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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Moving On

On Sunday night, when I got home from a visit to my sister's in San Diego, Caris wanted a little "sit down" visit. She came into my room, closed the door, plopped herself down on our bed, hugged a pillow, crossed her legs, and sighed. For the next two hours, my daughter and I chatted. It was, in a word; wonderful. There was nothing wrong, no mountain-moving event, no drama. It began as a "Hey Mommy, how was your weekend?" kind of thing, and moved on to just every little thing. Life in general, work, people who suck, people who are awesome, plans for the future, the ebbs and flows of our days and of those who share our breathing space on this big, blue, marble we call home. I love these days when my kids just seek Charlie or I out for some talk time. I cherish them. Especially as they move into adulthood and I see through the words in our conversations the growth and maturity. It is times like these when I feel a kind of reward for those tough days of parenting.

As I sat and listened to my daughter talk about her weekend and every other thing under the sun, I felt a sense of gratitude. She asked the questions young people ask as they experience day to day frustrations with the world; "Why are some people such jerks?" and "Don't you just want to hit people sometimes?" It wouldn't be entirely truthful if I were to say to her that I didn't want to let "The Bitch" out every now and then and open a can of whoop ass on someone. But I came back to what I've always known to be the truth; communication is everything. It is far more difficult to do the right thing; to approach a problem head-on, to talk. It has been the backbone of my relationship with my husband. The one thing we've always promised to do. However difficult it may be, whatever feelings come to the surface, you've got to get it out or it will either make you crazy, angry, or resentful. No good comes from that.

It's a story we hear over and over again from the kids. That we've set the bar high. That none of their friends parents have the kind of relationship they see from us. That they worry that they will never find that kind of connection with another person. We make it look easy. I thought about that. Perhaps we've done them a disservice. Then I thought; no, we've done it exactly right. I told her what she and her siblings already know is the truth; talk it out. Talk EVERYTHING out. Yeah, sometimes it's shitty. After all, no one wants to hear where they fail and that part always brings out the worst. The walls can go up and the defenses are on guard. We've looked at it as our responsibility to make sure the other person knows that we're not going anywhere. We're in it for the long haul and nothing is more important than what we've built. Nothing is more important than knowing that someone's got your back in the very worst of times. For us, there is no walking away. It isn't easy. It's damn hard work. But it's worth it because I really cannot imagine growing old with anyone else. I know that's how Charlie feels about it too. How do I know? We talk. Even if what is said is something we don't want to hear. That's the deal. That's always been the deal.

I wish it were like that with every relationship...like work, or friendships. But unfortunately, as I told Caris in our talk the other night, sometimes there are things you cannot talk about with some people. You can try, but sometimes they either aren't ready or just don't want to hear it. I guess that's a key as well. But that's their thing, not yours. You can't FORCE someone to hear you and really listening is far more imporant than hearing. It's an art, isn't it, this communication thing? It takes a bit of wisdom and a whole lot of discernment. I suppose that's something else that comes with time.

Finally, Charlie showed up at the bedroom door all sleepy-eyed and asked us if we were done. Caris and I laughed. Yeah, for now. Until the next time which I hope will come soon. Because nothing is better than a good talk.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I wish you knew me.

I'm sad. I have staved off the "monster" for quite a long time. Which is real good for me. Unfortunately, he's back, and right now I just don't have the energy to fight him. I feel like I've had the wind knocked out of me. I feel sideswiped. Mostly, I feel hurt and the worst part is that I feel like I've got nowhere to go with all this stuff I'm feeling. I can't even write about it because it wouldn't be the right thing to do in this case. Which makes me chuckle a little bit because even when I'm sad, hurt, or mad, and need my writing therapy, I think about someone else's feelings and would never hurt someone by writing about how they've hurt me. At least not here. Then again, I don't think they read my blog anyway even though they have access to it. If they did, maybe they'd know me better. Oh, how I wish they would know me better. Really KNOW me. For me, not being able to write about something is like, well, it's like being in a straightjacket. That hurts me even more than the reason I can't write about it. The way I cope is by writing. In this case, I don't even have that.

I'm at a loss.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Topsy-Turvy Hale ko Aloha

So, yeah. Things are a little topsy-turvy around here lately. A lot of changes in a very short time, and more changes to come. We're all learning to adjust, but I can tell that it's gonna take a little time. I am so impressed with my kids. Caris and Bry are just rolling with the flow. Seeing as how Charlie and I have always prided ourselves in being roll with the flow kinda people, it makes me pretty proud to see how well they're adapting. After all, the changes have had more of an immediate effect on the two of them than it has on Charlie and I because they have to share :::gasp!::: the hall bathroom. I cringed at the prospect because I have heard many an argument eminating from that room. However, since Sandie moved in, I have heard not a peep from either of them. I think they've called a truce. I am not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. It's amazing what can be accomplished when you know you're doing something to help someone. I'm pretty sure that's their motivation. Whatever it is, I'm grateful. They're good people these kids o'mine.

I've lost my office. Well, actually I haven't really lost the office so much as I have lost free reign in my office. We moved Charlie's desk and computer into our bedroom, cleared off shelf space in the office, and emptied the hall closet so that Sandie would have areas to call her own. She doesn't mind that I've left my computer and desk AND the aquarium up. She likes watching the fish. She's a night owl, and an early riser, so she's pretty accommodating about letting me in there when I need to get Ebay work done. I try to get in and out so that I don't infringe on her space too much. I can already tell in just the short time she's been with us that she's happier, healthier, and stronger. She commented about how nice it is to be around people who talk to her and don't look through her. She loves the way the kids banter with each other and how we talk non-stop about everything with each other. She's not used to that. I told her to be careful...Caris and Bry will talk her ear off. Conversation is not a lost art in this house. You wanna talk? Oh, we'll talk! Sandie is loving it. That makes me happy.

I remember making remarks over the years about how small my house is. Last year, I took to calling it "cozy". I have lamented the fact that the kids friends' homes are larger and have game rooms or pools, and so they seem to gather there. Sometimes it makes me sad, but I have no means to fight it. I can't compete with large houses and the amenities that come with them. I can't blame them. We often tend to be on top of one another around here. We don't have a family room, so Charlie and I will "retreat" to our room if the kids have company in the living room. Just to give them some space. We've learned to be very accommodating in their late teen years in that regard. As sad as it sometimes makes me that they "chill" at their friends homes more often than here, I admit that it makes me secretly happy when they bring home "scuttlebutt". Yeah, there's that little bit of evil streak in me. I won't trade an awesome marriage for the sacrifices to get that large home with amenities. Ever. I'll stay poor, fat, and happy in my little house with my awesome hubby, thank you very much. Everything has it's price.

So, here we are, the five of us, adjusting to a crowded life in this little tract home. Today, it could seem even smaller because I'm taking care of Kiva for Wes for a day or two. So, there's five of us, plus two busy dogs. Wes has taken to calling my house "Hale ko Aloha." House of Aloha. House of Love. I really love that.

Ya know...it really doesn't feel so small.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Bryson; The Lesser-Known Jonas Brother

All this Doppelganger week mania over on Facebook got the better of Caris. She has, for oh, a good year now, gone on and on about how Bryson looks like a Jonas. "Bry and Nick Jonas could be twins." He of course denies this and says he looks nothing like, and will NEVER look anything like those "Jonas punks". Still, Caris was hell-bent on proving her point.

"Geez, I wish I could hack into Bry's Facebook and change his profile picture."

I thought about it for a few minutes. I had a secret. I wondered whether it would be in my best interest to share it with her. I could seriously lose my Awesome Mom status with my son. I had to think about this. It didn't take long. There had been so much seriousness around here lately that I could feel mischievous Pua wanted to come out and play. Ok, so I lose my A.M. status with the Grommet. But I would SO attain that awesomeness back with Caris.

"Um, I happen to know that Bryson never signs out of Facebook on his laptop."

She perked. "What? Really? Serious?" Off she ran to his room to get his laptop, giggling all the way.

I reminded her that she may very well be flirting with danger.

"Dont worry, Mommy. I will pick a really good picture. I mean, honestly, he looks so much like Nick Jonas that Bryson probably won't even notice for awhile."

Suddenly, I felt a little twinge of panic. What had I done? "Oh, he'll notice alright."

She promised to be quick about it and not mess around with anything else. She would just find a pic, load it to his profile and get out. Spit-spot. Just as she'd promised, it took her all of two minutes while I watched. Yes, I giggled too. I couldn't help myself. When she was done, she quickly closed his laptop and put it back in his room.

THEN, the remorse set in. She started to worry. She started to fret.

"Oh God. He's gonna kill me. Isn't he? He's gonna get mad. Oh no. Oh no."

She thought, she paced, she wondered if she shouldn't go take it off. I reminded her that when she'd closed his laptop, she signed out of his Facebook account.

"It is what it is now Honey. You're stuck."

Then she giggled again. I was watching the Good Caris, Bad Caris scenario playing out right in front of me. The giggling became laughter. She may have been saying she was remorseful, but the snickering said otherwise.

She needn't have worried. He found it a day and a half later, laughed it off, and changed his picture back without ever saying a word to her. In essence, he ended up getting the last laugh because she fretted over it for awhile not knowing whether he'd seen it or if he'd gotten mad. She did, however, get her validation through some of the comments on the picture. Friends agreed that he could definitely pass himself off as a Jonas brother. But we all know that Bryson would rather just be Bryson.