Matching

She was taller than most of the girls her age. She stood, looking much like an elongated version of Cupid, dressed in a short-sleeved shirt of soft crimson paired with pale, pink shorts. She had rifled through the laundry basket earlier that morning in search of clean clothes and had emerged with these items–the only two clean articles of clothing her size in the house. (Though her germaphobe mother wouldn’t let her wear clothing more than once without washing, the mother did not have an affinity for household tasks such as laundry.)

The girl walked into her sixth grade open-concept classroom, where her eyes met with a fellow student and neighbor, *Kara. Kara was dressed in Guess jean shorts, with the trademark inverted triangle on the back pocket and a matching logo shirt in teal. Her eyes scanned the girl’s outfit and whispered something to their mutual friend, Sophia, who was the most popular person in sixth grade.

The girl didn’t know what to think, but she preceded to pull her social studies homework from her yellow Esprit bag and place it in the box on Mrs. Grammer’s desk.

The girl passed through her morning math (they were studying exponents) and language arts (where they were reading a short story by some old French author whose name she couldn’t pronounce). She even made her usual way through lunch, trading a Swiss Cake Roll for a Nutter Bar with her friend Melanie.

On the way back from lunch, the students had a few minutes before settling into their afternoon studies. The girl prepared her mind for work after the sleepiness that was beginning to take hold from digesting carbs and simple sugars, when Kara approached.

“Hey!”

The girl turned around, and her eyes met with Kara again.

“Don’t you know your clothes don’t match?”

The girl just shook her head slowly but moved her gaze over the crimson shirt and pale pink shorts. She shrugged. “I thought it looked okay.”

“Well, everyone knows that red and pink don’t match,” Kara responded, her voice filled with contempt at such a fashion faux pas.

The other students who surrounded them followed Kara into social studies, leaving the girl alone in the center of the four open-concept classrooms. She wished she could hide under a table, or better yet go home and change her clothing. She worked each day to find articles that could mix and match in an attempt to fit in with her other “cool” friends.

That day, she had failed.

Fear from that moment still covers her from time to time, like this morning when her nine-year-old descended the stairs pairing a yellow-and-green-striped sock with an orange zebra one. She feels it when her older daughter, an echo of herself (though with much more wisdom and much less boy-craziness) stands with the trendy half-tuck in a monochrome blue ensemble. She wishes she did not carry the weight of that burden, one she has yet to share with the world.

Maybe one day she will learn.

*Names have been changed.

Advertisements

Ode to the Washing Machine

I’m sad to let you go…

We’ve seen hours of work together, you and I
I count you among my closest friends

You came into my life when I was expecting my first child
Since then, we’ve worked together, preparing and cleaning clothing for
Many who followed.

You’ve seen me through infant twins
(and all their laundry).

You’ve been strong through it all
Stalwart, faithful

(Except for the time you broke, and then broke again)
YouTube was our lifesaver, yours and
Mine

I couldn’t count the loads we’ve carried
Together.

Now, as we part ways, I feel sadness
Mixing with gratitude

Your replacement is new and shiny, with fancy
Lights and buttons, innovative settings and a computer chip

But I will miss you.

Thank you.

Random Thoughts

I used to listen to Matchbox 20 on Mix 106 out of Tavares, FL before they were picked up by a label.

I don’t really have any memories before age 5…and very few specific memories between 5 and 15.

I only find myself singing when I am really, truly happy.

I’m working on self-confidence.

I liked alternative music when it was still called progressive.

I have several children.

I love to paint but rarely do it.

I love to bake and do that more often than I should.

I like the rain when the air is warm.

I hate wearing shoes but love my heels, platforms, and wedges.

I adore my husband.

I LOVE sunshine.

I would sleep in some days if my family life would permit it.

I like to exercise.

I thrive on progress.

I love to study, write, and discuss myriad topics.

I believe in God as a loving, caring, forgiving Being who is in the details of our lives.

I’m learning to like myself.

I’m trying to be happy where I am.

I have lots of love for others.

I like to help people.

I believe that I can see my family forever, even after death, in another more peaceful existence.

🙂

Home

This new video/song from The Piano Guys touched my spirit this morning.


Watching it brought to mind many phrases which talk about home.  Among some of the more familiar are sayings such as, “home is where the heart is” or “be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.” Even the precious Dorothy had power to click her ruby-slippered heels while saying, “There’s no place like home” to be transported back to her beloved Kansas.


photo credit

Through these thoughts, I began to question what the idea of home really means to me. Is home a physical place? Is it a feeling? Is it an entity all in itself that defies but embodies place, time, or feeling?


photo credit

I was born into a home on the east coast of the United States. When I was less than ten years old, our family changed houses (but not cities). I was concerned that I was leaving the familiarity of all I knew up to that point and all I connected with home. Though I was taking my loved ones and toys, my clothing and other belongings with me, I was leaving Pepto-Bismol pink walls of a room where I had slept since I could remember. I worried that my life would change. (And it did.) But I still had a “home.”


photo credit

Years later, our family relocated to another state. The culture was different; the surroundings were surreal. Still, I came to call that place home.


photo credit

As I have moved many more times throughout my life–both as a child and as an adult, I have developed a new definition of the word home. Home doesn’t mean toys or a blanket or pink walls or even a particular city or state to me anymore. I have learned that home is acceptance, friendship, faith, connection, comfort, peace, and love…wherever this path of life may lead.

The Ring

As he slid the metallic, hollow circle over my knuckle, I was surprised how comfortable it felt on a finger which had been naked for so long.  Thin band of white gold with a solitaire in the center.  Had time passed so quickly since David died, or was I just really ready to take this step?  Four years is an eternity to sleep alone after being together for what felt like a lifetime…but maybe seventeen years is just a drop in the bucket of lifetimes…?

“How does it feel?”

I looked up from watching the light catch the facets of the diamond and into his eyes, realizing I was probably lost in thought again.  I really didn’t mean to be so distracted.  He was so gentle, so caring.  So different from David in stature and mannerisms, but so similar in personality.  Perhaps that was the attraction.  That, and the children seemed amenable to him.

After David’s death, I invested the insurance money, bought a house, and worked on web designing and social media marketing to make ends meet.  I resisted the desire to date, the desire for touch, the desire for noise in the quiet of my bedroom without the snoring sound David once made while lost in dreams.

Sometimes, in that same quiet of night, I would scream silently into a pillow…David’s pillow.

On the year anniversary of his death, I threw it out with the trash.  Not that I didn’t want to remember him…but I always said that a year was long enough to mourn.

My body felt it, too.  I would watch sappy rom-coms to feel connected to love, to life, to relationships.  But I wanted touch.  I wanted my bed to be warm during the cold Wisconsin winters.  I wanted someone to take my hand as we walked into a store together.

And, he had done those things…except for the bed.  My bed is still cold.  We agreed, because of the children, to wait.  I wanted them to continue their moral education, and no matter how much I longed for him, we set boundaries.  And I knew I would never forgive myself if I crossed them.

“Babe?”

I had done it again…wandered in and out of thoughts, of memories.  I wondered, if I am creating a new reality with him, here, now, why can’t I get my mind out of the past?  The feelings flooded more freely lately, like a deluge of emotion I never saw swimming in a sea of obligatory, perfunctory actions.

But this was right.  I knew it.

And as I looked up at him again, I said, “Right.  It feels right.”

Celebrating Friendship and Birthdays

from here

So, I made a Spotify playlist for a friend in celebration of her upcoming birthday…and I was wondering if I could post it here…so I’ve been experimenting.  And I don’t know how to do that yet.  I guess you’ll have to enjoy the songs on my Favs playlist on the sidebar….

Do you have traditions that you do for friends on their birthdays?  Do you wish them well via email, text, FB message or wall post?  Do you blog or create a slide show of your memorable times together?  How do you show them that you love them on the commemoration of the day they entered this world?

I don’t have a set way to gift my friends…and the miles that separate me from some of the dearest friends in my life prohibit me from actively doing more (like a visit, balloons, etc.)…but I do like to do something to show I care.

Like make a playlist.  Because sometimes music says “thanks for all the memories” in ways that I cannot with words…and I am a writer.

🙂

Flags

I walked into the almost empty room, noting the somber expressions on once-familiar faces, and moved toward Joan, who had already taken her place by our son.

I took my steps carefully through the aisle, shaking a few hands along the way, until I reached for Joan’s freshly-lotioned hand and felt her squeeze mine back gently.  I wondered if she took strength from me or gave it back.

Then I saw him.  I would like to say that our eyes met, but his were, of course, closed.  I placed my hand gently on his chest, ran my fingers down his tie as if to straighten it like I did when he was about twelve years old.

I could see us then, in front of the mirror at the old house by the lake, getting ready for Easter Sunday service.  Joan and I had taken him to purchase his first real suit and tie, and I stood behind him and helped him learn the way to cross one end over the other and secure a Double Windsor knot.  I taught him how to tuck the tail into his shirt as it was a little longer than needed.  “Our secret,” I smiled as I put my finger to my lips and shared a laugh with him.

I wondered who had tied his tie today.

Joan looked over to me and dabbed my eye with a small, white handkerchief.

The caretaker…or whatever he was called…walked over toward us and quietly whispered, “Are you ready?”

Joan nodded for both of us, and I pulled my hand away from his tie, letting my fingers brush his cool hands.  She stood by and held me around my waist, and I again wondered if her actions were for her benefit or my own.  We took a step back together to make space for the man, and he carefully closed the top of the casket.  Joan turned her face into my shoulder to muffle the sobbing sound coming from inside her.

The man placed familiar fabric over the top, a perfect stitching of white, blue, and the color of my son’s blood, spilt in the name of freedom.

Nineteen really is too young to die.