in the ground and find out…

Standing at the Crossroads, Waiting for ~

For a long time now, I have felt as though I’ve been in limbo.

Imagine a crossroads, dusty and forlorn, on a lonely stretch of deserted gravel road. A middle-aged, redheaded woman sits on a stack of boxes, staring off into space, absently tucking flyaway hairs behind her ears, and sighing at nothing in particular. The sun sits midway through the afternoon sky, warming her back, and she stands, wanders up to the dented stop sign, looks left, looks right, turns back & sits down again.

Me.

Waiting.

For what, you might ask?

Oh, for the fulfilment of a promise, for the chance to change her circumstances, for the liberation of knowing that she’s successfully raised the last of her children to an independent, adult stage of life, & she can make decisions now, solely based on what’s best for her, and no one else. 

I love my children.  I love that I was given the opportunity to raise them, to love them, to nurture their growth into responsible, independent adults.

But, every large decision I’ve made in my life since March 13, 1991, has been influenced heavily by “what’s best for the child/children”, not just for me.  

And for the last few years, I’ve felt as though there was this staticky, dusty place in the back of my brain, where that woman sits at the crossroads, waiting for the next stage. Waiting for “what comes next”.

Men have come and gone from my life, for whatever reasons they felt were valid at the time. Only 1 said he was in it for the long haul; but even he has failed to actually appear in person to begin this life he says he longs for. All the rest, whether they originally said they were “there for me” or were just in it for the moment, or nostalgia, or just wanted the temporary convenience of another warm body nearby, ended up walking away. 

I’m tired of being a “temporary fix”. I’m weary down to my bones of waiting for this elusive “luv” to show up. I’m not content, anymore, to be someone’s “right now”.

I want more. I want to go, get out, move and shake and rattle some cages. I want something to change.

And I want to stop being that woman at the crossroads, waiting for…

1 more year… Then…watch me.

Watch me fuck shit up; shake a few trees to see the residents fly out, screeching about being dislodged from their comfortable perches; watch me change my little corner of the world as I rise up from that stack of boxes, kick them into the ditch, and pick a direction to 

Just. Start. Walking.

Then. Watch me. As I walk away, & start my own life. 

As difficult as it will be to start over at the middle age of 47 (as I will be this time next year), I will do it. 

Because I’m tired of limbo.

Tired of waiting for change to swoop me up & deliver me someplace else.

Tired of being left by the side of the road when I’m no longer “convenient”.

Fuck that. 

It’s my turn.

Happy Thoughts…

Trying to remind myself of the good things that do happen, I decided to make mental notes of small, happy things.

1. My pumpkin patch is growing like mad! I have 1 that’s about the size of a baby’s head right now, & at least one more possible that’s the size of a kiwi…

2. I finally saw a monarch butterfly yesterday! I’ve been wondering where they were this year, with everything I’ve read about the troubles they’ve been having…and I saw one! It gave me a smile, and a happy memory of the kids & me taking care of one a few years ago, then releasing it into the park.

(Sneaky Pete from a few years ago when we released him)

3. I found some new series to watch on Netflix. The Shanarra Chronicles (already hooked on this one, & can’t wait for the next season to come out), Stranger Things, Black Mirror, Penny Dreadful (these last ones I haven’t started yet, so have no other comment).  I finished Gilmore Girls again, and I’m eagerly (rabidly) waiting for the new episodes to start in November!

4. I have a lone daisy growing wild in my yard.  It popped up out of nowhere, it’s small, & not perfect… But, it’s tough, and determined.

5. Onlyson started his senior year today. He is also turning 18 in 2 days! My youngest, my baby, will be registering with Selective Service in just a few days. Oy. Where did the time go? I want to do something nice for this big day, but he’ll be going to his dad’s this weekend, so I won’t see him till Sunday. 

I’m trying to be more mindful, more open to recognizing the happier things that happen from day to day. Some days, it’s easier than others.

Living For One

I’ve never lived alone.

Oh, I’ve lived in places, and in situations, for short periods of time, where it might be said that I was alone, but even then, I really wasn’t.

Obviously, I lived with my parents for the first years of my life, till I went to college.

Then I lived with a roommate, in a dorm, for the year & a half that I spent at college.  

Then an apartment with 3 other girls for a handful of weeks.

When I left there, I went back to my parents’ home through the summer, until I moved to New Jersey for 2 months to live with a family as their nanny.

Until I found out I was pregnant with ElderDaughter, and, once again, moved home for a short span, until I could get a place of my own.

The remainder of my pregnancy, I lived in a small house that my parents owned.  That is probably the only time most would call it living alone. But even then, I wasn’t really, because I was carrying another human being around with me.

Ever since then, I’ve always had kids, and lived with 2 different husbands at different times, for the different spans of our marriages. 

Yes, my Onlyson still lives with me, at least until he graduates from high school next spring. But he spends a good amount of time with his father – most weekends, and the lion’s share of the summer.

So, you might say, this summer I’m practicing living alone.

And I can’t decide whether I like it or not.

I get to do what I want, when I want.

But I do it alone, with no one to talk to.

I can stay up as late as I want, and be as loud as I want.

But there’s no one to enjoy the fun stuff with.

I control the remote, and I can keep the house exactly how I want it.  Things don’t get up and walk away when I leave the room.  (Unless the cats decide to get ornery)

But there’s no one to share the chores with, I’m responsible for all of the work.

I can buy exactly the food I want to eat, and nothing else.

But there’s no reason to cook, because I’m eating alone.

The dog is always happiest when I come home.

But…I can’t share my day with her & have her tell me funny stories about hers. (The cats are whiners. They only bitch about the food bowl being too low, or why don’t I ever let them outside?)

I like being on my own, sometimes. No “Moooooommm! Mom. Mama. Mommy!” No demands & needs, no asking where this or that is. 

But…no one to hug. No one to smile with. No one to cry with. No one to joke around & be sarcastic with.

There has to be more than this.

Letter to Myself

Dear Jen,

I just wanted to drop you a line, to check in, and to let you know…

It’s all going to be Ok.

I promise.

I know that things haven’t been great for you recently. I know that you’ve been struggling to find your balance, your peace, with everything that’s been going on, and that you’ve been beating yourself up over that.

Stop.

Stop right now.

You don’t deserve the pain you’ve been putting yourself through- you truly don’t, and I’d appreciate it if you’d cease and desist. 

Your friends would appreciate if you’d cease & desist.  They truly do care about you, you know this, and they’ve told you so. Listen to them. They’re smart.

E putting you off for 3 years is not your fault. You’ve been holding onto hope for so long, and I know it hurts when you have it dragged out this long, but seriously? He needs to put up or shut up, and you need to stop feeling guilty about thinking about moving on without him.

Someday, you will find someone who will treat you with respect. Someone who will love you, and will not only tell you so, but will prove it.

B ignoring you is not your fault. You tried to talk to him, and left the door open for conversation, so it’s his decision and choice.

Matter of fact, you’re not responsible for anyone else’s feelings and/or reactions. 

Only your own.

K’s problems with G are not your fault, either. Yes, it’s like reliving your past a bit, but there’s nothing you can do about it, nor should you. You can provide compassion, a comfortable shoulder to cry on when necessary, and love to boost her back up. That’s all that’s required, as it’s her life, so she’s the one who has to decide what to do.

And you need to stop letting others get you so worked up, and take more moments to breathe before you react. You know that if you just sleep on it, or give it at least a little more time, you’ll calm down, and be able to see things a little clearer.

And if it’s still worth getting worked up over, you have the extra rest to use.

And you do know how to kick some ass, when necessary. You’ve been fighting for others for years, and have gotten a pretty good reputation as a bouncer when needed.

Just learn how to do it for yourself, too, would you? Please? For both of us?

Thanks.

Sincerely,

Me