Tag Archives: Family

Oh Bother…

This is just a brief short bit…

My mom talked to me the other day about how some of my habits were self taught or mimicked from siblings or her. But I have just this minute, discovered a trait that I will probably always have…

I managed to spill coffee all over my new clean shirt that I just changed into…and now I ponder if I should go home and change or just wear it…?

But thanks mom, a habit I wanted to break is probably forever mine.

Love you 

A short poem in your honor…
Coffee

Delicious, 

And warm.

Creamy,

But chilled.

Drinking,

And savoring.

Gulping,

And enjoying.

Slurping…

But spilling.

Contemplating,

But sighing.

Living,

Just messy.

Mama…

“Mama look at my creation!” holding it on a tray so it does not break.

A tired but still beautiful woman wanders around the corner and stoops dead in her tracks.  Her eyes trained on me. “What did you do?”

“I made it for you. I couldn’t find correct supplies so I just used anything I could find.” Like the toaster, electric wires from my lamp, my eyes glasses, lots of duct tape and paperclips, a bicycle wheel, and other things.

No words or even a noise comes out of my mom. She just stands there stilled and speechless. Her left hand travels to her mouth to keep whatever she was about to say inside.

“Do you like it mama? I made it especially for you.” I am guessing my smile would say it all, I could feel it spread from one ear to the next.

“……..” something came out of my mother’s covered mouth but I couldn’t quite catch it.

“What, Mama?……”

“GO TO YOUR ROOM!” She screamed at me.

She screamed at me…I ran. I didn’t stop until I reached my room. It was filled with the remainder parts and scrapes. All my failed attempts and miscalculations. There were scorch marks on the carpet where it had exploded when I turned it on.

“I don’t understand Mama.” I whisper to myself, because there was no one left to hear me. “I just wanted to help her remember.” I curl up onto my bed, hiding myself in the corner, squeezing a pillow as if it would explode. I slept with tears pouring from my eyes, and my heart slowly breaking into smaller pieces.

Headache is the first thing I notice. It is burning my brain and squeezing every last drop of energy out of me. “Mama…” is my second thought.

It must be nighttime or early morning, because darkness is waiting outside. I float out of my blankets and sit on the edge of my bed listening to the sounds around me. “Can I go get some water? Or do I stay here?” The kitchen is on the opposite side of the house. I would have to walk past my mama’s room, and our floors reveal everything and everyone. “I’ll take my chances,” standing up tall and determined.

As I open my door it squeaks just a moment. But I know I can open it all the way because I fixed that last year with dish soap. The floor boards outside my room are now covered with a small layer of rocks, which I did because it stops them from squeaking.

As I walk down the hallway I see all the small inventions I have made to make our lives easier. All of the objects are just of old appliances wired together to help my mom with chores. An electric broom and mop, a window washer, a clothes folder, a tiny robot to do the yard work… mental note…” make robot slightly bigger to push lawn mower.”

My mama’s door is next. I was shut, but not slammed. When Mama slams it new cracks show over the doorframe. I recently made the tiny robot paint the door. It is now a beautiful yellow with small flowers covering it. I wanted Mama to feel happy to enter this room.

I put my ear gently to the door to listen for any noise of crying…nothing…she must be sleeping.  I hate hearing my mother cry herself to sleep. That’s why I made what I did. I wanted her to be happy again.

Now just past te living room and onto the kitchen. I round the corner and….

“Mama…” I whisper so softly that she must not have heard me.

There was my beautiful mama. Perched on the couch, hunched over watching something. I wandered around slowly not to disturb her of frighten her…to see what she was seeing…that’s…

“Mama…” I say louder so she can hear me this time.

Her body snaps up, and instantly her hand moves to brush away her tears. “Yes, baby?”

“Why are you crying? Do you hate it?” tears welling up inside me. Trying to break past the barricade in my eyes.

She opens her arms to me, asking me to climb into her embrace.

I do. I fit my body in the space for me. I nuzzled down into her arm and squeeze it ever so slightly to know she is still there.

“No, honey. I love it. I am sorry for yelling at you before. Before today, it just seemed like you were trying to push me to move on and forget. I didn’t really see what you gave me this time. I just saw another invention to help me forget, so I released all my anger and frustration onto you. After you ran I broke down and cried myself into a sadden sleep right there outside on the cobblestone path. I woke to darkness engulfing me and the small device still spinning and singing that happy tune.” She began petting me and humming the tune which I gave her.

“Mama, can I play it again?” sitting up into her lap, staring into her eyes. “Can I watch it with you?”

My beautiful mama stared back into my eyes, “Yes, baby. I want to remember with you.”

For a second I scramble around the room for an extension cord. I pull the thing in and center it onto the small coffee table. I move back to my mama, climb back into her embrace, then I lean back to the table and flip the switch.

I light bulb comes to life. I painted it yellow to make everything shimmer. The toaster pops and the bicycle wheel stands into existence. The music starts to play and the wheel turns moving the pictures around. Just like a Ferris wheel my invention turn exposing our past. The first picture holds our family: Mama, Dad, Sister, Brother…Me. We are all sitting and laughing.  The next, brother’s 18th birthday; following, Mama and Daddy’s wedding; then our water fight… Mama was taking the picture; after that one, I made a collage of our baby photos: Katie, Josiah, and Me; next our first camping trip…

I hung as many photos as I could on that bicycle wheel, but I ran out of duct tape and paperclips. I programmed it so that it would continue to spin until the song ended. The song I chose was mama’s favorite song. It was her wedding song, and in the past, our go to song to serenade her into sweet embarrassment.

I never wanted mama to forget them. I just wanted to be enough for her to keep living. I wanted to fill the gaps of her life that she hadn’t had enough energy for. I wanted to make her life simpler so she would smile again. I wanted her to see me and not look at me like I was the only one to survive the accident. I wanted my mama back…

“Mama, is this okay? Is this invention allowed…” I say into her arm.

“Yes, baby. This invention is the best one ever!” she sighs into my hair and pulls me closer. “Honey, you need to know…” as she pulls me back and stares into my eyes. Her tears are falling and spilling off of her face. “Part if the reason I never appreciated your other inventions was because they reminded me of your father. He would always discuss wacky or ridiculous ideas and always say he would someday create them. When I look at you I see all of them. Your father’s talent. Your sister’s beauty. Your brother’s wit. And your creative imagination. I am proud of you.”

I scramble out of her embrace and dash to my room.

“Honey…?”

I come back holding a tattered notebook. I produce it from my embrace. This is the secret I never wanted to reveal. “This was Daddy’s. I took it when he…when he…I took it…” head lowering, not wanting to see her reaction.

I look up and tears are spilling down her face. But a smile is creeping across it too. Her eyes come alive and her arms embrace the book into a hug. Her beautiful body shakes from the tears, but this time they are happy ones. She looks up at me and…

“Thank you, my baby girl. You have given me the best part of him back. I never knew he was remembering every one of these inventions. Some were jokes, some were love, so were fights, some were arguments, some were special, some were secret…I have all my memories done in this journal, and in this Ferris wheel of memories.

She pulls me again into an embrace. She leaves the journal and wheel on that small coffee table. We cry together and stay there until light comes through. My mama is back. She came back to me.

Twenty years have passed, and I am thirty-two years old today. Our house seems so empty. I am there to pack up anything I want and take it with me to my home. The house seems so bare without her here.

Mama is gone, she is with Daddy and Katie and Josiah. I love this place, but I couldn’t be here without them too. Wandering through the house I see all the inventions I made and how they sparkle even with the layers of dust on them. The rocks outside my room and scattered across the floor. Mama’ door is a darker shade of yellow, but the flowers seem just as bright. The tiny robot is at the kitchen sink; frozen in time, probably because the batteries wore off.

The living room…The couch still sits there. Just a small layer of dust covers it. The coffee table still stands firm. I will take this with me. But what I was searching for was…that…there off in a glass case sits the little Ferris wheel. However, this time there are more pictures. Half of the wheel is the past and the other half is me and Mama. Those eighteen years were the best days of my life with her. Next to that glass case is the journal of my parent’s love. I looks the same as the day I gave it to her. Tattered and worn, but loved. And the title still shows on the leather cover.

When I discovered this journal in my Dad’s workplace after the accident I assumed it was for me. He always discussed leaving a journal for his girl, so that she could create or just remember the memories. Thinking back, I realize it was for her. But the lettering was still clear and crisp on that leather cover, as the day I found it in his desk.  It read, “Ellie” which is me, but also Mama.

World’s Best Widget

Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day I decided to buy all of my siblings and mother flowers. I didn’t just want to get the girls flowers , but also my brothers. They deserve some love too. I actually walked from church all the way to the store to purchase flowers for everyone sneakily.

After about a 30 min walk I reached the store and began to ponder what I wanted to give them.  I knew tulips for my mother. Tulips have a calming humor about them. They seem to be content with themselves and their petals embrace themselves for a warming hug. Which is what you receive always when you hug my mother. She loves tulips! So this year I bought her a potted plant, so that afterwards she could plant them and have them every year after. (However, I will most likely be planting them though. The yard work is now my domain. Mwahahaha!)

Next was my younger brother. He is an orchid type of person. I chose a white and purple striped one. It gives off a hyper active vibe, but also a classic grace. My brother is one who is always moving and never likes to be still to long, but he sometimes will pause and take in the beauty and stillness around him.  I do see him like this orchid, because he appreciates beautiful things.

After younger bro was older bro. It was more difficult to pick out a flower to represent him, because I don’t know what he would like. However, I saw an orchid that was different and one of a kind (to me at least) and I see my brother like that. Proud of who he is and doesn’t really care what others think. He will be what he wants, when he wants to be. So I choose this soft yellow one with splotches of purple within each center. It was beautiful in its own way.

Next was oldest sister. I knew what I wanted to get her, but I had to find it. Finally found it, it was lilies. But these lilies had a pink hue to them. They almost seemed to be smiling back at your own smile. My sister has a pink hue in he cheeks when she smiles while laughing. Pink lilies are beautiful and sweet, and they bring a lighter side to life. Showing beauty in all things, even if they are simple.

Next is other older sister. I also had trouble deciding what flower she was. She loves roses, but also daisies. She loves interesting plants, but then also the traditional ones. She likes a little bit of everything all at once, but in a contained way. So I decided on a bouquet of flowers of different types, but since it is a bouquet it is complete. She is like a motionless chaos. She is the opposite of my younger brother.  She likes to be still, but she can do many things at once. The bouquet had purple daisies, Gerber daisies,  a red rose, a snap dragon, and lilies. A little bit of everything, creating a beautiful arrangement, just like my sister.

I did not purchase myself flowers, because I enjoy giving them. That was part of my present to myself. Seeing their smiles grow on their faces, because I love them unconditionally and wholeheartedly. However, I decided to today that I would continue to work in the yard. So in a way my mother gave me flowers as well. Because when I went to Home Depot to get rocks I got flowers to plant in the side yard I have been working in.  The gift that my mom gave me was exactly what I wanted. A way to bring color and beauty into the place I have been working.

Vday

And in a way these flowers will grow over time and become more and more beautiful. Just like my family. Planting these flowers on Valentine’s Day was a beautiful gift all in itself. Thank you mom for this great gift. When I see these flowers I will think of you and my siblings. And how I am the luckiest girl in the world.

Vday 4

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Why Me?

“Hey Mama!” I yell from my chair knowing that, that was the stupidest thing you can do to a hard working mom.

“What Honey? I am busy at the moment.” An exhausted voice exits the hallway to my left. “If you come to me I can help you.”

“Nevermind!” I yell back, because I can hear the strain in her voice. She must be really busy with her task that I don’t want to burden her any more.

Looking back down at my page of homework I ponder how I am going to complete this assignment. Our teacher wants us to explore our names. She wants us to discover why we are the way we are. But why did it have to be six pages long…that just seems ridiculous. You know how when you stare at a pot waiting for it to boil; I feel like that as I stare at this paper. Maybe magically it will be finished.

“Okay Honey, what’s the problem,” mom sits right down next to me. Her eyes are tired and her body hunches over itself, collapsing but still sitting tall. “You’ve been staring at this paper for 15 minutes with a very ugly face.”

I jokingly glare at her.

“I am sorry, but it is true,” she says with a small smirk across her mouth. “I needed a break from the laundry. Maybe your assignment is more interesting.”

“We have to write about ‘Why we are the way we are’.”

“Hmmm…. well you are tall because of your father. You have brown hair because of me. You have hazel eyes because of your grandfather. You have graceful hands because of your grandmother. And you are loud and annoying because of your siblings. Does this help?” Her smile growing with every statement.

“Mom…” jokingly I throw my pencil at her, but she avoids it and is clashes onto the floor. I am not loud or annoying…not really… “But yes, things like that help. But I think another part is towards my qualities.”

“Hmm…well one is… you are extremely competitive. I believe this is because this family likes to be the best of the best. However, for you I think, you truly believe you must earn everything you want in life. You don’t let people win, because they must want it for themselves. You don’t give up too easily, you try until you can’t physically move. I think you might get this from my side of the family. All of my brothers were extremely competitive and still are to this day.” Her eyes mist as her mind wanders back into her childhood…or somewhere which I was never a part of.

“This is great stuff mom. I do see myself as you describe me, but I always saw my competitive side as a weakness…in a way. People don’t like to lose. They tend to not like getting beat or pushed to their limits.  To me I am too competitive sometimes…” I do feel this way a lot. Sometimes friends leave me because I want to do something to the fullest and they just want to breeze through it.

“It is a strength Honey.  And don’t you ever forget it or change for someone. People who understand you know you have them ahead of yourself. You want them to succeed and accomplish it alone so they can be more confident within themselves.  You do what you do because you care.”

Tears are coming…but I can’t cry now. I kiss her on the cheek and then ask the next question. “A big thing is our names. Some people believe that our history behind our names will give a reason to why we are the way we are. Why did you give me my name?”

“Hmmm…. well Jane was for a past relative. Also I have grown to love the name Jane. It flows off your tongue as people call you. You should add in your paper the meanings of your names. Jane means: God is Gracious. Which is true to me, because I have you. Your last name is, of course your father’s name. It means: Peace Ruler.”

“And my other name?”

“Well Emily means: To strive, to excel, or rival. Which fits you perfectly.” She embraces me into a loving hug.

“Thank you, Mama. But why did you choose Emily?” squeezing her right back.

“Actually…I chose Emily because I liked the name. It has no family ties or relations to our ancestors. I guess God knew that the child inside me was an Emily, and he might have guided me to give you this name. You are forever my darling Emily.”

One last squeeze, and then the words flowed from my mind, to the pen, to the paper. A watched paper will not complete itself. Sometimes words from another can help you succeed, but from the beginning you must want it too.

Say Your Name

Needed…

My Favorite

The girl stepped away from her precious home and turned toward the unknown. She understood this would not be forever, and what she was doing was for a good cause. Someone outside of her immediate family needed attention, and she would willingly give it to them if it would help them feel better. She piled her overflowing belongings into her small silver car and then she slammed the trunk shut. She gazes back at the house that has cared and loved her for many years, filled with her family, and she steps into her automobile and drives off.

A month has passed in this new house, and she craves the love she has left. This girl sits in her bed centered in a large room; she has no one near her and she feels alone. There is sadness. She misses her other home dearly.  But she also recognizes the good she is doing in this new home, which she has known since childhood. Still she yearns to return while her heart continues to call out. She collapses into deep sleep, clouded with whispers of tears.

Days pass, and the girl continues her good work. She does this work out of love; the love for family. However, she still feels lonely. She has always been surrounded by  unconditional love, but now in her moments of free time she is alone. She has no dislike towards this house which needs her, but she wants to be in her real home.

Weeks, it has been almost two months and she has hit her breaking point. She dreads another night alone. She dreads another meal alone. She dreads another night where she will not hug someone she loves goodnight. She dreads not saying, “I love you” in person, because she has for these two months said it through text. Of course the work she has done has been highly needed and extremely wanted, but she feels she needs to return home. There were some good times in this new house, but the ache for her home is a greater need.

“Good bye, Grandma. I am sorry for leaving before you are better, but…”

“All is fine my dear. You have been the greatest ‘at home nurse’ I could have asked for,” the loving old woman says as she pulls her in. Whispering into her ear, “I understand who you need…go…”

With tear filled eyes she hugs her grandma back and runs to her car. She travels away from this temporarily house and back to her true home. She pulls up to the curb and there outside the front door stands the woman she needed most. Mother.

Sickness…take a pause…

I wouldn’t say I didn’t believe my mother when she said she was sick, it was more I didn’t understand the level of sickness she was having to endure. But now as I lay in my bed and attempt to write this post I feel the headache coming back to me. So sorry mom if I seemed at all humorous to you when you were in bed, because now I must endure the slow recovery to my normal health.

Have you ever said to yourself, “You are not sick. Just believe you are fine and the sickness will not be there.” Well In the past I told myself this for years. When I swam, my coach would tell me the same thing, “if you don’t want to be sick, then tell yourself you are not.” Easier said then done, however if worked perfectly fine for her. She said she would only allow herself to be sick in the Summer, because she only had coaching. I however swam year round and my only vacations were holidays, and I wanted those times to be with family, not in bed. So constantly pushing myself to not be sick, just made me extremely sick when my body couldn’t take it anymore. Which is why I think my body sometimes shuts down. It is telling me I need a rest and I should take a couple days.

For the past 2 years I have not experienced that shutdown. I believe it is because I have one less stressful thing in my life. As much as I love and miss swimming, I think it was the best thing for me to stop. Yes, I might have been able to make it to the Olympics or even just Olympic trials, but I would have never been able to experience life through my twenties. So getting injured, even though I thought my life was over, was the beginning of my true self.

It’s funny how when you have time, even “being sick time”, that you can look deeper into your life. You see the things you cherish more, and you discover what truly matters to yourself. Family, friends, art, dancing, love, work, etc. I have much to cherish, and without stopping and pausing ever so often I might forget.

So in a way I say, “Thank you Mom. You might have given me a sickness which produces the worst headache in the word. And the constant terrible sweats, and chills. But you have given me a pause to reflect what I love most. Which is you, and my siblings. I love you!”

The Dreaded DMV…

It has been a long time since I was at the DMV. It was six years ago, when I was getting my own permit. I was with my mom and, I don’t remember any of it. Now it is my turn to be the adult and bring my brother. He is old enough to sign up for a license. He is so much older, and I cannot really call him my baby bro anymore. It is an honor to take him, but I am now experiencing the dread of the DMV…the waiting with random people sitting around you.

There are two men next to me speaking in a  different language . Two women next to me another language. I have no idea what they are saying. A baby girl keeps staring at me, I guess, she is curious who I am. There is an Australian accent behind me and it is fun to listen to. But the continuous annoying voice saying, “now serving…letter/ #’s at window #” is pretty annoying.

No matter the happiness I feel for my brother, I really don’t want to be sitting listening to people. I probably wouldn’t feel so against it if my coffee hadn’t been awful. My brother chugged his and he almost died. (But his face was priceless after) I need more coffee…coffee makes everything better.