Category: struggle (Page 1 of 3)

A moment in my tummy… a lifetime in my heart

There are people out there who will find me absurd when I proclaim what I am about to. There are some who will think I am spoiled and ungrateful; crazy, insane, or brainless. Some may be hurt aggrieved due to their own struggles and believe I am not grateful, although I know I am. Those who have never experienced it (and are happiy that way), may find me laughable.

I can’t change my desires. My yearning. My hankering. The daily/nightly burning craving.

To have a baby.

Not ’just’ to have a child. Although that is the real desire. But I also covet the pregnancy days. The feeling of growth within my body. The nurturing of innocent life. The muscle cramps, The weight gain. The lumbering walk. The quickening. The kicks and rolls.

But yes, end run game, I want  to have another baby of my own. Another child. A thought that had been gone for years. A possibility that has been gone for years. Yet the vision reappears and persists.

Why this overwhelming need? I have grandchildren for heaven’s sake! Yet, adorable and wonderful as they are? They are not mine alone. Completely and dependently mine. The first face they see in the morning and the last at night. All mistakes and accomplishments, of me and by me.

Readers my age, is this normal? Am I doomed to a life of wishing and wanting another baby of my own? Or is this some kind of midlife crisis breeder style? Men get cars and moms yearn for babies in their wombs? More importantly…how do I make it go away? Obviously, holding other’s babies (even my own grandbabies) isn’t going to work: I want one of my own!!!! And knowing it is a physical impossibility is having not one tiny bit of effect on my infatuation with wanting to be pregnant!

Don’t get me wrong…I am not sad about it. I dealt with that years ago. This just seems to be some kind of overwhelming want to gestate and give birth and raise a baby. I’ve lost it. Obviously.

Hormones? Insanity? I bet if someone would loan me a baby for a month I would get over it. Volunteers?

Speaking Up (Or) Will I Regret This?

Remember when MTV (the Music Television station) was about music and videos? Ah, the good old days.

When the SDMomfia posted about a new show called Skins, to be honest my first thoughts were I have no idea what they are talking about, jeez am I out of touch about censorship and freedom of speech. Fishboy says I am a bleeding-heart-liberal-conservative-freedom-of-speech-save-the-whales-save-the-planet-make-love-not-war-affordable/accessible-healthcare- for-all-pro-choice-anti-gun control-hippie. An enigma wrapped in an enigma. To each his own, is it really my place to say something?

I checked out the website for the show and I found that I do have opinions and I can’t keep my fingers silent. I begin with the disclaimer that I am not a parenting expert. I don’t know what is best for everyone or for society. I haven’t studied sociology. I have no doctorates or areas of expertise. I am just a mom who raised three so far successful, well adjusted humans from infancy to adulthood and lived to tell about it. I have also survived nearly half a century in this society, and during that time I’ve made some observations and learned a few things too.

The show is obviously catering to the 13-17 crowd, not the 21-30 crowd. Allowing children to watch children (or actors who appear to be children) behave in such a manner is sure to influence some kids. It is a fact of life. Even the parents who are convinced they raised their children well, those who are positive their kid knows right from wrong has to consider this fact. Would you allow your smart, responsible 15-year-old to hang out at a frat keg party because you know Johnny understands the dangers of underage drinking and he just thinks the guys are funny? Do you allow 17-year-old Jane to spend evenings at teenage swinging sex party because she made a pact with you to remain a virgin until she married and she thinks it’s ‘interesting’ to watch? Does your 13-year-old get to hang out with foul-mouthed  drug users because you are confident you instilled good judgment in them and your kid “likes” them?

Kids are impressionable. In fact, who isn’t? Don’t I watch HGTV and think to myself I could remodel my bathroom and lay tile without any experience? That I have seen enough Bear Grylls to survive being stranded in the outback with only a backpack and some dental floss? That my CSI skills (if I had the proper equipment) would put local law enforcement to shame? TV makes an impression. And young minds (even smart, intelligent, well-behaved young minds with dutiful parents) are even more impressionable.

My problem is accessibility. Unlike a rated movie where I can determine, as a parent, if my child is mature enough to view, MTV is something parents are not always able to control access to. Especially working moms (I am a full time working mom and have been since 1984). Maybe I believe, as a successful parent, that my kids would not have been influenced by such a show, but let’s be realistic. Can I say that about every single teen in America? Am I positive, even now, that they wouldn’t have been?

I don’t believe in censorship. I do believe in moral ethics and responsibility. I am not naive and I know that many corporations put moral ethics and responsibility far below the almighty dollar.  If the almighty dollar is what drives them, let us use our voices and our personal power to deny them what they desire.

What to do? Let’s put on our moral ethic and responsibility (or even just our common sense) armor and wade into the muck. Let’s use our influence as parents, as citizens, as responsible individuals and as consumers. Let us all band together and boycott MTV. Let us show our children they have power, explain to them why this can work and why we are doing it.

Don’t watch the show. Don’t watch MTV. Share with your friends, neighbors, other parents, and your children why it is important and enlist their aid. Let advertisers know we aren’t going to see any of their ads on MTV. Tell your cable company you want the channel removed from your line up. Show the world that yes, we have freedom of choice and we choose not to let this show leave an impression on our youth.

And when we are successful, I’ll have you all over for a gourmet meal, the likes of which you’ve never tasted. I am not a good cook chef, but I just know those hours of watching the Food Network will make up for it.

(You can see other’s thoughts on this here and share links to your post. If you tweet this out or write about it, use the hashtag #SkinThis. )

A Tale Of Two

When Chelsea King went missing, we (as I am sure all area residents did) felt dismay and concern. Bear and I (as well as MacD, Nannygoat and Mr. Vixen) were hit especially close to home. That is our field. That is our place. Yes it’s a community field, but it was our community field. My children grew up there. Learned to fly kites there, played softball there, hiked the trails with our dogs there, Gram and Gramps took Ladybug to the park there every Saturday morning for years, we celebrated birthday parties there. My first time trying roller blades was there, as was my first big fall off roller blades. The boys had epic paint ball competitions there. Lloyd proposed marriage to Nannygoat on the trails near the waterfall. This was a place of many years of joy and activities for us.

Between Bear and I, Bear was absolutely convinced Chelsea had fallen on the trails and was hurt. We know the trails and it can be rough terrain in areas. Falling into a culvert, being unable to get out seemed like the obvious and only scenario to Bear. Being young, healthy, full of faith and innocence; she was so sure. I was hopeful this was the case, but not certain. A sick feeling in my stomach, mother’s intuition maybe, or just a sense of foreboding.

When they called for volunteers on Saturday morning, despite the pouring rain, Bear and I suited up in our best hiking gear, purchased two rain ponchos and headed off. By this time, my brain was entertaining the thought that she hadn’t fallen. That she wasn’t lying somewhere hurt and waiting to be found. Bear’s faith, however, remained untouched by the length of time and the fact that 100s of deputies had been searching for days and not found her. As we fought the traffic jam near the search HQ for nearly an hour, we noticed volunteers beginning to walk away from the area instead of towards the check in point. We asked several of them what was going on. It turned out too many people had shown up for the search. All volunteers were being turned away for now. We were asked to come back the next day.

Then someone was arrested in connection to her disappearance. Details were sketchy, but for certain they had found an article of her clothing and DNA linking to convicted sex offender. My heart sank, as reality set in. Bear would not give up hope that Chelsea was out there somewhere still. Possibly hurt by this man, but fighting on and just waiting to be found. She had to work the next two days, so we were unable to join the search. But during those two days, our lives were rocked by more revelations.

That Saturday night, they released some details about the man being held in connection with the case. His picture was all over the TV. As was the address at which he was living. This wasn’t just our park, this was our neighborhood. That home was just two blocks from our home of ten years. Fishboy’s mother lives a scant few houses away, as does his aunt’s family. Nannygoat walked past there on a daily basis during the years surrounding his first conviction and she was 14 years old at the time; the same age as his victims. Less than a block from Bear’s elementary school, where she walked to and from 2nd-6th grade. On Sunday morning, Sparkles came by to help with a shed Mr. Vixen is building. He also had news. Apparently when his pregnant girlfriend had watched the news the night before, she had recognized the man being held. Her sister called her and confirmed it. She allowed me to read some of her court papers. You see, she was one of the girls who testified at his preliminary hearing 10 years ago. She was one of his victims. Thank God, not one of the victims who were so badly beaten that resulted in the crimes he was actually charged with. She was one of the “lucky” victims, if there is such a thing, who got away. Still, she was wounded emotionally and the fear of testifying during that time still haunts her to this day. So haunted, that she had never shared with anyone but her family. You see, we know her because she lived in our neighborhood. These are our kids who were hurt. It could have been my daughter, they are nearly the same age. Sadly, during those two days, one last revelation was revealed: that the suspect had lived not far from the high school where Amber Dubois had disappeared during the time she went missing nearly 13 months ago. I felt this was too much coincidence. We had just moved into this city when Amber had gone missing and I had tried to join in that search also.

The day of our search efforts dawned chilly, but clear. Bear was now certain we were looking for a body. Certain of this myself, I wondered what they would have us do? Certainly they didn’t want a bunch of volunteers tromping through possible crime scenes? We were assigned to a group, given a leader and our leader was handed a grid map of the area we were assigned to. It wasn’t any where near the park or the trails. It was actually near where Amber Dubois had disappeared some 13 months ago. Turns out we were not searching for a missing 17-year-old girl on this assignment, but for the possible remains of a 13-year-old girl who had been missing for over a year. We were instructed on what to look for (bones, clothing, shallow graves and such) and what to do when we found something. I listened with stunned disbelief. What am I doing? Can I do this? What if we find bones or a grave? Could I handle it? Could Bear handle it? Our group gathered. Leaving no stone unturned, no holes uninvestigated, and tromping down every inch of vegetation on the overgrown hillside; we searched. Fingertip to fingertip, lined in neat rows, step by slow step for three hours. At times calling to the police officer who was our leader when we found something suspicious. The officer would check what we found. If it warranted further investigation, we tied an orange flag at the area. Bear and I had used up all six of our flags. And then someone’s phone rang. And then another. They had found Chelsea’s body. It was unconfirmed, but we were headed back to search HQ. As hundreds of volunteers milled around, drinking donated water and eating donated food, we waited for word. After a time, quietly, a lead volunteer went from small group to small group. He laid his hands lightly on our backs and stated it was confirmed. We held each other and wept. For her parents, for Chelsea and for our community. We were interviewed by the news. Bear was asked if she knew Chelsea and said no. And then she told him why we had come: That we had to come and that if she was missing she knew her parents would need help. Later that evening, when we saw our snippets played out on the news about how close-knit our community is (me) and Bear’s statements about being there for a stranger’s family who needed help, we cried again.

During the week we watched as our community reeled from the discovery. As news crews filmed in front of our old neighbor’s homes and in front of trail heads where we walked daily. One particularly enraged neighbor was filmed angrily screaming at two boys who painted over some graffiti that was painted on the suspect’s parent’s home. Although I understood his rage (fueled by fear for his children, I am sure); I commended those boys for what they did. No child in the area needed to see that kind of stuff. Parent’s were probably having a hard enough time explaining what was going on to their children. When they replayed that newscast later when everyone was home from work, I found out that the angry, screaming man is Fishboy’s uncle. The threads of this community are inexorably tied into my family.

This past Sunday, as we were decorating for RolyPoly’s baby shower breaking news came on. As we switched to the news channel they announced the remains of Amber Dubois had been found. Bear and I sat on the couch, arms around each other praying out loud that we honestly hoped it wasn’t in the area we had searched. Where we had hung our orange flags. Neither of us thought we could handle that. It wasn’t, but we held each other again. Bear whispered in my ear as I cried for the parents, that she was still here. And I thanked God for that, but as I looked in her eyes I saw it. The loss of her innocence. Gone was that youthful naivete, replaced with a dawning knowledge that her world was not the place she had believed it was.

I am not, in any way, trying to take attention away from the actual victims here: those girls who were abused and beaten; the two girls who’s young lives were taken from them too soon; those families whose lives are forever altered by the loss of a loved one in such a horrific and tragic way. But whoever did this, didn’t just victimize them. They victimized an entire community. They victimized my family too. Our hearts were abused and beaten by the death of these girls. Our memories of a place we considered safe and filled with joy, are now tarnished forever with the stains of the blood of innocence. Our grief and pain is not as great as theirs, but it exists just the same. And after the rage subsides, we will find a way to change things. Change something or anything. Some how, some way we will find a way to help those leading us to make a change that might save lives some day. That is our promise to Chelsea and Amber. And to our community.

“The status quo sucks”

The hearing is complete. And we know nothing more than when we went in there. Wait, that is not true. We now know (because a vocational expert told us so), that Mr. Vixen can work. He meets the ‘so-called’ requirements, physically and vocationally, to perform the job of cuff folder. And, according to the expert, there are 500+ cuff folder jobs in the state of California. There are no current openings and we don’t know where in the state they are, but those things are not taken into consideration when giving expert vocational testimony.

All the records are in, all the testimony is given and all we can do now is wait for her decision. We should be notified of the decision (I am not holding my breath) within the next 30 days. Our lawyer says one of three things could happen: 1) She grants him disability, 2) She denies him disability or 3) She states he can do sedentary work only i.e., cuff folder (which denies him disability now, but may qualify him for disability at age 50-in two years-if he doesn’t improve and does not work for the next two years). The new, unimproved me, calculates those as bad odds. The old me, who had a much more positive attitude, discounts an outright denial (it is their doctor that said he can only do sedentary work) and says the odds are 50/50. I have those two little ‘me’ people, one sitting on either shoulder, yelling those odds in my ears.

I am going to find some ear plugs for the next 30 days.

I See The Storm Gathering

I see the storm approaching this time. No surprises, I think. Before we were unprepared, we didn’t even know what had hit us at first. We were blind sided and knocked out cold. But now, the skies have cleared a bit and I can see the storm coming. Relentlessly, it bears down upon me and I watch as it hits the rickety repairs we have made around our hearts. I stand, transfixed, as it rips at the foundation we have laid in the last year. I want to run and hide. I want to find a shelter where it cannot touch us. I want to be like the eagle, I really do.

Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks? The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it. The eagle does not escape the storm. It simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm.

Old grief, new grief. Grief that never left for some. New scars, old scars. Wounds ripped open and new ones being created. I want to fly above it all, yet I want to be there. In the middle of the storm. Passing sandbags to shore up weak hearts. Boarding up the windows on our souls. Mopping up the torrential downpour so no one slips and falls into the abyss. Collecting blankets to keep us warm during the flood of pain. Handing out first aid supplies to stave of infections of the heart. Building shelters to minimize destruction of our psyches.

Or just…..

Turning back time, so it never came.

Endlessly, it seems, the storm crashes over us. I cannot see where we are headed, but I know if we just hang on we may find the light on the other side of the clouds. I’ll just keep them moving along with me. After all, the storm will blow itself out eventually…..

I hope.

And Collin, I know you are in heaven watching us fumble along through this and I love you.

“True individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.”

skywatch bannerimagePhotobucket


The fear surfaces

Amongst my positive thoughts

What is happening?


Economy failed?

Who really understands this

Rhetoric is heard


I believed in self

Experience and my drive

Don’t seem to matter


A great depression

Is that on the horizon?

I don’t know what to think


For more Haiku Friday, please visit A Mommy Story!

For MacD and Collin

“Pooh, promise you won’t forget about me ever. Not even when I’m
a hundred.”
Pooh thought for a little. “How old shall I be then?”
Pooh nodded. “I promise,” he said.
Still with his eyes on the world, Christopher Robin put out a hand
for Pooh’s paw.
“Pooh, whatever happens, you will understand, won’t you?”
“Understand what?”
“Oh, nothing.” He laughed and jumped to his feet. “Come on!”
“Where?” said Pooh.
“Anywhere,” said Christopher Robin.
So they went off together. But wherever they go, and
Whatever happens to them on the way,
In that enchanted place on the top of the Forest,
A little boy and his Bear will always be playing.

A Letter To Heaven

Hey Gramps,

I am not sure why I am writing this, except I want to wish you a Happy Birthday. Since you have been gone for 10 years that probably sounds a bit strange…but I was thinking about you and so here I am, writing you a letter in heaven.

I am not exactly sure how it got to be 10 years that you have been gone. Time passes so swiftly sometimes. It seems like just yesterday that I was summoned to your bedside for the 600th time with their claim would be the last time. If they used pictures in the dictionary, I am sure yours would be the one they put under the word survivor.

You were a lot of things to a lot of people. To me you were my everything. You and Grandma. You were a man of insurmountable love, a thinker, a reader, a listener and one of the best huggers I have ever met in my life. Your hugs could cure a broken heart, heal all wounds, and make anyone feel like they were on top of the world.

So, maybe I do know why I am writing this and probably you do too. Today it is your birthday. Today is also the day that MacD had chosen to have his baby. They gave him a window of time and he chose this day. Because of you. He remembers your hugs and he adores/worships/loves Grandma and wanted to honor you. After you were gone, when MacD turned 18 he had deep and serious discussion with Grandma about legally changing his last name to yours. He wanted you to have little baby boys to carry on your name directly. That is how much he loved and respected you.

So, back to the why am I writing you. The truth is I am thinking of you. Quite a bit lately. I’ve wanted to call you. Chat some and ask you a bunch of questions about something I am doing right now that I know you are an expert in. But I can’t call you. And today should have been Collin’s birthday instead of 8/9.

I know you are there with Collin. I am quite confident that you are taking excellent care of him. But I wanted to ask favor from you for this silly, mortal soul on earth. I want Collin to know how much he is loved, missed, and mourned. Just like you are. I want, no I need, you to give him one of your hugs. Your love-filled,  full-force, manly hugs. Tell him I told you to do it. Because a hug from you embodies all the love I ever felt for my babies and for my grandbabies. And if I could give Collin one gift, it would be the gift of a real hug. A farkle family hug. The kind of hug that makes the worst things in life go away for a moment because of the real, abiding, and deep love that is our family. You were really, really good at those kind of hugs. So give him one from me. And then go celebrate your ‘earth’ birthday, tuck him under your arm, and share with him our love.


I kneel before him and he stares at me with that puppy dog look I recognize since he was a boy. In his eyes I can see deep into his soul. I can hear his voice in my head. I lock my eyes to his and say out loud, “Yes you can. You can do it.” He shakes his head a bit, side to side. “No, I can’t”

I hold her hand tightly as she sobs. “I am so sorry”, she says. To herself, to him, to me, to the world. “No”, I say. “This is not your fault.” In her eyes I see her soul and in my head I hear her voice. “No”, I say again. “It is not your fault.”

Bear returns home that evening from their apartment. She weeps gently and tells me she got it all cleaned. “But there was so much blood, Mom.” She tells me God hates us. She tells me He does not deserve Collin. “No one. No one deserves that baby more than MacDougal.” I am silent.

The next morning I watch the sun rise. The day dawns as I weep. I see Him there, in the mix of light and dark. My soul reflects from His eyes. I can tell He hears my voice in His head, asking one thousand variants of “How can I…..?”. “You can”, He says. But I don’t think I believe it.

Unholy Inferno

We are safe right now. Nannygoat, Lloyd, Ladybug, and Butterball were evacuated this morning around 4:30am. It took her two hours to make the drive here (20 miles). We are currently watching and trying to stay awake from only having a few hours sleep. We have to stay vigilant as we are a little surrounding by fires in a high fire danger area.

Will update if anything new happens.

Oh yea, and like Frigga I got the day off work. If work is still there….

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