Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hearing Vs. Listening

Life is busy.

Jobs...bills.....responsibility....secret longings.....missed opportunities.....old hurts.....the noise of it all...internal and external.

It is just so easy to get sidetracked and to think about the state of one's affairs.

It's kind of like this holiday season when I've been focused on all that I must do -- the shopping -- rushing to the airport -- wrapping -- church -- blah! blah! blah!

Then my children are talking.

Things are on their mind. Lots of things.

And I respond with "uh huh."

Although I heard....I find that I didn't really listen.

Finally, I do a data dump of all that is in my mind. For the next little while I pledge to listen to them -- my children. I will look deeply into their eyes.

I will concentrate on them.

On what they have to say.

Good or bad.

Positive or negative.

Hurtful or uplifting.

I listen.


Oh.....and what I hear -- really hear.

We connect on a deep and rich level.

I am so glad that I heard and took the time during the busy-ness of the season to stop and listen.

What a grand Christmas!

My children will never be a missed opportunity!

Happy New Year to all of you!

(I plan to get back on schedule following the holidays.)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Counting my blessings...

Christmas is this Thursday!

I can't believe it.

I am FAR from ready. The Christmas cards need to be finished....and my shopping has not even started! I've just not had the time or energy to do all that. I've been putting in 12-14 hours per day at my office trying to get all the year end stuff done. On top of that, I've been working to get the house all in order for the arrival of the kids.

My son arrived on Wednesday. We have had such a wonderful time together so far. I marvel at the changes and level of maturity I see. He is quite a young man with so much potential. I am sure that he will go very far in life.

His sister arrives from Nashville on Tuesday night. So, we're all going to be having a relatively quiet Christmas here at home. My daughter in El Salvador won't be here....but we'll have her in our thoughts.

The wind is howling is very late.....and I'm writing this in the glow of my Christmas Tree. I have my health, the love of my children, and my parents are doing well at the moment. Mom is going through yet another round of chemo treatments...her spot on her lung has reduced from 4 centimeters to 1.5 centemeters. The doctors see no other evidence of cancer in any other spot of her body.

Due to the schedule that my children are on....I can't break away to be with my parents. But I do plan to go be with them during the Innauguration weekend when the extra 4 million or so visitors all descend on Washington. YIKES. I don't want to be here for all that. It's gonna be a madhouse. life is not perfect...but whose is?

The only thing that would make my life better would be if Mr. Wonderful appeared....and he and I both knew that we were the ones for each other.

But for the moment, he is not here. However, my parents are both living. My children are here.

And I sit here typing this message to all of my dear friends in blogdom.

Counting my many blessings...

I've included a picture of my tree for you to see my decorating job. Your comments are always welcome!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rainy Nights and Anniversaries

Twenty-seven years ago tonight was my wedding rehearsal. My parents were here. I was 23 years old and embarking on a new adventure. One that took my breath that I considered from every angle.

With youthful abandon and immaturity, I thought I was doing the right thing. My religious background told me that I could and should change my underlying attractions to men.

But, if you are a constant reader of this blog you know that all my best efforts failed.

So here, on a rainy cold evening, 27 years after my wedding rehearsal, I am still recovering from the divorce....and getting used to living alone.....and plotting my own course.

It's on anniversaries like this that I can look back and realize just how far I have come. I'm not totally down....I'm not depressed and consumed by the what ifs.

I'm just looking at the experience as one that brought about phenomenal growth. It also allowed me to have my children.

So here I am.

Reasonably happy.

But full of reflection.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


I am so happy that the weekend is here.

It has been such a long and emotionally draining week, it's just nice to be able to sit in the quiet solitude of my house ande catch my breath.

Got some very disturbing news about my mother this week. The chemo has messed with her kidneys and they are on the verge of failure. She has one more round of chemo beginning on I hope that she is able to recover from all this fairly quickly.

I suppose it is just one more thing to worry about.

It really is quite frightening actually. So, what I am trying to do is to take it all a day at a time....and to breathe...and cross each hurdle as they come.

I've spoken with all my kids. Jessica is doing well back in her home in El Salvador. Her trip has madeher a bit homesick, but that should be expected. Laura is looking forward to being home for Christmas....and Josh is planning on staying here for two weeks around Christmas. In the meantime I have to clean the house, put up the Christmas Tree, do my Christmas cards, and shop.


So it is all going to be one day at a time!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Non-Stop Day

I was up until 1am last night trying to get Jessica ready for her early morning flight today. She didn't get to bed until after 3am. We both arose at 5am and I had her at Dulles by six.

Needless to say, I am totally worn out.

My job has kept me so very busy. This was a good thing. It kept me from experiencing an over abundance of the blues now that she has gone.

This evening I have practically lived on the telephone. Jessica arrived at her village safely. Her sister called to see if I was depressed about her leaving. She was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't "bad."

Friends called me about dinner tomorrow night.....about church on Sunday....... This entire weekend is totally booked for me. I can't believe how busy it at the holidays!

I have to get the house clean again and the tree decorated and installed. I want my house to look festive and ready for a celebration.

I've spoken with mom....and she seems to be fine for now. Her last chemo treatments are scheduled for next week. She gets a scan tomorrow of her entire body to see how the chemo has dealt with the lung cancer.

So, it promises to be a full holiday season.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Return

Jessica returns to the Peace Corps and to El Salvador tomorrow.

I am bummed.

It has done me such a world of good to be with her the past 3 weeks. The time has absolutely flown by. I look around and say, "Where did all that time go?"

In my discussions with her, I have learned that contrary to Lovey's earlier assertions about her staying another year in El Salvador, Jessica is only considering the possibility of extending. She misses her home. She misses her room. She misses hanging out with me.

It is so tempting to add some guilt to those thoughts or to apply subtle pressure for her to return here.

But I don't.

I want her to be happy and to work at building a life that will make her very happy.

On the way back from visiting my folks, I had to stop with Jessica to see Lovey in her home in the lovely Shenandoah Valley.

Even after all this time, it still takes something out of me to be around her. I left feeling extremely drained and experiencing those old familiar feelings of hurt and inadequacy.

I always feel like the bad guy....and feel like I am the reason for so much pain and unhappiness in Lovey's life.

Silly, I know -- especially given the fact that we will have been formally separated for four years come June 9th.

After all this time.....and all this pain, I miss her and the life we once had.....

I still have feelings for her....

And I know...I'm queer.

But being in Lovey's house....with my daughter, was like picking the scab off of a fresh wound.

It hurts.

Monday, December 01, 2008

A Collage of Memories

Long ago and far away my mother and I had a very special bonding moment. She told me that I needed to learn to look around my world and actively remember it. She said that I could remember feelings and smells and how things felt.

This was a valuable lesson that I made a point of passing on down to my children.

I haven’t checked with them lately to see if they still remember our discussion, but I remember the one I had with my mother rather vividly.

Since that time, I have remembered great moments in my family’s history. Taking moments in time and filing them away has become second nature to me and I do it automatically. It’s as if my mind knows the types of things I should do this for, and it just happens.

For example, I remember watching JFK’s funeral on TV from start to finish. I remember Neil Armstrong’s first footsteps on the moon, my children’s birth’s, the first time I saw my son Josh, my wedding day, my daughters’ graduations from high school and college, etc.

I remember the good and the bad.

I remember smells – the aroma of my mother’s biscuits and gravy cooking in the kitchen, the scent of her signature perfume, the baby smell of each of my children, and the smell of death when my grandmother died following a long illness.

I remember touch – the feeling of security sitting high on my father’s lap and feeling his strong muscular arms holding me – the hugs of both my parents – the touch of loved one’s hand on mine.

All of these memories are a vast collage that enriches my life immensely.

This weekend was filled with moments to remember and to file away for future enjoyment. I got to spend time with my beautiful mother…..even as she battles cancer, she still holds on to her inner radiance. I got to experience her hugs and her tears. I got to feel her hands in mine….and just being able to hold and to comfort her.

I still hear the laughter and the giggles from my daughters. Nothing has changed from when they were a lot younger. When we are all together, we always have something to laugh about.

I also hear my daddy laughing and see him as we played 500 Rummy and watched him lovingly care for my mother.

Ah yes, moments frozen in time.

They will always be there when I need to reflect upon them.