A lot of the usual stress was alleviated by the fact that The Child's father has been out of the picture for 2007, with the exception of one supervised visit taking place in a facility set up for such purposes. That one session was cut short because the father openly defied the rules by bad-mouthing me to The Child and by discussing the court case with The Child. His behavior was so remarkably belligerent and offensive that the facility's manager refused to allow the father back for any subsequent sessions. Thus, except for my worrying about what might happen and when, it's been a year of unusual peace. Early in 2008, the case goes to trial. But that's a different year......
My belief is that every child benefits immeasurably from the influence of a reasonable father. I am my child's advocate.
Throughout this year, The Child and I have enjoyed perfect health (with a couple of insignificant glitches here and there) and my goal is to appreciate that. I wish everyone in my life had been so blessed; we lost The Child's first babysitter/nanny in March. Gloria, the smartest woman I've ever known, had had been my surrogate mother, and she had proudly referred to The Child as her grandson. What an honor. Now I feel as though I've lost two mothers....yet I was fortunate to have had two.
Another loss was that of my dear friend who used to stop by my house whenever he was on his way to the senior center next door. A retired chemist, he was one of the first people I'd met in this city. Like Gloria, he was one of the few people who really tried to make me and The Child feel like part of his family. I didn't usually think of him this way, but I guess it's obvious now that he was my surrogate father. I very much miss the fatherly advice he gave me- something I lacked from my biological father.
The amazing thing about both Harold and Gloria is that neither of them had any need for me. They each had several adult children of their own, and Harold was still very happily married. They were loving people who exemplified the belief in abundance.
I attended The Child's winter concert yesterday at his school. I was struck by one girl in the front row who smiled through the entire gig. How sad that she stood out as being "the ONE who smiled"! Many thoughts went through my mind as I focused on her. Was she a "people pleaser?" Was she mentally impaired? (Not my finest moment.) Was she born happy? I had been thinking a lot lately about the concept of innate tendencies and personalities and ways of being in the world.....(having a child brings up such questions)....did this girl realize what a gift she was offering to the people around her? My eyes filled with tears, and then focused on Jonah, the boy in my son's class whose father was killed last week in a horrific trucking accident. Jonah appeared to be one of the most joyous children on that stage. He literally danced his way from the chorus risers to his hand drum for the drumming group presentation. He told my son that day (yesterday) that it was the happiest day of his life. He was a demonstration of miraculous healing and resiliency, and of the power of music to soothe the soul.2007 was the year that I took my house off the market in an apparent act of giving up on my dreams. I use the word "apparent" because I still have some degree of confusion over why I can't have what I want, which is a huge, beautiful restored Victorian house in the downtown neighborhood which I have obsessed over for years. In a twist of irony, The Child's school relocated this year to that very neighborhood. It's near torture for me to have to drive through my beloved neighborhood on a daily basis, yet it's also a pleasant treat, especially with the gorgeous Victorians all decked out for Christmas.
This past summer I had a reunion with my number one college professor. No wonder he was the perfect teacher, I thought. He has a certain way of being in this world- thoughtful, gentle, all-knowing, fatherly...he almost seems connected to a Higher Source. There were times when he looked as if he was channeling, seriously.
This past year I have tried to operate from appreciation mode. I have been more aware of the gifts some people offer, such as smiles, surrogate parenting, gentleness, joy. So it seems that my main theme for this past year has been to examine our various ways of being in this world. We're each born with certain tendencies, for sure, but we have options, too, especially once we hit adulthood. I wonder how I present myself to the world....maybe that will be the theme of 2008.