Today, I will share a story about a grandfather clock. Not one like you are thinking of, but my grandfather’s clock. Papa has always had a wicked sharp wit (yes, it’s a family trait, LOL), and from the time I remember, he’s had a cuckoo clock. When I was very young, he would look at me when it went off and say, “Denise, that clock thinks you are cuckoo”. And then he’d laugh. And I would laugh, too. You should have seen the look on his face the first time I turned the tables on him. He just looked at me a second, and said, “Well, I think you must be right,” and then he laughed quite a while. The first time DD#1 was old enough to take a joke, he pulled the same trick on her.
Some years ago, about 15, in fact, DD#1 and I came home for Christmas, and Papa and Aunt Janey came down from Anson County and took us out to Carolina Beach. I have some pictures that Papa took that day. They look like commercials. I’d share them, but of course, they aren’t digital.
I remember Janey’s easy laughter that day, and how her blue eyes sparkled like the ocean. I miss Janey. She died several years ago from cancer, and that was one of our last times together before she was diagnosed. She was absolutely my favorite aunt. Relations on that side of my family are fairly weird, but Janey seemed to treasure me always, just for being me. There was never any awkwardness between us, even when my interactions with the rest of the family were punctuated by long periods of silence.
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Six things you wish you’d never done
Dear God in Heaven, please tell me this gets easier! I have the usual caveat: I like where/who I am and these things made that happen. I have a second caveat: I’ve been *very successful* at purging a lot of stuff from my brain. In geek speak, my FAT are screwed. While I do remember a lot of situations I wish had not occurred, I can honestly say those were not things I had any control over. My list will be a mix of things I wish I hadn’t done and things I wish I had done. It’s the best I can do with the brain I have.
1. I wish that I were not quite so adept at erasing. It is absolutely true that I do not wish to remember a childhood I have been assured was pretty horrid. And if what I do remember is so awful….no, I don’t need to know the rest. In fact, I am a little frightened that one day I will, and I am not sure what I will do with that. But along with the nasty, I have also wiped the good. So, when my kids ask me “Mom, what was I like when I was three?” I am going to have to look in their faces and say “I don’t know.” And the idea of having to do that brings me to my emotional knees. I can live with my memory loss, but I regret that my children must do the same.
2. I wish that when Grandmother died, I had not held to the family line of “it’s better.” Because, yeah, it was for her. But it damn sure wasn’t for me. I wish I had screamed and torn my clothes and ripped out handfuls of my own hair. Instead of doing that, I oversaw the church Christmas banquet as she was actively dying. The next morning, I directed the kids’ Christmas Cantata. And then I went to be with my family. For three days, I got up, I dressed myself, I put on makeup and I took care of business. When she was buried, I was, too. I came home and went to bed and I basically stayed there for three years. It took another year to shake the cobwebs out. That is a lot of time to lose. That’s a long time for children to be without a mother. That is a very long time to live in the cool grey soup of a major depressive episode.
3. Two months after Grandmother died, my cousin emailed me to say that Papa had stage four lymphoma. I lacked full cognition of what she said because of my funk. I did not tell him one more time that I loved him. He died four months later, in April, and I never even called. I regret that. Two months later, Grandma died, too.
4. I wish that, at age eighteen, I had known that what was going on with the boy I loved was all about him and not about me. I wish I had been wise enough to look beyond the obvious and dig a little deeper. That could have been a fairy tale ending right there, and I didn’t work to keep it from falling apart. As I said, I was 18. I was in basic training when it happened. I forgive myself for it, but I often wonder what might have been.
5. I regret not making my ex-husband leave the house the first time he put my sex on display. I wish I had not listened to my pastor who told me separation was not the right thing to do. I let him stay, and he did far worse. Do you know that when you start to lose your mind, it’s an actual physical sensation? Mmmmhmmm, it sure is. The night I felt that, I was curled up in the fetal position, sobbing. And I called that pastor and said, “He has got to go, I cannot live like this.” If I had followed my gut, the ex would not have had the chance to do the second thing. I would have been less screwed up, and my children would not have been damaged.
6. I wish that i had not tried to buy love with sex. 976,423 times. Female drippings are not glue, and I could have saved myself and many others a lot of heartache if I had learned that with my abc’s.
Yesterday would have been Grandmother’s 100th birthday. I’ve thought about her a lot the past several days. And, along with her, Granny, Papa and Grandma. Those losses are just stacked together for me, coming as they did one right after the other. It’s…overwhelming to have an entire generation of your family wiped away in such a short time. The move from “grandchild” to “child” is a major thing. No longer is there a two generation buffer between me and “next”, but now only one. Each generation takes care of the one before it and after it, and that means I am now the one in the middle. Its on me. That’s a little bit scary, yk? Can I handle that? Do I have what it takes? Can I balance everything I now need to do, or am I going to drop a plate? Especially now that I am trying to balance school along with all my other responsibilities.
(I’m not including Grand-dad here, he died so long ago, and though I still miss him, his death was not part of that overwhelming time.)
But yesterday was also a major day for me. For the first time, I was able to smile at the thought of those Grandparents having gained their reward, knowing joy forevermore. Should I tell you that I cried myself to sleep Sunday night thinking about them, still selfishly grieving? I think so, it’s part of the story.
All of that brings me to the title of this post: Legacies. You know, we each have two of those; the one we receive and the one we leave. I’m not talking about material goods here, because those are unimportant. I’m talking about life perspectives, how we handle bumps in the road, the things that go into the major decisions we make. Do we operate from a position of love and trust? Or from a place of hate and suspicion? We pick up those mindsets from our role models, but they become self-fulfilling prophecies. If we expect that the world is always out to get us, then it surely will. If we expect good things to come, then that’s what we end up with. Our own actions cause that, and what do we base our actions on? Mindset.
It’s a big enough thought that we ought to be mindful of the legacy we are leaving even as we deal with the one we have received.
So, I spent the weekend with my family. And it was good as it always is. I love to roll down that road. See Papa’s airmail box way up high. And the gate, always left open when I’m coming. Entering the “Crawford Compound” and feeling instantly like I’m living inside a hug, before I even see anybody. Not being hugged, mind you. No. Living in a hug. I love it there. As I posted on Facebook, just rolling up the drive feels like the theme song from Cheers. Everybody knows my name, and they’re always glad I came.
This weekend, The DJ and I let our technogeek shine. He has the cellphone I’ve been looking at, and I had him show it to me, and he let me play with it. It certainly lives up to the name That One and I have given it. The DJ also showed me some things my crackberry would do that I didn’t know about, so that was cool too. I had been using snaptu to look at feeds and facebook, but that little internet icon on my phone is actual true internet, not just a lame static website reader. Sweet! OTOH, I will soon be shopping for a new holder and pimpouts and they won’t be iphone accessories, but stuff for the Samsung Moment. I’ll be getting it as soon as we can find the Evo in stock for That One.
I also started my collection of hand photos. Umm, ya’ll, it’s hard to get a good hand shot! I hadn’t counted on the fact that hands hang at exactly crotch level when standing, and generally rest in the lap when sitting. So………it’s going to be interesting collecting these pictures without looking like a total perv. I got four shots, I think, and I explained a lot more times that that what I was trying to do and why. Thankfully, some of the folks read my blog as it comes across facebook, so it didn’t shock them too badly, LOL!
And! We planned a trip for us cousins later this summer. We are going to Carowinds together in August and all of us are very excited!
And! Bay-bay! We have another new one, just 9 weeks old. Still soft and squishy. I really enjoyed holding and loving on him. I particularly enjoyed passing him back the moment he got the least little bit fretful. Muhahahahaha! I also giggled on the inside when his parents had to eat in shifts. Not that I let them know it, but I’ve btdt for 22 years now, so I think I’ve served enough time at it to giggle at them, don’t you?
On a more intense personal note, The DJ and I sat up talking until 3:30 am Sunday morning. We were talking about now and then and memory and how it functions. As he would talk about stuff he remembered, it would jog things for me that I didn’t think I had in there. I know now why a grilled cheese sandwich makes me feel loved—it started with cheese toast from Grandma’s toaster oven. I know I probably won’t ever remember a whole lot, and I can live with that. But I plan to dig until I have as many happy memories in my repertoire as bad ones. It won’t take long, LOL, since I have about 10 now altogether, but once I have more happy ones, I can choose which ones to play. Less Drama and trauma, more laughing and loving.
Ok, I think that’s a wrap. It was a jammed 22.5 hours.
Let’s continue to slog through the backlog, shall we? Sometimes going through a month of pictures is depressing, because I feel so far behind, and sometimes, it’s like flipping on the fancy pants Murray Feiss lighting, showing me the patterns I missed as I lived through a certain segment of time.
In truth, I was surprised to find 5 pictures for these five days. I thought for sure I had missed one. But that was next week.
April 6th I sat in a courtroom all day. I knit the whole time, except for the time I was giving my testimony. I cast on a hat at 9:30, and by 5:30 I was 6 inches in, almost ready for the decreases. My cousin sat beside me, reeling out the yarn as I needed it, so it provided stress relief for both of us. He also demanded a hat. This one was pre-destined for That One, though, so cousin said to make his blue. In spite of the fact that I ran out of yarn, I was delighted to find out just yesterday that the hat will fit the massive head for which it was originally intended.
April 7th Back in court again, but before we left for the day, I snapped this pic from the porch that was Grandma and Papa’s and now belongs to Aunt Lady. The day did not end as we all wished it had, but the evening was a great time of laughing and sharing and seriousness and laughing. It’s interesting, this family of mine. I didn’t spend a lot of time with them growing up, but we are so alike in so many ways. And my uncle is a totally fun guy, which I never knew until this visit.
April 8th DaBaby, drinking sprite through two straws at once. We had McDonalds, she and I, the night I got home, for reasons I won’t go into here. It wasn’t pretty.
April 9th Back to the hospital.
April 10th I took this picture to share with That One, in lieu of the daily flower. It was in the hospital parking lot, and I thought he would like it.
So, yeah, I know I really didn’t do much catch up in the last post, but I figured it was about long enough 😉
This is my room, late at night. I absolutely love this room. It is so quintessentially me. Wherever my eyes light in this room there is affirmation and peace. Nothing here troubles me and I rest my spirit here as well as my body. My uncle made that cubby. I made those pieces on the wall. One of those was a gift to Grandmother and another was a gift to Grandma and Papa. It is fitting that they have come to rest here on these pink walls. The lights are on all the time in this room for reasons that I will not now explain, and I burn my candles at night, too. Sometimes I light them even in the daytime. I took this picture a little after midnight on what was technically the third, but we are counting it as the second, because I count whatever I do before I go to bed as part of the day it mostly was.
BTW, it’s about time to quit smoking again. Have any of you tried the e cigarette? Is it worth it, or should I just use the method I have used before, which would be the “just stop smoking” kind of way.
On February 7th, I had our youth over for a wee party. We had pizza and wings and music provided by Guitar Guy.
After Papa and Grandma died, my aunt and I were talking about the house they lived in. She mentioned that she wanted to build happy memories now in the house they lived in, and to have those good memories to move forward with. I heard her words, but my heart did not grasp what she was saying until this night.
Some pretty bad things had happened to her there in that house, see. Death and hurt and anger and pain. Sometimes, you need to replace all that. You need to apply fresh mental paint to a place. I did that to my room on this night, started building happy memories in a place that had very recently been painful. And when that started happening, I realized exactly what Aunt Lady meant.
She’s pretty darn smart, that gal.