Tag Archives: Personal

” I’m Still Here “

Sorry for the absence here of new postings, had a brief detour of the mind these last few weeks but am working my way back to…at least, what I perceive, sanity to be.

   Like many of you, this last year was a hard one for me on a few different levels…My job of 17 years took a disturbing turn…. financially and personally. I was told that my years of experience…my abilities were no longer worth what they were a year ago. I watched people around me lose their homes…. their jobs…. their hope. I watched the people in power lose their minds…(not that they had ones worth holding on to in the first place)

   I had to downgrade my insurance coverage because I could no longer afford the high premiums this year….and as if the insurance gods needed a chuckle, my life-long battle with arthritis decided to kick into high gear…The pain…the extra cost, I can deal with but watching the constant fear in the eyes of my sons is much harder. There are times when I second guess my decision to always be honest with them. They are the focus of my strength though and when I think I can’t take much more they remind me that I can. They worked so hard to make this holiday season good for so many less fortunate people…All the little things that I couldn’t do this year….they did. I was going to sit down and tell you all about it when I found that 2011 wasn’t quite done making me cry…

   One of those unspoken truths that no one warns us about… is the older one gets the more we find ourselves having to say final good-byes to people who have shared all or part of our life pathways with us. Losing even one is sad…I can’t put into words how I loss four of the most awesome people I couldn’t of been more blessed with having known this year. Than right after Christmas, I received word of the passing of a very special man, whose journey with me…kept me when I was young from cutting my own time on this earth short after a traumatic event left me believing that there wasn’t a place for me here. He helped me find that part of me that has enabled me to not only pick myself up each time I’ve fallen but to reach out and help others do the same. He would never give me the right answers instead he would shine just enough light so that I usually could find them and if all else failed, I would learn that sometimes it was the question that was wrong to begin with. We were from different places and time in life…yet right from the start there was a unique unseen…. unspoken bond between us. I can count on one hand the number of people in my life that I can say this of. I shall miss his deep voice and gentle eyes. I will strive to pay forward the richness of caring that he left me with.

Wanting to end this on a cheery note…There have been many many wonderful things in my life this last year… One of positive event  for me… has been finding this place to put some moments & memories down in print. I have enjoyed it…my sons have enjoyed it and hopefully so have you. I am still new at this but am excited to keep learning and getting better.

  I didn’t get a chance to come  tell you,all, Happy New Year but I do wish everyone a better year than we’ve just got done with. I’m sending only the best of thoughts for only the best of things to come… I promise to share what I can with you and hope that I can give you a smile or two along the way.

“ Mom’s Christmas Wish List “

I wanted to share with you the list I gave my sons this year for Christmas…I’ve never written it out before…I usually have to deal with one or both of my boys following me around  asking questions and than forgetting what I said….lol…They are wonderful young men and I am truly blessed to have them…

                              ” The List”

# Would greatly desire a completely clean bathroom.You are both old enough to know what I mean…

 # Kitchen cabinets and shelves cleaned and straightened.(Liner paper changed is optional)

 #Both your rooms cleaned and organized….or at least let me see alittle more floor and be able to tell where your desks are…

 #A new hoodie jacket like my black one but without the hugh white paint stain on the sleeve.

 # New shoulders bag…preferably one that is waterproof so that when I walk to work in the rain everything doesn’t get soggy like they do now.

 #One of those electric face scrubbers…. I’m not getting any younger and my wrinkles could use a better scrubbing than my poor tired fingers have been doing…

 #Any kind of wooden chest… I think I might have an old pirate soul because I love the ones shaped like treasure chests…

 #I really don’t need any more stuffed white tigers but if you come across one that’s really cute and looks lonely…. well, what can I say? White Tigers need love too.

 #Ok, I’m still hooked on the International Coffees…but don’t go over board because it’s an easy get…I only like one flavor.

 # As with every Christmas, I would like a new picture of the two of you…clean up and smilin’ if possible.

 # You know I always need pens but am picky as to which ones…the challenge is for you to figure it out…

 # Because you seemed to forget…. my favorite color is dark blue…my favorite perfume is “Beautiful” (but it’s too expensive!) and the only candy that I like is milk chocolate…Please no jewelry 🙂

#As you already give time and “Secret Santa” things for those in need….A gift to me would be that you spend some time with each other..The older you,guys, get the busier you are and the less time there is for just having fun as brothers…time goes by so very fast…make good memories for later.

 # My extra special wish would be for each of you to write me a Christmas letter of sorts…telling me how you think this family thing is going so far and any ideas…insights…grievances…you might have…I want you to share a moment in written time with me…

 This is my Christmas list…. you complain and badger me because I don’t give you one every year…. this time I beat you to it and you can’t say I didn’t put enough “things” on it…You both, have known me long enough now to know that Christmas is not about getting a lot of presents…it’s about giving a lot of gifts from the heart…I would kind of like you to give from your head as well too.

This year has been a tough one for us and I know you have had to go through some scary times because of my health but you give me the courage and the strength to endure…Talking and listening have become such a wonderful part of our family…I love you with all my heart and soul…Love Mom

 

I was a little surprised by how well my list was received by my sons then I remembered how important a letter my Dad once wrote to me was.He was not a writing sort of guy but for some reason, he sat down and wrote me a very sweet note about nothing really very important…I realized that other than little notes on the fridge,on white boards found around the house or the reminders I use to slip into their pockets when they were going thru rough times….I had never really written either of them a letter. Their baby books are filled with my prose but now….when they are dealing with the forces of the real world exploding around them and their safe haven being challenged from within…I hadn’t thought about putting more things down in writing for them…and yet here I was asking them to put things in writing for me…

How silly I was not to see it…This blog was their idea… I prided myself on the fact that I talk to my kids…about everything but I guess they wanted more the same as I did. When I share things with all of you….it resonates here as well. So I would ask you that you think about those loved ones in your life that maybe could use a few written words from you as well as those hugs and kisses we give them. Something that maybe a long time from now,they will pull out and re-read remembering you and your love for them.No matter how old I get…I am always amazed by how little I know and how much more I can learn. I prayer each night that the powers that be will grant me more time to keep learning and keep sharing with my sons and with you.

Happiest of Holidays from our home to yours….

                                          Stay safe…..Be well…

 

 

 

“It Was My Secret To Tell”

When I started writing again, the first thing I noticed was that I have way too much stuff in my head that I could write about…Such a quandary not knowing what would be of any relevance to any one other than my near and dear ones…Than a follower on Twitter asked me a question which I did try to answer but 140 characters is sometimes torture for a long winded broad like me. A few days later , a similar question was put to me…both based on a tweet that I try to re-tweet at least once a day when I can…

As a victim who survived I urge you to please help #StopChildAbuse ~Report It ! Donate a tweet a day. http://JustCoz.org/helpspreadthis

Maybe it’s because of what’s been in the news lately…maybe it’s just because it is the whole world’s dirty little secret that a lot of the children on this planet live in fear…but I did open the door when I put it out there that I was not only a victim but also one who survived… The question was posed again and I promised to try and answer it.

I have started and stopped….deleted and re-assessed this piece over 30 times so far. The mere fact that I have had such difficulty putting into print something that I have lived with my entire conscious life fills me with such a sense of uncomfortable confusion as it is a subject I have spoken on….counseled on…for the most part had thought it had become no more than a teaching tool for me now….and yet…over 30 times ?

Granted it was a secret that started when I was only 5 years old …and other than one very sweet and caring family doctor… it stayed buried deep within me until I reached my 26th year of life… it was also something that I had thought I faced and dealt with a long time ago but apparently scars that may appear to be healed… are still a bit sensitive to the touch…

I was born into a somewhat lower middle-class family. We never went without the necessities but my father worked two jobs….sometimes three to provide for us. Our house was small and always filled to over-capacity as my father took in stray or stranded children the way some people take in cats…There was even a while there when I couldn’t tell who was or wasn’t one of my siblings. The school year was like an exercise in military efficiency (my father had been a drill sergeant in the Army)…we all had our schedules and amazingly it left my mother with, in her words, just enough “alone” time to keep the house and everything else in order…I know now though how hard it was on her…at one time she had three of us under five…(funny how it sometimes takes becoming a parent to appreciate one)

It’s my understanding that it was in the summer time…when school was out and there weren’t enough activities to keep us all busy…a choice was made that there would be summer camp when we could afford it or  they would pass us out for visiting trips to relatives… for what was really only a few weeks during those hot months…and that would  help my mother keep her sanity and even allow for some much needed romantic moments for her and my Dad…I know all this now but back then …well, not so much…

My Grandparents lived on a farm and for city kids, it was fun for the first few days after that it would kind of lose it’s charm…and while the older kids could do chores and stuff …my grandmother didn’t seem to have time or patience with 5 year old “too fidgety” me…I remember sitting in a big rocking chair on the porch doing nothing…being asked to be quiet was something I remember hearing a lot as a kid.

An Aunt and Uncle came for a visit and offered to take me off her hands for awhile…It was confusing in my young eyes to keep getting passed off, especially when my Uncle sat me on his lap and whispered in my ear as he wrapped his arms around me…”nobody wants you but me”… I remember it clear because it was his mantra…he repeated over and over to me whenever he could…always softly…always whispering so no one else could hear…He would add things like “I don’t understand why your mommy says you’re a bad little girl. I think you’re a good girl”…”They said we could keep you but if you’re good I’ll let you go home.”

 For the next few weeks I stayed with them…even though they had other children, I ended up being alone with my Uncle a lot….His hands….his fingers….the fowl odor of his breath…burned forever in my mind…not just from that brief two weeks but for the countless weeks and years that occurred after it…I will not describe anymore of the details as they are something that I do not desire to see in print…for four years he had his way with me…each summer visit made longer than the last…telling me how my mother really didn’t like me…how my father was too busy to be bothered with me but that uncle loved me and that as long as I did what he said and was good…he would make sure that my family didn’t give me away…He had good fuel for this as I did have a foster brother and had been told that his other family hadn’t loved him enough and that’s why he was going to live with us. How cunning these kind of perpetrators are…and how once violated… how openly vulnerable an innocent child is…

My time with my family became so unreal to me….I was the “perfect” child….did all my chores…never fussed…teachers actually sent home notes telling my parents I was too quiet but my grades were exceptional….I was most often found in a corner reading a book ( stories that could take me places and let me pretend that all was right with the world).I sometimes felt like I was only watching my family and not really a part any longer.I would cry about only one thing….not wanting to go away when the summer month of July came around but I was soon to realize that I wasn’t safe at home anymore either…

It was as if there was an invisible label on my back saying “Easy Target“…because two years into the summer “visits” with my Uncle…a so-called family friend began spending evenings at our house and offering to tuck us in at bedtime…spending more time with me than any others…he always acted as if I needed to be comforted or loved….as if I wasn’t…I’ll never know if he had somehow talked to my uncle or if people like this have some kind of radar but it sadly became a part of what I expected and my silence was necessary so that I wouldn’t be sent away for being bad.

Still not quite sure how two different perverts in two different cities managed to molest the same little girl but they did…The stopping point came when I was nine years old…( I did go through a period where I thought a higher power had intervened in a most strange way)…a cold turned into strep throat and went untreated which led to Rheumatic Fever…I was in a coma for weeks and than stuck in a bed for almost six months…All the attention that I got quickly buried the brainwashing notion that my father and mother didn’t love me or want me around.

The family friend stopped coming around…and my uncle…well…I had to put up with him awhile longer…but his tactics changed as I guess he knew his mantra wouldn’t work on me anymore…He told me that if my father were to find out what had happened between us that my father would kill my uncle and than go to prison for the rest of his life.He told me that my father would never be able to look at me again because I had done such bad things…Oh, how evil is the mind of an adult with such power over a child…I was only 10 at this time and still very much in this man’s control. He no longer even tried to touch me but he had a stare that at holidays and family events  usually sent me looking for a place to hide…I became the quiet non-social one…I became an outsider looking in with my family…but I kept the secret…

There was a part of me that resented my mother for not knowing what had happened to me…Our relationship spent years strained and distant…My father could do no wrong in my eyes…I somehow felt I was protecting him by keeping the secret…I was closer to him than any of the other children…He confided in me…trusted me…there came a time when I knew I had to tell him…but kept putting it off..there would be time later…He died suddenly of a massive heart attack at the young age of 53… a piece of my heart breaks every time I realize that I betrayed him by not believing that he would love me no matter what.

A year later, I got up the courage to tell my mother…the look of pain in her eyes was almost more than I could bear…I had stayed away from family functions for over ten years by then and kept out of the family dramas…My uncle had been caught sexually abusing his own granddaughters and I know she didn’t mean to do it but my mother put a guilt trip on me of epic proportions making me feel that if I had told on him when I was a child… none of the others would of had to suffer…which also brought back memories of the family friend and put the thoughts of what other young lives had been hurt at his hand in my head.

This is where a lot of victims who like me, face a cross road…we can’t go back and change one damn thing about what had happened to us…and speaking up years after the fact bring a lot of mean, hateful things hurling towards us from those who don’t want to believe that anything you say is true…I did speak up…My aunt and her half of the family have pretty much let me know how much they hate me…The ex-family friend…was going through an ugly divorce…all I did was show up in court one day…I sat quietly in the back…He took one look at me and started to cry…in open court he told a judge that he was a bad man and that he no longer would fight for the custody of his kids…( one of which it turned out he was abusing)…

I call myself a survivor because I went on to volunteer at phone banks set up for abused children . I’ve worked with counselors to help victims know that they were not alone … that it was ok to report it….talk about it…hell, scream it from the roof tops if it’s helps…Silently suffering only helps the abusers… I might of had a problem writing about this but once I found it, my voice refused to stay silent. It is what it is and I have tried to use it for the better…

As soon as I knew that they could really understand me…I taught my sons that it was important to always talk to me about what was happening with them in regards to any interaction they might have with other adults. I might have been a bit over-protective of them when they were younger because of my past but I keep reminding them everyday that there isn’t anything they can’t tell me.. I refuse to feel sorry for myself…I refuse to let the past dictate whether I can live, love or laugh…I love life…I love people…I would not be me if I couldn’t keep an open heart and mind…I  have an unquenchable thirst for helping people…To do or be any other way than who you want to be… is to let the bastards continue to molesting your mind and even your very soul…

This was hard to write but I will have to admit that I am glad I did it…I hope that sharing it with you will turn out to be a good thing as well…

Now do me a favor…Give someone you love a hug and let them know you’re there if they need you 🙂

A Mother’s Thanks for Mr. Olbermann & His Thurber Readings

While alot of the lame-stream media put off even acknowledging OWS and still are practically ignoring or distorting the Occupy movements one of the journalist who isn’t is Keith Olbermann.I wanted to take a moment and share another part of this good man who has touched my family greatly.

It should to be said…There have only been a handful of men that I have greatly admired and respected in my life…My Father being always #1. He’s been gone over 28 years now but I still kind of talk to him and quite often can hear his voice in my head.(Not to be confused with those who hear bad voices in their head that tell them to run for President.)

It’s not that I’m a hard-to-please-male-bashing-woman….LOL, I love men…(though I did date a girl in college for awhile. I’m remembering that she was an extremely hot brunette …and being the open-minded free-thinker my father raised me to be…well, let’s just say it was an interesting summer.) Whoa, cool flash back moments…where was I ??

Oh, yeah…men I admire….Tim Russert was my man of choice for explaining to my common sense mind what the whacked-out power-hungry people were doing….Always understood him….Always trusted him….If memory serves me, (and I am finding that the older one gets the more one looks back) it is because of the wonderful Mr. Russert, that I first became aware of Mr. Keith Olbermann…

Mr. Olbermann with his handsome face, strong jaw, warm smile…Oh what the hell, you’ve heard all that fan BS before…probably tired of it or find it disingenuous…let’s just say that it was his gorgeous hypnotic eyes that caught my attention at first and I was hooked. Not in a scary show up at your door naked way…( damn, sorry….more flash backs…) but in a true sense of belief and respect that he was what he presented himself to be and than some.

Being a single mom, I have always tried to put good male role models in front of my sons. What they listen to and watch is just as important to me. I am very proud of both of them with the progress they are making to find themselves and the paths that they are meant to be on.. Every now and than I get a glimpse into their ways of thinking that tells me that I might just be doing a good job as a mom… which brings me to the reason behind this long winded compliment to Mr. Olbermann.

From the first time he explained why he wanted to read Thurber to us…

“My father was in the hospital and every night when I visited him, I read aloud to him. James Thurber. And one night he said, ‘You really should do that on your show,’ and I said, ‘Dad, it’s a television newscast. I’d love to, but how could it possibly fit?’ And he said, ‘How often have I ever suggested anything for your shows?’ And I remembered that he never had. But I also reminded him that there were things like copyrights and bills, to which he said, ‘Try it. You never know.’ ~ Keith Olbermann

And from the posting of his Thurber readings on online to be enjoyed more than once…Mr. Olbermann captured my 15 year old son’s heart and imagination.How many kids out there sit down practically every evening and watch the news with a parent ? My youngest was a bit of a shy reserved kid. I had received several notes from school that he was too quiet and perhaps needed testing to “see” what his problem was. I held tight to my father’s teachings that we all find our voice in due time.Watching CountDown  together was a wonderful way for him to share with me what he was thinking. As time went on he did this more and more.

One night my son came into my room and asked if he could read something to me. I thought maybe it was a school paper or maybe something he had found on the net…

He sat down and started to open a small book…I asked him what it was…He showed me the cover “Rex Stout’s Black Orchids” A Nero Wolf classic…than I asked him why he wanted to read it to me…he smiled saying that he liked the idea of us having something special to share…that he liked watching Mr. Olbermann read Thurber and he liked the way I smiled watching Thurber being read….

My son and I, both loved mysteries…until just a couple years ago I use to read out loud to him two times a week ..now according to him, it was his turn….I secretly wished I could of video tape him doing this as I was so totally amazed by someone who up to this point had been shy and reserved in his manner and speech.

He worked so hard at not letting the old English of Stout’s style throw him…animating his words with occasional hand gestures to fit the prose….looking up from time to time to make sure he still had my attention. (Which he totally did ) His voice cracking now and then in that adolescent it’s-getting-deeper-but-not-yet way …

Bless the wonderful late actor, Maury Chaykin…we had watched the DVDs of the Nero Wolf series and here my son was, normally very soft spoken, boldly speaking Wolf’s words with such a passion…. gulping hard when he took a drink of water…but keeping a tone of excitement in his voice for over an hour …teasing me with the last few pages…asking me who I thought did it….chuckling at me when I gave my answer…not giving me even the slightest hint until the final paragraphs when the murderer was revealed.

He had to have already read this once before… maybe even practiced reading it out loud because he delivery towards the end was so melodramatic and thought out. I was in such wonder and awe of him….

He is starting that time of his life that will be full of chaos and confusion. As much as I want to wrap my arms around him and protect him from everything… I know he has to make his own choices….learn from his own missteps. He loves his games, books and friends…leaving less time for me, which I sadly understand…but as he kissed me good-night that evening…he smiled and asked if we could make time next week for him to read me another…I could feel the tears swelling up in my eyes as I looked up at my handsome young son and told him yes…

I wanted to make note of this because I’ve read online some who criticize Mr. Olbermann for taking the time to still share Thurber with us when he can and because I wanted to remind people that our children don’t just learn from us…. they also learn from all the things and people we put in their world…

I am grateful that Mr. Olbermann was and continues to be a positive influence on both my sons especially after his Special Comment this last August. My oldest has become a part of community groups trying to help efforts to change this broke system of ours as well as getting out the messages of such great causes like NAFC…National Association of Free Clinics-  http://www.freeclinics.us

My youngest spent his summer volunteering so he could, in his words “step up” and be part rather than sit silently on the sidelines. He still does read out loud to me though I have to wait awhile sometimes for him to “fit” me in… He brought home his first report card from high school this month…all A’s & one B+…from a kid who barely opened his mouth and had been struggling to keep a C average…

Do I believe that a television journalist helped my son find a better way to enjoy his path in life ??

I truly do and what’s more if you asked my son he would agree as well.