Open Heart, Open Road

Bravo and I had the weekend to do nothing in particular so we went road tripping. I call it that because my son JJ literally tripped at every destination we stopped at. Five states in three days!

I’ll write something more eloquent later in the week about our adventure (maybe?) but for now, I’ll just share another of my loves from said adventure – photography!

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Bridge into Arkansas

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Sunset in Memphis

Early 1800’s Cemetary in Kentucky

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Tree in Kentucky

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Sunset in Kentucky

Loving Life

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A Daughters Heart

 

 

There is a child in my daughters class, who every day comes through the door dressed like a model for a department store. Popped collar shirts, masculine jeans, skater shoes…the most expensive of accessories.

The bell rings and his shoulders fall. His discomfort fades away and this beautiful child is – at least until the bell goes off to head back home – no longer the boy his surely loving parents dress him to be, but ‘Linda’…a snarky and at times confident child. Just one of the girls.

My sweet Birdie has sat me down many times to let out the built up frustration she feels on behalf of Linda. Whether this child’s parents even know, how come they make who she feels is obviously more comfortable as a her/she/girl/young lady, dress and act like a him/he/handsome young man. My daughter asks why he should have to pretend to be someone she’s not, while little Birdie has always been allowed to be Birdie.

My daughter does not like the tight, high-riding and/or low cut girls clothing. She does not enjoy bling and glitter, bows and girly-ness. Her wardrobe, much like mine was at her age – is filled with boys clothes, shoes, accessories. Nike football shirts, athletic pants and shorts, basketball shoes. She has one dress, which she has worn once. It wasn’t forced, she wanted it and so I bought it.

While trying to help my little girl (with the over-sized and often overly sensitive heart) understand Linda’s life, and the choices we make to be happy, the wise and wonderful mom in me realized something. My daughter is amazing. My daughter has managed to grasp and master what we take charge humans often find ourselves struggling with – acceptance. Whether of ourselves, others, circumstances, happenstances. She gets it.

 

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(While there are a host of ‘issues’ surrounding this ‘subject of debate’…I’ll cross my t’s and dot my i’s as they find their way to the paper, but not before.)

*****

I try not to be a drop in what I feel is an already overflowing cup of unsolicited opinions/advice, but I just want to say that with everything going on, going wrong – I am not worried or afraid of Linda’s miraculous friendship with my daughter.

I am fearful of war.

I am heartbroken for each human being that dies because they are starving.

I pray that those who are lost will be found, free, happy.

I do not pray that God changes someone who finds solace in being who they feel they’re meant to be.

 

*I am a Christian, and I’ve read the Bible. I’ve also lived, lost, learned along the way.*

 

I love my children, and as long as I’m living and beyond I will love them. If I can love my children then I can love your children. If I can accept my children’s desire to be who they choose/need to be, well then I can do the same for yours.

This isn’t about what I want but what makes my children/our children feel whole. I don’t understand it. But I’m not afraid of it, of change. I’m not afraid of a difference of opinion either, but I’m afraid for those human beings that are cast aside because they choose to live. I’m just one person I know. God has taught me that if nothing else, He’s saved me to share His love. He fought for my life through addiction, homelessness…and I’ll be damned if I’m going to be the one to cast a stone at one of HIS greatest gifts…another human being. A life worthy of existence. All unique, all loved, all beautiful in his eyes and therefore in mine.

 

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Because It’s Good Fun

 

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I haven’t been posting very much lately and for those that have missed it I do apologize! Life has been going at full ludicrous speed around our house and I’ve been playing catch up myself for weeks!

Tank is walking so I spend most of my days chasing, oohing and aahing, and cleaning up after everyone else so he won’t realize he can reach the table and countertops to make big messes. I had forgotten how much I loved cabinet locks!!

JJ graduates from kindergarten next week and has requested all the festivities of a college grad for ‘his’ party…streamers, costumes, darts, bubbles…and a new bike.

 

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Birdie will be heading to middle school next year and with that comes the joys of hitting that all important ‘girls only‘ kind of puberty at the most awkward time…and her fifth grade swimming party is TOMORROW!!! *sigh*

Our son Jay has been off and on with his anxiety meds, which if anyone knows anything about any type of medication it’s that one must use it as prescribed. Trying to word things without hurting his anxious feelings about what he’s like without his meds is driving our relationship into a wall – made of steel. The kid is just 14, 6′ tall and 200 lbs of oil and water, grease and fire, bubbles and flower petals. Ugh. It. Sucks. He’s heading off to high school next year and has no desire to do ANYTHING. That at least, is typical of his age – and then there’s girls….calling, texting, never ending. (Enter mama bear stone cold and unamused face here.)

My 18 yr. old son is applying to work at a casino for the summer. No I don’t like it, but he’s 18. He’s 18. I feel old…perhaps this part should be left out? (I mean, I really do only dye my hair because I like to right? There’s no gray…is there?)

Of course there’s the life outside of party planning, having to do laundry and change diapers. There’s more to my life than meeting with teachers, doctors and short-order meal requests at 0100 hours. I’m also a wife. And my husband has been doing a lot around here for us. Bravo has a job and if all goes well he will switch from being a contract position to permanent employee in about 8 weeks. Thank God for regular pay, hours and bill paying. I am so thankful that we can buy pizza on Saturday nights if we want and buy that really soft toilet paper again.

With all this to-do and so on, I forgot to mow our yard, or just the back yard really. Then it rained for a week. Then it was hot and humid, sunny beyond measure…and I kid you not the measurements of grass are a two foot minimum. I’m gonna need a tractor, an old rake and a new mower. Help! (And with two dogs, kids, and a fear of Lyme disease this mama and her hubby have been weed whacking and raking Deadpool style. Cursing, laughing, inappropriately joking and bribing our kiddos to get in on this fun.)

Anyway, I hope the coming new season will be filled with more of my little bit of heaven. Because as bitchy as this blog post sounds…it’s all I’ve ever wanted. And the bits of hope, happiness and love sprinkled about are all I need to know I’m right where I should be.

 

***On a side note, I watched the mo vie  ‘Deadpool’ and it was disgusting – as in disgustingly funny.***

 

 

 

 

Because He Loves Me.

My father died the day after Easter four years ago. He was in a hospital, surrounded by those he loved, that loved him. I was not there. I was not able to hold his hand or sit with my brother while he cried for our father. I could only call from 1700 miles away and hope that my words made a difference. I was beside myself with guilt. I missed my dad. I missed being there.

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When I was a child my father took us to Grandma and Grandpas house for Easter. Ham, homemade canned cherries, black olives on each finger. Easter egg hunts, and running amuck with my many cousins, my brother. That’s what Easter should be. Memories carried throughout our lives. The memories that we want to pass on to our children.

Though it’s been so long since I went home to see my family, they are always close. A thought, a prayer away. My dad, in my mind, is sitting by a fire, enjoying the star light, drinking the worst tasting coffee known to man.

When I became a Christian it was almost unthinkable to me that any being could love me, let alone God. After having my own and very personal tragedies in this life – and living through them, I know He does. I would not be here without God keeping watch, ever waiting for me to stop running and just be still. Protecting me from the terrible choices I made, keeping me from the depths of my own hell. I had children and my eyes were opened to that love in a new way. Giving a child up to save a stranger, let alone a drug addict, teen parent, homeless pile of worthlessness, is something I would never do – but God did that for me.

So, as I sit on my deck, so blessed, knowing what it is to suffer, I’m all too aware that there is much that the world doesn’t see about me, my life. But if I could choose just one part of myself to share with you, it would be the love of God.

I won’t push it on you full court press, that’s not who I am. If you don’t believe in God or are undecided, I don’t cherish you any less, and love you just the same. I don’t preach, I just choose to live my life accepting others as God does with me every day.

No matter your faith I hope this Easter weekend finds you with family, friends, the things you truly cherish in this life. I hope and pray that you look around and see all you have. Your very little bit of heaven may be more than your neighbor has. Know that if you’re spending it alone, or maybe lost, I’m thinking of you. You have a value within that is unmatched.

Make wonderful new memories to replace the sad, lonely moments. Each day is a blessing.

The Last First Birthday…More Than Just a Gift.

Today is special for many many many reasons. It is a birthday. It is a first birthday. It is the last first birthday. We are both alive to share it.

When I was pregnant with Tank they found blood in his bowels, too much fluid in his kidneys. Symptoms of all kinds of scary birth defects, and Down syndrome. So I did genetic testing, filled out papers, had blood drawn and many ultrasounds until I gave birth. They broke my water and he’d been in my oven dry as a fish out of water for hours, his heart rate and mine quivered up and down. Tank was born healthy, lovely, three weeks early and fought to the bitter end to stay safely hidden away.

I had complained from about my sixteenth week of pregnancy of not being able to breathe. It wasn’t my anxiety. I felt like I had COPD, lung cancer. Stairs were nearly impossible to take on. My doc never listened. By the half way mark of my pregnancy I was grabbing the headboard to stretch out my torso…all in an attempt to breathe. Still, nobody would listen. I was sent to the ER for high blood pressure a few times, pain in my upper right abdomen, and my right shoulder. Nothing. All anyone told me was that ‘I was older/the more babies the harder on your body it is/you’re just fine dear.’ So when I gave birth I just knew I’d be able to breathe again. That final push was, in my mind, curing me of this terrifying suffocation. No.

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Nine days, and two pain pill prescriptions later I begged to be seen by the doc. Apparently not understanding my plight they put me in a room with a nurse practitioner who, to my surprise, listened more than any of the doc’s I had seen in the last 10 months. She told me to go straight to the ER, and assumed I had a clot in my lung. No.

I was admitted after a few hours, and after blood work, scans, ultrasounds, pee-in-the-cup-tricks, and poking/prodding they realized I had fluid around my heart which was struggling to beat, and had been for some time apparently. I had fluid around my damaged liver, which caused my liver enzymes to sky rocket, and my gallbladder, which was not functioning-at all. So they started me on a diuretic, which blessed me with the super woman power of super long potty trips, which was the color of shiny new pennies, and I lost 11 lbs. of fluid in under four hours. My diagnosis was HELLP syndrome. All because I was ‘whining’. Alas the symptoms have lingered and I often feel out of breath, tired, and catch every cold that comes my way. My gallbladder is slowly healing and the fluid in my legs is receding day by day by day….so there’s that to be thankful for on my end.

I could have had so many terrible things come out of all of this, but instead I had my last baby, perfect in every way, given to me, as if I was worthy enough. I’m so blessed.

My son JJ came to me a few months ago and we had the sweetest, most telling and wise conversation I think I could ever have with him…

“Mama, I know why you are having another baby…”
“You do? And why do think I’m having this baby?”
“Because you don’t want to be lonely.”

That just cuts deep. So true. So sweet/sad.

I can’t imagine a life without Tank, or any of our kids for that matter. This birthday is more than just my last first birthday. It is my last time to BE here, with my young one, and not be lonely. This fact is so very sad for me, but also, it is one of the most revealing, and by far the larger whole of my heaven.

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***Happy First Birthday Tank. You are my heart, and you keep me beating. ***

A Birthday Filled with ‘Happy’

Birthday Six for JJ-Because I Love His ‘Happy’image

My delightful/jolly/easily-excitable son JJ turns six today! Ohh the bees are buzzing around at fever pitch to decorate the hive and fill it with love and super hero goodies for his very special day!
Being born on St. Patrick’s Day is no easy thing for a child that’s been fighting the ‘status quo’ since the day he was born. He ran to the van yelling “It’s my birthday!” with the only green accessory being his absolutely mesmerizing GREEN EYES! (I squirm with my own excitement as he’s our only clone with said GREEN EYES!)
JJ is the light of our lives. Always quick to make a joke, and these days laughs at such things like the words poop, butt, brown, toot, fart and let us not forget booger! He is by far the most easy going of our brood and enjoys wearing the many uniforms of his secret identities…..shhhhhhhh*****

 

So to you JJ I say rock your independent spirit, your obnoxious hairdo’s and warrior attitude. Just don’t ever stop giving me those heart-melting and intense hugs after a hard days work at play. I love you to the moon and back!

Mommyland

Trying to figure out where my extreme case of exhaustion has come from I have decided to reflect on my life as a mom. Is it that I’m older and my body just can’t keep up? Is it my anxiety? My diet? Too much coffee and then too little?

*My 11 month old is crawling all over me, literally. He’s like that little monkey in those museum movies.*

Up to the wee hours with a nursing baby, then time for myself….but in reality it’s just laying awake in bed with the hubby, said baby and a dog at the feet…I couldn’t escape if I wanted to, which by the way I should try to use the restroom one more time before beddy-bye.

Where was I? Oh, exhaustion….

So putting my midnight math skills to good use I have stumbled sleepily upon the following facts —

•I have been a mom for 18 years, 1 month and 22 days.
(Not included is my first pregnancy…because I was woefully yet delightfully clueless.)
•I have been pregnant for a total of 4 years and 2 months.
•I have been a nursing mommy to my teeny humans a grand total of 7 years and 10 months…so far…
•I have been a stay-home mommy for 13 years, non-stop, no give-backs.

•In all this time my hubby and I have spent just one, yes ONE night away from all of our 7 (yes SEVEN!!!!!!!!) kids…in total, EVER. *It.Was.Glorious.*

…And there’s that exhaustion again.

On top of all of this I clean the floors, scrub the toilets, wash the butts and wipe the boogers. I change the babies, bathe the kids, cook (I admit, the hubby cooks more than I these days.) and match socks. I do dishes, and potty-train. I grow gardens of food and flowers, mow and weed…all for everyone else. Never to perfection, but with my all, and always with what is my best.

On nice sunny days there are dog walks, trips to the park. Weekends are fishing.
School days are homework+homework+reading.
There are always sports events for the kids, choir, science fairs and girls scouts. (Not all on the same days, weeks or even months…usually, *yawn*…)

So, with all that math, and my mind wandering off to a quick and needed good night, let me say to all the moms (stay home parents of all kinds) no matter what we deal with in life…I feel yuh! You’re exhausted. You do so much, which is often too much. However!…look at all you accomplish.

For bumps in the night…
Whether sick or well…
We do our jobs…
We change their diapers…
Whether hot or cold…
We play the games…
We read the books….
The love we get back is what keeps us hooked.

Thank you exhaustion. You’ve taught me much…
In this…my little bit of heaven.

Funerals and Fatherhood

Mr great-grandmother was the first dead person I remember having the pleasure to meet. Her hair was beautifully quaffed, much like the Donald’s, a little less orange. Her hands rested peacefully upon her abdomen, nails done with care. Her makeup was classically simple. Beautiful.

I walked toward her casket with my aunt, who was the ‘scary’ one. Head down so as not disturb her (my aunt) but I couldn’t wait to see inside that casket. (I was 4 or 5 years old.) Looking her over one side to the other, I touched her hands, the collar of her blouse, and buttons. Then, without thinking (obviously!!) I poked her eye, but not too hard. Yuck. Then her lips which were painted for the occasion. I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t clinching my fists, not one skipped breath. My aunt on the other hand was beside herself. She pulled me back to our seats, squeezing my hand until I almost cried. We got home and she ritually washed my fingers, cut my nails, and smacked my ass with all the gusto she could muster. Though I may on one hand have deserved such discipline, on the other I didn’t. I was after all, my fathers daughter….

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My father Thomas was a hard working man, always early and never more than a call away for those in need of his special touch. Thomas was a funeral director. Throughout my childhood he worked in the business of dealing with death. In his own youthfulness, he drove the town ambulance when the dead needed their final ride home, eventually going to mortuary school, then honing his skills at prominent funeral homes where we grew up. When I was 8 or 9, he bought out his employer and finally had his own business. Two funeral homes, along with a partner, who he loved like a brother.

It may seem odd, perhaps morbid to some that I so loved being with my dad at work. Most of my precious yet fading memories are of spending time with him, watching the patient and loving care he showed to those who had been dealt such a terrible loss, and watching his gentle respect for the deceased. I learned much watching the way he interacted with both sides of life. Humble and intentional, always the gentleman. A man of profound integrity. His employees were our family. Birthdays were celebrated there, fireworks on the roof, bonds that remain to this day.

The building itself was brick, and not like today’s buildings that are quickly raised. It was a work of art. Old, with looming shadows and majestic window frames with ivy that grew over most of the walls. My favorite time to gaze upon it was in the morning as the sun rose to greet the day, that golden hue bouncing off the dew that had gathered in its ivy leaves. It shimmered as though jewels had been placed in each crevice.

My brother and I would wander the halls. He loved the elevator, I did not. Even for me, it was too much. ( I always thought of it as a slow descending box to the depths of hell…fire and brimstone. Of course, it was just the basement.) My dad and brother would set out early in the morning, coffee with the guys, then if the sun was out it was right to work…wash the hearses, then sweep the garage while they dried in the sun. I was more involved in playtime. Racing with the casket carts, and with the garage floor so clean…those carts would literally fly. So fast that they were often out of control. Thomas never got angry unless there were people there making funeral arrangements, visiting their loved ones who’d since passed. There was a little fridge with soda, which we often raided as we ran amuck.

As I grew older, my fathers chosen profession became an embarrassment and I often found myself the butt of cruel jokes. Kids daring ‘the dead girl’ to take them along for a first hand account of death in all its doom and gloom. Asking if I ‘saw some dead guys guts.’ They assumed I liked dead people…and in comparison to the their own need for teenaged brutality, I did. A person in a casket has found their peace, their suffering has ended. The kids that tore me down were selfish and longed for me to feel pain. My dads funeral parlor offered sanctuary…none of the teenagers who bullied me followed me past the corner it stood on. They weren’t worthy, and frankly too chicken shit to follow.

I did have a friend that came in a few times, timid and always stiff as rigor mortis. She was very close to me until she wasn’t. After staying the night and my brother having bothered us all day…she had spit the largest ball of phlegm, through the screen of his window, directly ON HIS FACE. Acting like it was no big deal she walked away laughing. My little brother began to cry. I was beside myself for him. How could she? Repulsed I did what any middle-school aged girl would have…acted like I didn’t care and plotted my revenge. A few weeks later this friend walked with me to dads office, and knowing he wasn’t there I nudged her down the hallway to a viewing room. It was dark, and I told her to step inside while I looked for him. No one could wander the grounds except me or my brother, I told her. Convinced of my honesty she stepped inside. I pulled the accordion style door closed with a quickness, and turned the light on……

A scream unlike anything I’d heard came from the depths of that girls soul. Immediately I turned on the light and pushed open the door. Down the hall she went, hands covering her cheeks, sobbing. (Inside the viewing room was a VERY well aged man, in his 90’s with his casket open.) Out the door she ran, never to return…to where I’m still not sure. We never hung out after that, but I still had my honor. Nobody spit on my brother but me. Period.

In my adult years it became a place to reminisce. My father sold his funeral homes, choosing instead to finish living out his life with a vodka bottle as his best friend. I would stop in when I was visiting just to see the place. Maroon and chalky brown carpet eventually was torn out. Beautiful paintings were gone. Desks and chairs swapped out for newer models. Many of my fondest memories…gone but not forgotten. Turning the door knob to a life without, but never over.

The last time I went to the funeral home, still with my fathers name on the sign, was for his funeral. He was dressed in his go to gear…work shirt, red suspenders, notebook and pen in his chest pocket. His hands rested on his chest. He was peaceful, handsome, clean shaved. We drove 36 hours with kids and dogs to be there. The book lay out for mourners to sign. The coming and going of so many lives he had touched, now coming to show him the same respect he willingly gave, over and over, for all of them. It wasn’t traumatic. It was far from uncomfortable. It was home. I kissed him. His forehead, his cheek. I rested my hands on his. I said “Hello Daddy. You’re home again.” My brother had followed my fathers footsteps, and in true form, was there to greet me. We both knew it was a perfect ending to his life. To be where he was at his best. My eyes met with my brothers and in that moment everyone in the room melted away, my heart swelled with pride. Eyes filling with tears I realized, he had become his fathers son.

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Answers

Many many times I have stayed up all night with my children. Sickness, new teeth, heartache and loss. My fondest memories are always of them after they fall asleep. Even now, seemingly unneeded and often feeling unwanted by my son Jay, I peer into his room and for just a moment I watch him sleeping. He’s so calm, not a bit like the teenager I see briefly wander down the hall to and from his junior man-cave.

I have made a lot of mistakes in my life as a parent, and I’d like to think that I have learned from them. I keep reminding myself that this too is merely a season, all be it a really rough one.

Jay has anxiety (GAD). It’s a thorn in his side and an ache in my heart. We butt heads constantly and I am forever trying to reach out, let him know I’m here. His symptoms are so similar to mine at his age, but unlike my mother, I have refused to give up. I will never disown him. I can’t begin to describe what it feels like to be told that I was owned, and then thrown out time and time again….

I was given to a family at around 9 years of age, just down the road from my mom, and my brother. I remember the family very well. Both of their girls were adopted. For the first time since my dad had left I felt whole again. It was for lack of a better word ‘normal’…how I thought a family should be. I know my mom would stop by, usually to start a fight with me, eventually with the mother and then she would disappear again. Then after about six months I was back home – devastated. I remember thinking how bad I must be if they didn’t want me either. Then again at 11. When I was twelve I ran away from our tiny home (or as it was once called ‘the servants quarters’) to the home next door where my friend lived. I stayed there two nights, in her closet. A window in her bedroom faced the walkway to our door. Hearing my dads voice I crawled slowly from the closet floor and listened…

“What the hell is going on?” He said.
“She just wants attention.” My mom growled.
“I don’t have time for this shit, I have a life.” He walked away.

I was right there. Heart broken. Too afraid to say what had happened, what had been done to me as a child, I was frozen in time. Lost. Alone.

I left the closet a few hours later and walked through the alley-ways to my school, terrified I was going to jail… Or possibly to burn in hell. I walked straight into the office. The counselor greeted me. (I had talked with him a few times.) My mom arrived soon after. They disappeared into the back room and I was left toiling over the infinite possibilities for punishment. I knew it would be bad. A door ripped open, and my mom stormed out. She didn’t look at me once. Not even a glance. I was sent to class after I gave the counselor my reason for running away.
I didn’t want to go back. Home wasn’t home for me.

Again I was told I had no right to feel, and that I wasn’t forgiven though I pleaded with her to do so. She told me the school counselor was a fraud, a fake, and stupid. He had told her she was a terrible mother. Her anger grew and I felt this immense need to flee. Run. Anything. She swung at me and I hit her first. I was in shock having never hit anyone other than my brother…which usually led to mutual destruction. She froze. I screamed as loud as I could in her face…

“Don’t ever fucking hit me again! Evvvvverrrr!”
She didn’t.

After a few months of battling with her, watching her turn her anger for me to my brother, I stepped between them so she would stop smacking him, so hard, so loud it sounded like paper ripping, with a wet cloth, cornered behind our front door. Once again I shouted for her to stop. Face red, eyes filled with both rage and fear, she grabbed one of my arms and threw the cloth at us. It was fall, my favorite season. On Thanksgiving day she kicked me out.

This was my childhood, and eventually my brothers, although he seemed to be accepted more as a human being instead of a worthless, dirty piece of trash. I know our mom loves us, and she has taken steps to get help, taking medication for depression (possibly). To this day she stands by the claim that God told her to let me go, that it’s my fault. She has told my son she hates him. She had told me to send my son away.

Through the years, I have asked myself how I could not know I was suffering from Anxiety, OCD, PTSD. Why didn’t I see it. I suppose it’s hard for someone to wonder why I had a family at all. My answer is this –

You can’t know what you don’t know…and I thought, with every bit of pain, every heart beat, every skipped meal, that I was normal. It’s all I knew. It’s all I had.

I have a family because I’m worthy of one, and I love deeply and forever. Unfailing, unfaltering…My little bit of heaven.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…and my family is the most chaotic, loud, beautiful masterpiece I will ever create.

My Sweet…

My daughter, Birdie, is a beautiful child. She is so very compassionate. Even as a tiny child her ability to feel empathy for someone’s suffering was obvious, touching. Like myself, she feels everything so deeply. She tries to be a friend to everyone she knows, as I’ve tried to raise her to do. She was gentle before she could speak it, loving before she knew it’s name. A few days ago she sat with her father and I late one night (as she often does)…and told us how she counts. She counts letters in words, lines, and they all have to equal a particular number. I held in the first and obvious conclusion, and instead told her I thought everyone goes through that ‘phase’ and not to worry. She seemed eager to get it out in the open. We listened. She knows about my anxiety, but I don’t really go into details with her yet. She’s still in elementary school. I fell asleep wrestling with myself about my response. The following day I really struggled with it. I cried. I told my husband I didn’t want that for her, I don’t. I never want this for anyone. To ponder the life she will have if her mind is infinitely bombarding her with numbers, patterns, strife…it breaks me. Unable to sit, I have been watching her, observing her behavior like a doctor in a movie watches their patient in a hospital room….dramatically analyzing every breath, her walk, the way she speaks when she is interacting with others, how she eats. I wrote her a letter, because when I try to talk to her I feel the tears fill my eyes, and what I want to say just doesn’t come out.

 

My sweet Birdie,

You are my most precious gift. I knew before we found out that you were to be my daughter. I envisioned that you would look like me in every way, but even more beautiful – and you are. I have watched you chase life down with such unabashed joy. It comforts my soul to see you each and every day. I cherish the moments we have when no one else is around, and it’s true when I tell you how much I value our friendship. I envy your ability to bring love and kindness out of those you love. It’s amazing. You have such a way with our dogs, they respond to you in a way I simply do not understand and I’m thrilled you seem to be able to reach even them on another level.

I know you may feel different inside. I can see that wheel turning as you ponder your heart’s desires…to fit in. There isn’t a single person that is exactly like the other on the inside. You are wonderfully and beautifully made.

Hearing that you count things, and in fact find it as a ‘thing you just have to do’ breaks me my love. I never wanted to hurt you. My prayers, hopes, dreams have always been for you to have a better life, more love, more peace…than I had as a child. I’m sorry I couldn’t keep you from my struggle. If I could put into words the heavy, all consuming guilt I feel, down into my bones I would, but I am in ruins.

Please don’t feel that being different is bad. Quite the opposite my sweet little bit. Being unique is what I love about you most of all. If you were like someone else, you wouldn’t be you, and you wouldn’t be mine.

If there ever comes a time you feel out of control, whether from that tick, tick, tick of your mind, the ever-present sound of your quickly beating heart, or the immense sadness that comes with realizing ‘our different’ isn’t so easy…I will be right here. I am always going to be here. You will never fight this battle alone. You will never be made to feel unloved, unwanted as I have in my life. For you I would die, and for you I have lived my beloved. If I could take it all away I would, but I can’t. Instead I offer my patience, acceptance and my heart for you to break, and yes it will happen. I am prepared. Know there is nothing you will ever say to make me love you less. You could try and you will, but there is nothing you will do that will change the way I see you…my daughter, my sweet love.

The road will seem long, and it’s okay to feel cheated. The days may seem unending. Know this now and forever, I am here, right here.