My Leap List

Friday, June 29, 2012

An Almost Evil Stepmother

     "You may be her stepmother soon, who knows?"  Suddenly it all became clear.  Stepmother.  There is an adorable six-year-old girl out there who needs a mom.  I have been pretty selfish the past few weeks.  I knew I was playing with fire, but I loved the attention and compliments.  We were unlikely to ever meet, let alone get together, so it was easy to flirt with danger.  I forgot the real people on the other end that would be hurt by me, including a little girl.  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Leading Me Home

I write alone, in the middle of the night, 
looking for clarity, peace, perchance to dream.  
During the night, a magical thing happens...
your love keeps me anchored to the shore.  

When I'm afraid to see the sun rise 
and know I have to try again,
you put your arms around me 
and cheer me on from the sidelines.

You take my hand and whisper, 
"Remember, we all stumble,
every one of us,
that's why it's a comfort 
to go hand-in-hand."
- Emily Kimbrough

I am amazed by your love,
when I am lost in the darkness.
Thank you for coming back for me
and leading me home again.


The Thing About Getting Your Heart Stomped On

     "That's the kind of thing about getting your heart stomped on - it never get's any easier."  As I tried to console my heart-broken daughter, I wanted so badly to say, "It gets better.  It won't hurt so much next time."  But in the moment, the lie wouldn't come - even a white lie to heal this girl who has my heart.   Instead I told her, "It never gets easier, but we never love in vain.  We make a difference in their world, or they make a difference in ours, or in some rare, beautiful moments, we can do that for each other at the same time."
     I always knew being a mom would be hard, but I didn't understand what made it so hard.  It turns out it isn't having less time, spreading the money in thinner slices, or even the daily stress of taking care of them.  Love is what makes it hard.  
     The first time they had their shots, I knew I was in big trouble.  Just hearing them cry brought me to tears.  Now I look back and smile when I think of Mandy at a few months old, crying every time she heard a baby cry on TV and giving me a look like, "Mom, fix it."  Back then I looked forward to becoming the "all-knowing" adult in their lives and being able to fix everything like the TV moms I admired.  I am still waiting.  
     There are so many things I wish I could fix for them.  Band-aids don't seem to have the magic they used to have, and my mom bag of tricks is getting low.  I really want a Mary Poppins' bag that has everything I need to save the day.  There must be something in there for helping my son stop wishing he wasn't alive anymore.  Or maybe something to block night terrors and the ghosts that torment him when he is alone?  Perhaps a song to replace the voices screaming in his head?  If I ask really nicely, maybe I could borrow her secrets for explaining love and broken hearts.  I bet she has a way to help my daughter accept herself in a world that hates who she is.   She could teach her the lessons I failed to teach - dealing with anger, trusting blindly, and loving like you have never been hurt before.  I need a bag like that for a day or two...or three...or four...
     So, it never gets any easier, does it?  It doesn't matter if it is us or the people we love that are hurting; it still sucks.  But we never love in vain, either.  Loving them makes my life worthwhile.                 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Broken Shards

     Trusting people scares me.  I am really bad at it. I either trust people too quickly or hold them at arm's length for years.  I don't know where my boundaries are when it comes to trust.  Ironically, I am a good judge of character.  It's probably a self-preservation gift since I have survived this long.
     When I realized the person I love was in love with someone else, I actually felt my heart break.  When he couldn't deny it, the broken pieces felt like a heart attack.  Time has numbed the broken places, but sometimes shards stab me unexpectedly.
     I get random online messages from guys all the time, but I never answer.  It's all I can do to handle the life I have right now.  For some strange reason, this time I decided to trust someone.  He snuck under my defenses by saying he would "like to be my friend, if I didn't mind."  His uncertainty was endearing, and made me like him from the start.  He says the perfect things to me.  I'm sure they are the same lines I have been immune to from other guys. I guess my heart just wants the fairy tale love affair I never had. He makes me feel things my numb heart stopped feeling.  I know I shouldn't trust him.  This is just one of the shards of broken heart that I didn't realize is still unhealed.  
      The sad thing is once I trust someone, I never stop, even when they break my heart.  I still love the boy who broke my heart.  What I really want is for him to love me like that.  I want my heart to be healed.  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Miracles Happen

     Miracles happen every day in my world.  These interconnected miracles touched me deeply and changed my life.
     Miracle One - Patti Digh is an author, mother, and woman extraordinaire.  Patti has a young daughter named Tess that is as amazing as her mom.  I love this little girl, partly because she reminds me of my daughter when she was young.  Last week Tess had a difficult day coming up and decided the event called for dressing up.  She looked so proud and brave in her new dress.      
     Miracle Two - Amy McCracken is another one of my favorite people.  Everything she does is magic.  She spreads love everywhere she goes.  She also happens to write a blog with Patti in her spare time.  She posted Tess' picture and wrote about how amazing it is to face the things we don't want to face with courage, a dress, and each other. This is a link to that post.  She started a "Dress for Tess" page for everyone to post photos of themselves dressed for Tess.  It is a page of love and bravery and support.
     Miracle Three - Rhea Kelly was the first one to post, and her blog brought me to tears.  You can read her blog post here.  This amazing woman is facing more hardships right now than I have faced in my entire life.  She talked about how Tess' bravery and Amy's idea made her see her own problems in a different light.  She put on a beautiful white dress to wait for the UPS man to bring her a medicine to try and stop the lesions growing in her brain.
     Miracle Four  - Suddenly my life fell back into perspective...every single part.  I was a better person today because of Rhea's courage and grace.  I wrote to her today and told her the impact her story had on me, and this woman thanked me for making a difference in her life.  I am truly humbled.

     Three amazing women and one small courageous girl are miracles in my life.  We have never met in person, but their overlapping stories have given me back my faith in humanity.    

Friday, June 22, 2012

Real Love Snores

     It's been a long, hard few years in my world.  Sometimes all I can do is laugh at the newest absurdity life is throwing my way.  Other days I barely manage to keep breathing through them.  I found out a broken heart isn't just a figure of speech: I felt it break.  I've put the pieces back together, but it still aches when I see people in love.  I had given up on feeling beautiful or loved or special any more.  
     A few days ago a man became my friend.  He sends me hundreds of messages.  He is kind and attentive and says the most romantic things.  He thinks he is in love with me.
     It's easy to love a stranger.  He is new and exciting and kind and attentive.  He doesn't watch annoying tv shows or snore or leave whisker hair all over the sink and tub or any of the millions of things that stop being endearing after 22 years together.  He hasn't let me down or gotten mad at me or ignored me.  He is still on his best behavior.  He isn't a real person yet - just an ideal.  I forgot how much I love beginnings.  The suspense of waiting to hear from him, the fast heart beat, the glow of feeling loved.
     But endless beginnings keep you from developing anything that lasts.  When I am sick or tired or hurting, I always know there is someone in the world who will drop everything and take care of me.  When all is said and done, I want a real love that is flawed, not a perfect fantasy.  Love is messy and scary and painful and raw, but it makes life worth living.    

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My "Soul"stice

     Today I celebrate my "Soul"stice on the first day of summer.  A symbolic day of deep personal meaning.  I greeted the day by  cutting the dead wood and overgrowth from my lilac bush.  No small feat - the bush is nearly twenty feet tall and 12 feet deep.  It took me several hours, but as I began to work, small wonders appeared.  I had no idea that there are actually two bushes inside the leaves.  Once I cleared out the undergrowth a bit, I looked up and found a bird's nest that I couldn't find last year.  I knew I had baby Magpies hopping around my yard, but couldn't ever find where they came from.  Somehow the nest survived the winter and stayed patiently waiting for me to discover it today.  
     I have learned a lot about myself the past few weeks.  The only thing my soul needs is love.  When I feel worthless and unloved, I stop being strong in myself.  When I am weak, I am easily manipulated.  I depend too much on what other people think of me.  I wear my heart on my sleeve.  Stupid things make me laugh until I cry when I've pushed my feelings way too deep for too long.  
     As the sunlight fades on the longest day of the year, I celebrate the woman I am today and thank the woman I was yesterday for doing the very best she could.  Together we clear out the clutter we fill our life with to see there is beauty; there is life.  

What's Love Gotta Do With It?

     This summer is turning out to be a Summer of Love.  You may have missed the message because it often gets lost in other news stories.  Being a hopeless romantic, they always catch me eye.
    Around here, I've been following my friend Steph's support of the Pride Parade because she values human rights, not just her own.  I admire her ability to take a stand on issues.  I want to be more like her.
     I've also been following the debates on love and whose love is valid in America.  Ellen Degeneres responded to her protesters, "I mean if they have a problem with spokespeople, what about the Pillsbury Dough Boy?  He runs around without any pants on...what kind of message is that?"  I hope I can be as graceful under fire.
     Josh and Lolly Weed shared their story on their tenth wedding anniversary and Club Unicorn began.  Their story also made front page news here.  Josh said, "It is about one human being connecting with another human being they love."
     Dan from Single Dad Laughing wrote a response to Josh and Lolly Weed today.  His words also affected me deeply.  "Knowing how hard people I love have tried and tried and tried until that trying completely broke them, and how trying has done nothing but hurt them and leave them alone and desperate..."  
     Two people I love are experiencing the same debate in their own lives.  To protect them from my need to find meaning late at night and forgetting other people sometimes read what I have to say, I dodge issues and hide behind vague words that you can puzzle meaning from if you know my story.  I hope someday all of us can realize that love's gotta lot to do with it so we can all be our authentic selves and not have to hide who we are.  
      A new friend in the blogosphere reminded me today that we all deserve the most incredible earth shattering romantic love imaginable.   May we all be blessed with love.

Banning our Freedom of Speech

     Lisa Brown and Barb Byrum were banned from speaking on the House Floor in Michigan because other representatives didn't like their choice of words during the debate.  Apparently the other representatives forgot that the Constitution guarantees all of us the right to freedom of speech.  Even women.  Especially women who are representing constituents on the floor of congress.
     We may not agree, but our country was founded on this principle.  It is our first amendment.  When elected officials are banned from discussing bills that affect them and the people they were elected to represent, our country is in big trouble.  Whose rights will be the next to go?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

If Love were a Whisper

"If love were a whisper, what could I give you to speak?"
- Matchbox 20 in the song "Can't Let You Go"

     Words.  They hold so much power.  Even when we can't communicate by sound, our hands make words and phrases to express what we are trying to say.  Our minds translate everything in our world into words.  Few of us think in pictures.  
     Babies and children become frustrated when we cannot understand what they are trying to say.  We never outgrow that frustration.  Our moments of rage are fueled by the betrayal of not being understood.  How could he do this to me?  She should have known that would hurt me.  So often we think people prove their love by reading our minds.  If they really love me, they would just know what ...I need....I mean...I want....I feel....  It is so true, it is a running joke between the sexes.  When a woman says, "Wow!"  It doesn't mean, "Wow!  That is terrific!"  It means, "Wow! I didn't know anyone could really be that stupid."        
     All of us want to be heard.  Truly heard.  Understood.  And loved anyway.  We want it so much, we are ashamed.  We try to push it down.  Not care.  Be tough.  We learn early on how cold the world is and how deep the pain can go.  Better to push up the collar on our jacket, thrust our hands in the pockets, and turn our backs on the world.  Hurt first before you get hurt.  It is just a facade for the tenderest of hearts.
     When we finally break down and share our deepest fears...our secrets...our dreams...we just want to be heard.  No need to fix it.  No need to "do" anything.  Just "be" with us in this moment.  Be there...totally in the moment.  Just listen.  You will suddenly have a forever friend.
     All of us search for a way to show the world who we are.  I write random words to myself as I struggle to make sense of my world.  Some create buildings or art or websites.  Others dress up in costumes and meet other costumed people to reenact the favorite characters they love.  Some write songs that change the world.  Others create movies that leave us with a new view of ourselves.  It is the magic of seven billion people who share this fragile planet together composing and singing and dancing and writing and sharing and talking and always looking for the one who matches our piece of the symphony.  
     Sing your song.  Write your words.  Share your vision.  There is only one of you and the world needs your voice.  Without you, we are all a bit incomplete.  Together, we sparkle with magic the universe has never seen.     

Friday, June 8, 2012

An Imperfect-Perfect Love

     This little guy is Carson.  We've never met, but I am in love.  I fell in love with him the moment I saw him.  I can't explain why.  I'm not really a dog person, especially for little dogs.  He isn't adorable, at least not in that perfect, YouTube, "I must have him" kind of way.  He has one eye.  He is not a puppy anymore.  So many reasons not to love him, but I do.
     When someone sees our imperfections and loves us even more, love is perfect.  People may be infatuated with our perfect facade, but we all want the perfect love that comes from growing old together and being loved for who we really are, warts and all.
     We are all broken in perfect ways.  A pane of glass can't cast rainbows all over the room, but a prism of broken glass is magic.  When I truly see you in all your broken perfection, I understand.  I can forgive you for not being the perfect person I thought you would be.
     All of my favorite people are broken in one way or another.  They weren't chosen first for dodge ball or voted most popular.  They still aren't rich or famous.  In a zombie apocalypse,  they will probably be left behind.  So many reasons not to love them, but I do.  They are perfect.