New York is Not My Home

Three days to spend. Two of them flying. One in and one out. The other to meet with lawyers and put mother’s house up for sale. I’m almost through.

I spent so much time there last year people were beginning to think I was gone for good. My husband even began to wonder.

Honestly, I haven’t even looked at the house since I came home in October. I’ve simply paid people to take care of it. Not sure how I feel about going back.

Okay, I know exactly how I feel…

I’m ready to put this behind me for good.

New York is not my home.

Lyrics/Music: Jim Croce

Well things were spinnin’ round me
And all my thoughts were cloudy
And I had begun to doubt
All the things that were me

Been in so many places
You know I’ve run so many races
And looked into the empty faces
Of the people of the night
And something is just not right

And I know that I gotta get out of here
I’m so alone
Don’t you know that I gotta get out of here
‘Cause New York’s not my home

Though all the streets are crowded
There’s something strange about it
I lived there ’bout a year
And I never once felt at home

I thought I’d make the big time
I learned a lot of lessons awful quick
And now I’m tellin’ you
That they were not the nice kind
And it’s been so long since I have felt fine

That’s the reason that I gotta get out of here
I’m so alone
Don’t you know that I gotta get out of here
‘Cause New York’s not my home

(instrumental)

That’s the reason that I gotta get out of here
I’m so alone
Don’t you know that I gotta get out of here
‘Cause New York’s not my home

Family First

weakness

It does not matter how carefully we plan and dream, life is full of left turns and surprises.

I had my summer all planned out.

A book to write.

Classes to finish.

Blogs to write.

Parties to go to.

Gigs that made me thrilled with excitement.

And then life happened and I had to choose.

Six weeks ago I received a call that a family member was in the hospital and they were never coming home.

I caught the next flight out and canceled everything on my calendar to be with them.

I’d do it again in a heart beat.

Now the good news is, they ARE coming home very soon.  And for that I’m thrilled.

The past six weeks were full of twists and turns and white knuckle dives as we watched this family member come to the brink of death and back again.

They are a fighter.

So if you’ve wondered where I’ve been. I’ve been at the bedside of someone near and dear to me.

It was the right choice.

I hope you understand.

So, you survived Christmas, let’s celebrate!

HurrayIt is the day after Christmas. It’s 12:30 and I am still in my PJs. Why? I survived Christmas and I’m celebrating. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great Christmas. Both of my boys are home and even my Dad spent the night. While we didn’t do a lot of the things we normally do because of my broken leg, we still enjoyed the day. I even survived listening to how great Fox news is, the war on Christmas (that doesn’t really exist), and sentences that started with “not that I’m racists but…” and get this..

NO

ONE

DIED!

My youngest son did interject a random, “How about them Jets?” at one point which of course made everyone laugh.

Let’s face it, Christmas is not always the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. Alcoholism, divorce, death, illness, singleness, and a myriad of familial dysfunction can make the day beyond stressful for many people.

My parents got divorced when I was four. Between the ages of nine and twelve, the day after Christmas was spent on an airplane on my way to visit my father and his new family in New York. My mother hated the fact that she had to share me with him and we would invariably argue the week leading up to these visits. Honestly, I was really too young to understand what was going on, I just wanted to see my Dad. She didn’t think he deserved it. I only saw my father three times between the ages of four and nine for  various reasons.

He made lots of plans to see me after the divorce, but 90% of them fell through and she was the one left to pick up the pieces of a broken-hearted kid. I would stress so badly over the tension that by the time the trip arrived, I’d be sick and still insist on going anyway. It would be at that point that she would threaten to pack my bags and send me off to live with him for good if I was so insistent on seeing him.

Instead of anticipation, family and joy, Christmas for me, came with fear and trepidation as a kid. Forget Santa. All I wanted for Christmas was parents who knew how to behave.

Would he cancel the visit last-minute? Again.

Would she really send me away for good? (She never did)

It’s not like the trips were all that great anyway – I left one drunk household for another. One set of problems for another.

Neither of them were sober back then, I had learned how to be the adult for all of us and I was really bad at it. But that didn’t keep me from trying. There are some things kids just aren’t supposed to be able to fix.

Then Mom got sober and the trips back and forth stopped. Instead of NY, Dad now lived in Chicago and even though it was only four hours away, he was too busy to see me. While I was hurt by that, I was also relieved by no longer being stuck in the middle.

Flash forward ten years or so, now married with my own children and fueled by my own painful memories of Christmas past, this broken child turned into the Queen of Christmas. We were going to have the PERFECT Christmas come hell or high water even if it killed me and everyone around me.

We did Christmas on our own in Oklahoma. We did it all, lights, Church pageants, decorations, presents and food galore. There was no Christmas at Grandma’s house because both sets of parents had downsized and there wasn’t room for us and neither set wanted to travel. Only my Dad came. He was harmless enough, drinking himself into a quiet stupor in the recliner. Besides he had nowhere else to go and I picked up my old hat of saving the world.

Did everyone have a perfect Christmas? I don’t know. By the time the holiday actually arrived my martyr hat was glued on so tightly that I’m pretty sure it impacted the blood flow to my brain and affected my judgement. Fortunately for me, (and thankful for my own 12 step program) I did eventually learn how to give up the ghost and stop trying so hard and believe it or not, my boys (now grown) actually have good memories about Christmas.

I have a broken leg this year – I could not have been the queen of Christmas even if I wanted. My husband had to take over the decorating, shopping, cleaning and a good part of the cooking and you know what? It was great! He did a wonderful job and I learned Christmas doesn’t have to rest completely on my shoulders.

I don’t know what your Christmas was like. Maybe it was spectacular. Maybe you had to sit through dinner with a Republican. Or a Democrat. Maybe you lost a parent or loved one. Maybe it was your spouse’s turn to have the kids and you were alone. The bottom line is, not matter how Christmas went, today is a new day.

You got through it, no matter what it was, therefore I suggest we celebrate. Stay in your jammies if you want. Call a friend and tell them “I did it!” I did this hard thing – let the kids see their dad, missed my Mom, survived the family dinner, stayed sober — what ever it is you did. Celebrate it. Take a bubble bath – go for a run, ride a bike. Do what ever it is you do when you celebrate. Give yourself a pat on the back. It’s okay — I give you permission.

So is Canadian a Nationality? Happy Canada Day Youse Guys! ay?

canada_day-500607My Grandfather, Raymond Millar, on my Mother’s side is from Kitchner Ontario. They were farmers. He moved to the states to marry my Grandmother Irene Whelan (also from a long line of farmers) back in the early 1900’s and changed the spelling of his last name to MillEr. So I guess technically I’m 1/4 Canadian and come from almost pure farm stock. Which is fitting really now that I live in Oklahoma. (My father’s side of the family were German brewers and bakers) Anyway Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends.

 

Life After Kids, Cowgirls ‘n Angels

One of my biggest fears is having my children grow up, move out and leave me behind. Marriage and parenting can take our all, every day, every week, every year. And then poof, just like that it seems they are grown, gone and testing their wings.

What then?

A lot of women fall apart at this stage in life. So do a lot of marriages.

I made a choice a few years ago.  I do not want those things happening to me. I do not want to wake up six months from now without a clue of who I am. Or worse yet – I do not want to wake up six months from now, look at my husband and think “who are you and what are you doing in my bed?”

Just like weening a baby off the breast, I have to ween myself off the “mom roll” and come back to the woman.

It’s not easy to do. Actually it is very painful at times.

It takes soul-searching work, bravery, and conviction.

There is a fun side to testing my own wings and seeing what I’m made of beneath the sweat suit and pony-tail.

One of the fun things is watching this movie trailer and seeing myself in the crowd scenes during the trick riding. – I even got paid to be there when they filmed last summer.

A release date has not yet been set, but I can’t wait to go see it.

Life doesn’t have to end when our kids grow up. We can begin to prepare by getting to know that woman in the mirror again today.

Take some time and get to know her, who knows maybe she’ll surprise you.

Love you guys!

No Longer a Vagabond

A New Beginning. It still needs paint and such, but what a great start.

“If you are bored with life, if you don’t get up every morning with a burning desire to do things – you don’t have enough goals.” Lou Holtz

My husband surprised me this weekend by emptying the spare bedroom where he keeps all of his music gear. Once the room was empty he ripped out the carpet and laid new flooring. This will be my new office / art studio and the front living room will be our new music room; complete with french doors and eventually a baby grand piano.

For those of you who don’t know, J-man is a VP for a national telecommunications company by day and a musician by night. In other words, he’s an artist who can afford to eat.

Depending on who you are and where you are in your life this may or may not be a big deal. It’s a big deal to me though. I left Corporate America back in the 90’s to raise a family. That was a huge life change for all of us. I was raised to have a career, not raise a family. While that choice meant great sacrifice for all of us, being there for our kids while they grew up made the sacrifice worth it. This sacrifice also allowed him the freedom – and motivation – to pursue his career and take it as far as he is able. He works amazingly hard and does well, and I’m very happy for him.

Contrary to some people’s belief that I am “basically retired and living a life of leisure,” I consider being a stay home mom a full-time commitment and a job in itself. I am by no stretch a Martha Stewart. There are many women who do far better at this domestic goddess role than I. This explains why even as a Mommy Blogger I rarely wrote about domestic things. So not my forte’.

On top of being a SAHM, I’ve spent the last 14 years volunteering throughout the community and in school, as well as continuing my education. I even held a few part-time positions when certain financial needs arose. Our oldest is a junior in college and our youngest is a senior in high school. They are wonderful well-adjusted young men and I am proud of them both. While I realize this isn’t the choice for everyone, we as a couple, made the right choice for our family.

This season is coming to an end and it is time to look forward to a new beginning.

With corporate a distant memory, I’ve chosen to gather together the things I do well such as speaking, writing, and art and start my own company. Jeff bought me a laptop three years ago and I’ve been a writing vagabond ever since. I take my computer with me where ever I go. This has been wonderful so far but is also constraining. I need my own space to breathe, write, and create.

Even if he is getting another room down stairs, giving me his music room is no small feat. This is a tangible act of love and faith. Being married to a man who not only believes in me, but follows up on that belief with action is priceless.

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. All rights reserved.