Monday, July 26, 2010

How do you measure the worth of a person?

By the legacy they leave behind.

My Mother-in-law was taken by ambulance to the hospital where she will likely remain until she passes later this week, although she may opt to spend her final few days at home, if she can make any decisions at this point. She has been ill for quite some time and deteriorating, though this is a rather sudden change.

I may not be able to speak with her again before she is gone. I was with her when they called the squad, and I sat with her until they came to take her away. During that time, through her labored breathing, she told me that I was the best thing that ever happened to her son. She told me that if she could have hand-picked her daughter, it would be me. She told me she loved me and that I was a beautiful person. She told me the world was a better place because I was in it. I didn't get a chance to tell her more than "I love you" before they took her away.

With more time, I would have told her that I owe a lot of who I am today to her. She is the one who taught me how to be an adult. I learned a lot of what I know about cooking and motherhood and responsibility from her. She is so much more than a Mother-in-law. She is a role model, even though she's far from perfect. She is a friend, even though I am married to her son. She is a sister, and I love her like the other half of myself.

I saw my Father-in-law cry several times this week. He is the best and strongest man I know. This is the hardest thing I have ever been through in my life, and I feel a heavy dose of reality coming on. The last thing she told me was that I am the matriarch of the family now. Those are shoes I am neither ready nor qualified to fill, but I will gladly walk awkwardly in them until they fit--for her and for my family.

Ironically, today's rune was Tiwaz, a rune that speaks of right action, justice and a willingness to self-sacrifice. Coupled with the resurgence in my relationship with Athena, I feel confident that we will make it through just fine. We are not alone, and that is a great comfort to me.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Explaining Paganism to the Non-pagan Spouse

You know, I sometimes marvel at the things about me that surprise my husband. He's known me since we were twelve, and I have always been religious.Yet, the depths of my paganism seem to be a source of unexplainable perplexities for him. I suppose I can understand how it is very different to be with someone who belongs to a group rather than to a solitary, but the idea that me being religious surprising is, well, surprising. More importantly, I think it is a testament to have far we have grown apart.
I have recently been reading quite a bit of poetry. A friend is finishing his second book of poetry, and I have been going over a few things with him (that, and he is a fabulous writer, so it's been more of a joy than anything to read his work). A lot of the poems deal with longing and love, stirring my romantic and dreamy side. I asked J on a whim the other day to write me a poem. He, of course, laughed and said, "No." I countered with a request for a letter. He said no to this, too, but then set his alarm for four am so that he could send me an email while I was at work. It was cute and very sweet. :)
I sent him a reply, and he didn't respond. When he got home from work that evening, he told me that the email I sent him absolutely floored him. he said that was the most I've talked to him in months and that he had no idea I felt the way I do about our relationship. You see, I assumed with all the fighting about me going to Grove events and whatnot that he may have some negative feelings about us ending up here, because I'm pretty sure he never anticipated a conversation about raising our children in any religion, let alone paganism. And honestly, he's just hard to talk to about things we don't have in common, which is quite a bit nowadays.
Fast forward to the weekend, and J goes on a camping trip for four days. I found out this evening that they had a pretty serious conversation about me being a pagan. Some of them asked him if I really believed all this stuff or if I was in it for the fun of it. They asked if he thought I would ever "grow out of it." I know how awful that may sound to those of you who don't know them, but I can tell you these people care about me and are genuinely trying to understand, but with all the fighting between J and me surrounding it, they've not had the guts to ask.
So, I am sitting here trying to compose a letter to J and a couple of his/our friends about why I do what I do. I've decided to draft it and then sit on it for a day before editing. There is a good chance this will make things worse, not better, when he realizes I DO believe all of this. I'll post it when it's done.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

In which Eldest minion realizes he is not too old for Happy Meals.

Since Daddy is out of town, the Minions decide that they can shmooze mom into McDonald's, which, of course, they can. Patrick, being the Eldest minion, and thus, above Happy Meals, orders fries and chicken nuggets--and a frozen treat, shaken, not stirred. As it turns out, this week's Happy Meal toy is a dragon from The Last Airbender, Eldest minion's favorite cartoon.

Girl minion and Baby minion happily assemble their dragons and munch their fries in a cadence that seems to hypnotize the Eldest minion, now drooling over the dragon.

When we arrive at home, it is not long before Baby minion is onto other things, as Baby minions are prone to do, and Eldest minion seizes the opportunity to snatch up the dragon in one fell swoop! So happy, Eldest minion!

Enter Girl minion, the bane of Eldest minion's existence.

At first, as Girl minion is prone to do, she plays well with Eldest minion. All of a sudden she announces, "Okay! Birthday party time!"

Eldest minion replies, "These are dragons, fierce, fire-breathing dragons. They don't have birthday parties."

Girl minion hugs her dragon defensively, as though his words have the power to maim. "Well, my dragon is a girl, and it's her birthday. Your dragon is going to be very upset if she doesn't get to come to my dragon's party."

Eldest minion, "My dragon is not a girl!"

Girl minion, "Yes she is! She's twins with my dragon, and you are going to make her cry!"

Eldest minion, "If I play birthday party with you, will you go away?"

Girl minion pauses, a reflective and yet somehow evil look in her eye. "Alright, I'll let you play birthday party with me, but there is no fighting or fire-breathing during the party, because that is not nice."

Eldest minion grumbles and replies, "Alright. What do I do?"

And Eldest and Girl minion play birthday party for five minutes.

Girl minion declares the birthday party is over, and Eldest minion is about to rejoice when all of a sudden, out of nowhere comes Baby minion. Baby minion looks deeply into the eyes of both Eldest and Girl minion, picks up both dragons and runs away.

Girl minion shrugs, having already had her fun, but Eldest minion is not yet sated of his desire for the dragon. Eldest minion asks Baby minion if he can play, but Baby minion just turns his back on him and continues to play alone, as Baby minions are prone to do.

Girl minion walks over to Baby minion and asks for her dragon back, which, of course, Baby minion happily gives her. She then walks over to Eldest minion and says, "If you play Candyland with me, I'll let you play with my dragon."

Eldest minion replies, "Yes. But only one game, and you can't cheat."

Girl minion victoriously begins setting up Candyland, during which she states, "I'll cheat if you want the dragon."

Eldest minion looks at me and sighs. In his best Charlie Brown, he says simply, "I hate my life."

Mother does her best to refrain from saying, "I told you so," and gives Eldest minion a supportive smile. Seems eleven is not too old for Happy Meals...not just yet.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Tarot Woes

Every so often, I do a personal tarot card reading for myself. Since it had been a while, I did a full Celtic Cross for general information a couple days ago. Heh, I probably should have started with a question, because that's what I ended up with: a whole lotta questions!
I drew several cards that had to do with success and power, triumph after struggle, etc. The problem is, I am not currently fighting any epic battles. There isn't any win-lose situation I am involved in right now, so I'm not sure what exactly I am supposed to win. I got a good laugh when I pulled the Chariot for the Near Future position (6) and then asked "victory in what" and pulled the eight of cups, which states that there is success followed by a decline in interest. Apparently, I win, but then no one cares. Maybe more Bardic Guild circles finally getting approved after we elect a new Preceptor? No one cares about that but me (ha, me and my "Druid Merit Badges").
To make matters more complex in true Sagittarian fashion, I did another Celtic Cross today to try to sort out the message. The first card drawn this time was exactly the same as last time: the Two of Wands, only this time it was crossed with the Two of Cups instead of the Eight of Disks. In the end, however, this reading seemed to be more related to ADF/spiritual stuff, which helps with some of the "power" references, but there is a lot of reference to love and happiness and victory. It almost looks like a relationship profile, but Jeremy and I have been fine. No struggle there, so nothing to "win." Secret admirer, perhaps? lol
I emailed the only person I could who still uses tarot cards regularly, and I even sent them on to a poor unsuspecting soul who may be able to at least decipher a message from a third-party perspective. Oghams, tarot, safe difference, right? (haha, again) AG seems to think there is an underlying message. Great. I love mixed messages from the Gods.
This is why I switched to Runes, but I am not happy with them either. I asked a simple question today, and what rune did I pull? Perthro. The Dice Cup. Casting Lots. I swear, if I had one, I probably would have pulled the blank rune, which would have given me just as much information.
Divination Fail!
Luckily, I don't really need information. Overall, I am doing rather well. :)