Please excuse me as I have had yet another epiphany of sorts. I know that I tend to use that word a lot and so actually looked it up because I wanted to make sure that I was using it correctly today and I was. The definition I was looking for was: A moment of sudden revelation or insight.
I spent the afternoon with my mother in law the other day. She is in a place in her life of wanting to minimize her “stuff” and is getting rid of a ton of “treasures” she has accumulated throughout her lifetime. It has come at an opportune time for me because I have just begun to learn about antiques and vintage items through my daughter who has recently introduced milk glass and bone china to me because the next show I am in called, Remnants. So it has been a kind of rushed course in all things vintage, shabby chic and collectible.
In the end, it wasn’t just about picking up boxes. Or about just going through “stuff” but more about reliving with my mother in law the history behind each piece.
It seems as if I am always feeling pinched for time. (In my last post, I talked about how I feel as if time is rushing by.) But this particular afternoon I stopped to really listen to all the stories attached to each thing. Even the remnants of material had stories of what she made from them and where she purchased them (several things in Europe.) I could envision her as a young wife and mother choosing these things for her perfect home. And because she invested a lot of time and money in these items I have had to research them all. There was one vintage piece that is worth well over $500.00 that I might have put a $40 price on! So I guess I have to really slow way down and educate myself a lot more than I figured. And have since realized that I may have to take even more time than I figured on and find markets other than a remnants show for some of her more valuable treasures!
Ever since I met her, I could see that she painstakingly cared for everything. Her family, her home, all sooo cared for by her. Though… When I was younger I reluctantly am ashamed to say that I may have judged her a little for having or “needing” all the “finer things.” But as I’ve grown to know her, I have grown to love her and realize that all she has ever wanted is the best, not for herself necessarily but for her loved ones and suddenly on that day, I realized I was blessed enough to be one of them. All of her choices, whether in planning a meal, setting a table or planning a vacation has always been with us in mind. Wanting to create a special memory. And so as we sat through the remnants of her life, I realized that it’s not about the money, or the “stuff” it’s always just been about the love.
A child is supposed to feel safe. And yet if that is the case, why are so many adults in therapy? Some people had wonderful childhoods and were raised with caring and loving parents who taught them right from wrong, others had good parents and comfortable childhoods and their parents made mistakes but did the best they could. And still, others had horrific childhoods and terrible parents and seem perfectly fine. And yet all of these people have one thing in common. An inner child who is still there.
Recently, I have gone through a process of recognizing my inner child. She is the one who doesn’t trust because those who she trusted hurt her. She is the one who was never allowed to talk about her anger and so she learned how to lash out. She is the one who always wanted a voice, and now speaks too loudly sometimes. She is the one who felt so out of control most of her life, so that now she needs to control EVERTYTHING!. She is the one who was disappointed and so only sees the negative in things so she will never be disappointed again.
Ahhh, that feels so negative. It really isn’t. My inner child remembers the great things too. She loves to learn and organize and create and run and laugh and play. She has a special handful of friends that she trusts with her life and would do anything for. She always looks forward to a good time. She is in there too, all of her. Experiences and memories, Lessons and moments, all moving her along like editing a motion picture.
Stop and close your eyes and find your inner child. Who is he or she, really? If we all got a chance to go back and meet each other’s inner children, and really understand where the guy who cut you off on the freeway or the back stabbing, coworker at work first began, perhaps maybe we would have more compassion for all of them.
The little girl who was always worried that her Daddy wouldn’t get home safely because of his drinking, the little boy who felt brushed aside because his mother was too busy getting ready to go out. The kid who always heard fighting and never knew when the next explosion would take place. The little step son who never could do anything right, the kid who always waited for his dad to show up when each time he never did.Always lonely, always worried, always brushed aside, feeling unimportant, abandoned, the one who started out not fitting into his own family, always seeking the perfect place where he could feel as if he belonged. The little girl who had to grow up fast because she wasn’t allowed to be the child. Always fixing, always nurturing. Always performing, and yet she was just a little girl, but today not quite a grown up.And yet the parents that did come through, the other family members who stepped up to the plate when they were needed most, the friends and mentors, the teachers, the ones who gave them a voice, the protectors and rescuers, of those who were lucky enough to have them, all MADE A DIFFERENCE.
Today, if we look inside of ourselves, we all can find a piece of that child still lingering inside. Perhaps if we all reached out to just one child we recognized as hurting, and began mentoring instead of criticizing, hugging instead of scolding, teaching instead of berating, sharing with instead of rushing away, we might just break the cycle and begin to lead the way, to find the children and to become the protector, the mentor and the difference maker, in a way that helps lead the child inside of them to a place where we all can grow up and be someone else’s hero. Because…. all of those children eventually grow up to remember the difference makers in their own lives and hopefully, someday, will grow up to become somebody else’s hero, who someday they will remember made a difference in their life and keep the cycle going as they pay it forward and become a hero.
My Dad is the one squatting with all his friends surrounding him It is crazy how much my son looks like him here.
My dad used to always play the guitar and sing to me…. I think he knew all of five songs! One of them was: “Winston tastes good like a cigarette should” from the commerical. He used to tease me all the time.
My dad and me 50 years ago ~
He never felt comfortable going to church or getting his pictures taken… You can tell he wasn’t too thrilled here.
I do remember he came to church when I got Baptized. After he died I prayed for God to give me a peace about knowing he was indeed saved and with The Lord… and at that very moment I found the sweetest letter my dad had written in the Air Force about God to my mom. Isn’t God great?!
My dad and I at the County Fair
I was so happy here… little did I know I’d lose my dad only five years later…
I remember getting the phone call on the day that my dad died. It was that kind of surreal unexpected horrific “Kennedy moment” that I will never forget. Heart attacks are like that. They are filled with unsaid goodbyes and conversations that ache to be finished even three decades later. The one thing that I will always have is the way that my Daddy loved my writing. He always encouraged it and believed in me. One of his last letters to me mentioned it and in the end, written words from me were my last connection with him.
My dad died July 9, 1983. My son had just turned 3 and barely had a chance to know his papa but I remember how tickled my dad was when he taught him to play pacman and his 3 year old grandson got to BABY PACMAN! And I am so that he never got to meet my daughter who was not yet born, though I do have an inkling that he might have hand chosen her in heaven if God lets dads do that kind of thing! There was just so many things I still wanted to say to my dad but it was too late. Today it is funny to think that I am now older than my dad was when he died. You’d think I would have learned the life lesson about goodbyes and always doing it in love. I guess that may be the reason that I tend to try to say “I love you” every time I say goodbye now.
I’d been a Daddy’s girl as I was growing up. He was the one who used to take me shopping for school clothes every year. It is strange now but I don’t remember my mom ever going clothes shopping with me. I guess because it was OUR thing, my daddy’s and mine. We had a great relationship. He was the one I’d talk to about boys and the one in my life that I cared most about not disappointing or always wanting to make him proud. He had the kind of quiet integrity that in the end, filled up the chapel to standing room only where his services were held.
When our Pastor asked us if there was something I’d like him to talk about regarding my dad, I remembered that I’d written him a Father’s Day card a few weeks earlier. So I ran up to see if I could find it. Sure enough he’d saved it in the drawer by his bedside. I will always be grateful that I had the chance to give him this last message…. I know he didn’t just read it once. It still comforts me that I know he knew even without a poem. But in memory of today and him I wanted to share it with “YOU” my friends here today. This one is for you Daddy!
No one could ever fill the shoes I once put over mine,
lost within your slippers, my feet were hard to find.
Yes, your overwhelming presence was felt within your shoes…
A feeling so great, though I’m grown, I know I’ll never lose.
Each night when you’d walk in the door from working hard all day,
a security would fill me up and push all my cares away.
And though I’m now a mother with a small one of my own
I’ll always look back upon the days before I was fully grown…
And when I’m with him on the beach, sometimes it brings to mind
stepping within your footprints as I’d follow close behind
I pray that now that I’m the one followed by little feet
I’ll leave half the footprints I found within your feet.
This is my 100th post. The one I have talked about many times before. The one that is supposed to be the milestone that inspires me to finish my book I have had in waiting…. I thought that it would be the perfect post to…. honor somene who inspires me daily…
She was born March 3rd in 1934. My grandfather was a machinist and my grandma stayed at home, being a mom. My mom was the apple of her parent’s eye. Blonde and full of life.
When my mom was six years old, “polio” was a dreaded word, feared by all. There was an outbreak of it, right in their own neighborhood in Seattle. My grandma was especially careful trying to keep her little family far from any germs, staying away from public places and washing everything. One day her neighbor asked them to go on a picnic to the lake, explaining that they would stay far away from people. My grandma reluctantly agreed and as they were unpacking their lunch all the kids went exploring, and accidentally knocked down an old hornets nest. My mom was stung where ever her little sunsuit did not cover. They rushed her to the lake and placed mud all over her wounds. shortly after, she came down with polio. It could have been a number of things that led to her contracting the terrible disease. The stings, the mud, or the trip on the bus downtown a few days later when her resistance was low. Who knows. It doesn’t really matter now. (Though I will always be puzzled about why they went on a bus ride downtown, right smack in the middle of people~ with all those germs, but… Oh well…)
My mom on her way to school. (Her crutches are laying in the background)
The fact is that her life was changed forever. Her childhood was taken from her, the life she was meant to have was as well. And yet she learned to walk again where the doctors predicted a life of being paralized. She had horrendous surgeries, a bone taken from her leg, to straighten her back, a body cast for a year, and then later as she learned to walk again, cruel and clueless kids, stealing her crutches as she walked to school. And yet, she has fallen in love and been married twice in her lifetime.
I’ve always loved this one of my mom! She looks so happy as if her whole life was ahead of her!
She has been a successful artist and a wonderful mother. From an early age, she would sit me up on the counter and let me help… pouring in the ingredients and stirring it with a spoon, always remembering to let me smell the vanilla and stir up my own concoction of “something.” I am sure that is WHY I love to bake!… she has been a wonderful grandma and the best memory maker you could ever ask for!
One year my mom, found Winnie the Pooh (Always my favorite) blow up characters as party favors at my 8th birthday party! Every party she threw was more special than the year before. (She always out did herself!
She is in a lot of pain a lot of the time and I guess I never really understood much of it, until I got to an age when it was a little harder for me to get up in the morning and I began having the usual aches and pains that come with getting older. And I know, I only experience an inkling of a crumb of a speck of what she experiences daily and has for a long, long, time.
When I was younger, I hate to admit that I hated her polio stories. In fact, I’ve hated the number six all of my life because that was the age my mom got polio. I hated that she complained about her aches and pains and that she couldn’t do as much as I wanted her to. To attend my school functions and walk long distances. Funny, how selfish we are as kids. Now it is as if I have different glasses on, (I actually do! Recently having to finally give in to getting a REAL pair due to old age!) I can see more clearly. She is actually a hero for doing so much. She did art shows for years. With my dad’s help. And then ours, when I was able to drive. We all pitched in to help set her up and break down at her shows. My dad was so tickled as she obtained a following of faithful customers. She always made sure that we went to church every Sunday, even though my dad only would go on very special occassions… Easter mainly. Oh yeah and when I got baptized… smile.
Today, my mom has survived a lot. Polio was just the begining. My sister was in a horrific car accident and my mom would drive an hour a day to go see her. Sometimes twice. She did not give up when the doctors told her to not hold out too much hope. She prayed and talked to her, until she came out of her coma and worked with her until she was able to live a pretty normal life. A few years later, my dad died of a heart attack jogging around the block, she was the one who found him. When you add it all up, she has not had an easy life. And yet she has proven that she is who she is because of surviving it all. And she has survived.
The thing about my mom is she has always had faith. She always believed that God had a plan. She never gave up. After my dad died, she began reaching out to hurting people in way of cards that she wrote in the form of letters, adding different scripture verses that pertained to what each person was individually going through at the time. They say Elizabeth Barrett Browning is in our ancestory somewhere and I don’t doubt it~ and so we write. That’s just what we do. My mom does it, I do it, my daughter does it. It’s just in our blood!
A few years after my dad died, she reached out to an old childhood friend at my grandmother’s suggestion, with one of those letters right after his wife died. He ended up coming for a visit.
They have been happily married for almost three decades.
So you see, even though life handed her some big obstacles, she always rose above them and God blessed her for it. The lesson she has taught me and many others through out her life is that God is a God of MIRACLES and that nothing is too big for HIM. Not the opinion of a doctor or the diagnosis they may give, or the closing of a door. She has taught me that there is always a door to open somewhere, not too far down the road.
I don’t always tell her often enough but I am proud of her and she is one of my biggest heroes and best friends.
Stories about family, faith, friends and funnies. Pull up a chair. Grab a cup of coffee and laugh, cry, ponder and inspire about ordinary events of this wonderful, ever changing, bubbling pot that we call "every day life".