I didn’t enjoy myself…

The evening began easily. We admired their lovely second floor apartment with distressed wood floors, high ceilings, an exposed brick wall and an original stain glass window. We all agreed it was good to finally get together. Being new to the area, we asked how they liked Pittsburgh.

Conversation moved to their upcoming trip to Paris. We shared with them our favorite Parisian museums, parks, and markets. We agreed the best way to experience Paris is to start walking and see where you end up.

As we exhausted this topic quiet moments began to fill the space between us. I knew what was happening in the silence, an unspoken choice was being decided. What was the evening going to be? We could deepen our interest in one another, ask probing questions and offer self revealing answers, or we could talk about, what we think about, what we know about, topics of interest?

I always lobby for the former. Being interested in others is my forte. I am good at it. I know the questions to ask that invite others to share. I am interested in what makes people tick, what we have in common and if this a possible on-going relationship to nurture.

The collective opted for the latter.

So we supped on generalities of economics, politics, and current events. These are not my areas of interest or expertise. I don’t understand economics, although I am a wiz with our family finances. I have strong opinions about politics, but they are not steeped in the facts because I can never figure out what is the truth. Current events are, I suppose, the best of the three, but I still found myself seasoning my contributions with, tell me more about you and I will tell more about me. I asked them if they had siblings? I know it had nothing to do with Russian history, but I was curious.

By the beginning of dessert I began to feel tired. I tried to stay with the conversation du jour, but was struggling. I felt self-conscious, withholding comments for fear I wouldn’t sound smart. I got overly interested in how efficiently the husband sliced the almonds to sprinkle on dessert. After asking him every possible question relatable to precision almond slicing, I fell silent.

I couldn’t get my brain and my mouth to cooperate. My verbal contributions seemed to be swimming in the shadows but refused to be pulled to the surface. I hoped this fugue was menopausal and not early dementia. I began to stare at the seat cushion on the chair next to me.

I wasn’t enjoying myself.

On the ride home I was bothered. What had happened to me?

I realized I had tried to fit-in, versus show-up. I had withheld my vitality, my interests and my emotional intelligence to dine on the conceptual knowledge that was being served.

What if I hadn’t? What if I had offered-up my, albeit different, relational angle into the evening? What if I had seasoned the conversation with relational tidbits?

I became astutely aware that it was me, not them, I wasn’t enjoying.

I suppressed myself and when I do this, I don’t enjoy me. Go figure…

I don’t want to do that anymore.
waxseal2

 

 

 

I just went for salad and got a life lesson….

On my way to work I stopped at the grocery store, heading directly to the salad bar, my habituated lunch choice. Once there, I noticed a woman standing a few feet from the earth-friendly paper boxes I needed. It looked as though she was simply waiting for her friend, who was a few feet from her at the bread counter.

I said, “Excuse me,” to her, paused momentarily, and then stepped between her and the much needed salad box. As I pulled the top box from the stack, she said, “Well, pardon me.” Accent on the WELL.

I felt the agitation in her voice. She was telling me I had rudely moved into her space. I held my breath and felt my own irritation with her as I recognized this as a choice point. How do I choose to respond? Do I apologize for my perceived affront or do I assert my intention? I took a moment.

I often base my decision, in these awkward moments, on my mood at the time. I am not proud of this method of determining my next move. I know I should base it on the highest good for all man and woman-kind. I should engage with her and explain myself. I should be nice. I should be relational. I should. I should.

Instead of what I should have done, I went with my tired, pissy and in-a-hurry mood. I responded with equal exasperation. I spoke over my shoulder to her, “I said excuse me.” Accent on the SAID.

She responded,”Well, I didn’t hear you.” Accent on the WELL, I DIDN’T HEAR YOU.

By this time I was half way down the first side of the salad bar. I had my spring mix, grapeimages tomatoes, peas and was scooping-up some chick peas, answering her in my head, “Well, is it my job to make sure you hear me? How am I supposed to know you didn’t? Why didn’t you just move when you saw me headed for the salad boxes?”

I was working myself into a fit. How dare she!!!

Another choice point. Do I say any of this to her? Do I share my grumpy disposition further? Or do I save it for later when I need to I argue with Verizon about this months’ bill? I wasn’t sure I wanted to unload on a random woman at the salad bar.

As I was contemplating my next move and heaping coals on my defense, her friend came quietly up beside me. “Please let me apologize for my friends behavior,” she said, “she has dementia and this is not a good day for her.”

I was mortified with myself.

I looked this woman in the eye and told her it was really okay, I understood and thanked her for telling me.

I was ashamed. I was also extremely grateful I kept my indignation to myself; fully aware that my silence was not due to my niceness but to my indecisiveness.

I finished making my salad. Quietly. Humbly. I began to judge myself, telling myself what an awful person I am for being mean to a woman with dementia. Why couldn’t I just be nice? What was the big deal? So she said something snarky, couldn’t I have just risen above it, been my higher self?

As I moved toward the 10-items-or-less check out line, I stopped at the baked goods to bag a chocolate chip, pecan cookie, not that I deserved dessert after my bad behavior, and found myself standing next to the same two women. I overheard their loving interaction with each other. I was touched. I noticed how the woman that that approached me took care of her friend. They, too, were after something sweet.

In that moment of feeding our mutual sweet tooth’s, I felt our mutual humanness and fragility. I recognized how our humanity is sometimes the good news and other times the bad news.

I realized I can, or will, be my highest self…unless I am not. But, it is my job to take responsibility for both. Most of us are really trying doing our best. Everyday. Sometimes our best is lovely. Sometimes our best is not so great.

If I keep that in mind, I will be gentler with your humanness…as well as my own.

Humbly Yours,

waxseal2

 

 

 

(pretty much)

I never thought to ask my mother to go away together for a weekend, and, likewise, my mom never thought to ask me. Perhaps we just didn’t want to…

So when Jena called, shaken from a dream that I had died, we decided we needed to spend some time together. We had both been suffering from the changes caused by the  empty nest created when she left home this past December. Jena faces flying solo (pretty much.) I face watching her solo voyage, saying very little (pretty much) and praying a lot.

UnknownSo with some internet searching we decided on Rocky Gap State Park, Resort and Spa in Maryland. It turned out to be much more State Park and much less Resort and Spa, but at least we were together.

We checked out the pool and hot tub. They were inviting, except for the hoards of screaming, splashing kids. I remembered the chlorine-soaked-hotel-pool-evenings of Jena and Landon’s youth. The intention was to water log them so they would go to sleep early and easily. Unfortunately it was usually their dad and I that fell asleep. As I was strolling down nostalgia lane, Jena remarked that she was not interested in swimming with all those noisy kids. I didn’t blame her. Who really does? I joked with her that she sounded old.

We ate dinner in the resort dining room that over looked a sparkling lake surrounded by hills. The meal was mediocre, ending with Jena finding a fly in her almost all eaten salad. The waitress was dutifully concerned, offering a new salad, which Jena declined due to her slight nausea. The waitress, I think in an attempt to comfort us, told the story of another customer who had ordered a caesar salad and was upset to find a fish (anchovy) in her salad. We didn’t bother to explain the difference.

The dinner bread, however, was delicious. Warm. Crusty. Hearty. We ate it all and asked for more. I wrapped the left over bread in a napkin to take back to the room. I knew stuffing bread in my purse was a sign of age. I did it anyway.

We also learned that the annual polar bear plunge to raise money for special needs kids was scheduled the next morning. Jena hopped on board, always ready for the next adventure. She tried to sell me on the idea, saying, “Let’s do it together Mom, you know a Mother-Daughter thing.”  Usually I cannot resist this kind of not-so-subtle manipulation, except when it comes to voluntarily submerging myself in a lake that was frozen-over two days ago. I negotiated my contribution to the mother-daughter bonding would be the $50 entrance fee needed to submerge her 23-year-old body.

So Saturday morning, Jena, along with over 700 other plungers, ran full speed into the icy lake, while snow fell on those of us that were staying dry. I tried, without success, to findimages Jena in the sea of shamrock green charity t-shirts. As I held my iPhone in place, making sure the video light was on so I could capture her heroics, I worried that she would get sick-and it would be my fault.  “What kind of a mom would let her daughter do such a thing?” I reprimanded myself. I had time traveled back to my parenting responsibilities of her pre-eighteen years, when what I said mattered (pretty much).

Jena ran out of the frosty water, and into my outstretched arms holding dry hotel towels, with a smile that radiated heat. I held her as though she was still my little girl, while enjoying the young woman in my arms. I was proud of her. I was proud the us we were forging.

That night we went to the quieter, late-evening pool with a bottle of champagne and paper cups to celebrate Jena’s college diploma and teaching certificate. She told me her life IMG_0937plans, as much as she knew at this point. She told me about her new love and how safe she feels with him. How smart and protective he is. About the practical jokes they play on one another. I got the sense she loved talking about him — as new love does — and that she really wanted me to know what he means to her. I mostly listened. Sometimes I threw in some motherly advise, along with some concerns I wanted her to consider. I realized that she may or may not appreciate my opinion, but our morphing relationship seemed to allowed for it in the moment. We talked easily for a long time.

I felt a new mutuality developing between us. Jena wanted to know about me; about the safe place I went to in the mediation we did earlier; about my writing class as she edited my assignment with thoughtful, insightful suggestions. I softened into her interest. It felt like a door into our future. She was becoming interested in me in a way saved for adult children. Our mother-daughter norms seemed to be maturing. I warmed to it, feeling my historical uber-mother vigilance relax.

I realize, looking over the three generations between my mom, Jena and me, Jena and I are lucky. Not everyone likes their mom or their daughter. I don’t think my mom liked me – I was too much. And she never really knew me. It was my job to know and please her. So I did. Until I didn’t.

Jena and I have something special. I love being her mom and I think she loves having me as a mom (pretty much). She told me that no matter where she is living, when she decides to have children, she is returning to live within an hour of me…because I am home.

With Love,
waxseal2

 

 

 

Decisions can be hard…

Assignment #2. In 5 minutes write down 20 experiences you have had in your life. Pick the one that has the most interest to you and write for 15 minutes without stopping. Do this 3-4 times. Then pick one of the free writes and develop it into a personal essay.

Here is the one I choose to write on..

I know I could have found a more psychologically astute way of deciding the fate of my marriage. Wisdom from an elder aunt. Perhaps an article in the Huffington Post. Maybe a TED talk about how to decide when to end your marriage. Hell, even a Dr. Phil episode. In the absence of such guidance, I was left to my own devises. I did what I knew how to do.

Several years earlier, Pete and I had separated for 6 weeks, a trail separation…of sorts. He rented a recently renovated, off season vacation cabin. It was lovely. A small stream ran along side the back deck and bedroom. At the end of the 6 weeks he moved back home. I was glad for the illusion of being happily reconciled.

In 2001 we separated again. This time more seriously. He rented a dull apartment with a years lease. The plan was clear. This was to be a “working” separation, not to end in divorce, but to solve my 20 year long dissatisfaction. We agreed not date other people.  We continued with weekly marital therapy. I was hopeful this would work.

At the end of the lease Pete came home. Our relief was palpable. I am not sure our love was. I just know I wanted it to be.

A year later we were back where we relationally started. I was full of blame, silence and not so veiled hostility. I began to notice my fantasies while driving my commute to Pittsburgh…maybe this will be the trip that the oncoming truck crosses the grass medium and hits me. I didn’t really want to die, I just didn’t want to be here anymore. I was desperate. I had been for a while. I was finally letting myself feel it. I couldn’t imagine making the changes that were needed to afford me my happiness. So these fantasies filled in.

About the same time I had begun working with a new doctor. During one of my visits, while we were discussing an “area” in my left breast that was of concern to her, she asked if it were possible that I might want to “check out” using breast cancer as my way to go. I straightened my back defensively, pulling myself away from the chair. She assured me she held no judgement. She simply wanted me to be conscious of the choice I may be making. She knew I was unhappy. We had talked about it in previous visits. I had told her that my marriage was empty. That I lived in a remote area where I was lonely. That I was overwhelmed, anxious and very, very sad. I settled a bit back into my chair. I agreed to think about it.

I don’t believe we give ourselves cancer or any other illness. I do believe that illness is a wake up call, an opportunity to make changes in ourselves and our lives. So I let myself get curious. What if I did want to check out? What if I got breast cancer? Breast cancer was certainly an honorable way to go. No one could fault me for dying of cancer and leaving 2 kids behind, but they could judge me for blowing up a 23 year marriage and family.

What if this was my unconscious plan?

I decided my kids would fare divorce better than my death, so on Halloween morning, 2003, I knew it was time to deal with me…this…it. I had to decide whether or not to end my marriage. So I did what I knew how to do.

On two small pieces of paper, each the same size, I wrote STAY on one and PREPARE TO LEAVE on the other. I knew I wasn’t ready to leave-leave, because of the kids, but I was ready to begin to prepare myself.

I folded each precious piece of that white note pad paper exactly the same way. Over the years of developing this technique I found uniformity important to prevent conscious or unconscious choosing (resulting in invalid conclusions). I cupped the prophetic  squares in my hands, said a prayer for wisdom for the highest good for all involved and tossed my pending future together. I opened my joined hands a bit wider asking the Divine to allow my answer to leap to it’s freedom. I shook a bit harder.

Within seconds one hit the floor.

I stared at it. My fate was in it’s folds.

What if it said Prepare to leave? My heart caught. Could I?

What if it said Stay?

In that moment I knew. I was more afraid of the words stay than leave.

I had my answer. I knelt down and gingerly opened the folded white paper.

Prepare to leave.

10 months later we separated and then divorced…for good.

 

For good.

waxseal2 

 

 

You Are My Mirror

Geez a Whiz.

I was just asked, by Better After 50, an online magazine I write for, to describe in more detail, on the authors Facebook page, what my blog is about. What my focus is.

imagesDo you know it took me half an hour to answer that question?

What’s up with that?

Shouldn’t I know by now? Should’t my reply just roll off my tongue…fingers? Every good, successful anyone has their elevator speech practiced and perfected.

My problem was threefold. (It started out twofold until I got thinking.)

First, I heard the invitation as “Who AM I?” and “What IS IT I do?” I truly am a work in progress so my answer felt subject to change. I felt threatened committing myself to just one answer. What if I am not that tomorrow? God, I think too much.

Second…ly, putting it in writing, on Facebook, to a group of women I don’t know, is intimidating. What if they don’t like what I say..translated by my 7 year old self, “What if they don’t like me?” Many of the responses by the other writers have “likes” beneath their answers. What if I don’t get any likes?

After the 20 minutes of editing and reediting, I got irritated with myself. “Just say images-1something and be done with it,” I admonished. “I am sure these other(articulate, better than me) women haven’t agonized over this…Oh, I bet they have,” a wiser, kinder voice whispered. “You aren’t so different.”

Third…ly, I knew this was an opportunity to network, drive readers to my blog and deepen my emersion in this internet, web, social network, blog thing. So I knew what I said was important. It was a form of advertising. It was a one dimensional opportunity to present myself to total strangers that share a common interest; women over 50 who write for the same publication.

I struggled with the absence of the other two dimensions, facial/body expressions and tonality. The truth is Who I am is co-created by who you are. I am influenced by the presence of the other-we all are. Together we create the us. Without the presence of the other, I am making myself up in isolation. I can do that. We all can and do. It was what I needed to do for this Facebook page conversation. But I will be different without you.

Think about this with me. We are each others mirrors.

When I am with someone…like my brother, who I am in that moment is much different from who I am with my sweet sister friend, Heidi. Both reactions are authentically ME, but very different parts of myself, called forward in co-creation with the other.

Now you know why it took so long for me to answer the question. I think too much.

It is who I am…

waxseal2

 

P.S. I got a like

finding my FIERCENESS

Last weekend really took it out of me. You know...it…the stuffing, the feathers, the air. It wasn’t seeing mom; feeling her vulnerability and loneliness. It wasn’t feeling my own helplessness and sadness. No, what left my nervous system in a state of code orange was the encounter with my brother.

A lifetime of fear of his physical and verbal aggression lives in my cell tissue. I am undone every time I encounter his hostility toward me. I end up mad at myself for giving him such power. I fantasize my ability to square off with him, face to face, and with no quiver in my voice tell him, “Shut the fuck up.”

Instead, I have jello legs, my heart beats out of my chest, and I can’t breathe. I hate him and then myself for responding like a wimp…again. My body responds to the danger by shutting down when my head wants me to either take him out or run away…quickly. My head and my body are at odds with one another.

After my encounter, Tom and I headed back to our hotel, stopping on Hope Street (how appropriate) to browse in some of the cute shoppes we had driven by for the last two days. Tom went into the men’s shoppe, I found PB&J’s, a woman’s boutique. It seemed a bit high end for me, but touching the soft fabric soothed me, doing something mundane, like shopping, helped me feel normal.

Then I saw it. A coat. Not just any coat. A great coat. Hanging there, against a wall, so beautifully displayed in it’s isolated simplicity. I knew, as I walked toward it, hands outstretched like I was headed toward the Light, I did not need a new coat. Again my body and mind begged to differ. My feet walked toward the coat regardless of my recent decision to reline and revamp my favorite 10 year old alpaca overcoat.

“Oh, what the heIl,” I cajoled myself as I tried it on. In the mirror looking back at me I IMG_0917good enough to eat saffron satin lining sealed the deal. I felt carnivorous. “Don’t mess with me, I will eat you!”

I pulled out my Visa and bought the coat. Thanks to an after Christmas sale it was 25% off. See…it was meant to be. Tom, who had wandered into the store to find me, foolishly asked if I thought the coat would be warm?

“Warm? Really? Who cares?” I responded. I left the store, my totem coat casually draped over my arm, embodying Audrey Hepburn’s understated glamour.

Yesterday, I shared my weekend with my dear women’s group. I cried with them as I told them about my terror. I admitted adrenaline was still running through my veins making me forgetful, easily startled and exhausted. They listened and loved me as only wonderful woman friends can. They soothed my self loathing by assuring me it was smart to trust my bodies reaction of terror when facing my brother’s disowned malevolence. They said when someone is being terrorized they are supposed to feel terrified. Feeling understood opened my airways.

As I prepared to leave, throwing my coat over my shoulders, they shared my excitement in buying such a powerful, sharp clawed cat coat to made me feel safer. Stronger. Fiercer. With cheetah speed to run faster.

RRRRROOOOAAAARRRRR

waxseal2

Dear Ones

It is Sunday night, Tom and I have just driven in from New Jersey where we visited my mom who is living in an assisted living facility. I surprised her Friday evening as she sat at the family style table waiting for dinner with the other women who don’t know each other’s names, each of them sitting with their heads down and eyes closed.  I tell myself they were meditating, at least I hope they are, otherwise it is just too sad to bear. (Note to self…when I am 88, sitting at a table of close strangers, I will  be meditating.)

Saturday we took her to lunch. Afterward we drove around Newton, the nearby town where she grew up. She wasn’t sure who I was when I surprised her Friday night, but she knew how to find her families homestead pointing out whose window was whose

Mom would kill me if she knew I posted this picture of her without her make up on. Sorry mom, it was the only picture we took this weekend and I wanted to share you with my readers.

Mom would kill me if she knew I posted this picture of her without her make up on. Sorry mom, it was the only picture we took this weekend and I wanted to share you with my readers.

bedroom, where the garage used to be and which hills they went sleigh riding on. She said she felt free as we drove around. That getting out was the shot in the arm she needed. When she said it I felt grateful I could give her that. As I write it now, my eyes begin to sting.

At 3 o’clock Tom and I met with a realtor to prepare to sell the family home I grew up in. Mom is gracefully letting go of her hope to return there, comforting herself (and me) with statements of being treated well by the staff at Bentley followed by the food there is not half bad.

Throw in an nasty encounter with my very aggressive brother and the weekend was complete. And I am exhausted. I thought I would have the stamina to post a witty piece while Tom took his turn at the wheel, but I just mostly sat and stared.

So this is it for this week my dear ones.

I don’t want to get old. I don’t want my daughter to have to help me in the handicap stall of a restaurant  holding me up while pulling down my adult diapers. Mom and I accomplished this gracefully and sweetly however, joking about her sexy under ware and holding each other more closely than was necessary for the job at hand.

waxseal2

 

 

 

Going Through Mom’s Jewelry

I am re-posting this piece because I have heard from some of you it was not sent to  you last week. So sorry, the bugs are still being worked out…

Mom was moved to an assisted living facility last year because her dementia was worsening and her ability to be pleasant to live in help was non existent. I am in the process of selling our family home. In doing so my brother and I are dividing the family treasures. I am going through her jewelry.

I remember, sitting on moms bed as a young girl, watching her get ready to go out with my dad, putting on dresses that are now back in style, admiring her sartorial chicness. I would dream of being old enough to dress up…and stay out late.

As she accessorized she would tell me, “Someday this will be yours,” pointing to her mother’s diamond ring, or holding up the string of pearls she brought back from Japan while my she and my dad were stationed there. I couldn’t wait.

Now they are mine. It is a bittersweet acquisition.

As I don the pink and white, three tiered, strand of beads, that are so retro today, I feel IMG_0886as young as my mom was when she worn them in the early 60’s. When I slip on the large gold signet ring my uncle left to her, I feel the weighty presence of the family legacy. As I admire the diamond sets from my grandmother, too small for any of my fingers, I wonder if I should have them reset into something contemporary, hesitant to disturb their antiquity but sad to leave them sitting in a drawer.

My uncle, a Col. in the Army, traveled all over the world. He returned home for visits gifting me with a doll from the foreign lands he visited. I looked forward to his visits and the dolls. When I reached adolescence, he switched it up. He started a gold charm bracelet for me, so instead of dolls he brought me charms from his travels. As a discerning 12 year old I wondered what in the world was he thinking? The bracelet was designed with heavy links of solid 14 carat gold, not suited to my young wrist or adolescent sense of style.  Besides, I had no place to wear it.

Mom decided it suited her wrist and her taste, so she began to wear it on her dressed up evenings out. Even though I wasn’t consulted, I was willing to share, my silent generosity making me feel older. After wearing the bracelet several times she complained that one particular charm, a large sword fish, a token of my uncle’s catch on a deep sea fishing trip…glad he opted for a charm instead of stuffing and mounting the poor thing, was poking her with it’s nose…sword.

Her solution? She took it to the jewelers and had the nose cut off. (Her maxim, if it pokes you, cut it off…imagine how my dad felt.) I couldn’t, and still can’t, believe she did that. In todays market that nose is worth a small fortune.

Each time I wear the bracelet, resplendent with it’s swordless fish charm, appreciative of my uncles foresight in choosing a bracelet with my 55 year old wrist in mind, instead of my 12 year old wrist, I remember the argument my mom and I had when I discovered the maimed fish. I was appalled. I felt sorry for the butchered fish and became it’s advocate, ever so slightly too late, telling my mom she had no right. Mom didn’t see it that way.

All of this comes back to me as I unpack her jewelry boxes. I feel heart wrenched and soothed, both feelings jumbled together, like a mishmash of tangled necklaces, difficult to separate but doable with enough time and patience.

For my birthday this year, my husband gave me a rich, blue leather jewelry box. It is IMG_0885spectacular with it’s drawers, ring holders and travel jewelry box tucked within. I feel like a grown up each time I open it. He said I needed a special place to store my families treasures.

My mom’s story has a new home.

Bubble Poppers

I met a woman at a party last night. We were introduced because we were both therapists. Well, actually, she is a clinical psychologist. A differentiation that seemed quite important to her as she corrected several people that lumped up together as therapists. We all stood corrected.

We were also introduced because we both have entrepreneurial minds that invent interesting projects and business’s.

So I told her about my blog. I confided my hope to be named one of the top 100 women bloggers. I divulged my book ideas. She listened with seeming interest. She is, after all, a therap….psychologist.

When I was finished spilling my guts she began to point out how ridiculous my ideas were. She did, she really did! I was expecting…sounds like you have really big plans. How does that make you feel? I’m curious about…You know, the useful things therapists say. Instead, in her best patronizing voice she asked if I knew how many bloggers there are in the world trying to do the same thing? How the chances of my making any money through my writing was absurd.

If they hadn’t run out of beer I would excused myself to get a bottle.

My spiritual teacher, Christine Page, talks about Bubble Poppers. People that deflate the dreams of another. There are many explanations of why someone does this.

*A motherly attempt to keep someone safe from a harm they may not foresee-I confess I am guilty of this with my kids.

*A perceived threat to the bubble poppers ego-ugh, I have done this too.

*Meanness-I hope I haven’t done this.

*A belief they (the bubble popper) know what is RIGHT and TRUE. I think my psychologist not-friend falls into this category.

As we left the party I told Tom what had been said. He offered go beat her up.

Instead I said something that surprised me. Has this ever happen to you? You hear yourself say something so profound that you wonder where or who it came from. I said to Tom with a certainty I didn’t feel moments earlier, “I think the universe is testing me. It/She is trying to see how committed I am to my dreams. I have to know if I can hold my self in the face of a wind storm(bag)?”

Who said that?

IT’S A GIRL!!!

I am not sure if that was the affirmation spoken at the moment of my birth…what with  mom being sedated and dad in the waiting room…I am not even sure that was the sentiment expressed when I was carried across our army issued threshold…except that I was the first girl born in seven generations of my fathers family. (Now if that doesn’t warrant It’s a Girl what does?)

The family story of my arrival goes like this…my brother did not want a sibling. He was 4 years old and quite satisfied with his place as an only child. But despite his protests and best attempts to head butt my mom’s pregnant belly, I was born. When my mom called him from her hospital room, Rob tearfully asked her if she had had a baby? My brand new mom told my brand new brother, “No.”

No surprise hearing “IT’S A GIRL”  (and that is good news)  is a dream of mine. SO, today is the day. My 55th birthday and the launch of being Boswell.

Conceptualizing, designing and manifesting this blog has been redolent of my pregnancies with my kids. Full of stretch marks, sleepless nights and can’t wait anticipation culminating in screaming…get it out of me…now!!!

Boswell is my birth name. I gave it up when I married at age 23. I raised the question of keeping my name but my husband to be felt strongly about my taking his surname. I conceded. That was just the beginning of many concessions I would make. Little did I know.

When we divorced 27 years later, I went to the prothonotaries office, filled out a one page form, handed them a $5.00 bill-they only took cash, and changed my name back to Boswell. That is all it took. So easy. I felt like an immigrant returning to her mother land. I would have knelt down and kissed the sidewalk as I reached the bottom of the courthouse steps, but it was filthy.

Returning to Boswell, however, meant my kids and I wouldn’t share a last name. (A phenomenon that will forever piss me off. I carried them. Birthed them. Nursed them. Raised them. They should be Boswell or at least hyphenated.) I was concerned Boswell was lost to them.

Recently my daughter told me of a late night conversation she and her brother had after an evening of celebrating his finance’s birthday. They were discussing the matters of their lives, describing their recent antics to one another when Landon said, “Well, we are just being Boswell.” 

Boswell is not lost to them, it is in them. It is in me.

Today I am being Boswell…Confident except when I am insecure. Assertive  when I am not a weenie. Honest save for a few white lies. Forthright when it is worth the investment, quiet when it is not. Smart, but I would like to know so much more. Thoughtful, mostly, unless I am hurt, mad, or exhausted. Articulate unless I am unable to find the word I am thinking of…it starts with a b….god it’s on the tip of my tongue. Funny. Serious. Excitable. A hard worker. Perseverant.

I am an agreeable contradiction. Aren’t we all?

I hope you see yourself in my stories. I invite you to subscribe so you will receive my Tuesday posts in your email box.

Welcome to being Boswell, a work in progress…

WITH MUCH LOVE,