Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Prefix used with the meaning "again"


The past three months of my life have been full of a prefix used with the meaning "again." As we muddle through to find our new path, POSSLQ and I have run across an abundance of verbs we need to do again. And again and again.  We've come so very far in a very short time, but we have a lot of travelling yet to do.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Harvest

Having a garden is always a learning experience for me. It seems there is always an applicable life lesson in getting my hands dirty. This year, I had a lot of work to do before I could plant. We moved the garden space, so it had to be tilled and tilled and tilled again. It was hard, boring, painful work. Then, I fertilized by incorporating chicken compost into the soil. Load after load, I scooped compost out of the chicken run and into the wheelbarrow, then spread it on the garden. The planting was the easy part, though planning how to fit everything in was a bit of a challenge. Now, for the past few months, we've just been watching it grow. A healthy growing garden takes little work, except encouraging the growth in the direction you want (like, not sprawling all over the yard). The harvest came early and full force - first zucchini, then cucumbers. Now our tomatoes are glowing red all over the vine, and the popcorn is starting to dry on the stalk. Pumpkins are in various stages of growth, a few yellow and full sized, a few very young and dark green. It looks like our harvest will be bountiful, and extended - we have squash plants that are just now starting to flower.
We've got cucumbers everywhere - it's time for pickles!

18 cups of shredded zucchini, ready to be added to breads and muffins throughout the year!

My first tomato. There's many more coming ripe now.

Pumpkins. Pumpkin pie is one of my favorite things, so I'm glad
to be able to make it from my garden this year.

Winter squash. I've never grown (or cooked) it, but I had the seed, so I wanted to try. 

Like our garden, our relationship has taken a lot of work this year. We are re-building from the ground up. It's tilling, and more tilling, and fertilizing, weeding, planting, watering. Hours have been spent pruning away the dead branches, encouraging the new growth. We still have a way to go, but the fruit is starting to show, and the harvest will be sweet, bountiful, and extended.

An old, old picture, but one of my favorites of us. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Crazy Crazy Crazy

Sometimes, a realization comes crashing in on me. It's fast and obvious, and all the evidence supports it.

Sometimes, a truth is slow to reveal itself to me. I suspect it, but can't be certain. Then, over time, the evidence just keeps piling up, and there's no way around it.

Every now and then in life you come across a person who is truly crazy. A person whose definitions are so warped and whose experiences are so colored by their desires that the truth is barely there, barely visible under all the delusion.

It's not lies. No, no. That's a talent of a different sort. This is the ability to paint a picture that looks very true to the painter. But those observing, those who have enough of the facts to make an assessment, can hardly see the facts under the paint.

It's an emotional defense mechanism. When you've been severely emotionally wounded, it only makes sense that your psyche would rearrange the facts to aid your healing.

And that's the thing about truth. As I've said before, it's not set in stone. Each person's truth is a little different (and sometimes drastically different). And in the end, does it really matter, as long as you learn and grow from your truth?


POSSLQ and I are exactly two months into our new journey. It's been nine weeks since our lives were turned upside down, our relationship tested, our love pushed to the breaking point. We had tough choices to make, and night after night of challenging, heartbreaking discussion. It was hard, but we were both committed to the changes we need to make. There were days when it seemed like we would never be above water again. There were days when it seemed like we just couldn't get on the same page. But there was never a day when it seemed easier to give up.

Suddenly, a few days before he went out of town, things started to look up. The black cloud that was polluting our relationship rolled back as we both started to heal, as understanding and forgiveness started to overtake hurt and confusion. Love was always there, but it was now beginning to rise above the pain. Things were looking up.

Then, POSSLQ got on that bus. The first few days were tough but not impossible. Then, after a week of separation, my mind started to get dark again. I was getting drawn into the things that made forgiveness hard, the facts that made the hurt feel impossible to escape. And when I expressed those feelings to Chris, he responded in truly heroic fashion. He turned my focus around in just a few hours. As I said in Feeling So Loved, he began to shower me with little messages, and changed the topic of our conversation away from the mundane day-to-day. We started talking about our relationship and our future, our hopes for ourselves and each other, our dreams for our family. We concentrated on how to reconnect and strengthen our relationship, and had many revelations about how to prevent a relapse of the disconnect we've felt for so many years.

When I finally picked him up after his adventure, I couldn't believe how close we felt, even though we'd been apart for two weeks. We are in tune in a way we haven't been in years. He is a person who I thought was lost. I thought the fun-loving, silly, sweet side of him had been lost forever, but the truth is, he was buried under years of poor communication, lack of connection, and the burdens of a routine you feel like you can't escape. The past few days have been a blast. We have rediscovered a facet of our relationship that we haven't seen in years. We can sit on the couch and just be, and actually feel connected. We can talk for hours and not run out of things to say. We feel young again, and energized, and happy.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Big Latch On

The Big Latch On is a special event that began in 2010 in Portland, Oregon, and went nationwide in 2011. It is an opportunity for nursing mothers to come together in love and support. It's an opportunity for future mothers to learn about breastfeeding. It's an opportunity for women to share their successes, and talk about their challenges.

Eamon and I have been very privileged to participate every year. When E was seven months old, I found out about the BLO and started looking at events close to us. Then I discovered we would be travelling to Arizona during the event. The closest event listed was over an hour's drive from Tucson, and it was scheduled for the day after our cross country flight, but I figured I would get the details anyway, just in case we wanted to go. A few days before our flight, I double checked the address of the event, and an event had been added in Tucson! We were able to sit and latch at the local mall, less than twenty minutes from where we were staying while on vacation. We met many friends, including a year old baby who was fed donated milk via a supplemental nursing system (SNS). Feeding via SNS for a year is a huge commitment for a mother - what a rock star. We also met a preschooler who refused to nurse at the mall, because "nanas are only for home, mommy."

In 2012, we were planning a road trip to Pennsylvania and Ohio on the date of the Big Latch On. I looked at the map, and realized that there was an event directly on my route from PA to OH. I would just need to get off the interstate and drive around a small town to find the park. Again, we met many interesting mothers. At nineteen months old, Eamon was among the oldest nursling at the event.

In 2013, we would be home, so I started to plan our hour long drive to reach the nearest Big Latch On event. It only took a day or two to realize that my sister, who has a new nursling, wouldn't be able to make that drive, but I really wanted to share the Big Latch On experience with her. Together, we cooked up the idea to host our own event right here in Small Town Virginia. We were very fortunate to have the pieces fall into place, and we were able to host an amazing event. I set my goal pretty high, and was hoping to have a dozen mother/baby dyads latching. When we got our count at 10:31, we had 13! I was so proud of all those mamas, and all those babies. We had one mother who was nursing in public for the first time that day. Again, Eamon was the oldest nursling (now 31 months), but there were two children there around two years old, and several nearing the one year mark. For an area with a pitifully low breastfeeding rate, we did incredibly well!

I don't know if Eamon will still be nursing for next year's event, but I know I will be there to help plan and host. The Big Latch On is an important event, and it deserves our support. Thank you, Big Latch On organizers, for conceiving the idea and seeing it to completion.