Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Search For Balance: Part IIb: The (other) Physical

Two months had passed since she had heard from him.  Two months since she'd feared his insults punctuated by what seemed to be caring.  Two months since she really thought about him in any deep way and yet as those months went by knowing him was slowly turning from a tragedy into a romance.  She was finally letting the hurt go.  In those two months she had stopped asking questions.  It was not to be understood.  Two short months... But something started to happen.

In the last few days she had started to remember him...his hands, his voice... Her memories would flood back like vivid movies she could almost feel him.  Very exact, she would remember him and almost feel regret.  And then there was that one long night when she was in and out of sleep tossing and turning, waking herself up saying his name.  With the longing the questions return.  What did I do to deserve that?  Why wasn't I enough?

The loneliness of being a single parent consumed her for a moment.  With longing comes feelings of betrayal and rejection and hurt, fresh hurt as if none of the progress of the past two months was real.  It was always there before but he would hold it back and protect her from the madness he had caused by being there sometimes and holding her but there was always a goodbye and she could take no more of those.

Desperate to stay strong she embraces the bad times.   But oh, if she could just see him one more time she would make it count.

She banishes those thoughts...again...and again...and again.

The Search For Balance: Part II - The Physical

[....] stretches as she sits in the silence of the morning planning the day ahead.  There is so much to do.  She hasn't been to the doctor in years and her body is telling her that something is not right.  She hopes it is just age and stress and as she focuses on a proper diet, exercise and rest in the coming months, she hopes that she will feel better.  During the school year her sick days must be saved for the kids. 

A rueful laugh comes from somewhere inside of her as she remembers the person who didn't ask questions, the person who just let her employer know that she had to take care of herself and her children.   "I won't be in tomorrow, I have to take my son to the doctor."  or "I won't be in next Thursday morning, doctor's appointment."  [...] could no longer afford that dignity.

That was a few children ago.  That was back when she subconsciously felt that if she fell they would be caught.  So all of the doctor's appointments are emergency appointments.  She hears the debate in the press and in congress.  Preventative medicine, they think this health care is avoided because of lack of insurance.  It is, but it is also avoided because so many don't have anyone to watch the kids or any way to get to that appointment or because of fear for how our employers might treat them.  Sometimes it is for fear of what they might hear. 

So many days are spent fatigued, just pushing through.  [...] has felt for awhile now that she was not enough and part of the bitterness that she feels is for the fact that all that is good in her children's lives has to come from her  being and most days there is simply not enough for all of them.  She once searched her ex on  Facebook and saw him frolicking in the park with his other son, running through the tall grass like in some old feminine product commercial.  Her own children beg to go outside but she will not let them go where she cannot see them and she is exhausted.  That was the day that she realized her children had been replaced.  That too took something from her.  Something nameless that held her erect.

The Search for Balance - Part I

A mother is one person.  She is, however, made of many parts.  Each one  matters.   So what are the parts of a woman?  What are her needs?  I think that for many women this doesn't come into question.  For the single mother, however, when only a fraction of what should get done on any given day can be done by any one person, Momma gets the shaft.  At the end of the day when the little ones have been fed and bathed and sent to bed, after the fights have been refereed and lessons of kindness are attempted she stands alone in the mirror and notices the lines on her face, the slump of her shoulders, her all consuming fatigue, she notices that her hair is a mess and wonders how much of the day she spent looking like that.  For a moment she can try to stave off the inevitable.  She stand in the mirror, pulls her hair back and looks at her face from one side and the other, she tries different smiles, looks at her teeth, lifts her breasts to where they should be and lets them down.  She straightens her shoulders trying to find a self that she remembers and with a heavy sigh she walks out of the bathroom turning the light off behind her. 
She mouths the words "Aint I a woman?" but doesn't wait for the answer.  There is no response to her calls. 

One of the last things that my husband said to me was, "Maybe you've been single for so long that you can't be in a relationship?"  Inside I bled but I said "Yeah, maybe"
and cried.  I just wanted to be HIS woman but it would have been wrong to say that at that moment so I didn't.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

...And It Was Good

As I crawl into bed weary from the day's living I have to forgive myself AND pat myself on the back. As I first began to reflect I felt like I had accomplished nothing but as I thought about it I realized that today was a good day because it prepared me to accomplish more tomorrow.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On Being a Momma

There are times when I think that he left a void but I guess there are more times when I feel like he left the opposite.  I often feel that there is simply too much for little me to do, to carry.

Being a parent is an awesome responsibility and one in which worry (for me) is ever present. Today my eldest is to get in and he hasn't called.  He didn't call to say that he got on the bus all right.  I am so worried.  I even checked the news in the city he is coming from to make sure there was nothing scary.  I found one thing but at the time that it happened according to the article he was still in the house so it wasn't him 'whew'  I remember telling my sons when they were little that if I could afford cars for them I would buy them good German cars, not to be pretentious but to be safe.  I would put them in Volvos or BMWs.   They are now on foot and in buses and on econoflights.   We do what we must and then what we can, we write the rest down and hope.  

I roll my head around like a boxer about to enter the ring  and stretch like a runner.  This is my triathlon and I ready myself. They WILL be fine.   ... I was thinking that I might like to start running.  I never see runners with big bellies :-) Iff my poor creaky knee can take it.  I feel good!

Today's Teatag Wisdom

The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.
-Horace Walpole- ( 1717-1797)

I think I should be laughing :-)

Monday, June 27, 2011


I am slowly learning to live with abandon. I would like for my life to more closely reflect my imagination. Time passes no matter what decisions I make so I might as well seize the day.

Today I received the Zumba DVDs I ordered. I am going to get fit while becoming a hot salsa dancer :-) If you know me then you know how funny that statement is. I had my son hook up the DVD player and put batteries in the remote. I stood in the living room with my 10 year old daughter and 5 year old son and pressed play. The narrator then said , as if speaking specifically to me, that if I was new to this I should start with the beginner CD. How dare she!!

..I had my son switch the CDs and we started. My living room is small and we were almost falling over each other so I banished the kids. I pressed play and proceeded to learn. I am the type of person who can be alone in a room and embarrass myself. I had to overcome my embarrassment over and over again. I found the Mexican dances more difficult than the Caribbean and I found thinking about dancing the most taxing of all. You just have to kind of do it.
Tomorrow my grown son will be in town. I can't imagine I'll be exercising in the living room with him here. Now I need a portable cd player so that I can "booty roll" and gallop around in the privacy of my room.

I vow that I will not have loved in vain, will not have been hurt in vain. I will be better. So today I filled most of the void with daring and the rest with thoughts of him. (Mostly thinking "Boy am I glad he's not here to see this.)

We never danced.
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  • Why is my bathroom mirror so much kinder to me than my camera?

Sunday, June 26, 2011


In the quiet of the morning when all the children sleep
I tip-toe quietly around the house afraid to make a peep.
I pick up clothes from off the floor
I put their toys in side their doors
I put the dishes in the sink
I draw a bath for little "stink"

I take the clothes from the dryer to fold
I wash the dirty and stowe the old.

I then put water in my teapot
and turn on CNN

In a few short minutes they will wake
and the maddness starts again.

In the quiet of the morning
when all the children sleep.
I creep to my computer without making a peep.
I blog a bit, and read my mail, and check the latest tweet

Saturday, June 25, 2011


My Beto has a speech impediment and sometimes his way of expressing himself is just...well, right.

This week's betoismis

daycation - We just got back from vacation and he says, "Mom, I know where we can go for our next "daycation".

life (wife)  - We are watching a movie and the man just died and his "life" is sad.

snack - Don't "snack" me.


grampire - they are the things that suck blood

nember - "Mom, nember when we went to ..."

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Return to the Maddness

Recently gifted with a most wonderful vacation, the kids relaxed and I relaxed and we had a wonderful time.  I walk in the house and there is so much to do.  I will rest and do it tomorrow.  The baby falls asleep in my arms as the children slowly unwind and prepare for bed 'sigh'.  I feel... grateful. 

I had time to think and to watch the children while we were away and I realized that they miss their father.  There are moments in which they are angry but more moments in which they are just uncomfortably aware that they lack something.  I sat next to the pool and watched how they interacted with each other, with the other children and with the other families around the pool and it was heartwrenching. 

I don't know how to talk to their father without exposing myself to hurt.  Right now I don't know how to talk to him at all and I slowly, fearfully extend my hand to him and ask that he not forget us or let circumstance or necessity touch-up his memories.  My children need him so I wrap my pride in the appropriate weatherproofing and stow it away and I write.

I think if we talk we won't hate but it is not easy to do.  I am always so afraid that I will have yet another thing to forgive and I am never sure how much forgiveness I have left.   When I look at the kids though, I forgive.  I mean if they can, who am I to hold a grudge.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


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Wednesday, June 22, 2011


One Mom (who can't swim) at the pool with 5 children only 1 of whom is watersafe. What stress!!! All day I have remembered when Papa saved his namesake's life. He did so much to make me love him (that made me love him) only it was never for me. Being a good daddy was the most beautiful thing he has ever done and gave him godlike status from me. The moments were most precious and too few. I can close my eyes and feel the same love remembering them as I did watching. I sit here and every few seconds I look up and count 1..2..3..4..5 'whew'.

Perhaps he thought that he was simply taking care of his children, I on the other hand was brought to tears by the fact that he was taking such loving care of MINE and I wanted him to stay and to complete our family because that completed me.
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Papa They Need You

Ellos te buscan en los ojos de los desconocidos y lloro por dentro. Te necesitan.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Boy

On father's day his hand touched mine and I looked at it. It is his father's right down to the tooth manicured nails. For a moment it took my breath away.

Today I looked into my daughter's eyes. "Why are you staring at me?" she says. "You stare and smile.". Those are her daddy's eyes and for a moment it was nice to see them looking at me again.
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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Este Día de Los Padres

Si la muerte no nos separa antes ...
Un día llegará en que compartimos el mismo espacio...con nada mas que tiempo entre nosotros...
cuando las palabras hubieran perdido su razón hace mucho tiempo... sentados en una mesa grande o una iglesia, unidos por tristeza o que debe ser felicidad  ...estar porque eso es lo que se hace. 
su presencia será el insulto, su aucensia mil veces el insulto
falsa esperanza en el corazon del hijo cubierto con una mueca sin emoción, resignación en el corazón del padre
saludos incomodos
abrazos débiles de los mismos brazos
miradas de los mimos ojos misma esperanza de las hijas
conversaciones de nada por que no hay nada
         "Qué día mas lindo."
         "Qué linda eres."
... en el silencio ella va a recordar cuánto ella quería compartir tu espacio, oír de su belleza en tu voz, montar tu espalda, reirse contigo, sentir la seguridad de poner su manito en la tuya. 
Hay un gran  decepción al darse cuenta que estas palabras no valen mucho tras el tiempo.
Fuera de palabras voltean las vistas a los proximos de la familia y  pensamientos de nuestro lugar en sus vidas...las lecciones que tendrémos para compartir.
...y si hay solamente una copa de felicidad para una familia?
No pretendo de saber como o si usted sufre, pero eso yo sí sé.   Se deseo un día contento.  Por mi parte, mil gracias por la felicidad, la belleza, la diversión, y el razón en mi vida. 

El tiempo no es sino el espacio entre nuestros recuerdos.
Henry F. Amiel (1821-1881) Escritor suizo.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Today's Teatag Wisdom

Patience gives the power to practice; practice gives the power that leads to perfection. 

...and so I find myself here practicing.  I have taken my two steps back.  Last week they didn't mention their father but on the promise of having $5 to spend they wanted to spend it on him.  I smile inside.  They are good.
This is a summer that will be spent in practice for them, math facts, reading and letters and numbers.

Stepping Out

I just bought a bathing suit.  Yes, I did.  I haven't worn one in maybe 10 years.  I have decided to jump out of my comfort zone; it is boring me. I found one online that I LOVED, a white one, but it wouldn't arrive on time so I opted for a simple black.  I am thicker than I was the last time I got into one of these and my first impulse is to start skipping meals but I won't.  I was actually delighted.  I have always been skinny and that word can no longer be used to describe me.  Yes, I could afford to drop a few pounds and I will but for right now I am just happy to have some curves.

In the Quiet of the Morning

In the quiet of the morning I feel compelled to write something because the children are asleep and I can.  I don't, however, know what to write. 

I watched something last night that reminded me of the man that I married and the father of my children. I awakened with thoughts that I had successfully banished.  Today I need to refocus my energies away from false hope. 

Today I will complete one huge task.  Yesterday I think I created the logo that I want to use but it lives only in my head.  I create such amazing images in there but getting them out is another story.  And then I remember another one and I wonder which to use or how to combine them.

Friday, June 17, 2011


The thing about having so much responsibility is that you feel so much less than great all the time.  Your time is divided; your energy is divided and all of your resources are divided.  There is no more of you. 

Having exhausted all of my energy day after day, it is going to take some resourcefulness not to give my life too soon.

I sit here pondering mediocrity and dreading that that is the best that I will have to offer my children.  I think that life always has to have purpose even when you're small. 

I write down these gray words before I sleep to remind myself to push harder, to do more and to work for a greater cause, to make MY contribution.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Today's Teatag Wisdom

"Happiness is nothing but total relaxation."

This is difficult for me to imagine. Life is so full of worries, how can one totally relax? ...but I seem to remember a different time in a different place...when I let go of the bindings of my reality and swam in a sea of endless possibility. I experienced many emotions and acquired new worries and in retrospect that sea turned out to be more like a shallow pool with some kind of parasite inhabiting it...but I still remember the feeling. So maybe happiness happens in moments and is fleeting but it also always lies ahead awaiting you. One must simply figure out again and again how to release their worry.
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Friday, June 10, 2011

All Knowledge Is Within Me

Today's wisdom from my teatag. Now, how to access it...
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Thursday, June 9, 2011

What? Oh, You Don't Wanna Mess Wit Ma Baby!

As Number 7 (Pookie Tu) is left with only a runny nose, nos. 3, and 6 are running high fevers and 6 is throwing up.  To make it worse his baby sitter's 19 year old grandson is bullying him (he's 5) and he was sadder today when I picked him up than I've ever seen him.  I don't think he would hurt him but he has no idea how his meanness affects my baby.  He calls him a girl and my little guy is afraid that the big kid will hurt him if he speaks up. 

My little man is far from a girl, far from girly.  He has swag.  He has a vivid imaginary life in which he is about 16 years old.  When he was two he gave a passing woman the double guns with a click of his mouth and an attempted wink from the front of the shopping cart.  Though I don't know where from, he learned the words "she's hot" and started to say it whenever he saw a female - ANY female.  He has been trying since birth to be a grown man and this big bully keeps calling him a girl.  Today his heart was broken.  So tomorrow...

He will be armed with notes from Mom (not Mommy, that's for babies)  Every time that bully calls him a girl I he will pull out a note. (He can't read yet)  They will say,
  • Don't be jealous 'cuz my little man has more swag than you.
  • Bully, pick on somone your own size.
  • Don't say you're just playing be smart enough to call it like it is and then - call it off.
  • Don't you have some friends you can go play with?
  • It seems you need some of these  (then I'll draw some glasses)
I have a few more ideas also...but my little man is running a fever right now so he might not even go tomorrow.

I Am Unlimited

That is what was printed on my Yogi tea tag this morning and I must be. If, as they tell me, God doesn't give one more than they can handle, then I must indeed be unlimited.
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Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Cycle

Saturday is downhill and though there is much to do, the things that I have to do affect mostly me and mine.  On Saturdays work must remain at work.  On Saturdays I am housewife, or house... I am slave.  I cook, I do laundry and clean the house.  

So so frustrated at constantly begging my children to do their chores, last night I told them - "No work, no eat."  My son cleaned his room nicely.  He separated and organized his toys and made the beds.  My daughter, on the other hand, has just been walking around an emotional wreck and begging for her sister's help.  I am not sure that she can identify neat.  I always go behind her and fix her work.  I have decided that I won't do that anymore.   I won't let her sister help her because her little sister does more work than she does and I don't have to ask her 100 times to do it.  I told her that she must clean their room alone but that her little sister will help her to maintain it.  She's hungry.  Last night I almost folded - again, but I'm sticking to my guns.  She must develop an understanding of the relationship between work and reward.  

Even these days are a struggle but without the feeling that I am hanging over the edge of a cliff.  During the week I am constantly aware of the fact that if I fail there is no safety net.  I am in the house not worried about whether the car will start or not.   I don't have the money to fix it right now and EVERYTHING depends on our car.   

A few weeks ago the kids and I picked out a new car - our fantasy life.  They decided what movies they would watch in it and where they would sit.  We talked about the places that we would go.  It was a wonderful few moments so now I work at trying to make those moments a reality.  I have the slightest outline of a plan...

As I go into Sunday I have to slip into work mode and belong more to my job than my kids and I am on the upside of the circle again pushing myself, refocusing on the moment so that I don't get that feeling of overwhelmed panic.

Friday, June 3, 2011

I'm Putting My Shoulder Into It

Each has his or her own trial, their own Mt. Everest.  Mine is creating the environment necessary to foster success for my children and being whole all the while. 

Each day I brainstorm.  I ponder each of our talents and how they might work for us and I realize that I still need to teach them the basics -discipline.

I have been a leaf in the wind or may I have simply willed myself to be a sapling, flexible but too permanent.  I have however accepted the things I cannot change. 

and as I stand in the eye of the storm I will myself to BE the storm so that it doesn't destroy me.

I inhale, plant my feet shoulder width apart, put my left shoulder forward, lower my head and steel myself.  No one ever said it would be easy.