Traditions of Deception

To the receiving hands of the ripped and torn children of the system, foster care and adoption. I have some advice. It is only my opinion so take it or return it. I write this with full knowledge that many won’t agree and I’m fine with that. These are just my thoughts followed by a powerfully written piece from my daughter when she was only five.

Be careful with the traditions of deception. I am not a Scrooge nor am I a religious one who hates costumes and candy. But I have some thoughts on Santa. The Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy too for that matter.

In the past 15 years, children have come to my home with broken foundations of trust. They have been lied to, traumatized and played. Physical and emotionally scared in ways that cause me to evaluate the traditions of deception. Ba-Humbug. I know, It all in fun.

Do you remember the age of discovery, the feeling in your belly when you realized there is no Santa. I do not. My family told the history and story of St Nicolaus and played the role of giving in the tradition of old. We hunted eggs and received gifts for our teeth all in the knowing that someone loved us and was delighted to gift us with surprises.

The Holiday tradition of casting a magical character that knows everything and will judge you naughty or nice and give you gifts based on merit, upsets my humanitarian mind. These children have no self-worth, often do not know that they are deserving of any good thing and furthermore, love people who have wronged them and society. It’s a heavy burden to carry. How many crying babies have to endure the traditional Santa pictures when they know full well this isn’t right. They are coaxed and encouraged and expected to put aside the naturally inherited protective fact, all for the traditional photo. You set them on a strangers lap and ask them to tell him what they want. He is a stranger, in a red costume! Freaky

I have been asked so many time as to when is it the right time to tell children that they were adopted? Let that sink in…it is their story. Tell the truth from day one. Do you question as to when to tell your biological children about their truth?

My girl told me this christmas story when she was five. She was secure in her attachment and belonging.

“On a dark winter night a man named Santa Clause came down our chimney. He snatched up Traven and Lillie when our parents were sleeping. He took them to make them work as elves. But one night we snuck out and borrowed his reign deer. Traven rode Rudolph and I rode the crazy one, I can’t remember his name…nope, can’t remember his name, but he was craaaazy. We got on in the night and flew home. I held on tight and said hyah-hyah. It was a crazy ride but we got home safe. We let the reign deer go back home but then Santa noticed that we were gone. He came back to get us and I wacked him with a stick when he came down the chimney. Then he went back to his home and left us alone.” Lillian Sayad

I love her courage I love her wit.

Give your children a foundation of wonder and imagination with a strong identity of truth.

 

via Daily Prompt: Torn

Misery Loves Company

img_8445-e1513486979935.jpgI went on a walk this morning to get my head on straight. I came home from work last night with a raging desire for destruction. Images played through my mind of swinging a baseball bat through my house and thrashing everything, The sound of windows crashing and treasures falling to the ground while I pummel them with a small pink baseball bat, brings relief to my fractured mind. I take pity on my surroundings and refocus my fantasy to a tree. Yes, that would satisfy my deepest desire, I will beat a tree with a bat. One strike and I would regret it so I curl up in the dark of my room and cover myself with my flannel and down comforter. I am screaming in silence.

I decided to google, “How do I know if I am having a mental breakdown”. Much to my dismay the article made me laugh. I had all of the signs except self-injury and running naked in public. I’m calling sister. If I’m losing it, Im taking her with me.

On Sunday, November 28th, my adult daughter came to my bedside with an urgent phone call from my brother. Mother was having an episode with her heart. She had walked into his room  and asked for prayer. She had awakened knowing something was not right. She directed my brother in a prayer covering any darkness or spiritual strong holds and then took in a breath and said she felt much better. She asked to lay back for just a moment to rest and she left us. She died as she has lived, without hesitation and in here own time. She was 78 years young and had just driven herself three hours over a mountain road to get snow tires on her 4 wheel drive pickup. She has changed lives, made her mark and we had plans.

It is not my first loss and it will not be my last. The resiliency of human kind sustains me. I have dear friends that lost their mother at a tender young age. I am looking at them now and I gather courage in the fact that if they can do it, so can I. As I walked this morning, I tossed around the saying, “Misery Loves Company”. Some people may have a negative image of this concept but for me it simply means, “Misery is easier  to bear when one is not the only one…”

I was walking a back road near my house and there was another person coming my direction. My first thought was that I wanted this time all to myself, and then I heard her weeping. She gathered her self-control long enough to walk past and then continued. I offered a silent prayer and gave her my deepest respect and more importantly the shelter of an uninterrupted moment.

I get up everyday and try to wrap my head around living with out my mom, I do find courage in others who are doing this thing called life after enduring the hardest of times. I have been listening to Bonnie Raitt, “Dimming of The day”  I awakened sing this to mom the first night she left me…It has become my anthem.

Once Had a Mom

My mom passed from this world on November 28th. She lived as she died, with out hesitation and in her own time.

I will reflect on her life later but for today I share something from 2009.

My Dog, Shaw
January 20, 2009
Four days after my pup, Shaw, arrived in California we travel to the high mountain valley that we call home. There was almost 5 feet of snow. We settle into the house where dogs are usually not invited. Shaw, being such a baby has not known this as home, there has been made an acception. I show him his spot on a rug and pray he doesn’t pittle on the floor. My dad is terminal with cancer. He has been a fisherman, a cattle man, and a horse and dog trainer. He wants to know my dog. This is a test for me and mine… There is a young shepard that is well trained and knows the boundaries, she is a good teacher. She shows him the ways and he livens things up for this shepard with an old soul. My dad put out his hand to my dog and to my surprise, he snaps and bites my dads finger. Dads reply, “That little sh*t bit me.” He doesn’t hold it against my dog but I quickly return him to his spot an a rug. Later Shaw returns to my dad, I watch closely while he settles at his feet. As I reflect I am reminded of the cancer, I to wish I could bite at this unknown that is ravishing my dad. Shaw has self corrected and I am pleased. He returns several time to lay at my dads cold and swollen feet. My mom really likes dogs and would like a companion of her own. Shaw shows her no attention and she is trying to make up to him. Later I look around and he is not on his rug nor is he at my dads feet. My mom has had her way. She has been sneaking him meat scraps in the kitchen and now he is laying just out of the way watching her. Not begging, but knowing that this is where the heart of the home is and here he has found the love of his belly. My mom does not look up, she knows I would not approve of my dog in the kitchen, but she also knows I will not correct her ways. She says to me in a soft voice, you have brought us a camp dog… (written 2/08)

Shaw is my walking and hiking companion…he has turned out just fine.

The Edge of Darkness

WARNING; Mature Content and Profanity. I give you permission to look away!

I was awakened this morning with a startling glimpse of this story being told. I was shaking in the knowledge that it is time.

It has been a four-year journey of disclosure and restraint, unraveling and mending of raw rage and for his deeds there is no recompense that satisfies my mind.

They met and married, he had a sordid past. We believe in new beginnings and hope in the restoration of all broken and abandoned. In him there was a high call and a twisted way we would come to see. I know by his own words he fears only God, but that is not enough to alter his evil ways. He beat her, he abused her mind and had his way with all that she held dear. She was welcome to leave but not with his children. Gun to her head, bowie-knife to her throat, it wasn’t difficult to believe he meant what he said. He broke her down in the shadows of darkness where-in she believed her only hope was to protect her family from his hand. He kept her car and her phone, isolating her as he had his way on the streets and with his other women. She looked for a chance to steal away but she believes full well his words, that if she ever took his children, he would take mine. The threats on her siblings and on our life held her silence. He became careless and flagrant in his abuse and while staying with friends he head butted her in the night. There was no hiding her swollen blackened eye from our site.

Confronting the black reality of her pain took great courage and she ran for her life. The swollen eye and concussion was minor compared to the damage he had done. We confronted his threats and our home became the target of his rage. He went on the run and a federal and state man hunt was underway with 24 hour surveillance on our home.

In the midst of courage my baby girl found her voice, she was nine. When she knew her sister and the babies were safe she was ready to tell. He had been molesting her right under our nose for three years. His words were the same, if she told, he would shoot her in the head and kill us all. In shock and rage we took her to the police station to make her report. The officers took her from us under the watchful eye of social workers, while we waited we knew full well it could change the status of our fostering home. Three boys had come to stay and if they found us incompetent we ran the risk of losing it all. Her story was worth all risk, her courage beyond our pain.

Hours of questions and a physical exam that showed no scaring, we were sent home. Cleared of any risk of loosing our fostering status we had no answers and even worse they had no proof. No charges were brought and days turned to weeks , weeks turned to years and finally he was caught. We had held out hope that when they finally brought him in there would be justice. Both girls, battered and broken, had found their voice they took a stand.

He was a two strike felon who battered, beat, raped, molested and threaten lives. He went on the run while still on parole and when they caught him he was loaded with weapons. He was looking at 6 years with a reduced plea he bargained it down to 3-4. He was never charged with sex crimes or child molestation. He has served slightly over a  year and will be out this December.

I wrestled the demons of my mind. In the months and years of disclosure and revelation I walked in a rage that almost took me over the edge of darkness. Early in this fight I baited the dirty mother fucker to our house and sat with my revolver in my hand. By day break my daughter found me and gently loosed it and tucked it safely away. When I came out of the cold black stooper, I was disappointed. I had no blood on my hands.

I am a professional in the field of Early Child Development. I work with children in all aspects of my life. I am an advocate and a champion for safe children and in my care this took place. I still have not recovered. I am thinking I will never be the same.

I attended a domestic violence awareness walk and even spoke about childhood trauma at a workshop. I was right in the middle of this bull shit, so I put on my mask and put one foot in front of the other. The survivor walk touched a cord in me, I came through the arch way of celebration and a young child was holding a sign, “Break The Silence”  My weapon is my word, victory of darkness is my stand. I have not overcome his evil ways, but I have found my way in the wilderness. I forgive him. Not because he is worthy, not because there is any good thing in this man. But because forgiveness breaks off the strong hold of my judgment. It releases his control over me and the darkness that hate instills. I release him to stand before our maker, may judgment be in His hand.

…an after thought: People have told me that if that had happened to theirs they would have kill him. They say many things that I have thought and at one time even said. I am thankful daily that I did not go over that edge. I am thankful that his ways did not rob me of my place in my home, my place at the table called Life. We all have a burden to carry, an evil to overcome. He does not hold the key, I will not surrender to his darkness.

December is right around the corner: “Come What May”

This story was shared with permission.

via Daily Prompt: Black

The Unexpected

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A friend came to visit yesterday evening and I found myself chatting about blogging. I got started less than a month ago and I must say there are surprises along the way. I am new to this and have much to learn.

I hesitate to say that I had no idea about the “stats” or the image of the world map that lights up as you have traveled across continents and connected with others around the world. It is an unexpected thrill. The traffic is a tease at times as I want to know more about those who have crossed my path. I want you to know if you have disclosed yourself to me and I am not aware of your region or town, I educate myself. I go online and read about your surroundings. This grounds me and I become vetted in my fellow readers and writers.

When I was a young girl we had an exchange student at my school. She linked me to another student in India and we became pen-pals. We wrote letters and exchanged artwork. We lost contact over the years but I have never forgotten her drawing of peacock feathers or the life experiences that she shared. Blogging is pen-palling at its finest.

Cheers to connecting from here to there. I look forward to your stories and comments.

 

Suicide; one person’s panacea, another’s life sentence.

Daily Prompt: PanaceaIMG_7677

“Panacea~a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases…”

I have been thinking of this daily prompt all day. There is so much that I am not yet ready to say. If my dog Shaw was still with me he would have felt my annexed and pushed me to go for a walk. He would have pushed in close and I would have put my nose to his fur and breathed him in.

  • David C.R. ~ My childhood friend. You could have told me anything. HIV
  • Kelly P. ~ High School. My beautiful friend, I loved the ice-cream on your face. I wish you would have know broken hearts mend.
  • Uncle Paul and Aunt Georgie~ You changed our world. You did it your way.
  • Teasa Lane~ I can not even say your name. I was there when each of your babies were born, I climbed in beside you in some of your darkest days. I tasted your tears and I couldn’t catch you when you fell.
  • Kenny W.~ You encouraged me and said the kindest of things, I just didn’t know it was good bye.

My Panacea: “There is no death, only a transition of life.”

The House

The House on Wood Street is tall and imposing. I remember when I first saw her. I was driving a side street and I noticed behind the tall redwood tree’s there was a large bird of paradise plant with dramatic flowers. I didn’t really notice the structure itself. I remember the flower speaking, telling me to take notice.

I have lived in this house now over thirteen years. We were quiet content in our first home. It fit us wonderfully, on a hill with views and lots of natural light. When we opened our hearts to fostering we were quickly told it was not big enough for what our hearts and hands would welcome, so we moved to The House. She was built in 1904 and has withstood the hands of time with very few alterations. As we moved in on a cold winter day our first young momma came with her baby and her things. It was a house for others from day one.

Fostering has given way to adoption and I have always kept my mind on the original heart beat and vision. Every child deserves a home, a place of belonging and purpose. A place to launch from and a place to return. I know longing, and heart-break from a place of empty heart and womb. Adoption is a beautiful story of family for many individuals and the reasoning is as complex as those who make this choice.  My story was somewhat more happen stance. I saw a need and I said yes and guess what, that does not make me a mom. My love for them does. There is this thing that happens, you wake up and notice you even love their stink. You want whats best for them even more than you want whats best for yourself. Sometimes that doesn’t lead to adoption but loving them from a distance and carrying them always in the place that only they can hold.

I do not require that the children of our family call me mom. I can read their faces and know their ways. I speak brokenness and miss trust fluently.  “Mom” just the very word stirs up vision and expectation and some are not good. There is confusion and strings attached and I am patient. In my mind I am patient. I rationalize the lack of title and have fully convinced myself, I want to be fine with it.

One day I am doing my household chores, tending to the house. I take a break and sit outside and look up and the reflections in the window looks as if she is winking at me. Not teasingly but assuredly. I was fussing over my place and my identity, I will admit. I want to be the mom and I want all due respect. I want to be adored and favored, I want to be their everything…The House spoke to me, it was the oddest thing. She told me they were not ready and it will come, but for now she would stand in proxy. She would hold them in her belly, keeping them safe and warm. Sheltering them and giving them a place to heal. She will raise them up and never ask for anything in return. I was humbled, this is truth. The House on Wood Street stands in proxy for all the mom’s who could not, and I am honored to call her home.

I answer to many names; The sweetest name is the one that comes from them. It sounds like a song that only they can sing.

via Daily Prompt: Proxy

The Mid-Life Simmer

via Daily Prompt: Simmer

Lets not talk about it. Oh yes, let’s do…

I have always walked closely with those older than I. They feel safe, They have been there, done that and I never gave their mid-life struggle a second thought.

Now its my turn and I am an outward processor, so in this I will not hold my tongue. I am smiling to myself now as I remember adolescence. My sister went first, she never told me. I asked questions like I was the very first to feel the buds of youth. My dear mother was patient and good at giving me facts, black and white, cold hard facts. I refused to turn 13, I was a tomboy and wanted nothing to slow me down. It came anyway.

We can not, no matter how well-behaved we decide to transition, we can not stop the hand we were dealt. I would stomp my foot and refuse but I learned my lesson the first time. It will come anyway.

I have looked forward to growing old, I embraced 40 with great excitement. You see in my earlier years I was often told I was too young. Every step of the way. Too young to go to school when I was the baby. Too young to ride my dad’s green-broke horse when I was 7, too young to get out of High School at 16, too young to marry at 19, too young to have my first child at 21. I figured that by 40, no one had any right to tell me I was too young for anything, except death. I was spunky and happy about it and it took me well into my 50’s before I have the mid-life simmer that has rattled me a bit. I am not here to give advice, each to her own as how she will process her own change. I will say that I was not prepared for my memory issues and mussy brain. I feel cheated, I am a quick wit. I need that to stay ahead of my quick tongue and active body. I roll though life on full speed and have always trusted in my mind to keep me out of trouble.

I am considering the possibilities and the potential for my current mussy brain and I have decided to just put it out there. I have found it helps. I let others know that if I don’t write it down, I will forget.  If I do, I may forget where I put it. I could hide away as this feels vulnerable and foreign to me. It causes doubt and frustration that wears on our face. I have seen it looking back at me in the mirror.

I ask you, do not stay away from those who are on simmer. I encourage you to find a lid. Not to cover her, but to protect yourself from her splatter and take her as she is. Hot and bothered and possibly ready to spit.

 

 

In~Light~In

img_7502Travel didn’t come early in our years together. As we step out on wing and rail we have a common way that keeps us steady. We have no great expectation, but keep our eyes and ears wide open.

Heart racing, mind full, it’s hard to sleep. Heading out early for the winter train to Fairbanks. The first dusting of snow came in the night, it is lovely.
The trees are naked they have lost their leaves. The bark is white and stands in contrast to the dark morning light.

“All Aboard” we here the call, find our seats in the front car with a window, almost. Looking forward it had a wall support cutting off our view. We reposition because we asked nicely and it’s the off season so our train is not full. It’s a twelve hour adventure full of possibilities. This train is one of the last that still allows “on-and-off” travelers to wave it down and pay a fare for their needed transportation. It travels through a part of Alaska where there are no roads. Homesteaders and people living off grid uses the rail as their connection to developed communities. I must say, I try not to have expectations but my thoughts were to see Denali Park and mountain and wildlife, and I did.  The travelers were an unexpected delight. On this day we picked up Mary and Clyde, regulars on the rail. They homesteaded in 1963 and have raised their four children on the land. The couple are in their elder years now, as they made their way through the car they just kept walking. We knew they were something special. Husband mentioned that they knew exactly where they were going. They settled in the dinning car and we met them there later for a chat and story. She told me it was hard, good and hard but she would have it no other way. She loved to talk, he stood off to the side preparing her things. She had lost track of time and they were almost home. I felt humbled and encouraged standing in their light.

If you ever get a chance to ride the train in Alaska, take it. I am not sure what you will see, there are no guarantees. You will not be disappointed if you choose to embrace the beauty and stand in~light~in’d

We saw some wildlife; One moose, cow and calf, a wolverine scurrying across a small frozen lake and the ptarmigan were changing color. We saw the largest Eagles imaginable. If you know me, I have eagle encounters.  I saw many on this trip and they were often unnoticed by others. Standing on the outdoor observation deck, I watched one perched on a rock waiting for a fish, it was huge. Later we saw a large nest with a parent perched on the tree. Another one was soaring and took off in flight and flew directly over our window. I am assured in the blessings of the eagle.

The depth and vast landscape does not translate in the images that I captured. I snuggled in to take in the beauty and put my camera away. I was glancing back and noticed the sun was going down. The light shifted gently. The day had been clothed in monocramatic  wonder, with depth and color transforming as we traveled. I noticed a shift and bundled up to enjoy the solitude of the outdoor viewing deck. It was frequented by others when the conductor would slow to a stop and narrate an outstanding view. At this moment many were resting and I wanted a moment to myself before the end of the day. As the sun set on our corner of the earth it kissed us with the most colorful display of beauty. Wild and free refusing to say good night silently it took my breath away and left me enlightened by its glory.

(You can follow my photo’s on Instragram at say_mima)

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