Sunday, August 30, 2015

Back to life without child

 Last weekend about this time, I was a hot mess. My girl was out there in the world without me, traveling west, the house was a filthy wreck, I was sad and lost.....and tired from cleaning and hauling crap to the recycling center. Gerry was working and dealing with his dad down in Charlotte who had surgery the day Wesley left.  Not days I will remember fondly.

Then we went for a little ride to Gerry's mother ship, the rocks in Stokes County, his favorite land in NC.  Weirdly enough, that's where my dad was born, and my grandmother is buried there on a hilltop that overlooks our favorite crag.  Its a nice place to leave your cares behind.

It was a good day. We laughed a lot, the weather was nice and we exchanged funny texts with Wesley all afternoon.

Well, its all fun until someone gets hurt, as Gerry likes to say. I was trucking down the trail back to the car and tripped on a rock, down I went on my left side. It hurt like a mofo. It took me a minute to get back up. My leg was dented and bruising before I even stood up.

I honestly thought I broke my shoulder. I went to the doc the next day, sore and bruised and afraid I was broken on my already messed up left side. My arm is still bothering me, even after acupuncture, chiropractic, personal trainer, exercising..... the only thing that works to relieve the pain is ibuprofen, and I'm trying to go easy on that. So I just have chronic pain and live with it.

The one good thing that came from this fall, is that it finally got me to go to the doc, which I very rarely will do. He took X-rays, no break, but it did show the source of my pain. I have scar tissue where my arm fits in the rotator cuff socket, from apparently tearing a tendon at some point, who knows when.  I have inflammation and a shoulder impingement  (and some other doctor terms that I don't remember). So, I start physical therapy on Monday and thank you Jesus for a husband with good insurance, they will cover 30 visits with no co pay, YES!

And of course, when it rains it pours. The clutch went out on my car last Thursday and it is now at the most popular garage in Chatham County getting its own little repair. No insurance covering this and I will owe them around $1500 when it is finished. I just put $500 into Wesley's car to get her to California, so I guess I am helping Chris start that savings fund for his kid's college one day! Gerry has been my personal taxi as best as he can, but he has had to be out of town on assignments, so I am experiencing what it is like to not have transportation. It really sucks.

Best news of all though, is that my girl made it to L.A. She was so great about sending texts and letting us know how she was. It was fun to travel with her through photos and texts. She had beignets and coffee Sunday morning at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans, visited missions in San Antonio, had an interesting episode with missile testing in White Sands, New Mexico, camped at Joshua Tree where the temps were reaching 116. She is visiting with UNCSA classmates for a few days and then heading to Santa Rosa, where I guess she is going to live for awhile.........                 who knows.....

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Get a tissue

Dear Wesley,

What an amazing person you are. I am so proud of you and to call myself your father. It's been  23 years ago since your mom and I were alone and on a grand adventure in Canada, in the west meadow. Which is where you and your name came from. We came home from that trip with a whole new plan. And no idea what it would entail.

Now you are a grown lady. It's hard for us to accept that you are all grown up and moving on. But that's normal I guess. We're worried that we weren't good enough parents, and that we can't take care of you anymore. And that we can't be there if you have problems, or don't feel well, or are scared and confused. We know you can do it. We may not show it very well, because we don't want to give up our job of making everything ok. It's hard for us to accept, but we'll do it in time. After your first real breath of freedom, you are going to be just fine and we will too. You are a strong, smart, talented person with a huge heart. That will go a long way in your life........................

Yesterday morning Wesley was sitting on her bed crying, reading this letter that her dad stayed up half the night to write to her. I was sitting on the back porch crying, Gerry was walking around like he had lost something and was trying to find it. Poor Lazarus was packing the car and trying to tip toe around all of the tears. Then his tears came too.

They are on their way to the west coast now. Left early yesterday morning. We finally got our act together  enough to say goodbye with smiles on all of our faces. I have only seen Gerry cry three times in the 30 years I have known him. Two were when we buried beloved dogs, and then yesterday. I finally had to stop my pity party to help him get through his. We were one hot mess. I had hoped to send her off without her seeing me cry, but there was no holding back the wave after wave of tears and pain that came. I was numb with pain. Usually I can keep it together, give her support and encouragement and smile through it all. But I couldn't do a thing. Normally I would have sent her off with food, homemade muffins, a letter or card, a small gift. Nothing. I just stood there feeling like I was floating out of my body. I have never felt so helpless in my life. Child comforting parent with reassurance and hugs. First time for that....

The day did get better, I went to work, there was laughter. My best pal Laura came and took me to lunch. It was delicious, more laughter, and a weight off my shoulder as I accepted being a mom with a child living far away.

The other day I was sitting with my hard drive looking at old photos of Wes. She came in and said, Why would you do that to yourself? Why indeed..... These are some of my favorites. She was strong and happy and so talented during the time these photos were made. These were her best friends. She was in high school without a care in the world. No boyfriends, no rent due, no roommates, no meals to prepare, laundry to do. Mom and dad taking care of her. And then she went to UNCSA and spent four of the hardest years of her young life trying to survive. She came home 10 pounds thinner, ridden with anxiety and emotional instability and a new relationship. If only I could turn back the clock and give her back these moments of pure bliss. Singing on the stage at The Cat's Cradle. My beautiful child.

After they left, I found Gerry sitting on her bed, tears in his eyes. And somehow, my tears stopped. She was gone. No turning back. And so Gerry and I started making plans for things we will do. Maybe a trip to the Outer Banks this fall. We want to go to Switzerland. Maybe fly to Ca. to see Wes. Many things to look forward to, just the two of us again.

It is right and natural that a child leaves when they become an adult. Not sure how much of an adult Wesley is just yet, but she will grow up fast on this trip. They are doing many things that we would not choose to do. Driving an really old car across Texas, New Mexico and Arizona in August for one.  We fear the car won't make it. We fear for a lot of things. Moving to the most expensive county in the U.S. without a job or a place to live, very little money for the trip, learning to find her way as an adult without mom and dad. Lord have mercy, why do we have to go through this growing up shit!!!

There was one thing though. Yesterday morning around 7am.....
We have a family of deer, mom, sister, aunt and baby. They come to see us everyday. Two days ago, all four of them just laid down in our backyard for about an hour. Never have seen them do this. Then yesterday morning, mom, the one we know so well, came into the yard, looked straight at us, and in that moment, it was like she was saying let go, she will be fine. I do it all the time.
And so the deer became our totem. Our spirit animal. I looked it up:

Messages and Lessons Deer Totem

If Deer has suddenly bounded into your life as a Lesson or Messenger Guide, then she's likely alerting you to the fact that you're about to encounter an event or situation that will require you to make rapid decisions, and to react swiftly and with agility to your shifting environment. But she's also cautioning you not to lose your head in the process, and to follow her example of being graceful under pressure. Doing so will enable you to be ready to employ the best action to fit the situation at hand.
She's also likely surfaced at this time in your life journey to advise you that you're entering a time in which there will be increased activity. She would suggest that you keep your eyes wide open and your ears alert so that you may make the most of the opportunities that are on their way to you, as well as to avoid any situations which would not be in your best interest to undertake.
And lastly, when Deer surfaces in your life as a Messenger or Lesson Guide, then she is asking you to take a look at your blessings. Fill your heart, your very being with a sense of deep gratitude for all of the miraculous gifts that are at work in your life. From the smallest to the largest, take inventory of those abundant riches, and then, give thanks for them, not only in words alone, but through your actions as you “pay forward” the abundance that has come into your life. In this way, you assist Deer in her important work to keep the cycle of giving, receiving, and re-gifting going.

I think that about says it all.
Travel fearlessly my little deer

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Nature has a way.....

My beautiful child and her boyfriend moved in last Tuesday and are using our house as base camp to prepare for a move to California. They are also working on a freelance gig they got, trying to sell a car, get another old Subaru with over 150,000 miles ready for a cross country road trip through Texas, New Mexico and Arizona in August (uh huh.....) , applying for jobs, Wes is finishing up another job she got here, there is much planning for the monk documentary going on, plus working through all that comes up in a young relationship when you add this much stress. And on top of all that dealing with two very concerned parents that are questioning much of this and worrying beyond worry for all the things that we just have to keep quiet about. They have to find their way as we did.....

 Meanwhile, my house very much resembles some of the footage you see on TV after a major tornado or hurricane hits somewhere. There is not a surface in this house that doesn't have something that got plopped down by someone. There doesn't seem to be a place for anything, just plop it, that's good enough.

They made us a lovely meal one night after I got off work. My girl is becoming quite a cook. Good thing, she has a strapping young man to feed :)

Beds are not being made, hallways are danger zones, counter tops stay covered in dirty cups, dishes, food...... sink seems to always be overflowing with dishes. Most of this is because I decided to let the maid have the week off and she goes to the gym or to work instead of fretting about the college frat house she is living in these days. The caretaker of the estate also took time off from his household duties and went to cover a story on migrant workers and their deplorable living conditions. His photos of the cinder block houses and the clutter inside looked about like my house. Interesting.......

Not mine....

 Not mine.....

 not mine.....

Not mine......

 There is my dining room table

That's my loom......

Nature has a way of helping you push the little ones out of the nest, doesn't it..........

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Some days you eat the bear

I recently received an email from a fitness company, ETB, asking me to blog about my fitness experience. At the end of the email there was a quote:
"Some days you eat the bear, some days the bear eats you".
I've never heard this quote before, but it could become my mantra.

I have been feeling pretty much like the bear is eating me lately. Wesley is moving to California a week from today, and I have not felt like blogging for fear of what I might say on this matter. I will say that having my only child, who has lived with me for 22 years, move 3000 miles away is not sitting well and I am trying very hard to deal with it. I want her to go and live her life and be happy, but seriously, it's sooooo far away......... what about the Japanese culture where four generations all live together......

So I am eating the bear.

I am going to the gym nearly every day and getting my butt kicked. My motivation is twofold. Keep my mind off of the lump in my throat, and get my 54 year old creaky body back in shape. I bought a bunch of new gym clothes, and thanks to Weight Watchers two years ago, I don't look half bad working out. But man, am I out of shape! The things that used to come so easy to me in the gym are really hard now. Just getting up after some floor exercise is more of a challenge. I have had to choose much lighter weights. My core needs strengthening, my balance is sketchy, flexibility, not even. Cardio.... ugh. And that pain in my upper arm is still there, a mysterious bother. But its getting a little better every day.

I eat eggs from my chickens for protein, make smoothies with flax meal, hemp seeds, fresh fruits, leafy greens and almond milk. I'm taking fish oil and magnesium. Today for lunch,  I made Gerry and myself a salad with spinach, kale, arugula, chard, strawberries, blueberries, avocado, tomatoes and cucumbers from our garden, organic feta from happy cows, and hemp seeds, dressed it with olive oil and lemon juice. This is now my go to salad and it fills me up completely. No meat, trying to not eat fried food, can't give up chocolate, and every week or so, I want a cold fountain root beer. I keep a pitcher of cold green tea in the frig now and have one small cup of coffee in the mornings. Little to no sugar. Mostly fruits, grains, vegetables. But every now and then, there is pizza, or chocolate croissants...... and of course.... BEER. All things in moderation :)

I haven't taken a class at a gym in probably thirty years. But I took one today. It was a low impact class and I survived. Didn't really even feel like I would vomit. But the class was lead by a girl that was probably a cheerleader in high school, like yesterday, and it was odd. I felt silly and the workout was all rah rah and jerky and fast and I want a slow burn right now. So I probably won't do a class. I got this. I have worked out since I was in high school, except for the twenty years I stopped to be a mom.

So this is what I'm doing. I met with a personal trainer that got me started with the foam rollers to target trigger points in my muscles, to lengthen them and work out the knots that accumulate when you raise a child and make pottery for a long period of time. I am doing trigger point therapy every day and my body responds well to it. I stopped the acupuncture and chiropractic after my body looked like someone had punched me all over. The bruising was a bit much and nothing was happening.

I am working on strengthening my triceps, a very weak part of my body. Also working to strengthen the muscles in my legs so I can continue to get up from a chair or step up on a chair. My goal is to build support around my joints and build up muscle mass that I am rapidly losing. I'm using a stability ball to sit on while working on my upper body with weights so that my core has to work some too. I'm using light weights, no machines, all free weights and lots of static stretches. The first day I tried stretches on my own, the way the trainer showed me, my hamstring cramped so bad a wave of nausea came over me and I just laid on the gym floor in agony. Screw this being old business anyway! I want my body back. Who took the damn thing?! I really had no idea how weak I am getting. Time for this nonsense to end!

Of course, I could be doing all of this at home and save the cost of the gym membership. I have the mat and the weights and all the stuff. But, the thing is..... I get to the gym, the music is rocking, people are sweating and working hard and it makes me work a little bit harder than I might at home. I see the big strong dudes, flexing at the bench press, the young girls literally running their asses off on the treadmill, the weight machine people just going through the motions. Then there are the mat people. Since I have chosen to do free weights and stretches, I'm over in the area where the old people are, mostly. These are the folks that had a doctor tell them to go get a trainer and DO SOMETHING! I fall somewhere in between all of these folks. I see the young girls and know that is my past, but I look at these tottering old folks and see that could be my future. Oh HELL no! Its extremely motivating to see a man or woman near my age, that can't do one bicep curl or lunge. But hell yeah, they are trying and if they can do it, I sure can.

I will say my energy is off the charts. Wesley is dragging around here talking about being tired all the time, though lord knows I can't really figure out why. Today, I got up at 7:30, ate breakfast, went to the gym, worked out for an hour including cardio work. Then I came home fixed us some lunch, got dressed, went to work.  I loaded 40 pound bags of organic soil in cars, repotted five trays of plants, watered the greenhouse, took out the recycling, swept the floor, helped customers, cleaned up the potting room, moved all the plants inside when we closed. Got home at 8pm, Gerry had dinner waiting. Watched The Hatfields and McCoys, episode three and started writing this blog. It's 11pm and I am still wide awake.

There is a 6am Warrior Meditation at the gym on Fridays and I would really like to go. But, why 6am?!  I think it would be a great way to start the day though..... I might try.....  6am?

Eat the Bear