Since Mom was in the hospital, we’ve been spending a much greater amount and quality of time together. We’ve both been talking about all these very vivid memories and dreams that keep coming to mind. We have been trying to piece together memories and timelines. This is also coinciding with me decluttering … well, my whole life. Below is an example of one of many astounding connections we have come across. This joint time and effort has provided the greatest insight into who my Mom is and how she arrived at herself in the present, as I’m doing the same work myself. It’s beautiful and I am so grateful for it.

Perspective

Almost a year ago now, my then boyfriend, didn’t come to Thanksgiving dinner. The following week he was dealing with the blues. The following week, he would go with me to put Takoda down and they had been best buddies. Trying to think of anything that I could do, I got up and went to the garage in my pajamas, only to come back, stand on my bed and string up a strand of multi-colored Christmas lights. I smiled and proudly said, “TADA! There’s Christmas lights and you can’t be sad under Christmas lights.” It didn’t matter to him. He called them “cheap dollar store lights”, laughed at them and rolled over and went to sleep. That was the last time he was ever in my home, room, bed

Within the coming month, with EX making a reappearance and strides in the kids life, I welcomed the distraction from my broken heart and settled into to doing what I do. EX didn’t have a car, so I would drive him to NA meetings, the clinic, therapy. As the holidays were getting closer, the kids began to hint and suggest, that instead of EX staying at a shelter, he could stay with us and rent the unoccupied room in the basement and despite my better judgment, I made the offer. I asked EX to keep me company while I wrapped presents in my room Christmas Eve while watching “It’s a Wonderful Life”. At some point, EX looked at me and said, “Damn, Steph, you look so beautiful in the Christmas lights” and when I looked up to tell him “Nice line/try” he was crying. He said, “This moment, right here, right now, with the kids all under one roof, us wrapping presents and the way you look under those lights, is my favorite moment, ever. Thank you for it, Steph”

Beach Birthday

I had an AMAZING birthday. All I wanted was to sit on the beach and watch the sunset. 


What I got was much more. 

My kids, Bean, his two boys and I met up at the beach. We had a picnic for dinner and then played in the surf and sand for hours, tossing around a frisbee and football. 


And of course there was sunset. 



Just an all around awesome day for which I am SO grateful. 

Just a dream?

A few minutes ago, I was falling into sleep when a flashback assaulted me. The visceral screaming of my mother. I am a teenager. Im at her bedroom door. This was a pain I was naive to until this moment. Whatever it was, I was certain there was no coming back. My mother would never be the same. I’m very familiar with the scene. 

What followed was the echo of my own wailing. A flash of a vision of myself crumbled to the floor. Desperation flooding my senses as I shield the life in my belly from the fury of fists. 

Then, a scene of myself clinging to my knees and Im rocking …crying…wailing while my own small children wonder about their mothers prognosis. Twenty something, three children and devastated by a failed marriage. 

Yet another scene flashes. A few months back…my husband and I are discussing with my son and father how we are going to move forward as co-parents as we “work on ourselves” and “take a break”. I lash out at my husband, my father lashes out a me. I feel the abandonment is imminent. I try to flee. My Dad physically restrains me. Husband walks out while Im at my father’s hands. My daughter pulls him off of me. I walk outside. I watch my husband leave. I watch my son climb into the car with my Dad. They both leave as well. I return inside and crumble. That visceral cry rises. Again. 

I hate myself for allowing my children to be witnesses to this suffering. How do I forgive myself for scarring them for life?

I was broken … so convinced I was over. 

Yet here I am. 

Sitting on the cold pavement on my patio trying to ground myself in this present time and place. Im demanding my brain be convicted by logic and leave the past there. 

It’s not happening. Not now. Not again. 

It’s just a dream, Stephanie. 

You are not alone. 

Go back to bed. 

Prom

As Pickle is nearing the end of his senior year of high school, prom is in the air. Pickle won’t be attending as he attended the Heart of Rock and Roll prom this last fall, but he is going to After Prom at Cedar Point the following day.

All of this got me thinking about my own prom.

Even though it will be 20 years ago come next summer, 20 YEARS, I remember it like it was yesterday …

Before I even started getting ready, my date had a dozen, long stem roses delivered to my house. I was still in my pajamas but I felt like a queen. I went to a salon for the first time that day. Got to be waited on by two incredibly gorgeous, well put-together ladies. One working my hair, while the other worked on my nails and make up. This would be a fantasy I would not ever again reach, even on my wedding day.

Then I went home and put on that gown. Classic Hollywood black, with Audrey Hepburn gloves to match and for good measure in attempting to leave my little girl ways behind, a low cut and high slit, paired with velvet pumps.  I don’t remember what he said when he saw me that evening for the first time, but the look on his face, I’ll never forget.

 I remember trying to be very sophisticated as we made our promenade into dinner. All eyes smiling on the two of us together, wanting to make him proud. I also remember the highlights of the actual  dance. Getting our pictures taken. Rocking out with my girlfriends but taking every opportunity to slow dance with him.

But my favorite memories came after we left. Just the two of us in the backseat of a stretch limo while taking in the sights and city lights of Washington D.C. after dark. All the memorials being lit up. The busyness of Georgetown on a weekend night. It all felt like a dream and I didn’t want the magic of it to ever end.

There’s something very magical about being young, in love and sharing a night like that. Something that can never be replicated. While a part of that girl still lives in me, wanting that kind of magic to grace my days again and no matter what happened in that relationship with that boy in the days and years that were to follow, I will always hold those memories close to my heart and be so appreciative of that night … and that magic.

Because of that night, I will always believe in magic.

This is what gets me: Part Two

Today I had my epidural spinal injection. They were at the same hospital where I delivered my kids. In fact, the recovery room was the room I actually delivered Jedi in. I’ve written about what a strange experience it is before. Just like I’ve written about watching the episode of ‘Friends’, the one where Rachel tells Ross she’s pregnant and they have the sonogram and how it sent all these memories flooding back.

Today, I found myself watching that episode again and coupled with being in the same room I delivered my son, I was struck with such emotional pain that it took me back a little.

Back to a place I don’t like to be. I found myself back in the place where I question everything that happened in my previous marriage. Questioning how I ever let myself be in a situation like that. Examining every other moment we shared. Being disgusted at the way they have all been tainted. Wondering if I’m ever going to be able to look back on these memories that I should cherish with anything more than bittersweet melancholy. It makes me resentful and that’s a place I never want to stay. It makes me wonder too. Not that it would matter anyways but, I can’t help but wonder how he lives with the memories or if he ever thinks of us, or me, at all.