Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"Ms. Williams, my thoughts exactly"

If you have been anywhere any type of news lately, you will have heard that Robin Williams died this week.

I know there have been a million and a half blog posts written about their view on it, their view on him, their view on suicide. 

I'm sick of it. 

I'm sick of it in my face.  I'm sick of hearing people's stupid and ignorant opinions of something they know nothing about.

This won't be one of those blog posts.

I didn't know him (obviously) and therefore shouldn't be feeling as melancholy as I have.

I know this.

But I can't help it. 

News like this makes me sad.  News like this affects me.  News like this brings back a flooding of memories I don't want to relive.

In the first moment of hearing he comitted suicide, I had that pit in my stomach, sick, black inky feeling that comes when I hear that ugly word spoken.

Part of me is sad for me.  For my generation.   Growing up in the 90's, he was a major film star with many roles that impacted our culture and will forever be etched in our memories.  He made us laugh and sometimes, even cry.  In each of his films, you could sense that he had a deep soul, some depth to his thoughts, his emotions, and what drove his ability to make others laugh with such feeling.

I feel things big.   When I laugh. I laugh.  But when I'm sad.  I'm sad.  There is no happy medium.

 Most days I'm thankful I feel big, but there are times that I hate it.

 I hate that painful news is like being stabbed in the gut and there is no escape. Even if that painful news isn't yours to hear.  I hate that hearing of someone else's pain, hurts me, and only because I'm frustrated I can't soften their pain.   I hate that hearing bad news that reminds me of my own heartache will affect me for days, and the only escape is time. 

And tears.

Which is slightly ridiculous....crying over Robin Williams. 

In a way, the thought of Robin Williams not being here to make us laugh, does hurt my heart. 

But what really hurts are the reminders.  The knowing how his family feels.  The questions they are asking.   The anger, the sorrow, the questions, the pain.

it just plain hurts.

I came across online a letter that was written by his daughter (or so it says she wrote it) and I was in awe that she wrote the words that I have been trying to form for years.

"While I'll never, ever understand how he could be loved so deeply and not find it in his heart to stay..." 
 
This is one question I ask repeatedly.  How could he (my dad) know that I loved him so deeply, but not find it in his heart to stay...
 
It is a question that there is no answer to.  People can give pathetic attempts to answer it...with the concept that it will bring me comfort.  But reality is, there is no answer.  Or only one possible answer.  But that is too painful to let the thought pass through my mind.  So I stop it from crossing over my thoughts.
 
I am slowly healing, I laugh more than I cry,  but  most likely I won't ever complety heal.  Some days I think I've moved on.  Doing great, the stabbing pain has lessened. 

Then I am reminded.
 
And find myself with tears silently and ridiculously streaming down my face while riding the bus into work after hearing about Robin.  
 
I love how she closes her letter:
 
"Dad was, is and always will be one of the kindest, most generous, gentlest souls I've ever known, and while there are few things I know for certain right now, one of them is that not just my world, but the entire world is forever a little darker, less colorful and less full of laughter in his absence.  We'll just have to work twice as hard to fill it back up again."
 
I can't say that the entire world is a little darker because of my dad's death.  I can only say that my world is definitely darker because of my dad's death. 

"Ms. Williams, my thoughts exactly"
 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Girls Night Out

I've not done a very good job of posting pictures of what life looks like here. 

I have quite a few, and maybe soon I'll do just a pictures post.  So you can see how gorgeous it is here and all want to come visit :-)

This past Monday night, a new friend of mine and I went to dinner.  We both needed a girls night out. 

This is a new friend, but as Anne would say, truly a kindred spirit.  She is old enough to be my mother, but yet it somehow is just right.   She doesn't know my story and I didn't know hers, yet I knew I could tell her every gory detail and she would somehow love me more for it.

It was her birthday the next day, but with our schedules, we decided Monday was the best night to go out.

She picked me up at the corner of Grove St. and Columbus Ave. in Hartford around 4pm.  We were headed to Stonington for dinner at a seaside restaurant. 

We talked each other's ear off the entire drive down to the shore, which I might add for my Midwestern friends...is a mere hour drive :-) 

We found our way through Stonington, which I think I could stroll the streets of for days and not tire of the scenes.  Seriously.  Quaint New England homes dotted along the narrow streets within view of the shore.  Sailboats dotted the horizon and were tethered to a smattering of docks. 

It was like driving into a picture.

We found the restaurant and settled into a seat on the deck looking over the water.

I had never been, but she had quite a few times.

What we hadn't realized is that the restaurant changed ownership.

Instead of a normal restaurant, it was now a slightly upscale place to dine.

We noticed this as soon as we flipped our menus over.

Note: When there are no $ symbols or .00 after the prices.  Its too nice of a place for Julie.

We giggled and frantically decided what to order.

The seafood spaghetti sounded delish and that is what we both ordered.  (Anyone who knows me well, should be proud of me and all the new foods I'm trying!!  Seafood spaghetti was a huge leap in the 'Julie's actually growing up' category!)


Waiting on our million dollar spaghetti.  (I blotted her face out because I didn't ask her if she minded her picture being here, not because I don't want you to see her :-) )

 We ate our dinner, laughing the entire time and pretended like we belonged at such a place.   After we ate, we drove to New London for some ice cream.  We ate our treats alongside some docks and talked even more. 




It was a gorgeous summer night, the cool air blowing off the water.  We had planned for this night out for weeks and enjoyed the anticipation, but realizing the night was quickly going away.
 
After our ice cream, we headed towards Waterford to a friends beachfront house to watch the sun set.  We missed the main part of the show, but still was able to enjoy the colors fading into the sea. 
 
We ran into other friends at the house and spent some time chatting with them.
 
We soon realized that it was getting late and we needed to head back north.  We talked the entire way home, and then sat in the parking lot next to my car for a few minutes....still finishing up talking.
 
I had such a great time during this girls night.  I can't wait to do it again!!
 
(Sorry about the pictures being sideways...not sure why.  They were right when I uploaded them and I'm sure I could fix them if I really tried.  But I'm tired, so I guess you'll have to turn your head to truly enjoy the pictures.) 


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

How the Red Sox made me homesick.

A few weeks ago I went through a phase of homesickness.

Of course I had the typical things I was lonely for... missing my family and friends.

But that wasn't what was triggering it. 

There were a few things. 

The strangest was seeing Boston Red Sox apparel in Target.

And it was making me sad.

I know.

Strange.

But being the over analyzer that I am, I thought about why it would make me homesick.

Its not like I am a die hard fan like I once was.

As I thought about the years when I was a diehard Cleveland fan (who's greatest rival in the 90's was Boston and New York).  I thought about all the hours I spent watching baseball, listening to baseball, studying baseball and what it all meant.

It meant time spent with my dad.  It meant survival in a really hard time in life (high school).

He would take me to Jacob's Field (it will always be The Jake...forget this Progressive field garbage) for games. We would sit in the bleachers or nose bleeds...where the real fans sat.  The ones who loved the game and loved the Indians.  There was John Adams who would beat the drum, and the infamous wave.

Most nights we would watch games at his house...even the late West Coast games that started at 11 pm.  I didn't care how late the started or how late they went.  I was watching or listening to every game, every inning, every pitch and every at bat.  When we would watch the games, we knew as most fans did, to mute the TV and turn on the radio to listen to the animated announcers, Tom Hamilton and Herb Score. 

This was my life.  This is what excited me.  Baseball was my passion.

Dad would point out things that only he could point out, and I would groan "Dad. Just watch the game! Stop analyzing it"

I'm turning into him more everyday.  I talk to my kids the same way.  And they tell me the same thing. 

Looking around the Targets and the Kohls and the people passing by, wearing the red and blue that was for Boston, not Cleveland, made me homesick.

Or maybe just lonely...for a time in my past where even though life seemed hard, it wasn't really all that hard. 

It made me lonely for my dad...for the time spent talking about baseball history and the burying of the curse of Rocky Colivito.  Of  Bob Feller and Herb Score, of how we were so spoiled to have a new stadium, no more was the old rundown Municipal Stadium.

We spent time together watching the lazy games and the times screaming and cheering during the many comebacks the Indians had in the Cinderella seasons of the 90's.  The tears of when they lost the World Series. 

For some reason, seeing Boston shirts for sale, made me lonely for a time and a place that I can't get to.  It made me sad that my kids won't get to experience those times.  Not really the baseball, but the time with their Grandpa. 

I've felt slightly ridiculous for these feelings and wasn't going to admit them.  But anyone who knew me during the 90's knew that I was the biggest fan there was.  How much of a part of my life it was and how much it has impacted me.

Then tonight, while scrolling online, I came across an ESPN classics clip from the Cleveland Indians in the 90's.  It brought back so many memories and in an odd way, made me feel better. 

(The worst part of that sentence is that 'classic' and 'the 90's' is in the same sentence. I officially feel old. haha)

Anyone who says baseball is boring can't say that after watching this:

(A bit long, but WORTH IT!)


(The sound of Herb Score's voice brings back a flood of memories!)
 
                                              (Bare-handed double plays were the norm)

                                                          (Don't forget my favorite #15 )

I think what I am really lamenting is that it won't be the same for my children as what it was for me.  But I already knew that.  I just didn't think about reminiscing about baseball.

If one of the hardest things about moving from Northern Ohio to the East Coast is baseball, which I don't even follow anymore, than I think I'm doing rather well. 

Although it still gives my stomach a little twinge to see Red Sox shirts all over.  I guess its the Bauman in me coming out...ingrained to always root for Cleveland.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Crossing Paths

Life is interesting.

Five years ago this summer I met a woman visiting Ohio from Iowa. 

Before that evening, I didn't know her and she didn't know me.

After that evening, we never crossed paths again.

But she has been a huge influence in my life, simply by a few simple sentences.


We were at the same house for a cookout and only had spoke for a few minutes briefly that evening. 

That was the extent of our relationship.

At that point in my life, I was still with Randy.  

Only a small handful of people knew how horrible abusive he was.  He was slowly killing me and I was in an emotional pit of mire.

There was a brief moment that evening, he stepped away from me.  She looked at me and said "I know he's abusive to you.  But don't worry.  Someday you will get out from under it and over come it.  I can tell you are a strong person under it all."

I didn't know how to respond.

I couldn't believe someone could read my secret. 

It wasn't shame I felt.

It was hope.

That there was a glimmer of light that I could survive this.

It was a few weeks later, other things transpired, other friends spoke hope and I was able to stand up and escape his grip.

I never remembered that woman's name or exactly where she was from.   I knew she was a cousin to some friends of mine in Ohio, but other than that, I didn't know who she was.

Tonight, a friend, here in Connecticut, asked me over to her house...her sister was here and she wanted to have a few people over.

I saw this woman at church today and I knew that it was her...

Tonight when I was able to talk to her and spend some time with her, it was confirmed that it was, in fact, her that spoke hope to me so many years ago.

What amazes me, is that this August is five years I stood up for myself.  I usually 'celebrate' another year of overcoming this horror by going out to dinner with a friend.  This year I decided to 'celebrate' the entire month.

Not celebrate the breaking of a marriage, but the survival of a family.  We might be short a male figure in this family, but we are not short anything else.  We have love, we have peace, we have hope.

In 'celebrating' this five year mark, I have taken a walk down memory lane to that summer of 2009....a lifetime ago. And in that walk, this woman was part of my thoughts...and here she 'shows up'.  Just in time to celebrate with me.  To see me on the other side of the abuse.  

Had to be a God thing.  No doubt.

She didn't remember the conversation...but I did.  I remembered the hope and strength she offered me.

It made me think how powerful our words are.  We can destroy a person with our sharp tongues.  But we can also save a person with the same lips.  We can give them courage and hope.


This month instead of focusing on myself and what I overcame, I'm going to celebrate this month by building up my friends...encouraging them and giving them hope. 

Will you join me in my month of 'celebrating'? Will you tell someone something encouraging? Will you do that for me?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Extension of Me.

Mom/Grandma came to visit last week, and took all three kids home with her on Saturday.

I'm enjoying the break, working extra long hours at work trying to beat deadlines, and spending some time for myself.

But I miss them.

Yea, they drive me crazy...but I miss them.

Today at work they asked me how I was enjoying the time alone...

My response?

I said I was trying to enjoy it...but I missed them so much.

What they replied made me realize how much my children are intertwined in me.

How much they are a part of me. 

They said "Of course you miss them...they are your whole life"

I don't know why I didn't realize it before...

I didn't realize how much my co-workers picked up on this. 

But they are.

They make up the better part of me.

I  do miss them like crazy,

but am taking this time for me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Average Day

I have meant to keep up on this blog better than I have. 

I wanted to use it as a journal to someday come back and revisit this place in my heart.  But, through the busy-ness of life, it didn't happen. 

I won't be able to capture the feelings, the emotions that I felt while settling in.  And honestly, maybe I was hiding from reality.  I didn't want to open up and be honest about how hard it was to experience so much change.  I had wanted this for so long, I didn't want to admit that it was hard.

But it was hard.  And it still is hard.  I know that it is right, and I know that I'm where I'm supposed to be.  But it is still hard. 

I have a feeling that normalcy will solve some of this.  Once school begins and we are all in a routine of sorts, the rhythm of life will soon take over and we will feel more settled.

When I talk with friends and family back home, they often ask what fills our days.

I usually leave the house around 7 or 7:30 to catch the bus for work.  A few days a week, I will get on the early bus and am at my desk at 6:45 am.  People who know me laugh when they hear this.  I'm such a night owl...the only time I was ever at my desk at 6:45 am was when I worked night shift. 

Some mornings I will drop the kids off some where and other mornings, someone will pick them up between 8-8:30. 

The past few weeks the kids have had summer camps to attend.  It has added a bit of stress of finding drivers and babysitters, etc.  but it has helped them feel at home and settled in.

Riley is struggling a bit.  It comes and goes and most days it appears like he is doing well.  But I know deep down, he really misses his friends in Rittman.  He was settled, established there and it has been hard for him to uproot.  Thankfully we are close and he is able to stay open with me as we talk things out. 
When we started the remodeling on the house we will be moving in to, he was able to help with some of the demolition work.  It was great to see him working with the men, being treated like one of them.  He coudn't talk about anything else for the next week. 
He has meet quite a few boys his age, and I love to watch them play together.  He really is such a sweet kid, but has had to face so many tough things in his life and some has made him jaded.  I hope in time he can soften and learn to trust more openly. 

Rhianna has spent past 2 weeks (and this week) working on a Summer Musical Theater program.  She has THREE parts (she is ecstatic!) and is helping do the sets with her friend Leah.  It has been great to see her blossom through this. 
She has also buddied up to a friend from church who she calls her 'CT Grandma'.  I call her the little shadow.  Where she is, Rhianna is right behind her.  She helps in the kitchen and does all sorts of fun things.  This summer they are working on teaching Rhianna how to sew and other things that her mom can't do :-) 

Reagan is still Reagan.  His twinkling eyes and ornery grin.  He has a buddy at church who is a year or so younger than him, but they both are the same height with blond hair.  They could melt a stone heart with one little twinkle of their eye and the giggles that come out with every breath. 
There is a creek on back part of the church property here.  They tried to convince me this past Sunday that the Sunday School teacher wanted to have Sunday School there and they were supposed to go down there right away.  *I didn't fall for it but part of me wanted to.

My day?  My day is filled with meetings and writing documents, keeping track of IT questions and updates and documenting business desicions.  I am on a couple comittees, which are fun and break up the day.  I have a great relationship with the leadership of my organization and it makes going to work fun instead of a dreaded task. 
It no longer feels strange to have to hurry to catch the bus or to wait on a noisy city street after work to catch a bus home.  It feels normal and I honestly love it.  15 minutes of down time each way is exactly what this busy mama needs to mentally switch from mom to work mode and then back to mom again.

I'll try and start writing of our fun adventures we have had over the past 3 months.  In the grand scheme of things, it is going great.  We have been welcomed so lovingly into this church family, that daily I am overwhelemed by their willingness to take us in as their own.

My mom is coming tomorrow and spending the week.  Originally it was to work on the house, but our schedule is quickly filling up with other things.  But I think right now, the other things, the time spent together is more important. 

I surprised the kids and told them that Grandma was taking them back to Ohio for a couple weeks.  The kids are doing so well here, but I had promised them that I would take every opportunity to get them back to Ohio, even if it was for a long weekend.  They can't wait to see their cousins and friends.   I have to admit, I'm kinda jealous.

Although...a couple weeks of just 'take care of myself' time sounds rather exciting and needed.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Three Months In...

I can't believe its been three months. 

Some days it seems like an eternity ago I said my good byes.

Other days, it seems like yesterday.

We are doing well.  Settling into a routine of sorts.

Work is going great.  Trying to learn everything as quickly as I can.  But there is just so much to learn.  Going from working nights at a hospital to days at an insurance company is a big change.  Thankfully, I have amazing co-workers and a great leadership team that has been so helpful.

The kids are having a blast this summer, but not without ups and downs.  They are meeting and making new friends, spending most days swimming, been to the beach quite a few times, not to mention Six Flags. 

Riley has probably had the hardest time settling in.  He had a lot of friends in Rittman and was established on his sports teams.  He is my kid who thrives on routine.  Its been tough for him, but he seems to be doing better every day.  Last week he was in a flag-football camp.  He enjoyed it, but definitely missed full-tackle.  Hopefully in a few years he can get back on a team and play again.

Rhianna has made quite a few friends and has found a grandma/mom figure who has taken Rhianna under her wing.  The two are inseperable and Rhianna has blossomed with her friendship.  She helps in the kitchen at church as often as possible and is becoming well known for her constant smile.  Rhianna is in a drama club this summer and has three parts in the musical they are putting on.  I can't wait to see her perform for the first time on Friday.

Reagan, my little roll-with-the-punches guy, has fit right in.  He has a couple little friends and has said he loves it here.  I love watching him at church with his little friend, two little blondies bopping around with their eyes twinkling. He was in a Lego/Robot class last week and is in a engineering/building class this coming week.

***
Housing?  We are working on getting into permanent housing.  It has been quite the unexpected journey, but again as so often in my past, I have been exactly where God has wanted me to be.  We are working, with the emense help of others, to remodel a house that we will soon call our own.  I can't wait to be settled into a house that is ours and that is large enough to have company stay with us. 
***

How is it really going?

I wasn't sure how much to write about how I have been feeling.  I have wanted this for so long (21 years!!!) and I know that God wants me here...so why am I feeling what I'm feeling?  I don't know.  But it seems like the more I fight it, the worse it gets.  But I'm homesick.  And oddly enough, not for the things one might think. 

Its the little things that get me.

I miss the secret little hugs my niece would give me.
I miss hearing her little sister giggle in my ear.
I miss my friends at the hospital, and knowing we are all scattered with the closing of the hospital makes it so much harder.
I miss the sounds of the helmets and shoulder pads hitting each other during football practice...knowing this is the time of year that practice and conditining starts. 
I miss stopping into my Grandparents and grabbing a few dozen eggs and chatting with them
I miss my family.

It helps to write this.  It helps to acknowledge that its okay to be lonely.  Its okay to be tired of all things new.  Its okay to cry when I think of everything in Ohio.  It doesn't mean I'm not where I'm supposed to be.  It doesn't mean I'm not doing what I'm supposed to do.  It doesn't mean I'm not happy where I am.  It simply means I have a lot that I love in Ohio, and for that I'm thankful.