Maybe it is my recent state of mind but I seem to see pain everywhere I look. This reminds me of human wounds.
We got our first winter snow this morning. I did a quick walk around the yard to take a few photos and I had just finished making my snow Angel. Then I saw a young boy in our backyard. Apparently his dog came over to visit Piper. I was able to get dressed before he got to our backdoor. This is the 3rd time in 14 years that anyone has come around to our backdoor.
I admit that I have been a member of the naked snow angel club since I was a small child. Maybe I should hang a sign that says this is a clothes optional property.
As I walk around my garden I find little things that make me smile. Sometimes it is a blooming flower, a fancy spiderweb ,a bug or a bird, a squirrel or a fallen branch that looks like a mystical creature. Today on my walk this little metal dragonfly caught my attention.
“Instinct is the nose of the mind.”
– Delphine Gay de Girardin
About Delphine Gay de Girardin
French writer Delphine Gay de Girardin was equally well known for her patriotic poetry and for the brilliant literary gatherings at her home. She was born in France on January 24, 1804; her mother was the well-known author Sophie Gay. Delphine called herself the “Muse of the Nation” for her poetry about France. Under the pseudonym Vicomte Charles de Launay, she wrote a gossip column with comedic sketches of Parisian life. She died on June 29, 1855.
Today has accidentally become a morning of reflection. It started when I received a photo that reminded me of a past that I had stuffed deep in the attic of my brain. Things I really did not want to remember but things that have also been keeping me from being able to enjoy some beautiful aspects of life. It was just minutes after seeing a photo when things clicked and fit together. Finally, I was able to understand what needed to be done. Today I shall focus on forgiveness. I shall forgive someone of the pain they caused me almost 40 years ago. This is a difficult task as the torment went on for years. I have spent 40 years avoiding sunsets as they reminded me of what came after.
When I was around 6 I heard that witches needed crystals to cast spells. My great grandmother Mabel had lots of lovely chandeliers with what I thought were crystals hanging from them so I decided to take /borrow a couple to do magic with. I am sure she wondered what happened to them or maybe she knew.
I use to love all the rainbows in her house from the lamps and stained glass windows. I am going find a way to hang these so I can have her rainbows in my house! I have had these 50 years and they have made every move I have made.
As a kid I was often told to go play outside. For fun I used to put an old purse on a fishing pole, toss it out by the road and then hide in the woods across the street from our house.
When people would stop to pick up the purse I would reel it in, trying hard not to laugh.
Molly doesn’t live here anymore
Mom didn’t believe that children needed many things, and dad went along whether he agreed or not. “A nice neat simple life”, I remember them constantly saying,” We can’t have the house looking like Romper Room now can we?” I was told from the time I was a small child that it just wasn’t healthy to get attached to material things. Doing so was an outright sin as well as being considered greedy.
The closer it got to my ninth birthday the worse I felt. The pain in my stomach was so bad I was sure that it felt just like someone was stabbing me with a knife. Later I learned that was not what a being stabbed felt like at all but we won’t go into that here. I new that if I were to die at that minute I would go straight to the burning pits of hello for what I was thinking about doing was certainly a huge sin.
Every year a week before my birthday my parents would come to my room with a box, I was to put all the gifts from my previous birthday into the box. I would have about an hour to do this chore. After placing everything into the box my parents and I would go over a list of charities that were collecting toys for less fortunate children. Once we had picked one my parents would call and set up an appointment for us to deliver them. I never really minded this family tradition, until my ninth birthday.
Great Grandma La Gra had give Molly to me the previous year. Molly was the perfect friend. She was about 15 inches tall with long straight, dishwater blonde hair. Her skin was like porcelain even though she was made of plastic. He lips where painted a soft pastel shade of pink. Her cheeks were blushed as if she were just kissed by a cool sweet breeze. Molly’s dress was white cotton with little pink roses on it. She wore bobby socks and little white sandals. She was not an expensive doll but Molly was more than just a stupid toy. Molly was my best friend. Oh how I loved Molly, I really didn’t want to put her in the box.
The Big Sin
The box sat outside my bedroom door for a couple of days. I had put a few of my other gifts from the previous year inside the box carefully. Then I hid Molly and when asked about her whereabouts I lied! I told my parents I had not seen here and that I was concerned that she had run away.
After a fifteen minute lecture that seemed more like three hours on the topic of how children today don’t take care of things. I thought I was off the hook and that they would move on. I was so wrong! Dear ol’ mom offered to go help me find the missing doll. My heart dropped all the way to my big toe. I thought for sure I was going to vomit. I can honestly say I don’t think I ever felt so panicked! What does one do when cornered, confess sins or keep mouth shut! Mom would find Molly in minutes and she did! Molly was now in the box and it was time to take the box to the children’s hospital.
I remember thinking on the drive o the hospital that I would rather give a kidney or any other part of my body that someone should use if I could only keep my best friend. But I knew it was pointless to argue. Once we arrived at the hospital I asked if I could give Molly to someone myself. My parents agreed as long as I promised not to pull anything. If I could have donated my parents to charity on that hot summer day in late June , there is not a doubt in my mind that I would have.
I walked from room to room visiting children passing out the items in the box. All that was left was Molly. I walked into a room where there was a girl about my age. She looked scary; I quickly covered Molly’s eyes! Some horrible person had lit her on fire. She was covered with scares; it scared me to look at her. Molly whispered to me to run! That is when the girl looked at me and smiled. It was a gentle smile. When she spoke her voice was soft and scared. She asked. “What is her name?” Molly I replied. Then out of the blue I handed her my best friend and said, “I brought her to keep you company.” She smiled and took her carefully and said, “Why thank you, it has been rather lonely here and with the burns the others say I am scary. “Molly will be a faithful friend,” I told her, “just love her and she will love you back.” and then I ran out of the room. I could not believe I had just given away my best friend. My life was now over I would die from loneliness within the hour.
Well 13 years later, I was still alive; I had not died of loneliness. I was now twenty –two married with a son. Life had gone on. I got an urgent call from my father someone had telephoned him with a message for me. An old classmate was trying to locate me? I wrote the number down but I didn’t remember ever being friends with an Annie Svennson or any Ann for that matter. I stuck the paper with the number in my sweater pocket and went on about my day! Two weeks later my father called again and said, “Please call your friend, she keeps calling here for you.”
Calling people on the phone was never something I liked doing. To make call required a lot of guts! One just never really knows what the person on the other end of the line is going to say. After a few more calls from my dad I finally decided to suck it up and give this girl a call and ask her what the heck is up! Well I dialed the number counting to 10 between dialing each number! Yep, this was back in the days where you actually dialed a phone! One ring, two ring I still had time to hang up, when I heard a man say, “Hello this is Dave Svensson,” I asked to speak with Annie and he said, “you must be Cindy, she was hoping you would call” I explained that I had not been called Cindy since I was a child and that he should call me Cynthia. He said, very well and told me he would go get Annie. There was a silence l and I really wanted to hang up. Then I heard a voice that was vaguely familiar, “Can you meet for lunch?” she asked.
Red Robin at 1:00 they really did make the best burgers, I got there right on time and starving! I told the hostess I was expecting to meet someone. The hostess asked me my name and then she told me my party was waiting for me. As I walked towards the table I stopped short. My feet wouldn’t move. Oh my GOD! There she was, not Annie but Molly! I slowly made my way across the room to the table and stood in amazement and just starred. The hostess handed me a letter. Unable to speak I sat there still and in shock. She looked just like I remembered. How did she find me? I picked her up to look at her and in my state of shock I forgot about the letter.
A few minutes later a waiter stopped and asked if I was ready to order. “Order, order what?” I asked.
I picked up Molly and the letter and went out to my car. I sat starring at the envelope. It was off white with a bit of lace. On the back it had a wax stamp seal. It smelled like Lily of the valley.
I carefully opened the envelope and on the inside was a letter written on a perfumed piece of Victorian style stationary. Dear Cindy, Thank you for sharing your best friend with me when no one else would be my friend. I enjoyed her company and I think she enjoyed mine. I have a husband and my own daughter now so I thought I should return her to you, I noticed many years ago that on the inside of Molly’s dress in dark pencil were the words , if lost please return to Cindy at WA2-4917. Cindy if you want to hear about some of the adventures that Molly and I shared gives me a call at LE7 -1928.
The story of Annie and Molly doesn’t end here. I wanted to hear about the adventures they shared and for three years we were the best of friend. Three years was all we had as Leukemia took Annie away from me. This time the pain was much worse much closer to being stabbed in the stomach and the heart.
To comfort her 5 year old daughter Christina I once again parted with Molly. I told Christina that Molly was an old friend of her moms a great listener and that she would be her friend through thick and thin. Christina was delighted to have a friend that had shared so much of her mom’s life. For a year I spent almost every day with Christina, playing and sharing stories with her that her mom had shared with me. A year was all we had when Leukemia also took Christina.
It’s been 40 years since I started writing all this stuff down. I have found that having friends and spending time with them is the most important gift of all.
When birthdays roll around and I see gifts in boxes I am instantly reminded of the dreaded birthday box and all the friends and family I have lost to Leukemia over the years.
BIG flashback to 1986. I was freshly divorced, and broke. A friend told me about an ad she saw in the paper which might be a way for me to earn some quick money. I called the number and was told to come in and fill out some paperwork, schedule some lab work and an interview . If I passed everything I would get a call. Just two weeks later I got a call to go in for the procedure. It was a rather horrible experience but I left with $8000 which was plenty to pay my rent for a few months and figure out what was next for me.
I had a few years of accounting under my belt so the Army seemed like a great way to get out of town on someone else’s dime so I signed up to be a finance specialist.I could go in with some rank and I could get away , far away from where I was.
So much has happened in between 1986 and 2016 I won’t bore you.
2016 however, is the year my youngest offspring asked me to sign up for 23 & me. Peter had signed up a year earlier and the offspring wanted to know what part of their DNA make up was from Dad vs Mom. I hesitated as I knew I had a secret but then I caved on the 23 & me topic and the kiddo got the results and answers to the questions he had.
A few months later I got a surprise, I got an email from 23 & me and the subject line was: You have a new DNA relative
The rest of the email was simple. Relationship : Daughter
We predict that Jane Doe is your daughter. ( I am not listing her name here as it has been almost 2 years and I am just now finally coming around to been open to considering what comes next. )
DNA match 51.9 ( the offspring that requested that I do 23 & me is a 49.9 match? )
You might have guessed the procedure I did back in 1986 was egg donation. I had gone on with my life not ever thinking about it again. I never dreamed that I could be contacted 30 some years later about having a daughter that would want to meet a biological mother. It’s not like I had given up a child for adoption I just gave some eggs.
Here I am in 2018 being asked to go and meet a family that wants to thank me for my gift, A 32 year old girl waits for me to decide if I want to meet her and I can’t seem to figure out what I am afraid of.
Some days I really think my life is a script from a Korean Drama. Today I visited my past. I went to say goodbye to my very first boyfriend. He was just one year older than me and we met only because he dialed a wrong number back in 1979. When I picked up the phone the voice on the other end said , “Hey there can I talk to Ray? I responded rather cheerfully , “No Ray here how can I help you? ” He said, “I just need someone to talk to.” I said, “Well you can call me Ray today if that helps.” We talked for 3 or 4 hours and then he asked me what number he had dialed and if it was okay to call me back. I think we talked every day for weeks before we ever shared our names. Months went by before I got up the courage to tell him where I lived.
It was a short coming of age romance and we parted on good terms. I only bumped into him once more about 20 years ago. Him and a girlfriend where going to build a house across the street from where Peter and I were living. His girlfriend at the time had a fit . She was not going to live 5 houses from his old girlfriend.
He is in Hospice care and his sister called me yesterday and asked if I would come visit. At first I did not want to go.I wanted to remember the 19 year old boy that I fell head over heels for or even the 31 year old that I had bumped into while walking through empty partially built homes in my neighborhood.
I am glad I went. When I walked in he smiled at me and said, “hey Ray, I needed someone to talk to and I thought of you. Thank you for coming. ” I was surprised at how nice it was to visit and to share some funny stories with him and his wife and daughter. Once you have loved someone they really do always have a part of your heart. I told him that he would always have a spot in my heart and that I have only fond memories of him. Well almost only fond memories. There was that one time…. We laughed and cried and hugged and I am happy that I was able to say goodbye to someone who taught me a lot about love.
“If one scheme of happiness fails, human nature turns to another; if the first calculation is wrong, we make a second better.”
– Jane Austen
About Jane Austen
Jane Austen (1775-1817), the British writer whose sparkling, socially incisive novels remain extremely popular two centuries after her death, is best known for Pride and Prejudice, which she called her “own darling child.” She started writing solely for her own family, and her novels, including Sense and Sensibility and Emma, were initially published anonymously (or “By a Lady”). Nevertheless, she won fame later in life, and she earned the high honor of burial in Winchester Cathedral after her death in 1817 at age 41.