Do you believe in angels? I think I do even though I've never actually seen one. There have been times in my life that something or someone has saved me, sometimes from myself and sometimes from other people. I suppose some would say it was just luck but honestly I believe in angels much more than I believe in being lucky. Luck is chance and when you come through the fire with nothing more than a few soot marks, you start to believe that some higher power is looking out for you.
I was worried about Thanksgiving with my step dad because he's gotten so much worse with the Alzheimers and my mom said he doesn't remember most people except the ones he sees on a daily basis. As much as I'd love to take Alice to see him every day, we live 3 hours away so that's impossible. I wasn't sure how I would explain to my 2 1/2 year old that her papa might not remember her but when Papa walked in and saw Alice, his face lit up. She ran to him and he hugged her so tightly that her cheeks turned red. He stroked her hair and asked how his sweet Alice had been. I can't begin to explain the relief I felt in that moment when somehow Papa remembered her. Most of the day I watched Alice and Papa play with Barbie's or watch Baby Einstein and I kept thinking that this may be the last time she's able to do this with the man she's loved since the moment she saw him. I remember the first time he held her she had her eyes open so wide and she kept trying to grab at his white hair. From that moment, her love has only grown. After they played for what seemed like hours Papa fell asleep with Alice on his lap so I told Alice that Papa needed a rest. She quickly obeyed as she hopped down off his lap and tiptoed over to me so she wouldn't wake him. "Look mama there's an angel," she exclaimed. "Where sweetie," I asked. "Right there, on Papa's shoulder," she answered as she pointed her chubby little finger towards a sleeping papa. The smile on her face confirmed that my sweet Alice could see angels.
There has not been one moment of doubt in my mind that Alice did in fact see an angel sitting on her Papa's shoulder. I believe we all have guardian angels but because we're grown up, less innocent and more cynical, we cannot see them. My hope for Alice - that she always be able to see the angels on our shoulders and maybe some day she'll even be able to talk to one.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day for those of us here in the states. It means a lot of different things to a lot of people and I must admit that even for me, the meaning has changed multiple times over the years. It seems that no matter where I was in my life, what pain I was going through, Thanksgiving was always one day that remained immune from reality. My family would gather around and pretend that we were all happy but even though that day retained a certain 'falseness' it also became a comfort. Sometimes it's actually ok to take comfort in things that may not be truthful to the core.
I know some of you write your grateful lists quite often and I'm always impressed how that list stays in the forefront of your life, reminding you of what you have. I won't lie, as much as I try each day to be thankful for what I have, sometimes I let the moments slip past with no acknowledgment at all. Try as I may to be more aware of my blessings, I've realized there is a difference between being aware of them and being thankful. It seems rather generic to start now, the day before Thanksgiving, but I'm going to do it anyway - because timing seems less important than the actual acknowledgement.
-that in a heart where once only pain existed, there is love strong enough to make the pain less 'painful'
-that I know myself better than I did before and I'm not scared of what I've discovered
-for second chances
-for people who have a stronger will than mine
-that sometimes it's ok to be scared
-that one man decided to ignore my request to 'leave me alone'
-that God blessed me with Alice and soon with Patrick
-that Alice 'touches my heart' every morning
-for the ability to forgive
-that I can remember the people that love me
-that people remember me for my accomplishments and not my flaws
-that I can be who I am and that people let me
My list could be longer but I realize it's not about putting the words down on paper or even saying them out loud, it's about really living my life in a way that reflects how grateful I am.
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and whether you celebrate the day or not, choose to celebrate your life. Be thankful every day, every moment - until there are no more moments left. Happy Thanksgiving.
I know I've posted before about my step father who has Alzheimer's but it's been awhile. My mom had him admitted to a nursing home back in March because she could no longer take care him by herself. It was one of the hardest things she ever had to do outside of watching the man she loves deteriorate into someone that neither of them recognizes. This Thanksgiving will most likely be the last one he celebrates with us, at our home. It will most likely be the last one where he remembers our names or Alice's sweet face or how much she loves him or how much he adores the sound of her voice when she calls him 'Papa'. It will be the last time Alice sees him where I'll be able to pretend Papa is the same, unchanged, loving man. She's growing up so quickly and as her mind expands, his retreats into a place that none of us are allowed to visit. Soon I'll have to explain why he can no longer remember who she is or why sometimes grown-ups need help with the very things I'm helping her learn like tying her shoes, going to the potty, or putting clothes on. I'm not sure how I'll explain these things since I barely understand them myself. I do not know how I will tell her that Papa will not be there when she wakes up on Christmas morning. Although she's only two, her Papa being present in her life is something she's always known, expected, celebrated. She seems too young to learn the lesson that nothing lasts forever, hell, I'm too young to learn it.
I know that most of us believe that we own our memories, that they are ours now and forever. But they are not. They are simply moments we're allowed to possess for a passage in time until some higher power decides they can be no longer. One day we wake up and like tiny drops of rain washing specs of dirt from a surface, memories no longer exist. A moment is just that - a moment, which disappears the instant that it happens.
Until you watch someone you love, someone that used to know they loved you back - fade into a stranger with no past, you cannot accept that it will happen. Memories become things we no longer own.
Sorry for the gloom just before a weekend...but it's life and as hard as I try to avoid it sometimes - it's always there.
Yesterday I decided to treat myself to a mani/pedi and a leg waxing. I've always thought waxing your legs was sort of...well...high maintenance but when you reach the stage of pregnancy where you can't shave your legs yourself, waxing seems to be the only option left. Seriously do you know how awful it feels not to be able to reach your own legs? Quite honestly, it sucks. I can't put my socks and shoes on, I can't paint my toenails...hell I can barely see my toenails unless I lift my foot off the ground which is kind of dangerous since at this point my balance is questionable. I asked my husband to shave my legs and bless his heart he tried but he used the same technique he uses on his face which left me with tiny bits of toilet paper all over my legs. Not pretty. So I broke down and made the appointment and I'll be honest I had a little apprehension to the pain I knew was associated with waxing. I sat there trying not to think about how much it would hurt but that was near impossible after she ripped the first piece of cloth from my leg. I felt like a complete wimp, after all I have endured child birth but at least after that pain you get this wonderful little person that you can remind for the rest of their life the pain you endured to get them here. After getting my legs waxed all I got was nice smooth legs that I can't feel or see anyway. I suppose I could use this pain as a bargaining chip against my husband because really it was only because of him that I even cared that hair was growing wildly on parts that used to be shiny and slick. Trust me, when you are 9 months pregnant and you can't sleep, can't walk without waddling, can't remember what your pre-baby body felt like...the last damn thing you care about is 'maintenance'.
At least when Patrick does arrive he won't come out and be forever wounded by the sight of his mommy's hairy legs. The things we do for men....
When I was a little girl I remember seeing my mother cry. I remember feeling helpless. I remember that all I wanted to do, is make her not sad anymore. Over the weekend my husband did something that hurt me and although we never fight in front of Alice, I could not stop the tears from springing from my eyes. I left the room but not quickly enough to keep Alice from seeing her mommy cry. As I sat in the dark in the living room I heard her little feet thumping down the hallway. She came to me, "mommy are you sad?" I tried to explain to her that sometimes, grown ups get sad but she frowned as I spoke the same words my own mother said to me so many years ago. "Do you need a hug mommy?" "I always need hugs Alice." As she wrapped her tiny arms around my neck my heart was breaking all over again. I never wanted her to see me cry. I never wanted to place that burden upon her fragile shoulders just like my mother never wanted to place hers upon mine. But I'm human and as much as I try to be invincible, I am not.
After Alice wiped the tears from my cheeks she smiled and said, "all better mommy." "It is better Alice," I replied. Just like my own mother could not protect me from her sadness, I cannot protect Alice from mine. What I can do is teach her that if you have someone to love you through the tears, sadness doesn't last long.
Today for musical Monday I've chosen a song from one of my favorite artists Amos Lee. It's named 'Careless' and it seemed fitting for today. If you can't hear the music playing in the background click 'Here' to have a listen.
As the holidays draw near, I wish you all a few 'Careless' moments. It's what makes us strong - and human.
Once I closed my eyes to catch a few z's and woke up ten years later. I was kid with few responsibilities and the next thing I knew, I was full swing into adulthood. It happens a lot, time passes and I can't really be sure of where it went. I've tried to remember why this happens, that I've filled my days with things that seem to take no space inside my head and then I suddenly wake up and everything is different from the last time I paid attention. I make little promises to myself that I'll make something memorable happen each day, things to chart on the timeline of my life so that when I look back I won't be sitting here wondering how once again I've seemingly fallen into a time machine I have no control over. When you look at your life there shouldn't be big gaps between what was and what is but we fall into that nasty trap of believing we'll live forever, there will always be more time to make more memories.
I'm sitting here thinking about how I will have another child in 6 weeks or less. I can remember when I found out I was pregnant but after that, moments seem to blur. When I had Alice I promised myself I would remember everything about her, her 'special moments', her 'milestones' and you know what? I do remember every single one but what about me? I've let myself fade into the background like I've done a million times before. It's just too damn easy to make other things priority. I need to change that and not just change it for a day, for a week, for a month. I need to make my own moments 'milestones' so that one day if I wake up and feel as if time has slipped past me once more, I can remind myself that there was no 'slipping involved'. It was all about living and remembering and being grateful that God gave me those moments to make my own.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Decisions have never been my strong suit. I usually procrastinate in the hopes that someone else will make the decision for me and if they do, I complain that they made the wrong ones. I suppose when you grow up being forced to make decisions and those decisions often cause you pain, you end up deciding not to decide at all. As I stood there watching my daughter try to decide which pumpkin she wanted to take home I thought about how many more, bigger decisions she'd be faced with some day. When I was a kid no one prepared me for the types of things I'd have to decide, like whether or not to invite my father to my school open house for fear he'd show up drunk or whether or not to tell my mother that my dad was cheating on her after I'd walked in on their secret trist. Some decisions should never fall upon the shoulders of children should they?
After Alice stood there for about ten minutes trying to decide which pumpkin she liked best she turned to me and said, "mommy, you decide." I could only reply, "how about we pick two." Sometimes you have to make the decision not to decide at all.
Happy Half Nekkid Thursday
I heard on the radio news today about a man who found a bag washed up on the East Coast, I think Jersey Shore, that had 300 letters addressed to God inside. Have you ever written a letter to God? How about Santa Claus? Someone you thought wasn't listening when you spoke out loud? Someone you couldn't talk to so writing your thoughts seemed easier, safer? You know what? I've written letters to all of the above.
When I was 6 I wrote a letter to Santa Claus because my parents told me to and I was shocked when I actually got a letter back post marked 'the North Pole.' When I was 9 I wrote another letter to Santa Claus not because my parents said to but because none of the kids I went to school with believed in Santa anymore. I was devastated and I needed some clarification, clarification I never received but being the optimist I was I held out on the notion of Santa Claus another two years.
When I was 12 I wrote a letter to God asking him why he had not listened to my desperate pleas to keep my parents together. Every single night since I was 4 I got down on my knees before going to sleep and prayed that God would keep my family together. When I was 12 it was obvious he didn't listen because my parents divorced. I wrote a letter to Him letting him know how disappointed I was that he was too busy to answer one small prayer from one small little girl. Even at 12 I could be quite dramatic.
When I 14 I wrote a letter to my father reminding him of the numerous times I'd tried to tell him that I loved him regardless of his addiction and begging him to love me enough to change. I guess I thought that writing the word 'alcoholic' on paper would make him realize, he actually was one. He read that letter and he cried - but he didn't change.
When I was 16 I wrote a letter to the love of my life, or at least I thought he was, telling him how hurt I was that he took my virginity, my love, my heart, and left it by the roadside as he peeled out of my drive-way. I wrote the letter because I was too scared of telling him in person, too scared he'd leave me - which is what he did anyway. I still remember that my hands were shaking as I slipped that note through the vent on his locker and how he never even acknowledged that he'd read it. Maybe he never did.
I'm older now but I must admit I still tend to write letters instead of verbal communication. Maybe it's because I feel that I have too much to say, too many feelings that no spoken word could convey. Maybe I'm still that scared kid who thinks no one listens, at least not the way I want them to. I write in my journal every night. I write to God asking him to protect my children. I write to my husband asking him to be more patient, more understanding. I write to my father asking the same old questions that were never answered and probably never will be. I write to myself - to sort out my thoughts, to remember that it's still ok to feel things even if the rest of the world can't feel them with you.
Those letters to God that someone found washed up on a seashore, I have to wonder what they were hoping for. Maybe all they needed was to write what they could not speak in the hopes that someone might actually listen. I wonder if anyone did.
This year was my daughter's first 'trick or treat' experience. We made it to about 8 houses before she decided she'd waited long enough to eat a piece of candy and wanted to go home to see what good stuff she'd collected. I have to tell you that this Halloween was better than any I've ever experienced. To be able to watch the amazement on Alice's face as she recited "Trick or Treat" the way we'd practiced and then to realize that those few words meant someone would place candy in her 'ghost' bag was enough to fill up my heart. You know it really is extremely easy to forget how simple happiness can be. A piece of candy, a Tinkerbell costume, running around your backyard catching rain drops on your tongue...or a beautiful laugh!
Happy Half Nekkid Thursday