Someone Else’s Garden

Source: Someone Else’s Garden

Someone Else’s Garden

     I made a family once.   I made a family out of seeds stolen from someone else’s garden , after all my flowers had died. When I was a young woman living in a hard *Winter of fear and surrounded by loss.  I made a family from what and who was around me.  The brave souls that reached for my hand through a wall of rubble and chaos. I planted those seeds of kindness and watched new roots take hold.

   I adapted to it , to this new garden.  I secured my place in it , protected it like a lioness.  It was a work of art some days. Interesting , nuanced, rewarding.  Some days, a bit of a disaster.  But that is Real Life, isn’t it?  Like living in an abstract painting . Complicated, imperfect,  ugly sometimes , pretty sometimes,  but always honest.  It constantly looked different depending on the angle and the light. Like me. 

     I made another family once.  From seeds stolen from someone else’s garden.  I tended it as best I could. Sometimes my blood mixed with the soil. Sometimes my hands would ache from trying to keep Winter away . But Winter came .  He took some of my flowers  . But that’s why we bask in the beauty while we can.  We revel in the bounty while we can.  If we never had a Winter, would we ever appreciate the beauty of our gardens?  

Yes Winter came again.  He took my flowers.  But their petals are forever pressed between the pages of my heart.  And I , as always, look forward to Spring.11866298_10207541272393749_4519391332952645623_n

The Unwed

Ahhh. yes…. the *Unwed…rhymes with the *Undead ….like something to be feared.  a perverse take on the term maybe.  But if you close your eyes and use your imagination neither status sounds very warm and fuzzy.  See what I mean?

And God knows I am not warm and fuzzy.  I am a battle weary veteran of the unwed single mother wars.  Compounded by being an adult orphan by the age of 24.  I am pretty much made of barbed wire and scar tissue.  I am hard to love.

Not as a friend.  oh, my friends love me and I them .  But as a partner ,I am unmanageable.  Fierce ,yet childlike ,confident but neurotic.  I am a choppy ocean full of contradictions. I am sure I am not the only one out there. Maybe someday there will be an Apocalypse and the only things left standing will be Keith Richards and a bunch of clever, cunning single moms.

Now before you get put off…..this is not a pity party ..”oh I had it so tough”.  Nope. This is  a literary hats off to my fellow brethren of the school of hard knocks.  Any woman who stood alone on a gym floor on 8th grade parents night at a small town school.  Fighting back tears of pride but also tides of guilt because you realize your child is the only player with “just a mom” out on the floor.

i remember the day I got the email that my son was accepted into a prestigious EXPENSIVE private University and had been awarded a 4 year Scholarship and grant that enabled him to have a terrific education at nearly a full ride.  That day I won the unwed mother Lotto. Karma dealt me a winning hand , it still humbles me to remember the feeling of joy and relief and hope.

Not long ago ,while in the final days of one of my few but failed love affairs , my partner told me I was “difficult and blunt”.  I suppose it is true on both counts. I have no excuses.  I know the difference between being blunt or politically correct. I am an intelligent woman.  But life is blunt.  If life were a game of Tennis, I would be Serena Williams by now.  I return every serve, every expectation of me , with as much force as I can muster.  It has become instinct by now.  Too many nights figuring out *How*…How to get by with no phone, how to pay to get a car fixed to go to work, make house payments , pay real estate taxes , how to scrape money together the Christmas after both my parents died to buy presents for my not quite 2 year old.  The answer was keep working.  Hard, as many jobs as I could ,as many years as I could and 25 years later I am still returning Lifes best serve with everything I have got,  Blunt yes, difficult , sometimes. But the lessons I have learned from fear and loss and  wisdoms I have gained give me a deep empathy and understanding of life on another level I honestly would not have had if my life had been easy, if my parents had lived to buffer me from the brutal realities and a fairytale prince had spirited me off to Boca Raton. You see I have my admirers and I have my detractors but I am trying to live up to the expectations I set for myself 25 years ago.  Unwed doesn’t have to mean Welfare recipient  and unwed does not have to mean your son ends up a thug, I achieved those goals , I survived the grueling 8th grade parent night,  I survived the loss of my father and 9 months later I survived the whispers ,sneers and assumptions made about me at 23 when I walked into the bank with my pregnant belly to cash my paycheck.  I survived 32 hours of labor with no drugs , 16 months after that I survived the loss of my mom. And again, I know I am not alone.  I know people have it a million times worse.  But the next time you meet a fierce, childlike , confident neurotic unwed single mother….  Don’t dismiss her for being difficult to love ,  she just needs a bit of care ,  she feels things deeply even if she doesn’t show it and she might just have the strength and skills needed to  save your ass in an Apocalypse. 😉