Full circle

When I was a child I got my first puppy and promptly named her tickles! Years that followed were filled with other cats and dogs. Animals brought a certain comfort and unconditional love.  It was the norm to have pets in our loving and warm household.

Then I married, had children and moved to the middle east, where we lived for 16 years. Pets were frowned upon and even forbidden in our household. When we moved back to the United States the same rule applied and it was a scary concept to even imagine having a pet.

Finally after ten years of living back home my kids helped me and supported me in fulfilling this dream. Last March I adopted my Sophie. In  many ways my life has come full circle and I am getting back to the real me! These photos are of my constant companion and sweet baby! She is beautiful, smart and feisty!

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First year home-2009

This is an ongoing story recounting our first year back in America. There are three parts that can be found on my menu page.

Part one:  https://lynzrealcooking.com/2018/11/09/first-year-2009/

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Fight flight or freeze were words we all knew well. There was never a place to seek refuge in Saudi and fighting might have meant dire circumstances and so the mode of coping was usually freeze. Fighting only ensued when the children were involved and a demeanor of reason, reminders of religious principles and finally a stance of locked rebellion meant that the worst would not come to pass. Battles were picked according to priority which meant safety, basic needs and issues regarding personal liberation but I held firm when it came to my children. I was well versed in the operation of pick and chose, making sure that every decision took its place, stacked upon years of training, seasoned with fear.

The first grade teacher’s voice was no longer sweet and calm but had taken a turn towards dry resolve.  She remarked that my son was clearly not ready for school and that it would be better if he did not return. Her heels clicked on the patterned floor as she marched the other students to the door to line up. We walked to the brightly painted cubby and collected a single backpack, hoodie and lunch bag. No words were spoken and a sense of defeat hung heavy as we unlatched the wooden gate that lead to the apartment parking lot. My three other children who had attended the first day of school also remained silent and the unremarkable yet familiar feeling of dread lagged shortly behind us.

Fattima stood at the ready stirring homemade sauce that bubbled and spattered, leaving red dots on the yellow tinted 70’s stove. She started to ask how it had gone but stopped when she saw my face and instead plated meals and grabbed backpacks. Mom and Dad’s hand me down lake table was opened and chairs positioned near the slider so that the meal could begin. It was a tight fit but the table brought back cheery thoughts of carefree days spent in the paddle boat, laying on the dock and roasting marshmallows.  As each one finished they trudged into the tiny living room and plopped onto the couch.

It was clear that Heme was not going back to school, there was no option given and it was not worth the fight. It was almost a relief to keep him with me as his name had been mentioned and the idea that he should be returned to his father where he belonged. No other child was discussed but a message was clearly sent through a mediator that my youngest child belonged back in Saudi.

Stand on the mountain

Can I be me

Am I that free

Answer to no one

Live in the moment

Smile while you’re laughing

Stand running forward

Chair near the wall

Rug in a corner

Walk through a puddle

Not get in trouble

Joy now reflected

Cook undetected

Talk at the table

Mentally able

Say words that matter

No mindless clatter

Frozen unlabeled

Dust covered shelf

Volumes of life

Marked with a pen

Climb to the top

Stand on the mountain

True story–No match

 

As we head towards the wedding I thought I would repost this story of Ben and Fattima’s romance!

2008

He continued with his lecture on marriage and travel until tears hung in the creases of her eyelids. No decent man would allow his daughter to travel unaccompanied, not even for educational purposes. Her tiny silhouette stood in the form of a young woman, unfortunately the feisty and willful girl who had roamed the compound streets was no longer visible. Tears slowly dripped down her cheeks and onto wistful lips that had once been playful. She struggled to eat meals and found every excuse to avoid food that seemed distasteful and at times repulsive. As an infant and toddler her weight had been low much like her oldest brother and was eventually chalked up to family genes and the transition from breastfeeding to solid food. But now a slow decline was obviously due to lack of appetite and low caloric intake. Visits to the ER were made when stomach pain and distress could not be controlled at home and this continued well into her twenties. The connection between stress, anxiety and mealtime had not been made while still in a state of frozen survival.

A raise in his voice became evident as he circled back to the topic of marriage,when he handed over his duties to a husband it would be up to him, but until then the answer was still squarely no. She would not be allowed to travel with her grandparents to Paris, it was out of the question. Her older sister had been tricked into taking this trip and there was no going back but he could still shield her from this fate. He finished by reminding her that she was not just any girl and a man of upstanding character, wealth and reputable familial lineage would be the only acceptable suitor. A silent laugh and grin emanated from curved lips as he shook his head back and forth.

2018

One last glance in the mirror produced a perfect figure but one that she was not accustomed to. In recent months bits and pieces, curves and a more voluptuous appearance had emerged leaving her both confused and frustrated. The dress fit nicely around her waist but somehow what had seemed delicate and flattering now stood as questionable. It was costly and she could not imagine spending so much for a garment that would be worn only once. A parade of dresses back and forth from dressing room to pedestal where she stood examining every detail were followed by discussion and finally a phone call to her betrothed. She giggled and smiled through a wisp of golden tinged hair until the conversation came to an end. There was no mistaking his feelings, it was up to her and she should be happy. The perfect ring of her choosing, a new home and now a dream wedding were all in her hands. It was clear that the past had faded and was no match for the sincerity of his blue and flawless eyes.

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Happy ending

Foof did get to travel with her sister and grandparents to Paris and then to the United States! A deal of sorts was struck, that they would agree to cover their hair and abide by certain rules and we were able to make it happen. They got to see Paris, stayed at my childhood home in the woods with my parents, played in the snow and went with their brothers to the Oregon coast! They were gone for two months!!