Language

Inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge: Language

This week, let’s think about language. Notice the places where words flow confidently and those where words falter.

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You did too much

My mother admonished me after I made my way down the stairs into the living room…two days before Christmas in 1986. After I discovered blood where there shouldn’t have been any. My hand smoothing my slightly rounded belly – as if that would stop what was happening.

What I feared was happening…

As I called out from the small confines of our brand new second floor bathroom. A short distance from a third bedroom…finished a few months earlier. Space for a new family member.

My voice unheard over the cranked up stereo down below…You Better Watch Out You Better Not Cry…in anticipation of the holiday to come. My 4 year old daughter over the moon excited about Santa. And her grandparents’ visit.

You Did Too Much

Four words.

Language that jumpstarted slivers of guilt.  Mixed with grief and anger and fear.

Compounded by my doctor….who, hours later with eyes averted, added…

These Things Happen.
It’s Probably For The Best.

What did I do?…

The unanswered question wrapped around my heart…until the day almost a year later…when my beautiful healthy son was born. And I exhaled.

No words necessary.

Our family of four complete.

 

moon sliver copy

 

Grandparents

Nancy Merrill is hosting a photo challenge. The prompt this week: Grandparents

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO FEATURING GRANDPARENTS OF ANY KIND.

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I think of my grandparents often. I have written about them in this blog many times. I miss them still. I have included links to their birthday posts for those who would like a peek at the lives of these exceptional grandparents. Two of my favorite photographs are posted below.

 
My four grandparents were the definition of unconditional love.

 

May 1957 opa oma 042 copy
Opa and Oma with me (age 3) and my sister

Opa – my mother’s father, wrote me countless letters (which I still have). I was his “Pen Pal.” He showered me with words of encouragement and support in all my childhood adventures. His sense of humor is family legend. He awakened my love of all things cards and games. Opa and I would sit across from each other playing Pinochle for hours on end…one of my last memories of him.

Oma – my mother’s mother, learned to drive a car so she could make the 45 minute trip from NY to visit me – her first grandchild. At the age of 47. She baked birthday cakes for her grandchildren and made a mean macaroni and cheese. She wrote to me at camp and sent postcards from her and Opa’s many trips around the USA. We became very close as she spent her last few years near my home.

 

grammypapa and me
Grammy & Papa and me (age 3)

Grammy – my father’s mother, lived many hours away from my family…but she wrote me countless letters – full of details of her life “down South” with her sisters. After Papa died, I got to know her better as she made extended visits to stay with us. She was a character and not afraid to speak her mind. An expert seamstress, she made dress-up outfits for my sister and me. Doll clothes too.

Papa – my father’s father, made an impression on me during the short time I knew him…as he died unexpectedly the year I turned 10. I still have a few of his letters. I remember him as a quiet, sweet and patient man who made me feel special.

 

[As a grandparent to a spectacular 3 year old, I now understand how much fun it is!]

Reclaim

This post inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #55: Reclaim

 

rock wall woods

 

The things that women reclaim are often their own voice, their own values, their imagination, their clairvoyance, their stories, their ancient memories. If we go for the deeper, and the darker, and the less known we will touch the bones.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés

 

What’s done is done.
What’s over is over.

One by one she closed the chapters
Convincing herself
it was so.

She shelved them high…year after year
Dust settled slowly
Coating spine after spine.

But that glimmer still surfaced
Again and again
A nagging suspicion…

Is done really done?
Is over really…over?

So she emptied the shelf
And cracked open each volume
To travel chapter by chapter

From whisper to shout
Addendum in process
The jury still out.

 

 

 

 

Flower

Nancy Merrill is hosting a photo challenge. The theme this week:  Flower

IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO FEATURING FLOWERS OF ANY KIND.

 

iris trio
Immigrant Iris

 

As anyone who lives in a condominium may know, there are rules. So many rules. As a former homeowner they have sometimes been difficult to accept.

However, I knew going into this new lifestyle what was expected. I signed the papers. By-laws. Rules and regulations. Blah blah blah.

I don’t regret the move, but sometimes I do let my mind wander to what was….

And one of those mind wandering destinations is flowers.

As anyone who reads my blog knows, I loved the flowers and flowering shrubs & trees at my former home. Where I could plant whatever I wanted. Whenever I wanted. Anyplace I wanted.

I could also shovel snow. Snow blow the driveway. Hack ice off the eaves. Rake leaves. Fertilize the lawn. Chase down wasp nests. And so on.

But I digress.

One of our new condo friends had the foresight to save a collection of iris bulbs from his former home. Where his gardens were spectacular – as he showed us in photograph after photograph.

One day in the fall of 2017, he stealthily planted several of these bulbs amongst the legal bushes around our building. They popped up the following spring.

As iris do, they spread…this past spring there were a few more.

They are…almost…an exact match to the ones I left behind.

 

 

Lottery

This post inspired by V.J.’s Weekly Challenge #53: Lottery

 

Life is a lottery that we’ve already won. But most people have not cashed in their tickets.

Louise L. Hay

 

 

lottery ticket
Have I won some kind of life lottery?
Unknowingly playing the right numbers at the right time?

What are the chances I would live as long as I have?
What are the chances I would give birth to two healthy babies?
What are the chances I would be born healthy for that matter?

I am convinced…life is not random.
Everything does happen for a reason…

What about that split second miss at the stoplight
Or…
When the accelerating lumber truck nearly T-boned my car
Or…
The hitchhiking car ride…locked doors, high speed, narrow road…when I was 17

Or…

Was it chance or divine design or perseverance…or a lucky combination…that made it possible to emerge from a dark childhood hell. Finding peace…blinking in the brightness.

I am eternally grateful and thankful I beat the odds…whatever they were.

Whatever the reason.

So far.

 

hope window

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trees

This post inspired by Lens-Artists Challenge #50

The prompt – Trees

I enjoyed trees all around me at my former home. In the quiet neighborhood where we raised our two children. Surrounded by…red maple, white birch, oak, dogwood, hemlocks, peach and apple trees.

We discovered some were hardier than others.

A favorite survivor was the white dogwood…

dogwood

…framed by a red maple and an oak tree that we planted as a baby in the ’90’s. Tucked in the backyard. Birches and hemlocks peeking out from behind.

The maple tree planted by the town stood curbside and center in the front yard. Transformed to white after a late winter snowstorm during our final year there…

snow maple
It lasted over 30 years…
Still standing the day we moved out.