Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Textures and Smells

Sometimes I see little old ladies with grey hair wearing the same kinds of clothes Mom used to wear and I get transported to random moments of being with her. I see her slightly-stooped posture. I smell her favorite perfume (Cotillion by Avon), and I feel her hand reaching for mine – for steadiness or for affection, it doesn’t matter which. 

I never was one to want to wear my mother’s clothes, at least not the polyester pants with the elastic waistbands. There were one or two of her blouses that I might try to commandeer, but it never felt right for me to utilize her wardrobe. It was the stuff of mom-ness, and I was just a child. For so many years, I have been just her child. Now that I have been catapulted into the realm of raising grandchildren that I inherited through my husband, I have skipped typical motherhood altogether and have to navigate the combined realm of parenting and grandparenting the same children all at once. I am often at a loss for how to proceed through this new maze I’ve wandered into, but slipping on a pair of Mom’s socks or one of her hand-painted t-shirts or sweatshirts can somehow make me feel like I know where I am going. She would probably laugh at that, because she did not believe that things held any power. Maybe the only power in it is God using those textures to jog the memories of times when I saw Mom model the loving ways of caring for others. 

I wish opening a bottle of Mom’s old perfume or brushing up against some fine polyester would bring her voice back with answers to any one of my current problems. For now, just know that if you see me asking a little old lady for a hug or inhaling deeply when one walks by, I am not stalking. I am remembering.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

Bound and Gagged

It started with a phone call. Bad things had happened and more were coming. We rushed to be rescuers, but the damage was done. Life as we knew it was gone. 

The changes were huge and came at me quickly. I, who had so much solitude, suddenly was surrounded by others and had no place to hide. I, who was not a mother, was all of the sudden called to mother many. I, who had as a professional helped others through crisis, was suddenly in the middle of crisis. As much as I was prepared to help others through trauma, my own trauma left me feeling adrift. 

And almost immediately I lost my voice. There were no words to write. I could not even form an idea, much less find the words to express it. I used to lay my heart bare on a page and then share it with those travelers who stopped by. Now there was almost too much to share, but I had no voice. 

Had I even still had my voice, it could not be my own anymore. Every one of my words would have a profound effect on those who now wholly depended on me for safety and support. My story was no longer my own. The story of one had become the story of many. There was no way to separate any of us out from the plot line. 

How would I use a voice if I had one? The very ones that I must speak for are also the ones for whom I must also be silent. How would I use my voice for them if it came back? I cannot begin to imagine it.

There are some who view this as a necessary season of silence. Necessary or not, I feel bound and gagged. I wonder when this season will change. How will I recognize it? Will it start with a phone call? 


Monday, April 29, 2013

Post #200

I thought I would never have a family. I would end up living alone, except for a pack of little yappy dogs running around my ankles. I would talk back to the television just to have some company. Junk mail would be welcome just because at least somebody out there knew I was alive, at one point anyway. I would have to remind people of my name, because I was so utterly forgettable. There would be no help in time of need unless it was paid for. 

The only part I got right was the pack of yappy dogs. Instead of my low expectations I have...

...little arms that reach out to hug me...eyes that light up when I walk into a room...voices saying, "I love you" and "I'm glad I have you in my life"...beautiful cards that come in the mail...and boxes of toilet paper anonymously delivered to my house every month...

And now every time I wipe my butt I feel amazingly loved by my God and His people. I never knew that God could show up in the most common everyday things. How awesome.


Linking up with people who live wonderstruck in the everyday.