About Moxie Girl Musings

Moxie Girl Musings is about starting over from square one after tragedy impacted my young family. It's filled with stories of triumph, struggle, snafus, hopes, and dreams. Sometimes there will be features from other writers that I like and every so often I'll include an original short story, but normally I simply write what's on my mind at the time. Welcome to my unfiltered true-life story as I figure out this thing called life. http://www.amberleaeaston.com

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Road trip!

This past week the kids and I did something we haven't done in a long time...packed up the car and headed to parts unknown.  We were wing'n it every step of the way as we headed south to Santa Fe.  Yes, we had hotel reservations, but that was all we knew "for sure".  Everything else was an adventure waiting to happen!

I enjoy going places I've never been before and seeing things that are completely new to me. It's almost as if I can feel my brain expanding, waking up and saying "wait a minute, this isn't the same ol' same ol', there's actually something interesting happening here!"

On the way down I-25, we stumbled upon the Old Santa Fe Trail historical markers while at a rest stop.  My son said, "we just learned about that in history class" and proceeded to go on and on...and on...about it as we drove.  More historical markers, more conversation, more links the kids get from what they learn in school to real life visuals of where it all happened.  Refreshing.

Santa Fe...what can I say?  It exceeded all my expectations, not that I really knew what we were getting into, but that's the point.  We saw the oldest church in North America, learned Santa Fe's history is much older than any East Coast city (take THAT you east coasters with your Mayflower and Plymouth Rock--LOL--don't pout, I still love you), and walked some historic trails where it was easy to imagine the violence of the past despite the overwhelming peaceful energy of the city.  We stayed in a hotel where Billy the Kid once worked as dishwasher--before being hanged out back by a lynch mob.  We learned how the atomic bomb was built on a mountain just NW of Santa Fe and read portions of letters from the people who worked there at the time.  We enjoyed some of the best food we've had in a long time--can you say green chile?!

From Santa Fe, we headed out on Route 66 for short while before curving up toward Durango, CO.  The scenery here blew my mind.  I've been around the world...I'm not exactly a novice traveler...but this section of the United States left me with no words.  I took pictures, but they failed to capture the overwhelming awe I felt with the contrast of desert backed by snowcapped Rocky Mountains in the far distance.  Most people fly over this part of the country--what a pity for them and what luck for us.

I'm not trying to give a travel log here.  My point is that by going on a road trip, the kids put down their electronics for awhile (yes, even I put down the computer for five days!), looked out the window, discovered a new part of the country, learned a lot, and talked about it.  Yep, my teenagers and I actually had long conversations that didn't involve homework or sports.  We weren't in a hurry...we took it slow and soaked it all in with no agenda.  I hate to say it--but that doesn't happen often, at least with my family who's always running in high gear.

It's amazing how powerful a road trip, bag of chips, cooler of soda, and the sense of "not-knowing-where-the-hell-you-are" can be for stimulating the mind.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Plus One

Tonight--or maybe I should say this morning since it's 3:45 AM--I'm sitting at my desk feeling pretty good about life. I had dinner with a sweet friend earlier in the evening--or last night if you want to be technical about it, but I haven't slept yet--and we started talking about love.

Being the guru of all things (uh-hem, yes, that's me), I tried to convince her that love is a true thing.  You see, she doesn't believe in it.

It's not like we were talking about Santa or the Tooth Fairy.  We were talking about love.  Pure.  Simple.  Heartbreaking.  Euphoric.  Love.

I think it's sad when people talk about settling for something comfortable even though it makes them lonely on a deep level.  My heart breaks when I hear someone saying how love isn't "for everyone" and that only "lucky people" find it.  That's not true.  Every single one of us is born to love.  I honestly believe this to be true.

We all have an amazing capacity for love, but hurt starts to build shields around us, layers of mistrust block our inner radiance and a wall goes up around our heart.  If you want love in your life, you need to look at why you've built that wall and start ripping it down yourself.  It might be painful, but it's preferable to settling for mediocre when you're meant for extraordinary.

Love is here for all of us.  We were put on this planet to love--love ourselves, the planet, our families, our neighbors and, yes, a life partner.

I would rather be single for years than settle for someone just to have a plus one.  Not only would that be unfair to me, it would be unfair for the other person who isn't being loved as wholly as he deserves.  Compromising your soul's desire for a big love will only bring heartache and loneliness down the road.

Yes, love is for everyone not just a chosen few.  You'll know it when you find it--trust me.  I've had it once before and know it feels like euphoria.  Hold on--hold out--keep the faith--open your heart--rip down those walls--trust yourself--love yourself--and it'll all be okay.  Trust me.
Oh, and for the fun of it and because I'm proud I figured out how to create this (LOL), check out my book trailer on YouTube:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Carrot Cake

Today Sean would have been 41 years old.  We would have given him the only thing he ever wanted on his birthday--socks.  Yeah, I know.  I never understood it either, but the guy got goosebumps over new socks.

But Sean isn't 41...he will forever be 34.

After he died, I struggled with how to handle his birthday.  What was the proper thing to do for someone who had died?  Do you still celebrate a birthday?  Is it creepy?  Weird?  Crazy?  I went on to the YWBB and discussed it with other widows and widowers...what to do, what to do...

This is the sixth birthday we've tackled since that horrible day.  Each one has been different.  The first few were more surreal than sad, as if we still hadn't accepted the truth of what had happened.  Then we traveled for a few, making it fun, doing things we knew he'd love.  A few were lost because of my own pain, where his birthday passed without a word or a thought because it simply hurt too much.  But today we ate carrot cake--his favorite.

Today the kids and I talked about his strange love of new socks, his crazy skiing stunts, his ability to always make me laugh even when I was completely pissed off, how much each of them reminds me of him in specific ways.  They asked questions, I answered and we all laughed.

I did cry a little..in private...after the laughter stopped.  He is forever young and handsome while I am aging and alone.  The kids are growing up and will be moving on soon and I find myself thinking about all the fun we could be having...if only. I miss his beautiful smile, his wink, his reassuring presence.

I look at the past six years and see how far I've come emotionally.  That first birthday felt like all kinds of wrong with a big gaping hole ripped into the center of my life.  Then I busied myself with traveling, parenting and an almost manic need to "be fine" for a few of the others.  But those lost birthdays were the result of lost years when despair caught up with me and "being fine" was no longer an option, when I could barely drag my feet out of bed.  Grief takes its toll...it's harsh and mean.

Yeah, I've come a long way from then until now.  I've moved into my new normal where I talk about him with ease, am happy to see him living in our children, and know he'd be proud of how well we've done.

I will always miss Sean.  That's what people need to understand. When it comes to grief, it's not about years or moving on with someone else.  It's about accepting the new normal and letting go of the old routine while embracing change.  I've come a hulluva long way from that moment when we found him dead to now.  A helluva long way...and anyone who thinks differently is an idiot and not worth my time.

 I will miss Sean at our kids' high school and college graduations, when they get married, when I hold my first grandchild...I will miss him.  That doesn't mean I'm stuck or that I'm never going to love someone else again, it simply means that I loved well and completely once upon a time.  Good for me.

I think it's okay to celebrate the birth of someone you loved--whether they are alive or not.  I'm glad he was born.  I'm glad I knew him.  I'm glad he loved me.  Why not celebrate that?

Today we ate carrot cake...with laughter and some tears...and with a whole lotta love.
My Sean--1970 to 2005.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Out of many, One

I'm going to deviate somewhat from the norm for this post because, earlier today, I became involved in a discussion that sparked something deep within me.  A simple discussion about the term "In God We Trust" turned into a conversation about political correctness, racism and political division.  (Yeah, I know...don't worry, I'm not going to repeat all of that.)  I'm thankful for differing points of view for this reason:  they always lead somewhere fascinating.

What would life be without labels?  If I wasn't called a Democrat, Lutheran, white woman, American...how would you relate to me?

I firmly believe with 100% of my being that we as humans all want the same things in life--love, prosperity, security, joy, equality, respect, freedom--regardless of our politics, nationality, race, religion or non-religion, economics, or geographical location.

Oneness is our nature, yet we often fight it by looking for differences that divide.  We seem to enjoy lumping people into a group so that we know how to judge them.  Why is this?  Is it because we need to feel better or smarter than someone else?  Why is that?  Are you really being authentic if you need to put down another to elevate yourself?  Why do we need to judge each other when we are all seeking the same fundamental things in life?  Why do we condemn each other for our opinions when we live in a nation that says we are all entitled to be different?  Why must we hide behind religion instead of simply acting God-like?

Do any of the following sentences strike a chord within you, either of "oh hell ya" or "that hurts"?

"Those liberals are all socialists."

"Tea Partiers are all nut-jobs."

"Women can't do what men can."

"The people in the Mid-West are ignorant."

"All Californians are pot smoking hippies."

"New Yorkers are all nasty."

"That homeless guy deserves where he's at and isn't my problem."

"Removing the phrase In God We Trust from our currency is removing God from the country."

"Homosexuals want to destroy marriage."

"All Muslims are terrorists."

"Religion is for the weak minded."

Are you getting my point?  None of the above sentences are accurate.  Any generalization is a form of judgment, of discrimination and is wrong.  Stereotypes are ignorant.  Extreme thinking--black or white, all or nothing, you versus me, us versus them--is terrifying.

We are all one.  Strip the labels away, remove the borders, silence the sound-bites and you'll see that we are all more alike than not.  We all share the same sun...the same moon...the same earth.  We all want love, happiness, respect, prosperity, security and peace.  We all want to see our dreams come true.  Whether you believe in God or not, we are all free to believe whatever makes us feel at peace.  We are all one.

If, after reading this, your first thought is that I'm just some liberal, peace-loving, stupid blonde, then I want to say to you...I wish you only peace, love and joy anyway.