Posts Tagged ‘ family ’

Election 2016

Open letter to everyone in the United States of America reading this,

I know you don’t know me. I am just another voice in the crowd. I did not want to write about this election, but it is coming and I feel I can not remain silent. Not when so much is on the line.

Please, all who read this, please if you are considering Trump to be the leader of our currently free democracy, I implore you to reconsider.

As a conservationist, who has read the all of his proposals concerning the environment, I implore you to please reconsider.

As a loving mother of two daughters and a son, who has seen Trumps behavior, past and present and read his policies concerning civil rights and the literal future of our country; I implore you please reconsider.

As a woman who has seen his behavior and listened to his words towards women and read his policies concerning womens rights; I implore you to reconsider.

As an honest and kind human being, who has seen his treatment of others less fortunate; whether physically or economically, and read his policies concerning these people, I implore you to reconsider.

As the granddaughter of European immigrants who has read his policies concerning immigration, I implore you to reconsider.

As an outspoken person who cares deeply for my causes and has seen his behavior towards those who speak (or draw, or write) ill of him, please I implore you to reconsider.

As a concerned American citizen who cares about our place in the world and the character of the person representing our nation, I implore you to reconsider.

Trump is not going to make America great again. His policies will in fact send us spiraling backwards. The damage he could do as President of OUR UNITED states could take decades to undo. He is like the barker at a carnival sideshow, he is telling you what you want to hear but when you pay to enter you will get nothing but disappointment. He is not “telling it like it is” he is spinning it like he thinks you want to hear, and some of you are letting him fool you.

I implore you, please, read his policies and look at his true self; not the character he plays for you. Please understand the damage he could do and help stop it before it is too late.

I believe in us America, I know if we could come together as a people and say “No, we deserve better” we could do it. Look at all we have accomplished so far! Do not let our country slip backwards by choosing hate and fear and bigotry and ignorance. We ARE better than that.

Please do not forget to register to make sure that on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 we can stop this ludicrous sideshow now before we all end up living in a nightmare.

Thank you for reading. Good night!

 

Homeschooling Huzzah!

We are half-way through our first year homeschooling.

I have to say, I am really opening my mind to some cool new ideas; new to me anyway. At first, I started by trying to mimic the public schoolroom. Strict rigid schedule, desk, worksheets, etc…

That all really quickly fell apart, and my stress level skyrocketed.  Pushing her to keep up we both were miserable. Add in our regular play dates, holidays, birthdays, LIFE and my homeschool vision was just crumbling. I kept thinking, she has to keep up with the public school!

But then… does she? Really? Isn’t the point of me homeschooling because I want something different for her beyond the industrial machine of mass schooling?

I live in a “strict” state; who’s homeschooling regulations are comparatively stricter than other states. Homeschoolers in my state are more regulated and “watch-dogged” then say someone in a comparatively lax state. I have to declare my intent at the beginning of each year in the form of a notarized document, the district gives me a list of mandatory subjects I have to cover and at the end of the year we need to be evaluated by a professional; including examples of learning and progress. We also are required by our local district to give proof of medical services and provide a projected learning schedule and number of days we will do minimum. Being that my original intent was not unschooling, and I have never experienced homeschooling regulations in another state I had no problem doing all of this. However there are those who have objections to such things.

We have done so many fun things so far this year. I am currently considering not only doing homeschooling next year for first grade, but also going to a more year-round approach. The curriculum I wrote ends on May 31st 2016, however I am really considering writing up a lite work summer curriculum.

The further I get into this homeschool web the more I learn, saying nothing of what my Kindergarten girl and two toddlers are learning. I originally began feeling forced into this, as she misses the cut-off for entry based on age. I huffed and growled and decided that fine my smart and very ready Kindergartner can just be homeschooled this year and if I do a crappy job then no harm no foul she will be ahead for next year.

It is so much more now. It has become in such a short amount of time our way of life and as I envision our future I see nothing but possibilities. I am amazed how easily it has fit our lifestyle and our dreams of the future. Especially since I have begun to change MY attitude of what “school” means. Learning is so much more then just “schooling.” That is such an obvious thing to say. I grew up “in the system.” A daycare baby before my third month of life and put into Kindergarten at age four and that’s how it was. I saw the flaws even as a child and especially as a teenager but that’s the way it’s done right?

It doesn’t have to be. I love that we get to sleep in. I love that we don’t have to miss family time together. I love seeing her learning and being a part of that. I love how easy it is some days. (Yes, it’s REALLY hard some days too!!!) I love that we can do this anywhere and are not “stuck” here. I love everything new that I am learning and the relationship I am continuing to build with my babies. I love how happy she is to do her lessons (most days!)

I am in no way implying I can teach a classroom of kids, or even that public schools are bad places. Heck no. I am saying that this works for our family and I am genuinely excited for the possibilities and growth we are going through.

I can’t wait to see where this takes us!

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Working on her Flamingo habitat.

My Tante

Ever since I can remember, my Aunt Kisha has been my hero. She was always so cool.  She would take me on rides on her horse Fox Fire around the hill. She painted my sister and myself each a beautiful painting to celebrate our birth. She always got me the best presents. I thought it was so cool she lived in the barn at the bottom of the hill. When she moved to Seattle in the mid 90’s I was so sad.

My Aunt Kisha embodied everything cool. She would hand draw me coloring books and make me journals. She would tape MTV and make cassettes of cool music for me. We didn’t have cable, and the music collection of my parents consisted mainly of hair metal and 70’s rock. She introduced me to Tool, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Sunny Day Real Estate, Soul Coughing, Live, Fuel, Paula Cole and so many others. Through my angsty teenage years she always understood my growing pains. She always seemed to understand how to help without intruding or being overt. When I complained about how I wasn’t old enough for a tattoo she told me how to use Indian ink and a sewing needle to give myself one; instead of finding some dude in a smelly backroom to do it. When I was feeling like I was going to explode at home she would somehow know and a new mix CD would show up in the mail. She would send me cool art postcards that inspired my imagination and opened up my world.

To this day; even though she still lives on the other side of the country, she still is always there for me. I am not the best niece. I barely write anymore. My favorite painting (the one she painted just for me) was stolen from my apartment in college when I went to Florida for a week after a bad break up. Our gifts to her usually involve pictures of our kids (yeah, we are THOSE gifters) and yet she still seems to always know what we need; usually before we even realize we need it. She will send us cards of her art to send out for Christmas. She was sending us eco-friendly multi-use cloths before we even knew we needed them! She is always sending us yummy smelling lip balm and lotion, exactly what we want. She was amazing and painted us an original painting for our wedding invitations. She always listens to me rant on about whatever is bugging me on the occasions I do get a minute to talk to her. She is cool and always non-judgmental. I love her a whole lot and I wish she lived closer. She is still my hero.

She has a kickstarter going right now, and it means a lot to her to get it going. Even though she doesn’t do abstract and surreal art so much anymore, I love what she does put out for everyone to see. If you find you have a spare few dollars around and want to help support her latest project on kickstarter it would really be appreciated! Plus, you get cool stuff too! Thanks!

Here are the links if you missed them before:

Nakisha.com

BlueDogRose on Etsy

The Badgers Forest Tarot Kickstarter

Your Babies Gut…

…WAS NOT DESIGNED TO DIGEST ANYTHING OTHER THEN BREAST MILK UNTIL AT LEAST 4-6 MONTHS!

Formula is a suitable substitute for breast milk, go ahead and use it if you want to.

You know what is NOT OK? Rice freaking cereal or cow’s milk!!! In fact it is dangerous! Their little brand new digestive system is not ready for such heavy stuff! In the long-term it can cause allergies, Gastrointestinal issues, lead to early onset diabetes, and obesity. In the short-term it can cause constipation and confusion.

Some people seem to think it helps with acid reflux and will help a baby sleep better through the night. They have formula designed for babies with acid reflux, if your breastfeeding you don’t get acid reflux at all and sleeping through the night… really? You want to trade you child’s life long health so you can maybe get a full nights rest? Seriously?

Crying Mogwai

The AAP, the WHO, and UNICEF all recommend waiting until 6 months before even starting anything not liquid. They have tiny little tummies, they are supposed to eat a little at a time. Why are we always in such a rush in this country to make our kids grow up? Like we expect them to come out of the womb and be ready to get a job….

OK, maybe not that grown up but we Do put unnecessary timelines on our kids.  Some of my peers are calling 36 weeks “full term” for a pregnancy. They aren’t even born yet and we want them to hurry up! I know women who have scheduled elective c-sections at 36 weeks! That is insane!

Why can’t we just let them grow at there own pace? Let things happen without freaking out that they are slow or behind? It’s like if they don’t fit into our lives or our schedules then something must be wrong with them. Does anybody else see how crazy that sounds? They have just taken a breath and opened there eyes to the sun for the first time and we want them to eat big people food and walk and be quiet and sleep 8 hours a night and take two solid 4 hour naps a day and be happy all alone in a swing or crib four hours and hours each day. We expect so much of THEM, why don’t we expect more of ourselves? How about a little understanding? Why don’t WE take a step back and realize they can not conform to our pre-set determination of their day-to-day life. That it is OUR lives that need re-evaluation to fit around them. Eventually, they will naturally fall into a set sleep pattern and eat on a regular schedule and do all the things we want if we as adults could just be patient. It think it would make everyone, mother and child, much happier.

This is something I wish I had known with my first. I wish I had just had more patience in the beginning. She was such a difficult baby, but I had such high standards of what society told me a baby was “supposed” to be like. She wasn’t fitting into the mold I saw all around me in the media and what our pediatrician at the time said she ought to, so my anxiety rose as I thought something must be “wrong” with her. Looking back, their was nothing wrong with her at all. It is not wrong for an infant to want to nurse every two hours or every 20 minutes, or to want to use mom as a pacie. It is not wrong for an infant to want to be held all the time and to not want to sleep alone. I hate sleeping alone, when my husband would close the restaurant and not get home until 3 am I could never sleep right. How could I expect an infant to happily sleep all alone?

At two months she did not weigh as much as some chart said she ought to weigh. The pediatrician basically convinced me she was starving to death and I was letting it happen by refusing to use formula. I gave in and began to supplement with formula at night and she put on lots of weight fast. I wish at the time someone had told me that breastfed babies arent (generally speaking) as heavy as those fed formula. That the chart that most pediatricians use is based on average weights of formula fed babies. I didn’t take into account my genetics or my husbands (both of us petite babies and children.) All I heard was her doctor telling me she was underweight and my breasts weren’t cutting it. We continued to supplement, relying more heavily on formula until about 7 months when our daughter decided she didn’t want the breast anymore at all. She still took formula at night until her first birthday when she decided she didn’t want that anymore either. I wish I had just worked harder to up my supply. I had been making enough, I just hadn’t been making any extra.

I am beyond proud to say that we are nearly 12 weeks with our son and he has yet to have a drop of formula. Honestly, it hasn’t been easy. As much as I let him nurse and as much as I pump and take my prenatal’s and fenugreek and eat my oatmeal I am still not gushing and overflowing with milk. I envy those women who have ounces and ounces stored in the freezer. Currently I have 6 oz in the freezer and another 4 in the fridge… and those were collected on chance and luck. Normally he eats as much as I make, no more no less. But that is OK too. He is healthy and we have managed this time (so far) to be much more relaxed parents and not freak out over every little thing. I feel, all around, we are a much happier family unit and he is a much happier baby because I am going with his flow. He is a fat little baby and I am so proud to say that my breasts did that!

Happy Mogwai eating

Happy Mogwai Eating

Like usual, it appears I have ranted off my original topic. So, I say again, don’t give your babies solid food (including rice cereal) or cows milk (or goat milk or wolverine milk or soy milk) until they are at least 4 months; and even then don’t rush it! They will tell you when they are ready. They have the rest of their lives to eat sugar and starch and peas and carrots. It’s just not necessary or worth it to rush.

New apartment, New town, New state

Here we are!

Internet is back on, I can give the updates now.

As my title states, we have crossed state lines into unknown territory and are now in a “townhouse;” or two-floor apartment, in a family friendly neighborhood on the outskirts of a relatively large city. It is no NYC or Syracuse even, but its bigger then the place we were just at. Close to three schools (although the school statistics for this entire state are mighty disheartening… active large online community for home school kids though…) within a stone throw of two playgrounds and even though it’s a complex… sorry community… there are a lot of families around us and by 9 pm all has been quiet on the home front. And a large active online mommy group for stay at home moms. Just what we wanted. The apartment is bigger then our last place by a little, the rent is WAY higher, but it seems to be a secure space so that’s OK. Hubby’s job is GREAT, he did take a $10,000 a year pay cut, BUT it has very affordable family health insurance, lots of opportunities for advancement, and seems like a great family oriented place. They even help him advance in his career by paying for school. Say he wanted to go to culinary school and get a degree so he could get a better job within their facility, they can make that happen. So, we are financially set back temporarily. I feel this place is like setting up some security for our future. We are also near a good zoo, it is a large zoo, BUT I do know a few people there and they do have a wild dog pack (I have dreamed of working with wild dogs, especially after my experience with the wolf pack at my old zoo; kind of personal career goal.) Not ready to go back to work full-time just yet, gotta have this baby first and raise it up a bit. Speaking of…

I am about 34 weeks now. I have only put on about 23 lbs so far. A far cry from the 60 lbs I put on with my first pregnancy, but a much healthier amount. I have also been more stressed out this last trimester and have not had access to a lot of food. So there’s that. Most of the food we did have I gave to our toddler, who has gone through another growth spurt during this transitional time; and if you didn’t know during growth spurts they eat like crazy and are extra fussy and tired. She now fits into 4T already, she is getting SO tall! She is barely two and a half and she’s that tall. Get’s it from her father of course.

The closest birth center is about two hours away, currently awaiting admission, should hear back by Thursday if they have accepted me. Had a few hiccups getting them my records, since I have had to change midwives twice this pregnancy. Obviously not by choice. Moving over 7 hours in 4 months time can do that. Been doing a lot of reading to prepare myself for this birth. I know I am wiser now and I am definitely more keen to how hospitals and doctors treat birthing women. I wanted a home birth this time; but they usually aren’t covered by insurance and we have moved so much it would have been hard to pin one down anyway. I would hate to be looking for a home birth midwife right now, especially since I am sure they are all booked up for my month. I did have a doula at the last place we were at, a dear old friend of mine who is training to become a CNM (certified nurse midwife) I was very sad to leave her. If I did get stuck with a hospital birth she was going to be my knight telling the doctors where they can shove there pitocin and other drugs and monitors and schedules and tubes etc… I will be happy to get into this birth center, it sounds like what I want. Come check me once and awhile to make sure the baby is safe but other than that let me walk around and breath and move and be calm and open. Let me do what my body was made to do and don’t stress me out! Is that so much to ask? In this country, yes. That’s a subject for an entire blog though. This one I am just updating our living situation.

All in all I have high hopes for our future here. I doubt we will stay in this exact apartment…townhouse… for more than a year, but it’s a good place to start. This is a good area and could lead to good things for us if we play our cards right. I would like to be closer to the ocean, but in time in time…

The lonely is already settling in, but that happens whenever you move, especially if you move far away. I miss my animals at the zoo, I miss my friends in both spaces we have been in in the past 4 months. I know my daughter is lonely too. She asks about her friends a lot. Now that we have internet I can hook up with a mommy group and get her some interaction with kids her own age! Her and Daddy are enjoying some quality time out of the house and giving me some quiet time for a bit, the first breather I have had in months. It’s not the same as playing with her own age group though. We can’t afford daycare, or I would put her in just for two or three days a week just so she could have some friends too. Gotta get in with the mommy group soon!

Don’t even want to discuss financial woes. We took out a small loan to move down here. Time to start paying that back! I have been thinking of joining Etsy; but so many people sell tutu’s I don’t know if I would even make a profit unless I expanded what I do. Going to try the consignment shops here first, lets see where that goes. A friend of mine who also makes really cool tutu’s said mine were really unique and would sell well. We shall see. Etsy has worked out great for my Aunt, but she is a very talented artist. No way anybody would buy the junk I scribble.

I know a lot of families around the country are having a harder time then we are. Things are bad all over. People keep talking how the recession is getting better. Honestly, for my circle and our life it seems like the recession has just hit. The past few years have been very prosperous. Suddenly all my friends are losing work and a lot of people in the military I know are being discharged for this reason or that reason. Not dishonorably or anything, just no more need for them I guess. I don’t know, I am not military, just know a lot in the service… or who used to be in the service anyway. My civilian friends are all seeming to get hours cut, business closing all over too. maybe the recession just took longer to hit the East Coast?

I will say one thing; we went to a food pantry for the first time ever in my life last week. Let me tell you that was hard. Even when I was homeless living out of my car I still didn’t go. Like I said, our toddler has been in a growth spurt during this transition, and I am pregnant I do need to eat a little bit now and then. So we went to the church and stayed in line for an hour and got 18 lbs of food; plus bread and eggs. It wasn’t as humiliating as I thought honestly. It felt good to have some food in the house again. I felt pretty awful though for us not having enough; even after taking out a loan and everything, to be able to keep enough food in the house. We don’t drink, we don’t do drugs, Hubby is down to less than one pack of smokes a week, we are both willing to work hard and we have just barely been carrying on a good living. It makes me wonder how others around the country are doing. People who do have addictions and issues. Our biggest expense is rent, food is number two on that expense list. I can’t imagine how hard things must be for others. Now that Hubby is going to be getting a steady paycheck again things should smooth out. We wont have enough for savings really like we did before the lay off, but we should be able to afford the necessities again at least. Thank God I saved all of the tot’s old infant stuff! We do need to go buy a new car seat, but I saved a gift card from x-mas to help with that. Frugal me always. Wish Hubby was the same! He spent $40 on food just for lunch today, his “victory” feast he called it. We did need a celebration but geeze home cooked food is supposed to be cheaper than dining out HAHAHA.

Yes, yes, I can hear it. You say stop complaining about money when you’re a stay at home mom! True, I could have this baby, heal and be back to work at any job full-time if I tried. That would add in quite a bit of income… or would it? My career, which I have been in since i was 15 and is VERY emotionally satisfying and I am well-trained to do and great at, unfortunately doesn’t pay well. So, right off the bat, I wouldn’t be able to go back into my field right away. So you say, call centers pay quite nicely. True that. I could do that, or be a waitress, or receptionist or a million other things. Add in the financial cost of daycare for a toddler and a newborn full-time. That’s a huge chunk of change.

Now, the most important part: if I went back to work full-time right after this baby is born, I would be giving over half my salary for people I barely know to raise my children for me. I am NOT going to get into the debate of working mom vs. stay at home mom. That’s not my bag. for OUR family, for what WE feel as a unit; letting a daycare raise our children is unacceptable. FOR US. In our personal beliefs and our family dynamic we feel that children need their parents as the primary caregivers. I have lots of friends who are working moms, that is what works for their family. That is their choice and I do NOT judge them for it. I am not living their lives and who would I be to impose my beliefs. Staying home doesn’t work for everybody, it’s not right for every family. But it is right for our family, and giving that up would cost more than any paycheck I could bring in would. Do I miss my career? Of course. But I have been zoo keeping for years, worked the shelters and animal hospitals before that and have a degree in Zoo Technology/Animal Management. I have not left my career. I am on an extended hiatus to take the best care of the most important people in my life in a manner that I see fit. I am young and there is plenty of time for me to go back to keeping full-time when the kids are old enough. Anyway, I still have my hand in the keeper cookie jar so to speak, so I am never too far away.

All life takes is a little determination and perseverance and you can get whatever you want…. unless what you want is to have a palace on the sun. That is not going to happen. Sorry. Everything else, just takes time. I think I am going to get in some Sim time before Hubby comes back with the tot and really relax awhile. Haven’t had time for Sims in months…

The Fulcrum

*Edit in July 2012: This is the only surviving entry from my old blog. I felt it was important to leave this one up. I did take a few bits out here and there for my own reasons.*

When I was a very little girl, we moved around from place to place a lot. We didn’t really stay anywhere for very long until I was about 7. We then began renting a farm on this lovely patch of back hill country. We stayed there for nearly 5 years. It was beautiful, it was magical and it is the scene of my earliest memories of the traces of things to come, good and bad. Whatever is in my brain wasn’t always bad. I don’t have very many early bad memories about it. That will be more detailed later as you learn more about me.

My daddy worked with his hands, enjoyed a hard days work, cigarettes and coffee. He loved working his friends farm, but had a hard time keeping down a steady 9-5 type job. My mom was the main source of income doing odd factory work to keep us afloat, and daddy was home with us most of the time. From my memory I know he loved music and being outside. He would take us out in the ATV’s and on the tractor all the time. He loved to hunt, and since we were poor dinner was often either from our own little farm or from what he had shot that day. Usually rabbit, but on occasion a nice bit of venison sat on the table. We didn’t usually slaughter our farm animals, as we didn’t have many, but on one occasion I remember Bob the cow who I had named and grown attached to even though I was told not to. Even as a child I spent more time with animals then people, as our closest neighbors (other than the older boys who lived a quick ATV ride away) were over 15 miles away. I remember asking my daddy what to name the new male calf and he told me to name it Dinner. I didn’t get the joke at the time, but after Bob had studded our heifers he was gone and our freezer was suddenly packed with bull meat. I did not eat any of Bob that I know of. I remember another time very vividly where we had an old lame horse, a giant in my mind, but i don’t recall the breed or even the name of the animal. I remember daddy grabbing one of his large collection of shotguns and telling me to stay in the house no matter what. I, of course, snuck out and crept around the barn to see what was going on. Everybody was standing around this once giant animal, who was laying on the ground and even from my distance I could hear its labored breaths knew its pain. The shot rang out and I watched the horse go from suffering beast, to a still heap in the dirt. I was horrified, but fascinated. I don’t remember what I was thinking, or what came directly after that. I just remember my daddy turning around after it was over and looking at me, and I saw the pain in his face over what he had had to do. My dad was very reverent of beasts, often telling me the animals we eat give us life and we should be grateful. He filled my head with the beauty and the wisdom and the horror of nature.

There was one time I was playing in the woods behind our house, like I did every single day of my remembered childhood of the hill, and I saw a coyote coming towards me. I must have been maybe 7 or even 8. Of course, I was very excited, and started walking towards it saying “doggy, here doggy.” We had lots of dogs around, but none like this. My mom was yelling something from the house, but I was too far away to really hear her. Anyway, I wanted to pet the doggy. My dad suddenly came running down the hill with a shotgun in his hands, and I started screaming “don’t hurt the doggy daddy!” The whole time the coyote was still staggering towards me, his mouth drooling and his head lolling. A shot echoed through the hills, and the coyote ran off. My dad scooped me up and carried me into the house crying. I was terrified he had hit the doggy. Dad and his friends who were visiting went off with guns to find the coyote. They didn’t find him that day, but a few days later half buried in the swamp at the foot of the hills. The vet test confirmed he was rabid, and that my dad had not hit him with a bullet.

There was one time, in the thick of winter when the snow is piled up for feet and feet and feet I remember bundling up and just me and daddy went out on the three-wheeler together. We went through our property enjoying the rare sunshine against the white snow. We started to head up the pipeline at the edge of our property, a very steep incline. If you have ever ridden or seen a three-wheeler you know that they are very back heavy, and tip easily. I felt like I was holding on for dear life, but I wasn’t really scared. Daddy told me we were going to make it to the top, and even though I felt like we were going to topple backwards, I trusted him and we didn’t. We made it to the top, a place on our property I had never been before, and it was a beautiful flat man-made lake that was completely frozen solid. It was breath taking in the glare of a winter sun. We must have played all day out there.

My daddy was a wonderful, caring and loving dad. He took wonderful care of us, and we all felt how much he loved us. But he had a temper too, mom says that’s where my temper comes from. I have no memories of him ever directing that temper towards us, but I have a few memories of him aiming it at mom. Once he got so angry he started throwing things all over the house, he broke a picture frame on the wall and stomped around. Mom grabbed us and we all sat on the bed in our room huddled together on the bed while he stomped through the house breaking things. We didn’t come out until we heard the door slam and it got quiet. That is the only time I remember him being so violent in front of us. Usually we were told to go outside and play and we would hear yelling through the house. Or, on a few occasions I would wake up and mom would be crying and dad would be speaking in angry hushed tones. I don’t remember what they fought about. I asked mom once, she said mostly money issues and how he never could hold down a steady job. Once I remember him yelling “there’s someone else isn’t there?” and just the once I remember him saying “tell them who their real father is!” Mom said he used to have all kinds of paranoid thoughts like that sometimes. I’ve never told my mom this, but my temper is just as bad, and from the pieces I’ve gathered about his darker self, my old paranoia could rival my dads any day.

He didn’t like people, he hated the government. He had his close group of friends and that was about it. He liked living “away from it all.” He hated certain people who lived near us. They used to feud like crazy. I don’t know exactly why. Mom doesn’t talk about certain things.

One sunny day in early summer, I woke up and I didn’t quite feel right. I felt this knot in my stomach. Mom announced we were going to gramma and grampa’s and that was final. I didn’t want to go. I even tried holding onto the bunk bed post and not letting go. Mom and dad finally pried me off, and after much fuss, we were ready to go. Daddy gave me a hug, told me he was staying home, told me to be good at grampa’s house. I think he gave me a kiss. He smiled and looked happy.We backed up to turn around, he waved and watched us go. I watched him watch us, we turned and drove out of sight.

At grampa’s house, as the hours passed, people started showing up. An aunt here, a cousin there. More and more. Then a few police officers. We were told, just sit and watch your cartoons kids, but we could hear little snippets; “he did what” “standoff” “too dangerous” “that’s not him.” We could see everyone getting worked up and rushing around busily. It was hard to just sit and watch cartoons. Every time we went into a room with adults, someone would rush over and shoo us back into the living room.

The six o’clock news was about to start. Grampa sat me down in his lap, and told me to pay really close attention to the T.V. The news reporter showed my road, my driveway. She was standing at the bottom of our hill. There were cuts showing the house from a helicopter camera. The reporter was talking about the “militia man” who was in standoff with police after shooting a neighbor. The reporter was said this local was still locked in the house, shooting at any police who came near. They interviewed my dads friend, he said he didn’t know what was wrong, just that he was there to help and talked about what a good man and father my dad was. Click, the TV went off, that was it. I realized at that point I hadn’t seen my mom in hours.

Everyone was staring at me. It was very quiet. Grampa asked if I had any questions. I didn’t know what to say. I’m not sure what happened after that. My next memory we are at my Godmothers house, I am next door playing with another little girl in her playhouse. My mom calls for me, I run over and look back for my friend. She wasn’t in the house anymore. I don’t see anyone else but me and my mom. We went into the garage. Mom squatted down and looked me in the eye and said “your dad has died.” I laughed. I told her not to tell stupid jokes. Her eyes teared up and she looked away. I asked how, she said its complicated. I don’t remember anymore of that day.

My next memory I am at the funeral sitting on a comfortable couch at the front of the room. The couch is white (or maybe dark green) with deep dark wood edges, it was very lovely. I’m in front of everybody with my two best friends sitting next to me. My gramma is crying. My cousin is crying. My mom is stone faced. My grampa is very close to tears. The woman is talking about my dad, there are pictures everywhere and no body. I don’t remember what she said. I’m outside now, playing on the brick steps. Mom is talking to people. My two friends are watching me. I am trying to step in the pattern of the bricks. There’s a small tree next to me that I spin around. It’s time to go.

It’s sometime later, I don’t know when. My from that point, until I was about 15, my memory is still mostly blank and in my head time jumps around a lot but there are huge gaps missing. At this point, it’s probably been a few months, in my head it seems as though it was the same week. We are still unpacking in the new one story, two bedroom house we are renting. We had to sell most of what we owned, and gave up the house of the hill. We lost all our animals, save one dog and one cat. My dog seems unhappy in the little inner city fenced in yard. She misses the freedom of the hills, so do I. Everything we own has pink pepper spray dots all over it, so we have to wash everything. Unpacking books, i accidentally rubbed my eyes and got the pepper spray in them, mom had to flush my eyes out.  My moms new boyfriend is unpacking his things too. I hate him already. I don’t remember meeting him, my first memory of him is him laughing and telling me to stop rubbing my eyes or they will just keep getting pepper spray in them. I already wish he would die and he hasn’t even shown his true colors yet. But that’s a whole other blog in itself.

The night of the standoff with the police, my dad went what I can only describe as insane. He wrote lyrics and strange poems, drew drawings and left a specific page open to the bible. I must have read those two pages over and over, hoping for an answer that I still have never found. At some point in the night, he put one of his many guns to his head, and committed suicide. My father willfully committed suicide on this day, fifteen years ago. When people ask, I don’t tell them how he died, I just say he was shot and leave it and they assume he was military or police or something and got killed in duty. NO. My father decided not to go on living and shot himself in the head. The police threw in the cans of pepper spray before entering the house. The media went crazy over the next few weeks, printing all kinds of made up tripe about him, never really pinning down who he really was.

It was also after this the nightmares about the house started. A place where it’s always dark and thundering, the house looms up on the hill. It’s in disrepair, full of holes and falling apart. There’s a light on in the back room. I walk inside and it’s always cold. I walk in the backroom and sit on the washing machine and watch my daddy scribbling and doodling on a sheet of paper. I watch it get faster and faster, I watch him cry. I try to talk to him, to tell him I am right their and to cheer up. I am always a child in my nightmare. I watch him pick up his gun, I start screaming and screaming No Daddy NO! Please Don’t Do It! In my nightmare, just like in real life, he never listens. He looks at me. In my nightmare at this point he always turns and looks right at me. I watch him put the gun in his mouth and then pull the trigger anyway with his eyes locked on mine. I watch him twitch for a while and bleed and then everything is quiet and I always wake up. I have had the same nightmare for the past fifteen years, although I only get it maybe once or twice a year now.

I don’t think I will ever have a real answer for why he just couldn’t have stayed alive. Even after all this time, I have coped with it rather well I think. I lead a mostly normal life. But this even it so etched on my soul I don’t think I will ever really be free from it. Like a big deep purple scar that people ask you about and you make up some half truth just to get them off you back.

I think my dad was crazy a little. But he was also a kind and generous man. He was the kind of father every little girl wants, and my childhood couldn’t have been happier or full of more love. My daddy enjoyed the simple things in life, a good tune on the radio, the comfort of a cigarette, watching a little TV before bed with the family, mudd’in with his friends and his children. He was a good honest man. I really do love him still and think of him almost every day.

Where ever you are now, I miss you daddy.

-Tempus in tempore-

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