Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sifting Through Life: Salad Recipe, Birthdays and Life Stories

Recipe is at the very end--read through my thoughts or scroll to the bottom of the page.

My thoughts are swirling today.  A little with anxiety as Rye and I prepare to leave to go to New York City for three days-- but mostly from stories.  Stories from my life.  Stories that don't have happy endings, or are filled with perfect family dinners.  Stories of sadness.  Stories that shaped me into the person that I am today.  Stories of joy and triumph as I have overcome pain and hurt.  I have untold stories that I feel are buried within myself.

I am constantly questioning myself with what to do with these stories.

What should I share?  Is it worth sharing?  Will it help someone?  Will it hurt someone?

I recently read that you should write the stories that you know.  I believe this is a true statement.  I started this blog so that my kids would have a story of our life, my life.  But reading my blog, there are holes.  Holes in my story.

Some stories I don't know if I have the heart to share: abuse from an uncle, betrayal from friends, depression and anxiety related to my past, losing a home, leaving a church and losing family and friends.  I have worked hard to bury myself into the life that I have now. The protective shell that I have placed my heart safely in seems to explode when the memories of the past all come rushing back.  I know that it would be therapeutic to write it all out, to purge my thoughts and feelings.  It seems that it takes one spark to trigger a chain of pain which takes me a few days to recover from.  The pain that only I see, all the while, wearing a smile.

I wear this smile because my kids and husband bring me joy and they deserve a happy life and family. My life is blessed beyond belief and it has been for some time .   As often as I think about the hardships that I have endured, I am also reflecting on the unquenchable love that I experience daily.    I often sit at home and watch my kids.

My birthday was yesterday and gave me cause to reflect and ponder things.  I spent the day with my family opening gifts, playing games and feeling loved. We started the day off deciding on breakfast.  They wanted pancakes and I wanted bacon. We compromised and had both.  In my current home our dinning room is attached to our living room.  I sat on my couch,  holding Finnley,  and watched my kids eat.  The joy that I felt was large enough to fill the room.  I sat and watched them as they interacted with each other and how happy they were.  How kind they were to each other.

Happy kids.

Safe kids.

Loved kids.

Respected kids.

Yesterday was the best birthday that I have had in a long time.  Not because of the gifts I received but because of the messages that I read.  Putting into words what I felt yesterday is a difficult task because the emotion was so raw and left me vulnerable.

A day that I almost  robbed myself of experiencing.

A few weeks ago, I gathered everyone together to discuss the upcoming holidays: my birthday, our anniversary and Mother's Day. All three of these take place over the course of one month.  I find it excessive for them to buy gifts and to celebrate three different events.  It is uncomfortable for me to be the center of attention.  I find myself overwhelmed with the idea of too much celebration when it comes to myself.

I explained that I was too old to celebrate birthdays anymore and that I really only wanted Mother's Day to be celebrated.  I wanted one day and not three.  By the time Mother's Day comes around everyone is burnt out and it leaves me feeling sad because I value my role as their mother.  I guess I want to feel special on that day.  I am sure it is me projecting onto them how much I disliked Mother's Day for various reasons throughout the years of my youth and adulthood.  I didn't want them to have the same feelings when it came time for them to wish me a Happy Mother's Day.

Cory took me to lunch yesterday, as we were driving in the car,  I expressed how happy I was.  I was feeling complete.  Being a parent has taught me many things about myself.  I expressed a sense of joy that I could not have imagined.  The feeling was love, pride, pure joy, accomplishment, success and gratitude all rolled into this glow of parenting perfection.

Not because I am the perfect parent--hardly! I can provide you with a list of people that can back that statement up... (insert wink-y smiley face from the cutest kitten on earth). 

For the simple reason that my kids had nice things to say about me.  I know that they love me but I finally felt that love emulated in their actions.  I saw a maturity in them that took me years to develop as an adult.   I grew up with shallow words, unkind comments and name calling sprinkled with words of kindness and niceties. These words were followed by actions that did not always emulate the words spoken. As a child,  I was seeking approval and acceptance through my actions only to see they were met with dissatisfied words.   For this reason, I am a strong believer in the phrase, "actions speak louder than words".    I heard "I love you" a lot from people in my life as a young kid and teenager but those words felt empty to me because I felt the actions did not embrace the phrase.  Words thrown around loosely.

My kids actions yesterday had my motherly heart strings on high alert.  It all started the night before with a trip to the store with Dad.  With baby in tow,  they all ventured out to the shopping center to find the perfect gift for my birthday.

Action #1.  They listened.  My kids bought me a pestle and mortar.  I have been wanting one of these for some time.  I received a beautiful apron that I had spotted last week while out with Rye.  She remembered.  Isabella always buys me a balloon and a bouquet of  flowers.  They were beautiful.

Action #2.   They found a card.  In the past Cory and I have often bought the cards for the kids to give to each other and so the thoughts that are written within the cards are reflective of what myself or Cory think.  This time they did the card selecting.  When I read the words that were written in the card I saw my two oldest kids as maturing adults.  I felt valued because they didn't pick a funny card.  It was a card that made me smile and think,  "we did something right".

Action #3.   They shared their talents with me.  Rye created this very cool printout of a plate of macaroons.  I will admit when I first saw the printout I loved it because we share a love for macaroons. I thought that it was a piece of clip art that she had found and created a card with it.  To my surprise, as I was making the pancakes, Cory mentioned that Rye drew the picture herself this week.   Well, that was a game changer.  I immediately ran over to the picture and admired my daughters art work.  She said to me that on her birthday I made her macaroons and she did the same for me, with a picture. Anytime my kids share their talent with me my heart explodes.  Drake made me a video last year that I treasure.  Isabella wrote me a very special note that I tucked away in my wallet for safe keeping among the many pieces of artwork that she shares with me each week.

My kids actions yesterday were the best gift that they could have given to me.  They shared with me their thoughts and feelings.   They have no idea of the encircling bond that their actions have had on me.  I don't imagine they will until they have kids of their own.

I can't seem to let go of the past on some days.  It just all comes haunting back in full force.  I am trying to let go.  I am hoping to break the cycle.  The cycle of a dysfunctional family tree.  I want my kids to know how lucky, how protected and how safe their lives have been.

I probably try too hard.  I am sure they will remember me as a bit neurotic about family traditions, family dinners and family vacations.  In a way I feel my family slipping away as my older kids get older and they are becoming independent.  Isn't this what we want?  Isn't this what is supposed to happen? Our family is about to change.  Rye and Drake will both be leaving our home in the next few years to seek after more education and to find their own path and journey in life.

The little kids will keep me busy-- but, damn I am going to miss the two older ones!

This birthday was special because it opened my eyes to the fact that my kids will have good stories to share with their own families.  The words and actions that Cory and I have shared with them, I hope, will provide them with the necessary skills to succeed in this life.

46 years has gone by way too fast.  I want these next few years to slow down.

I just cried a river of tears putting this into words.  Cory must think I am getting soft in my old age as I read it to him.

I don't believe I am getting soft; probably older and more aware of the fact that life is too short to keep it all inside.  I think I am finding wisdom in letting my guard down a bit more than I used to.

It  is not as scary as I thought it would be--this birthday and sharing a bit more of my story.

Citrus and Avocado Salad

Makes 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes

2 cups of baby Arugula, washed 
1 small grapefruit, peeled and sliced
1 medium orange, peeled and sliced
1 avocado, halved and sliced
1 slice of red onion
1/2 cup sweet pea pods
Toasted sesame seeds
Fresh herbs (optional)

Toasted Sesame Seed Salad dressing 

2 tablespoons grapefruit juice
1 tablespoon orange juice
a few drops of toasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1/2 teaspoon of honey
salt and pepper

1.  Arrange grapefruit and orange slices around the edge of your plate.

2.  In a small bowl, toss together onion, avocado, sweet pea pods and any fresh herbs that you wish to use.  I used a few leaves of fresh mint.

3.  Fill the center of the citrus ring with the salad mixture. 

4.  Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on salad.

5.  Serve with Toasted Sesame Seed salad dressing.

6.  For salad dressing I combined grapefruit juice, orange juice, a few drops of toasted sesame oil, olive oil, honey and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Whisk together and pour over salad.

Written by Sherron

1 comment:

  1. I love that you are sharing and hope that it helps the healing, Sherron. Your birthday sounds absolutely perfect! And that colorful salad! It's gorgeous!


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