Sunday, August 13, 2017

Color blind

Yesterday Little One flew home from 3 weeks in Lousiana with Big Brother and Beauty.  Even though she is 16, it's a big deal for her to fly alone and to have layovers and to switch planes and find her way around the Dallas/Fort Worth airport on her own, but in her own quiet way she manages and as she gets older her nerves are calming and when she got home she sat on the couch and told me all about the connections she made along the way.

There was the woman with the baby and the preschooler and full arms who couldn't unfasten the car seat. Little one asked if she needed help and sat her stuff down and helped her to get settled.

There was the woman who complimented Little One's drawings....I asked what she said, "Those are amazing!" What did you say? "Thank you.....what else would I say?" Lol

Then there was this story.... Two little kids sat next to her who were flying alone. A 10 year old girl and her 8 year old brother.

The girl asked Little One, "Excuse me, how do I get the flight attendants attention?"  L.O. showed her the button to push. Then the little girl asked, "Will it make a loud noise? HOW will it get their attention?"
L.O. explained, "No no, a light will flash right up here," pointing to the overhead panel. "There is no noise."

As the flight began the little girl started to talk to L.O. About her drawings.

 "How do you know how to do that shading? How do you know which parts should be light and which parts should be dark?" My quiet peaceful girl explained her methods, and then offered to share her supplies with the little girl and her brother and they spent the 3 hour flight drawing and talking and comparing.

 L.O. explained that, "The little brother was only interested in drawing his own way, but the little girl asked me to draw an outline of a face for her and she would do the shading herself."

She wanted to give it to her mom, "but I will tell her you did the outline and I only did the shading." Her sweet honesty....making sure L.O. knew she would not be taking credit for any part that was not honestly her own work.

The story went on for awhile, the plane landed and L.O. sent them home with a care package of pencils, paper and smudge sticks,  and I loved hearing it all and then she ended with...."they were the most adorable little black children." The color of their skin was not part of the story, it was not relevant to anything, other than to describe them to me, someone who wasn't there to see for herself.

How powerful is this today, after the unfathomable violence we all witnessed in Virginia yesterday? While a white supremacist drove his car through a crowd of protesters, killing one and hurting many others, Little One was sitting on a plane sharing her life with two children, two human beings who were interested in what she was doing, who found a way to calm their nerves of flying alone, to make the time pass, to connect with one another...and this is as it should be. This interaction is not special or because Little One is special. This should be our "norm." It should be what is expected... that we love our neighbors, that we extend a hand when we see anyone in need, that we come along side one another...simply because we are all just people.

 How on earth in 2017 is the color of one's skin STILL an issue?
Jesus have mercy.
Annette

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Letting Go

I wonder how many posts I have written about letting go through the years. It seems to be a running theme for me....let go, but dont abandon. Finding that balance.

The month of July has been filled with so much good. Of course Landon coming to us healthy and safe was filled with so much joy, but also big brother and his beauty came for a visit to meet Landon and we had SO MUCH FUN with those two. I laughed until my cheeks hurt and I couldn't catch my breath. Those kinds of laughs are priceless.

While we were having fun and enjoying each other, my girl really struggled. July was really hard on her. I had to choose what I was going to do....and I chose to let her stuff be her's. The door was open to her always, she was invited and included, but it was all too much and she declined our invitations. We let her be where she was. Its a new month and I see her working to get herself back on track.

So letting go.....during Landon's delivery, I watched Molly and "kind heart" work together so well. He was present and supportive and if he could have delivered Landon from his own body for Molly, he would have. As I watched them labor together, I was so aware that this was their circle and I had been invited in. This was not my territory. This was not my show. I was there only as a support person, by invitation, as they forged on ahead to bring their baby into this world. It felt good to know my place. To see the differentiation between their life together and mine. It hit me that it felt GOOD to LET GO in this situation. I was letting Molly go into safety, to someone who loves her, its a good thing and it felt joyful to be able to do this. It wasn't scary, I had no inclination to grab on or to cling or try to control everything.

This awareness was such a powerful thing, it was like having someone pour grace and care all over me. All of this time I have felt like I was a failure at letting go, just a controlling crazy woman who can never mind her own business, and in this moment, I realized that is not true. I CAN let go. I can healthfully allow my children to go on and live their lives without my input unless asked for, I can wait for the question....it is the circumstances, the very real danger that has swirled all around one of mine's lives that has tripped me up. It has gone against nature to totally let go of this particular child in sometimes horrible circumstances. That she is only on my mind, that I dont take action at every perceived danger, is tremendous progress for a MOTHER to live in. I have been responding to the unthinkable in the most sane and loving ways I have been able to figure out.....and that is good enough.

It was this moment of acceptance for myself. Self love, grace, compassion, mercy....for me. Every time I think about it I cry. I am ok! I am doing fine. As well as anyone can be in these circumstances. I have lived my life always feeling like I am striving to get to the next level of "good enough" and this experience showed me I am already there. I am doing just fine.

I pray pray pray that every mom can hear these words. Can know that perfection is not our goal. Trusting ourselves to take good care of us, to extend grace and mercy and compassion to our mom's hearts that are wanting to heal and put together and mend....no matter how much Alanon, or personal work we do, at our core, I believe every mom wants their child to be ok. We learn how to walk and behave and not get in the way of our children's journey, but in our hearts we carry that desire to heal and bring wholeness. To at least try....and there is no shame in that.

Love yourselves today.
Annette

Friday, July 28, 2017

Profiles in Recovery

I will write something "real" soon... but in the mean time there is this. It's "real" but it's recycled. Lol
Much love and care to all....
Annette

Sunday, July 9, 2017

He's Here!

Landon Grant made his amazing entrance into our world on July 6th, at 1:56pm, weighing in at 8lbs 9 oz. and 21 inches long. Molly was so amazing facing the challenges of labor and a rough delivery with so much grace and dignity. I have never been more proud of her. Ryan was engaged and present and focused on Molly and whatever he could do to encourage and help her....watching them work together to bring their baby into the world touched this momma's heart deeply. They are so good together and already are such wonderful parents to their baby boy. Landon is absolutely delicious. We all just want to soak him in and savor every second of his sweet self.

I have obnoxiously flooded Facebook with all of this already....but for my readers who aren't on FB, I wanted so much to share my joy here with you too. I think anyone who is reading here understands how huge the good parts of life are, how much we appreciate them even more so since we have faced some of our most unfathomable fears...I am drinking in this time, every minute, this precious little fresh boy is so beautiful and will bring with him all of the lessons he has been sent with for his parents....because I do believe that those who hold our hearts are our greatest teachers.
Bless us all.... and bless this new little family.
Annette













Thursday, June 22, 2017

To Have Our Hearts Be Heard.

Today a momma told me the story of her son’s passing from an accidental overdose. It was such a sacred telling and my heart was so very touched. I listened while she recounted all of the details that she wanted to share with me, things that I won’t repeat here, but my heart, just hearing, was so broken for her. She bravely didn’t cry, time has softened the loss, that she can talk without crying now, she can be happy that her beautiful boy is “free,” but my eyes overflowed.

When we went to leave each other’s company, we hugged and I thanked her for sharing her story with me. I told her it was not something that I heard and took in lightly. It was sacred, something so precious, and I wanted her to know that I cherished the telling of it, I cherished her broken mom’s heart and I was holding it gently in mine.

She thanked me for “letting” her talk about it. She said, “Sometimes I just need to re-tell that story and have it be heard again.”

After we were apart, I thought about that. We all want to be heard. Something so simple, but so universal. We want our hurts, our struggles, our fears, our experiences, to be heard and to be seen. We want to share our burdens, our brokenness, to let someone help us to carry the pain and the weight of our burdens. We want to help other’s to carry theirs. There is something said in my program about this….”Talk to each other, reason things out together.”

I am sure that is why I started blogging. I had to get all of this OUT and I had to share it and to have my vast well of feelings be seen and heard and acknowledged. Its why we hire therapists… we need to be heard. In the telling sometimes we can put the pieces together. We can begin to make sense of what has stricken our spirits in the most unexpected of ways.

The most beautiful thing is that to listen is so simple. We don’t have to have any answers. We can just listen and hear and hold space with one another….and that is enough. Human beings aren’t meant to go through life alone, carrying their sorrow and concerns by themselves. We are meant to live in communion with each other. Is it scary to let people in? To share your most broken and fragile parts with another and risk being judged, being seen as less than all that you wanted to be, to have those we love the most be seen as less than we had planned and dreamed of? Sometimes, yes it is.

In my experience, there is something about being vulnerable that disarms people. More times than not, it creates a space where they too can be vulnerable and honest. Someone has to take that initial big leap into the deep water and be the one to lay their story out there. To let other’s know its safe here and they aren’t alone. And neither are we. Each of us are not alone in our journey’s.

Bless us all, these mother’s and father’s hearts who yearn for their children’s healing and wholeness.
Annette


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Abundant Time

My long time readers know that I have lived for years by jamming my schedule full to overflowing. I think it met some crazy need in me, fed my waning self worth to be "in demand" and needed here and there.  "I am very busy." It also meant I didn't have to look at my own issues....I was so busy helping everyone with theirs! Lol In my defense, a lot of it was work related so people were actually paying me to get into their business and help them and give advice and take care of them. I always have said, "caregiving" is a co-dependents dream job! LOL

Things have changed though. I gave up a client who was very physically and emotionally demanding. It was so hard to do, I never "quit" jobs, but this time, I knew I needed the time more than I needed to help someone else. I gave my notice, I found a replacement (which wasnt easy) but I left them in good hands. Then right after I gave him up, another client entered the hospital and has been there for a month with more weeks lying ahead. School has ended. Im still working a little....but a grand total of 20 hours vs. 60. I however, am not taking any new clients right now. I am protecting this time.

 We bought our girl an inexpensive Prius with a million miles on it so that she can drive herself to and from the clinic each day. We did it so that I can have my life back. I drove her the 120 mile round trip every day, for 11 months. It was hard, on both of us. Demoralizing for her, time consuming for me. We all, the dad, the therapist, and me, felt like it was time. It will go the way it will go.

So with that obligation off of my schedule and my current lighter work load, I have all of this time...and I will say that I am a little lost. I have so many things to do, things that I have waited to have the time for,  but I wander around looking at all of them and then go check Facebook. Lol I think for me there is something to be said for a routine....so I need to create a new routine. I find myself staying up too late, and then not able to get up early like I would like to. Sleeping in is 7:30, but still. I would like to be on a 6am schedule, pray/meditate/read, go for a walk, then get on with my day. 5am is just too ungodly of an hour for me. I want to go back to Adoration regularly, I want to work on my physical health, exercise, I want to paint my bedroom, I bought a whole bolt of fabric to make lined curtains for my bedroom that will "hopefully" block some of the sunny heat from our big sliding door, I am working on a hamper for baby Landon, I need to clear off our pool table, go through books and donate, yard work is endless....

I feel like this time is important. For the first time, though floundering a bit wondering how to get myself on task, I am thankful for the time. That is new for me. I am not afraid to face myself or what my life contains right now. The dad and I are good....we have lived for many years together with many ups and downs.....but we have come into a place of love and acceptance with each other. We admire each other in a lot of ways. He has gifts that I don't have....and I certainly have gifts that he doesn't have! LOL Bless his heart... that man gives me freedom to do life my own way. Right now, I have the gift of time to be present in my world, with my family.

Our first grandchild will be here soon. I want to be available to support Molly as she ventures into this new time in her life. And "little one," my homebody... we bought a used Canon digital camera for her, awhile back. A grown up kind, with lenses and a case and its all very important and impressive. Lol We have been talking about the places we can go to take pictures. And my girl... getting herself from one place to the next is just the beginning. But it is a beginning.

Feeling very grateful today.....
Annette

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Oh the Quandaries we Weave

Tough love, unconditional love, staying connected, detaching, disease, choice, enabling, codependency, black, white, right, wrong. If the lines were only more clear. The choices more delineated. The outcomes more sure.

An old blogger friend was getting ready to speak to a group of parents and asked me what I wished I had known in the beginning of this journey. Then this past week I was involved in an online conversation exploring the "disease" or "choice" dilemma. These are such complicated issues with so many extenuating circumstances and there are so many passionate and emotional responses and people feel certain that they are right...me included.

For me, I wish I had learned early on more about maintaining healthy connections and less, much much less, about detaching and letting go. I wish I had heard about ways to set healthy boundaries in love and with patience. I wish I had been able to recognize my own part more. My fear, my anger, my compulsion to control and that it was directly tied to my sheer terror. I wish I had known that there are other ideas out there beside tough love. That every act of kindness wasn't enabling. I wish someone had explained that recovery is NOT a one time decision but rather a very very long process that consists of hundreds of little and apparently unimportant decisions made every single day, that hold the potential to profoundly impact your life. I wish I had been taught that trips and falls happen, and no, you do not need to go back to the beginning to start fresh. You can get up, brush yourself off, and start again, right where you fell. I wish I had known that progress counts. I wish I had not bought into the shame that because I loved my daughter so fiercely that that meant I was sick too in some way, that I had some warped connection, was addicted to her addiction. I was a parent and like most of us, I didn't see this coming and like a parent I jumped into action to save her child. I needed to be directed and taught how to do that in the most effective and healthy ways, but there is no shame in a parent grabbing their kids ankles as they see them falling over a cliff. I wish that I had understood the disease concept more, the actual physical changes that were happening in my girl's brain and body. I wish I had understood dual diagnosis more....or that there even was such a thing. I wish I had understood that I couldn't change her trajectory, but there were ways to protect my own heart while still staying connected with her. Boundaries are not high, thick, impenetrable brick walls to keep people out...they are just a resource to help me to keep my side of the street clean and to allow other's the dignity of at the very least having a say in what their side of the street will look like.

I do carry some regret, but I don't carry lots of guilt. I was doing the best I knew and I was doing what I was taught. I think it is so important that we are careful about what we tell parents who are early on in this journey. I never in my wildest dreams thought we would still be navigating all of this 15 years later, but here we are, and we have learned through many avenues including Alanon, the tools of CRAFT, my many friends who are also traveling their own journey's in their various forms of recovery, and my faith, how to live more gently with one another.

This journey has been one of the most painful, soul searing, deep unearthing of my spirit, purifying, experiences of my entire life.....and I am so deeply grateful for what we have gone through and who we have become through these experiences.

I can only share my experience. My experience has been with a daughter. A beautiful girl with all of her own inner battles to wage war against. She has never stolen from us. She has never been physically abusive toward us. She could be full of sass though, but never was I afraid of her. I have been afraid *for* her, many many times for a very long time, but never did I feel that my safety was in jeapordy. Some parents can't say these things and for them, of course, they have to make different decisions, very difficult and painful decisions. In no way do I want to present that anyone who has to take a firm stand to preserve the safety of their home or their younger children, is wrong to do so. There are no easy answers in this world of addiction.

God bless us all, deeply, fill our hearts with peace beyond understanding.
Annette