Saturday, January 23, 2021

The Tapestry Has Two Sides

I've been watching adoption reunion videos this past week or so and feeling an incredibly real piece of the pain birth moms face when they decide to give their child away. When I first learned I was pregnant at seventeen, I had no clue what would happen to my baby. The only thing I knew for certain was that I would grant him the gift of life. I didn't know if I would be granted the gift of keeping him, and I can still feel the pangs of panic deep inside when I remember the thoughts of letting my baby go. No knife ever cut so deep into my heart. I am forever grateful for the gift he is, for our life together, and for the man he has become. Jim, you are loved more than words can tell.

❤

 
This is my brother Dan. When I was a little girl I thought being adopted was the best thing in the world, except I wasn't adopted. My mom often told the story of the night a six day old baby was placed in their arms, how they'd had to borrow clothes, diapers, and bottles because his arrival was so unexpected. The story was amazingly wonderful, but it only told one side of the story. When I considered placing my own unborn child for adoption, the heartache of my brother's birth mom became painfully obvious. "Don't you want him?" my mother had asked, and she had answered, "Yes, but I have nothing to offer him.
 
Years after my brother's passing, I took my own mind back in time and grieved my own loss of him. Although I knew he loved me, we had never been close. Perhaps I had been just as much a source of competition for him as he had been for me. By the time we had something in common, our sons, he was too far away to reach, and then he was gone.
 
It wasn't until about 1998 that my experience with a teenage pregnancy and my brother's adoption story came together in an unexpected turn of events. A stranger in my town lost her father to cancer. My aunt had come upon the obituary in the local newspaper and shared it with my mom. The man's mother was still living, and she was my brother's birth mom. 
 
I remember mulling the information over in my mind, but I've forgotten exactly how it all played out. I knew there was a family out there missing my brother. I couldn't help them find him, but perhaps I could help give them answers. I don't remember how long I waited before making a connection. I do remember being scared to death, and shaking on my end of the phone.
 
The conversation resulted in us being able to share photos and stories with a sister who had been looking for her baby brother her entire life. She couldn't have known how brokenhearted I was for her, or how deeply I felt her pain and disappointment. I so wish I'd been able to give her more than stories and old photographs...

Thursday, January 21, 2021

National Hugging Day and Elephants

 I didn't know it was National Hugging Day when I chose a different coffee mug this morning. I don't typically take this one out of the house because it's special and I don't want to break it, but since I felt so much like I needed a hug, I took this one. It was given to me by my friend Dan who always has a hug and word of encouragement for me when I see him. I haven't seen him now in several weeks, so I took a hug in my mug instead.

I saw the therapist this evening. We're a little off our usual schedule due to a changing work schedule and a new baby, but God has perfect timing and He knew the perfect day. The conversation eventually made its way to the elephant in the room.

"Does the elephant belong to you or someone else?" he asked, and I had to think a bit... I had the sudden realization that there is more than one elephant in our family gatherings. Perhaps an entire herd. (And I thought getting rid of one was difficult/impossible.) Do I bring the elephant along? Are the elephants already there? Can I give them names? If we name them, can we talk about them easier. Can we tame them if we name them? Would that make talking easier? 

Practicing vulnerability and honesty. It's a tough skill to learn after a lifetime of being guarded.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Today Was Better

 It was a better day. I didn't feel quite so emotional. Not so prone to tears as yesterday...

You know, some days hopelessness sets in and throws my heart and mind into despair. Yesterday was such a day. Something triggered that helpless, lonely feeling and the tears fell. The tears that God collects in His bottle. Today I took a chance and reached out to a friend who, true to form, sent back words of encouragement. A verbal hug of sorts, because we were too far away for the real thing, which is what I desperately needed yesterday. God is good.

Life is weird and truth is stranger than fiction. Kind of knocks me out of my rocker on occasion. (Yes, as a matter of fact, this grandma is totally off her rocker. Heck. I don't even know where my rocker is!)

Two of my little friends. She sits on her butt all day, hasn't even tried to crawl, and he is on a mission to explore every inch of the baby room, even if he has to crawl over her to get there. Ha ha!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Because

Deep inside I know why my heart is hurting. I let myself get attached.



Monday, January 18, 2021

Wait and Trust

 He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.  

Psalm 147:3

I keep trying, but I don't do "alone" very well. I'm not sure what the trigger is tonight, but the wounds are weepy. 

How did I get here? Well, that is a long and complicated story. Looking at the pieces is like dumping a 2000 piece puzzle on the dining room table. Parts of the picture are obvious, glaringly so. Some of them so glaring that I find myself angry and frustrated at things that happened 40 years ago. But I can't change them and so there is no point in going there unless it is to understand the present.

The lost feeling is the most difficult to soothe. I think of my own mom who lived in my house for three and a half years. There were moments when I wanted to gather her into my arms, but some invisible force prevented me... Those painful past moments. The wall between us. The wall I couldn't scale.

It's late. The house is dark and still, and my heart is aching again. I'm feeling empty inside. I ask God why, but He only replies with "wait and trust." Waiting is hard. So very hard.

Bits and Pieces

* He's pretty cute. Even if he does like to sleep most of the time.

* It was a sleepy, surreal sort of day. I think I took two allergy tablets this morning resulting in the non-drowsy medicine being drowsy. Good thing I am used to being blond. Ha ha!

* I need to get back on track with my eating. The bloated feeling is not my friend. Ugh. 

* One (hopefully) more week of working 9 am - 6 pm. I may end up opening a class room other than infants, but that is okay. It will be hard to get up early again, but that is okay too. 

* There was snow on my car this morning. If the weather forecasters are correct, there will be snow on my car again tomorrow.


Thursday, January 14, 2021

On Guard

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. 
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NIV
 
So many things I could say, and none of them political. I've not always understood what it meant to Be on your guard," and so I wasn't, but I have stood firm in my faith. I have learned to be courageous. I have also learned I am stronger than I ever knew. I have done hard things with all the love I could have ever hoped to muster. But I could never have done any of it without God helping me stand, encouraging me on, and providing strength.

 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Number 15

 Number 15 surprised me today and made his arrival. I was truly thinking he'd wait until his due date was a tad closer, but he did not want to wait another week. 

My cell phone rang in the wee hours of the morning. "We're going to head up to the hospital," my daughter told me. I heard a tiny bit of shuffling about downstairs. Sergio went out to start the car and came back inside again. A few minutes later the car backed out of the driveway and the house was quiet and still again.

"You have four hours to sleep," I told myself, but my brain kept mulling over everything I might need to do in the morning, and the afternoon, and evening, and tomorrow... I had been so sure I had more time that my brain hadn't soaked in everything I needed to remember. Thankfully, Number Nine had been well prepared by his mother. He was all ready to go to work with me and he had a fantastic day.

Killian. His name is Killian. He weighed 8 lbs, 8 oz. He is beautiful. So thankful for cell phones and pictures.


Monday, January 11, 2021

Life is Strange

 Winter is a time of reflection. We're pretty much cooped up inside. There's no snow to speak of and the dampness feels colder than if it were ten degrees below freezing. To top it off there's a nasty virus going around and we don't have the freedom to go out and about in quite the same way afforded us last year. You might think it's the events of last week that are bouncing about in my little mind, but my brain is not focused on Washington DC. I don't need to concentrate any thinks on things I can't change. There are enough other thinks to keep me awake at night, but most nights I don't have any trouble sleeping. It's typically my bladder waking me up. Ha!
 

Life is strange. I'm desperately trying to be okay with being alone (single) for the remainder of my life, to give all my hopes and dreams, past and present, into the hands of God, to trust Him for everything I need. He's already proven time and again that He knows just what I need even before I realize there is a need. My heart aches. I'm told it will always ache, and I'm sure there are those who think I've gotten just what I deserve, and yet I only did what I had to do. But God knows, and even while I argued with Him He was providing. He is providing, bringing the right individuals into my life while removing others. It's a painful process. I can't say I always understand or that there aren't tears. Each loss brings pain and I must trust the loss will bring healing also, even while I grieve, even while I don't understand. I think it's okay of I cry because He knows how sorrow feels, and that tears are healing.

I never envisioned being alone. It's a new concept, partly brought on by the empty nest but mostly by the "infidelity" that resulted in my leaving. My friend Dan has encouraged me to enjoy the solitude. He says you begin to enjoy it after a while. I'm doing better with it, but it's still hard, especially here at home. Not so hard down at the lake or in the woods, and not so bad in the kitchen at work, but home alone it can be excruciating. I'm still working on acceptance, and still thankful I'm not completely alone.

(I stopped at the pottery studio Saturday afternoon and found a surprise on my shelf. It was my missing planter! I glazed everything I had left waiting back in the spring. Now I wait for the "kiln master" to fire them.)

Friday, January 08, 2021

Islands of Peace

In a world of chaos, my place of work has been an island of sanity. Maybe it's because we spend so much time tending to children, but there is very little mention of politics. We corral toddlers, wipe noses, read stories, and supervise playground activities. There are diapers to be changed, meals to be served, and projects to complete. Boo boos get kissed, tears are brushed away, hugs are abundant, and smiles are endless. Yes, it can be frustrating, because children are trying, but at the end of the day I'm grateful for the sanity of a crazy daycare center.

It's been another week of introspection. There are so many things I can't share here... I am absolutely certain God intends to use my life experiences for the benefit of others, but I am not entirely convinced I will be totally aware of it happening because so very often God simply does things. And He uses us. I pray I have already been an voice of encouragement to another hurting mom. I am so grateful for the hurting mom who took the time last February to meet me for a cup of coffee. She brought more healing in the course of an hour or two than I ever thought possible, even though I knew I desperately needed her. It took another insightful friend to connect us, and I am thankful for her as well.


Sunday, January 03, 2021

A Lot Can Change in A Week's Time

Christmas left me exhausted, but Monday afternoon I connected with my therapist who made some time to see me Tuesday evening. I am grateful for his listening ear. He doesn't so much give advice as ask questions and gently help me readjust perspectives. The three day New Year weekend has melted the tension away and I am looking forward to what the future holds.

Yesterday I took Number Nine to Number Ten's birthday party. I needed my GPS to find the party venue and Idris was quite taken by "Tom." The birthday party was a success. I watched my little grandson's eyes light up when he opened our gift, a Toy Story Slinky Dog and RC the Remote Controlled Car. It was priceless.

This morning I watched church online and my friend Laura picked me up for breakfast a little after 10 am. We went to the Golden Boys Restaurant in the Webster village. We were sitting at our table when another couple came in, and elderly woman and a man, probably her son. I recognized her immediately. I had seen her just last week when I'd stopped at my old church in Webster to drop off some money to my friend Lydia. I'd hugged her then, but I was wearing a mask and I'm not sure she even recognized me. Today, though, our eyes met and it was instant recognition. We shared a long, tight hug, just like we did years ago when she and her husband had sat next to James and me in church every Sunday morning. I told her I've missed her and that I love her, and I know she's missed and loved me too. She's lost her husband since I left James and started attending a different church. I can't tell her our story, I can only hope she knows how much she means to me. I missed her many, many Sunday mornings after I moved.

Laura and I decided to be brave after breakfast, and after I changed my pants and found a warmer coat, we headed down to the lake and did a little beach combing. I filled my glove with pieces of beach glass while she put her treasures in her pocket. It was cold, wet, and misty. The waves rolled in and out along the shore. Perfectly peaceful. Only a full bladder could drag us home.

Back at the house I made a pot of coffee in Dad's old stainless steel dripolator that I gifted myself from a box in the attic. Years ago when my parents lived here, Mom and Dad would make and serve her coffee in one of these old pots. The house is still loving the same friends it sheltered so many years ago. I am so blessed.

Friday, January 01, 2021

Happy New Year!

 Here's to Fresh Starts and New Beginnings!

Overall, 2020 was a good year. The world may have gone mad, things may look vastly different today than they did at this time last year, but life goes on and the sun still shines. There were excruciating moments, but I have so much to be thankful for. And I am.

Christmas 2020 was rough. I even deemed it "The Stupidest Christmas Ever!" And it was. But like He always does, God uses painful moments as teaching moments. When the light goes on in a dark room, things come into focus. Such was the end result of Christmas 2020. (I told you stitches hurt!)

Tonight we stayed up to eat cheese and crackers, watch some television, and welcome 2021. I'm not throwing any resolutions out there, but I know God has good things stored up for me. I may have been struggling to catch my breath on Monday, but I am relaxed tonight. He is good.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Taking a Break

 Feeling raw, exposed and bleeding. The last few stitches have been excruciating and I fear He isn't finished yet. My blog is read by those I love more than life itself and today I have nothing to share. I am too raw. Abuse sucks. The ripple effects never end.

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Today. At Work

I sat cross legged on the floor in the darkened room trying not to make eye contact with the small child on the cot next to me. I could feel the warmth of his breath on my thigh through the denim of my jeans. As I stared into the dimly lit room, I felt his face touch my leg as he planted several kisses on my knee. I smiled to myself in the darkness. I wanted to scoop him into my lap and hug him, but I resisted the urge. He was not tired and began the “dance” of the restless child. “Lay down and close your eyes,” I told him. The was a stretch of fake snoring before his little legs popped straight up in the air, covered by a fuzzy gray blanket. He tossed and turned, hung his head over the cot’s edge, and attempted to gain my attention in a variety of creative endeavors. I reminded him of Santa’s impending arrival. He asked some questions I couldn’t decipher and tried to lay still, but every attempt proved futile. 

It is quite possible that my presence in the room at nap time is nothing more than a distraction.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Suck It Up, Buttercup

Doing the right thing doesn't automatically render rosy results. Doing the right thing often brings tears and brokenness, but is it not brokenness that also often brings the healing so desperately desired? I mentioned God using golden thread to stitch my broken pieces back together, but I didn't mention that the stitching hurts too. Each careful stitch from His gentle hand requires the needle to pierce the broken pieces. Each piercing brings a stab of pain, but with each stabbing pain a stitch is completed and I am one stitch closer to being made whole. *sigh*

I had a short conversation with a friend this evening. Often, when I am worried about being alone, he offers words of encouragement to help me through. "You begin to enjoy the solitude," he once told me, and he was right. I made the effort to "fly solo" this fall and honestly enjoyed the retreat, yet there remain specific times I find the prospect of being without company frightening. It's not because I fear being alone, but because the occasion makes my heart hurt. "You can text me," he said, and I probably will, because he always makes me smile.

Monday, December 21, 2020

It's Almost Christmas

 I'm not feeling stressed over Christmas gifts. I have too many grandchildren for whom to buy gifts. It's overwhelming just thinking about it, so I've decided to do something different this year. Rather than buy cheap gifts they don't need and probably won't appreciate, I am taking $20 in honor of each grandchild and giving it to my friend's mission in Guatemala. They help build houses for families in need and also hand out bags of food to the hungry. They recently drove into areas devastated by flooding and handed out food and supplies. I pray my grandchildren will one day appreciate helping too. Maybe I can encourage them toward this endeavor.

We are exchanging Christmas ornaments at work. We've picked names. I have not a clue who has my name. I vacillated over what to give my recipient; bought an ornament cookie cutter I thought she would like, and then decided last minute to needle felt a mouse. He looks more like a rat (or a kangaroo) but he's cute. He's going into the Christmas bag along with the cookie cutter.

Our work babies got copies of photographs I took just after Thanksgiving. The pics I ordered online still haven't come, so I ended up ordering more to pick up from the local Walgreens just to make sure I had some to give before Christmas. There were some smiling mommies this morning and that was fun. My own kids are getting photographs too. I was surprised by one of my photo orders actually arriving this afternoon. 

It's been an emotional week. These special occasions might always leave me feeling teary. I have loved deeply, perhaps recklessly, and God knows my heart. He is stitching my broken pieces back together one piece at a time with a golden thread.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

And It Snowed Too!

 It went from Monday to Friday in a hurry this week. (It's not Friday yet, but it's close.) We had a little snow this week. I am grateful for snow tires and slightly impatient with those who have yet to put them on their cars. Ha! I was almost late to work on Tuesday. I left too late to accommodate slow drivers. My bad.

I have not taken any snow pictures. It's dark out when I come home.

I managed to be late for my chiropractor appointment last night. I drove a hundred miles an hour through snow banks and across the median, but I was still late. I think I need to buy a truck. LOL! Actually, I had to wait for all the babies to go home before I could leave work. Thankfully I was only about ten minutes late. 

I am ready for the weekend. I think.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Missing the Bus

I missed the bus today. Overslept. No, I don't really take the bus, but I did oversleep. Woke up when I should have been heading out the door. The glowing numbers on my clock startled me awake. I called the daycare to let Heather know I would be late. Normally if I wake up late I throw on some clothes and fly out the door, but not today. Today I took my shower and blow-dried my hair. I knew we wouldn't have five babies before 8:30 am and so I was not too incredibly worried. Turned out that we had only four babies all day long and won't have more than that for the entire week.My boss and I decided I will go in from 9 am to 6 pm for the rest of the week.

Here at home we are beginning the countdown to the arrival of Little Brother, Number 15. He is due mid January and we're all pretty excited. His clothes and car seat are all washed. His bedroom his ready and now we wait. Number 16 will make her appearance in late April or early May. (Yes! I said she!!!) How cool is that? I am amassing quite the collection of sweet grandchildren! These two darling both have names, but I'm keeping that a surprise.

The house is feeling chilly lately. All the mild late fall weather has made us soft. This next week is going to shock us back into reality.

Photos are "borrowed" from my boy in Minnesota. That's our Santa Baby, Number 13, also known as Jonah.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Last Week's Bits and Pieces

* Last week was long and melancholy. Some weeks are like that. I'm thankful most are not.

* My sweet Bethany will not need another surgery to remove her appendix. The latest scan showed it to be only an inch long, far smaller than a normal appendix, and healed. If it ever gives her trouble, it will be nothing like the trouble it caused in early November. We are grateful.

* My car is now wearing its winter boots. I am ready for snow should it ever see fit to arrive. It also has a new exhaust system and a pretty new inspection sticker. Have I ever told you how thankful I am for my savings account? Now I am thankful for what is left of it.

* Last weekend The Trio (Numbers 2, 3, and 4) and I made gingerbread houses. I went to their house for the first time since I can't remember when, and even stayed for supper. It was wonderful!

* Even though it was cold yesterday, it was warm enough to go down to the lake for a bit. I filled a Snapple bottle halfway with beach glass. The waves have been active and the shoreline lonely. Perfect for pieces to wash onto the stones.

* I finally got around to sorting through some more stuff. I have three boxes by the back door waiting for a ride. One, full of craftiness, will be going to work with me. (I am a collector of good intentions. Good craft intentions.)

* It's been a good weekend. Back to work tomorrow. Back to loving the littles.

Monday, December 07, 2020

Old Boxes

Finally being able to admit and express my grief has been healing. For close to 40 years I felt unable to say my heart was broken at the loss of my childhood friend. It felt like such an admission was tantamount to unfaithfulness (I was accused of that once by one of my own children for simply reading the old letters) and even very early on I was desperately afraid of hurting the guy I'd married, even though my relationship with Joey was no secret from James.

Joey and I shared the fall, winter, and spring of 1972-73. We walked around the block on cold winter days, each asking the other if their feet were cold. (He wore cowboy boots in the snow.) When it was getting dark, and it got dark early, he always walked me home before heading home himself. In the spring we walked some more, and then suddenly he was moving away. I never even met his mother, never went in his house. He had come to mine instead. There are no pictures of us together. Not one.

As a young girl I dreamed Joey into what I wanted him to be. (Isn't that always what we're tempted to do?) But dreams are not reality. Reality is that God gave me a special childhood friend, a box full of letters to cherish, and the incredibly wonderful opportunity to see my friend when we were 14 years old and my family was on vacation in Virginia in the fall of 1978. I was in heaven! (I had my very own football player!!! Number 87.)

Today I'm healing. I honestly am. I've done enough internet stalking (ha ha!) to settle my heart. I am absolutely nothing like the woman Joe married, and I don't find myself attracted to the man I see in pictures. I find it strange, and I am intrigued, even amused, at my lack of attraction. I don't see anything terrible or offensive, I'm simply not drawn to him. He is a complete stranger and yet we are connected by a few months of time and a string of childish letters. (I love it.)

I've dragged taped-shut boxes from place to place for over half my life. Today I'm unpacking those old boxes and letting go. The little box of letters will be forever cherished, but I can stop grieving. It's time to smile at the memories and move on. 

Saturday, December 05, 2020

The Little Orange Box With the Dog On Top

It's just a little box.  Slightly larger than a standard letter envelope and maybe an inch tall. I don't remember it's original purpose, only that I asked Mom if I could have it. It was the perfect box in which to keep my little collection of letters. In time I glued a magazine picture of a floppy dog on top to make it look more special. For a good portion of my childhood, and well into my teenage years, it was kept safe in my dresser, tucked into a corner of a drawer. I always knew exactly where it was.

Every so often during my school aged years, a new letter would turn up in the mail box hanging just outside our front door. Mom always seemed just as excited as me. If I happened to be down the street playing, she would call out that a letter had arrived and I would run home as fast as I possibly could. Once the letter had been open, read, and savored, it would be placed into the little box along with the others. By the time the collection was complete there would be a total of fourteen letters received over the course of 8 to 9 years. From 1973 to 1982.

The story started when a new family moved into our neighborhood. The brother and sister rode my bus and the boy was in my grade, but not in my class, The house they lived in with their cousins was down the street and around the corner in a place I often passed but never hung out. It was only when I took my dog for a walk around the block that the little boy's sister asked my name and said, "My brother loves you." Not long after that meeting my mom noticed a little boy walking back and forth, and hanging out in front of our house as if he was looking for someone. "Who's that out there?" she asked and I replied "Oh, that's Joey," and promptly decided to take the dog for another walk.

I've written about Joey a few other times. Our friendship ended abruptly. Almost violently abrupt. There was no chance for me to explain, no undoing what had transpired between letters, only the heartbreaking knowledge that my final letter would wound him deeply and I would never ever hear from him again. A piece of me died when I answered his letter in January of 1982. A piece of me still grieves.  I've let the memories go over and over again, yet our friendship was such an integral part of my childhood that those memories come back time and time again, usually when I least expect them. It's almost as though I am missing something important but don't know what I'm supposed to be finding.

Memories can be painful, even good memories. Every corner of this house holds memories, a whole lifetime of memories. The wall reverberate with them. When the house is still and quiet, and my present family is gone, voices from the past are speaking. Not only are Mom and Dad here, but my sisters, and others as well. I don't literally hear voices, of course, but the past is intensely vivid and I miss those days gone by...

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

The Plans of Mice and Men

 Our baby's heart surgery has been postponed. The hospital only operates on healthy babies and little Henry decided to get a cold 2 days before his scheduled hospital stay. To say his mom is frustrated might be an understatement. I told her it is okay to be disappointed and upset and still trust God at the same time. It been such an exhausting month already and so much mental energy has been poured into gearing up for this event. God's timing is perfect, but doesn't mean it isn't hard.

I have to admit, I wasn't quite ready to find my car covered with snow this morning. Yes, it is December, but I still wasn't ready. Lucky for me I caught Sergio out in the driveway brushing the snow off his car and asked him to start mine so it could warm up while I finished getting ready for work. I'm not ready for the weeks of dark afternoons either, but I do plan to use them wisely. My room is comfy and cozy and evenings are the perfect time to de-stress and unwind tangles of heart and mind. A little music, an online puzzle or two, and maybe a chat with a friend all help me along the road to being whole.  It's okay if I listen to a little classic rock here and there, yes?


Saturday, November 28, 2020

Crossing Jordon Hand in Hand

 Yesterday I met my friend Myung at the park. She was looking for a fellow Christian, someone with whom to share her inner struggles, and a friend with which to pray. We walked along the lake shore, into the park, and up the hill to the picnic area filled with old gnarled sycamore trees, stopping every so often to talk. I wasn't sure how to answer, but know that very often I am simply looking for a listening ear and an understanding heart. 

Our struggles are vastly different, and yet similar all at the same time. We have each been held captive in prisons of our own making. Shackled by our own emotions, held in chains of the past. She shared how she has been reading the book of Deuteronomy and thinking on the children of Israel crossing the Jordon River into Canaan, leaving the wilderness forever behind. We stood face to face, eyes closed, each simultaneously praying for the other and ourselves. When we'd finished praying we symbolically crossed the River Jordon hand in hand. We are moving forward. No looking back. No more living in the past or allowing it to control the future.

I was back home again when she sent me a text. One of the quotes she sent was The bee fertilizes the flower it robs. "I love this word," she said, "It is for me," and it fit her situation perfectly. Honestly, it fits mine too.

Below this quote was another, When it is dark enough you can see the stars, and I recalled how five years ago a deep darkness had descended upon my soul. The darkness was so thick that I was emotionally paralyzed. Every time I lay down, I could literally hear the sound of my own blood rushing through my ears. Every time I sat down my knee bounced up and down. I wasn't sure the world could ever be bright and carefree ever again... but I am learning that in the darkness the light of Christ shines even brighter. I don't have to be afraid and I don't have to stand still because he holds my hand and His word lights the path before me. My part is to trust Him, hold tight to His hand, and keep walking.

My friend is praying for me and I am praying for her. I am in awe of how God has brought us together.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020 and Other Musings

Sappy. That's me. Forever totally sappy. Excessively sentimental. Perhaps this okay. But maybe it stands in the way of me being emotionally healthy and whole. The thing is I'm not sure how to be anything different. Aside from recent years of numbness and being overwhelmed, I've always been excessively and deeply emotional. I try to keep a lid on it, but sometimes it leaks out. Something to work on in the coming year. Finding balance so I don't get thrown off kilter or unintentionally knock a loved one over.

I wonder what the emotions are doing deep inside my body, because how we think affects our health and well being. Most of these deep emotions start out high in my chest, just below my neck and flow outward toward my shoulders and down my arms, or up into my neck where they tie little knots in all my neck muscles. Crying helps release tension, but it has other unpleasant side effects life puffy, swollen eyes and headaches. In my imagination, long, tight hugs drain the tension and my body is able to relax. This is one reason a job with little people is so rewarding. They need hugs and so do I. It's also one reason I return to the chiropractor again and again. He hugs me. One hug can get me through the week.

Thanksgiving 2020 was unlike any Thanksgiving in my past, with the exception of one spent in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1981. Back then I was far, far away from the only family I'd ever known, spending the holiday instead with part of the family I'd married into. Most of that day is just a blur of faded memories. What I recall most is that is hardly felt like Thanksgiving. Yesterday I was with my family, a very small portion of it, and my sweet daughter's extended family. It was a very nice day but it was hard not to let my mind wander back to the past and linger there. The rest of my local family, except for Nathan and Sabrina, were at Bethany's house with James. I chose this year to be with Hannah, who is not ready for a holiday party with her dad. Honestly, I'm not ready either. Every year I am less ready than the year previous...

So, how to live in grateful anticipation? How do I wire my brain to think positively about the future when it is so accustomed to dwelling on the past, even the good past? Memories are wonderful encouragers and great teachers, and while they can help shape the future, living in them is pointless if they aren't making a positive impact on today. *sigh* There must be some great scripture verses out there for all of this...

Today, if the weather holds, I have a "socially distanced walk" planned with my friend Myung from the pottery studio. Just a walk at Webster Park. I still have  my key to the pottery studio, even if they are in the middle of Rochester's current orange zone. One day I'll go back and maybe I will find my pottery friends there too.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

It's Almost Friday

The month of November caught up with me this week. Exhausted and threadbare, a deep desire to call my mom descended. I found myself teary and tired, but God came through like He always does. A couple of friends reached out through text messages and I went to sleep at night feeling relieved.

 




My grandson, Number 1, has had surgery to put his collarbone back together. Pain killers will keep him comfortable during this initial stage of healing, and hopefully he'll ride his bike a little slower in the future.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in the living room. I'm glad my daughter is picking up on doing Christmas early. Wish I hadn't been such a stickler for waiting until after Thanksgiving when my kiddos were small. Probably could have saved myself some aggravation. If we can't celebrate Christmas and be thankful at the same time then something is desperately wrong in our hearts. 

It's almost Friday and I'm ready for the weekend.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Bits and Pieces

 It's been quite the week and I'm not sure I can remember half of it.

* Friends, family, and strangers have stepped up all week long to help my daughter and her family. There have been meals, babysitters, donations of diapers and breast milk, and a multitude of prayers. As a mom who works full time I have felt overwhelmed and relieved all at the same time. I never doubted God would provide for each and every need, I only doubted my own ability to follow through on my part.

* I went back to work on Monday, back to the little ones who call my name, ask for hugs, and inquire about lunch. It is therapy at its best. I never tire of hearing little ones say, "I need a hug!" There are times I need a hug too, and didn't I, just the other day, tell a friend to save one for me?

* On Wednesday Bethany sent me a text that read, "I may have begged, and even cried a little... But the nurse gave permission. You can come and visit me." She was scheduled for a procedure and so it was decided that I would come on Thursday. The good news is she didn't need the procedure after all.

* There was bad news on Wednesday too. My oldest grandson crashed his bicycle and fractured his clavicle. This is Bethany's oldest son. Now she was the mom unable to comfort or see her child. At the height of his pain on Thursday he Facetimed his mom, tears streaming down his face. He'd tried to change his shirt unassisted. His break is bad and he will be having surgery on Tuesday.

* I went to the hospital Thursday night, hugged my daughter long and tight, and helped her wash her "ten days ripe" hair. She is a trooper. We both laughed when the shower head went rogue and streamed over her face. I visited again on Friday while Adam stayed home with the kids and attempted to catch up with himself.

* Yesterday I drove an hour south to pick up a recliner/lift chair at the home of my brother in law's sister. It just fit into my car. Not an inch to spare. And I had a nice long visit with Laurie too.

* The best news of all is that my girl is scheduled to come home today. She still has her appendix. That will need to come out in a couple of months when her insides are healed and the inflammation has subsided. Everyone asks me about this. I am not a medical professional and must trust they are doing everything they can to help her body heal and maintain its integrity. I am relieved to see my daughter smile again.

Monday, November 09, 2020

My Girl

For those wondering, and my future self, yes, she is still in the hospital. It was bad, guys, really bad. It's still bad, but she's improving in little ways each day, even if progress is painfully slow. Who would have thought we'd celebrate the passing of gas? Life is full of surprises.

I went back to work today. My mind was half there and half at Bethany's house, but I made it through and passed out more hugs than I can remember. After work I went to Beth's so Adam could go to the hospital. We're going to love each other in a whole new way when this is done.

Thursday, November 05, 2020

Just Keep Praying

I'm barely sure what day it is anymore... Actually, I know it's Thursday, it just doesn't feel normal because it's anything but. My girl had surgery on Tuesday evening, but they did not take her appendix yet. Too much inflammation in other places. I don't understand all of it, but I know she is getting the best care possible. She sounded so very sick on the phone last night that after we hung up I cried. The helpless feeling washed over and my heart was aching. She may be halfway to 70, but she is still my baby. As a family we are all angry that the hospital she went to on Saturday sent her home with a probable stomach ulcer, stating if she had appendicitis she would be a lot sicker. We are thanking God for sparing her life and pray for a full recovery. She said she was feeling a little better this morning and I am so grateful, although I know she is far from all better.

I am able to be here with the kids until returning to work Monday morning. A friend has found donors of breast milk for Henry and set up a Meal Train. What is needed next are friends to come here to help after she returns home from the hospital. She can not be expected to keep up with four children when she is released. Please pray we are able to find available friends and family members who are willing to give of their time for the next several weeks.

The weather has turned from winter back to summer. I had the door open for much of the day and even carried the baby around the block mid afternoon. When Adam returned home I asked him where a stroller might be hiding. Of course it was right there in the closet next to my jacket which I hung there yesterday morning. The weather is forecast to remain warm the next few days so we'll definitely be going for a walk.

I guess there's an election battle going on, but I'm trying not to notice. God knows all about that fiasco and He is ultimately in control no matter what the outcome. 

Thank you for your prayers on all fronts.

Tuesday, November 03, 2020

What Moms Do

 I spent a several hours taking in the a rare sunshine filled day walking the woods once again this past weekend. I was planning on the emotional floodgates bursting open, but the woods is too therapeutic for that. Once enveloped by the trees, all negative emotion dissipates and I am lost in the wonder of creation and capturing it's beauty.

I went from the woods to the lake shore and gathered another pocketful of beach glass. The wind was cold and biting. Even so quite a few people came and went while I picked through stones along the water's edge. The angle of the sun was perfect for finding brown and amber pieces, although I picked up plenty of green and clear too. I met Kelly, also there to look for glass. When my pocket was bulging with treasures, I decided to head for home.

As I drove toward home, my phone began to ring and I pulled over to answer it. On the other end was my daughter, struggling with a severe pain in her tummy. She felt the need to see a doctor and couldn't get a hold of her husband whose phone was dead, so I went to stay with the kids and took pictures of Henry. They eventually sent her home without any definite diagnosis, and not many tests. Today she had was back, at a different hospital, and this time they took her symptoms serious. She's still there.

 

Tomorrow I will get up early, shower, dress, and get ready for my day, but I will not go to work. Instead I am going to stay with my grandchildren. This is what moms do.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Still Here

 Nothing much to share. It's been a week of rain and cold weather. Rather disappointing, but whining won't change anything and will only make the situation appear drastically worse than it really is. I am warm and dry, my belly is (more than) full, I have clean clothes to wear, and a job that makes me feel loved and appreciated. 

I saw the therapist last night and told him I am ready to let go of the numbness and denial, yet I am afraid of it too. He asked if the numbness was grace, God's grace... Yes, numbness is God's grace, a gift given when the crushing weight of truth would make life unbearable. Numbness, and perhaps a portion of denial. I've cleaned and polished stories, left out painful details, and told them with a cheery smile when in reality the truth was not so sweet or pretty. I've rewritten history. My own. But rewriting it doesn't alter the truth.

I've still not turned in my pottery studio key. I didn't have time last weekend and I scarcely know when the office is open. Truth is I like my shelf and I want to play in the mud...