Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sitting in the Sun - Day 1

I think I have found my way back to the "sitting in a sunbeam moment" I had shortly after my youngest son was born and every part of my being was telling me to find a way to stay home and raise him.

Who knew I would find a sense of peace and clarity in exactly the same place I found it 18 years ago? I wasn't sitting on the floor with my newborn son this time. Instead, I brought my best friend and guru, Glennon Doyle Melton with me into the very same living room, looking out the very same window and I sat still and listened to this podcast:

If you have an hour without distraction, I highly recommend you stop everything. Find a room with a view of the sky or sit outside if you can do so without feeling the need to pick weeds and mow the lawn. Stop everything and listen. I'll wait ...

I gazed out into the sky while I reclined on our love seat with my feet up and my neck supported as I sipped on a cup of coffee and listened
It was as if the skies parted and my heart knew. I can feel my body physically shutting down as I live this life I'm living. Things must change. I can feel it with every new ache, sensation and every new twinge I feel.

My heart, body and soul are ailing. I must find a way. I must.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Holiday Ready

There was a year when I converted my daycare playroom into my "Holiday Oasis". It was a wonderful year. It was the year I stayed home and worked on our family's book project. It was the year of a "Holiday with a door". I packed up all the supplies I needed for my holiday within my own home. I unplugged myself from the Internet and telephone connections. It was a year when all I needed and wanted was one quiet room without having to pack up and go anywhere. It was the holiday of my dreams.

Then there is "this" year. This is the year when our entire house has become overrun by all things daycare. Daycare is everywhere. Everywhere except my bedroom. So this year, the minute my daycare was closed for my two week vacation, I started cleaning, washing and moving everything daycare related out of sight. By the time the night ended, our house looked like a home again. It is exhausting to live in a daycare centre. I feel better already.

Here are the before and after pictures:
Daycare Ready
Holiday Ready
Daycare Dayz
Ready For a One Year Old
Ready For a Guest
Daycare Ready
Guest Ready
Daycare Necessities
My Necessities

Daycare Quiet Room
Daycare Storage Room
Daycare Storage Room (continued)
I dare not show an after picture of the daycare playroom downstairs. It is bad. It is really bad. Some things have to get worse before they get better and that is the case of the daycare playroom. Much purging will be done. I'm sure that story is forthcoming very, very soon.

But in the meantime, I have one last bookkeeping day to put behind me. Then, I can pick up some holiday type groceries on my way home (maybe I will even try to include "cooking supper" into my holiday agenda) and let the holiday begin.

I made it. I need to be "right here" right now. I've been fighting to survive the days which preceded today. I'm so glad my holidays have finally arrived.

Summer Holiday 2016 is spelled R-E-L-I-E-F.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Smile and the World Smiles With You

I am seven hours into my ten hour daycare day and all is well. "They" say you only get what you can handle and I guess "they" were right. I am working my way through the best day I've had in a while and boy, I was ready for this.

It's not that I woke up with a fresh, new outlook on the day. I woke up with the same sense of dread I've come to know and expect. I knew I was going to be missing one of my more challenging personalities and in her place, I was expecting another (the same age) who tends to bring out the best in her friends. So I was hopeful the day would not be "more of the same".

Then our bored little "Jet" cat nuzzled his way into our morning and he kept demanding attention from me. He came to where I was sitting, gave me that sidelong look that felines do, when they want you to scratch their ears, he did his "somersault" at my feet and brought a smile to my face. The moment I smiled, I could feel the energy in the room change.

The kids were drawn to this lighter side of me and Jet would not leave me alone. He kept doing his little somersaults at my feet, as I scratched his ears and head. Then there was a moment when the kid's behaviour was starting to frustrate me and our little black kitty jumped up on my leg (I was standing and he jumped on me like a dog would) and nuzzled my hand again. "Look at me!" "Love me!" "Smile!" "Take it easy" "Relax!" He was saying all this as he nuzzled into my hand again.

Then after he calmed me down, he perched right along beside me on the couch. The kids were drawn to him and to me by default. His presence in our morning made all the difference in the world.

After he felt I could be trusted on my own again, he plopped into an empty toy container and let his presence be his gift. The kids piled toys on top of him and he didn't move a muscle.

Yes, I can do this. Thanks to the assistance of my son the past three weeks and this morning, my thanks goes out to my little black cat who simply forced me to smile when I didn't think I had a smile in me. 

"Smile and the world smiles with you", said Jet with every move his body language told me. Thanks, Jet. I needed that. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

My True Heart's Desire

What would I wish for if I was Cinderella and my fairy godmother granted me my true heart's desire?

My true heart's desire. What is it that my heart is yearning for? If my heart does indeed know, the circuit between my heart and my brain is under construction because my no one seems to be running the ship here in my body, mind and soul.

Since I seem to have no idea what it is that my heart is yearning for, I would ask for a one year's leave of absence from life-as-I-know-it. I would require some funding for this year because I would utilize it to rebuild my world so it could go to work for me when my time was up.

I would hope my fairy godmother would know what is inside my heart even if I am unsure. She would wave her magic wand and work her magic so I could rent out the top floor of our home and live comfortably in a downstairs suite. Since the downstairs is lacking in natural sunlight, we may need to add a four season sun room to the mix to ensure an adequate dose of Vitamin D was administered throughout the winter months. Either that, or I may have to winter down south. But this is a year. It is only a year. A sun room would be a better long term investment.

I may hope that my fairy godmother turns my renegade, bored silly black cat into the social director of my life. Here is a man who knows life is best lived outdoors, exploring and pushing one's boundaries. His one basic need is a "safe place to call home", but other than that he wants to live life to the fullest and is not content with anything less. Yes, he would make an excellent "cruise director" for this life I'm living.

This would leave my more quiet and skittish cat to hold down the fort. He could be "Jeeves", my man servant, who would orchestrate the running of our home. He would cook, pamper and accompany me through the hours of day to day living.

I would be free to run out to Mom's on a whim and stay for a while, when needed. Perhaps she may consider coming home with me and moving into my not yet rented upstairs suite. Or more importantly, I would like to just "be there" to be or do or take care of whatever Mom needed to be done or taken care of.

Mom is weighing heavy on my mind these days. I'm glad that going out to see her is all I really have planned for my holiday. I do believe that my heart is guiding me to Mom's. From there, I will see a clearer path.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

The Need to Be Still

I can't wake up early enough to write these days. Then when I do wake up, I am not too fond of the mood I'm in or the thoughts I'm thinking. Since I haven't had anything to say that will make world a brighter place, I have stayed away from my poison pen (or computer keyboard) and have been trying to focus on gratitude instead.

It's been hard.

My little people deserve better than the person I am these days. My patience is non-existent, my energy levels are at an all-time low, my idea well seems to have dried up and I think the hopes and dreams centre of my brain have shut down.

I must realign my thought processes and I am not exactly sure how to do it. I know it is in the "doing", not the "planning to do" or "thinking about doing", where the magic begins. I have many thoughts. I should be doing so very much. But I keep coming up with excuses. "Lazy" is the word that comes to mind when I think of why I am not pushing myself out of and beyond this funk. "Unmotivated" is another. The words that escape my mouth when I am in the company of others embarrass me. I need to be sequestered until I have something positive to say.

I feel like I need to make a very big change but I don't know if I'm up to it. I could really use a "maternity leave" right now. A year off to be still ...

I read these words written by Glennon Doyle Melton: "Self-betrayal is allowing the fear voices to drown out the still, small voice that knows what to do and is always leading us home to ourselves and to truth and to love. , and it was as if she was speaking directly to me.

I think "fear" is the boss of me right now. I should look for a job in a different field but the idea terrifies me. I used to smile and think it was a good thing to always be looking beyond where I was with wonder and admit that I still didn't know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I think I do know. I want to be settled into a safe little life that includes a pension, a paid off house, a six month emergency fund and a husband.

I've been flying solo for most of my adult life. I've raised three boys. I was a single parent for most of that time. I did it. I proved myself. I did everything I had to do to provide a roof over our heads and pay the bills. I was pleased with the fact I did a lot of this on my own. But I have had assistance. My family has supported me whenever the chips were down. The government subsidized my income and made my life affordable and it was a comfortable little life.

I'm on my own now. Here I am. I am 55 years old, living in a house that should have been paid off seven years ago, with my retirement savings spent subsidizing my decision to open my daycare, thereby forfeiting my job where I was building a nice little pension fund.

My job skills are very rusty and my fear factor is high. I knew when I made the choice to return to my daycare "career", my future plans included working until I died. I thought I was pretty funny when I said that. I thought that would encourage me to keep on believing I was capable of big things. I thought it would keep my thoughts young and my spirits high.

I was wrong.

I don't want to work until I die. Not doing what I am doing, anyway. My little people are wearing me out. I look at the bookkeeping homework I brought home with me on the weekend and shudder. Bookkeeping is not where it's at for me. I don't mind fitting it into an eight hour window, once a week, with a weekend off every month. But I don't want to bring it home with me.

Bookkeeping was my "ace in the hole". It was my back up plan. It was supposed to keep my brain limber and agile. It was supposed to challenge me and pay a few bills. "Balancing to zero" and "black and white, right or wrong answers" were all I wanted after the year I attempted to work outside of my home. Now, it just makes my shoulders and neck tense up and I want little to do with it.

Writing used to be my passion but I cannot spread the words in my head lately. I need to change the channel. My thoughts are circling within my head and going no where. So here I am, purging them onto the computer screen. Even though I know better. They have to go somewhere. This is my "safe place to fall", so I shall put them here. Keeping quiet is not my answer. "The fear voices are drowning out the still, small voice that knows what to do and is always leading me home to myself and to truth and to love."  I need to quieten my world, purge my thoughts, put them into writing and onto the page so I can hear that voice. That voice has never failed me. It has helped me find my way when I was lost. I need to hear that voice again. It's in here somewhere...

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Bored Cat Syndrome

I woke up to find my two relaxed and rather lazy cats sleeping in with me last Sunday morning. It was so peaceful. Jet was hard at rest and Ray was content not being lavished with love.

This is not always the case, as Jet likes to make his boredom well known to me and Ray figures if I'm sitting down, doing nothing but staring at a computer screen, he may as well place his entire being in between me and the computer so I can put my hands and attention to better use and pet & adore him. And Jet? He is a piece of work. I wake up and it is as if he is one of my bored daycare charges. I've never lived with a bored cat before. They are something to behold.

Sunday morning, I left my bed unmade and the TV on to try and trick the cats into thinking I'd be right back so they wouldn't follow me upstairs and "need me".

Jet's antics of late have included figuring his way past the child locks on a few of our lower kitchen cupboards. He climbed into the cupboard where I keep the tea towels and stopped for a little rest one day. Another day, he climbed into the corner cupboard where I keep the canned goods and other sealed products. I hate to admit it but it was easier to just let him "play" for a while and come out in his own time, so I left the door open so he had an exit strategy. Turns out it wasn't needed because he popped out the cupboard door beside it, where I keep the spare toaster.

Speaking of toasters (again, I hate to admit this but it is true), I have started letting the cats gaze out the kitchen window beside the microwave. It is the window that opens, so they can get a breath of fresh air, while they listen to and watch the birds at play in our neighbor's tree. Food isn't prepared on that cupboard and it's just "easier" to let them get away with this than it is to constantly fight them (yes, it is a good thing I am done raising my own children because this is a very bad habit to get into - picking the easiest way of disciplining or not disciplining them at all and stopping to take a picture while they are doing bad things). Anyway, you give them an inch and they take a mile. Not only is Jet insistent on looking out the OTHER window, with the blinds closed and impeded by the toaster that is in his way, he steps onto the toaster and forces his head through the blinds as if to say "Open this one too!!" (even his body language is rude and full of attitude) and is not learning very quickly, that he is only allowed to stand on and look out ONE of the windows.

Jet picks at the door sweep on our new door when it is locked and he isn't able to open it. Then when I open the inside door, he eats our brand new weather stripping. So I close the sliding door into the kitchen to keep him upstairs with me so he doesn't destroy the door, then I open the drawer where I keep the cat toys. But he's getting bored of those and only plays with them for a few bats around the kitchen & living room and is back to opening cupboard doors and breaking all the house rules. I told my son I want to just give Jet away (I'm kidding) and get a new cat because I broke this one and want to start over. ANYWAY ... I came upstairs one night and I noticed something "different" in my peripheral vision. I stopped, backed up and saw this:

 Yup. It is no wonder I'm having trouble taking care of other people's children. Apparently I am not even qualified to raise a well behaved cat these days. Something has happened here. I'm not so sure I can blame anyone but me.

Friday, July 29, 2016

At Least I Like My Hair

I feel like I've been doing an awful lot of belly aching about nothing lately. The thing about complaining is, that I believe it does become a habit. I whine and complain so much that people ask me about what I've been grumbling about as an act of consideration. So I talk about it some more even when I know I shouldn't. My troubles aren't growing, only my perception of them is.

Mom called last night to see how I was doing. She takes on my worries like her own and I have been harping on my dissatisfaction and frustrations far too much lately. She called at the end of one of my better daycare days so I was full of joy and optimism about the day, explaining the day prior was the worst daycare day ever, so "this" was good. She replied, "I thought you said that before", to which I happily replied, "Yes I did, and they keep getting worse!" with joy in my voice and a smile on my face. She asked if I was going to quit this job and I said I really didn't have a choice. That is, unless I moved in with her. She laughed and said, "You may as well..." then went on to talk of her friends who have their 50-something children living back at home.

As Mom and I chatted, I was well aware that she had recently had a few "bad days" and wasn't feeling on top of her game all day, every day. She doesn't like talking about "stuff like that" so I didn't prod but eventually she told me everything I had heard from my siblings. Perhaps with the emphasis being more on too much coffee and too much heat. But she did tell me that "I" need to be around people more then went on to tell me she had called my brother at work and he dropped by on his way home. "Sometimes you just need to talk with somebody you know?" The value of that visit, my brother's ability to stop by on a moment's notice and the feeling of knowing someone was "there" to talk with and be heard was huge.

Mom doesn't complain. She may harp on some things more than is necessary but she doesn't complain about her lot in life, her health, her circumstances, feeling lonely or any number of things she has every right to feel.

I have much to learn yet from my mom:
  • Stop complaining
  • Just "do", accept and be content with all I have right in this moment
  • Be around people, "everyone needs that" (she said from a deep sense of knowing)
Yes, I have much to be grateful for. Have I mentioned lately that my last haircut was a life changer for me? I have a "scrunch and go" look going on right now. Perfect for those mornings when I wake up and can't believe my hair didn't survive last night's shower better. I quickly washed my hair and carried on with my morning routines. No big deal.

Life is good. I not only have a head of hair, I have a style I can manage with ease. My hair is no longer dictating my life. And this is good.