Tell Me More

I wrote this piece several days ago. Most of this lament came out in one sitting as it appears here. The formal tone in this seemed fitting for the mood that I was in, even though I had a very warm and loving relationship with both my mum and dad. I had found out that my dear aunt will be celebrating her 90th birthday(!). I was in a reflective mood, thinking about mothers, mine in particular, and age and the thought that I would love to talk to her again. If I could place a phone call to Heaven, what would I tell her? What would she tell me? We get so caught up in the stories of our lives that we forget that the older generation that raised us has their own stories to tell. We think we know our parents, until they are gone and we can’t ask them questions any more. I thought I had listened to my mother’s stories, but I realized, as I was going through her possessions after she died, that I didn’t know much about many of them. Who gave her the hand-made metal ring with the X’s and O’s on it? Which of her older brothers gave her the bracelet from France during WWII? Why did she keep that particular ribbon that I found in her hope chest? I can no longer ask her, but how I wish she could tell me more.

Dear Mother, tell me more about your mud pies, your broken arm, your quarantine for measles in those Depression days. Tell me more about where you were raised, and your mother and coal miner father. About those irascible brothers of yours, my uncles who loved you and have been loved by me: The one who raised you, the one who teased you, the one who caught hell from your father for not protecting you. The one who left to go to war. The others who followed.

Tell me more about moving when the mine went dark. About leaving your best friend behind, finding new ones in your new school, and how you found the love of your life on the roller rink. Tell me more about these rings that I cherish, that I remember resting gracefully on your hand even after he passed into the arms of Jesus.

Tell me more about your life as a young newlywed couple, the lack of money, the abundance of love. About my brother, about me. Tell me how you rejoiced at his birth and cried because of me. Help me remember your nurturing hands and loving arms, your pride in all we did. Tell me. How did you feel? I want to know more.

Tell me about my wedding. Tell me about your happy tears as I walked down the aisle on the arm of your man and into the arms of mine. Tell me about the sad tears that fell as we moved across the country, away from you. Tell me how one survives the cleaving. As a parent, I need to know.

We kept you waiting, so tell me about your elation to hear of your new grandchild. Tell me. Tell me once again how happy you were to hear. I could see it. You love was visible, but I want you to tell me more. Tell me about that love that is so much more than a parent knows. Tell me about being a grandparent. I’m not sure that I will become one, so I need you to tell me more. Just in case.

Tell me about your last trip with him to where the country began, searching for family history, for roots. What did you find there? Tell me more about your thrill of discovery. A new ancestor. A new connection from long ago. Now that you know who we were, who are we now? I can only pick up the thread you left and hope that it leads me down the same path. We are family, but you are no more. Am I still a daughter without you? Tell me.

I desperately want you to tell me more. But you cannot; you are not here. You are my past, but such an ever-present notion in my head reminding me of the future you wanted for me. Telling me that there are more days to come. That I have more to live. You are no longer here, but you still exist in love, in my heart, in who I am. Even so, how I wish you could tell me more.  I would listen closer.

And remember it all.

Because I still have a lot of things I want to know.

How I wish I had asked you more.

A Year of Thanks

I believe that being thankful for the good things in my life is a given. My husband, my daughter, my family, my friends, my home and my memories of a happy childhood are all gifts from God. I also believe that being thankful for the hard things, the bad things, the things that hurt, eases that hurt. I have tried to live in gratitude this year since Mum passed away. It hasn’t always been easy, but it has taught me that my God is ever-present and sends reminders when I need them most. The delays that drove me crazy. The weight on my shoulders that threatened to pull me under at times. The exhaustion. All of it served its purpose. Had they not occurred, had I plunged ahead and not listened to the God-speak in my heart that said “just wait awhile” more times than I wanted to hear it, I believe that my brother would not be in the good place that he is. The timing of everything this year has truly been God at work. We would not have met the earthly angels that continue to bless us. Andy and I are sharing Thanksgiving at the home of some of these angels who knew that it would be too much for me after these last 5+ weeks of moving Howard and closing up the family home in Pennsylvania. I am blessed, I am thankful. These simple words are simply inadequate! My prayer is that I have given back at least a portion of what I have received. Have a blessed thanksgiving every day of the year, my friends.

Dear Fairy CarMother

Dear Car Fairy – What do I have to do to get a visit from you? Last night, I put my rusted-out fuel line under my pillow, hoping that you would come and put a brand new car in its place. And did you? No. The only things I woke up with were a headache and a rust covered pillowcase. Don’t let anyone tell you that fuel lines are easy to sleep on. Soft from rust is a myth! I must admit that the new shade of hair color is kind of exciting. I always wanted to be a red head, although I’m not sure if Head and Shoulders will wash away the rust colored dandruff flakes. It’s okay though. It’s part of the allure of being ginger.
Now, Fairy CarMother, let’s talk about my royally ticked-off significant otter. I believed in you. After my significant otter went to bed, I snuck that fuel line into the bedroom, hoping to surprise him in the morning. Who doesn’t want to wake up next to a super-charged Jaguar in bed? Or as they say in the commercial, “Jag-you-our.” Frankly, if you had delivered a Jaguar under my pillow, it would have been a “Jag-me-mine.”

Jaguar-C-X16

I would have settled for a BMW or a Lexus (which, of course, would have been a Lexme).
At any rate, this morning, S.O. was dragging. He didn’t even notice my new hair color. It’s pretty much your fault, Car Fairy, because he said he dreamt of racing in the Indianapolis 500 all night long, lap after lap after lap. Must have been the gas fumes, don’t you think? (They knocked me out. Slept like a log. Dead to the world. Didn’t want to wake up.) But now, he has to go to work and drag all day long. And I don’t mean drag racing. He’s had enough of that.
And thus, it is with great disappointment that I say to you, Car Fairy, that you lack commitment to your job. I don’t understand why you didn’t take my rusted fuel lines and replace them with a brand spanking new car. Your cousin, the Tooth Fairy, does a much better job. A tooth gets you a dollar, or in my day, a quarter. Tit for tat, you know? Fuel line for a new car. Maybe you should take lessons.
But I’m willing to give you a second chance, Fairy CarMother. Tonight, I’ll put my rusted-out engine cradle under my pillow, and we’ll see if you can rock that one out, okay? And, fair warning, I’d better not wake up to a Nissan Cube. 2010_nissan_cube.jdm17

Even a bus pass would be better than that!

Road Work

i.Believe.com as seen on GodVine

i.Believe.com as seen on GodVine

This screenshot of a short, little video struck a chord with me today. Since my mom passed away a year ago in August, so much of my life has been out of my control. I’ve felt helpless about so many things. As a result, I’ve tried harder and harder to be in control of things I don’t need to be in control of, adding pressure and anxiety to the point where it’s been unhealthy for me. I have realized recently, through the help of a friend, just how desperately I’ve been clinging to the idea that if I could just hurry the process along, get over the bumps in the road, everything will be okay. If I could just get this whole thing over with … But no, that is not the case because more bumps keep tripping me up. I am being taught a rather harsh lesson in patience that might be starting to sink in. Perhaps that’s why this screenshot resonated with me. Rather than fretting endlessly about when this will happen or what this entity will or won’t do next, and being stuck on hold, I am finally relaxing into God’s timeline and only taking control of what I can actually affect, such as my immediate environment (which, believe me, needs help). Even if the process to get back on my feet and out from under what weighs on me so heavily now takes another year, another five years, I think I’m okay with that. Day by day, minute by minute, “I am not in control, but I am loved by the one who is.” My faith is in my God. He sees the landscape that flows before me, while I have been worrying about how I’m going to smooth all of these bumps in the road by myself. It’s time to look up and breathe, see my environment and live into it once again, even if I stumble more along the way. I can’t control the road, the bump or the fall, but I can control how I get up again. Maybe I’ll jump to my feet. Maybe I’ll be bruised and bloody and rise slowly, but I will get back up eventually. The One who is truly in control will see to that! And He’s the One sitting in the steam roller, ready to smooth the way once I get out of the road.

The Answer

Rainbow-trees-rainbows-37463978-800-409

Some days, I pray for peace

And I end up with war.

Some days, I pray for understanding

But I get confused.

Some days, I pray for patience

Then I have to wait.

Someday, someday, someday,

The Answer will return.


Until then, I will always pray.

Call Me … Maybe

Our landline phone system died on Monday. Now, before you tell this homebody that you gave up landlines years ago and use your cell phones for any and all phone calls, let me tell you that most of the time, my cell phone is dead. Yes, dead. Battery depleted, zombie-ized, dead, buried, never to see the end of a charger again … or at least, not for a very long time. Should lightning strike twice and poltergeists happen to plug in my cell phone to charge it, then it will usually remain on the charger for several days. Why? A) I don’t get out much. B) Because my memory has holes in it larger than my worst pair of underpants. (Forget I said that. I do not – I repeat, do not – have holes in my underwear.)

But, wouldn’t it be nice if someone invented a super-charged cell phone just for me? Maybe one with a reserve charge on an extra battery, like an extra fuel tank? I’d even be okay with a solar panel so that as my phone is lying out on the counter, being blithely ignored by me, it can charge itself from the overhead lights. However, since it’s usually in the bottom of my purse, I suppose I would need the antithesis of a solar battery: one that runs on spare change, Tic Tacs, and tissue lint. The point is, I need a land line.

And our eight-year old landline phones died on Monday.

Our landline phone system came as a set with a base station, chargers and three portable handsets. One was for the kitchen, one was for the basement family room, and the other was for our bedroom and was basically useless since the charger had croaked long ago. Besides those two and our cell phones, our other phone was in the dining room and was an off-system, oddball, landline phone with caller ID that didn’t see much use.

Not the Princess phone I remember.

Not the Princess phone I remember.

On Monday morning, the kitchen phone rang.

Ring. Ring.

Hmm, no caller ID. “Hello?”

Silence. I hung up.

Ring. Ring.

Hmm, no caller ID again. “Hello?”

Silence. I hung up again.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. You get the picture. I hate crank calls, and this was becoming annoying. After the fourth time, determined to solve this puzzle, I grabbed the oddball phone in the dining room, checked its call log, and discovered that, indeed, the phone phantoms were actually flesh and blood people trying to get ahold of me. Our old phone system had gone to the Great Call Waiting queue in the sky.

I called Hubs in the afternoon on this same off-system, oddball phone – being different can be a good thing – and we agreed to meet at the electronics store that I will call “Perfect Purchase” on his way home from work.

We often go there to browse on Sundays after church. Some people like sports bars and outdoor activities. We like electronic stores and book stores and enjoying our purchases together quietly at home. And that’s why we were voted “The Couple Most Likely to Hear at a Party, ‘Oh, When Did You Get Here?’” Anyway, we hadn’t gone this past Sunday because of the snowy weather, so going in the middle of the week was like a treat. (I told you I don’t get out much.)

We met up at Perfect Purchase and half an hour later, we were walking out of the store with our new phone system. It had to have been one of the quickest decisions we’ve ever made about anything. Usually, we research and review the best system, the best prices, the best place to buy it, the best alternative uses for it should it not be exactly what we were looking for…

“Well, it’s a four slice toaster and we really only need a two slicer. I bet we could funnel the heat from the other two slots into a hood that we can place over our bacons and eggs to keep them warm until the toast is done.” … Something like that … or not. And then we research again, just to make sure we haven’t overlooked anything.

But not this time. Half an hour tops. In, out, flip it about, and boom. We now have a new phone system with four handsets and a base with Blue Tooth, which I had always thought referred to the movies with a blue band at the top. I don’t think we can watch movies on the phone system, so there must be another use for it. I suppose if I read the instructions, I would know, although I’m pretty sure we can’t use it with bacon and eggs.

As for the oddball phone, it’s been retired with honors and replaced with one of the new in-system phones. It remains to be seen if that’s a good idea or not. So far, I don’t regret this spur of the moment decision, although I do miss Doug, the voice from the old answering machine. He is now a Donna, and she will inform me in a pleasant voice that so-and-so is calling. It’s kind of nice to hear another voice when I’m home alone. On the other hand, I can’t exactly engage her in conversation. I really do need to get out more … although I should probably have my cell phone with me. Anyone seen my charger? Or my cell phone?

Present

Through my tears, I see your gentle face,
I feel your tender arms, your loving heart,
In the middle of the night,
As my heart breaks once again.