The Road to Hell

I am the mother of a child with serious mental health disorders.

And today I fucked up.

He sent me some concerning messages. Finished with ‘bye’ and then didn’t respond to any of my further texts or calls.

So I panicked. I left messages for his doctor and his therapist because it’s after hours. Then called the police, several states away.

He scared me and I panicked.

And now he’s extremely pissed with me and I don’t know what happens next.

I’ve damaged our fragile trust and I don’t know if he’ll allow me back in.

And it’s killing me.

Not just today. Every day. Whether I hear from him or not. Whether it’s a good conversation or not.

We recently spent several hours together and it was GOOD. And my hope rose — but all hope now is heavily tempered with the pain of knowing that any moment the GOOD can shift to BAD. There’s a lot of walking on eggshells, stepping carefully, feeling gently ahead for soft spots or sharp edges. And there are far more sharp edges where I trip or pull back, bite my tongue or say that one thing that sets him off. Something that a couple of days ago was fine.

He’s my one and only son. My child who I  share so many interests with – Doctor Who, X-Files, Twin Peaks, Harry Potter…

We have the same twisted sense of humor. He’s wicked smart. The green flashes in his eyes come from me. And the light dusting of golden freckles across his nose. We talk books, movies, music, religion (or lack thereof)…

He’s artistic, creative, imaginative.

Although between the illnesses, medications and a brain injury none of his creativity comes easy to him anymore. And I know he feels that lack. And it pains me.

I’m his mother. I’m supposed to be able to make things better. To help him.

When I look at him I don’t just see the man he is now, I see the boy he was. The boy who slept with me until he was six and I was too pregnant. And even then he’d come sleep on the floor by our bed. The boy who looked so lovingly at his baby sister and touched her so gently. The boy who would watch ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ year round if we let him. The boy who from the moment he was mobile didn’t stop – if he could climb on it, over it, through it, under it, swing on it, walk on it, etc. he did. And has a few scars to show for it although somehow he never broke a bone or needed stitches. The boy who picked wild hot peppers then touched his face so had to put his face in a bowl of milk. Whose friends mothers loved him because he was kind and helpful. The 17 year old who was so miserably sick with the stomach flu that he brought his bedding in to my room to sleep by me, even if it was on the floor.

The boy, and now the man, who has never had a problem telling me he loved me.

And I love him so much my heart is breaking.

Nurturing My Soul

Today was one of those stay inside and huddle days. Lots of pain. I won’t bore you with the details. The cloudy greyness and chill didn’t help.

I read, dozed, watched TV, played games. I did the things I needed to do – take my daughter school, drink some coffee so I could take my vitamins, do the bit of housework that needed doing.

And then I lazed, drinking tea.

Until my daughter came home and needed a ride to a friend’s home. As I was driving home, I noticed the time and pulled into a small park I frequent. It’s by a pond and a lake (well, it’s supposed to be a lake but it’s been drained for the past two+ years for repairs and dredging). The golf cart path cuts through it, crossing the channel between the pond and the lake. It’s one of my favorite places to go to walk, take pictures, and just be out in nature.

So I wrapped my scarf tighter around my neck and my sweater tighter around me, got out of my car, making sure to lock it, and wandered. I noticed a police officer had pulled in, also facing towards the setting sun. Multiple people walked, jogged, biked, drove by. A few stopped, at least for a few moments, to look at the sky. Look at the wildlife. No one was loud or noisy. There were no loud conversations. No blasting music. No loud vehicles.

It was peacefully full of the sounds of nature. The water flowing from the pond to the lake where it becomes a small waterfall. Ducks and geese chattering and arguing with one another as they start to settle for the night.

I watched as a heron circled overhead before settling in the tall grasses. A hawk or falcon flew by – too dark for me to tell for certain, but recognizing the silhouette. And I know there are hawks in the area, at least red-tail hawks. The ducks and geese started moving towards the edges of the water, or flew from the pond to the lake and vice versa. Something swam in the pond, not water fowl, not fish, not turtle. Too far away to see much more in the twilight than a small brown head and the movement of a body behind it. An otter maybe.

And then there was the sunset itself. At first I despaired as I watched the sun sink behind the trees, that even with clouds in the sky, the hoped for colors wouldn’t appear. Bit by golden bit the sun disappeared completely from view. Slowly the golden hue rose up into the sky. 275

I turned and caught the last bit of sunlight as it lit the treetops across the pond.

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More and more gold appeared as the blues faded then darkened. While the air was still on the ground, it wasn’t on high, as I watched the clouds shift and morph and move across the darkening sky. The gold became darker and oranges and pinks joined in. The clouds and colors reflected in the lake and pools of water along its edges. As it got later, more and more purples appeared. I tried to catch as much as I could, switching between camera apps and views. And then I just stopped. And looked. My camera in my pocket. Until at the very last when the clouds became a deep stunning magenta hue.

As the last little bit of color disappeared in to the dark of night, I went back to my car feeling so much more alive, more me, than I had when I first got there. I even forgot about my pain (although once I settled in for the drive home, it reared its ugly head again).

It’s nature, all of it. The water, the soil, the sky, flora and fauna. Observing and being surrounded by it until it refills some parts of me that I hadn’t even realized were empty. I have always had access to nature, whether in wide open spaces like my grandparents ranch, or in small city parks while away at university. Walking through forests, sitting by the river that ran along our property when I was a teen, sitting on the edge of a lake or bay or seashore, standing on cliffs watching the sun sink into the Pacific, driving country roads and seeing new vistas, watching various animals as they live their own lives, listening to the sounds of animals and insects unseen, watching the stars and moon appear and wheel across the sky until the sun rises and they disappear from my view again. Even being caught in a sudden rain storm can fill me with joy and make me smile like a loon.

 

Leonard Nimoy (aka Spock)

I have been surprisingly weepy since learning of Leonard Nimoy’s death. 

The first notice I got was a text from my son: 😦

Then I looked at Twitter. And have been looking at the Internet & clicking on links off and on since them.

So. Many. Feels. And I’m surprised by this.

Although, digging in to it, I guess it’s really not that surprising. 

I was born in December 1966, so there has never been a day in my life that Star Trek and Spock (and Kirk, Scotty, Bones, Uhuru, Sulu, Chekov, Nurse Chapel, etc.) have not existed. Of course, by the time I was old enough to watch it, it was already in syndication. I honestly don’t know when I first saw it, but I have memories of specific episodes that feel very old, as in I was a child when I watched them. Plus, there were some boys in elementary school – first, second, or third grade — who liked to chase girls (me) and use the Vulcan nerve pinch on us (me). I’m thinking of you, Clinton. ಠ_ಠ

We didn’t have a TV from the time I was 8 until I was 16, so I missed a lot. Anything I saw was piecemeal at friends, at grandparents. But still Star Trek was there. And I have since seen every episode of every series (except animated) and all of the movies — and all more than once. One of my brothers even had a Tribble toy at one point. I have enjoyed each and every piece of the Star Trek universe as each new addition plays clear homage to what has come before. And I’m sure I will enjoy what comes next, hoping and dreaming that someday our reality will catch up with the vision…

But back to Spock. Who was alien. But not. Intelligent but somewhat awkward when it came to interpersonal relationships. Who clearly felt things deeply but worked hard to keep those feelings under control and hidden. Who valued reason and logic and responsibility and honesty and loyalty and was fascinated by the universe around him — the people, places, and things.

Other than the facts that I was a young female and he was a grown male, I could relate to, sympathize and empathize with Spock. That was me I saw on TV. I knew what it was like to feel that I wasn’t really part of the group, to not understand why people were saying and doing certain things. Why they needed to pick on me. But, like Spock, I could react with cool detachment and move on.

I’m not so different today, just more aware and accepting of my differentness — and of others.

I was never going to be the daring and dashing Captain Kirk. But I could be Spock — equally heroic in his own reserved way.

And now, while Spock will live on, the amazing man who made him so real for so many of us is gone. It leaves a hole, an emptiness.

I wish I could say I was familiar with all Leonard Nimoy’s work, but until the past few days I didn’t know just how much he’d done — TV, movies, stage, acting, directing, singing, writing, poetry, photography… I knew about Fringe and thrilled to see him as William Bell. And his distinctive voice on The Big Bang Theory. I have lots to go look for and watch…

And beyond all the above, he was clearly a wonderful and caring human being.

As Spock or as himself, Leonard Nimoy  is and always shall be an inspiration for me.

Live Long and Prosper, and Boldly Go.

This Summer Evening

I’m out on the back deck because right now it’s cooler outside than in because of a storm rolling in. One of the cats is here too, curled up on a nearby chair.
In my yard I hear birds, our fountain, insects.

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I can hear neighbors in their yards.
A short distance away I can hear cars* on the nearby road — one of the major roadways in town.
Farther off, train horns sound. Far away enough that I don’t know exactly where the trains are, but still close enough to hear them clearly.
And still far off, but getting closer, louder, more frequent, there is thunder. Long rolling rumbling bursts of it. Occasionally there is also a brisk uptick to the air movement, and for a brief moment a cool wind rushes past.
Will there be rain, too? Looking at the weather map, it appears likely. But it wouldn’t be the first time if it just skirts around us. Storms are…. Not sure of a good word for it… Rather random around here. We’ll get drenched while two miles away stays bone dry. Or vice versa.
So I’ll wait a while longer, lingering out here where it’s cooler, with my phone & a book & the cat, hoping for a good refreshing rain.

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*apparently I write about cats too much as evidenced by autocorrect wanting this to be ‘cats’ not ‘cars’ ~lol~

Fireflies

I love fireflies.

Having grown up on the west coast I’d heard of them but never seen any (unless you count the fake ones in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean Ride).

The first one I saw kind of freaked me out. I’m in Indiana with my three children aged 8 & under, husband is in Illinois for work. I’m in bed, lights out when I see a strange alien green light on the wall. I had no idea what it was. I watched, wondering & worrying, for a few minutes as it flashed on and off, then took flight. I turned on the light to get a better look. It took me a moment but then I figured it out — Firefly!

Of course after that, I saw them every night. I clearly remember the Fourth of July that year, how they filled a tree, flickering & flashing, making it look like it was covered in twinkling fairy lights.

Now I know that when I see the first firefly that summer is close. Every night, I love watching them rise from the long grasses & flit around trees & our yard. All you can see is the glowing bit, making it easy to imagine they’re little bits of magic, fairies or sprites, lighting the summer nights.

It’s been almost a month…

And I’m ready to start writing again. A little, anyway. Clearly I needed the break after April, as it’s only in the past week that I’ve felt the ‘itch’. I’m even ready to get back to doing morning pages — something I haven’t done in such a long time I can’t even find the notebook I was last writing in ~bad bad Robin~.

So now I’m off to the store for new notebooks & stickers & whatever else I find to feed the flame 🙂

Z is for…

zOMG!

As in, thank goodness it’s finally over. April and the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge are done today.

Whoo hoo!

Yeah, baby.

It’s over! It’s over! ~crazy happy dance~

Whew ~collapses into chair, gasping for breath~

This has been quite the experience. What a way to get back into more regular writing. A 30-day A to Z challenge. It’s been … um … interesting – yeah, let’s go with that – to have to come up with a not only a new word everyday, but then write a post about or containing that word. Some letters/days were easier than others. Some days I just barely managed to post before midnight, typically after I look at the clock, think ‘crap, it’s after 10, still have to post, what’s today’s letter?’

And so much fun to see how others met the challenge, from fiction to non, poetry to prose, photographs and art. There are a lot of talented and intelligent and interesting people out there and I’ve enjoyed connecting with some through this challenge. I now have a pretty impressive group of blogs to keep up with 🙂

I can say with some certainty at this point that I am unlikely to keep up with the post a day rate. I found it to be a bit brain draining. But I do promise I won’t disappear, posting as the words prompt.

Congratulations to all of you who completed the 2014 A to Z Blogging Challenge. And to everyone who read and liked and followed, thank you so much.

Here’s to doing it all again next year 🙂

Yoga

I have just recently started going to yoga classes again. I need to have some form of exercise in my life, besides walking, and at my weight and general physical condition, yoga’s a good choice — it builds strength and flexibility while not putting so much stress on the joints, and is easily adaptable for different ability levels.

I found a nice studio here in town with a monthly membership, and since hub signed up with me, his company will reimburse the monthly fee as a health club expense — they will reimburse for gyms and other sports/health clubs as well.

Now, I don’t know a lot about the different types of yoga, so I can’t say if the studio is more one type than another. I’ve attended a couple of vinyasa sessions and a couple gentle yoga. They also offer hot, power, stretch, and eclectic. At this point gentle, stretch, and to some extent vinyasa are about all I can handle.

It’s all a workout for me. I sweat profusely, stretch and strain, work through stiffness and muscle cramps, adapt as best I can with all the excess me. I do not always flow smoothly from one position to another, and because of my lordosis, I have less range of motion on one side or the other depending on the pose. They keep the room a little warmer than I’d like, increasing the sweating so my palms sweat and I can’t hold downward dog as my hands slip on my mat. Getting the inhales and exhales right with the movements is difficult — I seem to be out of sync an awful lot. But I like that I can adapt as necessary, only moving as far as I comfortably can, using modified positions and aids such as blocks and straps, and if I absolutely can’t do a certain pose right now, it’s okay. I’m not being judged by what others can do, only on what is my best. Really not being judged at all… Just accepting that what I can do may not be the same as others, and it’s all okay as long as I am doing my best and striving to improve.

It helps that I feel sooooo good when I walk out of the class — all stretched and warmed up and moving easier. I know it’s silly, but it is so nice to be able to lift my foot up to put pants on without laying the pants on the floor or using my hand to pull up my leg. And that going up and down stairs seems easier. I’m really not in it for the spirituality component, but I do like that it really makes me focus on being in my body, feeling what my body is doing as I breath, as I move, and as I rest.

I’ve been going twice a week and plan to up it to three times in May — all gentle yoga. After that, I’ll see what I can add/change. I know it will be slow going, but I’m going to enjoy it.

X is for…

Xocolātl.

I generally prefer it processed and blended with other ingredients. But I like it more bitter than sweet, barely like milk version, and don’t like white at all. My tastes run to gourmet and European rather than grocery store American. It’s very nice in coffee or as it’s own beverage.

Of course I’m talking about chocolate.

I really do enjoy good chocolate, as do my children. Our one request of hub whenever he travels to Europe is to bring us back chocolate. So we’ve had chocolates from France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Belgium, and U.K.

I love that chocolate is so versatile, working with both savory and sweet. Chicken with mole sauce. Chocolate bars with bacon pieces or chili powder. All kinds of fruits and nuts are better with chocolate. I love orange and chocolate, cherries and chocolate, hazelnuts and chocolate. Chocolate candies, chocolate ice cream, chocolate cakes and cookies and pastries…

It’s a good thing we don’t keep too much of the good stuff around the house 🙂

W is for….

Wandering.

I have a small pillow in my room with “Not all who wander are lost” embroidered on it.

I had forgotten until it was mentioned by another blogger that it comes from a poem in The Lord of the Rings (although to be fair, it’s been many many years since I’ve read the books). The poem is “All That is Gold Does Not Glitter”

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

While planning things out is never really a bad idea, sometimes going with the flow, wandering, can make for a much better experience. Or at least a more interesting one.

I’ve mentioned before how we did a lot of road trips when I was growing up. It wasn’t unusual for us to hop in the car on a Sunday and just drive. Sometimes we went to places we knew but sometimes we’d decide to turn left* instead of right, discovering new things in the process — an abandoned mining town; roadside graves from late 1800s to early 1900s; a naturally carbonated spring; a field of trillium in full bloom; waterfalls; and more.

To this day I occasionally still like to get in the car and just go, exploring the area. Last weekend my daughter and I did just that, discovering how quickly our area goes from suburban to small town to single-lane dirt road rural. (Thank goodness for GPS, smart phones & the Internet.) We saw horses and cows, big houses and small, woods and open fields. We found a cemetery, in use for well over a hundred years, with clusters of multiple stones for multiple generations of the same family from a century ago to within the past few years.

Some of our more questionable wandering from my youth — driving up the canyon while the river was flooding to see how bad it was up there, and driving down out of our protected valley to see how bad the ash fall from Mt. St. Helens was heading out of the mountains towards the Basin (it was bad, main roads were blocked by the police, but Dad told us he knew back ways we could take – but we didn’t as the ash was falling thick and fast in heavy flakes). We were however smart enough to stay put until told to evacuate during a major forest fire.

I think part of wandering is being smart enough to know when not to and when to turn around. But it’d be a shame to let the possible risks of wandering keep you from the adventure.

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