Saturday, January 31, 2009

My list of 25 things...

So, there's this thing going around on Facebook. It's like a chain mail type thing. You are supposed to make a list of 25 random things about yourself and then tag 25 of your friends to do the same. It's supposed to be a light hearted, fun thing. It has proven to be anything but light hearted and fun for me.

For some reason that I don't claim to understand yet, two of my sons decided to include in their lists of fun facts about themselves a couple of things that would not only publicly embarrass me but would reach deep into the past and into my heart and rip off a scab and expose a wound so painful that it would leave me to spend the night crying away yet another layer of pain and regret.

To be clear, I am not mad at my sons. They said what they said and they feel the way they feel. Their childhood years were some of the worst years of my life and therefore theirs too. They bear the scars that those difficult years of me being lost in my own maze of drug addiction, alcoholism and mental illness caused for them. I guess I am just feeling really disappointed because I thought we had come to a better place than this.

On the surface it would appear that we have overcome the past and have forged a good relationship. I never saw this coming and I am stunned at how painful I have found it to be. Yet, I know that nothing happens without God allowing it, so there must be a reason for this gaping wound in my heart to be torn open to bleed once again.

I didn't ask to be included in their lists of 25 things. The list was supposed to be 25 things about themselves. But then, I guess who we are and what we say about ourselves is all so intricately intertwined that it's inevitable that there would be some reference or connection to me in at least one of the things they chose to include in their lists. On one level I know that they didn't really intend to hurt me with their words. But on another level I know that, if they were to be completely honest with themselves, they knew their words would hurt and cut, and they chose to say them anyway.

Only two of them made lists. The third one didn't participate in this fun, light-hearted activity. But, I am completely sure that if he had I would not have been hurt by anything he might have said about me. It's always just been in his make-up to extend grace upon grace and mercy after mercy to me. But that's not the point of this post.

So, after spending the better part of two days, including a sleepless night when I couldn't stop crying, and a day at work embarrassed to face my customers with my red puffy eyes and tears that wouldn't stop....and knowing it was irrational to feel that on some level they would know I was crying because I regretted being such a failure as a mother, but feeling it anyway...after 2 days of coming to terms with my own hurt and disappointment, I am ready to compile my list of 25 things I wish they would have or could have said when they chose to make reference to me in their lists...

1. I wish they would have been able to say that their mother planned her life well and lived out her childhood dream of getting married, having children, and living in a happy cottage with a white picket fence, happily ever after. But they couldn't say that. They couldn't say that because their mother dropped out of high school and married a man 11 years her senior three days after she turned 16 years old.

2. I wish they could have said that in spite of that terribly poor choice to get married to what basically amounted to a pedophile while still a mere child, things turned out ok. But they could not say that either. They couldn't say that because the truth of the matter is that the man their mother married turned out to be an abuser....and when that abuse began to be focused on her infant son, their 17 year old mother put her baby and a few of his things in a stroller and fled on foot to her grandmother's house a few miles away because she knew, even at 17 years old, that the only thing standing between her baby son and a lifetime of abuse, was her...and she had to get away.

3. I wish that my older son could remember far enough back to remember that even though I was only a teenager, I tried so hard to be a good mom to him during those early years. I did so many things wrong but I did a few things right. I spent every single afternoon of his young life reading to him and having a quiet time with him. I took him for a walk every single day, and as we walked we would stop and count things and read the letters on the signs, and repeat rhymes and such to each other. I wish he would have said that because of his mother's care and attention, he was able to read before he ever began school.

4. I wish that my older son could know that when he was a baby I washed his diapers in the bathtub and hung them on the clothesline outside because his father wouldn't give me money to go to the laundry.

5. I wish that they would have said that when their mother found herself pregnant and abandoned once again she chose to keep her baby in spite of the fact that she was scared half out of her mind at the thought of having another baby....alone and at 19 years old.

I need to stop here and say that I know with all of my heart that I am not a "victim." These things didn't just happen to me by chance. They happened because of the extremely poor choices I have made in my life. But I guess I am just trying to show that even in the midst of all these stupid things I did when I was young and foolish, I made some choices that I am proud of and I wish my sons were proud of too.

6. I wish they would have said that while I was pregnant with my second child and determined to allow him to be born, in spite of the fact most well meaning people repeatedly advised me to get an abortion, I made most of the clothes that this second child would wear after he was born.

7. I wish they could say that their mother, at some point, began to make better choices. But they can't. The choices got worse. Their mother married a man she didn't love, trying to find some sort of security and stability for herself and her sons. That marriage, ironically, did bring security and stability and I always have said that, knowing what I know now, I would never have left that marriage. I would have learned to love this man who gave me his love and his name, who gave my children a father...and who gave me yet another son. But I didn't know the things then that I know now. So I left that marriage as well and that is when my world began to crumble around me....and around my sons. It took a few years to really become apparent, but this is when it really started to fall apart.

8. I wish my sons would have said, "My mom is amazing because even with three children under the age of 6, she managed to go to college and become an LVN. She spent one year going to school during the day, coming home and caring for 3 young children and studying late into the night to get through school. It was one of the most difficult and demanding things she ever did but she did it. With a 9th grade education, she went to nursing school and graduated with the second highest grade in her class...and she did it while raising 3 little boys."

9. I wish they could have said that things got better after that. But they can't. Their mother continued to make really bad choices and drugs and alcohol became a part of her life. I wish I could say that I knew all of the reasons I made those choices or what it was that I was looking for but I don't. Well, actually, I do a little bit. First, I didn't know Christ. Now I know that the gaping hole on my inner self was the void that only Christ can fill. For reasons I don't claim to understand we each attempt to fill that void with one thing or another if we don't know Him. I filled it with men, drugs, alcohol, and the like. I am not proud of it but I did.

10. I wish my sons would say, " I respect that my mom gave us up when she knew she was heading down a path of destruction and didn't drag us along with her. As painful as it is that she "abandoned" us, it would have been infinitely more painful to have been dragged down that path with her."

11. I wish that my sons would say, "My mom is a hero because when she realized that if she didn't get herself together and get her life on track and take Courtney back, he was going to die of asthma, she somehow reached down deep within herself, through her drug and alcohol stupor and began to do what was necessary to climb out of that dark place."

12. I wish my sons would say, "I am so proud of my mom because she gave up drugs and alcohol.... cold turkey and began to do her very best to set right the wrongs she had done."

13. I wish my sons had said "My mom got a job within a couple of weeks of moving back to San Diego and within a couple of months had her boys back with her."

14. I wish my sons had said, "My mom worked full time and lived with her parents so that Courtney could get the specialized medical treatment he needed, because we didn't have medical insurance and it took everything she made just to pay for the specialist and the medications that turned his health around."

15. I wish my sons had said, "I am so proud of my mom because she overcame seemingly insurmountable odds and put our family back together."

16. I wish my sons would have said, "I love my mom and I remember her doing things like getting up in the middle of the night to help me put together a fiber optic model of the "Enterprise" because I was frustrated with it.

17. I wish my sons had said, "I am proud of my mom because she continued to pay my student loans while she struggled to make ends meet and even while going through a bankruptcy managed to pay it off completely."

18. I wish my sons had said, "I remember a time when my mom bought me a suit and all the accessories that go along with dressing from head to toe. In spite of the fact that she was continually broke and struggled to make ends meet, she did her very best to provide me with the things I needed to face a job interview or a company party with a beautiful girl I wanted to look good for.

19. I wish my sons would have said, "I am so proud of my mom because even though we had a really difficult start in our life, and even though she has made mistake after mistake, and continues to make mistakes, she has never stopped trying to make it up to us for the wrongs she has done."

20. I wish my sons would have said, "I am so proud of my mom because she has finally made peace with her feelings and has become a good and devoted daughter to her own mother."

21. I wish my sons would have said, "I am so proud of my mom because ever since she made the decision to put her life and our family back together she has done her very best to be there for each of us whenever we have needed her."

22. I wish my sons would have said, "I am so proud of my mom because time and time again she has been willing to give me her last 20 dollars if I asked for help."

23. I wish me sons would have said, "I am so proud of my mom because she may have struggled to do motherhood but she has this Grandma thing nailed! She is a wonderful, devoted and loving grandmother to my little girl."

24. I wish my son would have said, "I am so glad that my mother loves me enough to put her own feelings aside and support and love me through this difficult time as I remind her over and over again that she abandoned me and broke my heart all those years ago as if the last 18 years of her trying to make up for it never happened."

25. I wish, more than anything else my sons would or could say, "I love my mother with all of my heart because Jesus is the Lord of my life and His love has been shed abroad in my heart and allowed me to be healed from all of this past hurt.

That's my list of 25 things I wish my sons would have said. Just once I would love to think that my sons are proud of how hard I've tried and how far I've come and how much I have changed. I may or may not ever show them this list but it has been so very cathartic for me to write it.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

As I was walking.... work yesterday, and listening to my Ipod, and thinking about many things, I had one of those moments when a profound yet simple thought just pops into your head. Here's what it was...

My goal this year, and for always really, is to become a better follower of Jesus, a better wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, and goal is NOT to become a better dieter. I know that may sound silly to some, but for someone who has spent a most of my adult life on one diet or another, who is intimately aquainted with Fitday, calorie counts,carb counts, this plan or that plan, it was profound. I knew this truth but somehow I haven't known it enought to have an effect on how I relate to food.

As I contemplate this truth and realize that it isn't license for me to run off and eat whatever I want I am beginning to realize the truth of the matter. Of course I need to learn to eat healthy and make better choices in regard to food. But if I am focusing my energies on keeping my heart happy in the Lord and using my energies to be a blessing to others it just seems like it should impact my relationship to food.

So, that's what I'm contemplating right now. Let's see how it impacts my life.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday Mediation....'s Monday morning and I am at work...but I am not working. I am battling the urge to worry and fret and be sick to my stomach. This morning, less than ten minutes from now, my son and daughter in law will be sitting in a room with a mediator discussing the terms of ending their marriage and working out the details of splitting up their time with their precious girl, Autumn.

I hate this divorce. No wonder the bible says that God hates divorce. (Malachi 2:16) This fragmenting of a family, this reducing it all down to "this is yours, this is mine." It's ugly, it's painful and as much as I want to rest in the knowledge that God has this all under control, I find myself begging Him to work this out the way I think it should be.

So...I am taking a deep breath now. I WILL trust the Lord at all times and I will praise him and trust Him and dwell in the knowledge that He is ultimately in control and His grace and mercy are enough to overcome anything that happens in the lives of those I love.

I will continue to pray that no matter the outcome, God will draw my son, my beautiful granddaughter, and my daughter in law to Himself.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Early Wednesday Morning...

....and I am sipping my coffee and getting ready to face the day. I have a cat here with me who very much wants to get on my lap where the keyboard just happens to be so this will be quite the challenge typing this post! Anyway, here I am on Wednesday morning at 5:30am. I feel like I don't really have much to say but I need to post something or it will suddenly be six months later and I won't have posted anything at all in the entire six months. So here I am.

I have been back on "Let's Do Lunch" since December 29. I have gone off plan once in that time. Besides that one time, I have followed the plan and I am feeling good about it. Yesterday I also began walking to work again. It's one mile from my front door to my job so it's a nice little walk. I am determined to make healthier choices in 2009 than I did in 2008.

I also started a daily bible reading plan...again....on January 1.....another healthy choice!

I continue to struggle with my emotions over my son's impending divorce. I am trying very hard to trust God and to believe that He will bring beauty from ashes in all of this. It's just so hard to watch people I love going through such a difficult thing. Probably the biggest struggle I am having right now is keeping my own heart right with my daughter in law. She seems to be completely blind to her own role in all of this and has chosen to play the innocent victim.....nothing could be further from the truth. I want to slap her and tell her what I think of her behavior over the past few years but that wouldn't accomplish anything positive....and it certainly wouldn't be behavior pleasing to the Lord! So I am doing my best to keep the relationship cordial. She is Autumn's mother and I feel it's important for Autumn that we all try and remain cordial. Plus, when it's all said and done

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Autumn's Birthday Blanket... we had a little family birthday party for Autumn at my parents' house. We actually had the party on Thursday, the 31st...yes, Autumn was a New Year's Eve child. She came screaming into the world a few weeks early and landed right in the middle of not only New Years Eve...but my wedding day as well. So I married the love of my life and got my beautiful, precious granddaughter on the same day!

Anyway...we had this little birthday party for her. It was fun but rather bittersweet too. It was the first of the many separate birthday parties she will have as this divorce her mother has chosen fragments our family. But, the divorce and my feelings about it....and I have MANY feelings about it...are another subject for another day. Let me go back a couple of weeks and give a little history of the birthday gift I gave to my sweet girl.

I crochet. I just recently began this craft again after setting it aside for a few years so Autumn had not seen me crochet until recently. I was croceting a lap blanket for the prayer shawl ministry at my church and Autumn saw it and asked me what it was. I explained that it was a small blanket I was making to give to someone who was sick or going through a hard time and needed to know that God loves them and people were praying for them. She was fascinated by the whole process and with her big blue eyes sparkling at the thought, breathlessly said, "Oh Grandma Honey, I have a great idea. Maybe you could make me a blanket too!" You would have had to have been there to see her face as she said was as if she had asked me to give her a treasure. So, of course I agreed that it was a wonderful idea and asked her what colors she thought it should be. She replied that it should be "all the colors of a rainbow."

That week I went and bought pastel, rainbow colors and set to work on a blanket for her. The next time she came she looked in my bag and saw the blanket and remarked, "Oh Grandma Honey, this would be a beautiful blanket if it was the colors of a rainbow and had my pink in it." So of course I asked her, "So those aren't the colors of a rainbow? Maybe we should go to the store and you should show me what colors are in a rainbow."

This is the original one, with the colors I picked

Photobucket we went to look at yarn. She was so cute and went directly to a bin of BRIGHTLY colored varigated yarn of neon pink, orange, turquoise, yellow, and green. Not at all the colors I would have ever picked! She was so adorable picking out the colors that she actually drew a crowd of people watching her choose! So we purchased the bright colored yarn and the pastel afghan was put on the shelf without her ever knowing it was intended to be for her.


As we were paying for the yarn, she excitedly told the cashier that her Grandma Honey was going to make her a blanket of her very own,with all the colors we picked and she turned to ask me when it would be ready. I told her that I would have it for her birthday. The following week when she saw that I hadn't started working on it yet, she was incredulous! She just looked at me with that "I can't believe this!" look on her face and said, "Grandma Honey! you haven't started on my blanket yet?!" It was too funny...and I started on it that day...LOL.

As her birthday drew closer she began giving me reminders that the day was coming and letting me know in her little, almost four year old way that she expected her blanket to be ready. "Grandma, my birthday is in 7 more days."..."5 more days"...."it's almost here"..LOL. I think that somewhere along the way she decided that it wasn't going to be ready or that she wasn't really sure...I don't really know. But for whatever reason...she was surprised when she opened the package and found her blanket inside. She was so excited and her reaction made several of us women in the room cry!

Here's how it went...

She was opening her packages and it came time for her to open the one with the blanket in it. As she pulled the paper out and realized what was in the bag she just lit up and exclaimed, "It's my blanket!!!"


Once she was able to get it out of the bag she hugged it to herself and began to jump up and down and dance with it, finally running and showing it to her Daddy and explaining to him, "Grandma Honey made me my very own colorful blanket so I'll always be warm!" made me cry...LOL




When I had the idea to use my ability to crochet to spread love and encouragement to those facing difficult things I never dreamed that my precious granddaughter would be one of the first to receive one of my creations. It's funny how God chooses to arrange things sometimes...don't you think?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The New Year has arrived...'s funny, yesterday I thought that there were so many things on my heart that I wanted to blog about this morning. But as I sit here with my keyboard in my lap and my first cup of coffee for 2009, they all seem so far away and not so important as they did yesterday. This morning feels like a new beginning. I am so very grateful for new beginnings! Thinking of new beginnings brings this passage of scripture to mind:

Lamentations 3:22-24 Because of the LORD's great love we are not
consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every
morning; great is Your faithfulness.

So, as I contemplate fresh, new beginnings this morning I realize that they are God's idea and I embrace the feeling of a fresh, new start and allow myself to drink in the mercy and compassion of God which is new and fresh and available to me each day.