The landlord raised my rent this summer and I needed help financially. So L moved back in with me and Little N. He's paying me rent to share a room with his son. It's an unconventional arrangement, though I hear it's not as uncommon as one might expect, and it's given my bank account a little breathing room. Much appreciated!
The new living arrangement also initiated some rearranging of the physical space. I've moved into the smaller bedroom and turned it into a bright cozy nest. My little sanctuary of self-care.
There's more to say. About the work it took to get divorced and how I feel. But for now it is enough to recognize it and even celebrate an end, a new beginning.
Autumn has always been my favorite season. As a child it meant apple picking, apple cider doughnuts, and pumpkins! Pumpkin selecting, pumpkin carving, pumpkin seeds, and pumpkin pie. Every year we made a little trek into "the country" to pick out our pumpkins at a farm stand. We hauled them home to the suburbs for all the ways we enjoyed them. It was looked forward to, even as teens, and served as a sure sign of the season.
While there's plenty of country, farms, and farm stands to be found in Washington, Little N and I are urban dwellers these days. And kiddo doesn't take much delight in long drives to unfamiliar places with unfamiliar people, sounds, and smells. So we took the city-dwellers' approach and I picked up a couple of orange beauties at the grocery store next door to our apartment. We invited a friend over and commenced carving.
Little N wanted a "happy" pumpkin, so Miss A delighted him by carving exactly what he had drawn for her. I went for a spookier approach, which also allows allows a lot of candle light to shine through, and cut a cyclops from my pumpkin. Kiddo does not like my creepy monster and sequesters it to a different part of our deck, away from his happy creation.
From a Pagan perspective this season, like each season, holds sacred meaning. By now we've noticed the days getting shorter, the darkness enfolding us, and in Seattle the cold and rain have started. We inhabit more time indoors. We reach for creature comforts of hot beverages and hardy foods. We are embracing the darkness as best we can and listening for the messages it offers. It's a time for composting that which doesn't serve us, as well as the dreams that have not come to fruition in the time we granted them. New life will be cultivated from their detritus in another season. It's a time for giving thanks for what we have received and that which we have learned. Our lives are stronger and more vibrant for these things. It's a time for drawing near to the folks we love. We are all connected.
Little N doesn't really understand seasons yet. He is puzzled by our dark mornings as I rustle him up for school. He plays out on the deck in dark evenings within the glow of the overhead lights. I don't know if that's due to being a child who hasn't seen as many seasons change as I have, or if it's related to his Autism and not perceiving sequences. I'm hopeful that his comprehension and appreciation will develop as he grows up. To that end, I have the job and the joy of sharing what I perceive in each season. I'm trying to become more intentional in my parenting around this topic and Autumn calls me to it more than any other season. I string little twinkle lights up in our apartment to warm the darkness of our evenings. I make a place on my altar to host the photos of our Beloved Dead, his grandfathers. They have a special place in our hearts and minds at this time of year (more on that and Samhain coming soon).
I want Little N to perceive the turning of our little blue planet in our solar system, in our galaxy, in our universe! Our lives are tiny, precious, and changing with our own seasons in this magnificent space. We humans are all connected to each other in various ways and I wonder how to teach him about that as well. I want Little N to experience connection to traditions I grew up with as a link to a family he is part of, a family that loves him, but who he barely knows, rarely sees. I want Little N to be familiar with the emotional and material meanings of entering the dark. We needn't fear or dread the darkness. We can work with and within this season. I want Little N to deeply know all of these things and have fun living with it!
So I drag home the pumpkins from the grocery store. We carve them and giggle over the slimy orange goo we pull out of them. We light them and watch the candlelight flicker inside of them. I plug in the twinkle lights. I make room on my altar for the grandfathers. And I try to draw Little N's little-boy-attention to the darkness and what it can offer.
ready and waiting for my guests
10 of us gathered and played with 13 decks of Tarot and Oracle cards
I drew "Risk"
the 40th card of an Oracle deck
on my 40th birthday
delightful devoured food and drink
(1 piece of cake remains for Little N)
birthday flowers all around
such a lovely little party we all enjoyed!
we sat in a circle in my snug living room and everyone was included
stories shared, connections made, new friendships formed
I am so happy
A gorgeous, early, foggy morning at the beach. This place has been such a comfort to me through the last year of transitions. From bringing Little N here last summer as we prepared for his dad to move out, to quick stops to collect myself after work, to quiet strolls during my weekend hours alone.
As the transitions continue, and new ones rise in my horizon, I am grateful for this lovely place, in sunshine and in fog.
Stay tuned for what I hope will be a very happy announcement, and a new phase of transition, in the near future!
So we're finally using the "D" word with Little N. I read two-hug day to him the other night and it brought up more questions from Little N and some better answers from me. I explained that the word "divorce" is what we call it when a mom and dad decide not to live together anymore. We decided to divorce because we had grown-up problems that we couldn't fix, even though we tried. The book also does a great job of showing that both mom and dad still love the child, want him to be comfortable and happy, and care about his interests. He can have a good time with mom and tell dad about it, and vice versa.
I'm anticipating more questioning now and phases of new questions as Little N grows up. Before too long he'll outgrow two-hug day and Sesame Street characters. But a good foundation, I hope, is being laid today. L and I are doing our best to make safe space for Little N's big questions and big feelings. We are answering him honestly and consistently. We are reassuring him that we love him; that we are both invested in him and take care of him. We've established some basic routines so that he can expect when he'll be with dad or mom, although those continue to adapt with summer break, vacations out of town, and special occasions. He's doing a great job of adapting with us!
Finally, I'm really pleased that L and I were able to reach agreement on when and how to talk to Little N about divorce. We got lucky in finding that kit and even luckier to both like it. We got lucky that Little N started speaking up about his questions, letting us know it was time for more and better answers. In just a few emails, which, really, is how we communicate clearly and child free with each other these days, L and I were able to agree to the timing and the current solution for Little N's needs. The better we can learn to communicate as co-parents of a little guy we both adore, the greater the peace and stability for Little N.
We've been telling Little N that he has to "try again" with Summer Camp. After Friday's success in the new group, he came home happy, proud, and full of energy. "I tried again!" he raced to tell me when I got home from work. Then he proceeded to pounce on me and jump around the living room.
Last night he started to get anxious again, but we reminded him that he was going to the new group and that he has a friend there.
This morning, his dad dropped him off - with no problems. Little N found his friend. He called to his dad, "Bye!" and then turned to his friend. "Well, it's just you and me."
Out of the Attic
This blog started in 2006
on Blogger as
Out of the Attic.
I began posting here in April 2014. Please visit the original site for the rest of the story on topics like: