Looks Like We Made It: Looking For Home 1.2

Please note that while we are sharing our memoir it is a work in progress.  The title “Looks Like We Made It” is a working title.  The words in the chapters are are also a work in progress.  This is not a final copy, but rather a chance to share our story.

Looking For Home

Looks Like We Made It

Chapter 1.2

Norah

I stared out the window on a crisp Colorado fall morning, the leaves changed in color and all had almost fallen to the ground, waiting for the wind to blow them away. Some leaves remained on branches, but very few. I often wondered how they hung on. I loved fall, it was always my favorite season. The sun shining through the almost naked trees and the beauty in the colors calms me. With the cold weather approaching some leaves would freeze and be held to the ground. I too had changed in color, but I was still attached to the tree by a small branch prepared for the wind to take me to a beautiful place not aware that winter would soon come and I would be frozen to the cold ground. I was headed in a different direction and speed I was not expecting.

That morning I thought I had the flu.  My mom went to work leaving me home alone even though I was throwing up. The morning air was cold and, I wiped the frost off my bedroom window in order to watch her drive away. I quickly got right back in my bed half mad that she left me alone and half glad that I was all alone. Even though at times I wished she was what I considered to be a normal parent I was safer spending less time with her. I couldn’t have a single conversation that did not include how tired she was and how I could be doing so much more to help her out. The more I did, the more resentful I became, especially when what I did was never up to her standards and she never thanked me. I quickly reminded myself she was now a single parent and could not afford to miss a day’s worth of pay.

This structure that once held laughter, good food and salsa music, this place that often smelled of pine sol and simmering sofrito was quiet, dim, and fragrance free. The year prior the place I called home became infested with sobs, angry outburst and bitterness. Salsa music no longer played unless my mother played it to pretend she was whole and happy. She was good at pretending. I no longer smelled the scents of my father’s favorite things in life, a clean home and his favorite Puerto Rican foods cooking. My mom’s way of showing love was through acts of service and she served my father in hopes to keep him happy and lacking for anything. He was her pride a joy, a service man. Growing up her eyes twinkled when he dressed in his class “A” army uniform. It had been a year since I had seen her look at him in this way. This house had changed not only in name but mostly in feelings. A year prior our home changed into a house when my father packed his personal belongs, when he was asked to leave. My mother could no longer live with a man that she could not trust.

When I sat in my bed, I was all alone. I felt out of place in this unfamiliar environment. All of the possessions inside looked familiar and even inviting but I was quickly reminded that the things inside are all for show. Being at our house made me feel desperate to exit.  Each one of my family members pulled in separate directions in search for a place to live, a place to call home. Our family house was a place that we each resided in, a roof over our head not a place we lived. A place where you live would imply that life was happening and it wasn’t.  We slept on occasion under this shared roof but we did not share the same family connection we had when our father was here.

I had to get out of bed before I threw up again, I walked passed my mother’s room on the way to the bathroom.  This once was my parents room, once a shared space. Now it felt like a dark cave. I avoided going in this room unless my mother would call me in there. Growing up my parents bedroom was where I would most often find my father under the blankets on weekend mornings. Being in the army we moved a lot, but my parents bedroom still held the same meaning to me, even if it wasn’t physically the same room. My dad loved to sleep in after a long weeks worth of work. It was known by all of us that as soon as dad got up we would be doing something fun as a family. It was a Saturday tradition to go shopping, to a movie and out to eat. Some mornings I would hear my parents talking through our bedroom walls, this is how I knew family fun time was approaching. I would jump in the bed with them both, if their conversation wasn’t over they would start to speak in spanish. They knew that I could understand most of what they were saying so they invented their own code language of spanish to discourage me from trying to figure out what they were saying. It was their own secret language. When my dad wasn’t moving fast enough for my liking I would start to push him with my legs. He was so much bigger than me so I would squeeze my body between my parents position both my legs, one his mid back the other on his butt and rock him back and forth acting as if I was going to push him out of the bed. I would continue this as I begged him to get out of bed, “come on daddy get up please, let’s go now, you take forever to get ready.” In time he would give in to my begging and sit up and off I would run to my room to get dressed. But there was no longer any signs of my father in that bedroom, nothing to show that an Army soldier once slept next to my mother.

I was hunched over the toilet wishing my dad was there. I wanted someone to take care of me. But my dad became the parent I saw every other weekend. Some of our weekend visits felt long and drawn out, we were growing apart as father and daughter.  I dreaded hearing his car pull up and tried to prepare myself to act as if I were excited. My parents separation and divorce came right at a time that I believed most girls grew attached to their fathers, at thirteen years our relationship suffered. It was uncomfortable being alone with him. Our time together felt unnatural and forced. Our conversations lacked closeness. I grew up watching sitcoms like The Cosby’s and Growing Pains and I would often dream of my family sharing that kind of closeness. Why couldn’t we sit around a dinner table and share conversations that were relevant to a pre teen girl. These television families would always find a solution to whatever disagreement they had. My family’s lack in good comunication forced me to close myself in, I couldn’t share what was really going on in my life, I couldn’t be the real me, instead I pretended to be his innocent baby girl. A obedient child that always did what she was told.

My mom became distracted and disconnected in her newfound freedom. She wanted to prove to my father how she didn’t need him any longer. She was working full time and started to make friends. Most of our conversations were based on whether or not I had done my chores. She did not react well in an untidy home. So to her a clean house was priority even over homework. This became a task that was mostly mine. Deep down in her Puerto Rican upbringing it was the woman’s “job” to do the household chores not the men’s. We had a big house at the time my parents separated. They bought this house to make a permanent home for our family. Growing up we had lived in several army bases, I could only recall one other time we lived in an actual house. It was a house my parents built from the grown up in North Carolina. We did not live there long, I often wonder why. So this being the family home my parents chose after building a home, was very spacious. It had three stories and we each had our own bedrooms. I loved this house, I especially loved the stairs, one lead to my bedroom and the other to the family room. I loved the stairs mainly because prior to this home stairs only lead to basements. Basements for mostly storge, nothing fun. These stairs lead to rooms that reflected each occupant’s personality, rooms that once were filled with the laughter.   

I would pass my brothers in the hallway that separated our rooms as we headed out to school, or at least they were pretending they were going to school for my mom’s sake. When school was over they were always out with their friends and girlfriends. The saturday mornings in our pjs eating Captain Crunch watching Tom and Jerry were long gone. Waking up I would pass by empty bedrooms. Not only was my dad missing from his bed but if my brothers had come home in the evening they would be long gone before I had much of a chance to interact with them. I had no idea where they went and they never included me in whatever they did. Being the youngest of us and a 13 year old girl I required the most guidance. The kind of guidance that would prepare me for life, love and relationship. I was not prepared for any of the above and I set out to find a place where I could feel connected to someone where I could share who I was, I wanted to belong. I did not want to feel alone in the world, unloved, or uncared for.

As the distance in my family grew wider and wider. I continued to search for the attention I desperately needed. I found every reason to not be at home because inside those walls resided only people and not a family. There was a huge void in my life that my boyfriend instantly filled the day I met him.  He became my entire world, he became my home.

Norah

Norah

A wife to a man in wheels. Sharing my life with all of the struggles in hopes to open up the highways of understanding, compassion, love, and hope.  Follow me as I tread through.

Keep Rolling On With Us On Social Media

Today marks 22 years of marriage and to many more! #keeprollingon

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We share our stories not so you know what we've been through, but so you're not afraid to share your own. Tell us, what's your story?

Posted by The Wheels of Grace on Monday, February 22, 2016

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Writing Hurts

This week I spent some time editing our book, which is almost always an emotional endeavor.  I reached back into my past when I was 13 years old, the time in my life when my parents were separated and I became pregnant.  During this time so much of my life changed in rapid speed.  

I have read, reread, and edited these pages numerous times that they have became familiar, but I must push passed the just telling my story stage, into navigating my heart. While venturing my heart I was able to spill my emotions on paper. I do not want to leave out any details that would show how far I have traveled to get where I am today.  I made one promise when deciding to write a memoir, that I would open myself up fully by being transparent and honest with who I was and who I have become.   The desire has always been to share the good, the bad and the ugly with the hopes of inspiring others to do the same. For others like me to believe in themselves and fight to gain control of whatever situation they may encounter.  So why did this process bring me to tears even when I have already exposed so much of myself for years now?  As I continued to write I am pained by all this character endured.  As if I am an entire other person empathizing with my 13 year old self.  This part of the book is leading into how my path changed.  As I continued to type I started to sob uncontrollably and not able to read my own words.  

My family and I have been working on our book for years now and we get together and read aloud some of our edited work, I almost always cry at Sergio’s and Ashley’s words.  This week was a challenge for me, I wrote for the most part alone and there is something about writing out your feelings of loneliness.  I cried more than usual, actually shocking myself when my cries turned into sobs.  After talking to myself and doing some self reflection I realized where these feelings were coming.  I initially started crying because I was grieving my past.  I was treading down the dark road with no light and I was alone. In time my tears changed to tears of joy.  I am grateful that I gained the ability to break away for the chains that held me down.  I am now free to live my life with an open heart.  A heart willing to receive grace and mercy.  This is who I am today,  I am no longer a confused young girl, I am a saved woman.  I cried this week because I am still living out my dream of one day seeing a completed story full of loss and pain come to full circle to becoming one of compassion, grace, love and overcoming hardships.

When I felt that I was weak for getting so emotional over my past I realized that I was actually being strong and brave by allowing my emotions to naturally grieve the person I once was and to celebrate with tears that I am not her anymore. I am proud of myself for wanting to open up my life for others to read with the dream of one day inspiring and touching lives.  When we started this process I knew that at times it would get hard.   That was an understatement as I quickly learned how emotional writing about your own life can be.  I push myself through and in the end of the each writing experience I am able to see why I survived, and why I had to endure so many obstacles in the first place.
I encourage you to share events in your life that have made you stronger.  Start by sharing the tough stuff that has shaped you and that has opened your heart.  As you navigate your heart stop and reflect on how much you have changed.  Think of those times when you felt that you were at your lowest and how freeing it feels to see yourself come full circle.  So many of us have experienced similar situations and yet we do not know it.  Someone we may encounter is going through hardships right now.  Reach out and share your story, you never know who you may inspire to Keep Rolling On.

Norah

Norah

 

 

A wife to a man in wheels. Sharing my life with all of the struggles in hopes to open up the highways of understanding, compassion, love, and hope.  Follow me as I tread through.

Keep Rolling On With Us On Social Media

Today marks 22 years of marriage and to many more! #keeprollingon

A photo posted by @thewheelsofgrace on

We share our stories not so you know what we've been through, but so you're not afraid to share your own. Tell us, what's your story?

Posted by The Wheels of Grace on Monday, February 22, 2016

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A photo posted by @thewheelsofgrace on

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Posted by The Wheels of Grace on Monday, February 22, 2016

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While I am thinking about putting away all the holiday decorations I instead reminisce about this past year and plan on the year ahead.  I love fresh starts, and clean slates not only for myself but I also love to hear what others have in mind. What will they make of this new opportunity, what will they be writing in this new chapter of life? I am always excited to hear about others ideas and their plans of new adventures.  I love to share on a personal level. Not the hey I am going to lose weight and exercise more kind of list but the more person stuff, like spiritual growth and spending time with loved ones.  I am not saying that the getting healthy stuff doesn’t matter and that a desire to be physically healthy is not a good thing.  Go on eating well, exercising and drinking that water. I plan on that too.  What I am saying is that any growth and change comes from the inside.  It comes from the mind.  Our minds are the most powerful source of energy.  The kind of energy that can transform.  Being well in our minds takes care of being well physically.  If we take time to take care of ourselves on the inside we can move mountains.  At least conquer them.  One step at a time.

So before I set out into this new year I pledge to take care of myself in the inside and this is how.

Rest (I struggle in this depart that is why it is first)

Read meaning words

Visits with people that inspire me

Watch movies that touch my soul

Do devotions

Meditate

Read scripture

Listen to music

Take baths

Pamper myself a little or a lot

Laugh (not a giggle but a full belly laugh)

Say positive things about myself

Say positive things about others

Pray daily

Listen with my heart

Speak kindly

Give myself and others grace

Forgive often

Show love

Respect others

Share my heart

Be a good friend

Encourage others to share their story

What are your plans for the new year?  What will the words in the 2017 chapter read?

Remember that no matter what comes your way Keep Rolling On!

Norah

Norah

A wife to a man in wheels. Sharing my life with all of the struggles in hopes to open up the highways of understanding, compassion, love, and hope.  Follow me as I tread through.

Keep Rolling On With Us On Social Media

Today marks 22 years of marriage and to many more! #keeprollingon

A photo posted by @thewheelsofgrace on

We share our stories not so you know what we've been through, but so you're not afraid to share your own. Tell us, what's your story?

Posted by The Wheels of Grace on Monday, February 22, 2016

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A photo posted by @thewheelsofgrace on

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November is always the month when we start to think about the things we are thankful for.  We can’t thank you enough for taking the time to read our blog each week.  We started it in order to share our story and to eventually to write a book that we hope to publish.  This past year we’ve slacked a little on writing our book, however in writing our blog all three of us have become better writers.

Ashley is getting her first essay published on November 15th.  We would love if you supported this project by buying a copy of the Magic of Memoir and writing an amazon review.  Amazon reviews are critical when it comes to book publishing and we would appreciate if you took the time to write one, please leave your honest opinion.  

Since we haven’t worked on our book (the main reason for all of this) in a while we really want to focus on that.  Every week will make a video in order to make the commitment to our readers and ourselves to write!  We’ve been writing for the blog, but not the book lately.  We want nothing more than to one day hold our book in our hands and for you to do the same.

We often get asked when our book will be done and we don’t ever have a clear answer.  We will be working hard to get it finished.  We have a goal set to have it done by summer of 2017. However after that we will need to go through the process of getting it published.  That does not mean that it will be published at that time, unfortunately the publishing process is long, but we will make that our top priority.  

We also want to share more of your stories.  We’ve started a series to interview people to find out what it is that keeps them rolling on.  Next week you’ll get to read about someone other than us!  Let us know if you want to share your story with us, and remember we all have a story.  The story you have and the life you have is good enough for us.  It doesn’t not have to be extravagant, or over the top.  You do not need to have been through something tragic in order to have a story.  In fact we like simple day to day stories.

Here is our first video to promise to get our book done!  If you hear a slight scream in the background that’s our 17 year old son pouring cold water on our 8 year old daughter.  Our house really is chaotic most days, but we’re going to push through that!

Thanks for being an amazing support system.

Keep Rolling On With Us On Social Media

Today marks 22 years of marriage and to many more! #keeprollingon

A photo posted by @thewheelsofgrace on

We share our stories not so you know what we've been through, but so you're not afraid to share your own. Tell us, what's your story?

Posted by The Wheels of Grace on Monday, February 22, 2016

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