It's been a long time since I wrote here. I am wondering if I should close down this blog or not. I try so hard to be hopeful about living in South Dakota. My intentions were good. Despite appearances to the contrary, I have really tried to give South Dakota a shot.
I remember my husband remarking to someone that he didn't understand why I was so upset about living in South Dakota. He had a good job. It was still in the United States after all. If you are astute, you can already see what is wrong with his statement. HE had a good job.
Lately I've been struggling a lot with my life. If I liked where I lived, I am sure it would help. I have no job. I have no purpose for being in South Dakota. My life is filled with making oatmeal for him for breakfast, doing laundry and an occasional trip to Wal-Mart. It seems only when I leave Brookings do I experience anything that gives me life.
Last weekend we visited Connecticut. One of our daughters finished Law School. Talk about proud! This is the second of our daughter's to finish Law School. There is a third preparing for her LSAT exam to enter Law School. As our daughter ascended the stage to be hooded, like band concerts of her youth, I had my video camera trained on her. As I heard her name, I felt this strong surge of emotion. My husband whispered in my ear, congratulations, this is your achievement as well. I started to cry. Tears have been very close to the surface much of the time of late.
It was Mother's Day. As we had driven around Connecticut, I found my own mother lurking around. This was where she was last vibrant and full of life. She never drove a car in Tennessee. She never had her favorite grocery store or restaurant. She didn't pick up kids from school in Tennessee. But in Connecticut, she did. In Connecticut she held her last job. She cared for children in the church nursery at age 80. She was last fully alive in Connecticut. Her memories haunted me all weekend.
I also had a life in Connecticut. I had a great job. All the major politicians knew me. I'd be called upon to testify at the legislature on important issues. When they were passed, I would stand by the governor as he signed the bill into law. The major newspaper would call me for quotes on issues. They did a two page feature article complete with pictures, just on me.
I had a great church where I was able to serve. Most importantly, almost all the children were either at home or very close by. I got to see them everyday. One of my granddaughters used to meet me at the door when I would come home. She had been playing school with her auntie still a child herself. The granddaughter would leap into my arms and then say Nana, go cook. I would cook with her on my hip as I had done with every one of her aunties and uncles, my own children. It wasn't unusual to cook for over 10 people a night. Their were boyfriends and girlfriends to feed in addition to our children.
There were children who camped out at our house for a variety of reasons. I saw one of them this weekend. She is a beautiful young woman raising two amazing children by herself. She is strong, smart, articulate and amazing. I was so glad to see her.
I missed my mother this Mother's Day. Yet, here I was at a daughter's graduation. I stood next to my grandson Josh. Josh is the youngest son of my son Jason. He will start High School next year and dreams of a future as a chef. His goal is the Culinary Institute. He is already much taller than I am.
Our graduate's children were there. She completed this degree with two full time jobs. Mothering her three children her primary job, a job in business as secondary. People have remarked, I don't know how she did it. I don't either. I have an idea only because I too put my self through college with three small children. But this was Law School. She is remarkable.
I am no less proud of any of my children. They are all amazing. I feel like those annoying people you meet who want to pull out a photo album and show you every picture of their family complete with long stories. I won't.
It was a hard weekend. I have yet to recover. Memories of my mother on Mother's Day mixed with regrets and tensions of my current life made the trip difficult. Like so many times, there seemed to be no place to go for consolation. Yet, I was in Connecticut. I did have a friends there. Unlike here in South Dakota, as the sadness and pain seemed more than I could bear, I used my lifeline and phoned a friend.
Dreariness and winter like weather greeted us as I returned to South Dakota. Alone, I will ponder this weekend and try to recover. Alone, I will ask the whys and cry. South Dakota is a harsh place.
Today I will start the two day trek to Tennessee. I will get to see my granddaughter Maria who suffered 2nd degree burns. I will finally get to wish my oldest daughter belated Happy Birthday in person. On the way, we will see my oldest son in Missouri. His son's birthday is tomorrow. Maybe we'll see him too. I will stop and visit my mother and dad in the cemetery. I will be grateful that my step-family honored her with flowers for her birthday. It will be complete, I will have seen all of my scattered 8 children within a weeks time. I will have visited my parents at their final resting place. I had visited our granddaughter at her final resting place in CT.
Saturday, I start a new chapter of my life. At long last I will begin a doctoral program that I probably should have done 30 years ago. These children, their father, their lives have occupied my heart and my time. They tell me this is finally my time. I just wonder why "my time" has to be here in South Dakota.