seeing only markers
fluorescent orange flags
flutter in the wind
as the square shrinks inwards.
I stare upwards
seeing shapes within the clouds
it is better than looking around me
seeing the moiety
which is so unfair.
At one time we all shared
we all cared
but no longer is that true
as each one fights for a bigger piece of the pie
and I am left struggling alone here.
Soon the space I stand within
will be overrun
by the cruelty of man’s desire
for having more
regardless of how it is acquired.
With so little left to conquer
with so little left to divide
I watch in silence as the plains shatter
a tear falling
and I disappear.
Picture is one of my own.
I have had a really good week. Short as it was only a 32 hour work week. Work has been humming along. I am getting things done. I am getting ready for my 2 weeks vacation at the end of August. I have been exercising on a regular basis. And beginning to see results.
So despite my promise to myself that I was not going to drink until September 10th, I decided that I would have a glass of wine to celebrate my week. I even discussed it with mom. Deciding that if I was going to fail and fall off the wagon, I would rather do it now, while T is gone rather than when he is here to be disappointed by my lack of control.
So I had that first glass of wine while I made supper. Checking emails and yes it went down nice and smooth. I decided to have another with dinner. I never did finish that second glass of wine on Thursday evening. Was in bed and asleep just shortly after 8 p.m. Awoke in the morning with that taste in my mouth and a sense of relief. As nice as that first glass had been, having quit cold, I realize I do not need nor crave it as I had been just a month ago.
Friday I rocked it out. Woke up at 4, looked at the clock and thought I can get up now. (This in response to my awakening at 12 and thinking I could get up.) I cleaned the house and had my laundry done before 6 a.m. Than I waited for 9 as I was doing shopping. Back to school and grocery. My day was amazing. And again, I was in bed early.
Yesterday was a typical day. Nothing out of the ordinary. Not really. Until it struck me. My hands began to shake, I could feel my heart racing. A tightening of my skin. I am sure my pupils were dilated. I took a deep breath and placed my hands firmly on the table.
- Something I can feel and concentrate on.
- Deep Breath and feel the floor beneath your feet, the table beneath your hands.
- Deep Breath and feel the chair beneath your butt, the floor beneath your feet, the table beneath your hands.
- Deep Breath and feel the soft brush of Lucky’s fur as she winds around your ankles, feel the chair beneath your butt, the floor beneath your feet, the table beneath your hands.
- Deep Breath, Exhale, open your eyes, feel how your are grounded, centered, there is nothing here.
It took several minutes of this. Finally I could feel my heart begin to slow and the flight or fight adrenaline rush began to subside. I was still shaking and gulping to swallow. The aftermath of an anxiety attack that hit me out of the blue. It has been several months since I last had an attack. There had been absolutely nothing to have precipitated it. I was sitting relaxing on the computer.
Or was there? I am a bit of a superstitious person. Not like a black cat crossing my path is bad luck, or if my nose is itchy I am going to kiss a fool. No, mine is more like if I hit all the green lights on the way to work, it is going to be a good day. Small things like that. If you have a stream of good luck, do not speak it out loud for you shall jinx it.
Still buried deep within my brain is a shard of anxiety. The black despair that makes me think that I am screwing everything up and suddenly it is making a reappearance. Why? Work is going really well. I am letting go of some things and delegating to my supervisors and staff. It is a hard and scary step for me. Maybe too well?
I am healthy and happy. Energetic, alive, in a way that I have never been before.
Suddenly I realize what Thursday was about. The desire to drink, “celebrate” my week had been a test. Subconsciously I was testing myself and I had won.
Whoa whoa whoa, anxiety suddenly rears up. Hang on here. Jay is happy, things are going well. Oh no, we most certainly cannot have that. We cannot allow her to ride away from us, nope, nope get out that rope and lasso that girl back here.
Yes anxiety has become a cowboy so I can put a face to him. Mock him when I am well. Envision myself as my own Good Sheriff battling the Evil Sheriff for control of my brain when he comes out to cause trouble.
He ropes me. I use my technique to ground and center my being, wriggling my way out of the lasso. We have a stare down and eventually he slinks away, hat pulled low over his brow so I cannot see his malevolent stare. He will be back. Possibly next time with guns drawn. That is okay. I won this time.
My little boy is turning 9 on Monday, August 7th. (Just in case anyone is so lost in the summer that they are not quite sure of the date he he he) This is going to be a hard one for me as he is with his dad so I will not be seeing him. I lied. I just text his dad(at 6:50 a.m. on a Saturday morning) to ask him to rearrange plans so that I could at least see T and give him a hug and kiss.
T is not so little any more. He was born two months premature. Due October 4th and decided to arrive on August 7, 2008. We were building the ex’s shop and joke that T wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
I was scared.
When I found out I was pregnant.
Bear in mind I was 35 not 25.
It is a kinda funny story how it all started. At work I had been complaining that my boobs were killing me. Everyone joked that I was pregnant. I scoffed. We had been trying for 5 years, were in the final process for adoption (where they did home visit etc.) but damn when my 3 lb cat stepped on me I nearly killed her they hurt so much. Clue number 1.
I could not understand why I could no longer drink coffee. I wanted it. I would pour my cup and set it down. Take a sip or two and than allow it to grow cold. I love my coffee. There is life in my coffee. And niceness. And civility. Should have been clue number 2.
It was our first new long weekend in February. For non-Canadians, the government decided that it was too long for workers to go from January to March/April without having a long weekend. So in February we have Family Day or as in Manitoba, the province I live in, Louis Riel Day. A long weekend. My ex decided to go snowmobiling. I was excited to have Saturday and Sunday and most of Monday to myself.
Got home from work and set the groceries down on the floor to be put away. When I heard the first growl I snapped around. Oh shit! Odin my cross Great Pyrenees x Collie x St. Bernard and Nero my Rotti were about to go head to head. And I was on my own. I screamed and yelled. I threw a heater trying desperately to get them to stop fighting.
I had Odin on the porch and was kicking at him. Kicking him, hurting him, something I swore to never do. I had a hold of Nero. Almost had the door to the porch nearly closed when Nero surged forward bursting into the room. Now I am in the porch, desperate to pull these two dogs, who combined, weighed 200 lbs to my petite 115 lb frame, apart. They are snarling, saliva is spraying and I am screaming and yanking at them.
Nero hit the stand up tool box that we kept on the porch. Sockets rained down. I was trying to get the door open, because despite the fact it killed me, I needed to get them outside so the fight could end naturally. My socks were wet from the cream that someone had bitten and it had flowed all over the kitchen floor. I was not aware of this. I stepped on a socket and down I went. Hard.
Oh boy. Now I was mad. To top it off, as I stuck my hand out for balance, I managed to stick it in Nero’s mouth as he was in mid-bite. By the time that my brain even registered that I had been bitten, he had already let go and was looking at me. My anger and frustration, fear and tears turned to rage in that moment. Rage that my damn dogs wanted to fight. Rage that I was alone dealing with this. Rage that I had been bitten! I slammed open the door leading outside and screamed at them to get out.
Stood at the kitchen sink washing the wound while screaming out the window for them to stop. The entire fight lasted no more than 2 minutes, 3 tops. It felt like an eternity to me. I got Odin in the house, put Nero on the porch and looked at my hand. Yep, pierced right through fat and oh my god is that bone????????
Called my girlfriend up and she and her boyfriend left the restaurant they were at before they even got their meal, to come and get me. Hospital here I come. They could not believe my lack of fear and stoicism as my hand was cleaned and bound. Heavy duty meds to counter any infection and I was sent home. With a doctor’s note, I was now off work for the week. (As an aside my hand blew up to 3x’s its size and I could not move it the next day, or the day after that.)
Up until this point my periods had been every 28 days without fail. So when I skipped the Sunday after that fight, I put it down to stress. By Wednesday, I was concerned and I purchased a home pregnancy test. Took it and began to clean the house. Completely forgot about the test for an hour. An hour people!!!! When I did remember in I went in to be presented with 2 double pink lines. The first thing I breathed was ‘Holy Fuck man, I cannot do this.’
Called the ex. Called the doctor for a second opinion. They told me to come in as soon as I could pee again. I drank two bottles of water and off I went. I was scared as shit. I had lost my daughter when I was five months pregnant with her. There has never been any answers for me as to why that happened. This was 15 years prior. I was in shock.
T was an extremely laid back baby in the womb. Rarely moved, when he did it was in response to my drinking a Coke (which I had stopped drinking years ago, switching to Pepsi, but he liked Coke. Or I had eaten a chocolate bar) Or when Patches the cat draped herself over my tummy and purred away. He liked that. He was not a fan of anything with processed sugar so I ate a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables.
From day 1 I knew he was going to be a boy. Everyone warned me that saying he was a boy meant that I was having a girl. But I knew. There were a lot of differences between this pregnancy and my daughter’s. However, he had a strong heartbeat, when he chose to kick me they were good strong kicks. Yet still I worried.
Tuesday August 5th, 2008. I worked a normal day. Except I knew that something was off because I barely ate. Got home, made supper which I again barely ate and flaked out on the couch. I was exhausted. Could not keep my eyes open. Something was not right. The ex came in and I told him this as I was preparing for bed at 8 p.m.
Got up at 10:50 p.m. to go to the bathroom. Made it to the bedroom doorway when it happened. My water broke. Now I was terrified. I still had 2 months to go. And it just kept coming. An incredible sense of calm broke over me as my ex panicked. I dressed although by the time I got to the hospital my sweats were soaked.
At emerg I was asked if I was okay to walk down to admissions. My eyebrow shot up. Away I went only to be sent back to emerg 2 minutes later with papers in hand. The hospital is not outfitted for premature births so I was going to be sent to Winnipeg, if in fact my water had broken and I had not just peed myself.
That is right folks. The nurse on duty asked me if I was sure that my water had broken and I had just not peed myself. (Mom I love you and know you have mad nursing skills but I nearly decked this woman). Off I was sent to pee in bottle because well all pregnant women have to pee in little bottles for months and months.
Then came the test to ensure that my water had broken. This one a little more invasive and potentially could lead to infection. And they lost the first one. So I had to allow more invasions only to be told what I had already told them. My waters had broken. Ex was sent home to get me clothes to change into. Thank god I had my book with me. Although truth be told, I would read the same page over and over again.
I was fucking scared. T had been pretty quiet. I was set up on an i.v. drip to, I don’t even remember. I had no one to call. I mean yeah, I could have called mom or the bro. Truth be told, I wanted, I needed a girlfriend who would come running, hold my hand and tell me everything would be totally fine. My ex was not really helpful in the face of an emergency so there I was deep breathing, trying to control my anxiety and wait.
I was taken by ambulance to St. Boniface in Winnipeg. By 5 p.m. Wednesday August 6th I was dilating and having contractions. Mom got a speeding ticket as she rushed to my side. My bro and SIL came to offer me encouragement. The ex’s mother showed up and wished she could go into the delivery room with me. Also made it all about her. The drugs were wonderful though. No epidural for this girl. No Morphine. They gave me Fentanyl which could be given right up until I went into the delivery room as it did not affect T. Epidural, I was pretty far along in my contractions because I had back labor, might not have worked. So why try?
Again my labor was fairly easy. My contractions were five minutes apart. Lasted a minute. The worst two I had, when T moved into the birth canal and his head popped out. When his head came out I was ready to quit until told all I needed to do were little pushes. Waved my hand at the doctor and informed him ‘I could so do that.’
I had been warned not to worry if T did not cry when he arrived. His heartbeat had been strong throughout labor. But when my little guy arrived and they laid him on my belly, he squalled and screamed. Tears filled my eyes as I reached down and said ‘Welcome to the world baby.’ And he grabbed my thumb and squeezed. 16.5″ long and 3.15 lbs. Six weeks in NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and then he came home.
Flash forward nine years later. To look at him you would never know that he was premature. There have been no delays in his development. He is smart as a whip. Funny with a sense of humor that rivals mine. (He also has a dirty little mind that I am working very hard to ignore) His sarcasm is coming to a fine point. And I am sure that by next year he will be as tall as me, if not taller.
And on Monday, August 7/17 my baby is going to be 9. OMG I just realized that next year he will be a tween!!!!! Will I keep my hair?
My mom. She has always been my rock. My support. She doesn’t pull any punches with me, she never sugar coats it, the truth as she sees it is always laid bare for me to absorb. For me to learn from. When I was that horrid teenager I really did not care for her much and I made her life hell. Even in my twenties, we had a very rocky road. Now though, now we talk about everything and I realize just how many of her lessons I absorbed throughout my life.
As I have mentioned before my mom was the first and probably only woman on our block to be on her own in 1979. I remember when I was older she admitted to feeling guilt at leaving my father because some of the mothers of my friends would not let me play with my friends after that. But can you imagine how strong she had to be?
She left my dad, kept the house and began to raise not one, but two children. On her own. Without any help at all.
She learned how to drive a standard with my grandfather as her teacher. I am sure that I can imagine the conversation, the yelling that came from my grandfather, but she did it and got her license to boot.
She became the Nursing Unit Director of the psych unit at one of our hospitals. And than proceeded to work her way up and into career choices that to this day hold me in awe. She is so smart my mom. Anything she decided she wanted, she worked her ass off and got.
Her reward. The ability to retire at age fifty-five and move to Mexico. This was her dream and this she did at the end of 1999. I cried when she left. I cry every year that she leaves. I cry when she comes home. She is my mom, my best friend and I hate leaving her.
When I am with her, she gives me courage. She walks me through the plans to make my life happy. She steers me in the right direction and than wipes her hands clean and tells me that I am to get off my butt and just do it. JDI, her favorite three letters.
However, there is one thing my mom has given to me that I am failing to see in the younger generation that resides in the town I live in. I will not paint all those in this generation of 20-27 year olds with the same brush, but I see a lack of independence and cutting of the strings.
My mom, she never wanted me hanging onto her apron strings. She never wanted the bro to hang on. He just chose not to let go until she booted him out. Granted she probably did not want me to move out of the house at age eighteen but she allowed it. I mean how could she stop me?
I have stood on my own two feet forever it feels like. My mom fostered a strong sense of independence in me and a desire to do it on my own. I have some difficulty in asking for help because I should be able to do it on my own. My mom did how come I can’t?
I look at the dreams that I have. To write. There really is no other dream. I just want to write. Maybe make enough money so I could at least go down to Mexico to see my mom. Even if I do cry when I leave. (As an aside, every time I leave and I am sobbing, tears rolling down my cheeks, my middle aching with pain everyone is so concerned about me. And there is mom, assuring them that really I am fine, this is just me.)
I misinformed you. I have one other dream. My dream is that I will be a hero for my son the way my mom is my hero. We all imagine how our lives would be different if small things changed, but I know what I would be without my mom. I would be a selfish whiney girl child who blamed others for the misfortune in my life. I know this, I know she resided in me at one point and time. But mom drove her out as sure as if she was exorcising the devil.
She taught me to stand tall and firm in my beliefs. She taught me to have the strength to admit when I am wrong but to fight when I am right. She taught me to accept my weaknesses, embrace and learn from them. She did not teach me how to cook though, I can tell you that one! (Asked for the recipe for her banana bread and cookies and she could not remember either)
My mom, she has taught me all I need to know about being a strong independent woman. A woman who still needs her mom sometimes to reassure her all will be fine. A woman who has still crawled into her mother’s lap and cried her eyes out. My mom, she is awesome.
When I was a little girl and well let’s face it right up until the time that I moved out of the house, I did not get all the things I wanted. Cabbage Patch Kid phase, I was the only kid on the block without one. One of my friends had two and I was green with jealousy. I cannot quite recall the other things I wanted in life that all my other friends had but what I can tell you is my mother’s comment on all these passing phases. (And yes I realize that having a Cabbage Patch Kid now would earn me some serious cash but alas, I am missing out. Thanks a lot mom.)
My mother was a single mom in a time era where divorce was still frowned upon. But that is a subject for another story. Here we are discussing her absolute disdain for popular phases and my desire to follow them. (Just remembered another one, in grade 7 it was Melissa Jeans with a white stripe down the side. Finally got them as they were on the down swing. And the pair I had were defective. The zipper refused to stay up. I walked around half the day with my zipper down, showing off my scarlet granny panties for everyone to see before one of my friends alerted me.)
Our conversations would always start off the same. ‘Mom I really really need a Cabbage Patch Kid.’ ‘Jay, it is really close to Christmas just wait until Santa comes.’ So I was excited. Ten years old and although I knew Santa was my mom, I had expectations. I wrote a letter I believe to Santa. And than came Christmas. There was no Cabbage Patch Doll under the tree. What on earth! Santa always got me at least one of my asked for gifts on my list. Why had he forsaken me?
Now every smart child knows that the time to ask for a much needed item is not during the holiday season. So I waited. And waited. My Amma passed away just before Christmas that year and in January I was struck with (as the doctor put it) good old fashioned Scarlet Fever.
Finally I asked again for a Cabbage Patch Kid and this was my first (probably not but the first time I recall it) introduction to what would become my mom’s famous last words. ‘Jay-lyn Anne you are not going to die without a Cabbage Patch Kid. If all your friends were to jump off a bridge would you do the same?’ I think I may have made a smart ass comment about knowing how to swim but alas, it failed to impress.
Let us fast forward 33 years. There is a new fad in town. It is called a Fidget Spinner. It is a plastic toy for kids to keep their hands busy. Are you kidding me? It is literally a piece of plastic that kids spin around their fingers. M has indicated to me that it is kinda neat but I am appalled.
She bought K one. I said when I saw it, no way in hell is T getting something dumb ass like that. His dad has agreed to ‘make’ one for him at home in the shop. Not sure if his dad is waiting for him to forget or will actually make him one. I do not care. I refuse to spend money on something this dumb. Which brought back the statement ‘If all your friends jumped off a bridge would you too?’ and I understand now where my mom was coming from.
T and his dad came to the store to shop yesterday. We had a conversation about the Fidget Spinner and how I most certainly was not going to buy him one. With a slight pout and whine T asked me why not? I did not use the statement my mom used on me but I did tell him that the reason why was because his interest would last as long as it did for his talking Elmo and Chuck the Truck. He asked how long was that? I said one day!
As I said one day to him, the statement if all your friends jumped off the bridge would you do it too? And I finally understood what my mom meant.