coping and parenting

Path Lighters

I suppose this is when the “chatter” part of Auntie Chatter comes in to play. I’ve got no new recipes to post so I’ll just ramble on. Selfishly, it’s a good way for me to keep a diary of what’s going on during this strange time in my life. I often question why I continue with the blog in the first place because I don’t have many followers and I’m terrible at self-promotion. After the fire happened though, I was so comforted to know all my recipes and many stories had been preserved. If I hadn’t started this years ago they’d all be gone. It goes to show there is tremendous value in simply creating things for yourself.

I’ve been doing very little cooking lately. Friends are still bringing us delicious meals and I’m secretly loving it although I might act like I’m over it. I guess it’s not a secret now. I’ve been asked if it’s hard because I love to cook so much and the answer is no. It’s hard because I’m uncomfortable receiving generosity and I feel a little guilty because most days I’m perfectly capable but I’m not really missing the cooking part yet. This rental house we’re in is great but the kitchen is small, I don’t have all my equipment, and I haven’t even bought proper spices. Besides, every time someone comes with a meal, I get to see a friend and I really like that a lot.

Ella and Hailey turned eleven yesterday. I think they had a good day. We started with a few tears because Ella was really missing Scooter when she woke up, followed by lots of fun and laughter, peppered with a little anger, pouting, and defiance… but mostly fun. Pretty much like every other day but we added friends, cake and presents. It’s hard to tell at this point which mood swings are a result of rapidly changing hormones and which ones stem from losing their beloved dogs and all their worldly possessions in a terrifying house fire. I suspect both are playing significant roles. I also know that special days such as birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays can trigger strong emotions when things are so very different from how they used to be.

Ella had a very special, sweet bond with Scooter and Hailey had an equally special, sweet one with Scout. They say they are their guardian angels now. I had the pictures below made into little plaques for them.

coping and parenting
Ella and Scooter
Scout and Hailey

Parenting is difficult (in case you hadn’t heard). Parenting in the aftermath of tragedy and loss can be especially tricky. On one hand, you tend to coddle, to make sure they don’t have more pain and disappointment piled atop of recent trauma. It’s hard to get on their case when you find, for example, (not confirming it happened in my house this morning) empty string cheese wrappers on their bedroom floor. On the other hand, you want them to feel like normal kids again, get back into a routine and not be defined by the loss. And you want them not to be people who leave empty string cheese or any other kind wrappers on the floor because it’s disgusting. So you have to still parent even though your own coping skills are compromised. Because life must move forward and they need to know they can do hard things, not just the extreme difficulty of using a trash can, but things like visiting the crosses where their best friends are buried on our lot and crying their eyes out. They will learn that facing and moving through the hard things is how we grow. And then we eat lots of ice cream.

A big thanks to our path lighters and meal bringers!