Sums up perfectly a day in my grooming life. Bichon on the table, coffee behind me, a wee Weiner between my feet, music on just one ear.
Most of you know my little dog, Bella the bichon, about 11 pounds of marshmallow fluff, doesn’t make a sound, not an aggressive bone in her body. Would not hurt anything or anybody.
We were taking a short walk on this beautiful calm evening, enjoying the fresh layer of white that covered all the dirt from the roads today, just enjoying the silence a quiet snowfall produces. In the corner of my eye I saw a small woman walking, or rather being led by, a very large long haired German Shepherd. One of my favourite breeds. We groom several at the shop.
This boy though had very little training and a very sad excuse for an owner. I am sorry to write this, but please, if you decide on a breed and discover that it is likely to outweigh you by at least 20 pounds, commit to training it from the beginning. The dog pulled it’s owner, barking furiously, closer and closer, until she fell on her bottom in the snow, all the while just saying the dogs name over and over, no command, no objective. What she thought was disciplinary was in fact praise for the dog. She said his name, over and over while he barked at and pursued me and my little dog down with intensity.
He didn’t know though, that although he could do serious damage to my dog or myself if he bite either, I wasn’t afraid of him, at least not on the outside. I took one step forward, stomped my foot in the snow, growled ‘Leave it!’, with my arm outstretched before me. The dog looked me in the eyes and backed down, all the while his owner is saying sorry, sorry. He still barked, but no longer pulled his owner, the leash now gone slack, and his place in the world a little more defined. I am no stranger to bullies, and I won’t back down. Bella? Well, I don’t even think she noticed. She just stopped sniffing the snow, with complete trust in me to protect her, just stood there, looked up at me when I growled leave it at the other dog. We continued on our way, the rest of the walk uneventful.
I walk along this path two or three times a day and most of the time I am given a present. It reminds me to be present. This other world view within my present view. It’s a puddle, but it is more, a mirror, a window, another time and space. Life is complicated and joy is elusive. What if I could step into that reflection, into that more perfectly defined world, into that blue sky that is more easily reached than the one above me. That’s what is remarkable, just how close the sky is to me in that moment. Today, the window has closed and all that remains is a water stain, a remembrance of opportunity passed by.
This is the morning light today. I woke early, tired and drained from a vicious nightmare. I keep looking for hope. everything this morning was touched with frost in the shadows and warmed with golden light. I don’t know what to do anymore. I am lost and floating and seek grounding. I constantly try to find my place in this world and help my family find theirs as well.
On Friday, I was a wreck. As the winds howled and the snow piled up, I paced to keep up. I failed at being the patient one, the composed one, the anchor. And when the power went out, I couldn’t slow my heart beat down.
This is new. Quite possibly I was having a panic attack. It subsided soon after the power came back on and every time it flicked, my heart jumped too.
We, however, are the fortunate ones. We did not lose power for more than a few minutes. We have food, we have propane. We are extremely low on oil as in the register is sitting on the bottom, below zero. I thought I had prepared. I called ahead for oil, well ahead of the storm, but was told Saturday or Sunday at the earliest. It is now Sunday and we are still under a state of emergency, which means all businesses are closed. And even those that might be open are not able to deliver. Most roads remain unplowed, or with one small cut, enough to allow a fire truck access or an ambulance.
The dog is still going to the back door to be let out. It is buried, but she doesn’t understand. Our front door was gusted clear of most snow so that is what we are doing now. I couldn’t let her out in the yard anyway, the snow has erased all defining boundaries between yards and neighbours.
While outside, in the frigid temps, -14 and -21 windchill, her little paws were freezing, but she had to go. I wouldn’t care if she peed inside, but she just wouldn’t, couldn’t. She is such a good dog.
I saw the sun rise this morning. Watched the snow turn that unreal shade of baby pink, the blue sky highlighted with just a few clouds of orange and pick and deep purple to the north. As I was standing there, I realized there was no sound, at all. No truck roar from the highway, no plow sounds, no engines, no voices. Even the gull that passed overhead was silent, it’s white belly catching all the shades of pink and orange from the rising sun. I don’t recall ever noticing such silence. It was quieter than my house, even though all were still sleeping. I posted about it and the feedback from others was amazing, some thanking me for the reminder and the positivity, others sharing their experiences with photos and words.
I am finally feeling the anxiety recede somewhat, although we are running low on some staples and it may be some time before stores are open and stocked and roads are drivable. They are calling for more snow this evening. It is what it is.
A new year. I really don’t know what this year is going to bring, but I feel if I don’t at least make a plan, the universe will decide on one for me and it most likely will not be one I would have ever picked for myself. This year I would like to maintain more control over my limited area of the world. More control over myself in particular.
It’s been a rough year. I look forward to January 1st, 2021 when I can say it has been one of the best years of my life so far. One of the best years of my kids lives, one of the best years of my marriage.
I have some big ideas and I really want to not get discouraged in completing them. House organization, debt repayment, savings goals and vacations are all on the list. I plan to share some of my journey and in encouraging others maybe I may be encouraged myself.
Everything is covered in snow, early this year. We had a white Christmas and it was very quiet. Much needed. A lot of the traditions fell away from us as we stayed quieter to help Ben through. Snow covers everything, but you cannot forget that they are there because in the spring melt, there will be disaster otherwise. I hope to keep things as cool and crisp and clean as the snow. I bought an orchid and two cacti and my mother gave me a Christmas cactus. One goal is to keep some plants alive for one year.
It’s a word everyone hears on a daily basis. Be mindful. It is increasingly difficult to still our minds amidst the constant bombardment of information and daily stressors. When the kids started public school in September, I started a daily routine. Walk the dog. Twice a day, three if time allows. It isn’t a long walk, about 10 minutes, 1500 steps. I take the same route, varying slightly, walking longer, if the weather is really nice. I take pictures. This little change in my life, this constant routine everyday, is allowing me to notice things, to become more mindful.
I look up and through and it makes my heart glad.
I look deep and contemplate.
I look within, to the tiny details I had been missing.
It is helping. I feel more aware of constant change happening around me, yet more at peace with it. I look forward to these walks, especially the first one of the day. The light has the power to change everything, to change me. I remember to breathe.
There are times when everything functions just as it should, or so I’ve been told. Right now things are not. We are hitting the reset button, starting over, again. And I guess it is something that we will need to continue to do throughout the rest of our lives. We don’t have an ordinary family. It is extraordinary, different, complex. We have mental and physical issues that are present every single day and detour our plans so frequently that making plans seems pointless. But we do it anyway. We restart. Scrap the last one, grab a fresh new piece of paper and plan again. I’m not going to lie, I am exhausted. In every way. And yet, each and everyday I get up and begin again.
I used to pray, I used to go to church, I used to cry out to God. It became apparent that something else had to be done. The constant disappointment of not being rescued from my situation discouraged the remaining tendrils of faith I had left. They evaporated. Is He there? I don’t know anymore. I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that He is both there and not there at the same time. I can’t completely let go, nor can I fall headlong into full submission to faith. I’m in limbo.
I’m still looking for Him, for myself as well. I am reminded of the crush I had on a boy that lasted for years. Towards the end, all I wanted was the opportunity to say no. Because I was hurt. I knew that he knew I liked him, but he wouldn’t act on it, so I hung in limbo for a very long time. Eventually I stopped caring altogether, moved on with my life, my feelings, other relationships.
My son pushes me to question everything. I am supposed to be his teacher and yet, he teaches me. My daughter too. We tried to place our children in public school this year and while it is working well for my daughter, it is not for my son. In fact it set him back. Between his ASD, Anxiety, OCD, ODD, ADHD, and his extremely high intellect, well, it’s over. Done. I cannot send him back there. Today we have to discuss with his teachers what options he has. I believe the only option once again is homeschooling, or rather a closer approximation to unschooling is necessary. I am tired and I want to run away from these issues. I don’t have any fight left in me.
Everyday I walk, first thing in the morning, sometimes midday, last thing at night. It’s for the dog. But it is also for me. I notice things on my walk, I hear things, see things, feel things. It allows me time to process, it allows me time with no one else in my head, no other voices. These are things I notice, time slipping by, imperceptible changes that are revealed all at once, is there this much pain in others homes, I think as I walk by their back yards. Is it only mine?
One thing we cannot control is the weather, however we can control how we perceive it, accept it, enjoy it. This is a very blustery and cold morning. But the sun peeks out, we can see glimpses of deep September blue in between the massive billowing clouds. The wind surges and drops, swirls leaves up and then disregards them. There are moments of stillness.
I wore my winter coat on top of layers, I do not like to be cold. My purple wool hat, my hair in a messy ponytail. My daughters bus didn’t show up this morning, so my plans for the first hours of the day were disrupted. We were in a holding pattern, waiting for something that never showed up, never happened and it cost us time and peace. We took action instead. Hauled on clothes instead of pajama pants, she donned an extra hoodie, decisions we were thankful for as once we arrived at her school the doors were locked. We stood outside, shivering, waiting again for something we didn’t know would happen. Finally, someone answered the phone, someone unlocked the door, profuse apologies that didn’t warm our cold bodies.
Days like this can prepare us for the unexpected. The last paragraph I wrote was deleted. I thought I had written something profound. Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe no one is ready to hear what I had to say. Maybe I am not. I cannot remember what it was, even though I penned it not five minutes ago. This is a day of unexpected changes. It is in the air and in my heart.
Two days ago, I was so high on life. All the way up. Yesterday I crashed to a very low, low. Today, I feel more balanced, in between. I would love for that high to last every day. The things I could achieve! But the crash negates it as I wasn’t able to accomplish much of anything yesterday. Why do we feel this driven need to accomplish, make change, take effect on the world around us. Or is that just me?
My daughter is at school, Junior High and I am worried, anxious and happy, peaceful all at the same time. What a wash of emotions or is it hormones! But the one thing I do not feel this year, won’t even allow myself to go down that road, is guilty. I have hushed all the voices in my life and in my head until I could think clearly. The result is that Molly is in public school and our homeschool journey is at the very least on pause for the year. Maybe I won’t hit play again. And that is okay. But whatever she needs, whatever I need to move through this very challenging thing called life, we will do together and make decisions that work best for our family, regardless of the incessant chatter of everyone outside the walls of our home.
On my walk this morning, I stopped just after the bridge. The sun was still low in the sky. The light through the leaves was dappled, shining through some leaves and in between others. It’s the through that got to me. Revealing the true beauty within each leaf, each frayed piece of birch bark. Leaves are green, but they aren’t. They are so many shades within different types and so many shades within each type. Reminds me of my favourite crayola crayon, the green/yellow and in second place the yellow/green. I stood there, breathed deep and realized I felt peace. And it was profound. Because I have been anguished these past few years, and desperate, and depressed. Somehow I have risen above it and can finally look up and through. And see the things beyond the surface that I just couldn’t see for the longest time. I feel hope. This is September for me.
September has always, always been my favourite month. It hauls me out of complacency with it’s need for schedules, cleanliness, order. This year is no different. Except, everything is different. My life in the past five years has shot off in so many different directions, my head is still whirling trying to keep up and find that sweet horizon, that sense of stability. My children, 15 and almost 13, are starting public school and I think it may be for good. It is leaving a vast void in my heart, in my day. I am grieving. Going through the stages. And I am almost at acceptance. Reclaiming my self in the process. It is a feeling of freefalling.