The Motherless Child

I had no mothering of an affectionate nature. Oh, I had Buster Brown shoes, starched crinolines, squeaky clean hair drawn back in taut braids. I had all that a mother could provide so long as it didn’t include loving affection. I have always regarded with wonder women who genuinely love their children, to the effect of their wanting to be with them: to wanting to hold them, hug them, comfort them, to look upon them adoringly & with genuine warmth. This was not my experience. I did not learn it from anyone, let alone from my Mother.

Mom was a physical person. She was tireless in pursuit of a better life for her children. She managed to send us to Catholic school on a dire salary, paying for uniforms, white blouses with stiff collars & cuffs, regulation socks, ill-fitting slips.

She put incredibly good food on our table, homemade, hand-made pasta of all sorts, blended sauce of such aroma as to cause visitors to grow dizzy with hunger. She pushed upon us good flesh, thick porkchops, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches served on Italian rolls with the breading pulled out of them to fit more steak, the best meatballs in New Jersey. She served vegetables perfectly prepared (which I would seldom eat, just because).

My mother never drove me to dancing class or judo; these were not readily available options in our small summer town which came alive only in that season. But it was always the beach & therein my refuge, my penchant for sand & big skies with mysterious clouds. It seemed she was forever at work. But it was just that she chose to labor in the hours we were home as less complicated shifts to do nursing (which she came to late in life after a long career as the only cook & owner of an Italian restaurant on the Boardwalk.) When my brother & I were home, she was at work. Simple. From an early age, babysitting fell upon him. When he found friends to hang out with, I cared for myself, rolling around the house like a loose marble. I don’t remember raiding the kitchen for snacks, there were never potato chips, but probably cookies of some kind, and always fruit, boring, boring fruit, which I still choose last.

She raised two daughters ahead of us, sixteen & ten years ahead respectively. She was, well, the best word I can use to describe her … stern. She brooked no backtalk, no crying, no whining. Her feet were unendingly sore; her response to any cough or sneeze was an enema. Her nursing uniforms were severe, raspy, over the knee. Her white shoes were always freshly polished using a brown bottle with a narrow neck, from which she drew a wire with a furry white ball on its end. Her smiles were tired. Dinner was always in the refrigerator for Joe to warm up for me. We were otherwise not permitted in the kitchen during prep time, unless it was to roll the handle of the bread crumb grinder, the same one used to crumble the hard Locatelli cheese she favored above all else. Or to clean the dishes. I escaped these chores as much as I could, incurring resentment & glares from put-upon brother Joe.

Years later, I was told by a healing woman working on me that my mother worked too much. I said, “How do you know that?” She, (Mormon mother of ten), replied darkly, “There are many ways to find excuses not to be with your children.” I just smiled. I knew who Mom had been by that time.

I cannot remember holding Mom’s hand except when we went into the city to buy school uniforms. I cannot remember ever getting my choice of clothing or shoes or anything in my exact size as she relied on growth to happen & always “left room.” When I stayed a shrimp, it just meant all my clothing hung off me as though I was dressed from a third world closet – a comparison I’m sure she is bristling at in her grave as I type.

I was in my 50’s when my husband took my face gently in his hands & kissed my forehead. I burst into uncontrollable tears.

But the reality is, Mom DIDN’T avoid us, she accepted us with all the responsibility she could wrap us in. She saw to the everything of our lives without any mush/gush of overt loving. I think she just didn’t have the energy for love. We lacked for nothing, got hollered at a great lot, were expected to make First Honors every report card cycle. We were expected to never do wrong, to sing in the choir, to serve on the altar, to not bring home friends as they made more work for her.

I grew into who I am, wary of relationships, a loner with no real abilities except reading, no talent except writing, (which she despised – I often say her only words to me, ever, were “Go outside! You live at the beach! Just GO!”) I never remember being tickled on the belly. But I was never slapped either, or smacked, or punished except by voice & disapproval. But these can be crushing in their own ways.

Once I discussed my lack of understanding how to be a mother because of my own experiences with my daughter & she, far wiser than I with her Masters in Special Ed (itself a telling education), said, “You hit the nail on the head, Mom!” I hardly remember opening my arms to her during our time together before she elected to live with her father instead. I do remember frequently saying, “Will you just go outside!?”

A father…my father disgraced himself in Mom’s eyes with another woman. We saw Daddy once a year when he came to paint the house. He had five more children after his four with Mom. There was neither time nor funding for us, his last two with her. I understand that now.

Without this upbringing, I would not be the person I am. I don’t regret a bit of it, all these years later. I just comprehend it better. There was never a moment when either of them did not do what they perceived to be their very best for us.

In a reading once, I asked what the karmic connection with my mother & my family was. I was told there was none, that we had elected to incarnate together as a family to resolve more of concepts than karma. Concepts like patience, tolerance and the like. I could not have had a better environment in which to spend my childhood than the five-mile island where I biked & walked & goggled at the Sisters of St. Joseph who enacted my discipline & taught me discretion.

I have inherited an enlarged heart from Mother. But when the physician looked to induce fear in me by telling me this, I only said, “More room to love.” This, I know, I learned from Mom.

So, I’d say in the farther reaches of time where I now dwell, close to the age where my mother made her Crossover, alone & asleep in her own bed at the beach while I dwelled inland. I think about mortality, but don’t believe in it for me, not really. (This is a common belief, you know. Few really plan for their own demise. Mother did, though.)

Were I to die in my bed tonight, I would not be disaffected of her. I would expect her to be waiting under the “Exit” sign with open arms, saying, “It was all a dream, Carol. Let’s wake up together.”

You’ll have to pardon any errors in this post, my eyes are filled with tears.

 

Christmas 2017

No decorated tree, no wreaths, no gifts to share (no money to purchase any b/c half the house taxes came due in November). My simple string of color lights are already off the windows in preparation to the move to another town. No snow, no Santa hats, a red turtleneck in deference to the season, but no shower today since the electrical outlet in the bathroom doesn’t work & I simply don’t feel like braving the icebox room for other than quick bathroom functions.

Our Christmas menu is turkey tenders from Schwan’s; we hope for gravy in the package. Also a bag of their mashed potatoes. No hot rolls or stuffing. But we do have a cheesecake defrosting!

This adobe house has reached its heat peak today – low 50’s with electric heaters valiantly chugging in three of the huge rooms. Its heater has not worked for two years. I wear a hoodie as I prepare pizza slices for lunch – which I don’t want, but nothing is defrosted & not much will defrost in the cold. I have taken out some hamburger for dinner later…will have to shave the brick to try & cook it. By then the heater will have rendered cooking tenable.

My roommate sits in her room watching musicals on Turner TV. The cat is the only spirit here who’s independent of the cold, going in & out on his own.  I hold the computer in my lap for its heat value & watch videos, or read books, or maybe will rent an Amazon movie later. (Have my eye on “Priceless,” a hero story.) I watch the alternative blogs, all alight with Trump’s Executive Order & I offer gratitude each time I see another aspect of the story. The Khazarian mob is deadlocked. They’ve arrived in their corner & will not be permitted an exit. Will forgiveness follow? Will we advance enough along the Holy Way to find how to do this, after all the whack-a-mole hammering we’ve received? Centuries of abusive taxes, explosive wars, damage to humanity – women & children destroyed, men broken…take this as far as you dare.

My room is a cardboard paradise. My possessions reboxed & stacked, awaiting the strength of my spine to move into a borrowed vehicle for transport; the bank accounts emptied into pockets of a new landlord & Visa. The comfy, lighted massage studio is empty except for one chair, the dragonfly curtain replaced with dark brown, no light now, no warmth, no hot towels or soft music. The perfect meditation space if you seek focus in darkness & tolerate cold well.

If I have made this sound sad or anything other than practical (a what-it-is scenario), this is your emotion offsetting the situation here. There is a wondrous, tangible gift to me on the eve of the newest of years. My Christmases have for a decade been sere as old leaves. A student sent me a scarf last week, a new hanging for my new space. I missed the Christmas decoration exchange in town and the hen party Chinese Exchange…tho our fiestas (one commercial, one for our residents) were lovely. I read a poem at the latter & helped to hand out maps & sell posters at the former. I am complete with the town.

I invest no sentiment in holidays. To me, they are liquidly transparent days because love doesn’t need a special day or time to be shown. Seeing them as fixed calendar dates only, allows the celebration of their truth to express in my life all the time. My morning walks are filled with gratitudes spoken aloud, my evening climbing-under-the-covers times are filled with prayers of thanks that the day has passed & another awaits, a tomorrow to express lovingkindness once again. In between, I watch the sunlight rediscover the world & the moonlight bestow its blessings in its unceasing ritual, full to none, each month.

This lack of sentiment has freed me from “schmaltz” & heretic empathy. It delights me instead to find miracle & blessing in every stalk of grass, every sighting of a deer in a yard, every wave rising from the ocean to meet my eyes in joyous, frivolous bubbling.

I believe in a wordy kind of love, one which expresses along my right arm, the one skilled in writing. I believe I, among all in the world, am blessed with this altered view & the ability to experience it in such a way that it is shared with you now.

My life is at another pivot point. My meridians stretch from here to wherever I may extend them outward. My hopes are realized in the new-future Politik which will emblazon the Light on Earth so symbolically reborn. I am freed from this dark, cold, sad place. I did all I could to help change up its energy, but six months later, there is no appreciable change of manner or idea. Even with cleaning, this house is unclean. I can straighten every surface, but this adds no comfort & no heat. I no longer serve here as it is of no worth.

Instead, I have been gifted with a clean, bright, sparkle of a home. I have an upstairs/downstairs, layers & levels to live upon. I have furniture coming next Friday – one chair to sit upon, one twin bed, a small table with two chairs, a desk where I can write, write, write. Another town where my talents may manifest in helping as a volunteer, in enjoying the company of familiar faces, in spending my time instead of owing it out in unfulfilled commitment.

A new place, uninhabited for a year, so cleansed of energy. I can invest mine. I can re-set my life to a new compass point. I can choose & select what surrounds me. I can make another statement about my life, rebirth my focus & consciousness.

I’m just in time for the new world to bubble up from the ancient hot springs below the crust.

A new world for me!

The best present of all!!

 

Receptacles

Note to Self:

So, I’m unsurprised to be up & writing at 2 a.m.

I spent a lot of money today. The notch in my credit card required me to blow on it so it won’t melt my wallet down.

Worth every penny! I will seek to drop all anxiety around my expenditures. Living in a stretched zone of money has consumed my energy far too long in my life. I’m simply not ready for it to take me over again.

For as much as I have had abundance, I presume upon its continuance. I am proof to Youniverse – perhaps the exception proving the rule…which reverses the rule at once.

I’ve pulled off similar stunts successfully. No stopping now,

For all my concern about being in flow, I am So. It isn’t me running dry, it is a country at large making huge suction sounds. May these be only the swamp running dry! If one cannot see just how manipulated we have been over the short generations of today, one must be wearing a patch over one eye & holding a hand up over the other.

In a generous society such as ours, where people give freely until their fear locks that flow, sadness strolls about finding hearts to roost within. This is, most emphatically, not my fate. I sit assured I am beloved by Source, spinning words like suns spin planets. Should I doubt abundance, I simply look at the varietyof colors found in the hairs on my chin.

I am in this existence, in a time of potential unmatched other than by the original primordial soup (the good swamp) from which all life sprang.

My generation has seen tech spring from tiny transistor radios & watches that miraculously show time, date, & how fast our hearts beat…to driverless cars & the approaching, powerful resource of Replicators. How can I deny abundance?

In the moment, I must redefine it for myself by asserting it is what I have acquired. I am not collecting dollar bills in second beggar position on Date Street by the stores. I’m definitely not starving in a time when so many actually are.

I may wriggle & squirm like a kid enforced in school, but it is always under the hand of knowing better to sit still, said Hand resting upon my crown to direct me to see only faith. I set guards of love & bumpers of laughter at the insanity of starving in a world where apple trees grow hundreds in a season & rain down to be gathered by squirrels.

It is that I have joined an army stocked with weapons of Mass Creation, shooting out enjoyment, creativity, delight, wealth & blessing.

Then I rise in the wee hours to detail the love in my life, the easy joys of polishing another’s hand-crafted vase. I have a chair in which to park my days, several pens to perform word surgeries, many ideas to perfect in description. I have a bed & a means to stay clean in body, I eat well, I stay strong in the physical, re-move myself from toxic situations & rediscover the beauty of life in the desert. I help me. I help others accomplish their goals. I learn, but teach just a bit more than that. I offer myself as a translator of skills to make the lives of others more productive, more accomplishing.

I Am that I Am, but I am that others are, as well.

From the Other Side:

We are all so excited for you & we wake  you to 2 a.m. alleluia ’cause 2 a.m. is a great time to grab your full attention, Little Sister, Big Master! We just had to say how much we love you & where & how you “do” your living. When one well runs dry, whether it’s the oligarchs or the faithless who have defiled it, we help you in inclination & desire to simply move to the next watering hole.

We, too, giggle that you think you are lost at sea in the driest of deserts, or cold in the land where even the water bubbles in fantastical heat just below the surface crust.

We laugh as you puzzle payments – not in cruelty that you are nervy about where it will manifest from, but in a head-shake at your silliness to doubt!

We guffaw with you as you lift your white wings to check the bottom-most feathers are still there.

We flock with you like starlings at dawn & sunset, in a dance of beauty, raucous soundings & waves across the sky. We wheel & clip & sing in your joy of independence & unfettered movement.

We will never let you fall, for we love you beyond gravity’s attempts to hold you down, far past what you think may be your “if not sold by” date, way past any human measure!

Now get this move on, girl. We’re out of the heavy lifting part, leaving that to you. But we’ve got the rest & so much more!

Love,

Us

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Put Your Glasses Down!

Moving Day approaches. Let’s see now, I’ve moved from Nashville to Truth or Consequences (T or C), to Hillsboro, to Ruidoso, to Ocean City, to Berlin, to Fenwick Island, to Hillsboro, all since 2010, & am now returning to T or C. That’s a LOT of boxes to tape.

I’ve given away stuff I’m now re-buying. I’ve invested, divested, shared, thrifted, lost, found…countless items. I have no idea why we need so much stuff, and, believe me, I have much less stuff than most people I know.

Some basic Laws of Moving I have learned:

  • always buy the heavier duty tape – this is not a time to go for cheaper pricing
  • don’t run out of tape – more than you need is just enough
  • note where you put down your glasses every time you take them off
  • ditto on the car keys
  • keep track of friends, b/c they’re generally going out of town on move day
  • always use good body mechanics
  • don’t attempt to move without a strong back
  • tape EVERYTHING you possibly can
  • when pulling boxes out of the trash, make sure they  have bottoms
  • keep in mind Newton’s second principle: two items cannot occupy the same space at the same time
  • this is a good time to consider an investment in robot tech

I’m sure there are a bunch more I could come up with, maybe something relating to gravity, inertia, stress factors concerning cardboard, how much you really want/need an item, and more. But I’m pretty certain you’ve learned them all through moving yourself. And if you’re one of those unusual folk who’ve stayed put for anything over twenty years, I have only a large well of empathy to tap on your behalf should this time ever come to your door.

Desperation sharpens the memory, but only in the desperate individual. My landlord said call him the day before to confirm the move; my hired helper said call him the day before to confirm the time to be here which I’ve just called & told him; the fella I’m buying the replacement (of the identical computer desk I gave away three years ago) said call him pre-move to remind him I’m coming to pick it up. Do men not come equipped with memories?

Reminds me of the story about the husband who, noticing he can’t sign on, calls out to his wife in the kitchen, “Honey, did you change the password?” To which she replies in her sweetest voice, “Yes, I did! It’s our anniversary date.”

My new place is a duplex, with a second floor & two bedrooms. It’s a real WOW after living with roommates, in motel rooms, in efficiencies – all of which have sprung furniture, with at least one chair where the seat can sink into the floor, with questionable mattresses & extra-cold kitchens. Where I am now, the drier is in the garage, a chill walk from the back swinging doors (which only open if you go through them with approximately the force of a battering ram in the hands of an invading, woad-painted army.) It is always interesting to see how other people live. But for at least a year of the lease, I can live with a view of the Caballo Mountains, topped by Turtleback, with a washer/dryer off the kitchen, a bath and a half plus a small graveled yard for outdoors living when the weather brings surcease instead of subzero.

I guess it just isn’t my gift in later life to stay in one place for long. I guess I’m still searching for the spot where I can stay for twenty years, after which they can just open a hole under the living room floor & bury me. No need for ceremony. Matter of fact, this new place was built atop a lube shop, so there’s already a nice big hole under there, tho the hydraulic lift is most likely gone. But that’s okay. Far more comfy than what I’m always telling people – “just toss me down the nearest elevator shaft.”

Wish me strength & fortitude, strong hands & good eyes. While you’re at it, wish me the ability to hammer in a straight nail as most of my pictures hang at a slight angle, like an earth tremor crossed under the floor before dawn. Wish me up a lot of energy over the next week. But I usually have the place together within 48 hours because after living in a roomful of boxes with a Libra’s keen sense for disorder as pain, it will be total pleasure to have my few things arrayed just how I want them.

With all the homelessness out there (I tell people to get to the Walmart they just make a left after the second panhandler up the road.) No disrespect here, just practical directions, really. (Once, passing through Nashville, I gave a woman in a wheelchair a bill as she sat on the corner in a steady rain. She peered into my car & asked sympathetically if I was living in it.)

One thing more: I would move forever if it meant more stories like these. Life isn’t static, but rotting out is exactly that. Each place gives me gifts of light, love, laughter, the chance to meet new people & hug old friends.

Enough sitting now. The boxes are starting to whisper again…

 

Love Lessons / Life Lessons

My roommate pursued getting a dog against my notions that she is incapable of caring for one. (She barely walks, loses her balance at times & just had cataract surgery on both eyes.) She had a notion that a dog would sit quietly by her chair, raising his head for an occasional pat. She had always put her dogs in the backyard, so he would dwell out there 70% of the time in a peace passing understanding, communing, perhaps with the black walnut, or passing clouds. She pictured being greeted upon coming home, gratitude with being fed & all good things as such.

I pictured walks, walks, more walks, feedings, a whipping tail, enthusiasm, quick stops right in front of walking legs & all those things. Guess whose picture took precedence for real?

“Buddy” walked into our lives after being abandoned somewhere in the desert about 26 miles away. He found his way to a ranch house, ignored the cow dogs, collapsing in their yard with bloody pads, ribs defined by starvation, emaciated & dusty. Perhaps abandoned, perhaps lost, perhaps left behind or jounced out of a truck bed – we will never really know. He had to have the strongest will to live, crossing who knows how many miles of unforgiving desert scrub. He’s a Beagle/Basset mix (we guess). The ranchers cleaned him up, fed him & set about finding him a home. The grapevine hummed & the call came here.

I said, “No, I’m not taking care of him, he’s your dog.” I learned my lesson well with my last dog, who grew from the world’s cutest puppy to a 70-pound behemoth at seven months. My then-landlords looked unhappily at his steady “growth spurt” & started talking about other properties available for rent. The clincher was that he did not care to bond with me, rather holding me in a gentle contempt as he squatted all over the house, gazing serenely at the pictures hung on the wall. Although he retained his beauty, people recoiled & other dogs slavered for a chance to demolish him – even teacup chihuahuas. I know I’m no longer a dog person & only one dog walked away with my heart back in the 70’s.

Buddy made his entry, suspicious of doors, balking at the leash, peeing with impunity wherever he stopped, & regularly left “Lincoln Logs” on her dark rugs. Abandonment (such as going to the bathroom) elicited howls of dismay & wild circles upon reunion, less than minutes later. He ate all the cat kibble he could find, drank the cat’s milk & generally poked the cat mercilessly at every opportunity with invitations to “just come play!?”

I walked him 4-5 times daily, foregoing my own health marches to drag & be dragged about town. He gazed longingly at all the mule deer, growled at the horses, attempted conversation with every dog in town whether on a leash or behind a fence & fell desperately in love with every human, close up or far away. He investigated every fourth rock, regularly scarfed up natural offerings of descriptions I can’t even attempt without a quiet revolt in my stomach. However, patience & the ability to make quick stops has resulted in his pottying outside about 75% of the time. He behaves on the lead until he doesn’t. He has turned into a good, dear, sweet, loving pet with a nocturnal bladder habit satisfied by poking his nose in my ear & banging his head on mine until I get up to walk him in the utter darkness between our town’s four streetlights.

Buddy leaves for his new (forever?) home on Saturday with a gent from down the street who drives a vintage Mercedes & plans to take him back & forth to Las Cruces each week. This gent’s last dog died in a car wreck, so I am not really reassured. He already has two large yard dogs adept at snarling while chewing cyclone fencing. But he is wealthy & can get Buddy fixed & cared for well. He really seems to have affection for our adorable little unmannered guy. He plans to hire an obedience trainer to iron out the tendency to stutter-step. Buddy won’t need much encouragement. He has the heart of a really good dog & wants nothing more than to have his head held at every opportunity.

Last night, we had our 1:11 jaunt, me in pj’s, an extra-large man’s baseball jacket, pink bedroom slippers, sans flashlight once again. He halted to listen for the stomping mule deer in our neighbor’s dark yard. I looked up at the black & diamond sky to see not one, but FIVE meteors flash by, like matches struck on the vault of Heaven. Five wishes granted for ten days of both frustration & the gentlest of love between us. This guy bonded to me.

I’m not sure who got the better of the relationship. I had a warm body-length pillow for those nights. He got peanut butter & bacon treats, regular meals, as much good water as he could hold & a workable familiarity with the entire town in four directions. Well, five, if you count the stuff he dug up to eat.

We all learned a lesson about age & finances & goal realities. Cussing morphed to cuddling, we have no more paper towels in the house…& Buddy doesn’t even know the change arriving on Saturday. May his life become one of close & in-kind warmth, relationship, joy, love, treats & all the walks his short legs & big black nose can handle.

Thank you, Buddy! Your adventure renews. May all your scents be rich & deep, all your people only interested in all the love you offer returned & may all your wishes also come true. You & I are both teachers, the only difference is the lessons learned.

 

Coming Out of Your Shell

Hullo, sending you love. I’ve made some notes about your desire for changing up your life & feeling it may never happen…
I know so well that the longest  time is before the departure when our dreams have changed & on the inside we have moved almost too far away to come back, to ever even exist in this now, the one without the changes so much of us has already made. We are our new selves in old clothing which no longer fits & in which we canNOT get comfortable no matter how we pull, tug, pin, zip.
But it happens that we often do not listen to what is going on until the time for it to happen is past due & then the realization comes in that we should have been gone earlier, that we have waited what seems to long for change & it now will not come.
It is not just you. The whole world has been tapped on the shoulder, and shrugged it off over & over again. Things got worse. MORE tapping, this time on our head; we shake it off. (Oh, hearing things again) then the tapping comes upon our hearts & this time we think, no! not my heart, OMG I heard this before – it was on my shoulder, it was on my head, is it too faint now to hear when  it is on my heart?
There’s a reason every time an angel appears to a human the first words said are, “Fear not!” For all change is fear to the human, our safety lies in sameness. Until it doesn’t, until we realize we needed to be safe elsewhere to be happily so. Then we divorce, then we have a child, then we move to another neighborhood, start school, take a new job. the idea is to pay close attention to hearing always in our heart first. the words are always “fear not” and the rest of that is “I am with you, always.”
Through every change, in every new idea, with every gift given & received, we live again, We gain with the new, the experience, the emotion around it, the idea of it…till suddenly nothing fits & all must be relied upon as gifts to the spirit/gifts of the spirit.
We live again through this movement TOWARD which is always movement AWAY at the same time. It is how the balance is maintained. We are never given one that we are given so many more & the choices are profuse. I seek always the place where I can hear my heart beat, for it is here my truth resides. The truest tapping of all – that which becomes a drumbeat the heart, head & feet cannot resist until we march on into the newest of dawns.
It is your spirit calling you out of your life, telling you to re-new your life, dust off the wings, shake off the shoes, we place ourselves where the powers of love can find us, take us up into heaven, escort our walking on water, comb out our wings, move us, move us, move us.
So consider these days the winding of the clocks which will spring you forward into exactly where & when you being asked to SHOW UP as your best self. Allow these moments to pass in grace & love & know you are moving even tho all is still. Listen to that heart of yours beating, feel the tapping on your soul, be ready. For it shall change in the twinkling of an eye & the now will be a faint echo of “then” soon enough.