My tongue is in my hand…

Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Sometimes, I think about the blessings I have and I don’t understand. Material things that I don’t necessarily want or need. And then there are these other intangible things that I do want or need. And I feel guilty because I still have so much more than so many others. And I feel sad because I would give up so much to just have the things I really want.

I feel like I should be happy with what I have and do something good and cherish it all, because they are certain blessings.

And I feel like I should be working towards being the person who has what they really want. I have to keep the faith. I have to fake it til I make it, I suppose.

And I have this fear, underneath these other things…that the thing I crave the most is something I am not ready for, something I would mess up if I had it…

so I’m thinking, I should work towards keeping it, even though I don’t have it…I have to believe in the timing, the cosmic timing of it.

I am hungry and tired. Why do I feel that way so much?

My perspective is off this weekend. I feel this weird sort of feeling. I need someone to bounce it off of. I need that thing I always need. I just want to know that everything’s okay.

I guess I’ll just believe it is.

Sometimes, that means moving through the motions of a life, of a day, with my mind and heart far away. As if all of this life is just moonlighting for the real deal that seems just right beyond my grasp, that I get the smallest taste of every once in a while. (the sweetest taste. my most favorite thing. a moment that makes everything else fade away and…it’s too much to write even…)

And regret…regret is useless but tempting. As if it could change anything. Particularly anything a decade old. All I can do is trust this road that has managed to…to allow me some hope and prepare myself for the life I want…there must be a purpose in the blessings, the needs, the moments, the struggle. There’s got to be a purpose in the struggle.

I’m all stirred up and haven’t been able to pour it into anything yet (or onto anyone yet).

 

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musing

Posted on: June 20, 2011

Sometimes it hits me hard, quick and hard, what I know about people’s lives now. That I know there are children that were systematically sexually and emotionally abused by their families. Children pimped out by their mothers for drugs. Children tied up in sheds fed like dogs. These sound like news stories, but the thing about news stories is they are real. This is real. I have met these people. I have sat across from them, hugged them, driven them places in my car, laughed with them, seen their constant struggles and frustrations and disappointments and confusions. Their sadness, their underlying hurt and doubt and fear and anger. And I can’t go back and make sure that someone held them and took care of them and made them laugh and feel safe. Like children should.

Heartbreaking is not the word. It hurts my soul. It’s just there are so many ways to be lucky, to be blessed, to be wealthy. And there are so many ways to be poor. Most of us are a little of both. Rich in some things, poor in others. They don’t cancel one another out.

I just hate, really hate, what some people are robbed of. And I just really want to see us all taking care of one another. To be connected…I can’t pinpoint it right now, but it makes a difference.

 

 

As a general practice, I try to keep some things private or vague when blogging, just because it generally seems like a good thing to do. But right now, I just want to be utterly and painstakingly honest. I just need to be. On the very off chance that my husband happens upon this, I’m sorry if I revealed more than you are comfortable with.  But none of it is your fault, or something you should feel or be ashamed of. It’s life. It’s just honesty.

My husband was laid off today (along with several other members of his shift and some long-time office staff and truck drivers who had 15 years + with the company). He has been at this job since January of this year (10 months). He loved this job. He recently blacked out at work and could not wait till the doctors cleared him so that he could get back. (It turned out to be a medication related thing, not a seizure as initially thought). Prior to that he was employed by a local school system in the mechanic and landscaping departments. He began there in August and was laid off in April due to budget cuts system wide (this school system is now closing schools, laying of principals, teachers, and all other variety of staff). Prior to that he was at a trucking company for 5 years. He was laid off due to decreased business/budget cuts. They have since continued to lay off long time staff, some within a year or two of retirement.

His first lay off happened in January 2008. We had just bought our home in October 2007 (3 months prior). Our daughter had just turned 2. We just spent the last of our tax refund on planting bushes around our property line in the back yard. He spent 8 months, until August 2008, unemployed. At first, I was just sure he’d get something soon. I didn’t ask anyone for help, I just used our credit cards to pay bills and figured we’d be back on our feet in no time, pay it all down and off and move on. Thankfully I work full time and was able to put myself and our daughter on my insurance (decreasing my take home pay). We didn’t put him on my insurance. It was another 50$ a paycheck and we figured he would get something soon enough.

Once he found a job,  he took a 4$/hr pay cut.  He was miserable at the job itself. He had to have emergency gall bladder surgery only a few weeks into the job and was out of work for 6 weeks. Thankfully, my mom worked for the same school system (she’s now laid off too) and was able to donate her excess of PTO to him, so we didn’t have to go without pay for 6 weeks. Also, thankfully as a state employee, his insurance had already kicked in.

He had that job for 8 months. He was laid off in April of 2009. He did not get another job until January of 2010. That was 9 months unemployed. When he found this job he had to take another 2$ pay cut from his last job. That’s an 8$/hr pay cut from when we bought this house. that’s a $1200/month deficit. He had this job 10 months. Only one month longer than it took to find this job.

I have received a slight raise since this happened. We had to stop paying credit cards. They are in collections. Every single bill is late. We have 2 credit cards and 2 loans we are trying to keep up along with my car payment, house payment, car insurance, power, natural gas, water, internet ( I need for work), cell phones (we don’t have a land line), gas for our cars, groceries, and clothing/medical/misc. We’ve both looked for 2nd jobs. I have applied for and been turned down for mortgage loan modifications and the Making Home Affordable program (bet your ass I’m trying again). Thankfully my mother in law watches my daughter when she’s not in preschool. Also thankfully, my mother in law covers Natalie’s preschool tuition, as she used to get it free when my mother in law worked at her preschool and though she doesn’t anymore, she has still generously and lovingly offered to pay her MWF preschool tuition.

At some point and time over the past few years, our water has been cut off, our natural gas has been cut off, our phones have been cut off, our tv service has been cut off, we had a threat of our home being foreclosed, and of my car being repossessed. I’ve bounced checks and overdrafted our bank account (usually just to get groceries to cover until our next paycheck). Last year, right at the end of the year, we were negative in the bank and I seriously rolled quarters to get us to the next paycheck. Not to mention the endless phone calls of bill collectors. Our parents have helped us. Our friends have helped us. Our church has helped us. No one has much though. But they are generous and gracious. With the exception of one. I won’t be that honest though. There’s just no need. Just to say, I do have it thrown in my face that I owe money. Not just by bill collectors.

Somehow, we’re still here. But I’m really tired. Every month, I am hustling our money around, bargaining and begging and I’m just tired. I have no long term plan. I’m just trying to get through a week. I have, though, rediscovered my love of bargain shopping, goodwill hunting, consignment, and yard sales. I really do enjoy those things. Mostly.

I’m just dreading what’s coming. Because we’ve been here before. Everyone I’ve talked to has said “It’ll be okay”. And at this point, I don’t really doubt that anymore. We’ve come this far. I don’t really doubt provision. I’m just tired. I just don’t know what will happen to me between now and the time that it’s “okay”. I just want to be able to pay my bills. All of them. On time. I just want my husband to have a job he enjoys, that is secure, that he feels good about, that pays him what he’s worth. While I’m at it, I want a job that I feel good about that pays me what I’m worth.But seriously…

I’m dreading his job search. Him being home, bored, bummed, and no longer medicated. He’s on a medication for his OCD/anxiety that is 240$ without insurance. He’s going off of the medication now, since he won’t have insurance. He thinks it will be fine. But I remember. And it’s not fine. I may go fucking insane. Or become a day drinker. Either way…

I know we are blessed. I do not for a minute deny that. That doesn’t mean I’m not tired.

I cried for at least an hour in the car today. Like a maniac. The only thing that really made me stop was driving to the coffee shop (Caribou) to meet a friend. I parked behind the dumpster and gathered myself. I wiped my face, blew my nose for the millionth time and put on makeup. Slowly. Then I downed a muscle relaxer and a pain killer that were prescribed to me for migraines by drinking water from my daughter’s sippy cup, as it was the only beverage in the car and that pain pill was big. I took a deep breath, checked my bloodshot eyes one more time and kind of wished I smoked so that I would have some eyedrops on me and stepped out of my car and spent the afternoon there. I never made it back to work that afternoon.

It’s funny, something like this doesn’t make you want to work harder to keep your job. It just makes you not give a damn. What does it matter? If they need to axe people, they axe them, doesn’t matter how many times you came to work an utter mess, or how many times you gave up seeing your kid’s thanksgiving program, or went above and beyond your job description. There’s no real formula for success, except figuring out how to enjoy your life regardless of the bullshit.

On the way home, I bought him a bottle of Crown and myself a bottle of Skinnygirl Margarita (never had it before). I called my girlfriends. I went to the grocery store and bought junk food and a dog toy. I got Chinese for our dinner. After I played with our daughter and got her into bed, I spent 28$ on Amazon because I needed to buy the book for book club and it was 4$ with free shipping if I bought 25$ worth of stuff. So I got a Christmas present for my husband and one for my daughter and some kind of luminous lotion for myself along with the book. I drank and made him a  drink and I watched Without a Trace and he played xbox and then I made cookies and cheese sticks and gave him a back rub and he’s sleeping and I’m typing the longest blog ever. And still drinking.

I forgot to mention. We got a check in the mail yesterday from Jason’s insurance company from when he blacked out at work. It was out of network for some reason, so instead of sending payment to the EMS, they sent it to him. $1200.00. For us to pay the ambulance company. I told him and my mom (who was over when I opened the mail) that we should put that shit in the bank, use it as needed and deal with the bill when it comes. It’s not like we’re worried about messing up our credit. They said no. I told them they need to get on my level. The insurance company put the check in my husband’s name, with no indication of what he was to do with it (he found out by calling this morning). I say, that’s your dumb fault if you write checks to people and expect them to pay whoever with them. Really.

As of today, my husband and my mom got on my level. They said, in essence, pay bills with that shit. I said. Thank you. It’s about damn time.

Also, my husband finally decided to do without satellite. I grew up with only like 8 channels, so I’m okay with going back to tv minimal life. Between Netflix and Hulu, I think we’ll be just fine. Our daughter will be most irritated at first probably, but you know, she’s young, she’ll adjust. She probably watches way too much anyways.

He’s so bummed. I keep forgetting this is real. Like it’s a joke and I’m waiting for the punchline. He gets two weeks severance. He put in for unemployment already. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a “Welcome back!” message when he signed on. I know he’s tired too. He did start taking online classes a few months ago, for wildlife conservation. He has time to catch up on classes now…

Things like this do make you shake off the rest of the world for a minute. Kind of a “Fuck you, I don’t give a shit what you think or want right now” kind of thing and that’s relieving sometimes. Actually my true self is very similar to this, I just have come so far from that true self lately. It’s kind of nice to be there again, regardless of circumstances. Because the truth of the matter is this: not only is there no formula for success (besides finding a way to be happy in spite of the bullshit), but there’s also no way to really walk the line between giving damn and not giving a damn. Pretty sure Reese Witherspoon told this to Joaquin already, In “Walk The Line” but you know, I guess I try most of the time to keep some kind of middle ground. But you know, I’m tired. I guess what I have to figure out is what exactly it is I’m tired of and what’s keeping me from letting it go…

In the meantime…we’re a single income household again. We’re a drawing unemployment household with an uninsured adult male not receiving the medication he needs family again. Oh fucking well. Gotta roll with the punches, right?

I have a different kind of blog tonight. Tonight, I am glad I have a place to blog because I have a string of thoughts going through my head that I’d much rather just editorialize than get into a conversation about at this point. Besides the fact that there is not one to have this conversation with, at least right now.

A friend of mine joined a group on facebook. It is this group:

Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene! (Official petition to Facebook)

I was curious, so I went to the group. I scrolled through hundreds of pictures, read comments, browsed discussions. And I can’t shake this feeling. It’s an uneasy feeling.

I did not nurse, at all. I did not want to nurse, at all. I do not regret this at all. Because I knew that I so strongly opposed leaching my child to my breast that it would not be beneficial. Even so, I researched before making this decision, just to be sure, and felt that ultimately, I would not be doing my daughter a major disservice by not breastfeeding. When I gave her a bottle, I would hold her to my chest, let her cheek rest on my skin. I never propped her bottle and walked away. She also stopped taking a bottle around 10 months. I felt like this skin contact in the early months was the most important part of the feeding process (besides actually eating, you know?).

I almost always consider emotional health first in any situation, but particularly with parenting. So I felt comfortable with this. I didn’t feel that I was depriving her physical or mental health benefits in the long run either, truthfully. I feel like I nurtured these things by not baby talking her, challenging her, and not keeping her in a sterile environment, and feeding her a variety of solids. Natalie went with me everywhere, I didn’t make people slather up with antibacterial gel before they touched her, I paid attention, I let her cry it out, I did things I felt were best to acclimate her to the world, to life, to self soothing, to me.

For what I can remember, all of my friends that have had kids so far are breastfeeding. I’m super fine with this. I was breastfed. I don’t care if they nurse in front of me. I’m all for it. It’s free. It’s natural. It’s you feeding your kid. Have at it. Your life, your kid, you choices.

It is so extremely unappealing to me though. And I KNOW that breastfeeding is the natural course of things. But no matter how many pictures I look at, I can’t shake this really disturbed feeling. First of all, it does seem related to sexuality. That is honestly one reason I did not want to breastfeed. I can’t really be okay with my breasts have multiple purposes. I KNOW. Also, it’s just too much for me, too needy, too intimate, to demanding. I hate the idea of this little person literally sucking something from my body whenever they need to eat. That makes me cringe. I do not want to be needed like that. I do not want things sucked from my body by little people. Even if they are my little people. Even if it’s food. I KNOW. I mean, if I had to do it, I would do it. But I didn’t have to. So I didn’t. Gladly.

So then, I began wondering if women who nurse are actually more sexually open or more intimate with their lovers than those who don’t. Is there any kind of connection between the two?

I’ve always considered myself open sexually and a person desiring and capable of intimacy…but am I?

It almost seems to me that I am sexually willing, open to sexuality and I am willing and open to intimacy, but I have a gap between connecting the two. I know my experiences, my train of thought, my defense mechanisms have me in that place. And perhaps, I’ve known I’ve been in that place for a while…I just wonder, how does it relate to my mothering? (Obviously subtracting the sexuality from it). Am I as intimately connected to my daughter as I “should” be? Is there really a level to which this can be measured and compared? Do I have a distance within me that I will not even allow my daughter to cross? Will this hurt her in the long run?

I’m not domestic. I can’t really find it within me to give a shit about “homey” things on a regular basis. Yea, yea, I want my house to be clean, comfortable, safe. I want it to be full of things that reflect my life and make me feel “at home”. I want to eat decently ( most of the time) and don’t mind cooking when I feel like it and can take my time and enjoy it. But life is so big, so much other stuff comes first, stays forefront in my mind. I find it much more important to hang out with friends or family or talk or write or think or experience something than to play house.

And I’m finding, now that many of my friends are having kids and our lives are carving themselves out a little more, I’m afraid I’m being reminded again at how different I am. I don’t diminish how hard it is to be at home with your kids, to run your home while being with those kids, and never getting to have an excuse of being too busy with work, or getting a break from being mom while at work  (like I do). And on some days I think, damn, “If I could just stay home, maybe I could finally get my shit together around here!” But I know I would feel like I was wasting myself on motherhood alone. Is that horrible? Isn’t raising a child like the most important job, ever? But if that were *all* I was doing, I would be so disappointed and dissatisfied with myself. This is in no way to say that’s how other moms should feel, seriously. My mom stayed home. I would never say she should be disappointed with this, she was a major player in what was a kick ass childhood for me. But I would say she needed more. She needed to be more than “mom” for 20 years.I believe she would be happier now, if she had pursued something for herself beyond motherhood then. And honestly, I think that would have only done great things for us as well. The better you feel personally, the more you can offer. And maybe that’s where I am when I make whatever decisions I make that don’t seem very “mom”. I know I have to do what’s best for me if I’m going to be worth a fuck as a mom.

Maybe part of it is that feminist in me. I don’t want to depend on someone else to bring in money. I can do that. I will do that. I also don’t need anyone else to run my home. I can do that. I will do that. As I see fit. Maybe it’s just my pretty fierce sense of independence. Maybe it’s the overachiever in me. Maybe it’s ADHD. I know it’s not just that I want to be making a change in the community because if I were an at home mom I could be volunteering like crazy and involved in so many things around me…so… maybe I’m just me.

I love my daughter. I loved her before I met her, before she was formed in my womb. I want to teach her to be loving, kind, compassionate, full of belief, and joy and peace. I want her to be strong, to be able to pick herself up when she falls down, to be able to reach out to someone else who has fallen down. I want her to be able to ask for help, to be connected to a large community. I want her to seek out her dreams, to be active in creating the life she wants. I want her to make her own decisions, with intelligence and passion. I want her to seek guidance and wisdom. I want her to know I love her, deeply and fiercely and to the very best of my ability , all the time, every second of her life, screw ups and successes all the same. I want her to have fun, to breathe and live and enjoy life, no matter what comes her way. I want her to be able to make the best out of situations, to know obstacles are opportunities. I want her to have intimate relationships. I want her to never settle for other’s standards, but to seek her own.  I want her to accept love, to claim hope, to possess peace, to ride joy. I want her to look at my life and admire it more than she criticizes it.

This is why I needed to write tonight. To get here.  Who cares if I formula fed and am made uneasy by breastfeeding. Who really gives a damn? This previous paragraph is where my heart is, where my intention as a mother is. And I am almost positive the 10 months of bottle delivered Enfamil won’t make a goddamn difference.

I know an increasing amount of people arguing against the commercialization of Christmas (besides Charlie Brown, of course). And I agree. In many ways, we have turned a day set aside to celebrate the birth (and subsequent life) of Jesus Christ, earthly God incarnate, something that could (should?) be a holy day for Christians into something…else.

It’s a whole month of family gatherings, decorations, parties, programs, events, fundraisers, special church services, Santa Claus movies, and of course, gift exchanging. So, I get that. But here’s the thing- I think, if we let it, it can be good for us.

Christmas is what you make it in your life, what you let it be, what you insist it be. Being cynical, bitter, rejecting, or averse to other’s implementation of Christmas really doesn’t benefit you (or anyone else) at all. If you don’t like how other’s utilize this time of the year, then don’t engage. But think about some of the idealogic cornerstones (no matter how far many deviate from them) of the Christmas season: faith, hope, love, joy, generousity. Make those things a part of your daily life and then take a month at the end of the year to kick it up a notch and really bask in it, really celebrate it the whole month.Those around you can benefit from this and may possibly join in- and I can’t think of a better way to keep Christ in Christmas.

So, I have been minimally participating in the two challenges I posted about prior to this post. This month has not been as conducive to writing time as I’d hoped it would be. I have written some poems and started a novel. Barely started, but started. This is actually a pretty big deal for me, since I haven’t even wanted to start a novel, had any characters, ideas, outline, or research prior to Nov 1st when I wrote the first 1,542 words. Now, it’s brewing in my head, and though I won’t meet the nanowrimo challenge, it’s got me started on a good thing. I’m not sure what I’ll do about the PAD challenge. I can most likely complete it…and I suppose I’ll put together a chapbook? May as well do this…I’ve got to do something with my poems and this would be a good experience.

In other news…I turned 26 a couple of weeks ago, and have had a good two weekends of friends and family and celebrations.

In sad and silly news, book club had a rift, resulting in one member leaving to a new book club.  The member leaving happens to be my dearest friend in the group, so I will join her, and stay in old book club as well. Make new friends and keep the old (just like the  girl scout song).

Work life is…ever changing. I’m just holding on and doing what I do – help people as best I can.

Money is…short. I’m constantly floating payments around, robbing from peter to pay paul, having to tell people I do not know whenI can pay them, and just not opening the bills I know good and well we can’t pay, while trying to still live a fairly joyful life and indulge in little things because that’s what you do when you’re poor. You don’t pay a bill on time and you go out to eat and buy a shirt because damn it, you want to and there’s no other way to do it.

I had to use money we saved for Christmas and money I got for my birthday to fix my car. Again. And used the rest of my b-day money to get our phones turned back on. My dad and mother in law made me promise I’d use the money on myself, and technically, I did.

Home life is…quite honestly driving me insane. IN SANE. As in, I consistently feel as if I am losing my sanity. I feel as if it is wrong to go into it much more than that, but, should I lose my sanity, all the ridiculous details may spill themselves on a drunken blogging rage one night.

My family life outside of the home is really not much better. My dad claimed he was going have to pretend he only has one daughter (not me) after a very stupid and pointless fight about the holidays and in-laws. After about two weeks and a good fight complete with me hurling f-bombs in front of my parents (at my dad), and my dad claiming he will just not celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas anymore, the problem resolved itself with my sister in law’s work schedule, at least for Thanksgiving. My dad then bought me a very nice watch and necklace for my birthday, along with cash, and bulbs of my grandmother’s favorite flower to plant in my flower bed. He is now torturing my sister on a daily basis. I am apparently back in the family? We are watching Flashforward together this week, so I guess so.

Socially though, my life rocks. So, that’s something.

My library items are about 20 days overdue, so that does not rock. That didn’t really fit into any other categories, I thought I’d just like to note that.

My dog is super cute and does not drive me crazy though, because he’s just so damn cute and fluffy. Even when he uses the bathroom in the house.

Natalie on the other hand, has been trying my nerves severely, but then I feel like a really shitty mom for not being able to handle it and being short with her – like all the time.

There’s so much more (there always is), but I’m done for now.

 

 

To begin, I will begin at the beginning. The beginning of my very first diary, at least. It’s purple, with pink ballet slippers and red roses with green stems all over it. The inside covers are pink, the pages- lined and white, with a place for the date at the top. There’s a little silk ribbon to mark the page I’m on, and a brass lock. The brass key has been lost.

On the inside cover:

This (private) diary belongs to Rebecca Lane Brooks. Hands off!

The first entry: (unedited and displayed as accurately as possible)

Dec. 25, 1991

Today is Christmas! When I opened this present I was so happy! These are some more things I got. A watch, and a Cabbage Patch (a doll thats hair Crimps & Curles). My Grandmother died Christmas Eve morning I was very sad.

Morning 😦

later that day 🙂

I was eight, in the 2nd grade at this time. I’ve looked back at this entry many times, the first thing that always hits me is my drawings at the bottom. I do remember the sadness that echoed throughout my family with the loss of MawMaw Faye. The sudden tragedy of ovarian cancer found too late, of a loving but tumultuous woman and mother lost before all the words were said. I remember the joy of the holiday too, though. The inevitable excitement and happiness of lights and ornaments and gifts and treats and family.

I don’t remember if it was a “Santa” present or not, but I assume my mom picked out this diary for me. I’m not sure why a ballet slipper one. Maybe she liked the purple background (her favorite color), maybe she just thought it was pretty, maybe it was the only one (or the best one) there was and she was thinking more about me writing than what was on the cover…

It was a pivotal year in my family, the whole family, since we all lived on the farm together, went to church together, and us kids went to school together- all our lives strung together. Me, mom, dad and Rachel; MawMaw and PawPaw; Steve, Theresa, Clint, and Cody; Allen, Janet, Stephanie, Julie, and Katie.

Daddy was 33 when his mom died. Allen a few years older, Steve a few years younger. They found out she had cancer that summer of ’91. Towards the end, she was at home, now I know it was probably with hospice care. She had a hospital bed in the living room, where the scratchy yellow couch used to be. Paw Paw’s scratchy yellow arm chair was still there though. Daddy had us go up there, sit by the fire hearth and watch Wheel of Fortune with the nurse standing by and PawPaw in his chair, and then had us give MawMaw  kiss. I hesitated (at least in my mind) because she looked so very different. And because I didn’t really understand she was dying.

MawMaw was a big woman, not always, but when I knew her. Like, mu mu wearing big. She kept her hair rolled. It was short and blonde. Her skin was porcelain pale and loose. She always had sweets in the house. She loved us. She loved crafts. And birds. And butterflies. She made the very best mush. If you don’t know what mush is, I’m not sure I can tell you. It’s sort of like grits, but better. No one’s been able to make any since she died. Not they haven’t tried.

Their house was at the top of our road and we were up there a good bit. When we were waiting for the junior high bus to drop us off, we’d sit on the porch -Rachel, Julie, and I- with MawMaw and she would chant this chant “I’m stirring my brew, my witch’s pot, stirring, stirring, stirring…bring Stephanie’s bus!” And the bus would come! We would laugh and clap. It took me years to realize the bus came at the same time everyday!

Sometimes, she’d let us go in her beaded change purse that seemed to have more coins than anyone could ever need in it, and let us get enough each to walk to the store and get some penny candy. The store was at the very top of our road. It used to be a general store that my great grandfather ran. By then, it was the Handy Pantry with red and white eaves and a 2 gas pumps. We thought we were so grown running down that gravel all by ourselves to the store to pick out whatever we wanted. Our favorite candies were those little caramels that have the white cream in the center. We would peel the caramel off, eat it first, and then let the sweet center melt in our mouths as we walked back.

At MawMaw’s, our toys were on the back porch, in a tin trash can, beside the washer. I loved the pound puppies. I didn’t have those at home. We didn’t have a lot of rules that I much remember over there. Just don’t step on her buttercups. And don’t litter in her yard. And don’t make mud pies in her dishes (we learned that one the hard way). When we spent the night, we slept on pool floats in the living room floor and I couldn’t imagine anything more fun and novel at the time.

What I knew, what I know, of MawMaw is limited in personal experience- scattered with other’s interpretations, reflections,  experiences, and stories. I know though, that losing her changed everything. Changed Daddy and his brothers. Changed PawPaw. Changed Daddy and Mama. Changed my understanding of life and death.

After her funeral, we went to Allen’s house with the rest of the family and ate and people laughed and I didn’t know what to think. We had just cried and been so quiet and sad in church and now we hug and joke and laugh and eat? Later, I saw that it wasn’t over so quickly. It was just the way it goes, it was how we kept living.

😦

and then

🙂

was just the preliminaries, it was just the beginning.