Posts Tagged ‘family’

A Holiday Season for the Birds

“We missed you at the dinner,” my mother said.

“I missed being there,” I replied, sincerely.

We let the sadness sit in silence for a moment.

I’ve missed so many important occasions over the past decade.

Family reunions, weddings, birthdays, baby showers and this year, our Christmas gathering, have all happened without me.

Mother always tells me who showed up and gives me bits of updates on my loved ones.  Loved ones I’ve lost contact with, except through photos or indirect stories.

I’m trying not to let things get me down this holiday season, but so far, it is a huge challenge.

Not only am I in more pain from fibromyalgia and a few new ailments too, my son and I are not getting along.  It’s a double dose of holiday grief!

While talking with Mother about the Christmas gathering that I wasn’t able to attend, I immediately felt my heart-strings pull.  My efforts to be positive seemed to pay off because right away I decided to try and take joy in her account of the gathering.  I was surprised when soon I was smiling, as I imagined one of my great nieces bringing one of her cousins five wrapped presents.

“I don’t know if she got the other ones anything, but she sure had five,” Mother said, with that pure joy a Great-Grandmother has.  “She had every one of them wrapped too,” she added with a little laugh.

After a few minutes into the conversation, I walked to the window where I could see a flock of Robins in the yard. They love the grassy lawn where I live and they are spectacular to see!  They always seem to come when the light shows their silhouettes under the Sycamore tree.  Many of them move toward my door, and I get to see them up close and personal as they lean in towards the ground, turning their heads slightly, listening for earthworms.

Robin listening for worms

The Robin Listens

“Hey Mother!  The Robins are here!”

I’ve told her about the Robins before.

Amidst the flock were other birds about the same size as Robins, but with black with golden stripes.  One or two had iridescent blue heads, so perhaps they were young Common Grackles.

Sometimes, when I mention the birds in my yard over the phone to people, they’re silent for a moment afterward.  I always wonder if they think I’m making up these tales of many birds!

Mother was quiet for a moment, but then she remarked that I should, “send a photo to that wildlife magazine.”

I wish I could.  I wish I could, if for no other reason than to make her proud.  She would be happy to see one of my photos in a magazine.

I’m in pain and can’t sit long enough to complete even the most simplest of photo projects.

“Now,” I started telling my bird tales again, “there are Black-capped Chickadees, two or three bluejay, some Orioles, and the Hawk has landed on the ground!”

As if that wasn’t enough, a flock of Cardinals were perched on the bushes by the treeline!

“It’s a winged-oasis out there!” I told Mother.  “It’s so beautiful!”

I didn’t have the energy to go outside to take a photo.  At least, not yet.

I was happy to see the pretty winged visitors, as always, but when I’m feeling unusually blue, I am especially grateful because the beauty and life they bring lifts a part of my spirit every time.

I sensed my mother knew, or somehow, she could feel what I saw.

Mother and I have always had a connection on a level other than this physical one that we can see and understand.

Our talk ended when my son called.  “I hope he’ll stay and have the chocolate croissants with me,” I remarked to Mother.

He’s in the habit of taking food that I cooked to his apartment to eat.  He won’t visit me at home or talk to me much lately.

The hawk was still on the ground when my son arrived.  A neighbor walked by and we each watched the bird for a few minutes.

He was excited over the beautiful pastries and gave me a hug, thanking me for baking them, but he took his croissants and headed back home.  I was disappointed, but at least I knew he would enjoy them and that gave me comfort.

Practicing gratitude helps me get through hard times, even if the feeling only last for a little while.  I need to remember the better times and keep hope alive.

I’m glad for the ability to enjoy the natural world around me.  The wild ones keep coming back, so I have plenty of chances to take in nature’s beauty!

The hawk was still in the yard when my son left, but was perched on the electric wires.

I reached for my Canon!

The Red-shouldered hawk and that streak of beautiful Carolina sky!

Getting closer to the red-shouldered hawk

“How close are you going to get?”

Red-shouldered hawk perched on wire in backyard

“That’s Close Enough.”

Thank you for visiting my blog, dogkisses.

Peace and Happy Holidays!

Your blogger, Michelle.

One pill ~~ One day

lovely image of dandelions and blue sky“dent de lion and blue skies and wishing” 

PHOTO CREDIT: VIRGINIA SANDERSON via Flickr

In the back of my mind was an awareness that my energy was not only temporary, which I’m used to, but was induced by medication.  It was an odd feeling. 

I was temporarily able-bodied.  An inner voice kept reminding me that the clock was ticking.  I didn’t want to remember that I would have to go back to my life of being too tired to visit my family again any time soon.  I tried not to think about where my energy was coming from.  I’ve taken the medication before and always had this same experience.

For the most part, I managed to keep my thoughts positive and be grateful for the time with my mother and one of my sisters.

We had a very nice visit and ate home-cooked hamburgers at a lovely little country restaurant.   I got to see my mother’s beautiful and prolific flower garden.  I’d feared I wouldn’t get to see it at all this year.  Many times I’ve heard her say, “I wish you could see the…,” and she’ll mention whatever is blooming.

I didn’t tell my sister that a little white pill was the fuel I was running on.  I did however, end up telling my mother before I left, which I later regretted. 

I didn’t have to tell her that fatigue was disabling me.  I didn’t have to tell her that I had to take medication for my body and brain to work that day, but I did. 

I had wanted to spare them the details of how hard it is to live with pain and severe fatigue every single day.  Had I failed, I wondered on my way home.

I guess I also wanted to let somebody know the truth.  For some reason, I needed somebody to know that me making the trip was hard.  Plus, my mother is nearly psychic.  If I don’t tell her, it isn’t like she doesn’t know, which she reminds me of from time to time.

“You look so good,” my sister had said shortly after I arrived.  “Your eyes are clear.  You really look good,” she added, with a pleased look about her.

Part of me wanted to tell her that I was running on medication and how underneath what she saw, was a completely exhausted human being, but I didn’t.  I didn’t want to disappoint her.  I love my sister and it warmed my heart knowing she was enjoying the bit of time, when her little sister looked okay. 

I wished in that moment that I could give this to my family more often.  If my looking well made her happy, then I thought it best not to spoil the moment.  I did what my seventh grade teacher once told me to do if someone gave me a compliment.  I said thank you.  Nothing more. 

I’m just too dang tired to do things.  Too tired to think or make decisions.  Too tired to talk some of the time.  Too tired to clean or cook.  Too tired to go anywhere, like the grocery store.

I took the little white pill and had a good day. 

I choose not to take the medication very often because anything that can make this body get up and go, while it feels like I’ve been hit and run over by an eighteen-wheeler, well… I guess it scares me.

Thanks for visiting Dogkisses’s Blog!  Feel free to leave a comment.  Emails are never published. 

Thanks to Flickr member and professional photographer, Virginia Sanderson,  for her absolutely beautiful images!  I’m not a photographer and don’t speak their language, but I especially love the different textures she creates.   I encourage you to check out her photostream.


Related articles

When the truth doesn’t matter

my dad had the best story to tell

home

There was a chest in the corner of the upstairs second bedroom, which is where the photo of the pretty woman from France was.  The bedroom was a holograph of the past.  Nobody slept there anymore and the same crocheted quilt with big colorful flowers on it seemed to have always decorated the bed.

Once in a while, with enough pestering from me, either my grandmother or dad would go up stairs with me where we would sit together on the bed beside the wooden chest.  They would open it and let me choose an item for a story.   Stories that I never tired of.   Stories that connected me to them and us to our ancestors.

My grandmother had lost a daughter to cancer and the room held the memories of her in framed pictures, her jewelry and pieces of her favorite clothes hanging in open view from hooks on the old wooden walls.

One story I liked for my dad to tell me was about how I was named.

“Let me see the woman from France,” I would ask my dad.  He would let me hold the picture, while he told me the story.

“She was beautiful,” he would say.

He would start with talking about being in the Army.  He was a cook and sometimes I think he wanted more interesting stories than he had actually lived.

“Her name was Mechelle,” he would say, trying to make it sound French, which I loved.

“I gave you a beautiful name because you’re a beautiful girl,” he told me.  I was happy he thought I was beautiful.  This was back in the day before we stopped talking to girls about their looks and instead started telling them their smart, which I think is a good progression.  At the same time, I don’t think I was damaged by my father’s innocent compliments.

Of course I asked him once if he loved her and if he thought she was more beautiful than my mother.  He nearly cried.  He cried easily.  I’m a lot like him.

“Oh no,” he said with great emotion.   “Your mother is the only woman I’ve ever loved and the most beautiful woman in the world.”  I believed him and I still do.

“I knew her before I married your mother,” he would remind me.

“Did you ever kiss her?” I remember asking him.  He would smile, as if he was a ladies man and say jokingly, “Maybe once.  The women couldn’t say no to me when I was in uniform.”

I never believed he kissed her and I’m sure that’s exactly how he wanted it.

My mom recently told me that my dad made up this story about the woman in France and about naming me.

“But what about the picture?” I asked her.

“There ain’t no tellin’ where he got that from,” she said.  “He could have picked that up at the dime store,” she added.

I don’t think so!

I knew, even as I believed my dad loved only my mother, that this photo was important to him.

My mother tells me that I was, “supposed to have been a boy and was already named Michael.”   She had been a little too sure of herself.

She said her reason for naming me Michelle is that it was easy to change the name Michael.  A very boring reason right?

I’m going to stick to my dad’s story, which also included telling me he always knew I would be a girl, which is exactly what he wanted.

And did he sing the Beatles to me?  You bet he did!

In loving memory of my dad and his stories of adventure, real or imagined.