Last night I said, “Honey…..” and my daughter said, “What?” I replied, “Not you, honey; Lonnie honey.” She said, “I know, I was just kidding. You have a very specific Lonnie voice.” My gut reaction was a feeling of awkward, indignant embarrassment. 1. That I am so predictable and 2. That I have a ‘Lonnie voice’ and other people notice.
Fortunately, I am a MASTER at thought replacement because of all the self-help podcasts and books I listen to.
And you can be too! I responded within 2 seconds with a giggle and a smile and, “I know I do!” Our brains are AMAZING. Within those 2 seconds, the following conversation happened inside my head.
“WOAH…. I’m having a negative emotion about that! What’s that about? Why does it bother me that she pointed that out? Oh. I know why? Because for most of my life I was a ‘tough guy’ and equated snarky and sarcastic with being cool and strong, but I’m past that now and I am trying to live my life modeling love, especially for the kids because I was such a terrible role model for them with their father. I KNOW I have a ‘Lonnie voice’ because I want him to know I love and care about him with every word I say, and because I feel happy just talking to him and it comes out in my voice! I want everyone in the world, ESPECIALLY Jessi and Sean, to have a special person who brings out a special voice in them too! So I’m gonna OWN AND ROCK THAT SHIT!!!”
One way I worked on this issue was to recognize when I was having a negative reaction to people displaying love by rolling my eyes or thinking, “OMG GET A ROOM,” or “gag me with a credit card and put me on layaway.” or the puke emoji. I decided every time I caught myself doing this, I would stop myself and replace the thought with a smile and “Aw. I love love. They look happy and the more happy people in the world, the better!” (even if I didn’t really feel that way yet as I knew I was a ‘lover of love’-in-training) The smile is important. Saying it all out loud is even better. When you accompany your thoughts with physical actions, your brain locks that shit in! With years of practice, my instant, involuntary response to people kissing, holding hands, or taking couple selfies, is now a smile and a feeling a happiness.
….and here it is. I’ve reached the practicum/field experience/internship stage of the MSW program. As of Saturday morning, I officially have no life outside of work, classes, and my practicum placement. OK; that’s dramatic and not even true. And a bad attitude. Let’s try that again. As of Saturday, I will have less free time and need to put a bit more focus into organization and time management so I can enjoy the free time I DO have! THERE! Much better! For real though… looking at my calendar makes my heart race a little. I have carefully crafted my schedule to at least have Sundays free for family time, because they are my top priority!
I’m definitely scared and worried– partially because there is still a lot up in the air, but I also know I’ve got this. Lonnie is supportive. Sean seems to have his shit together. Jessi doesn’t even live around here 😉 And I feel good about at least having Sundays reserved for them. My biggest worry is working all my new healthy habits into this new busy lifestyle. I am kicking ass and taking names and I don’t want to throw away all I have learned. And I’ve not going to. MARK MY WORDS!
Taboo subject alert: We have had several discussions about re-homing Piper over the past couple years. In fact, a few weeks ago we even began to put out feelers for amazing humans living in amazing situations with yards and kids and dogs and lakes where she could be her amazing self. Then we began to have lots of feels. …,.which to be honest, is quite uncharacteristic for me. I love dogs! BUT I am not one of those people who goes on vacation and sits around missing my dog. I do not call my dogs my children. I do not have dog birthday parties. My dogs own zero articles of clothing. And dogs are not allowed in the bed at night.
Back to Piper. She just turned 2 years old and she is an extremely intelligent dog with a lot of energy. We are a super laid-back low-energy, house. Recently, Piper has spent lots of time with her buddy, Mia. Both at our apartment and at my friend Nicole’s house–that is in the country with a nice big yard that Piper LOVED running around at top speed! Piper LOVES Mia. Mia LOVES Piper. Mia is everything Luna (our Golden Retriver) is not. Luna is an incredibly submissive and delicate flower. She has little to no interest in Pipers shenanigans. There is some playing, but mostly annoyance, and hunkering down or hiding to avoid getting TACKLED, herded, and dragged around by the collar. Not an optimal situation for either pup.
But I can’t let her go. She is 12/10 on the personality and intelligence chart and I love that shit! So we’ve made some renewed commitments to make sure both dogs are getting what they need to be happy. Lots more walks, separate (so Luna can RELAX) and together, and trips to the park run and run and run. Fortunately, both are good off-leash so on hikes and park trips, they can really go FULL SEND. I’ve also been taking the time to really train Piper to walk well on a leash to make it enjoyable for all involved and it’s WORKING! AND I spent today researching local agility training because I KNOW she will love it since she loves playground equipment so much! And we are HOPING a well-trained, well-exercised Piper will be a better friend for Luna. …Or at least be tired enough to take it down a couple notches.
And note-to-self and readers… Just because you have always wanted a German Shepherd or border collie or pug or English setter or husky or teacup poodle, etc doesn’t mean they are the right pup for your situation or that you are the right owner for theirs! Don’t ignore the widely available breed characterisric information …..like I did.
A few weeks ago my mother said, “You know, looking at you kid’s Facebooks and Instagrams and all that, no one would never even know your father was dying. It’s a little odd.” She’s right, it was a little odd, particularly for me, a lover of all things social media and self-proclaimed open book. But I didn’t know what to say, I am not a “thoughts and prayers needed” kind of girl, and I didn’t need thoughts or prayers. I was having more than enough thoughts for all of us! If my father and I had a relationship status on Facebook, it would be “it’s complicated.” Even last night when my brother called to let me know Dad had died, I had no idea how to feel and had to keep reminding myself of all the recent conversations with friends telling me there is no “right” way to react or feel, only “my way.”
Right before my dad went into the hospital, we had an argument that began with my suggesting he move up here so my brother and I could help him out more than we could bein. I pissed him off, and he wrote me off. At his request, I never visited him in the hospital or the rehab facility where he lived his last couple weeks. While it hurt and pissed me off, I understand why he did it. My father was a stoic loner. Ending his life in need of 24/7 care was humiliating. He knew he was dying, he was scared, he was horribly ill and weak, and he just wasn’t able to add dealing with emotional drama to that list. So it was easier to just ignore it…. me. And I completely understand this because he passed down to me that same ability to cut people off rather than allow them to cause me pain. That trait, given to me by my father, has been mostly blessing my entire life and I am thankful for the strength it has given me over the years.
Anger is so much easier to feel than sadness, forgiveness, or gratefulness. Given the way dad chose to end his life, compounded with the way he lived it, it would be So. Easy. to just say, “Fuck that guy!” I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t swirling around in my head a bit, but each, “fuck that guy,” is met with a good memory, a gratefulness for the traits that made me who I am today, and happiness for him that he no longer living in misery. He had a spot-on Donald Duck impression. He gave all his children passion for music and art. He loved me the best way he could, and in the best way I can, I love him right back.
This past month has been CAAAA-RAAAAZY! Jessi has come home from Richmond, for what was going to be just a visit, but ended up being a stay for some regrouping and replanning for her next adventure. I am so proud of her for getting out there and giving it a shot, but I am also proud of her for being able to accept defeat in a healthy way! Richmond, Virginia is not what we thought it was. The crime is real. The public transportation is not. One of the straws that broke the camel’s back (And there were already a whole lotta straws on that guy!) in my mind was when her coworker was carjacked at gunpoint. ONE TICKET TO BANGOR COMING RIGHT UP! Having her home has been an adjustment for sure, but since it’s 6:58 AM and I am up blogging to the music of the dishwasher, I think I am getting back on track after a couple weeks of sleeping late, eating crap, and feeling overwhelmed.
Part of the reason I haven’t blogged is because I have been so upset about the whole Trump thing, and knew that any blog post would turn into yet another rant about racism, sexism, ismism….. Which is pointless, and honestly, making me feel angry and helpless all the time. And now he’s been voted President by our archaic electoral college system. I am trying to just avoid thinking about it, so….. moving on…..
School, School, School!! Sean is doing much better, but still needs a LOT of “encouragement!” Piper just finished puppy school! Lonnie and Jessi are applying to nursing school, and I just finished up 2 more grad school classes! I am thinking about where I want to do my field experience in February and am leaning toward…. hell…. I am not really leaning toward anything yet I guess. I am dreading the whole thing, and still not sure how I intend to make it all happen….
But for NOW!! I have 2 weeks off from school and it’s my FAVORITE time of year for projects and stuff, so I am LOVING LiFE!! We have tried some new recipes. We made bath bombs. We have Alton Brown’s Aged Eggnog aging in the fridge. Lonnie is going to make a batch of beer this weekend. We made Lonnie a new website for his D&D stuff coughcoughnerdcoughcough. It’s almost time to decorate for Christmas. Black Friday!!! The new Gilmore Girls is coming out ON Black Friday!! SO. MANY. FUNS!
Today marks 1 month since Jessi flew the coop. Not-gonna-lie, that first week was ROUGH! There was a lot of crying, sulking, pouting, moping….. you get the idea. Since then, I have been ok, we text every day, and she is still including me in knowing stuff about her life. Less stuff. But stuff. This is what she needed, to get away from my influence, Maine, and whatever else, and to have a chance to figure out what she wants and who she is with no distractions.
So… during the day. I am fine. Yes, there are some songs that come on the radio or things I see that bring on that sting in the eyes…. but I recover quickly 😉 Being focused on house stuff, weekend adventures, and fitness, has been a huge help to avoid emotional eating or wallowing in my own self-pity.
The last goodbye tackle
During the day.
It’s the weirdo nighttime shit that is disconcerting. A few nights a week I have Jessi dreams where I am crying and sobbing hysterically. The other night I dreamt that she and I were driving her down to Richmond, so we stopped at the grocery store and I was buying ALL THE BAD FOOD for the road trip and sobbing as I wandered through the aisles filling my cart with Pirate’s Booty and Sour Patch Kids. . Which do I miss more? Jessi? or Junk food!? LOL
Being a mom is sadistic. You spend almost 20 years bonding and getting attached just to RIP EM OFF YA ::::insert velcro sound here:::::
The goal of these Facebook challenges is to have bettered yourself in some way by the end of the 21 days. It’s also based on the theory that it takes 21 days to make a habit. Every day you get 1 point for an exercise photo and 1 point for a healthy eating photo, and every point is an entry for a drawing and a t-shirt. I won a t-shirt last month!! WINNING!!
Last week was a break from the challenges for the holiday, but it wasn’t a break for me! Lonnie has finally jumped on board with me and we kissed sugar goodbye last Sunday. Honestly, for some reason it hasn’t even been that hard. And it is AMAZING the changes that happen so quickly when junk food and sugar aren’t in my system…
I feel thinner and lighter within a couple days.
My mental clarity and focus improve right away. Which was AWESOME because it allowed me to get COMPLETELY caught up in my coursework. Having that hanging over my head was really bothering me.
I actually FEEL LIKE exercising, so it’s not forced and annoying.
ENERGY— I HAS IT! We have made LOTS of progress around the house the past few days. LOTS of dump trips, sorting, AND we redid Sean’s room for him (He wanted to move into Jessi’s room) and it looks AWESOME!!
Having this to focus on has helped with the transition of Jessi moving away. Speaking of Jessi; she seems to be doing GREAT down in Richmond. It’s clear to me now that a big part of this move was to gain some independence from me, so while it’s weird and a little sad for me to not know her every move and feeling and not talk to her as much as I used to. It’s awesome that she is strong enough to take this step for herself! Whoa…. typing that brought on the tears a little. I thought I was done with those!! DAMNIT!!
Off to pick up Sean who is doing his Monday jog up at the “track.” (air quotes because this is Winterport and the term track is very. VERY. loose. It’s really just a worn down path around a soccer field.)