Secrets

Shhhh…..

Life lived for the assumptions that the facade was real
Don’t tell.
Don’t tell.
No one should know. No one can know.

Shhhh….
But I know. We know.
All lies and we can’t figure out how it fits in with all the words
So many words
Right
Wrong

Don’t tell
Never tell

How can they not see? They did.
Ignored
“Tell this lie”
Not that one. That is a lie and lies are bad

Tell this lie. All is well and good and right
We never lie

Look at all of them
Look at the photo
No one smiles

More. Always more
Not enough for those still here
More. Always more

Don’t tell
Don’t tell

Shhhh
Shhhh

It isn’t real
No one knows, it’s not real
Can’t they see it isn’t real?

It’s real
No, we know the lies
We live the lies

10 years
20 years
30 years

More lies
Don’t remember
Forget

Life lived so others will assume the facade is real
Don’t tell.
Don’t tell.
No one should know. No one can know

It isn’t real
We know
We will always know

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Two Boys

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Last Friday I drove the trail car for three hours as we inched closer and closer to a new and grand life adventure. With each passing mile I recalled memories; a hat from Knots Berry farm always worn regardless of destination, the particular laugh of a small boy holding a puppy, his hand in mine as we walked to school. Then I would look forward to spot his car ahead of mine going 82 miles an hour toward his new home and his new life. Never have I been more proud. Never have I felt so much emotion. His goals. His desire being lived out. He will change our world.

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This morning, one week ago to the moment, a small boy boarded a bus for the first time. His small, uncoordinated legs guiding his small walker to the door. His struggle visible to anyone watching, but wholly overlooked for the smile on his face. His pride tangible. His mama’s even more so. They said probably not. They said don’t count on too many things being as you’d hoped or dreamed. Yet, here we are. Here he is! Boarding a school bus, going to school. Anxious and ready to see what else life offers him to conquer. His curious little mind at work and more than willing to meet the challenges thrown at him. He will change our world.

Two boys. One week. One no longer a boy, but a man. One no longer a baby, but a boy. Both ready and willing to change the world.

Being Back

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My last post was November 2014.

Yep…thats about right.

Before the winter semester started.

Before the Holidays.

Before the preparations for the graduation and move to college.

Before the new patio or the summer began.

Before the annual trip to Maine.

And now, I come skidding in, mid-summer, just in time to well, be back.

Truth be told, my Gran asked when the last time I wrote was.

She has this way of asking that makes me understand she’s a little disappointed in my answer if the one she thinks she’s going to get is correct. I appreciate that about her. It kicks me in the ass and reminds me that I want to do this.

So, here I am again. Nothing brilliant or deep or profoundly inspiring. Just a declaration to self that I love to write. I want to write. I will write.

And….so that next time an old lady asks, I can give her the answer her heart wants to hear.

a Real Parent

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Today, I am again reminded that people come into our lives, sometimes for just a few moments, for reasons and each of them with story.

She looked so familiar that I said those very words to her followed by the question, how do I know you? She looked a little stunned and I realized quickly she did not feel the same. All good. These things happen. She chatted a few moments about thing non-germane and I thought her lovely and lucky as she explained retirement and traffic and lack of really having anywhere to be at any given time.

She sat and I left the room only to find myself somehow pulled again to where she was. I made an excuse to move to where she sat and she easily again started conversation that I thought irrelevant but engaging. She asked if people ever thought I looked familiar, and I said yes and quickly threw in that being adopted always made that all the more interesting.

Her eyes changed just that swiftly. The smallest shadow darkened her bright smile and she quickly asked what most would think presumptuous. She asked if I knew my parents, but she didn’t stop there. She quickly asked if I had found them because I had always had an ache or an unfulfilled spot that needed answers.

Many people in my life have asked similar questions and in my younger years I was quick to answer with a semi-sarcastic remark about real parents and family and more than enough attitude to make people feel awkward. Thankfully age has softened me. But no one has ever asked with that kind of intensity. Not with the anxiousness or the anticipation of the answer and something in me knew this was one of those life moments you never really see coming.

I was honest, but kind because I have not ever felt that pull to find what some call ‘real parents’. I was lucky enough to have always had Real Parents. I carefully said that I had not ever had the desire to look. I had decided years ago that there was nothing really missing that yanked at my heart but that I knew many who did and had always felt blessed to not feel that emptiness or even that curiosity.

She sat the edge of her chair, holding back what seemed to be close to overflowing emotion as she continued with a statement phrased as a question, So, you never looked because your life was so good? You weren’t missing anything, that’s why you didn’t look? If she hadn’t been emotional, I would have thought her incredulous, her words so full of shock and lack of understanding.

I knew at that moment that I was looking into the eyes of a ‘Real Mother’. I assured her that I had been happy. That I had felt so much love and family and adoration that it hadn’t ever been something I needed. I told her how my mom had always told me that I was the special one because she got to pick me.

She went on to share her story; a young pregnancy, a daughter given up as a gift of love and then a marriage to the same man a few years later and two more daughters. They have all looked and registered and prayed and hoped ….but never dreamed she wasn’t looking for them because she was so happy with the life they had afforded her. She cried. She asked if she could tell her daughters and her husband. She got up from her chair hugged me, whispering a tearful Thank You.

I’ve wondered sometimes what it feels like to be my birth mother. Do you wonder of me? Do you know you did the right thing? And since having children of my own I’ve on occasion thought that if I had the chance I would tell her thank you and she did it right and well. I am good. I am more than good and my life is a living testament to her agonizing yet love filled decision. I would meet her not for me or for any need or emptiness I feel, but to ease her worry, her wonder and her hope. In some small way, I kind of feel like I got that chance , meeting a Real Mother in my waiting room that day.

Sometimes an ordinary day allows an extraordinary encounter reminding me again, that everyone we meet, has a story and if we are listening and engaging we may get to be a part of it.

Thoughts on a rainy Saturday morning

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I was once told that it isn’t the huge, overly planned and expensive things that matter so much, but all the small, little, seemingly insignificant things that matter most. As I reflect on that idea this morning, I again see the truth in those words. Thank you to those who have given what seem like small things, because on cool, damp, rainy mornings like this one, I am reminded again that they really do mean everything.

A hug held a little longer than needed
A smile
A kiss on my forehead as I wake each morning
The bed made each day while I shower
An email with just the four letters TGIF
A card left under my pillow
A ‘thank you’ for dinner made
Clean sheets
Standing when I leave the table
Notes left on a white board
Whispered good mornings
A warm fire on a cool evening
Never leaving without saying “I Love You”
Unexpected lunch invitations
A yard I am proud of
Standing around the kitchen island sharing drinks and story
Laughter after a long week
Spur of the moment Sunday cocktails
Taking my hand when we walk
Opening the door no matter how awkward it seems
Helping me on with my coat…every time
Always offering my chair first
Listening
Thursday lunches
Family dinners
Plans for holidays
 

There really are No Little Things. There are only things that remind us every day that we are loved and I am so blessed to have so many in my life that give so many ‘little things’.

40 minutes of a Long Week

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Her name is Esther and she is 92. She tells me this as I show her and her husband to the appropriate desk, which just happens to be in my office. He is pushing her in a wheelchair and she is bright eyed and alert, smiling at me as she tells me her name and age. Bert is 92 also she tells me. He tells my staff he will leave her in the waiting room because she doesn’t do well when he takes her in with him. I can’t help it, I find myself leaving my desk to sit next to a white haired, still beautiful, 92 year old stranger who from the moment I met her, tugged at my heart.

It doesn’t take long for us to be fast friends. She sadly tells me that Bert had lost his leg in the war. I think to myself how unobservant I am that I didn’t even notice him limping and make a mental note to myself to look when he comes out. I hear of their polka days and how she and Bert were always first on the floor. When I ask how long they’ve been married, she pauses and scowls as she searches the abyss for a number she knows is there. It doesn’t come and I say it is of no concern and she tells me again of how they polka’d every weekend. She giggles as she says they were dancing every weekend together “even before we were married’ as if it is some sly secret only she knows.

She looks at my tattoo and back at my face and asks me for the 3rd time what my name is, smiling and saying we both have names from the bible and then tells me how Bert is in the back, seeing a doctor but that she is glad to not be alone. She smiles again, as if wondering why I am sitting next to her, but then tells me she is 92 and at the age of 90 she decided she was no longer going to cook. I wonder if there had been an incident. She does her sweet giggle and says that Bert takes her out to dinner every night now. She acts as if she is sharing something naughty, smiling again with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. I gather from small bits of other conversation that they live in a retirement home together and have been married for 75 years although I wonder which of the details are accurate.

She sits quietly for a few minutes, then tells me how she and Bert used to go Polka dancing every weekend and how they were always called first to the floor. I smile and say it sounds like a lot of fun and she smiles as she looks at me as if remembering. She tells me of her father who raised her and her (she thinks) 16 siblings to pray every night before bed. She gets concerned when she can’t remember the answers to my questions and I quickly decide to not ask any I can’t help her answer. She is articulate and well put together and midway through some sentences she stops to consider who I might be.

He opens the door about 40 minutes later with both legs in tact, and she lights up like a new bride. She motions him over and is disappointed when he stops at the counter. I gently take her hand and tell her he’ll just be a few more minutes. As he approaches she leans over and asks my name. “Bert…this is Rachel. Isn’t she pretty? She is coming home with us!” Bert smiles a knowing smile. I laugh and say I don’t do windows and he leans in and asks if she’s had a nice time. She replies “Oh yes! Do you think you might take me to dinner tonight?”

I stand to leave and she asks for a hug. I lean over her small frame, and catch a hint of rose milk and rouge while her delicate, fragile hands hold on a little longer than usual and as I lift to leave her eyes are filled with tears. She pats my hand as old women are known to do and I wonder if she knows my name. Bert says I’m not going to get away without a hug from him too and as he leans close he whispers a heartfelt “Thank you” then tells me it was a very kind gift I had given them both. I hear her chattering as he pushes her down the corridor. Her voice chipper and light as she asks about what the doctor has told him and if he’ll need to come back. I hear her say as they turn the corner, “now wasn’t she a nice girl” and I wonder if she’ll know me next time they are here.

My eyes are as full as my heart as I step back into my office. Although I may not be remembered by Esther, I will remember Bert and Esther for a very long time. I wonder if they know they were the best 40 minutes of my week.

Not Now

We went to a movie this weekend. True to form I can’t remember the title but it was about family; adult family. Grown siblings had gotten together because their father had passed away. I found myself wrapped up in the characters, the laughter, the interesting dynamics between the siblings and their remembrances of a life lived together.

On another note, I’m reading a book on love and life and relationship. How we get to where we are as an adult and the relationships the we try to juggle and manage and enjoy, all the while trying to figure out who we are, often hurting those we love most or pulling away from those who love us most..

On a third note, I’m studying interpersonal communication this semester and my term paper requires me to look at the ways I communicate, break down where I do it ineffectively and make a change. Not only make changes but document them. An 8-10 page paper about me and how I communicate, or…don’t.

Mostly though, all of this that I’m writing about tonight and that I’ve been processing this week and for the 7 weeks prior to this one, has brought me full circle to 60 days ago.

60 days ago my dad had a heart attack. And a week later he had a quadruple bi-pass.

I sat quietly, listening to my mom explain what they had told her so I could be the messenger to my 6 siblings. Each needing called. Each having questions. Each needing to hear he’d be ok. That’s my roll being the oldest. Assure. Hold up. Be strong.

Only…. I wasn’t sure he would be ok. With all my medical background, all my understanding of how the system works, with all my encouraging words to all of them, I wasn’t sure. He was my dad. Strong. Always Strong. Healthy. Brave. A ‘baller’ as my Man calls him. Only, right then he was none of those things.

“Not now” I silently screamed. “We have so much catching up to do. I finally see you as a person, a Man. I have so much to learn from you. And, I’ve finally found someone like you. After all this time and all this pain and all this water under a fractured bridge. Not now…. ” I whispered. “Please… Not now….” I begged.

“Not now. Please, Not now. I haven’t even had the chance to ask you to walk me down the isle next fall. Every little girls dream. And at 40 something it will be the first time you will have walked me or any of your daughters. And I’ve already imagined it will be a beautiful moment and how you’ll look at me and how we’ll laugh an little and you’ll cry and I will too”. “See, you can’t not be ok…. we have some life yet to live together in a very big way”. “I need my Dad”.

60 days it has taken me to write my fear. 60 days to understand that all the things I’m learning about me and about life and about family and about communication is all tied up in “Not Now”. We only get so many days with everyone we love. I want to say all the things that count and none of the ones that don’t. I don’t want to be left wishing I had time to say I’m sorry or that I love someone. The call could have easily been different. My siblings and I could have easily been gathered to say good-bye, sharing memories, wishing we’d known him better

Instead, he will walk me. In 360 days….give or take….My Dad will walk me down the isle to the Man I have finally found who shares his soul. And I will be the happiest little girl on the planet the same day I become the happiest woman on earth. And my Dad…. will be there to witness all of it.

The Heart

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         The human Heart is capable of so much more than we could ever imagine. We give it all the credit for how deeply we love, how deeply we hurt and how much we can endure. It beats solidly in our chests without a second thought, day after day keeping all parts of who we are alive and well. We almost tangibly feel it break when those we care most about hurt, are angry or leave this earth prematurely and yet it beats on. It feels as if it may burst when we look into the eyes of our children or our lovers or when we meet the goal, outdo our own expectations or feel the rush of adrenaline. It beats on sustaining our emotions along with our life blood with its every beat.

          This past week my Heart has felt every emotion it is capable of. Anticipation of new and exciting adventures. An over the top happiness as my youngest makes changes and I draw him close. A sadness as the wee one and his mommy spread their wings and flew. Agonizing fear as this little girls first love battled the unexpected and pain as his only love pleaded for peace and grace and time. A deep gratitude as arms encircled me each night with power and love and reassurance of the days to come. 

          …the Hearts beat on. Each and every one of them. Each stronger than known possible. And for that this Heart will be forever grateful. 

Their Noise

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Jax and TJ
 
Feels like only yesterday the Men were debating how to get the crib through the door
The energy was excited and wild
Laughter and sweat, banter and work
a New life adventure ahead
 
He was much sicker then
Nights long and days sometimes longer
His small fragile body often wracked with the convulsions of regurgitating his last meal 
his Cries in the night often waking all
 
She was more fragile then too
The diagnosis so new
The future so bleak if only for its uncertainty 
sometimes, Late in the night, I wondered which of them I heard crying
 
Life was lived now as a family of 5
Dinners and groceries
Baths in the kitchen sink
and Wine during the Voice
 
I whispered…”Maybe this will last forever”
And smiled at the thought
Hoping Nana would be his next word
wondering If I would witness his first step
 
Almost a year now and his smile has grown
As has his strength, his vocabulary and the brightness in his eyes
No longer are there tears every night 
and No longer is there a debilitating fear in her soul
 
They are ready to fly
My small bird and her young fledgling 
But I am not sure I  am ready
i May be just slightly short of ready
 
I know I will miss his smile, his outstretched arms
His sleepy eyes as he wakes in the morning
The way he smells after a bath and the sound of his laughter
as He responds to Grandpa’s ‘shaka…shaka…shaka”
 
I will miss her lightness and ease of life
Her willingness to share moments of laughter
I’ll miss Watching her be the most amazing mom I’ve every known
and Yet still a young girl at heart
 
I’ll miss the sounds that says they are close
Their laughter that says they are home
The things that tell a Nana she need not worry
and That all are safe and tucked in close
 
The day after tomorrow the Men will again debate how to get the crib through the door
and I will be left missing their Noise

Before and After the Words

I can’t remember the last time I posted
 
It was before the trip, before the ring, before the Yes! 
It was before the summer and before the pool
It was before the long, passionate nights in CDA
And before the sweet recall of lessons learned
 
And now it is before other things
 
Before school and work restarts and life dreams become more realized
Before the fall of autumn leaves
Before the leaving of the wee one and his mama
Before the pool and the sun are a distant memory and a hoped for dream
Before the final long weekend and the last days of this year
 
It is time. 
Time to write again
Time to make plans 
Time to reinvest and reinvent
 
…..it’s so very nice to be back. 

My Dad – Larger Than Life

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I have tried all morning to write about my dad. I’ve written about his soft yet strong voice, the love he has for my Mom, his hard work and devotion to what he believes in and his stories of a life lived to the fullest. But they all seem trite. I can’t capture the spirit of the Man I am blessed to call Dad with words on a page. He is larger than that; larger than I can ever hope to write about.

So Dad on this weekend when we celebrate fathers  I just want to say thank you for choosing me to be your daughter.  Because of your example on how to love a woman, how to raise a family and how to work hard I was given a template on what to expect out of life and relationship. Thank you for showing me what being loved looks like, what a hard day’s work feels like and what a life lived full will produce.

Happy Fathers Day Dad. I love you.

Dream Teacher

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Prompt: Dream Teacher
You can choose any person from history to teach you any topic you want. Who’s your teacher, and what do they teach you?
 

I don’t really consider myself a ‘religious’ person,  spiritual, yes, but religious no. So when I looked at this post I thought of people I knew, people from history or someone famous that I would hope could teach me something.  But the person that came to mind over and over is the man who was given his sight back by Jesus. Ironically, what I’d like to learn from him is not what Jesus was like or how he felt meeting Him, but I’d like to have him teach me about life change.

He is said to have lived poor and blind his whole life and within an instant, on an unexpectant day, he was given his sight.  What does it feel like to see for the first time; the colors of the world, the faces that had previously been only a voice in the dark? Were you ever bitter asking why you? And most important of all, who were you after? What did you do first and second and third? What became important to you when you had probably decided your fate had been sealed, yet here you were with a different opportunity?  Teach me, please, what it felt like to be given a gift you never thought possible that forever changed your life. Teach me what it felt like to embrace unexpected change.

 

Dream Teacher/Daily Prompt

My Breathing Room

Prompt: An extra room has magically been added to your home overnight. The catch: if you add more than three items to it, it disappears. How do you use it?

The room sits quiet, but with an energy that is welcoming, open and inviting. Even from the door you can feel its essence pulling at your soul, beckoning you to enter and partake of its reverence.  Glass lines one of the pale yellow walls of the third story allowing for a panoramic view of rolling hills, wheat fields and a cloud littered sky. As one of my items, books line two of the walls from floor to ceiling. Some with worn and tattered covers, others with pristine bindings; each with a memory of the story inside.  In one corner facing the windows sits my second item, an over-sized leather love seat, angled perfectly to take in the view of life being lived below. It too shows slight signs of wear having been used as a place to meditate, read, laugh and plan. On this couch I have cried, mourned, loved and learned and like a favorite blanket it envelopes me each time I sit on it.  My final item would be my laptop so that I can write. My thoughts, my dreams and my hopes at my fingertips, typed and sometimes shared but always there just below the surface, choosing words to portray their intent.

 

Breathing Room/Daily Prompt

Uncontained

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It has not always been
They tell me it was when I was young, but I have no memory of it as an adult
Until now
 
Unfettered Joy
Laughter
Out loud and unconstrained
From somewhere deep within
No shame for its sound
No embarrassment for its intrusion
 
Pure delight
Like a wave from the ocean
Cresting and falling on me as I sit the beach called life
Disseminating through me and out into the universe
 
Happiness
Contentment
Joy
 
 
http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/unsafe-containers/
 

The Patron Saint of ‘Real’

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I joined for the challenge and the daily assignment; I get a kick out of deadlines and mandates. So for the next 30 days minus a few vacation days, I hope to post daily about an assigned topic. So…here goes!

If you were named the patron saint of X, what would you like X to be?

It was an easy answer to what seemed like a complicated question but it came without hesitation. If I can be remembered for one thing I’d like it to be for “realness” because I live daily hoping that is what people see.

That’s not to say I am perfect. It’s not to say that there aren’t things in my life I’d like to change or not have to remember about choices or decisions I’ve made, but it is the idea that who you see is not fake or masked. I lived many years donning a mask of hoped for perceived perfection only to realize it was an unattainable expectation. Perfection changes by the minute, the organization, the rules of the situation but real is in the eye of the beholders of my life. Am I who I say I am? Do I love with all my heart and do I live by a compass that has its true north flexible enough to make positive change and yet solid enough to define its own morality?  I ask myself that question everyday, and live a life determined to make those who answer it answer with a resounding Yes!

In 300 years if there is someone who wants to know who Rachel Hatch was, I hope they say I was a woman who was real; real with my love, my passion and my determination but mostly real and true to my heart and to those who I shared it with.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/leaving-legacy/