Sunday, November 24, 2013

White Dudes

Christmas is coming! Bust out the John Denver jams, give yourself an excuse to get fat, and hit up k-mart once a day! Even through my cynicism and jesting, I really do love Christmas. I do not appreciate the capitalistic Christmas, but I do love the traditional, heart-warming, cookie-eating, tree decorating one of my childhood. The one factor that really busts my button though is the man himself: Santa. A supposedly jolly white obese man with magical powers. Really? We couldn't be more creative than this?

What I would like to know is why white dudes get all the credit? It's like Santa is some CEO of a major corporation, using his elves as slave-labor (do they even get paid?), taking all the credit for the hard work and love of parents all over the world. Give me a fuckin break here! And don't even get me started on God!

So here is my real conundrum: Ben really wanted our child to experience the "magic" of Santa like he did. I was raised on the truth that Santa did not exist. I think both are a bit extreme. I am creating a new fable....

"Santa" is really a Cooperative; a diverse community. Each area has their own Santa that collaborates with parents. Some are male, some female, some black, Native, Hispanic. There are gay and lesbian Santas, transgendered, Bisexual. There are a variety of people representing the magic of Christmas. It is still technically a lie, but I believe a better one. And your gifts are not based on whether you are "good" or "bad". What child is truly bad at heart? Your gifts are given just because you are here, experiencing life. Life is hard sometimes and we all deserve to celebrate on occasion, even if we made mistakes throughout the year.

So, this will be my fable to pass on to Benny. Many will not approve. I don't care. I am ready to change the patriarchal, one dimensional views of our current society....and I am starting with Santa.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Heaven and Hell

These past 15 months have been the most stressful of my life, to say the very least. Everyone tells me I am so strong, but they don't see me on a daily basis. It seems I come close to my breaking point several times per week, but I never quite go over the edge. At moments I feel as if I will just burst into flames and disappear completely...I believe it's called "spontaneous combustion". But I don't. I do what needs to be done, go to bed, and repeat the following day. If heaven and hell are really just states of mind, then I have been experiencing both simultaneously. The heaven of having a beautiful child and piece of Ben to love and the hell of doing it without him.

I reached a "breaking point" the other day while driving by pretty houses with beautiful yards. I thought of Ben, Benny, an I all living in one of those homes, running through the sprinkler together. Then I got sad; really sad. It hit me, more than ever before, that my dreams have become completely impossible to attain. They will never manifest. Ever. My dreams of coming home to a family are unattainable. Ben is dead, his body has been burned, and he is not returning. Hell.

So, within my dark puddle of sadness, I asked myself the question "what now?". I can continue to do as I have been: wishing with all of my heart that Ben will magically return in the morning and we will live happily ever after. This only creates greater misery each morning. Hell. I can keep comparing my life now to what it would be if Ben were still here. This is the pathway to self-pity. Again, hell. Or...I can recreate my dreams from the ground up. Begin again. Accept that Ben is gone, in physical form, and I have to move forward. Be grateful for our amazing son and our future together. Live in honor of Ben by making sure our child's life is filled with joy, love, and big dreams. Heaven. It is time to choose heaven.

Monday, May 13, 2013


What is the point of romantic love? Is it to procreate? Yes, partially. Is it to ride off into the sunset together and live happily ever after? Hell no! Is it to learn lessons and grow as individuals? I would agree with that. Ultimately though, I believe that romance is less about flowers, diamonds, and cuddling and more about two people coming together to fulfill their life's mission. This mission could be shared or it could be two separate purposes.

In mine and Ben's case, it was two separate missions. His was to have a family and a nice home. From the time I met him he was extremely clear about his purpose. He said to me, "My life starts the day my first child is born". I admired his clarity on this. He knew what he wanted and he was going for it.

I, on the other hand, had no such intentions. I had always known that I was here for a reason, but I didn't quite know what that reason was. I knew helping people, the earth, and animals were all a part of my mission, but the details were unclear. I also knew (or so I thought) that being a wife and mother was not a part of my purpose this lifetime. I was wrong!

So Ben and I came together. Two people with two extremely different purposes. Everyone wondered why we were together. Why would two people with such different opinions and goals choose one another? Why wouldn't we decide instead to be with people more like us, with similar goals? Because it was meant to be. We came together for exactly the right fulfill our life's purposes, together.

Ben needed to find a woman who was decent, loving, and strong enough to raise his child after he passed. His close friend told me that he spoke to him a few days before he died and he was happier than he'd ever been. He had everything he wanted: a wife who loved him dearly, a child on the way, a good job, and a nice, cozy home. His mission was complete.

Now it is time for me to work towards my goals. Ben left me with the resources and reasons to pursue my dreams. I can return to school, get my psychology degree, and become a counselor. I can raise our child with good values and integrity like his father. I can live a life full of purpose.

Even though our romance was cut short, I know we came together for a reason. I know we completed what we needed to accomplish together. We both gave the other access to their life's mission. What greater, more noble reason to be together?

Thank you Ben. I will raise our child to the best of my ability. I will not waste your gifts. I love you eternally.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dream Life?

Do you ever sit back and look at your life and wonder "how the hell did I get here"? I do on a regular basis. Not always in a negative tone, but just as a general inquiry. Things did not go as planned to say the least, but then again the plan kept changing over time.

What was your dream life? Is there really such a thing as a dream life?

I believe most of us are disillusioned. Growing up watching fairy tales and romantic comedies made us believe there was some ultimate happy ending in real life. Does anyones life go as planned?

We spend so much time and energy trying to make our lives "perfect". Finding the ideal mate who will love us forever and never fight with us, landing the greatest job with the best co-workers and most fabulous pay, and finding our dream home that never gets dirty and where the sun shines daily. Reality check: this is impossible!

So we look at our lives, as 30 and 40 somethings, and say "shit, this is not what I imagined". Whatever the "it" may be; whether it be divorce, death of a loved one (or several), an unexpected child or two, an over-priced apartment, a boring marriage, dishes in the sink, dog poop to clean up, a redundant job, or a less-than-ideal figure; it was not a part of the dream.

So what do we do now? Continue to make up unrealistic dreams? Run away from it all? Escape into drugs and alcohol? Or do we accept our lives as they are now and be grateful for the moments of beauty, love, and joy?

Being a widow and single mother without a college degree at the age of 30 was definitely not a part of my dream. Taking out the trash, changing poopy diapers, and spending my nights alone was not a part of the plan. I can choose to feel sorry for myself and go through life wishing things were different or I can look at what I do have: a beautiful baby boy who wakes up smiling, a doggy who wags his butt at my mere presence, a safe and cozy place to live in the mountains, loving memories with my mother and my husband, many wonderful friends and family who care about me, a good running car, health, and a bright future ahead. It may not be what I dreamed, but it is my life, and I am grateful to be alive.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


What defines our sense of self? At what age do we figure out exactly who we are?

At age 25, I thought I knew who I was. Then I went through a couple of "existential" years. Without getting into details, I'll just say they were dark years, full of questioning. Then, during my darkest hour, my mother took her own life. From that moment, my life completely transformed.

I moved to New Hampshire and decided to be me; unabashedly, no-holds-bar. I danced, laughed, cracked inappropriate jokes, had no shame in public, cried when I needed to, spoke my opinions loudly, dressed however I wanted (Even in my "fuck you you fucking fuck" shirt), and loved deeply. I also made and kept the best friends of my life, landed the greatest job I'd ever worked, met and fell in love with the man who would become my husband and the father of my child, and got my life together. By age 29, I was literally the happiest I had ever been. All of this as a result of being my true self. Then, during my brightest hour, my husband got killed in an accident. Again, a transformation.

This time, however, I changed myself in a way I never had. I was labeled the "pregnant widow" and I played the part. For the first time in my life I cared what others thought of me. I felt my sense of humor was actually inappropriate, and became very serious. I dressed more modestly. I stopped dancing. I felt the need to be polite and not rock the boat. I withdrew into myself and became paranoid about what people were thinking of me. I allowed the opinions of others to make me doubt myself and my truth. I got angry.

Now, 3 months after the birth of my amazing child, I am beginning to feel different again. I am ready to be myself fully. This time, however, I intend to find a sense of balance. Being a mother has permanently changed my vision for the future. My son's life is most important now. I have to take care of myself in order to be a good mother though. I have to embrace who I am and not pay attention to other's opinions of me, with the exception of my loved ones. I have to laugh out loud and dress the way I want. I have to keep my outrageous sense of humor, but maybe have some tact in public places. I have to speak my mind, but also listen to others when they speak theirs. I absolutely have to dance!

So who am I? I am a mother, a friend, a sister, an aunt, a daughter, a widow, a cousin...but none of these terms define me. I am ever-changing and evolving. I am definitely strong and resilient. I am ready to be me again...whatever that is in the moment.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


One year ago I had just decided that I wanted to have a child. Before that, as everyone who knows me will confirm, I was extremely against having children. I believed the world was overpopulated enough and I had absolutely zero interest in babies.

Then, while shopping for Christmas decorations with Ben, he sat me down and gave me an ultimatum. He said that he loved me and it would kill him to lose me, but he absolutely knew he needed to have children. He explained that if we were going to move in together and get married, I had to agree to have kids with him! I was shocked to say the least. Never had I imagined myself being pregnant or holding a newborn. Never had I dreamed of being called mom. I told him I needed a few days to think and our drive home was completely silent.

That evening, I had pretty much decided that I had to end the relationship. We just wanted very different things and I had always known I didn't want children. I was seriously upset and, the next day at work, my co-worker noticed. I told her my dilemma and she told me that she was once just like me. She never wanted children or cared for babies, and she was even hesitant through her 9th month of pregnancy. The irony was that she was one of the best mothers I knew. She told me that if I loved Ben then I was crazy to leave him because he wanted to have children with me.

I went home that night and visualized myself as a mom. I pictured Ben as a father and realized what a great dad he would be. I knew quickly that with this man, I could have children. I called him right away and told him my decision. Within two months, I was pregnant!

So much has happened in my life since then. The man I wanted to spend my life and raise children with is now gone. I live in a different state. I am a totally changed person. And...I am the mother of a one month old baby boy. The most precious person I have ever met.

Motherhood is far more amazing than I had ever imagined and it gets better every day. The thought that the love between two people can create a new human being is mind-blowing. My grief lifted so much with his birth. A piece of Ben is back with me and I am so blessed.

To think that I never would have experienced this joy and purpose if it weren't for Ben. If I had walked away that day I would have missed out on so much. Another reason Ben is my angel. He made me a mom forever.