Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Dichotomy of Doing the Right Thing, Featuring Ms. Thang

Lately, the words have sat quietly just beneath the surface, close enough for me to feel them bubbling below, but a bit too far away for them to come.  They rouse me from quiet sleep, beckoning for me to record them on paper before they lazily float their way back down into the reaches of my subconscious. But there are so many, and they tend to scatter apart in a way that makes it difficult for me to retrieve them.  I have so missed my words.

I have been a bit more entrenched in the visitation battle with my SIL than I would truly like to be.  Who would ever believe that someone would have to fight for the right to visit with their own deceased brother's children?  How could someone be so cruel as to remove more love from their own children's lives, especially at a time when love is what is needed most?  I am so in love with these children that I am doing something that I have been told, has not been done before.  Case history for the books in the making.  Precedent.  The word guinea pig scampers quickly through my mind and I take in a deeper breath.  Love.  The flip side of hate, or so it seems.  And love is what I have chosen.  I feel ambivalent indifference towards my SIL.  But for some sad and sick reason, she hates me, and that cannot be good for her.  I have witnessed this kind of hate coming from my own mother.  Although she and my father have been divorced for over thirty years, her hatred for him spews forth in frequent diatribes which make no sense to me.  It damages her relationship with me, with her grandchildren, and ultimately with her own self.  To become so wrapped up in anger and in hate, is to allow the other person to hold a huge amount of power over you.  It is ugly.  It is all-consuming. My mother has taught me well.  I choose love.

But as life has taught me, there is never only one experience to be had at a time.  There is pain, but there is also soul-swelling joy.  The kind of happiness that reminds us not to spend too much time dwelling in the negative.  The kind of happiness that makes us feel young on the inside.  The kind of happiness that lifts us up several inches off of the ground.  My daughters bring me this kind of happiness.  My husband brings me this kind of happiness.  My father brings me this kind of happiness.  And our cats, dogs and birds bring me this kind of happiness.  It, too, can be all encompassing.

This past weekend, dance season began again for my youngest angel daughter.  This means that all of her hard work will now be put into practice and she will begin competing against other teams and individuals from across the nation.  For the first time, she will not only be competing as part of a team, but also as a soloist in a separate routine.  I have never seen her dance on an enormous stage by herself.  I tried to imagine it in my mind, but until she actually got up there this past weekend, it never occurred to me how little she would appear...
And then the music began.  Not a moment of hesitation or robotic counting took place.  From the very first beat, she took on the persona of someone who had done this a thousand times, and her personality and confident attitude filled that enormous space!
When she exited the stage, one of the ushers from the Long Beach Arena stopped her and said, "Giiiiirl, you have GOT IT GOING ON!"  And she does!
Here she is dancing with her team to the Transformer song.  This was very good practice for them as there were no other Hip-Hop teams competing in their division, but they did great.
Driving home from Long Beach, we took in the beauty of the area.  Even the oil refineries off the coast seemed to glow in the shimmering sunset.
The bay, with all of its boats, swaying gently against the dusk made me think of calmer waters.  The words circling gently around in my thoughts took on a much more serene rhythm and I smiled to myself. I smiled because I felt the calmness of knowing that everything is going to be okay.  I smiled because I know that if I do not like the way that the story is going to end, I have the power to change it.  And I smiled because I have the ability to and that I do...Love.
Thank you for following along on this journey with me.  Your words of encouragement, experience and support mean more to me than I can truly express.  Those words, your words, are some of the ones which I keep tucked securely away in my heart, so easily accessible when I need them.  Thank you for taking the time to share them with me.  They swirl effortlessly throughout my mind in a way that makes me feel stronger.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Moment to Moment

Yesterday, I stumbled outside after a pretty rough night of sleep to walk my precious pup Becca.  One of the many amazing things about living on a bluff is being able to witness an entirely different scene from moment to moment.  Sometimes, the sky is a cerulean blue and the ocean is as clear as glass.  Other times you can watch as a storm dramatically rolls in off of the Pacific.  Angry grey clouds and white-capped waves threaten the shoreline.  Yesterday, I observed as there was a momentary break in the storms that we have been experiencing.  A momentary lapse in my focus on the pain.  As I squinted against the sun, I knew that I needed to take some pictures of the moment.  For trying to describe the changes is something that is sometimes difficult for me to do in words.  I needed to capture the moment.
The coming week will bring with it both radiant sunshine and difficult storms.  On Tuesday, my littlest angel daughter will be turning sweet sixteen!  My memories of her tiny newborn body sleeping nestled closely against my breast, come racing back to me as if the moment occurred only yesterday.  And yet, so much has happened over the course of sixteen years.  So many other moments, some forgotten, some remembered, that I cannot even begin to imagine what the next sixteen years will bring.  For most of this week, my focus will remain right there.  Celebrating the life of my beautiful daughter.

With this week, will also come my deposition.  This is not typical protocol in a grandparent/aunt visitation case.  What can I possibly offer her attorney that might strengthen whatever his case might be?

"Mrs. FourAngelsMomma, what gives you the right to continue loving on these two little girls who have already lost their daddy?"

"Umm, eleven previous years of happy, loving "moments", with the hope of a lifetime of many, many more?"

What else could I possibly want out of a relationship with my angel nieces?  And yet, the joy of so many moments celebrated must now come with explanation.

But there is more sunshine in my life than storm clouds, more blindingly happy moments than sad ones.  And so, here are some pictures to explain when my words might not do.  From year to year, day to day, moment to moment, the only thing that I have truly been promised is now.  Right now.  The singularity of this moment and everything that comes along with it.  For me, there is so much comfort in that.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Head Trips and Headshots

There is a voice calling my name right now.  It is a tiny voice but it grows annoyingly louder as I try my hardest to ignore its screechy, just below the surface, whine.

"Deeeebra", it says, "Debra, this is your laundry pile speaking."

"Go away." I whisper inside of my head.

"But, Debra, you are about to get a letter from the Board of Health."  Hey, that isn't the voice of my laundry!  It's the voice of my father, trying to fool me into starting another load of wash.

I feel the heavy, relaxed weight of my sweet cat nestled up next to my neck.  Her body radiates a warmth that is very difficult for me to walk away from.  Next to me on the floor my dog, Becca, breathes with a rhythm that only sleep can bring on.  The computer rests on my lap and I am scrolling through my emails for the day.  White light flickering accented with black type.  It's all very hypnotic.

And then, something takes hold of my attention in a way that very little else can.  In an email, is a photo of my oldest Angel Daughter.  Not just a photo.  A headshot.  Her headshot.

There she is.  My Angel taking flight towards her future.

I allow my head to fall back gently on the headboard and I take in the warmth of a good life.  My good life.  My breath slowly synchronizes with the rhythm of the room and I fall contentedly into the moment.

Once again, I am confronted with the voice.  "Debra, I'm still here.  I'm not going anywhere..."


PS-This is not the finished product as AD2 will be perfecting the photo to color enhance and remove any imperfections.  What do you think?
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