The Unchosen Companions

IMG_0002

Fathers and mothers and sisters and brothers,

the unchosen companions not available to others.

Love and laughter, disappointment and tears,

still driving you nuts after all these years.

 

They know us at our worst and at our best,

and so often put our patience to the test.

Sometimes we hate, yell and can’t relate,

and always regret that wretched date.

 

The for better or worse choice was mine,

still it came with a judgment and a diatribe.

We all can get lost in lovers, jobs and friends,

but with luck and love they will be there at the end.

 

Shared memories and momentous fights,

often taken for granted and at times a blight.

Affections tested and a trust that can not abate,

a bond that if not tended sometimes breaks.

 

Quickly forgiven, but never forgotten,

we gode and complain and sometimes are rotten.

We defend with a vengeance and chide and deride,

those unchosen companions on lifes crazy ride.

 

Things I Wish I Had Asked My Grandmothers

232323232fp-94>nu=3369>734>3;9>245-7344--248ot1lsi  My Grandma Buddy and Great-Grandma Kate with Mom and me around 1967.

I was lucky enough to have 4 amazing women in my life, both of my parents mothers and two of my parents grandmothers(besides my mother of course) that helped make me the woman I am today. I learned many things from each of the women;

From my great-grandmother Kate (my mother’s grandmother) I gained an appreciation for music and dancing from watching hours of the Lawrence Welk show with her in her big white leather recliner. My first memory of being empathetic to someone comes from her as well. I was spending the night with her and she was up on the end of the bed coughing, I got up and put my bathrobe around her shoulders and patted her back. I was maybe 4 at the time.

From my great-grandmother Anne (my dads grandmother) who I unfortunately knew for the shortest period of time I gained a love of shortbread cookies, admiration for hard work(she worked in our families plumbing business until well into her 80’s) and a giggle inside whenever I hear someone refer to a child as a wee one, because she always laughed and smiled when her wee ones visited her at her home or in later years in the rest home.

From my grandmother Jean (my dad’s mom), who was one of the most elegant and beautiful women I have ever met; I learned to play chinese checkers, love green peppers and received my first bottle of perfume(Charlie by Revlon).

From my grandmother Buddy (my mom’s mom) who I was so lucky to have in my life the longest I learned; to play Gin Rummy and Cribbage, to pour a drink, to make potato salad and love blue cheese. I flew on my first airplane with her and my rode on my first train. She helped me with my golf game, worried about my love life and always rode my ass about things I was doing wrong.

I really wish I could ask them so many questions, but here are ten I would love ask:

1.) What brought you the most joy in life?

2.) Who was the love of your life?

3.) What regrets do you have if any?

4.) When and where were you the happiest?

5.) What did you enjoy most and least about your occupations? (All of my grandmothers and great-grandmothers had jobs outside the home at one time or another)

6.) What advice would you give me now to live a happier and fuller life?

7.) What would you tell me to quit worrying about?

8.) Who was your first boyfriend, your first lover, your first kiss?

9.) How do you make this dish? (each of them had a specialty and unfortunately I only have a couple of the recipes)

10.) What part of you do you see in me?

If you have special people in your life, ask the questions now don’t wait until it’s too late.

If you have lost someone special in your life, are there questions you wish you had asked?

 

My Brother’s Pride

10275954_778003592224248_7632531720099738323_n

I travel to my brothers party,

ready to laugh loud and hearty.

His daughter today has made the grade,

and now it’s time to throw her parade.

He brings her friend since second grade,

to grow the fun that they have made.

A suit and tie he does not wear,

for a picture made with flair.

She slips away from the family she knows,

bold and beautiful with a heart of gold.

He stands near his girl with pride,

thinking of the day she’ll be a bride.

The girls a woman now so smart and brave,

my brother’s pride he cannot hide at what he’s made.

 

The Graduate

10268612_10202711448159805_37528357787936791_n

Hailey graduates today,

acting her part in life’s play.

Now bound for college soon,

oh how her smarts will make the professors swoon.

She leaves her mom on the porch,

she’ll now be setting her own course.

12 years of school are  now complete,

so it’s off to the rat race to compete.

Dream big and live large,

because now you’re in charge.

Mom

232323232fp93232>uqcshlukaxroqdfv-984=ot>278<=-53=73<=369;-5364;339nu0mrj  Mother’s Day

Someone recently asked me what my mom was like; I stammered and smiled and said she was great, but I was caught a bit off guard.

What is my mom like… smart, pretty, a great business woman, a good mother, grandmother, etc. But what is she really like. I have no idea.

I think she is strong, independent, hard working, generally honest unless she would hurt someones feelings, but even then she does not always hold back. Her friends seem to like her, her customers seem to love her, her staff keep working for her year after year so she is a good boss.

But still, I get the feeling that my mom would like to have a different kind of life, but has gone with the cards she was dealt.

She also seems to be a person that plays things pretty close to the vest, well unless she’s had a glass of wine, then maybe a bit of the protective armor comes off and you see more of the loving, soft center. I recognize that in myself, I am pretty self contained and tend to hold my personal feelings to myself, really only revealing the true me on rare occasions with a rare few.

My mother is the one who can hurt my feelings easier than anyone and I think many times doesn’t even realize she has done it. Other times, maybe she is thinking she is being honest for my own good, but is not really helping me. Just making me feel shitty.

But, its a cycle, my grandfather seems to be able to do the same thing to her. We always want to please the ones we love and respect the most. But, I think we find it easier to remember the one bad thing that was said to us, rather than the 100 nice things. Or at least I do.

I know I’m lucky to have the mother I have, so many people have no parent at all or the parent they do have in their lives doesn’t want to be a parent, is incapable of being a parent or is just a horrible person with too many problems of their own to help the person they brought into the world.

So, on Mother’s Day, I say: I love you mom for being a great role-model, a parent that helped me learn to be the person I am today and I hope our relationship continues to grow.

What is your mother like?

The 20 Year Regret

SCAN0019  My father died 20 years ago!  Today would have been his 67th birthday.

Over the years I have had varying opinions of my father. The fun weekend dad who bought me a toy, took me to dinner at McDonalds and drove me fast in his old Corvette. But other times I thought of him as a self-centered little boy who acted like the world owed him something and he owed no one anything.

He was both smart and dumb, lazy and a hard worker, fun and an asshole.

I didn’t speak to him for the last three years of his life – we’d had a dispute over how he was living his life, how he had treated my grandmother before her passing, he was mad that I had not visited him while he was in jail(tax stuff- nothing hard-core) and mostly about money he felt I owed him from the estate of my grandmother. Nothing really that should have stopped a normal father-daughter relationship, but nothing normal here.

I was 27 when he died. That seems like a fairly mature age, but until I did the math I actually had it in my head that I was 24 when he died, I remember feeling way too young to have a dad pass away, but he was young to die. He was only 46.

The night he died I lived in the house my grandparents had owned when they were young in Clear Lake. My little brother was 24 and newly married. I got a call from my dads latest girlfriend who, of course, I had never met. He had collapsed at dinner, he was at the hospital in Arlington, could we come. I threw on my coat, drove to pick up my brother and his wife and headed out. It took us about 30 minutes to get there. We were too late, he’d had a massive heart attack and they could not save him.

Did we want to see him? Did we want to donate his eyes or skin to the organ bank? Did we have a funeral home to call? Did he have a will? Were the barrage of questions coming at me that night.

Then at his memorial service a week later It was a strange mix. A small amount of family including my brother, a great-aunt, and two second cousins once removed and a cousin of my dads who I sort of remembered who was near my mother’s age. Then my dads old hippy, high-school friends who I remembered from my childhood. My parents married when my mom was 16 and my dad was 18 and I came out not too much later. Then there were his tax protester and jail house buddies; needless to say I didn’t mix much with them. And there were a few of his pipe fitter friends from work, he had recently gotten back into the pipe fitters union and was working and building a house with his new lady friend.

At the reception after the service a man said hi to my little brother, who is the spitting image of my dad, and then asked who I was and said that “I looked like someone from the family“. I said I was Dave’s daughter. He said “Oh, I didn’t know  Dave had a daughter”  I was tempted to respond ” Well, I didn’t know I had a father” but came up with some lame response and he went back to talking to my brother.

My dad was cremated like his parents, my grandparents, were and would be spread somewhere special. I kept my dad on my fireplace mantle for almost 2 years before we decided where to spread his ashes.

SCAN0018

My Grandfather and brother after we had packed on horses up Driveway Butte in the North Cascades and spread my dads ashes.

 

Kind of ironic the daughter he didn’t speak to or even seem to mention took care of his final arrangements, picked him up from the funeral home and took care of him for the next two years. Oh and paid for all of it too. I guess he got his money back in the end. But I am glad I did, it gave me a chance to tell him a few things I wish I had had the chance to talk to him about while he was here.

Regret gets you no where, but on a constant playback of your mistakes.  I have tried to learn from mine and try to never let something go un-said, never at least attempt to mend that fence and always tell the ones I love how much they mean to me.

And most days I remember only the fun happy things about my father. Happy Birthday Dad!

Any regrets you need to let go of or take care of before it’s too late?

 

 

A Nagging Omission

IMG_0163  I have something nagging at me right now.

My husband doesn’t know that I am writing. I haven’t shared any stories with him or even hinted that I’m writing. I write while he is working on his car or, like now, while he is taking his morning shower and shave or when I am on the road for work. Sometimes I will start working on a piece when he has headed upstairs to get ready for bed. When I come up an hour later he asks what I’ve been doing. I say I have been looking at Facebook or on Twitter or something. I think he thinks I really have an internet lover.

I don’t know why I haven’t shared this with him; because I have shared almost everything else with him over the past 30 years. But maybe that is why; it’s just something for me right now. Well me and anyone else I am lucky enough to get to stop by and read a story or two.

I will have to share it with him eventually, I’m not sure why I am waiting.

Still I wait.

Is there anything you don’t share with your spouse or significant other?