Archive for April, 2010

A funny quote

I am attempting to spring clean my room… and in between I’m cruising for funny new blogs to read –

This one caught my attention when I read this funny little part of a post…
http://gourmetknittingdisaster.blogspot.com

For context – she’s busily packing up her apartment to move into a new house.

“**Forcing matter into aperatures. Take everything you own and pretend it’s a jigsaw puzzle. With multiple possible solutions. Attempting to solve it leads you to the conclusion that booze (as matter) also fits into your face (cavity). Which may or may not help with packing, but certainly helps with creativity.”

Her next post was on lies her siblings never believed… good stuff!

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Right Now

Right now I’m expecting a new baby. Everytime I see the boxes of diapers upstairs I feel overwhelmed for some reason. Like the days are ticking away and I’m SO not ready and there’s a friekin’ list a mile long that needs to be done and I have no idea when it will get done or with what energy I’m going to do it with.

Right now I am overwhelmed with the knowledge that DH’s grandpa really is THAT sick. The thought of being already at stage 3 or maybe even 4 cancer is just. so. wrong. The turmoil of the next few months and the effects on the whole family scare me. I wonder if he will meet his new great-grandchild. I wonder what his wife will do after, and I am sad for her suffering not just in watching her husband suffer, but for the possible rejection I see coming from some members of the family.

Right now I can’t help but think of friends who are grieving their stillborn son.

Right now I get stressed with the thought of the family contention over the oil well drilling and the lawyers, contracts, land and mineral rights, inheritances, community arguments, etc. etc. etc. over the apparent lake of oil beneath the potato farms south of town.

Right now I’m completely overwhelmed with the idea of DH becoming an “employee” instead of an independent contractor. I can’t see how the benefits outweigh the detriments at this time. And yes, dear, $800/mo. IS A BIG FRIEKIN DEAL!!!!! It WILL make our budget feel shot all to hell, and yes, we will be pinched a heck of a lot more than we are now, so YES I’m STRESSED! You know, ’cause we have SO much extra cash floating around that we can just afford to say, hey, this is good for the BUSINESS so let’s show our support and loyalty by sinkin our boat. FOR AN UNKNOWN length of time!!! Once you sign on, it’s not that easy to go to the boss and say, hey, remember when I took a hit for the company? How ’bout I get a $5/hr. raise now? No? How ’bout Now? Now? 10 years down the road when we haven’t shopped anywhere but the goodwill and haven’t gone out to eat since…. the kids were babies, don’t have cell phones, internet, OR NETFLIX, don’t moan to me about it. Hell, why don’t we just shut off the electricity and I’ll pump the water from the basement BY HAND. Let’s just let ’em repossess the car NOW! Why WAIT?! AAAAAAaaaaaaGgggHHHH!!!!

Right now I have allergies that are kicking my butt. So this whole crying thing is NOT working for me. Yay me. I can bitch and moan with the best of ’em. What I need to do is shove it all aside and friekin’ count my blessings! It could be so much worse. And I should not be feeling sorry for myself. *sigh*

The Pee in the Pants

I’m totally going through Bones withdrawals.

Anyway, so it’s not like pregnant women don’t pee their pants every day. It’s par for the course. You get used to it. You get over the embarrassment. You move on.

One day you think you’re not “THAT far” into pregnancy and then, suddenly, an “ACHOO!!!” changes everything.

Suddenly you realize you need to grab TWO tissues next time you feel a sneeze coming on ’cause it’s comin’ out both ends.

Yeah. I know. It’s not pretty. We ALL prefer not to think about it too much.

Kinda like hemorrhoids.

Really, for sex ed classes in high school, the girls should be subjected to a roomful of snarky, cynical, sarcastic, lay-it-all-out-there moms (like us) who regale them with stories of REAL pregnanthood. Now there’s some good birth control.

“Come feel my stretch marks!!!”

“Come here my story all about 4 hours of pushing a 10 lb. baby outta my vagina with NO DRUGS!!!”

“Wanna hear about my hemorrhoids?!”

“Wait, wait, hold on, you gotta see how saggy my boobs are without a bra before you go!”

Seriously. I can’t think of any better thing for high schoolers and birth control than the truth. Throw in some good old pics of STDs and we’re all set.

So…. preggo brain moment. Where was I?

Oh yes, peeing in the pants.

I thought after dinner I’d stop putting off the daily walk I’ve been intending to take the kids on and so we shoved on our shoes and tugged on our jackets and went outside as soon as the table was cleared.

J grabbed his go-cart, and the girls jumped on their tricycles. We got as far as the maple trees before EM decided she’d rather run than ride her tiny little trike. Not too surprising – the girl LOVES to run. Off she went, chasing after her sister on the fast trike and I stashed it behind a fence post to retrieve on the way back.

By the time we rounded the corner, J was huffing, puffing, and generally in a constant state of whining because he couldn’t even keep up with his baby sister on foot with his go-cart.

I hovered in between the three kids walking at a fairly good pace, and continuously calling to one kid or another to keep up or slow down. They were like springs out of a box. No one wanted to listen to me.

We got to the end of our field and turned around before we got waylaid by the chatty neighbors and just then I saw another neighbor coming up the road in some sort of ORV with a roll cage. We all got off to the side of the road and waited for it to pass. While I was keeping close watch on the youngest, her sister took her opportunity and made like Jehu on a tricycle.

By the time I tried to call to her, she was halfway down the stretch, in a good headwind, and heard NOTHING as she pedaled like mad.

Round 1: I screamed, I yelled, and then I coughed.

Round 2: I yelled, I coughed, and then I gagged.

Round 3: I coughed, I gagged, and then I puked.

And while I puked… I peed my pants. And the vicious cycle repeated itself several times before we got back home.

I was so worried ELA would just keep going, past the house, on down the road. She had gone so fast around that corner I couldn’t tell if she’d stopped at home or not.

I thought about running, but really, you don’t run when you’re this pregnant. I mean, I could move faster than if I were 8 months pregnant, but seriously. You don’t run.

We went along as fast as I could. Me with wet britches, ELA out of sight, J still at a constant whine ’cause his ride wasn’t fast enough, and then EM crying because she wanted to ride the trike I’d grabbed up on our way back through.

Some people pay to see a circus.

Our neighbors get it for free.

Yes, ELA was home safe and sound when we rounded the corner, having really just barely been out of sight for a few seconds, but she was still in big trouble when I finally caught up with her.

Oh, and yes. I am totally now eating my pint of Ben and Jerry’s.

*sigh*

Some pics

The Phone

Yes, I know it’s sick and twisted in some ways, but it’s kinda like an eating disorder. It’s the source of comfort and control when you can’t control other things in your life.

My MIL has called my phone SEVERAL times this week.

I’ve ignored every one of her calls.

To be (sort-of-but-not-really) fair, I’ve also ignored several other phone calls this week because I’ve been UNSTABLE.

Seriously.

Crying my eyes out over random little things at the drop of a hat.

But back to my MIL. I don’t get to choose when she comes, I don’t get to choose how long she stays, or what we eat or drink when she’s here.

I don’t get to choose where I live, or how I want to do things around here. EVERYTHING gets run past HER first. DH talks her ear off about all the things he wants to do around here, some of which I haven’t even heard him talk about at all before, and I feel like her opinion weighs more than mine, even in HIS head.

I don’t even get to choose whether I want to leave my damaged screen door screen on and let the window be dirty.

I don’t, however, have to be subjected to dealing with her at her whim, whenever she wants to dial my number. THAT is one place I GET to have a choice.

My Mother’s Edits

Thank you to my very best friend for laughing with me over this!!

From my mom:
I read your blog about Carl, and think it’s good. I’m glad someone is remembering him.. I bet there are alot of your friends on facebook, who think about him, and your tribute to him, is a good idea.
In some of the places in your post, I was not sure of the time sequence..

Can you say more about his plans for the future, while you were sitting around the table at Macaroni Grill’s?

“Now I can’t help but wonder if I would have stayed. If I would have just let the shyness slip away and talk of anything and everything, if I would have sat up all night with him, wrapping my arms around his shoulders (he he he… no mom, I did NOT say ‘wrap my legs around his waist – I said ARMS around his SHOULDERS… just to clarify for ya) if I could have just known then how silly the awkwardness really was.”

In this paragraph, I’m not sure what you mean about, “you can’t help but wonder if I would have stayed”. At the girls house? or at Weimar? or the parking lot? not sure.. NO Mom, I did NOT say ‘stay all night with him in his bed.’ Again with the legs around the waist. sheesh.

Also, I wasn’t sure about this paragraph..

Sometime a month or two after that group outing Carl and I had the ultimately awkward talk where he ‘let me down gently’ so to speak. Our family started going more often to a smaller church closer to us for several reasons, and for a couple of years I didn’t see very much of Carl.

My editing… version of this paragraph..

“About a month or two later, Carl and I had the awkward talk, where “he let me down gently”, explaining his desire to further his education, and did not want to have a long distance relationship. We didn’t see each other much after that. My family started going to another church closer to our home, and our paths didn’t cross as often. During that time, we both matured, and our outlook on things changed. I gained more confidence, and gained experience with different jobs, and then headed off to college in a differnent state, away from home. I no longer felt that unbelievable handicap when a guy would talk to me, and I would feel a level of redness usually reserved for fire extinguishers and stop signs, creep over my face!!

Our paths crossed again in College. We felt secure in ourselves, and were just good ole friends. We did alot of fun things that year as a group.. hanging out, talking about everything, group Bible studies, hikes, drives in the mt.s, and jumping into cold mt. rivers. All of us made some awesome memories. All of us bonded in ways only good friends can. No regrets, just being, and learning how to be good friends.. Supporting, listening, and giving advice. We made some pretty amazing memories that year. We were friends. No longer playmates of childhood, no longer trapped in the teenage confusion, but securely friends in the life-long “known-you-since-we-were-knee-high-to-a-grasshopper” sense.

Final Edit

This is the version I posted on the other blog. And after all the agonizing I did over this one post – I got exactly 2 comments. One of those was from my mother. The other one was someone trying to figure out exactly who I was talking about.

Has it really been 10 years?

A whole decade?

I can hardly believe that so much time has passed since that day, but then I think of my kids, all growing so fast and my oldest going on 7.

It must really have been 10 years ago that we all sat around our table at Macaroni Grill and Raini and I drew out our perfect plans for the future in crayon. 10 years since we wandered around the river bank and took pictures of the way it was back then and listened to the wind weave its way through the trees. 10 years since we sang, “Happy Birthday” to a young man who would only know one more birthday.

I was driving home from the grocery store a couple of weeks ago, all the kids with Daddy at home, I was alone and I decided to put in an old cd from the case that’s been gathering dust under the seat in my car.

The first one I grabbed I hardly looked at as I shoved it in.

Celine Dion.

It had been… I dunno, years since the last time I’d played that cd. I couldn’t even remember what songs were on it. The first few songs reminded me of singing like a diva in the privacy of my bedroom my senior year of high school. And once for an unsuspecting audience. Oy.

Then this one song came on. I remember the first time I heard it in the theater as the last scenes of Titanic fell out of sight on the screen.

“Love can touch us one time, and last for a lifetime, and never let go ’till we’re gone.”, Celine sang to us. At that moment in time, the power of that song was in the intensity of feelings involved with letting go of my first boyfriend the summer before senior year. You know, the first love, the first loss. It was the only kind of loss I could relate to, having been so nicely sheltered from many things in my younger years.

The pain of my first breakup was beginning to fade, and I was thinking maybe it was time to move on. But that song brought some of that back into focus and made it difficult to really open up to new friendships and possibilities.

About 6 weeks after I’d seen the movie the first time, I went with a group of friends to see it again. One of the guys in that group I actually had a teensy bit of a crush on.

We went to a tiny little theater closer to where the majority of those friends lived, and first we stopped at the apartment of the girl who lived there in town. It was an unlikely group. How the whole thing came about I am really not sure! We met at the marketplace where she worked, grabbed some sort of fizzy health food type soda drink, then headed across the road to her apartment.

I’d thought she still lived with her parents, since I had been there once for a hilarious overnight game of Murder in the Dark and since she was younger than me and I was no where near ready to move out of the nest and spread my wings.

But then, there I was, standing in her apartment in the upstairs of one of the little downtown brick buildings. The kitchen was tiny, but had everything needed to cook any kind of meal you wanted. Her living room was a bump with a lamp and a futon, but it was a nice little place all in all. She stood in her kitchen, laughing easily with the three boys surrounding her, confident in her strengths and her weaknesses. She held down her own job and paid her own bills, managed her own household.

I couldn’t think of anything to say. I hardly knew how to talk to boys, even the ones I’d known all my life. I was so awkward and shy. Compared to her, I was a childish country bumpkin.

I stood there in the doorway, out of place.

Then he looked up at me, and smiled, and soon we were walking out the door and down the street to the theater. I didn’t make enough conversation, and soon Carl fell into step beside me and tried to draw me into some sort of sociable small talk. I looked at his face, open, kind, his smile, and I couldn’t help but smile back.

We’d spent some time together in our church group over the past few months, but there was still an awkward unspoken conversation that we hadn’t had. I was flattered by the fact that he had chosen to walk beside me.

I stole a sideways glance and blushed furiously. Thank goodness it was dark.

We filed into the theater: Jeremy, then Erika, with John on her other side. Then me, and finally, Carl.

Hmmm. I had him all to myself!

But John monopolized most of my conversation, anyway. Carl hadn’t seen the movie before, and both of them were shocked and dismayed when I couldn’t help but start crying towards the end.

“What? Why? Really, why are you crying? Are you okay?”, They took turns asking.

After the movie Jeremy said his goodbyes and walked back to his car. John walked Erika to her apartment, and Carl walked me to my car. We didn’t say much. He still wanted to know if I was going to be okay, and I left with the sadness of the movie still getting me down.

With a sigh I drove away, and soon the tears resumed their course down my face.

Now I can’t help but wonder if I would have stayed longer there in the parking lot with him. If I would have just let the shyness slip away and talk of anything and everything, if I would have sat up all night with him, laughing and talking if I could have just known then how silly the awkwardness really was.

I mean, really. Is there any good in regretting things like being shy, feeling awkward around boys when I was a teenager, or hoping a guy would notice me but please, oh, please don’t talk to me? Not really. But looking back now it seems so foolish to worry so much about stumbling over my words or losing my train of thought as soon as I’d feel myself start to blush.

At the same time, I know how much potential trouble that shyness kept me out of while spending 4 years in a public high school.

I wouldn’t go back and change the person that I was then. I wouldn’t take the innocence away early in order to get the knowledge of what is worth appreciating and what hang-ups are unimportant in the long run.

Sometime a month or two after that group outing Carl and I had the ultimately awkward talk where he ‘let me down gently’ so to speak. Apparently I was more of a “sister-friend” than a “girl-friend”. And that was okay. Our family started going more often to a smaller church closer to us for several reasons, and for a couple of years I didn’t see very much of Carl.

But a couple of years can make a lot of difference. In college I lost a lot of awkwardness, gained a bit of hide, and thankfully learned to speak to guys without a constant level of redness usually reserved for fire extinguishers and stop signs. We had a good group of friends, hung out a lot with the crew, bombing around the mountains of northern California, and made some pretty amazing memories that year. We were friends. No longer playmates of childhood, no longer trapped in the teenage confusion, but securely friends in the life-long “known-you-since-we-were-knee-high-to-a-grasshopper” sense.

Soon after Titanic was released in theaters, “My Heart Will Go On” became a popular song to play on the radio. Mixes popped up with quotes from the movie scattered through it, and I heard it a lot over the next year. It never once made me think of anyone that first boyfriend I was missing at the time I first saw the movie.

Until that night a couple of weeks ago. The words no longer held on to the memory of my first love. Maybe because now I know that he wasn’t the love of my life. Maybe because now I’ve known loss and pain that go far deeper than the pain I felt then in losing my first boyfriend. Because now I know what those words really mean.

“You’re here, there’s nothing I fear,
And I know that my heart will go on,
We’ll stay forever this way,
You are safe in my heart and,
My heart will go on and on.”

You are safe in my heart, Carl.

More importantly, you are safe in the heart of One who cares infinitely more.

He knows.

He remembers every detail of your smile, your laugh, your friendships, your struggles and your triumphs. He remembers every little thing that brought you joy, that made you laugh, that made your heart soar. He doesn’t even need a song to remind Him of those precious moments of your life.

He remembers the rest, too. And for those things He died.

And He rose again.

See you in heaven, my friend.

10 years take 2

Has it really been 10 years?

A whole decade?

I can hardly believe that so much time has passed since that day, but then I think of my kids, all growing so fast and my oldest going on 7.

It must really have been 10 years ago that we sat at our table at Macaroni Grill and drew out our perfect plans for the future in crayon. 10 years since we wandered around the river bank and took pictures of the way it was back then and listened to the wind weave its way through the trees.

10 years since we sang, “Happy Birthday” to a young man who would only know one more birthday.

I was driving home from the grocery store a couple of weeks ago, all the kids with Daddy at home. I was alone and I decided to put in an old cd from the case that’s been gathering dust under the seat in my car.

The first one I grabbed I hardly looked at as I shoved it in.

Celine Dion.

It had been… I dunno, years since the last time I’d played that cd. I couldn’t even remember what songs were on it. The first few songs reminded me of singing like a diva in the privacy of my bedroom my senior year of high school. And once for an unsuspecting audience. Oy.

Then this one song came on. I remember the first time I heard it in the theater as the last scenes of Titanic fell out of sight on the screen.

“Love can touch us one time, and last for a lifetime, and never let go ’till we’re gone.”, Celine sang to us. At that moment in time, the power of that song was in the intensity of feelings involved with letting go of my first boyfriend. The first love, the first loss. It was the only kind of loss I could relate to, having been so nicely sheltered from many things in my younger years.

The second time I heard it was a bit different. About 6 weeks after I’d seen the movie the first time, I went with a group of friends to see it again.

This time we went to a teeny-tiny little theater closer to where the majority of those friends lived, and first we stopped at the apartment of the girl who lived there in town. It was an unlikely group. How the whole thing came about I am really not sure! We met at the marketplace where she worked, and where I would a couple of years later. First we grabbed some sort of fizzy health food type soda drink, then headed across the road to her apartment.

I’d thought she still lived with her parents, since I had been there once for a hilarious overnight game of Murder in the Dark.

But now, here I was, standing in her apartment in the upstairs of one of the little downtown brick buildings. The kitchen was tiny, but had everything needed to cook any kind of meal you wanted. Her living room was a bump with a lamp and a futon, but it was a nice little place all in all. She stood in her kitchen, laughing easily with the three boys surrounding her, confident in her strengths and her weaknesses. She held down her own job and paid her own bills, managed her own household.

I couldn’t think of anything to say. I hardly knew how to talk to boys, even the ones I’d known all my life. I was so awkward and shy. Compared to her, I was a childish country bumpkin.

I stood there in the doorway, out of place.

Then he looked up at me, and smiled, and soon we were walking out the door and down the street to the theater. I didn’t make enough conversation, and soon Carl fell into step beside me and tried to draw me into some sort of sociable small talk. I looked at his face, open, kind, his smile, and I couldn’t help but smile back.

We’d spent some time together over the past several months, but there was still an awkward unspoken conversation that we still hadn’t had. I was flattered by the fact that he had chosen to walk beside me.

I stole a sideways glance and blushed furiously. Thank goodness it was dark.

We filed into the theater: Jeremy, then Erika, with John on her other side. Then me, and finally, Carl.

Hmmm. I had him all to myself!

But John monopolized most of my conversation, anyway. Carl hadn’t seen the movie before, and both of them were shocked and dismayed when I couldn’t help but start crying towards the end.

“What? Why? Really, why are you crying? Are you okay?”, They took turns asking.

After the movie Jeremy said his goodbyes and walked back to his car. John walked Erika to her apartment, and Carl walked me to my car. We didn’t say much. He wanted to know if I was going to be okay, and I assured him I’d be fine, but still left with the sadness of the movie still getting me down.

With a sigh I drove away, and soon the tears resumed their course down my face.

Now I can’t help but wonder if I would have stayed. If I would have just let the shyness slip away and talk of anything and everything, if I would have sat up all night with him, wrapping my arms around his shoulders if I could have just known then how silly the awkwardness really was.

I mean, really. Is there any good in regretting things like being shy, feeling awkward around boys when I was a teenager, or hoping a guy would notice me but please, oh, please don’t talk to me? Not really. But looking back now it seems so foolish to worry so much about stumbling over my words or losing my train of thought as soon as I’d feel myself start to blush.

At the same time, I know how much potential trouble that shyness kept me out of while spending 4 years in a public high school.

I wouldn’t go back and change the person that I was then. I wouldn’t take the innocence away early in order to get the knowledge of what is worth appreciating and what hang-ups are unimportant in the long run.

Sometime not long after that group outing Carl and I had the ultimately awkward talk where he ‘let me down gently’ so to speak. Our family started going more often to a smaller church closer to us for several reasons, and for a couple of years we didn’t see very much of each other.

But a couple of years can make a lot of difference. In college I lost a lot of awkwardness, gained a bit of hide, and thankfully learned to speak to guys without a constant level of redness usually reserved for fire extinguishers and stop signs. We had a good group of friends, hung out a lot, bombing around the mountains of northern California, and made some pretty amazing memories that year. We were friends. No longer playmates of childhood, no longer trapped in the teenage confusion, but securely friends in the life-long “known-you-since-we-were-knee-high-to-a-grasshopper” sense.

Soon after Titanic was released in theaters, “My Heart Will Go On” became a popular song to play on the radio. Mixes popped up with quotes from the movie scattered through it, and I heard it a lot over the next year. It never once made me think of anyone but my first boyfriend.

Until that night a couple of weeks ago. The words no longer held on to the memory of my first love. Maybe because now I know that he wasn’t the love of my life. Maybe because now I’ve known loss and pain that go far deeper than the pain I felt losing my first boyfriend. Because now I know what those words really mean.

“You’re here, there’s nothing I fear,
And I know that my heart will go on,
We’ll stay forever this way,
You are safe in my heart and,
My heart will go on and on.”

You are safe in my heart, Carl.

More importantly, you are safe in the heart of One who cares infinitely more.

He knows.

He remembers every detail of your smile, your laugh, your friendships, your struggles and your triumphs. He remembers every little thing that brought you joy, that made you laugh, that made your heart soar. He doesn’t even need a song to remind Him of those precious moments of your life.

He remembers the rest, too. And for those things He died.

And He rose again.

See you in heaven, my friend.

10 Years

Has it really been 10 years?

A whole decade?

I can hardly believe that so much time has passed since that day, but then I think of my kids, all growing so fast and my oldest going on 7.

It must really have been 10 years ago that we sat at our table at Macaroni Grill and drew out our perfect plans for the future. 10 years since we wandered around the river bank and took pictures of each other in the tall grass, listening to the wind weave its way through the trees. 10 years since we sang, “Happy Birthday” to a boy who would only know one more birthday.

I was driving home from the grocery store a couple of weeks ago, all the kids with Daddy at home, I was alone and I decided to put in an old cd from the case that’s been gathering dust under the seat in my car.

The first one I grabbed I hardly looked at as I shoved it in.

Celine Dion.

It had been… I dunno, years since the last time I’d played that cd. I couldn’t even remember what songs were on it. The first few songs reminded me of singing like a diva in the privacy of my bedroom my senior year of high school. And once for an unsuspecting audience.

Then this one song came on. I remember the first time I heard it in the theater with my mom, as the last scenes of a sinking Titanic fell out of sight on the screen.

“Love can touch us one time, and last for a lifetime, and never let go ’till we’re gone.”, Celine sang to us. At that moment in time, the power of that song was in the intensity of feelings involved with letting go of my first love. The first love, the first loss. It was the only kind of loss I could relate to.

The second time I heard it was a bit different. About 6 weeks after I’d seen the movie the first time, I went with a group of friends to see it again.

This time we went to a teeny-tiny little theater closer to where the majority of those friends lived, and first we stopped at Erika’s apartment. It was an unlikely group. How the whole thing came about I am really not sure! We met at the marketplace where Erika worked, and where I would a couple of years later. First we grabbed some sort of fizzy health food type soda drink, then headed across the road to her apartment.

Up till then, Erika had been… active in our group activities when we’d go on hikes and stuff, but I’d never been to her place, or really talked to her that much. I’d thought she still lived with her parents, since I HAD been there once for an overnight game of Murder in the Dark.

But now, here I was, standing in her apartment in the upstairs of one of the little downtown brick buildings. The kitchen was tiny, but had everything needed to cook any kind of meal you wanted. Her living room was a bump with a lamp and a futon, but the bedroom – the bedroom was… adequate. Big enough for a queen size bed, a dresser with a mirror pasted over the edges with dried flowers, poetry, and love letters. The one bathroom was off the bedroom, so I got to peruse the mirror art a bit longer than necessary.

One poem gripped me and wouldn’t let me go until I’d read all of it, ‘caught red-handed or not, I couldn’t move from my place. It detailed in girly, womanly, fiery, passionate details the love and loss of a lover, written by someone who had experienced far more in that direction than I had ever dreamed about. At the time, I was 18. She was only 17. But the differences between us were like a gulf that I couldn’t even see the other side of.

I was akward and shy, I preferred to spend time at home with my parents, be alone in the woods, and dream of the perfect future with the perfect man, the perfect house, and the perfect children. Learning as you go and possibly making mistakes along the way was not an option for me. I hardly knew how to talk to boys, even the ones I’d known all my life.

I’d still never been kissed.

She stood in her kitchen, laughing easily with the three boys surrounding her, confident in her strengths and her weaknesses. She held down her own job and paid her own bills, managed her own household, at times shared with the lover she described in her poem, and other times completely alone. In every movement she exuded a mysterious scent of a woman capable of making a man fall to his knees and beg for her touch, for her redemption, for her anger, for her reward. All these things I could barely define, but could feel just as tangibly as the floor beneath my feet.

I stood there in the doorway, out of place. Innocent, while she played innocent by looking down while she blushed and laughed at their attention.

Then he looked up at me, and smiled, and soon we were walking out the door and down the street to the theater. My mind was still reeling from the words in the private poem I’d read. I didn’t make enough conversation, and soon Carl fell into step beside me and tried to draw me into some sort of sociable small talk. I looked at his face, open, kind, his smile, and I couldn’t help but smile back.

We’d spent some time together over the past several months, and his brother had already openly asked me if I had a crush on him. My heart fluttered a bit by his close proximity, and by the fact that he had chosen to walk beside me instead of Erika. But I couldn’t resolve in my mind the differences between my crush and the passionate love poem still in my head. Was that how it was supposed to be?

I stole a sideways glance and blushed furiously. Thank goodness it was dark.

We filed into the theater: Jeremy, then Erika, with John on her other side. Then me, and finally, Carl.

Hmmm. I had him all to myself!

But strangely John monopolized most of my conversation. I think it was to try and make Erika jealous. Either that or because she spent too much time talking to Jeremy. I don’t know. Carl hadn’t seen the movie before, and both of them were shocked and dismayed when I started crying. What? Why? Really, why are you crying? Are you okay? They took turns asking.

After the movie Jeremy said his goodbyes and walked straight back to his car. John walked Erika to her apartment, and Carl walked me to mine. We didn’t say much. He still wanted to know if I was going to be okay, and I left with sadness and guilt for thinking of moving on from my first love. How could I even dream of letting go and loving someone else?

With a sigh I drove away, and soon the tears resumed their course down my face. I wonder if I would have stayed. If I would have just let the shyness slip away and talk of anything and everything, if I would have sat up all night with him, wrapping my arms around his shoulders if I could have just known then how silly the awkwardness really was.

Soon that song became a popular one to play on the radio. Mixes popped up with quotes from the movie scattered through it, and I heard it a lot over the next year. It never once made me think of anyone but my first love.

Until that night a couple of weeks ago. The words no longer hold on to the memory of my first love. Maybe because now I know that wasn’t the love of my life. Maybe because during that time he wasn’t there, making memories with me to relive later. Maybe because now loss has an entirely different meaning for me than the breaking of a childish heart. Because now I know what those words really mean.

“You’re here, there’s nothing I fear,
And I know that my heart will go on,
We’ll stay forever this way,
You are safe in my heart and,
My heart will go on and on.”

You are safe in my heart.

You are SAFE. In my heart. Oh how I wish I could tell you that.

God’s Sense of Irony

Last Sunday I was sitting on the couch, blissfully perusing the Sunday paper and all the lovely sale ads, when I turned to the obituary page.

I love the obits. They’re fun to read. Sometimes sad, but more often they are full of the interesting details that made up the life of someone whose memory will live on in the hearts of their friends and family members.

On that day, though, one name stood out in the death notices: Joseph Allen. There was no obituary for him, no age, just a date of death: March 24.

March 24? Really?

Oh yes. On the very day I found out I was having a girl, and not a boy, someone around here named Joseph Allen passed away.

Yes, indeed, God does have a sense of irony.