Attachment

Attachment is an amazing thing. It affirms to another’s soul that they belong, that they exist, that they matter. It allows security and stability to form, allows for exploration of self to learn who you are and who you aren’t. If attachment bonds are created then love forms and souls flourish. It’s the nutrient rich soil in which roots take and grow deep and continue to find life giving water and nourishment for a lifetime.

Somehow I have been able to create this type of healthy attachment experience with my child. I don’t know how or by what miracle this was allowed, but my son is a happy, healthy, balanced, connected, thriving young man. He just hugged me and sang off key in my ear for over 20 minutes after spending a weekend with his dad and through all of it all I could think is how much I love him, how much I accept him, how grateful I am that he likes me even though I don’t like myself so often, how much he must love me to hold onto me like that and sing to me. And then I realized I didn’t know what parental attachment felt like until that moment. I didn’t know what it could look like or how it was to feel that.

As a little child, those attachment bonds are easy to create and see from a parent perspective. You tend to their every need, you create meals for them, tend to wounds, usher them to appointments and school, you do all of their everything. So attachment is easier to see. As they become more independent, it morphs into something else, something different that needs to be created just the same. You have different needs to tend to as they age into young adulthood. They have different requirements to find their place in the world. They need support and love in a new way so that they can still feel those attachment bonds deep in their soul. They need to know where home is. They need to know where they can find safety, security and love when the world gets too big, too bad, too ugly.

The attachment bonds are thick tonight. I don’t know what I ever did to deserve my son or to be blessed with his presence but I thank God for him every day. I learn more about myself and life with every passing breath. I am better because of him. I am more because he exists. He is my purpose and my most precious contribution to the world. He is every jewel in my crown.

Growing up was difficult for me as you’ve maybe read in my previous posts, but what made it harder is feeling alone, unwanted, and uncared for during the most difficult times. Feelings of being unsafe and unattached didn’t heal because the circumstances ended, they’ve lingered for decades. Tonight I feel the pain of that wound left so deep in my soul; pain I thank God I have been able to shield my son from and create a different life for him. Here I am 42 and still wounded from the tragedies experienced in my childhood because I didn’t feel attached to anyone who could protect me and love me.

Moms and dads— I implore you… protect your children. Save them from monsters, real and imagined. Create a safe home for them to grow and live a happy, healthy childhood. Make sure they know they’re loved regardless of how much or how little they talk, how long their stories take, how off key their singing is or not, how beautiful they are as human beings, how much you cherish their essence. Make sure they know they belong and they are the most incredible person you know. Help guide them to refine their character. Guide them to develop strong values and principles upon which to live. Love them through their missteps and mistakes. Stand beside them in the wake of their heartache created by disappointment and grief. Love them even when it’s hard and you’d rather do anything else besides…

I promise that you’ll all be better off. In the end you will create lovely, lifelong memories and attachment bonds that will carry you to the end of your days. I can’t imagine anyone else beside me except my son when my end draws near. I pray he will never be too busy or too far away to love his momma and that he will always know he has a home to come back to no matter how far away he roams. I pray the bond we created when he was just a tiny little jellybean growing in my tummy and have continued to nurture into his 16 years of age, will continue through the rest of my natural life and beyond. I pray he can do the same with his children and that we have broken the cycle of dysfunction within our family.

Just as roots of a tree grow deep where there’s nutrition and water, your attachment bonds grow deep where love abounds. 🌳

Expressly yours,

The Repressed Peach

Tribute to My Grandmother

On March 10, 2020 my grandmother, affectionately called Little Bit, died after a massive stroke. She hadn’t been sick or anything and was just days before jumping on a bouncy castle with her great grandkids at a birthday party. The whole family was shocked when she died, to say the least. I find myself rocked to the core with this death… beyond the others I’ve written about, the death of my grandma has me deeply sad but also very grateful for her.

She was feisty, small in stature, big in love, the heart of our family, the thrill seeker, the wrestler, the fearless matriarch. Everyone who knew her loved her. She was a Christian woman who relied heavily on her faith. She was a phenomenal cook. She ran a tight ship in her restaurant business and didn’t take kindly to laziness or ineptitude. She loved all animals and often had various animals on her farm. From chickens to geese, sheep to pigs and cows that would nurse on your hand, she had them all at one point. She was a huge fan of emus before her farm life came to a close. She and my grandfather cornered the market on emu oil and all things emu. They raised them, farmed them, and sold the byproducts. They were all in!

As for her family… she was something else. Grandkids always have a different perspective about their grandparents than our parents had about their parent. My mom lived a different life with her mother than I did with my grandmother. My grandma taught me about Jesus Christ and led me to know him as my personal savior. I learned hymns like “Amazing Grace” and “I Fly Away” by singing them with her during bible study in the evenings in the living room of a small shack we lived in at the time. I learned to pray and what it felt like when God was in the room. Grandma always gave us a place to live when things weren’t going well with whatever man my mom was with at the time. We always had food because grandma would send my mom home with leftovers from the restaurant. If it was her delectable biscuits and gravy or the despicable liver and onions, we had food. My grandmother taught me to brush my teeth. She made sure my sister, brother and I all had Christmas gifts every year regardless of what was happening with my family. Grandma gave me my first job at her restaurant where I earned my first paychecks and saved enough money over time to buy my first pair of brand new, name brand shoes. Grandma taught me the value of hard work, discipline and servitude.

She was a giver in the truest form. Every year on thanksgiving she would have the whole family come together to cook and prepare a thanksgiving feast for the community offered through her restaurant. She had a donation jar for people who wanted to pay for their meals but she had no expectation for payment from anyone regardless of their ability to pay. The entire meal was free for everyone. Every year. Once everyone was served and off to their homes to rest in a food induced coma, all of the family, and any employees who wanted to, stayed for our own thanksgiving meal. We would make a 20 foot long table and load it with turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn, green bean casserole, biscuits, dinner rolls, gravy, and fruit salad. Then dessert was always homemade pies: apple, cherry, blueberry, pumpkin, and other varieties from time to time. The cleanup was always the worst because we all just wanted to go home and knock out for a nap, but alas we had to clean and prepare the restaurant for a full shift the following day.

Grandma was an exceptional cook. She was famous for her homemade jams and jellies. She made blackberry, strawberry, prickly pear, apple butter, peach, marmalade, and so many more. She had the greenest thumb I’ve ever known. She could grow anything out of nothing. She liked to grow cucumbers for homemade pickles that she would use in her restaurant. She liked to grow flowers and plants. She especially loved purple irises and marigolds. I remember both flowers being on her property and behind her restaurant all the time. She also hand an affinity for hollyhocks. A flower I’ve only ever seen in Arizona. She loved green houseplants like the philodendron. Even as she aged she maintained flower beds and small gardens that she diligently tended to daily. She was one of the few motor homes in the mobile home park that had a garden and flowers. It seemed as though she would plant something everywhere she went. A small bit of Little Bit was left in her wake. Gardening and planting joy was her passion. She did it with a smile and great pride. When I would visit she often start off by showing me her plants and what’s been growing in her garden. She would brag about the fact she had the best garden in the mobile home park and would smile in delight.

To grandma, no one was a stranger. She was friends with everyone. She didn’t meet a person she couldn’t connect with or find a way to serve. She was generous in so many ways and found ways to bless others. I’ve learned in the last few years that we had several regular patrons to the restaurant who never paid for a meal because she just fed them. They were hungry and so they ate. She would use that time to talk to them about Jesus or Pop would come out and make friends, smoke cigarette or drink a cup of coffee while they ate. But those guests always had a plate of food and no judgement passed, not that I ever witnessed. Grandma lived a modest life. She didn’t have a lot but she did all at the same time. She was wealthy in family, friendship, and character.

Every being has flaws. We all make mistakes. We all do things we wish we wouldn’t have done or said things we wish we wouldn’t have said. We all have rough edges and need polishing in some regard or another. We are not born perfect, and we don’t die perfect. But, I know that my grandma taught me so much and gave me so much that I will forever be grateful to her. I think she likely saved our lives in more ways than one in the course of my lifetime. Thankfully I had opportunity to meet with her alone a couple times over the last five or so years and expressed my gratitude and the magnitude of the impact she had on my life. I hope she remembered all I shared and how much I loved her. I pray she knew my voice as I spoke to her in her final hours via video-chat. I pray the tears I saw gathered in the corner of her eyes was from the intensity of the love she felt. I pray that in her final hours she knew no pain and ran happily into the arms of God the Father as her spirit left this earth. I pray that she wasn’t afraid or worried about anything. I pray she was at peace with the legacy she left behind.

And for me, I pray that in time my heart will heal and this won’t hurt so badly. This post alone has taken me nearly four days to write because I couldn’t keep it together long enough to finish in one sitting; I was too overcome with emotion and the intensity of it all. I pray that I live the rest of my days honoring her and living up to the person she believed me to be. And more so, I pray that I live a life where I create a legacy of my own while also honoring her legacy.

Until we meet again Grandma, I love you, I miss you, and I hope you know how much you mattered. Rest easy in heaven and I hope you and Pop are enjoying your heavenly reunion! I know he missed you so much! Love you forever and always.

In memoriam,

The Repressed Peach

The last baby tooth. 

Parenting is such an interesting journey. It’s full of ups and downs, twists and turns and a little bit of duck, dive and dodge. It’s beautifully analogous to life. And oh what a life it is!

Being a mom is my pride and joy. It’s one of the things I feel I am best at. And by best, I mean in a simple, thoughtful, realistic kind of way. I’m not an over the top, hovercraft, expert-level Pinterest mom, and I’m not a bedazzled, superstar. I’m just thoughtful, caring, disciplined, routine, ordinary, yet exceptional mom to a spectacular young man who makes me love life, enjoy philosophical convos, explore new things, encourage laughter and make beautiful life-long memories together. He is my pride and my joy. He’s my happiness. And I’ve told him so since he was a wee small babe laying in bed ready to go night-night.

He’s a big guy now. Nearly 13 and full of personality, wonder, and silliness. I love every bit of it! Just as I loved watching him find his toes to watching him learn to sit up, I find joy in his development into young adulthood. Milestone and after milestone he’s just blossomed into the person he is today. Like many parents, one of the biggest milestones is cutting teeth. Oh watching, waiting and feeling for those baby teeth to come in is something so treasured and longed for. Our babies can dine with us! They can explore foods and try new things and menu options soon become endless! It’s a glorious thing to be shared by all. Photos are taken, tricks are played to encourage that new toothy grin, Grandma’s fingers, Grandpa’s fingers and everyone else in the family explore the newly developed toofers that have erupted! So much happens at this major milestone and so many adorable memories are made. From the first tooth to the last, we celebrate and create rituals and ceremonies to commemorate the adventure.

But what about the last baby tooth? That last little bugger that holds on and waits until nearly 13 to let go and give way for the final adult tooth to break through? No celebration? No victory dance? No letters from the tooth fairy? Well, tonight my son found a splendid way to celebrate. After pulling his own last baby tooth from his mouth, he washed and dried it then wrapped it in the customary tissues. But when he couldn’t find any tape to secure the wrappings, he took to the craft closet to tie a beautiful red ribbon around it. 

He sent me a text of his final product with the sweet words “my final present to the tooth fairy”. My heart nearly split in two from the pure joy and happiness I felt at his ceremonial wrappings and sincere words.

Tonight, when I play my last role as the Tooth Fairy, I’m going to relish the opportunity to get up in the middle of the night and cautiously leave a nice sum of money under his warm pillow. I’m going to remember the times we shared watching him cut his first tooth up to tonight when he so bravely pulled his own tooth and found a unique way of celebrating the commencement of this ritual and milestone. He’s a joy to raise. A joy to love. A joy to be a mom to. He’s my greatest gift and my most treasured person. ❤️

Lovingly,

The Repressed Peach

Scars

Few people know the details of my upbringing and all that I had to watch, suffer through, and recover from. The horrors of life were ever present in my life from the time I was a small infant to my older teenage years. This included trauma and chaos at school too. Few people realize how badly I was tormented as a child in school. I had several factors stacked against me. First, I have a unique first name that rhymes with colorful, nasty words (think: “Nicky likes _____.”); I have red hair, and my maiden name was Crisp. To add to the fun, I was also miserably poor. My mom was a single mom of three kids and we had a horrible life full of drugs, neglect, abuse (every kind you can define), and homelessness. We moved from house to house, often lived with my grandparents, worked in their restaurant, and struggled to find any sense of stability. It was awful to say the least. Nobody should have to live like that. In the midst of it all, I found a love for school. I loved school and the teachers. I thrived in school at every opportunity. I loved my teachers and clung to them for safety and security. They were my beacons of hope for a different life.  A life that I deserved. A life that I could make for myself if I just tried hard enough and made good decisions toward. The sad part about this is that school was not safe for me either. I was tormented for all the things that made me unique. I was called names, teased mercilessly, rumors spread about me, and ridiculed at every turn. I remember it was in 4th grade that things started to get really ugly. I was manipulated into thinking I was doing things wrong, that I wasn’t a good friend, and that I was not worthy of friendship, love, or life. I remember walking home from the bus stop crying my eyes out every single day of 4th, 5th, and most of 6th grade. Nobody helped me. Nobody stood up for me. My mom did nothing. The school did nothing. The teachers did nothing. The bus drivers did nothing. My friends cowered behind the bullies thankful they weren’t the targets of such pain. I cried in humiliation, fear, sadness and thought that maybe I didn’t deserve to live. I never attempted to take my life, but if it weren’t for the grace of God, and His divine intervention, I could have lost all hope for better days. Some of the people I am connected to today on social media were my bullies. They’ve never apologized. We’ve never been close. But they are part of why I am who I am today. I don’t see myself as a victim of anything in life, I see myself as a survivor and I am thriving. However, I do not aim to minimize my experiences. In fact, I aim to highlight that life is hard and kids can be cruel, but with time, healing, and good guidance even the worst of the worst can be made good.

I have to remember this in the season I am in right now.

See, my son has become the target of bullying. He has been hit in the face on several occasions, his books and band instrument taken away from him and thrown on the ground, he’s been called names and ridiculed in front of his peers. All while at school, with teachers, cameras, and a wonderful thing called “David’s Law” are in place. And despite all of these things, here we are, 30 years later, and I am replaying the trauma I experienced as a young girl. My trauma does not equal his trauma, but it has prepared me to face this issue head on and with a fierceness that only a parent can muster when their child is being mistreated. The scars of my past have been opened a bit and my unspent tears are being shed in love for my son, the sweetest, most gentle, kind-hearted person the world has known. He is a smart, kind, talented, warm, friendly, inquisitive, joyful, God-loving, encouraging, funny 12 year old. He is all of this and so much more. Thankfully, he doesn’t have any “flaws” stacked against him that makes him an easy target, but here he is being tormented and assaulted at school. I can’t figure out what has caused this other child to lash out against my son. To add fuel to the already volatile situation, the perpetrator in this case is the principal’s son. Lovely.

Ironically, before the first days of 7th grade, my son’s school held what was called “Prep Days” where you get your school ID, class schedule, and find the classrooms on your schedule. While we were there, I spoke with the principal and the assistant principals about a series of inappropriate activities that occurred on the school bus that ran through my neighborhood the year before. Several students had shared that inappropriate sexual activities were taking place between kids on the bus and several fights broke out, too. Well, when I addressed these concerns all of the principals were baffled at the information as though they had never heard of anything like that. They claimed nobody had reported any of this misbehavior and had no knowledge of any parental concerns about what was happening on the bus. The principal even had a dismissive tone as I spoke with him. Red flags went up all over my brain. Not a good impression. And definitely not a good sign of things to come in the given situation.

Nobody deserves to go through this experience. Yet we know that so many kids are victims of bullying and so many suffer in silence. So many kids don’t have anyone to tell. They don’t have anyone to fight for them. They have no voice to be heard and nobody advocates for the mistreatment to stop. Thankfully there are societal changes taking shape, but the abuse happens faster than laws can be passed or lives saved. I will ensure that I use every single resource at my disposal to ensure my son’s safety and that of others. I will not stand idle by and watch my son or any other child abused like this. I know the depth at which these experiences affect you and the pain that stays with you most of your life. I know the helplessness one feels when faced with bullying and mistreatment. Know this: I will advocate for the safety of all children at this school. I will go to any length necessary to achieve the desired results. I will spare no expense in my endeavors.

I may have scars from my childhood, but I am going to use them as badges of honor in my fight. My bullies had their day, but I will have mine in the demand for this to cease for my child.

Expressly,

The Repressed Peach

Lonely

I don’t know how many people in my life really understand how alone I really am in this world. I don’t talk about it much. I don’t complain about the fact that I am alone. In fact, I often times dismiss the concept because it sucks to face it head on. Who really wants to acknowledge that they are rolling solo in life? Who wants to feel as though people just tolerate your presence out of pity? I don’t, so I don’t talk about it. I think it’s time that I talk about it though. I think it’s time that I acknowledge that there is a vital piece of my existence that is being neglected. See, I like to be with people. I like to interact, make memories, laugh, fuss over the important parts of life and twiddle around with the less important. I like to have get togethers and have fun. Somewhere amidst my survival mode after my divorce, I stopped getting invited places, I stopped going out, I just stopped. I withdrew into my bunker of life and tried my hardest to keep my shit together. Well, I’m seven years post separation/divorce and the invites haven’t started again.

So instead of always expecting to be invited, I’ve started making my own plans and inviting people to come over or go with me. Oddly enough, few people have accepted my invites. Thanksgiving…I was alone. Christmas… I was alone. New Year’s Eve party planned…only two RSVPs out of nearly 40 people invited. Maybe I’m at an age where others have established friend groups or family traditions for these holidays. Me… well, I’m still starting over in many ways. I don’t have many friends in the area and all of my family lives out of state. Few people even travel to see me; I always have to travel to see them. When my parents come to see us they always have another agenda too (no offense, mom…I know you read this). I bought a new house last year, in fact, I closed on my home on New Year’s Eve 2015, so I thought it would be super cool to celebrate both occasions this year: a New Year and the one year anniversary of being in my new home. Only two people have said they can come and more haven’t even taken the time to say no. But worse yet, two of my dearest friends haven’t even come down to see my house much less come celebrate with me. And it hurts my soul deeply.

Bottom line: I’m alone and it sucks.

I’m tired of buying myself dinner on my birthday. I’m tired of pretending like it doesn’t hurt my feelings when people don’t come to visit. I’m tired of acting as though it doesn’t irritate the shit out of me to have to travel to see anyone. I’m tired of being alone and doing all of this life shit on my own all the time. It’s heartbreaking and sad now where it used to be liberating and inspiring. Let me tell you…everything gets old over time. Even the best of situations get irritating and hum-drum.

I know, I know… Some people would kill to be alone and get to call all their own shots all the time. And isn’t the grass so fucking green? Well, I would kill to not have such green grass for just a month or two. Let me come home to talk to an adult who can hug me and help me make dinner. Let me come home to a man who cares about the stupid bugs crawling in my grass and the ant hill next to the house and will get up and go do something about it. Sure I can do all this shit on my own, but I’m tired. I don’t want to do it all by myself anymore. And dammit, I wanna be celebrated like I deserve to be on my birthday, Mother’s Day, and Christmas. I want friends and family to come hang out and watch stupid movies with me. I want to have long nights by the fire pit outside drinking adult beverages until we’re all stupid. I just want to have people in my life who care and can spend time enjoying life. I don’t need fancy vacations or weekend getaways. I just need friends who can sit back and relax.

While, I’m at it though…I also need people to recognize that I am alone. I need people to step the hell up and be present in my life. Maybe I haven’t demanded that before, and maybe I shouldn’t have to, but I am asking now for people to be available. I want my clan, my crew, my “ride or die” people to share life with me. I’m kind of dying inside. I’m losing my human touch. I’m losing myself somewhere in this bubble of crap that only seems to have me in it. I don’t wanna lose myself or lose my connection with others. I fear I know where people get so many psychological disorders from…isolation. A person’s mind can go bat-shit crazy without human interaction.

I don’t want to be lonely anymore. I want friends to enjoy life with and I would love a significant other to share life with. I want my table full, my heart running out of space, and my life rich with good people.

And I definitely don’t want to write anymore posts like this.

Expressly,

The Repressed Peach

The latest loss

Sometimes life throws some serious curve balls. There’s no preparing for them regardless of how much you worry or fuss beforehand. Death is one of those curve balls. I’ve had 15 people in the course of 3 years depart this earth and I’m just fed up with it. I’ve written about some of the more shocking tales in previous posts so I won’t belabor the idea, but the most recent was closer to home than I would have preferred.
My father died in January.
I’m just now coming to a place where words are making sense. Ideas are coherent and flowing. But I’m not entirely ok yet. 

I didn’t get to make many memories with my father. In fact, most of the memories I have were given to me through stories told to me by my mother. As you can probably guess, those stories didn’t necessarily highlight my father’s more redeeming qualities. No, they generally retold of his drunkenness, joblessness, inability to provide, etc. in much the same fashion, that’s how his life came to an abrupt halt.

As reported on his death certificate he died of “alcoholic liver disease and multiple organ failure”. He was homeless but had shelter. He was very sick for a while according to his friends and refused to seek medical care. I still can’t get a straight answer as to how long he had been sick or what was really going on but I guess it doesn’t matter so much anymore. Fact is, he’s gone.

All my hopes of having a good relationship with my father are gone too. Ideas of letting my father meet his grandson are gone. Prayers for sobriety have ceased. Prayers for safety have ceased too, but in some way they have been satisfied. A lot more is gone too but the words escape me right now.

It feels like I’m thinking through clouds. I’m not feeling much. I’m not even really thinking a lot but I know things. Thinking sometimes causes pain where pain isn’t really welcome. Feeling isn’t so hot of an idea because I don’t know exactly what to feel and everything that I do feel, feels wrong. It feels wrong because I didn’t even know my father. I knew his name. I knew he was my father. I even knew a little bit about his younger years when he first became my dad. But I didn’t know his birthdate. I didn’t know his address. I didn’t know he had soothed other children to sleep after fits of nightmares. I didn’t know he had taken his family to WWF matches. I didn’t know what kind of music he loved and that he had attended concerts with his wife. I didn’t know so much and I feel silly grieving too hard. But he was my dad and some other part of me feels like I should be terribly devastated. I should lay awake at night desiring his wisdom. I should miss his birthday cards each year. I should long for days gone by where we spent summers together and let him make glorious memories with his grandson. This is all just empty wishing though. He never met his grandchildren. Not a single child did he meet and his eldest grandson just turned 17 years old. I feel more sad about that than much of anything else. He was a grandfather to some of the greatest young people and he missed out.

Alcoholism is a terrible disease. It tears apart the person, the family, the soul… It affects generations and generations of family. It’s more than I can wrap my mind around really.  

I feel so badly for the judgments I’ve passed on to others because of my experiences with my father. Absent fathers. Homeless people. Alcoholics. Passive aggressive personalities. Pie-in-the-sky, overly carefree people. Holier than thou, saved people. Rebounders. Tee-totalers. Every single person has some overt problem that is apparent to the world to cast judgment upon and I did just that. It will take time for me to learn a new way of thinking about these problems to avoid the judgments I’ve previously cast and I’m praying for a changed heart. Even in my father’s absence he affected the way I see the world around me. 

I’m praying for the callous on my heart from all the hurt to be softened and sloughed off so I can feel again. I need my heart back. I need to feel again. I need to let the waterworks flow and experience that soulful cleansing from a good cry. I’m praying for God to change my heart and heal all that’s wounded in me and restore me to wholeness again.

Grief is no friend yet oddly it is not foe. 

Expressly yours,

The Repressed Peach