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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

There are very few vivid memories of my childhood left that haven't been created and recreated by photographs.  I remember the photographed experiences like they were yesterday.  The photos keep them fresh in my mind.  There is one memory that I do hold.  I hold it strongly but there isn't a photo of it anywhere but my own mind's eye.

The lay-z-boy recliner was an orange rough fabric that my father loved.  It was his chair and we loved it because he did.  In all honesty it was a terribly ugly chair yet it held the love of our family for years.

I hold this memory like the recliner held us.  Tenderly.  With Love.

As a small child I climbed up onto my daddy's lap as he sat in the recliner and laid my head on his chest.  I remember how my head rose and fell to the rhythm of his breathing.  I fell asleep or at least dozed off.  I remember waking hoping that he wouldn't make me move.  I didn't want the moment to end.  Imagine.  A small child wishing to hold onto time.

The soft touch between my temple and his rhythmic breathing comes to me often and has for years, long before he passed.  It was especially close to my heart last week as I held my dear baby Em on my chest.  She was home with her first ear infection and her usual energetic nature had succumbed to fatigue.  She had cried and hollered until finally her head hit my chest with a crash and as if a switch had been flipped she fell asleep.  Her head pressing against my chest.  I watched as it rose and fell with the rhythm of my breath.  This time I felt the weight of her on me like my dad felt all those years ago.  I felt her tummy press ever so gently into mine as her breathing slowed with sleep.

Will she remember this moment?  Will I?  Maybe not in our minds but it is etched into our hearts.  The rise and fall of our breath together is us.  Part of our connection as mama and babe.  When my girls have grown and are following their dreams I'll call up these feelings of love and peace from my heart to fill my mind and soul.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Dad's Final Lesson

There are moments that grip.  They don't let go and threaten to hold on forever.  They never do but the feeling is there.

I was driving to work on Thursday, two days before my father's birthday.  He was a Valentine's baby born in 1946.  In the lead-up to what would have been his 69th birthday I was overcome with grief.  This is a rare occurence.  For a while it was regular and I was ready for it.  On Thursday however, I wasn't ready.  It grabbed and held on.  I wondered, should I pull over?  Should I let it take it's course or should I fight it?  I held onto the steering wheel and kept driving.

I wasn't gripped by my father's death or the hole in my recent calls list where his calls would have been.  I was gripped by regret.  I was gripped by anger at Influenza B.  At trying to "help" him be healthier.  I was gripped by the regret of lost moments and at the frustration that I wasn't able to learn his lesson the easy way.

My father was a funny old guy.  Funny in the sort of funny becuase he was different from me sort of way.  He was also very predictable.  Around the Valentines day before he died he had contracted Influenza B.  A strain of the flu that wasn't covered by the flu shot.  We were advised to not be around him because "you don't want to risk Alma getting IT".  After this year's rounds with the flu I realize now that we should have gone.  Regret.

We didn't go.

February 14, 2012

My father always bought his own presents.  He knew what he wanted and needed, which wasn't much I could afford.  He needed medication.  Cancer isn't cheap.  He needed nice.  At his age he wasn't going to settle.  He needed us.  We weren't there.


We could have afforded to be there but we weren't.  We could have taken the time for a 45 minute drive.  I don't know what we did.  I know we called and I apologized for the lack of present.  Little did I know that we were the present.  The easiest to give and we didn't give.  Was this his final lesson to me?  Perhaps.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Academic writing is my safe zone.  I like safe zones but a piece of me is yelling.  The sound is muffled but I can hear it.  The yelling tells me to jump to escape.  That my place of safety is smothering me.  I'm scared to try and I'm scared to fail.  I'm scared to see the smirks as my writing is kindly read and given the obligatory "it's good" comment when I fear the opposite is true.  Can I win the battle against my own fears of failure?  Can I be kind enough to try my hand at writing something else.

The Two Writing Teachers blog is inspiring people like me to join their March writing challenge.