I recently made peace with my adult child¹s estrangement from me. After hearing the false accusations, lies, delusions, blame, rumors, and heart shattering silence on too many mothers days, birthdays, christmases, I left. I left my hope. I took it out of my heart and discarded it. I know that I was being poisoned by each day that I hoped she would come back to me. So with a heavy heart, I left my grief of three years, knowing that I had already put it off too long. For the first few weeks, my body seemed to reject this. For three years I had thought about what if¹s, waited for the phone to ring on special occasions, cried when something reminded me of her or my grandchildren, prayed for reconciliation. I didn¹t know who I was without my daughter and grandchildren. Despite the kindness of friends and even strangers. I could not help feeling utterly alone. Even though I have other children who are in my life, it felt like I had a broken set. But it was this sense of aloneness that set me free. Somewhere along the way, I let go. I released all of the optimisim that she would come back to me and the pessimism that she wouldn¹t. The shards of her buried deep in my brain. I stopped wondering if the things she had made me think about myself were true. I began to see how extraordinary, breathtakingly beautiful life is. I meditated, drank too much coffee, talked to strangers, laughed, and found joy again. My children who have stayed by my side were reborn in my eyes, a new, smaller set, richer, more precious, cherished, admired deeply. Once I discovered that my happiness depends only on myself, nothing could hurt me anymore. I have found and continue to find peace. Each day I am closer to it than I was yesterday. I am a work in progress but I am full to the brim with gratitude and joy. And so, since I have opened a new chapter in my life, I want to peacefully part with the contents of the last chapter. The end of my maternal bond with her was the catalyst for a wealth of positive changes in my life. It was a symbol, most importantly, it was an act of self-love. It was a realization that I deserved to be happy and I could choose to be. I am moving forward with strength and grace and deep, lasting peace. I am going to be who I was meant to be, and take those on the journey who were meant to take that adventure with me. I gave her life, she has flown away, I no longer have to look to the sky to wonder what could have been because I what is happening now has grounded me on an exciting path to my destiny. Namaste
Twenty four years ago (1990) on May 19 I had my last baby. While she left the nest about six years ago, it is only now that I will accept she has her wings and probably won`t be flying back here anytime soon!
I consider the 24th birthdays of my children to be THE birthday, the one when they become adults. Up to then they can still pull on my apron strings, cling onto my leg crying "mommy mommy don't leave me", ask me for money, call me at 1 am crying about a broken romance, and I can still say "because I said so".
Who am I kidding, I am 54 and still call my mother asking for money.
At least at 24, they should have the experience, a lot of the bad and some of the good, and at least have a direction of travel.
They should have their book smarts and be ready to revel in what is most important to get them through, street smarts. They should be starting on the road of their journey now, not hitchhiking with a guitar strung over their back, not hitting me up for bus money, not traveling in a commune of like-minded fatty smokers dressed like a bohemian and heading for a beach party somewhere, but with an itinerary at least that promises some very rewarding stops on the way.
And some fun ones too.
The world is their oyster, they have to decide what they make with the grains of sand at their feet.
It doesn't mean they cannot decide to change direction but at 24 they should have the internal compass aka common sense to know how to learn from their mistakes and avoid that direction again. They should have found out who they are, at least for the next decade. They should have seen the opposite sex naked, vice versa, or maybe not even the opposite sex, I don't care, but they should have some experience in that department, I am not one of those wait until your wedding night type of mothers. After all, when I got married, and I was 24 by the way, I had our first child seven months later. On her due date. They should have learned to laugh at themselves.
Enter Emelia, biologically my last baby I gave birth to, or should I say the baby had to cut out of me. I like to remind her of that, for some reason it gives me great pleasure to blame her instead of the pringles, soda pop, cookies and menopause. She is the reason for my bouncy flop and the end to my string bikini days. (What's that World?? Did I just hear a collective "THANK YOU" ???)
OK, fine ! Before the flop it still wouldn't have been a great fashion statement but that is not the point. Emelia was born May 19,1990 a month early, the c section done by a doctor of very short stature, so short that when he stood up from sitting at his desk he didn't get any taller. So short he had to stand on a stool to examine me. This was very hard to be on an exam table in "the" position when your husband, who laughs at his own jokes, is standing behind the doctor in your field of vision making dwarf signs. (The doctor thought I was shaking because I was nervous!) I had my first and last c-section with Emelia, who came out weighing exactly the same as her older sister, 7.11 and the exact height 21 inches.
That is about all they have had in common ever since.
I did not get to hear her first cry or see her take her first breath when she came out from under my heart, from being tucked away, just the two of us, I saw her about two hours later. I saw my first two babies born before my eyes, so I know what the emergency circumstances of her birth cost me. That one memory of that one raw miracle moment that is absorbed into your memory permanently. But I got a different memory. It took me about two days to fully wake up and be conscious from the c-section because I got very sick very fast and had to have a lot of blood transfusions.
Day three I was just wanting to sleep, I had never felt post op pain like I had been experiencing, I was just plain miserable and not feeling very maternal at all. My attempts to slumber were being disturbed by the crying of a newborn down in the nursery about four rooms up. I kept waiting for it to stop, wondering where the nurses were and why they were not doing something, take the kid to his mother, stick a soother in his mouth, find a breast!! (Like I said I was in a bad mood.)
Finally I couldn't take it anymore and although I was supposed to be on bed rest I got out of bed, held my gut, like it was about to explode open, in one hand, the i.v.pole in another and marched out of my room and down the hallway bent over like the hump back of Notre Dame. I felt like I was marching, `cause I was irate, but really I was hobbling. The halls were empty, no nurses around anywhere. I supposed if my guts blew open I would have to find some paper towel myself and take care of it.
I approached the nursery and there was only one baby in there, the rest, I supposed, were with their adoring mothers, rooming in. The infant was yelling, there is no other word for it. Not fussing, not weeping, not even crying, it was yelling. Eyes wide open looking around and as soon as I appeared her eyes were set on me. The little pink card on the layette said Èmelia Coryn. F-u-c-k !
If I knew then what I knew now I would not have been shocked at all. At 72 hours old she was inquisitive, mouthy, and stubborn and she will always let you have her way. Not much has changed. I was faced with a choice. I knew I had to let go of either the iv pole or my incision because this kid was coming back to my room. I knew instinctively it was the only way she was going to be quiet and I could go back to sleep. I was also aware I would be in trouble from the gestapo in white if they saw me out of bed. So I tentatively released my hand from my incision, risking a gory event, I was sure of it, and pushed the isolette down the hallway whispering to Emelia to shut up or I was going to be in trouble. `Shut up`yes I admit it, I told you, I was not feeling warm and fuzzy thoughts. She didn`t take her eyes off me, clearly sizing me up as if this was an interview for the job as Emelia`s mother.
I pushed the isolette up as close to my bed as possible, lay back down, closed my eyes, and she started yelling again. Here is the moment that made up for the one I lost when she was born. I reached over to her, put my hand on her hand, she wrapped her fingers around one of mine, and went to sleep. At that moment she didn`t need to be held or rocked or nursed, she just wanted to know I was close by. Our relationship has been like that ever since.
Five years later I adopted three more babies moving her from the baby to the middle child. She now had two older brothers and an older sister, and two younger brothers and a younger sister.
But Emelia is not one to get lost in the middle. It`s not just her good looks, intelligence, or almost six feet of height that makes her stand out, it`s her strength of character, integrity, and genuineness. I am so happy I passed on those traits to her!
Our 24 years together almost mimics marriage vows. It has been almost a quarter of a century of having and holding from that day forward, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish. I tried to slip in the obey part but she would have none of it.
As I officially release my baby girl into adulthood, I remember, symbolically, these 24 things, the moments absorbed into my mind,that make me melancholy, or make me laugh, or make me happy, or make me wish the time had not gone by in an instant. And I am not referring to her baby book for any of the information, Unless I remember it on my own, it doesn`t count.
In no particular order:
1) The time she went after two older boys who were bullying her older brother and told them to leave her ``bwutha`` alone or she would smash them in the face. (She was three, or should I say "fwee").
2) The times her father smacked her on the arm or hand when she was doing something he disapproved of and she would look him dead in the eye, wipe off the ``smack`` and tell him it didn`t hurt.
3) The time she wanted to ``do her eyebrows`` unknowingly using her brothers electric razor and had to live with one less eyebrow for about a month until it grew back in.
4) She would never eat her food unless it wasn`t touching. Right down to the last grain of rice, she hand separated it, in spite of her father`s warnings that she was not going to have any supper unless she started eating NOW. She completely ignored him and continued on excavating her plate, and I suspect she slowed her pace down, on purpose. She was two.
5) The time she wanted me to sneak up on her older sister who she told me through giggles was in her underwear, and take a photograph. The same day we were videotaping her older sister practicing her `modelling` moves and Emelia was in the background making fun of her, and quickly became the focus of the video.
6) The time I rented a limousine for her and her friends on her 10th birthday and how excited she was.
7) The day her dad and I surprised her with two eight week old Siamese kittens. We had intended to only get one, but there were two left. Anyone who knows me knows THAT wasn`t going to happen.
8) The time I got a phone call from the horse ranch to tell me she had been thrown from her horse and was at the hospital. The horse had stepped on her arm and her head when she was down, cracking her helmut. When we got here we found her arm was broken, her head was not. The drive to the hospital was the longest 10 minutes of my life.
9) The time her first boyfriend accidentally saw me naked.
10) The phone call I got from her telling me she had just found Harry dead (one of the two Siamese cats) and the long hug we had in the driveway when I got home.
11) Giving her dog Jesse away, not realizing how close she really was to him. 'Always been sorry for that.
12) Max, Zack, Thomas, Kohlea, Devon,Jens, Clay, Alex, David; acknowledging these are only the ones I know about. And it took ALOT for me even to type the name `Thomas`....%?$/*")* Oh and most recently the guy who should really edit his Facebook page in case his new girlfriend's mother decides to "creep" his FB photos and videos….. (I didn't know you could, or SHOULD, do that with a garden hose!)
13) Her first crush, Skeeder Barrie.
14) The big fight we had in the driveway.
15) The horrific surgery she had to have on her feet and the metal poles had to have through the top of her toes for six weeks. (She got her feet from her father).
16) The only arguments with the kids her father ever lost were with her. Her ``M.O.`` was to frustrate him to the point of exhaustion.
17) How beautiful she was on her high school graduation day and how proud I was of her.
18) The day she thought Lucy was actually going to be a bike for her 21st birthday, and the look on her face when I took the one pound puppy out of the bag and handed it to her. Their`s has been a love story ever since.
19) The day she called her little brothers and sister telling them we had to go out and forgot herself for a moment and said ``out and go pee`` - a common statement in our multi-dog household. And I have to say I have never seen her giggle so hard and for so long. I think she may have snorted.
20) Toilet training her using....not candy, not promises of wonderful toys, not praise of how clever she was... all that would work was a three inch giant dill pickle she would hang out of her mouth like a stogie whilst doing her business.
21) The dozens of hand written notes she would leave under my pillow telling me how much she loved me, I have most of them to this day. I wish I had appreciated them at the time as much as I do now.
22) Cannoli, self help books in the mail, ``a phone call, a letter or a visit``to Mr. Rennie and Say Yes to the Dress. (not HER dress!)
23) The disastrous weekend we spent in Victoria thanks to food poisoning. One day we ARE GOING to have a do-over!!
24) The chance finding of her foot sticking out from her covers revealing a lie that backfired and her first official hang over the next day. (She can fill you in on what her mean mother made her do the next day!!!!!!)
I have not been a perfect mother but I have to say, in all honesty, I think she hasbeen the perfect daughter. I mean that. Her imperfections were perfect to me. They made me laugh just when I needed to, they made me look at myself in the mirror and try to be better. They humbled her father and put him in his place when that is where he needed to be.
From the beginning of her life she is the one who made me get out of bed when I wanted to just hide under the covers, and I mean that literally and metaphorically.
Emelia, as you explore the big world of possibilities, be optimistic, be kind always, love freely, take care of every creature, listen to your heart, listen to your little voice, remember you are always loved and give thanks for all your blessings as I give thanks for you being mine.
Your mum......forever and ever. Until next time, keep being fabulous. Sian Erith Thomson
Until next time, thinking of my fabulous girl.X0 Sian Erith Thomson
I used to joke about her name, and nicknamed her “Lizzy Borden”. I recited the infamous poem to her several times “Lizzy Borden took an axe and gave her father forty whacks, when she saw what she had done she gave her mother forty one.”
I grew up as an only child, not knowing that I actually had cousins, a lot of them, and half siblings, and grandparents, and it wasn’t a terrible childhood, in fact it was the best one I could imagine.
I was born in 1960, a time when unwed pregnancies were not talked about and single mothers were rare; adoption was the trend in those days.
I was the child of an unwed mother, and was adopted by my grandparents. That loving, selfless act of generosity and love opened up many doors for me in terms of opportunities, being raised well, but being raised without a big family; my parents’ parents were long dead, they had survived their siblings so there were no aunts, uncles, cousins for the most part; one aunt who I adored (married to my dad’s brother who passed when I was 10) and one cousin who was a decade older.
I wouldn’t trade my childhood for anything, not even for more family at the time I was growing up.
My parents died when I was young, the hazard of being adopted by your mom when she is 51 and your dad when he is 50. You are not going to get them much past 25 and that’s what happened to me.
But this blog is not about him, (his time will come lol)
The other is the daughter of my father’s brother.
We are very close in age, in fact, three weeks apart…she is OLDER….lol.
We went to the same schools growing up, and I think we were in the same class once or twice.
Funny thing is, we never connected as friends.
I don’t mean we disliked each other, we just didn’t stop when our paths crossed.
Fair enough, we did not know we were related.
I wish we had stopped in each other’s path because I believe, today, we would have a lot of memories to talk about.
I really feel we missed out.
|Me at grad (cannot find a full length one, just as well!)|
I have not seen her in person for probably 45 years.
I have her image in school photos, and if anyone had mentioned her name to me while I was growing up I would have recognized it, recognized her as my friends’ cousin…..my friends’ who were my half sisters, at the time unknown to any of us.
It is odd to me that we lived in the same community, went to the same schools to a point, I think she moved on to a different school half way through elementary school, we were back passing each other in the halls at junior high, and then embarked on separate roads after that, but we shared things we did not realize.
A family tree for one thing!
Probably hair color, skin tone (we are both dark like our fathers), who knows,maybe the same freckles, laugh, or lazy eye….(I have yet to find out about that!)
Most cousins meet at their grandparents house.
We met, really met, over facebook.
It sounds so shallow, so “social media-esque”, but I have to tell you, in my cousin Verna, I found my second self.
Are we alike? Probably a little. Maybe she is like her dad and I am like mine. I don’t know because I never met my uncle and I only have vague, little girl memories of my father pushing me around in a wheelbarrow, taking is on rides when I was at his house playing with his girls/my half sisters.
I remember he had dark curly hair and really nice teeth.
So do I.
Are we kindred spirits?
I think so.
I envision she would have been the Hardy to my Laurel, the Robin to my Batman, the Ethel to my Lucy, or maybe the other way around. ( I am aging myself, I know!)
The Midge to my Barbie…the Mindy to my Mork….you get the point!!
Sometimes you just click with a person you are comfortable with and you don’t have to pretend to be normal.
So never underestimate the power of a cousin. In this case, the power of two men who fathered two daughters who met, really for the first time, after half a century.
I hope one day I can be there for her as she has been for me.
Verna Coulson-Tallosi. Happy Birthday!!! I swear we shall meet in person before you qualify for your senior’s discount!!
Until next time, I am right behind you cuz!
September 4, 2014 is a day I almost lost my oldest daughter. She was the victim on a (sudden) domestic assault. “Sudden” because he had never physically attacked her before. It was bad. It took a long time for him to beat her as she ran for hiding places in their apartment, FInally she made it almost out the door but fell, and he slammed the door on her legs repeatedly as she grasped onto her dog Lucy and tried to crawl out. It was then she thought to call for help. But the neighbours has already called 911. He was arrested and taken into custody. Because the apartment was in his name as he was the main wage earner (as a police officer) she was given 4 hours to move out of the apartment. FOUR HOURS to relocate her life, her belongings, with no where to go. Thanks to the kindness of friends,and my brother and sister-in-law re arranging their day to help her pack what she could in the time allotted (before he got out of jail) Emelia made it out with basically the clothes on her back and her cat and dog. She was unable to retrieve her furniture, her bed which was a good one, and he subsequently sold it all. She was battered, bruised, traumatized, frightened, and lost. She loved this man and thought he was the one, and as she said 90 percent of the time they had a wonderful time together, laughing, sharing interests, he was her best friend. So she lost her best friend that day in a way you never want to end things with someone you love.
There had been “signs” that all was not right with him. Arguments would be initiated over trivial things. He couldn’t let things go. He was controlling. He often tried to make her feel inadequate. Leading up to the beating (which you can imagine was well done as he was a trained police officer) there had been an escalation in his fighting mood, and I had to intervene a few times in the 48 hours preceding the event to calm him down and talk him out of his hysterics. My last words to Emelia the night before the attack, when I had spent two hours on the phone with them on speaker, mediating this argument, with him saying Emelia’s attempts to settle things were nothing more than sarcasm on her part (bizarre), my last words were “Milly you have to leave him ,you have to get out of there this weekend.” The next morning it happened. It started over her rubbing his arm as a way of saying good morning. He took offence and just started beating her. He smashed her lap top, broke her phone, ripped the closet door off and destroyed her clothes, he hit her everywhere but the face, bruised ribs, scratched up arms, bruised thighs, calves, severely sprained wrist when he bent it back as she tried to defend herself, and a couple of good punches in the stomach. Emelia had never been in a physical altercation before. She fled and ended up in the street below, calling me, barely audible between the sobs. she was in medical shock. The Vancouver Police Department treated her with dignity and care. After it was all over, the medical checks done, the photographs taken, the statements given. they took her to her friends house where she would couch surf until she figured out what to do, where to go, where to live and how to get furniture, even just a bed., to give her some dignity in her recovery to start over. He had sold her car, much of her furniture while they were together, replacing it with “new” stuff, he preferred things that way. A police officer even brought her some food at the end of it all after realizing she had not eaten all day, and they continued to check up on her from time to time, as did Crown Counsel. It was gold star treatment for a domestic assault victim and I owe the VPD a debt of gratitude to this day for treating my baby girl with kindness and grace. He lost his job with the police force. They don’t put up with bullshit like that. He was charged with assault, mischief and uttering threats. He was put on a one year peace bond. That ends next month. My daughter, on her own, found more work in order to be self sufficient and to start over, working two jobs, working to exhaustion some 18 hour days, managed to get her own apartment in a nice area of town, furnish it over time off Craigslist, make new friends now that he was no longer in control and isolatiog her, and she benefited from the one year of counselling the Victim Services offered to her and lucked out with a wonderful therapist who really knew how to communicate with Emelia at her level. Her level of mistrust, victimization, sadness, sarcasm, and high intellect. Emelia is the Gold Standard for women in domestic violence situations. she never let it happen a second time. She did not go back even though it would have been the easiest thing to do because he had the money, the home, all she had to do was tow the line and hope that something she said didn’t brew and boil over in his paranoid, narcisstic mind. All she had to do was walk on eggshells. She chose the hard road. And it was hard. There were many phone calls home crying, sobbing, scared for the future, was it worth it? Was she doing the right thing? Her body was aching, exhausted. She missed him. she missed the man in the times he wasn’t emotionally abusive and controlling, But she could not erase the memory of trying to escape and the beating getting worse as she tried to get out the door. She remembered her terror at leaving her cat in the apartment and worrying what he would do to him to get to her. She used her common sense, and she continued on a difficult, often isolated journey away from him and towards herself.
It has been a year. She is a new person. She is physically healthier, mentally healing, has a new job with lots of potential for income and growth, an apartment that is hers, and hers only, with furniture that is hers, and hers only. She will be buying a car this week to commute to her new job. She is on her way.Many women who were beaten a year ago by their boyfriends or husbands remain in that living situation. Some left and went back. Others made excuses, thought they could change him, thought if they only acted differently themselves he would stop getting mad
and using their body to take it out on. My daughter said once is too much, and fought her emotional instincts to go back. She followed her head not her heart. She will fall back in love one day, when she is ready. She still doesn’t trust totally. She still carries hurt from that day. But she is laughing again. She likes what she sees when she looks in the mirror. She has made new friends, not friends he approves of. She has rekindled friendships he did not allow. Emelia has defined herself at 25. She is a courageous, smart, kind, giving person, who wants to be loved, one day, by a man who will never put his hands on her except in affection. She is a self made woman, who came back from the brink of darkness and horror, and did it all by herself. As all women of abuse must. People can help you do it, but you have to make the decision to reach out and take what they are offering. Too many turn their backs and return to the darkness because it is easier.
Emelia Coryn is a warrior princess. She is not one to mess with. She is the true definition of an independent woman in 2015, and she is going to make a difference in the world. She is an artist, a writer, a cat and dog mom, an athlete, a tough mudder, an evolving gardener, a loyal friend, who has overcome disappointments in her life with grace and a lot of humour.
That’s MY girl.
I recently made peace with my adult child’s estrangement from me.
After hearing the false accusations, lies, delusions, blame, rumors, and heart shattering silence on too many mothers days, birthdays, christmases, I left. I left my hope. I took it out of my heart and discarded it. I know that I was being poisoned by each day that I hoped she would come back to me. So with a heavy heart, I left my grief of three years, knowing that I had already put it off too long. For the first few weeks, my body seemed to reject this. For three years I had thought about what ifs, waited for the phone to ring on special occasions, cried when something reminded me of her or my grandchildren, prayed for reconciliation. I didn't know who I was without my daughter and grandchildren. Despite the kindness of friends and even strangers I could not help feeling utterly alone. Even though I have other children who are in my life, it felt like I had a broken set.
But it was this sense of aloneness that set me free.
Somewhere along the way, I let go. I released all of the optimism, that she would come back to me, and the pessimism that she would not.
The shards of her buried deep in my brain. I stopped wondering if the things she had made me think about myself were true.
I began to see how extraordinary, breathtakingly beautiful life is. I meditated, drank too much coffee, went to therapy, laughed, and found joy again.
My children who have stayed by my side were reborn in my eyes, a new, smaller set, richer, more precious, cherished, admired deeply. Once I discovered that my happiness depends only on myself, nothing could hurt me anymore. I have found and continue to find peace. Each day I am closer to it than I was yesterday. I am a work in progress but I am full to the brim with gratitude and joy.
And so, since I have opened a new chapter in my life, I want to peacefully part with the contents of the last chapter.
The end of my maternal bond with her was the catalyst for a wealth of positive changes in my life. It was a symbol, but most importantly, it was an act of self-love. It was a realization that I deserved to be happy and I could choose to be. I am moving forward with strength and grace and deep, lasting peace. I am going to be who I was meant to be, and take those on the journey who were meant to take that adventure with me. I gave her life, and she has flown away, I no longer have to look to the sky to wonder what could have been because what is happening now has grounded me on an exciting path to my destiny. Until next time, on my way to a fabulous life. Sian Erith Thoomson
Maybe she will join me on my path someday, but I know now I can make the journey without her.
You don’t know me. I am your grandmother. I am your dad’s mother. I held you once when your dad and mom returned to Campbell River shortly after you were born. You were so precious to me in a way none of my other grandchildren are because your dad being here is a miracle. So you are just as much of a miracle to me.
Your dad was born very early, at 30 weeks. He was only 3 pounds 1 ounce when he was born. He had a twin brother who was not born alive. I tried very hard to make sure my babies stayed inside me for as long as possible so I had to stay in the hospital, far away from home. This was very hard for both me and your grandfather Jim but we did it. Parents will do anything for their children.
I consider the ten weeks I spent in hospital as a very special time for me and your dad. I would rub my stomach and talk to him and tell him to hang in there. I wanted to be a mother to your dad very much. He is my first born son. He looks like me. He is artistic like me. We usually laugh at the same things.
I cannot see you now. This is not my choice but your dad is doing what he thinks is best for you. I think it is very complicated and I do not understand it. But I will always love you and your dad. You do not have to be together or see each other to care about each other. Family ties are very strong. You are a part of me. You are a part of your dad . You are my future.
You are the greatest gift my heart will ever know, no matter how far, or for how long.
Remember me, remember you have another grandmother who holds half of your heritage in her memories and experiences. You are the result of thousands of people who loved each other.
I will write to you from time to time. These letters will be my visits with you. I hope one day you find them.
Caroline, you are a miracle. Since the beginning of the world there has never been and until the end of the world there will never be another child like you. I am proud to be your grandmother.
If you want to know how much I love you count all the waves in the sea.
We may not have adventures together, but we can dream of them, can’t we?
Until next time, Love from your fabulous grandmother.