Twenty One

Thursday, August 11, 2011

An addition to the Blair Lake saga, I didn't mention what I did four days later. It just so happens that my first-born entered the world a mere four days after my 23rd birthday. So after my birthday swim and a few days at work, I made my way back down the fire road. This time with a very large vegan birthday cake for my girl. She was turning ten. And now, she is turning 21. I have raised on her on my own for most of her life, I was happy to do it. I like her, she is fun to be around and witty and has great taste in vintage clothes. She is a beauty. And I wasn't sad to be a single mother. Really. It was hard and lonely and isolating at times, but at the end of the day, it felt good to be their mother.

To work hard and earn the money to support them, it was nice. I am glad that I had the opportunity then, because now, well now, I don't have a career. So I guess I would have been screwed. So I am glad I had the opportunity to teach in that school in Altadena while I did, it provided me with income and health insurance. I thought it gave me more, relationships, value, but I was wrong. All of that was ripped away when I was forced to hire an attorney to help fight Employer's Insurance of Nevada. They were the cut rate Workers' Compensation company that the school hired. It was all ripped away. All of the relationships I forged and nurtured are gone after eight years. Gone. I mean I may NEVER see or speak to these people ever again. The teacher I walked with EVERYDAY during our free periods, sharing teaching tips and family stories, I may never take a walk with her again. It kind of hurts my heart, because I thought our friendship was real. I also love her daughter, I met her when she was seven. She hates me now. For good reason in her eyes, I suppose...but I still love her and her mother very much. I think of them often.

There are many other stories of lost friendships just like this...just because of this work injury. It makes me want to cry....

Summer In The Pacific Northwest

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blair Lake

All the stories of the rain are true. It slips down in great damp sheets. Day after day after day. This summer began about two weeks ago. Really. The second week of July felt like October. However, when summer does arrive here in these parts...the heart soars for the glory of the day. Bright blue skies, luminous white, puffed clouds and the greens of well fed trees.

The summer after my independence was lovely. Strings of sunny days, cool indigo nights, just thinking about it makes me swoon. The children were going to be camping with some friends to a hidden lake 15 miles down a logging road. It is a treacherous journey, the cars are white from the dust upon arrival, you can only drive three-four miles an hour. There are only a handful of camps dotted around the most serene lake. We arrived on the eve of my thirty-third birthday. The afternoon was busy with setting up camp kitchens, common areas and comfy sleeping chambers.

Camping sleep usually eludes me, I woke before the dawn and watched day creep over the tree line and reflect mirror pools on the surface, like one dimensional bubbles, resting on the water, before slipping into the depths of the lake. I wanted to dive into the lake. It was my birthday, I was 33. I like those same-same numbers. 11, 22, 33...I will be 44 in a few days. Again, I digress. I wanted to dive into the lake, slow motion style, like the movies. I was afraid the water would be cold. But because, my children's father didn't break me, because I was empowered, I just stood at the shore, walked in a few feet and dove head first into the lake(I like to think in slow motion.)

There was no shock of cold. No gasp for air from the shock of snow melt. The shallow lake had been warmed by the sun, it was welcoming, waiting for me. I swam and swam and swam. I was the only one awake. I floated in the center of the lake, light watery fingers holding me up.

I don't remember making the trip back up the fire road that morning, inching my way back to Eugene, alone. I had to head back to work. But that morning, the morning I turned 33? I was floating in a lake, deep in the woods at dawn...

What Came Next

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

After The Phone Call, my soul was set free. I never looked back again. The children and I moved forward in giant, jolly steps. We took trips to the coast, the forest, made vegetarian tacos and ate tons of them on our pink table on the lanai. The Girl Child painted at her easel and pretended to practice her cello. The Boy Child was completely preoccupied with Star Wars and had a room that overlooked a Christmas Tree Farm.

The Waldorf Teacher Training Program fed my searching heart, posing questions and pushing my limits. As a part of The Foundation Year curriculum, the students participate in a play. I had not been in a play since my breakout role as Gretel in Grade Five in which I developed the most insane, heart wrenching, love-sick crush on Hansel. I digress. I was in a play. I was one of the three gods. As a surprise, in one of the scenes we put our lines to the tune of "Baby Love." We even included choreographed dance moves. It was pretty funny. When in doubt, Motown.