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Week 4/ October 24 /" Deepening" - Page 2

post #21 of 33
Dear Dd,

I've been asked to write a letter, telling you one of the most important thing I think you should know. This is an opportunity for me to give you my uninterrupted, advice, honed down to the essentials. Since by the time you read this, you know me well, you'll know it's hard to get me to hone done my words about anything.

I'm going to get to what I have to say, by telling you this wonderful story that says so much of what we are, and what I want us to keep being:

I took you to Baby Shabbot myself last Saturday morning, because Dh was staying at the house to help set up for the party. Women would be arriving around 11 or before. But I'd promised you we'd attend the October Baby Shabbot weeks before I scheduled the party. You does not forget these promises, and I do not break them.

I'm a little more comfortable driving the car now that I'm going to my weekly piano lesson, so I wasn't too breathless as I drove the car up the main road, toward the synagogue. I'd done this trip myself once already, for Baby Rosh Hashana. But this time I was taking Dad's shortcut. I wasn't taking the easy right angle route because that's 10 minutes longer than Dad's shortcut on Walnut Lake Road. And since it turned out we had to take the car for gas before I got on my way, we were late.

Walnut Lake Road emerges, an easy right turn if you know how to recognize it coming. Then a curve, cross a big road, then right, and left again through a suddenly bucolic respite from strip malls and low rise office buildings. Dd, here's the bumpy road! You're in the carseat, still facing backward. Will you like the bumps of the dirt road today, or will you complain?

I reach an intersection. Each direction looks the same. Trees here, trees there. Ahead, there's a dead end sign, so I know not to take that. But left or right? Hmmmm. Synagogue is right from home, I should just keep going right because left makes no sense. So I start turing right, and you call out, “Dad goes that way.” Emphasis on THAT, as opposed to THIS way that I was going. I'm alone on the road, so I stop just a few degrees into the turn.

Now, who do I listen to? An intelligent woman? A repected professional? A rational adult? Or a 3 year old in a rear facing carset, I don't know how she can even see where we are. I breathe.

The 3 year old, of course! I back up a bit, and redirect left. A few yards up the road, I recognize that this is the right direction. I laugh and say, Thank you Dd. I was going the wrong way. If you hadn't helped me, we'd be lost now. I'd spend Shabbot time out asking directions.

I reminsced how many car trips I'd taken with my mother and how it became a joke that whatever direction she wanted to take, I'd say, take the other one, and we'd get where we were aiming.

So as I drove the rest of the way to Baby Shabbot, I decided the one essential thing I would say, is listen to your children. All the other essentials will come from there.

But what about the time before you have children? What's the real message here, for the young adult woman you will be when I give this to you?

What happened in that moment before I made my choice? In that moment after I stopped the turn. I quieted my mind. I kept my body still. Maybe I even blinked a long time, or maybe I gazed into deep space. Whatever it was, I looked at nothing. The only thing I did was breathe, nothing else.

So that I could hear my own inner voice. The one that told me, Dd's watched this road better than you have. She's right. Remember! Listen to your child.

So that I could hear the voice that led me to the right place.

One essential I would want you to know, is the value of your inner voice. Listen to it, follow it. It will take you to suprising places. It will take you to the right places. It is yours and yours alone. Trust it.

When I am gone, if I have taught you this, I will still be with you. When you pass this on to your children, I will be with them.

Your inner voice will always tell you of my love for you, Mama
post #22 of 33
Hmm, did anyone else notice that Tanya's topics this week seemed to relate to the story of her re-found love??? Ceremony, saying goodbye, romance, broken promises, moving on, what brings me to my knees??? And rituals? Well, we know what was on her mind!

back to work!

What brings me to my knees.

Grief, joy, love. Any one of the three can knock you down, steal your breath.

Looking into my own newborns eyes certainly made me feel insignificant. Holding their tiny bodies, snuggling them. I never felt like the keeper of the miracle, but the recipient. It did not seem to ne within my power to create such a perfect being and, therefore, I was only the vessel.

My own husbands touch can make my knees weaken, til the feel full of jelly instead of bones and muscle. Just knowing that he truly loves me is enough to weaken my joints to the point of collapse.

Yet, ususally, it is grief that take sme so low, that knocks the wind from my lungs, makes my very heartbeat come to a shuddering stop.

With Joy and Love you can whoop and cry, celebrate, run around the the block, eat ice cream cones, kiss, talk, make love. You can show your joy to the world, allow everyone to se just how lucky you are. No one ever tells you to stop laughing, stop celebrating, move on.

With grief, you can cry of course, as long as you are careful not to cry too long, or too hard. There are limits, boundaries, parameters. You grieve for a few days or a few months, and then everyone tells you to let it go, to get on with your life. Can you imagine being told to let go of your joy? To move on and get back to reality?

Though you may make the effort, may even appear to the ever-watchful outside world, to be successful, you find you can not simply choose to move on, that grief site heavy on your heart, drags it down to live in a cold, dark spot near your feet.

Simple willpower can not chase away the pain of loss, for all grief is loss, whether by death of friend or death of dream.

Beyond tears there are few ways to show grief. Society is short-tempered with loud displays and long mournings. And if what you are mourning is the the death of a dream, be it of giving birth, or of one of your children being whole, or a personal goal moved forever out of reach, you are encouraged to deal with it fully, completely, with little outward display, and, above all, to do it quickly. No one liks a whiner or complainer, even if they whine or complain with reason. No one ever wishes to to see your pain, to watch as you grieve. Out of sight, out of mind. Cry quietly and get it over with. Move on.
post #23 of 33
Dear Brandon:

As you’re reading this letter, you may be wondering if the mama who’s writing this is the same mama you know. Let me first introduce you to myself at 27. You’re almost 14 months old, and toddling everywhere. You’re a joy to watch, easygoing and sensitive baby boy who enjoys puttering around and manipulating many objects in a day. I love you, and I know no matter what, that I always will.

I’m writing this today to give you a peek into all the hopes and dreams I harbor for you, the long-term picture I’m holding dear in my countless daily interactions with you. Years from now, when all the craziness of schedules, school, another baby and work conspire together to make this picture fuzzy, I would like you to know the most essential things I want you to know.

The first one is: You Mama and Daddy love you beyond your comprehension. Always keep this in mind, even if sometimes you don’t readily see it. We love you for who you are and wouldn’t change you even if our souls depended on it. You’re a unique human being with special qualities unlike any other. Whenever life beats down on you and you feel like you can’t go on, reach deep into your heart and soul and pull up the strength you have within you to continue on life’s journey. You have it in your heart. Our love will always be with you.

The second essential I want you to know is: the world needs you. The world needs your talents, your skills and abilities to make a difference. You can make a meaningful contribution to anything you decide to pursue. You are capable of anything you program your mind to do. A tip? Program your mind based on what your heart and soul tell you.

The third thing is this: bad things happen to everybody. Sometimes you’re down and out, with nowhere to go, and you fear the worst is not over yet. Acknowledge that fear and consciously let go. Have faith that it will get better. Because it will. It always does. Life is a series of ups and downs. Focus not the fact that you fall down, focus on the fact that you get up again. We get to know ourselves based on our failures, not successes. When you use that knowledge, you are far better off and learn so much more than if you didn’t succeed in the first place. Basically, the lesson here is: embrace failures.

The fourth thing I learned in this life (and many people have, the hard way) is the following. Remember I told you earlier that you can set your mind to do anything you want? Well, here’s the follow-through part. Once you set your mind to that, pour heart and soul into it. Put effort, work, sweat into anything you have decided to do. You might think, man, that doesn’t sound like fun. However, doing that will reap rewards much greater in your mind, heart and soul than either not doing it or doing half or an incomplete job. Trust me on this.

The fifth essential is that we all have to get along with others. The world is filled with people, good and bad, strong and weak, smart and not-so-smart. Everyone is capable of making a significant contribution. The three words to remember and live by when you are navigating this world are: respect, kindness and truth. Respect for yourself, respect for others and respect for the earth and its resources. Kindness to yourself, to others and to the earth. Think of others and give to others. To your wife give your mind, heart, time, body, and soul. To everyone else, your mind, heart and time will do. Uphold the truth in yourself and for others. Defend its honor. Challenge someone else’s truth if your gut tells you to. Fight against injustice. Make sure you are true to yourself and your values.

The last thing that would come in really useful in your life is: read. Read a lot. Not just what others have written, but others’ intentions, verbal gestures, hidden meanings. Literature is a fabulous way of introducing you into others’ minds, of broadening your views and, in the process, discovering yourself. Whatever you read, let it go into your mind like a coin in a vending machine, and let your self modify it to its own unique shape. When it’s ready, it will be your true understanding of what has been written. Read with a passion; it will serve you well.

Honey, there are many more things I would love to tell you. As you most likely know, I don’t have much of a talent for the succinct. You will have to experience the rest of those things on your own. I have faith in you. I wish you happy times and manageable sad times. God doesn’t give you more than you can carry.

Brandon, I wish I could tell you that I will always be on earth to support you, help you and love you. But I won’t be. Some day God will take me, but when that happens, I hope you have learned these valuable lessons and know that whenever your heart beats, I will be listening.
post #24 of 33

first cry

My babies first cry I heard before i knew that he was finally out into this world.... I had to wait and wait an excruciatingly long time until my midwife told me to push. My cervix had a 'lip" that needed to expand so I would not tear. Finally she said the word I desperately needed to hear. PUSH! The first push was not strong enough, she said. I wondered how I would ever find the strength afer 15 hours of labor (and three weeks of "practice"), contractions every 3-5 minutes from the start, then closer. I called upon all the ancestors, and all the women's spirits of the Native Americans who visit and reside on this land I now called home as they had wisdom from their own "natural childbirths". The next push I got the hang of it, "Good" she said, "Now each time you push you need three pushes in one contraction just like that one." I quickly erased the little seed of doubt and followed her advice. Three strong pushes, now my uterus and I are one. Then my uterus takes over all control, I surrender. My husband supports me as I stand, My mom supports him, and then a half hour later, I feel the most incredible sensations, so hard to describe. As all my strength leaves, my screams and wails at their most powerful are answered by my sons first cry. A small yet powerful cry for my arms, my breast. I didn't know I had actually done it until I heard his first cry, then I finally could hold this sqirmy, slippery, miraculous soul close to my heart. A cry that seemed familiar. My midwife said, "a new sound in your lives.."

~~Hello!, I am new here. Happy to have found an outlet to express myself with other mothers. I have needed something like this for a while. I will write in the few minutes I get!
post #25 of 33
I'm to this group, and I haven't written anything in a really long time (about 6 years), but I figured I might as well jump in headfirst with something intensely personal:

My baby’s first cry is one I don’t remember. I was there - I birthed her in her future bedroom, the room where her father proposed to me just 3.5 years earlier – but I wasn’t really present. I worked HARD to push her out – 1.5 hours of intense contractions, I could NOT take a break, the contractions were SO LONG. I wanted my midwife to STOP supporting my perineum, but I couldn’t ask her to. STOP TOUCHING ME. Please, it’s intensifying everything, I can’t keep pushing so much, it’s too much. I think my body is confusing orgasm with contraction, but it’s way too intense. I need a break – 10 pushes per contraction is too much, they’re not working, I can’t birth her this way. STOP saying he. I know she’s a girl, I can feel it. If you stop touching me, my body will stop contracting so much – it’s TOO MUCH. Oh, I wish I could talk, I wish my mind and my body were one, why am I not in the moment?
When she was born, when my body birthed her, my mind was far gone. Let me back in, I need to see my baby, feel my baby. The cord is too short, the placenta’s not coming out. I’m supposed to do something – no, not oxytocin, why didn’t I finish that birth plan!? Please find another way, don’t inject me. I’m hungry, I’m in shock, FEED me! I’m bleeding a lot. Should I worry? TELL ME WHAT’S GOING ON! I need to know where to direct my energy – everything is going black. Stop trying to shield me from what’s happening. Am I dying? I’m dying, aren’t I? Odin, I’m not ready to come to you, I’m not worthy yet. Frigga, Idises give me strength – my baby needs me.
I don’t remember my baby’s first cry.
post #26 of 33

Moving on...

This one was hard for me...deep...something I've wanted to finalize and get out for a long time. Thank you Tanya for giving me the push to finally do it.

Moving on was hard to do. We dated on and off for 4 years. I guess we really were never serious, though in my mind, it was you I was going to marry. But, I wasn’t as important to you as you were to me. When we met it was instant attraction. But you were dating someone who was really bad for you. I should have realized then that that would be your pattern for the next four years, while I sat around waiting for you to realize it. I kept telling you that you were with the wrong person, that you should be with me. You told me you knew that, but you were loyal to a fault. I watched as she walked all over you and treated you like dirt. When she was gone, you came to me and that was the start of our on-again, off-again relationship. I watched an endless stream of women come into your life, treat you badly and leave. Why was I such a casual relationship to you? Didn’t you see I was the one for you? Why did I allow myself to be such a casual relationship? Because I knew I loved you even though I never told you. We had a great physical relationship, maybe that’s a big part of why we kept coming back to each other. Two bodies, familiar and comfortable together, blending one into the other. But I think that’s what scared you most. I was good to you, we fit well together, maybe it felt “boring” to you. You kept picking “exciting” women. To me, I just saw that they used you and you let them treat you badly. But was I doing the same thing? Was I letting you treat me badly? Probably, but when we were together, it didn’t matter. By the end of four years, I began to realize you would never take me seriously. You would never allow yourself to see me as “the one”. It’s too bad. We always seemed to be the right people at the right place at the wrong time. So, I met someone who didn’t treat me as well as you did, but he loved me and was a good man. He wooed me. I saw you one time on the street when I had started dating him. You were trying to get back with me, but I couldn’t do it anymore. I had to move on. I wasn’t honest with you about it though. I brushed you off. Maybe if we had talked about it then, things would have been different. But maybe it’s not a bad thing that I moved on. Here I am with a beautiful baby girl, a great home and a husband who loves me. I worry sometimes that he and I love one another but aren’t “in love” with one another. But, we each give each other what we need. He’s my best friend. You called me last year out of the blue. Crying. Crying because you finally realized what you had had and that it was gone. What made you finally realize it? You apologized for treating me badly, for taking for granted how I treated you. You told me for the first time that you loved me. But it was too late. I don’t know if you thought I’d come back to you but I honor my commitments and I just wouldn’t do that. A selfish part of me felt glad that you longed for me and could never have me, but the other part ached for what could have been. But, I’ve moved on and this is my life now. We decided we could be friends, but I’m not sure if I can ever contact you again. I’ve move on. Cheers to you mate, I hope you find what you are looking for.
post #27 of 33
My Baby's first Cry
Sweat? No, was it tears? Something washed me as I heard my baby's first cry, that scratchy sandy wail that only a newborn can make. While I had heard it before, this time it came from my second son, and it sounded adamant and clear: "I want mom NOW! No measurements, no cooing, no small talk; I want warmth, I want familiarity, I want muffled sounds and dim light!" The rasping cry came from around the blue scrubs, inside the plastic bassinett, too many foreign obstacles between us, so I demanded him, as well. He hadn't cried after being squeezed through the cantaloupe vice, nor had he protested at being under the scrutinizing light of labor and delivery, but he was pissed now. Under the blinding warm heat lamp he lay, flailing and confined, assaulted with stimuli. I was meanwhile overwhelmed with conflicting emotions: pride and exhaustion, resignation, elation, disbelief: did it really happen so quickly? What time is it?
He smelled familiar and sweet, and as he cried out in anger (we actually photographed his shooting the bird at the nurse) all purple and slippery, they bundled him and brought him to me, swaddled for embrace. First look: puffy eyes peeking between blanket and bonnet, blue and weary, but crying no more.
post #28 of 33
I have been doing the assignments in my Comp book but have had zilch time to post so I will try in the morning.
post #29 of 33

Saying Goodbye

When I was eleven my brother Matt's best friend died after a double lung transplant. Brett. He was like a big brother to me. Our family's were firends, and spent a lot of time togther. Brett's favorite candy was red hots. His father was a marine like my brother wanted to be, like Brett wanted to be, but never would be able to be. Not with bad lungs, some gentic thing he had had from birth. At 17 it had progreessed substantially, his skin had a bluish tint to it,and under his nails and lips it was just blue. We came home one day, I don't remember from where I don't remember who it was that told us. I think my sister Amy. She told us to sit down she had to tell us something. My head got light and fear filled my chest, my knees seemed to buckle but somehow I remained standing. They said Brett had died, That the transplant was succesful, but afterwords he wanted to be taken off the respirators. He looked at his mom and said "Tell Matt it worked, tell him I'm ok" Then later he died the lungs just didn't work in his body. I ached but I never cried.
My brother told the school nurse he was suicidal. She locked him in a dark room and called my mother. There was talk in my house about this, not to me but I heard. My mom was angry that they had locked him in a room, saying that isn't how you handle someone suicidal. Amy was 15 and i once found her journal in the car and read it. She talked of being lonely and unhappy she talked about how she just wanted to be hugged, and loved. I cried in the car well I should have been inside with the girlscouts. I was to young to understand a teenager's mind and the fact that in a way these feelings are normal. Matt and Amy's room's were on the bottom floor, the basement, although it wasn't like a basement. Every time I called down the stairs to them and they didn't respond I thought they had killed themsleves. I would walk slowly down the stairs my heart beating and my palms sweating almost in tears as i went to look for my brother and sister. They never killed themsleves.

My brother is a Marine just like he wanted to be, he's been in for ten years. I went with him to Brett's grave. The penny I had placed there years ago after he had died was gone. I had wanted to put one there every year but as my family does often we moved. I stood at his grave and I didn't cry but I ached. My brother left a medal there. I don't know what medal it was but this gesture made me ache more.

My sister Amy at times has been a parent when my father wasn't being one, with my mother she was a guiding force in my life. She is still sad sometimes underneath an incredibly bubbly surface. She still wants hugs all the time and assurances of our love. She tells us all the time "Guess what?" and we give the obligatory "What?' and her answer is always the same " I love you". We tell her also. My sisters and I (My family is close but growing up there was Matt and Amy, then there was the Girls. My twin sister and our sister Meghan who is 18 months older then us) aren't as demonstrative as Amy. We don't hug each other everytime we see each other, we only say "I love you" when we are leaving or hanging up the phone. But with Amy I say it more, I let her know, I hug her.
Sometime between then and now I went to a funeral. it was a boy I didn't know, a young man who had shot himslef in the head. Frank. We were all in band, my friends and I, and someone walked in and went back to the percussion section talked briefly and then left. I didn't find out what was said until afterwords, but the atmosphere changed. My boyfriend, a percussionist, looked strange. I can't place the look. Crazed, despondant, probably how I felt when I found out about Brett. Frank was my boyfriend Matt's best friend. They had grown up together, they were like brothers. They had grown apart some recently, which is why I hadn't met him, I'd seen him. He shaved his head like a checker board and dyed his hair green. He was walking down the hall, and Matt yelled "Frank" then when Frank turned Matt didn't say anything. Just a joke that I look back on still, and wonder. it wasn't more then a week later that he died.
After band Matt yelled, he punched a locker screaming, saying "why?" I felt my heart beat and my palms sweat. The same fear I had with my brother and sister was there. I told him I loved him I told him not to kill himslef I told him I needed him. Then he went home and I went home. It was the day before my 15th birthday.
Matt and I went to the funeral together. I wore Matt's clothes. I was grounded and skipping band practice to go. The church was so crowded there were about a hundred people standing on the lawn listening to the service over loud speakers. Matt and I stood with our arms wrapped around each other, my body supporting him. At the end of the service every student there walked forward. It wasn't planned we all just started moving and walked into the church and hugged and cried and held people up. I still didn't cry. Then as we were leaving white balloons were released into the air as they had been at Brett's funeral. I finally cried. I cried for Brett and for Frank, I cried for all the desperate teenagers who thought of or actually ended there lives. I cried for my brother Matt and my boyfriend Matt.

I broke the rule (sorry) i wrote it right here in this post, it took a couple of twist and turns i didn't expect and i do believe there will be more to this that doesn't fall into Saying Goodbye.
post #30 of 33

What Brings Me To My Knees

Spirited and wild
Willful and defiant to the end
Mother always said
"Pride goeth before the fall"
But Pride was my armour
And never did it crack
When the world around me crumbled
Pride held me tall
I soared above the mundane
Pride shielded me from lonliness
From the shame of my roots
From the eyes of judgement
I was too proud to cry
When my heart was broken and bleeding
Instead I raised my head
And swept from the room

But you...
So small and helpless
Looking at me with wondering eyes
In one blow, you have removed my shields
And revealed my weakness
You bring me to my knees.
post #31 of 33

Saying Goodbye

For many years, I wandered alone. It was a way of life for me, to be alone. I have had many relationships, some good and some bad, yet I always said goodbye. It wasn't that I didn't know love or know how to love...just that I didn't feel that I belonged. It became a pattern, this leaving. Nothing came easier than saying goodbye.

There was an old flame, I believed he was "the one". The love of my life, the man of my dreams. I came to him when I was weary of traveling alone. I rested at his feet, seeking solace in his arms. Yet he held me at a distance. He said he was afraid I would say goodbye. I could not convince him otherwise. He saw the truth in my eyes.

I married a man so sweet and so kind. He loved me with all of his heart, yet I felt the pull tugging at mine. He didn't give me a reason, yet I had to say goodbye. I am ashamed to this day of having broken his dear heart. At the time I did not understand why I had to say goodbye.

I spent much time alone, contemplating this. I came to realize that in leaving, I was protecting myself from the possibility of being left. My mother threw me out at the age of fifteen. She, who was supposed to love me unconditionally, said goodbye. If the one I loved most in this world could turn me away and close the door in my face then anyone could.

Now I am a mother and I will never again say goodbye. The tables are turned and the pattern has been reversed. It will be my little ones who grow up and say goodbye. When they do leave me, they will know that it is not goodbye, for they will always have a home. My heart is their home and I will never say goodbye.
post #32 of 33
Moving On
They say that change is a good thing, and I honestly believe that, but you'd never know it, looking at me, because I think I'm the latest bloomer in the entire universe. In fact, it will amaze me if I don't die before I ever unfurl those petals of promise. I don't know what part of my repressed suburban Roman Catholic upbringing contributed to my lack of initiative, except the repressed Roman catholic Part perhaps, but I've come a very short way from base camp since my birthday thirty-two years ago in Houston, Texas (I'd like to blame it on Houston, but that would be immature, and I'm very good at being immature so I'll try to tuck that blame aside so I can appear smarter and more mature).

I'd like to move on from the barely acceptable conservative fashion style that is my non-thought-out wardrobe, but I wouldn't know where to begin; I'm just afraid I'd dork myself even harder. I'd like to move on and leave the Dallas suburbs in the dust, but I'm kinda stuck here for a couple more years. I'd like to move on and get over the fact that I can't control everything my three year-old son does, and finally CHILD PROOF my damned house once and for all (oh, and also for our newest son) in order to minimize negative confrontations. See, it seems to me like I'm stuck in several ways, seemingly unrelated except for the fact that they all have ME as the common denominator, and I need to pry myself out of said situations in order to grow. SO, to make myself feel better, I'll attack these problems right now on my computer, so I can sleep tonight. here we go:

Anyone, myself included, could benefit from a closet raid and a good old fashioned rethinking. My color scheme will be green and berry, I'll focus more on accessories this time to personalize the wardrobe (check),
The next two years will fly by fast as lightening because I've just had another child and after that we can at least move southwestward by 300 miles or so (check), and
I have a new mantra to repeat when I begin to race toward my firstborn, after I've caught him using my Sonicare toothbrush to remove the grout on the shower floor: "He is little, he is learning, I will teach him, I will love him," or something like that (check), and
PAY DAY is Thursday, and with that comes M-O-N-E-Y and THIS weekend is Home Depot Craft Day for kids and hey, while ds#1 is hammering his dad's fingers into the plywood table, missing the wooden fire truck by two inches, I'll be throwing plastic safety locks into the damned orange plastic car cart that is a cumbersome excuse for a real, functional, correctly aligned shopping cart (check).
post #33 of 33
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Tanya
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