One week until we leave our winter home in Mexico to head north to our summer home (a trailer in the woods). Two weeks until I’m supposed to pay the remaining $2,500 USD ($3,365.94 CDN) for the Running Wild retreat, of which I have raised exactly $0.00 in either currency since about 20 days ago. Slightly (silently). Freaking. Out.
I started this blog with the intention of blogging if not daily, at least diligently, creating around 3 or so posts a week of heartfelt prose documenting my daily life, hopes & dreams, recollections, and reflections on navigating life as a grieving mama seeking to stay grounded & present for my living loves — and hopefully moving my readers to share my posts widely and rave to their friends and contacts about getting me to this amazing, life-changing horse gentling retreat. I was able to make a deposit on one of the 6 spots thanks to my amazing friends who donated when I hesitantly started this campaign a month ago, and one person in particular who blew my mind with an incredibly generous donation. But now I’m two weeks out from the deadline for paying the remaining fees, and although I’ve been blogging consistently and daily in my head, by the time the kids are in bed and the chores are done each day, I am also done like the dinner I’ve planned, shopped for, cooked, served, and picked up off the floor after the baby threw it there… (or alternatively, have begged my sweet & accommodating partner to go pick up from the taco stand down the street if it’s one of those days where even the thought of all of the above makes me want to cry).
Because, wow. Running a household that contains two small children (one still breastfeeding and using cloth diapers) and several animals, and placing a high value on a house that is relatively clean and organized (albeit thankfully tiny in size), and keeping the people and the animals fed and clean and also trying to have some quality time with all of them…. It is way more than a full time job, and it is never, ever done for more than 5 minutes (but what a glorious 5 minutes, when all the laundry is folded & put away and the dishes washed and there’s food to eat and the kids are happy and/or asleep….). With my muchacha helping out daily, it’s done for 5 minutes more often than when I’m on my own, but I’m headed north soon, to no childcare/help in the house aside from my hardworking guy, who will be slinging a saw in the bush for 12 hours a day and STILL help me fold the laundry (even though he does it completely all wrong) or do the dishes before reading the girl to sleep (he’s a pro at both of these things). I know it will be okay, but I’m having to breathe myself through it once in a while.
I would be so prolific if I could invent writing software that could type out the blog posts I compose while raking up manure or washing the dishes or walking to and fro cleaning up after the tornado children have been playing for a while. But if I want to actually sit in front of a screen and type words into a box, it takes some considerable discipline and a certain ruthless theft of time from the long list of other things I feel like I should be doing, or even worse, really WANT to be doing, or even WORSE, HAVE to do (like the several things that interrupted the typing of this actual sentence, including 3 short shushing/patting/humming sessions with the baby who is still not quite asleep, checking to see what the dog was barking at a couple of times, and intercepting big sister and cousin in the backyard because that baby needs to sleep so I can blog godammit).
One of the things I’ve been blogging in my head is something I left out of my last post when I complained a bit about the flight booking nightmare disaster I suffered through last week. Since I had to spend a lot of time on hold, it seemed like a good opportunity to start reading my old blog and think about what to redact. It’s not going to be all that much — just enough to cover my ass some about some sell-out corporate research — and the details redacted are totally not necessary to the overall plot of the story. But making the decisions and finding the necessary redactions requires reading through all the posts, and holy shit. Holy. fucking. shit.
I’ve been having to breathe through that a lot too. It was maybe not the super best decision to reread my blog from a time in my life when everything was so up in the air and challenging and heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time WHILE ON HOLD FOR PRACTICALLY ALL OF 3 DAYS. But I did it (well, about half of it — it’s not done yet, thus no links, yet). I sat there on hold with the fucking airlines while they jerked me around and transferred my call and cut me off, etc., re-reading my thoughts and reflections from a decade ago about both the struggle and the joy of my daily life in that moment. I read and wept. Details about little things I would have completely forgotten about otherwise: Moon’s first ride on his longboard to the movie store down a quiet pretty city street, and his spectacular crash when he could not figure out how to slow down. Remembering how dark and moody he was when he tried something and couldn’t get it and wanted to so badly, but how he persisted and ended up being pretty amazing in what he mastered (longboarding, climbing, mountain biking, rubix cube, yo-yo, pen spinning… I’ve probably forgotten a few). Reading my lists of gratitude, of which those boys were the top, always. Reading about my heartbreak when a close friend of mine suddenly died. Reading about my panic over my oppressive and growing debt. My despair and determination in the struggle to find funding to stay in the phd program. My anguish about the state of the world, and my role in trying to make it a better (or at least not worse) place for my kids to live in.
While on hold with two different airlines over about three excruciating days. Ha, ha. Such a great idea.
On the plus side, by now I have learned to just surrender the deep cleansing/healing power of tears because holding it in just feels worse. Sometimes I don’t do certain things because I know that I will probably want to cry and I just can’t right then. Other times I do those things knowing I will cry and it’s okay. This is one of the reasons that all I really actually want to do is the things I am already doing. Really small, simple things like making food, cleaning up, playing with the kids, sorting the laundry, raking the leaves, washing the horse. One foot in front of the other. Gathering myself, breathing deep, getting ready to face the impossible when I can: in this case, reliving all those moments when Moon was alive and I was a different person living in such a different reality.
Writing has always been how I process. For that period of time between about 2007 to 2010, I was in my early 30s co-parenting these two amazing boys 50/50 with my ex. I’d finished a master’s degree in English and had taught writing and composition courses for a couple of years, but hit a career wall and decided to pursue a PhD. I got into a program, and over the next few years hella struggled to keep all those balls up in the air: I was a 50% time mama and a non-funded phd student in another city (a several hour commute away), trying to service massive and growing debts working 3 jobs as a university instructor, seasonal legislative editor, and contract government researcher. And kinda also losing my shit because, hello. Wtf, young me?
So reading the old blog has been a pretty intense trip down memory lane, and it strikes me that everything is so different now, and also so the same. Whenever I reflected on blogging (which I did kind of often because blogging is already that meta and self-reflective), it was about the stolen moments in which I wrote. Moments in which I should probably be doing other things, but chose not to.
I know I need to aspire to that more — honouring the things that help me process and heal and generally be happier and healthier, and recognizing the value of taking the time to do them. Yoga — which includes napping on my yoga mat, doing postures in the wild with the kids, and also going to classes to dedicate serious time to my practice with teachers I love. Living in a tidy/orderly home with clean clothes to wear and good food to eat. Spending time with my animals.
I know this, and I’m working on it. Today I got Mika (the 6 year old mare) out and bathed her & worked on her feet. Tomorrow I have someone coming to help me do a trim, her last before going out to pasture for our off season. I want to plan a couple of rides before she goes, and I want to work with Nemo (the 2 yr old colt) at least one more time.
When we get up north, I have a bunch of training sessions scheduled with Angus (the 9 month old German Shepherd) — we’re doing a 7 week long tracking group, and I’m doing 4 private obedience sessions since our timing doesn’t work for the group obedience class.
I neglect writing too much, but it is one of the things I need AND want to do, not just to raise money to go to this amazing retreat — even if my hopes & dreams are dashed and nobody shares and nobody donates and I have to figure out how to give all the money back or just lose the deposit and feel like a dumb loser, just typing out the words helps me process where I am. Reading my old blog makes me realize how important that process has been to me at some of the most difficult and challenging junctures of my life. I’m grateful to my younger self for carving out those moments to document what was going on and record my reflections and hash out my thoughts about both the small and the big things happening in my world. I love how self-aware I was about my amazing lucky life with those two celestial boys still under my wing — how vivid and strong and everlasting that wonder & awe & love they brought into every day I had with them. I miss them both so hard, in such different ways.
Writing about that, I can slow it down and be in this moment, and connect it to all the other moments like beads on a string. I can look back and see how long the string is, and how those beads that seemed so random and chaotic at the time they fell into my lap, strung together and stretched out like that, form a kind of pattern. The incalculable curve. I never could have predicted that I would end up here, wanting more than anything just to run with horses — that would have seemed like the most random of random things to do. But here I am. I promise, if I get there, I will take you with me <3.