She was Human

Mom

Woman. Mother. Wife. Sister. Daughter. Grandmother. And if you’re one of the lucky ones; BFF.

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All descriptive words relating to the female that typically dominates our lives. Influences us by example. Teaches us. Her role differs from family to family depending on a variety of circumstances.

Historically, mom’s are remembered as the one who changed our diapers, kissed our boo boos, coddled us closely in their lap, gently rocked us to sleep. She would place a cool rag on our forehead when we didn’t feel good. Awake us from a bad dream with the warmth of her assuring touch. She lifts us up when the world has rejected us. She teaches us about faith. She is usually the one who encouraged us to follow our dreams. Find our passions.

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She will do without to ensure her child has what is needed & more often than not, what is wanted.

She will work tirelessly to make ends meet.

She will cry alone in the dark.

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She will clothe you, feed you and comfort you until she can no longer.

She is also the voice of reason. Discipline. Correction. She re-enforces values, teaches responsibility, keeps traditions of the past while creating her own for the future. She turns a structure of brick & mortar (or tin in my case) into a warm comforting secure place we fondly label as home.

She is the lighthouse beacon that shines thru our darkest days leading us back to safety when we stray.

A mothers love is unconditional and knows no limits although they themselves are indeed limited.heart-1896089_960_720

She was determined. Fierce. Independent. She was strong. She had an enormous amount of compassion. And she never met a stranger.

She was a nurturer. She was a giver. She was a survivor.

She was private. She was a screamer. She was disabled. She was self-educated on most fronts. She was opinionated. She was lonely. She was a force to be reckoned with under the right circumstances. She was a fighter.

My mom had been put up for adoption at birth. She lived a traumatic life with her adoptive mother who was abusive and an alcoholic. She had been physically abused by her adoptive mothers’ frequent suitors.  She was subjected to the worst of the worst and had no one to turn to for help. She was alone on the streets as a young teenager. She only had a ninth grade education and provided for herself by waitressing until she met and married my dad.

If you’re a follower of my writings, then you know my mom has passed. We had a relationship full of turmoil. History between us was filled with anger and resentment. We both longed to be closer; we wanted what we witness in other mother-daughter relationships but it just never happened for us. We were different. Our relationship was strained to put it mildly.

However, no matter where I was, no matter how ugly our encounters could become, she never walked away. She never gave up and she always welcomed me with open arms. (And on occasion, she chased me with those open arms too!)

During our final walk, I chose to hold her hand instead of pull away. I chose to embrace her instead of turning my back.

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I chose to walk this walk with her because of all things my mother was or was not

She was human!

She was perfectly imperfect. And in that I am grateful because I too am perfectly imperfect.

Just as with my dad, I look back on my walk with her & can smile. Prior to her passing, just about two months before, I experienced MY perfect day. A day without resentment. A day without anger. Without jabs. A day of forgiveness and healing. And a lifetime of love.

One single day I will forever treasure & fondly recall upon until we see each other again.

So let me ask you… Have you reached out to whom you call mom lately? Do you harbor resentment from the past as I did? I urge you to reconcile those differences. If your mom is like mine was, no matter what has transpired — she’s waiting for you.

She will continue to wait until she can wait no longer & takes her final breath.

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Til Next Time ~

Domesticated Rebellion

 

Empower the Children

Lebana's Journal

Verse 1

Are you visionless?

Have you not seen your children begging?

Are you deafened?

Have you not heard your children crying?

Are you voiceless?

Have you not spoken those words of healing?

Verse 2

Stop, look, and listen!

They need you more than anything!

Stand and do your part!

Before everything turns to nothing!

Pre-Chorus:

They need you, they need you!

Chorus 1:

Empower the children of the world.

Provide their basic needs and support.

Set healthy structures and relationships.

Develop consistencies and strategies.

Oh….Oh…Oh….Oh…..Oh……Oh…….

Chorus 2

Empower the children of the world.

Show them your love and concern.

Lead them to the path of their dreams.

Help them become the best of what they can be.

Verse 3

Family size, availability, and maturity.

These things should be observed in building a family.

You can create a lovely and joyful home.

If you will only live up to your…

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Smooshed Sandwich

My bologna has a first name, it’s OSCAR.  My bologna has a second name it’s MAYER.

(Anyone else singing the jingle now? Ah, haha, You’re Welcome!)

Today sandwich, specifically a ‘smooshed sandwich’ is my metaphor. I’m using it in reference to the inevitable feeling that comes with being pushed (or pulled) in two different directions. Simultaneously. An internal tug-of-war! If continued long enough, the struggle can leave one feeling SMOOSHED inside, much like a sandwich… 

…and you’re the bologna!

I felt this way when I recognized life was officially welcoming me into the Sandwich generation! Typically, the sandwich generation refers to adults who have littles AND also care for their aging parents. The hubs & myself were formally introduced to this life back in 2009 when his father was diagnosed with ALS. Our littles were ‘just’ grown & a few months earlier we had graduated to the grand roles of Mimi & Papa.

It seemed like it wasn’t that long after his dad moved in that my dad had his event. Incapacitated over night in 2011. It was necessary for him to go to a veteran’s center for 24 hour care. With him not being in the home, my care-taker roll was immediate. See, they were married for 54 years! Just four months after his dementia diagnosis, mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer. To me, I believe in my heart they both were sick long before anyone knew. They compensated one another much more than realized and when he wasn’t there, she started declining rapidly. The four months prior to her diagnosis was absolutely crazy for me. I was already stressed to the max with a company buy out and my dad. Always something at the house.

And now mom. I was being push/pulled in so many different directions. SMOOSHED!

Mom was totally dependant on him. Except attitude. completely independent on that front! lol… The new role of caretaker for my own mother was Over The Top and totally different. Completely consuming. My life as I knew it was on the back burner. Focus was her now.

Everyone has felt that emotional tug of being one place but wanting to be elsewhere. Being needed in multiple places at the same time. Wanting to do everything with everyone, so no one misses out, no feelings are hurt. Let me assure you, that doesn’t work, at least not for long and it didn’t work for me AT ALL.

When you’re a caretaker, the emotional and physical toll is brutal. Constantly wondering if you’re doing enough. If you’re doing all you can. Did you forget anything? When a person your caring for suffers from Alzheimer  or dementia, its gruelling on multiple levels.

My mom had always called the shots in our home. She was accustomed to her way, her time, her being in charge and let me tell you what – all hell broke loose every single time one of the young CNA’s tried to get her to do something she didn’t want to! Every Single Day!

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Eventually, everything I was doing during the course of my days (and sometimes nights) surrounded the needs of my mother. I bathed her. Helped her eat. Changed her, her clothes, bedding – ensured she was taking her medicine, sat and listened to the same stories over and over and watched television. All while she was a resident at a nursing home. (I don’t know if your familiar with nursing homes but in my experience, they SUCK.  I’ll save the bitch fest on that point for another writing though.) 

I thought I could handle anything & everything during this walk with her. I was wrong. I thought I could do it alone.  I was way wrong.

I found myself walking away from family and friends in order to satisfy myself that my mom was being properly cared for. But In trying to do it all, the overwhelming feeling of being smooshed set in. In the words of my doc “One must take care of themself before taking care of someone else, especially someone with a debilitating disease, otherwise you both lose“. He also informed me he had lost caregivers before the death of the one they were caring for. I believe that. My journey depleted me. I found myself in the deepest darkest places during and after our walk together had ended.

It’s taken over a year for me to find myself again and crawl out of the pit I was in. Thank God for my faith. My hubs and kids. For my grands. And for online groups with people from everywhere to help. Keeping a sense of humor also helps.

So I ask: Are you smooshed? Are you caring for someone and don’t have anyone to help or have help but they suck? (aka nursing home)

This is my personal message to all you caretakers. If you care for a disabled parent or spouse or child, I urge you to seek out assistance. Support Groups are available. There are a ton of online communities with other care givers who share their insights, their struggle, what worked for them and what doesn’t. No one really understands the devastation you experience on a daily basis unless they are/have walked the same pathway.

I worried no one would understand MY walk. I worried I would be judged because I was angry. I worried I wasn’t doing enough or I was doing it wrong because SHE was angry. But I learned thru online support I was normal. What I felt was natural. And my thoughts were not just my thoughts; they were thoughts and feelings of others who shared the same walk long before me and my mom.

Don’t go through your walk feeling smooshed. There is help. And btw, if no one has told you – You Rock!

Til Next Time~

Domesticated Rebellion

 

 

 

 

People Watching; learning from strangers

I absolutely LOVE watching other people. Do you? People watching has been a life long addiction. To see others’ in action without them knowing is/can be very insightful as to who they are as a person and sometimes, can reflect characteristics you want in yourself, how you want the world to see you too. It can also be an eye opener! Reflecting similarities of your own personality that you would rather not have as a part of your biological marker. Watching can demonstrate how another lives. What’s important to them. People watching to me is just fascinating.

Maybe your thinking this is on the Creepy? Perhaps; that is if I were an actual stalker. See, I don’t set out to watch. It just happens. At a restaurant, doctors office, grocery shopping, church. Something catches my eye (or my ear) and I can’t stop myself from being intrigued on a more personal level.

I watch interactions. Couples. Kids. Fellow employees. Waitresses. What catches my eye? Sometimes, it’s how someone handles a stressful situation. Or, how they speak to others but primarily, I notice HOW they make others feel. On occasion, I have witnessed something shocking only to have it resonate a feeling of dread, because I privately acknowledge I could be that person given the right instance.

Why do I love to watch people? Because I learn from them. I identify with them on some level. Has this happened to you? Do you find yourself drawn to a situation or person for reasons unknown? Read on…

A few yester-years, while waiting on the hubs, I heard a young mom with littles trailing behind her. I watch as she attempts to keep them around her. I see her roll her eyes to the ongoing demands that come with motherhood in public. (Haven’t we all been there?) I spy each of her followers out of the corner of my eye. I wonder how does she handle the wild one? What is she saying to the youngest one that demands one on one NOW? I see the mischievous one who disappears within the racks of cloths in various store fronts and anticipate how she’ll handle her moment of frantic searching when she notices he has slipped from view. Will she yell? Panic? No… She was prepared. She speaks a coined phrase and just like that, the eldest little responds then emerges from his hiding spot. And on their merry way they go.

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I muse over these things for a moment, recalling my own “Marco Polo” games in Wal-Mart when my littles would divide and try to conquer. I see my younger self in her. I smile at her. She smiles back, removes the fallen hair from her face as she gathers each little and moves on. I identified with her. Motherhood was our unspoken but yet spoken connection.

Commonality connects the universe. We all come into this world the same way. Other than traditions, or social status, or heritage, we are all the same, but yet different.

What I find most intriguing in my people watch is a calm collective coolness in the midst of confrontation. One who can smile while saying ‘kiss my ass’ in an even tone & without becoming red-faced. One who doesn’t unravel, much like I, in the midst of ‘a moment’. I admire strength and confidence. I admire honesty and humility. I admire REAL.

Identifying doesn’t mean being the same. Its simply recognition. I have learned about myself by watching others. I see qualities that inspire me and I want those to be a part of who I am. I want others to see ‘that’ in me. I will ask myself “Can I mimic them and still be genuine? My response is usually yes. Usually it’s just a change in attitude. A new perspective in place that will allow me to ‘be like them’ in certain situations but maintain the uniqueness of me. Sometimes, we don’t realize who we are and we look to others as a mirror. Wanting to see ourself the same as we noticed or felt in a stranger.

Are they role models? Isn’t everyone to some degree? Rather knowing or unknowingly, someone is always watching. And I can honestly say I feel like I am a better person by trying to incorporate some others’ attitude toward life, toward mishaps, toward failures into my own outward qualities. They are life lessons learned thru observation instead of trial and error and heartache.

We expect children to mimic us. And we witness teenagers trying to mold themselves into what they perceive their peers to be like. Why would the action of wanting to be better stop with adolescence? I don’t think it does. For me, I learn from my interaction with pretty much everyone. My mimicking another is of the utmost respect and adoration. It’s my acknowledgement that there is always room for improvement in who I am. It doesn’t mean one isn’t confident or is insecure but instead it is the all-powerful knowing that you never stop learning about yourself. Personal growth is a life long endeavor.

Do you admire the actions of someone? Who inspires you to be a better person? Is there another person who you look up to? What have you learned from strangers that made you a better person?

And for the record, I AM a stalker. I am an avid blog stalker.

Til Next Time ~

Domesticated Rebellion

 

No Regrets; creating a better Hindsight!

I was thirteen years old when he had a heart attack. He was lying in the small circular patch of grass that divided the two roads in our neighborhood. No one knew what to do, except me. Everyone just stood around. Or maybe there wasn’t anyone. Maybe it was just me standing there. And now I had a choice. A choice that would change the course of my life in a direction I never anticipated. I could let him die or I could start CPR.

While waiting on the paramedics, I started performing CPR on my father.  I’m sure it was only for a few minutes, but it felt like forever until someone more experienced arrived on the scene and took over. He was breathing they confirmed. His heart was beating irregularly but nonetheless, beating. The man in uniform looped a tube around his head placing a mask over my fathers mouth and nose, rolled him onto a stretcher and transported him to the local VA.

There, people were telling me I probably saved his life. He would be so proud of me. I should be proud of myself. But that isn’t how I felt. I wasn’t proud. I was angry. A deep rooted resentment that surfaced after making the choice to save him.

I have written about time. How fleeting it is. How our tomorrows become yesterday before we even realize it & what we do today will affect us in one way or another tomorrow. Which tomorrow you might wonder? I can’t say, nor can anyone predict.

My tomorrow came years and years later.

I was sitting in the lawyers office with my mother. His secretary showed us into a large conference room and asked if we wanted anything to drink. He would be with us shortly she stated. The room was quiet. My mother sat on one side and my eldest son on the other. A few minutes later a folder of documents was placed before me. The first document was a durable power of attorney naming my mother to make decisions on his behalf. That was normal. Then I read the next paragraph…. in the event she was not able or unwilling… I turned the page and read my name.  Oh Hell No! Me? ME.

My heart started racing. Why me? What the hell was he thinking? I could name a dozen reasons why I, of all people, should not be the one to care for him. I should not make choices on his behalf. My youthful anger that had long ago subsided to a low simmer was now raging at full boil. I had dealt with ‘our’ life. Or so I thought.

The next 6 months proved to be heart wrenching. I witnessed the dominant influence in my life succumb to dementia. I witnessed his struggle in trying to understand what was happening to him. I watched the confusion in his eyes flicker between thankfulness to concern, sometimes convinced I was lying to him about events.

He was never mean to me nor was he ever violent. Because of those two realizations, I found myself fighting FOR him. Struggling to grasp my responsibilities versus my own emotions. Selfish emotions. But emotions I was entitled to feel and no one blamed me. I watched as he returned to a child-like state of mind. But before he regressed, he became my dad.

The day after Mothers day 2012 he had another heart attack. As I look back, I have zero regrets in my acceptance of responsibilities to be his voice. I did not use the powers granted to get back at him. Instead, I used it to love him. To love him again as I once did – innocently.

Sometimes life just doesn’t make sense. Sometimes things happen that we are not in control over and how we respond today determines our fate tomorrow. If you do not already, I encourage you to review your angle on life. Your next steps. Do you consider your tomorrows? Do you ponder what the future holds? I can honestly say I did and because I did, I look at yesterday and can genuinely smile.

I hope each of you gain what I consider now as my ‘gift’. To be able to look ahead just enough to ensure when you look back, you too can genuinely smile.

Til next time~

Domesticated Rebellion

 

 

 

 

Comfort at its finest!

Simple. Delicious. And only 5 ingredients. #yum

This is my remake of Sunny’s 5 ingredient Spicy Sausage Carbonara. (Food Networks ‘The Kitchen’)

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/sunny-anderson/sunnys-5-ingredient-spicy-sausage-carbonara-3438247

I discovered “carbonara” is simply a description of an Italian dish from Rome made with pasta, eggs, meat and hard type cheese (I 💗 parm).

And… You can use your favorite pasta and meat to switch it up as your own. This was a super hit at our place!

Enjoy!

Til next time~

Domesticated Rebellion

Totally relatable with very good advice.

‘Everything has changed, & yet I am more me than I have ever been’ I saw this quote recently on Instagram and instantly connected with it…who knew it would become my inspiration for my first blog post… Now bear with me, I did go on a bit of a keyboard rampage with this entry, so […]

via Everything has changed & yet, I am more me than i’ve ever been. — She Is Jesica with one S.