She was all sharp angles & hard edges. Staccoto. Treble. Dancing like she was marching to war. The kind of woman who turns a life to dry crumbs. She was a desert wind robbing all around of their damp pleasing joy.
Her hair poked out dangerously - metal shavings stuck to the side of her head. She offered neither cooling dew nor passionate steaming humidity, just the arid sucking
When she broke, all that was left were shards and dust. A shattering so complete, nothing could be salvaged.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
When the BB's were little, I'd tuck them in bed with a story and a song. BB1 preferred the stories - the more books I'd read the better, though I rarely got suckered in to more than two. BB2 liked the songs, over and over again. When he was three we went almost the whole year singing "Away in a Manger" at bedtime.
After a while, we expanded our repertoire. Beyond "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," beyond lullabies and nursery rhymes. I made a booklet of the songs we loved, some from their favourite movies - "Baby Mine" from Dumbo and "You'll Be In My Heart" from Tarzan - and, somehow, some of my favourite love songs ended up in there as well. Of course, baby boys don't stay baby boys for long. They start reading for themselves. And then they say, as nicely as they can, you don't have to sing to me anymore, and you try not to take it personally. They do have to grow up.
But this song, "Your Song," has remained my song for BB2. When he was in the hospital, I couldn't listen to it. I couldn't hear 'how wonderful life is while you're in the world' when he didn't want to be here. Eventually he got out of the hospital, and promised me he'd never go back. It was his birthday. Or perhaps the day before.
And today is his birthday, two years later. It hasn't been any easy two years for any of us, but most of all for him. He has had some substantial growing pains, some set-backs, and some amazing successes. He's stronger, a little leaner, sometimes guarded, but moving forward. We're all a little more honest than we used to be. It's become essential. And also, I think a little more compassionate, if sometimes a little exhausted.
I can't give BB2 a big house. But I can remind him, over and over, that sometimes I forget, and I get frustrated, and what I really mean is I'm so very glad he's in the world.
PS - his eyes are blue. The most incredible blue.
Friday, April 19, 2013
I wish I'd known in October that I'd never see you again. We did know you were in pain, but we didn't know why, and honestly - in the hustle and bustle of a big busy party - it was enough that you and Gerald were there. Smiling, hugging, quietly there. There were a lot of people we love in the room, but even that night I wished we could have found a quiet corner to sit in and catch up. I knew I could tell you anything, and I needed someone to be honest with - it was a hard weekend to keep secrets. I know you would have made it okay. I thought I had a picture of you that weekend with your big smile, and Gerald right behind you. I did have a picture, but it was fuzzy so I deleted it. I wish I hadn't.
You know how some people are always in your life and you think they always will be, even when you don't see them for years? You were one of those people. I don't remember life before the Bennetts, I suppose because you were already in my family's life before I was. My parents have such amazing friends, and even with our sizable families, we grew up loving those friends like our own aunties, uncles and cousins. My heart breaks for Karen, Carla, Pam and Chris - and for Gerald, yes, though I can't even really fathom his loss.
My favourite memories of you are from your house in Vernon - the best of places to vacation. I remember feeling so out of place - being the youngest in that sprawling brood of teens that our families created. I was the tween tag-along, tolerated, but mostly just. And you'd always be right there, keeping me busy, herding me through my years-long unrequited crush on your darling golden boy. I wished to be as beautiful as Karen, as big-hearted as Carla, as fun as Pam. My sisters had dibs on those friendships - those five older girls sure didn't need me butting in, but you made it okay to just be me - to sit with a book in the crook of a giant cherry tree and read and eat sun-warmed cherries until my stomach ached.
I remember things that probably weren't at all the way I remember, but that's okay. What's left are not snapshots so much as puzzle pieces - a fold down divan, your work worn hands, your warm broad smile. All that's left now for any of us are the memories, and so we cling to them, frayed and fuzzy and partial as they may be. Mostly your smile and your laugh - I have no illusions that yours was an easy life, yet when I think of you I think of you smiling and laughing.
We have no claim on missing you now - you have a partner of more than five decades who will have to learn how to go on without you. Your children, your grandchildren, your siblings - they will all need so much love to fill the void you're leaving in their lives. And still, we will miss you. I'll miss hearing about your adventures with mom and dad. I'll miss those increasingly rare occasions - the birthdays and anniversaries - when we get to see you, however hurried.
Thank you. Thank you for letting a gawky book lover sit in your cherry tree. Thank you for your wise words, your big smile, your strong laugh, and your model of faithful love.
You are missed.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
So I have this weird thing that happens. I'm quite sure that I'm not alone in this, but here it my particular version. When someone - particularly someone I hold in high regard or authority - compliments or encourages me in a public endeavour, I stop. It's happened over and over in university, grad school, singing, etc, and more than once here.
Which is why after several months of very frequent writing and feeling some momentum and breaking through some barriers to say things that really matter, I've been a little quiet for the last nine days. It's one thing when your friends and family say they read your writing, but when other writers - writers you truly admire - send you feedback and encouragement.
Stage fright. Sudden shyness.
And this from a girl who LOVES the limelight.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
A few days ago at work The Boss was joking (with someone else entirely) about who would play a colleague in a TV comedy based on my place of employment, and I butted in and said "as long as you don't cast Rosie O'Donnell as me, it'll be okay."
I was joking. And not. But she graciously said "oh no, not her, I'm not sure who I'd cast as you. Who would you want? Think about it. I'll watch your blog for the answer."
And so, here is my answer: Megan Hilty. Lovely, vivacious, blonde, buxom, curvy and capable Meg Hilty. She's one of the stars of one of my favourite guilty pleasure shows "Smash." She's the me I picture when I picture a me who had chips fall in a different direction. She's who I might have been had I been willing to put the effort in. Singer. Actor. Bombshell - and we all know how I feel about bombshells. I'm not saying I in any way have her talent ... just that that was the dream.
I have 50 (or 80) pounds and 20 (+) years on her. But still ... I'd be okay if Megan Hilty was cast as me. I mean, c'mon. Look at her. LISTEN to her!