Who does that?

Just got off the phone with dad.  His voice was all mine (that’s the way he rolls).  His words were my comfort: warm, thoughtful and always laced with concern.  I appreciate him, and told him so.

As we were saying our goodbyes he told me he loved me and then, “Hey babes, thanks for keeping in touch.”  He appreciates me too.

I never had much for role models in the parenting department growing up, but my dad rocked!  All the others ducked out when they had something else they needed to do with their lives.  My dad didn’t even meet me until I was twelve, but he willingly stepped in, cleaned up their mess, and then stuck around to ensure I was loved, cared for.

Who does that?  I so appreciate him.

He’s always so positive too.  Spent nine lonely years after mom passed away.  Then, he met Diane.  Said they were just sitting there tonight, listening to music, having a nice conversation when I called.  How cool is that?  At 82 and 76, they have fallen in love.

Who does that?  I hope Diane knows how much I appreciate her.

Took my son to dinner tonight.  He’s sixteen, and very much a young man, but he will always be my little boy.  He has pretty girls he could be sitting across from, and I am sure he’d much rather be having dinner with them.  He sat across from me tonight.  Made me laugh.

What teenage boy does that?  Hope he knows I appreciate him.

My daughter sees me cry.  I try to keep that stuff to myself, but sometimes I let her know I am human.  One day she will need to cry too, and she will need to know it’s okay.  Sometimes, she sees me when I am weak, and when I am weary of being me; sometimes, she sees when I am selfish and worn and short tempered.  She sees the imperfect me, and loves me anyway, and often assures me with a hug, “You’re the best mom, ever.”  Makes me wanna be a better mom.

What teenage girl does that?  Hope she knows I appreciate her.

Ran into an old friend outside the grocery store today.  She was on her phone, so I smiled and waved.  She hung up quickly and said, “Wait!  I wanna give you a hug!”   That made me smile.  We moved inside from the rain, and chatted till we both felt caught up.  Been a rough year for her too.  I reminded her to take care of herself:  when they ask you out, say yes.  Let yourself sit across from a man who thinks you’re beautiful, and when you find someone who thinks you are wonderful, let him kiss you.  We  lifted each other up over a ten minute conversation in the produce section.  She left smiling.

Who does that?  Friends do that.

I hope she knows how much I appreciate her friendship.

That was my day, today.

Not every day is filled with a present awareness of the blessings in our lives, but I can tell you this:  yesterday I was so lonely I ached, and I found myself questioning so many of my choices in life.  Even though I have made progress with my depression, sometimes it sneaks up on me and knocks me off my feet.  Literally.  I couldn’t get out of bed.

Woke up this morning vowing to appreciate today.  Now I am writing about it.  Who knows?  Maybe someone will read this, someone who is struggling, and maybe just maybe their thoughts will shift?

How cool would that be?

Thank you, to all of you for making time in your busy lives to read my words, and for your continued interest in my humble perspective on life and living.  You help me by giving me a place to put my “stuff”.

Who does that?  Fortunately, you do!

I hope you know I so appreciate all of you!!

 

TRUTH and LOVE

Then they told me carrying twins would be too hard on my kidneys.  They suggested I abort one or both of my babies.  I learned right then,                        I would die for my children.

————————

TRUTH

When my kids were little I used to “tuck them in with kisses”.

After bath, stories and prayers, I’d get them all settled in bed.  Then, sit down beside them on the edge of the mattress, lean over and cover their sweet faces in kisses:  first atop a damp forehead, next on a chin that smelled like toothpaste, then, each cheek scrubbed pink received a peck too.  Finally, my lips would land on the tip of an adorable shiny nose.  Afterward, I’d inch myself up just a bit, inhale a deep lungful of yumminess, and declare with gratitude and a smile,   “Today was another great day, wasn’t it?!”

My baby girl (who has always been a glass half-full kinda child) would gleefully grab hold of my face, pull it down close to her own, and plop a wet loud smooch on each of my cheeks proclaiming loftily, “Yes!  It was great!  Thank you for a wonderful-spectacular day!”

My baby boy (who was a poet and didn’t know it) would respond to my question with a giggly, “Uh-huh!”  and then he’d pull me close and ask, “Can I have cheek-lovings, mommy?”  Happily, I’d lean over and caress his soft little boy cheek with my mommy cheek.  He’d smile.

One night he held my face a moment longer, “Mommy, you are so pretty.  Your skin is like white velvet.  And your freckles?  God gave you one new freckle every time you were kind to someone.”  He was eleven when he said that.  Melt.

When people hear my story, my struggle to get my kids here, they understand the reason I longed to be a mom, yet they still often asked, “But how did you know you’d be okay?”

I didn’t know for sure how it would all turn out.  How could I?

I’m not a prophet, but I do get these feelings.  People tell me I’m an intuit.  Maybe that’s my gift?   I do see things–images that pertain to my present and my future; possibilities of great wonder and delight, sometimes easy to achieve, but more often in the form of challenges, that appear in my mind all the time; visions that may seem like delusions of grandeur to some.  To me, they are my truth.

I trust them.

There were many doubting Thomas’s along the way though; baby doctors, kidney doctors, family members, even some friends.  My own grandmother was mad at me.  So mad, she stopped writing me.  That was the one and only time I ever remember her truly angry with me.

My aggressive approach to such an inconceivable sacrifice was something my gram never understood, nor accepted.  Even though she had gotten close to her oldest daughter later in life, the cold hard truth was this:  motherhood had never brought her any kind of joy.

I can remember trying to appeal to a love I knew she was capable of, “Gram, I want to know the kind of love you known.”  She shot back, “I wouldn’t have any of my kids again, if I had a choice.  Not a damn one.”

Fear of losing me, had made her livid.  It was her grandkids that knew her heart; that she valued.   We were the ones that had seen her capacity to care.  Her daughters had come too early in her life, and the constant struggle to raise them; the memory of being stretched beyond her abilities, had only brought disappointment–theirs and hers.  I knew she loved her girls, but reliving that, was more than she could imagine enduring..

I got that.  But that was her truth.  Not mine.

Once in awhile, I did wonder if I was in denial, but then I’d revert back to my instincts; that confident drive that got me out of poverty.  My  purpose in life, my will to be and do was so fierce… at first it was survival that I strove for, then it became success.   Spent the next year getting my kidneys stable, and then we tried for babies…

“Did you feel your egg fertilize?”

I looked at my husband confused, and then back at the young woman we had just met an hour before and asked, “Is that even possible?”  Neither one of us had any idea what she was talking about.

It was 1998.  We were at a Valentine’s party, chatting.

Everyone there knew we were going through fertility treatments.  The different responses to our efforts at making a baby were remarkable. When I mentioned to my friends in Hollywood we were trying for a baby, I got the same question every time, “Already?  You’re only 30!”

Most of my friends in the film and television industry (that are around my age) still have younger children today.  Its such an unpredictable, time consuming industry, we all put off having kids for as long as we could.  Many didn’t even start their families until they hit their forties.

In Orange County though, everyone I knew already had two or three kids by the time they were thirty.  When we ran into them, the question often asked was,  “You guys ever gonna have kids?”

With my IGA diagnosis, my answer to everyone became a resolved, “Yes!”

I had actually gotten pregnant once, but I lost it pretty early on, over Thanksgiving.   I knew it before the doctors too.  I could feel the energy, that life force within me, simply evaporate during dinner.  It was that quick.  Poof.  Gone.

I mourned privately, until the doc confirmed my suspicions a week later with a blood test.   He was stunned at how well I knew my body.

After that, I was sorta devastated and became very determined in my resolve:  this was my last attempt.

For three years, I had cried, and prayed, and cried some more.  I took every avenue I heard of to realize my dream of becoming a mother; of finding a reason to live, to love, with all my heart.  All my efforts were shot down time and time again, with one monthly white dip stick soaked in negative bitter disappointment.

In a desperate plea for sanity, I told myself (and all who asked), I just couldn’t go through another discouraging result.  My kidneys were doing okay, and if this last insemination didn’t take, I vowed to return to work in Hollywood, and forget about having a family forever.  

Put it behind me.

Don’t know why she walked over to me at the Valentine’s party that night, or why she offered advice, but people do that in my world, and I had learned to listen, “You would have felt cramping in the area where your ovaries are.”  I did laugh out loud at the absurdity.   What?  She continued in ernest, “It’s true!  If you pay attention, you can feel your egg fertilizing.”

A sudden rush of heat covered my face, as I glanced down in reverent awe at my belly.  Then, as if testifying, I appealed for confirmation, “I felt cramping…TWICE!…two nights in a row.  Woke me up!  Once on this side, and last night it was this side.  I even told Juan, if I was pregnant, I thought it meant I had lost it.”  and then, in stunned disbelief I implored, “Do you really think I am pregnant?!”

The young woman reached out, put her hand on my arm, gave it a squeeze of excitement, and nodded with absolute confidence,     “With TWINS!”.

My life is so weird.  Nothing ever happens in a normal way.  Why should making a baby be any different?   I went home that night believing it was a possibility though… and a week later I had proof.

Again, my fertility doctor was unnerved at how well I knew my body.

“Yep!  You’re pregnant!”

 

LOVE

We didn’t officially know it was twins though until later.  We didn’t even know it was a baby until after the doctor called…

Told Juan, “The doctor is gonna call and let us know how the blood test turned out.  Don’t let the phone go to the machine–answer it when it rings!  Okay?!”  (Yes, I have trust issues).

Went out and made my deliveries to the local hospitals and came home to flowers and two little balloons–one pink and one blue!

There was no way of knowing THAT for sure at the time, but as soon as I saw those balloons I knew, “Twins!”  I can till remember my hand reaching for my belly.   I loved them both.  Instantly.

Juan jumped in quickly, “What?  Wait, no!  I didn’t know what it’s gonna be, boy or a girl,  so I just got both.”  Didn’t matter.  It was just another sign we were having two babies.  I could feel it.

Then my brother in law walked in from the garage (he worked for us) and said, “Hey, I heard the good news!  Congratulations!!!”

I looked at Juan in disbelief, “You told your BROTHER before you told ME ?!”

Idiot.  But I digress.

Spent the next three months absolutely euphoric.  Then, morning sickness came and didn’t leave for five solid weeks.   At five months pregnant, I laid on my back and you could see my hipbones protruding through my skin.  No baby bump at all.  I had lost eleven pounds in one month, and continued to keep nothing down.

Tried to get through the castle guards at my OBGYN but they kept saying throwing up was normal.  This was NOT normal.  Took that big book of pregnancy everyone has and self diagnosed myself with Hyperemesis.  Then, through tears of defeat, I called them back and threatened something awful.  The doctor saw me within the hour, “You have hyperemesis.”  A tear of relief ran down my face, “I know.”  He caressed my arm and apologized for his staff.  I spent six days in St. Joseph’s.  Doritos and tuna fish sandwiches brought me back to life.

After that I was peachy…

till my kidneys started to revolt.  And the Braxton Hicks kicked in.  Put me on strict bed rest for two months, and I stayed there the entire time, except when I had my two to three doctor appointments a week (kidney, baby, kidney, baby…).  It was grueling.  But my love for that image I had in my head, of two healthy babies, made me obedient.

They monitored my contractions twice a day remotely, and phone calls came in frequently, insisting I gorge on protein four times a day.  My belly was growing, which was good, but both my doctors were getting concerned.  The protein in my urine was spilling in huge numbers.

“I need to offer you an alternative to carrying these babies to full term.”  My baby doc was the best around, and I trusted him.  He was now telling me my pregnancy had gone from high risk to potentially dangerous.  But I still didn’t understand what he was suggesting?

“It’s called selective reduction.  We go in and reduce the pregnancy by one baby.  There is a risk the other may not make it in the process…”

I laid there stunned.  Couldn’t get my head around what he just proposed.  All I could say was, “Abort one of my babies?”

I couldn’t summon even one drop of grace at that moment.  Sometimes, you can’t.  The real world is too much.   My doctor said what he had taken an hippocratic oath to say, what he had to say.  So I said what I had to say, I let my truth speak:

“You know that’s not an option for me.”  And I left.

Reality set in when I got home, and I sobbed for a week.  Late one night, I woke up to the moon shining brightly in our bedroom window.  We had a beautiful tree just beyond the glass and the wind was gently swaying the leaves back and forth.  Looking up at nature’s beauty, a peace washed over me.  I wasn’t going to cry anymore.

I decided trying to control my future, their future, was an exercise in futility.  Love brought us this far, and love will get us to where we need to be.  Women die every day in childbirth.  I wasn’t naive.  I just surrendered to knowing I had done all I could, and had to accept the outcome either way.  If my babies made it and I didn’t, then my purpose in life was to bring them into the world.  Period.

What greater honor?

God had this.  I could feel it.  I knew all I needed to do was believe in my TRUTH and in my LOVE.   Sixteen years later, I am happy to say,     I was right.  <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THEN

THEN

Read a post on Facebook yesterday of a young man in his thirties, hoping for a kidney.  He has IGA Nephropathy.  Not sure why his post was even on my feed, as we aren’t friends, but I stopped up short anyway, and read his story–because I too have IGA.

Although just fifteen when diagnosed, he was fortunate and has already received one transplant.  Lived a full life too in his twenties, even getting married and having kids.  But now, in his thirties, his new kidney is failing him, and his name is still far down on the donor list.  He knows his time is limited.  I could see the surrender in his eyes.

I was 29 when the doctor told me to go home and wrap things up. Just a routine blood test, and snap!  Nothing else mattered.

Stunned.  Disbelief.  Denial.  Couldn’t get my head around it.

I felt fine!  How could I be sick?

But that day, twenty years ago, I knew as my eyes searched out the foreign scary numbers listed on my blood results, I knew with certainty, they were just too high to be ignored.

Normal output is almost undetectable.  In fact, for anyone with healthy kidneys the random amount of protein in the urine is anywhere between 15 mg  to 150 mg.  My count was 2000 mg.

Yeah.  Deep sigh.

So I made an appointment with a Nephrologist.

I had stopped working in Hollywood a few months before to help my husband get our company on its feet.  Technically, we were both unemployed, but my union at Paramount Studios was so good, I had clocked in 18 months worth of continued health coverage (even after I quit) due to all my overtime.  It was excellent coverage too.         Thank God.

I didn’t stop there.  This was before everyone had a personal computer in their home, on their lap, in their phone, or even at the office.  We did have a CompUSA and a Best Buy in Fullerton though, that kindly lent me use of their internet to search my symptoms and treatment.  I felt guilty when I returned to each store a second time, but the salesmen knew what I was doing and encouraged me to have at it.  (More names for my Love List!)

Stumbling around at first, I was hesitant to push a wrong button, log onto some unknown website, click on the wrong icon (don’t think I even knew the word icon).  Didn’t take long (and with some guidance) before I was getting pretty adept at using these new amazing tools called search engines.  Couldn’t print anything out though, so I took a notepad and pen and scribbled the hours away.  I absorbed so much, but I found I needed to know more, to keep busy until my doctor appointment, and the old-school girl in me was drawn to the library.  I’d check out heavy encyclopedias and scour the pages for answers.  After two weeks, I was beginning to feel somewhat empowered–or at the very least, informed.  Knowledge really is power.

And then I met with a doctor, and all my hopes were dashed.

He introduced himself, read my test results and gave me the bad news.  “You have a kidney disease.  I’ll need to do a biopsy, but I’ve been doing this for years, and I already know this is not good.”

The years of giving bad news, terminal prognoses, had taken their toll.  He looked weary.  I would have felt sorry for him if he hadn’t been so mean.  In fact, his cold arrogance fueled a desperation in me that almost pulled me off the chair, but good manners kept me seated, and I summoned up my one drop of grace (and a good dose of courage) and stuttered through what I considered a logical fair question…

“Wait.  I’ve been reading-doing my own research-and shouldn’t you, maybe we can, don’t you think we should wait for the biopsy results?”  I was afraid of him, but I was more afraid of dying.   He ignored me.

I waited until he finished with my chart and finally exasperated, I asked, “Can you tell me if there is anything I can do in the mean time to help myself?”

Slowly he glanced down at me, and with a wave of peeved dismissal said, “I’ll tell you what you need to know, when you need to know it.”  I left there in tears.

For most of my life I’ve known I was on my own.  I only remember being taken to a doctor once with my gram–and that was because it was required to enroll me in school (and she was a nurses aid).  My foster mother took me because she had to report back to social services that I had indeed had my check ups.  I do remember her clearly being put out when I came home with a plantar wart on the bottom of my foot and it had to be removed.  But nobody at home (wherever that happened to be) taught me about my body.

I was educated on the inner workings of the human body at school, in the sixth grade, and I gathered how the outer body worked through simple osmosis, after years of sharing a motel room with my parents.  When I became an adult, I went for my first female exam at 19, because I had heard from a friend at work that I should.  I went alone, and that’s how I figured out how I should proceed to care for my body in the future.  No one else had a conversation with me about any of it.  Ever.

I arrived home in tears that day after my heartbreaking, frustrating appointment second guessing myself–maybe I was asking too much?  He was the doctor after all.  But I had no frame of reference to draw from.  I was lost and didn’t know where to turn.

I had never asked Juan for help like that, and he never offered.  I think by then I was just so used to not leaning on anyone, and he naturally followed my lead.  But this was too much.  “Can you go with me and see if maybe it’s me?  I just want information, but he is acting like I’m a child. ”  Juan said, “Yeh, that doesn’t sound right.  Sure, I’ll go.”

“Well, she just wants to know the details so she can work with you to heal her body.”

The doctor’s resentment showed all over his face.  “I’ll tell you what I told her–when she needs to know something, I’ll let her know.”

Juan grabbed my hand and said, “That’s all we need to know” and pulled me out of there.  I was a little stunned.  And grateful.  Still am.

Often times we wonder why we are where we are professionally.  My husband and I (at that time) found ourselves in the biomed industry repairing medical equipment for hospitals all over orange county.  It was completely by chance that we now had at our disposal an entire list of medical professionals we now knew personally.  One call led to another, and before the afternoon had passed, we were directed to the best nephrologist in orange county at UCI,  Dr. Cyril Barton.

I went to see him immediately, and underwent his painless biopsy. Didn’t know what he was going to tell me, but just his warm demeanor made me feel hopeful again (and he encouraged my questions!).  The cold hard truth was:  my kidney disease didn’t go away, but with one doctor appointment, I had a possible future again.

He educated me on things I hadn’t learned from the internet like my particular disease is most common among the elderly in asia.  In the United States however, it presents itself among young caucasian men.  Yet, I have it.  Dr. Barton, who specializes in kidney diseases, was baffled.   He could see no reason why I should have gotten this.  But optimistic!  That meant everything.

The good news was:  IGA is slow growing.  I could have had it for decades before I was eventually diagnosed.  My guess is, I got it when I was given away.  The trauma of my childhood…

Also, 70% of those who get it, live their lives without it interrupting anything–30% eventually have renal failure.  We wouldn’t know which category I was in until the symptoms appeared.  My doctor did advise, “Take your ace inhibitor, your omegas 3’s, follow the diet plan, and try to live a healthy active life.   We will draw your blood every three months for awhile and see where it goes.”

Cool.  But I knew it wasn’t going to be enough. I knew I had to get my head in the game too.  The only way I was going to thrive is: I needed to love.  I needed to love in a way I had never allowed myself; in a way I had never loved my parents, my husband, even my gram.  I shut down a long time ago, out of self preservation, but it was time my protective wall came down. The only way I could fathom that kind of risk was through motherhood.  Anything else just wasn’t worth it for me.            I wanted babies!

My sweet super smart doctor that always talked over my head, stopped dead in his tracks, looked at me like I was crazy, and said, “Well, okay, but I wouldn’t have even one baby if it was me.”

He thought I would die if I had a baby.  I knew I would die if I didn’t.

(#2,  my baby story is my next post)  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 THINGS…

This is a response to a question I was asked on Facebook last year.

I’m sharing here, because many may have missed it, and the next three or four posts I have in the works are all about what you see listed below–12 (hopefully interesting) facts about me–and the stories behind them :

1.  When I was 29, my doctor told me to wrap things up.  At 48, I’m still here.

2.  Then they told me carrying twins would be too hard on my kidneys. They suggested I abort one or both of my babies.  I learned right then I would die for my children.

3.  When I was 18, I saw a poster around college advertising a 3 week/9 country trip through europe.  I saved for a year, and went.

4.  During the writer’s strike in Hollywood, I took a tour of Paramount Studios.  We passed Ted Danson’s office and I looked at Juan and said, “I’m gonna work with him some day.”  Two years later,  I was working on Cheers.

5.  I never did anything of much significance in television, but I do have an Emmy certificate with my name on it.

6.  I consider my friends my family.

7.  When I was a child, my family and I slept on the bus stop benches in downtown LA.  Can’t drive through there today without remembering that time in my life.

8.  When I come across a homeless person, I often ask them how I can help.

9.  If you lie to me, I may still speak to you, but I will never trust you again.  Ever.

10.  When Michael Jackson was a guest on the Arsenio Hall show, he was standing five feet away from me.  His nose looked like clay.

11.  I met Bill Murray on that same soundstage.  He flirted with me.  I think I fell a little bit in love with him that day.

12.  I believe the truly, madly, deeply kind of love only happens once in a lifetime.  I hope I’m wrong.

My next post will cover #1.  Hope you can return to my blog when you find a free moment, and follow along.  🙂

 

Butterflies

PINK and BLUE

Its quiet in my house tonight.

I turned on my iTunes and a song called, Butterfly Fly Away, started to play.  I sat down and my eyes filled with tears.

Butterflies…

my pink and blue butterflies, are studying for finals.

Tomorrow, half of sophomore year will be in the bag.  This semester has been filled with lots of their tears–from stress and anxiety:  AP classes, honors classes, the beginning of tennis season and a month of song competitions have taken their toll.  There’s been talk of PSAT results and college game plans too.   And not enough sleep.

I asked them, “What can I do to help?”

Pink’s room looked like a cyclone had hit it.  She sat there surrounded by a mound of math she couldn’t decipher, and sobbing back tears of sheer exhaustion.   I let her cry.  Sometimes we need to cry buckets.

Looking around, I sighed.  I’m no good at Algebra Trig so, I went through and made the bed, picked up dirty clothes, tidied up shelves and her desk top, and I vacuumed and took out the trash too.

“When your world seems overwhelming, do something you know you can control.  It will empower you–and don’t try and take on the world by yourself.  You are not alone baby girl.  Ask for help.”

The tears were wiped away, a pretty face was cupped and a forehead like her dad’s was kissed.  “Take the study guide and start checking off the things you are positive you already know-that will eliminate half the test right there.  With the rest?  Go back and look at your notes, google the questions, and just do the best you can.”

A shiver ran through her as she took in a deep breath and nodded,  “Thank you, mama.”

Finals week is tough for everyone, but my boy thought it was just him.  Blue doesn’t cry.  His fear manifests itself through anxiety.  Most of the week went well, but by Wednesday it was too much.  He threw up. I knew it was nerves, but I picked him up and took him to the doc.

No fever, vitals good, headache?  A little.  The doctor was wonderful.  Asked my boy pointed pertinent questions and eventually surmised, “You have a nervous stomach.   I’ll give you something for the acid, but you need to lighten up.  You’re a sophomore–have fun!”

Then the doctor turned to me and said, “You have a great kid.”                 I nodded and wholeheartedly agreed, “He IS a great kid.”  (Think my chest swelled).  Smiling, and a little embarrassed my son said,   “Thanks mama.”

We went to the medical offices down the street for one quick lab (to rule out a bacterial infection) and then to the pharmacist for his medicine.  I spent four hours with my boy that day, in packed waiting rooms with coughing and hacking all around us, and we just hung out chatting, until it was our turn.  It was as natural as breathing for me.

When my world is overwhelming, I go to my kids and help them because that is something I know I can control.   Serving them fills my heart.

But some day, some day too soon, I will have to let my butterflies fly away.  That, I cannot control.

In a few months, half of high school will be over too, and my double duo will be hard working, driving upper class men–and things will get tougher–for them, it will get busier, and for me?  It will be too quiet.

YELLOW

Saw a yellow butterfly fluttering around the tree behind the waterfall in our backyard.  I walked over and looked out my kitchen window. I smiled knowingly, “Hey gram.”

I don’t see her often, but when I do, its as if she hangs around just long enough to catch my attention, “Just checking to see if you’re okay?  I’m here if you need me.”  🙂

When I was thirty, my grandmother sent me a small broach in the shape of a butterfly.   It was so pretty!  It was crafted from turquoise and jade colored opal, trimmed in a thin line of shiny 14 carat gold.  The note inside read, “Butterflies are my favorite.  When I die, I want to return as a butterfly so I can still be with you.”

Gram was in her seventies then, and I know she was preparing… she needed me to be assured she would always be there.  Three years later she passed, just four short months after I gave birth to my babies.   I truly believe my grandmother waited for me to have someone else to love, to cherish, before she let herself go–and I have no doubt her energy, her love,  lifts the wings of that yellow butterfly that lives so happily in my backyard, sending it my way, because gram…

You tucked me in, turned out the light                                                                            Kept me safe and sound at night                                                                                     Little girls depend on things like that            

Brushed my teeth and combed my hair                                                                      Had to drive me everywhere                                                                                          You were always there when I looked back     

You had to do it all alone!                                                                                                     Make a living, make a home                                                                                                 Must have been as hard as it could be

And when I couldn’t sleep at night                                                                                 Scared things wouldn’t turn out right                                                                          You would hold my hand and sing to me

Caterpillar in the tree                                                                                                         How you wonder who you’ll be                                                                                   Can’t go far but you can always dream

Wish you may and wish you might                                                                                 Don’t you worry, hold on tight                                                                                     Promise you that there will come a day                                                                   Butterfly fly away

Butterfly fly away, butterfly fly away                                                                       You’ve been waiting for this day                                                                                      All along and known just what to do                                                                            Butterfly, butterfly, butterfly, butterfly fly away…

There will come a day, much to soon, when my butterflies fly away, and when I am struggling to find something new to help rid the overwhelming void, I will remind myself the beauty of butterflies:

They always come fluttering back.  🙂

 

Blessings

THEIR BLESSING

Shortly before the end of eighth grade, the jr high principal at my kids’ school handed out an excellent book to parents on how to write your child’s blessing, asking us to read it, assuring us it would be helpful in guiding our blessings for our children, who would be graduating soon.

I read through and found the suggestions really were helpful.

We were encouraged:  to highlight our child’s abilities; to remind our children of the gifts they have already be given; to send them off empowered with the accomplishments, efforts and talents they’ve already displayed.  Then, we were asked to pray over their future with a meaningful blessing, in the hopes their time in high school be all that God had intended.

Whether you are a person of faith or not, lifting up your child(ren) in praise, urging him or her to make realistic goals and out of this world dreams too, to reach for more–an earned self reliance, as they go forward with honor and confidence, seemed like a superb idea to me!

I asked their dad if he wanted to supply any input?  He was happy for them, but he declined, “No.  That’s your thing.”   Yeh, it is my thing.  🙂

Thinking about my children was effortless…

When I sat down to write this blessing for your future, I couldn’t help but be drawn to your past.  I found myself opening scrapbook after scrapbook, and yearbook after yearbook; page after page filled with awards of every kind:  spelling bees, speech meets, athletic achievements–even one geography bee finalist which surprised us all!  

And who could forget Mrs. Owen’s beautiful, uplifting funny musicals where Lauren sang a solo one year and Niko played the bongos?

There were character trait certificates too, prayerfully presented to every one of you, each year, by our wonderful teachers here at Stoneybrooke. They spoke of your Godliness, Love, Humility and Joy.  Each had a short paragraph written by your teacher and then there was a classroom presentation of character appreciation that always left me wondering, how did these teachers know each child so well?

Page after scrap-booked page was bursting with the joyful snapshots of playground antics, chapel presentations, goofy familiar faces, and  personal growth; a reflection of two young lives truly touched by the teachings of Christ.

As I finished my jaunt down memory lane, a warm reassurance washed over me and I knew exactly what stood out the most in all those pages of your time at this school.   It was an honor that came at the end of the 3rd grade for one, and at the end of the 4th grade for the other:  it was the Timothy Award.

“The Timothy Award is presented to students who have demonstrated exemplary Christian character in their daily lives.”  

As your mother, I sat there reflecting, with a growing lump of pride in my throat and realized, what more could a parent ask for?

Character is everything.  

Niko and Lauren, your father and I pray as you each take this next big step in your lives, high school, that you remind yourselves of the impact living a life filled with Christian character has had on each of you.  Walk with good intentions, and always honor the gifts that God has given you (especially when you’re scared), because God knows His plan for us, even when we don’t.  

Remember who you are in those dark challenging moments, and you will always find your light. 

May the future surprise you, and on those difficult days when you are confronted with tough choices, be brave!   

Don’t forget, what was true at 5 years old is still true at 15:  always tell the truth, manners are important, be respectful and patient too, with yourself and others–and never ever forget that special twin bond between you have that urges you daily to love and encourage your sibling.  

Finally, from your father and I:  you are our greatest gifts of all.  We love your strengths and weaknesses, because it is both of these that make up who you are:  our very own double blessing!!

Rereading this made me realize, we need to continually bless our children, our families, our friends, and ourselves.  We need reminders of our trials and our triumphs, so we can go forward with the courage and grace to reach into our futures with our arms stretched high.

MY BLESSING

Lately, I’ve been wondering who will be there to take my place?

Woke up wiped out again–and I went to bed early.  Little bouts of nausea too.  Not terrible, just not myself.  Harder to bounce back these days.  Maybe it’s my age.  I turned 49 on my last birthday.

Often I find myself scouring the internet for those studies of women in their 40’s and 50’s–which are helpful (I’m snacking on almonds and drinking green tea–and lots of water too!), but before I know it, I’m self diagnosing:  every ache above my eyes is an aneurism, every lump beneath my collar bone a tumor, every cough–cancer?!

It’s crazy-making.

So much of what we feel emotionally is connected to how we feel physically.  I get that.  I’ve lived that.  But it does get harder as we go.  For me, anyway.  Been feeling those mortal aches and pains of a body soon to turn fifty, in a very real way, and I don’t like it.  Scares me.

Had some high school friends over a few weeks ago and we were reminiscing about how quickly the time has gone by when Carol said, “I can’t believe how fast 30 to 50 went!”

We all agreed.  It was like taking the bullet train through two decades!

For 16 years of that time, I was raising kids.  It was wonderful, life changing even, in the most remarkable meaningful way, and I’m not done.  I will always be a mom.  I still cannot believe I get the privilege of traveling down the road of life with those two (no matter how old they get) but I do remind myself, they are almost adults themselves, and more now than ever I am stepping aside, letting them find their way, freeing up my own time.

Looking back, I know I made mistakes (many of them were real doosies) but the one thing I am grateful for?  I parented with purposeful love and thoughtful intention.  My mom used to say, “Sheesh, I don’t know any mom who does for her kids what you do for yours.”  My investment was/is whole-hearted.

All my seconds-minutes-hours-days-weeks-and months, turned into years of devotion to my twin loves.  My heart, my tears, my laughter and my anger too, all have come honestly.  I wanted to be their mom, in every way that mattered.

When I held a dirty hand or wiped a crocodile tear, when I gave a much needed bear hug or tipped a face covered in the shadows of a hard day gently up to the light, when I buried my own face in a grumpy sweaty neck till I heard an uncontrollable giggle, when our mini-me’s revealed who they were bit by bit and it wasn’t always what I wanted, when I lost my patience with them because I couldn’t instantly summon up what they needed, when sometimes, it was just all too much and I would cry ,they knew it was me being real, good or bad, because I wanted their lives to matter, and sometimes that was hard.

I expected a lot, but I gave more.

I gave all of me, in the hopes my children would have all that I did not.  My goal was to provide them with an environment that was both safe and secure; a solid foundation, so they could grow up strong and stable.

Can’t believe they are almost half way through high school.  Bullet train…

The past two years have been one trial after another.  Exhaustion has taken it’s toll.  Recently, and with a heavy heart, I told my daughter, “Since the divorce, we are all just trying to figure out how to move forward.”  She responded, “Truer words have never been spoken.”

Baby steps…

The future will come regardless of plans.  But I see her and my son taking steps towards their goals.  Now it’s time to do that for myself.

Can you imagine your body being at it’s fittest?  Can you imagine saying no to the confounding stressors, and yes to what pleases you? Can you imagine being in charge of your own joy, your own future, your own peace?  I imagine we would live a long long time.

The next twenty years are gonna be even faster–two more decades for those of us turning fifty this year.  If we’re lucky, there will be enough time between 50 and 70 to make a difference in our own lives.

My gift to my children at this point in my life:  be the best I can be.  For them, and for me, whatever that entails.

Anything after that is simply gravy for a meal already consumed.

 

The LOVE LIST

REFLECTION

Been trying to write about my LOVE LIST all week, with no luck. Frustration took over yesterday, and I just had to let it be.

Then the phone rang.  It was dad.

He and Diane needed me to place an add on Craig’s List.  They thought I’d know how.  I didn’t, but I was willing to learn.  Thousands place ads every year.  How hard could it be?  He also asked if they could borrow my copy of a book his eldest brother had written ten years ago, and sold on Amazon?  Sure, if I could find it.

The past year I spent a good deal of time packing up most everything I own, with a mind that the house was going to sell.  It hasn’t, but it will.

Went out to the garage and opened one of those white cardboard boxes.  This one was labeled “BOOKS”.    Didn’t find the book (but I did make a mental note:  I own several novels that need reading!) Discovered a short stack of old pictures from my childhood too; photos randomly slipped inside that box, last year while packing.  This particular photo was atop the stack…

.photo-75

Made me grin.  Weren’t we adorable?

I flipped the snapshot over. The handwriting read:                                          Renee 11  Timmy 7.

Still grinning, I set the photo aside, and resealed the box.  No success, finding the book, but not to worry.  I’ll find it around here at some point–when I’m supposed to find it.

Picking up the snapshot once again I studied the young children in the white and pink t-shirts, almost giggling at the photographer, and actually said out loud, “Think I was meant to write today after all…”

As young girl, I was taught all the moments in life matter; that every effort should be made to preserve the memories of our daily candid experiences and the rare orchestrated milestones too.  Recording our lives visually was so important, in fact, my gram made sure to introduce me to a camera at a very young age.

I was about ten when a small black rectangular box, made of hard plastic, arrived in the mail.  It was marked with a golden sticker labeled:  KODAK.   A few rolls of film, in a smaller box (the color of a school bus) were included as well.  A sweet note of encouragement was found taped to the back of the camera:  write the names and dates on the back of each photo.  One day you’ll be glad you did!

Gram was right.  Today, forty years later,  that random tiny bit of information gave clarity to a fuzzy picture I had been trying to form in my head all week.  Instantly drawn back to 1976, the mental images I had been struggling with for five straight days quickly came into a focus of remarkable transparency; so much so, I could see straight through the photo to a memory of a hot summer day, back when I was only eleven years old…

My foster mother placed a few silver coins in my hand, and drove me to the nearest bus stop.

As her car pulled up alongside the curb, just ahead of a small group already gathered, Bertha put the car in park and turned pointedly, “You have the quarters I gave you?”

My head bowed, glancing down at the sweaty palm and four fingers gripped tightly around the bus fare.  It was my hand holding the coins; I was the one taking the bus ride.  My head rose, nodding slowly in agreement.  I couldn’t speak.

Then she placed a tiny white strip of paper in my other hand.  It had a series of numbers and a name written on it; the address in Huntington Beach, she said, for a house I vaguely remembered as being tiny, gray, stucco maybe?

Had never been to Huntington Beach but that one time–once–and then, I traveled there in a car, driven by an adult.   It wasn’t the bus that frightened me; I had ridden a bus alone before (only that time someone I loved was waiting to greet me at the other end).  No, this time, the fear came from the realization that today, I was on my own.

“Take the bus all the way down Beach Blvd, until it ends at the sand.  Straight down, all the way.  When you see the ocean, get off there.  Then go on over to Cheryl’s house.  I’ll come down later and bring you home.  You’re gonna help her with the girls this afternoon.”

I replayed the words over and over again in my head, hoping I could somehow connect the mental images (both imagined and real) of a perpendicular visual playing out in my mind:  a long busy street that ran into that other long busy street, in front of the ocean–and a little gray house located somewhere near that giant rusted steel grasshopper looking oil pump thingy we saw on our way home.

Took a long time, with several stops, passengers getting off and on. Surfers, old ladies with nylons and sturdy looking shoes, mothers and their bucket and pail carrying broods filled the bus, as we made our way closer to the water.

Beach Blvd was longer than I remembered.  When I could smell the ocean though, I knew we were close.  Good.  All I had to do now was find the street name on the little piece of damp paper crinkled up in the palm of my hand.  My chest tightened, but I vowed success.

Turning right, into a neighborhood, the bus driver ruined my plans. Wait!  Where is he going?!  We’re supposed to go…

Straight down, all the way!

I sat there patiently as I could as the bus stopped and started, entering further into a maze of side streets I had never seen before. Suddenly I hear, “LAST STOP!”   My head whipped around to the left and then back to the right–the ocean was no where in sight.

You remember that feeling when you lost your mom in the grocery store aisle–momentarily?  Yeh, that times a million!!!

Maybe it was sheer survival, or maybe it was abject terror that day that gave me the inertia to rise from my sweaty haunches, walk down the aisle and inquire, “This bus doesn’t go all the way to the ocean?”

I can’t recall the details his face, or his voice either, but I do remember his words and how he made me feel:

“No darlin.  This is the last stop.”  I leaned over and noticed he was writing something on a pad of paper.  Quickly, his head glanced back at me again.  I retreated a step, and then stood there, paralyzed.

“You know where you’re going?”

Reaching out cautiously, I stepped forward and handed the man in uniform my slip of paper, sharing all I knew, “Its near the ocean.”

Disbelief and concern outlined his words, “The ocean is that way, straight up that street there about two blocks.  I’m pretty sure this street here is just a few down that away.”

I reclaimed my flimsy directions and said softly, “Thank you”.  Exiting the bus I stood there, adjusting my eyes and feeling the hot sun on the top of my head, dreading my daunting task at hand.  Don’t recall the name listed on the street sign on that corner, but it didn’t match the one written on my paper, so I started to walk.

My search lasted long enough for me to learn there were lots of short streets near the ocean, lined with smaller homes, built really close together.   I must have gone up and down and back again several times before I noticed sweat was dripping down my back; ignoring the fear pounding in my chest.

Then, I heard the sound of Cheryl’s baby girls playing and talking in the quaint courtyard, peacefully waiting my arrival, in front of the gray house-and I thought I was imagining things. I raced down their driveway like a kid racing to win!

That rush of adrenaline, that release of fear is filling my veins all over again, as I relive my tiny legs racing down that long driveway.  It was scary–terrifying even that day, but I am glad I relived it tonight.  Its important to reflect on the times you were strong, brave, and courageous; when fortitude replaced fear, and even more important to recognize when the universe steps in to help out.

My goal that day was to find a house.  I did find it.  But I had help.

Like many, I go back every January and take stock of the written and unwritten goals I have reached over my lifetime, and remind the doubter in me: I am always growing, intentionally or not.

I make time to take note of the many men and women in my world that have touched my life every single day, and I re-discover my appreciation of their roll in my successes; being cognizant, once again, I am not alone.  Didn’t have a name for it back then, but I do now:

I call it my LOVE LIST, and it gets longer every year.

Reflect.  Its a good start.  Then, resolve.

RESOLUTION

Walked into a local restaurant here in south Orange County and it was packed.  Holiday weekend.  Lots of big parties; mostly families, waiting to be seated.  Eating out is a way of life for us so no big deal.

We put our name in and the hostess handed me a beeper, ” ‘Bout a twenty minute wait. ”  I thanked her, and then, “Is there self seating in the bar?”  “Yes, the line is forming over there.”  Only one party in that line.  Cool!

As we took our place against the wall, I noticed that first party got seated pretty quickly.  Still had my beeper though just in case the free seating area got jammed up; there was some game on the big screen tv’s that everyone was watching intently, and it didn’t appear they were planning on vacating their coveted seats any time soon.

We waited anyway.

My daughter and I were chatting about something and soon found ourselves surrounded by other hungry people as the lobby filled to capacity, and our “line” became an indiscernible blob.  Made me a little nervous; what if our booth opened up and I went walking over to it.  Would I start a riot?   Ahhh!!  I’m not good with blurred lines!

That’s when I felt his hand on my arm.  “Tell them you’re with Jeff,  and that I am in the bathroom or something.  My beeper has a shorter wait time than yours. ”

It was a sweet face looking down on me; a kind face that looked like it was used to wearing a smile.  Took me a moment to speak, but as I glanced down at the beeper he had just placed in my hand I explained, “Oh thank you, but we’re good.  We’re next in line for a booth in the bar.”

His eyes crinkled up as his head, covered in a thin layer of silver hair, nodded in agreement, “Well, now you’ll get the next table either way.”

I flashed him some teeth, and expressed my sincere appreciation and the thoughtful man went on his way.  Kinda dumbfounded, I turned to my daughter and said, “It happened again!”  She giggled and announced, “And this one’s name is Jeff!”

Once again, I was taken aback by the generosity of strangers. I didn’t start my LOVE LIST until I was eleven, but I know my life, my entire existence has been touched over and over again by these non assuming, compassionate, helpful citizens.

From the concerned bus driver that day near the beach; to my delighted lady english teacher in college, who handed me back an essay I had written on my little brother and super heroes, “If you don’t write some day, I will be very disappointed”; to the generous business woman who owned the condo we were leasing when my twins were born, “Oh honey, two babies at once? Let me see if I can lower your rent”(and then she did–by $300/month!); to the fireman at the grocery store last year who simply looked over at me (at my lowest point) and said, “Wanna come over here?  This line is shorter”; to the man who saw my car get hit-and-run in the parking lot, and stuck around till the woman admitted her guilt; to the adorable older gentlemen in Sizzler recently who sauntered over, nudged my elbow, and with a wink and a smile whispered, “I wanna have dinner with you”; to all my stranger-loves, who took a moment of their day to notice me; to make my day just a little bit better, I am deeply grateful.

While it’s true I haven’t led a life adorned by an inner circle of familial support (an inner realm so many find themselves born into effortlessly), I do have a lengthy beautiful list of love that could circle the earth!

As I go into 2015, I will remind myself to reflect on all those amazing and important times the average stranger has come to my rescue, take a deep breath of comfort acknowledging I am not alone, and resolve to be that kind of blessing in return.  <3

 

 

 

 

 

Bacon and Eggs

BACON

December was wonderful, but I was beat.  My body needed to lay down and sleep.  Giving myself permission to turn off my alarm last night, I piled two heavy blankets on top of my exhaustion, curled my loyal doggy up close, and slept soundly until my body woke, rested.   Sometimes, you have to do that.

Woke up hungry though.  (Its always something, isn’t it?) I’m rarely hungry until about 10am, so it surprised me–until I looked at the clock:  it was 10am.  I slept in, and now I needed to eat!

Bacon and eggs sounded good, but we’re not supposed to eat bacon; it’s not healthy for us.  So, instead I reached for the eggs.  But the thought of savory bacon crackling in a sizzling hot frying pan of melted lard seemed more enticing, and I kept thinking about it.  Man, I’d like me a couple of slices of that crispy heart clogger right now!

Focus Renee…ah yes, I was writing…

Oprah says the rule is:  When you know better, you do better.

Maybe I should have gone with granola?  Granola’s really good for us, but it doesn’t taste as delicious as bacon.  I hate knowing that.  I want my bacon, and I don’t want the guilt that comes with it.  I want the innocence I had when I was younger; of desire, without consequence.

But life doesn’t work that way, does it?  We are in a constant state of learning and growing, and as we age we discover everything has a price-even doing nothing has a price–but often, that shell of safety we surround ourselves with is nothing more than denial of a life we need to live; a life we must find the courage to embrace.

I remember the day my kids lost their innocence like it was yesterday; when they went from knowing less to knowing more.

They were twelve when I had to register them for jr. high.  One of the requirements was a physical.  I called their pediatrician’s office and scheduled a non-invasive workup for blood and weight, and I wanted to address their changing bodies too because it was time for the “talk”.

I wasn’t dreading it, but it felt like I needed to get on it so I ordered a couple of very basic, “honor your body and the bodies of others” faith based books on puberty and sex, and all that fun stuff we get to lay on our sweet innocent children as they enter adolescence (hopefully before the world invades and tells it to them all wrong).

In the meantime, I took them to the doctors.

Each child asked me to accompany them into the examination room so I called ahead and asked if we could do the physicals one at a time.  Sure, no problem.

My girl went first and all went well.  “Everything looks good Lauren.  Good job mom.  You talk to your daughter.  Keep it up!”

As I left her to get dressed, the desk nurse casually mentioned, “Oh the doctor went ahead and took care of Niko.  He’s done.”

What?!

I walked down the hall, concerned, and knocked on the door, “Niko?”

“Yeah.  Come in.”

I opened the door cautiously (in case he was still getting dressed) and asked, “Hey love, how’d it go?”

My darling  boy (on the verge of becoming a man) was sitting up on the examination bench, dressed again, but this time his shoulders were slumped and his head hung heavy as he nodded in defeat from side to side when he proclaimed, “Not well.”

Instantly, my heart sank.  My God, what’s wrong?

“The doctor said I need to tell you something.  It’s not good, mom.”

I could see the pain embrace his words, and as he drew in a deep breath my brave son summoned up the courage to declare:

“The doctor says I’m gonna be in POVERTY!

and then, with absolute disbelief and horror he asked:

“Does that mean I’m gonna be POOR?!”

Confused, it took me a moment, but then I could feel a grin of realization spread across my face,

“I think the doctor meant you are going through PUBERTY!”  HA!

Isn’t he hilarious?

I explained the difference on the drive home and we all had a good laugh, but it made me realize this helicopter mom had raised two very young, un-worldy kids.  That’s not a bad thing, and I wouldn’t change much of how I raised them, but I was glad I had ordered those books.

They arrived the following week on a pretty peaceful summer day.  I sat my pubescent twins down on the couch in our family room, handing each one their very own gender based approach to what was about to come next, “You don’t have to read these now, and your dad and I will talk more to you about this subject, but I want you to have these because the time will come when you will want answers to your questions.”

My son had grown ten inches over the sixth grade, now spoke with a bobbing adam’s apple, and sported an upper lip shadowed in a dark layer of whiskers that shouted, “I’m not a kid anymore, mom!” every time I looked at him.  So when he grabbed hold of his new “golden key” (to a door he had been wanting to open for some time) and said in amazement, “No way!  I’ve been asking for this.  Awesome!” I really shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was.

and then…

in a flash, he was gone.  Literally.  He dashed up the stairs to his room (taking the steps two at a time) eagerly leaving the sweet innocence of his childhood (and a very sad mother) in his wake, forever more.

My daughter though, who was born mature, and had already had some of the changing bodies side of the talk (but knew absolutely nothing of the other side of the story) took one look at her new reading material and shot me a dagger that would have taken down Satan himself, “You got your twelve year old daughter a book on SEX?!”

My eyes, now glued to the empty stairs as I wondered where my son had just disappeared to, caught the white blurr of my daughter’s new paperback book, as it went flying across the room!

In her outrage, my pretty flower had sent that metaphoric invasion of her happy safe childhood, air born, flinging it fast and hard, as far away as she could.

Then, she too hopped up off the couch and whizzed past me almost as fast as the book, running up the stairs–only this child made contact with every single step, stomping down hard on each one, crying out in a sob of desperate tears, “Why-can’t-I-just-be-a-KID?!”

Suddenly all alone, and in complete bewilderment I thought to myself, “What just happened?”

I had cracked the shell of their safe benign childhood; one was excited, the other not so much.

EGGS

Stopped by to see an old friend recently, last time I was up in Hollywood.  Got to see his snazzy new penthouse and admire a view of Century City you can only get from the top floor of a luxury high rise, in the middle of Beverly Hills.  It was breathtaking!

Don’t know where the time went, but he and I have been friends for twenty five years We’ve seen each other through marriages and divorce, kids being born and kids growing up.  We’ve worked together, and then we haven’t.  We’ve been in touch, and we’ve lost touch.  All the while, remaining good friends.  So, when he asked if I could stop by and see his new place, I was happy to do it.

He pushed a brass colored “P” and then the elevator shot up.  At one point the lift stopped and a sweet elderly woman joined us, and she talked to my friend like he was her friend.  I instantly liked this new world of his, and I was happy for him.

My tour of his new abode, decorated in blue, was short and sweet.  Some of it was still under construction, but the heavy plastic didn’t detract from the obvious masterpiece just waiting to be revealed.  I admired it all; the efficient comfort of this two bedroom condo, the abundant panoramic view earned by a lifetime of hard work, the keyboard and guitar waiting for his attention; every room reflected his personality, and for the first time since I had known him, there was a steady truth in this new world of his.  I looked around one last time and nodded with a smile of approval, “This feel likes you.”

He smiled, clearly at peace with himself and asked, “Are you hungry?”

I grabbed my purse, and we walked down the block to the Four Seasons hotel for their brunch (we caught the tail end of it anyway).

We had eggs.  Cold expensive eggs.  I hadn’t noticed the temperature at first (another one of those gifts from my childhood; I eat to get by) and then it didn’t matter.  While I truly appreciated my friend’s generosity, I wasn’t there for the food; it was the company that had my attention–and my friend returned the attention in spades, as all true friends do.

He tells me I am wise, and he loves my heart.  He tells me in his own words he has gone through the pit of darkness too.  Twice.  He tells me he can relate to the pain of my last year, and then he tells me something I will never forget..

“You’re an egg.”

I was sucking on my iced tea, and almost chocked (didn’t let him see that though  🙂 ).  “I’m an egg?”

He nodded, and the rest went something like this:  “You’ve been inside this shell your whole life.  You just started to crack through your shell, and you can see there is a life outside of this shell–and if you let yourself break through-all the way through, you would be amazing!

I was speechless.  I truly have the best friends in the world.  He knows I’m scared to be all that I can be.  But, he knows me, and he knew I needed to hear his words out loud.  In fact, it occurs to me, we all do, because you know what?  What he says about me, is true for so many of us.

He often tells me I am wise, but I think he may be the wiser.  He is smart too.  Scary smart.  He isn’t preachy, but he does practice…. Hope he knows I heard him that day.  Hope he knows he inspires me.

Friends are the wind beneath our wings–when the wind has given out.  Friends are the family we choose–when our family walks out. Friends can be trusted with our feelings, and we can make mistakes without fear of judgement–and they know the same in return.

Friends give you a high five when you conquer a fear, and those same friends will tell you when your actions are inducing fear.

Friends, my friends, old and new, are my treasures, and I hold fast to our history together–however brief, however long–and if you are new to my world?   Welcome!  🙂

2015 is only a few days away.  I am apprehensive to head into the next  365 days, and yet, I have my engines revving too.  I’ve never been alone, and yet, I’ve been on my own my entire life.  The difference now:  I only have myself to blame if my life isn’t all that I hoped it would be.  I’ll be fifty in august.  No time like the present to get at it…

One thing 2014 taught me:  There is always more than we think to this existence: more to learn, more to teach, more to give, more to receive.  Life is our chance to be courageous, and I am going to keep reminding myself to make the healthy choices; to turn away from the crispy tasty “bad for me” bacon I know so well, and grab hold of that fragile egg I have worked diligently at not breaking all my life, and you know what?  I’m gonna crack it wide open!  Hope you do too!!

Happy New Year!!!

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE:

Hi everyone!

Just wanted to say how much I’ve enjoyed this first month of writing my blog–and so appreciate you following along.  I’ve responded to all of your comments; hope you received my responses.  Don’t forget, you can scroll down and subscribe.  The email notifications are a bit unpredictable, but most are telling me they are getting them.  If you are new to my blog, I’m not writing my life story in order, but I think you might follow along better, if you start with the oldest post first.

Gonna take the next two weeks off from living in the past, and focus on the hear and now and celebrate my favorite time of year.  I’ll be back to story telling after Christmas!

Hugs!

By Renee DeMont