Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Breaking the cycle of negativity…

I grew up knowing that my mother was different than everyone else’s mom. It was something I had to learn to accept, though to this day I’m not sure I did until this year.  I wasn’t the easiest child during those early years either. I’m sure I still am not in her eyes. But somewhere along the way from childhood to adulthood, I’ve just stopped resenting her.

This year was the first time in my life that when people asked me of my spiritual beliefs I could truly say that I was very spiritual. Maybe not in the “traditional” Southern Bible Belt way, but I pray and I put faith in more things than I have ever in my life. My head is spinning with change.  Positive change. A word so overused this year but very appropriate to my growing. Discovering who I am was never something I felt I had to journey but somehow I am on one and I’m not as scared as I thought I would be.

I’ve always loved my mother, but one word I can never put to her is the word change. She’s just not a fan. Though her words from years gone by are less harsh, they still hold weight in my heart. She is manic depressive. I have to tell myself that everyday when I think of what she may have said or what I anticipate her saying. Even though she is more well than not through medication, she still is the mother I watched have breakdown after breakdown and I for one was a child who had to grow up fast.

This morning was a breakthrough for me in all of this I’ve just written. No matter what you try to attach to what shapes my mother, beyond her control or otherwise, one word I have to associate with her is negativity. She is a wonderful woman, loving and kind and I don’t say this as a way to insult her passive aggressively. But as I move along in my path in life, and as she has so much trouble accepting much of it, her general words on it all are not supportive. For years I craved acceptance and for years to come I will have to forget about asking or wishing for it. And in growing I have to shut my mind and ears off to words that will no longer help…especially these: “You know IT runs in the family.”

Let me tell you about IT. My grandmother, uncle and mother are very familiar with IT — mental illness.  Suddenly a mention of having trouble getting out of bed or the fact that I have been working on projects to help non-profits seems all to familiar to my mother. “You have highs and lows. You always want to do different things.”  What I reminded her of is that I have a thyroid disorder as I’ve mentioned in this blog before and so does she. The thyroid has much to do with mood and all around general health. And in the mornings that I have trouble pulling myself from the covers, I don’t dread my life. I’m just tired. And through my wanting to help people anyway I can, I’m not overly simulated with mania, I just want to make a difference.

I let her know today that I have to break this cycle of negativity. We have to as our own selves. We have to make our own path and follow it even if it feels scary. Even if your family doesn’t approve. You just have to take YOUR step. No one else can do it for you. And not everyone will applaud when you take it.

Time bandits and promises

time_bandits.jpgFor a while now my parents and I stopped doing the big old gift exchange during the holidays. My father has always said, “Christmas is for kids.” It also doesn’t hurt that they bought me a washer and dryer this year. At that rate my father usually says, “You have Christmas all year anyway.”
So instead we usually do the large dinner and I decorate my own apartment — filling it to the brim with Christmas lights and garland. This year I took my Christmas tree over to their house. And I bought them both two presents. My mother seemed pleased but looked at me disapprovingly — begging to know how much I spent. To that I just said,
“You guys have done so much for me. Just let me do this for you.”
I made dad open his early. I was too eager. So on Christmas Eve I saw his eyes light up to the DVD of Time Bandits I bought him. We watched that movie so much, I grew up saying, “The little one?” If you have seen the movie you know what I’m talking about. There are these six little people and well, nevermind. Just know we quote this movie on a semi-regular.
My parents have the movie on one of those huge laser disk things. Not the sleek ones you see today. But the ones that looked like enormous 8-tracks. You had to inject the disks into this contraption and pull down a little lever. My parents still have a bunch of classics in those crazy things (The Muppet Movie, Star Wars, Richard Pryer’s Raw) but the old player doesn’t work anymore, of course. I spent years in my late teens, early 20s looking for Time Bandits on video cassette and could never find it. And then there it was, among all the other DVDs at Borders. Duh.
On to mom. One of the things I got her was a new cookbook. I bought her Nigella Lawson because I was sure she already had all the others — The Barefoot Contessa, Paula Deen, Tyler Florence …But I was wrong. She didn’t have any of them! Just Rachael Ray who I HATE! Anyway, I offered to exchange it but she wouldn’t have it. She was happy to see a different Food Network star in her hands. Which if you know my mother, you would know that she will just read the book but not use it. She likes to sit and read cookbooks. Her arthritis and feet are so bad now and combined with her extra weight, it is hard for her to stand at long periods of time. In fact this was one year that Christmas dinner was a complete chore and she elected my father and me to help. We didn’t start eating until nearly 3 p.m.! But every year she insists on cooking. And every year she complains more and more.

So I said that I was going to cook next year — at my apartment. I hate cooking in someone else’s kitchen. I told her she has a whole year to train in order to be able to go up my stairs. In return I promised a wonderful meal in a lovely Christmas setting. Dad of course will bring his famous cabbage and greens. As for the turkey, that’s going to be cooked at a local restaurant that does that kind of thing. No need in me taking on EVERYTHING quite yet. A turkey? By myself? Hell no.

Follow-up photos from the show…

my dad

What is this? Could that be my father actually smiling? Yes it is. That’s also a sigh of relief that the show was up and didn’t have any major problems. I don’t have many photos here but it says enough I suppose. People came and went and I look as if I’m about to spew my wine out of my mouth in that last shot! I think my friend was saying something funny.

group-shot.jpgjenice-and-group.jpg

Please feel free to get some of your holiday items from my site. All of the purchasable prints can also be postcards and we all know you can’t have enough of those? If you do purchase stuff, you will keep that smile on my father’s face…

Day 53: The moment of truth

5e2ad5283e968e3d32e7ff342cac848c.jpgHappy Gobble Gobble Day everyone.

I hope you have stayed thankful today. I have. I’m thankful I worked my brains out for over a week to get to this day and not be as worried about the food. I’m sitting here at the family’s house now, just pondering all that dressing. That’s the best part. Mom’s dressing. And I’m sore as hell all over from overdoing the routine so I can avoid the guilt of stuffing my face — so to speak.

I brought a little something too. Sweet Potato Thangs. Out here the lady who makes them also made a life-sized bride cake. We did a story on her and her family, both are absolutely delightful. And so are these “thangs,” which by the way I’m about to gobble on as soon as I’m done here. Come Day 54, trust and believe I’ll be hitting the gym before other day-off festivities begin. Namely the birthday celebration I’m concocting for one of my friends which can only mean more calories — only this time calories brought on by martinis.

I hope you are all having a pleasant day of merriment and that you won’t overdo it like I plan hope not to do.