Family and Pets

I Don’t Want to Be Like Him

A hard reality I have had to face, I am more like my father than I would like to be. Many times I have told myself in one of the many conversations I have had with myself over the years, I will not be like my father. I will parent differently. I will show compassion, unconditional love, patience, forgiveness, empathy, tenderness in the most difficult of moments, and so on. And while I have parented in a very different way than my father, I have at times been just like him. So much so, that as I stood there looking into my child’s eyes consumed with rage I have seen myself, the little girl I once was, looking back at me.

It happened today. My son stood there looking back at me, his nostrils flaring open and then closed as he sucked in the oxygen around him. I was fuming, standing there towering over him, daring him to not listen to me. His eyes locked with mine. Click. I saw myself looking back at me, and yet I knew it was my son. In that moment I knew exactly how he was feeling. Part of me, the part enveloped in anger, the part that felt all-powerful, wanted to keep going. It wanted to turn up the faucet of over flowing verbal sewage that was blasting down on his head. The other part of me, the little girl who knew what this felt like, the part that knew he had done nothing wrong, nothing more than any child might do, and knew that this struggle was over control and power. That part of me inhaled the oxygen that would flood my brain with common sense, compassion, patience, and clear the stupidity that was clouding my judgment.

Our eyes still locked, I exhaled. My body moved towards my son as my arms wrapped around him and drew him in for a hug. Tenderness from my body spread to his and he melted against me. His arms encircled my body as his head rest on my chest. We two became one. I held him there for many moments allowing what had transpired to be healed and washed away.

“I love you buddy. I’m sorry I was angry. It’s really no big deal, you just need to go back outside and ask your friend nicely not to do to you what you did to him. How would you feel if he had thrown show at your head? Go out there and talk to him. I’ll watch and if it doesn’t go well, I’ll come out and help you. I think you can take care of it.”

“Love you too, mom. I’ll go try.”

His hands released me as I gave him one more squeeze. I watched as he headed back outside. The door closed behind him. Cautiously he walked towards his friend, “Hey, I’m sorry I hit you on the head with that snow. I didn’t mean to. Are you okay?”

“It’s okay and yeah, I’m fine.”

“You want to play lazer tag instead?”

“Yeah, let’s go!”

Off they went, problem solved, friendship reunited.

I turned back to what I was working on breathing a sigh of relief. For a few moments I had been him, just like him. Zero to 100 on the anger scale, with no room for compassion. This time, like others in the past, something came in and took over bringing me back to reality. As much as I don’t want to be like him, I need to remember him and how I was when he was like that to me, to help me be the person I wished he had been. One day, one moment at a time.

 

Christianity and People, Family and Pets, Writing For The Moment

Do as I Do, Not as I Say

How often do we give an instruction to a child, our child or someone else’s child that we have influence over, that in actuality we do not follow ourselves? I was raised by two Christian parents. Married for over 35 years before they both passed away. They never divorced although they had plenty of reasons that would have satisfied most anyone’s curiosity and conviction as to a justifiable divorce. They stayed true to their vows, at least that is what everyone thought that sat at their funerals, separated by only a matter of months. Many good memories, anecdotes and accolades were shared as guests, friends, family and co-workers, reminisced about each of them at their perspective memorial service.

I sat their listening at my mother’s funeral with tears pouring down my cheeks brought on by the memory of who she was to them, of who I wished she had been for me. Believe me, I loved my mother. I longed for many more years with her. I felt cheated out of time I assumed I would have with her and only her when my father passed. The biggest problem lay in the fact that she passed first and far too soon. The memories shared expressed who my heart knew my mother was, the love she had to give, the attention and generosity of time, talent and compassion. The unconditional understanding she had for those around her. I knew that is who she was, had always known this. And yet, the thought kept creeping into my mind again and again although I tried to brush it off, that they didn’t know her, not all of her.

I sat at my father’s memorial and listened as people spoke about him and the ways he had touched their lives. Most if not all commending him for his tenacious spirit that never quit even under the weight of many health set backs year after year that were debilitating, life changing and never-ending. And all I could think as I sat there was, that they didn’t know him. Not how I knew him.

Even before Facebook my family, like many others I am sure, had mastered the art of putting on a good face. Posting only the happy moments of our life for all to see. Anything else, anything disparaging, anything questionable, of poor taste, that would leave a sour taste in your mouth or worse yet make you vomit, was hidden, left unsaid. On any given Sunday we would dawn our best, put on our freshly shined fake patent leather shoes, and walk into church, mom and dad hand in hand, each of us kids with a smile or at least a smirk on our faces. I should probably note (and commend) my older brothers that there did come a time that they finally refused this ruse. Our parents swayed and allowed them to stay home rather than stir the pot and cause a scene at church. Although I never went to work with my parents, I can imagine the conversations between them and their co-workers as they shared tales of their families. Oh, the webs they must have woven, beautiful and intricate in design to show off the cohesive and loving family they created with their own words.

As a child I was told a magnitude of times enduring countless hours of church, Christian school and conversations at home, to tell the truth.

Thou shalt not lie.

Put on the full armor of God……Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist….

You shall not give false testimony [lie] against your neighbor.

For the Lord your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals with dishonesty.

The truth shall set you free!

Just tell the truth, you will feel better if you do.

Tell the truth…. We may be disappointed but if you lie you will be sinning.

Confession is good for the soul.

On, and on, the teaching went. Tell the truth. And yet, as I sit here and reflect as I have done over and over again, so much of my upbringing and years of my first marriage were nothing more than lies. Outright lies. I was lied to. I was lied about. I listened as lies were told. I listened as my family was told by their Pastor to lie. I listened as the truth was withheld in order to protect the family, the church, anyone they deemed in need of protection by those lies, themselves. I told lies to protect them, him, my daughter, me. I lied to be who others wanted, expected me to be. They taught me well.

Tell the truth, just not about this.

Tell the truth, just not now.

Tell the truth, about other things.

This truth would be better left unsaid.

Confess your sins, but do it in private.

Be honest in everything, except the things that are embarrassing, will hurt the church, will affect yours and our reputation.

Tell the truth….some other time.

Do as I Do, Not as I Say, Tell the truth, Just not today.

 

 

 

 

Family and Pets

My Favorite Place

Quite honestly I think I am still searching for my absolute favorite place. I enjoy elements of several different places that I think I would find myself saying, “Oh, this is my favorite place!” A hike through the woods to a hidden lake, a warm summer evening sitting and listening to live music outside, a Camaro cruise through the Arboretum, a picnic at the Ballard locks with friends and so many others come to mind. Up until just recently I would have said that Seabrook, WA was my favorite place. And maybe it is…

Tom and I have been going to Seabrook since before Michael was born, before we were married, before or just shortly after I had become a real estate broker. So much of our lives have happened or been discussed while staying at Seabrook. Seabrook is a small beach town on the Washington Coast just a mile away from Pacific Beach and only 20 minutes north of Ocean Shores.   And while there is something about the sound of the waves crashing onto the sand it isn’t so much the beach that draws our family to Seabrook time and time again. As much I liking walking barefoot in warm squishy sand the Washington coast is windy and cold more often than not which doesn’t lend to a lot of time strolling the beach barefoot.

When we are Seabrook life as we know it comes to a stand still. On our very first trup to Seabrook Tom and I quickly found the silence was more than being away from the hubbub of the city life, it had to do with the lack of cell service too. We found that cell service was spotty at best especially if like me, you had Sprint. (No intentional diss on Sprint it just did not work there). A staunch business person would find this utterly annoying and down right frustrating. Quite possibly it would stop them from coming back. And yet, for us it was a deal maker rather than a deal breaker. A place where I could intentionally get away from my computer, phone, email and just be with my family is something to cherish. Don’t pinch me, this is one dream I do not want to wake from. For someone like myself who finds it difficult to not respond quickly to emails, text messages and calls this was absolutely perfect. An easy out for one who has a difficult time setting boundaries. I’m learning.

While the ocean may not call our names as the salty water crashes wave after wave onto the chilly sandy shore, there are many other things that draw us back time and time again. From the moment our truck rolls up the main street Michael and I are itching to jump out and head into the rental office. I am not sure who is more excited to get inside even though we both have two very different reasons for being excited. Michael anxiously searches about the rental office looking for sweets. A piece of salt water taffy just waiting for his little chubby dirty fingers to unwrap and cram into his mouth. The sweet taste of vacation. I on the other hand want the code. It used to be a key but now it is a code. The code gives you access to the home that you have rented. Key code in hand we drive our truck slowly down the Desperate House Wives-esque streets lined with sidewalks and families walking, couples hand in hand with little ones biking, scootering, running, strolling behind them ever a mess with sticky hands and sticky faces. Tom and I  glance at the picket fences ignoring the twinge of oh-this-is-so-not-for-every-average-American thoughts that we feel creeping in but instead allow the thoughts of impromptu soccer matches, corn hole, walks through the woods and time without cell phones to crowd in.

As the years have gone by, I believe we are at year number 11 going on 12 now, who opens the door to our temporary home away from home has changed. Michael is the one who wants to open the door these days. Code works, door flings open and his not so small anymore feet are running through the house room by room. “WHICH ONE IS MY ROOM?!?!” is shouted, repeatedly. I walk through the door much slower these days taking a long deep breath as I enter. I look around soaking up the furnishings, the colors, the décor, the home that will be our home for the next 3 nights. The space that we will unwind in, tune out of life and work while we tune into each other. So much has happened in this town. Not this home as we have stayed in many different homes. Some of these Seabrook homes hold very special memories indeed.

Central Park on Crescent Park is the home where Tom and I sat around the dining room table with our friends Tae and Vanessa. Laurie was about 14 years old at the time. Tae and Vanessa had two little ones of their own, Ashley and Josh. Their family had distinct plans of how they would grow. Two close together for 3 years of hellish sleepless nights and potty training. A couple years off to rejuvenate and then bam! 2 more littles back to back is the plan with 3 more hellish years. All in the name of sibling friendships. As much as it shocked me when I heard it, secretly I thought it was a brilliant plan. I was happy for them (assuming all clocks aligned and the next two came along as planned.) Their two littles and Laurie ran around the house and played games while us adults chatted after dinner. The dirty dishes could wait. The aroma of the bbq’d steak still lingering in the air drawing me back for just one more taste. Just across the grass of crescent park we could hear the crackle of the bon fire ramping up. Not long and the kids would be begging to go roast a marshmallow over the fire to melt with yummy chocolate and make a s’more.

Lingering at the table a bit longer we chatted about life as we know it and life going forward. The big question for Tom and I was, to have a baby or not to have a baby. When I met Tom I already had Laurie. She was 11 going on 12 years old. Laurie and I both fell in love with Tom and he in turn fell in love with both of us. Having not fathered other children and with Laurie being already nearly a teenager we just didn’t know if trying to conceive and adding a new little life to our family was the right thing to do. Laurie lobbied. We weighed the pros and cons along with the realistic possibility of whether we would even get pregnant or not. That night, sitting there in this lovely large open great room at a table with close friends, Tom and I made the decision to throw the birth control pills away and see if we in fact could get pregnant. We decided to try but agreed to accept the outcome should it be that we were unable to conceive naturally without any additional help. Not more than 40 days later I was pregnant with who would become, Michael.

We have brought countless friends with us to Seabrook wanting to share the magic that we have found. Many, practically all, end up going back with their families as their own traditions are started.  In 2012 we rented the Washington House and hosted Tom’s 50th birthday party with our kids and about 20 friends. What a wonderful and memorable weekend that was. And then in 2016 we rented Grandma Dorothy’s Cottage. Neighbor Dave and Kari came with us along with Michael and De’Vion. There was a very specific intent to this trip. I had decided it was time to shave my head. Having been diagnosed with cancer in January that year we knew once chemo began I would lose all of my hair. It was just a matter of time. Chemo was having it’s toll on me and my hair was quickly falling out. Rather than continue to let it happen I decided I wanted to shave it off. Seabrook seemed the right place for this to happen. We shave it down to just a buzz cut. That would make the rest of the falling out less painful and less difficult. Having Dave and Kari there kept it light hearted albeit emotional. Just what I needed. A safe place to laugh and cry at the same time. Seabrook holds so many moments in time for us. For a family always on the go it has been the one place we can slow down, stop and just be.

Unlike the fancy houses, the fancy décor, the fancy shops and restaurants that are cropping up, for us it is anything but fancy. It is back to the basic of just being together. Card games around the table. Walks through the woods and in the rain. Huge campfires on the beach for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows. Slow strolls through the neighborhood gazing at the homes old and new while dreaming up what it would be like to just live here all the time. Knowing full well it would never work. Wanting only for this time of life being slower to simply never end.

As the years go by the town grows and the prices go up. We decided not to go to Seabrook this summer as the rental amount for 3 nights seemed outrageous. I found myself making comments that it was time to find a new place for our family to go to the ocean each year. And yet, as I sit here and types this all out I find myself wanting to close this computer page and open the Seabrook Rental Cottages page in order to plan our next trip. I am sneaking a peak at my calendar and determining where we can squeeze in a few days into the already quite booked last few weeks before school. I want to pick up and drive to the one place where we stop. I find my inner being, my soul, my heart,  my mind all reaching for the same thing. The road that leads not just to the ocean (although I do love the sounds of the ocean waves, seagulls and all), the road that leads to simply being together as a family. Walking, talking, playing, swimming, eating, laughing, silently being together in the one place that holds so many big and small moments of our lives.

I am not altogether sure I am ready to call it my favorite place. I hold out that I may find another more favorite place. For now I will call it the place that holds most of my favorite moments.

Christianity and People, Family and Pets

The Truth Shall Set You Free, or Not

The Truth Shall Set You Free, or Not.

After very minimal research I am amazed to see how many people post on blogs or boards that they are or were in an abusive relationship. The type of relationship runs the gamut. From dating to decade long marriages, heterosexual to gay, young to old, the make-up may be different but the dynamic is quite similar. One partner abuses the other or in some cases both abuse each other almost equally. During my brief online research I also learned a new abuse type. There are the ones we think of most often physical abuse, mental abuse and emotional abuse. The new term I learned was Financial Abuse. This type of abuse was described as a partner who either drains the finances or keeps them hidden from the abused partner so that the partner cannot leave.

After leaving my husband in late 2002 it took a lot of time and therapy to process all that my daughter and I had been through. During that therapy it was inevitable to follow my trauma timeline all the way back to my childhood. While thinking and talking about abuse is quite difficult and painful, not being able to recall events is equally if not more frustrating. My inability to remember much of my past leaves huge gaps with unknown possibilities making it nearly impossible to determine how I got to where I did and what to change in some areas going forward. My options are to undergo hypnosis to see if I can recall my past, ask family members to share what they remember, let it go and accept that the unknown is in fact unknown for a reason. I hesitate to ask my family members, at least the ones closest to the situation for a few reasons. The strongest one being that the family way was made quite clear when the worst of the abuse was uncovered. Although a spot light was shining brightly, nearly blinding you if you looked for too long. That light was quickly turned off. Like a plugged ripped out of the wall socket. No sooner had the flood light of truth opened the surrounding eyes when darkness once again covered the evil that had crept in and lurked around hidden corners in what was supposed to be the safety of a child’s home. Just when I thought the truth would be spoken it was quickly swept under the rug and we were told not to speak about what had happened to anyone. Not only did we keep the secrets, our grandparents did, our aunts and uncles (the ones that knew) and the Pastors of our very own church. Are they not the ones that preach, the truth shall set you free? Instead they walked the path of the hidden truth for the safety of my father, my mother, they said for us kids, and for their beloved church.

And so I was taught to hide the truth as the truth was embarrassing and shameful. To this day it seems those closest to the situation would rather hide or forget the bad that happened. And that is why I do not ask. I fear all I would hear is the good that they remember. Maybe hearing the good times would be good for me since I don’t remember them hardly at all. I’m learning that maybe I do not remember them due to the fact that I feel I am the only one holding on to the truth. Like the voice crying out in the wilderness, begging for those closest to the situation to wake up and acknowledge the truth. Accept the truth. Maybe then I would be willing to listen to and accept that there were good times as well mixed in with the abuse. The other reason I hesitate talking to those closest to the situation is that I fear my honesty and determination to hold on to what happened will hurt them, make them angry at me, make them push me away even further. And yet, I remind myself the separation already exists. What closeness we have is superficial at best. Hidden truths have a way of creating a barrier seen or unseen, recognized or not, it is there. And so I write.

Writing is how I best process information. It helps me to see it in the black and white, challenge and change as needed, accept and grieve, and then in hope of healing move forward. I am finding that what works for me is not necessarily accepted by others. I have always known that people learn and thus process differently. Having been a home school mother of one child, as well as the mother of two children one being a girl and the other being a boy, I am accustomed to the fact that what works for one does not necessarily work for the other. The first time I started writing about my abusive past I was completely taken aback when a person in my life told me to stop writing or they would cut me off. I do not exaggerate. This individual had a track record in the past of coming into my life only to exit, usually quietly, with no contact for periods no less than 6 months and at times up to 2 years. Only to come back in with the promise that the desertion would not repeat. And yet it did. Those times the desertion was due to her own life choices. Choices that went against how she had been raised, I believe she felt she had to live out her life in private so as not to feel the guilt we might impose upon her just by knowing. I have come to accept that this is just who she was. Years have passed since she walked out of my life yet again. This time for good. More recently I began writing again. Having gone through two different cancer diagnosis the past year I found myself once again in a space of reflection and processing. With time to sit and be, my desire to write once again grew louder and louder. So loud that I have found it difficult to ignore. And so I began to write. My writing seems to be innocent at first. I take precaution and care in what I put down on the page knowing that others will read, will hear what I have to say. My initial writings are often light hearted even cheerful. I found this time that the past seemed to come forth more quickly and with an unexpected fervor. I thought I would write about my cancer journey and found that my abusive childhood and marriage were what were most prevalent every time I sat with my fingers poised to begin typing words that would appear on the screen in front of me. Still I tried to tip toe around the subjects and kept the writings as light or as basic as possible. Not divulging the truth in full detail, not just yet.

One of my recent writings had a singular sentence that referenced the abuse my father subjected us to. It did not detail exactly what he did. And yet, that one sentence stood out like a throbbing, pulsing sore thumb to one reader. And that reader texted right away. While this reader did not tell me to stop writing per say, basically that was the just of their message. Or at least, it was to say if I continued they would no longer be present in my blog life. Will that extend to real life? Only time will tell. The reader went further and un-friended me on Facebook. Now this is not your average Facebook friend. You know the ones that you see their posts in your feed and often scroll on by. Once in while you stop, re-look at their name and ask yourself, Why are we friends on Facebook? We aren’t ‘friends’ in real life. Meaning we do not get together, hang out, go to lunch, chat on the phone (truthfully speaking I do not chat on the phone with anyone). You make the connection, maybe they were a high school friend or acquaintance, a parent of one of the kids on your child’s sports team, or a fellow parent from the school PTA. You know each other now or in the past. You bump into each other on the rarest of occasion and thus are ‘friends’ on Facebook. They have a window into your world and you into theirs. No, this is not one of those friends. This is a person that has been in your life since the day you were born. This person was there day in and day out through it all. You were once very, very close sharing hopes and dreams real and pretend. But that was a long time ago. You were young, oh so young. At some point you grew up and grew apart but the connection was to remain, it had to. You are blood. And so, in time you reconnected and became friends on Facebook. Where all relationships real or fake at least seem real. And so it is with this friend that decided to unfriend me on Facebook so that they would not have to see my blog posts. It surprised me. Not that they didn’t want to see the posts. That part I was prepared for. It was the drastic measure taken to not see, the truth. I was not hurt that they unfriended me. I just didn’t see how it was necessary. I guess I just would have handled it differently. If I did not want to read what someone posted I would scroll on by. That simple. I just wouldn’t read it. I wouldn’t click on the blog link. Or if they posted incessantly I would block their posts from my feed. No need to fill my feed with crap I don’t want to read. But unfriend them? Naw, I wouldn’t do that unless I truly did not want them in my life at all. Unless I really wanted to say to them, ‘We are not connected anymore. Not in real life and not in the fake life of Facebook.’ Or maybe, I would be saying nothing more than, ‘We weren’t really friends anyway and I don’t care to have this window into your life anymore. Let’s close the curtain, okay?’ But that is me, how I would handle the same situation. And yet, I respect that it was a choice they had to make. Facebook being what it is, an online way to stay connected. To not be connected on Facebook is not to say that someone is not my friend. We just aren’t connected on the internet. Instead we are connected or not in real life. I suppose I could go on and on about Facebook, internet and real life connections. I will save that for another day, or not.

My writing going forward will likely include a thought or two about my past, my childhood, my abusive marriage, my year of cancer, my current life and then thoughts that have nothing to do with all of the above. There will be truth and there will be fiction. I will try to decipher between the two for you so you are not left wondering. Although it could be fun if you were at times left wondering. For you and for me.

Truth. Hidden and uncovered. Read or unread. Still remains the truth.

When I was researching the other day it was sparked by being unfriended by this person due to my writing of the truth. Each time I have started to write about my past whether it be my childhood or my first marriage, inevitably I have come to the inner conversation where I wonder who I will lose in the process. I am not so callous as to be able to disregard or ignore the fact that the truth I will write will hurt some people. Some of which in no way at all deserve to be hurt again. For they too were the victims in these stories. Others were simply by standers, guilty if at all only by association. They played no role in the abuse other than being related to the abuser. It was in thinking of these people that I began a search. It was something along the lines of “If you write the truth do you lose family and friends?” or “abuse victims who tell the truth only to lose family and friends”. I didn’t have a lot of time but what I came across was post after post of individuals sharing briefly how they had been or were being abused by their partner. One article spoke of how abusers were often abused themselves as children. Not an excuse just a link to the underlying causes of abuse. The chain that is often never ending. Sometimes it is a heavier chain than others. Sometimes it wears thin and is nearly broken only to be strengthened by the next generation as a new abuser picks up the traits and begins again the cycle of abuse.

Once in a while, I am not sure of the statistics or if there are any, the cycle is broken and the abuse stops. I can only imagine, I must believe in order for this to happen that the truth would first need to come to light. The flood light would need to be turned on and the guilty would need to be at minimum acknowledged as such. The victim would need to share the pain, the hurt. Or maybe the abuser, the guilty one would be the one to shed light on their actions in order to break the chain that binds them. Once broken the victims could be released as well as the guilty. Both or all would be free to speak the truth as they so choose and find a way to heal from what they had been through. Each in their own way could process through all that had happened and determine how to change, how to heal, how to move forward differently. In a way that would not hurt others. Not repeat the cycle yet again. And in that realm of choices would also be the choice to not speak the truth, to not process the pain, to not heal or change but to ignore, hide or sweep if you will the truth back under the rug. And sit in hope. Hope that by ignoring what happened and instead focusing on the good that was there, the bad would over time dissipate or decompose along with the memories. Fading away to leave only room for the good that had once been. And when sitting in that truth of only good memories one could stand in shock and utter disbelief when someone else years after the fact begins to cry out.

At first the voice is small and quiet growing increasingly louder as time and strength allowed. Not in order to seek justice for the guilty but to seek healing for herself and for others who are too weak for their voice to be heard. For those who have questions but have no words and don’t know who to ask. For those who feel pain from the ones who are to protect them and love them and can’t understand why. For those who have not been told that what is happening is not okay and needs to stop. For those who are afraid to leave. Afraid to look like the one giving up, the one walking away, the one who is guilty rather than being seen as who they are, they are the one who is the victim. For the ones who so badly want to hear that they are not alone. They are not the only one that has been treated this way. It is not them, it is the abuser who is bad. Who need to be told they do not need to be ashamed although their past is riddled with shameful events. Their shame can be healed. Self-respect and self-worth can be restored. They can come to a place where they can forgive those who unjustifiably hurt them in ways unimaginable without giving up the fact that what the abuser did was in fact as wrong as wrong gets. That by forgiving they are not justifying but letting go. Letting go of the pain, shame, hurt, guilt, hate and anger that at times consumes them from the inside out. And by letting go they are not doing the abuser a favor but giving themselves the gift they deserve. The gift that the truth has to offer. The truth shall set you free. That is if you choose to acknowledge it and follow the journey it takes you on in order to get to that place where you are free indeed. Your journey and your place of being free may be similar to mine or it may be very, very different. All however, start in looking at the truth square in the face. As horrible or simple, as painful as that may be. Are you ready to be free? To feel free from the burden that weighs you down? I was. I am. And so, it is with that in mind that I look at the truth square in the face and by doing so I write about it.

 

 

 

 

 

*I am torn. I feel compelled to write the whole truth. And yet, I feel the hesitation of hurting those I loved in the past and those I love to this day, some more now than back then. I am uncertain as to how I will proceed. To write the truth and post it….or write it and wait to decide if I will publish it as a book….or if writing it in and of itself will be enough.

 

Family and Pets

It’s the Little Things

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My son is my hero. Truly,  he is. On Valentine’s Day I gave him a card that I made for him. He seemed surprised at what it said on the front. Around the heart I had written, You stole my heart the day you were born. Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband very, very much. He is the man, the husband, the partner I always dreamed of and prayed for. The one that would fulfill on earth what many did not think was possible. But that is another story for another day.

The day my daughter was born more than 25 years ago, she wrapped her little fingers around my hand and my heart. She was and will always be my first treasure. Her papa always called her Beansy (accept for that time period that he called her, rightfully so, Bossy Cow). She was our little beansy. Born weighing in at only 5 lbs and 10 ounces, she was small from the get go. And yet, her body, mind, and determination were strong. My little girl has grown up to be an amazingly strong woman who is and will do great things in this world for so many people.

With a daughter like that and a husband like Tom, the only thing my heart could want was a little boy. One with red hair, a few curls and fire that goes along with the hair would be icing on the cake. When Tom and I decided to ‘try’ to have a baby we had no idea if we could. For one Tom was nearly 45 years old and had never fathered a child. I, at 34 years old, although I had carried and birthed a child it had been over 15 years. In many cases with a gap that large a woman’s body decides it is no longer going to carry children. Imagine my joy when we found out I was pregnant, then when we found out it was going to be a boy, and then when he came out with red curly hair! My cup runneth over. His red hair and fiery personality are equally wonderful and at times frustrating. And yet, I find myself smiling more often than I am cringing.

If you know me well, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself saying- ‘I didn’t know that’, you know that I am not a lover of things. One of my mottos I find myself living  by is, A place for everything and everything in its place. It is something within me more so than something I strive for. Honestly if there isn’t a place for it I find myself instinctively wanting to get rid of it. Clutter confuses me and makes it difficult for me to feel as though I can function at my best. That said, there are some things that I truly treasure. Not only things that have a purpose (although that is huge for me) but things that have a story.

Last evening I found myself in front of the mirror in my bathroom doing what I do every night. Taking my breast cancer pill, allergy medicine and my calcium. I took my glasses off and prepared to remove the one of only two make-up items that I wear daily,  my mascara. As I looked into the mirror my heart sank. One of my earrings was gone. I had an earring in my right ear but not my left. I took the one out of my ear and found myself leaning to toss it in the trash. The thought that I might actually find the one that was lost did not seem possible to me. They are small and I had been so many places that day where I may have lost it. In fact, my next thought was that my puppy may have actually eaten it! The earring was in the ear that he always kisses, nuzzles and lightly chews on. More than once I have had a fleeting thought about this very possibility. I waved it off as I went about my tasks at hand. Rather than toss the one earring though I put it in my jewelry tray next to my sink where I put my wedding rings every night.

This morning after doing this, that and the other, the earring came to mind. I went upstairs and grabbed the one that remained. Bringing it downstairs I showed it to Michael and said, “If by chance you see an earring that looks like this somewhere in the house please pick it up. I lost one of them. They are special. I wear them a lot. I shared with him who gave them to me and when, making them all the more special. Michael immediately asked where I thought it might be. I could see the genuine concern on his sweet 8 year old face as his brow furrowed. He asked about all the places I had been where it may have fallen out and even contemplated the puppy eating it. I had been through the house, alongside the house, in the yard playing with Bailey and had walked home from the pet store in the dark. It could have fallen just about anywhere. I told him it was highly unlikely that we would find it but I wanted him to know just in case. Without a moment of hesitation Michael began walking around the kitchen and entry way. Suddenly he said, “Come on mom let’s go outside. Get your shoes!”

I hesitated. I didn’t want to discourage him or stifle his enthusiasm to help find my earring, and yet I highly doubted if it were lost outside that we would find it. I grabbed the puppy and clipped on his leash. He needed to go out to go potty anyway. As we headed to the side of the house I casually looked on the ground here and there. I hoped I would see it and could shout to Michael. I so wanted his efforts to be rewarded. I didn’t see it. I took puppy through the gate step by step losing what little hope I had. Michael was down in the yard looking through the grass. Having gone a different way out than dog and I. He let me know he didn’t see it anywhere. Wanting to let him off the hook, I told him it was okay and that I didn’t expect us to find it. Hearing the defeat in my voice, Michael ran up to the side of the house where I take puppy to go potty. I called after him that I had already walked through there and checked. He walked all the way up to the gate and stopped, bent down and then shouted as he sprang to his feet, “I found it mommy! I found it!”

I couldn’t believe it. It couldn’t possibly be. Seriously? Could he really have found it? He is known for teasing as he calls it. Thinking he is quite funny when he does it. Not lying, just teasing. Michael was so excited. He leaned down to the ground again as though he were picking an item up. Quickly he turned and dashed toward me with the biggest smile on his face. As he came closer, his arm out stretched I could in fact see a small shiny object pinched between his thumb and pointer finger. I could hardly believe my eyes. There in my son’s hand was the little blue and silver earring that I had lost yesterday. The very earring that matched the one that I had almost tossed out thinking it was nothing more than an orphan earring with a mate that would never be found. The earrings were a gift from a sweet friend, Elizabeth Krout. I admire her as a woman, friend, nurse and mother. Elizabeth gave me these earrings at my 40th ‘Red Carpet’ birthday party over 3 years ago. An evening I will never forget that was filled with love, laughter and friends. I would describe it as the second most perfect celebration in my life. The first being mine and Tom’s wedding. Both events having been held at our home. The earrings are small and simple, and yet they hold the weight of the memories of that special night. They mean so much to me.

Michael handed me the earring. As I held it in my hand my heart was overwhelmed. I wrapped my arms around my son and he in turn wrapped his arms around me. We hugged each other tight, so tight. Michael knew beyond a doubt that I appreciated his efforts to help me find this little earring. We lingered in our hug as I whispered in his ear telling me how happy and thankful I was for what he had done for me. It’s the little things. A little earring. A little time out of my son’s Saturday looking for my lost earring. Even if he hadn’t found it, I would have felt the love he extended to me while he searched all around inside and out for my treasure. Oddly, I believe that he was convinced the entire time that he would in fact find my earring