Herself continues her quest for the modern equivalent of disco for heartache. Today, she's listening to a bit more country: Darius Rucker, Wagon Wheel. It fits the bill. Best of all, it's within Herself's vocal range, so she can sing along.
So rock me momma like a wagon wheel Rock me momma any way you feel Hey momma rock me Rock me momma like the wind and the rain Rock me momma like a south bound train Hey momma rock me
Herself says, she'd certainly entertain such an invitation, particularly when so melodically requested.
When Herself was tiny, she apparently had this green pilot cap that she loved. While Herself does not remember wearing or enjoying this hat, her mother has indicated that the cap was perpetually upon Herself's head when she was young. Mother's favorite story involves a plane trip; in days of yore, people would dress up to travel by air, and Herself wore her fancy smocked dress, tights, and party shoes -- and the hat. That must have been quite a sight.
Tiny Dog thinks the green pilot cap might be tasty.
When Herself was very small - somewhere well under ten years old - she had sheets and a bedspread, and even curtains, with these flowers. Red, yellow, orange and blue, with green leafy highlights. She loved them.
I'm not certain how the pillowcase survived four decades, particularly without any sheet companions remaining, but all that we have now is this lone pillowcase. The colors are still vibrant. It makes us happy.
We all have collections of possessions that hold meaning for us. Ordinary items -- a ticket stub, a pressed flower, a small stone -- that we have kept, for reasons that are undefined but clearly existent. These are our Things. Our Things are part of who we are. It's ever so important not to scoff at another's Things - to do so is to ridicule pieces of a person, and that is an unacceptable unkindness.
While helping pack up his house, we encountered many of Cherished Friend's Things. One of his other friends humorously marked certain boxes containing Things with the label, Treasures. Beloved Husband marked other boxes of Things as Memorabilia. Whether Treasures or Memorabilia or some other classification, though, these Things are part and parcel of Cherished Friend's life.
It must have been difficult for Cherished Friend, who is a reserved and modest individual, to have other people -- even ones he knows well -- handling his Things. He kindly offered back-stories when Herself asked about some Things, providing a glimpse into the time before we met him. Herself tried very hard to accord all of the Things the dignity they deserved by packing them carefully and with respect. It was an honor to be allowed to help with the Things.
We thought that perhaps we'd take a stroll through some of our own Things this week, and see what we can find. We'll let you know.
This corner of the desert is melting after that unexpectedly weather-ific winter storm. When we went out to rescue the snow-sodden trash cans, we spotted a fascinating formation: a line of snow had been blown into a straight line at the window pane of the front window, and when the wind died down, had curved out and towards the ground. An icicle had sprouted at the base of the curve of the frozen snow line like a petaled flower.
Offspring the Third is having some peer-related difficulties. I shan't discuss the particulars; he is entitled to privacy. Furthermore, it's best not to incite any further problems by describing details that could be used against any of the parties involved, especially if (in the most unlikely event) his peers manage to wade through the infinite internet and somehow end up here. I hope that the issues will dissipate in short order, and that all will be well. In the meanwhile, as my heart aches with the knowledge that his heart aches, I would like to say:
I was so young and naïve when I brought the Offspring into the world. I never imagined that I’d have to explain to them that just because they are polite and kind to others is no guarantee that others will return politeness or kindness; that their own peers could be so deliberately cruel, aggressive, and hurtful; that people would break their hearts without a second thought. They are so young for such bitter, salty lessons.
I purposefully didn’t have many specific dreams for the Offspring - I didn’t want to set preconceived notions or unrealistic expectations for them. What’s clear to me now is that, besides hoping they will each find a career path that they enjoy for the most part and through which they can support themselves, my only other (and far more fervent) hope is that each of them can find a few good, kind people who can buffer the cruelties of the world for them.
It breaks my heart knowing I cannot protect them.
The best I can do is to be a sheltering boulder against the world’s winds for them.
The wind howls, the snowdrift on the back patio is ten inches deep, and the tiny dogs are going to explode from holding their pee rather than venturing forth to conduct their business in the terrible weather.
The blob on the left of the photo is Herself's mitten. Mittens, hat, jacket, boots. SO COLD.
The car is in the driveway, because there was no way to get it through the slush of the short driveway into the garage.
There was an odd little moment in the middle of the packing-up of Cherished Friend's house. Herself, Beloved Husband, Offspring the Third, another friend of Cherished Friend, and Cherished Friend himself were all sitting at a table in the garage, having a late lunch, when a minivan rolled up and parked in front of the house. Several individuals piled out. Two presented themselves to Cherished Friend as the individuals who have signed the contract to purchase the house, and asked whether they could show the house to the relatives with them. OK then!
It was strange, listening to the snatches of conversation that floated out into the garage as the people moved through the house. Disquieting. Why? Difficult to put into words, really. Perhaps it's because the house is still Cherished Friend's, and that -- even though the house was completely bare of all personal items, with naught but a chair and a television set remaining -- it's intrusive for strangers to walk about inside. It runs afoul of the rituals of permanently leaving a domicile. One needs time to empty everything, to contemplate the time spent there, to say thank you and goodbye.
Herself tiptoed as invisibly as possible into the kitchen to ensure the food leftovers were tidy and not off-putting to the people. The people finished murmuring and moved towards the door, and one woman turned in the doorway to the kitchen and said to Herself, "It's a very nice home." It was a very kind thing to say, a smoothing-over of the discomfort of her intrusion into a space that was not yet hers. Herself returned the kindness as best she could, acknowledging Cherished Friend's ownership and the woman's impending purchase: "It's been a good place for him. We're going to miss him, but we're glad that the house will be in good hands."
Herself hopes the statement was accurate. She knows for certain that Cherished Friend is missed; she hopes that Cherished Friend will look back upon the house fondly, and that the house will be good to the next people, too.
This weekend, Herself, Beloved Husband, and Offspring the Third, together with another friend of Cherished Friend, helped Cherish Friend pack up his house. It was very busy, but not unpleasant -- Herself (ever the house elf) does enjoy organizing and tidying and taking care of House Things -- except for the fact that each box put on the truck was another step towards Cherished Friend's final movement away from this desert land. Alas.
Herself and her family had the honor of hosting Cherished Friend under their own roof for two evenings, midway through the packing-up and then when the packing-up was complete. Although Herself does not usually enjoy anyone other than her immediate family in her space, she makes an exception for Cherished Friend. He is a comfortable, comforting presence. It was a pleasure to be able to try to make him comfortable in return during this tiring time.
She wished there were more she could have done. It never seems to be Enough for her, somehow. There truly is no way to repay Cherished Friend for the gift of his friendship.
When you part from your friend, you grieve not; For that which you love most in him may be clearer in his absence, as the mountain to the climber is clearer from the plain.
- Kahlil Gibran
Herself wonders about this quote. Yes, it is true that one can oftentimes see a bit more clearly with a bit of distance. But when it says, "you grieve not," what does it mean? Is that a statement? An exhortation? A command?
How can one not grieve? Even knowing that the change in location is what is best for Cherished Friend, and ever desiring his happiness, does not change the sense of loss we encounter in that moment after he has driven away.
When we contemplate the absence of Offspring the First and Offspring the Second, we are not as bereaved. Their presences are here in the house, imbued in their rooms and suffused in their possessions, permeating the very smell of their blankets in the leftover laundry from their time at home for the holidays. They will return, we know. We wait, consoled by the tangibles of their times at home with us. And hope to see them soon.
In contrast, we do not know when we will see Cherished Friend next. His presence has been packaged up with his household goods, and even the usual scent of his house has faded. We have solely his jacket, inadvertently left behind, and the basket we keep on the counter for his keys and phone when he visits. Alas.
We stand on the windy mountaintop, waiting and listening for the echo of him, and the whispers are so very faint.
There's been a bit of controversy about the video, which is a performance (or, as Rolling Stone describes it, an "interpretive dance cage match") by a young girl and an adult man; there have been cries of "pedophilia!" Herself does not see that in the video. There is a difference between physical and sexual, and it's quite clear to Herself that Elastic Heart falls within the former, and not the latter. Herself likens it to sparring in taekwondo (which Herself still misses) - very much a physical exercise, but not remotely sexual.
Sia has explained that the two individuals represent her warring self states. That, we can understand. When music and lyrics aren't enough to convey the complexity of the human soul, dance can do so.
Earlier this week, Herself denuded and put away the Christmas tree. Although she normally does not particularly enjoy this task, it was interesting this year because the Offspring had put on all the ornaments themselves. It was a delightful mix of all kinds of things.
There were Star Wars ornaments; nutshell babies; various Sponge Bob decorations; half a dozen angels that Herself's grandfather collected for free from the local pharmacy in Herself's home town thirty-five years ago; glass balls decorated with permanent markers by the Offspring when they were in their early teens; a TARDIS; multiple handmade God's Eyes from grade school projects; ornaments from Herself's mother-in-law; handmade, lopsided, odd little bits; photographs from days gone by glued to paper wreaths along with golden-spraypainted macaroni bits; Giant Microbes; some sort of weaving that resembled a pot holder; a handful of ornaments from Herself's youth; a badminton birdie; and other items.
It was magnificent.
Even when she could not identify exactly what the ornament was, she knew that one of the Offspring had especially selected it for the tree. It warmed Herself's heart tremendously to see all the pieces of her youth, and the span of the years of the Offspring, intermingled.
Lovely Offspring. Thank you for your grace, cheer, and consideration throughout the holidays. You are marvelous human beings, and it is our privilege to know you.
Hand-crafted with care:
pipe cleaner, safety pins, jingle bells, and foam palm tree leaves. Perfect.
Herself dropped Offspring the First off to catch her flight back to college this afternoon. The airport was quiet and relatively empty; the halls echoed, full of possibilities. Herself daydreams about Going Places and Seeing New Things. Someday.
Off she goes, lovely Offspring the First, back to her own humble life in her own tiny abode. Godspeed, and good luck. You are loved, and we are thinking of you.
My apologies, gentle readers - the blog is off to a very slow start for this 2015.
Herself is a bit bogged down in post-holiday catch-up and General Stuff. She's also been contemplating some un-bloggable topics: on the one hand, she's doing some Big Thinking about in what direction to take her career, coupled simultaneously with the concerns about What Others Expect and What Is Best For The Family (and how those two juxtapose against What She Might Like); and on the other hand, she's still swimming in the shallows of the Sea of Sorrow, contemplating all the changes and losses big and small of the past months and year.
It's a tricky place to be.
More than anything, she wants someone to just hold her for a few minutes, pat her hair, and tell her it'll all work out, not to worry.
Not to worry, fretful child of my heart. It will all be OK. I am here.
As the elder Offspring gear up to go back to college, and as we continue to be aware of Cherished Friend's absence from our ordinary lives, we listen to today's earworm: I wish you'd stay, by Brad Paisley.
It's not quite accurate -- it's not that we wish for them to stay; we just wish that their leaving wasn't so hard on the heart.
How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. ― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
In the cold and damp weather, elderly three-toothed small dog is disinclined to move. He looks uncomfortable in some kind of indeterminate way. Could it be arthritis, perhaps? We got out the heating pad and tucked him beneath it. Oh, he looked so very happy. After half an hour, he perked up considerably and was happy to eat dinner and take a brief stroll around the house to check on each of the people. Then he went back to the heating pad.
I'm glad we found something to help. Good boy, Tio.
NinjaHead resides with a muffin-baking woman known herein as Herself. Herself has a Beloved Husband, with whom she shares three nearly-grown Offspring. When she is not writing Things, Herself nurtures a visceral fondness for small furry creatures. The household menagerie, which has varied in size and composition over the years, presently contains a minuscule middle aged chihuahua, a most mild-mannered senior chihuahua, and a very small hamster who, due to the prominence of his gonads, seems to need trousers for decency.