Friday, January 19, 2007

OUT OF THE DARK ...

I haven’t leapt off the planet. I also haven’t given up on my blog either although I couldn’t blame anyone for thinking I had exercised either of these two options.

What I have been doing is trying to recover from an incident with my step son that left me nothing short of emotionally shattered. What I have learnt over these past few weeks is that when people knowingly have issues and they choose to do nothing to resolve them, they become bullies. Behaving like a bully is not limited to young school children on the playground. Whether you are the young school child on the playground or a mature adult, the abusive behavior of a bully is hurtful and damaging.

When this dark side of my life confronts me, I close down. My creative energy grinds to a halt and I have to retreat. I need time to calm myself and to recover.

I could have returned to my blog and simply have launched into an overdue update of the holiday season. I made several attempts at doing that over these last few weeks but it just didn’t work. Part of me feels that if I were to share the in depth details of this area of my life it could be of help and benefit to other step parents. I know I get a lot of comfort from knowing I am not the only step parent in the world who very often struggles with the harsh realities of this role. I always appreciate the emails I get from people who are in a similar situation. What stops me from doing this is not knowing who reads my blog. If I were to write in detail about my step parenting experience, I fear hurting people’s feelings. While there might not be much love lost between me and my step son, I would never intentionally do, say or write anything to hurt him. I don’t know if he reads my blog and I would prefer he became aware of my feelings through conversation between us. He does not avail himself to that and in fear of doing emotional damage, I limit my discussion here.

In spite of these self imposed limitations, I hope my blog always reflects my truth. Whether those people who read it agree with it or not is their prerogative. I fear that if I were to express any more than I do when it comes to my role as a step mother, I would further complicate an already complicated situation. In that context, I feel content with the amount of information I have shared here in my attempt to truthfully describe where I have been.

And now, with that said – I find it easier to move on to lighter and more joyful news – with light being the operative word.

In celebration of Chanukah we took Ross to shul for a menorah lighting ceremony. All the kids in the congregation were invited to bring their own menorahs and candles to light. We were the first to arrive and noticed there was one lonely menorah with the candles almost all burnt out. I ask the attendant who had lit the menorah and she went on to tell me how earlier that evening, there had been a ring at the door. The man ringing the bell told her that he was not from the area but had noticed the shul and thought he would stop in and enquire about whether he would be able to light the candle of the day. She welcomed him into the building, found a menorah and candles for him and invited him to go ahead and enjoy making the blessing on the candles. Before doing so, he brought out his cell phone, got his wife and kids on speaker phone and together they recited the blessing and sang their Chanukah songs.


I found myself tearing up as this story unfolded. This story captures the spirit of Chanukah so perfectly because it is all about spreading the light outward, from within. I told the Rabbi that even he couldn’t have scripted a more profound Chanukah story. I am not a fan of electric menorahs in the home. I prefer the real items; especially like the one Ross made at school this year. However, as I listened to the Rabbi sharing this story with the children around the table, I promised myself that I was going to buy one. During the celebration of Chanukah a menorah should shine in your window so that your home can be seen to be shining light out into the darkness. I would like to know that if a stranger were alone and wanting to celebrate this holiday, my window would draw that person in.


It was a really fulfilling evening and set the tone for a joyous and special Chanukah for our family this year.

As we already approach the end of the first month of 2007, I extend belated good wishes from me and mine to you and those you love. Here’s to a happy, healthy and gentle year ahead.

 
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