Well, they don’t call me the wandering Jew for lack of a reason, but I’m putting down tentative roots once more. I bought a house. I’ll try not to burden my mind with calling it my ‘forever’ home, as I did once before when I found a little slice of heaven – making it like a tearing asunder when I had to leave it once I’d just barely gotten to know it in all four seasons, and the wildlife, herbage and sounds that shared the space with me.
LegoMan and I will be heading out this Friday to yet another new state – this time landing in North Carolina. This took a bending, nay, I dare say a partial abandoning, of my long habored inner dreams of carving out a place in the woods, building from cobbled together salvage pieces, sweat, pained fingers and broken nails, that I could truly call ‘mine’. Now that I have a li’l punkin to consider, I had to balance what would be best for him versus what I truly wanted. That was…hard. I don’t necessarily feel it is bad for kids to grow up in the wild; in fact, in some ways it is healthier and leads to greater self-reliance. However, with him starting off with special needs and me being the only family member that has embraced that lifestyle, it might go well or it might go very, very badly. Since socialization is one of the skills areas where he needs a LOT of work, talking to goats and field mice may not advance that a whole lot. Since the whole ‘my parents gave me away’ thing is rearing its ugly head, proximity to mental health services are also a plus.
So I blended my life-long love of all structures old, with a half-measure of acreage on the water, but close in enough to present social and other enrichment activities other than counting wild turkeys and does vs bucks in season for the Lego sprout. Meet KarseCoteHowm (Scottish for lowlying river land, humble home, in a floodplain)
She’s built in 1925, so nearly 100 years old and shows some of her aches and pains, but she’s had some surgical procedures to freshen her up a bit in the showy bits. The underbelly will take some interventions in the near future; think of it as bad knees but hopefully not a full hip replacement! I do wake up sometimes fretting that I am going to be a featured actress in “The Money Pit 2” and then try to roll over and go back to sleep.
Meanwhile, back here at the apartment, I’m perfecting my combo skills of Tetris, Jenga and “How to keep ones pinky toes attached” due to the boxes, storage bins, and disassembled items stacked in wobbling towers throughout the place. Maybe it is more like “Rats in a Maze: A study in close quarters”? One of us, LegoMan, OldGrumpyDog or me, bangs into boxes at least once or three times a day. Somehow that simplicity thing that I have been striving for has not taken root yet. At least now I have an actual storage area both inside and outside of the domicile. I feel most for my little Jack, OldGrumpyDog. who has gone mostly blind, totally deaf and is having anxiety because he sees boxes again. In the night, he bumbles around trying to trace his steps to the water dish, and sometimes gives up trying to find his way back and collapses on the pillow under the dining room table instead of returning to his bed beside my bed. But it will be over soon, except for that packing-the-truck thing.
LegoMan has sprouted and turned into a boy in his year and a half here – growing three inches, six pounds and several shoe sizes over the course of time. His face has elongated, sprouted freckles and his hair has turned a shiny auburn that curls like mad when I let it get too long. I sense a lady killer in development, folks. He’s completely off all medications now, and although there is still a lot of anger and disrespect that pops out, the daily thrashing and screaming fits have subsided for the most part. He is practicing for Debate Team though methinks. That boy would argue with a fence post. Summer camp was…interesting. Busted nose, eye punches, nose bleeds, falling off the bleachers into broken metal railings, and enough bandaids and ointment to make me consider taking a course in “Boy First Aid”. Very different than raising girls, my former area of experience. But he did learn to swim, and is mastering the art of scooters – which of course means more bandaids and ointment purchases.
Quite the change, eh? Those legs took on a life of their own! Maybe the scabby salve has growth hormones in it or something 🙂
This move is mostly for his sake. The pain of seeing his siblings remain as a family unit gnaws at him, throws him into a tailspin of doubt, self-loathing and anger, even though he desires to see them. I’ve considered that maybe it hurts me more than it does him. While I want him to remain close to his half-siblings, I also want him to form an identity of his own that isn’t based on being given away, but positive things. Things that will be a strong, loving overlay to the insecurities that plague him. It’s hard on him, having a grandmother stand in as a ‘mom’ figure. He often says he wishes I were 25 or 26 (heh, makes two of us buddy!). I try to stay young thinking and energetic for his sake, but hey, I’m on the near side to sixty now – perish the thought! I look forward to introducing him to hiking, to serious gardening, to lawn mowing (oops, that slipped in there) – to the beauty of the natural world that produces healing and an awareness that we are part of something so much bigger than our real problems. He’s already able to identify birdsong without seeing the bird, has knowledge of herbs and flowers, and has the beginning of understanding of plant medicine. He’s naturally curious and terribly bright (where is my tumeric and black pepper again?). It keeps me on my toes. Some things scare me. Other things amaze me. I’ve never grown a man, and I hope that I do right by him.
Someone called me “the bravest person they know” today. I don’t feel brave. Mostly I feel kept by that old adage “God watches over babies and fools.” Life is hard. But I also get to blow bubbles again. I get to watch a little boy double over in spasms of laughter when I say “Ewwwwwwwwwwww” with a weird face when he makes up another totally ludicrous, horrid thing that he thinks I should eat. I get to watch him master a 1,000 plus piece of Lego assembly on his own, and the care he takes of that work. I get to teach him James Taylor and John Denver songs (which, surprise, he likes!) And yeah, there are bad parts too. Very bad parts. Hopefully I have the strength not to snap, and the tenacity to keep believing that I’m making a difference. And love, lots of love.
Two sets of people are allowed to call out to YHVH when they are being oppressed or afflicted- the widow and the fatherless. Kind of ironic that we share a household, isn’t it?
Be well, until next time. And if you see a pokey Penske truck with a bug-eyed lady, a grumpy little dog and a little boy playing with Legos in your way this weekend, please don’t flip us off, ‘mmkay? 😀