Single

The man behind me at the checkout didn’t mean to sting me with his words.

He saw the flour, icing sugar, chocolate, eggs and milk I was unloading from my basket and said, “Doing some baking this afternoon, eh?”

IMG_20141117_105822“Yes,” I replied. “Chocolate cake with chocolate orange buttercream frosting.”

I left out the part about it being a cake to mark my divorce becoming final.

“Oh, you’ve got a lucky family,” he said.

Ouch.

To have a family of my own was the whole point of getting married. All my life, I believed I was supposed to be a mother. But this mess has taken up five precious years, bringing me to the point where the odds are stacked, towering against me having a child naturally.

So as I mark this day, it’s not the relationship that I’m mourning. I don’t really care that I’m officially single again. What hurts is the emptiness of not having a family, the thought of what my life will look like 20 and 30 and 40 years from now with no kids or grandkids, and the fear of becoming hardened and unable to be happy for others who have the one thing I’ve always wanted.

I know I’m not the only person in the world who unwillingly faces childlessness. I know there are other options, but my gut hasn’t yet produced a knowing feeling on the direction I should take. I know I shouldn’t make any big decisions until the dust settles and I’ve regained my confidence. Right now, all I can do is try to swim through the bog of hurt.

Ok. I’ve said my piece. I’ve had a good cry. Who wants cake?

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Legislation and pickled tomatoes

For the third night in a week, I find myself with arriving home with my civil servant hat still on, and it stays on as I monitor the proceedings in the legislature.

I won’t get into the details of the legislation being considered, except to say it’s been contentious and both sides of the House are fillibustering. I’m monitoring somewhat to track what they’re all saying. At this point, however, it’s getting fairly repetitive so I’m following mainly to know where we are in the process.

IMG_20141113_212509Most civil servants and media will tell you that monitoring debate in the legislature can be a bit like watching paint dry. Even when you’re invested in the subject matter, even when you have respect for the process and the members, it’s not scintillating most of the time. They get riled up or giddy sometimes, which can be entertaining. But often their voices slip into a drone that I joke would be a good cure for insomnia.

In fact, they did lull me to sleep last night. They were debating until midnight and I was running out of steam. So at 10 p.m., I curled up in bed with the laptop and the cat, and it wasn’t long before I was dozing. Over the next two hours, I woke each time the voice changed, when a new member stood to speak. This morning, I had a good chuckle at myself when I woke saying to the cat, “OK, time to get up, Mr. Speaker.” (The cat’s name is not Mr. Speaker. Not even close.)

Tonight, I’m back at it again. But tonight, I came home not only with my civil servant hat on, but also a plan for something to do while keeping an ear on the debate. Pickling tomatoes. I didn’t get much bounty from my tomato plants, and what I got didn’t have time to ripen. So, into the vinegar they went while the debate raged….well, ok, droned on.

IMG_20141113_222147I leave you with this thought. They say there are two things you don’t want to see being made: sausages and legislation. I disagree. Legislation can be slow and plodding, it can take many twists and turns, it may not look the same coming out as it did going in….hence the sausage analogy.

But this is democracy in action, folks. It may not be perfect, but it’s the best we’ve got. And I do believe that everyone involved only wants what’s best for the people they serve. So I’ll take my legislation and pickled tomatoes, thanks very much. And take pride in playing a teeny tiny part in the democtratic process.

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One year

One year ago right now, I was sitting in a car with mercifully well behaved Moe and Joe, technically homeless for 4 hours, waiting for real estate closings to finish up.

I was up and about for a couple of hours this morning before I remembered that today is that anniversary…a big milestone in the difficult journey of the past few years. Closing day for the sale of our house — the house that was supposed to be filled up with all my dreams — and closing day on the purchase of this condo that still doesn’t feel like home.

I’m not where I want to be in my personal life, I’m not where I want to be in my professional life. I’m still mourning Joe’s death in January and the loss of my dreams that went out the window as this marriage fell apart. I still fear that my self-confidence is eroded, that I can’t trust myself to make good life decisions.

When I need to escape, my happy place is imagining being back in my little west end house, my pride and joy, never having sold it, never having gone down the wrong path. Back in that adorable house where on a day like today, I’d be raking leaves then coming in for hot tea and cookies, and cuddles with my cats.

But I can’t go back there. And I’m so very far from where I want to be.

So when I looked up from my laptop and remembered that it’s been a year since that big milestone, I was surprised to find a tiny soupçon of a grin at the corner of my mouth. A tiny upward pull of cheek muscle.

Because there have been good things in the past year, too. For all of this, I am truly thankful because all of this helps me carry on:

Cats make me smile every day.
Cats made me smile every day.
Winter wonderland.
I still pulled off Christmas.
Fun with two of my favourite monkeys.
I had lots of fun with two of my favourite monkeys, and their awesome parents.
I have the best friends in the world who've made me laugh and let me cry.
I have the best friends in the world who’ve made me laugh and let me cry.
I got to spend my birthday here with those awesome friends.
I got to spend my birthday here with those awesome friends.
Bonds with YMCA friends got stronger.
Bonds with YMCA friends got stronger.
Steady progress continued on my masters degree.
Steady progress continued on my masters degree.
I had fun cycling in the Maggies with friends old and new.
I had fun cycling in the Maggies with friends old and new.
There were lattes alone and with bestest friends at the market.
There were lattes alone and with bestest friends at the market.
I was treated to several kayak outings, and got more comfortable than ever on the water.
I was treated to several kayak outings, and got more comfortable than ever on the water.
There some kayak and crustacean antics.
There were some kayak and crustacean antics.
I've had lots of delicious cat naps, with cats.
I had lots of delicious cat naps…that is to say, naps with cats.
I've enjoyed the great outdoors in this beautiful province.
I’ve enjoyed the great outdoors in this beautiful province.