Cleaning, Purging, Finding, Remembering

Candace, 11 September 2006, No comments
Categories: Divorce, Family, Happy, Life, Relationships

I have been trying to make the house more functional. When we first moved here years ago the house was gross – a real fixer-upper but all we could afford: fillled with mouse poo, dog pee in every room, angry holes had been smashed in the walls, graffiti was everywhere and these were just the cosmetic details. Every carpet had to be torn up, new plywood put down on all the floors, the pipes literally scraped out. There was never any real plan to ‘decorate’ or ‘set things up’, it was more of a “we have stuff, get the boxes in and shut the door fast.” The walls got painted white and the boxes got piled in the first room we finished but that was as far as it ever got.

It was about a year and a half later that the kids’ dad left. The place was still a disaster. I needed to do something to clean the air and make start making a home. The entranceway had wood on the lower half of the walls making this the smallest project and so I painted the upper half with paint I got from the Habitat Re-Store for $5. I used garbage bags to apply the paint and created a truly “faux” frottage finish. I put my rocking chair in that space and spent many days there nursing the newborn with the other kids on my lap and looking for designs in the paint. It was my first glimpse into making a house into a home, not just a shell for hiding stuff.

I got some hand-me-down furniture and slowly the house developed some character. There’s no theme since most of the paint was whatever colour the Re-Store had the day I could get a ride there, but I’ve enjoyed doing what I have been able to do. The attic has been the hardest. The kids’ rooms moved up there a few years ago and it’s finally starting to get homey. This was their dad’s space, where he locked himself for days at a time. I wasn’t allowed in there and it never occured to me that this was screwed up. Really bad marriage. I’ve just about managed to whiddle the junk down to the stuff I really really really want to keep – some high school artwork, my first ballet shoes, a special box of baby clothes, including some that I made for the kids. Through doing all of this I am finding lots of things: little notebooks from high school where I wrote down random thoughts or when I was at university the first time before I dropped out to move back home and get married. I’ve found clipping from magazines and papers, of theatre reviews from shows I did or saw. And I found things copied out of books – things I took the time to write by hand in a notebook or on scraps of paper. I found the ones below during the nursing days when I wanted to build an element of celebration into the hard days I had with the kids when we were first getting the hang of family restructuring:

from A Child’s Book of Blessings compiled by Sabrina Dearborn

We used this one regularly at dinner time for awhile while lighting a candle. We used it again at the end of the meal. The kids got to take turns blowing it out which helped them stay in their seats longer too.

Blessing to Start an Activity – Steiner
Candle Fairy burning bright
Come and share with us your light.
May we always learn to share
With the Children everywhere.
Candle Fairy burning bright
Come and share with us your light.

I never learned this one probably because the ‘Goddess’/deity language isn’t my thing but I like the last line about meeting, parting and meeting again. It looks to the future like the French “à bientôt” – until next time. Maybe this is why I prefer “See you later” to “Goodbye”. And all the merry’s remind me of the traditional East Coast tunes I love.

Blessing to End an Activity – Starhawk

May the circle be open, but unbroken.
May the love of the Goddess be ever in our hearts.
Merry meet and merry part and merry meet again.

This one I don’t even remember but I think I will try to find some way to work it into my life. I’d really like some peaceful comings and goings, I think that’s my goal for the year: to look at things but not let them overwhelm me, to pace myself so that I can enjoy what I’m doing instead of always looking at all that needs to be done, whether that’s in my own life, in my family, in my house, my neighbourhood, on campus, in the city, or the world. Goodness knows we need social change but is me jumping up and down at the people around me and not sleeping because I’m trying to fix everything really the way a person should live their life?

I wish this to you as well:

New Year Blessing – Chinese
May you have success in all endeavours.
May you have peace and health in the four seasons.
May your happiness be as wide as the sea.
May all your comings and goings be peaceful.


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