31 August 2010
30 August 2010
29 August 2010
28 August 2010
The making of a Daddy's girl. This is my favorite picture of the whole trip. We were not always sure that Julia thought our family making was a good thing and we had plenty of challenging behavior along the way, but those arms outstretched and a glowing face only I know was there was so good for us to see.
27 August 2010
25 August 2010
24 August 2010
23 August 2010
22 August 2010
The little girls who came home almost 4 years agao. so beautiful every one.
Another picture of Julia and I. There are so few. How dare I close my eyes!
And my girl.
I'm not going to post names of kids or parents. We did a lot of sitting around and talking.
Some of us learned new skills. This little photographer used mom's camera it was almost too heavy for her to hold up. So very cute!
We try to do some family pictures. I missed a few, but I'll pilfer from someone else's pictures. This was a sweet picture of the two of us.
Wall photos were pretty flowers behind were also popular.
Look at this squirmy worm! He is 3, all boy, and has the best laugh in the world!
And then this smile.
And this lovely blossom.
Every year, the person/couple who organizes the weekend comes in with a craft for the kids. And the kids get more and more willing to sit down and work. I wonder what we'll have them do when they are 14?
I love watching the kids interact. Every year these relationships are growing.
And look at this bossy little face.
Just before we left, we took red couch pictures. This was taken just before we got all the girls and boys together to take the group shots. I will have some soon, I'm sure.
Check out previous "red couch" pictures here.
20 August 2010
19 August 2010
18 August 2010
16 August 2010
15 August 2010
14 August 2010
13 August 2010
12 August 2010
11 August 2010
09 August 2010
Sore throat continues until I get to the airport and buy some cold medicine and lozenges. I could have asked Brad and Anne for something last night, and don’t know why I didn’t. Being sick makes me feel pretty vulnerable.
I’ve explained the last year to A FEW people in a casual way. Mother died, two plus years after my father. Now David. And this morning something sunk in. I am what is left. I did not get my security from my parents, but they were still there, and part of me never gave up that they would offer me the security and love that I wanted from them. David, of course, I fully depended on for the love and security, and he is gone now too. So, whether it was hoped for love (always the optimist) or actual love, they are all gone. This morning I realize that I am at the top of a pyramid. There is no one -- but that is not true. There are friends and they are offering me support because they understand this vulnerability either because they have felt it themselves or because they can see see what it might be.
I can lean on people, but it is myself. I have to find it-- strength, support, even love -- inside of myself. I have been taking one step at a time. I have let myself feel the journey the last two weeks. I slipped back into planning and regretting, but for the most part, for a larger part, I was there and just being. I took in what there was and now I am heading for home. It is time to take it all back up again -- to pay bills, to see of the Jersey house has progressed any, to work on a remortgage of my house, to get child care figured out so I can easily do the LEND coursework.
And is this where I am going to report my day? Am i going to continue to empty the care and triumphs of my day? Will I really start making calls every night to Lisa, to Marcia, to Mary, to Jan, to others? Just to have some adult to check on how I am doing?
And maybe I am looking too far down a path that I have not travelled on. Maybe I should just appreciate that Mary is coming over tonight with pizza and salad for us to have some dinner together. And let next week, next month, and the following time go for now.
I have not planned this trip that we are finishing in anywhere near the detail that I usually plan trips. And it was fine. I was not exactly a lilly of the field, but I was taken care of, I did find my way. Every night there was a place to eat, a beach to walk, buses to catch, and a bed to settle down into.
Now and then, I want to resist the change, but admittedly that impulse has weakened, but no impulse has taken its place. If not the old way and not change, then what. Standing still offers no comfort at all. Maybe inertia. A body in motion tends to stay in motion -- Maybe it is just that I am sitting on a plane for 8 hours and need a bit more sleep.
I cheerfully told Julia about our day plans -- how we would get up early, take Brad’s ride to the airport, check in and get on a plan, fly to Chicago, and then drive home. Did I need the day’s list as much as she did?
08 August 2010
I wake up this morning with a very sore throat and a stuffy nose. I am getting a cold. I hope I can get home before I feel more.
Lisa said something like -- I would have to do more leave taking before I knew what to do with the house. She was talking about the house, but I see how right she is. I see that I want to know now, soon, immediately how I am supposed to act and what I am supposed to do to get through the process of grief and on to the work of the rest of my life, but it is not so straight forward and easy.
The house is a good metaphor here. We had plans. David and I had talked about it, agreed upon things, found the people we wanted to work with, and decided on the money part. It was all planned! But it was only planned for that life that David and I were living. This was the forever house -- at least for foreseeable future. Part of me is the spoiled child who wants to insist on the perfect kitchen, the layout for giving parties, and housing our books. I want to scream to the wind that this was all already planned.
These house plans are, right now, the toughest things to let go of. It is tough to let go of because it was and is some vestige of our lives together, our future together. And that is over. There is no future together with David.
Cheshire was able in a very cool and detached way to explain why I should not do anything to the house, at lest right now because my house plans stood in opposition to what I say that I want for a living arrangement. She saw that very clearly and she is right.
I have more leave taking to do before I know where I am going.
During this time on the Isle, I have thought many times how David would have enjoyed this vacation on the Isle of Wight, But we would not have gone on this part of the vacation if he was alive. We had other plans. This is the journey that I’ve taken because David died. Because he died. I can’t capture in words what this means, what this feels like.
Maybe it was the first thing that I decided, that I did because of his death. Because David died no decision, no plan, no forward looking idea is the same. This is what I am wrapping my entire brain around this morning. Julia has had a tough time understanding and learning consequences. She is closer now but I wondered how she did not understand them before this -- and here I am saying that even though David died, some big part of me did not want to acknowledge that there would be consequences. It is not quite the same, but I see connections.
I have leave taking to do in ways that I don’t even have any idea yet.
07 August 2010
Julia and I walked today about 4 hours all together, playing on the beach part of the time, running and daring the waves. We said hello to a few people we have seen on our walks. This is a small island and Julia and I are conspicuous. I have not seen another Asian face here, and no Americans at all.
We stopped in Shanklin for lunch and I finally had a very good scone and delightful clotted cream -- thank god, I don’t live here. I might be tempted to have this treat every so often. I don’t even think four hours on the beach would make up for that treat.
Still, it was good.
I have at times been skipping Julia’s stimulant and she is eating. I am continually happy when she eats, my skinny dinosaur.
So, today we had a visitor. Alice’s father, Anthony, comes from the Isle of Wight and it was because of his stories that I knew about it. He has a brother, Noel, who still lives on the Isle and works in a hotel not far from where I was staying. He is an older man, shy and of this place. He met me after breakfast and we talked for a few hours. I did n’t really think I would be able to when I met him at the wedding, but alone he was much more personable and generous. He walked with us down to the beach before he had to catch a bus. we exchanged addressed and I am sure he will write. He is lonely, and he is losing old friends as they get old. He bought candy for Julia for the plane ride and we hugged before he left. I felt that I had met a very sweet soul.
And Julia is thinking about death. It was unfortunate that Osborne House was built and lived in by a dead queen and a dead prince, and by children who have grown and died. There was no way to avoid those facts and it started Julia talking about death again. She had stopped for a few days -- really since we came to the isle.
Some observations of her: She asked about my mother (Babja to Julia) and I confirmed the fact that she died last year. She then asked if Daddy would be seeing Babja now. This from a child who has not really heard about life after death. What has she picked up and did she really make these connections?
She wanted to know if Daddy would be seeing dinosaurs. She asked if Daddy could decide to come back home when we got home. And then, she wanted to know what it feels like to be dead. She says she is still missing Daddy and hopes he decides to come back. She would like that. And then she says that she will use her magic wand to bring him back.
What else in in that head? And am I answering her with comfort and sense?
And then, she is looking for a new husband for me. She has not forgotten this quest. She asked if I wanted to get married. If I wanted to be a bride again? And could a mommy also be a bride. I told her that right now I was sad and didn’t think I was ready for a new husband. And she asked when. Then, I told her that I had not met many men in my whole life who I would marry and I thought it would be very hard to find me a new husband. And she turned to me, patted my hand and said, “Mommy, I find you a China man who looks just like me.”
And I have just no idea where to go with that.