What You Should Know

I never wanted to buy this house. I felt pressured to buy this house. When we were miles apart emotionally, how I willed for this house to sell. It never did. For now, we are still here.

If the day comes and we find ourselves packing up the belongings, we will be leaving behind years of frustration and love and memories. If you should happen to make this your next abode, you should probably know a few things.

You should know that there used to be a car port. I hated it. One day it fell down and our guardian angel kept us safe and now I miss it.

You should know that the kitchen is small. It’s been frustrating. Also know that every party we ever had ended up with amazing conversation while leaning up against the few counters.

You should know that the pink and green lady bug bedazzled bedroom belonged to the cutest little girl who just never had the heart to take them down. She loved them so.

You should know that there won’t ever be a drop of water in the basement. We spent the equivalent of a new car repairing the hidden damage and ensuring that all moisture be banned. You’re welcome.

You should know there is a small dent in the floor of the office. There’s a story behind that dent that would make you laugh out loud, a true LOL, if you will.

You should know that the bathroom upstairs was made that way on purpose. Hey, we are tall people. It’s nice to have things at your height when getting ready in the morning.

You should know that there was never enough space in this house. So we spent time with each other. We made memories that are far more important than any of the stuff crammed into the nooks and crannies.

I never liked this house.

But I’ll be sad to see it go.

Ditching the Wrenches

There are times when you are so proud of someone you want to grab every person within arm’s reach and let them know how amazing and wonderful things are.

I got dropped off at therapy last week and knew I was heading into the dead zone for communication. The basement where I am tortured rehabbed three times a week is not cell phone friendly. It’s taken some getting used to, the phone being silent for that hour and a half, only to light up like the 4th of July upon reentry. That day was no different. Except we’d been waiting on edge all week. We’d come to the point where it’s time to move on. We’d talked about it endlessly. We’d accepted that the pros of potentially uprooting our lives far outweighed the cons.

When you work somewhere for a long time you settle in. You know the inner workings of things and how they tick. You know all the gears and how they turn. You also know the wrenches that get stuck and need to be worked out. Twelve years put in. The service provided is an impressively long list. The people who appreciate him are also many in number. But the wrenches. The wrenches get stuck. He pulls them out. They get stuck again. Some are so gummed up in the works, there seems to be no hope. Regardless, cutting ties is hard. But maybe a new machine with different wrenches could offer a new perspective.  But hell, that is some scary business! 

So as I am coming up the elevator, and waiting for the emails and texts and word press notifications to start lighting up my phone and bring me back to civilization, I get two text messages.

The first is

They just called and offered me the job!

and the second:

Crap, you don’t have a signal to get this message!!!!! 

I can attest that the leopard print wearing, walker wielding physical therapy cohorts of mine do not appreciate being surprised in such a manner as I may have surprised them.

But I don’t care. I am so proud of him.

Not His

She is growing so fast. It seems every day we let go of something.

She doesn’t fall asleep after one block in the car anymore.
Her favorite T-shirt shows all her belly when she raises up her arms.
She no longer packs up half the house’s worth of stuffed friends every time we leave.

As each moment flutters away and becomes a memory, a little piece of my heart twinges for what is missing.

He’s missing it all.

What I would give to hear his booming voice and loud laugh?
What would I sacrifice to see her sitting in his lap?

She’s never met him. She wasn’t even a twinkle when he passed. But just the same, as time goes by I’m missing him more and realizing that she is too. Even if she doesn’t know it.

She hears a booming laugh all the time. She has a lap to sit in. She gets all the love.

But not his.

2016 Poemy Monday, The Fourth

Last year I was inspired by a fellow slicer and ended Poemy Mondays with some found poetry from the month’s collection of blog post titles. Here is the 2016 edition:

Oh hey there
A slew of slicers
My March madness

The moments in between
A silent plea
Knock knock silent treatment
Why I wait

Bionic me
No win tag
Physical therapy

Maddie’s uniform
The child with no activities
Daddy’s got it handled

Transfer of Tradition
In circulation
On the back of the door

Graduation day

Transfer of Tradition 

Maddie started asking about twenty days before Easter. I mean at Valentine’s Day she made a basket of candy for the Easter Bunny. 

Are we going to dye eggs? When are we going to dye eggs? Can we dye eggs? 

The long anticipated day arrived and with gusto she filled those cups using precise measurements. She planned out each egg and even allowed mommy and daddy to do a few. 

I quietly placed an egg in red and waited. Listening to her giggle and carry on with her daddy. When it was just right, I carefully took it out and in it went to orange, yellow, and green. By this time it was turning a ghastly shade of pukish green. 

At this point Maddie notices and sighs and groans to show she just doesn’t understand this tradition of ours. It belongs to my mom, sister, brother, dad and me. 

So I sigh in return and try to tell her again about how mommy and aunt Jen and uncle Mike always made the ugly egg for Papa. How it started as an accident and then snowballed into a yearly jokey tradition. How her Papa would come home tired and weary from one of many shifts and in his boisterous way give us a hard time about this supremely ugly egg. How we would cover our faces with our little hands and try not to let him see the giggles. How we would fail miserably and love every second of it. 

Maddie giggles along at all the right places. I know it’s hard for her heart to attach to this story she is not a part of. I know my stories and pictures of Papa give her some connection but he’s not a three dimensional grandpa for her. He’s a memory of her momma’s. 

So Maddie looks at the ugly egg and exclaims “That looks like boogers! We should give that one to Grandpa!” She’s got her own endless jokes and tom foolery relationship with her other Grandpa. 

I can’t help but think that maybe Papa led us to this point. Maybe he wants to look down and see those little hands hiding a big ol’ smile. Or hear those little giggles abound. 

So Grandpa John is getting the ugly, I mean, booger egg.

And I know that Papa is smiling. 

I Love Lucy

She’s Lucy, who used to be Ginger. 

She’s all legs and the controlled clumsiness of a puppy. 

She’s sweetness and kisses and cuddles. 

She’s not what we expected this time around. She’s a little bit naughtier and a whole lot bigger than her predecessor. 

But like every soul that came before her, she has taken hold of our hearts with a grip that is filled with hope and healing. She’s going to fill that void. A little. For now. 

A whole lot more later.

How do I know this? 

You could say that it’s the element of certainty that my mom will be rewarded for saving this wiggly, kissy, filled with boundless energy furball from a life within a cage. 

You could say that my mom’s just the kind of person that can’t help but return the love showered upon her. 

But the truth is that you can tell from her eyes. Every dog has eyes that give you a peek into their temperament, their capacity for listening and love, and their affinity for naughtiness. 

Miss Lucy’s eyes do not disappoint. Their clear cognac brown depths just scream thank you. Her eyelashes, yep this dog has the longest eyelashes, bat at you and make you forgive her for trotting through the living room with your bra in her mouth. You find yourself glancing sideways to see her doing the same while she’s trying to chew on your ponytail  and you know she’s just sayin, I love you. And in case you are blind and miss out on the message, she’ll slide on up and sneak in a kiss or twelve just so you know for sure. 

You take one look at that face and you fall in love. 

FullSizeRender (2)

Told you so. 

A Silent Plea

The skies had been threatening to open wide for hours. The rumble was starting and you could hear the trees swaying without having to listen too closely.

Please. Please don’t start until after she’s asleep. 

At this point, huge gusts of winds were whirling about and one clap of thunder resonates throughout the house. I tiptoe upstairs hoping against hope that she would have already fallen asleep.

Peeking around the corner into her always lit, lest the dark take over, room, I am hopeful. There is not a sound. No calls for mommy or daddy to come save her from the storm. No gulps or sobs to alert us to her worst fear coming to fruition.

What I spy with my little eye stops my heart in its tracks.

There she is in the middle of her bed clutching the giant dog that looks just like the most recent angel dog in the family. There she is with eyes wide and blue. There she is with shoulders quivering and crocodile tears falling helplessly from her eyes.

Those big, blue, break my heart eyes are remembering the rule of not getting out of bed. The rule of not sleeping with mommy and daddy. The rule of needing to go to sleep.

Those big, blue, break my heart eyes are pleading with me to forget all those rules and save her.

So up she is scooped, giant Zoe and all.

Down the hall we go.

Into the king size bed, all cuddled up and safe.

Big blue eyes slowly dry out and drift close.

Sweet dreams.

The Child with No Activities

For a few years Maddie had me fearing I would become a dance mom. So fierce was her love for dance at the time. A change of schools and a longer school day led to a separation from dance. Every effort made to join another crew was swiftly shot down by the little dancing girl.

Enter mommy guilt that our only child is not in any activities. Every effort short of signing her up and dragging her there fell short.

Maddie there is a cooking class! Want to go?

Maddie want to try dance again, it starts soon!

Maddie how about gymnastics? You’d love it!

Maddie want to play softball, ping-pong, badminton, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, ANYTHING?

Countless times I was this close to just signing her up. The closest I got was after school gym club with her more than amazing P.E. teacher. She’d come out all sweaty and happy and I’d start asking all over again. And she would start shrinking away from me.

Then I’d see her with her cousin building an imaginary world of dolls, Shopkins, and Tsum Tsums.
Then I’d see her writing a book to give to her teacher.
Then I’d see her at her Grandma’s house planting a garden.
Then I’d see her laughing and playing in the driveway with the neighborhood girls.

She’s not interested in organized activities just yet. She’s only six, I tell myself. But I see lots of first graders scheduled up and in soccer, gymnastics, dance, and a few other icing on the cake of activities ventures. So, I question and second guess and wonder if I should just go and put her in something.

The other day when we were walking home from the bus stop, Maddie says that her friend Ella is in gymnastics, can she do gymnastics too? I agree instantly and then the shrinking begins.

Only if I can be with Ella. I need a friend. 

Those four little words spoken in a little voice, almost to herself. Suddenly it is all so clear to me.

I know that I could just sign her up and make her go. I know that she might end up loving it. I know that it very well could be my own issues at hand here. But I also know that Maddie needs a friend.

Isn’t starting something new scary to us all? Don’t we all need a friend?

So maybe gymnastics will get off the ground. Maybe it won’t. Maybe it will be something else. Maybe for now Maddie’s activities will be playing with her cousins, making friends at school, and just being a kid.

I’m pretty sure I’m okay with that.

 

The Moments In Between

The moment in between racing upstairs to bed and bedtime: I stand at the bottom of the stairs and listen to that little squeal of victory and I know I am blessed. 

The moment in between cooking dinner and sitting down to eat the dinner: I reach up for three plates out of the cabinet and feel his arms wrap around me and I know I am blessed. 

The moment in between starting the car and loading up all the trappings of work and school: the sun shines down and warms my face and I know I am blessed. 

The moment in between the end of the conversation and the goodbye: we pause in a comfortable silence of I love yous and I know I am blessed.

The moment in between the joke and the punchline: her shoulders shake with laughter and pride at her own comedic genius and I know I am blessed. 

The moments in between show me where I should be most grateful. 

Graduation Day

It was a long-awaited day. Graduation Day. The day I graduated from the beastly behemoth that had been covering my right leg for four long weeks. The day I got to wear the slimmer, albeit made of more metal support system.

Now this was a big deal for all the right reasons.

It meant I was getting stronger.
It meant I could ditch the crutches.
It meant my scar tissue was getting under control.
It meant I could bend my knee legally.

All those are the right reasons I should have been excited. But the best most celebratory reason of all:

It meant I could ditch the uniform.

You see, the now stinky stretched out behemoth that previously took up that real estate, required me to wear shorts. I tried leggings but that just made the brace fall down and provide exactly no support, even if I tightened those buckles tight enough to cut off circulation to my leg.

Let me be very clear here. SHORTS. I don’t do SHORTS. EVER. Like NEVER, EVER, NEVER.  The closest anyone gets to seeing my leg is the very bottom of my knee.

When this was realized, I got a ride to the nearest store to get some stupid dumb shorts and discovered on store visit number three that apparently the clothing designers feel that women of any age are suited to wear skin-tight shorty- short shorts.

Ummmm… not true clothing design people!

Let me paint the picture for you. 7 pairs of men’s basketball shorts, and a nice array of t-shirts. Adding insult to injury, I have to wear sneakers. So I had to buy socks. Like, I had three pairs of real socks in my arsenal previously.

This ensemble has been my uniform.

I. Have. Been. Wearing. Shorts.

You can see now that Graduation Day was the best day ever.

Cause this girl is rocking her yoga pants. 🙂