On Loss, #1

Sometimes, grief is an ephemeral thing. A fragment. A figment. It comes and goes, flitting in and out of time, spaces, dreams. Looking at the cat-food bowls still sitting empty on the kitchen floor. Thinking of my grandpa’s funeral, hazy with time, me in a somehow sad floral dress with a huge early-90’s bow and frizzy red hair. Glancing outside at Thor-tree, my petition tree, that has died from last summer’s drought.  Walking out of HEB realizing, in that moment I pushed my cart through the store and onto the sidewalk, that I am not pregnant anymore.

Grief is also constant. It’s lead in the heart, rattling around like loose ammo. Sometimes the ball pings against something else, makes a connection, and that shoots to the surface. Reminding you that yes, you’re in mourning. Don’t you forget it!

Times like these make me wonder if we’re just always in mourning. That grief is one of the ingredients in the concrete of our foundations, along with joy and love and wonder and ?

There’s no Pagan angle to grief, really. Everyone, in every belief-system, experiences sorrow.  I suppose I could talk about comforting deities or prayers, but mostly this week I just prayed to not be alone. I don’t know who answered me, but I wasn’t alone. There was my husband and my toddler and some mother-sense that countless mothers all over knew this particular grief–the grief of children lost, the grief of children never-born. And in that knowledge I was saddened, but comforted.

A Dash of This, A Pinch of That

* I went to church today. Trinity United Methodist, for all you Austinites. And…they celebrated the Summer Solstice. No joke. With drums and a calling of the elements. They even talked about the Wheel of the Year. Yes, my circuits fritzed. Completely.

* I watched all four seasons of True Blood in two weeks. I’m not sure how it happened. I kind of hated it by the end. Like, Sookie? She’s annoying. Lafayette and the 3,000 year old dude (now encased in concrete…) were/are the only reasons to watch that show. Though, they are featuring witches for season 5. So that’s interesting. Seeing media portrayals of witchcraft and Wicca are always…interesting.

* For Father’s Day, J and I went out on a *real* date Friday night. Drinks and dinner. It was lovely. We had drinks at Péché and dinner at Congress. Both were terrific and a perfect way to celebrate. This morning, J woke up to a mimosa and crèpes with dulce de leche and whipped cream. Spoiled? Just a little.

* I have writer’s block. Intensely. I’m debating on giving up a story that I’ve worked on (on and off) for over two years. It’s just…I’m not that person who started the story, and as the story evolved it’s not really the original story anymore…I don’t know. It also has some major structural and plot problems, as well as just being an overall bitch to write. But when do you say when? Any writers have advice on this?

* To help with the writer’s block and generate ideas I’ve being drawing a Tarot card and just writing with it. Sometimes it’s a character sketch, a situation or a simple description. Anything to keep the juices going. If I take long breaks from writing I gather inertia so quickly. It becomes hard to even type. Gotta keep chuggin’.

* I have no idea what I’m doing for Summer Solstice. I’ve thought about Sun Salutations at dawn, which seems okay. But I’m also feeling this draw to do a magical working of some sort. I picked up a new book titled Embracing the Moon by Yasmine Galenorn. At first I was thrown off by the dated cover–a woman’s hands embracing a green-tinted moon (thank you, Llewelleyn). Turns out though, it’s a very good beginner book. While I’ve been researching this path a long, long time I still consider myself a beginner, especially with magic and energy working since (besides observing the Sabbats and occasionally the Esbats) I don’t actually do the stuff a ton. I think. I read. I contemplate. But doing…not so much.

Which, leads me to want to start doing. Going to church today also lit a fire under that desire. This leads me to…

* Fear. I have a lot of anxiety and fear stemming from a pretty creeptastic experience I had a few months ago. This could be a post on its own, and it might become one. Hmm. A Litha ritual to bring light into the places of dank, of fear? I don’t believe that shadow or darkness is bad, at all. It’s neutral like the light is. However, fear—fear and anxiety live in a dank, cold, awful place of the soul. A place that could use some warming light. Hmmm.

That’s all. Enjoy the week, everyone 🙂

On Acceptance (or, Planning Your First Vacation with Kids)

In 2009 my husband and I took the vacation of a lifetime. We flew into Portland, Oregon and drove south for two weeks until we hit San Francisco. We ate to our heart’s content–we joked that we were never, ever hungry and that was the truth. We visited the Oregon State Aquarium in Newport, drove along the stunning coastline, climbed through caves, tasted wine at vineyards, hiked through redwoods and in the Columbia Gorge, ate tapas and drank Sangria and sherry until I thought the staff at the restaurant would have to roll us up the hill to our hotel. We stayed at cute, out-of-the-way places, little B-n-Bs and inns as unique as each owner. One even had llamas and alpacas on the property, which was situated just across the road from the Pacific.

I mean, really? When I remember that vacation it seems like we visited a fantasy realm.

So, when I began to get itchy feet we decided that we’d go to Oregon again. J has family there, and we wanted to test the waters of traveling with a kid.

But as soon as I started to plan the trip all of these old (and firmly settled) feelings of ambivalence and bitterness towards being a mom resurfaced. Scratch off days of vineyard-hopping! And say goodbye to all of those cute places–none of them allow children (and who could blame them? Babies =/= peaceful.) Plus–the extra plane ticket, food, bigger car rental–the trip was just going to cost more. Which was less money for the fun stuff.

As I began to plan the trip I just wasn’t excited. In fact, I didn’t want to go. In my intuition, I felt that we, as a family, were not going to go on the trip that I was currently planning.

Yesterday, I called my own dear mom feeling completely frustrated. As I vented my own feelings…

Me: “Would a standard studio hotel room be that bad?”

Mom: “Do you really want to go to bed at 7?”

Me: “But suites are more expensive!”

Mom: “Haven’t you learned anything about parenthood in the past 10 months? It’s always more expensive.”

…She asked me some really pertinent questions. One, what was I expecting out of this experience? Why was I so set on going? Would it just be a waste of money? And might it not be better to take a shorter trip but fill it with more quality experiences? She also said that vacations with kids aren’t really vacations, they’re just parenting elsewhere.

Finally, in her own way she said this: Just Accept It. If you can make peace with the fact that this trip is different and it can’t and won’t be the same, then it’ll be fine. If you can make decisions based on reality, not the past, and not fantasy, you’ll have fun.

When I hung up the phone I sat at the computer and began to type in Suites, Cabins, Vacation Rentals. J and I decided to chop four days off the trip. As I figured out the itinerary I decided that we shouldn’t go to so many places, instead, we should stay for longer at places that have more to do.

I began to get very, very excited. This! was the trip my little family was going on. We’re going to stay in a centrally located suite in Portland so we can walk to attractions and fit C’s nap time in. All the places that we’re staying in have a bedroom separate so she can sleep and we can hang out. They also have kitchens so we can eat more cheaply. Fortunately, we’re visiting family in one city so that’s free lodging.

J and I will still get some adult experiences–some vineyards are just glorified picnic areas. Hiking can definitely be a family adventure with a Kelty carrier or Ergo.

And somewhere inside, on yet another level, I’ve accepted that fact that I am a parent. It’s kind of crazy that even 10 months later there is still all of this…accepting…that has to happen. As different situations come up I realize that…oh yeah, I can’t–or shouldn’t–drink four Chuys (or El Chile’s…mmm…) margaritas, because I have to wake up early even if it’s Saturday.

Just, you know, for example.

It feels good to have shed another layer of resistance to change, to reality and to life. It’s kind of amazing that once we remove these mental barriers we have what opens up to us. At the same time all of the above was happening, I felt so much resistance to how I had to schedule my day, but now it just seems like…not a big deal. So I have to write at different times than I used to. Big deal! So I have to exercise when I won’t fry like an egg…it’s summer, don’t be so bitchy!

I don’t know how to end this post, really, but just to say it feels good. It feels like a weight off my shoulders. When I look at our travel plans I get genuinely excited. When I sit down to write at 10 a.m. instead of 10 p.m. (when I’m in bed!) I am still productive. It all works out. It’s all just…fine, you know?