Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Baby, baby...

Twenty years ago today I became a new mother. I was 25 years old, 2000 miles from home, and very insecure.

Today - Kelsey turned 20 and I am 45, at home, and at least a bit less insecure!

I can remember the day she was born as if it was today. I don't know why that is, because it seems I can't even remember what I had for breakfast on most days!

It was a sweet day, full of promise and mystery. The only thing I knew for certain was that things probably wouldn't turn out the way I dreamt they would that day I first held my little baby girl. But, that's ok. Life with Kelsey is a wild ride and I'm glad I'm still around to experience it!

Happy birthday little baby!

Love mom

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Yep. Been too busy to blog. Yep. Crazy time of year. But...had to share this. I was making a special lunch for my team, one of the dishes is my "world famous" lasagna. I cooked up a huge batch of homemade spaghetti sauce, and as we do so often in the cold months, I put it outside in the covered porch to store until the next day when I would assemble the lasagna. But, I wasn't thinking this time because I put the hot pot on our glass patio table...which no longer exists...because...yes...HOT + COLD do not mix! Within a minute we heard a HUGE CRASH. I went and looked, and sure enough, it looked as though someone had been murdered on our porch:

Happy Holidays everyone! Much love to you all...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Meaning of Trolls...

Today is my brother's 50th birthday. I am not allowed to celebrate with him, instead today I mourn the loss of this relationship. Everyone has their life stories and life challenges, this challenge in my life story has very much shaped who I am today.

All I ever wanted as a kid, and even as an adult was his love and acceptance. So much of what I did as a younger person revolved around this desire. But the reality of our relationship never turned out to be what I wanted it to be.

I recently reunited with a childhood friend of mine. In preparing for the party, she told her mother that I and my parents would be coming, but not my brother because of a fractured relationship about which she didn't know the details. She told me that her mother's immediate response was how she understood because she thought he was "mean" to me when we were children. Wow, did that hit me like a ton of bricks!

You see, I've never really had any outside validation of the pain I felt due to his behavior, especially not from my parents. They wouldn't acknowledge it, even though I know they saw it. But they were in an impossible position, and I don't fault them for their decisions. When my friend shared this revelation with me, however, I began to cry. In a way, it was like receiving the affirmation I have always desired from my parents.

Now, lest you think I am heaping all the blame on my brother, stop there because I am not. As children, we were both forced into situations that neither of us were equipped to deal with. The love that naturally grows between siblings never had a chance in hell of survival. But once we were adults I thought there was hope. But I made mistakes, and he made mistakes. I tried on several occasions to make amends for my part, hoping he would acknowledge his mistakes as well, but that never came to pass. I was appalled at the way he would twist things, and how mean and hurtful a person he was even as an adult - but truth be told, I hold his wife responsible for much of that behavior.

I fear he is not the type of person who reflects on their actions or does any soul searching, and I am fairly confident that he would be most uncomfortable with admitting any of his mistakes. Based on his past behavior I can also say with confidence that he would never listen to me respectfully or make any attempt to work out our relationship. I sincerely hope that changes some day because I still love him with all my soul.

So, that is the very short version of why I have no relationship with him. But, on today, his 50th birthday, I feel I need to recognize it because this challenge in my life has deeply shaped the way I view my personal relationships. This struggle helped me to learn the value of "family" - or those we choose to care about as family. This struggle has helped me learn to treat all my close relationships with the utmost care and respect. This struggle taught me that when my life is over, all that will matter are those relationships, not how much wealth or junk I have accumulated.

So, why the troll? My brother had a troll collection as a kid that I envied (and that I'm sure I disrespected by playing with without permission). A few years ago we were in a phase where we were still talking, but it was tenuous. On December 10th that year, I was stranded in Copenhagen on my way to Barcelona. I went to the Tivoli market and they had all these wonderful trolls. I bought this little one to give to my brother for his birthday when I got back. However, when I got back the nastiest and most heart-breaking set of events occurred that destroyed any possibility of a relationship - again his wife was at the center of it!

I have not spoken to him since that time. I kept the troll as a reminder of the fragility of our personal relationships, and as a reminder that every relationship is two sided and both parties must be vested in the desire to have a relationship. But it is also a reminder to me that you must have love as the base. I fear I have never truly had his love or acceptance. I have always loved him, and I'm sure that's why I lament this passing of such a monumental birthday and the fact that I can't be a part of it. I also know that if I were called upon to donate a kidney to him, I would be there without question. That's unconditional love, and if he were willing I would be happy to try and work out our differences.

Instead, this little troll reminds me of all the people that I have in my life that do love and accept me, and it reminds me to treat those relationships with the utmost care and love that a person could. I am so fortunate to have so many friends, some of whom have helped to fill this void in my life. Mike and Steve, Tim and Russ, Jon, Jodi, Ahna, Jackie, Bill, mom & dad, my girls, my husband. You all give so much of yourself to me, and I only hope I return it in kind. Thank you for being my family!

May the power of the troll be with you!