Ancestry, Land, Life, and Death.

On November 25, 1999, my father died.

I didn’t really deal with it. We weren’t close, emotionally. We also lived 5 hours apart from each other and only saw each other a handful of times per year for the last 4 years of his life.

Before his death, he made sure my name was on the deed to his cottage, and he leased it to his friend for fifteen years, so I’d have time to grow the fuck up before having to take care of a property.

For the past few years I knew that once I regained possession, I would sell it. It’s so far away, and inconvenient. But after a year on the market, there have been no bites.

 


 

 

In the past few months, I’ve done some growing inward, outward, and through. I’m seeing the ways in which ancestry and progeny are part of a continuum and also how they are indistinct from one another. I’m seeing the ways in which land and plant and animal are all basically just different parts of a whole. I’m starting to see the ways that souls leave permanent marks.

 


 

 

Percy died.

She came into my life at the time my father died. I have to deal with his death all over again, with this new perspective. But instead of it being a continuation of this end of life, I find myself welcoming my father into my heart. Back into my heart? Into my heart for the first time?

I suddenly feel that it would be a Great Tragedy to sell this land, handed down to me from my father.
We now have a relationship I can manage, I can understand it, where I failed to before. I feel comfort within it. I want to continue to nurture this relationship between me and my father and this land.

But where does that leave me with my living relatives? I feel uncomfortable with some among them. I don’t feel particular close to any, in that chummy way I read about, in that lay-down-our-lives-for-one-another way I see in movies. I don’t know how to pursue bonds that are satisfying. I don’t know how to move on from all the hurts.

I don’t trust them.

I don’t know how to reconcile my desire to honour ancestry and lineage with my lack of ability to connect more deeply with those who remain.

 

On this day:

In 2013 – foundation
In 2007 – cookie dreams
In 2006 – catsup
In 2005 – murder


On hurting your child for the entertainment of others.

So there’s that video going around about parents telling their kids that they ate all the Halloween candy. It’s supposed to be funny and I find it so very cruel. Why?

Kids have very little control over their lives. They don’t work and earn money and support themselves. They are at the mercy of their parents/guardians and only have as much control as their parents let them/they are developmentally ready to handle.

When they feel like they have something that they earned (in this case, by going door to door and receiving such gifts of candy) and that gets taken away from them, for no actual good reason, I am not surprised that they react badly. Their parent’s have violated their trust.

NOW add on top of that, it is just a joke for the benefit of some cable late night show, and I’m sickened.  A couple of the kids are fine with it, and that’s great. They have been raised to have skills to adapt to this change of expectation. Those skills are outside the norm for the age group represented. YES I get that for an adult it’s like, “ha ha, just kidding here is your candy!” but it doesn’t seem to me like these are just dramatic reactions. These children and genuinely hurt and upset. The parents in these clips either don’t know their children well enough to understand that they will not handle this prank well, or just don’t care because they want to get on tv. What the fuck? What the ACTUAL fuck?

This is not parenting with care. This is not creating a safe and trusting environment for children. These are people who are learning how to grow up and be well-adjusted in society and what does this teach them? Does this teach them anything other than to be distrustful of the people who should be the MOST invested in creating healthy relationships with them?

On this day:

In 2009 – ouf
In 2007 – all the jobs I’d had up until that point.
In 2006 – when I have PMS and can’t have the food I want, I cry and cry and cry
In 2005 – I love steak


Paddle Splash Yay!

I’ve been making it through my life list items at a pretty good pace. I think I need to revisit and edit the list. Some things are pretty vague and like, I don’t even know how to accomplish them. For example “Allow myself to be reckless” . That is not a tangible thing I can do to check off my list, so I’ll need to think of actual things I can do to accomplish my goals and make some amendments.

All this to say that another life-list item has been accomplished!

18. Go canoeing

The weather has been beautiful lately and the kids have really been enjoying the time we’ve spent at Meech Lake. I had been thinking about renting a canoe and taking them out and thanks to Elizabeth I learned that MEC has really well-priced rentals that include all the needed gear. (Honestly – so fabulous, I really recommend renting any gear you need from them). We picked up our canoe and gear the evening before our rental and had a fun time driving home with a canoe on our car.

The next morning, we packed up our supplies and headed for a short drive to the lake and to our first family paddling adventure! I had canoed only very little and this was just a nice introductory trip for me. The kids did not have paddles of their own, which was probably a good thing, but Bobby did say he wants to paddle with Shawn next time.

As we loaded the car, the kids pretended to drive.

As we loaded the car, the kids pretended to drive.

The next morning, we packed up our supplies and headed for a short drive to the lake and to our first family paddling adventure! I had canoed only very little and this was just a nice introductory trip for me. The kids did not have paddles of their own, which was probably a good thing, but Bobby did say he wants to paddle with Shawn next time.

about to head out on the lake

Bobby and Molly, just before getting into the canoe.

Bobby was almost immediately comfortable. It took Molly a while to get used to the motions of the boat and how people’s movements affected it. While we paddled we saw people at their cottages, excited dogs and a really huge snake sunning on someone’s dock. As we were rounding a point to go take our first land-break, we happened across two young bucks having a drink.

oh dear

This is as close as we got before they moved back under the cover of trees. As we moved away, they came back to the water.

We stopped the canoe at the mouth of an inlet, through which we would need to do a small portage. We took out our gear and set up for a picnic.

We met this frog-friend while setting up our picnic.

We met this frog-friend while setting up our picnic.

A little dog was playing in the water near to us and Molly decided that she was a Water Dog and ran along the dog's route, and chatted with the dog's people.

A little dog was playing in the water near to us and Molly decided that she was a Water Dog and ran along the dog’s route, and chatted with the dog’s people.

We got into the inlet and paddled to our usual spot at Meech. We unsuccessfully set up a fort to keep the spiders and ants off us, we swam in the pond, learned about pooping in the woods, and had a snuggle on our picnic blanket before heading back to our starting point.

By the time we were halfway back, the kids were so tired/comfortable in the canoe, that they just fell right asleep.

I got to take a paddle break while The Motor was still paddling.

I got to take a paddle break while The Motor was still paddling.

I love the combination of quiet peacefulness, beautiful nature, physical activity, and teamwork that this little day trip involved. We decided to stop at the Chelsea Pub for dinner and it was the perfect spots for all of us to sit outside and enjoy nice food and company, and for some of us to get our sillies out.

I think this has been the real big spark in my want to do more camping and do some canoe camping and oh my goodness this plus my bike hoarding habit will be A Problem.

On this day:

In 2013 – oh yes yes yes
In 2011 – I got a beautiful bike – our time together was too short
In 2007 – I need to remember to use chipotle in my cooking more often.
In 2006 – I met my uncle for the first time


Moving away from entitlement.

Yesterday, I took Bobby to the local toy store to choose something to buy with the money he received for his birthday. I showed him how he could determine what he could afford and gave him the usual guidelines of “nothing with weapons or about fighting”. He took his time and finally decided on a lego set with the caveat that any weapon pieces would be surrendered to me.

While we were at the store, he saw some more expensive lego sets that he was really excited about and was disappointed that he didn’t have enough money for them. We briefly talked about the idea that he could do some supplementary work around the house to earn some money to save for the lego set he wanted.

Once home, he spent a couple hours making the set and was feeling super accomplished about it.

Finished Lego

 

Later that day, while we were having dinner, Bobby again brought up the fact of his disappointment. We talked about doing work around the home and he said he’d like to do that. I asked him what type of work he would like to do. He said Laundry! We agreed that he’d do the household laundry of 4 separate occasions, each occasion comprising of 4 tasks:

  1. bringing the laundry to the basement
  2. washing all the clothes
  3. drying all the clothes
  4. folding all the clothes

Today we got started! Shawn made a great chart so Bobby can check things off during the process. Currently, all the laundry is in the basement. There’s one load in the wash and one load in the dryer and one load left to be washed.

Bobbys chart

Bobby is really interested in learning what to do step by step. He gets excited about finding a way to reach the wet clothes out of the bottom of the washer and timing the pour of laundry detergent. He’s almost memorized all the settings by his second load.

I’ll be happy if the laundry all gets sorted by user let alone totally folded.

On this day:

In 2009 – I’ve actually never had a fluffernutter
In 2007 – feminism! RAWR!!!!
In 2006 – “How to you get an intangible sense back into your life?”
In 2005 – Doing the math


Gratitude for PMS

The kitchen is messy – this is the worst.

My book got wet – this is the worst.

The kids are whiny – this is the worst.

blah blah blah

I feel like PMS makes me ultra sensitive to things I already feel and it’s actually a great opportunity to take action. Sometimes what it brings out are giant huge problems like this marriage just isn’t right for you and sometimes it brings out things like we need to have some talks about everyone’s role in home-cleanliness.

Yesterday it was Tiana, Molly and Bobby are not the same and you need to figure that shit out to show these kids how to happily deal with the world. I needed that, and had just the perfect reminder-chat about how to go about it and so I’m grateful to the people in my life who offer their opinions and insights and I’m grateful to my hormones for making me hyper-sensitive at just the right moment.

On this day:

In 2009 – feeling defeated by technology
In 2007 – my heart on my sleeve
In 2006 – expensive trees


Dream a little dream

I never dreamed about getting married, having kids, or owning a house and a car in the suburbs. Yet, somehow, that’s how things ended up for me.

On those hot summer nights, years before I ever experienced the luxury of falling asleep in an air-conditioned room, I imagined all kinds of adventures for myself. I would picture my hand plunging into the earth and digging. Maybe for a huge vegetable plot or maybe digging out ancient buildings to be studied. I saw myself traveling to all the big cities of the world. I imagined rowing across a still body of water and I felt the satisfaction of doing good things for my community. When I thought of a partner, my mind-wanderings consistently brought me to thoughts of someone artistic and full of passions. I wasn’t doing all these things with that partner, but I always envisioned falling asleep in their arms, full of the feeling of satisfaction from a productive and fulfilling life.

This is important for me to say, because I lived a life of not sharing my dreams. I’ve feared letting people in on what I want. I’ve been afraid of being met with ridicule, skepticism and judgement. This made it easier, when my life took a path through a series of tough turns (moving cities and losing my friend-base, the death of my father, living on my own while still in high-school etc.), for me to just switch off the path of what I wanted, and head down a path that seemed much more clear and defined.

I got married. I had two children. I lived away from community and connection. I tried to move my current path closer to my wanted path. It was such hard work. Often, getting the two paths closer together for some time would cause them to wildly diverge for far longer than the initial attempt held. It seemed pointless to even try, after a certain amount of effort had been wasted.

What seemed like a clear and defined path had slowly changed shape and topography. It got to be too different from the path I had wanted all those years ago, and still, under it all, yearned to walk down. Since it was so far from what my soul knew, it became impossible for me to navigate. I tried to look for the path I wanted and I thought it was just at the bottom of a gully off the side of the path. I’m still not sure if I jumped off, or if I was pushed. It’s probably a mixture of both.

The path I’m on now is not leading me to the exact situations I dreamed about, it leads me through the same experiences though. I have two small people that I’m raising and I have strong and clear ideas of the wonderful people I would like them to be. I’m constantly thinking about what I need to teach them so they can be caring to others and do good things for their communities. I now live a life where I can take on any adventure I choose and am supported and cared for and encouraged. I have community that feeds me knowledge and experience and creativity and skill. The more I take in, the more I can share with my children. So, not only do I get to do whatever good I can, as one person, but I can sew the seeds of good in my children and help them grow into greater forces of good than I.

I feel very satisfied in knowing that even though I strayed from the path I should have been on, I picked up a couple of good things on my detour, and they can benefit from these experiences I’m now having.

On this day:

In 2007 – lies
In 2006 – because because because because because


I’ve been up since five in the morning.

Both the kids were in my bed, scraping me with their toes, telling me they wanted crackers, asking me to go fetch them things.

I said I wouldn’t do any of it until my alarm went off at six thirty.

We tumbled around in a heap of snuggles, hugs, and pointy bits. We told each other the ‘I love you forever’ but from the book.

We got all kinds of love into our day before it was even meant to start. And there was no stress to get out the door in the morning. I need to remember this in the future. They won’t always be interrupting my sleep so I need to take that time as a gift instead of grouching my way through it.

On this day

In 2009 – going on a date with my father in law (p.s. I love going to this kind of gala stuff. Invite me!)
In 2007 – hahaha! I was such a fool! The next time I felt great was after giving birth.
In 2006 –
In 2005 – The story of how I met Brent and the first instance of my party lootbag tradition