Pippin at 4 months old - he's very helpful.
Today marks the five year anniversary of a rapid fire series of physically and emotionally traumatic events that sliced me deep. On the second anniversary, Tami asked me if I would always remember the date. Yes, I will. I’ll never forget it. What’s changed is how I remember.
Year three happened to coincide with Passover. As I celebrated it for the first time, it was with a sense of freedom and moving on.
The fourth year was interesting. April 18, 2012 I launched this website and blog. Cactus bit me the day before and I had an infection that was spiraling out of control. It took everything I had to get up that morning and launch the site. Within hours of posting my first blog I was hooked up to intravenous antibiotics. The irony was certainly not lost on me but the lemons did not win.
I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you. Thank you to my girlfriend who knew everything from the beginning and stood by me the whole time. Thank you to Mylene, who didn’t know until it was over yet stood by me anyway. Thank you to Tami who stood by me also because she didn’t need to know, she saw what it did to me. Thank you to everyone who reads this blog, supports me and my writing.
Five years – today is a celebration of my life and God’s unfailing love for me.
The traditional gift for five years is wood (lol – of course it is) So, I’ll stop at Starbucks and pick up some morning wood. Then, I’m getting my hair cut. My stylist, who’s also a friend, was accused of knowing what happened, when in reality, she did not. The accusation affected her life. The irony is that she still does not know, nor does she want to. She knows what happened to her. So, I’ll see her today. Will we talk about the past? Probably a little. Mostly though, we’ll talk about our present. We’ll have some caffeine, fire double entendre’s back and forth and laugh a lot.
We’ll celebrate because in the end integrity and love triumph over betrayal and fear.
I’ve had lots of firsts in my life. First day of school. First kiss. First job. First car. First pet. All kinds of firsts. Some were amazing. Some were traumatic. Some firsts you remember. Some you forget.
I’ve had some notable recent firsts. A first puppy - crate training, baths, puppy socialization, soulful puppy eyes. Nailing a board in place so said puppy can’t escape the yard (yes, I nailed wood J ).
Integrating a car into my life - emissions, a trip to the DMV for title change, registration and plates, spare keys to be made, cleaned up inside and out. Plates and stickers needed to be put on the car. Never in my life have I set a car up solo. The experience was annoying for some reasons, exhilarating for others. I had a mental orgasm walking out of the DMV. Putting plates on a car yourself feels good. It’ll feel even better the next time I do it J Oh yeah.
Allow me to digress - remember the scene in Twilight when Edward hands Bella a brand new car. He’s all alpha male – protective, wanting the take care of Bella, keep her safe, spoil her. I admit, there’s a girly part of me that craves that experience. On the other hand, what happens if she suddenly finds herself without Edward one day, totally dependent on herself. Have either one of them done her a favor, insulating her from the real world and enabling her to not be equipped to deal with it. Is it good for her or just very controlling? Who’s really defining Bella? Edward is. Hm.
Last week my son and I had a snow day. He really wanted a fire in the fireplace and asked me if I could make one. Normally this task would be done by his dad, who was at work. I thought, why not? Sure, I can make a fire. Simple task, I know. But I’ve never done it. So, I opened the flu, put a fire log in and we spent the next four hours adding wood, talking, playing with the dog and made a memory in addition to a fire. I can make fire. Neanderthal man has nothing on me J
Yesterday’s first was unclogging the bathroom sink. Much easier than I thought it would be. And yes, I kill my own spiders now too. Cinderella didn’t need prince charming. She needed self-esteem.
After five years of way too many firsts, some quiet scary, I’ve learned to embrace my firsts as an opportunity to grow myself as a person. With each first I build an inner confidence that I can handle the next first. My ability to take care of myself does define me - in a positive way.
Now. Here’s the really exciting part - I have a mental list of firsts that I’m looking forward to in the future. I’ll admit, sometimes I think about my list and I’m not so sure. Me in Europe? That’s so foreign to me J
The great thing about firsts. If you don’t get it right the first time, there’s usually a second chance. There’s always a first time to have a second chance. I love that!
Nothing like starting your morning with a little wood
. . . and sometimes it pelts them at you. So, my car is gone forever. In its place I have a check and a car I don’t wish to drive. I had something taken from me. And it’s not the what, it’s the how.
Sometimes stuff happens in life. Sometimes things get taken away, change, disappear and you wonder what happened. Until you stop to realize what can’t be taken from you. My soul cannot be taken from me. God owns that. My heart cannot be taken from me. My son owns that. My attitude cannot be stolen from me. I own that. No one can take my dreams, goals, hopes, aspirations, who my friends are, what I read, what I write, my creativity, sense of humor, ability to be kind to others. The list goes on and on. I have much to be grateful for.
One of the things I’m most grateful for is that my son has had a front row seat for everything I have been through the past two weeks. He came with me to get my stuff out of my old car. He’s seen my struggle to accept and adjust to what I’m currently driving. He’s seen the gamut of emotions I have experienced and he’s watched me take the lemons, reject the bitterness and make things sweet with attitude, priorities, determination and hope for our future.
We’ve talked about how things are going to happen in his life and it’s up to him to choose his attitude, how he’ll deal with difficult people, situations, challenges, struggles and things he may or may not have complete control over. I’d like to think I’ve set a good example. The right example. Only time will tell on that.
Imagine my surprise to find that, according to Nike and Tiger Woods, “Winning takes care of everything” Now, I realize this controversial ad is a marketing ploy meant to gain attention for Nike and it’s working. Nike wants us to get all worked up about it, talk about it and we are.
That being said, what does it say about Tiger Woods that he spoke those words? Do you think his kids, ex-wife and family would agree with his philosophy? How will he help his kids to cope with situations where they haven’t won. Because, let’s face it, when one person wins, someone, or many someone’s lose. And, define lose. Because, it’s possible to lose in what you were originally trying to win, yet achieve something altogether different that actually makes you a winner, sometimes in a way that matters so much more.
I realize that when you are in a professional golf tournament the idea is to win. I have nothing against winning. But to say it takes care of everything? Really? Does winning guarantee love? Health? Genuine happiness and fulfillment? The ability to look in the mirror every morning and like who you see? I don’t think so.
I encourage my son to work hard, put forth focused effort and do his best. With this encouragement he aces his spelling test almost every week. I’m also teaching him how to handle those weeks when he misses a word, or three. And I’m hoping that learning these lessons now will help him to win the most important game of all – real life in the real world.
Let me preface this by saying that I am not a religious person. I am a spiritual person. And yes, there is a difference. Also, we celebrated Passover Saturday so we had plenty of time to prepare and enjoy it.
Passover is my favorite holiday from a spiritual perspective. My son and I first started celebrating it three years ago. When I researched out the significance I discovered that once everything else was stripped away it came down to celebrating freedom. It's more than that, of course, but the core is the freedom the Jewish people received from the hand of God.
I challenge my son and myself to personally see us as having come out of Egypt in areas of our lives. Also to believe that God will deliver us out of any areas where we currently are enslaved. I know firsthand what it's like to be in bondage (not the fun kind).
Part of our Passover supper is four sips of grape juice, as we declare that God will release us, save us, liberate us and take us as His people. Then I read from Exodus. Here's the last verse I read, Exodus 14:14- The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. Wow. Right now it is taking much of what I have to be still. It's so hard. Yet, I trust Him.
And, we ate the bitter herbs, tasted the tears. I've tasted my own tears this past week. I've tasted the bitterness. I am watching and waiting for the time to go. His timing, not mine, because I want to cross and make it to the other side, safe from my foes. To the freedom I trust will be mine one day.
Next year in Jerusalem. Or, at least Hawaii maybe?