As the first day of summer for our family begins, a long chapter of elementary school ends. As with all things in life where there is a beginning, there comes an end, or at times just a crossroad I suppose… Our personal journeys, friendship, love, life. Rarely is there a constant, thank goodness for that I say! I had never embraced change, and that shortcoming never served me well. With so much that has turned me upside down, and given me a good shake in my last year I learned I must or I would simply crumble.
Through the challenge of our families changes and learning that there is a beauty in what has passed as I now look back, and an excitement for what lies ahead, as unknown as it is I welcome this next chapter. In the past year there has been silence, laughter, tears and at moments absolute chaos, I am at a transition point of feeling strength knowing that all will be alright.
My only hope is that my goal when I started this project will continue, even as it has evolved. The core of making my relationship stronger with my youngest daughter has prevailed. My set schedule, her busy schedule and all of the life that happens in between still we have grown closer and our line of communication is extremely open and is most likely not what it is between many mothers and fourteen year old daughters, though we have learned what we need from one another.
As one who does not usually celebrate holidays, this was one of the first Mother’s Days I had ever truly enjoyed for all that it represents. It was a full weekend, that made me feel so grateful for all the love I have in my life.
At twenty-two years old becoming a mother to my firstborn, and a beautiful three-year old at the same time was a blessing with many challenges. I knew nothing of what it was to be mother, wife, while trying to figure out who I even was.
Over time I look back and become hung up on all that I now realize were mistakes in judgment or poor choices as a mother. At the time all that I had seen or experienced in my childhood did not seem to not be indicative of the life I was now providing for my own children. Though now as time has passed, I now see how it was so much the same. It was just a new cast, with a few more characters, in a whole new setting, we were still just a family.
As I look back upon all of the holidays, celebrations, filled with love, strife, and more love, blending can be complicated as it is easy, it’s all what we make it. We have had so many wonderful times together collectively. After all somehow we all played a part in making these beautiful children and helping to guide them into the humans they have now become.
We kicked off our weekend with a family dinner that was pulled together by our oldest child’s mother. Finishing the weekend off with a picnic including my mom and family. Very kind words from my children’s father, and a beautiful dinner to wrap up the weekend, all made for a few days to know all of the mistakes I have made have not outweighed the positive I have offered as a mother.
What I truly appreciate is the love and support my mother has shown me through my not so smooth life, even in my darkest of times. As well as after twenty years of co-mothering with my step daughters mom we can all be a family and enjoy one another’s company. And of course all of our beautiful children.
Time passes so quickly… Just as the blossoms of this years Wisteria. Spending time together with loved ones, allowing flexibility in order to keep the peace can be trying. As a single mother, I have learned how important it is to have time together, though it is important for all of us to have time to ourselves as well. I realize how quickly time passes and enjoying moments together mean more than anything in the world. Busy lives within our growing family, does not always allow for us to cross paths, making the times we all intersect so fulfilling.
It has been difficult to have all Sunday’s just to be together, though in the past month and a half or so we have managed to have a few. Sometimes just a dinner together, sometimes a brunch with friends. There was holiday away with dad for Julia thrown in and an accident for my son. More than a month since seeing Adrianna. I want to stop everything and say we all need to take a time out, together!
I have been missing the idea I had of what a family is to be. I wonder if because the experience I am offering of family to my children, and how it differs from the experience I had as I was brought up may be part of what fuels my distance at times. The continual feeling of inadequacy looms over all that I do. There is no right way, or wrong way long as there is love has always been my thought, so I will try to keep that perspective. Though I truly miss the togetherness of us all.
A few Sundays have gone by, and my mind has been so cluttered that even writing has been difficult for me. I usually take moments like these and spend multiple times of the day making simple journal entries or something of the sort. As a year has passed for my existence as I know it there are so many moments and experiences to reflect back on, not only in this past year, but in my adult life. Wanting to learn from, and choose the moments that have been uplifting to ground me, allowing me to truly know the best path for myself and children.
Looking back exactly a year, have I grown? Have I been stagnant? Have I fallen behind? The answer is yes, to all of these questions as they pertain to different aspects in my life. Learning to not only recognize my own shortcomings, but accept that I have made accomplishments, are the ways to what I seek for enlightenment. Inner peace and love, is what will complete my journey, it has been a long rocky path with many stumbles, filled with self-doubt and angst. As I look ahead, letting go and leaving pain that cannot be changed, sadness that must be left behind, looking around at all the beauty in my life and those who want to share it with me is all that I need to know my path has a few stretches that I will be able to move freely without wavering.
Our last Sunday did not turn out they way we had planned, a long drive, a bit of a disappointment, and then just going with the day. I find that making plans or having expectations sometimes just leads to being let down. Learning to work with what you’ve got, be it money, time or place can be a challenge, ultimately turning into what may shape to be a wonderful memory.
It isn’t easy for 13 year olds at times to have a just roll with it attitude, it’s still difficult for me! Julia’s friend was wonderful and really did just that. After a few moments that made me want to just walk away, we came up with some ideas of what to do for the rest of the day. My Julia has this romantic picture of what Los Angeles is, so I figured better time than any for her to see what it is truly like and the diversity that can be seen one block to the next. We headed up the 101 to Hollywood. Now I do tend to always miss an exit or get in the lane that must exit, I must admit I’m not the best at finding my way on the road. Though getting off at the wrong exit allowed us to see a few spots that positively are not on the list of stops in any tourism guide. The traffic was stop and go, it was getting hot, we were a bit over it. We did go to China Town having a nice lunch. We made our way to Griffith Park. Once we approached that area she said, “this is what I imagined”. We went to the observatory, watched a planetarium show and just enjoyed the rest of our evening.
I started this project for so many reasons, but my focus has been to strengthen the relationship between my youngest daughter and myself. My evolution through time as a parent has brought me to a place where I find that my older children had to have a patience children should not have needed, as I stumbled and at times fallen as a human. Slowly I have come to be a better guide in life as I should be, though it seems more of a guide of what not to do, far too often.
This last weekend coming home from work, I found my son home on a Saturday night, which is an extremely rare occurrence. It was just us, spending the evening talking, laughing, and sharing, a few somber moments of reflection. He is a very honest, and vocal young man, both my favorite and least favorite part of his character. He needs to find the appropriate times to voice his opinions, and when not to hold back, this is an area in which I have not been the best guide. Through the conversation we shared, I know he will be just fine. It is difficult as a mother to see the son who you once held so close become a man. I look back and wish I had more patience, enjoying, loving and holding, had I only known how quickly time would pass.
As the saying goes, there is an exception to every rule, or is there? In fact I believe this to be a false statement. This is a saying or idea has its place in time to exist, mostly for the moments that we are looking for an excuse. The action of doing so can be a detriment to the flow of life in which we want to lead. Exceptions are not to be confused with flexibility, the art of being flexible may help our relationships become more in sync, though exceptions are far more involved than flexibility.
As I look back upon my own life I see how I had taken this idea of making exceptions to heart so much so that I, in most cases have compromised my ideals, beliefs and even at times ethics. These exceptions in which I speak of encompass choices I have made and have now led me to who I have become, and have been left broken because of.
As we make exceptions at moments in which we don’t stand firm on what we know to be right, we hurt ourselves. Including taking charge of our health, overall diet, drinking, drug use and forms of abuse. Learning discipline will be the single most challenging task I want to master. Just this one time… One time can’t hurt… I’ll start tomorrow…. These are all statements I know that each and everyone has said or will say at some point. Once we give in to these exceptions, making allowances for our choice, even trying to justify our actions, we hurt ourselves and to extend this to its logical conclusion we can then hurt those who love us. Sometimes things happen that are beyond our control, situations we could have never foreseen. Without too much detail I will say in my case I made too many allowances, for myself and for others, the kind that have held me back from believing that I have worth. These have been my choices to make, blame lies upon only my shoulders for the reactions and choices that have been at times truly dangerous exceptions, these moments in time the showing of my lack of strength and character continue to be the driving force behind my addiction.
I looked back at some writings and saw this… Drunkenness is like a layer of sheer warmth, convincing me that there is a shield of protection from who I truly am… This is dark and so sad. No more exceptions! That cannot be the kind of statement that I leave behind. Nor is it any way to raise a healthy happy daughter.
So this Sunday I will be having a luncheon with Julia and her friends, and a few of my friends and their children. I want to show them all some appreciation for being part of my life, and of course it’s always fun to cook for others and enjoy beautiful food!