Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Other Side of Angels or Why the (most days)?

*a tiny bit PG
It usually begins like this.  Momma asks very, very, very nicely to take a picture of her four Angel Daughters together.  Then they moan and complain about having to stand still for more than ten seconds while Mom checks the viewfinder to make sure that everyone is behaving appropriately and that there's no funny business going on.

Then, the funny business begins.

And mysteriously travels from one Angel Daughter to the next, causing Momma to twitch involuntarily while trying to keep the camera still.

Next, the huddle.  This is when a language, which is only understood by sisters, is spoken and a plan is conceived.

Laughter ensues and even though I know that I have reached the point of no return, I plead with them to just pose for one more picture!

More sisterly giggling as they prepare to unleash their sinister plan.

I only had a younger brother so I am not necessarily privy to the devious minds of sisters.  The worst thing that my brother would do would be to make bunny ears behind my head, or refuse to stand within several feet of me because of the cootie possibility.  But sisters, they are definitely a different progeny.

They are willing to unite forces in order to witness Momma's hair turning grey right before their very eyes.

But this is when a moment of madness turns into a secret deepening of love in my heart disguised as exasperation.  Because I know that they love each other so much.  And I know that they speak a special language that only four united souls will ever truly understand.  And I also know, that they are sometimes willing to share that language with me in order to "let me in".

Four Angels Momma(most days).  This is my life and I would not have it any other way.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What Falls From the Tree of Life

I sometimes feel naked and transparent as I navigate my way from the darkness into the light, from darkness into light, from darkness into light...And at nearly forty-eight years old with four daughters of my own and a loving, supportive, fantastic husband to turn to, there is still someone else whom I feel the absolute need to turn to when something threatens to break my spirit, castigate my soul, reproach my heart.  There is still someone whose opinion, approval, encouragement I must have in order to feel more confident in my own decisions, someone I often feel pulled to turn towards after I cry into my husband's shoulder.  Someone who I am so much like, that he is often a mirror of my own soul.  A reflection of who I have been and who I might someday become....

Someone who helps to shield me from the darkness.  Someone who leads me back into the light.  Someone who I speak to on an almost daily basis and who occasionally leaves me strange and cryptic comments on my blog that only I would understand.  Someone who I will never stop needing for as long as I live.  My dad.

Thank God my four daughters have been blessed with the same kind of man.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

June Gloom, Pain, Prisms and Perspective

I sit here surrounded by the soft sounds of restful slumber and the milky haze of what is known here in Southern California as "June Gloom".  On the floor beside me, our two dogs Becca and Micah, snore peacefully blanketed in blissful sleep.  To the left of me, my husband sits with his head against the headboard, mouth slightly open rhythmic breaths giving away his almost silent stolen bit of respite.  Our cat, Callie, is nestled snuggly beneath the covers on his lap.  Every now and again her little head pops up at the sound of a birdsong coming from our feeder outside the door.  The ocean recesses and retreats against the shoreline below our bluff and the words enter my mind in almost the same rhythmic pattern.  This is my Saturday.
I must confess that I am not usually a gloomy person. But the June Gloom rests heavier on my soul during days when I can do very little more than move my fingers steadily across the keyboard.  There is something about living in the constant throws of chronic pain that is both exhausting and encompassing.  My family understands this.  They know what I go through and how much I must battle the darkness that can sometimes eclipse the wonderful lightness of living.  They know that there are times when I must give into the overwhelming pull of living with Fibromyalgia.  And I know that they deserve a wife, mother, daughter, friend who lives in the light of life.  A very good life.  I try to live in the balance by focusing on the things that I can do.  By using the gloom as a time to reflect upon the subtle sights and sounds of living.  The things that often pass by unnoticed because we are often busy making too much noise to hear them.  Pain magnifies everything.  It emulsifies the negative.  This is why it can take patience and practice to live in the light when dealing with a chronic illness.  It is important to understand the gloom, but also to notice the glimmers which can sometimes take on the colors of a rainbow.
The details can become muddled when viewed through the prism of pain.  The colors muted, the shapes and textures clouded and sharp and the sounds downright abrasive.  But then, something finally helps to ease the distress.  A decent night of sleep, the benefit of laughter, the right pain pill at the right time, an enjoyable meal, an engrossing novel, or a break in the thick layer of gloom.  And suddenly, a brilliant prism of light appears before us.  Was it there all along?  Is it possible that we might have been so fixated on the pain(albeit, physical or mental) that we could not see past the obvious?  Did the benefit of viewing things from a different angle allow us to see something that could have been there all along?
These pictures, taken on a sunny day last week, exemplify the way in which a prism can alter our perceptions.  I was trying to take some interesting pictures of this lovely glass vessel filled with sea treasures which was given to me by my Angel Daughter Number Two for Mother's Day.  And then I noticed the rainbows.  It would have been enough just to view the reflection of a sunny day through the beauty of this terrarium, but I was given so much more.  I was given another perspective and rather than ignoring something that I was not originally looking for, I took the time to notice it.  Really, really notice it.  And today, as I was working through the pain that was pulsating throughout my entire body, I took time to notice the sounds and sights of what was going on around me and the gloom, both physically and mentally, began to lift.  The pain, my pain, reflected through the prism of the light of my own life, became more manageable and less daunting.  The gloom lifted and I soaked in the colors of my own environment.  The very same environment which I had been in all along, but which now seemed much more serene and comforting.

May the prism through which you view your own life, be one that is filled with many colors.  May you find a way to notice your way past the pain.  And may you always be reminded that there is color in everything, whether we are aware of it or not.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Story With a Different Ending or a Cat With a Different Voice

Last week seems like a month ago, and I am now just beginning to put together the pieces of what the future with my Angel Nieces might look like.  We have fought so long and so hard to keep my brother's children in our lives that I am only just starting to come out from underneath the hundred pound weights which settled heavily upon my shoulders just a few months past two years ago on the day that my brother died.  And so the story continues with new characters(and I do mean characters), new plot lines and a whole lot of new bills to pay.  But I know, as I have always known, that I have the power to decide that if I do not like the ending, I will always have the capacity to change it.  And as the co-author, co-conspirator, co-pilot of my life, I can decide that this is not the way that the story is going to end.

There are still things left which must be sorted out.  But as for now, I can take some comfort in knowing that I will be seeing my nieces perform in their dance recitals in a couple of weeks, and then I will see them again at Angel Daughter Number Three's high school graduation at the end of the month.  There is more, but for now I will just say that nothing is court mandated, and that I can always continue forward with the case if need be.  And I do hope that need will not be.  But I certainly will not rule anything out.  Because when you live in my world, anything can happen.

For the first time in a very long time, my brother visited me in a dream last night.  All that I can remember is that he was very relaxed and very jovial.  And that I woke up laughing.  There are gifts that those whom we have lost, physically, can still give to us.  Visiting us in our dreams is one of those gifts.  Forcing us to appreciate the smaller pleasures that come after a very rough time, is another.  So here is Rex.  He is officially Angel Daughter Number Two's kitty.  Officially.  But he has been living with me for the past several months because AD2 is very busy with school and interning and life, and he was spending way too much time alone.  Cats are somewhat solitary creatures, but certainly not solitary enough to be left alone most of the time.  And so Rex came to spend some time with his grand-momma.
Most of the time we live parallel to one another, existing next to each other in the same space.  You see, we are pretty sure that Rexy is a feral cat meaning that he comes from a long line of strays who learned to fend for themselves without benefit of people-parents.  And as sweet as he is, he loves to bite in a playful manner.
Which still hurts.  He is learning to interact in different ways.  He has the cutest voice that I have ever heard in a kitty.  It is more of a higher-pitched "Purrrrupt" sound than a meow.  If he enters a room, he announces himself with this "Purrrrupt" and if someone talks to him, he answers with it.  We have a total of six cats as a family, but there is something about this little guy that makes me want to bother him.  I can't help it.  I find him irresistible.
Yesterday, instead of bothering him by trying to pet him, I spent some time observing him as he played, preened and finally napped on my bed.

Please enjoy this series of photos.  To me, it is one of those small pleasures that I mentioned before.  The kind of pleasure that can be enjoyed on even the most exhausting of days.

May you find a way to write or rewrite your own endings.

May you take the time to notice the gifts that, too often, race by unnoticed.

  And may you be blessed with dreams that cause you to wake up laughing.
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