Finding "just right" in my life's porridge

February 26, 2010

Beginnings

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steel Magnolia @ 10:15 pm

Once upon a time there was a very happy little family living near Roswell, Georgia.  Dan worked with the Sprint Corporation, while I happily stayed home with our beautiful little daughter, Jenny.  Jenny was born in the spring of 1990, just a few months after my mother passed away from complications of diabetes.  Jenny was a bright light during this difficult time, and brought joy to her very proud parents.

Jenny was healthy, inquisitive, bright, and rarely fussed.  We took this to be a sign of her wonderful genetic pool.  But there was a day when I noticed that she wasn’t talking much.  In fact, she was talking less.  I remember having to fill out one of those progress forms at the pediatrician’s office during a regular check-up, and struggling to find words on the list that Jenny was using.  And the beginning knot in my stomach that something might be wrong.

But I was still grieving my mother, and didn’t want to think anything could be wrong with our little darling, who bore my mother’s name as her own middle name.  My mother died on December 15, just before Christmas.  I was home alone when I got the call that she had passed.  She had spent the last 2 1/2 years of her life in a nursing home, missing out on so much, including our wedding, and suffering so that I was sad but thankful and relieved that she was now peaceful and free with our heavenly Father.  But I had hoped that she would live long enough to see her granddaughter; Jenny was due in March.

While Dan was on the way home to me, I got dressed, waiting for the expected visits from our church friends.  Dan got home, and helped me prepare.  And we waited.

No one came.

My best friend in Alabama drove up later that evening.  She wondered with us why we were alone.  Dan finally called the pastor and asked him to come over.  He did so, the next day, and grudgingly.  Later we were told that it was, after all, just before Christmas, and that there were so many dinners and parties planned already.  It was just an inconvenient time for a death in the family.  I was dreadfully hurt, but determined to go on and try to be understanding.  My mama raised me that way.

The following Sunday, we went on to the morning services.  There we learned that one of the deacon’s wives had lost her mother on the same day I lost mine.  So I went to her, hoping to console her, telling her that I too lost my beloved mother.  She then told me how the entire service that morning was in honor of her mother, even the selected songs and sermon.  The sun shone that day, too, in honor of her mother.  And how wonderful it had been to have so many people come to her home on the day of the death, and so much food brought.  (That’s what southerners do when someone dies — bring food.  Usually.)  I crept away, found Dan, went home, and wept.  It was a hard lesson to learn; some people are more important than others, even in the church.

But I digress.  Jenny received an MMR shot when she was 15 months old.  After that, her speech declined, and she didn’t notice things like before.  A family friend and Jenny’s first babysitter kindly suggested that her hearing might be a problem.  So the next day, when Jenny was in her crib with her back to me, I shouted her name, clapped, and made as much noise as possible.  She stayed focused on her favorite pink bunny until I walked over to her, where she gave me her usual happy smile.  I hugged her tightly as I gathered her into my arms and called the doctor.

He didn’t believe that she had hearing loss.  He was convinced that she was instead, autistic, and pushed us to put her immediately into a program for autistic children.  I knew in my heart that he was wrong.  And so the fight of my life for my daughter’s future was on.

February 25, 2010

When the passcodes just won’t work

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steel Magnolia @ 9:05 pm

I finally got the rest of our worldly goods out of the house last night, only to find that the passcode to get out of the storage facility wouldn’t work.  From either side of the gate.  The guys I hired/bartered with to help with the move (in exchange for a pretty nice lawn mower, chain saw, and weed whacker) were not amused.  Big Jason and his coworker, whose name I can’t recall, needed to get to another job, his three-year-old son was sobbing because he was cold, and I was ready to join him.  Finally, another customer came to store his own things, and let us slip out the gate.

You know that feeling you get, “I know I’m forgetting something really important”?  I couldn’t shake it, so I drove back to the house to check out Big Jason’s work.  There, on the shed floor, were the boxes with all of our high school and college yearbooks, along with some very special books.  Precious memories.  I’m so glad I went back.

February 24, 2010

Stepping up to the plate

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steel Magnolia @ 6:12 pm

Family.  Friends.  Strangers.  All have amazingly stepped up to the plate to help during these last days before the home sale.  Even the PODS container driver went well beyond the call of duty.  He couldn’t get the container onto the trailer on the scheduled pickup day because of the snow and ice.  So he drove all the way back from Pueblo the next day to try it again.  Our neighbor also saved the day by coming over with his giant (and I mean giant) tractor, plowed the quarter mile back to our house, and dumped dirt in front of the container for traction.

The PODS driver has a friend who is out of work, and desperate for income.  So the two of them came over and bartered services for things I had yet to sell.  He got a lawn mower, a gas weed trimmer,  a chain saw, and garden tools that he can use to get some work, as this last storm took down a lot of trees in the area.  In return, he’s bringing his truck to help me get the few things left in the house and shed.

And my newly-married cousin, his brother, the in-laws, and their friends arrived on Saturday.  As Jess said, they lit a bomb in that house and packed with all their hearts.  We are FRAMILY.   As are Mark and Sharon, my friends, who worked tirelessly and provided a wonderful dinner for us all.

“What’s your address?”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steel Magnolia @ 3:24 am

I got that question twice today, and for the first time in my life, I had no answer.  “Well, I don’t have one now”.  The answer brought expressions of pity and worry that doing business might be a problem.  Not for me, but for them.

So I’m spending my first night in a hotel — one of those business-traveler type places.  Since all the tourists coming to Colorado are hitting the slopes this time of year, the rates are off-season.

My poor cats are traumatized by the move, as am I.  We’re all going to bed early.  I’m hoping and praying that I can get what little is left out of the house before the foreclosure sale on Thursday.  I don’t want to be there to see it.

February 16, 2010

Getting started at the end

Filed under: Uncategorized — Steel Magnolia @ 12:50 am

“I keep hearing about this, but it’s the first time I’ve seen it,” said a lady who came to pick up a bunk bed I gave away on freecycle.org.  “It” is the result of job loss, bankruptcy, financial ruin, the prelude to foreclosure — and to the frightening prospect of being homeless in just ten days.

What happens?  What does it feel like?  How did we get here?  And how do others respond to the circumstances that brought us here, and our reactions to them?

That’s what I’ll talk about.

I want to hear from you.  Just a few rules, though.

Number 1:  Be kind.  Period.

Number 2:  Please, no political rants here.

Number 2:  Share. Advise.  Empathize.  But search your own heart and motive before you share God’s word here.  Keep it in context, and speak the truth in love.

Later,

Jean

February 15, 2010

Finding “just right” in the porridge of my life

My journey through life with small immediate family, my very large extended dysfunctional family and the “my-family-is-more-dysfunctional-than-thou syndrome”, a special needs child, faith, finances, bankruptcy, forclosure, and impending homelessness — all in a year.

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