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?