Today I Rejoice

This was a day I was dreading. This was supposed to be the threshold of my mother’s departure from this world…”three months to live” comes due today.

My heart is full of my mother, this heavenly creature who gave me life. I think of the day that we moved back to Wisconsin. Traffic was at a standstill because of an accident, and Mom called every 15 minutes because of her excitement to see us. She warned more than once, “Now remember…I’m ugly now…bald and pale.” I scoffed at her over the phone, I scoff at her now: I’ve never known a more beautiful woman.

I think of my visit home last December. She greeted me at the airport, having been waiting there 3 hours just to make sure she wouldn’t miss me. I came home to find that she had made lavender-filled sachets for each of the dresser drawers I was to use during my stay…she made these while she was undergoing a form of chemotherapy that stripped the skin from her fingertips and made them ache painfully.

I think of her last March, when we said goodbye…and she pulled all of the strength in her reserves not to cry as I left…but crashed into depression for all the month afterwards. I remember receiving her phone call weeks later saying the treatment, the one that we were so hopeful about, had not worked. Normally in check with my emotions, I couldn’t have stopped the sobs to save my life.

Now we are at the end of the sentence, and we have been granted a momentary reprieve. This is the best birthday of my life, because I still have my mother, and I now appreciate her presence when I have taken it for granted so many years previous. She gave me life, she gives me love, and now she gives me purpose. Life is precious, and hope is the only tune that doesn’t ring false.

In 1995, after the Oklahoma City Bombing, Garth Brooks sang a song called, “The Change.” There are a couple pieces of imagery that have remained lodged in my heart, though it’s been years since I’ve heard the song.

It’s like whispering a prayer
In the fury of a storm

It’s like trying to stop a fire
With the moisture from a kiss

Hope isn’t easy. It seems futile and stupid a lot of the time. I accept the things I cannot change, but I still hope in the back corners of my mind that there is a ray of light yet to shine. This is a precious day.

Happy Birthday Laura!

Well happy birthday Hon! I guess I have to be nice to you all day today, and even in this post of all places. Hmmm there’s so many things I could say. Where to begin…

Well I’m thankful for every day we’ve had together, and hopefully the many many more to come. May this day be a very special one for you! You are the best thing that has happened to me and I’ll love you forever. This is the first birthday in a few years that you have gotten to spend with your family, and I’m happy we are here for that, as well as thankful we moved here. It was the best decision we’ve ever made and we’re here because of you. Anyways happy 24th birthday!

Evade the Blade

Aunt Debbie is a kitchen virtuoso. She knows no fear in the face of a new recipe. She’s cooked for the masses since she was but a girl, being the oldest of 5 sisters and Mommy’s helper.

Laura, Debbie

She is a hard worker, and can often be found doing chores about the house. Her energy seems endless and it can be tiring just to watch her work. That being said, Debbie finds herself surrounded with seeming innocuous instruments…innocuous instruments that become dangerous in her hands. Point in fact, her poor head has met both the blades of a ceiling fan and the points of a barbed wire fence.

She prepared a picnic for us last Saturday. She made a pressed sandwich and reached for a long serrated knife when the time came to dig in. Miles made a smart comment about the length of the knife, and Debbie indicated that Brenda usually doesn’t let her handle the knives.

She, Debbie that is, laughed good-naturedly as Brenda specified, “Actually, it’s mainly the utility knives that we don’t let Debbie handle.”

Miles, perplexed, and most likely unfamiliar with the many Debbie-injuries sustained over the house (though he should have used deductive reasoning as he has seen the riches of their band-aide stash) and at the hand of ordinary objects, inquired, “What’s the difference between a butcher knife and a utility knife?”

Debbie replied immediately, “About five stitches.”

Watch Out

You’re tired of hearing about the watch, I know…but the saga continues.

Last Friday, as a “before-we-go-to-Iowa” errand, I had the battery replaced. Imagine my delight: a pretty watch THAT KEPT TIME. I marveled at my good fortune, until the next day after my morning shower. The inside of my watch’s face was foggy, beaded with untimely perspiration. I jammed my wrist under Miles’ nose on a whimper, and he looked upon the devastation with nonchalance. “Oh, yeah…I forgot to warn you that when they change the battery, the water seal is broken.” Calmly, he handed my wrist back to me with a look that undeniably said, “Now put that somewhere safe before you hurt somebody.”

As the day wore on, the condensation evaporated and I momentarily forgot of my woes. It wasn’t like I was receiving sympathy for them anyway, so what’s the use?

But things never resolve themselves simply in my world. I began noticing that the moisture appeared when I would leave the dry-cool of an air conditioned building and enter the hot-humid of the Midwest in August. The day before yesterday, a week after the above-mentioned battery changing, I returned to Dakota Watch Co. and asked the same gentleman who changed my battery to check the water seal on my watch. He did a double-maybe-triple take when I presented the watch for him. He recognized either me, the watch, or the combination of the two, and nodded in recognition. I explained my plight with ease, camouflaging the anxiety brimming just beneath the surface, and he set to sealing the watch case. He handed it back to me a short while later indicating that he had sealed everything, but that it is common for a watch to be finicky about the moisture saturation in air. Grateful for the work that he did, my eyes twinkled, and I asked, “How much do I owe you?”

He smiled an understanding smile and said, “Free of charge.” As we walked away, Miles and I spoke of the scary R-word: replacement. I am understandably upset:

Yesterday morning we hit 10 jewelry counters. Jewelry counters are not friendly experiences when you know just what you want. “No, I really don’t want your help deciding on something, I’ll know it when I see it.” “Yes, I realize that those are on sale…and if you hadn’t already told me 5 times, the big red sign might have tipped me off.” “Oh, these are new?—That’s nice…too bad that they’re hideous.”

Finally, Miles and I adopted a ruse. I would boldly walk to the glass-encased watch display while a vulture caught my scent. Meanwhile, Miles would stand behind me, gazing over my shoulder and looking observant. The vulture delivered its spiel. I blurt, seemingly unrehearsed, “You see, I’ve been looking for a two-toned or gold bracelet watch with a braided herringbone band. The watch that I am looking to replace [with an exact replica] is very dainty, and looks more like a bracelet than a watch.” The vulture points to something gaudy and matching only one of my qualifiers…that’s right, it’s either gold or two-toned. My convincing fake-laugh rolls as I remain uncommitted, saying, “My birthday is next week, and I am just pointing out gift-possibilities for him [thumb points to Miles over my shoulder] to consider.” This seems to be commonplace procedure, and the vulture laughs knowingly before flying toward fresh blood.

JC Penny was our final stop. I peered into the lit glass case as a woman with her hair piled high atop her head began to fire her round of ammunition. The glass case circled about the entire perimeter of the jewelry counter. Forgetting protocol in my so-far disappointment with the excursion, Miles answered the woman for me as she spoke in rapid and heavy Middle-Eastern-accented tones. “You want look a watch?” “For You? Her?” “Watches on sale, look!”

Miles answered benignly, “Just looking.” “Yes, for her, but we’re just looking for now, thanks.” “Oh yeah? Okay, thanks…but really, we’re just looking.” I surveyed their entire selection, and do you know that the rabid saleswoman followed me all the way around the jewelry counter, waiting for her next opportunity to pounce? Finally, seeing a watch that was most-of-the-way wonderful, except for the yucky mother-of-pearl face, I gave in and asked to stroke its willowy body. She looked condescending, according to Miles, as she reached for the indicated watch.

“Solid gold. 16 diamonds. On sale today for….$920.” Miles said she was waiting for my jaw to drop. He said she had a smug smile about her lips. I wouldn’t know any of this because I wasn’t looking at her, I was studying the watch. The band was a lovely weight, not quite herringbone or braided…but malleable. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get over the face…the mother-of-pearl was just not my style. Too much glitter with all of those rocks too. I handed it back to her after a thorough examination, and she looked crestfallen at my lack of response at the price, even more so at my anti-enthusiasm over its façade. We exited the store and Miles applauded my stony expression.

“What stony expression?” I questioned.

“She was trying to get a reaction out of you with that watch…”

I shrugged. “I just really didn’t like the mother-of-pearl—”

“NINE HUNDRED AND TWENTY DOLLARS!”

“Oh, that. Well, the mother-of-pearl was gaudy.” I felt the duality of his relief and unease…relief that I did not like the watch, unease that had I liked it…..well, we won’t go there.

Will the real frisbee…

Well we went on another of our famous picnics tonight. I think the one of the previous ones to the park Laura posted about on here, but unlike her, I’m too lazy to go back and find and reference that post here. Ok so maybe I lied, here is the post.

At that picnic, I’m not sure where it got started, but I put some of those snapable plates together to form a frisbee. OH YES, I remember where it started. Laura’s Aunt Brenda had snapped them together the right way and threw them at me.

I said, “No no no, that’s not how you do it.”

I proceeded to then put them together in a frisbee form, and we had fun with it. Anyways Laura’s mom had a grand suggestion. She told Laura to bring the “REAL” frisbee this time. So Laura and I played with it some tonight, but Brenda didn’t feel like trying it tonight. Who knows why, maybe we intimidated her with our throwing that was thrown off by the wind. Who knows?!?! Not I.