Calamity Jennye

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Life's a Beach

(This is the other post I thought I had already done. Thought it was posted on 7/23 and now we're back on track.)

I had this moment this past week...
One amazing moment that made every difficult moment in life: every heartbreak, every painful lesson learned, every day of trying to make all the right decisions and be the perfect wife/mother. One moment that made all of that worth it.
One amazing moment that made every triumph: every compliment about my well-behaved child, every instance where true love seemed real and tangible, every success I ever won at work through blood, sweat and tears. One moment that made all of that pale in comparison.

See, I don't have a ton of memories of my mom. I have a few very vivid, very dear memories. And one of those is from the years when we spent a lot of time in California during her illness. I will never forget one day at the beach and the image of holding hands with my mom while she taught me how to jump the waves. How to wait for just the right moment, you wait for the crest to be nearly at your toes, then you put your all into it, to make sure you soar over all the white and land safely back in the calm. (boy as I type that it seems like there's some life lessons in there) But life lessons aside, every time I'm at the beach, every time I get to dip my toes in the amazing surf that makes my heart soar, I have to jump.

I don't have to time my jumps so perfectly anymore, there's a big difference between how far your muscles can take you at 6 versus 36. I don't have to concentrate all my power into making it over the crest of the tiny waves. But the thrill is still there. The joy at being part of nature and overcoming it all at the same time.

And never has that joy been so visceral as this past week when I spent time at (nearly) the same beach, 30 years later, jumping waves with my very own daughter. This has undoubtedly been one of the hardest months of my life. But standing there in the surf, teaching my daughter the tricks and outsmarting the waves together. My heart was full. Never before (and I think possibly never again) have I felt so complete. My life came full circle that day in the San Diego surf.

We held hands, we planned, we closed our eyes, we jumped together, we laughed, we conquered! And in that moment I knew, with all my heart and soul that it is just the beginning. Like the waves, that soon enough knocked us over and tossed us about, life together will have it's ups and downs. But in that moment I knew for sure that together we can conquer anything. Together we will conquer it all!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Nobody Likes a Fixer

(thought I'd posted this on 7/11, but just realized I screwed up...)

What a week, what a month, what a decade.
I'm not even sure where to begin.
We were living in a lovely spot, with raised beds, and a dog, and a family.
It seemed like all of life was ahead of us.
As if anything could be possible...
If only I could see it through this haze, if I could just get up off the couch: take the dog for a nice long walk, plant something in those lovely beds, play a family game with my daughter.
It took tragedy (again) to realize how bad it all was.

But here we are, the two of us stronger, wiser, without our poor Francis who has raced off to his happy running place in the sky. Heaven no longer has any safety for the squirrels!
BUT we are stronger and wiser.
Stronger because I'm learning to accept help, advice, and comfort.
Wiser because my learning curve is drastically improving. I'm able to see the patterns (at least some of them) that keep me from being...well being the magnificent being of love that I know I can be!

Putting Francis down was hard, I had to face what felt like the consummation of all the failure in my life. In order to move forward:
To give him those drowsy making pills: I had to realize it was never actually my job to fix these things.
As I placed the muzzle: I admitted I chose things that no one could fix, people that didn't believe they needed "fixing".
As I helped the vet give him the shot of anisthetic that would render the muzzle useless: I found the courage to help myself, by realizing I need to start with myself, at the very least figuring out what I think needs fixing about me,
that drives me to "fix" everyone else
And as I stood there watching him breathe his last: I had to face the fact that nobody likes a fixer.

So I think I'll come back for a while. Let you all help me sift through it all, while I sort out the next step.
Care to join me?

Rest in Peace Francy Pantsy, We love you!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I think I might be back, Maybe...

Originally published in The Plain Dealer on Sunday, May 28, 2006,written by Regina Brett
To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me.
It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here's an update:
1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.
16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.
17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.
38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
45. The best is yet to come.
46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
48. If you don't ask, you don't get.
49. Yield.
50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.