Sunday, October 21, 2012
There is a song by the Rolling Stones that says, "You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you might just find, you get what you need." I'm pretty sure he was meaning it in a different context than what I am about to use here, but the premise is still the same.
I was very excited Thursday about finalizing my plans for Bridge Day in Fayetteville, West Virginia at the New River Gorge. It is a place for BASE jumpers, rappellers, and zipliners to exhibit their abundant love and appreciation for the open air and streak of dare devil that runs through their veins. I have enjoyed the thrill of ziplining yet seriously considered the thought of rappelling this time, maybe even doing a tandem jump. The organization that runs this event was offering ten tandems this year. Knowing my chances of getting one of those would be slim, I still entertained the notion that I might be one of them and spent the night in breathless wishful thinking...
Friday's forecast was not promising. No, they would not cancel the event unless the winds were horrendous but I was more worried about whether Brian would let me go. The temperature was not budging out of the low 50s, the rain was slamming our area and the winds were quick. I knew that riding my Harley down would probably be out of the question. Late Friday evening I received a text from Brian that made my heart drop. "Sorry, honey, I'm not letting you go. Maybe next year." I asked if we could drive. "No. Not this year. I'll make it up to you."
Saturday morning I was stiff-lipped but broken-hearted. Tears stinging my eyes I folded laundry and swept the kitchen. Brian entered the room and told me to get dressed, that he was taking me out for lunch. I gussied up with dress pants, did my hair and put on some make-up. Then he told me I was overdressed. "Slap on your jeans, throw the hair up and put some tennis shoes on. You're not going to meet the Queen."
Thirty miles into Chillicothe we neared Tumbleweeds, one of our favorite spots. He drove past it, a slight smile on his face. We neared Olive Garden where, once again, he whizzed by. Another 20 miles up the road and I noticed that we were entering Lancaster. What? That is where my son, whom I haven't seen in eight months, worked and lived. I looked at him quizzically and he glanced over, smiling broadly. "Don't say anything, Michelle, just go with the flow."
He pulled into the place where my son was employed, told me to stay in the car while he went in to see if he was there. A few minutes later he returned...with my son. I fell out of the seat with tears streaming down my face and into the arms of my boy. He looked so well, so handsome, so happy. This man-child, who has been to hell and back so many times, finally looked content and well-adjusted. A few weeks ago he and I had reconciled, presenting me with a new grandchild whom he named after me. Her middle name was mine. Nicole. We couldn't visit long, ten minutes at best and I asked if I could go see Sabrina and the baby but she was out of town at her mother's. We hurriedly made plans to meet again in a few weeks when we could all be together.
But that was not all. That would have been enough, but the day yielded more surprises. Brian made his way down the winding highway to Hocking Hills. It is well-known for its trails and rustic outdoor activities. That is where I've ziplined before, explored its many caves and beautiful landscapes. We got out of the car and Brian exclaimed, "Race you to the trail..." and took off with blinding speed. I beat the old man to the mouth of the trail and we breathlessly viewed the colorful neon leaves, encountered other hikers and breathed in the crisply scented air. Three hours. Three hours of us, exploration, climbing, fellowship with others. He was severely winded by the time we finished...but in-between gasps he stated, "Now I know why you do this... it's beautiful."
We ran into a little 50's diner, one of those round ones enclosed in aluminum and metal and took our meal there. Then we toured the flea markets, trading posts and craft barns. It was then we saw a little motorcycle shop nestled just off the wooded area and we both ran over top of each other to get there! (He said I kicked him in the shin to put him a few steps behind me but he lies so don't believe him. Seriously. He's bad news.) We were there a half hour when I realized Brian was gone but I found him quickly, cozied up at the counter talking to a woman. They were forehead to forehead, looking at something Brian had in his hand. Eyeing his butt up, I determined where my foot was going to land when I heard him say, "And this is one she did when she came back from Florida." He was showing her pictures of my paintings on his camera. Face turning red I approached them and smiled. The redheaded beauty smiled back broadly.
"Sweetie, I was just telling your husband that I have a proposal for you. Would you be interested in putting your paintings on my wall? I would, of course, take a commission on whatever you sell, but my rates are rock bottom. Just price them a little higher than what you normally sell them for...I want your business."
Yes? Yes, yes, yes!!
Returning to the car and beginning the drive back home Brian asked, "So how was your day?"
"It was wonderful. Thank you. So much."
"Still wish you had went to Bridge Day??"
"What's Bridge Day?"
Smiling he reached over and took my hand.
No, you can't always get what you want.
But if you try sometimes, you might just find, you get what you need. And sometimes, just sometimes, you'll find it is what your heart wanted in the first place.
Photo of a region nestled in Old Man's Cave, Hocking Hills. For more beautiful amazing pictures of this area, please visit: www.citrusmilo.com/hockinghills/hock
Thursday, October 18, 2012
My husband has always been slim...except for a little muffin around his middle, he has never been overweight. In fact, he's worn the same size jeans since we were married 20+ years ago. He can eat anything he wants, whenever he wants it and how much he wants OF it. I'm not saying that is good for him, as my advice seems to fall on deaf ears anyways, but he's just wired to burn calories as fast as he can put them in. There are times I just want to, well, be childish, pound my pillow with my fist and bellow out a "Whyyyyy??! NOT FAIR!"
Because I, on the other hand, have to steadfastly focus, making sure I don't go over, go under or go crazy. One side of the fridge is his, the other mine. Fruits, fresh veggies, Greek yogurt, stuff that I know is going to keep my mind and body in balance, usually goes into the drawers. Every now and then I will find a pack of bologna in with my grapes but I calmly take it out and put it in his designated area. What I REALLY want to do is stomp on it but I know I will have to clean up the mess afterwards.
When he offers me a bowl of his Moose Tracks I might take a few bites...okay, so what, I might take a bowl EVERY NOW AND THEN, but I've never heard him say, "Mmm. That lettuce is good! Can I have a WHOLE BOWL of it??" Or, "Since beans are so great for me, I will eat them proudly, not caring what my coworkers think!" I'm not beyond sneaking a few things into his diet when I can. I have significantly lightened up my lasagna, even sneaking spinach and other odd things into it, just to get him some nutritional value. Needless to say, other things have flopped. Such as the sugar-free Jello I packed into his lunch. "Why did that smell like tennis shoes when I opened it?"
Bre has even gotten into the act with, "Dad, you need to explore your options, open your mind. Would it help if I molded the tofu into the shape of a steak??" Umm, can't say I really blame him on that one...
Sigh. I've been racking my brain with other stuff to try. New recipes, new presentations, colorful varieties of hearty vegetables, broiled to perfection. I still believe I need to live by example. When he eats ice cream, I sit beside him with yogurt mixed with blueberries, strawberries. When he asks if I want a candy bar in the check-out line, I say, "Nope! I want a banana!" and watch in dismay as he grabs a Snickers. But I have hope. I believe he will see my way some day.
It will just take some time. He had a doctor's visit today to measure his cholesterol levels. His blood pressure was absolutely normal. Everything else, normal. I am thankful but I do wonder how long it will stay that way. He did have a heart attack six years ago, almost dying on the operating table. Twice. For awhile he ate like a pro, even lecturing ME on what I was putting in my mouth. But the old habits have returned, he IS getting older and it is always in the back of my mind. I also know that I cannot force my habits, or my desires for him to eat healthy on him, that it has to be a personal choice. But it just erks me to no end, seriously.
Perseverance is perhaps the key on my end. Armed with healthy cookbooks and a positive attitude, I forge ahead. There's bound to be SOMETHING I can do to help him, even if I have to sneakily do it. (I can be a ninja when it comes to that. Like black ops. S.W.A.T. Cat-like. Meow.) It's gonna happen, I tell ya. Or I'm just gonna sit on him and say, "Say 'Uncle,' Brian, you loooose. Now eat this green pepper! Open. Ooooopen..." It'll be kinda like giving a cat a pill and we all know that ain't pretty.
So much for not forcing him, huh?
If all else fails, I'll try hypnotism. It can't hurt.
Have a great evening, Sparklers. God bless. You are loved.
Monday, October 15, 2012
I stopped talking to my mother-in-law six years ago, for reasons I won't disclose here. It was both sides, a refusal to admit our own parts in the problem that ultimately led to a breakdown in our relationship.
That being said, I learned the other day that she was in the hospital. At 78 years of age, it is almost never a good thing and to say that my heart didn't feel pangs of sorrow would be a lie. Suddenly the reason for not speaking with this woman didn't seem nearly as important as trying to made amends. When I heard that she was home, I hurriedly got myself together, grabbed Bre and made the drive to her house, not really thinking about the reception I would receive. But once there, I was slightly hesitant about going in. What if she told me to leave, that my part in her life was over, HAD been over for quite some time? I would be devastated. But I had to TRY.
Bre ran ahead of me and I followed, watching her enter the living room and go around the corner into the kitchen. I heard laughter as they embraced and said their hellos. I cautiously walked in and saw their loving encounter, tears coming to my eyes. Helen looked fragile, smaller, older. She glanced over Bre's shoulder and confusion touched her face as she saw me. I don't think she knew who I was. Letting loose of my daughter, she came around and stepped towards me as her eyes grew big. I held out my arms...
She fell into them. I grabbed her as tightly as I could and buried my face into her shoulder, gently patting her back as I took in her sweet warm scent. Then I felt her pull away, holding me at arm's length, as she exclaimed, "My goodness, where is the rest of you??!"
I was 80 pounds heavier the last time she saw me.
The next two hours were spent getting reacquainted with this woman, hugging, sharing, apologizing. We almost couldn't get our words out fast enough. We shared recipes, shared photos, held hands as she took me on a tour of her house, showing me her collection of glass birds and figurines that she dearly loved to collect.
Why didn't I do this sooner? Why did I wait so long to try to bury the hatchet? I came to realize that she was hurting just as much as I was at the severance of our relationship and didn't know how to take the first step towards making amends. She was blatantly honest about what it did to her soul because I was always seen as the "the daughter she never had."
I didn't realize how this was affecting me, not speaking with her. Because now I feel lighter. I feel like something is completed within me. I no longer have to stay home during Thanksgiving or Christmas while the rest of my family makes their rounds to her house. In fact, I'm going over and helping to prepare the mega-dinner she is planning for the whole entire family next month during the holidays.
It just feels good, ya know??
I've also just learned that I am a grandmother again. For years my youngest son has made very poor decisions in his life and wished to separate from the family dynamic while he went off to "find himself." I did not agree with the way he was doing that, yet did my best to let him know that I loved him through it all, that I would be here when he decided to come back to us. Then I received this picture on my phone last week...
The note that came with it said, "Mom. This is Klaire Nicole. We named her Nicole after your middle name. I married Sabrina like you said and am working. I am a supervisor now. I'm sorry. For everything. I miss you. Will you forgive me?"
Somehow I don't think that is going to be a problem, do you??
God bless you all today. If you CAN....forgive. It may not be a simple thing to do but it sure has made THIS girl feel alot better.
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
I seem to be having a difficult time today, feeling out-of-sorts, physically not up-to-par. My hike this a.m. didn't yield the desired results such as exhilaration or feeling refreshed. It was cold, damp, foggy; my body ached tremendously and still does. It is so defeating to me and my spirit. Sometimes it makes me want to give up physically, mentally and spiritually. It really does. I look at others who are able to do so much more and it is not for lack of trying that I don't do the same. I've tried, countless times, to run. To be the ultimate weight-lifter, to jog, to go long distances on my bike. I do well in the beginning but my body wants to break and scream at me for days thereafter.
It leaves me feeling like a broken person. I know that I have to take pride in my capabilities of what I CAN do but my heart has always wanted more. Often times I have asked God why He has given me lupus, a bad heart valve, yet a spirit that wants to run with the wind. I would be lying if I said it is something I accept because I don't. I don't feel sorry for myself and I DEFINITELY don't want pity. However, my pain turns to anger which turns to tears much of the time because I just want to be "normal." In my dreams I have no rash, my energy is ongoing, and my joints are moving flawlessly, rhythmically. There I can keep up with the best of them. And my heart, the physical side of it, is beating in a strong tempo, giving me the breath to endure the miles I see before me.
I don't do too bad with what I do have, though. So many people have greater disabilities, more challenges physically than I do right now...it could be worse so I do try to see the blessings that I do have. However, days like today? When it hurts just to get up out of the chair? I see the neighbor outside cutting wood, preparing for the cold nights ahead of him, the strength in his arms vibrating with each swing. Earlier today I watched a young couple jogging in town, laughing, and I WANTED THAT. The emotional toll is sometimes so intense that it is all I can do to go the bathroom or an empty room and hide my tears from others. (But I always strive to emerge with a smile saying, "Yes. I am fine.") I don't feel sorry for myself, again, I just want my body to be unchained from this cross I have to bear. I can imagine what I COULD do if I didn't have to be a slave to it. My heart-of-hearts would take me to the corners of this earth. It would prove to me what I know in my soul, that I am a strong person, capable of pushing myself to the limit, being free...to be the REAL me.
The reality is, I must work with what I have. I have accomplished so much since starting my SparkJourney. I have, all-in-all, lost 80 pounds. I might be regaining and re-losing the same five pounds here and there, but I have done it. I can't feel sorry for myself for that. I can't loathe the obstacles that I have overcome in my life. I've walked through hell and came out the other side a better person in some regards. Some experiences have made me guarded, thicker, not so trusting, but I think that is good in some ways. My heart has been broken many times because I love people, believe in them. Rejection has chipped away at me until I feel must guard my heart with my life now. I need to preserve what is left of me. I need to be thankful for who I have now, for WHAT I have now. I may be broken in some regards...
But I'm still a warrior. I'm still a fighter. I won't lie down and die, not just yet.
I just wish I could run.
I would never take that for granted.
Will it ever REALLY be okay?
Yes. One day it will all make sense. I know one day when I reach Heaven's Gate that I will burst through it like a thousand marathons. I will reach up to God's face, let Him take mine in His divine hands and smile down on me. For really, that is my ultimate goal. My ultimate destination. Where there is no more pain, mentally, emotionally NOR physically. That is where I will get my medal. My reward. That is where I will soar beyond my wildest imagination.
Thank you for allowing me to bare my soul. It helps me to get it out. This is my therapy. Tomorrow will be better. It always is.
I love you all so very much. You are truly a blessing to me.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Until I get back from Florida, that is.
Do you realize how long I've waited for this vacation to get here??? Sunday morning at 4 a.m. I am leaving to catch my plane. Hallelujah!
I'm only taking one bag. A DUFFEL bag. That's like, the first time EVER I've packed so light. Just the bare essentials this time. Like, travel size shampoos and soaps. No fancy crap either, like conditioner or socks. The old man is looking forlorn. I asked him what was wrong and I waited for the, "Oh honey, I'm going to miss you." What I GOT was, "What am I going to eat while you're gone???" Poor thang. I felt so bad for him that I went to the store and got some stuff that I could make and freeze for him.
Just as my luck would have it, my legs are in ugly shape, between getting tangled up in a briar patch the other day and getting ate up by chiggers. But WHO CARES. I will proudly lay on the beach and smile at the people as they look at them in disgust, because, quite frankly, I'll never have to see them again anyways. :)
I'm leaving the laptop at home. I'm not wearing make-up. I'm not doing my hair. I'm not doing anything but rise with the sun in the morning, taking a lone stroll on the shore, and talk to my God. Rest. Contemplation. Touching that peace that I need again. And eating at Angler's Bar and Grill. I hope that dark-haired waiter still works there...
That's him. I like him because he always gave me an extra big slice of Key Lime pie. :)
So, I bid you adieu in blog form until I come back refreshed and ready to hit the woodsy trail again, trading it for the warm white sand beneath my feet, for just awhile.
Take care. God bless.
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