Saturday, July 31, 2010

the town treasure chest

In our small little town there is a wonderful little Salvation Army. The kids and I love to go and scout through the shelves for treasures. I have a rule though - we are not to enter the shop UNLESS there is something we are needing or looking for. We rarely come out with the thing we went initially in for, but we come out with some amazing things and fabulous deals.
While wandering our beloved little shop last week, I came across this little gem. $2.99 the sticker said. I admit that at first I had no idea what it was....but the little silver tube off the side gave me a hint. A stovetop espresso/cappuccino maker!!!!!! It is the most amazing thing.
And while I have only taken up the habit of coffee drinking in the last eight months or so of my 34 years, I am delighted and excited to be able to make myself gourmet coffee on the woodstove! (If you know me, you know how much I LOVE low-tech).
So I've decided that each time I find some fabulous score at the local Sally Ann, I'm going to tell you about it.....And that alone gives me a reason to return to the halls of heavenly second-handing! ;)

Friday, July 23, 2010

are you lonesome tonight...

Photo from Desicolours

I'm not dating. I have gone on a few....dates. But it never felt right. But neither does this loneliness.

I don't want to go through the hassle of meeting, dating, getting to know the other person's "issues", introducing this person to family and friends, getting giddy when they come around, having our first argument, finding out that they have an oddly close relationship with their mother...who hates me, and having to dump their mama's boy ass after going through all that.

I want to jump straight to the comfy fart-in-bed stage. The leave-the-door-open-when-you-pee level. I want to not worry that they find my poultry obsession a little alarming or that my kid's habit of climbing into bed with me every night is not overly annoying. I want to be with someone who finds my kids cute even when snot is running down their chin.

But, alas, the only one who can fit this bill is a husband. My husband.

I worry that no one will ever love my kids as much as their daddy did. And that even if some man was willing, I may not let them through 'the gate' as I seem to fear that anyone with any interest in us must either have pedophilic tendencies or a death wish.

I'm scared that no one could ever love me again despite my habit of repeating deliciously interesting words under my breath until they cease have meaning. "colposcopy. colposcopy. colpscopy...." Or that the horrifyingly large amount of matter on my thighs that resembles marbles under blue-white coloured cloth would repulse some poor man. Or that they wouldn't know that laughing when I'm raging and screaming at some perceived injustice, although seemingly counterproductive, is just what I need to see life's bullshit as it is - bullshit.

I want to jump to husband and wife. I want to miss all the ups and downs of possibilities.

I want comfort. I want warmth. I want Jeff.

Friday, July 16, 2010

the perfect father

Lately, Liv and I have been struggling. We have been fighting arguing about everything from whether she should brush her extremely knot-filled hair before departing for the day to whether older sisters are 'allowed' to speak to their younger brothers in a hatred filled voice to whether it is her job to clean up her mess. She claims that my requests for daily self-care (teeth brushing, semi-clean clothes wearing, etc.) are demands upon her body which I have no right whatsoever to impose....and that this is exactly why nature has so much trouble supplying humans with their 'needs' because society has created an unreal ideal of human hygiene (If you are confused, don't worry - I don't totally get the rationale either).
I am holding my breath wondering what Liv is going to find issue with far too often for my liking. I am emotionally exhausted and communication/NVC/positive parenting deficient.

Recently, Liv has started to not just fly off the handle with anger over the injustice of expectations upon her body, the needs of others in the household or my desire to have a calm and communicative homelife....but at the idealized image she holds of her father and my perceived shortcomings.
She regales me with reasons that I am less of a favourable parent to her father. I don't play with her enough. I yell more than he did. I don't love her as much as her daddy did.
The ironic and most painful part of this is that although Jeff was a kind, funny and loving father, he was not always hands-on. He would wrestle with Liv. Or snuggle on the couch watching a movie. He'd occasionally make something with her in the garage. He loved to listen to her read or hear her tales of daily life on the phone weekly while he was fishing.
But I was the one who cuddled her to sleep and got up with her in the middle of the night. I wasn't holed up in the garage drinking beer and watching WWF. I was mixing the homemade playdough and kissing away 'owies'. I knew what size of shoes she wore and how far up she liked her coat zipped.
He was a fabulous daddy. But the image she has of him is just not accurate. And I am being compared to a 'saint'.
One evening of overly expressed dislike of my inadequencies as a parent I (remarkably) calmly told Liv of her father. I explained that he was a fabulous guy and my very best friend whom I loved with all my heart and wished with every part of my being that he would be back with us. BUT that he was a real person. He made mistakes and lost his temper and sometimes stunk like B.O. He didn't like how I loaded the dishwasher and ate pickles straight out of the jar. It doesn't mean he was 'bad' or 'mean' or 'unkind'....just that he was like the rest of us. 'Real'.
With horror on her little angry face, she told me that I was never to talk 'mean' about her daddy ever again. That he was 'perfect'.
And really, he was. He was perfectly him....But I hope that one day, and not TOO far away, she can see that I am perfectly me....and I am trying the best I can to do the job that he and I used to do together.

I do not want to take Liv's love or admiration for her daddy. I don't want her to ever stop thinking that he was wonderful and hilarious. But why does it have to come at the cost of her love and devotion to me?

Friday, July 09, 2010

...and by the way

Photo from Auburn University

I am seeing all sorts of old and familiar faces since we moved back to my hometown. It's been great getting reacquainted with now-grown children of my youth. We discuss how the town has changed. That the one stop light in town is no longer the one stop light in town. Gossip about the nastiest boy in our class has changed and where he is now.
I find it so very interesting to know who or what the townsfolk have become, who they've married and how many children they've had. Looking at the faces of their little ones makes me grin seeing the familiar face of their parents as children staring right back at me.
Somehow during the conversation I seem to blurt out, almost Tourette's like, "My husband died."
I feel like a dork when I say it. But I can feel it building inside me like a burp and suddenly spew it out at my long-lost aquaintance. The moment after resembles the pause that I could imagine occurring if I had indeed loudly belched in their face. My burped words seem to echo between us.
If I somehow manage to come away from our brief visit in the parking lot without this almost involuntary admission, I feel as if I have mislead the other person somehow. That they are missing some huge part of the puzzle. But if I include it, it's an echo invoker.
I still, after two years, do not know what is the appropriate way to include this humungous tidbit into a brief summary of my life.....and socially, I don't know if any one really wants to know?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

living again

I am loving our new life.
Although I am finding the cost of living here more than I expected, I am finding that this life in the town I grew up in to be so much more fulfilling and exciting.
Striking out and building a life that includes Jeff and the memories we have of him, but built around our needs now and our new future has been exhilarating.
I find myself wondering what is around the next corner....and not always with dread or fear. I have hope for joy returning to our lives and the little things that maintain our happiness now.
Having the forest and the ocean just steps from our doorstep is how I imagined my children growing up. Exploring, building, imagining, creating. It makes up in (small) part for the loss of my ability to stay home with them 24/7.
And on that front, I have to say, that (and I feel immense guilt saying this), that I am enjoying my time away. I come home with stories for the kids of what my day was life, what I did and how I perform a blood occult stool test (yes, this involves poop). I love having grown-up conversations, feeling in control of our income, feeling valuable and using my brain for something other than remembering the recipe for fabulous bubbles (10 parts water, 1 part Dawn or Joy dish soap and .25 part glycerin). I know that my job as a mommy is the most important thing I will do in my life.....but I also think that I need some time to just be "Jackie" and without having someone to spell me off when I need time to myself, I feel intense frustration at times. With this frustration comes guilt and feelings that I am not a good and selfless mother. I have to remind myself occasionally that Liv has had me home for seven years and Briar for four - This is entirely longer than the standard one year in Canada and the six weeks in the States.
Life is still a bit off-kilter as we settle into our new house. We are almost finished unpacking. Most of the pictures are up. The linen closet is organized. We are just fine-tuning now.

The fresh air is fabulous. I SO love the cool breezes and foggy mornings. Being in the village brings remembered faces and a sense of comfort in knowing where everything is and the names of all the streets. The kids are loving having friends close by and frolicking in the woods....Where they find strange and amazing things - abandoned cabins, huckleberries, cathedral-like beams of light streaming through the trees, gnome stumps, deer trails, little streams and "Barbie doll graveyards".

I have started working on the garden, built a compost and have started planning the garden for the start of the next growing season. I've built a larger chicken/duck yard and all our poultry buddies are pleased. The kids and I climbed through some of the bushes on the property trimming out the underbranches to enable us to put our toadstool stools under the leafy canopy for a pretend fairy home for the kids.

I am happy. The kids are happy. Life is good.

Friday, July 02, 2010

when Jeff died.....

As a widow, how many times have you said, "when/since/because _____ died"? Even after two years, three months and six days, I regularly use this phrase. Does widowhood define me this much or is it that the loss of my husband has been so life-altered, self-forming, world-shifting to me that I can attribute most of the occurrences in my present life to the event?
I prefer to believe that my life, goals, priorities, etc have all been modified, improved and streamlined. I hope that I can now see more clearly what is 'important' rather than that the definition of 'widow' has become so entwined with my vision of 'self'.
Or am I just lying to myself and hiding behind the loss of my other half?