Friday, January 01, 2010

end of a decade

I didn't even realize until yesterday that we are beginning a new decade, not just a new year.  So much happened in my life over the past 10 years.

10 years ago I was living in a beautiful Victorian house in the downtown neighborhood I loved.  Above is a photo of the side of the house.  (Interestingly, I just had a dream about this house last night.  In the dream, I was attempting to buy this house back!)  But during the 18 months we lived in this house, I wasn't the same person I am now.  I was insecure and easily influenced by outside opinions and events.  Long story short- I sold the house and moved to the one we're in now:

I have been frustrated with living in this more suburban neighborhood.  We have to drive everywhere, and that's not in line with my beliefs and desires.

But it's located on a park, which I thought The Child would enjoy:

One of the positive results of moving here is that I enrolled The Child in a terrific private preschool located nearby.  He loved going to school there.  It was all about playing creatively and learning how to effectively interact with other people.  The social skills The Child learned there will serve him for the rest of his life.

My work schedule was such a challenge for a single parent.  I worked very odd hours and one of the toughest things I ever did was to seek babysitters to cover my schedule. 

One angel in the form of a babysitter came to us through an ad in a suburban newspaper.  She was 12 years old and lived a few blocks away.  I still remember the day I first showed up at her door with the Child.  The connection between the 12 year old girl and The Child, then age 5, was palpable.  I could almost see electricity shooting between them.  They loved all of the same things, and she was the best sitter we ever had.  As an interesting aside, she ended up choosing the same career path as mine, which happens to be a very unusual one!

She couldn't cover all of my work hours, of course, but I was fortunate to be able to hire the mother of a co-worker who frequently came to our house.  She became like a mother to me, but unfortunately we lost her to complications from diabetes. 

I also lost a dear friend from work due to breast cancer.  She was as sweet as could be, and things haven't been the same without her presence.  She and her husband used to take The Child and me out to eat regularly, and they were as close to grandparents as The Child ever had.

And then there was Mr. D, our next door neighbor.  When he died a few months ago, I was so upset that I vowed to move out of this neighborhood as soon as possible.  His personality was so large that its absence created a huge void in the neighborhood, all the more noticeable to me because his house was the only one near ours.  His widow still owns the house but spends most of her time in Florida.

When we first moved here, The Child did spend time outdoors, often enjoying the park.  More recently, though, he has become the indoor type, content to spend every waking moment with his computer, especially the one he just built by himself:

Public school, especially after having had such an extraordinary preschool experience, has not been impressive!  It's drudgery to be endured.......

We went through some challenges with The Child's father.  Three years ago there was a horrible scene, followed by a lengthy court battle which pretty much ran my life for over a year.  The Father ended up with no parental rights.  (He never paid child support either, but to me it was worth it to have no ties.)   Over the past couple of weeks, The Child did see his father a couple of times, but I am proceeding with much caution. Thanks to the court outcome, I call the shots.

Career-wise, I completed a major project last year which I never thought would be possible.  After that I took on a couple of extra responsibilities at work which don't increase my income, but which do increase my variety of experiences.  I never could have accepted those duties in my younger days; I didn't have the confidence until now.

Houses have figured prominently in my life over the past years since The Child was born.  Two years ago I was broken-hearted over losing out on a house back in the downtown neighborhood:

The house had been sitting on the market for 3 years, so the price was sinking to a ridiculously low level.  On the day I finally made my offer, someone else bought the house.  This is "the one that got away."

I almost forgot to mention that last year I had the experience of unemployment when my workplace shut down.  Luckily, it re-opened after a few months, but I didn't know that it would!  I'd say that the most upsetting and depressing aspect of unemployment was trying to buy health insurance.  I ended up paying $230/month for catastrophic insurance for myself and The Child.  That's a lot of money when you have no income.

Another downer of the decade was that my sister was diagnosed with tongue cancer.  At one point , following chemo and radiation, she was told that she was cured.  A few months later, the cancer returned with a vengeance.  Surgeons removed much of her tongue.  She is receiving speech therapy, but has to be fed through a food tube.

Those are a few of the facts punctuating my past decade.  I will always remember it as the decade during which The Child grew from a toddler to a Middle Schooler.

Happy New Year.


Loving Annie said...

Dearest Betty,
You are so clear on your dream of where you would like to live and the type of home it will be, that I feel sure it will come to fruition this decade.

I think the last decade was all preparation - gradually increasing yor self-confidence, having sole custody over THE CHILD, and having him get an excellent foundation for social skills & schooling, etc.

You've laid the groundwork for your dreams to materialize.
The housing market/economy will still be slammed throughout 2010. It will be a VERY good time to be a a buyer.


B.S. said...

Dear Annie,

I just re-read this post and had to add a couple of negative events which I had omitted from the original. (I wish it could have been more positive!)

Your assessment is very positive. I like the thought that I've laid the groundwork for my dreams to materialize!

Happy 2010. May your dreams also materialize!!!


Lynilu said...

Betty, I've been reading some things from astrologers and psychics, and it seems the general outlook is for much improved economic conditions, lots of open space for personal growth, and a generally positive atmosphere. I don't put all my trust in this kind of prediction, yet I've found that the general overviews tend to be true.

You've overcome a great deal of your former personal restrictions, and if you believe any of these views, this may be truly your decade. The Child will be growing into a separate being, giving you more and more freedom to explore yourself. I hope you will grasp hold of your own star (perhaps you already have) and go as far as you can!

Good luck, dear Betty. I think you're going to have a good life ahead. :)

Anonymous said...

Honey...First I'd like to say I'm
sorry for not being on here like
I should...I'm so sorry...

I know what you mean about these
past 10 years...I've watched the
boy go from kindergarten to his
2nd year in high school...People
coming and going in our lives...
It's amazing the things that can
happen in such a short amount of
time...Things we never think can
really be done...

Here's wishing you better
tomorrows and an even better next
10 years :)



Loving Annie said...

Dear Betty,
please can you e-mail me?
It's important.
Thank you.
And then please delete this after you get it, okay?