Bare

I took the pictures down
frame by frame,
leaving behind nothing but a bare wall.
Vulnerable. Naked.

Like peeling a bandage back,
revealing a healed wound,
still raw and sore,
I spied my forgotten injury.

Scarred,
the skin is still healing,
mending,
I then remember.

So many scrapes and bumps
covered and hidden.
Tears cried and hearts broken.
Now dug up and exposed.

Through the pain(deep breath)
I strip away my protection(closed eyes)
and move forward(exhale)

The walls are bare and the future bright.
No more history crucified to the wall.
No more dark and concealed past.

Just faded memories.

A Piece of My Past

Last night I learned of the passing of Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver, and The Wildabouts. The news didn’t sink in right away. If anything, in these days of technology and instant media coverage, I worried about this being a hoax or a mistake. But soon we learned the truth; Scott had passed away in his sleep.

I was instantly saddened by the loss of a creative life but also the loss of a part of my childhood. You see, I was a teenage in the midst of the 90’s and as most teenagers do, I found myself in the music that radiated through the radio. We sat by the speakers of our boom boxes and stereos with a cassette tape cued up so we could quickly begin recording our favorite songs. So many songs with the missing first few seconds due to our fingers not being fast enough to punch record when we heard the song we had been waiting anxiously to catch. Then, slowly, CDs made their way into our hands and we played them relentlessly on our skiddish, chunky CD players that we handled with extreme care to avoid any skipping.

His death is an instant reminder that, while my teenage years will always be a part of me and who I am, the past is stretching farther and farther from me. It’s now a distant memory to be retrieved and reminisced about when a part of it dies. My teenage years wearing flannel mixed with sunflowers and listening to alternative rock on KROQ is fading and only comes to mind when I hold a memorial for another piece that has passed away.

So in honor of Scott and STP and my angsty, teenage self, I’ll listen to his sultry voice and remember all the times I sang with him. I’ll remember the all lyrics that felt personal to me then and still have an impact on me today. I’ll uncover those dusty memories and hang the pictures in my mind once again as if they are fresh and new. I’ll live like I was 14 again and I’ll try not to dwell on the fact that in a day or two all of these pieces will again fade into the storage deep in my heart and mind to be forgotten again until another part dies and we are forced to hold another wake for our past.

Letter To My Son: Your Girls

Dear Jacob,

I’m writing this letter to you in the middle of the summer. You are almost 8 1/2 and growing like a weed. Last night, even with a healthy snack or two and a full dinner including some of my soup followed by dessert after, you were still hungry. I swear I can’t feed you fast enough and I get the feeling that this is how things will be from here on out.

This is also the summer you got your first pets. After months of reading and prepping for it, we brought home two baby girl rats. And, you were beside yourself with glee.

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We named them Twinkletoes and Mia. Twinkletoes was white with a grey face and Mia was the same but with a brown face. The girls were terrified the moment we put them in their cage. They huddled together in the corner just shivering with fear. Poor babies…20140721-130148-46908747.jpg

But that didn’t stop you from loving them. The day after they came home you were up before the dawn to spend time reading to them. I could hear you quietly sharing your book and lovingly reading the story of some helpful penguins. But that wasn’t enough, you had to hold them. And try you did! You reached in without fear and held onto Twinkletoes with so much patience and grace. She wasn’t having any of it and not long after you can into my room in a panic to tell me she had gotten loose.

It didn’t matter. Your dad and I got her back in her cage and we calmed you down. You were so concerned and afraid for her but you wanted so badly to just hold her tight, to cuddle with her and to let her know she was loved. We planned to let them settle for a bit and not to force them out of their corner. You had other ideas…

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That little moment of panic didn’t stop you because you were determined to gain the girls’ trust. We spent time at the library pulling up books and you’d show me that we did, in fact, need to spend time holding the girls each day, even if they were scared. We needed to show them we could be trusted and that we didn’t mean them any harm. So I went with it. You presented such a strong case backed up with information you had researched that I couldn’t say no. Together we carefully reached in a pulled the girls out. Then, you cuddled and held your girls when they would let you and whispered sweet words of comfort to them and they listened. With you, they seemed at peace.

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And when they weren’t in your arms or hearing a story read to them, I found your nose deep in a book about rats and the best ways to care for them. You were like a sponge, soaking up everything bit of information to make you the best rat caretaker ever. It had become your mission in life to care for your girls as best as you could.

It’ll be interesting to hear you relive these days when you are grown. To hear what you thought and what your memories of these first pets were like. How you perceived yourself in this time, if you saw what we did. If you saw yourself as a dedicated friend to these four legged sweethearts. If you saw yourself grow both in spirit and heart as you learned to care for something smaller than you.

Son, I saw this happening before my eyes. In those first few days with the girls you aged and matured so quickly. I saw you go from the boy who had to have the last word in EVERY argument to the boy who thought of his pets first. They were the first things you checked on when we got home, they were your first thoughts in the morning, and you were always thinking of new ways to engage them and play with them.

It felt like overnight you went from a boy to a young man. You had a purpose and it was to love and care for your girls.

I hope when you look back on these times that it is with love and positive memories of a time when you were very happy.

Love,

Your Mama

Fall Memories

Today I’ve been hit by wave after wave of muted memories. Scents and feelings and visuals all played a part in bringing forth things I’d long stowed away at the back of my mind.

Memories of a sweater bought by  my dad. It was large and colorful in the rusty hues of fall. It was during our beginning of school shopping that he got me this monstrosity of fall colors to wear on the weekends when the winds were chilly and the skies overcast.

The wind blowing against my face as I took my walk at lunch brought back visions of our yard strewn with leaves and cloudy skies hanging above me. There was a storm, once. I was much too little to remember the big details but I remember standing outside, surveying the damage.

Pumpkins and baking and visits from Grandma and Grandpa for Thanksgiving all played across my mind. Trips out to my great-grandmother’s home where she would can jams and preserves in the warmth of her golden and copper colored kitchen. The tastes of cinnamon and cloves dancing on my tongue as she hugged me goodbye against her cushioned bosom,

So many memories of the years I’ve lived, switching from summer to fall, from shorts to pants, from sandals to tennis shoes and warm socks. To the dying hum of the fans and air conditioners and the crackles and pops of the lit fireplace.

Soon I felt dizzy, my mind and body swirling with the memories coursing through. Some were only partially formed in my mind while my senses took over, reliving that moment, those feelings. I could taste and feel the memories more than I could see them. The crisp winds, the sprinkle of rain on my face, the fresh grass beneath my feet on a soccer field. The slicing of a knife through the thick skin of a pumpkin and the hours spent drawing in our warm living room with the fire burning and my dad playing the guitar.

Then I remembered fall when my son was a baby. The walks we took on chilly mornings, bundled in blankets and hands and gloves. The pumpkin patches we visited and the carvings we made in the tiny kitchen of our first apartment.

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I remember rain puddles and his little boots that looked like frogs with oogly eyes. Cold mornings with his tiny toes tucked under my legs. The way the sunlight changed in fall to more of a golden honey and the way the air smelled so fresh and clean in those foggy mornings when we walked together.

My memories are so wide and varied from my own younger years to my son’s that it’s tough not to stray down that path and relive them. The path lined with changing leaves and hot cocoa. Shorter days and glorious sunsets. Crisp apple cider and hearty stews.

I welcome fall and all the changes and good memories it brings.

Letter To My Son: The Adventure

Jacob,

Today I read back through some of the letters I’ve written to you over time. Letters about your strong-will and intelligence. Letters about my feelings on raising you alone. A letter about what your birthday means to us, especially to me.

I hope you’ve had the chance to read them. To know that in those moments, it was important for me to stop, write to you while my memories are still fresh and to share what was in my heart at that time. I hope these letters mean as much to you as they do to me, these little pieces of our past.

I thought about all our time together as mother and son. We’ve had 7 years, just us. 7 years of stories, heartache, lessons and lots of love. It’s been an incredible adventure.

The Two Of Us

We’ve run races together and dipped our toes in the Black Sea. I took you to your first symphony concert and introduced you to The Beatles. We’ve seen wild animals at the zoo and pretended we were on safari together and discovered some of our favorites books during our bedtime stories.

Together, we’ve learned how to love through the tough times and how strong we are when we are side by side. I watched you huddle against me, listening to my breathing and heartbeat as you slept peacefully, so close and so trusting.

Then, slowly, I watched you venture away from me with tentative steps. Your small feet would carry you away but after discovering something new, you always returned for comfort and to share.

Now you walk away from me with confidence and I couldn’t be more proud.

Being your mom has been an amazing adventure. One I will cherish and share with you over and over, even when you are grown and able to read these letters yourself.

In a few short weeks, you and I will begin a whole new adventure. We will become a bigger family. Our journey as mother and son will come to an end and we’ll cross over into unfamiliar territory. While change in general can be unnerving, this is an adventure we won’t go at alone. We’ll still be together, still mother and son.

But when we walk down our new path, you’ll no longer only have one hand to hold, there will be another. We won’t be just us but a family of three. You will have two parents to kiss you good night and two parents to hold you when you are scared. Two parents to teach you how to be a kind and strong human. Two parents to listen when you have concerns.

Us Three

Our first adventure together may be coming to an end, but just over the horizon is a whole new one.

Know this, my son, that this new adventure never diminished anything we went through on our own. When you read this, I hope you know that what we had was special and just ours. It was our foundation and our beginning. It was a chapter in our story. A long story for us, I hope, with many chapters and new characters along the way.

I loved you more everyday which to me seemed impossible. I thought the day they handed you to me, my heart would explode from the deep love I felt for you instantly. It didn’t and still to this day, I love you more and more. No matter how grown up you are reading this, you are still my little man.

Now we turn the page and start off fresh. Off to discover new things to share with each other and laugh together the whole way.

Together on our new adventure.

Your partner in crime,

Mom

Ghosts of Halloweens Past

We love Halloween. As a kid I always dressed up and becoming an adult and then a mom didn’t stop me from doing the same. Every year we plot and put together our costumes and since my son was born, I’ve made it my special mission to dress in some theme until he gets too cool for it.

Here is our Halloween storyline from 2006 to present told in pictures!

Halloween 2006

Little Devils

Halloween 2007

Pirates! ARRRGH!

Halloween 2008

A Fireman and his Dalmatian

Halloween 2009

A Mummy and her Little Ghoul

Halloween 2010

A Little Dragon

(Mama didn’t dress up that year)

Halloween 2011

A Fair Maiden and her Trusty Knight

Now this year I was blessed to spend my Halloween with my better halves: My son and The Guy. Not only does The Guy fit right into our little family, he’s also geeky/imaginative like we are. So when it came to dressing up in theme, he was right on board. He played a big hand in planning our two (count ’em TWO) themed costumes, one for a grown-up only party and the a second set for trick-or-treating with the little guy.

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Hunters Of The Undead

(Our grown-up party costumes)

Halloween 2012

The Avengers, Assemble!

(Black Widow, Captain America, and Thor)

And Halloween isn’t just about trick-or-treating and candy, we also dress up for the symphony’s Halloween Spooktacular and for school, too. I think my son went through 3 costume changes this season and I bet he’ll continue to dress up for the rest of 2012.

 Spooktacular

A day at the symphony with Captain America

Batman

I AM BATMAN!

Halloween was a lot of fun this year and like the rest, the moment we got home and dumped out our son’s candy bag, we started to talk about next year’s costumes. There has been some talk of Spider-Man and Mary Jane or just a gaggle of geeks including high waisted pants and pocket protectors. To me it doesn’t matter what we end up being as long as we’re having a good time and being a little bit silly…

Next Year

Trying on Thor’s wig

To all the other ghouls, superheros and monsters out there, Happy Halloween 2012!

See you next year!

Wandering

Trucks rumble by on the road just beyond my window. The sun lights up the room as the cool air from the vents above filter into the office where I sit and stare.

It’s been slow lately and that lack of daily activity for a good stretch of time leaves my mind free to wander. Sometimes I day dream to a time and place in the future with what I hope will be. Other times I create scenarios in my mind, almost like a test to see how I’d manage such a situation.

Then there are those times when I travel back and open the door to those memories closed away in a dim, stuffy corner of my mind. I trip and stumble through boxes of pictures and notes, smiling faces of people I no longer speak to peaking through the dust and clutter.

It’s easy to sit down and begin to rifle through these memories. To read the notes and hear the voices of past acquaintances, the laughter we once shared ringing joyful.

Suddenly the mind whirls into action and shuffles off all of the negative memories, allowing only the good and happy times to float forward. Your mind clouds over, seeing only the reasons the friendships had started, forgetting at once why they needed to end.

Like a rinse cycle spinning away the dirt and dust from the passage of time, all that is left are the purest remembrances. The stories, the smiles, the laughs and the bonds made over common dreams and wishes. As the pictures flip past your eyes, the moments that were cherished so much flickering faster and faster, the confusion sets in.

Why did it have to end? Do they ever think back and remember me? Why did it have to hurt so much?

Then the pictures slowly slip from my hands and fall to the floor, covering the ground around me in mental images from a life I no longer live but a past I can never out run.

It will always be with me, in my shadows, wandering beside me.