Sunday, December 8, 2013

Polished up and lookin good.....

Yesterday I spent the day with my two big girls. I had bought tickets for a Christmas house tour that is a fundraiser for a big Catholic school. It is a walking tour in a well known neighborhood down in the city that is made up of "fabulous" older homes built in what I would guess were the 20's and the 30's. Beautiful! Since my girl is living down there, (not in that neighborhood though lol) we often go for walks there when we meet up.

There were five homes that were open for the tour and all were decorated for the holidays. One of the tour guides explained that each home had used a designer and it was mentioned that one was even from the DIY network. Everything was perfect and beautiful.

Mid-tour Molly pipes up with, "Eh, I don't really like this." After we were walking and looking and talking...we all came to the same conclusion. Not impressed. I feel like a Grinch for even saying that. As we talked about it some more, we all felt that it was an illusion. Phony. Where were the kids drawings on the fridge? Greeting cards on the mantle? The family photos....actually one home was a Hispanic family and they had a hallway *filled* with neatly framed family photos and THAT house ended up being our favorite. It wasn't a magnificent showcase of granite and custom cabinetry. It was a home. I think she had done her own designing and decorating and it was a place that one of my girlfriends would live. I got to meet the homeowner and I told her that her home was our favorite, the most comfortable to be in.

I think when you have gone to hell and back in your life, *real* is the only thing that feels comfortable anymore. Authenticity is my comfort least as much as I am aware and capable of being. I have grown to love the know what I am saying? There is beauty in the construction zone of our lives. In the unearthing, the painful digging down to the roots.

Later my girl and I were alone (Molly had to leave us early to go to work) and she was talking about her future a little and some hopes she has. She made the comment that eventually she hopes all of this "will have just been a phase." Something she went through but now its done. Uhhhhhhh. lol I was quiet for awhile before I responded.

Finally, once I found my voice.... "You will not always be in new recovery. Someday you will have a lot of time under your belt and it will flow for you and not be minute by minute work. But, don't ever forget where you've come from. As brutal, scary, violent, awful....and any other negative adjectives that you can think up... that these years have been for you, they have also given you beautiful priceless gifts." And they have. They have given all of us gifts. We are changed because of what we have witnessed and walked our way through.

Later as we were leaving a thrift store a homeless man was hanging around out in front who was obviously very mentally ill. My girl waited for me out in front while I ran to the bathroom....I know, TMI! When I came out she was saying good bye to the homeless man and another man smiled and told her to have a good day. She said the homeless guy was talking "gibberish" to her. She told him she didn't understand what he needed. "A cigarette? Do you want some?" And she handed over a few...he kept talking. "I'm sorry, I don't understand."

We got in the car and I said, "THAT is exactly what I am talking about. Extending a hand to the least of these...showing kindness, not being disgusted, not judging, not ignoring...but treating him like a human being. Knowing that you understand the path to where he is at. Don't let that part go." I reminded her of my mom, her alcoholic g-ma, who spent years packing sandwiches to hand out to the homeless crazy people on the streets of Oakland. "There but for the grace of God go I," she would say when I asked why she did that.

I have no room for fluff and illusions of perfection anymore. It grates on me. Its like a jacket that doesn't fit and it pulls across my back and makes my arms itch and I can't wait to shrug it off. It just doesn't set well on my shoulders anymore.

Of course there is always the possibility that all of this comes from the place that I AM JEALOUS! We just had our first major snow storm and I am here in the house with 5 dogs, dishes in the sink, no Christmas decorations up, wondering where to begin! Thats always a consideration if we are really going to be truthful. LOL

Bless us all in whatever sorts of messes we are living in at any given moment.

PS: And for those of you are friends with me on FB...did you see my girls cheeks?! Nice and full. I can't stop looking at that picture! 


amy said...

Love this! Exactly right. I think when we put on the show for others is when we lose our way. One thing being sober has given me is being confident enough to dress the way I want rather than what I think people think I should wear. The beauty of our lives is that they are OURS. :)

Dishes in the sink? Better catch up on your reading! Snowy days are made for that. :) xoxoxo

mary christine said...

Perfect Christmases are very difficult for me. So many childhood memories. Awful ones.

SoberMomWrites said...

THAT WAS THE FIRST THING I NOTICED!!!! How full and healthy her face looks. Big happy sigh...

I have no room in my life for fakeness or fluff either anymore. We have a street like that in our city and I would have given up a limb at one time in my life to live there and "have it all". Now I realize that I do have it all and it's all real and it's all mine. Warts and all. (Debt and all.)

As I grow and have more of those experiences, trial, tribulations and victories, I know that what dwells in each of those homes may not be the stuff that fairy tales are made of and that I wouldn't trade what dwells in mine for anything in the world. (Although I would like some granite counter tops one day).

And as for decorations, if you can't reminisce (sp?) with each and every ornament you put on the tree...what's the point?

So, so happy to see that pic yesterday!


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post, Annette. I love the way you talk to your girl. How precious you are! And her too, talking with the homeless man. We do all learn so much from this. I am also in agreement with you regarding authenticity - pictures on the fridge and such. Christmas, of all times, deserves to be real life with real families as dressed up or down as we might be from one year to the next. God bless you and have a wonderful Christmas - whatever that might be for you this year!

beachteacher said...

You all looked beautiful ! I also hate pretense -- always have,...but our journey with addiction has made me feel even more that way.
I'm so happy you're having good days with your daughters. How wonderful.

dawn said...

Yup!! Saw her chubby cheeks! I'm such a fan of before and after shots!! I facilitate an aftercare group Monday nights and last night the women were sharing where they are now, how far they've come, the relationships they have begun healing etc. And while I did not want to rain on their parade, I just had to reign them all in and say . hold up there campers!! Told them they SHOULD reflect and celebrate their hard work, but that as we get on down the road, complacency creeps in and we can get too comfortable. Our vigilance is lessened, albeit just an inch, and then there it is, LIFE. It happens, just as it does for all of us from time to time - and we'd better be prepared. Our addiction is still there, waiting, and cunningly patient. Hated to go there, but, man, we gotta keep it real; and sometimes I think that's part of our aftercare program. Four more months together where we can process the struggles of early recovery, but also talk about what's to come.
Annette, sometimes weaved throughout your beautiful writing, I sense deep reservation, and underlying restraint . And please allow me to tell you I GET THAT!!!! And I also believe that's a good thing. I just hope you're not holding back too much to not being fully present to enjoy your recovering addict and to fully immerse yourself in this gift of life.. And my friend,,, from two thousand miles away, I can certainly be off the mark. But I love you , so want to share only from my heart; you know that. It is a delicate road the loved one of an addict walks. I know my husband treads cautiously. I know that..
And frankly, it breaks my heart

Liz said...

Oh Annette... Thank you for this... You expressed what I feel but didn't know how to say. Also, my daughter seems a lot like your daughter! She is so kind to the homeless and lost... gives money to the Santa's ringing their bells and cigs to the poor. My girl is also clean now and is doing well and I feel BLESSED!