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Friday, July 22, 2011

Change

I think the junior high assignment used to be, “What Did I Do This Summer” or “Where Did I Go This Summer.” Some such, that opened up the gates for the new school of learning to begin.

At the end of May, my husband departed for a two month military training course in Gagetown, New Brunswick. All of my married life – for both marriages – I fought against any type of lengthy separation largely because I was raised by a single parent and spent a lot of my time wishing I wasn’t alone. I hated being alone. When I was alone bad things happened either with my mother or simply by myself. In my layers of memory that fear still lived and breathed. Added to that was what kind of parent would I be to Sarah without the balancing force of Christopher when my anger reared its ugly head.

So I prayed. I walked and I prayed... had long conversations with God about why I was afraid. Most of them were completely unspoken in my head or out of it, but I think that He knew what I was saying in the deepest parts of me that have no language. Please, don’t let me be like my mother. Please don’t let me be like myself, let me be better.

I was better. It wasn’t that I didn’t get angry, I did. Sarah is at the tender age of “me, myself and I.” We all visited that age and some days I still live there. It makes for great memoir writing. Hunter, our dog, managed to catch several glimpses of the anger that lives inside of SueAnn – especially when he chewed up the second pair of flip flops. He sat, ears lowered under the kitchen table avoiding the sweep of my broom. “In the box!” I yelled. The box being his safe spot, his kennel.

To my credit, Hunter spent a lot of time being a beagle. He gets a scent and drags me around the block, down the hill, up the hill – at one point turning my 200 pound frame halfway around with my feet struggling to catch up with my body as he lunged at yet another bicycle rider, growling with his hackles raised. He really does not like many people and finds that he has to be territorial right up until the time that Apollo, the pit bull and something much larger mix chases Hunter up the hill, down the hill and around the track again. Nearly every morning we were greeted by Buddy, the white schnauzer/poodle mix. Buddy’s mom and Hunter’s mom would have them sit to get rid of the leash and they would advance, stop... stare... advance, stop, stare...until one of them (usually Buddy) took off galloping at breakneck speed toward the other one meeting one another in a jump, a circle... a run. You know, I don’t know Buddy’s mom’s name. I just know her as the nice woman who waited for me from 5:30-ish until I got there at 6 and we would walk a couple of laps with the dogs and I would need to go back to get Sarah out of the shower. I had all these grandiose plans about contemplative walking meditation and prayer. Those were supplanted by two dogs and two moms meeting one another in joy. The last day before we went on our vacation, there was a woman sleeping in the park. She was huddled under her sleeping bag and three dogs, off leash, greeted her with curious growls and yips. It seems there are more and more homeless people in our neighbourhood and it worries me for Sarah – and it worries me for them. She looked up at me and declared, “I am not homeless, I am having a hard time.” I said, “Well, I was homeless and it wasn’t safe for me. Get off these streets as soon as you can. For men, it’s one thing – for women, quite another.”

The days ticked on by and Christopher and I texted each other on our cell phones sometimes six or eight times in a day. I don’t think one day went by that we didn’t talk at some point on the phone and life just continued. There were bills to be paid, dishes to be done, laundry on Wednesdays. I entertained myself with lunches out with my cousin-in-law, Bill and my mum-in-law, Barb. My friend Gaetan would meet me with her dog, Gizmo (a Yorkie) and we would walk together and talk. Gaetan belongs, very much, to the grouping of Margo, Dani, Kay, Yancie, Krista, to the human beings I have chosen to call my family. I think I might have found a friend up here, maybe. I am reluctant – at best – to form face to face human friendships because I am solitary and lazy when it comes to relationships. But I found that this does not make for a healthy SueAnn when my best friend is in New Brunswick; it is something that needs work. I depend upon my husband far too much to be everything for me and need to grow past that.
And so I did.

Our vacation is another blog, it was magical and this is our last full day of fun in the sun... Wendy is coming after lunch and we’re going to talk about the history of Stone Cottage and her family. She’s an artist, a painter and a potter. We both have kids in their 20’s and are constantly amazed by the twists and turns of that age. It’s time to stop writing and go outside. Sarah’s already gotten smacked in the mouth by the ball, been in to the plastic baggie full of ice and her father’s lap. Then there is the beach to explore...