Sunday, September 29, 2013

Life on the Other Side: A Love Story

A lot has happened this summer, preventing me from blogging. Jason was transferred from almost 4,000 miles away. I moved from my previous location, with Warren, 10 hours away, and in with Jason. I gave my renters over a month and lived in tense silences and anger I could feel, which was much worse than if they had just talked about it or confronted me; even yelling at me would've been better.  I know it stunk for them. A few weeks before the move, my toilet leaked bringing up the pleasant smell of animal urine from years before. Jason paid to have my entire house re-carpeted. If anyone knows the trials of selling items on Craig's's a part time job and the haggling is very tiresome. But, I sold most of what I owned, the night before I moved, finally my washer and dryer. My brother flew in and packed my 10 foot truck while I sat in court with Peter, on the phone again, avoiding his responsibilities. It was both scary and exciting. I had lived in that area for 19 years; it was the only place Warren had ever known. I was able to maintain my current position with a slight reduction in pay and teach my class as a web-based course.

It was the best decision I could've made for my son and me. Physical health is obviously interrelated to emotional and mental health. Warren has gained 19 pounds and grown 4 inches. He doesn't have any digestive issues anymore and rarely wets the bed. He eats whatever we cook and is an overall well behaved, adjusted and healthy boy. He loves his new school and is thriving, running over two miles most days (they have PE and an option to run every day). He went from being one of the smallest boys in his class at school to being one of the biggest. He is strong, confident, speaks up for himself, popular (we have kids running through our house whenever we allow it); he smiles all the time. I love being Warren's mom and tell him every day.

Today, we have had a typical peaceful Sunday. I've sat on the porch grading papers watching Jason close our pool. He works so hard around the house. Peter's idea of working around the house was proudly trimming the shrubs leaving the scraps for me to gather, which is a good picture of our union. I do not take Jason for granted and am thankful for everything he does. And my gratefulness is reciprocated; I am thanked and loved tenderly, daily. My work productivity has increased exponentially.

Now, a group of neighborhood boys have congregated on our back porch to watch Jason practice shooting his compound bow, from now 60 yards. He is the Super Hero of the neighborhood. Jason is a well decorated, yet humble, Navy SEAL. So for those of you who have become convinced that they could never do better, as I was told instead of being loved and cherished....keep reading....the love story…

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Who I Am: Fear (Part I)

I loved to be outside with my brothers. We just loved the outside. We always lived in the country so we didn’t have many friends to play with outside, just ourselves.  Growing up, with limited income, we played with home-made milk carton blocks,  Barbies, matchbox cars,  imaginary play; mostly  played outside!! Their children and Warren are much the same way we were; sun up to sun down outside playing.

When I was in elementary school I imagined flying above everyone else in line for the cafeteria and being above all the difficulties and misfortunes that haunt children then and today. In middle school, I was a 60 pound, red headed, freckled face, awkward girl. I was filled with insecurities, anxieties and un-comfortableness with my changing body and mind. I always felt different, awkward and always hiding from shame.
But… I also had an adventurous side.  The older of my brothers and I would often do something we called “creeking” (We grew up in upstate New York with an abundance of water sources). This meant that we would put on old jeans and sneakers and head to nearby waterfalls. We would spend most of the day going up stream against the current, sometimes in water above our chests. We would sometimes slip under the water and the current would take us until we could maintain footing on slippery, mossy rocks.  Those were some of the best and most exciting days of my life. I loved summer creeking days and walking along the edge of an at least three story high water fall. There I was confident, stable, strong and grounded both mentally and physically.

He and I also loved to climb all over the roof of our old farm house. I remember sitting straight up on the highest peak looking over the edge to the front lawn; I could see the top branches of the fully grown oak trees in our front lawn at eye level.  
What happened to me that I would have a devastatingly incapacitating fear of heights?  Fear of people, of situations; fear of what might happen, what might currently be happening….

I went to a water park this summer. I hate even the steps up to the slide. All day I was lovingly badgered by my companions to go down the scariest slide. I began to “work up to it.” I thought back to my creeking days and wondered why this was so damn hard. It was a 10 foot straight drop and then sharp turns. The slide began in an enclosed case with the sound of a beating heart.  I wanted so much to bravely conquer this unnatural (for me) fear.  I got into the torture chamber and told myself to just keep breathing through the seconds of free fall. I was in a full panic by the time the floor dropped out from under me. The next thing I realized I was underwater and thought, “really?  They fill the tubes with water for further torture?”  As I came to my senses…. I was at the bottom and could get out. I did it. I survived. I did it again just to be sure.
For some reason physical and emotional abuse, especially by someone promising to care and love, affects the external environment as well. A horse freely running one day might after being beaten repeatedly fear leaving the stall of a barn. We sink into smaller places as our emotional and physical stability is robbed. Our freedom, our bravery, our ability to understand how our physical bodies will react in the environment is stolen. I have, systematically, put myself into situations I fear to practice freedom. I’ll get back on those roof tops.