Friday, August 22, 2014

Love and Loss

My parents, were not the equation that formulated my existence. My Mom and Step Dad were madly in love and gave me a window to what real Love looks like. This October, my Dad will have been gone for almost 19 years. But, for the years that they had together, I can only describe their relationship as everlasting.

Every anniversary, from the beginning to the last, he brought her a dozen red roses.

My Mom hated red roses.

They were so cliche, the epitome of every household husband's endorsement of Hallmark romance. This was an act of love, and of humor, and every year I'd come home from school and see them on the kitchen counter.

Every year, they lasted on the counter until the last petal fell.

Almost married 15 years, he lost his premature fight to brain cancer a month before they would have celebrated together.  Even though his life of motorcycles, flying planes, Dirty Harry and James Bond passions were cut short, so was his love story to a blonde firecracker of a woman named Naomi.

"Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all."  -Alfred Lord Tennyson

Tennyson, a man who had wrote many acclaimed works was critically assailed after writing his second book of poetry, The Lady of Shallot. After his critics publicly humiliated his work, he retreated for a ten year hiatus before attempting another. That is, until his best friend died suddenly of a brain hemorrhage before taking his sister's hand in marriage. After the untimely death of his best friend, Arthur Hallam's passing inspired him to write many more masterpieces including In Memoriam from which this most profound excerpt was birthed.

"Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all."

What does this mean? Why would it have been better to have loved and lost? It has been presented as a question, in every literary class whether in post secondary education or grade school I've ever had.

 Every response from my childhood, to adulthood has resonated the same, and it comes from that very place of loss.

"I know what love is."

To my Mom who just celebrated her 65th birthday, I'm sure each October when my Dad passed, bares a bitter sweet void where those red petals fell.

I can assure you this, you cannot replace a true thing with an imposter. Even if abbreviated, 3 months of a substitute will never measure to 3 seconds of true love and in transverse. Even though my parents never got to experience the celebration of a 20 year anniversary, 14 years of veritable love far outweighs a lifetime of any synthetic substitute. I think when Tennyson experienced this very loss of a beloved friend and of his sister's, he was blessed with the opportunity to write the truth, that the absolute concentrate of love between two people for however long or short lived, is better than nothing at all.

Never accept anything less, never.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Waiting to be Known..

This afternoon, in the periphery between rain and sun I took my kids to our clubhouse pool not knowing if we would leave 5 minutes after arriving.

I skirted near the edge in my swimsuit as my oldest, Bella flipped in the deep end doing somersaults and flips. Dalton walked over to the smaller pool with his orange bucket full to the brim with plastic toys. Soon he had them lined up side by side in a perfect row of Veggietales and Bubble Guppies. He'd inspect them and mumble in pretend play conversations that only he understands sometimes.

I forget how abstract his world must be. Our world, the conversational bold colors we paint with words is confined to a person, let alone a child with poor expressive skills like Dalton.

He's receiving, not transmitting as well.

It's hard to be known, to make friends when communication is paramount to interacting.

About an hour later, Dalton decided he wanted to join his sister in the big pool. 

Big Kid Territory.

"Go for it, go get Bella!"

Dalton left all of his toys and walked down the big entrance of steps, only to walk back out.

I waited. Slowly, he walked around to a smaller entrance and waded in the 3 ft area where kids his chronological age were playing. He watched and mumbled a few things but as things normally go, he went ignored until his sister came over with her friends.

He's not a swimmer yet. 

He's a wader. 

I kept close by, sat on the steps ready to leap in if necessary.

He's not too fond of the feeling of floating. There's no vestibular cues for his body to fully process that lack of control that gravity suggests with the push and pull of up and down.

Two boys next to him in the shallow area began throwing a ball back and forth.
Dalton smiled and watched them play.

My heart ached a little, but I waited.

Then, one of the boys turned and smiled at Dalton.

Then he threw the ball, and Dalton caught it.

My heart danced a little. We both smiled.

Three little boys were playing ball.

My heart jumped up into my throat, my eyes got a little wet.

They see you buddy.

To be known, to have someone not only see you but include you is something most of us want. It's what most of us need to thrive and in so many ways.

To love, and be loved.

To see, and be seen.

To touch, and be touched.

To just be included, in a game of ball.

To be Known.

So many of us have talents, gifts, callings that we're waiting to be known for.

But, what if we were just as content to be Known. Not for what we do, for what we are, for what we offer but why isn't being a human being with a beating heart enough of a reason anymore?

I think it's enough.

I think you're enough.

I might just start carrying around a little ball in my purse, and look for anyone who might want to play. In fact, I think Dalton would like it if I did that very much.

"Somewhere, Something Incredible is Waiting to be Known" - Carl Sagan

I also think

"Somewhere, Someone Incredible is Waiting to be Known"

Dalton is a pretty incredible kid,  and today some really incredible kids became friends.