Rainey Daze and Crazy Nights

Poetry, Paintings, and Ponderings: Through My Eyes

Love From Afar July 1, 2013

I finally did something I have dreaded. In fact, I put it off for two weeks. Each time I thought of doing it, I found some great excuse not to. And I feel bad, REALLY bad, for having those feelings of dread. Guilt racks my body when I think of it. But, it is what it is, and I feel how I feel, right?

I finally called my mother.

I know how that sounds. It sounds like I am a horrible daughter (and I can be), or that she is a horrible mother (she can be). But I am trying to be transparently honest here in bloggo land, so here is the truth: I didn’t want to call her because of Riley.

My parents are not “dog people”. They both know how I am about animals because I’ve been that way my entire life. Every stray dog that came through the neighborhood got a good meal, de-ticked, a good bath, and a good dose of attention from me. Every time I begged to keep the dog, and every time the answer was no. I’m also the kid who found a wounded bat and kept it as a pet until my mom found out. As well as a bullfrog, various lizards, cats…..you get the picture. I’m crazy about animals and would live on a farm if I could.

My parents also knew how much Riley meant to me. I had my daughter email them when he died because I knew I could not carry on a normal conversation with anyone at that time. (Neither could she; that’s why she emailed). I also knew that my mom, who is well-known for having no tact, would piss me off. And of course, she did.

Some of her comments: ” He’s just a dog. Get over it already.”  “What did you expect? He was sick. Didn’t you know it?” “You got another one of the same breed? What is wrong with  you?” “You always acted stupid about animals anyway. You shouldn’t have any.”

I love my mom. I do have a love-hate relationship with her, though. This is the same woman who accused me of lying when I told her I was molested as a child. She also thinks J should “get over it”….in other words, get over bipolar.

My parents are old. I know I will be devastated when something happens to them. But most days, I have to love them from afar.

 

 

THIS is What I Wanted to be When I Grew Up? May 7, 2013

Life is crazy. And weird. And never, ever what you expect it to be.

When I was 10 if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say a vet. I wanted to help all the animals in the world. Never mind that I couldn’t stand the thought of putting one down, or the realities of surgery. I just wanted to love and help them all, in some vague way. Oh, and get paid for it, so I could afford the ‘farm’ I would have. Never mind the real hard work that goes into such a farm; I just liked the idea of it.

When I was 13 if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say a rock star. I idolized those who could rock out: playing a guitar and singing their way across all the countries of the world. I wanted it all: the fame, the fortune, and the fans. It was just a minor problem that I had no singing talent at all, nor could I play any instrument. Unless you counted a play electric organ. I could beat out Silent Night like nobody’s business.

It’s strange, looking back. I had this idea of who I would be and what my life would be like. In some ways, parts of it came true. I always wanted to get married and raise a family, and I have done this. I wanted to stay home with my children and raise them like my mom did with me, and I did. I stayed home with my girls until they started school. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I eventually decided to be a teacher, and (other than the lack of money) I never regretted that decision. Although I still sing in the shower, to keep the vocal chords warmed up, just in case…

My life did not turn out to be exactly as I thought; life has a way of shaping  you and changing your beliefs and values. Things that I once thought to be important are now of no consequence to me.

Funny, as I was growing up, not once did I ever think to myself, “When I grow up, I want to be a semi-crazy mom who raises one drug-addicted,  bipolar daughter with life issues, and one daughter who has strict, traditional values. Except for being gay, of course. Oh, and I want a husband who is old-fashioned and out of touch, so I can carry the weight of our problems by myself. Throw in a dog I love, but who has unexplained seizures, and THAT’S the life I want!”

No, none of us really get what we think we want. But you know what? I’ve made a life. I have a sense of humor that saves me most days. I have a family I love who loves me back. I have an interesting job that is great most days. This is my life, and I made it mine. It is not what I expected, because it is so much more.

 

I Saw A Moment in Life April 7, 2013

I saw a small child unknowingly

drop a beloved stuffed dog

as his mother pushed the stroller

hurriedly, distractedly,

throughout the store.

I saw an elderly man

grunting, with great effort,

stoop to retrieve the ragged mutt

calling out in a deep, trembling voice

unheard and overlooked.

I saw the elderly gentleman

clutching the symbol of comfort

lurching with a slow

and painful gait,

follow the sound of crying.

I saw the distraught mother

desperately searching for a beloved toy

maternally knowing the significance

of the ‘Made in China’  item

to her much-loved child.

I saw the old man gasping for breath

quietly reach out a shaking hand

silencing the child with the gift

the mother’s face filling with relief

as her child felt safe once more.

I saw time stand still

and as a small incident in life

unfolded before me, I realized

there is a goodness in all

the little moments of life.

 

The Alien Thought of Taking Care of Me January 13, 2013

Taking care of myself…putting my needs before the needs of others…thinking of what I need to be happy…these thoughts are so alien, so foreign to me. I have put myself last for my entire life. Even as a child, I tiptoed around, trying to be “good”, so mommy and daddy wouldn’t fight and have angry voices. As a teenager, having sex with guys I didn’t really care about, because it was what they wanted. It made me feel needed and loved…for a little while. Then, I became a wife and mother. Putting myself last seemed natural; a good mother and wife took care of her family, right? Even in my job, I take care of others. It is what I do best.

I guess I have made some tiny steps in doing a few things just for me. For example, my “photo shoots” (Wow. That sounds like I’m some kind of professional or something!). I try to find some time at least once a week to take photos. Admittedly these last two trips were really to please the hubs; I just went with him where he needed to go and brought along my camera. He “humors” me, I know. To him, taking pictures of trees and old buildings is silly, but he loves me so he stops and lets me shoot away.

After all of this time, how do I change? Where do I start? What is the first step to taking care of me? I don’t even know how to begin.

 

 

 

 

 

So…I am NOT June Cleaver! June 17, 2012

I used to watch reruns (I’m not THAT old) of old shows on t.v. (think ‘Leave It to Beaver’ or ‘Father Knows Best’) where the mom dressed impeccably and cleaned house all day in her heels, and the dad wore business suits and came home happy to be with his loving family. These type of shows can make the best parent feel awful about parenting skills. Have you ever felt like mother of the year material? Yeah? Me, neither.

When my girls were younger we would often vacation at a little cabin (owned by my in-laws) by a lake. It was nothing fancy, but very nice for us as we didn’t have money to take real vacations. We would swim and play all day, and grill hamburgers and hotdogs in the late afternoon. I would then give the girls baths, brush hair and teeth and have them ready for bed. Since it was vacation, my girls, J and S, stayed up late and had extra “wind-down” time. They had a pile of special “lake house toys” that usually kept them entertained.

The living room had a bank of windows that looked out over the lake, so I plugged in the baby monitor, instructed them to “play nice”, grabbed two ice-cold beers from the fridge, and joined my husband on the pier. He was already settled back in his chair, fishing pole in hand. I could sit in my chair on the pier and see the girls through the living room windows. The baby monitor kept me updated on any potential fights or problems. All-in-all, a nice system. Yeah, right. A nice system if I had normal kids, which I don’t.

Let me explain: My oldest daughter, J, was born with a flair for dramatics. She can create drama most humans never dream of! One minute she is the life of the party, the next minute everyone is against her and her world is ending. As a teenager, we discovered her ups and downs were not just typical teenage problems, but  bipolar. (That, however, is a post for another day.)

My youngest, daughter, S, is the quiet, stable one. She spent her young years trying to counter-balance her sister’s dramatics. However, she would, and often did, needle her sister into hysterics just because she could. (Who else knows you well enough to push your buttons but a close sibling?)

Most evenings the “wind-down” time went well. One particular night, however, was more memorable than most. The girls played happily as I grabbed two cold beers and walked to the pier. I turned on the baby monitor and heard the reassuring sounds of J and S arguing over the crayons. You know, typical sister arguments. I settled back in my chair and let out a long sigh. Before I could crack open my beer, I heard the sound of the screen door slamming.

“MOM!” J screamed, even though we were close enough to speak in normal voices.

“Yes?” I replied calmly.

“S is NOT sharing and I TOLD her to SHARE!”

“Honey, lower your voice, we have neighbors next door. Remember I told you not to come out unless it was an emergency? This is not an emergency. Go back in and play with something else until she gets tired of it, then you can have a turn.”

“Okay, but I want my turn!” She stomped her little foot and went back in.

I opened my beer. I heard arguing on the monitor. After the first swallow, I hear the screen door slam.

“MOM! S hit me! She is being a BRAT!” J’s indignant voice bellows from the porch.

“Tell S mom said to stop hitting or she will have time-out. And you, young lady, do not snatch things away from her or you will have time-out.” Yeah, that’s right, I heard that on the monitor, I thought to myself. The only reply this time was the slamming of the screen door as she went back in. I snickered and drank a swallow of beer and settled into my chair.

Within three minutes, I heard the slamming of the door. Again. This continued for several more minutes. By the tenth time, I realised my enjoyable evening was going to be ruined if I didn’t nip it. Before she had time to whine, I beat her to the punch. I stood up to make sure she knew I meant business.

“DO NOT come back outside unless one of you are bleeding or have body parts falling off! Do you understand me?” I used my deadly quiet voice that could scare the leaders of small countries.

“Yes, ma’am” she wisely replied.

I heard the girls playing and all seemed well again on the home front. The peace lasted a whole 10 minutes before the door slammed again. I stood and glared.

“What did I tell you? You better be bleeding!”

I hear pitiful wails. “I am bleeding!”

Now, feeling guilt like only a mother can feel, I rushed up to my darling to see that she had stubbed her toe and ripped the toenail off. She really was bleeding.

~Rainey

PS Le Clown, this is the  post you inspired after reading about your adventure with LEP, Yoga Sucks Balls. Enjoy! 🙂