Friday, July 30, 2010

My baby...

This is a story my son wrote last year for school. The topic he selected was based on an experience he had doing some "eagle watching" as a junior Audubon volunteer. We would go out to a protected bald eagle nest site with his gifted teacher on the weekends and record all the activity we witnessed. It was one of the most spectacular things I have ever done...

But holy cow how can a nine year old write so well?!?! Even my wonderful, perfect, handsome nine year old!?!?!

Translation below for those who can't make out the original...and yes I corrected the spelling because I am OCD like that - LOL!

Riding in a black and white car under the canopy each leaf looks like a star glistening in the warm rays of the sun. Finally we were here! Each cloud hopped like a rabbit across the sky. I walk along the moist grass brushing against my feet felt like silk tickling me. My mom and me walk over to where we could observe the majestic bald eagle. I set up the telescope camera just right so I could see its nest. It looked like woven gold swaying in the wind. It takes weeks to make. Suddenly I saw a fuzzy image of a bald eagle zooming across the landscape in the blink of an eye. I took dozens of blurry pictures but I was not fast enough. It only rested for a heart beat. My camera could not focus that fast. Only one more picture "click" got it!!!!!!!!! And that's the time I got a rare picture of the bald eagle.

I am so proud to spend time with my proud to see the kind of person he is turning into :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Dad...

I miss my Dad :(

He died years ago. Decades of drinking put holes in his liver...those holes wept fluid into his body and poisoned his blood. Watching him die was excruciating for so many reasons. First and foremost was the fact that he refused to acknowledge he was sick, much less dying. It is awkward to try and set up hospice care for someone who is denying the disease.

I scooted back and forth between Tallahassee and Lady Lake many times the last month of his life...bringing my 3 year old son in tow. I made hard decisions that set in motion how the end of my Dad's life would be - and to this day I wonder if those decisions were for the best.

His funeral was soon after Christmas - and only a handful of people were there. I knew my father didn't have many friends and he wasn't close with his family - but it was sad to look out at the empty pews. Those that did attend were shocked to know how long he had hidden liver failure. A testament to his quiet strength...or stubbornness I guess ;)

When the time came for family to speak I stood up. I had so many memories of my Dad and until that morning didn't know what I would share. I stood at the alter and remembered a story that best summed up what my father had meant to me.

I was 21 and decided to drop out of college. Not the first nor the last brilliant idea concocted while on a road trip :) My girlfriend and I were traveling out west on summer break when we stopped in Boulder, CO. Never had she and I seen a town that felt so much like home. Hippies everywhere! Thrift stores and food co-ops on each corner! So that was it. We headed back to college - withdrew - sold everything that wouldn't fit in my Ford Fiesta - and returned to Boulder to make a new home.

It was at that point that paradise began to crumble. There were no jobs for college drop outs - and the only house we could afford was WAY up in the mountains. And it only had an outhouse. Literally. As in, no toilet in the house. But we had each other, and love, and a view of Boulder from up on high.

The money ran out before we could find a job - and I started to realize what an incredibly stupid thing we had done. I was pooping outside people!!! IN AN OUTHOUSE! And it felt cold even in July. I had to come home. Which meant I had to call my parents.

You can imagine how completely pissed they were about this whole new life I was making. They were mad I was off playing house with a GIRL and furious I had dropped out of school. But I was worried we wouldn't even have gas money to get home. Drastic times called for drastic measures.

This was before the days of cell phones...and I still remember the gas station at the bottom of the mountain where I used the phone. Mom answered...but I asked her to put on Dad. I cried as I told him how I was scared and broke and he had been right that dropping out of school was stupid. I told him I was coming back.

And then the silence.

I didn't know what he would say...and his pause seemed like it lasted hours.

He told me he would get on a plane right away - meet me in Boulder - and drive us all home together.

What a guy :)

Not "I told you so" or "you've made your bed now lie in it"...

He just wanted to help his lesbo-hippie-college drop out-baby girl :)

And I'll tell you what - that man always had my back. But that was the day I realized it. And just him being willing to reach out his hand gave me the courage I needed to turn that Fiesta back east and make it home.

Thanks Dad.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer of sand and sea...

It is very strange to be a person who loves order and routine and have your world turned upside down. Or, more specifically, to be a person who created as much consistency as possible and face a lay-off as a single mom. Not just a lay off as in "oh dang now I have to get another corporate oh my how I hate interviewing"... This was a lay-off in the midst of NOW. The ego crushing reality of not being able to find a job even remotely in my previous income bracket was...well...there aren't words to describe how hard it hit me.

So for a year I allowed myself a descent into despair...selective despair. I still was a mom who cooked and cleaned and played. My little man and I read books and laughed and walked the dog...

But then at night as my little light fell asleep the fear of uncertainly was in every corner of my room.

Most of my friends were rock solid next to me (thanks ya'll!) though a surprising number split. I suppose it was pruning...

And for weeks the only thing that motivated me was knowing what I could *not* accept. I could not accept, for example, a job that required travel. I could not accept a job in Boston, or Santa Cruz, or St. Paul. I would have preferred to know what the hell I actually DID want, but I was content to know what I did not ;)

Fast forward eight months and you'll see me today - top of my class in nursing school and stretching long dormant brain cells into totally new positions. Learning the difference between a stage 2 and stage 3 decubitus ulcer and trying to navigate the halls of a hospital with confidence. I have held my breath to keep myself upright during an especially brutal ostomy bag cleanse, and been nearly knocked over with the strength of an 88 year old woman as she chooses to turn away from treatment and face her mortality.

Nursing school is hard, unpredictable, and exhausting. The instructors are disrespectful and unnecessarily cruel. But I am loving it :)

I am 100% sure I have no idea what my future holds...but I am in the exact right place to find out :)