Monday, May 26, 2014

Let Him hold you

I've visited Mom's grave site many times.  Obviously, I know it's gonna be sad.  Still...I can be joking and laughing as we walk down the sidewalk to her *lane* and the minute I see the grave marker a visceral response pulls me to my knees and I weep.

I think I've don't a pretty good job over the years of hiding my emotions.  Probably too good.  But to experience emotions so overwhelming that they actually control me.  Intense. Frightening. Insane.

Her marker is heated by the morning sun to the point of being almost uncomfortable to touch.  Still, the tears fall as I run my hand over the letters that spell out her name.  Barbara Clasen.  Gone from this world.  Gone from my future.

Best friend wraps an arm around me.  New Guy rubs my back.  The wave after wave of sadness rolls from head to toe. They try to comfort me, yet let me be in the moment.

I reach out to fiddle with the flowers left by my brother, just a few weeks ago.  Mother's Day.  Short ones to the front, tall guys to the middle.  Twisting and bending them to submission, just like I attempt to wrestle the ache.  But there's some left and it stubbornly hangs on...just like the tallest flower that refuses to go to the center.  So another sob ripples my body.  

Best friend grabs her guitar and her light strums fill the air.  Calming, like the cool breeze.

What should I play?  Come to Jesus...

Worry not my daughters, worry not my sons.  Child when life takes more than it's givin'...Come to Jesus, let Him hold you in his arms.

Weekend Update

So...not really a *girls gone wild* kind of weekend.  But still an *older chicks find downtown parking and dance like flamingos on the loose* kind of weekend.  Very refreshing.  Super fun. Stomach relaxing.  I can't give you all the details, but i wrote down some hightlights

Fabulous Quotes from the weekend

You can dress up to go out in MN, but you're always gonna end up sitting next to someone in a flannel shirt.  Why bother?

I really see myself as a nun who just happens to like sex.

This is good wine

Ya can't get all free form when you're praying with them

What is it with the pillow fight fantasy?

What kind of plant is this? that?

Can we drink this?

Let's see how many *likes*our toes got on Facebook

I'd take the one with a baby face

This is good wine

I just saved a guy's life!

I'm pretty sure the bass player just hit on me.  Ew...he's sweaty.

I don't really NEED to shop

This is good wine

Remember the good old days when she'd fall asleep in the booth and we could keep dancing?

It was all Robbie's fault that year.  And the next year.

You can't drink that

Time for Caribou

Can I quote you on that?

I think i lost a pound after they used the cheese grater on my feet

It smells gorgeous outside

What a beautiful day

Topics we spent too much time covering...

Our dogs and why they behave that way

Our kids and why they behave that way

The new men in our lives and why they behave that way...kidding!

Topics we forgot to cover...

Old boyfriends and why they didn't last



Names have been withheld to protect the innocent.  Hopefully I haven't lost two besties by posting this.  The main thing I NEED to remember from these weekends is that love comes in so many sizes and flavors.  Love for people, things, places, food, and activities.  Spend time dwelling in them, instead parked in front of a screen....hiding from it all.  Go grab yourself some!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Girls' Weekend

It's here!  Girlfriend Weekend!  Our twice a year-two day talk therapy-shoe shopping-music marathon.  The three of us spend hours and hours talking and eating, drinking and dancing.

Our weekends started about twenty years ago.   We certainly weren't moms and I'm pretty sure i wasn't even a wife yet.  Can't remember.  It was decided that instead of exchanging Christmas gifts, we'd spend a weekend together before the holidays.  A gift to each other and ourselves. Manicures. Open hotel hospitality bar. Make up counters.  Within the last decade we've settled into a cycle of Memorial weekend and hunting opener.  How Minnesota, eh?

We've traveled to some great places, mostly because I left the area for a few years. Vegas! Chicago!  Madison, Wisconsin!  Right?!  But over the years, we figured out location, location, location doesn't make a bit of difference.

What we craved was a return to the tight bond of friendship.  That beautiful place where you can emotionally barf all over and someone else clean it up.  All three of us have been through the wife making, baby factory, milk machine, toddler tantrums and day care dilemma of our twenties, pet problems, childhood development of our thirties and teen drama, sandwich parenting and college selection in our mid forties.  All three of us have attempted to patch up broken marriages.  All three of us have ended up divorced.

So much to talk about.

So much that the bulk of our time is spent in pajamas, drinking coffee and having endless conversations...until the caffeine gets us restless enough to head out for a walk, or pedicures, or some shoe shopping.  Maybe a movie.  Or a show. Doesn't matter because we're usually anxious get back to home base for comfy clothes and more chat.

In my twenties it was common to know girlfriends doing the same thing.  Less so in our thirties. Now in my forties, I'm sad how many women don't have this lifelong bond in their lives.  Friends take time, effort, energy, patience.  Things not easy to have time for in today's world.  How many times do I have to lose the *who eats the most fiber* competition without getting down on myself?  And realizing that I pay too much for cable? Or opening up about those sneaky hot flashes that are starting to happen. It's work.  Sometimes.

But the payoff is ginormous.  Every time.

This year I'm packing up and driving all the way to Blaine, MN.  Sod capital of the world.
My suitcase full of clean PJs, shoes for any whim, a few bottles of wine and "anything in danger of rotting in the fridge over the weekend". As instructed.  Probably some Advil.  Mylanta. I've got some digestive issues they need to help me resolve.  Lucky girls.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


Today would be my 19th wedding anniversary.  Underline would be.  Kid 2 asked me yesterday if I would be sad today.  I'm not sure, I honestly told her.  She admitted that she still has days when she has to remind herself that the divorce is real.  So do I.  I never imagined May 20th would roll around and I wouldn't be celebrating the fantastic day when I married their dad.

Our marriage was as normal as most.  With the exception of being uprooted every few years for his career.  I knew when he took the job 10 days before the wedding what I was signing up for.  Sounded a little enchanting.  The two of us could reinvent ourselves each new place.

Instead, enchantment felt more like abandonment.  Reinvention felt more like a continuous cycle of seeking normal.  Hurt feelings. Ignored expectations. Disappointment. Over and over until a broken heart feels unmendable.  Then each side rallies their team and declares war on the other.  Sucks money.  Sucks energy. Just plain sucks.

Finally the dust settles and two people, four kids and four pets are seeking equilibrium in the new normal. Again.  Emotions bounce back-forth-up-down like a super ball in a trinket store.  Fragile stuff breaks and resiliancy is found in surprising places.  And I learn how often the ball can smack me in the face and i can get right back up.  Wow.  Life just keeps catching me off guard.

Since getting home from work today, I've looked each kid in the eye and prayed thanksgiving for the 17 years of marriage and the blessings that resulted.   Fabulous ones. 

As i sit here, I wonder if May 20th will ever roll around and the original 6 of us can spend a little time celebrating.  Good memories were made.  Four kids popped into the world. Trips and vacations were survived. I'd like to think it wouldn't seem weird to eat some ice cream and be proud of what we accomplished together.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mom's Day. As Mom and without Mom

Mother's Day 2014 is in the history books.  Whew.  Don't get me kids and I worked together on a wonderful waffle bar and bacon.  Chocolate chips and marshmallows even.

But I still spent a good amount of time that morning silently crying in the shower.  Being part of the dead mom's club is humbling.  Isn't that an awful name?  Unfortunately it's an even worse feeling.  And although i haven't seen the secret handshake, we all have the same band aid welded into our hearts. The one place we could go and always be unconditionally loved has left the planet.

In my dreams that night, I had a visitor.  My mom.  The first few times she showed up in my dreams, i cried hysterically and clung to her.  She stopped showing up.  Who'd blame her?  But I made a promise to behave if she'd come back.  And slowly she is returning.  My subconsciousness cool.  Don't cry. Roll with it.  Hug her.  Kiss her cheeks and look her into the eyes.  She knows.

Lately we've been running and playing and coming up with all kinds of crazy hi-jinx.  Laughing and living outside the norm. It feels so good.  We hug good bye.  Sometimes I squeeze her until she disappears.  Poof.

This year I honored the sadness inside, but spent most of my time in the present with Kids 1, 2, 3, and 4.  Kid 1 fried bacon (i think it was an eat one : plate one ratio).  Kid 2 set up the topping buffet.  Kid 3 whipped up the home made waffle batter and Kid 4 set the forks.  My Dad and the love of his life ate with us...along with New Guy.  We smiled and giggled.  Life is good.  Each day is precious in itself.


Friday, May 9, 2014

Transition Day

Or do I Thank God?  Friday is Transition Day.  Capital T.  Capital D.  It's the day Kids 1-4 pack up their beloved possession and go from Mom's to Dad's and vice versa.

Both Dad and I have full sets of clothes, jackets, shoes and toys at our homes.  But there are just enough things that can't be duplicated.  Baby blankets (yep...we've still got 'em).  Teddy Bears (same story). iPods. iPad. Cell phones. Backpacks. Lunchboxes. School Projects....and Kid 1 takes the guts out of his PC and hauls them back and forth.  He sits like he's holding a dozen baby chicks in his lap.  It's that fragile.  Also the beloved collections of lip balm, legos, and Rainbow Loom bands.  Whew.  It's still a lot of packing.

My heart feels like it's had a run in with a meat tenderizer.  Not broken, just mashed up.  What a hassle for them.  How confusing for me to send them back to the home where I long ago decided I couldn't stay.

But then...a glimmer of relief sneaks in.  I get a break from Momhood.  I'm back to single girl status.  WooHoo!  Right?  Sleeping in.  Endless hours to read or watch all of those shows that use naughty words and contain *adult material*. Not cleaning up after anyone. Opening and Closing work shifts. Dating.

I'll head into the bathroom to touch up my make up for a night out and see band-aid wrappers strewn across the vanity.  Panic.  What happens if a scrap or bump happens at Dad's?  Is he available enough to care for it?  What if they get hungry?  Will he have enough snacks? Will he keep them on some sort of sleep schedule?  Can I trust him to get them to the endless rotation of ortho, therapy, and before school music practice?

Thus begins an endless spin of worry.  Helicopter Mom wants to run and shadow their every move.
I'm no longer ALWAYS i was for the 15 years of being a baby factory.  And finally, I'm reminded that the choices I made and impact it's had on them.  Deep breath.

Bing-bong rattles my phone.  What time are we meeting? A text from a friend.  Soon followed by forgot my math book. Can u drop it off? I reply to both as I gather my keys and the forgotten math book.

I forgive myself for my multiple personality disorder that lands about Thursday night and lasts until about Saturday morningGotta ride the emotional roller coaster until it flattens out and the shift of emotions isn't quite so strong.  Honest truth.  I'm sure we'll be talking about this more.

TGIF to y'all...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Potential Boundary Issues

Happy Thursday!  See?  I made it back to the keyboard.  My fingers aren't moving very fast and I'm wondering if this blog-thing was just a crazy notion at 4am yesterday when the dogs woke me up with battle of girl dog's favorite ball.

But I'm back.

There is a silly notion out there that some things should be kept private. As in *for your eyes only* private.  Diary private.  But I've decided that the best way for me to deal with healing is to make a public spectacle out of it.  Surprised?  Me neither.

One visit with my therapist I glanced over her shoulder and saw her write...Potential Boundary Issues. Interesting.

But for me...sharing my feelings gives them the energy they need to pack up and move outta my brain.  Done deal.  Not crying on people's shoulders sharing. Just being honest.  Because we are all on this crazy tilt a whirl adventure called *life* together.  We're stuck with each other.

And...just maybe something I say might ring-a-ling in your own brain.

My mom had a gift.  She could wrap her words around you like a big hug.  Made you feel so much better.  I hope the apple didn't fall far from the tree and has potential boundary issues.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Under Construction

Oh...this is how it starts...lightening strikes the heart...sings Colby Calliat.  This isn't a blog to discuss song lyrics, although that would be a fun post (jotting down in my "good ideas" notebook).  They'll happen.  Just how my brain works.

I'm starting this blog as a healing adventure.  Healing.  Anyone else know how it feels to need to heal? Of course you do...whether it's a skinned knee or a broken relationship.  Healing needs to take place.

See...I think i got a double whammy.  After years of therapy, romantic get-aways, late night talks, I realized my marriage was kaput.  I was headed for a D.I.V.O.R.C.E.  Ugh.

Just two months after signing off from a 20 year relationship, my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer...that took most of her organs hostage.

Broken Heart.  Big fat ugly one. Sigh.

I can recite all of the platitudes.  God doesn't close a door without opening a window.  Or...everything happens for a reason. stinks. 

Not in a million years did I imagine myself renting a house, part time parenting, working at a coffee shop (well...maybe that part) and loving a coupla fur babies.  Wha.....t? 

But.  I'm starting to See.  Sometimes it is Suddenly.  Sometimes it's slooooooow.  Life works out.

Please don't think this will only be a weepy chic blog.  We're gonna talk about other stuff.  Parenting.  Dating in your 40s. Wine. Dogs. Friends.  Coffee. Writing.  Stay tuned!

Anyone else wanna talk about their own healing journey?  Or just say "hi"? Leave a comment.  Or lurk.  No sweat.