Seems Like Yesterday

“You don’t raise heroes, you raise sons.  And if you treat them like sons,
they’ll turn out to be heroes, even if it’s just in your own eyes”

~Walter M. Schirra, Sr.

Well, technically, it was yesterday; yesterday 25 years ago. The day that my life changed so drastically, in a positive and most incredible way. You see, 25 years ago yesterday, my son was born. Not without great difficulty (a recurring theme in my life, as you may have caught on) but certainly worth the reward. I was one month shy of 21, a child myself and blissfully ignorant as to how much of a roller coaster ride being a mother is, whether one is “normal” or “extra-special” or my all-time favorite, “in flux”. The joy of bringing a new life into the world, combined with the relief of that sweet child OUT OF MY BODY at last, brings tears of happiness and love that I’ve never felt before or since. The self-doubt and fear waited until later that night, when I was alone with my thoughts and those doubts rose in my mind like steam rising from a hot cup of coffee; slowly but surely making its way to the front of my mind. “What have you done?? This is for the REST OF YOUR LIFE and THE REST OF HIS!!” Holy Premature Parenting, Batman!!! It’s one thing to criticize your own parents and their parenting style, but it’s a whole different thing altogether to actually be a parent. I could have never imagined that I would have times where my doubts were actually stronger, I was terrified (as opposed to being only scared) that I would never see him again, never be able to tell him how much I loved him and how he saved my life; how many times he saved my soul. Mental illness does not discriminate when it delivers the devastation and catastrophic emotional wounds it tends to specialize in.

Long story short, I lost him for a while, got him back but had to earn his trust and work to heal those God-awful wounds. I can’t say that we’ve transcended those difficult years, but I will say I have done my best to “own my shit” and make focus on the present and the future, leaving the past in the past. Along the way, he’s taught me enough to fill a classroom; fantastic music, (think Death Cab for Cutie – I Will Follow You Into the Dark) movies such as Donnie DarkoBoondock Saints, Love Actually, Goonies and TV Shows – (back in the day) Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, He-Man (By the power of Greyskull!!) and many other interesting facts, perceptions, works of art and many incredibly awesome friends with widely varied interests, talents and tempers. My heart was always happiest when they were around, keeping things lively and getting me to come out of my self-imposed solitary confinement. Things weren’t always so happy and there were many arguments, upset feelings and tears on both sides, but somehow we managed to get through those times, thank God.

I have supported him in every way possible and continue to encourage him when life starts throwing bricks at him (figure of speech, folks, no need to concern yourself with flying masonry) or sending him an especially difficult Life Lesson. I may have over compensated at times, but life is a balancing act, after all; there is no perfection, there is no “right way” or “wrong way”; there is only the best I can do. I try to improve upon what I’ve done before, to keep learning and growing. My son is my greatest blessing, my biggest fan, my most honest mirror and my heart and soul. I thank God every day for bringing him to me and opening my heart to real, unconditional and pure love.

I love you, Devon!

Seriously? 2014? Already??

Hello again, whomever is still out there reading. I’ve been away quite a long time and I must apologize for that. I have had a few changes, some good, some not so good, but I wanted to share them with you and speak on a topic that is timely; namely Thanksgiving and giving thanks.

I moved to a cute little apartment over a garage at a private residence which is 100 times closer than any of my previous dwellings and has the added bonus of having the most incredibly caring and thoughful landlady. She is wonderful and makes the most delicious cake and other yummy items, such as pomegranate jelly….mmmm….so good.

At any rate, that is one of the good. The not-so-good is that my beloved Neko got very sick and I had to have him put to sleep. The good in that is that he didn’t suffer unnecessarily, he had the best 3 years any cat rescued from “Death Row” could have and was loved more than words can say. He saw me through some really depressing, difficult times and gave me the unconditional love that only animals and small children give so effortlessly. I will miss him, but comfort myself with the thought that he is in good company on the Other Side.

So, update completed and on to the “meat” of this post. Thanksgiving and giving thanks. I would like to believe that I give thanks on a daily basis, but I would also like to believe that I will someday win the lottery; in order to win, I would have to play and in order to give thanks daily I would have to take some time from my “Bitch and Moan” fund and use it instead to focus on the positive. Sounds simple and easy to do but trust me, it’s neither. It is very difficult to see past the negative, which I liken to a basketball player trying to block your shot; hands in your face, rocking back and forth, distracting, frustrating and in your face. It hides the good stuff, filling your vision and your mind with Nothing Nice. However, with effort and the right motivation, you can push aside that negativity and reach (stretch – keep reaching, you’re almost there!) for the positive. Sometimes I have to get really creative, but it does work, when I make it a priority. So, this Thanksgiving holiday, I am thankful for my family, my friends, my professors, fellow classmates, co-workers and people that smile back at me when I smile at them in the store or on the street. Basic human kindness is an accessory that never goes out of style and never gets old. Share it, give it away, pass it along; it will always come back to you.

This time of year it’s very easy to get caught up in the mass hysteria that is The Season aka Christmas, Thanksgiving & every other holiday that you are pressured to acknowledge soley by your purchasing power. As if a wrapped present of any kind could help someone who is lonely, struggling to find meaning or starved for simple affection and kindness. Our gifts to each other should be gifts of the Self: our time, our (undivided) attention, a phone call, an e-mail or even an old-fashioned Christmas card in the mailbox, sent snail-mail, like back in the day. Just those things that you can’t get from a store (ok, the Christmas card you could get from a store, but it wouldn’t be signed or mailed) These are the most valuable and most valued gifts of all.

I will do my best this year and into the New Year to remember how far I’ve traveled, who has helped me on my journey and how I can send that kindness and compassion back into the world, every day. I don’t know where 2013 has gone, but it sure did move fast. I hope I will value my hours, days and months in 2014 and know at this time next year that I kept my promise to myself and focused on the positive, even when it was difficult to find or I simply believed there was none to be found.

For all of you who take the time to read my blog and haven’t given up on me, I send you great glowing beams of love and thanks. May your Thanksgiving be filled with family, friends and food; may your Christmas shine the light of kindness on others and may the New Year bring you all your heart desires.

Love and peace to you all!

Michelle