Starting Over

Here I start again, months since my last post. Not a very committed writer, am I?

This fits where I’ve been the last few months. I have been in a place of remaking myself. Not because I don’t like who I am, but because I don’t like who I could become as an old woman. I have let my stress levels control me and that changes me in ways I don’t like.

I eat my stress, so common for women, and some men too. I’ve gained 60 pounds in the last 5 years. Ouch. First time I’ve admitted that, even hubby can only guess. I have joined Curves 6 weeks ago, and am beginning to feel better. Until this weekend, I have been eating for health. What a difference in how I feel. As I work out, my body has gotten stronger. I feel it in how I hold my motorcycle up.

So I start over. I start over in my writing. I start over in my mission to look, at my life, share who I am, the struggles of a woman who has experienced much life in 57 years, changes, hurts, growth, joy, discovery. I think my story is not all that uncommon to women of my generation.

We begin again. Forgive this self indulgence as I presume that my life would be of interest to anyone, my purely selfish wish to blog about me. Truly, I do this as a public journal. Bear with me as I include you in my journey of self disclosure.

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New Beginnings

The last month has been one of great highs!!!! There has been no greater experience in my life than participating in the birth of my first grandchild. I have a grandson. I did not know how satisfying it could be to watch my child give birth and begin to mother a child. She has always been a delight to me, trying to parent my children (her siblings) long before she should have been concerning herself with others behavior.
I have spent every moment I could helping in any way that she would let me. Remembering my own birth experiences, and falling in love with each of my own children, I wanted to give her space to get to know her newborn at her own pace. Additionally, I have been reminded of the early days of her life. I had her at home with a midwife and her father. When I married, I already had a child and he was 8 when she was born. He was able to participate and cut the umbilical cord. I had him in a hospital, back when they used to strap you on the table and take you to a “delivery” room. The experience of the home birth was such a juxtaposition of my first child, that I was forever ruined to the medical model of childbirth.
Even as I look forward to dinner with them tonight, I know that I will fall in love with this new child more and more, this child of my child.

The third of my four children got her motorcycle license this month. This has been so much fun. She is frightened of a motorcycle, however decided that she could ride a scooter. I took her out for her first ride, first leading her, watching in the mirror, then following her. Every stop sign and stop light reminded me of more safety tips that I needed to impart. Have you ever noticed how quiet a scooter is? I did not realize how strongly I believed the adage that ‘loud pipes save lives’, but, I guess I do. Quiet scooters require even more safety tips!!!!

I watched her as she rode in front of me, realizing that this child would outride me in no time, should she decide that she wants to ride a motorcycle. She has a good seat, corners nicely, and thinks she’s going to live forever. She is having so much fun. I bought the helmet, the mesh jacket, the boots, the gloves, and was happy to see a picture of her riding down the road with ALL of the safety gear on.

All in all, this month has been joyous and exciting. Last year I told my husband that there was nothing that would keep us from going to Sturgis this year. In December, my daughter who was having difficulty getting pregnant, called to say she was pregnant and the baby was coming at the end of July. I texted my honey and told him that the only thing that would keep me from Sturgis in 2012 was going to happen; the baby was coming. My daughter assures me that no baby will be coming in 2013.

Next year in Sturgis!!!!

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Chrome Fender Tips

This month I will be married 5 years. He got me Chrome Fender Tips for our anniversary. How many men would get a lady chrome for a gift? Bless him, he tries to dress my Yamaha as well as he dressed his Harleys.

We met seven years ago. I had been separated for a year, having been married twenty years. I had always wanted a motorcycle, to only hear “no” when I’d mention it as a fun idea, while he was watching one of too many sporting events on TV. I had bought a Honda Shadow Ace on e-bay. It was in Atlanta and I had it shipped to California.

The shipping company called me, I was at work and I rushed home to see it delivered. Mind you, I did not know anything about motorcycles. I did not know even, how difficult it is to register an out of state vehicle in California. All I knew was that I had the most beautiful burgundy and pearl motorcycle being delivered to my house.

When I saw the motorcycle sitting in my driveway I had to ride it. But first, go online to see how to start a motorcycle. Second, yell for my burly 14 year old to come pick it up in the orchard when I dropped it. Ok, I needed to learn how to ride, so immediately signed up for my Motorcycle Safety Foundation course.

After getting my motorcycle license I needed someone to ride with, to show me the ropes. I joined a club. They weren’t real friendly. I joined Biker Kiss, an online dating site, asking for someone to befriend me and teach me to ride. Months later, in the spring I got a response. He seemed nice, so I had to pay a months membership so that I could e-mail the guy back and tell him I really wasn’t interested in dating. My marriage had left a very bad taste in my mouth. He responded back. He wasn’t interested in a relationship either.

Our first ride was to Coulterville. We went from Fresno to Highway 49. After what he said was the slowest motorcycle ride he’d ever been on, we decided we could be riding buddies. He even let me follow him to Sturgis on my Honda.

As you have probably figured out, he is the Love of my life, loving me like I’ve never been loved. And I have Chrome fender tips on my motorcycle to prove it.

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Do you remember sitting with your women friends while discussing MOMS? I do. I was a young mom, attending a women’s retreat with my church when the discussion came up. I wondered aloud if our daughters would have the same discussion when they became young women.

Fast forward 30 years and one broken marriage later, as I anticipate the birth of my first grandchild. My kids range in ages from thirty-four to twenty. I had my first as a single mom of twenty one. I married at twenty nine and my second was born when I was 30. The last two arriving when I was 34 and 36.

I separated from their dad when we had been married 18 years. He was narcissistic and emotionally abusive, to all of us, however had the gift of convincing us that all problems were ours. We lived a traditional suburban lifestyle, I knew all my kids friends and participated in all of their activities. Most of our activities centered around our youngest who is tremendously talented athletically, however was designated by his dad early on, to be molded in to the image dad wished he himself had been.

The girls participated in band and choir, mostly humored by their dad, the oldest played volleyball and was enjoyed by dad, but not in the same way as if he had been blood. The youngest boy played soccer, baseball, football, and basketball, excelling in all three. We followed him year round while his dad coached his teams, able to spotlight the kid every chance.

I was a good wife and Mom. I was as obedient to their dad as I could be (church told me to, and I believed it), I didn’t interfere in their relationships with their dad, leaving them to work things out. Things got pretty toxic, they felt controlled, I felt controlled, and until I left him, he reigned over us.

As can be expected, there was resentment on the parts of the kids. I didn’t stand up for them, and I didn’t stand up for me. When we talked, after the separation, I had girls who were relieved, an oldest boy who was mad, and a youngest boy who didn’t seem to care. I watched each one process, so aware of my breaking up their family, and my allowing the family to be as sick as it had become.

In many ways, all of the kids see me as they saw me in the marriage. I hear from the girls, their gratitude that I have always been stable, in spite of the dysfunction in the family; they could count on me. From the boys I hear nothing. They make obligatory gestures, but really nothing.

So, for all of the hopes, the dreams, the desire to do it differently than my mom, I haven’t. I have a life with a new husband. Each kid is relieved that they don’t have to feel obligated to take care of me. Their dad is alone, failing relationships, jobs, and they feel obligated. So, he gets the attention. Should I be flattered? No, just grateful that I am now blessed with a man who’ll let me follow him around on a motorcycle, who makes my house a home, who loves me above all other. The kids know I’m here, they know it’s unconditional, and they will return.

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Home Sick

I didn’t sleep last night, so stayed home from work today.

I have loved the solitude. While I wish I had the energy to be out on a motorcycle, instead I think I will mow the lawn at this oasis provided to me by my wonderful husband. I never thought I would find love at 50, but find love I did. While it’s a story for another time, when I began to realize that I was lovable, I ended a marriage in which I was not loved for me, but for a fantasy of who he could create me to be.

Not only did I find love, I found a partner, a friend, a gentle man who taught me to ride a motorcycle. He has resulted in so many shifts in my priorities. As a woman in her late 50’s, I have had to reprioritize my goals and plans based on the time limits I have on this planet.

I had a goal to do the entire Pacific Coast Trail when I was 60. I won’t be doing that now. While I continue to crave time alone on a trail in the high country of the Sierras in CA, my trips will remain of a shorter nature. Why? Because I have so little time left to travel this awesome amazing country on a motorcycle. I started riding at 48. I am 56. I have ridden my own bike to Sturgis, SD twice (from Fresno, CA). I have ridden solo (last fall) for a 1300 mile ride, another goal checked off my list. I ride every opportunity I can.

My new dream is to ride the length and breadth of this country. As an introvert who has spent my life disguised as an extrovert, motorcycling allows me to share an experience with my husband and spend time inside myself.

As an older woman, who is much different than the woman married to the father of my four children, I hope to leave a journal to share a little bit of who their mother is. As they are traversing their lives, there is not the pull to know the pool from which they’ve sprung, but it will come. How do I know that? Because I once was young.


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