Watching You

Holding onto giant warm hand with cold hand small, we walk, he and I, out the door into a hot summer morning, kind of slow we go, to little old Honda green. And make our way blue sky day to hospital waiting. Twenty-one years ago today. Crazy. Back then life was all about me and Adored Husband. Our educational goals. Me and my uncomfortable body, stretched beyond a beauty bump. He and his sunburned ears from too many hours on hot roof. Me and my sleep, he and his sleep. Me and my feelings about he and his feelings. We and our dreams for the future. You were part of those dreams, but they were still my dreams about me and Dad how you’d fit into them.

Then a morning passed, and an early afternoon, and here you were, as beautiful as they get. Tiny and all intact. And here I was, could not take eyes off you. Any little thing you might have ever wanted or needed was offered before you asked for it. Dad couldn’t take his eyes off you, either! We hardly slept, days on end – just sat in dark of night watching you sleep, watching you eat, watching you watch us. That’s about the time Dad starting saying “He have ourselves some 24 hour entertainment!” We were just ridicules over you. We couldn’t help it. The way you recognized Dad’s voice the first moment we spent with you, as he said some words to you, and you turned and looked right at him. How in the world had we been blessed with such a child?

Days and months went by. Every little eye sparkle, little soft sounds you made, we didn’t want to forget your baby ways. You could not roll or crawl yet, but I’d lay you on your side, and roll a soft blue ball to you, and no mistaking it.. you used your hand to roll the ball back to me. Three months you were, and rolling a ball back and forth to me on the soft blue carpet of the travel trailer floor where we lived. Oliver the cat made you chuckle deep in your chest, which made Dad and I howl with laughter. We’d always stop what we were doing when the cat came your way to listen to you do your hilarious gleeful chuckle at Oliver.

It was hard to hear you at night when you woke up and wanted fed because you were not a bawler. You made your request for whatever you wanted in a quiet way. Onetime Dad and I almost took you to the doctor because you cried for maybe 30 minutes, we had never heard you do that before. Later we realized we’d had you out and about too long, and you had just gotten over-exhausted.

When you were 9 months old, Sis was on her way. I was very nauseated. And now I was worried about having another baby. How could I possibly love the next baby like I had loved you? Shocking, but it was not a problem. When she arrived, I was sleepless and smitten all over again. A gorgeous beauty girl, taking our breath away, her own little person, and so strikingly lovely. More night and day watching, not wanting to miss a thing. You were an amazing big brother. It took years for you two to start scraping at each other. I think it was middle school. And by the time high school came along, you were back to what you had always been. A very supportive brother to your sister. Working for hours with her on tennis and encouraging her to hang out with you while you played golf, one hole after another, taking her into following you hole after hole, until you’d managed 18 holes on Lobo Ridge.

Baby All Mr. Business arrived, another beautiful baby we couldn’t keep our eyes off, – 10 years apart you boys are, and yet you were gracious about the age difference and from the time he was very young, found things the two of you could enjoy together. When you left for college, I thought All Mr. Business would adjust quicker than he has. We are going on three years, and he still cries at night sometimes, missing the brother who shared his room every night all his life, talking into the darkness they did, talking their boy talk, and now your bed is covered with an 11 year old’s stockpile of air-soft, cap, cross-bow, water, sling and other such weaponry, and no brother, and sometimes the sting of it makes for salty-wet tears pushed back with fist.

When Butterfly, yet another precious dolly for not missing one thing came along, you were 16. An awkward age for dealing with a baby sister at home, and though that be the case, the two of you could not be more alike. She is the female version of you. Always in trouble for being too happy, bouncing through her day, hardily annoying her careful brother working hard on some project, she hearing little of what in going on around her for the busy thoughts she is engaged in, flinging, skipping, bounding with her happy self around the world of five while he screeches at her to JUST STOPPPPP IT!!!! She hurts, I mean aches with sadness when we drive away from Montana goodbyes. The hysterical sobs of parting are just a fraction of how much she loves you and misses you being home to follow you everywhere, ride shoulders around Seattle on damp foggy Christmas night, chatter your ear off, share your time and “just a little taste” of your coffee.  She has Sis this summer, it was been a treasure as they have roomed together again as always, have told Alonna Grace stories, shared the closet space and laughter a few months.

This weekend we squished ourselves into the Prius, five of us, to come see you.  See your apartment, see you hike up a mountain.  Watch you show us how to hammock, watch you drive a golf ball to as far as can be driven, still sleepless for the sake of watching the wonder of our kids. Twenty-one years ago, life circled around my life and Dad’s life. Today after dinner we sneak out door, monopoly game in motion, we hope kids don’t notice:) Giant warm hand holds cold hand small and round the loop we walk, hashing and rehashing ways to transport selves from here to where you are.

Mom

 

 

Holy Underthings

My last reposted blog on breast cancer. The last blog I needed to write for the healing process of going through this crumby disease. Passing it on this week as it was a year ago this week I had that mammogram I won’t easily forget, and because I have friends dealing with this now.

...because healing spreads

The drive to Nordstroms to meet with the plastic part fitter, I’m a mess.  Want to go alone, but find no way of doing so.  Butterfly is along, chatting happily from back seat, asking me random questions.  “What are we doing after we go to the mall, Mom?  Are we going back home?  Is Sis going to be home by then?”  Our college beauty-girl is coming home for Christmas break.  I meet her at the airport tonight.  She hasn’t been home in months, and the house is all a buzz. The kids and I put everything together just right, but day before college beauty-girl arrives I fall apart and cry the entire day.  I have put off getting a prosthetic four months now.  I want more than anything to have a Merry Christmas with our kids.  I’m so lousy at faking.

Grey drizzle, wipers going, butterfly and I make our…

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Space Junk

This week is a year from the mammogram that changed everything, and nothing at all.. .reposting breast cancer blogs for friends in the midst of it themselves this year.

...because healing spreads

Tomorrow I get a prosthetic.  A strange fake thing that is suppose to look real, feel real, make me look normal. I hate it already and I don’t even have it.  I want to hurl it as far as my lame girl throw is able.  I want to see if the damn thing skips on water.  Can it knock a branch clean off a sturdy tree?  I want to know if it can smash a window, a lot of windows.  Maybe go through one window at the back of the house and keep right on going until it flies through the window at the other end of the house.  Fling the thing far away until it takes to orbiting the planet with the rest of the space junk.

Plastic nauseates me.  When girls grow up, we seem all very much alike until we mature a bit… and eventually part ways…

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To Float Away

Breast Cancer Blog I’m sharing as one year ago this week was the mammogram that saved my life….

...because healing spreads

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My four year old is pretending again.  “She’s my mommy.” she says, referring to our sweet friend enjoying an end of the day swim with us.  “You’re the shark!!” My little chatty butterfly points to me.  I smile and feel the stab.  I love her pretend world.  How can her little innocent play feel real?  With the cancer diagnosis, the mastectomy, being told my genes have a high return for a whole variety of cancers, early and deadly – I’ve had to fight my thoughts.  My hyper-focused husband trying to manage the random task of raising our kids alone.  The impossibility of that.  Another Mommy raising our 10 year old tender powerhouse child,  our 4 year old butterfly, and our two older – independent but still needing a mom at times – kids who have just starting college.  There’s no way around it.  The kids will suffer. I’ve been feeling for a while…

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What Breast Cancer Can Not Destroy

Last year at this time I had a mammogram that changed everything.. and nothing at all. It was quite the process going through breast cancer. I’m reposting the blogs on breast cancer for the friends out there going through it this summer. Don’t forget to lean on us…

...because healing spreads

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I’ve taken a trip to hide.  My husband has business here intermittently, and having just had my breast removed because of cancer, he was not inclined to have us separated.  Me either, for that matter. There is a period of time after surgery where no fake part can be used to get out and about, because the wound is just too raw, and reconstruction immediately is not an option for me due to other health conditions.  I’d be looking like a freak, all bound in an ace, one still with me, and the other giant nothingness where something use to be.

Days have passed… weeks.  I’ve decided that though my breast is gone, some things have not changed. I’m not hiding anymore.  When I can ware the fake pad, I will.  When it’s too painful, I won’t.  When it slides to the middle of my chest and you stare at me……

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God Love

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This is a blog in response to a challenge by the Proverbs 31 Ministry on-line Bible Study to write my God love story. This is all about God. It is not all about the people – some kids, some strangers, a variety of people from a variety of places… who have said certain things and done certain things that have affected my life. In order to give a testimony, it requires some honest. I have been compelled to not give my testimony because it’s messy for myself and others around me. I realize, however, that in order to truly grasp God and his goodness, I not only must recall some of what has happened, but authentically share my journey. How can I pray for someone who struggles with embarrassing and troublesome issues while pretending I’ve been always intact. I have to tell some of the mess. Forgiveness is a first step in all healing. That, because of harm I’ve caused others myself, and the forgiveness granted me, has been granted many years ago. Words and phrases, many of them blend together, leaving it difficult to say who said what all those years ago. I have forgiven each one, all of whom are on growth paths of their own. Here’s to saying yes to God when He calls for something uncomfortable, because He is forever stretching us, and I trust Him.

“Oh be careful … For the Father up above is looking down in love”. I’m guessing a lot of us miss that “in love” part. Instead, the omnipresence of God has caused us to fear a God who peers down on every little naughty thing we’ve done, and keeps a record of it all. And yet, when leaving that eye doctor’s office, walking the narrow sidewalk up hill towards car, words telling me “You know you made up not being able to see, our eyes are fine, you know you can see!” “She likes getting attention”, that though face burned hot and throat tight, deep in some unspoken place, I felt God eyes through Heaven window watching me. Eyes that saw how hard eight-year-old eyes had tried to see those letters so that she would not be told she was trying to get attention. God from a distance seeing that I could not see, and deep in my heart knowing that God was glad I was brave enough to ware glasses, even though I hated making a scene by wearing the things. God eyes noticing when our family moved from a place we had known to a new place, and then to another new place. Seeing where I slept, knowing where my things were that my scattered self couldn’t seem to locate, helping me find them so many times. The depression so dark I cried when I saw my sisters playing in the yard below, knowing I would never play that way again, because of the unspoken change. Knowing no one would ever understand, as I didn’t even have words or ways to understand myself. Yet, beneath that blackish hell, a stirring in heart emerged that God eyes were on me holy-like, crying God eyes, not eyes that robbed and ripped and tore away at me. And knowing He saw me, it soothed the ache some.

I’m pretty sure that when Dad went looking for a place to park our trailer, God noticed the ice rink just beyond the trailer park, and picked out the place for my sisters and me. Crack the whip on winter days warmed up frozen heart. I picture God with beautiful smile wrinkles round them. A smile for the time he scooped us out of dark Alaska and placed us back in the green, lush, rich land of the Olympic Peninsula. A smile for the time we got to live on Grandma Lindquist’s farm a short while, Narcissa the donkey to wake us up each morn, irrigations ditches, little Andy and Goldie the dog, all a kid of 10 would want for the perfect life. A smile for every lovely thing, too many to mention, that He has planned out and delivered to my life.

God seeing the good and bad gave me the feeling of being understood, and gave me a sense of safety on a core level, even when I had no reason to feel either. God eyes, they saw the youth pastor that helped himself to more of my soul. From Heaven, God heard the words “It’s very interesting, he did this to you, but he never did anything to us, and we spent just as much time with him as you did” – this phrase repeated over and over. And because God was watching, He was aware of the implications of those words, and also knew the truth – and hung on tight. Year after year, more words that cut. “You’re nose flares when you laugh. Don’t flare your nose, that looks weird.” “Your hair is frizzy. Do something with it!” “Don’t laugh like that.” “Stop singing. Why do you think people want to hear you sing?” “You bounce when you walk, just walk normal!” “You have hair all over your back. That’s disgusting!!” On and on, they fly like shrapnel, creating recordings that still to this day want to play for me, even though I have a husband who tells me I am beautiful, and “I wish you could just see it, honey.”

And somehow, beyond the wounds that have healed and opened up again and again,and healed some more I feel God trying to catch my eye from far above me. From His high place. Catching my eye, that’s what He tries to do, I’ve noticed, so that I can see those beautiful God Eyes loving the flawed and screwed up me. Eyes that know all my weirdness, years of depression unable to shake no matter the hours spent praying and running and eating better, pulling out my own hair without realizing it, and, “Oh no, no eye brows”, missing hair on top head. The years of Bulimia, all the shame and hopelessness that entailed. Facial hair and hair all over my back and places it is not suppose to be because of PCOS. The decision to become a counselor. More words “You, a counselor! You are more screwed up than anyone I know!” Staring right at me, laughing, loud and long into my face. God eyes, seeing all, I feel Him proud of me Graduation Day, amidst the put down jokes about chosen degree and the disaster that is me. God and I walking the sacred halls of the ER, one room than another we have worked these holy visits together 18 years, now God and I in therapy sessions, side by side we treat broken beauties – people He has watched every year of their lives; deeply treasuring each one. We are not valuable to God because any one of us is admirable, but because God has been with us our whole life long, has seen what our life has been made of, and has not missed one thing. Love is not aligning ones self with another for ones own benefit. Love is God, who aligns Himself to me even though I make Him look bad. I love being loved by God.

Amelia

The Inheritance of Emotional Isolation

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What does it mean to crouch behind
A name that isn’t yours
Done changed the first one just enough for hiding
A date of birth, mostly the same, except for 10 years short
The lies –
like pebbles
in our shoes
we’re finding.

A Grandpa we thought ours alone
Still married to another
Abandoned darling wife and son,
And then there were the others
A daughter 8, and 6 and 4
This wife he’d never harm
Dark night they slept
Is when he left,
For some new set of arms.

As years they passed,
Wife looked for him –
Her girls – they had to eat
He’d hurry just a step ahead
Now working down the street
Then ‘cross the town
And round the bend
The changes helped him hide
He’d not be found, nor made to pay
“Won’t push ME to provide.”

Looking out for number one
His wife and girls – still waiting
Alias married well again
A beauty, Educated.

They had four children, he stayed on
It looked like he’d stopped running.
Yet could not sit and chat awhile
Required too much cunning.

The friendly sort, although he be
He kept his heart a distance
And one by one,
so did the generations.
Not knowing they were acting out
behaviors fit a cheat
Had mimicked walls that harm all good relations

What does it mean to crouch behind
A name that isn’t yours
Done changed the first one just enough for hiding
A date of birth, mostly the same, except for 10 years short
The lies –
like pebbles
in our shoes
we’re finding.

Amelia

P.S. “And the truth will set you free…”