I took this picture just before sunset last night, July 4th. I felt such a pang of sadness just before taking this shot—as I miss my boys tremendously. The night before, I woke up at 1 a.m., dying to talk with them, and went outside and tried to call my oldest. When there was no answer, I sat on the steps and listened to the insanity of the loudest cricket orchestra on the planet. Tuscan crickets remind me of hecklers at a Yankees game. They seemed to be screaming at me: ‘Suck it up! Be a big girl!’ Anyway, it worked. I said a prayer that my boys are happy, lifted it up to the heavens, and went back to bed.
I’m learning that letting things go is a process. It doesn’t just happen when one day you decide that it’s a good thing to do. There are habits of behavior and longings and regrets that just don’t die away the moment you want them to. The boys and I will no longer have in-tact family vacations. Mommy and Daddy, after 2.5 years of separation, are nearly divorced. And as I spend time with my boyfriend’s children, who are adorable, I recognize their own longing and sadness that they try to hide. Family vacations always brings up the past. My goal is to be able to fondly recall past memories of our in-tact family holidays, and to be able to create and embrace new ones with a multi-family dynamic. I’m striving to move towards acceptance of my situation and to make peace with where I am. With each picture I shoot, and with each family dinner, I wish I could share it with my boys. But I have to let it go. I’ll be back with them in August and thank God I spend most rest of the year with them!
Tuscany reminds me, in some ways, of my summers in the South. I know, there are no olive tree orchards (like you see here) or cypress tress or fields of sunflowers or lavender and rosemary bushes the size of small trees. But, with that said, one has to slow down here. It’s so hot, for instance, that you really do need a siesta in the afternoon. Stores and restaurants shut down from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and it’s completely understandable. There is no air conditioning, anywhere. So you close all the shutters and windows during the day, walk very slowly when out, seek lemonade and gelato and try to find spots in the shade.
Lavender bushes outside our kitchen in our villa. The smell is amazing!
Everyone slows down here, especially the cats! (And there are so many wild cats!) This sweet gal hides in our rosemary bushes outside our kitchen with her babies. Of course, we are feeding her…how could we not?
Look closely. Do you see her?
What I love most about Tuscany, is that the minute you arrive, your spirits begin to lift. How could they not? On the drive from Rome, you see fields of sunflowers, or a castle up on a hill, or a Romanesque, walled town off to your left. As we pulled into our villa, I smiled ear-to-ear. How can one not be affected by such picturesque beauty?
Our closest neighbor on a nearby hill.
View from my other bedroom window. The owners of this villa owns the working olive tree orchard and makes their own olive oil. I’m sure we’ll take home a few bottles!
More lavender behind the house. My absolute favorite scent at the moment!
AloneTogether: Single Moms Support Group (This is a closed group, please say you found their site from me, Laura Roe Stevens, when requesting to join.)
The UCLA Family Commons: http://www.uclacommons.com/
Single Parent Housing: www.SPAOA.org
Pell Grants For Mothers: PellGrants.ClassesAndCareers.com