Day 31/31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2017: REST

Day 31

Rest, my precious child.

Lay your head on my shoulder

allow your breaths to slow

and our heartbeats to align.

Let me feel the warmth of your cheek against mine.

Close your sleepy eyes and melt into me.

REST

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Day 30/31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2017: REFINE

Day 30

Scrubbing clean

sanding down

filing rough edges.

Softening harsh words

molding hardened hearts

distilling thoughts.

Painful at times,

uncomfortable but necessary for growth.

 

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Day 29/31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2017: FOLLOW

Day 29

If one were to follow the track of my life, it would not be a stretch to say I’ve moved around a lot.  I was born in Bethesda, MD, grew up for the first 16 years of my life in Northern VA, spent the last few years of high school and all of my college days in Wilmington, NC, moved to Baltimore for three and a half years after college, then back to Wilmington from September 2004-2009, moved to Denver in September 2009 and lived there until July 2014.  Then, I moved to Connecticut to get married, and we lived there until July 2017, and have since been living in Charlotte, NC.  What a meandering path.  Each move was for a good reason, although I know from the outside, it must have seemed like I had no idea what to do with my life.  Partly (okay, maybe mostly) true, but thankfully, throughout this nomadic wandering, God’s hand has been on me.  There were periods of time I ran from him, but he kept his steady hand on me the whole time.

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Missing My Uncle Mark

The end of September in 2004 was the last time I saw my uncle Mark.  He and my parents had driven up to Baltimore to help move me out of the condo I was living, since I was moving back to Wilmington, NC.  He was so strong, lugging my dressers and couch from up and down the stairs.  There was no indication to any of us he’d have a heart attack on a crisp cool October morning while hunting, just a few weeks later.

In the line of my mom’s biological siblings, he came third, and my mom was fourth.  My mom and Mark always were together.  When my mom first moved out of her parents house, they were roommates, and he still lived with us until I was in High School.  My brother was probably in first or second grade, and my sister was in third or fourth, but I know he was a huge part of their formative years.  In my childhood memory of my Gramma and Poppy’s house, there was a Norman Rockwell painting of a boy and girl sitting on a bench with a knapsack on the ground behind them with the sun in front of them.  It always reminded Gramma of the two of them, so now it does the same for me, too.

Mark was probably the easiest person to like that I’ve ever met.  He always wore a smile, except when the camera was pointed in his direction.  He would either just stare unsmiling at the lens, or put his hand up in front of his face.  Out of all the pictures ever taken of him, that’s what you saw.  UNLESS he had a fish in his hands that he’d just pulled out of the water.  Then that smile would be as big as the fish tales he would tell.  He was always agreeable, yet annoying in a big-brother kind of way.   At mealtimes, he insisted on sitting to my left, so we constantly bumped elbows.  I’m a lefty, and he was a born righty, having to switch to being left-handed after royally messing up his right thumb so it couldn’t bend.  He’d also know just when to swipe my hand out from under my head when we were watching tv.  I’d be laying on the ground with my head propped up by my hand, and when I was most absorbed or oblivious, he’d whack my arm back and chuckle as my head nearly hit the floor.  He always let me punch him for it afterwards, which was satisfying.

We were never without milk or bread in the house because nearly every night before he came home from work, he’d stop and grab one or the other, or both.  The only time he took days off from work was for for the opening day of duck, buck, turkey, or bow season.  He worked for Transmission Incorporated, and I still can remember his work phone number.  His fingernails were always rough from working and black with car grease.  He always wore a ball cap.  It was strange to see his head, he wore a hat so much.  In the summer, he’d let us all pile in the pack of his gray Toyota truck for a 7-11 Slurpee run.  When we got home, we’d jump in our backyard pool.  We would all have our swimming suits on, except him.  He always wore his navy blue Dickies in the pool.  I never saw his legs above those pink ankles, and I don’t think he ever wore shorts beyond his teen years.  I remember his bedroom was just off our family room above the basement.  It always smelled like stale smoke, even after he quit smoking.  He had a waterbed, and we all thought that was the most amazing bed to lay on.  He also had a tiny 5×5″ square black and white television on his nightstand with knobs to change the channel and volume.

I remember one night, probably after watching MacGuyver or Tour of Duty, he told me about seeing bullfrogs as big as his forearm.  I wanted so badly to see one, so he offered to take me, on the condition we had to wake up before the sun the next morning since I had school and he had work.  I woke up the next morning, after the sun, and went down to his room.  A man’s sized shoebox was on the floor wrapped in a rubber band, and a note scribbled from Mark that here was my bullfrog.  I opened the lid, and sure enough, the biggest frog I’ve ever seen in my life was sitting inside.  Wonder, awe, and guilt rushed through me.  I didn’t want to leave the poor frog inside the shoe box all day- I am a child of the 80’s and saw E.T. dozens of times.  So, I took him out to the backyard and released him near our creek, praying he’d make it back home unscathed.  I loved Mark for going and bringing me back this magnificent creature.  To this day, I still kick myself for not waking up early to go with him.  It would have given me just a few more hours of memories.

 

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Day 28/31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2017: CONNECT

Day 28

I’m transported back in time to my one bedroom row house in Baltimore.  I’m sitting on my Ikea sofa, freshly gleaned of any loose change so I could buy gas.  I was so lonely, desperate to connect with someone.  But it was one of those days when nobody was around to answer their phones.  I’d dial my parent’s number holding my breath.  As soon as the voicemail clicked on, my throat would tighten like a string, and the pitch of my voice was sharper, holding back cries as I calmly left my message in that strange voice.  Another number, and the same thing happened.  It was an invisible day.  When it felt like nobody even remembered or missed me.

CONNECT

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Day 27/31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2017: OVERCOME

Day 27

Being overcome by sadness feels like being overcome by exhaustion.  The weight of memories and regrets make the tears fall harder.  We all deal with grief differently, but I myself as a complete sap and someone who wears her heart on her sleeve has a very difficult time with those who are stoic and show no emotion at all.  Are you in there? Do you feel anything?  Are you hurting?  I can’t tell.  My throat feels raw, my nose is running, and my eyes brim with salty tears.  But all I see is that you are bitter and make me feel small for feeling.

OVERCOME

 

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Day 26/31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes 2017: CHANGE

Day 26

Change is

seeing the tips of green trees turn gold and red

wearing shorts and flip flops, only to open the door to a chill

watching my pregnant belly grow rounder

seeing our baby girl stagger around on two wobbly legs

expecting the usual grunt or scowl and be instead greeted by a smile

using a shiny key to open the front door of our new home

saying goodbye

leaving the negative past in the past

 

CHANGE

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