Thursday, November 15, 2007

My mother

My mom's "Millennial Teddy Bears"
This is going to be a long post, just thought I'd let you know upfront so you can run now!

Sometimes as we go through life, we are fortunate enough to learn important lessons along the way. Sometimes, they are lessons learned, sadly, too late.
Such is my life. Lessons I have learned have been both harsh, and illuminating.

The most important lesson I learned was how to love my mother.
My mother will be the first to tell anyone that she was NOT the best mother. She had a hard life, in and out of boarding schools, abused at a vulnerable age by her step father, and then abandoned by her mother when she refused to face the truth about the man she was married to, my mother had to fend for herself- something she was not good at.

Married young to my father, the both of them clueless about parenting, she went through life without the necessary skills required for the most basic of parenting. Not good at coping with stress, she took out her anger and feelings of helplessness on her children. My sister and I being the most likely targets. She is 14 years older than I, and when I was eight- she got married and left, never to return. I remember crying at her wedding, because I knew with her gone, it would be so much worse for me...

Often, I was jealous. Mom had these 'adopted' children all over the neighborhood who came to her for advice and love. I felt like I was really the adopted one. I was embarrased to have my friends over, and one time I lost a friend due to my mother and her behavior. Couldn't these other 'children' see it? Of course not, because she was a completely different person with them than she was with me.

Life in our home was hard, it was filled with anger, and frustration. My father left when I was 11 and my little brother was only five. He said that my brother's disability was too hard to handle. Then he married a woman with seven children...

My mother fell completely apart after he left. As if things weren't bad before he left, now there was no buffer between my mother and her children.
Jamey got the best of mom. For some reason, his disability brought out the best in her. She fought for him to receive a good education, and learned everything she could about Autism. Her energy was expended in a positive way.
When I was little, all I could think of was, 'what did I do?' when she would go off. I tried to be a good girl, and was meek and mild. After the abuse that happened to me at age nine, I was a different child. I started drinking at age 13, and by 15 was an alcoholic. It was a great way to get away from everything.

I wasn't exactly the perfect teenager, that's certain. I was wayward, and defiant. After I got big enough, I would fight back (never physically), I certainly was not going to just sit back and take it anymore.
I remember being terrified of my mother, even at age 16 she could get me to cower in a corner...

I left home when I was 16, worked full time outside of the home, and only went back home at age 18 for a place to keep my stuff.
Life was hard between my mother and I, and I blamed her for a lot of things. Certainly the physical and mental abuse was something we could never get over, and I resigned myself to the fact that we would never have a relationship beyond civility.

Then, I got sober. I got married shortly after, and got pregnant right away. Life took on a new perspective, and I realized I was going to be a mother, but I had no idea how to be one. I only knew I didn't want to be like my mother was. I took parenting classes, and went back to church.
But something was missing. It was my mother.

Long story short?
My Father in Heaven changed my heart, and He made it possible for me to forgive my mother over time, and to be able to reforge a relationship with her that at this time I wouldn't trade for anything in the world.

Mom also learned some new things, how to accept responsibility, to not try and guilt me into anything, and how to heal some of her own wounds.

This is, needless to say, the highly abridged version of our relationship. Just to set the tone for my experience this past week.
Mom needed to have gallbladder surgery, and at age 76, she isn't the spring chicken she used to be. So I made arrangments to go and be with her to help her the Tuesday she went in. I was going to leave Wednesday, and come home. My daughter decided to stay with her to help her.
As I spent time there, I realized something profound. My mother is getting old.
She isn't going to be around forever, and there will come a time when I will not have her in my life anymore.

This scared me to death. I stayed until Thursday, then went home, crying all the way. Then I went back Saturday morning, and came home Monday, crying some more. I didn't want to leave her. She lives about 2 1/2 hours away, and with the ranch here, I am pretty tied down.
I am so glad I had the time to spend with her, and I can't wait to see her again.

While I was there, I met someone pretty special. His name is Teddy, and here is his story, as written by my mother.

Bears on a shelf in the "Teddy Bear Room"

Hi, my name is Teddy, and this is my story.

Where am I? The last thing I remember, I was sitting on a pretty pink bed, playing with my little girl. Then things changed fast. People came in the middle of the night, and I heard the words, "very sick, hospital" and my little girl's mommy was crying.

Several days go by, there is a big black car outside taking my girl's mommy and daddy away. The house is very quiet for a long time, I have no one to hold me or love me. The next thing I know I'm in a big box with my friends. We all used to play with my litle girl. Now I am in this strange place with all kinds of different toys, but my friends are gone.

I hear words like, "Sell all the toys, and everything else." So I wait to see what selling us meant.

A little boy says he wants to buy a train, laughing, he went away with his train. A little girl says she wants a doll, her mommy bought it for her and she was laughing.

Now I understand! We were here to make people happy! So I sat up straight, as straight as my bent legs could be, and I waited, and I waited. All around me toys weregoing home to their new families, except for me.

The next thing I knew, I was at the bottom of the pile of toys, standing on my head! No one could buy me while I was upside down, they couldn't see how cute I was!

Then I felt something pulling on my leg, I heard, "Hello Teddy, what are you doing under all these toys?"

I got a big hug, and my new mistress said, "I have never had a teddy bear before. Now I do, because you are going home with me.

Now the lady squeezed me again, then she laughed! And I said to myself, I like this, I could get used to this loving very easily.

We got into something called a car, and she said, "You are going to be my co-pilot now, and we can be with each other all the time."

I have been her friend, and her companion, and get hugs just about every day, and I have a permanent place on her bed. And the best part is I am giving love to a lonely woman, cause my new mistress is 76 years young!

I have been all over the place with her, for 25 years! I have loads of new friends, here are some pictures of them, they have their very own room, called the Teddy Bear room. But I get to sleep with mommy! So, I heard about this B.t. Bear Esquire, and I thought I'd share some pictures with him. There are several 'not-a-bears' who live here too, but our bearyness is rubbing off on them, I can tell!

If you look close, you will see how my legs are just perfectly porportioned so as to sit on my mommy's hip and hug her. Perfect!

Here I am surrounded by my new friends in the bear room!
One of the beary nice shelves.
Mr. Genteel Bear.
I hope you enjoyed my story!
I love you mom, and I'm glad you were a lesson I learned- before it was too late.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

I give up...........

All Photographs copyrighted by: Rachelle Black 2007
Here's Narya, all better! She says thanks to all of you for keeping her in your thoughts and prayers :))

I apologize for being out of touch for so long. I know it can be worrisome when someone you care about disappears for a while...... after a major crisis..... hmmmmmm- that really does sound bad, doesn't it?
Sorry! But I've been very, very busy. You see, I have been busy being severely depressed. You'd be amazed at how much time and effort that takes!
Hiding in my house, eating 12 meals a day and not talking to anyone, it's extremely time consuming.
Playing the PS-2 and escaping from reality have been my forte for the last few weeks. I mean, In & Out is a great job for teenagers, but not so much when you have a family of 4.
Hubby still doesn't have a 'real' job, and no money can certainly play tricks on your mind.
Take for instance the following: haunting dreams of being homeless, having to sell all of our socks to pay for groceries, reading by candelight to conserve energy, and forcing your kids to buskie on the street corner with their instruments and an old hat just to make ends meet.

Looking at all my beautiful alpacas and wondering how long I will be able to keep them....

But all that's behind me! I have decided just to no longer be depressed! It's that simple.

Want to hear my new weight loss plan? Well, you know all those starving children in China, er, or was that Africa- I'm going with Africa, that's what mom used to say- anyway, I am going to box up my extra poundage and ship it over there! They can use the extra weight, I'm helping myself, and some needy kids at the same time. Good plan, right? I haven't figured out how to get the pounds off of me and into the box yet, but don't bother me with details, eh?

And job shmob, who needs it? I'm going to make a fortune selling my sparkling personality! I am sure if I can just figure out how to bottle it up, we'll be rich, rich, RICH!!

***heavy sigh***

Who am I kidding, life's a bleak as these photos, well, except for this one. However, the latest in bleak moments occured when my son turned 16 this October. See and read the "I am so old...." post I did about his birthday last year. And I thought I was old then, HA!! Little did I know.

Tonight, my son goes on his first date. I think....... I'm going....... to die. Date?!?! When did he get old enough to date?? Wasn't he playing with Thomas the Tank Engine just last week?!?!?!?
Hard and fast rule around here, no dating until you are 16, then only in groups until you are 18. Great, he is raring to go now! They are going bowling with some other teens. Even if mom still has to drive them, it is still, officially, The First Date.

When did this happen? Did I blink or something? Because I have not blinked in, oh, about..... oh crap, 16 years. That's how it happens, you blink- and they are grown up. That stinks.

But my son? He's wonderful. Smart, funny, and oh so talented. I love him!

All manicness (wow on that word) aside, I am okay, really. And.........
I think I'll take a lesson from The Lump and Jack here, after all- there's a lot to be said for just snuggling down with a furry friend and letting the storm blow over.